This article is a joint publication of TheNation.com and Foreign Policy In Focus.
As a secular Jew, I don’t do much praying. But this week, as the powerful pro-Israeli- government lobby AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) holds its annual policy meeting in Washington, I’m praying that this year marks the beginning of the end of the lobby’s grip on US foreign policy.
From March 1-3, over 10,000 AIPAC supporters will descend on the nation’s capital. The meeting comes at a time when the relationship between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is at an all-time low. House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress right after he speaks at the AIPAC conference is seen by the White House as a direct attempt to undermine the president and his administration’s nuclear talks with Iran.
In an unprecedented move, over fifty brave members of Congress have decided to skip Netanyahu’s address.
AIPAC’s support of the Israeli prime minister over the US president is turning AIPAC into a Republican-biased lobby, which could prove fatal to its future influence in Washington. Here are ten reasons why this would be good for world peace:
1. AIPAC wants to sabotage nuclear talks with Iran.
AIPAC—like the Israeli government—has no faith in the complex negotiations under way between Iran and the United States (along with its five partners) to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It pushes for greater sanctions on Iran knowing that—as Secretary of State John Kerry has said—additional sanctions would threaten the diplomatic path.
AIPAC, which has successfully lobbied the US government to adopt crippling economic sanctions on Iran in the past, is ignoring White House warnings. Its lobby day this year will push for the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill, which the president has vowed to veto. If the nuclear talks fail, the violence that has engulfed the Middle East will only get worse and will put the United States on a dangerous path to more war.