A "Formidable," "Muscular" Pro-Israel PAC

On Tuesday, the paper's liberal legal reporter Neil Lewis turned to the annual meeting of a pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC: "At Annual Meeting, Pro-Israel Group Reasserts Clout." The cautionary article is full of pejorative descriptions about how "formidable" and "muscular" the Israel PAC is and hints that it has outsized power on Capitol Hill.

The formidable political strength of theAmerican Israel Public Affairs Committee, the nation's major pro-Israel lobby, has been on decidedly intentional display here in the last few days.

But this year, Aipac's annual conference comes after a period fraught with small anxieties for the group and its supporters.

Just days ago, the Obama administration said it was seeking the dismissal of charges that two former Aipac analysts had violated an espionage statute by improperly disseminating national security information.


The site of the conference, the Washington Convention Center, is conveniently, and symbolically, about equally close to the White House and the Capitol, the two objects of Aipac's muscular demonstration. Along with 6,000 delegates, mostly Jewish, leaders of the two branches of government have been attending the convention to offer praise for Aipac and support of Israel, both in generally unreserved language.

Though AIPAC, like any lobby, won'tmind being potrayed as formidable, there may bea double standard at work here. The Times has yet to issue a cautionary article about La Raza, the self-proclaimed nation's largest Hispanic lobby and a radical-left group which supports voting rights and drivers licenses for illegal aliens.

Lewis concluded with an odd, ill-fitting paragraph, putting in an obligatory-sounding good word for the poor ignored Jewish liberals of the lobbying group J Street. Lewis doesn't identify the group as liberal and doesn't go into its policies, which include a two-state solution and engaging with Syria and Iran. He seems puzzled that a hawkish lobbying group like AIPAC would not welcome a pacifist one:

Last year, some prominent American Jews, asserting that Aipac's generally down-the-line support of Israeli policy was neither helpful to Israel nor wise, founded a counter group called J Street. J Street, which is only a tiny percentage of the size of Aipac, is vocal about supporting lawmakers who might disagree with some Israeli policies. Aipac officials have tried to treat J Street as if it were lint.