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Ron Radosh

J Street’s Evil New Sibling: “Move Over AIPAC”

April 22nd, 2011 - 1:00 pm

We all know by now that J-Street is the anti-Israel “peace” group that pretends it is pro-Israel, and exists primarily to give the Obama administration a cover to say that its policies have the support of the Jewish community.  But its existence, evidently, is not enough for the legions of American and foreign leftists who seek to create an openly anti-Israel new organization, one that seeks to delegitimize Israel and which hopes for its destruction. These people have now created such a group, which they call “Move Over AIPAC.”

Its first national gathering is scheduled to take place a few days in advance of AIPAC’s own national policy conference, to be held at the end of May at the Washington DC Convention Center. The AIPAC event will be highlighted by a major speech by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and includes representation from every major  Democrat and Republican in both houses of Congress.

So what is the proclaimed purpose of the new group, which seeks to destroy AIPAC and limit its influence, and who is behind it? On their website, the group proclaims that it will “bring activists and concerned citizens from around the country to learn about the extraordinary influence AIPAC has on U.S. policy and how to strengthen an alternative that respects the rights of all people in the region.” Of course they say they only want an “even-handed” policy for the Middle East, while their sponsors and their propaganda indicate otherwise.

By even-handed they mean, as they put it, that they oppose “AIPAC’s unrelenting support for the illegal policies of the Israeli government—separation walls, settlements, the siege of Gaza—in addition to its bellicose policies across the region, especially Iran, has been devastating for Palestinians and the Middle East, including Israel. It also harms our reputation around the world and squanders $3 billion a year subsidizing the powerful Israeli military when we need that money to rebuild the United States.” They refer to opposing “Israel’s war crimes” and call for an end to all U.S. military aid to Israel, which is supported vigorously in the Senate and House by both Democrats and Republicans.

These policies they single out are those supported by the majority of the American public. And the defense measures taken by Israel to protect its people are not “illegal,” despite the new group’s claim. One must also notice their opposition to would-be “bellicose” policies against Iran, while they say not one word about Iran’s attempt to go nuclear and its own proclaimed position of calling for the obliteration of Israel. They dare to call last year’s flotilla and Israel’s response to it an “IDF assault on the Mavi Marmara,” the Turkish ship that was filled with Hezbollah armed activists.

The group appears to be a new coalition, made of up “realists” like the anti-Israel duo, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer- both of whom will speak at their conference, and those who are old style anti-American activists from the 60’s joined by old Communists and their fellow-traveling allies from the heyday of the Soviet Union’s existence. The group endorses and supports the BDS movement, and favors working to restore the influence of the Goldstone Report, which has lost some of its momentum due to Judge Goldstone’s recent repudiation of it. Its last event will be what it calls a “creative action” outside of the AIPAC gala dinner, at which Netanyahu will be speaking. (I will be covering this for PJM, and will report on it that evening.)

Now let us take a look at the group’s sponsors and few listed members. Their list includes The International Solidarity Movement- the backers of Hamas, The US Boat to Gaza, CODEPINK, the old pacifist left-wing group Fellowship of Reconciliation, and seemingly hundreds of anti-Zionist, anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian entities, many of which may be inflated names with few actual members. Two groups that stands out, however, are The US Peace Council and The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The latter was founded in 1915 by old Progressives and peace activists. Its US branch gradually morphed into a front for the American Communist Party, whose activists enrolled in it for their “mass work” and effectively took control of it in the 1950’s and after. Its US branch today heralds its support for what it calls its “Cuba and Bolivarian Alliance Committee,” a program meant to gather American support for the Castro regime in Cuba and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.  You will find little on it about peace and freedom, and a great deal about their proud pro-Castro work.

The U.S. Peace Council, founded in 1948 as the American branch of the Soviet based World Peace Council, was the pre-eminent front group of the CPUSA, meant to gather backers in support of pro-Soviet foreign policy positions, whether it was gathering signatures in the early 50’s for the “Stockholm Peace Petition,” which sought unilateral US atomic disarmament so the Soviets could forge ahead with their stockpile while the US destroyed the one it had, or whether it was calling for an end to US atomic testing in the 60’s while supporting Soviet atomic tests.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and its bloc in Eastern Europe, its remnant too now devotes itself to pro-Cuban and pro-Venezuelan political support. Its website calls for an end to “an end to the imperialist war of aggression against Libya.”  It favors opposing what it calls Israel’s desire for a “total war” on Lebanon and Gaza, and of course, it still opposes NATO, as it did in the old days of the existence of what it saw as the bloc created by the international forces of peace led by the socialist bloc and the Soviet Union.

Speakers they feature on the web page include Phyllis Bennis, an analyst at the old left-wing and pro-Cuban and pro-Soviet think tank, The Institute for Policy Studies—which does not have the kind of influence and attention it had in the 60’s, but still exists, with some of the same people in charge. Naomi Klein, the anti-globalist radical who writes for The Nation and whom people line up to hear around the world- a woman I call “Noam Chomsky in women’s designer suits,” is on board, as are a few Arab and Palestinian anti-Israeli speakers, one left-wing Israeli activist, and former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, who was known in the Senate from the start for his viral opposition to Israel. And, one must not forget Helen Thomas, who obviously will be feted by the group as a hero.

The other two speakers of note are Ralph Nader, who when running for President made clear his opposition to Israel, and the noted medical doctor played by Robin Williams in the movies, the “clown” doctor, Patch Adams.

To see what Adams’ embarrassing contribution is to the group, and to evaluate the low level of its propaganda, you must take a look at the following video, of which they are evidently most proud.

That MoveOverAIPAC seems to think that this will help them is hard to understand, although perhaps it reveals their desperation.

So what this group is about is yet another example of a coalition of “realists,” extremist radicals of the far Left, and pro-Islamist and pro-Hamas and pro-Hezbollah organizations.  In an important interview in The Jerusalem Post, the American writer Bruce Bawer, talking about the growth of anti-Semitism and pro-Islamism in Norway, Bawer makes the following point. Talking about a new leftist political party in Norway, he writes: “The Socialist Left Party is the spiritual home of much, if not most, of the Norwegian cultural elite. Many of its members were once card-carrying Communists and Soviet sympathizers. They despise the US and hate the fact that Norway is in NATO. At one time they would’ve gladly enlisted Norway in the Warsaw Pact, because in their view the great force for evil in today’s world is capitalism. Now they are eager to embrace jihadists and terrorists for the same reason.”

Bawer is exactly right. And what he says about the cultural elite in Norway and their CP past and world-view applies directly to those who have formed Move Over Aipac in our country. For the old American Left, opposition to Israel, to the existence of a Jewish state, and hence support for Hamas and Hezbollah, has replaced their old anti-Americanism and support for the Soviet bloc. They have not moved on, and opposition to Israel is the equivalent of their old support to Soviet style Communism.

We live in a very different world than the days of the old Cold War, but evidently, we face the same enemies at home.

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