American Israel Public Affairs Committee

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American Israel Public Affairs Committee

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a national advocacy group that lobbies for U.S. support to the nation of Israel. Founded in 1951, AIPAC has grown into a 65,000-member organization that is recognized as one of the most influential foreign policy groups in the United States. AIPAC has lobbied Congress for U.S. foreign aid to Israel since 1951, when it helped defeat several efforts to cut aid for the resettling of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust Refugees in Israel. In addition, it has lobbied for U.S. military aid to Israel and has helped preserve the special relationship that has existed between the United States and Israel since the United States recognized the nation of Israel in 1948.

AIPAC has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Members of its staff maintain an active presence in the halls of Congress, attending committee sessions and reviewing legislation that may affect the relationship between the United States and Israel. AIPAC estimates that it monitors 2,000 hours of congressional hearings annually. Its research staff members analyze periodicals and documents in five different languages, amassing a large archive of information on hundreds of issues, including foreign aid, antiterrorism initiatives, and programs that promote United States-Israel strategic cooperation. AIPAC staff members also work with key officials in developing legislation and policy, presenting concepts and information that are moved into the legislative process. AIPAC lobbyists hold one thousand meetings annually with congressional offices.

AIPAC also works with aspiring politicians. During the 1994 elections, representatives of AIPAC met with 600 congressional candidates. As of the early 2000s, nearly half of the members of Congress had been elected since 1990, and AIPAC had worked to educate these new legislators about the relationship between the United State and Israel and the key issues critical to maintaining that relationship. After the 1994 election, AIPAC staff met with every freshman representative.

AIPAC regional staff members travel to more than 600 communities a year to train AIPAC members to be effective advocates for United States-Israel relations. AIPAC works in every congressional district, especially those districts with little or no Jewish population. AIPAC conducts small meetings and statewide workshops, giving its members the opportunity to become involved in grassroots Lobbying.

The influence of AIPAC remains strong. The 1998 foreign aid appropriation bill contained $3 billion for Israel. Of that amount, $1.8 billion was for military aid and $1.2 billion was for economic aid. An additional $80 million was appropriated to help settle Jewish refugees in Israel. AIPAC has also maintained congressional support for Israel's position in the Middle East peace process, arguing that attempts to distance the United States from Israel's position only encourage its Arab neighbors to ask for unilateral concessions. AIPAC believes that the peace process will only achieve results if the close working relationship between the United States and Israel continues.

Following the September 11th Attacks in 2001, AIPAC has stepped up its agenda to make sure that the United States continues to ensure Israel's security by working with Congress to isolate and financially constrict such groups as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. AIPAC has continued to support U.S. efforts to isolate and pressure Palestinian authority chairman Yasir Afarat to stop bombings and suicide missions within Israel. Through its Web site, the organization also kept its members updated on protective measures taken by the Israeli people as the United States initiated war with Iraq in 2003.

Further readings

American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Available online at <> (accessed May 30, 2003).

Bass, Warren. 2003. Support Any Friend: Kennedy's Middle East and the Making of the U.S. Israel Alliance. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Wright, John R. 1995. Interest Groups and Congress: Lobbying, Contributions, and Influence. New York: Addison-Wesley.

References in periodicals archive ?
Don't mind that Indyk was recruited as a member of the main pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 1983.
Two American scholars, Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, had the courage to expose truths that many believed but everyone was afraid to expose: the effective control of the country by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Obama told an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) gathering in Washington.
As I was when I left America for good in 2004, I am still of the opinion that the greatest threat to American decency and security is Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The move, by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), appears
The Jordanian monarch made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation representing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), according to a royal court statement.
Summary: In "Transforming America's Israeli Lobby," Dan Fleshler argues that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is not helping Israel's long-term interests and it is not properly reflecting the progressive sentiments of the American Jewish community.
be/LJBianooq0A) will take place two days before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the lobbying umbrella for Israel, holds its annual policy conference in the nation's capital.
Sometimes called the Jewish lobby -- wrongly, in my opinion because not all American Jews are supportive of Israel -- the pro-Israel lobby is indeed a very powerful actor in Congress and exerts significant influence over the administration through the presence of organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Has the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the all-powerful Israel lobby in the US, lost its clout?
Several national Jewish organizations, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee --as well as many evangelical Christians --are lobbying Congress to vote it down.
Concern about Netanyahu's approach were reinforced when US President Barak Obama equated the main Israeli lobby in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), with lobbyists that 12 years ago dragged the US into a disastrous war in Iraq, the consequences of which still dominate global national security concerns.
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