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AIPAC Gets Its Game On

Politico reports that AIPAC is flooding the zone on Capitol Hill:

The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is planning to launch a major lobbying campaign to push wayward lawmakers to back the resolution authorizing U.S. strikes against Syria, sources said Thursday.

Officials say that some 250 Jewish leaders and AIPAC activists will storm the halls on Capitol Hill beginning next week to persuade lawmakers that Congress must adopt the resolution or risk emboldening Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon. They are expected to lobby virtually every member of Congress, arguing that “barbarism” by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated, and that failing to act would “send a message” to Tehran that the U.S. won’t stand up to hostile countries’ efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, according to a source with the group.

I don’t blame them. They are the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, after all. They’re doing what AIPAC is supposed to do. But two things:

1. America should not engage in an act of war against Syria because the Saudis and the Israelis fear Iran. Fight your own damn wars.

2. Who speaks up for the Christians of Syria? I don’t blame the Jewish people of the US for fighting for Israel’s interests, but for heaven’s sake, four out of five people in this country are Christian. Can at least a few of us show as much care and concern for the fate of the Christians of Syria that Jewish Americans show for the fate of the Israelis? Shoot, I’d be thrilled if Christians — I’m talking about many of our Evangelical friends — cared as much about their fellow Mideast Christians as they care about Israelis. And I say this as someone who absolutely believes in Israel’s right to exist, and who almost always sympathizes with Israel (so don’t try any anti-Semitic commentary on my blog). AIPAC knows what it believes and is going to work hard for that cause. What about American Christians? If we don’t speak out, and speak out loudly, for our fellow Christians in Syria, who will?

America has no business allowing itself to be dragged into this war by either the Saudis or the Israelis. Neither the Saudis or the Israelis give a damn about the fate of the ancient Christian communities of Syria, and to be perfectly blunt, it’s not their responsibility to do so. It is the responsibility of American Christians to do so, given that nobody else in this country has their backs on Capitol Hill. Unlike AIPAC lobbyists and their client, I’m not asking America to enter the Syrian civil war on behalf of Syrian Christians. I’m asking for us to keep America out of it. 

This is going to be onehell of a week in Washington. Whether America involves itself in yet another Mideast war will likely be decided this week. If AIPAC’s lobbyists win, Syrian Christians lose. I’m not saying that’s what AIPAC wants (or John McCain, or anybody else backing this war, want), but that’s what’s going to happen. It’s just not possible for the US to throw missiles at the Assad regime but guarantee that only the good rebels benefit from our firepower, not the bad ones — the ones who, should they prevail, will slaughter or drive into exile all Christians and non-Sunni Muslims, as well as secularists.

You might never have given a thought to the Christians of the Middle East. It’s time to find your voice, and use it for something beyond merely praying.

UPDATE: I changed the headline to something less inflammatory. It’s important to oppose AIPAC on this issue without giving comfort to Jew haters.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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