Is AIPAC in Trouble? Part II: Two More Keys to AIPAC's Success: Power and Strategy

Posted on August 16, 1993 in Washington Watch

(This is part two of a four-part series on the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, examining the sources of its power and the roots of its current internal and political problems.)

Last week I detailed two of the four keys to AIPAC’s political success, its ability to create a network of influential American Jews and to mobilize them in support of Israel; and its ability to raise substantial amounts of money and to put it to use in a focused political plan.

This week I will focus on the final two keys to AIPAC’s success: its ability to create an aura of...

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Is AIPAC in Trouble? Part I: Keys to AIPAC's Success: Votes and Money

Posted on August 09, 1993 in Washington Watch

(Beginning this week, I will be writing a four-part series on the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, examining the sources of its power and the roots of its current internal and political problems.)

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israel lobby, has been hit by a series of crises over the past two years.

AIPAC’s recent problems began in September 1991. Its losing fight against President George Bush over the issue of loan guarantees for Israel was the lobby’s first major legislative defeat in ten years. AIPAC then found itself at odds in mid-1992 with the newly-elected Labor government...

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Once Again Tragedy in Lebanon: An Arab American Reaction

Posted on August 02, 1993 in Washington Watch

As Israeli bombs rained down on Lebanon and the tragedy of the Lebanese people was repeated, those of us in Washington who have spent our lives working on Arab issues took a long, hard look at ourselves.

The questions we faced were difficult: after years of organizing, struggling, and fighting to win some concern for our issues and our human rights, why was this happening again and what could be done about it?

I’ve been working here in Washington full-time for 16 years now. Throughout that entire period, Lebanon and its continuing tragedy, like the continuing plight of the...

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Jesse Jackson

Posted on July 26, 1993 in Washington Watch

Jesse Jackson is a potent force in U.S. politics. Despite efforts by some conservative Democrats to reduce Jackson’s influence by courting and promoting other African American leaders, few doubt that Jackson remains the most popular African American leader and the leading voice on the left wing of Democratic politics.

These are roles that Jackson has earned through his tireless campaigning for a wide range of social, economic and political issues. Another obvious factor contributing to his leadership is his ability to articulate issues and give voice to the concerns of the groups he represents. Even those who disagree with Jackson...

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Perot: Danger from the Center

Posted on July 19, 1993 in Washington Watch

A specter is haunting both the Democratic and Republican parties—the specter of H. Ross Perot.

As the leadership of both parties met in recent weeks, the question about what to do with Ross Perot dominated their discussions. A poll commissioned by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and conducted by President Clinton’s own pollster, Stanley Greenberg, found that Perot continues to hold the loyalty of millions of American voters.

As a group, Greenberg found that “Perot voters” have become the “radical center” of American politics. They are anti-government—they believe it is corrupt and malfunctioning. In particular, Perot voters blame the Congress...

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The War Against Islam in the U.S. Press—And How To Fight It

Posted on July 12, 1993 in Washington Watch

A dangerous crusade against Islam is being waged by some in the U.S. press and it has created a serious problem for Arab Americans. This new crusade is a virtual campaign, reminiscent of one waged by pro-Israel forces and right-wing commentators in the late 1970s when they successfully established a link between “PLO” and “terrorism” in American popular culture.

The older campaign was a deliberate and organized affair. It was hatched at an international conference convened in Israel for the purpose of propagating the idea that a war against terrorism should replace the campaign for human rights as the centerpiece...

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The Bombing of Iraq and the Continuing Debate Over Clinton's Foreign Policy

Posted on July 05, 1993 in Washington Watch

Major U.S. editorial writers and political analysts gave President Bill Clinton near universal support for his decision to bomb Iraq’s intelligence headquarters on June 26th.

With only the New York Times taking an opposing view, the general consensus was that the President acted decisively and that his action would win him new public support.

In fact, lagging polls and a nagging debate over whether the U.S. under Clinton would provide leadership in world affairs may have been the two most pressing reasons why the President chose to bomb Iraq at this time.

Polls taken after the bombing show that Clinton’s...

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Arab Americans Seek Reclassification as an Official Minority in the U.S.

Posted on June 28, 1993 in Washington Watch

In testimony this week before a Congressional Committee, Arab Americans will take a dramatic step in the direction of achieving official recognition as a minority group in the United States.

Such recognition would be important for Arab Americans, because it may result in a more accurate (and higher) count of Arab Americans in the next census. An increased count would translate into greater recognition as a political force and an increase in funding for social agencies which serve Arab American needs. Most importantly, reclassification as a minority can help Arab Americans better secure their civil rights and protect themselves against...

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Clinton Begins A Comeback

Posted on June 20, 1993 in Washington Watch

After the President’s popularity reached its low point two weeks ago, the White House made a determined effort to discipline itself and improve its relations with the powerful Washington press corps. Now, Clinton’s efforts to regain his political strength in Washington are beginning to show some signs of success.

However, because not all of the problems now facing him are of his own creation, success will be neither easy nor complete. The U.S. public’s opinion about politics and government as a whole will not be easy to fix. And with demagogues like Ross Perot preaching a message of populist alienation,...

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The Tenth Round Begins: Prospects and Problems

Posted on June 13, 1993 in Washington Watch

With the tenth session of Middle East peace talks now beginning, hopes are not as high as they were 20 months ago after the Madrid Conference, but nor are they as low as they were six months ago after Israel’s expulsion of 415 Palestinians to Lebanon.

A review of developments leading up to this tenth session establishes two contradictory trends. On the one hand, there have been real changes in the relationships between the parties and indications of progress on some fronts, while on the other hand, there remain troubling signs of stagnation and unresolved issues not being addressed by...

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