On the Margin: Two Black Ladies
Jude Wanniski
August 20, 2002


Memo To: American-Israel Political Action Committee
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Cynthia McKinney vs Denise Majette

When I saw you folks pouring money into Alabama to defeat Earl Hilliard, the five-term black congressman, I figured it must have been because he said bad things about Israel that I did not know about. When that happens, I can see why you would take direct action, and of course you are entitled to raise money to support or defeat political candidates anywhere you wish. Now, though, I see you have activated your donor list to finance one black Democrat against the black incumbent Democrat in Georgia's 4th congressional district. Both are ladies, the incumbent being Cynthia McKinney, another 5-term congressperson. The idea seems to be that anytime anyone speaks out on behalf of the Palestinian cause, AIPAC will go to work to squelch them.

Now as far as I can tell, Rep. McKinney isn't anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. Neither was Earl Hilliard. Their sin seems to be that they support the Palestinians in their quest for statehood, which the government of Israel flat-out opposes. President Bush, though, supports a Palestinian state, and so did President Clinton, who did what he could in 2000 to bring one about, but ran out of time. A poll of the Israeli people I've seen recently says 70% of Israeli Jews support a Palestinian state. So I wonder, why is it that AIPAC is going to so much trouble to stamp out Palestinian viewpoints in the U.S. Congress, where none can be heard unless you tune into the Congressional Black Caucus. You have so totally cowed the white members of the House and Senate with your political checkbook that we hear not a peep from them about the Likud Party's almost unanimous vote against a Palestine. Now you must squash Ms. McKinney. We will see how it turns out today, primary day in Georgia, with Ms. McKinney being outspent by Ms. Majette, who since July 1 is said to have raised seven times the amount going to Rep. McKinney.

What I'm afraid is happening, AIPAC people, is that you are now overplaying your hand and will live to regret it. The Jewish coalition with American blacks traces back to the New Deal, with Jews having a small number of votes and lots of money and blacks having lots of votes and no money. A perfect fit. What I believe may happen now is that Jewish members of Congress will find a certain coolness from black members of Congress. In the end, you seem to be putting the coalition at risk for very little, as these kinds of tactics will resonate throughout the black political community, from coast to coast.

My concern for several years has been at a different level. The United States is now at the top of the global mountaintop. The U.S. Congress is at the tippy top. If the 1.2 billion people of the Arab or Islamic world cannot have their views heard even through a proxy like Ms. McKinney, a Catholic, then the only way they can get the attention of the Congress is by toppling the Twin Towers, or the Pentagon, or maybe the Capitol building itself. If they blew it up when it was packed in both House and Senate, they could be sure they would not harm a single Muslim.

I'll have to admit you really don't have much to lose in terms of black defections to the Republican Party, to which I am still loosely attached these days. I see the GOP is so eager to help keep the Jewish/black coalition together for the Democratic Party that it is encouraging the 70,000 Republicans in the 4th district to cross over to vote for Ms. Majette!! Don't ask me why? I belong to the stupid party, but I can't figure it out. So maybe you know what you are doing after all.