AJC Head on the Jewish Lobby’s Success
Not afraid to be service-y, a Chinese newspaper wants to know: what can its country learn from the amazing success the American Jewish community had had lobbying the U.S. government on its issues? Jack Rosen, the head of the American Jewish Congress, reveals the trick of the trade: lobby on positions that the majority of Americans agree with anyway. Which might be a tall order for China, even if, according to Rosen, the Jews manage it just fine.
If you go back 40 years, the Jewish lobby was lobbying on behalf of individual rights and civil rights. And they did it for African Americans, they did it for Latin Americans, and they did it for Chinese. …
Then there is the issue of Israel. Why are Jewish groups so successful in lobbying for Israel? Again the American public is very supportive of the only democracy in the Middle East, the only country in the Middle East that gives equal rights and freedom to everyone. Women have equal rights in Israel.
So it’s easy to lobby for Israel, because 90 percent of Americans believe in what you are lobbying for.
One other thing that, according to Rosen, helps the Jewish lobby is, well, all the Jews in government: “Jewish people represent two percent of the U.S. population, but in some parts of the government we are 10 percent of the leadership. For instance, Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is Jewish,” he said. Which is indisputably true, of course, but it is a little odd to see one of its main beneficiaries so casually admitting this fact, given that it is not infrequently used to deride his lobby’s efforts. The unembarassment is refreshing, as is the honesty and candor. He should say it in an American paper sometime.