Progressive Hero Alan Grayson’s Secret Life As An AIPAC Tool

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-AIPAC)

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-AIPAC)

Since defeating an incumbent in Florida’s Republican-heavy 8th congressional district, Rep. Alan Grayson has emerged as one of the progressive movement’s most vocal champions. His attacks on Republican obstruction of healthcare reform and staunch opposition to escalation in Afghanistan have earned Grayson effusive praise from many liberal bloggers and activists.

Even before his election, Grayson gained recognition from the Wall Street Journal for being a “fierce critic of the war in Iraq” who sported a “Bush Lied, People Died” bumper sticker on his car. Recently, Grayson boasted to CNN, “People want to see a congressman with guts. And America likes to hear the truth.”

Grayson has battled for the public option and opposed the wars Obama has inherited from Bush, but these positions are upheld by a broad swath of congressional Democrats and, at least in the case of the public option, are supported by a majority of Americans. But when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, Grayson is fully programmed by AIPAC and the pro-war, pro-settlements wing of the Israel Lobby.

In an interview in March with the Philadelphia Jewish Voice, Grayson revealed two meetings he held the previous week with AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr. In the interview, Grayson explained how Kohr helped to “educate” him about Israel-related issues, then misquoted the Abba Eban line, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

GRAYSON: I met with Howard Kohr, the head of AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee], twice last week.

PJV: And what was the gist of the conversation?

GRAYSON: The gist of the conversation was that Iran is a tremendous threat to Israel and needs to be stopped. And I agree with that.

PJV: And what about what is going on in the Gaza Strip; was there any conversation about that?

GRAYSON: Yes, we talked about that. I think what AIPAC often tries to do is to educate Members of Congress who frankly follow this a lot less closely than I do. In my case, I read Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post online four or five times a week, so I am pretty familiar with the circumstances and why the war took place. As a famous Israeli once said, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Grayson’s January 8th statement explaining his vote in favor of Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip read like a mimeograph of those released by other AIPAC-friendly members of Congress. However, its introductory line stood out: “Congressman Alan Grayson, one of three incoming Jewish members of Congress, issued the following statement on the situation in Gaza.”

Why did Grayson feel compelled to advertise his religion in a statement in favor of a war that would ultimately kill 1400 people, including at least 400 women and children

16 thoughts on “Progressive Hero Alan Grayson’s Secret Life As An AIPAC Tool

  1. wlonw

    More and more we see what a power these pro-Israeli hawks are in America, and it’s clear that as long as we allow this, we’ll always be immersed in conflict in the mid east – people over there hate us precisely for our ongoing support of Israel and their treatment of their neighbors. It sends a clear message that we don’t value their lives and rights to live on their own land in peace. Thank you for pointing out another traitor to America and humanity. But how can we stop them?

  2. granvold

    “Thank you for pointing out another traitor to America and humanity.”

    A bit strong, don’t you think? While I certainly don’t agree with AIPAC’s approach and methodology, Alan Grayson doesn’t exactly strike me as the archetypal villain you’re painting here.

    Max points out that Congressman Grayson has earned “effusive praise from many liberal bloggers and activists” for his positions and outspoken advocacy on some very progressive items. It might further be pointed out that many of these activists are praising him because there are very few people in congress doing anything of the kind.

    Curb your hyperbole. If you call a man like this a traitor for his decidedly unfortunate and devastating position on the Israel-Palestine issue, what do you call the people who have the same position and worse positions on everything else?

  3. wlonw

    Strong, yes. Hyperbole, no. Because of people like Grayson and their ilk, definitely including AIPAC, the US adheres to inhumane policies in the mid east, creating well deserved hatred and resentment against us, and Americans, as well as Palestinians, die because of this. If you support a foreign country and sacrifice the lives of Americans for it, yes, I’d say that makes you a traitor. Sorry to speak the truth here, but I’m no longer willing to be politic about this issue. Our support of Israel is nothing short of disgusting, and nothing else we can do or say will show the people over there that we have any basic regard for them as fellow human beings, as long as that support continues. I don’t care how “liberal” Grayson is elsewhere, on this he is a villain. The lives of Palestinians matter, and without this basic understanding, what do you have?

  4. granvold

    Our failure to address reproductive freedom across the world (see: Hyde Amendment) is an atrocity too. However, I don’t unilaterally condemn any person who isn’t “on board” on this issue. I should admit I’m often tempted.

    I could name any number of issues instead of that one. I urge you to reconsider judging any politician on a polarity scale.

  5. pegelatrin

    I saw that conversation a couple a weeks ago actually, to see what his stance on Israel was.. I wouldn’t be to hard on him since his priorities are elsewhere. Its better to have him in the congress fighting for health care and against Americas wars.. then having him outside with better views on Israel.. Even Bernie Sanders is Pro Israel, and he is one of the most important figures in the senate for advancing progressive issues.

  6. wlonw

    OK, it seems that you guys have a thinking here that says ” hey, he’s pretty good on a lot of issues, so forget about this one.” I can understand that view. But here’s the problem with that. We as Americans have had the wool pulled over our eyes for a long time about this issue. I grew up thinking that Israel was this brave country fending off attacks from their rabid neighbors, and marveling at how anyone could strap a bomb onto children and blow up other children, and sure that those people were less than human. And that’s pretty much what you get in the mainstream media. Where do you ever see them talk about the real origins of this struggle? Where do they bring up the theft of land and total disregard for the people living there for 1,000 years? Where do they talk about the IRGUN – the Zionist terror squad that massacred whole villages of people to drive them out of the area that they wanted to steal? The reason you don’t ever see anything about this stuff in the mainstream media, and that you don’t hear any politicians bring this up, ever, is because the “Jewish establishment”, or whatever you want to call it, attempts, and is very successful at, crushing these truths in America. To the point that many consider it political suicide to attempt to take on this issue. So we have a situation where no one has the guts to speak freely about all this, and no one is willing to stand up and say – WE MUST STOP FUNDING THIS EVIL. We give approximately 5.5 billion dollars a year to Israel. And everyone in the Arab and Muslim world knows this and they hate us for it. It is a continual crime against these people, and we can’t even talk about it without being labeled anti-semitic! It is quite insane for us to think we can ever make peace, or stop the growth of terrorism until we address this issue in a big way. Like forcing Israel to do what must be done to make peace, and if they refuse, we take away all funding and leave them to take the results of their own actions. So given all this, although it may be nice that Grayson or any politician supports freedom of choice, or clean energy, the fact is that this middle east, terrorism, continual war issue is just too important to let it slide. You want to see climate change? Wait till someone detonates a nuclear device. How long before that happens? So yes, I say we must start calling out everyone on this issue, we must stand up to the attempts to label anyone who disagrees with the pro-Israel stance as anti-semitic, and AIPAC represents the worst of that way of thinking. If you haven’t yet, check out J Street, a new and sane Jewish political action group. They give me hope. And of course a lot of American and Israeli jews hate them for their views. So again, I recommend not saying “oh, this guy’s good on a lot of issues, let’s forget about the helping Israel create war thing”. Instead, say ” wow, this guy is still really off on this REALLY IMPORTANT issue – let’s get him to change, or defeat him.”

  7. granvold

    ‘Instead, say ” wow, this guy is still really off on this REALLY IMPORTANT issue – let’s get him to change, or defeat him.”’

    This is right on point, and I agree with you there. But this is quite a different statement than calling him a traitor to humanity.

    To be very clear, I am not saying “forget about the helping Israel create war thing” because Grayson is good on other issues. I’m saying Grayson is squarely in the middle of the consensus in our legislature, and is hardly the only politician with deep ties to AIPAC. It is important to differentiate people who are wrong and this AND so many other things from people who at least have some progressive credibility (in short supply, these days…).

    That said, I hadn’t been aware of said ties, so an interesting post by Max. Thanks.

  8. salqaddoumi

    Ugh, this is so unbelievably disappointing. I loved Grayson and was glad their was finally a loud liberal around who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Unfortunately, he’s just as ignorant as the rest of his colleagues on the Palestinian struggle.

    :(

  9. ahd

    lol@Rep. Alan Grayson (D-AIPAC)

    i think whats lost on some (of the responders) is how hypocritical the rep is. he likes to portray himself as a leader but is clearly a muppet for special interest, whether its regarding foreign relations or domestic issues. that was the point that i got from the article. that he is not as independent as he likes to portray himself. granted, he has to tow the party’s official line, but the point was, dont put faith in this man doing much for the ‘common good of humanity let alone the american citizen’.

    reference: “People want to see a congressman with guts. And America likes to hear the truth.”

    the disgusting aspect of this congressman’s approach is how he (or someone representing him) felt inclined to include his religion in the mix of american politics in the context of killing 1400 people. whether he supported the gaza war or not, it wasnt necessary unless they wanted to portray a commonality with mainstream american christians.

  10. Pingback: The Uranium Coup by Michael Carmichael « Dandelion Salad

  11. Parenti

    Grayson is still an admirable and great guy despite his position on Israel. He is still one of the good guys. He seems to need some educating on the Middle East Issue. Not only is he great on domestic issues but he is an opponent of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, unlike Anthony Weiner, so far he hasn’t made much of an issue of his support for Israel. Progressive activists shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  12. Parenti

    Grayson is also the sponsor of the War is Making us Poor Act, which would cut funding from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and use the money the money to lower taxes on low and middle income Americans.

  13. Cliff

    Grayson might be picking his battles. Going up against the Jewish Establishment means the usual idiotic accusations of Jew-this/that.

    Money talks as well.

    In any case, people should hold this clown accountable for being an AIPAC/Zionist tool.

  14. st just

    The ‘Grayson brand’, talk left, walk right, is only the latest attempt by judeo-fascists- and others- to create and present a phony progressive to juke and fake his way into the hearts of impressionable young Jews and others. He ain’t a real progressive, kids. So, please find someone who is. And stop letting yourselves get taken in so often by right-wing marketing ploys. Damn.

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