I’ve said it for years. Having worked at AIPAC and having worked with it as a legislative aide in Congress for 20 years, I know that the lobby is not really about Israel. It is about exerting influence, pushing our government around and promoting war with Muslims and Arabs, but it hasn’t been about Israel for decades.

Oh yeah. I left out the primary thing it is about. The leaders of all the Jewish organizations that compose the lobby (AIPAC, Conference Of Presidents Of Major Jewish Organizations With No Members, American Jewish Committee, Jewish Council on Public Affairs, etc) make huge salaries (above $500,000 a year not counting the fringe benefits that push their packages above the million dollar mark). That money comes from gullible American Jews who are constantly bombarded with letters and e-mails telling them that without their financial donations, Israel and/or the Jews are doomed.

The lobby’s effort to libel Chuck Hagel and defeat his nomination is the best evidence yet that the lobby has spun off from Israel. Look at this.Even Israeli far rightists don’t see a problem with Hagel. It is the Jewish lobby here that is taking the lead to defeat him both as a device to raise money (“Israel will go down if Hagel becomes Secretary of Defense”) and to maintain faith with the overall neoconservative movement which is, yes, about Israel but even more about opposing Muslims everywhere.

These are the people who are as exercised by a mosque in lower Manhattan or Palestinian students daring to organize at the University of California as bythe supposed threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program.Read the writers at Commentary on line. Yes, they are devoted to the Likud party and the occupation but, even more, to the idea of stopping Muslims everywhere. Pam Geller did not just come out of nowhere!

The bottom line is that the lobby is a racket. Yes, it is more loyal to Netanyahu’s Israel than to America but that means very little. It is primarily loyal to neither. It is about power for its own sake, particularly the power to intimidate. And the power to raise lots of money while the generation of Jews that will support it are still alive. Here AIPAC appeals to the dead!

The good news is that President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel indicates that it is not quite as powerful as it was. But it is still plenty powerful. Let’s see what Sen. Chuck Schumer does. Like the lobby, he doesn’t care much about Israel per se. But he loves, loves, loves the money the Israel issue brings to him and Democrats in Congress. If Schumer supports his country and his president over the lobby by backing Hagel, we will know the lobby is in trouble. If, however, he either opposes Hagel or makes him sign an oath to defend Israel like the Constitution itself, we will know that the lobby still rules.

Watch Schumer. You may think of him as only a tool of the banks and Wall Street. But, despite the old saying, it is possible to serve two or even three masters. Senators specialize in that! Not to mention the House (and Democrats are no better than Republicans in this regard. Bought.)



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