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Allan C. Brownfeld

For the first time this year, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee  
(AIPAC) has formed two political action committees (PAC) which have set records  
in their contributions to candidates in primary election campaigns. This has  
raised old questions about whether AIPAC should register under the Foreign  
Agents Registration Act (FARA) as an agent of the government of Israel.  
As of the end of July, the United Democracy Project, one of AIPAC’s two PACS,  
was the biggest spending nonpartisan political committee and the second largest  
overall in this cycle, dispensing more than $26million on its favored  
candidates. Out of nine candidates backed by UDP, seven have won their primaries  
and two have lost. An affiliated conventional PAC, the AIPAC PAC, raised close  
to $12 million by the end of June, and of the 212 candidates that have faced  
primaries, as of mid-August, 207 have won, including many Republicans who reject  
the fact that President Biden was legitimately elected in 2020.  
In a report about AIPAC’s role, Politico (July 25, 2022) reports: “The top  
issues driving Democratic voters right now include rising prices, abortion  
rights, gun violence, and threats to democracy. But the top spender in  
Democratic primaries is singularly focused on Israel−and fights over the issue  
are rending the party in district after district.”  
Opposition to Rep. Andy Levin  
In Michigan’s 11th district, AIPAC sponsored a series of ads boosting Rep. Haley  
Stevens who, since Michigan lost a congressional seat, found herself in the same  
district as Rep. Andy Levin, the author of legislation to make the two-state  
solution official U.S. Middle East policy and a critic of what he calls the  
“creeping annexation” of Israel’s right-wing governments. Levin is from one of  
the most prominent Jewish families in American politics, the son of Rep. Sander  
Levin and the nephew of the late Sen. Carl Levin. “It’s a lineage,” Levin said,  
“that definitely is extra threatening to AIPAC as the group that tries to shape  
the future of the Democratic Party in Washington.” David Hecker, president of  
Michigan’s American Federation of Teachers union, a Levin supporter who is also  
Jewish, said, “This race is important to AIPAC because Andy is so prominent and  
is from a very distinguished Jewish political family. I support a safe and  
secure Israel as well as Palestinian human rights, just like Andy.”  
During the campaign, in which Levin was defeated, he told MSNBC that AIPAC was  
opposing “a really Jewish candidate whose positions on Israel represent the  
mainstream... I’m not just Jewish, I’m one of two former synagogue presidents in  
Congress, along with Sen. Jackie Rosen... But AIPAC can’t stand the idea that I  
am the clearest, strongest Jewish voice in Congress standing for a simple  
proposition: that there’s no way to have a secure home for the Jewish people  
unless we achieve the political and human rights for the Palestinian people.”  
Campaign to Quell Jewish Criticism in Congress  
Discussing AIPAC’s campaign against Levin, Austin Ahlman, writing in The  
Intercept, reports that, “The campaign to defeat Levin marks a significant  
escalation in AIPAC’s push to quell criticism from Jewish members of Congress.  
Levin, a self-proclaimed Zionist, a former synagogue president, and scion of a  
prominent Jewish political dynasty, was one of their primary political targets.  
AIPAC ultimately spent $4 million in ads and mailers attacking Levin. AIPAC was  
on the attack against a candidate widely hailed as the most progressive Jewish  
member of the House. This brought responses from a host of progressive  
AIPAC also succeeded in defeating former Rep. Donna Edwards in Maryland’s  
Democratic primary. Supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Edwards faced $6  
million in attack ads paid for by AIPAC. Kevin Rachlin, Vice President of  
public affairs for J Street, a Jewish group which supports human rights for both  
Israelis and Palestinians, said, “It’s appalling. These baseless attacks  
against an experienced Democrat like Donna Edwards are being funded by a  
hawkish... group which is actively fundraising for those who threaten our  
democracy.” The Washington Post (June 18, 2022) noted that Rachlin “was  
referring to the fact that AIPAC is also backing Republicans who objected to  
2020 election results.”  
In New York City, former mayor Bill De Blasio, before he withdrew from a  
congressional race, said he would not accept support from AIPAC because, “They  
have attacked people I believe in. I would not accept their endorsement even if  
it was offered.” He pointed to the primary defeat in Cleveland of progressive  
candidate Nina Turner, blaming AIPAC for her loss because she had defended the  
rights of Palestinians and accused Israel of “apartheid.”  
What Turner had done to anger AIPAC, said De Blasio, was to quote the Jewish  
group IfNotNow as saying, “We are a movement of American Jews organizing our  
community to end support for Israel’s apartheid system and demand equality,  
justice, and a thriving future for all Palestinians and Israelis.”  
Assessment of AIPAC’s Role  
There has been much discussion about AIPAC’s role in the political arena. J.  
Street’s senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy Dylan Williams declares  
that, “They clearly need to think harder about their values, the direction  
they’ve chosen and setting some moral lines. They used to listen to the clear  
majority in the pro-Israel community who know there can be no justification for  
giving financial support to the most dangerous pro-conspiracy theory, anti-  
democracy Trump Republicans. AIPAC’s aggressive support for dangerous  
politicians and massive spending from far-right donors is harmful to our  
democracy and, ultimately, harmful to bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel  
relationship. Rather than building bipartisan support, AIPAC is turning Israel  
into a hyper-politicized wedge issue and using its Super PAC to defeat pro-  
Israel, pro-peace leaders who actually represent the balanced, nuanced views of  
the majority of Jewish Americans. Our shared democratic values are the  
foundation of the U.S.-Israel relationship and undermining these values on  
either end of the U.S.-Israel relationship... undermines its future.”  
The publication Jewish Insider reports that Max Frost, a charismatic new face of  
young Democratic politics in Florida, negotiated his position on Israel with  
AIPAC’s PAC in order to keep the PAC from bringing money into his race for a  
congressional nomination. Frost then reversed his support for BDS and issued  
calming language about being pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian to escape the  
wrath−and money−of AIPAC.  
Even before AIPAC established its own PACs, it was associated with PACS it used  
to influence members of Congress. According to former Rep. Brian Baird (D-  
Wash.), “Any member of Congress knows that AIPAC is associated indirectly with  
significant amounts of campaign spending if you’re with them, and significant  
amounts against you if you’re not with them.” AIPAC contributions, he noted,  
came with significant “tactical input.” AIPAC staff members told Baird and  
other lawmakers, “No we don’t say it that way, we say it this way.” Baird  
recalls, “There’s a whole complex semantic code to learn. After a while, you  
find yourself saying and repeating as if it were a fact.”  
“How is AIPAC Going to Score This?”  
Baird pointed out that, “When key votes are cast, the question on the House  
floor, troublingly, is often not, ‘What is the right thing to do for the United  
States of America?’ but, ‘How is AIPAC going to score this?’” He worries that  
those who support AIPAC’s positions think they are supporting Israel’s best  
interests, when policies such as killing civilians in Gaza and extending the  
occupation are really harmful to Israel’s long-term best interests.  
Former Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) stirred controversy in 2007 when he told Tikkun  
that AIPAC “had been pushing for the Iraq war from the beginning” and that, “I  
don’t think they represent the mainstream of Jewish thinking at all, but because  
they are so well organized and their members are extraordinarily powerful−most  
of them are quite wealthy−they have been able to exert power.”  
Ruth Messinger, former borough president of Manhattan and president of American  
Jewish World Service, speaking on a webinar conducted by Americans for Peace Now  
on Aug. 25, declared that, “All the secret Jewish money being spent on  
manipulating elections in races all over the country is giving Jews a bad  
reputation. AIPAC announced after the New York race was over that they were  
proud to have put several hundred thousand dollars to defeat Yuh-Line Naou.  
It’s that kind of after-the-fact and look-at-what-we-did and we’re manipulating  
elections in terms of one issue, that I find deeply troubling. It has thrown  
some candidates that I’m sure would have won their races without AIPAC’s  
interference — particularly Donna Edwards in Maryland.”  
“People Who Lost... End Up Thinking Jews Only Care About The Middle East”  
In Messinger’s view, “When large sums of money, in this case it’s Jewish money,  
are put in through PACs, sometimes not public, to defeat a candidate, it is  
quite likely that the people who lost the race end up thinking that Jews only  
care about the Middle East, end up thinking that Jews are willing to put secret  
money into campaigns in order to defeat candidates. That’s very definitely not  
the reputation I want us to have across the United States or around the world.”  
In fact, the positions advanced by AIPAC are contrary to the views of most  
Jewish Americans. This point was made in an article in The Forward (March 18,  
2022) headlined, “AIPAC’s far-right endorsements show how out of touch they are  
with American Jews.” The author, Nathan Wolfson, associate Digital Director for  
J Street, writes: “American Jews largely support liberal values. Polling shows  
that our community would like to see a return to the Iran nuclear deal, yet  
AIPAC has spent much of their political capital opposing it.”  
Beyond this, notes Wolfson, “Polling also shows a clear majority of American  
Jews support strong American leadership toward a two-state solution. Yet, AIPAC  
works to ensure blanket support for Israeli government policies that entrench  
the conflict and undermine the prospects for peace. The vast majority of  
American Jews despised, feared and voted against former President Trump. When  
he spoke at AIPAC’s conference in 2016, he was greeted with a standing ovation.”  
Jewish Opinion Is Contrary to AIPAC  
A recent Pew Center survey found that only 38% of American Jews think that the  
Israeli government is sincerely pursuing peace and 44% believe that the  
construction of new settlements damages Israel’s national security. A Gallup  
poll shows that only a quarter of American Jews under 30 thought Israel’s  
actions in Gaza are justified.  
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinical Call for Human  
Rights, told The New Yorker that, “Many people I know in their twenties and  
thirties say, ‘ I have a perfectly good Jewish life here−why do I need to worry  
about this country in the Middle East where they are not representing who I am  
as a Jew. I’m not proud of what’s happening there. I’m certainly not going to  
send money.’”  
In an article, “Is AIPAC supporting America?” (Washington Jewish Week, (Aug. 18,  
2022), Michael Seiden, past board chair of Jewish Family and Children’s Service  
of Phoenix, notes that he cannot bring himself to join AIPAC because, “AIPAC  
endorses and supports politicians and candidates... who, while they may support  
Israel, are not working toward improving the lives of Americans.” He cites an  
article by Ken Toltz, which appeared in both The Forward and the Northern  
California Jewish News, which noted that, “In the midst of the highly charged  
post-Jan. 6 atmosphere, AIPAC’s endorsements of over 100 Republican election  
deniers have publicly associated AIPAC with the insurrection and criminal  
conspiracy to keep Trump in office just last year. Who can honestly argue that  
this strengthens the U.S.-Israel relationship?”  
AIPAC’s Only Criteria: Support for Israel  
Mr. Seiden asks, “Is a politician’s support for Israel while working against  
measures to protect American lives a reasonable political approach?... AIPAC has  
been forthright in stating that support for Israel is the only criteria for  
supporting those running for office. The organization needs to review their  
policies and support American politicians who support not only Israel, but  
America as well.”  
Ever since AIPAC emerged as a separate entity from the American Zionist Council  
(AZC) in the 1960s, there have been efforts to have it register under the  
Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as an agent of the state of Israel. As  
it’s political role has increased with its creation of PACS and contributions of  
millions of dollars to political candidates, such calls are increasing. It is  
instructive to review this history and the merits of such calls to register as a  
foreign agent.  
One strong advocate for registration is M.J. Rosenberg, who worked at AIPAC from  
1974-1976 and from 1982 to 2986 and worked on Capitol Hill for 15 years. He was  
a Clinton administration appointee to USAID. In an article in The Forward  
(March 2, 2008) “It’s time for AIPAC to register as a foreign agent,” he notes  
that, “It’s AIPAC that is the registered lobby on Capitol Hill and it’s AIPAC  
whose clout on matters relating to Israel exceeds the clout of the NRA on  
matters related to guns.” He cites George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address in  
which he stated that, “A passionate attachment of one nation for another  
produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the  
illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest  
exists ... betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of  
the latter without adequate inducement or identification.”  
“Passionate Attachment” To a Foreign Country  
To protect against what Washington called a “passionate attachment” to a foreign  
country, the U.S. has laws in place that forbid foreign governments from  
wielding certain kinds of influence or lobbying. Every foreign country  
represented in Washington by foreign agents must register under the FARA. Under  
its terms, the country in question is banned from participating in or  
influencing American elections. Every contact the agents have with Congress  
must be reported to the Department of Justice, along with how and where they  
spend their resources.  
Rosenberg points out that these rules “do not apply to the Israel lobby as  
represented by AIPAC, which is heavily involved in our political system, funding  
candidates who are perceived to be good on Israel and defunding incumbents who  
fail to subscribe to the favored foreign state’s agenda. It gets away with it  
because AIPAC’s founder, I.L. Kenen, came up with a legal loophole by which  
AIPAC is defined not as a lobby for a foreign state but Americans who support  
that state... I worked at AIPAC directly for Kenen back in the 1970s... he told  
me that he came up with the AIPAC formula... so that AIPAC would be legally  
permitted to engage in politics and not have to reveal its activities.”  
Kenen, who previously worked for the Israeli government, was a liberal Democrat  
who believed that Israel’s interests and values were unlikely to diverge from  
those of the U.S. After Kenen retired, Rosenberg points out, “Israel and AIPAC  
took a rightward turn and he saw the mistake he made. Toward the end of his  
life, Kenen was outraged by the AIPAC leadership and its unquestioning support  
for the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade against Gaza and other  
Israeli right-wing policies. He hated what he saw as AIPAC using its political  
power to keep the U.S. government and other influential Americans and, perhaps  
most important, the media from straying from the Israeli line.”  
“Time To Undo Kenen’s Mistake”  
In Rosenberg’s view, “Now is the time to undo Kenen’s mistake. It is time to  
require AIPAC to register as what it is: a foreign agent. It will still be  
able to advocate for Israel, but as an Israeli lobby, which admits to getting  
its marching orders from the Israeli government. What it would not be able to  
do is direct campaign money to politicians.” In the beginning of his article,  
Rosenberg referred to AIPAC as the major component of the “pro-Israel lobby.”  
He concludes that, “Actually it isn’t. It is a lobby for the Israeli right and  
for a status quo that has turned Israel into an international pariah.”  
AIPAC’s role in Washington and its connection to Israel has long been a subject  
of discussion. It has often boasted of its influence. AIPAC’s Steven Rosen  
once told an interviewer, “You see this napkin? In 24 hours we could have the  
signatures of 70 senators on this napkin.” He meant that members of Congress  
would sign on to anything if they thought it would please Israel. Recently, at  
AIPAC’s urging, Congress has been working on legislation that would criminalize  
individuals and groups that support a boycott of Israel.  
In April 2005, AIPAC policy director Steven Rosen and senior Iran analyst Keith  
Weissman were fired from AIPAC amid an F.B.I. investigation into whether they  
passed classified international security information to Israel. AIPAC agreed to  
pay the legal fees for Weissman’s defense through appeal, if necessary, but  
charges were ultimately dropped. In May 2005, the Justice Department announced  
that Lawrence Franklin, a U.S. Air Force Reserve Colonel working as a Department  
of Defense analyst in the Pentagon, had been arrested and charged by the F.B.I.  
With providing classified information about international defense to Israel.  
The 6-count criminal complaint identified AIPAC by name. Franklin pleaded  
guilty to turning over classified material to both AIPAC and an Israeli  
government official. He was sentenced to almost 3 years in prison.  
“AIPAC Did Not Have An Independent Choice”  
Discussing AIPAC, Peter Beinart, an editor of Jewish Currents, says that, “In  
reality, they are not independent of the Israeli government. When Netanyahu  
came out against the Iran deal, AIPAC did not have an independent choice of  
whether it was going to or not. It pretty much had to kow tow to the Israeli  
government all the time.”  
According to journalist Connie Bruck, AIPAC has been able to “deliver the  
support of Congress to prevent any president who wants to negotiate with Israel  
from using the multi-billion-dollar packages of military aid that go to Israel  
each year as leverage to passing the spending and taking away this strongest  
negotiating chit.”  
AIPAC has helped make Israel the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign  
assistance since the end of World War ll. It now receives more than $3.8  
billion in aid yearly. As a result of AIPAC’s efforts, this aid includes  
numerous provisions that are not available to other recipients of U.S. aid.  
According to the Congressional Research Service, these provisions include  
providing aid “as all cash grant transfers, not designated for particular  
projects, and transferred as a lump sum in the first month of the fiscal year,  
instead of in installments. Israel is allowed to spend about a quarter of the  
military aid for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and services...  
rather than in the U.S.”  
AIPAC Emerges From The American Zionist Council  
Going back to the 1950s, the Eisenhower administration repeatedly insisted that  
the American Zionist Council (AZC) register as “agents of a foreign government.”  
In Nov. 1962, Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s Department of Justice ordered  
AZC to register as a foreign agent because of FARA violations, alleging that it  
was being funded by the Jewish Agency for Israel. The Department of Justice  
later withdrew its demand. The AZC was reorganized and AIPAC emerged from it.  
In the 1960s, Rabbi Elmer Berger of the American Council for Judaism worked with  
Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-ARK), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations  
Committee, to determine whether AIPAC should be required to register as a  
foreign agent. In his biography of Elmer Berger, “Rabbi Outcast,” Jack Ross  
writes, “In his first hearing, Fulbright questioned two executives with the U.S.  
section of the Jewish Agency, Maurice Boukstein and Isadore Hamlin, who revealed  
a highly interconnected organizational web connecting the Jewish Agency to the  
AZC... They deferred an increasingly large number of matters to AIPAC... By the  
end of 1962, the Justice Department formally opened an investigation and  
announced that it would require the AZC to register as a foreign agent.”  
In May 1963, Sen. Fulbright addressed the annual conference of the American  
Council for Judaism. Rabbi Berger later sent a letter to Sen. Fulbright urging  
that the U.S. section of the Jewish Agency be forced to disclose the totality of  
its relationship with the government of Israel. This whole period is discussed  
in detail in the important book, “America’s Defense Line: The Justice  
Department’s Battle To Register The Israeli Lobby As Agents Of a Foreign  
Government” (2008) by Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research:  
Middle East Policy.  
The AZC’s True Foreign Principal  
Smith writes: “The overriding issue of FARA registration, the AZC’s true foreign  
principal, using Israeli funds transferred from the Jewish Agency into the U.S.  
was thus successfully delayed for an entire decade. Not until the early 1960s  
would the Senate begin to investigate whether U.S. aid sent overseas and other  
funds were being secretly being laundered back into the U.S. to obtain political  
influence and additional foreign aid. In 1963, a close analysis of I.L. Kenen’s  
financing revealed that this was indeed happening. This investigation was  
prompted by a crescendo of calls for enforcement made to the Department of  
Justice by the American Council for Judaism.”  
The Hearings conducted by Sen. Fulbright, Smith shows us, “... revealed the  
AZC’s lack of independent fundraising capabilities in the U.S. In 1963, the AZC  
had so little direct non-tax-deductible U.S. funding that it all but completely  
relied on the Jewish Agency for support. The AZC was forced to admit this in a  
deposition to Fulbright: ‘the AZC has received virtually all of its operating  
funds from the Jewish Agency for Israel’... On Nov. 21,1962, the AZC received a  
certified letter from the Department of Justice stating that, because the AZC  
received Jewish Agency Funds for propaganda purposes, the AZC had to  
register.... Whatever became of the AZC? It’s public affairs and lobbying  
functions eventually morphed into AIPAC....”  
The Senate hearings documented the fact that in the early 1960s, Israel funneled  
$5 million (more than $35 million in today’s dollars) into U.S. propaganda and  
lobbying operations. The funds were channeled through the quasi-governmental  
Jewish Agency’s New York office into the AZC. The functions of AZC, when it’s  
direct connection to the Israeli government became clear, were then shifted to  
the newly established AIPAC. AIPAC was incorporated in 1963. Its leader,  
Isaiah Kenen, had been a registered lobbyist under FARA and had been an employee  
of Israel’s Office of Information at the United Nations. AIPAC was created to  
remove Kenen and his work in behalf of Israel from the FARA register.  
AIPAC Is Called A “Hate Group”  
As discussion grows about whether AIPAC should now have to register under FARA  
as an agent of the government of Israel, its new role, through its PACs and its  
increasing involvement in partisan political activity, has produced growing  
criticism. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) called AIPAC a “hate group” in 2020 after  
it placed an ad on Facebook which implied that McCollum and other members of  
Congress who had defended the rights of Palestinians were worse than the  
terrorist group ISIS. McCollum declared: “As a member of Congress and the vice-  
chair of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, I believe defending  
human rights and freedom are foundational to international security and our  
democracy. The struggle to promote human dignity inevitably results in  
confronting entrenched forces determined to dehumanize, abase or demonize  
individuals or even entire populations to maintain dominance and an unjust  
status quo. Hate is used as a weapon to incite and silence dissent.  
Unfortunately, this is my experience with AIPAC.”  
Explaining why he was not attending AIPAC’s 2020 conference, Sen. Bernie Sanders  
(I-VT) said that, “The Israeli people have a right to live in peace and  
security. So do the Palestinian people. I am concerned about the platform  
AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian  
In a column entitled “AIPAC Makes Sanders’ Point For Him,” Dana Milbank, writing  
in The Washington Post, provides this analysis: “AIPAC and Netanyahu seemed  
intent on proving Sanders’ point. As the conference opened... Netanyahu  
speaking to the group via satellite... derided the Palestinians as ‘the pampered  
children of the international community.’ The AIPAC audience applauded.  
Netanyahu told AIPAC he was moving forward with plans to annex Palestinian  
territory−a move that would make the long sought two-state solution all but  
At Odds With Most American Jews  
Milbank, who is Jewish, concludes: “AIPAC finds itself not only at odds with  
Democrats, but also with most American Jews. Instead of its tradition of  
representing strong, broad support for Israel, AIPAC is becoming about as  
bipartisan as the NRA. ‘we don’t need AIPAC any more,’ Netanyahu reportedly  
told one of his advisers. ‘We have enough support from the Evangelicals. I’d  
happily give up on AIPAC if we didn’t need to counteract J Street,’ a liberal  
pro-Israel group.”  
Writing in The Forward, Batya Ungar-Sargon, in an article headlined “How AIPAC  
Proved Bernie Right,” reports that, “I had never before been in the same room as  
a person who has defended genocide until the AIPAC policy conference. Words  
like apartheid and genocide and ethnic cleansing are often thrown around in the  
context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it wasn’t a defender of  
Israeli war crimes, real or imagined, who was hosted by AIPAC. It was someone  
from a different context entirely.”  
The person AIPAC invited to address its conference was Serbian President  
Aleksander Vucic. Batya Ungar-Sargon provides this assessment: “In July 1995,  
8,000 Muslims were murdered in Srebrenica in what the International Criminal  
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia deemed genocide. Under the command of Ratjo  
Mladic, a Serbian paramilitary unit killed thousands and thousands... Aleksander  
Vucic was then serving as Minister of Information. He imposed fines for  
journalists who opposed the government and banned foreign tv networks. The  
Serbian media he oversaw was accused of justifying atrocities and demonizing  
ethnic minorities. Vucic has reinvented himself ——and has been serving as  
president of Serbia since 2017. AIPAC welcomed the Serbian president to address  
its 18,000 delegates.”  
“Bad For America... Could Be Catastrophic For Israel”  
M.J. Rosenberg, the former AIPAC staff member who now calls for it to register  
as a foreign agent, makes the case that, “AIPAC is bad for America, but could  
well be catastrophic for Israel, if it hasn’t been already. This is something  
more and more Jews, particularly the young, now understand, which is why groups  
like J Street, IfNotNow, Americans for Peace Now and Jewish Voice for Peace have  
come to the fore in recent years, and have grabbed their share of the  
congressional turf, which was once exclusively owned by AIPAC.”  
Even many Israelis are concerned about the direction in which their country is  
moving, a direction embraced without question by AIPAC. Dan Schueftan, the head  
of the International Graduate Program in National Security Studies at the  
University of Haifa. declares that, “The challenges within Israeli society are  
much more dangerous than the threats posed by Iran and its proxies... What  
should worry us is the radicalization of some Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) groups and  
the continued control over millions of Palestinians. Those two trends threaten  
the democratic and pluralistic nature of the Zionist enterprise... Unless these  
vital characteristics are nurtured and preserved, Israel will devolve into a  
backward, authoritarian state that could threaten the future of the Jewish  
While AIPAC defends whatever policy the Israeli government embraces, many  
thoughtful Israelis are concerned about their government’s retreat from  
democratic values and indifference to the humane Jewish moral and ethical  
tradition. Professor David Shulman of the Hebrew University is one of these.  
He states: “No matter how we look at it, unless our minds have been poisoned by  
the ideologies of the religious right, the occupation is a crime. It is first  
of all based on the permanent disenfranchisement of a huge population... In the  
end, it is the ongoing moral failure of the country as a whole that is most  
consequential, most dangerous, most unacceptable. This failure weighs...  
heavily on our humanity. We are, so we claim, the children of the prophets.  
Once, they say, we were slaves in Egypt. We know all that can be known about  
slavery, suffering, prejudice, ghettos, hate, expulsion, exile. I find it  
astonishing that we, of all people, have reinvented apartheid in the West Bank.”  
All Americans Should Be Concerned  
AIPAC’s new political role and its spending millions of dollars in our political  
campaigns in behalf of the policies and interests of a foreign government should  
be of concern to all Americans, particularly Jewish Americans, in whose name it  
pretends to speak. In reality, American Jewish opinion disagrees almost  
completely with its indifference to the reality of Israeli policies, which deny  
human rights to Palestinians and make a two-state solution virtually impossible.  
The registration of AIPAC as a foreign agent should be a subject of serious  
consideration, as it was in the past. Its current role as a contributor of  
millions of dollars in behalf of the interests of a country other than our own  
should concern all Americans, whatever their views may be about U.S. Middle East  
policy, or about a variety of domestic issues. It should particularly concern  
Jewish Americans; in whose name it purports to speak. Sadly, it has abandoned  
the humane Jewish values which the prophets applied equally to men and women of  
every race and nation. *

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