Former Congressman Baird said the Israel lobby is able to exert such control because of money, mythology and millenarian Christian beliefs.
By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Apr 19, 2021
“It is generally assumed that members of Congress must all support Israel without question and take what they are told at face value and accept that version of the facts and vote as we are told, or asked.”
— Brian Baird, former US Representative, Washington State
On Saturday former congressman Brian Baird described the ways that the Israel lobby exercises control over foreign policy in the Middle East, at the conference organized by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Baird’s main points:
–More Congresspeople go to the AIPAC conference than any other event besides the State of the Union address because they need money for their campaigns.
–When a congressperson dares to challenge Israeli claims, Israeli officials express condescension and disdain for the United States and say the U.S. did worse with its indigenous population so no one in the U.S. has a right to question Israeli actions even as Israel gets billions in aid.
–When Baird dared to seek an investigation of the murder of a constituent, Rachel Corrie, by the Israeli army in Gaza in 2003, his colleagues abandoned him and immediately sponsored legislation aimed at Palestinian “terrorists.” And he lost donors.
Baird represented Olympia, Washington, the hometown of Corrie, a writer-activist. He left Congress for academia in 2011 after serving six terms. Here are some of his observations.