‘Unprecedented’ is the Word
for Apology by AIPAC After Cheers for Trump
By Seth Lipsky
New York Sun
March 24, 2016
“Unprecedented” is the word
the Washington Post is using for the apology issued by the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee for the applause given to Donald Trump at its
conference this week.
AIPAC is shocked — shocked —
that The Donald criticized President Obama from the lobby’s stage. And that
Mr. Trump’s jibe was greeted with a gleeful ovation from thousands of
It happened when Mr. Trump was
marking the betrayals by the United Nations, which, he said, is “not a friend
of democracy, it’s not a friend to freedom.” It’s not even, he added, a
friend to America or Israel.
“With President Obama in his
final year — yay!” The Donald exclaimed. “He may be the worst thing to
ever happen to Israel, believe me, believe me. And you know it, and you know it
better than anybody.”
That’s what prompted AIPAC’s
president, Lillian Pinkus, to apologize. “We are deeply disappointed,” she
said, “that so many people applauded a sentiment that we neither agree with or
Forgive me, but the right word for
AIPAC’s apology is “chickens - - -.” And it’s not just
because Hillary Clinton’s address, with her jibes at Mr. Trump and other
Republicans, was the most partisan speech at AIPAC.
It’s also because AIPAC has
always been a stage for putting things into sharp relief. Of course President
Obama isn’t literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to Israel (we
Jews have had more than our portion of woe).
It’s hard, though, to think of a
presidency as disappointing to Israel as Mr. Obama’s has been. Who, after all,
was that “senior Obama administration official” who used
“chickensh - - -” to describe Benjamin Netanyahu?
The insult was reported by The
Atlantic not long before Mr. Netanyahu addressed a joint meeting of Congress.
The magazine reckoned it marked the moment when, as its headline put it, “the
crisis in US-Israel relations is officially here.”
No one is placing bets on this
driving Jewish voters out of the Democratic Party and into the arms of the GOP.
The landscape is littered with erroneous predictions that Jews are going to
start voting Republican, a fact that I’ve learned from personal experience in
the newspaper line.
It’s not too soon, though, to
say that we’re at a remarkable moment. Before Mr. Trump made his appearance at
AIPAC, after all, there were warnings of all sorts of protests and walkouts.
In the event, the man who’s been
endorsed by David Duke (and belatedly repudiated it) received a warm reception,
marked by standing ovations. It prompted the editor of one Jewish newspaper,
Jane Eisner of the Forward, to write that she was “ashamed.”
“The applause,” she wrote,
“began after he uttered his very first sentence.” Soon some in the crowd
were standing and clapping. “And, when he threw the red meat that he
brilliantly feeds his other crowds, there were cheers as they gobbled it up.”
And no wonder. Mr. Trump railed
against the articles of appeasement on which the Obama administration agreed
with Iran. And this is not a Likud-versus-Labor thing. Both Mr. Netanyahu and
the opposition’s Isaac Herzog opposed the pact with the ayatollahs.
As does every GOP candidate who
addressed AIPAC this year, including Ted Cruz most forcefully. John Kasich
declared that in the wake of Iran’s latest missile tests he would suspend the
The only candidate at AIPAC who
actually supports the Iran appeasement is Hillary Clinton. Her chutzpah is so
thick that it could be carved up with a chain saw and used to make bomb shelters
— a point well-marked in The Post’s editorial Wednesday.
At AIPAC, she warned against the
Republicans. She said the GOP would give them a “glimpse of a potential U.S.
foreign policy that would insult our allies, not engage them, and embolden our
adversaries, not defeat them.”
If AIPAC’s delegates seemed
momentarily confused, it’s no doubt because they thought she was talking about
herself again. Or the reset with Russia, the war she plumped for in Libya or her
victories in Afghanistan.
No wonder Messrs. Trump, Cruz, and
Kasich got so much applause. AIPAC knows deep down that the Democrats have been
a disaster in foreign policy. If any apologies are owed, they’re by the
Democrats — even if that would be “unprecedented.”