AIPAC puts Menendez-Kirk on the Shelf

As 42 Senate Republicans push for a quick vote on the Mendendez-Kirk Iran sactions bill – guaranteed to derail the current negotiations if it were to pass – Sen. Menendez follows most of his Democratic co-sponsors in asking that consideration of the bill be delayed to give the diplomats a chance. And guess who’s on his side? The American Israel Public Affairs Committee:

We agree with the Chairman that stopping the Iranian nuclear program should rest on bipartisan support and that there should not be a vote at this time on the measure.

Considering the hate mail I got when I suggested that RBC readers should oppose Menendez-Kirk, I am no less puzzled than pleased to find AIPAC taking essentially the same position. Has the organization been taken over by a bunch of kapos? Is it now headed by self-hating Jews indifferent to the survival of Israel?

Footnote Commenting on that earlier post, an RBC reader wrote:

I think that you cannot underestimate the power of the incumbent Jewish establishment on people like me.

I live in a mid-sized city with a compressed and insular Jewish community. I practice law. I require clients to practice law and make a living. I am fairly open about my progressive political views and probably lose clients as a result.

But, were I to be as open about my views on the Mideast, which views are just a tad to the left, but would certaintly be within the mainstream in Israel, I would lose many friends and a significant portion of my referral/client base. A great disincentive to speaking out.

Or, as Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller once said, “You can remain in good standing as an American Jew if you doubt the existence of God, but not if you doubt the wisdom of Bibi Netanyahu.”

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.