Laura E. Atkins, the Forward’s Opinion Editor, has written a thoughtful critique of the state of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) mission, identity, and activity in the nation’s capital in the wake of its decision to endorse candidates for office for the first time including 37 Republicans that voted against certification of Joe Biden’s election thereby playing into Trump’s antidemocratic insurrection of our American democracy.
I respected — аnd felt respected in — AIPAC’s “broad tent.” But I cannot support AIPAC’s decision to endorse candidates that undermine the strength of the only country I’ve ever called home.
I’m not alone. I’ve spoken at length with current and former AIPAC employees, as well as former donors who supported AIPAC for decades, who are tremendously disappointed by the group’s recent decisions. Tom Dine, who served as AIPAC’s executive director from 1980 to 1993, told Haaretz that if the group’s money “goes to antidemocratic people who believe the last election was a fraud and they support the January 6 insurrection – no sir, I would not give them a dime.”
During Tom Dine’s stewardship of AIPAC (1980-1993), I was a loyal supporter of this pro-Israel advocacy organization, but over the years, as AIPAC turned more and more to the right and only gave lip-service to a two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, despite supporting Israel’s security needs before Congress, I became disaffected and became a supporter of the pro-Israel, pro-peace J Street where I now serve as a co-chair of the Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet. That said, though I disagreed with many of the policy positions advocated by AIPAC, including its opposition to the JCPOA, I still respected AIPAC’s position of support for Israel.
I no longer do as I believe, as Laura Atkins articulates so well, that AIPAC has gone off the rails and no longer deserves American Jewish support. It is a sad day in the history of AIPAC but its leadership has no one to blame but themselves.
Do read Atkins’ piece as she offers a fair critique. Those wishing to know more about J Street’s policy positions, go to its website at www.jstreet.org.