Published on AfterDowningStreet.org (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org)
Is It Time to Rein in AIPAC?
Created 2007-08-15 18:29
By William Hughes
“All of these people [in the Israel Lobby] are pleading a special interest. I am an American.” -- President Harry S. Truman
Grant F. Smith’s latest book, “Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee From The 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal,” reveals the controversial history of the influential lobbying organization, known as “AIPAC”. It comes on the heels of his insightful tome, “Deadly Dogma,” an expose’ of the Neocons, where he evidenced their lethal scheme, which they called “A Clean Break,” to destabilize Iraq. (1) In this new book, “Foreign Agents,” Mr. Smith argues that AIPAC, a corporation, should be required to register as a foreign agent for Israel. He accuses it of morphing into a “secretive political intelligence-gathering and covert operations powerhouse...and Israeli-controlled entity in America.” Naturally, AIPAC disagrees with him.
Mr. Smith begins building his case against AIPAC by referring to Capitol Hill hearings held by the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. Senate. The probe, in 1963, was chaired by the late Democratic Senator from Arkansas, James William Fulbright. He suspected that the precursor to AIPAC, the American Zionist Council, (AZC), was given ”seed money,” via covert means, by “the Israeli government” to run a propaganda front for it in the U.S. At the time, the CEO for AZC, “Si” Kenen, (now deceased), was registered, (since 1948), with the U.S. Justice Department and required by the “Foreign Agents Registration Act” (FARA) to file reports disclosing fully his activities on behalf of Israel-based entities. As the result of Fulbright’s investigation, a supposed “conduit” funding operation run by the AZC was “closed down.” The AZC had reportedly received “more than $5,000,000 from the ‘Jewish Agency’ to create a favorable public opinion...for Israeli government policies.” Kenen stopped filing with FARA in 1971.
Sen. Fulbright, however, paid a heavy price for challenging the opaque operations of the alleged unregistered foreign lobby. He was defeated in his bid for reelection in 1974, with the help of the Israel Lobby. Can anyone imagine this mostly cowardly Congress of today checking the reported excesses of AIPAC?
Mr. Smith also details the testimony of some of the key witnesses, who appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee, and their cross examination by Chairman Fulbright. It makes for fascinating reading. A letter from the head of the Rabinowitz Foundation, one Victor Rabinowitz, to Fulbright, dated July 29, 1963, is also illustrative. Rabinowitz conceded: “I did not know at the time the ‘Jewish Agency’ was a representative of the Israeli government...The [Rabinowitz] Foundation did not wish to be ‘a conduit of funds’ from the Israeli government or the Jewish Agency.” Later, another witness disputed Rabinowitz’s statement. This exchange about potentially using “a conduit” to avoid FARA took place only nine years after an Israeli terrorist attack on U.S. targets in Egypt, known as the “Lavon Affair.” (2) Mr. Smith connects that covert operation directly to one of the putative architects of the U.S. Israel Lobby through original research which this writer hasn’t seen in any other book.
One of the chapters in Mr. Smith’s book focuses on alleged “economic espionage” by Israel in this country. He claims it has led to “major losses and problems for export-oriented industries.” Mr. Smith quotes Professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt to reinforce his opinion. They wrote in their seminal critique of the Israel Lobby, in March, 2006: “Israel has provided sensitive military technology to potential rivals, like China, in what the State Department called ‘a systematic and growing pattern of unauthorized transfers.’ According to the General Accounting Office, Israel also conducts the most aggressive espionage operations against the U.S. of any ally.’ In addition to the case of Jonathan Pollard, who gave Israel large quantities of classified material in the early 1980s, a new controversy erupted in 2004, when it was revealed that a key Pentagon official called Larry Franklin had passed classified information to an Israeli diplomat. Israel’s...willingness to spy on its principal patron casts further doubt on its strategic value.” (3) Incidentally, Pollard, the most notorious of Israel’s spies, got a life sentence for his treachery.
Mr. Smith cites a dated survey that indicated that about “80 percent of the members of Congress now have former AIPAC interns on their staffs.” That survey was taken almost a decade ago. It was mentioned in a 1998 presentation by Dr. John Duke Anthony, the head of the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations, “NCUSAR,” and spotlighted in the prestigious “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs” magazine. (4) It would be worth finding out AIPAC’s true Capitol Hill penetration today, but such relevant statistics are rarely, if ever, available for a variety of reasons.
Just to show you how much things have changed over the years, in the early ‘50s, Israel received around $15 million in aid a year from the U.S. Last year, it rang our bell for about $3.5 billion in freebies! Recently, another outrage was reported. Israel will extract $30 billion more in military aid from our treasury over the next ten years, while many of our cities, and bridges, like the one that recently crashed in Minneapolis, MN, are rusting away. (5) By the way, Mr. Smith hails from Minneapolis.
In the realm of “Election Law Violations,” Mr. Smith cites a number of cases where AIPAC-related operatives had allegedly run afoul of election laws in pushing for their candidates to win and/or looking to defeat candidates in the Congress who had dared to criticize Israel’s conduct. Two politicos who lost as the result of the putative unsavory electoral tactics of pro-Israel types were ex-U.S. Sen. Chuck Percy (R-IL) and ex-Rep. Paul Findley (R-IL). AIPAC’s position was that it wasn’t “coordinating strategy” in any campaigns and had “no consensus” on any political candidates. A secret AIPAC memo reprinted in “Foreign Agents” reportedly shows that this was simply another deception.
The Larry Franklin case, mentioned above, is Mr. Smith’s main hammer against AIPAC. Franklin, who was working in the Pentagon, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2005, to passing “classified” and highly sensitive documents to two officials of AIPAC, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman. The documents were then passed on to an Israeli diplomat. In other words, Franklin was “spying” for Israel. He received a sentence of 12 years and 7 months. Rosen and Weissman were fired by AIPAC. However, AIPAC was never indicted in the federal case. The duo, however, Rosen and Weissman, have been charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act. Their trial date is set for Jan. 14, 2008. One commentator, Robert Dreyfuss, said it should be called, “The AIPAC Case.” He submitted that it was AIPAC, who was originally under investigation by the FBI, dating back five years, and that Franklin simply got caught up in its net. (6) Another analyst, Justin Raimondo, a fierce critic of the cunning Neocons, suggested the trial will throw light on how the U.S. was “lied” into the Iraqi War by “a Fifth Column” of intriguers. (7) I wonder if Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s name will come up?
Finally, the book, “Foreign Agents,” is a searing indictment of AIPAC in the Court of Public Opinion. It also exposes how its tentacles influence the Mass Media. Marylanders now know, too, that one of its U.S. Senators, Barbara Mikulski, receives “daily” phone calls from AIPAC honchos, as she persists in voting to fund the unjust and illegal Iraqi War. (8) Folks who wonder, too, why there has never been a full Congressional hearing on the Israelis’ vicious assault, in 1967, on the USS Liberty, will have to look no further then this treatise. (9) While, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (IND), two of AIPAC’s assets on Capitol Hill, are hawking for a U.S. led attack on Iran, the U.S.-subsidized-Apartheid state of Israel is crushing the life out of the Palestinians and making more enemies for us in the Islamic World. (10) I submit that this book should be read by every American who cares about the fate of the Republic.
10. http://www.pchrgaza.org/  and
Jimmy Carter’s “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” and
©2007, William Hughes.
William Hughes is an author and video/print journalist. His videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=liamh2.
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