Larry Gellman

Let’s Be Honest–AIPAC Is Not a Jewish Organization

It was eight years ago that Bibi chose to follow the advice of Sheldon Adelson and trashcan the views of the vast majority of American Jews and instead veer to the Right and embrace the views of Republicans and Evangelicals on the Iran Deal.  That prompted AIPAC to make a clear choice and it chose to follow the Prime Minister of Israel and throw out Jewish values and the views and positions of most American Jews to follow suit. Its first pivotal act was deciding to spend $40 million bullying and threatening Democrats in the Senate demanding that they abandon President Obama (whom most American Jews loved) and vote down the Iran Deal (which most American Jews favored) and make a secret deal with Republicans (whom most American Jews disagree with) to undermine Obama’s foreign policy (which most American Jews supported).
All in the name of their love for Israel–which most American Jews love as well.
Many of my closest friends and former mentors who, like me, were major national leaders of Federations and Israel Bonds (I have the plaques and trophies and photos to prove it) and a founding member of the AIPAC board in Tucson now attack me for having “turned on Israel” (from which I just returned from my 22nd trip with J Street and which I still love) and accuse me of attacking and hating AIPAC. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As a former journalist and news reporter, I have just reported the changing facts on the ground and expressed my profound sadness at the horrific and un-American actions that are in sharp contrast to Jewish values that American Israelists have embraced and used to attack and try to truly destroy fellow Jews in the name of their love for Judaism and the Jewish state.
I have not changed one bit. For 40 years I have loved Jewish values and wisdom traditions and continue to study Torah and Jewish texts in an effort to glean as much of the value-added insight that I can find there regarding to how to build a civil and decent community and to live a happier, better, and more productive life. I have also worked tirelessly and given away more money than I am currently worth to support Israel and our Jewish community in ways that I believe are required under Jewish and American law and common sense goals.
Legacy pro-Israel organizations won’t allow that accurate and descriptive term to be used without calling those who invoke it antisemites and Israel haters.
Last year, AIPAC continued its moral death spiral down the anti-Jewish values sinkhole when it endorsed 109 Republicans who voted in Congress that Biden was never legally elected president. It is a free country and AIPAC is free to do what it wants. But in the world of a free press you have expect that eventually people will understand that if an organization supports people who are disproportionately antisemitic and dishonest White Supremacists then at some point people and groups who empower that behavior will have to own the consequences of their choices.
AIPAC spent tens of millions of dollars (which it always has) to try to destroy candidates it didn’t like–more than half of which was spent IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES–not to support a Republican it wanted to be elected but to destroy Democrats who advocated applying some level of oversight to make sure the billions we send to Israel (which J Street has always supported) are spent on the things Israel has promised it will spend them on.
None of this had anything to do with love for or support of Israel because Congress continues to speak with almost a single voice (at the urging of J Street and others) to fund and support Israel and Israelis and keep them safe. It was and is all about AIPAC trying to desperately show that it is still the only voice that matters in pro-Israel circles while the reality is the exact opposite.
That moment of truth has arrived for AIPAC. I have pointed out for years that AIPAC no longer speaks for most Jews, this is the first piece I have seen where someone shares the truth that AIPAC’s decision to use its Benjamins and political pressure and bullying behavior is also bad for Israel. Not in the mind of those Jewish supremacists and racists who are devoted to Bibi and his gang of Jewish Israeli Proud Boys who now run his government but in the minds of a huge and growing number of Israeli Jews who are taking to the streets wrapped in Israeli flags to protest the immoral and disastrous policies of the new Bibi-Smotrich-Ben Gvir-Kahane-Baruch Goldstein-worshipping government.
Their real motive is to accelerate the pace and impact of illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and castrate Israel’s Supreme Court which is the last and only “check and balance” remaining to keep Israel’s government from being totally under the control of the Prime Minister and make anything the he decides legal with no restrictions based on law or Jewish values or ethics or the guarantees of Israel’s Declaration of Independence which is the closest thing they have to a constitution.
I am devastated that AIPAC– which I loved and led and donated four figures a year to our of my love for Israel and the Jewish people is now working AGAINST the beliefs and values and best interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
But it would be even worse for me not to point out what has actually happened.
About the Author
Larry Gellman is a retired Managing Director--Wealth Management at a private worldwide investment firm. He has studied and lectured on Jewish wisdom and ethics in Israel and the U.S. . He has spent 40 years as a major Jewish philanthropist and a current National Board Member of organizations including J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and CLAL and a past chairman and former board member of Israel Bonds, Jewish Federations, AIPAC and Jewish Day Schools in Tucson and Milwaukee. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN MY WRITINGS ARE MINE AND MINE ALONE. IDO NOT SPEAK ON BEHALF OF ANY OF THE ORGANIZATIONS WHERE I SERVE AS A BOARD MEMBER OR VOLUNTEER.
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