America's Defense Line: The Justice Department's Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government


An unforeseen effect of the Iraq war is that it has allowed more Americans to speak freely about the role of the Israel lobby. When and how was it born? While it is generally understood that American interest groups played a crucial role in creating the state of Israel in 1948 and supporting politicians who would stand up for Israel, other facts have remained elusive.

Grant F. Smith reveals that many of the functions the Israel lobby smoothly and quietly executes in political ...

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An unforeseen effect of the Iraq war is that it has allowed more Americans to speak freely about the role of the Israel lobby. When and how was it born? While it is generally understood that American interest groups played a crucial role in creating the state of Israel in 1948 and supporting politicians who would stand up for Israel, other facts have remained elusive.

Grant F. Smith reveals that many of the functions the Israel lobby smoothly and quietly executes in political life today were formed in the late 1950s and early 1960s: the crucial political contributions and unrelenting campaign to convince Americans that Israel and the United States share common interests and enemies, whether the old Communist bloc-or Islamic radicals in the 21st century. Smith documents the lobby's awesome resistance to public accountability for its actions before Congress and the Justice Department. That fascinating history is the terrain of this book.

Referencing over 1,000 previously classified documents released under a Freedom of Information Act filing, Smith follows Isaiah L. Kenen's path from registered foreign agent for the Israeli government to founder of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC. Smith unearths a formerly secret non-prosecution agreement, the "subvention caveat" reached between the Israel lobby and the US Department of Justice. The agreement reveals a great deal about the latitude of the lobby's operations and the US government's institutional aversion to challenging it. America's Defense Line may forever change the debate about US Middle East policy formulation.

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What People Are Saying

Jeffrey Blankfort
"In America's Defense Line, Grant Smith has penetrated once again into the murky waters that underlie the observable control of US Middle East policy by Israel and its aggressive American support base that have undermined the efforts of successive US administrations, be they Democrat or Republican, to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict. In Foreign Agents and now in America's Defense Line, using recently declassified documents, Smith exposes the charade that the 'pro-Israel lobby' is simply a well-organized, overly zealous group functioning within the spirit of traditional American political advocacy. What we see is something far more sinister. America's Defense Line should be required reading for anyone concerned with preserving what is left of the US political process."--(Jeffrey Blankfort, former editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin and host of the international affairs program "Takes on the World" on KZYX Pacifica Radio in Mendocino, California)
Paul Findley
"Grant Smith renders great service. The secret documents reviewed in this volume will help any reader understand how a small but determined group of zealots for Israel have placed the United States in grave danger. It is a wakeup call that must be answered, if our noble experiment in representative government, which has long proclaimed justice for all people in all lands everywhere, is to survive. I choose those words carefully. This is no time to sit on our hands. Unwarranted fear of Israel has plunged us into an abyss that gets deeper all the time. All that is needed is a civilized discussion, one that this volume must surely bring forth."--(Paul Findley, Member of Congress 1961-83, author of three books on the U.S.-Israeli relationship, including the Washington Post bestseller "They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby")
Tim Llewellyn
"This is vital reading for anyone interested in what really guides American attitudes towards Israel. Grant F. Smith reveals how the almost universal misunderstanding of the Israel-Palestine question in the United States, and the blind support for Israel in Government, the media and public opinion are not sentimental accident, but the result of assiduous plotting and planning by Israel, its agents, and friends to subvert the American system and freedom of speech over more than half a century."--(Tim Llewellyn, former BBC Middle East Correspondent)
John J. Mearsheimer
"The Israel lobby is one of the most influential interest groups in American history. Yet there is insufficient public knowledge about its origins and operations. Grant Smith's new book is a major step forward in correcting that problem. He provides a fascinating-and disturbing-account of how I.L. Kenen laid the groundwork for AIPAC, the most powerful organization in the lobby."--(John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and the author with Stephen M. Walt of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" (2007))
Mazin Qumsiyeh
"This is an excellent book that brings together declassified material showing how the Israel lobby managed to sow corruption at the highest levels of the US government and even break US law. Like other excellent books by the author (e.g. Deadly Dogma and Foreign Agents), America's Defense Line breaks new ground in research into the destructive role of narrow special interests in US domestic and foreign affairs. This latest contribution is a tour de force and is a must read for anyone interested to understand why we are embroiled in the quagmire of the Middle East and how we might get out of it (thus saving our economy and our global reputation)."--(Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor at Bethlehem University and author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle")
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780976443728
  • Publisher: Institute for Research
  • Publication date: 8/28/2008
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2008

    How the Israel Lobby Undermined U.S. Law

    Grant Smith continues his scholarly exegesis into the history of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee 'AIPAC'. His previous works included- ¿Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal¿ and ¿Deadly Dogma: How Neoconservatives Broke the Law to Deceive America.¿ His latest study- ¿American¿s Defense Line: A Declassified History of the Justice Department¿s Battle to Regulate the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Power¿- is based on heretofore unavailable classified government documents. Smith tells the depressing tale of how U.S. law was systematically undermined by base political motives and questionable loyalties. The Smith trilogy is timely and required reading by all Americans concerned about the integrity and future of the United States. Smith dispassionately reveals how United States foreign policy in the Middle East was high jacked by a cadre of agents representing a foreign country¿ Israel. While his current study documents how AIPAC and its predecessors successfully evaded U.S. law to register as a ¿foreign agent,¿ is it also a study in the usurpation of national sovereignty. This challenge to American sovereignty can no longer be ignored, as the consequences to the United States have been disastrous. The intrusion of the Israeli lobby goes well beyond ensuring that Israel receives its customary tribute from hard working American taxpayers. The Iraq War demonstrates this danger where Israel lobby cadres and fellow travelers were able to manipulate a weak, poorly informed president after the 9-11 crises to effect a launch a long-planned invasion of Iraq. While Iraq presented no discernable threat to the United States, it was a long-term adversary of Israel, as outlined in another Smith book- ¿Neocon Middle East Policy: the Clean Break Plan Damage Assessment¿. Thus, Israeli regional interests were advanced at the expense of American lives and treasure. This story within the Israel lobby narrative still needs to be told. Once again we are witnessing a repeat of Iraq with Iran- the House of Representatives recently passed a non-binding resolution urging a United States blockade of Iran¿s gasoline imports- a clear act of war. This resolution was authored at AIPAC and transmitted to a spineless Congress for passage. I suspect it was largely conceived in Jerusalem. The prostration of all major U.S. candidates before AIPAC should shame Americans watching each candidate outbid the other in the annual ¿pandering¿ exercise¬¿ Obama pledges Jerusalem will never leave Israeli control McCain would move our embassy there immediately regardless of the consequences to vital U.S. interests while Clinton promised to ¿obliterate¿ the nation of Iran if it attacked Israel! ¿American¿s Defense Line¿ can be described as the ¿Pentagon Papers¿ of AIPAC. Smith has combed through hundreds of recently declassified documents¿ internal letters, legal briefs, analyses, reports¿ to produce the first objective, detailed analysis of the struggle of the Department of Justice 'DoJ' to regulate the American Zionist Committee 'AZC'- the precursor of today¿s AIPAC. The DoJ was determined that the AZC be classified as an agent of Israel. Its investigations along with those of Senator Fulbright¿s and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, documented that the AZC was funded and directed by the State of Israel. As such, AZC was required to publicly disclose it¿s funding and all lobbying and public relations activity with the U.S. government. The AZC opposed this classification, as it would give lie to its claims to represent legitimate domestic political interests. ¿American Defense Line¿ is thoroughly documented having more than 437 footnotes and previously unpublished declassified papers, which allow readers to verify Smith¿s claims and undertake further research at their own leisure. ¿America¿s Defense Line¿ is an admirably readable book. While the book deals with

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