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On Thursday, M.J. Rosenberg, who
has worked for AIPAC for years in the 70’s and 80’s, confirmed Ilhan
Omar’s controversial tweet concerning AIPAC – that it’s “all about the
Benjamins” (referring to $100 bills).
“In short, AIPAC’s political operation is used precisely as Representative Omar suggested”, Rosenberg wrote in The Nation.
This is no small thing, and this
shows just how important this debate is – and it’s a debate that Ilhan
Omar sparked off. We should be ever so thankful for her person and her
Rosenberg is pushing back against
the Israel apologists who seek to shut this debate down. Forward editor
Batya Ungar-Sargon, who was actually the first inciter against Omar,
tried to downplay the money aspect in relation to AIPAC:
AIPAC, or the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is a pro-Israel lobbying group
that focuses on Israel education, trips to Israel for U.S. politicians,
its big yearly Policy Conference, and bills that push for pro-Israel
measures. In 2018, AIPAC spent $3,518,028; but none of that was to
individual candidates. AIPAC does not endorse candidates, nor does it
make campaign contributions, though its members and employees do.
But Rosenberg cuts through all of that:
course, AIPAC does not engage in political fundraising; it would be
illegal for it to do so, and the lobby is vehement on the point that it
doesn’t. And it is true that, to my knowledge, it does not directly
raise money to support or defeat candidates. But that is just a
He explains that “Political
fundraising is a huge part of AIPAC’s operation”, provides a long list
of job descriptions concerning this lobbying, and concludes:
Not mentioned is what
all the information is used for: political fundraising. That means
making sure that pro-Israel PACs know what to do with their money. And
making sure that individual donors know what to do with theirs. That is
why AIPAC has a large national political operation. If it were not in
the money-distribution business, it would simply rely on its legislative
department to lobby for and draft legislation for members of Congress.
Nor would its political director make a half-million dollars a year. In
short, AIPAC’s political operation is used precisely as Representative
In other words, it really is all
about the Benjamins, but people are shocked, shocked! – when Omar says
it. That’s Rosenberg’s line:
fundraising precisely the way Captain Renault in the film Casablanca
declared he was “shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on” in
his establishment. As he is saying it, one of the club’s crooks hands
him a wad of cash, saying, “Your winnings, sir.”
Rosenberg explains how the actual money-handling goes on in the side rooms of the AIPAC conferences:
AIPAC, of course,
denies that anyone raises money at its policy conference. And it’s true.
No one does… in the official AIPAC rooms. However, there are also the
side rooms, nominally independent of the main event but just down the
hall, where candidates and invited donors (only the really wealthy
donors get the invites) meet and decide which candidate will get what.
This arrangement is almost a metaphor for the whole AIPAC fundraising
operation. The side rooms are nominally not AIPAC, so AIPAC can deny
that any fundraising takes place at their conference. But in fact, they
are the most exclusive venues in the country for candidates to raise
money in the name of advancing the AIPAC cause.
This is certainly not the first
time Rosenberg comes out against AIPAC. And people like Alan Dershowitz
have pressed very hard to discredit him, as when he used the term
“Israel firsters” in 2012 and left Media Matters due
to the brouhaha. But he is a man with a record, having worked as a
Senate and House aide, at the State Department, and at Israel Policy
Forum. His words carry weight. And right now, they seem to carry more
weight than ever. Right now, people are listening.
Former CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan said “responsibility for fake news” begins with journalists as she berated the “liberal” media in a recent interview.
“The media everywhere is mostly liberal,” Logan said during a podcast with retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland on Friday.
Logan, who said the interview was “professional suicide for me,” also blamed the media for not pursuing objectivity anymore, arguing journalists have evolved into “political activists.” Logan then compared American media to the Western Wall in Israel where women are given a smaller section of the wall to pray than men.
“To me, that’s a great representation of the American
media, is that in this tiny little corner where the women pray you’ve
got Breitbart and Fox News and a few others, and from there on, you have
CBS, ABC, NBC, Huffington Post, Politico, whatever, right? All of
them,” Logan said.
“And that’s a problem for me, because even if it was
reversed, if it was vastly mostly on the right, that would also be a
problem for me,” she added. “My experience has been that the more
opinions you have, the more ways that you look at everything in life.”