Israel Lobby: Ask

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M. J. Rosenberg, a former AIPAC staffer, comments:

From the convention centre, 10,000 delegates will be dispatched to Capitol Hill with two or three "asks" for members of Congress. One will, no doubt, be that "containment" of a nuclearised Iran be ruled off the table (leaving war as the only remaining option should Iran get the bomb). Another will likely be that the US stop all dealings with the Palestinian Authority should Hamas and Fatah permanently reconcile. A third could apply either to Iran or Palestine and will inevitably demand fealty to whatever Netanyahu's policy of the moment happens to be. I've sat in on those meetings where the AIPAC "asks" are developed, and it was always clear that the substance didn't matter all that much.
The goal of the "asks" is ensuring that Congress follow the script. Invariably at least one of these AIPAC goals will be put into legislative language and quickly pass both chambers of Congress. In fact, usually the "ask" is already in legislative form, so that the AIPAC citizen lobbyists can simply demand that their legislators sign on as co-sponsors (if they haven't already done so). Once the AIPAC bill has the requisite number of co-sponsors, the House and Senate leadership brings it to the floor where it passes with few dissenters.
All hell breaks loose if a member of Congress should object.[1]


References

  1. M. J. Rosenberg, Will AIPAC and Bibi get their war?, Al Jazeera, 12 February 2012.