Political Insider challenged: AIPAC didn’t push resolution on Palestinian unilateralism

 In the interests of honest reporting, I have to tell you: my blog headlined “big fight over non-binding resolution on Palestinian unilateralism” was misleading.

After posting, I quickly heard from several Capitol Hill sources who reported that AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying giant, surprisingly had little to do with the measure, which asserts that “a true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties” and criticizes a “coordinated strategy of seeking recognition of a Palestinian state within the United Nations, in other international forums, and from a number of foreign governments” by the Palestinian Authority.

I wrote that the resolution was “pushed” by AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying giant, which may have been overstating matters; several sources since then confirmed that – to their surprise – AIPAC was not particularly active on behalf of the resolution.

One caller suggested that the legislation really did originate with Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the outgoing chair of the Foreign affairs Committee, because he was eager to get something on the record before being replaced in January by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) – who sometimes comes down to the right of AIPAC on Middle East peace issues.

Other sources argued that AIPAC is currently preoccupied with ensuring Israel’s big foreign aid allocation and the extra $205 million for its Iron Dome rocket defense system survives the bickering over a continuing resolution to keep the government funded and with hints that foreign aid in general – always a top AIPAC priority – could be a little dicier in the next, Tea-infused Congress.

Or it may be that with the Republican leadership not particularly interested in working with Berman, AIPAC – which will have to work closely with Ros-Lehtinen for the next two years – chose to take a relatively passive approach to the resolution.

Or it may be that with the holidays and the last-minute lame-duck rush to pass important legislation, nobody was really paying much attention a the non-binding resolution calling on President Obama to do what he was already doing.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.