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Netanyahu’s radical-right alliance rattles AIPAC's allegiance

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underestimated the objection of the pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC to his alliance with the radical-right ahead of elections in Israel.
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On Feb. 21, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued a laconic statement condemning Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), a radical right-wing party. The pro-Israel lobbying group was reacting to the recently announced alliance between Otzma Yehudit and the national religious party HaBayit HaYehudi that has been endorsed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of April 9 elections. Netanyahu is hoping that the alliance will save the two parties from missing the vote threshold for entering the Knesset.

Avigdor Liberman, chair of Yisrael Beitenu, described AIPAC's unusual statement as an expression of “genuine alarm.” Liberman, whose party advocates the “voluntary” transfer of Israeli Arabs to other states, knows that the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington rarely attacks Jewish politicians who espouse Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Arabs. In fact, when Liberman was appointed foreign minister, in 2009 and 2013, AIPAC’s leadership remained mum. When Liberman called on Israelis to boycott Arab businesses in Wadi Ara, the leaders of the Jewish, pro-Evangelist lobby did not utter a word. So what made them deviate from their long-standing official policy of non-intervention in Israeli politics and from their non-official support of Israel’s pro-settlement political right?

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