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News Link • Palestine -- Israel

AIPAC Is Playing The Victim, But It's Palestinians Who Are Being Silenced

•, Peter Beinart

AIPAC President Mort Fridman declared that, "none of us are willing to be silenced."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer warned of forces that seek "to silence others through exclusion, disenfranchisement, or fear."

On its face, this is odd. No American politician has suggested that AIPAC be prevented from holding conferences or advocating positions or that it face any restrictions that wouldn't apply to other lobbies. At the same conference where AIPAC's leaders claim that their rights to freely speak and assemble are in danger, those leaders will in the coming days host the Vice President and the leaders of both parties in both houses of Congress.

Yes, one freshman member of congress, Ilhan Omar, has suggested, flippantly, that AIPAC wields power because its supporters give politicians money, which is true but incomplete: AIPAC also wields power because of a strong cultural, ideological and religious affinity for Israel, particularly on the right.

Yes, Omar later suggested that groups like AIPAC "push for allegiance to a foreign country," which is simplistic and misleading: AIPAC members are both proudly loyal to the government of the United States and uncritically supportive of the government of Israel. They reconcile these two impulses by denying that American and Israeli interests ever conflict.

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