Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor:
AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is the Israeli government’s long arm at the center of gravity of American power in Washington. The second most powerful lobby in the United States, AIPAC has served every Israeli government, over dozens of years, with exceptional effectiveness. This efficacy is based on tremendous quantities of American Jewish money donated for the benefit of election campaigns for candidates to the House of Representatives and other elected positions.
he basic, underlying postulate of AIPAC from the day of its inception in 1951 has been simple: to represent and work on behalf of every single Israeli government, without preference for Right or Left. With regard to the US political system, AIPAC sanctifies the principle of bipartisan support for Israel. It will never focus only on one of the two major American parties; it will never try to divide and conquer; and it will never favor a Republican legislator over a Democratic counterpart or the reverse. The secret of Israel’s power in Washington over the years lies mainly in this principle, which has transformed Israel into a form of consensus on Capitol Hill, against which very few dare rebel or deviate from.
The invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before both houses of Congress March 3 was secretly cooked up by House Speaker John Boehner (Republican) and Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer (who some consider ambassador to Las Vegas because of his relationship with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson). The news struck AIPAC heads like a thunderbolt. They had not been briefed about it before or after. They didn’t know about it, and they didn’t believe such a thing could happen to them. “This is AIPAC’s Day of Atonement,” one of the heads of the organization told me in a private conversation after the invitation was publicized. “This is the lowest point we have ever reached.”
In the first few days after the announcement, AIPAC heads were in shock. They could barely digest what had happened. Since then, over the subsequent weeks, they have been trying to patch things up. There was an internal difference of opinion in AIPAC regarding the actions that the organization should take to minimize the damage. Some thought that they should directly implore Netanyahu to cancel his speech to Congress, to suggest alternatives to him. Such a move, however, would have run counter to AIPAC’s very DNA since AIPAC is Netanyahu’s lobby and not the reverse. On the other hand, almost all the organization’s higher-ups were aware and convinced of the immensity of the damage that Netanyahu’s actions would bring to Israeli-American relations in the medium- and long-terms. It was hard for them to keep silent.
Read the full story at Al-Monitor : http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/02/israel-netanyahu-speech-congress-aipac-kerry-mossad-idf.html#ixzz3Sy6zDso7