Daily Israel Report
More

Zion's Corner Blogs


It's Jeremy vs. Jeremi in Capitol Hill Israel Lobbying

When AIPAC is not enough: Dynamic religious-Zionist would-be MK takes on J-Street behemoth in Congress.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/16/2012, 6:50 PM

S. Carolina Rep. Alan Clemmons with Ari Abramowitz & Jeremy Gimpel
S. Carolina Rep. Alan Clemmons with Ari Abramowitz & Jeremy Gimpel
Ari Abramowitz & Jeremy Gimpel

Jeremy Gimpel of Tuesday Night Live and TheLandofIsrael.com, who is a contender for a slot on the Jewish Home Knesset list, has also been fighting for Israeli interests in the U.S. Congress.

It turns out that in upcoming U.S. congressional elections, a candidate's position on Judea and Samaria, will probably affect his fundraising prospects. Sources close to Gimpel claim that radical leftist Jewish group J-Street, headed by Jeremi Ben-Ami, has been conducting a quiet campaign in the past few months to assist in the election of candidates who have a "confrontational" position vis-à-vis Israel.

This assistance comes in the form of lobbying, political clout and even significant funding, the sources said. J-Street's own website boasts that it has disbursed over $1.5M to congressmen vying for reelection, as well as 10 new candidates for the House and 15 new candidates for Senate.

Facing this formidable and well-financed behemoth from Israel is a relatively small but talented group that feels mainstream pro-Israel lobby AIPAC's influence is not enough, when it comes to the hardcore issues that concern Israeli nationalists – and especially Judea and Samaria.

"We love AIPAC and feel they do important work, but what we are doing is important for those who object to the two-state solution," Gimpel's partner in theLandofIsrael.com, Ari Abramowitz, told Arutz Sheva. "AIPAC doesn't have the same flexibility as we do to combat so called pro-Israeli politicians who are pro the two-state solution. We are helping those who object to a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River."

Gimpel has joined with David Ha'Ivri, who heads the International Liaison Bureau of the Samaria Regional Authority, in the pro-Israel trenches on the Hill.

"Unlike the radical leftist groups, we are not wallowing in money," Gimpel explained. "Our principal asset is our heart and our professional work. We are in touch with congressmen and senators, as well as candidates who express clear and explicit support for Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron). We assist them in advertising themselves to TheLandofIsrael.com Channel's millions of viewers, connect them to the lovers of the Land of Israel in the states where they are running for office and bring together support coalitions and political lobbies to work for their election."

A large array of volunteers in Israel and the U.S. is active in the pro-Israel candidates' campaigns. The congressmen, for their part, are very appreciative of the support, and have even begun crossing the Green Line into Judea and Samaria on their visits to Israel.

A prominent figure in this pro-Israel congressional group is Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx.), who has been in close contact with Gimpel for several years. Gohmert headed a five-man congressional delegation that toured Samaria last year – the first such tour by a congressional delegation since Israel liberated the area in 1967. 

"The Prime Minister faces huge pressure from the U.S. administration on a daily basis, to freeze construction and stymie the development of the settlement enterprise," Gimpel elaborated. "It is not right for us to simply expect him to withstand that pressure. Instead of fighting thousands of mosquitoes – it is better to drain the marsh. The more public officials in Congress are committed, ideologically and politically, to the settlement enterprise, the less pressure there will be on Israel. This is our duty as Jews and citizens."

Gimpel and Abramowitz founded Jewish-Zionist television channel TheLandofIsrael.com in 2008, and they have been going from success to success ever since. The channel broadcasts to 36 million viewers in English speaking countries, its Facebook page has nearly 300,000 followers, and the YouTube channel where its pro-Israel informational videos are posted has passed the 11 million viewer mark.