Politics / March 20, 2024

A Statement From Jewish Americans Opposing AIPAC    

“We will support candidates who are opposed by AIPAC, and who are advocates for peace and a new, just US policy toward Israel/Palestine.”

Jewish Americans Opposing AIPAC
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) is welcomed to the stage by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) President Michael Tuchin during the committee's annual policy summit Grand Hyatt on June 05, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) is welcomed to the stage by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) President Michael Tuchin during the committee’s annual policy summit Grand Hyatt on June 05, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

For decades, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or AIPAC) has been the most powerful wing of the Israel lobby in the United States. Until recently, it enjoyed almost total support from politicians in both major political parties.

In the past few years, though, attitudes within the Democratic Party towards Israel, Palestine, and AIPAC itself have begun to shift dramatically, threatening AIPAC’s lobbying power. In response, AIPAC has begun aggressively intervening in Democratic primary elections, spending vast sums of money to defeat political candidates who might oppose the policies of the Israeli government. AIPAC recently boasted that it was “dollar for dollar, the largest contributor to candidates in the 2022 midterm elections,” and it has plans to spend even more money in 2024.

Much of AIPAC’s power and legitimacy derives from the idea that it broadly represents the views of American Jews. But Jews have never been a monolith, and, in the wake of Israel’s unrelenting assault on Gaza, more and more Jewish Americans are speaking up in favor of a different kind of politics.

The following open letter is a clear example of this. It has been signed by prominent Jewish Americans from every walk of life, all of whom have decided to publicly repudiate both AIPAC’s unconditional embrace of the Israeli government and its attempts to crush the nascent movement within the Democratic Party for a new approach to Israel and Palestine.

The text of the letter follows.

We are Jewish Americans who have varying perspectives. We’ve come together to highlight and oppose the unprecedented and damaging role of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its allied groups in US elections, especially within Democratic Party primaries. We recognize that the purpose of AIPAC’s interventions in electoral politics is to defeat any critics of Israeli government policy and to support candidates who vow unwavering loyalty to Israel, thereby ensuring the United States’ continuing support for all that Israel does, regardless of its violence and illegality.   

Given that Israel is so isolated internationally that it could not continue its inhumane treatment of the Palestinians without US political and military support, AIPAC is an essential link in the chain that holds in place the unbearable tragedy of Israel/Palestine. In the coming US elections, we need to break that chain in order to help free the people of Israel/Palestine to pursue peaceful coexistence.  

In the same 2021-22 election cycle in which AIPAC endorsed Republican extremists and dozens of Congress members who’d voted against certifying Biden’s victory over Trump, AIPAC’s network raised millions from Trump donors and spent the money inside Democratic primaries against progressives, mostly candidates of color. AIPAC is now vowing to spend even more millions in the 2024 Democratic primaries, targeting specific Democrats in Congress—initially all legislators of color—who’ve advocated for a Gaza cease-fire, a position supported by the vast majority of Democratic voters. AIPAC’s election spending increasingly works to defeat candidates who criticize Israel’s racist policies.

In contrast to AIPAC, we are American Jews who believe that US support for foreign governments should only be extended to those that respect the full human and civil rights, and right to self-determination, of all people. We oppose all forms of racism and bigotry, including antisemitism—and we support the historic alliance in our country of Jewish Americans with African Americans and other people of color in the cause of civil rights and equal justice.

Therefore, we strongly oppose AIPAC’s attempts to dominate Democratic primary elections. We call on Democratic candidates to not accept AIPAC network funding, and demand that the Democratic leadership not allow Republican funders to use that network to deform Democratic primary elections. We will support candidates who are opposed by AIPAC, and who are advocates for peace and a new, just US policy toward Israel/Palestine.

Signed by:

(Organizational Affiliations For Identification Purposes Only)

Adam Gold, Senior Strategist, Working Families Party

Adam Shatz, London Review of Books

Alan Levine, Civil rights lawyer

Alan Minsky, Executive Director, Progressive Democrats of America

Alicia T. Singham Goodwin, Political Director at Jews For Racial & Economic Justice

Rabbi Alissa Wise, Lead Organizer, Rabbis for Ceasefire

Alisse Waterston, Presidential Scholar and Professor, John Jay College, CUNY

Anna Baltzer, Author, Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories

Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright, M4BL Black Hive/Black Alliance for Peace 

Ariel Dorfman, Novelist, playwright, essayist, human rights activist

Ariel Gold, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation

Ariela Gross, Distinguished Professor, UCLA School of Law

Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen, Professor, American Jewish University 

Aurora Levins Morales, Writer

Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History, Salem State University

Aviva Orenstein, Professor, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University

Ben Cohen, Co-founder, Ben & Jerry’s, philanthropist

Ben Ehrenreich, Author, winner of American Book Award

Beth Miller, Political Director, Jewish Voice for Peace

Rabbi Brant Rosen

Rabbi Brian Walt

Caroline Levine, Professor of the Humanities, Cornell University

Dan Segal, Professor Emeritus, Anthropology and History, Pitzer College

Dan Simon, Professor of Law and Psychology, University of Southern California

Daniel Stolzenberg, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Davis

Danny Goldberg, Music executive, author

Dave Zirin, Sports editor at The Nation, author

David Vine, Professor of Anthropology, American University

Deborah Eisenberg, Writer and actress

Deena Metzger, Poet, novelist, and essayist

Dennis Bernstein, Poet, human rights reporter, and host of Flashpoints

Donna Nevel, Educator

Eliot Katz, Poet, author of The Poetry and Politics of Allen Ginsberg

Elliott Gould

Eric Drooker, Graphic novelist and artist

Estee Chandler, Board Chair, Jewish Voice for Peace Action

Eva Borgwardt, National Spokesperson, If Not Now

Ira Shor, Professor Emeritus, Graduate Center, CUNY

Gabriel Winant, Assistant Professor of History, University of Chicago

Gail Hershatter, Professor Emeritus of History, University of California, Santa Cruz 

Gene Bruskin, Labor leader and playwright

Hadar Cohen, Scholar, mystic, and artist

Hollie Ainbinder, Program Director, Institute for Public Accuracy

Howard Horowitz, Board President, WESPAC Foundation

Howard A. Rodman, Screenwriter, novelist, and educator

Ivan Handler, J Street Chicago 

James Schamus, Filmmaker, Professor, Columbia University

Jay Levin, Founder of LA Weekly

Jeff Cohen, Media critic, retired Ithaca College journalism professor

Jeff Gottlieb, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Jennifer Spitzer, Associate Professor, Literatures in English, Ithaca College

Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg, Organizer, founding member, Radical Jewish Calendar

Joel Beinin, Emeritus Professor of History, Stanford University

Judith Butler, Professor, University of California, Berkeley

Judith Gurewich, Publisher, Other Press

Kenneth Pomeranz, Professor, University of Chicago, Yuen Campus in Hong Kong

Larry Cohen, Former President of Communications Workers of America

Laura Dittmar, Professor Emerita, author of Tracing Homelands

Leora Auslander, Professor, University of Chicago

Lesley Williams, Librarian, Board Member, Jewish Voice for Peace Action

Lisa Sternlieb, Associate Professor of English and Jewish Studies, Penn State University

Marcy Winograd, Co-founder, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party

Marjorie Cohn, Professor Emerita of Law, past president of National Lawyers Guild 

Mark Dimondstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Martin A. Lee, Author, The Beast Reawakens

Maya Schenwar, Director, Truthout Center for Grassroots Journalism

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Co-founder

Michael Greenberg, Founder and Executive Director, Climate Defiance

Mike Hersh, Communications Director, Progressive Democrats of America

Mitchell Plitnick, President, ReThinking Foreign Policy

Molly Crabapple, Artist and writer

Morgan Spector, Actor

Naomi Dann, Chief of Staff, Housing Justice for All

Nomi Stolzenberg, Professor, USC Gould School of Law

Norman Solomon, National Director, RootsAction

Dr. Paul Zeitz, Author and activist

Penny Rosenwasser, Author, Center for Jewish Nonviolence

Peter Beinart, Editor-at-Large, Jewish Currents, author, and journalism professor

Phyllis Bennis, Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Organizer and author

Richard Bauman, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University

Richard Handler, Professor of Anthropology, University of Virginia

Rick Goldsmith, Documentary filmmaker

Robert Brenner, Professor Emeritus of History, UCLA

Robert Greenwald, Filmmaker, President of Brave New Films

Robert Herbst, Esq., Board Co-Chair, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

Robert Naiman, Former Policy Director, Just Foreign Policy

Robert Scheer, Author, journalist, publisher of ScheerPost

Sam Rosenthal, Political Director, RootsAction

Samuel Moyn, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and History, Yale University

Sarah Jaffe, Journalist, author of Work Won’t Love You Back

Sarah Schulman, Writer

Seth Ackerman, Editor-at-Large, Jacobin

Sheldon Pollock, Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

Simone Zimmerman, Co-founder, IfNotNow

Sarah Sophie Flicker, Artist, actress, and activist

Spencer Ackerman, Journalist and author

Stefanie Fox, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace

Susan Adelman, Feminist, activist, and philanthropist

Suzanne Gordon, Journalist and author

Suzi Weissman, Professor of Politics, St. Mary’s College

Tony Kushner, Writer

Victor Wallis, Professor of Liberal Arts, Berklee College of Music

Wallace Shawn, Actor and playwright

Zillah Eisenstein, Professor Emerita of Politics, Ithaca College

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Jewish Americans Opposing AIPAC

Jewish Americans Opposing AIPAC is a coalition organized by Jewish individuals in leadership positions at Progressive Democrats of America, RootsAction.org, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

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