Stephen Walt, who has built a career — and it appears to be a lucrative one — on bashing Israel and skirting (maybe) the limits of antisemitism in his attacks on ‘The Lobby’, claims that AIPAC is worsening the US budget crisis:
After congressional shenanigans helped spark a major market sell-off and sparked fears of a double-dip recession, you’d think every single one of them would be heading back to their districts to figure out what their constituents wanted and to try to explain how they were going to help make things better. Or maybe a few of them would even spend the recess taking a crash course in macroeconomics and public finance, so that they could start exercising their public duties more responsibly.
But what did 81 of them decide to do instead? You guessed it: they are off on junkets to Israel, paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, an AIPAC spinoff that has been funding such trips for years. That’s right: during the August recess nearly a fifth of the U.S. Congress will visit a single country whose entire population is less than that of New York City.
Now since these trips will last only one week and cost US taxpayers nothing, one wonders why Walt is so excited. Apparently it’s because they might have the effect of making our congresspersons pro-Israel:
Such trips also expose these visitors to the policy preferences and basic worldview of Israel’s leaders, which is of course why AIEF pays for them.
Scary. But which leaders are they meeting with? Last week, the schedule was revealed in all of its sinister dimensions:
The delegation will visit both Israel and the West Bank, and is scheduled to meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with US lawmakers visiting the West Bank and Gaza Strip [sic] and urged them to lend their support to the formation of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, the PA’s WAFA news agency reported on Friday.
Abbas reportedly stressed that the future state must be “empty of settlements” …
The Palestinian president stressed that the PA’s “first, second and third choice is to establish the Palestinian state through negotiations,” adding that Israel’s settlement policy was the main obstacle to the peace process. Abbas also assured the US legislators that his upcoming UN bid for statehood, though unilateral, does not contradict the essence of the peace process.
Abbas is being more than a little disingenuous here, since the obstacle to negotiations has been Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, which continues to demand that Israel agree to give them everything they want before negotiations can start. And it is flat-out false that a unilateral declaration of statehood doesn’t contradict the peace process — it contradicts UNSC resolution 242 (and others), the Oslo interim agreement and the Road Map, all of which call for negotiations between the parties.
But Stephen Walt, who illustrated his article with a picture of known Jewish Zionist conspirators Foreign Minister Avigdor and Senator Joe Lieberman (who is not part of this trip), should be happy. Or perhaps he thinks our representatives should meet with Hamas, too?