File - Vice President Joe Biden addresses the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2013 Policy Conference, Monday, March 4, 2013, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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A series of legislative defeats have dented the legendary reputation of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee as the lobby that gets what it wants from the U.S. Congress and wields enormous influence over the making of American policy on the Middle East.No, say AIPAC officials who expect their annual policy meeting, scheduled for next month, to be the biggest ever, with 14,000 supporters attending.AIPAC tends to align its policy positions with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.AIPAC lobbied against the deal and helped write a resolution to sink it.AIPAC had misread the mood on Capitol Hill.Backed by AIPAC, the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act is couched in language that allows Israeli border officials to decide which U.S. citizen can enter the country.Though much smaller than AIPAC, it has been growing at a brisk rate and says it now has around 180,000 supporters. In the 2012 elections, seven Democratic senators backed by J Street won their races, as did 63 out of 64 J Street-endorsed candidates for seats in the House of Representatives.
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