Under a headline "Pro-Israel Group Reasserts Clout," The New York Times ran a story today on the annual convention of AIPAC - the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It ended with the following put down of other pro-Israel groups which, like J Street, have the temerity to also be pro-peace: "AIPAC officials have tried to treat J Street as if it were lint."
- The orchestrated effort to shift the agenda and attention away from Palestine and toward Iran; i.e., Palestine can be addressed only after Iran is "dealt with." That might have succeeded if Dick Cheney were still running the White House. One can only hope that the current occupants are somewhat saner.
- The silence on Gaza and its consequences, both moral and strategic.
- The unapologetic, in-your-face touting of how many fully-paid "America Israel Education Foundation" trips each congressional speaker has taken.
- The overall cognitive dissonance between the rhetoric in the hall and the reality in the world outside.
- The awkward juxtaposition of invocations of prophets like Amos, Micah, and Jeremiah with the drumbeat of rhetoric calling for reliance on military might; witness Newt Gingrich's soaring bellicosity.
- The refreshing, solitary, hopeful voice of reason that was the Vice President's, insisting on a two state solution and a real freeze on the construction of settlements.
- The silence of television news - across the board - on what was being said inside the Washington Convention Center.
- The eery feeling that AIPAC is to Israel what the NRA is to guns; i.e., there can be no hint of compromise, not the slightest bow in the direction of a modicum of rationality or, God forbid, even-handedness in U.S. policy vis-a-vis Israel/Palestine. No matter how pro-Israel they may be, those like J-Street, Brit Tsedek, or the Network of Spiritual Progressives who entertain thoughts of deviation, however slight, from maximalist Likud postions are to be treated as "lint."
My sense - especially since Gaza - is that the lint is collecting. Allowed to build up it can gum up the works of the most smoothly running machine - be it my Admiral dryer or AIPAC. Collected and worked on by skilled, caring hands, however, it can be formed into a beautiful flannel garment...perhaps one of many colors. I think we've now got enough lint to get started on that. Got a loom? Ready to work?
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