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Jewish Journal

AIPAC attacked from the left and the right

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 8, 2009 | 7:15 pm

There was a lot of interesting stories coming out of the AIPAC policy conference this week. Looking back on the days past, Ron Kampeas of JTA reflected on the criticism the organization is receiving from the left and the right. An excerpt:

Pro-Israel groups on the right and left have assailed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee because of elements of its agenda that emerged from its annual policy conference this week.

The Zionist Organization of America registered a protest about AIPAC’s backing for Palestinian statehood. Meanwhile, three groups that backed the U.S.-sponsored peace process—Americans for Peace Now, J Street and Brit Tzedek v’Shalom—rallied supporters to help roll back Tuesday afternoon’s Capitol Hill blitz by 7,000 AIPAC delegates, suggesting the organization had failed to fully endorse Obama’s peace moves.

The AIPAC conference suggested a middle road that could reconcile differences between the two young governments over a key issue—whether to press toward Palestinian statehood.

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The endorsement of a Palestinian state by the pro-Israel lobby now may spare Netanyahu from having to explicitly endorse the concept himself—and elicit the opprobrium of his coalition’s pro-settler flank—when he meets with President Obama in two weeks.

Good save, Israel-side, but it upset the ZOA—the most prominent American pro-settler group—stateside.

In a statement, the ZOA said it “opposes this move by AIPAC because supporting or promoting a Palestinian Arab state under prevailing conditions is seriously mistaken and because AIPAC is thereby supporting a major policy affecting Israel’s vital interests despite the fact that the Israeli government has not supported such a policy.”

The three groups from the left taking shots across AIPAC’s bow have never had a problem differing with Israeli policy. What was unclear was where they substantively disagreed with AIPAC, at least on the Palestinian front.

Read the rest here. What is clear is that despite all the talk that AIPAC has lost its preeminence in the arena of pro-Israel lobbying, every move the group makes still gets attention.

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