Gershon Baskin is co-CEO of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (ICPRI), a joint Israeli -Palestinian think tank which was involved with the Oslo process. In the June 28 Jerusalem Post, he writes:
“Meeting with people in the halls of Congress to exchange views, the first questions I was asked were: What does AIPAC have to say about that? Have you spoken to AIPAC? There is little doubt that AIPAC has successfully instilled a strong sense on the Hill that anything that concerns the US-Israel relationship must be checked with them first.
“It is quite remarkable how lacking in independence the US Congress is with regard to US policy on Israel. It is equally remarkable that most of the official Jewish establishment organizations in the US lack any vision regarding how best to help Israel achieve peace and stability. The status quo of only backing whatever the Israeli government does, while at the same time placing severe limitations on the ability of the US administration to assist the Palestinians, is not really acting in the best interests of Israel.”
See also: Jeffrey Goldberg’s article on AIPAC and the Franklin spy affair in the New Yorker:
AIPAC’s leaders can be immoderately frank about the group’s influence. At dinner that night with Steven Rosen, I mentioned a controversy that had enveloped AIPAC in 1992. David Steiner, a New Jersey real-estate developer who was then serving as aipac’s president, was caught on tape boasting that he had “cut a deal” with the Administration of George H. W. Bush to provide more aid to Israel. Steiner also said that he was “negotiating” with the incoming Clinton Administration over the appointment of a pro-Israel Secretary of State. “We have a dozen people in his”—Clinton’s—”headquarters . . . and they are all going to get big jobs,” Steiner said. Soon after the tape’s existence was disclosed, Steiner resigned his post. I asked 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.”