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By Jeffrey Blankfort
Who Makes up the Lobby?

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19 March 2003

Who Makes up the Lobby?

It is important to note that the Israel lobby is much more than AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee), which primarily focuses on Congress and directs funding from Jewish PACs and individuals to those politicians it considers to be deserving. Its other more visible components are the biggest Jewish organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Jewish Congress, but there are also a number of others, not the least of which is the extreme right wing Zionist Organization of America, which at the moment is extremely influential in Washington.

All of these organizations form part of the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, whose current president is Mortimer Zuckerman, owner of the NY Daily News and US News and World Report. Its job is to lobby the President. At the grass-roots you have hundreds of local Jewish federations and councils that cultivate the support of city councilors and supervisors and select the more promising among them to run for Congress, assured that they will be solid votes for Israel.

While not officially part of the lobby, since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the AFL-CIO has been one of its most solid cornerstones. It has provided millions of dollars for pro-Israel Democrats; it has blocked all international efforts to punish Israel for its exploitation and abuse of Palestinian workers, and it has encouraged its member unions to invest millions of dollars of their pension funds in State of Israel Bonds, thereby linking their members’ retirement to the health of the Israeli economy. Over the past year, the lobby has cemented ties with the Christian evangelical right, which gives it clout in states where there are few Jews and access to hundreds of thousands of new donors toIsrael’s cause.

Jeffrey Blankfort