THE BLOG

AIPAC Conference: Who Are These People? (REVISED)

Call me a "self-hating Jew." Heck, I'm called that all the time.

But the behavior of those 8000 AIPAC delegates makes me pray that my neighbors aren't watching. Or, at least, that they know that AIPAC represents American Jews the way Pat Robertson represents American Christians.

Who are these people?

Who are these Jews who cheer Eric Cantor more than any other politician right before they go utterly nuts cheering Prime Minister Netanyahu who proceeded to give a speech totally sticking it to the United States.

Who are they?

I don't know who these people are because nobody I know would go near an AIPAC meeting. I'm a fairly traditional Jew (my wife was born in a Displaced Persons camp after WW2) and we get weepy over Mount Rushmore and a good Obama speech not some illegal settlement in the West Bank. Our kids keep tabs of how many of the 50 states they can visit. My father thought western Pennsylvania was his homeland.

AIPAC people are a weird subset among American Jews. 80% of us voted for Obama and probably 90% of us would feel our gorge rising at the mere sight of Cantor or Joe Lieberman. But not AIPAC.

Also, as Jews -- and unlike AIPAC -- we identify with Palestinian suffering and not just Jewish pain. And we understand that right now, and especially since the Gaza war, it has been Palestinians who have done almost all of the suffering and not Jews.

So why are we the way we are? And why is the AIPAC fringe like it is? I'll tell you one thing. It is not primarily because we are better Americans. It is because we are better Jews, even better Zionists. They are...something else.