AIPAC Not Taking Improved US-Israel Relations for Granted

Article excerpt

Like other pro-Israel organizations, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the principal pro-Israel lobby, is elated about the dramatic improvement in US-Israeli relations since the start of the Gulf war. The Bush administration has thanked Israel repeatedly for staying out of the conflict even after Iraqi Scud missiles hit Israeli cities several times. And since the US sent Israel Patriot missile batteries to intercept the Scuds, there has been an outpouring of pro-American sentiment in that country.

But AIPAC isn't taking any chances. The war was barely two weeks old and it already was worrying about what would happen after the Gulf crisis was over. In late January, the organization sent a fund-raising letter to supporters outlining the four goals of an emergency campaign.

First, counting on the American public's newfound understanding of Israel's vulnerability, AIPAC will press for a new package of security aid for Israel far larger than any previous package. Second, the lobby will encourage the US to strengthen its friendship with Israel and avoid "pandering toward Arab states hostile to the West and Israel. …