September 11, 2015

AIPAC & Bibi, the Perfect Storm

I've already commented a bit about the fallout from the Iran Deal fight, for Israel and for American Jews -- here, here, and here.

Over the years, AIPAC and other Jewish organizations have increasingly given themselves over to wealthy donors with greater or narrower visions. Since the days when the late Yitzhak Rabin -- as  Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. -- slammed American Jews for backing McGovern over Nixon, we have also ceded more and more decisionmaking to the Government of Israel, especially in the past few years.

Added to this, over three decades ago, AIPAC began grooming Benjamin Netanyahu as the proud new face of Israeli leadership. This is the same Bibi who literally pushed his way into the Charlie Hebdo march, en route to lecturing French Jews on their pending demise and the need to all immigrate to their only true home in Israel. While they responded by singing the Marseillaise, the major Jewish organizations on this side of the Atlantic have largely rallied behind Netanyahu, even as he arranged with the Republican opposition to call out President Obama from inside the U.S. Capitol.

We'll recover, because we have to. Maybe AIPAC will go the way of Lehman Bros., maybe it won't. But there are many other organizations out there which are "too big to fail", which means there's no way to stop them from repeating the same destructive folly whenever Netanyahu decides there's an imminent and existential threat to Israel, and by extension to the Diaspora on whose behalf he claims to speak.

As ever, it's the folks on Jewish Main Street who will have to pick up the pieces, and next time there might be fewer of them sticking around to pitch in.

And Netanyahu? He's already moved on to other issues, because the next Holocaust he warned about -- the fight of all fights -- is no longer useful to him. But don't worry, he's still keeping the Holocaust angle alive, this time as a counter to European boycotts.