Foreign Agentsby Grant F Smith
FOREIGN AGENTS analyzes the history and activities of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. FOREIGN AGENTS begins with testimony and subpoenaed documents from the 1963 Senate investigation into the activities of the agents of foreign principals. Senator J.W. Fulbright's discovery of "conduit" money-laundering operations in the US financed by Israeli principals touched off deep and important questions about US lobbying on behalf of the fledgling nation and the applicability of laws such as the Foreign Agents Registration Act and the Logan Act. The book then uncovers AIPAC election law skirmishes in the 1980s-1990s, analyzing the lobby's role in establishing and coordinating political action committees and AIPAC's role in alleged election law violations. FOREIGN AGENTS then turns to the question of espionage. In 2005, two AIPAC executives, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, were criminally indicted for violating the 1917 Espionage Act. FOREIGN AGENTS reviews behind-the-scenes defense team motions and judicial decisions affecting First Amendment freedom of speech issues and questions about "inside the Beltway" trafficking in classified US defense information by lobbies. FOREIGN AGENTS evaluates Rosen and Weissman's assertions that the conduct alleged in the indictment was within the scope of their employment with AIPAC and was undertaken for AIPAC's benefit.
FOREIGN AGENTS then makes comprehensive recommendations for legal oversight in the context of AIPAC's history as a powerful and secretive foreign agent for Israel.
- Institute for Research
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- 0.42(w) x 6.14(h) x 9.21(d)
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Grant Smith¿s book traces the history of the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC is a little known and understood organization outside of the Washington Beltway and those that follow American Middle East policy. However, its relative obscurity in the Heartland should not fool the public. AIPAC has evolved into one of the most powerful lobby organizations in the United States. Politicians, regardless of political stripe, play homage to AIPAC. Indeed, entire pieces of legislation regarding US policies towards Israel and the Middle East have been drafted in AIPAC¿s downtown Washington offices. While most lobby organization represent genuine American commercial and social interests, Smith makes a compelling case that AIPAC is in fact a functional extension of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The recent espionage case involving AIPAC officials is a striking example of AIPAC¿s conflicted agenda (fully documented in Smith¿s book). I would rather AIPAC rename itself the ¿Israeli Political Action Committee¿- a more honest nomenclature. Smith details AIPAC¿s involvement as one of the main cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq. As Smith notes, Speaker Pelosi was roundly booed when she spoke before a recent AIPAC conference when she called for an end to US military occupation of Iraq. This should be no surprise to the informed. Shortly before, the Prime Minister of Israel publicly condemned calls in the United States for withdrawal as ¿not in Israel¿s interest.¿ Pelosi understanding her subservient role to the Lobby and at AIPCA¿s urging soon dropped her pledge to pass legislation requiring President Bush to first obtain Congressional approval before attacking Iran. Smith¿s book reads like a criminal indictment. It is filled with compelling, sourced facts and figures. He makes a strong case that AIPAC is indeed an organization that deserves far greater legal scrutiny and accountable that it has received thus far. Moreover, that the mainstream media ignore AIPAC¿s alleged criminal activities and destructive political influence on our democratic process is appalling. No doubt that Smith will get the usual claims of anti-Semitism. This appears par for the course. When ever an American criticizes Israeli policy or that country¿s influence over US political affairs, the predictable Israel First hacks make their way to the front of the line. We have seen this happen to Professors Walt, Miershiemer, Finkelstein, Petras, President Jimmy Carter and Congressman Findley, among others. Mr. Smith can be comforted that he has joined a group of dedicated, patriotic Americans whose sole interests continue to be the advancement of US strategic objectives and who have resisted prostituting themselves for foreign powers. Kudos to Mr. Smith!
Citizens concerned by the undue influence of the Israel lobby are dismayed by the action of the US Congress that adopts resolution after resolution favoring Israel with nary of word about its failure to make peace with the Palestinians, whose land it inhabits, or with its neighbors, whose borders it abuts. Last year Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, two professors from prestigious American universities, began a public debate on the power of the lobby, giving hope that a public airing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), its work, financing, and political connections would help Americans understand the gross misdirection of Middle East foreign policy over the last forty years. Grant F. Smith¿s new book, Foreign Agents, decisively pushes this debate forward and shows just how illegally the lobby has acted since its beginnings. Smith traces the development of AIPAC from its early days under founder Si Kenen, who in 1947 registered with the US Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act as an employee of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs. He was then as an agent working for the state of Israel. He continued to register as a foreign agent during the late forties and fifties, working for various organizations, but in 1959, the name of the American Zionist Committee was changed to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to better reflect, as Kenen stated, the fact that it ¿raised its funds from both Zionists and non-Zionists.¿ Its focus of work never changed, which was to promote the cause of Israel in both the executive and legislation branches of government. AIPAC eventually developed an extensive grassroots national network of organizations that engaged in all manner of illegal activities, from transgressing federal elections laws, to economic and industrial espionage, flouting congressional laws regarding the use of arms exported to foreign countries, and passing classified and secret information to the Israeli government via the Israeli embassy in Washington. In 2005, after a nine-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, two of AIPAC¿s top officials were arrested for espionage, and the role that AIPAC played over the years as a covert agent for Israel was given unusual light. The book uses as a primary source the historic and remarkable hearings that Senator William Fulbright held in 1963 to investigate the 'activities of agents of foreign principals in the United States.' The Committee¿s aim was to look at the work of all organizations working on behalf of foreign countries, but in the process it discovered that already by that time the Israeli government was laundering funds in the US, using private foundations and individuals to hide the foreign source of organizational funding, although its principals were not registered as foreign agents. In fact, Senator Fulbright was on to something much bigger than even he could have imagined. The book also includes an extensive analysis of the current AIPAC espionage case, and many original documents backing up its contention that the organization has behaved illegally for years.