March 10 — To the Editor:
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was a lobby for the State of Israel. Now it is a lobby for the right-wing government of Israel. It promotes the Israeli government's policies and agenda. It tracks the voting records and comments of politicians then directs the political action committees of its members whom to support and whom to attack. Its members fly congressmen and their staff to Israel to be courted by that country. It is extremely good at what it does. It is much feared by politicians.
Unfortunately, it labels attacks on it or on Israel as being anti-Semitic. That is wrong and dangerous. First, being a Semite does not make one Jewish or Jewish make one a Semite. The Palestinians are Semites and AIPAC attacks them endlessly.
AIPAC wants people to think they are saying their attackers are anti-Jewish without using the word Jew. The danger is that AIPAC is associating the actions of a foreign government with what it means to be a Jew. Forcing non-Jews to live in ghettos is not emblematic of being a Jew. Nor is treating non-Jews as third-class citizens or depriving them of any citizenship. Claiming that as God's chosen people they have the right to seize non-Jews' land is reminiscent of the claims Christians used against Jews over and over. Subjecting non-Jews to military occupation, depriving them of freedom of movement, association, work and statehood should not be associated with what it means to be a Jew, yet calling attacks on these practices anti-Semitic makes that association.
AIPAC should be seen as a lobby for Israel's government and not representative of being Jewish. AIPAC is not the only voice for American Jews about Israel. Jewish groups such as J Street, IfNotNow, Americans For Peace Now, and Jewish Voice for Peace exist and, in my opinion, are better representative of Jewishness than AIPAC.