American Israel Public Affairs Committee

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AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which bills itself as "America's Pro-Israel Lobby." Founded in 1954 by Isaiah L. "Si" Kenen, who had previously headed the American Zionist Committee. Though it started out small, with the original goal of securing foreign aid money for Israel from Congress, it now claims 65,000 members in the United States and is widely considered to be one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country. Despite the letters "PAC" in its name, it is not registered as a political action committee. Perhaps PAC was selected to make it appear more legitimate.

An oft-cited example of the power that AIPAC wields was its instrumental role in the 1984 defeat of the then-Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Charles Percy of Illinois, after Percy supported the Reagan administration's plan to sell AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia.

In 1985, Martin Indyk, the research director for AIPAC (and later Ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration) formed an offshoot think tank called the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, or WINEP.

In late August 2004, word was leaked of an ongoing FBI investigation into whether Larry Franklin, an analyst working in the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith, passed classified intelligence documents relating to Iran to two AIPAC staffers, who in turn passed them on to Israel. As of this writing (August 29, 2004) AIPAC has denied any involvement in the espionage case.

AIPAC publishes a newsletter called the Near East Report.

Contents

Promising A War To Win Election

Speaking to an audience of 1,700 members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, U.S. Senator and Democratic Party presidential frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton says: "U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons...In dealing with this threat ... no option can be taken off the table." Source: Samantha Gross. "Sen. Clinton: Iran Is a Threat to Israel." February 1, 2007. News Report

Notable Figures & Alumni

  • Wolf Blitzer, former editor of AIPAC's Near East Report, now CNN anchor

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