“AIPAC is being challenged in the way it has never been, by coalescence of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement and by very unpredictable presidential campaign,” Blumenthal said to Becker, pointing to the ongoing presidential run in the country.
“Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side has support from grassroots donors. He’s got millions of dollars from thousands and thousands of contributors and none of them have anything to do with AIPAC,” he said. “Trump is a self-funding candidate that does not really rely on kind of donors that AIPAC and pro-Israel lobby had hoped to dictate foreign policy on the Republican side.”
Another indication that the trends are reversing for AIPAC is a sea change in public opinion among American Jews toward Israel. Israel, as a culture presenting itself as an exponent of Jewish interests around the world, has lost points by openly suppressing Palestinians and occupying Arab lands in the West Bank.
“The fact is that Israel has an extremely right wing government since 2009,” Blumenthal asserted. “It’s taken an adversely religious, messianic overtone. It’s seeking to impose a kind of “McCarthyism” campaign of censorship on campuses across the country and across the West.”
The fundamentalist position is “anathema” for the liberal Jewish mind and mentality prevailing among the Jewish community in the US, he said, citing polls indicating that the US Jewish population is turning away from the current Israeli administration.
“Most young Jews don’t see Israel as a country committed to peace, don’t support Benjamin Netanyahu and don’t think he’s serious about a two-state solution,” he said. “The Israeli lobby is losing its bipartisan support and it’s losing Jewish grassroots. Liberal Jews overwhelmingly support Bernie Sanders – and you see the same amount among young Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. This is AIPAC’s nightmare.”
“It’s clear what the AIPAC agenda is. It’s not to find a solution to Israeli-Palestinian crisis. It’s to criminalize dissent against the special relations with Israel across the United States and across the West,” he said. “The Israeli lobby has become a major threat to free speech in the West.”