This article is based on material originally published by the National Jewish Democratic Council (www.njdc.org) on December 6, 2011.
Former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Executive Director Tom Dine chided Republican presidential candidates former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and Texas Governor Rick Perry for their calls to start all foreign aid to zero. Dine wrote in Haaretz:
"The recent political pledge made by Republican presidential contenders Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney to ‘zero out’ foreign assistance appropriations and start over would be a direct assault on our security relationship with Israel. Anyone who has a clue about our relationship with Israel understands that a robust, wide-ranging foreign aid program is not only vital for Israel’s security, but also greatly benefits our interests in the region and around the world."
All three candidates later insisted they were not proposing to end or dramatically slash Israel’s aid, but Dine wrote that "efforts to walk back their comments smacked of political opportunism, not thoughtful policy."
For several decades, the United States has played a major role in supporting the State of Israel, and in 2007, the United States committed to providing Israel with $30 billion in security assistance over the next decade.
Episodes like this underscore why it is so important to get our message out: that there exist large Jewish communities here in America who do not support the State of Israel and are not approaching the coming election with any agenda other than what is good for people here in America. AIPAC's powerful influence over candidates, presidents and congressmen is predicated on the ever-present fear of Jewish voting power in several of the most populous states. Politicians must know that today more than ever, AIPAC does not speak for all American Jews. Moreover, AIPAC's insistence that American taxpayer money be given to support a foreign country to which they are committed can only provoke anti-Semitism. It is essential that Torah Jews repudiate AIPAC's statements.