THINGS HAVE HEATED up in Washington as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, has called on Congress to authorize military action against Syria.
In a statement last Tuesday, AIPAC wrote:
AIPAC urges Congress to grant the president the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests and dissuade the Syrian regime’s further use of unconventional weapons. The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons…
On Thursday, the lobby announced that it would be sending more than 250 leaders and activists to Capitol Hill to lobby as many members of Congress as possible on the issue, and in particular prominent GOP leaders who have yet to commit to action on Syria, such as Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas). The meetings are scheduled to occur today.
As POLITICO notes, it’s rare for AIPAC to be involved in military matters, and the organization has been very careful to avoid the use of the word “Israel” in its press releases. This omission is likely because AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups do not want their support for intervention to appear self-serving. Yet news that Israel itself now strongly advocates a strike against Assad diminishes any need to be circumspect.
It’s still too early to tell how effective these efforts will be, but it’s without question that AIPAC, which prides itself on its incomparable clout in Washington, will have an impact.