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Soros: AIPAC needs reform

AIPAC is a group in need of reform, a leading Jewish philanthropist wrote. In a New York Review of Books article titled “On Israel, America and AIPAC,” George Soros wrote that Israel, and the Bush administration backing it, are mistaken in boycotting the new Palestinian Authority government in “a policy that is not even questioned.” He continued, “One explanation is to be found in the pervasive influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”Soros claimed that by allying itself with neoconservatives backing the Iraq war and opposing any dialogue with a Palestinian Authority that includes Hamas, “AIPAC under its current leadership has clearly exceeded its mission, and far from guaranteeing Israel’s existence, has endangered it.” AIPAC denies any formal alliance with neoconservatives and never explicitly lobbied for the Iraq war. Soros criticized the group for going on the offensive against its detractors, charging AIPAC with using accusations of anti-Semitism, “personal vilification” and “the lobby’s ability to influence political contributions” to silence debate. And though Soros was careful to denounce the “myth” of an “all-powerful Zionist conspiracy,” he alleged “that AIPAC has been so successful in suppressing criticism has lent some credence to such false beliefs.”He said anti-Semitism should never be blamed on the Jews, but “attitudes toward Israel are influenced by Israel’s policies, and attitudes toward the Jewish community are influenced by the pro-Israel lobby’s success in suppressing divergent views.” AIPAC had no comment on the article.