The Arabs' Jewish Lobby
08/20/2013 - 13:45
Douglas Bloomfield

The most powerful pro-Arab lobby in Washington may be AIPAC – that's right, the vaunted pro-Israel lobby.  When the going gets tough on Capitol Hill, that's who gets called in to help.

Most recently it stepped in to block a move by some prominent senators to halt U.S. assistance to Egypt in response to the bloody crackdown on Islamist demonstrators protesting the army's overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi. 

It wasn't the first time AIPAC went to bat for an Arab country, even when it was technically in a state of war with Israel. 

The Arab states have a wealth of diplomats and hired guns from K Street who are paid millions to protect their interests and burnish their images, but when they get in trouble, many turn to Israel and its friends.

On one occasion it was to dissuade some lawmakers from blocking the sale of American fighter planes to Morocco.  At the time that North African country was technically in a state of war with Israel, but the two had a mutually beneficial clandestine relationship.  At the time some members of Congress sought to demonstrate their pro-Israel bonafides by reflexively trying to block any arms sale to an Arab country.  The Moroccans asked for help.

On another occasion the Lebanese ambassador personally visited AIPAC offices to express his appreciation for helping on something his country wanted from Congress, and to share some intra-Arab gossip.

Jordanian diplomats and AIPAC lobbyists frequently shared information on legislation and other matters of mutual interest long before the kingdom and Israel formally made peace.

When some high-ranking members of Congress sought to withhold part of Egypt's aid money in order pressure then-President Hosni Mubarak to clean up his human rights record and begin adopting some political reforms, AIPAC lobbyists and Israeli diplomats intervened.

As violence flared across Egypt again last month, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky offered an amendment to halt that country's $1.3 billion in military and $250 million in economic assistance.  That brought fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to the floor to read a letter from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee addressed to Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Bob Corker, the ranking Republican:

"We do not support cutting off all assistance to Egypt at this time" because that "could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally.”

The amendment went down 86-13.

While AIPAC was working the Hill with letters, phone calls and private visits, the Israeli government was assuring Egyptian Defense Minister General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi , the coup leader, he wouldn't have to worry about his American aid package.

But reports are circulating inside the Beltway that the administration has decided to suspend aid this month but won't say so formally.  What is critical for Egypt is not the money – their rich Gulf friends could replace that – but what that money would buy for Cairo, Jerusalem and Washington. 

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Why AIPAC acts the way it acts? The best answer came from Pat. Buchanan.

“For it is (Generals) they who bottle up Hamas in Gaza, battle al-Qaida in Sinai, protect the Christian Copts, grant our Air Force overflight rights and our Navy first-in-line transit rights through the Suez Canal. And it is the generals who continue to honor the terms of the Camp David accords. Understandably, Israeli diplomats are imploring us, the slaughter aside, not to cut our ties to the Egyptian military. Yet it is hard to believe the long-term future belongs to the generals,” says Buchanan.

I believe this article presents an almost comically partial and slanted view. It refers to all "Arabs" as a single entity, and implies the US money is meant to "help them". In truth, most if not all of that money goes to the Egyptian military, which is the same body responsible for the bloody crackdowns in the first place. AIPAC supported the aid because supporting the military is in Israel's best interests. To pretend it had anything to do with being "Pro-Arab", or "helping" anybody but ourselves, is a self-congratulatory, hypocritical farce, and an insult to the thousands suffering and dying there.

I'm a Zionist. I believe in a Jewish state of Israel. But...
"Most recently it stepped in to block a move by some prominent senators to halt U.S. assistance to Egypt in response to the bloody crackdown on Islamist demonstrators protesting the army's overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi."
How is this pro-Arab? I'd expect better spin from TJW. Seriously. You've got the best minds in the world, you can spin it better than this. This is almost insulting.

Dear Mr. Bloomfield,
I think the definition of the term "Arab" has lost its way to your perception. You meant to write "The Muslim Brotherhood" not Arab, because it's quite obvious how the AIPAC and U.S Administration are brazenly backing this terrorist organization in its war against Arabs. Kindly replace the word "Arab" in your article with the word "Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Militias" so your readers get the right picture.

When it comes to releasing Jonathan Pollard or recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or recognizing that Jews have a legal right to live in Judea and Samaria then AIPAC suddenly goes limp. I was a member many years ago and that was before they supported the suicidal two-state solution.

Interesting article- definitely something to think about before supporting cut off of funds.