The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Israeli Fifth Column in the United States, is staging its annual policy conference from Sunday the 4th through Tuesday the 6th of March 2018 in Washington, DC, the very nodal core of this careworn empire.
"AIPAC's mission," as they put it resoundingly, "is to strengthen, protect and promote the US-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of Israel and the United States. Our staff and citizen activists educate decision-makers about the bonds that unite the United States and Israel and how it is in America's best interest to help ensure that Israel is safe, strong and secure." And a vast propaganda machinery is at the disposal of AIPAC to spread the word.
In the course of this conference AIPAC wishes to demand and exact an arm and a leg from the US government - among their demands, as propagated by their media: "AIPAC wants Congress to codify the $38bn over 10 years guaranteed to Israel under a Memorandum of Understanding signed in the waning days of the Obama administration ... AIPAC wants more sanctions on Iran ... AIPAC wants easier access for inspectors to Iran's military bases ... AIPAC backs bills in the House and Senate that would target the Boycott, Divest from and Sanction movement against Israel."
AIPAC does not joke. They mean business when they cash in on the vast riches they have spent buying influence over the US Congress and now even the White House. But do they actually have as much power as they wish to project?
Words and mission statements pale in comparison with the optics, with how stage managers at AIPAC opt to stage their power.
A look at the wide-angled shots of the stage projecting AIPAC power shows their message. Zionists rule this country. No matter who the speakers, senators, congresspersons, ambassadors, presidents, or any other heads of states - they are decidedly dwarfed when they stand on that stage against a background of larger than life photos of the Israeli and US flags reaching out over irrelevant reality and meager facts for a heavenly embrace. Israel equals the US. The US is Israel.
But that is not the only iconic shot of AIPAC conferences. There is a complementary shot. In these prototypical shots you see high ranking US officials - presidents, vice presidents, senators, congresspersons, ambassadors, etc, appearing on a podium with the word AIPAC in capitals powerfully spread over their chest and shot from a low angle projecting how powerful they are to others.
These two low-angle (powerful) and high-angle (weak) shots come together to make a singular visual statement: look how powerful these people are, look how minuscule and weak they are in front of the almighty AIPAC, aka Zionism, aka Israel.
Joseph Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl could not have done any better staging a fascist duet of images to project and assert global power. But AIPAC is visually barking louder than it can bite. It overcompensates.
Protesting too much
No doubt the power the Zionist lobby holds over this country is daunting. They have long since abandoned the hope of selling their thievery of Palestine as legitimate to the American public at large and opted to keep the ruling elite on a tight leash.
To be sure, their well-oiled, richly financed Hasbara machinery is on autopilot and keeps spitting the accusations of "anti-semitism" against anything and anyone that dares to question the gibberish Israel wants to sell the world.
Their rich uncles like Sheldon Adelson can buy a ticket worth $5m to Trump's inauguration. He can even buy a new embassy for the US on the stolen Palestinian city of Jerusalem. The other uncle Haim Saban - who has famously said "I'm a one-issue guy and my one issue is Israel" - had already bought and paid for Hillary Clinton in case she had a snowball chance in hell to camouflage her bone deep corruption and beat the real estate charlatan. Both rich Zionist uncles owned both the candidates just to be on the safe side. But there are more than just these two. They are so many that the Zionists have in fact coined a term for them: "Zionaires: Billionaires Who Support Israel".
That is power. No doubt. But still the Zionists protest too much. They bark much louder than they can bite. Yes they pretend they own the body politics of American power. But, oh brother, how deeply and how eternally they have lost the soul of American politics.
What such gaudy and garish spectacles as AIPAC "conferences" seek to hide but paradoxically strips naked for the whole world to see is a deep sense of insecurity and illegitimacy. More than anyone else the Zionists themselves know full well they are fake. The loud and lurid shows they stage periodically in Washington, DC is to quiet their own inadvertent confession that they are thieves, unwanted intruders in someone else's homeland. Their tawdry vulgarity at such "conferences" seeks to hide but ever more glaringly broadcasts their colonial thievery, and their full knowledge of it.
Losing the soul
The US is a complicated society. It works through multiple layers of convictions and sentiments. To casual observers it may appear monolithic, divided into mainstream political parties and ideologies, and therefore easily manipulated. The Zionists have historically banked on this false perception and projected an exaggerated image of their power over this country.
In this tawdry oneupmanship, the Zionists take full advantage and abuse an old anti-Semitic cliche that "Jews control the US". There is no monolithic Jewish position on anything. There is no hidden or covert Jewish bloc. Zionists deliberately bank on such nasty anti-Semitic tropes to project more power than they actually have. Progressive Jewish thinkers, scholars, journalists, activists, older and younger generations have been at the forefront of confronting Zionism, from Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt to undergraduate college students on US campuses.
No particular community - Jews, Christians, Muslims, or otherwise - control anything in the US. Even the Zionists don't "control the US" - but they wish to project that power. They don't have it. If they did they would not stage such gaudy spectacles.
AIPAC, Sheldon Adelson, and Benjamin Netanyahu, three topnotch Zionist compunctions gave it all they had and they could not prevent President Obama reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. If it were up to them Iran would be leveled like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria today.
All the Zionist manipulative power-mongering is in Washington DC, inside the proverbial Beltway where AIPAC finds its most noxious air of corruption and conceit. The rest of the US is a whole different story.
A short video clip is these days being circulated around the internet that may or may not have reached your newsfeed but its gentle significance can scarce be exaggerated. It brings together some of the finest, most beloved, and most widely popular faces and voices in American literary, artistic, sport, and political culture. What do they talk about? Active, eloquent, principled solidary with Palestinians. not a snowball chance in hell could Zionists mobilise a beautiful video like this. All their billions of dollars are useless here.
"In the US, we know all too well what it's like to be oppressed simply because you exist, because you refuse to give up your fight for freedom." In a brief, bold, and empowering statement accompanied by this video clip a group of towering public figure have come together to express their solid solidarity with the Palestinian national liberation movement. You see all those gaudy glitter at AIPAC? It is to cover up this soulful truth from the heart of America, to which they have no access.
Palestine at the heart of American soul
In a country where for generations Zionist propaganda, mainline US media, powerful pro-Israel lobbies, and the US Congress have threatened and continue to intimidate principled and conscientious citizens into silence, the publication of this magnificent statement and video is a turning point in proving solid solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
"Last year," the statement read:
A Dream Defenders delegation of artists traveled to Palestine to bear witness to life under Israel military occupation and met the Tamimi family in their village of Nabi Saleh. Songs and stories of struggle were shared, from the US to Palestine. The Tamimis spoke about their daily lives - the Israeli army patrolling and shooting into their streets as their children play, Israeli settlers stealing their water. The delegation learned that every year hundreds of Palestinian kids across the West Bank are arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers and police who kick, punch, and beat them. Torture is routinely used to get signed confessions from children, mainly on charges of stone throwing.
I have lived in the US and been a target of vicious and systemic Zionist attacks for more than forty years now. I never would have dreamed to see a statement like this to come out of the most dearly loved and admired public figures in this country. Despite millions of dollars spent on propaganda, the Zionists have failed to frighten the moral conscience of a nation into silence and complacency by the pernicious and false charge of anti-Semitism, while notorious anti-Semites like former presidential advisor Steve Bannon and their ilk are the chief Zionist supporters.
The cause of Palestine is today no longer limited to one or two defiant communities determined to demand and exact their inalienable human rights. It is indeed interwoven with the noble memory of the Jewish Holocaust. As Eric Resnick, a Jewish-American who has lost family in the Holocaust, and who had joined hundreds of protestors against the AIPAC spectacle told Al Jazeera: "My family did not die to justify what these sick Zionists are doing to Palestine."
His thoughts were echoed by Rabbi Yisroel Weiss of Jews United against Zionism in the same protest who told Al Jazeera, "Zionists have no right to steal the Jewish name, let alone speak on behalf of Jews," before adding emphatically: "We as Jews want to live in peace and harmony with our Palestinian neighbors as we have done for hundreds of years before the Zionist project destroyed Palestine."
There are no more noble ways to honour the memory of colossal atrocities from the genocide of native Americans, to the legacy of African slavery, to the Jewish Holocaust than to bring them all to bear witness to the righteous cause of Palestinian national liberation for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Palestinians alike.
The spectacular glitz of AIPAC was more boring and banal than the Oscar ceremonies to which it lost the prime time.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance.