April 16, 2007 (LPAC)--The April 12, 2007 issue of the New York Review of Books contains a lengthy article by mega-speculator and Democratic Party moneybags George Soros, attacking the Bush Administration, the neoconservatives, and AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) for sabotaging opportunities for a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and the broader Middle East peace accord. Soros blames AIPAC for the U.S. government's refusal to recognize the new Palestinian Authority national unity government, and for blocking a Congressional demand that the President come to Congress before launching any attack on Iran.
Soros' carefully worded article focused on the urgent need to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: "I believe that a much-neeeded self-examination of American policy in the Middle East has started in this country; but it can't make much headway as long as AIPAC retains powerful influence in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Some leaders of the Democratic Party have promised to bring about a change of direction but they cannot deliver on that promise until they are able to resist the dictates of AIPAC. Palestine is a place of critical importance," Soros continued, "where positive change is still possible. Iraq is largely beyond our control; but if we succeeded in settling the Palestinian problem we would be in a much better position to engage in negotiations with Iran and extricate ourselves from Iraq. The need for a peace settlement in Palestine is greater than ever. Both for the sake of Israel and the United States, it is highly desirable that the Saudi peace initiative should succeed; but AIPAC stands in the way. It continues to oppose dealing with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas."
Soros concludes with a fervent pitch for a debate within the American Jewish community on the future of the Middle East. "Whether the Democratic Party can liberate itself from AIPAC's influence is highly doubtful," he wrote. "Any politician who dares to expose AIPAC's influence would incur its wrath; so very few can be expected to do so. It is up to the American Jewish community itself to rein in the organization that claims to represent it. But this is not possible without first disposing of the most insidious argument put forward by the defenders of the current policies; that the critics of Israel's policies of occupation, control, and repression on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem and Gaza engender anti-Semitism. The opposite is the case.... A debate within the Jewish community, instead of fomenting anti-Semitism, would only help diminish it."
Sources familiar with the Soros-AIPAC controversy report that AIPAC has been involved in a smear campaign against Soros because, among other reasons, Soros' Open Society Fund has bankrolled the revival of Jewish communities in many areas of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, whereas AIPAC's backers believe that all of world Jewry should be living in Israel. Soros' views, expressed in the New York Review of Books piece, are also shared by a significant segment of the Israeli political establishment, and reflect a debate that is raging behind the scenes in the European Jewish community, according to the sources.