I was an attendee at AIPAC’s recent Policy Conference and was interviewed for “Fragile bipartisanship, attacks on Sanders at AIPAC” (March 5). The article presents quite a distorted view of the conference and the mission of AIPAC.
1. The article says that Mike Bloomberg was the only Democrat presidential candidate to speak at AIPAC. That is not true. I emphasized in our interview that Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar also appeared, though via video, which often happens when candidates are on the campaign trail.
2. The article omits everything I said about the personal appearances of major leaders of the Democratic Party. These included N.J. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer; and House Democratic Caucus Leader Hakeem Jeffries. These leaders lauded the lobbying work that AIPAC does in support of the mutual defense efforts of Israel and America.
3. The sub-headline of the article is particularly misleading. It says that AIPAC is “a lobby aligned with a right-wing Israeli government [and] fears the rise of the Democrats’ progressive wing.” The only “alignment” of AIPAC is with Americans of all political, religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds who love Israel and want their representatives in Congress to assist the people of Israel in their self-defense and their cultural and scientific progress.
4. AIPAC deeply respects the right of Israeli citizens to elect the government and members of the Knesset who they feel (not who Americans feel) best serve their needs at any given moment in history. If the government and Knesset are “right-wing,” that is the people’s rightful choice, just as it is in America. Indeed, prior to Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure, they elected Labor governments and a “left-wing” Knesset; and AIPAC respected their right to do that as well.
It is unfortunate that NJJN has inflamed an already charged political atmosphere by distorting the role of AIPAC in relations between the U.S. and Israel.
Edward D. Zinbarg