How Israel Lobby Took Control
Of US Foreign Policy
AIPAC becomes foreign agent dominating
American foreign policy while disguised as domestic lobby.
by Jeff Gates
July 19, 2009
In the early 1960s, Senator William J.
Fulbright fought to force the American Zionist Council to register
as agents of a foreign government. The Council eluded registration
by reorganizing as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
AIPAC has since become what Fulbright most feared: a foreign agent
dominating American foreign policy while disguised as a domestic
Israelis and pro-Israelis object when
they hear that charge. How, they ask, can we so few wield such
influence over so many? Answer: it's all in the math. And in the
single-issue advocacy brought to bear on US policy-making by dozens
of 'domestic' organizations that now compose the Israel lobby,
with AIPAC its most visible force.
The political math was enabled by Senator
John McCain whose support for all things Israeli ensured him the
GOP nomination to succeed Christian-Zionist G.W. Bush. McCain's
style of campaign finance reform proved a perfect fit for the
Diaspora-based fundraising on which the lobby relies. Co-sponsored
by Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, this change in federal
election law typifies how Israeli influence became systemic.
'McCain-Feingold' raised the amount (from
$1,000 to $2,300) that candidates can receive from individuals
in primary and general elections. A couple can now contribute
a combined $9,200 to federal candidates: $4,600 in each of the
primary and general elections. Primary elections, usuall low-budget,
are particularly easy to sway.
Importantly for the Diaspora, this change
also doubled the funds candidates can receive without regard to
where those contributors reside. A candidate in Iowa, say, may
have only a few pro-Israeli constituents. When campaign support
is provided by a nationwide network of pro-Israelis, that candidate
can more easily be persuaded to support policies sought by Tel
Diaspora-based fundraising has long been
used by the lobby with force-multiplying success to shape US foreign
policy. Under the guise of reform, John McCain doubled the financial
resources that the lobby can deploy to elect and retain its supporters.
Fulbright was Right
The influence-peddling process works like
this. Candidates are summoned for in-depth AIPAC interviews. Those
found sufficiently committed to Israel's agenda are provided a
list of donors likely to "max out" their campaign contributions.
Or the process can be made even easier when AIPAC-approved candidates
are given the name of a "bundler."
Bundlers raise funds from the Diaspora
and bundle those contributions to present them to the candidate.
No quid pro quo need be mentioned. After McCain-Feingold became
law in 2003, AIPAC-identified bundlers could raise $1 million-plus
for AIPAC-approved candidates simply by contacting ten like-minded
supporters. Here's the math:
The bundler and spouse "max out"
for $9,200 and call ten others, say in Manhattan, Miami, and Beverly
Hills. Each of them max out ($10 x $9,200) and call ten others
for a total of 11. [111 x $9,200 = $1,021,200.]
Imagine the incentive to do well in the
AIPAC interview. One call from the lobby and a candidate can collect
enough cash to mount a credible campaign in most Congressional
districts. From Tel Aviv's perspective, that political leverage
is leveraged yet again because fewer than ten percent of the 435
House races are competitive in any election cycle (typically 35
Additional force-multipliers come from:
(a) sustaining this financial focus over multiple cycles, (b)
using funds to gain and retain seniority for those serving on
Congressional committees key to promoting Israeli goals, and (c)
opposing any candidates who question those goals.
Jewish Achievement reports that 42% of
the largest political donors to the 2000 election cycle were Jewish,
including four of the top five. That compares to less than 2%
of Americans who are Jewish. Of the Forbes 400 richest Americans,
25% are Jewish according to Michael Steinhardt, a key funder of
the Democratic Leadership Council. The DLC was led by Jewish Zionist
Senator Joe Lieberman when he resigned in 2000 to run as vice
president with pro-Israeli presidential candidate Al Gore.
Money was never a constraint. Pro-Israeli
donors were limited only by how much they could lawfully contribute
to AIPAC-screened candidates. McCain-Feingold raised a key limit.
The full impact of this foreign influence has yet to be tallied.
What's known, however, is sufficient to apply the Foreign Agents
Registration Act. Of the top 50 neoconservatives who advocated
war in Iraq, 26 were Jewish (52%).
Harry Truman, a Christian Zionist, remains
one of the more notable recipients of funds. In 1948, he was trailing
badly in the polls and in fundraising. His prospects brightened
dramatically in May after he recognized as a legitimate state
an enclave of Jewish extremists who originally planned to settle
in Argentina before putting their sights on Palestine.
That recognition was opposed by Secretary
of State George C. Marshall, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the bulk
of the diplomatic corps, the fledgling Central Intelligence Agency
and numerous distinguished Americans, including moderate and secular
Jews concerned at the troubles that were certain to follow. Not
until 1984 was it revealed that a network of Jewish Zionists had
funded Truman's campaign by financially refueling his whistle-stop
campaign train with $400,000 in cash ($3 million in 2009 dollars).
To buy time on the public's airwaves,
money raised from the Israel lobby's network is paid to media
outlets largely owned or managed by members of the same network.
Presidents, Senators and Congressmen come and go but those who
collect the checks rack up the favors that amass lasting political
The US system of government is meant to
ensure that members of the House represent the concerns of Americans
who reside in Congressional districts-not a nationally dispersed
network (a Diaspora) committed to advancing the agenda of a foreign
nation. Federal elections are meant to hold Senators accountable
to constituents who reside in the states they represent-not out-of-state
residents or a foreign government.
In practical effect, McCain-Feingold hastened
a retreat from representative government by granting a nationwide
network of foreign agents disproportionate influence over elections
in every state and Congressional district. Campaign finance 'reform'
enabled this network to amass even more political clout-wielding
influence disproportionate to their numbers, indifferent to their
place of residence and often contrary to America's interests.
This force-multiplier is now wielded in
plain sight, with impunity and under cover of free speech, free
elections, free press and even the freedom of religion. Therein
lies the perils of an entangled alliance that induced the US to
invade Iraq and now seeks war with Iran. By allowing foreign agents
to operate as a domestic lobby, the US was induced to confuse
Zionist interests with its own.
Jeff Gates is A widely acclaimed author,
attorney, investment banker, educator and consultant to government,
corporate and union leaders worldwide. Gates' latest book is Guilt
By Association-How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War
(2008). His previous books include Democracy at Risk: Rescuing
Main Street From Wall Street and The Ownership Solution: Toward
a Shared Capitalism for the 21st Century. For two decades, he
was an adviser to policy-makers worldwide and Counsel to the US
Senate Finance Committee (1980-87)-working with Senator Russell
Long of Louisiana.