The news that George Soros plans to fund a new organization that will be an alternative to AIPAC is interesting and sad.
In truth over the last ten to fifteen years, we have already witnessed attempts to undermine the organized Jewish Community by left wingers.
The Israel Policy forum is one such group, that had a relationship with PM Barak.Nevertheless,Barak learned that the Israeli government benefitted not from some small group,but the united power of the most effective foreign policy lobby in Washington-AIPAC.
The other group is Americans For Peace Now which has lobbied against settlements and for a dovish left wing approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
With money,Soros can form whatever he likes.However his public calls on the President to force Israel to make concessions, will surely fall on deaf ears in the White House.For with all his might and money,he seeks to undermine President Bush, his policies as well as the Republican party.
The power of Aipac contrary to the infamous writings of Walt and Mearsheimer(who are making a cottage industry of bashing the unfettered power of the Israel lobby)is based upon firstly a united Jewish Community.Examine the back of Aipac's stationary,and you will note that the President of each major Jewish organization sits on the Board.Thus all 52 components of the Conference of Presidents have a chance to voice their opinions at Board meeings of Aipac.As OU President,I attended these meetings,and took an active part in helping to formulate the annual policy statement draft,that was voted on at the annual policy conference by the 3000 delegates.
Sadly neither the Israel Policy Forum or the Peace Now group are members of the Presidents Conference.This is because they are not a membership organization with enough members to qualify. Money they have-Dedicated spokesmen they also have .However a large constituency is another matter.
It will not be hard for Soros to gather a combination of lefties, ,arabists in disguise and the usual cast of characters to attempt to divide the pro-Israel sentiment of the nation and the Congress.
However the second reason for the success of Aipac is the support of Christians both evangelical and non-evangelical who understand the crical role that Israel plays in the war on terror and the need for Israel to be resolute in defense of its freedom and security.
Finally American political leaders and opinion makers are united with Congress in supporting pro-Israel policies,even when there are almost no Jews living in a Congressional district.Aipac and pro-Israel legislation is bi-partisan and non-partisan.Characterizing Aipac as a right wing organization,mislabels their wide and almost universal support in our community.
Yes Soros has the ability to generate headlines and controversy.Sadly at this moment of national crisis-with N. korea and Iran trying to blackmail the world-to the detriment of Israel ,Syria threatening a new war,Hezbollah and Hamas undefeated one should really question the wisdom of trying to weaken AIPAC.
Finally ,I would like to recall the massive turnout in Washington a few years ago on a few days notice.Hundreds of thousands mobilized by the Presidents Conference and its contituent national ( and local affiliates)organizations.
In the final analysis AIPAC IS THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY, and while alternative groups can make as much commotion as their press releases allow.the believers of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship ,working in the trenches of each Congressional and Senate campaign,will continue the task of strengthening Aipac .