Money and Power Equal Access: Ordinary Citizens Need Not Apply
I read in the newspaper last week now the US Chief Negotiator on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Martin Indyk, met with a group of Jewish leaders to brief them on the "tightly held" details of what was being proposed by Secretary of State John Kerry. A few days before, New York’s new mayor Bill de Blasio, who had run for office pledging a new openness and transparency for the city government spoke privately at a dinner hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The gathering was not on the mayor’s public schedule, received no advanced publicity, and was closed to outsiders. A journalist who succeeded in entering was forcibly removed from the premises. At the meeting de Blasio went way over the top even for a New York politician, saying that it is "part of [his] job description to be a defender of Israel" and that AIPAC "would always have a friend and ally at City Hall." He went on to assert that defending Israel is "elemental to being an American because there is no greater ally on earth."
How de Blasio, a lifelong progressive, squares his commitment to undying fealty to AIPAC with his undoubted knowledge that the group is possibly the most virulent advocate of war with Iran this side of the Israeli government itself might best be left to his conscience, if he has one. And if there was any doubt that there is something rotten in New York, the State Senate meanwhile passed a bill by a vote of 56 to 4 rejecting the use of state funds to support any institution that boycotts "certain countries or their higher education institutions." Senator Jeffrey Klein, the bill’s co-sponsor boasted that he would "not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York." The bill is directed against attempts to divest from or boycott Israeli institutions but it clearly in Klein’s view does not apply to those who are taking every possible step to cripple Iran prior to attacking it.