- Written by Chris McGreal Chris McGreal
- Published: 18 October 2022 18 October 2022
The group places support for Israel over all over considerations, endorsing extreme rightwing candidates in the midterm election
The US’s largest pro-Israel lobby group is backing dozens of racists, homophobes and election deniers running for Congress next month because they have pledged to defend Israel against stiffening criticism of its oppression of the Palestinians.
The powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) has justified endorsing Republicans with extremist views, including members of Congress with ties to white supremacist groups and representatives who attempted to block Joe Biden’s election victory, on the grounds that the singular issue of support for Israel trumps other considerations.
But Aipac’s support for rightwing politicians has privately embarrassed some Democrats also endorsed by the powerful group and drawn accusations from more moderate pro-Israel organisations that it is attempting to stifle legitimate criticism of hardline Israeli policies.
Logan Bayroff, a spokesman for J Street, a group campaigning for Washington to take a stronger stand to end the occupation of Palestinian territories, accused Aipac of attempting to impose a narrow definition of what it is to be pro-Israel amid shifting views in Democratic ranks.
“Their actions have made clear that they view pro-Israel, pro-peace progressive Democrats as threats – and Trumpist Republicans as allies. That worldview could not be more out of touch with the vast majority of American Jews,” he said.
“Aipac may hope to silence and intimidate political leaders who believe that settlement expansion, endless conflict and permanent occupation are harmful to Israel, the Palestinian people and US interests. Ultimately, however, these common-sense views are too popular, widespread and important to be suppressed, and will continue to gain strength within American politics and among the American Jewish community.”
Aipac’s backing of extreme rightwing Republicans follows its $27m advertising campaign during the Democratic primaries to defeat candidates who spoke up for Palestinian rights, mostly with attacks over issues that had nothing to do with Israel.