Middle East Online, Aug. 23, 2011
The effusive standing ovations Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received during his speech to a joint session of Congress despite his recent public clashes with President Obama, raised anew questions of the power and influence of the so-called “Israel lobby,” led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Suggestions that AIPAC is all-powerful in Washington, or that its aims and actions are nefarious, are baseless. AIPAC is an effective interest group that has wielded grassroots activism and political contributions to foster a closer relationship between the United States and the State of Israel based largely on common interests, values, and cultural affinity. Yet criticism of AIPAC is not unwarranted, especially with regard to its muted efforts to support actions to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East.