Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

An undercover reporter infiltrated the Israel Project, a Washington-based group, and secretly recorded conversations about political strategy and influence over a six-month period in 2016. That investigation, however, was never aired, having been suppressed by pressure from the pro-Israel lobby. ... In it, leaders of the lobby group speak openly about how they use money to influence the political process, in ways so blunt that if the comments were made by critics, they'd be charged with anti-Semitism.

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David Ochs, founder of HaLev, which helps send young people to American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference, described for the reporter how AIPAC and its donors organize fundraisers outside the official umbrella of the organization, so that the money doesn't show up on disclosures as coming specifically from AIPAC. He describes one group that organizes fundraisers in both Washington and New York. "This is the biggest ad hoc political group, definitely the wealthiest, in D.C.," Ochs says, adding that it has no official name, but is clearly tied to AIPAC. "It's the AIPAC group. It makes a difference; it really, really does. It's the best bang for your buck, and the networking is phenomenal." (Ochs and AIPAC did not immediately return The Intercept's requests for comment.)

Without spending money, Ochs argues, the pro-Israel lobby isn't able to enact its agenda. "Congressmen and senators don't do anything unless you pressure them. They kick the can down the road, unless you pressure them, and the only way to do that is with money," he explains.

He describes a fundraiser for Anthony Brown, a Democrat running for Congress in Maryland, as typical. "So we want the Jewish community to go face to face in this small environment, 50, 30, 40 people, and say, ‘This is what's important to us. We want to make sure that if we give you money, that you're going to enforce the Iran deal.' That way, when they need something from him or her, like the Iran deal, they can quickly mobilize and say look, we'll give you 30 grand. They actually impact," Ochs tells the reporter.

Such a claim is not so different from what Omar was describing, and for which she was roundly condemned. In the wake of Omar's tweets, the Washington Post, for instance, reported, "The American Jewish Committee demanded an apology, calling her suggestion that AIPAC is paying American politicians for their support ‘demonstrably false and stunningly anti-Semitic.'"

This likely won't be a story that sees much traction in the MSM and that indeed is lamentable. The fact that so many want to criticize someone who only had the audacity of speaking what most conscious observers know is a factual truth if taken at its root premise, devoid of cultural animus. Israeli lobbyists have been funding their own political interests for decades, this shouldn't be controversial. And based upon the words of at least one Israeli lobbyist, all those criticizing the new Congresswoman likely owe her an apology unless they feel themselves capable of reading someone's heart while at the same time they're emotionally tethered to an outrage based on belief in fiction over wholly visible fact: Israeli interests buys influence in both major parties in America.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-02-12 07:34 PM | Reply

End the shame of US democracy and just put votes on eBay. Let the 'free' market decide law.

#2 | Posted by bored at 2019-02-12 07:39 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Israeli interests buys influence in both major parties in America.

#1 | POSTED BY TONYROMA AT 2019-02-12 07:34 PM

True, but overwhelmingly they buy influence from Democrats, at about a 70/30 breakdown:

Rank Contributor Total Contribs Dem% Repub% Total
1 JStreetPAC $4,057,820 $4,057,820 97.7% 0% $0
2 NorPAC $1,126,063 $1,126,063 63.2% 36.8% $0
3 RJC $562,533 $562,533 1.0% 99.0% $0
4 JACPA $305,258 $305,158 98.0% 2.0% $100
5 Fl. Cong. $280,200 $280,200 12.5% 87.5% $0
6 Natl Action $199,000 $199,000 61.3% 36.9% $0
7 Cit. Org. PAC $181,000 $181,000 42.8% 57.2% $0
8 Desert Caucus $135,000 $135,000 48.1% 51.9% $0
9 Bi-County PAC $126,000 $126,000 72.2% 27.8% $0
10 FOI $115,400 $115,400 76.3% 23.7% $0

Open Secrets: Pro Israel Contributions

#3 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-02-12 07:47 PM | Reply

A companion version of the film, which looked at the Israel lobby's influence in the United Kingdom, did make it to air and was the subject of intense controversy. It exposed a plot by an Israeli embassy official in the United Kingdom to "take down" pro-Palestinian members of Parliament, leading to his resignation.

That film, however, included a snippet of footage from the United States. Officials here quickly realized that they, too, had been infiltrated. In the U.K., the Israel lobby lodged an official complaint claiming the series was anti-Semitic, but the U.K.'s communications agency rejected the claim, finding that "the allegations in the programme were not made on the grounds that any of the particular individuals concerned were Jewish and noted that no claims were made relating to their faith."

Pro-Israel officials in the United States, rather than file an official complaint, exerted political pressure. A bipartisan group of 19 lawmakers wrote to the Justice Department requesting an investigation into "the full range of activities undertaken by Al Jazeera in the United States," and suggesting that the organization be made to register as a foreign agent. Ultimately, Qatar bent to the pressure and killed the documentary.

I'm sure all this was done for the sake of justice, correct?

I truly hopes this blows up and exposes what I believe to be the truth about our skewed relationship with Israel. There is much to be criticized over how they conduct their business that isn't about faith nor stereotypes. One can recognize that Israel and Israelis have real enemies wishing them lethal harm and still hold them responsible for how they treat other people and nations as a matter of their own policies and conduct on the global stage.

#4 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-02-12 07:51 PM | Reply

True, but overwhelmingly they buy influence from Democrats....

And who had the harshest tactful condemnations of Rep. Omar?

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats. This isn't partisan, it's a bipartisan problem being ignored in plain sight and the root of many of our ME foreign policy nightmares.

#5 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-02-12 07:54 PM | Reply

Unlike Teddy "RoC" Cruz, Israel isn't stupid. Why donate to republicans that wish to destabilize the region and arm terrorists when you can fund democrats and get a real ROI?

#6 | Posted by IndianaJones at 2019-02-12 07:58 PM | Reply

#5

Agree 100%. Its a point that I have made in the past, perhaps once all the noise around Rep. Omar's apology dies down maybe an honest conversation can be had about lobbying, influence peddling and money in politics....

But I doubt it.

#7 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-02-12 07:59 PM | Reply

...perhaps once all the noise around Rep. Omar's apology dies down.

It shouldn't have to die down because there never should have been any noise to begin with. Rep. Omar spoke the truth. She wasn't speaking to stereotypes, she was speaking to REALITY: ISRAEL BUYS CONGRESS! Do you really think these reporters were so incredibly smart and cunning to get these jaggoffs to brag about what they're doing joining money and influence? They'd tell you and me if we were buying dinner at The Capitol Grille and showed any kind of interest.

So most informed people should know this and stop jumping to Israel's defense when it isn't warranted and particularly when such furor keeps the focus off of what should be the subject: Is it in America's best interests that Israel be allowed to do what they're doing, and are other nation's able to dictate reactions in their favors too?

#8 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-02-12 08:12 PM | Reply

"True, but overwhelmingly they buy influence from Democrats, at about a 70/30 breakdown:"

ROC is overlooking developments in recent years that have had Netanyahu backing Romney over Obama, Trump over Clinton, and Boehner inviting Bebe to speak to Congress:

Why Netanyahu and Boehner Are Tag-Teaming Obama

www.newsweek.com

Boehner's Netanyahu Invite Is An ‘Unprecedented' Diss Of Obama

talkingpointsmemo.com

#9 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-02-12 09:02 PM | Reply

And let's not forget how this whole thing started:

It all began, as so many things do these days, with public figures being Extremely Online during non-working hours.

After years of tolerating Iowa Rep. Steve King's increasingly overt racism, McCarthy took action against him early this year by stripping him of his committee assignments. Then on Sunday, Ron Kampeas of the JTA news service reported that McCarthy was preparing to challenge Democrats to take similar action against Omar and Tlaib, arguing, according to Kampeas, that "statements by freshmen Democrats Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were equal to King's and ‘more so.'"

It wasn't clear from Kampeas's report which statements he had in mind, but in the larger context of the GOP push for laws that would punish people for boycotting Israel, it seems like he was trying to say that Omar and Tlaib supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement was worthy of punishment.

That led Glenn Greenwald, a prominent journalist and critic of both Israel and BDS laws, to send a tweet.


www.vox.com

It was Greenwald's tweet that Omar responded to with her benjamins tweet. Republicans see a chance to grab some of the Jewish vote away from Democrats; hence, McCarthy's suggestion that the two freshmen Dems need to be stripped of their committee assignments.

#10 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-02-12 09:08 PM | Reply

"True, but overwhelmingly they buy influence from Democrats, at about a 70/30 breakdown:"

This just in:
Democrat Plantation actually a Kibbutz!

#11 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-02-12 09:39 PM | Reply | Funny: 4

AIPAC is the NRA for democrats.

#12 | Posted by MrSilenceDogood at 2019-02-13 09:31 AM | Reply

look what happened to Ilhan Omar.

As far as I'm concerned, she said nothing wrong and I would tell them to pack sand.

PS: Steve King is white, so he gets a pass.

#13 | Posted by fresno500 at 2019-02-13 12:42 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Hey!! Which on of you -------- moved the embassy to Jerusalem?

Yeah that's what I figured.

#14 | Posted by RightisTrite at 2019-02-13 04:05 PM | Reply

www.youtube.com

Thomas Friedman Brilliantly Explains Why Ilhan's Israel Comments Are Fundamentally True

#15 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2019-02-13 04:32 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

AIPAC is the NRA for democrats.

#12 | Posted by MrSilenceDogood

AIPAC is the NRA for democrats AND republicans.

#16 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2019-02-13 04:33 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

AIPAC is a Russian front?

#17 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-02-13 04:48 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

AIPAC is a Russian front?

#17 | Posted by snoofy

Israeli. Dems are owned by israel. Repubs are owned by israel, and have recently added russia and saudi arabia by electing a guy who can be controlled by those nations.

#18 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2019-02-13 04:50 PM | Reply

I truly hopes this blows up and exposes what I believe to be the truth about our skewed relationship with Israel.

It's not just about the "benjamins". The other open secret is the number of elected representatives that have dual citizenship. If you hold federal elected office, you should only be a citizen of the US. No dual loyalties!

#19 | Posted by FedUpWithPols at 2019-02-13 06:39 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Pro-Israel Lobby Caught Boasting Its Money Influences DC

Oh, no... Registered lobbyists are boasting that they are "spreading money around" and lobbying successfully!

Treason!! Take them out and shoot them!.. Then again, if their donors' money didn't "influence DC" then they should be shot for incompetence...

Same goes for Saudi lobby influence , and Arab money (CAIR etc) influence, and Canadian lobby, and European, Asian, African lobbies, meat and poultry lobbies, grocery lobbies, corn / ethanol lobbies...

Treason or incompetence, what to do?

Oh my! It's true, what Shakespeare said: First we kill all the lobbyists [or lawyers, take your pick]"

#20 | Posted by CutiePie at 2019-02-13 10:30 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

You can't report or talk about this stuff or you get labeled as anti-semitic.

#21 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2019-02-13 10:43 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

I'd comment but then I would suddenly be an anti-Semite.

#22 | Posted by jpw at 2019-02-14 02:45 AM | Reply

America needs public only funding for national election campaigns. No country should be able to buy influence.

Per the 1st Amendment, countries and corporations are welcome to voice their opinions. Legal bribery is failing us.

#23 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2019-02-14 06:27 AM | Reply

Agreed, AU. Probably is the only way to fix this situation. There are cities out there taking the lead on this issue in their local elections with campaign support vouchers.

#24 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2019-02-14 06:47 AM | Reply

Where's MAGAMAZED...she's been raggin' on the muslim congresswoman since she was elected. this pretty well confirms what the woman said about AIPAC

#25 | Posted by 1947steamer at 2019-02-14 07:01 AM | Reply

#24 | Posted by GOnoles92

Glad to hear it ... It's a start. Campaign contributions are little more than legalized bribery that encourages politicians to fail their constituencies by offering access and action only to those writing checks. Want an appointment with a Congress member? Better have your checkbook handy. That's just wrong.

#26 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2019-02-14 07:10 AM | Reply

"Per the 1st Amendment, countries and corporations are welcome to voice their opinions."

Citizens United may have made it easier for corporations to hide their influence but I wouldn't be so sure that absent that they'd just stop advocating for candidates and policies through ad campaigns. Capital always finds a way.

#27 | Posted by Hagbard_Celine at 2019-02-14 08:41 AM | Reply

You can't report or talk about this stuff or you get labeled as anti-semitic.

#21 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2019-02-13 10:43 PM

The Israel lobby spends money for the same reasons any lobby does.

#28 | Posted by Zed at 2019-02-14 09:03 AM | Reply

#21 | Posted by BruceBanner

nothing wrong with being an anti f ucked-up semite

#29 | Posted by ABlock at 2019-02-14 09:52 AM | Reply

Let's do a a five round government funded political playoff for the National Championship...umm I mean Presidency. County, state regionals, state, national regionals, nationals. Maybe cities could do their own if they want. County elections are open to anyone who can garner X number of signatures. That puts you on the ballot for your county. Whoever wins first and second moves up to the next round until a champion is crowned. Could also be modified for Congressional seats by state. All publicly funded without the need for 100,000 on the national ballot.

#30 | Posted by gavaster at 2019-02-14 10:05 AM | Reply

Lobbying should be permanently outlawed, if it takes an Amendment to the Constitution, so be it.

#31 | Posted by danni at 2019-02-15 10:17 AM | Reply

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