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Direct Mail Fundraising Material - American Israel Public Affairs Committee

December 15, 2017 AMERICAN ISRAEL PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE direct mail fundraising appeal (PDF)
August 31, 2016 AMERICAN ISRAEL PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE direct mail fundraising appeal (PDF)
August 31, 2016 AMERICAN ISRAEL PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE direct mail fundraising brochure

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is today the most important advocacy IAO, because its mandate is to focus the collective power of most of the IAO ecosystem on Congress. Its rise is poorly understood and receives little due attention from establishment media outlets. Only after burrowing into recently declassified government files does it become clear that AIPAC was an entirely foreign creation, set up and seed-funded to advance Israel’s interests at the expense of the United States.

In the beginning, much of AIPAC’s financial support was laundered from a pool of donations from international Jewish communities through Switzerland as it struggled to build up a support base in the U.S. Like a JCRC, AIPAC at first functioned as an unincorporated lobbying division within a larger organization, the American Zionist Council (indeed, it was once known as the American Zionist Council for Public Affairs.) Most of AIPAC’s funding, like many IAOs, is still largely provided by a small group of ultra-wealthy donors. AIPAC would not exist in its present form had its parent organization not been ordered by the Kennedy administration to begin registering as an Israeli foreign agent under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act. AIPAC successfully thwarted the order.[1]

AIPAC’s dorsal fin periodically breaks the surface in espionage scandals, election manipulation flaps and insider accounts of wrongdoing. These hint at the scope and direction of the Israeli government policies that have always driven its U.S. lobbying. The most recent evidence that AIPAC is a foreign agent is how it sided with the Netanyahu government in opposition to the U.S. Iran nuclear deal. It clearly did not represent majority Jewish public opinion in the United States, which supported the deal. Representing Israel over all other possible interests is AIPAC’s norm rather than a departure.


Theodore Herzl’s original grand Zionist vision, as promulgated in his book The Jewish State, contemplated a corporation that would lay the necessary groundwork for the state by raising money, organizing orderly Jewish emigration and managing programs. The Jewish Agency was chartered in Switzerland in 1925 as just such an organization for achieving statehood, and was often characterized as a “government in waiting” that lobbied in the United Nations for the division of Palestine and later the creation of Israel. The Jewish Agency established its first U.S. representative office, “The American Section,” in New York in 1944. By September of 1948, the Bureau of Internal Revenue granted the Jewish Agency tax-exempt status, though the IRS no longer possesses any records documenting its basis for doing so.

Isaiah L. “Si” Kenen, a naturalized Canadian, who began life as a journalist, was the Jewish Agency’s public relations official as it battled for the creation of Israel in the United Nations. As a lobbyist and public relations man working on behalf of foreign entities, Kenen initially took the Foreign Agents Registration Act quite seriously. FARA was passed in 1938 to protect Americans from the undue influence of foreign governments. It netted up assorted Communists with Soviet connections and Nazi agents corresponding with the Third Reich in the 1940s. They were prosecuted, not for their activities, but rather for their failure to properly notify Americans of true foreign government sponsors, and for failing to file the required disclosures at a public FARA office visited often by reporters. On April 21, 1947, Kenen registered as an agent of the American Section of the Jewish Agency for Israel. After Israel was founded, he became a foreign agent of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, working at the “Israel Information Services” office from October 12, 1948 through May 13, 1951.[2]

Kenen’s mission—to send arms, diplomatic support and foreign aid from the United States to Israel—never changed. However, he and many other Israel supporters immediately concluded that it was a mistake to follow the rules and go through diplomatic channels as representatives of a foreign—even a new and unique—government. As stated in his biography, Israel’s Defense Line, “Embassies talked to the State Department, and American voters talked to their congressmen.” Kenen wanted to pressure Congress, the best source for what Israel desperately needed, not as a foreign government lobbyist, but as a concerned American. The advantages were, and continue to be, obvious. A foreign government soliciting American help would have to deliver something the United States wanted in return. Israel had—and continues to have—very little to offer commensurate with the billions of dollars and political support it has received. However, it did have an organized, vocal, politically active, higher-than-average wealth, Jewish Zionist American support base that could be focused on agitating through myriad means for what Israel wanted. To accomplish this, Israel’s government and agencies needed to set up and fund an organization that could frame the fulfillment of Israel’s needs as an American interest. This was the purpose of the American Zionist Council. Today, it continues to be the purpose of AIPAC.

Because there were already several American Zionist organizations in existence, the Jewish Agency began funding a consortium comprising the Zionist Organization of America, Hadassah (the Women’s Zionist Organization) and other now, mostly defunct, organizations to coordinate and conduct the public relations and lobbying necessary to provide Israel what normal diplomatic relations could not. The AZC did not take direction or receive funding from its member organizations. Rather, AZC was principally a vehicle for—largely secret—Jewish Agency funded programs. The big-name organizations and figures on the AZC letterhead would ostensibly impress the rest of the political elite and keep investigators at bay.[3]

The American Zionist Council filed to begin lobbying Congress to pass the Israel Aid Act of 1951 to help pay for Jewish immigration to Israel. The AZC issued pamphlets arguing that America would benefit by giving aid to Israel, and that it was Israel, not Arab states, that was earnestly pursuing peace. The Eisenhower administration communicated its displeasure that the AZC initially lobbied for foreign aid using tax-exempt donations.  According to UCLA scholar Steven Spiegel, opposition from the president was intense: [4]

The tension between the Eisenhower administration and Israeli supporters was so acute that there were rumors (unfounded as it turned out) that the administration would investigate the American Zionist Council. Therefore, an independent lobbying group was formed within the auspices of the American Zionist Committee.[5]

A special lobbying division was formed within the AZC, led by Kenen and internally referred to as “the Kenen Committee.” It was officially dubbed the American Zionist Council for Public Affairs. Although AZCPA claimed in tax filings to the IRS that it used non-tax-deductible donations for lobbying, such money was scarce and hard to come by, though unsavory sources such as mobster John Factor (aka Jake the Barber) and Meyer Lansky associate Aaron Weisberg of the Sands Casino stepped up with contributions. Still, the indefatigable Kenen worked members of Congress and obtained approval of a $15 million foreign aid allocation to Israel in the face of robust State Department opposition.

In celebration of the 1951 passage of a $65 million aid bill, Kenen inaugurated what would become a Washington tradition—congressional junkets to Israel. In November 1951 Kenen was paid $2,518 by the Israeli government to escort “visiting Congressmen: Ribicoff, Fugate, Keating, O’Toole, Barrett and Fein...” around Israel. Given the fungible nature of such aid, it is hard to imagine that none of it was ultimately paid by American taxpayers.[6]

The American Zionist Council, like AIPAC today, recommended planks to be inserted into both party platforms during presidential election campaigns and conventions. A July 1, 1952, AZC memorandum to the Republican Party urged adopting a plank pledging continued support to Israel. On July 17, a similar resolution was submitted to the Democratic National Convention. Both were adopted.[7]

In addition to funding a wide variety of public relations activities through the American Zionist Council, the Jewish Agency began paying Isaiah Kenen under the table in order to keep his lobbying operation afloat. Kenen launched his privately owned lobbying newsletter called The Near East Report. Sent to every member of Congress and influencer he could identify, the publication nakedly promoted why U.S. aid to Israel was such a sensible endeavor, while belittling and chastising Arab leaders. It took no prisoners, excoriating senators and congressional representatives who did not approve of Israel aid packages, which later led to trouble with Senator J. W. Fulbright. Most importantly for Kenen, the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem funded the publication with $5,000 quarterly earmarks, made to the American Zionist Council, which the Jewish Agency directed to be sent on to its former employee, Kenen, the newsletter’s owner.[8] 9]

Fred Scribner, a U.S. Undersecretary of Treasury, confidentially warned during a 1959 meeting with key Zionist organizations operating in the U.S. that they needed to restructure themselves in order to avoid problems with the Eisenhower administration, the IRS, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Subsequently, that same year, Kenen again changed the name of his lobbying organization, this time from the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to better reflect that, according to him anyway, it “raised its funds from both Zionists and non-Zionists.” Yet it still remained just a committee, unincorporated and run inside the AZC.

In addition to subsidizing public relations expert Kenen, the Jewish Agency was secretly providing much bigger funding flows to the AZC for a comprehensive campaign aimed at generating enough grassroots support for Israel that Congress would continue funding aid packages. The incredible 1962-1963 plan of the AZC “Committee on Information and Public Relations” pressed every lever to influence public opinion in the United States, including magazines, TV, radio, films, Christian groups, academic circles, news dailies, books, public speakers, visitors to Israel, and measures counteracting opposition groups. It must be read to be believed. The lobbying campaign for favorable public relations and media coverage included strategically directed gifts and grants to U.S. colleges and universities for new Israel-centric “Middle East Studies” departments. Many groups, including evangelical Christian religious organizations, now highly active in AIPAC-like affairs, were initially indifferent to or even suspicious of these initiatives. They were only gradually won over by the intensity, longevity, and financial resources dedicated to the campaign. [10]

One senator, who intensely felt the barbs of The Near East Report and building pressures to do ever more for Israel, was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, J.W. Fulbright. Fulbright’s understanding of U.S. law and foreign agent registration requirements were anchored in his legal studies. He earned a degree from George Washington University Law School in 1934. That year he was admitted to the Washington, DC bar and became an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice anti-trust division. This legal expertise would serve Fulbright well as he sought to unravel one of the most complex and opaque chains of interlinked nonprofit corporations ever assembled in the United States. Fulbright chartered an investigation into the forces and money behind Israel lobbying in America.  His March 17, 1961 three-page memorandum (only declassified late in the year 2010!) outlines why the Senate Foreign Relations Committee focused much of its investigation on the Jewish Agency, the American Zionist Council and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (still functioning as the unincorporated lobbying division of the AZC). It reads:

In recent years there has been an increasing number of incidents involving attempts by foreign governments, or their agents, to influence the conduct of American foreign policy by techniques outside normal diplomatic channels…there have been occasions when representatives of other governments have been privately accused of engaging in covert activities within the United States and elsewhere, for the purpose of influencing United States Policy (the Lavon Affair).

The “Lavon Affair” referred to a botched 1954 false flag Israeli terrorist bombing plot against U.S. and other targets in Egypt code-named “Operation Susannah.” It was intended to reverse the Eisenhower administration policy of pressing for a British withdrawal and returning control of the Suez Canal zone to Egypt. A group of Egyptian Jews who had been recruited by Israeli military intelligence targeted American and British cultural centers. The agents, dressed as Arabs, were discovered, arrested and criminally prosecuted in Egypt after the explosives malfunctioned. This led to a crisis in the Israeli government and minor disruption in relations with the U.S. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee charter of the 1960s foreign agents investigation, which mentioned the Lavon incident twice in three pages, expressed caution about investigating such sensitive matters and proposed three avenues for Senate investigation:

There would undoubtedly (even with care) be instances which would lead to foreign governmental protests, to violent attacks by special groups in the United States...

 I. Public receipt of testimony from Department of Justice and Department of State….II. Public receipt of testimony from selected law and public relations firms….III. Executive (perhaps public) receipt of testimony on the Lavon Affair, and similar ‘grey area’ activities…[11]

Ultimately, no testimony on the Lavon Affair was ever given during the Israel lobby investigation. However, after initiating its investigation in 1961, the Senate used subpoena power to seize sensitive Jewish Agency files. The files revealed the full extent of the Jewish Agency’s subsidies to the American Zionist Council and its secret earmarks to Kenen. Apparently fearing arrest, Kenen fled the U.S. for a lengthy international tour. He wrote:

In 1961, it was rumored that Fulbright intended to investigate foreign agents. I was subjected to a barrage of inquiries from friends and foes wherever I went, and while I was confident that I would survive the attack I decided to vanish from the scene. Coincidentally, I was invited that year to visit Iran as a guest of the Iranian government. I accepted the invitation and from there I flew on to Africa to learn more about the people of that continent. I was happy to find most African countries friendly to Israel and was more relaxed in Africa than in Mr. Fulbrights Washington.[12]

Under pressure from the Senate investigation, on March 31, 1962 the Jewish Agency’s American Section finally admitted in its mandatory filings to the Justice Department a fact it had kept hidden for over a decade: that it was channeling large amounts of funding to the American Zionist Council for public relations and lobbying activities. On November 21, 1962, the Department of Justice ordered the American Zionist Council to begin registering as a foreign agent, touching off an intense battle in which the AZC summoned every resource to fight being regulated for what it was—a foreign-funded stealth political operation.[13]

The Senate record of the May 23 and August 1, 1963, hearings on Israel lobbying outlined the many Jewish Agency-funded public relations and lobbying programs. During testimony, the Jewish Agency American Section director made it clear that the start-up funding provided to the American Zionist Council, $700-800,000 per year, were foreign funds, raised by interested foreign Jewish communities, and not diverted from United Jewish Appeal charitable relief funds raised in the United States. The American Zionist Council director and legal team, throughout the May hearing, refused to acknowledge what Senator Fulbright certainly knew, since he was keeping in close touch with the administration—that the AZC had already been ordered to register as a foreign agent. Legal counsel obliquely characterized it as “a request for some more detailed information with respect to specific items, I think it was in September or October, I do not recall, 1962.” Throughout the hearings, Jewish Agency representatives stressed their intention to make the American Zionist Council and its programs financially self-sustaining, as if fully domestic funding would brush away the trail of foreign seed money that started the operation.[14]

The airing of dirty laundry in the hearings did not stop foreign-directed public relations and lobbying efforts for Israel, as the 1970 Dow Jones weekly newspaper, the National Observer, neatly summarized:

In 1963 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigated the Jewish Agency and uncovered a conduit operation run by an organization called the American Zionist Council. Over an eight-year period, this council received more than $5,000,000 from the Jewish Agency to create a favorable public opinion in this country for Israeli government policies. The Senate investigation closed down the conduit, but the extensive propaganda activities still go on.[15]

The “extensive propaganda activities” continued because AZC’s unincorporated lobbying division, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, quickly split off and then took over the entire operation.  Just six weeks after the 1962 FARA order, AIPAC incorporated in Washington, DC.  It applied for tax-exempt status in 1967 and achieved a surprising concession from the IRS (one the ZOA itself later attempted, but failed to obtain).  Without admitting association with any predecessor tax-exempt organization on its application to the IRS (thereby avoiding questions about whether it, too, should register as a foreign agent, like the AZC), it was granted tax-exempt status retroactive to 1953 in acknowledgement of the year it debuted as the unincorporated American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs inside the AZC.[16]

By 1973, Kenen was able to claim that AIPAC had boosted U.S. aid to Israel to $1 billion per year. When he retired in 1974, Kenen retained his “editor emeritus” title at the Near East Report. The spirit of AIPAC’s hardball and often legally questionable tactics would continue long after Kenen left the scene, and the results are staggering. At the time of Kenen’s death in 1988, U.S. aid to Israel exceeded $3 billion a year, and remains the highest amount of U.S. aid allocated to any country.

Fulbright was right to be concerned about these Jewish Agency seed-funding operations, for which he did not see “precedent of anything like it in any other instance.” IAOs worked hard to defeat Fulbright and ultimately ousted him by backing Arkansas governor Dale Bumpers. Nevertheless, Fulbright continued to speak out against the clandestine activities of Israel lobbying organizations in America. He brandished a confidential internal May 6, 1974 B’nai B’rith memo written to its national board of directors from Secretary-General Herman Edlesberg. It stated, “…all of the indications suggest our actions in support of Governor Bumpers will result in the ousting of Mr. Fulbright from his key position in the Senate.”[17] [18]

IAOs derive a great deal of influence claiming to represent the majority of American Jews, which they clearly do not, as revealed by evidence cited throughout this book. Just as Jewish federations have been charged by insiders as being captive to a small number of wealthy donors with no real pretense of constituent governance. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is also extremely narrowly funded, a fact it has tried hard to hide.

 For fiscal year 2006, AIPAC’s top contributor gave $650,000. The rest of AIPAC’s donors gave on average $16,772 each. Donors giving more than $5,000 numbered just over 1,700 individuals. This group of wealthy donors provided the majority (56 percent) of AIPAC’s total claimed direct public support. If—as AIPAC claimed—it had approximately 50,000 paying members that year, the rest gave on average only $464 to make up the total of $50,920,792 in public support. An imperfect IRS redaction of AIPAC’s schedule of contributors revealed that one donation was actually paid from a law partnership. This likely meant the donor deducted the payment as a business expense, thereby creating a “tax-deductible” donation to an organization that—because it lobbies Congress and is a 501 (c)(4) organization—is not tax deductible for individual donors. Given that AIPAC is segmenting its donor base into professional groups, such as “real estate” and “high-tech,” it is reasonable to assume it is also urging members to make “expensed” donations from their business revenue, rather than contributing personal after-tax dollars to fund the organization. [19]

AIPAC has filed misleading tax returns in the past, including its original application for tax-exempt status, which as previously mentioned failed to state it was a subsidiary of the American Zionist Council. AIPAC plays games with responses to questions on IRS 990 forms, claiming no expenditures for lobbying and trying to consolidate donors into broad categories to hide how many $5,000-plus donors it has. Though required, like any nonprofit, to individually list every donor giving more than $5,000, in the year 2009 it listed only two: one contributor of $48,542.187, and the other (which was obviously the American Israel Education Foundation) that reimbursed AIPAC $13,503,472 for its supposed “education-related” endeavors. AIPAC was probably trying to consolidate and hide the actual number of $5,000-plus contributors—perhaps because they likely had shrunk in number following the 2005 indictment of two AIPAC executives for espionage, and a subsequent defamation lawsuit filed by one of those two employees. AIPAC “funny numbers” games continue. For the year 2012, AIPAC filed two returns, one in August and the other in October, with $23 million in accounting differences. [20] [21]

Like many of the Jewish federations, AIPAC does not claim to spend any funds for lobbying on its tax reports to the IRS. However, as a domestically registered lobby, it must file quarterly lobbying reports with the Clerk of Congress. These disclosures indicate that approximately $3 million in expenditures per year are generated by the activities of a staff of about ten lobbyists. Obtaining and compiling the lobbying reports into useful annual data requires knowing where to look and is more arduous to researchers than looking up a single yearly IRS 990 report. However, like examining ZOA lobbying disclosures or peering into Christians United for Israel startup operations, the effort is somewhat fruitless because it does not capture the principal way AIPAC pressures Congress, or the actual funds this consumes.

AIPAC puts many of its lobbying eggs into a single basket, spending almost $40 million per year on a three-day spring policy conference that attracts as many as two-thirds of the sitting members of congress and key administration officials. The 14,000 attendees at the 2015 conferences are then scheduled into “lobbying appointments” with their members of Congress to “speak to them about issues of concern to the pro-Israel community.” This “paper trail-less” model of “grassroots” lobbying that is practiced by Jewish Community Relations Councils, and now CUFI, maximizes the power of activists, donors and members of AIPAC while minimizing public disclosure. It has a huge impact to those on the receiving end, according to congressional staffers interviewed by author Kirk Beattie:

In contrast to Arab groups, AIPAC comes in and they all say the same thing. When they have their annual convention, 7,000 people  are at the dinner—everybody in Congress is there. There was a big pro-Israel rally recently and 10,000 people showed up. They’re so good at choreography, with everyone doing their role. The Arabs all want to do their own thing. AIPAC has a good understanding of when to play hardball and when not to do so.[22]

Analysis of giving patterns between AIPAC board members, known donors, and a legion of “stealth” PACs with names that give no indication that they exclusively promote pro-Israel candidates also reveals a high degree of coordination. However, the Federal Election Commission and courts, even when made aware of the written orders of an AIPAC official coordinating such funding flows in the 1980s, have never taken concrete steps to patrol the boundaries between charity status and generally prohibited support for particular candidates. AIPAC scorecards clearly reveal which candidates are favored for donations. That AIPAC’s power derives both from its role representing major IAOs and ability to mobilize donors in a senator’s state or a congressional district is readily admitted by a former AIPAC staffer: [23]

AIPAC is really shorthand for the whole network. They have their rote answer regarding noninvolvement in politics, but they do help candidates get money. I know, I used to work for them. But AIPAC also plays or makes a ‘pain in the butt calculus.’ The national level lobbyists will come in, five or six of my big Jewish donors back home will call in and threaten to cancel events, or the rabbi calls, or 40 to 50 constituents will call—so is it worth it to buck this group? It’s a pain in the butt. That’s their strength on the bill, versus, ‘if I vote with them, I can make points and get money.’[24]

Like the B’nai B’rith’s spinoff, the Anti-Defamation League, AIPAC has also incubated other organizations. The American Israel Education Foundation is an organization that sends members of Congress (more than 1,000 since the year 2000) and other influential Americans on all-expense-paid trips to Israel. AIEF was incorporated in 1988 to promote a more “balanced and realistic” understanding of American interests in the Middle East among policy-makers, academics and journalists. Although it promised the IRS in its application for tax-exempt status that “All research produced and published will be made available to the general public,” AIEF has never complied. Its still-relatively new, single-page website contains no information on education programs.

AIEF’s activities ramped up after legislative reforms banned much lobby-sponsored travel following the Jack Abramoff affair, while still allowing “educational” trips by educational nonprofits. AIEF is housed in the same facilities as AIPAC, has no staff, and in 2009 sixty-six percent of its board of directors were also directors of AIPAC. Existing only on paper, AIEF uses AIPAC-developed education materials and sends AIPAC staff (such as its “Israel Seminars Assistant” and “Grassroots and Missions Director) to accompany members of Congress on trips to Israel. [25] [26]

AIEF, like AIPAC, echoes the rhetoric of the Israeli government. Members of Congress on junkets are told by AIEF—and in its official briefing book—that “Jerusalem is Israel’s largest city—not a ‘settlement.’” There are no longer any final status issues to be negotiated—despite UN insistence to the contrary because, according to AIEF, “Israel later incorporated the eastern half of the city and declared the unified Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.” AEIF’s “case closed” approach to what the rest of the world considers to be open issues impresses congressional visitors, many of whom have little international experience, views on the region, or alternative sources of information.[27]

The AIEF briefing book is full of flattery to Congress, and declares “Congress has regularly recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in various resolutions and law.” Interviewed anonymously, one congressional staffer who had lived in Israel stated, “the termination of such trips would be ruinous to pro-Israel interests”[28]

Another spinoff by AIPAC employees and donors is the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. WINEP (or TWI, as it now calls itself) is also somewhat narrowly funded. In the year 2001, it reported that just six donors provided 30 percent of its $4.2 million in donations. Those seeking background information about WINEP on its official website are informed that WINEP was founded “in 1985” by a small group of visionary Americans committed to advancing U. S. interests in the Middle East. Like much of the website’s content, the information is not accurate. WINEP was incorporated during an espionage investigation crisis that suddenly enveloped AIPAC in 1984. The process of AIPAC spinning off WINEP is reminiscent of AIPAC’s own crisis-driven incorporation just two decades earlier.

Between 1982 and 1985, English-born Australian immigrant to America Martin Indyk busily served as deputy research director at AIPAC. Under Indyk’s reign, AIPAC pumped out a steady flow of lobbying booklets arguing for ever greater U.S. military support to Israel, such as The Strategic Value of Israel (1982), Israel and the U.S. Air Force (1983), Israel and the U.S. Navy (1983), Israeli Medical Support for U.S. Armed Forces (1983) and U.S. Procurement of Israeli Defense Goods and Services (1984).

Securing non-reciprocal duty-free Israeli access to U.S. consumers was the AIPAC research division’s most important project in 1984. However, trade negotiations were going badly at the beginning of that year. Undercutting the arguments of many in the lobby who insist that U.S. industry is always an eager driver of entangling economic and military deals, the majority of U.S. companies providing formal input did not want any special U.S. trade preferences granted to Israel, an economy then dominated by state-run industries. Monsanto even suggested that if the U.S was going to bother with negotiations to boost trade volumes through comparative advantage, it should do so with a worthwhile economic partner such as Taiwan, Hong Kong or Japan.[29]

Help for Israel soon arrived in the form of Israeli Minister of Economics Dan Halpern. Halpern provided AIPAC with a stolen copy of a secret U.S. International Trade Commission report outlining the precise objections supported by internal domestic industry, and secret market data provided in absolute confidence to the U.S. government by American companies opposed to concessions to Israel. It was an indispensable resource for AIPAC’s counter-lobbying and public relations. Unfortunately for AIPAC, on August 3, 1984, The Washington Post broke the news that the FBI was investigating how AIPAC “obtained a copy of a classified document that spells out the American negotiating strategy in trade talks with Israel…” An August 13, 1984, FBI report stated, “Files contain an unsubstantiated allegation that a member of the Israeli Intelligence Service was a staff member of AIPAC…” November 1, 1984, the U.S. Bromine Alliance was in urgent talks with the International Trade Commission chairwoman, publicly demanding to know how much of their industry’s secret trade and market data had been leaked to AIPAC and Israel’s own state-run producer.

Later that month on November 14, 1984 WINEP suddenly incorporated in Washington, DC, formed not by “prominent individuals” but rather by Martin Indyk’s wife, Jill, along with Marilyn Edeson and Elizabeth Chotin, according to the original articles of incorporation filed at the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. This suggests that the incorporation process was hurried along even as the FBI’s espionage and theft-of-government-policy dragnet tightened around AIPAC during the so-called “Year of the Spy.”The year earned that designation, spurred by revelations of Jonathan Pollard’s espionage bonanza against the Defense Intelligence Agency. Martin Indyk jumped the AIPAC ship and quietly relocated his research production within WINEP. By 1986, WINEP was doing public relations work for yet another disastrous program—the Lavi jet fighter—while providing a Washington perch for a visiting Shimon Peres to chastise Soviet immigration policy. Thwarted by Israeli diplomatic immunity claims, the FBI quietly shut down its investigation in 1987 after learning much about AIPAC and Israeli officials’ various roles in obtaining, reproducing and handling classified economic documents—to the detriment of democratic process in the U.S.[30] [31]

Although WINEP’s founding myth is that its “scholars” simply wanted to do serious research independent of AIPAC (not mentioning they would still be funded by AIPAC’s own major donors), history indicates that survivability was also a compelling reason for its quiet launch in November of 1984. In a worst-case scenario, espionage or theft of government property indictments would have likely disbanded either AIPAC or WINEP but probably not both. One would surely survive and make sure the massive trade concessions were implemented. Splitting off was the same survival strategy that led to the spinoff of AIPAC just six weeks after its parent organization, the American Zionist Council, was ordered to register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962.

WINEP’s history and role as an Israel lobby think tank is never mentioned when the organization’s ubiquitous pundits fan out across the American news media. Such disclosures would undermine WINEP’s and the media host’s credibility. Like AIPAC, WINEP often beats war drums for Israel. A 2012 video clip features WINEP’s Research Director Patrick Clawson listing “crisis initiation” triggers, such as the Gulf of Tonkin torpedo attacks (later proven to be a false alarm), or pinning blame on the Spanish for the sinking of the U.S.S Maine in 1898 (which likely was an accidental boiler explosion). Clawson advised that an effective false flag attack, such as taking out an Iranian submarine, could drag a then-reluctant United States into war with Iran. Israel lobby stalwart Dennis Ross struggled mightily to answer reporter Barbara Slavin’s question about how WINEP could move the U.S. beyond diplomatic “red lines” against Iran, when polls revealed the majority of Americans had already grown tired of costly elective wars in the Middle East. He could not answer.

See the Israel Lobby Archive's extensive collection of AIPAC material cited below.


[1] For the full account, see Grant F. Smith, America’s Defense Line: The Justice Departments Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government [Washington, DC Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, 2008]

[2] Isaiah L. Kenen, “Foreign Agent to Founder of AIPAC.” The Israel Lobby Archive.  http://www.irmep.org/ila/kenen/

[3] American Jewish League for Israel, B’nai Zion, Religious Zionists of America, Labor Zionist Movement, Progressive Zionist League, United Labor Zionist Party, United Zionist-Revisionists of America

[4] “The Mutual Security Program in the Middle East” American Zionist Council, 1953, “Who is for Peace in the Middle East?” June, 1953, Herbert Levy Printing Company

[5] Spiegel Steven, The Other Arab-Israeli Conflict: Making America’s Middle East Policy, From Truman to Reagan [Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1985] 87-89

[6] Grant  F. Smith, “The First Congressional Junket to Israel,” originally published by Online Journal, available at Intifada-Palestine, August 22, 2009 http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2009/08/the-first-congressional-junket-to-israel/

[7] Louis Shub, “Zionist and Pro-Israel Activities,” The America Jewish Yearbook, Vol. 54, 1953, 157

[8] Near East Report was acquired by the nonprofit IAO Near East Research, which dissolved, according to its last IRS filing, by “resolution on September 22, 2008 and merged into the operations of the American Israel Education Foundation.”

[9] American Zionist Council and American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs tax filings, Israel Lobby Archive http://israellobby.org/AZCPA/

[10] American Zionist Council 1962-1963 U.S. Public Relations Plan, The Israel Lobby Archive http://www.israellobby.org/azc2/

[11] The Eisenhower library has released National Security Council files detailing high-level meetings in 1954. It has never released any files about the cabinet’s reaction to “Operation Susannah.” Archivist Herb Pankratz claimed to the author in 2011 that much information from the administration has still not been properly indexed for research.

[12] Isaiah L Kenen,.All My Causes in an 80-Year Life Span [Washington, DC: Near East Research, 1985] 103

[13] “DOJ orders the AZC to Register as a Foreign Agent,” Israel Lobby Archive, http://israellobby.org/AZCDOJ/

[14] Senate Foreign Relations Committee Investigation into the Activities of Agents of Foreign Principals in the United States, 88th Congress, 1st session, Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, May 23, 1963, 1242-1245 http://israellobby.org/Senate/05231963pt1.pdf

[15] Mosher Lawrence, National Observer (Dow Jones), May 19, 1970

[16] The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel Lobby Archive http://www.israellobby.org/AIPAC/

[18] Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby [Chicago, Lawrence Hill Books, 1986] 91

[19] Grant F. Smith, “Does AIPAC Have Only Two Major Donors? Antiwar.com August 10, 2011

[20] AIPAC’s 2009 IRS Form 990 Schedule of Contributors, view online at: http://www.irmep.org/990/2009_AIPAC_Sched_B.pdf

[21] Although the author has solicited AIPAC’s 2009 schedule of contributors a number of times, no corrected schedules have been forthcoming, indicating that the IRS has not pursued the issue.

[22] Kirk J. Beattie, Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East [New York, Oakland: Seven Stories Press, 2015], 152

[23] Janet McMahon, “Fiddlesticks! Federal Judge dismisses case against FEC,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs; December 2010, Vol. 29 Issue 9, 26

[24] Kirk J. Beattie, Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East [New York, Oakland: Seven Stories Press, 2015], 157

[25] The 2007 Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007. The allowance for AIPAC-sponsored travel through AIEF is commonly referred to on Capitol Hill as “the AIPAC exception.”

[26] IRmep - Center for Policy and Law Enforcement complaint to Nanette M. Downing, Director, Exempt Organization Examinations. Friday, September 9, 2011 http://irmep.org/09092011AIEF.pdf

[27] Grant F. Smith, “Israel Junkets Pump Disinformation into Congress,” Antiwar.com, April 23, 2015

[28]Kirk J. Beattie, Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East [New York, Oakland: Seven Stories Press, 2015], 39

[29] “AIPAC, espionage and the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement,” The Israel Lobby Archive, http://www.israellobby.org/FTA/

[30] Law enforcement agencies arrested so many spies for foreign governments operating inside the United States that the news media referred to 1985 as the “Year of the Spy.”

[31] For the full story, see  Grant F. Smith Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy [Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, Washington, DC, 2009]

Organization historical content excerpted with permission from the book BIG ISRAEL How Israel's Lobby Moves America

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