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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chicago takes over AIPAC

A Chicagoan who accompanied then-candidate Barack Hussein Obama on his trip to Israel in 2008 is becoming the President of AIPAC, the largest pro-Israel lobby in the United States.
Lee "Rosy" Rosenberg, 53, is a jazz recording industry veteran and venture capitalist who lives on the Near North Side. But his business investments in Chicago have ebbed as he has gained more influence among Washington's pro-Israel lobby.

At a conference Sunday, he will become one of the most powerful behind-the-scenes players in U.S. foreign policy: president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC, one of the country's most secretive lobbying groups, declined to make Rosenberg available for an interview.

AIPAC's power comes not from its lobbyists but from its more than 100,000 members who raise money, advocate and pool resources for politicians. And Rosenberg, according to more than a dozen friends, is a master at building relationships with powerful people. Those relationships are being tested in the wake of a public spat over proposed housing in a contested area of East Jerusalem.

"This is as difficult a time to assume the role (of AIPAC president) as one could imagine," said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat, who counts Rosenberg as a constituent and adviser. "The fact that he and the president have had a relationship helps now. I don't know of a time when that relationship has been so sorely tested."


Rosenberg later traveled to Israel with Obama, served on his national finance committee and introduced him at AIPAC's 2008 policy conference. In two rare interviews, with Politico and the Jerusalem Post during the campaign, Rosenberg assured Jews that Obama would champion their causes.
Well, I sure hope he's wised up a bit since then. And I also hope he's not going to try to merge AIPAC with J Street (a thought that crossed my mind that is not mentioned in the article).

Read the whole thing.


At 12:27 AM, Blogger Moriah said...

This is going to narrow the gap between J Street and AIPAC. I'm not that crazy about AIPAC for supporting the "Disengagement" but I was hoping J Street would drive them to the right. Boy was I wrong...

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

There goes AIPAC! It will soon become another J Street!


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