The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington's most powerful lobby that has existed since 1963 to ensure that, among other things, members of Congress carefully toe the line in support of Israeli policies, may have claimed another victim in the running out of Washington in March 2010 of Representative Eric Massa (D-NY).
WMR previously reported that Massa's chief of staff, Joe Racalto, who had been pushed on the newly-elected first term congressman by the Democratic leadership in the House, brought forward charges that Massa was engaged in sexually harassing male members of his staff in February 2010. However, just weeks before, according to a well-placed congressional source, Racalto was in Israel as part of a STAFFDEL, a congressional staff delegation invited to the country. In 2009, Massa irritated AIPAC when he was one of 54 congressman to sign a letter to President Obama calling on him to pressure Israel to lift the crippling blockade of Gaza. Racalto was hired from the staff of Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), where he was Frank's driver. Racalto's charges against Massa were later dismissed by a House panel's investigation.
Immediately after sending the Gaza blockade letter to Obama, AIPAC and the pro-Israeli media began putting out the word that the 54 members of Congress were the "Hamas 54" and anti-Semitic, the latter the usual canard used by Zionists who want to intimidate those who dare criticize Israel or suggest an even-handedness in America's policy toward Israelis and Palestinians. In fact, two of the signatories, Bob Filner (D-CA) and John Yarmuth (D-KY) are Jewish.
Massa was joined in signing the latter by Representative Brian Baird (D-WA), who became an outspoken critic of Israeli policies only after he decided not to run for re-election. Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Joe Sestak also signed the letter but he was defeated by Republican Pat Toomey in the U.S. Senate race. Sestak had previously defeated longtime Israel supporter Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary after Specter had switched parties from the GOP.
The letter to Obama specifically requested that Obama advocate for immediate improvements for Gaza in the following areas:
Sestak is a retired Navy admiral while Massa is a medically-retired Navy Commander. With their military backgrounds and national security credentials, both Democrats represented a threat to AIPAC, which has spent time and money cultivating support in the Pentagon and military branches, mainly through its sister organization, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).
Over the years, AIPAC has brought down a number of politicians who criticized Israel. AIPAC has effective command. AIPAC propaganda outlets began putting out the word that while the signatures of "pro-Hamas" members like Keith Ellison (D-MN), America's first Muslim congressman; Jim McDermott (D-WA); Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Jim Moran (D-VA) were no surprise and that pro-Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) members like Representatives Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI) (defeated); Nich Rahall (D-WV); Pete Stark (D-CA); and Diane Watson (D-CA) (retired) and pro-Islamic sharia members like William Delahunt (D-MA) and John Dingell (D-MI) were no surprise, that of Massa was. AIPAC organs began questioning whether Massa could be re-elected after his signing of the blockade letter.
Massa's meeting in Rochester with his constituent, the late USS Liberty survivor John Hrankowski also undoubtedly set off alarm bells at AIPAC, in addition to Massa's opinion that the Goldstone Report, which criticized Israeli human rights violations in its invasion of Gaza, had merit. Usually, AIPAC controls the purse strings to congressional candidates through House congressional campaign committees like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Campaign Committee, the latter receiving millions from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). The DCCC, once controlled by Rahm Emanuel, is now led by Representative Steve Israel (D-NY). However, Massa won his seat in 2008 with no support from the DCCC and that worried AIPAC. Massa did notice that some of his wealthy Jewish contributors from New York City went silent on him as he prepared for his 2010 re-election. Something else had to be done to eliminate Massa and that was ginning up a contrived sex scandal that would drive him out of office.
America's political road is littered with those who dared challenge AIPAC's authority over the American political scene: Democrats and Republicans like J. William Fulbright, William Scranton, Charles Percy, Roger Jepsen, Adlai Stevenson III, Paul Findlay (who wrote an excellent book on AIPAC's influence over American politics, "They Dare to Speak Out"), James Abdenour, James Abourezk, Helen THOMAS, Jimmy Carter, Pete McCloskey, James Traficant, Earl Hilliard, Cynthia McKinney, and now, Eric Massa....who's going to be next?