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Jewish Americans oppose AIPAC's influence as a threat to democracy

March 21, 2024 at 2:46 pm

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy summit Grand Hyatt on June 05, 2023 in Washington, DC.[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

Prominent Jewish Americans from diverse backgrounds have come together to voice their opposition to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its allied groups’ unprecedented and damaging role in US elections, particularly within Democratic Party primaries. Those who have signed the letter include Rabbi Alissa Wise, lead organiser, Rabbis for Ceasefire; philanthropist Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s; Beth Miller, political director, Jewish Voice for Peace; Elliott Gould; Peter Beinart, Editor-at-Large, Jewish Currents, author and journalism professor; and Suzanne Gordon, journalist and author.

In an open letter, they express their concern that AIPAC’s interventions in electoral politics aim to silence critics of Israeli government policy and support candidates who pledge unwavering loyalty to the Zionist state, ensuring continued US support for Israel’s actions, “regardless of its violence and illegality.”

“Given that Israel is so isolated internationally that it could not continue its inhumane treatment of the Palestinians without US political and military support,” said the signatories of the letter, “AIPAC is an essential link in the chain that holds in place the unbearable tragedy of Israel/Palestine. In the coming US elections, we need to break that chain in order to help free the people of Israel/Palestine to pursue peaceful coexistence.”

Read: Ocasio-Cortez slams AIPAC as an ‘extremist organisation that destabilises US democracy’

The signatories highlight AIPAC’s recent endorsement of Republican extremists and dozens of Congress members who voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the 2021-22 election cycle. They also point out that AIPAC’s network raised millions of dollars from Trump donors and spent the money against progressives in Democratic primaries, mostly candidates of colour and other ethnic minorities.

“AIPAC is now vowing to spend even more millions in the 2024 Democratic primaries, targeting specific Democrats in Congress — initially all legislators of colour — who’ve advocated for a Gaza ceasefire, a position supported by the vast majority of Democratic voters,” the letter reads. “AIPAC’s election spending increasingly works to defeat candidates who criticise Israel’s racist policies.”

Read: Is AIPAC bound for that special place in Hell reserved for Israel and its supporters?

The Jewish Americans behind the letter conclude with a strong call to action: “Therefore, we strongly oppose AIPAC’s attempts to dominate Democratic primary elections. We call on Democratic candidates not to accept AIPAC network funding, and demand that the Democratic leadership not allow Republican funders to use that network to deform Democratic primary elections. We will support candidates who are opposed by AIPAC, and who are advocates for peace and a new, just US policy toward Israel/Palestine.”

This open letter represents a significant shift in the attitudes of many Jewish Americans towards AIPAC and its influence on US politics, especially within the Democratic Party. As the 2024 elections approach, the debate surrounding US-Israel relations and the role of AIPAC in shaping American foreign policy is likely to intensify.