As a follow-up to my previous post about the smearing of Chuck Hagel by the pro-Israelis because of his supposed unwillingness to do "what is necessary to stop Iran," I recommend reading this article by Robert Wright in the Atlantic entitled "Chuck Hagel and the NeoCon Smear Machine" especially because it points to two "ironies" in the Pro-Israeli position.
Irony Number 1:
I had a good chuckle over Wright's recounting of this point originally made by Ali Gharib:
"it's ironic for Hagel to be pilloried for saying that politicians are intimidated by a pro-Israel lobby--when those doing the pillorying bear a striking resemblance to a pro-Israel lobby trying to intimidate a politician."
This is the first irony: the powerful Pro-Israeli lobby insists that there is no powerful pro-Israeli lobby (regardless of what former Lobby members themselves say), and yet also even openly boasts about the power of the pro-Israeli lobby. If you read AIPAC's fundraising literature, and listen to their self-descriptions at their annual dinners in Washington, you'd be quite surprised how this supposedly not-powerful lobby bordering on non-existence, congratulates itself for so forcefully exerting its agenda in Washington, in between pandering speeches by the highest officials of the American government (including US Presidents.) Critics of the Walt & Mearsheimer book about the pro-Israeli lobby insisted vehemently that there was no such lobby, and yet at the same time, we have high officials at AIPAC boasting to Jeffrey Goldberg that they can get 70 US Senators to sign their dinner napkins:
I asked [Steven] Rosen if aipac suffered a loss of influence after the Steiner affair. A half smile appeared on his face, and he pushed a napkin across the table. “You see this napkin?” he said. “In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”
Irony Number 2:
Israel's supporters insist that Hagel's use of the term "Jewish Lobby" instead of "pro-Israeli lobby" implies anti-Semitism -- and yet they're the ones who also insist that Judaism and Israel are the same thing, and that support for Israel is inherent in being Jewish. Heck, even my local synogogue regularly hosts speakers from the Israeli government to promote the Israeli government line, and also promotes participation in the annual "Celebrate Israel" parade. They even go as far as to claim that any Jew who criticizes Israel is "self-hating" and furthermore, that any criticism of Israel is in fact anti-Semitic (they've even given this a term: "New Anti-Semitism," which pretty much encompasses any criticism of Israel, whether from the "far right" to the "far left", from "Third worldism" to "radical Islam" etc)
And yet Hagel is an anti-Semite for referring to the "Jewish lobby" when discussing Israeli influence-peddling in Washington?
In his article, Wright states that the term "Jewish lobby" is now incorrect because a significant portion of the support for Israel now comes from Christian Evangelicals in the US (who apparently haven't heard how Christian Evangelicals are threatened in Israel.) Well, that may be technically correct, but in reality the reason why Christian Evangelicals have sided with the Lobby is because the Lobby has specifically sought out and deliberatey cultivated their support. Otherwise, the Christian Evangelical movement is itself characterized by extreme anti-Semitism and would hardly seek to support Israel or Jews. What better proof of this than the Reverend John Hagee and his CUFI (Christians United For Israel) movement. AIPAC even had Hagee over to their annual dinner and gave him a podium to pander to Israel and the Lobby, yet if you dare ask why an avowed anti-Semite can be so adored by a pro-Israeli organization, you'll be threatened by the police.
So as far as I'm concerned, the "Jewish lobby" phrase is incorrect only because there are plenty of Jews who don't support AIPAC or Israeli policies. It is my impression that most American Jews, like the rest of the Americans, are just too busy trying to make ends meet and are not involved. Some others are really, really conflicted, and attempt to sit on increasngly wobbly fence by claiming to be "liberal Zionists", showing a wilfull blindless to the illiberalism of an ideology based on "Blood and Soil" nationalism. A small yet growing minority are out-and-out Anti-Zionist. In fact, support for Israel has been falling every year, leading to an Israeli PR effort, to occasional comedic effect.
In conclusion: I think therefore it would be as much a disservice to American Jews to characterize AIPAC and the Pro-Israeli lobby as representative of their views, as it would be undeservedly flattering to AIPAC and the Pro-Israel lobby to designate them as the representatives of Jewish views.