Thursday, August 23, 2012



As Phil Weiss writes here, the media coverage of the Congressional skinny-dipping incident in the Sea of Galilee is being treated as a big joke, no different than Prince Harry’s naked romp in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, the AIPAC free trips to Israel are no joke. They are serious business which is why AIPAC devised the exemption from the free travel ban Congress imposed on itself. See this Roll Call story on how AIPAC did it. And also today’s story in the Forward on the implications of these AIPAC junkets.

A few years ago, a Republican Congressman described one of these trips to me. He was newly-elected and happy to get the free trip (although he had been to Israel many times). He told me that the brainwashing was intense, so much so that any Congressman who disagreed with either the AIPAC “minder” or whichever Israeli official was doing the briefing was quickly shushed up. He especially resented that his dissent on the question of the ease of bombing Iran’s reactors was ridiculed, despite his extensive experience in the military.

The creepiest thing he told me was that the Congress people only felt safe expressing their differences with the Israeli/AIPAC position when they were on the bus and whispering among themselves, away from the minder. Publicly, every member of the delegation cheered and applauded the AIPAC line, just as they did back in Washington. He specifically noted that no one wanted AIPAC or Eric Cantor getting on their case.

These trips should be banned. On the contrary, they are proliferating because the AIPAC-drafted exemption had to be broad enough so that it would not appear to apply only to AIPAC. Now the AIPAC-manufactured umbrella is covering other organizations as well. Nice. Corrupting Congress is what AIPAC does best, although, to be fair, doing so is not exactly heavy lifting.

For the record, the Democrats are more effective in getting AIPAC’s dirty work done than the GOP, including most of your favorite “progressives.” The Republicans bloviate but the Democrats get the job done!

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