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October 25, 2002 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

tions — only 21 representatives voted
)3
no.
Its difficult for members of
Congress to stand up against a resolu-
tion that might appear to be pro-
Israel but under the surface is not
pro-Israel" — because it is too hawk-
ish — "or in the best interest of the
United States," the congressional aide
said.
AIPAC stresses that the organiza-
tion does not promote candidates or
fund-raise for them. But many AIPAC
leaders contribute to campaigns and
other PACs based on lawmakers'
views on Israel.
Both sides of the debate acknowl-
edge that Hilliard and McKinney
were rare cases: Both had long records
of anti-Israel bias and were weak with-
in their own districts for other rea-
sons.
Some of the more staunchly anti-
Israel congressmen have been immune
to AIPAC pressure because of their
popularity in their home districts.
But some representatives, none of
whom were willing to speak on the
record, describe a growing fear factor:
People on the Hill acknowledge that
the chances of Jewish money being
used to defeat a safe incumbent are
slim, but many in Congress are
unwilling to take the risk that they
will be the first.
Some lawmakers say they fear to
express views — such as opposition to
Israeli military operations — that they
say are more in line with their local
Jewish communities.
While there have been cases in the
past of Jewish money helping to
defeat powerful legislators, the
McKinney and Hilliard races showed
that Jewish activists will target even
lawmakers without a great deal of
influence. That has forced some law-
makers to cast votes against their bet-
ter judgment, sources said.
"For the first time, they are going
after people who are obscure and
insignificant," a community activist
said. "It sends a message that you can
be from Podunk, Miss., and 'we'll go
after you.'"
Officials at other Jewish organiza-
tions say they are being told by law-
makers and staffers that they feel
more pressure than usual, and are
fearful that any vote could come back
to haunt them.
"Since Sharon became prime minis-
ter, they hold their nose and do what
they're told by AIPAC," the commu-
nity activist said. "What members say
privately is totally at a variance with
what they say publicly." P

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