Dienstag, 5. März 2013

Does AIPAC stand for peace?

This billboard is posted across Washington D. C.
With this poster, the “Jewish Voice for Peace” and the campaign network “AVAAZ” scored a coup against the yearly convention of the “American Israeli Public Affairs Committee” better known as AIPAC. This pro-Likud Zionist organization sets the agenda for the U. S. policy towards the Middle East. Their expert reports to the U. S. Congress are one-to-one implemented into law on Capitol Hill, most often to the detriment of the U. S. national interest in the region. The sole purpose of the meeting was aimed at the American people to agree on a military attack on Iran. Speaker after speaker called on Obama that he should make clear to Iran that he is willing to act.

At least this year, the Obama administration, down from the president to the secretaries, does not attend this event. Vice President Joe Biden, an ardent Zionist, deserves the sole honor to speak on behalf of the U. S. government. But legions of U. S. senators and representatives will make a pilgrimage to the convention center to receive Benyamin Netanyahu’s blessings via satellite and listen to his aggressive rhetoric against Iran. He called for a “credible military threat” because the sanctions have not worked. Although Iran hasn’t crossed the “red line”, which he drew before the United Nations General Assembly, but the country uses negotiations “to run out the clock”. 

Joe Biden who spoke before Netanyahu told the crowd that President Obama apparently shares the same commitment to Israel like he does. To underscore the U. S. determination to act against Iran, the vice president said: “Big nations cannot bluff. They do not bluff. Obama is no bluffing on Iran." Israel’s outgoing defense minister, Ehud Barak, called on the U.S. to set up a “regional security framework” that would unite Middle East countries around the “joint challenges of radical Islamist terror, border security, missile defense and Iran.” Unfortunately, Barak forgot to talk about Israel’s uncontrolled huge nuclear arsenal that is regarded as a threat to the region by all the neighboring states. At least, Barak called for a “fair interim agreement” and a two-state solution because this would be “a compelling imperative” for Israel. 

Outside the Washington Convention Center, several progressive groups held vigils. Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, described the work of AIPAC correctly: “AIPAC is the NRA of foreign policy lobbies, pushing a right¬wing agenda that does not represent the majority of Jewish Americans: Its support for military build¬up and endless settlement expansion makes peace impossible. It cannot claim to speak for all American Jews.” 

When do U. S. American representatives catch that U. S. interests are not identical with Israeli ones? It’s more than disconcerting to read that a Republican and a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would make Israel a "major strategic ally," a one of a kind designation, as JTA reported. Two hard-core Zionists, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), introduced this crazy idea just before the AIPAC convention in order to rally support. This “major strategic ally" bill codifies a number of existing facets of the relationship, including annual defense assistance and cooperation on missile defense, energy research and cyber security. This bill also calls for a special visa-arrangement for selected nationals entering the U. S.

If AIPAC and its members are really caring about Israel they should have a closer look on Israel’s domestic policy and the treatment of a colonized people. After having built Jewish only roads for the right-wing colonial settlers on Palestinian land, Israel’s Transportation Ministry has introduced special buses only for Palestinians out of “security reasons” and for the safety of the settlers. Some Palestinians were forced to leave the regular buses and ordered to take the “Arab only” buses. This move should remind the U. S. of their segregation policy back in the 1950s and early 60s. The Israel lobbyists should be deeply concerned about the open racism and hatred towards Palestinians by ordinary Israelis like the aggressive incidents have shown in Jerusalem few days ago. If this trend continues, Israel will develop openly into an “Apartheid” state. The British journalist Ben White has classified this kind of discrimination of Israel’s Palestinians “Israeli Apartheid”.

This convention has shown again that peace with Iran is neither on the AIPAC agenda nor in the interest of the ruling elites in the U. S. The Obama administration should have sent the new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as a keynote speaker to tell the Israel lobbyists at the Convention Center that with this administration there will be no war against Iran. If the U. S. senators want war, they should run for the Israeli Knesset.

First published here.