INTO THE FRAY: AIPAC & the progressives’ “uncompelling” case

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

INTO THE FRAY: AIPAC & the progressives’ “uncompelling” case

(Kindly consider “liking”, sharing, tweeting – please use hash-tag ‪#‎IntoFray)

In pursuit of bipartisanship, AIPAC should strive to persuade “progressives”, not pander to them; to convert them, not co-opt them.

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):


Several short excerpts:

The progressive narrative for Israel is just as compelling and critical as the conservative one – AIPAC President Mort Fridman, March 5, 2018.

Almost two weeks have passed since the last AIPAC conference and much of the Israel advocacy world is still abuzz over the brouhaha created by the explicit endorsement from the organization’s leadership of two-statism…

An ill-founded & ill-advised call


Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a 2018 AIPAC conference
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a 2018 AIPAC conference

In several respects the uproar is a little surprising. After all, almost identical sentiments were expressed by senior AIPAC officials at last year’s conference…Thus, mid- way through his 2017 address, AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr called on the US to undertake “steps [that] could…create a climate that encourages the Palestinians to negotiate in pursuit of the goal we desire: a Jewish state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a demilitarized Palestinian state ”.

Touting tyranny in pursuit of bipartisanship?

Indeed, immediately following the 2017 conference, I published a column entitled, AIPAC: Touting tyranny in pursuit of bipartisanshipIn it, I urged that “Instead of trying to resurrect the decrepit zombie of two-statism in pursuit of bipartisanship, AIPAC would do better to assist in promoting Zionist-compliant alternatives”…
…After all…as important as bipartisanship is, it is in fact a means to achieving a goal – not a goal in itself—and it is crucial that this distinction be kept clearly in mind.

Dangers dramatically depicted.

Ben Gurion International airport and Greater Tel Aviv — as see from Palestine
Ben Gurion International airport and Greater Tel Aviv — as see from Palestine

Significantly, these dangers were vividly articulated by none other than the late Shimon Peres in his Oslo-era book, “The New Middle East” (1993): “Even if the Palestinians agree that their state have no army or weapons, who can guarantee that a Palestinian army would not be mustered later to encamp at the gates of Jerusalem and the approaches to the lowlands? And if the Palestinian state would be unarmed, how would it block terrorist acts perpetrated by extremists, fundamentalists or irredentists?”…Doesn’t get much clearer than that!

A particularly perverse political paradox

However, it is not only in the realm of security that promoting the two-state principle is counter-productive for AIPAC. If anything, the moral case for rejecting it is even more compelling…Thus, perhaps one of the most perverse political paradoxes that prevails in the discourse on the Israel-Palestine conflict is the support of those who profess to cherish liberal values for the establishment of yet another homophobic, misogynistic, Muslim-majority tyranny, whose hallmarks would be gender bias against women/girls, persecution of homosexuals, the prosecution of political dissidents and religious intolerance against non-Muslim faiths.

Gaza: The ghoulish gruesome culmination of two-statism

Gaza: Raw sewage flows into the sea
Gaza: Raw sewage flows into the sea

Just how delusional and detached from reality “progressive” support for two-statism is, was underscored earlier this week by an attempt by unknown assailants to assassinate the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, who was visiting Gaza for the inauguration of a new, foreign-funded water purification plant…

The “progressives” utterly un-compelling narrative

…when the AIPAC president declares that “The progressive narrative for Israel is just as compelling…as the conservative one”, it is difficult to know on what he bases such a contention. For it is demonstrably untrue…It is—to be charitable—un-compelling in terms of its security implications for Israel. It is un-compelling in terms of its moral ramifications. It is un-compelling in terms of its political pretensions. It is un-compelling in terms of its socio-economic outcomes—just ask the folk in Gaza…

Progressive poppycock 

In a recent article, threateningly titled, AIPAC won’t win back progressives until it faces hard truths about Israel, two professed “progressives”, Jeremy Ben-Ami and Jill Jacobs, write: “the argument that ‘Israel’s security cannot be fully ensured and its promise cannot be fully realized until she is at peace with all her neighbors,’ which AIPAC’s CEO Howard Kohr shared with the crowd during his welcoming remarks, is one that we have each made time and again.”

Could it be that the authors are trapped in a time warp?! Apparently, they haven’t heard that Israel is doing fine in “realizing its promise”—on the cutting edge of nearly every field of human endeavor, with its GDP per capita overtaking a number of EU countries, its technology sought after worldwide, expanding its influence and exports in Asia and Africa…

Persuade rather than pander; convert rather than coopt

By highlighting two-statism’s perilous security implications, its pernicious moral ramifications and calamitous socio-economic consequences, AIPAC should convince “progressives” that two-statism is the utter negation of all the values they purport to cherish, and will result in precisely the realities they would wish to avoid…Accordingly, AIPAC should seek bipartisanship by converting progressives—not co-opting them…That is the only way its leadership can save this proud organization from sinking into irrelevance. 

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Best wishes,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *