I’m part of the next generation of Jewish leaders, and for us, AIPAC has no cred

The author. (photo: Lara Haft)
To the rising Jewish leaders of the Trump era, supporting AIPAC is a stone’s throw away from touting the NRA.

By Lara Haft | Mondoweiss | Mar 27, 2019

Many future cantors, rabbis, and Jewish educators actively support Palestinian civil resistance, from planting olive trees in lands threatened by settlers to spending the night alongside Palestinian and Israeli activists to prevent the demolition of Khan al Ahmar. We’re part of a growing trend of faith leaders from around the world, led by Palestinian theologians like Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek and Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, who believe that tearing down walls and prisons — fighting for true equality between Palestinians and Israelis — is one of the ways we honor God’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves.

This week, lobbyists, politicians, academics, and all the glitterati of the Israel lobby are gathering for the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, DC. Under the Trump administration, AIPAC has maintained a strong relationship with Republican members of congress, far right-wing Israeli politicians, and Christian Zionist groups. But the organization is facing a serious challenge: It increasingly has no cred with young Jews.

As AIPAC continues to embrace far-right politicians and lobby for militarism against Palestinians, more and more Jewish people are turning instead to political movements based on equality, dignity, and justice. . . .

[By] the time I got to college, like many young Jewish people, I began to question the idea that AIPAC represented me. As I joined friends at vigils against Israel’s blockade on Gaza, AIPAC fought to increase U.S. funding of the military. As I scribbled notes at teach-ins about combating Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy, AIPAC repeatedly hosted far-right speakers, like Steven Emerson, a nearly annual speaker who has been called “a ‘leading light’ of the Islamophobia industry.”

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