If you pay attention to the news, the prospects for the future look grim.
The annual Policy Conference is a gaudy display of political muscle, but there was something missing: an awards ceremony for those who have done the most to advance the pro-Israel lobby's power and purse. Had there been such honors, these would have been my nominees, the unsung heroes who have seen to it that AIPAC has, as one official told me, "more money than we know what to do with."
Eli Wiesel and George Clooney have spoken out about it. Protesters have rallied against it. Even an online game seeks to draw attention to the ongoing genocide in Sudan's Darfur.
"The Israel Lobby," a paper by Stephen Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy Center and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago charged supporters of Israel with undue influence on American policy. At an Aug. 28 Washington forum hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the two accused Israel of working in concert with the U.S. government to find a pretext for war with Hezbollah. Reports of the forum prompted Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss, a former student of Walt's, to pen this letter to his one-time mentor.
Getting funding for a project takes massive time, energy and, often, money. Many Jewish communities send representatives to Washington to make the pitch directly to their lawmakers, as well as members of congressional appropriations committees. Some hire Washington lobbyists to make the necessary introductions for them.