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American Israel Public Affairs

American Israel Public Affairs Committee

The American Israel public Affairs Committee or AIPAC is an American advocacy organization that describes itself as the “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby,” since it lobbies the United States Congress and the White House in support of a strong relationship between the United States and Israel. The organization is involved in over one hundred legislative and public policy initiatives every year. AIPAC has ten regional offices and nine satellite offices that help pro-Israel supporters gain knowledge on how they can impact the future of Israel as well as Israel’s security by strengthening the bond between the two nations. Being a non-profit organization, its finances are supported by private donations. The organization consists of a diversity of members including Republicans, Democrats, and independents. AIPAC has now expanded its grassroots lobby group to 100,000 members and The New York Times has described AIPAC to be the most important organization affecting the relationship of America with Israel.

What It Represents

AIPAC works to represent or to be the voice for the United States-Israel relationship. AIPAC continually works to help make Israel remain strong and secure by making sure that support from America stays strong. AIPAC also works to advance strategic collaboration between the two countries in order to develop strong policies against terrorism, to prevent rascal nations from getting hold of weapons of mass destruction, and to share technologies and strategies on homeland security.

History

In 1953, Isaiah L. Kenen founded the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, which later changed its name into the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The organization gained its recognition as a politically powerful lobby back in the 1970s and 1980s, which was a time when AIPAC was able to unseat house representatives and senators including House Representative Paul Findley from Ohio, House Representative Pete McCloskey from California, and Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, since they could not be relied upon in giving support to Israel without qualification. AIPAC enforced a technique to create political support by organizing tours to Israel. In 2003, it was reported that for the month of August, ten percent of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives were able to visit Israel on their tours. AIPAC is also allied with the American Israel Education Foundation that funds fact-finding trips for several members of Congress.

Major Issues

AIPAC is focused on several current issues including: the increase of U.S. aid to Israel in the midst of increasing threats; Hezbollah increasing its military arms and declaring war against Israel; Iran’s deliberate defiance and announcing that it has started installing centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear facility, which is a grave violation of international law; Israel’s positive actions despite attacks; and persuading Arabs to match Israel’s commitment for peace. Additionally, AIPAC condemns Hamas terrorism and supports divestment from and sanctions against Iran. One of the organization’s recent initiatives also includes the Synagogue Initiative, a drive to make AIPAC staff and resources available to congregations across the United States. The committee also extends its aid to Hispanic, African American, Christian, and other key community leaders to make sure that Americans remain committed to a sturdy and vital U.S.-Israel relationship.