, 16 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
A thread on the @IlhanMN controvery:

Over 15+ yrs working the Hill on Israel-related issues from a non-AIPAC point of view, members/staff (both parties) told me over & over that they agreed with me but didn’t dare say so publicly for fear of repercussions from AIPAC et al.

Crossing these groups, they made clear, would be courting misery - guaranteeing a parade of outraged major donors and potential revenge exacted in the next primary or general election. Every member/staffer has concrete examples of how real a threat this is.

And to be clear: EVERYONE who works on Israel-related issues on the Hill (from a perspective that challenges AIPAC, et al - which btw includes non-Jewish groups like CUFI) has heard the same from Hill staff and members, once the doors are closed - it is not a secret.

Likewise, AIPAC’s role (whether you believe it is “alleged” or actual) in the defeat of two CBC members - Cynthia McKinney & Earl Hilliard - left bruises that neither healed nor been forgotten.


This has all been said before - not a secret. Real difference today - and root of the outrage - seems not what is being said, but the person saying it.

JTA covered the story in candid detail back in the McKinney/Hilliard period

Finally, AIPAC used to publish a guide for each election effectively scoring members on positions taken (I don’t know if they still do).

See here for an example: archive.peacenow.org/entries/does_a…

JTA, 2002: “Following the defeat this year of several incumbents deemed anti-Israel — defeats attributed in part to the influence of Jewish money — congressmen who normally would speak out on the Middle East are finding it better to stay quiet.“

Here’s Morris Amitay in 2002: “I’m sure there are people out there who are for gun control, but because of the NRA don’t say anything...If you’re a weak candidate to begin with,” your record is “anti-Israel & you have a credible opponent, your opponent will be helped.”
On Hilliard/McKinney defeats: “It was designed to send the message, ‘Shut up,’ and that message was heard,” one longtime Jewish community activist said. “It will have a chilling effect on the Middle East debate.”
“...some reps, none of whom were willing to speak on the record, describe a growing fear factor: People on the Hill acknowledge that the chances of Jewish money being used to defeat a safe incumbent are slim, but many...are unwilling to take the risk that they will be the 1st...”
“... Some lawmakers say they fear to express views — such as opposition to Israeli military operations — that they say are more in line with their local Jewish communities...”
“... While there have been cases in the past of Jewish money helping to defeat powerful legislators, the McKinney & Hilliard races showed that Jewish activists will target even lawmakers without a great deal of influence...”
“... That has forced some lawmakers to cast votes against their better judgment, sources said...”
“...’For the first time they are going after people who are obscure and insignificant,’ the community activist said. ‘It sends a message that you can be from Podunk, Miss. and we’ll go after you.’...”
“... Officials at other Jewish organizations say they are being told by lawmakers and staffers that they feel more pressure than usual, and are fearful that any vote could come back to haunt them...”
“...’What members say privately is totally at a variance with what they say publicly.’...”
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