Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Blog

It probably wouldn’t be news to anyone who reads this blog that American elected officials come under regular pressure from groups like AIPAC to take an unreasonably one-sided “pro-Israel” stance. But when the President of the moderate wing of the Israel lobby, Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street, says that American politicians refrain from criticizing Israel because they’re “intimidated” by the more hardline “pro-Israel” groups, it makes headline news.

Ben-Ami made the aforementioned comments during a debate with Bill Kristol, a board member of the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), a far-right group that attacks any politician that falls an inch short of utter and total embrace of any and all of Israel’s actions. Kristol made an even more candid admission during that debate (one more worthy of a headline that Ben-Ami’s in my view): despite the ECI’s constant vilification of President Obama, Kristol admitted that Obama has not been considerably different from the Clinton or Bush administrations on Israel. Kristol even went further, saying: “I am happy to agree with Obama to a considerable degree.” If this is not an admission that the ECI engages in baseless vilification, I don’t know what would be.

It shouldn’t be news to any informed person that domestic “pro-Israel” groups intimidate Members of Congress, that Obama’s administration hasn’t been considerably different from previous administration on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or that the ECI is a ridiculous organization. All that’s interesting here is hearing these admissions directly from people you wouldn’t expect to hear them from.

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