Read the full piece at CounterPunch:
My political rupture with AIPAC occurred over a vote for military aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel. This legislative package of aid was put together by the White House primarily to shore up support for Sadat in the Middle East. AIPAC opposed the package and hoped to muster enough congressional opposition to pressure the White House to stop the military aid package to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
But on this occasion, Sadat’s overture to Israel was too significant a factor. This was a rare instance in which AIPAC didn’t “win” on an issue. Interestingly, my vote was the same as those of Sens. Jacob Javits (New York) and Abraham Ribicoff (Connecticut), two Jewish leaders at that time in Congress and the nation. They also recognized the importance of supporting Sadat and were not intimidated by pressure from AIPAC.
This event underscores the nature of the Israel lobby in Washington. Political positions and decisions within AIPAC were and continue to be profoundly influenced by the Israeli government.
The tragedy is that much of the nation’s progressive Jewish community defers to Likud-like organizations, and too many Jewish donors — as with Christian Zionists — buy into fear-mongering and rationalizations for anti-Palestinian discrimination transmitted from abroad. A Jewish community once at the forefront of pushing for civil rights and equality in our own country too often today supports organizations and candidates upholding Israeli discrimination in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and, increasingly, within Israel itself.