"I Stand Behind the Words"
To my surprise I discovered that Arafat, who received us in a heavily guarded second-floor apartment, was not a wild-eyed, gun-waving fanatic. Welcoming our small group, which included Mrs. Findley and several other members of Congress, he spoke softly and listened attentively. He was bareheaded and nearly bald. This took us by surprise, because in public he was always attired in the Palestinian headdress or military cap. To questions about PLO terrorism, he repeated his usual litany, but coming directly from his lips the words had added force: "I am a freedom fighter. We are fighting for justice for our people, the four million Palestinians dispossessed and scattered by three decades of war."
Later that year, I had a second and more productive meeting with the PLO leader, again in Damascus. This time I was alone. With Arafat were Abu Hassan, his security leader who was soon to die in a car bombing in Beirut, and Mahmoud Labadi, his public affairs officer, who later deserted Arafat and joined Syrian-supported hard-liners. Such was the ferment in the Palestinian community. I wanted Arafat to clarify the terms under which the PLO would live at peace with Israel. Was he ready to recognize Israel? In a four-hour discussion that stretched late into the night, he provided the answer. Working carefully word by word, and phrase by phrase, he fashioned a statement and authorized me to report it to Carter—and to the public.
The PLO will accept an independent Palestinian state consisting of the West Bank and Gaza, with a connecting corridor, and in that circumstance will renounce any and all violent means to enlarge the territory of that state. I would reserve the right of course to use non-violent, that is to say diplomatic and democratic means, to bring about the eventual unification of all of Palestine. We will give de facto recognition to the State of Israel. We would live at peace with all our neighbors. —Damascus, November 30, 1978.
I wrote the words on a legal sheet and read them back several times so he could ponder their full meaning. I asked Arafat if he would sign his name on the paper bearing the words. He answered, "No, I prefer not to sign my name, but I stand behind the words. You may quote me."
I was elated, perhaps too much so. Arafat s pledge contrasted sharply with the harsh rhetoric of earlier Palestinian public statements which
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called, in effect, for the elimination of the State of Israel. It was not, of course, everything Israel or the United States would want, but it was an encouraging start, and it belied the image of the fanatic who believed only in violence. During the long interview we covered many points, and, determined to protect my credibility, I asked Arafat to identify statements he did not wish to make public. The carefully drafted pledge was not one of these. He wanted the world to know what he pledged, and, clearly, he expected a positive response from President Carter. To use one of the PLO leader s favorite expressions, he had "played a card" in authorizing me to transmit this statement. It was a step beyond anything his organization had officially proclaimed before.
Tragically, it brought no reaction from the U.S. government. I later learned that Secretary of State Vance privately recommended that the administration "take note" of it, but his suggestion was rejected. In a subsequent interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Arafat—always a nimble actor—sidestepped questions about the pledge. Carter's newly appointed special ambassador to the Middle East, Robert Strauss, a prominent Democrat who had previously served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was intrigued by my communication with Arafat and became a frequent visitor to my office.
I often thought that bringing Arafat and Strauss together would be important to the peace process. The fact that Strauss is Jewish would have helped thousands of Jews in Israel put aside their government s hard line. But Strauss, despite his unique intimate relationship with Carter and his demonstrated ability to negotiate complicated problems on both the international and domestic scene, never received full presidential backing on the Middle East. Late in his diplomatic mission, just before he was shifted to the chairmanship of Carter s ill-fated campaign for reelection, Strauss told me, "If I had had my way, I would have been talking directly to Arafat months ago."
I found myself being drawn deeper into Middle East politics. Early one Sunday, Assistant Secretary of State Harold Saunders called for help. At Arafat's behest, Kuwait was demanding consideration of a United Nations resolution that was sympathetic to the Palestinians. The United States, because of Israels objections, would not support it, but did not want to go on record against it. The vote was scheduled for the following Tuesday. Saunders hoped that, given more time, he could find
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a formula that would satisfy both the Arab states and the United States. Mindful of Carter's rule against even informal talks with the PLO, Saunders carefully avoided directly asking that I call Arafat. Nevertheless, I knew Saunders well enough to grasp the real purpose of his call to me. I told him I would try to persuade Arafat to postpone the scheduled vote.
My call to Arafat's office went through instantly, which was unusual for the chaotic Beirut exchange. I urged Arafat to postpone the UN vote, arguing that the delay would cost him nothing and would earn him U.S. gratitude. Two hours later Kuwait postponed the vote. That same weekend, Carter's ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, had acted less cautiously than Saunders. He'd met to discuss the same issue with Zuhdi Labib Terzi, the PLO observer at the UN. So firm was Carter's edict against talking with the PLO that this incident led to Young's resignation.
I was soon on the phone again with the State Department. This time my help, through Arafat, was needed in getting the U.S. hostages out of our embassy in Tehran. In our 1978 meeting, Arafat had told me of his close relationship with the revolutionaries in Iran. I saw this crisis as an opportunity for Arafat to help in a humanitarian cause and, perhaps, to open the door for peaceful discussions on a broader scale. This time Arafat was away from headquarters, but I had a long talk with his deputy, Mahmoud Labadi, whom I had met during my second interview with Arafat.
Labadi reminded me that Arafat had taken my advice on the UN confrontation but, in Labadi's words, "got nothing in return." He was right. Labadi told me he disagreed with me regarding the situation in Iran but would carefully report my recommendation to his leader. Once more, Arafat cooperated. He sent an envoy to Khomeini, and, according to Saunders, that envoy successfully arranged the release of the first eleven hostages.
For this, the Carter administration thanked Arafat privately—very privately. Publicly, the Carter spokesmen did nothing to discourage the unfounded speculation that the PLO had actually conspired with Iran to seize the hostages. The reverse was true. Just before he left office, Vance told me that he was in "almost daily" communication with Arafat and his staff, enlisting PLO help during the protracted Iranian hostage ordeal, but he never said so publicly.
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On several occasions during off-the-record meetings at the White House, I urged Carter to publicly acknowledge Arafat's moderate cooperative course. I was warned that failure to do so would strengthen more radical forces. I later learned that Vice President Walter Mondale, more than any other personality in the administration, had argued persuasively against making any public statements that acknowledged PLO cooperation.
Labadi never forgave Arafat for this cooperation. He later deserted the PLO leader and joined the rebels who were laying siege to Arafat at Tripoli.
Turmoil in the Middle West
While I was organizing my one-man peace initiative, my critics were organizing to throw me out of office. Partisans back home, who had watched my re-election margins grow to 70 percent in 1978, correctly surmised that my unusual activities in foreign policy would provide them the money to attack me in the upcoming elections. In the spring of 1979, an aggressive former state legislator, David Robinson, strongly encouraged by pro-Israel activists, began campaigning full-time for the Democratic nomination for the congressional seat I had held for nineteen years. Three months before the March 1980 primary, David Nuessen, the popular Republican mayor of Quincy, Illinois, challenged my renom-ination in a professionally managed campaign that was supported mainly by pro-Israel political action committees and individuals. Their contributions financed a relentless pummeling that bruised me more than I realized. I squeaked through the primary with only 55 percent of the vote.
It was a year of surprises, the greatest being the reaction to my candidacy of Dr. Arthur Burns, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and, in 1980, the U.S. ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. Just after the primary election, I explained my campaign challenge in a telephone conversation with him. Burns responded generously, "We simply cannot afford to lose you. Your re-election is very important to the entire nation." Gratified, I made a modest request: "If you will put those sentiments in a letter I can use in the campaign, that would be a great help."
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His endorsement was not a high priority objective. In fact, I did not even think to ask for it until he praised my record, but I expected Burns to agree without hesitation, as we had been friends throughout my career. Our views on fiscal and economic policies were identical.
His answer was the deepest wound in a traumatic year: "Oh, I couldn't do that. Its your views on the PLO. I'm sorry." I was stupefied. I am used to surprises—and disappointments—but his refusal left me speechless. No event, before or since, disclosed to me so forcefully the leverage of the pro-Israel lobby on the U.S. political scene. This great, kind, generous Jewish elder statesman, a personal friend, could not ignore the lobby and say a public good word for my candidacy. I report this episode for this reason: If an otherwise stalwart man like Burns felt intimidated, lesser men and women who do speak out are truly courageous.
Meanwhile, Democrat Robinson solicited campaign contributions by advertising in Jewish newspapers throughout the country, where he called me a "practicing anti-Semite, who is one of the worst enemies that Jews and Israel have ever faced in the history of the U.S. Congress." He drew funds from each of the fifty states. Robinson and I raised about $600,000 each. It was the most expensive congressional campaign in Illinois history. College students from both coasts and in between came to central Illinois on Robinson's behalf, manning phone banks and canvassing door-to-door.
Midway through my speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, a man burst into the hall and shouted, "We've received a call. There's a bomb in the room." The crowd of five hundred made a fast exit. The police later found a pipe loaded with bubble gum in the grand piano on the stage. Later, Robinson activists converged on Detroit, Michigan, where I was a delegate to the Republican convention, to picket and amuse onlookers with the chant, "Paul, Paul, he must go. He supports the PLO."
Trapped on a Bos with Percy
At first, my plight escaped the attention of the Ronald Reagan presidential campaign. In fact, when Reagan's scheduling office learned that I was having a fundraising luncheon in Springfield, his manager asked if Reagan could stop by, as he would be nearby that day. That unsolicited
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warmth quickly chilled. New York City organizers warned Reagan's managers: "Appear friendly with Findley and you lose New York." This led them to take unusual measures to keep their candidate a safe distance from me.
Springfield, located in the heart of my district, posed a problem, because it was the home of the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, and therefore a "must visit" for the party's presidential candidates. During a day in Illinois, a candidate simply could not pass by Springfield. The Reagan team was concerned about how to make the expected pilgrimage and still keep me out of camera range.
Greg Newell, chief of scheduling, first planned to finesse the problem by having Reagan deliver a major address from the steps of the Lincoln home at the very moment he knew I would be attending my major fundraiser of the year halfway across town. Just for insurance, Newell moved Reagan's Springfield appearance to the Lincoln Tomb, all the way across town. He also scrubbed Reagan's speech, a move designed to minimize press interest in the Springfield stop.
I realized, however, that most of my supporters would also want to see Reagan when he came to town. To accommodate them (and to assure good attendance at my own function), I rescheduled my fundraiser early enough so those attending—myself included—could also attend the Reagan appearance at the tomb.
Reagan's manager passed on an order quietly, or so they thought, that read: "Under no circumstance is Findley to get near Reagan," even though elsewhere in Illinois, congressional candidates were to appear on speaking platforms with him. Learning of the order, Don Norton, my campaign manager, vented his outrage to Reagan's headquarters. The Reagan team shifted gears again. This time they declared that all congressmen were to be treated alike during the day in Illinois: none was to share a platform with Reagan. Representative Ed Madigan, who later became Reagan's secretary of agriculture, was irritated to learn that he would have to either speak before Reagan's arrival in Bloomington that day or wait until Reagan had left the platform. Madigan opted to make no speech at all.
At Springfield, Reagan campaign staffer Paul Russo had only one assignment, but it was an important one. He was to keep me out of camera range when Reagan was nearby. Unaware at the time of the panic of
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Reagan's crew, I was literally corralled behind a rope fifty feet away while Reagan was photographed in the ceremonial "rubbing Lincoln's nose" on a statue at the tomb entrance.
At the next stop, a coal mine near Springfield, Russo's team tried to keep me on a bus and in the process trapped my friend, Senator Charles H. Percy, too. Their goal was to keep only me away from Reagan during his remarks to the crowd. But Percy had the misfortune to be on the bus with me, so he too was detained. Together we managed to force the door open, but only after Reagan had concluded his remarks and left the area.
Bob Hope Backs Bot
The Reagan team's panic even spread to Hollywood. Bob Hope, who never wavered under enemy fire on war fronts in World War II and who withstood heavy criticism for his support of President Nixon's Vietnam policies, encountered a new and more devastating line of fire when he agreed to appear at a fundraising event for me in Springfield.
Two years earlier I had organized a seventy-fifth birthday party for Hope in the House of Representatives in Washington. It was the most fun-filled moment in the chamber that I can remember. Hope and his wife sat in the gallery as one congressman after another voiced praise of the great entertainer. The tributes filled fourteen pages of the Congressional Record. Gratefully recalling the unique party, Hope agreed to help with my 1980 campaign. His manager, Ward Grant, knowing from the start I was being opposed by pro-Israel activists because of my work on Middle East policy, declared, "We need men in Congress who speak their mind." Coast-to-coast pressure quickly brought a change. Don Norton recalled receiving an urgent telephone message from Hope's manager:
Grant told me that Hope was getting tremendous pressure from Jews and non-Jews all over the country. He said it's gotten to the point where Hope's lawyer of thirty-five years, who is Jewish, has threatened to quit. The pressure was beyond belief, like nothing they had ever experienced before, and Hope just couldn't come.
Stunned, Norton pleaded that the event was widely publicized, all arrangements were made, tickets were sold, and enthusiasm was high. His plea was to no avail. When Norron told me of the crisis, I tried to
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get a call through to Hope himself, hoping to persuade him to reconsider. Failing to get a call through, I wrote a confidential letter, giving Hope details of my unpublicized endeavors the year before to promote understanding between PLO leader Arafat and Robert Strauss, President Carter's special emissary to the Middle East. I sent him copies of messages I had transmitted at the request of the two leaders. I asked Hope to keep the information confidential, because the U.S. government was maintaining a public posture of refusing to communicate with the PLO. My letter brought no response, nor were my phone calls returned.
Happily, Strauss—a prominent Democrat and a Jew—agreed to help. Encountering him one afternoon on the steps of the House of Representatives, I explained my problem and asked him to talk to Hope. By then Strauss had left his diplomatic post and was chairman of Carter's campaign for re-election. In a remarkable gesture of magnanimity to a Republican in the midst of a hotly contested election, Strauss agreed, adding, "Maybe I can help him understand the 'crazy' pressure he is getting." He gave me phone numbers where Hope could reach him. In a wire to Hope I said: " [Strauss] will be glad to talk with you or anyone about the value of my work and what he described as the 'crazy pressure' you have been receiving."
By then, however, the "crazy pressure" had taken its toll, and Hope never made the call. I still have a souvenir of my chat with Strauss. It bears the phone number he gave me and my record of his parting words: "I wish you the best. I hope we both make it November 4, because we need to work together on the problems that remain."
A few days later, I finally got a call through to Hope. He was not his usual bubbly self. I assured him it had never occurred to me that he would have such an avalanche of protest calls, but now that the event had been scheduled, it would hurt if he failed to come.
Hope interjected: "I read those letters you sent me. You should go public on this. Defend yourself with the facts." I responded, "I just can't do that. It is highly secret information, and releasing it might hurt the peace process Carter is trying to advance." He paused, then said, "I just don't need this problem. I've been getting all these calls. It's too much pressure. I don't want to get involved."
Hope did not come. Happily, only one ticket holder asked for a refund. The sellout crowd heard a stirring address by my friend and
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colleague, Representative Guy Vander Jagt of Michigan, who agreed to fill in at the last minute.
Lobby pressure also intervened when former President Gerald R. Ford agreed to appear in my behalf, this time in Alton, Illinois. The first sign of trouble was a call from Palm Springs, in which Ford's secretary reported that the former president had to cancel his date because his staff had mistakenly booked him to speak at a meeting of the Michigan Bar Association the same day. There was no other time that Ford could speak for me, the caller said, before election day. To determine if some accommodation could be arranged, Bob Wichser, my assistant, called the Michigan Bar Association, only to learn that there was no conflict— no event was scheduled on the day in question.
I was puzzled. I had worked closely with Ford during the sixteen years he was Republican leader of the House, noting with admiration that he had never let disagreement on a policy issue keep him from campaigning for Republican congressmen seeking re-election. When I finally reached Ford by phone, he said, "Paul, I've got to be up-front with you. I've got to be candid. If I come out and support you, at every press conference I will be badgered and dogged with the question of how I could campaign for Reagan and then go and support Findley with his views on the PLO."
Despite these setbacks and the nationwide campaign against me, I won in 1980 with 56 percent of the vote. I assumed the worst was over. What more could the pro-Israeli activists do? Accordingly, I continued my endeavors for Middle East peace and did not anticipate the severe new challenges related to the Arab-Israeli dispute that were yet to come. In late 1981a federal court, responding to shifts in population, ordered boundary changes in my district that removed Jacksonville, my old hometown, and added, Decatur, the city with the nation's highest unemployment. Marginally Democratic before the border changes, the new district was now substantially so. In addition, local industry was in a deep depression and farmers were restless.
I was unopposed in the 1982 primary, but a strong Democratic opponent, Richard Durbin, emerged in the general election. Experienced and popular, he quickly picked up the resources that Robinson had amassed, including Robinson's list of. nationwide contributors. The Associated Press reported: "Israel's American supporters again are pouring
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money into an emotional drive to unseat Central Illinois Representative Paul Findley." On the plus side, Reagan's lieutenants were helping me this time. Vice President George H. W. Bush, my former House colleague, brushed aside pro-Israeli complaints from Texas and appeared at an event on my behalf in Springfield.
This time, re-election was not to be. I lost by 1,407 votes, less than 1 percent of the total cast. In a vote that close, almost any negative development could account for the difference. The attack by pro-Israel activists was only one of several factors. Nevertheless, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington's principal pro-Israel lobby, claimed credit for my defeat. In a report to a Jewish gathering in Austin, Texas, a few days after election day, Thomas A. Dine, the organization's executive director, said his forces brought 150 students from the University of Illinois to my district to "pound the pavements and knock on doors." He concluded, "This is a case where the Jewish lobby made a difference. We beat the odds and defeated Findley." He later estimated that $685,000 of the $750,000 raised by Durbin came from Jews. With my supporters raising almost exactly the same sum, the contest once again set a new state recording for total campaign spending.
No Ready Answers
The campaign to remove me from Congress started early in 1979 and spanned most of the next four years. It attracted the attention and financial resources of pro-Israel people in every state in the Union. Reports from friends suggested its national scope. Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, my seatmate on the House Agriculture Committee for six years, told me he heard pro-Israel leaders in Kansas speak with great emotional intensity about my candidacy both before and after election day. Clarence Palmby, the former undersecretary of agriculture, learned that my defeat was the principal 1982 political objective of the partners in a large New York City law firm.
After twenty-two years in Congress, losing was, of course, a disappointment. But my main reaction was wonderment. I was puzzled by the behavior of the pro-Israel activists. Why did they go to such trouble to eliminate me from Congress? WJvy did people from all over the country, who did not know me personally and very likely knew little of my
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record, dig so deeply into their own pockets, many of them contributing $1,000 to my opponents? What sustained this commitment for a four-year period?
Israeli activists could find few flaws in my voting record. Over the years I voted consistently for aid to Israel. Sometimes I was critical of Egypt and other Arab states. Even when, in an effort to force Israel to halt its attacks on Lebanon, I tried to get President Carter to suspend aid, I voted for all measures that authorized future military and economic aid to Israel. Interestingly, many Israelis and U.S. Jews shared my views about the Arab-Israeli dispute. Beyond Middle East policy, I supported causes that most Jews applauded: civil rights, community action programs, equal rights for women, a freeze on nuclear weapons, and normalization of relations with China.
Moreover, I was but one of 435 members of the House of Representatives. While senior among Republicans, I was just one of nine on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee dealing with the Middle East. When I criticized Israel, whether I spoke in committee or on the floor of the House of Representatives, I almost always stood alone. Surely the lobby for Israel realized that I posed no serious threat. Could Israel's supporters not tolerate even one lonely voice of dissent?
Or was the lobby's goal to make an example of me in the Elizabethan tradition? According to legend, Queen Elizabeth occasionally hanged an admiral just to keep others on their toes. Was I chosen for a trip to the political gallows to discourage other congressmen from speaking out?
I could not reconcile the harsh tactics I experienced with the traditional Jewish advocacy of civil liberties, a record I had admired all my life. In Congress, I worked closely with Jewish colleagues, including Allard Lowenstein and Ben Gilman. In my wonderment, I pressed Doug Bloomfield, a friend on the AIPAC staff, for an explanation. He shrugged. "You were the most visible critic of Israeli policy. That's the best answer I can give." It was hardly adequate.
The unanswered questions led to others.
Do other congressmen have similar experiences? To be sure, those who speak out are few in number, but it seemed implausible that the lobby would target me alone. I wanted the facts. What about the president and the vast array of "movers and shakers" employed in the executive branch? What pressures, if any, do they experience? A lobby
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formidable enough to intimidate two former presidents of the United States must have great leverage at the highest levels of government.
What of those in other occupations? The lobby had forced Bob Hope to back down. Did it have similar power over people in different professions? On campus, for example, does tenure and the tradition of academic freedom give immunity to teachers and administrators from the kind of pressure I received? Do members of the clergy escape it? How about people in business, large and small? And, vitally important in our free society, how about reporters, columnists, editorial writers, publishers, and the commentators on television and radio?
Deep questions. To me, crucial questions.
There were no ready answers, so I decided to seek them. I began my quest by calling the Capitol Hill offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Jurgen Graf : Holocaust or Hoax
Germar Rudolf : Lectures on the Holocaust
RUDOLF Germar Auschwitz : Plain Facts
Arthur R. Butz : The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
King of the Hill
Washington is a city of acronyms, and today one of the best known in Congress is AIPAC. The mere mention of it brings a sober, perhaps furtive, look to the face of anyone on Capitol Hill who deals with Middle East policy. AIPAC—the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—is now the preeminent power in Washington lobbying.
In 1967, as a fourth-term congressman just named to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I had never heard of it. One day, in private conversation in the committee room, I voiced a brief criticism of Israel's military attack on Syria. A senior Republican, William S. Broomfield of Michigan, responded with a smile, "Wait till Si Kenen over at AIPAC hears what you've said." He was referring to I. L. Kenen, then executive director of AIPAC, whose name was just as unfamiliar to me as the organization he headed. I learned later that Broomfield was not joking. AIPAC sometimes finds out what congressmen say about Middle East policy even in private conversations, and those who criticize Israel do so at their political peril.
AIPAC is only a part of the Israeli lobby, but in terms of having a direct effect on public policy it is clearly the most important. The organization
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has deepened and extended its influence in recent years. It is no overstatement to say that AIPAC has effectively gained control of virtually all of Capitol Hill s action on Middle East policy. Almost without exception, House and Senate members do its bidding, because most of them consider AIPAC to be the direct Capitol Hill representative of a political force that can make or break their chances at election time.
Whether based on fact or fancy, the perception is what counts: AIPAC means power—raw, intimidating power. Its promotional literature regularly cites a tribute published in the New York Times: "The most powerful, best-run and effective foreign policy interest group in Washington." A former congressman, Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey, puts it more directly: Congress is "terrorized" by AIPAC.1 Other congressmen have not been so candid on public record, but many House and Senate members privately agree.
The Washington presence of AIPAC is only the most visible tip of this lobby. Its effectiveness rests heavily on the nationwide foundation built by U.S. Jews who function through more than 200 groups. A professional on the AIPAC staff says:
I would say that at most two million Jews are interested politically or in a charity sense. The other four million are not. Of the two million, most will not be involved beyond giving some money.2
Actually, those who provide the political activism for all organizations in U.S. Jewry probably do not exceed 250,000. The lobby's most popular newsletter, AIPAC s Near East Report, goes to about 60,000 people, a distribution that the organization believes is read by most U.S. citizens who take a responsibility in pro-Israeli political action, whether their primary interest is AIPAC, B'nai B nth, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish National Fund, the United Jewish Appeal, or any of the other main national groups. The newsletter is also sent, without charge, to news media, congressmen, key government officials, and other people prominent in foreign policy. AIPAC members get the newsletter as a part of their annual dues.
In practice, the lobby groups function as an informal extension of the Israeli government. This was illustrated when AIPAC helped draft the
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official statement defending Israel's 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, then issued it at the same hour that Israel s embassy did.3
No major Jewish organization ever publicly takes issue with positions and policies adopted by Israel.4 Thomas A. Dine, executive director of AIPAC from 1981 to 1993, spoke warmly of President Reagan's peace plan when it was announced in September 1982, but as soon as Israel rejected the plan, Dine fell silent. This close coordination sometimes inspires intragovernment humor. "At the State Department we used to predict that if Israel's prime minister should announce that the world is flat, within twenty-four hours Congress would pass a resolution congratulating him on the discovery," recalls Don Bergus, former ambassador to Sudan and a retired career diplomat.5
To Jewish organizations, however, lobbying Washington is serious business, and they look increasingly to AIPAC for leadership. Stephen S. Rosenfeld, deputy editor of the Washington Post editorial page, rates AIPAC as "clearly the leading Jewish political force in America today."6
AIPAC's charter defines its mission as legislative action, but it now also represents the interests of Israel whenever there is a perceived challenge to that country's interests in the news media, the religious community, on U.S. college campuses—anywhere. Because AIPAC's staff members are paid from contributions by American citizens, they need not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. In effect, however, they serve the same function as foreign agents.
Over the years the pro-Israel lobby has thoroughly penetrated this nation's governmental system, and the organization that has made the deepest impact is AIPAC, to whom even a president of the United States turned when he had a vexing political problem related to the Arab-Israeli dispute.
The Ascendancy of Thomas A. Dine