Grant F. Smith : The Rise of AIPAC – AIPAC History


AIPAC History. Proto-AIPAC’s incubation in the Israeli embassy in 1948.


Strategic direction-setting by the Mossad and Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Confrontations with the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations and the secret battle over registration as an Israeli foreign agent.


FBI espionage investigations of AIPAC.

AIPAC and the clandestine Israeli nuclear weapons program.

The grassroots fight for transparency, regulatory oversight and accountability.


AIPAC Founder Isiah Kenen (L)

ED NOTE: The purpose of the American Zionist Council (AZC) under the leadership of Isaiah Kenen in concert with nationally known Israeli leaders was to foster a pro-Israel lobbying campaign.

“Structured as a tax exempt organization, the Council could not legally lobby on Israel’s behalf in the United States.  In 1954, the AZC became the focus of a possible investigation of alleged illegal lobbying activities on Israel’s behalf. To diffuse charges, the Council formed a non-tax-exempt lobbying arm under Kenen’s leadership called the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, the forerunner of AIPAC. In 1959, the word Israel was substituted for Zionist to enlist the support of broad-based Jewish organizations such as the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith. These organizations, which were unable to lobby on Israel’s behalf because of their tax status, played a significant part in AIPAC’s development. As Kenen stated in his book, Israel’s Defense Line: Her Friends and Foes in Washington: “We enlisted the cooperation of all major Jewish organizations, both ‘Zionist’ and ‘non-Zionist,’ such as the defense organizations. They were unwilling to lobby, but they agreed to find prominent constituents to open congressional doors for us.”

Presented by Grant F. Smith, Director of IRmep.


Grant F. Smith, Director of Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy – IRmep

Grant F. Smith is the author of Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy, America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government and Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal. He is a frequent contributor to Radio France Internationale and Voice of America’s Foro Interamericano. Smith has also appeared on BBC News, CNN, and C-SPAN.

Editing: Debbie Menon


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