I am at the AIPAC conference today waiting for President Obama to speak. This is the largest gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to date, with about 10,000 people registered. It may be the most misunderstood and defamed group in the country.
It is not a Jewish group. Christians belong and advocate on the issues AIPAC cares about, namely a secure Israel and a warm U.S.-Israel relationship. It does not advocate for Israel, but for a robust U.S.-Israel relationship, which its members (correctly, in my view) see as vital to the security and the character of America. It does not endorse candidates or give to political candidates (though many of its members are active in electoral politics). It lobbies on aid to Israel and is influential on Iran sanctions and other issues relating to our democratic allies security needs. It is not the largest Zionist organization. That distinction goes to Christians United for Israel.
It is also not "right wing" or "hawkish" or "conservative." Josh Block, a Democratic activist and former AIPAC spokesman, e-mailed me:
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