by Philip Giraldi
March 14, 2013

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has just completed its annual gala in Washington. A reported thirteen thousand AIPAC supporters reportedly cheered the latest efforts to make Israel America’s most favored nation. A small group of demonstrators was generally ignored though Scott McConnell reports that some protesters were spat upon by those filing in to celebrate Israel. It must be a habit they picked up in Jerusalem where spitting on Christian clergymen is considered de rigueur.

There has been considerable speculation that AIPAC’s power to corrupt and misdirect the American political system might be waning, that the struggle over the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense revealed all the ugliness of the Israel Lobby. I have never quite bought into that argument even though it is true that the attempt to derail the nomination of a qualified former senator demonstrated clearly that U.S. foreign and defense policies are being judged by many in the media and the punditry as well as, to our shame, in congress solely in terms of how they impact on Israel. It seemed to me that the Israel Lobby is too firmly ensconced in the places that matter to be vulnerable to thirty days of scrutiny. The American public has already forgotten about Hagel, if it was ever interested at all, and there is no sign that any of the demagogic senators – Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, James Imhofe, John McCain, and Marco Rubio among others – will in any way pay a political price for their placing Israel first. Indeed, many of their evangelical constituents will inevitably applaud what they have done.

It has also been noted that the recently concluded AIPAC gathering was the first in many years where a sitting U.S. President or an Israeli Prime Minister did not speak, and this has been interpreted as a loss of influence. Last year, both President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were present but this year Netanyahu is engaged in forming a new government and could not travel while Obama is himself preparing for a trip to Israel next week. Vice President Joe Biden did yeoman’s work, however, making sure that everyone would understand that the Washington will continue to respond to Israel’s concerns, boasting how the Obama administration had successfully blocked any United Nations inquiry into Israel’s illegal settlements. So predictions that the death of AIPAC is imminent would appear to be somewhat premature.

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