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Straying from the fold

By Michael J. Smith on Sunday May 21, 2006 11:39 AM

Alan Smithee writes:

We Minnesotans are a pretty thick-skinned bunch, so AIPAC must have done something moderately egregious to get up Betty McCollum's nose. From the state paper of record, the Minneapolis Star-Trib:


McCollum, Israel lobby at odds

The St. Paul Democrat says local activist Amy Rotenberg mischaracterized her April 6 vote on aid to Palestinians.

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum says a Minnesota activist for Israel's leading U.S. lobbying group maligned her and she wants an apology.

Amy Rotenberg says she did no such thing and that the St. Paul Democrat's charge is "a serious distortion."

Word of the six-week-old flap hit the Internet on Friday, triggering about 150 phone calls and e-mails to McCollum's office.

The mini-tempest stems from McCollum's vote on April 6 as the International Relations Committee approved a bill that would sharply restrict U.S. aid to the new Hamas-led government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


Normally I wouldn't go a micrometer out of my way to defend a democrat, but Betty McCollum has one of the better records (+362.5 out of a possible +580 on the Patrick Henry Think Tank's handy-dandy score chart) of a generally venial bunch. Trying to characterize her as 'a supporter of terrorism' is as ludicrous as calling Bret Ratner 'a talented director.' So what's going on with these heavy-handed tactics? Is AIPAC trying to kick errant congresscritters back into line?

Comments (2)

Lewis Beyman:

I want to voice my strong view that it is disgusting with what the right winger Israel Lobby gets away with.

Israel/Israel Lobby is a blot on the reputation of the Jewish people and their anti-Arab propaganda is unconscionable. As a Jew I am insulted by the racist content of the Jewish Lobby and the anti Palestinian bias of the American Press. The Jewish Lobby is a criminal hate group who charges anti-Semitism against anyone who opposes them. The Palestinian people have every right to have the government they want. Hamas won very fair and square and the Jews had best decide to deal with them. The American people have to be reminded that it was the Jews and their British allies who stole the land from the Palestinians.


Lewis -- You're not alone. The Lobby is in several important ways out of touch with the Jewish public. A majority of Jews have opposed the Iraq war from the get-go -- but the Lobby pushed for it with all their might.And support for withdrawal of settlements, and a Palestinian state in the West Bank, is also widespread among American Jews -- by some accounts, even a majority position -- but the Lobby is fanatically fixated on the Greater Israel project.

It's an interesting situation. One of the reasons for it that institutions become, over time, their own raison d'etre -- that is, an institution starts life as a way to achieve something, and then morphs into a thing that just wants to keep itself going.

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