22 March 2007

American Jews and the Israeli lobby

The Israeli lobby in Washington, D.C., in some ways headed by the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is an immensely powerful group of organisations that seek to align US policy on the Middle East with the views of right-wing Israeli groups such as the Likud Party. At the same time, American Jews are, on average, very liberal -- far more liberal than the average American. How do you square the values exhibited by American Jews with the attitudes of the Israeli lobby?

It would seem that the lobby, in fact, represents a small minority of American Jews, mostly from older generations, who are passionately committed to right-wing views on Israel and Palestine. The majority of American Jews don't seem to be very interested in the subject at all. Nevertheless, some liberal American Jewish groups, such as Americans for Peace Now, are trying to voice alternative opinions on Capitol Hill.

This article suggests that US policy on the Middle East will only change when the dominance of AIPAC is broken by a leftist or centrist American Jewish lobby, possibly financed by the anti-Republican billionaire and Holocaust survivor George Soros (Salon.com).

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