Who’s paying for Congress to summer in Israel? Liberal foundations that give halls to Princeton and Yale and fund Human Rights Watch

Israel/Palestine
on 62 Comments

The center of student life at NYU is a striking building called the Kimmel Center on Washington Square. Martin and Helen Kimmel have given NYU millions. The Kimmels also give tons of money to the Metropolitan Opera, the Museum of African Art, Habitat for Humanity, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Sidwell Friends School, and Human Rights Watch too. 

Yesterday the Washington Post said that 81 congresspeople are going to Israel this summer “courtesy of the AIPAC lobby”– as if we have the bad old right-wing Israel lobby to blame.

But that’s a delusion. It’s people like the Kimmels, the heart and soul of the liberal Jewish establishment. The Kimmels give bigtime to the American Israel Education Foundation, the AIPAC spinoff that funds charities and pays for congresspeople to travel to Israel. The Kimmels gave $3.5 million to the American Israel Education Foundation, or AIEF, over several recent years, according to the Form 990s that their family foundation has provided to the government.

Indeed, my search of 990s shows that the AIEF is getting tons of money from the same people who fund good liberal institutions. I’ve looked at about a third of more than 300 federal filings of charitable contributions to the AIEF in recent years; and the pattern is clear–many people who give to liberal causes like abortion right also pay for Israel junkets.

The Abby and Mitch Leigh Foundation gave the Abby and Mitch Leigh Hall to Yale University’s music school. It also gives generously to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which took on the Bush Administration on abortion policy. Well, the Leigh Foundation has given $35,000 to send your congressperson to Israel.

Or the Wilf Foundation. It gave Princeton University a lovely new brick dormitory called Wilf Hall, which is under construction. And meantime the Wilfs have given $150,000 to the AIEF, according to government filings.

Consider the Arlene and Daniel Fisher Foundation– the Fishers love the arts. They give money to the Actor’s Fund, the Roundabout Theater and the Manhattan Theatre Club, where young friends of mine have done workshop productions. But they also gave $175,000 to the American Israel Education Foundation, which is paying for congresspeople to learn how great Israel is.

Or Margaret and Richard Lipmanson Foundation. It gave the liberal group the ACLU $10,000 one year– and the American Israel Education Foundation $30,000.

Or the Long-Island-based Susan and Leonard Feinstein Foundation. It helps liberal causes, education and the arts– Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the American Ballet Theater,  Nassau Coalition Against Domestic Violence, NYU School of Medicine. But the Feinstein Foundation gave $450,000 to the American Israel Education Foundation over eight years.

Yes, the American Israel Education Foundation gets hundreds of thousands, millions even, from rightwingers. Sheldon Adelson gives it money, for instance. There are many obviously-conservative Jewish-oriented foundations in the lists of AIEF givers. Susan Wexner’s foundation  funds AIEF and also the David Project and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

And Haim Saban, the “ardent Zionist” toymaker, gave $8 million to the American Israel Education Foundation over two years and more than $6 million to the Friends of the IDF (Israeli army).

Saban was also giving millions to Bill Clinton’s Presidential Foundation and the Brookings Institution.

And that’s the point. When you comb through the lists of people who are paying for 1 out of 5 Congresspeople to spend their recess in Israel this summer, many of them are the heart and soul of the liberal Jewish establishment. And apart from the political corruption question– why is a Congresswoman in Israel not her home district this August as the economy disintegrates?– these donor lists speak to a larger cultural issue: the inability of the liberal establishment to address the Israel/Palestine issue in a liberal fashion.

When Princeton, and Yale, and NYU, and Human Rights Watch, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Ballet Theater, and the Manhattan Theatre Club and the ACLU are getting huge gifts from these foundations, do you think they don’t know which side their bread is buttered on?

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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62 Responses

  1. Exiled At Home
    August 11, 2011, 10:34 am

    Phillip,

    Thanks for this post. As a fairly conservative libertarian, I have been appalled at the naivety of the left, many of whom see unbridled support of Israel as a largely right-wing conception, a Republican issue, when in fact support of Israel is not only a massively bipartisan agenda, but also an issue that brings in financial support from ideologues across the political spectrum. When such fiercely partisan enemies can come together nearly unanimously in support of Israel, it’s worrisome. The sooner Progressives begin to examine their own camp’s complicity in this quagmire, the better for all of us.

    • ToivoS
      August 12, 2011, 2:26 am

      Duh, exile, what do you think this site is all about. Come back when you something new to say.

      • Taxi
        August 12, 2011, 8:14 am

        Toi,

        Your sarcastic response to Exiled At Home was really uncalled for. You and I have sometimes made obvious statements too – so what? I think Exiled made his/her point rather eloquently – most definitely unoffensively.

  2. Dan Crowther
    August 11, 2011, 10:37 am

    Oh, Phil. Havent we got past the point where we use the word “liberal” to describe the people you mention in your article?

    Zionism is a disqualifier. If you are a zionist you are not liberal. Say it with me……

    You are a part of the real “liberal jewish establishment” not these people.

    These people like liberalism when it suits them i.e., when they live in countries in which they a small minority group – but they are an exclusionary nationalist force based on religious exceptionalism where and when they are allowed to be. That is who they really are.

    You do a disservice to liberalism calling these people “liberal.”

  3. mjrosenberg
    August 11, 2011, 10:39 am

    A little misleading, Phil. These people are AIPAC. Whoever denied it was funded by all kinds of Israel Firsters, including liberals.

    • James North
      August 11, 2011, 10:55 am

      It’s always a pleasure to read anything by the great M.J. Rosenberg, a man of courage and intelligence.

    • Richard Witty
      August 11, 2011, 10:55 am

      Don’t you prefer that they see with their own eyes, get to ask questions of the principle parties, MJ, rather than just believe what they are told?

      Noone that goes to Israel and actually looks around has an experience without questions.

      • Dan Crowther
        August 11, 2011, 11:28 am

        Questions like “man, what the F are all these Russians doing in the Middle East?” or ” How the F did Avigdor Lieberman get into elected government?”

        Questions like that?

      • justicewillprevail
        August 11, 2011, 11:36 am

        They are not there to think for themselves but to pay homage. They will be surrounded by minders 24/7, maybe granted a few hours out of a week with some pliant Palestinians, and the rest of the time treated to wall to wall hasbara. They know the price they have to pay when they come back, and they will pay it, rather than have open warfare declared on them by AIPAC.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        August 11, 2011, 3:48 pm

        This will be, at least, the 16th trip for top Democratic House Whore Steny Hoyer who in 2009 gave a press conference in which he took the position of the Netanyahu government that Jews should be free to live anywhere in Palestinian East Jerusalem, implying that evicting Palestinians for them to do so was not a problem, a position that, at least, officially, was opposed to US policy.

        That he could do that and maintain his position of House Whip without even a whiff of censure from his Democratic party colleagues, was just the latest piece of evidence that not just AIPAC, but the Democratic Party functions as an Israeli 5th Column in the US political process and, of course, the same can be said of the Republicans.

        It will be interesting to find out if the visiting Republican House members will stop by Tel Aviv’s tent encampments and lecture the Israelis there about the evils of the welfare system and the benefits of “free-market capitalism.”

      • Shmuel
        August 11, 2011, 5:37 pm

        Don’t you prefer that they see with their own eyes, get to ask questions of the principle parties, MJ, rather than just believe what they are told?

        More playing innocent. You know as well as anyone that AIPAC is not shelling out all that dough to give these people a chance to “see with their own eyes” or “ask questions”. It is an all-expenses paid, snow job. To present it as if it were a learning opportunity of some kind is as laughable as it is dishonest. If the good congresspeople really wanted to see things for themselves and form their own opinions, the last thing they would do would be to go on an AIPAC-sponsored junket. You wouldn’t defend it if it were an oil or pharmaceutical company laying it on, but if it’s about Israel, you immediately whip out those rose-coloured blinders.

      • MRW
        August 11, 2011, 7:32 pm

        Don’t you prefer that they see with their own eyes, get to ask questions of the principle parties, MJ, rather than just believe what they are told?

        Making Foreign policy is not Congress’ job. It is the President’s job, although Congress can affect it. The President has lots of people finding out what he needs to know. He doesn’t need freshmen who should be busy representing their constituents telling him what to do.

        Congress can affect Foreign policy through these six ways, per the Department of State’s official site:
        1) — resolutions and policy statements
        2) — legislative directives
        3) — legislative pressure
        4) — legislative restrictions/funding denials
        5) — informal advice
        6) — congressional oversight.

        This is why AIPAC goes after US Congressmen, to manipulate the process.

      • Duscany
        August 11, 2011, 8:46 pm

        Israel wouldn’t invite all these members of congress year after year at great expense if they didn’t get anything out of it. I read a story last night that said Israel put so much pressure on the members that one of them ended up on the floor in the fetal position.

        But ultimately I’m not blaming Israel. She is just doing what is in her best interests. What I want to know is why, at a time when our economy is collapsing around our ears, so many of our legislators are rushing off to a foreign country. I guess when push comes to shove they know what side their bread is buttered on.

        • MHughes976
          August 12, 2011, 10:34 am

          I have sometimes wondered if the politicians who do this sort of thing hate and despise themselves for having to do it, sometimes wondered if the Israeli hosts, intelligent and educated as most of them must be, despise these people for letting themselves be so dominated, for never asking the awkward questions, perhaps for having the kind of uncritical, emotion-driven religion that so many in the Jewish world have long since abandoned. (I’ve just read a survey saying that 4 out of 10 Americans believe in the literal truth of the Adam and Eve story; I certainly doubt if 4 out of 10 of Israelis do.)
          Or perhaps it’s just a commercial transaction and nearly everyone takes it in their stride.
          It’s not just Americans or politicians, of course. I recently had a depressing communication from a senior member of the Church of England about how he had been to Israel under the auspices of what I regard as a Zionist front organisation and how he had paid this wonderful visit to a Bedouin tent – and more in that vein. This is another highly educated man who probably accepts that there’s some reason to doubt the story of Adam, but about the stories told him on his wonderful ME visit I don’t think a moment’s doubt has disturbed his tranquil soul.

        • Citizen
          August 12, 2011, 1:06 pm

          I have wondered along the same lines MHughes. I’ve never personally talked to a US politician, but I have talked to some Christian fundies, and I know some secular Jews. From my experience, none of them give the subjects you alude to any thought; they are just-knee jerk on the issue of US-Israel & foreign policy there, while they are very thoughtful in so many other areas. It’s a matter of faith to them, I’ve concluded; the Christian fundies think the bible tells them so, and the secular Jews operate in that issue area by pointing to the Shoah & historical & eternal Jewish victimhood. I can not penetrate them no matter how many facts I bring up.

  4. Woody Tanaka
    August 11, 2011, 10:47 am

    Anyone helping the Israeli occupation machine is not, in any way, liberal, regardless of whatelse he or she does with his or her money.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      August 11, 2011, 3:58 pm

      Although Luntz, the producer of this poll of American Jews and Israel is a thorough scoundrel and the organization that commissioned it, CAMERA is equally so, and many of the questions are larded with Zionist propaganda, it does present an interesting, if depressing, survey of American Jewish opinion that doesn’t make it appear either qualitatively or quantitatively to differ from the positions of AIPAC, link to camera.org

  5. mudder
    August 11, 2011, 10:55 am

    MJ and Phil–While we’re on the topic of form 990s and funding, did either of you see Grant Smith’s piece yesterday that AIPAC now has only two *major* donors? link to original.antiwar.com

  6. irmep
    August 11, 2011, 10:57 am

    Excellent research, Phil. I think the ruse that AIEF is in any way functionally separate from AIPAC has gone on too long. Something VERY fishy is going on. AIPAC, which used to list some 1,700 donors giving more than $5,000, in its last IRS filing said there were only two major donors. One gave fifty million, another gave $13 million, in non tax-deductible contributions.

    Right.

    link to original.antiwar.com

    g.

  7. ehrens
    August 11, 2011, 11:38 am

    The site legistorm.com is a great resource too. For instance, Israel Lobby-funded Congressional visits since about 2001 are THREE time as frequent as to ENGLAND! — because of groups like the ones you mention and the mendacity of these money-grubbing Congressmen.

    1020 junkets to Israel:

    link to legistorm.com

    In comparison, there have been 2 to Palestine:

    link to legistorm.com

    There’s a lot more interesting information here, too, where you can drill down and see the individual junkets:

    link to legistorm.com

    You’d think, with only 2 visits to Palestine, our Congressmen, if they really were serious about “fact-finding,” would be scheduling more visits to Ramallah and Gaza and fewer photo ops at Yad Vashem.

    • mudder
      August 11, 2011, 2:05 pm

      Well, if it helps any, 12 of the congressional trips since 2001 listed by legistorm are to the city of “Ramallah, Israel”. Sigh.

  8. HRK
    August 11, 2011, 11:39 am

    Just for some clarification, here are my three conservative definitions (which have a degree of discreteness to them):

    1. Favoring the old-fashioned way. Sticking with the “tried and true.” Not seeking the novel.
    2. Believing that society can only be improved so much before we reach the point of diminishing returns. The raw material we have to work with—human nature—is not perfectable, and our innate imperfections have to be taken into account when formulating government policy.
    So, for example, distribution of power (as opposed to centralization of authority) is one way of keeping a check on the dark side of human nature—as it effectively pits different people (each of which has a warped nature) against one another. The hope is that somehow in the battle justice can somehow be approximated. The alternative—absolute power—is viewed as absolutely corrupting.
    3. Tending to favor one’s own group in conflicts over resources.

  9. lysias
    August 11, 2011, 11:49 am

    According to documents filed with the IRS, it seems AIPAC has only two big (unidentified) donors: Does AIPAC Have Only Two Major Donors? Mystery unfolds as members of Congress head to Israel:

    According to the special IRS release of AIPAC’s 2009 Schedule B [.pdf] there were only two $5,000-plus donors. Donor number one gave $48,842,187. Donor number two chipped in $13,503,472. This means small donors contributed only $2,261,755 for total year 2009 public support of $64,607,414. The IRS confirms that there is no additional 2009 spreadsheet attachment of $5,000-plus donors as in 2006. AIPAC is now telling the IRS that it has only two meaningful donors.

    I wonder who those two donors are. I wonder if they could be conduits for government money.

    • irmep
      August 11, 2011, 2:01 pm

      Okay, here’s part of what happened. On its 2010 form 990, the American Israel Education Foundation declared that it transferred $13,503,472 (of presumably tax deductible funds, which helped donors reduce their payments to Uncle Sam)…..to the…..wait for it……American Israel Public Affairs Committee….for “education” purpuses.

      Since AIPAC is a 501(c)(4) (and donations are not tax deductible) that raises a lot of questions….

      • lysias
        August 11, 2011, 4:28 pm

        So could both these big donors be conduits used to disguise the identity of the ultimate donors? Could that be construed as a conspiracy to evade the legal requirement to identify donors to the IRS?

        • irmep
          August 11, 2011, 5:08 pm

          It is questionable that just because AIEF says the funds they gave AIPAC were for” education” that it was okay. If AIPAC had not received that transfer, it would have had to report declining revenues for the first time in a long time. Also, if donor #1 ($50 million) is really just some new bundling entity (there are no other obviously affiliated AIPAC shells, except for WINEP and AEIF), what other purpose does it serve other than hiding the distribution curve of the 2,000 individuals who are the key funders. Something is clearly wrong…

        • MRW
          August 11, 2011, 5:58 pm

          Keep at it, Grant. You’re doing great work.

    • American
      August 11, 2011, 4:52 pm

      I am still trying to figure out how Israel was so broke in 2003 the US had to give them 10 billion in economic aid (separate from our military aid) and then ‘magically’ three years later in 2005 Israel had a surplus….faster turn around in history…magical.

      I have always wondered also if Ari Senor and Harold Rhodes and the ohter zios in the US Provisional Authority running around Iraq flew out more than just stolen Iraq antiquities…like some pallets of US cash.

  10. Chu
    August 11, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Because debating Israel in the US never occurs, no one challenges their political positions in the democratic party. The wolf in sheep’s clothing can continue to do as it does, because they are not held accountable.

    When you get to a level of power in this country, political ideology is a means to an end. Sure it’s immoral, but no one is monitoring these big donors. Like the Rothschild empire, they’re invisible to society.

  11. Mndwss
    August 11, 2011, 12:07 pm

    How much of the US aid to israel is used to brainwash the US Congress and people?

    I don’t know.

    Please tell me what to believe.

    I will pay.

    • Chu
      August 11, 2011, 2:07 pm

      How much of the US aid to israel is used to brainwash the US Congress and people?

      None. AIPAC and their many organizations work-over the US opinion with the hasbara. Aid to Israel is mainly for their military defense.

      • Mndwss
        August 11, 2011, 3:36 pm

        “Aid to Israel is mainly for their military defense”

        Change that to:

        Aid to Israel is mainly for their military offense.

        And killing and stealing…

        • lysias
          August 11, 2011, 4:26 pm

          The literal meaning of “Wehrmacht” is “defense force”.

          And our War Department morphed into the Defense Department in the early Cold War, a critical stage in our transformation into a warfare state.

      • American
        August 11, 2011, 5:07 pm

        It’s not brainwashing, it’s this.

        Israel Lobby Dominates Congress, Media Covers it Up

        by Alison Weir, August 11, 2011

        (excerpt)

        Not all those going on these trips are enthusiastic. The wife of one congressman who made a similar trip some years ago said that she and her husband had never been exposed to such pressure in all their lives. She said that at one point on their trip, her husband — a normally extremely tough man — was curled up in a fetal position.

        A staff member of one representative participating in this month’s junkets said the representative had no choice. If the congressional rep didn’t go on the trip, the rep would be targeted by AIPAC; large quantities of money, including massive out-of-state money, would be raised for the opponent in the next election; and quite likely the representative would be defeated. The staffer said that the Israel Lobby is far too powerful to ignore and that American voters have no knowledge of what’s going on.

        It’s no surprise that voters are unaware that their representatives are being propagandized and pressured by a foreign lobby. Their news media almost never tells them.

        The Associated Press, America’s number one news service, has decided not to report on a lobbying group taking 81 representatives to a foreign country in order to influence their votes.

        Even though the trips are being reported by news media in Britain, Iran, India, Israel, Lebanon, and elsewhere, AP has decided to give the story a pass. When contacted about this, an AP editor in Washington, D.C., said AP knew about the trips and was “looking into it.”

        Taking a similar tack, The New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, CNN, ABC, et al., failed to inform Americans about the trips. The Washington Post, after the story was posted throughout the blogosphere, finally covered it belatedly on Page 13. The CBS website had a story on the situation, but CBS News made no mention of the junkets on-air.”

        The Israel lobby and Israel supporters are nothing but a criminal political Mafia group.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      August 11, 2011, 4:12 pm

      At the moment, probably no money comes from any Israeli agency although it is likely that since there is really no border between Israel and its supporters in the US, contributions from individuals in Israel are being funneled, illegally, into lobbying activities in the US with little fear of apprehension.

      It wasn’t always so, as IRmep’s Grant Smith, citing the testimony from the Senate Record of hearings on Zionist lobbying in the US conducted by Senator J. W. Fulbright revealed:

      Fulbright asked American Section – Jewish Agency – officials Isadore Hamlin and Maurice Boukstein to produce Jewish Agency articles of incorporation, resolutions and relevant governing documents during sworn testimony. Documents about the Jewish Agency’s contractual relationship with the Israeli government were never received or entered into the Senate record.

      “The Senate investigations go on to discover that the Jewish Agency moved $5 million (equivalent to $35 million today) into the American Section – Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc. in New York, and on to the American Zionist Council (AZC). The editor of the “Near East Report” Isaiah L. Kenen, and other “conduits” for public relations, lobbying and grassroots coalition building in the United States received Jewish Agency funding.”
      link to irmep.org

  12. Citizen
    August 11, 2011, 12:32 pm

    How is it ethical for a US congress person to get a bribe of $8,000.00 value plus? May a congressman accept a free vacation to Iran from any American foundation? Half the new Republican legislators are going on this trip. Is this the Zionist brainwashing of newly minted Tea Party reps so they morph into old Republican dinosaurs when it comes to anything Israel? I’m looking forward to more endless wars because they cost us so little and hey, we’re not quite bankrupt yet, just downgraded financially on the world market. Let’s expand our loan guarantees to Israel with what’s left of our credit on the market so Israel can keep getting low interest loans instead of having to take out Payday Loans on their own.

  13. longliveisrael
    August 11, 2011, 12:52 pm

    Bravo to the Kimmels and the others you mention. They actually do good deeds unlike most of you here.

    • Mndwss
      August 11, 2011, 1:59 pm

      If the Kimmels support the opera (and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians).

      And the Himmlers supported the opera (and ethnic cleansing of Jews from europe).

      Then the Kimmels = nice?

      I know.

      We are not supposed to compare and contrast. Not in this conflict.

      If you do then you are “extremly hateful” to one “semittic” people.

      And that is not very nice.

      • lysias
        August 11, 2011, 2:35 pm

        I don’t know that the Himmlers supported opera, but Hitler (Bayreuth), Göring (Berlin Staatsoper), and Goebbels (everywhere else) did. Heydrich was the son of an opera composer and singer, and he was himself a talented violinist.

    • Chu
      August 11, 2011, 2:01 pm

      wow, that was enlightening LLI.

    • justicewillprevail
      August 11, 2011, 4:12 pm

      Like supporting apartheid, and the subversion of Congress, you mean.

    • American
      August 11, 2011, 6:09 pm

      In Haaretz a few days ago Beni Ziper wrote, “I saw on television people shouting against the rich, or tycoons who control the country. Seemingly everyone thinks it’s exciting and daring and nobody reflects on the chilling historical equivalence with the Depression in Germany at the time of Weimar Republic, when the ‘rich Jews who control us’ were targeted by everyone.”

      Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. If Americans get to point where they riot over the zio mafia in Washington I doubt you will think the Kimmels did you any favors.

  14. annie
    August 11, 2011, 2:16 pm

    why is a Congresswoman in Israel not her home district this August as the economy disintegrates?

    well phil, maybe that congressperson doesn’t have to worry about legislative ad ons for her district for things like abortion initiatives and museums or dorms or habitat for humanity or Gay Men’s Health Crisis centers or domestic violence or science research or any of those things because they have these liberal foundations to support them instead of using fed funds….if they go to israel.

  15. lysias
    August 11, 2011, 2:41 pm

    Sidwell Friends School just happens to be the school that Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia attend.

    • Citizen
      August 11, 2011, 3:11 pm

      I think Plugs & Chicklets Beiden’s nephews or nieces go there too.

    • Ellen
      August 11, 2011, 5:34 pm

      And???? So what. They have to go to school somewhere. Michell did not put the girls into the DC public schools. It is in the district. Hillary talked Michel into it. The Secret Service already had it down.

      • lysias
        August 11, 2011, 6:51 pm

        National Cathedral School is just as close to the White House, I would think. And, since so many children of D.C. big shots go to NCS and its sibling school and neighbor St. Alban’s, I shouldn’t think security would be a problem.

  16. Rusty Pipes
    August 11, 2011, 2:52 pm

    Looks like the word, “Liberal” has suffered from exposure to (what the Garish Orange Site likes to talk about as) the Overton Window, i.e. Republicans have succeeded in redefining the discourse about Right and Left by pulling the conversation so far to the right that what used to be defined as Centrist, now is being portrayed as Liberal. The other organizations supported by the highlighted major donors are some of the standard ones long favored by moderate Republican and Democratic donors. So, it looks like some AIPAC-affiliated orgs, like AIEF are still getting some of these moderates’ donations, even if they are not among the two donors who gave more than $5000 to AIPAC last year. The giving patterns to AIPAC reflect a significant shift since Michael Massing wrote “The Storm over the Israel Lobby” just a few years ago.

    The new Grant Smith article raises some interesting possibilities for why these moderates are not major givers to AIPAC. Two other possibilities for a shift in giving among moderates is the introduction of the JStreet option for moderate to liberal Zionists as well as the devastating effect of the Madoff crisis on charitable giving to a variety of Jewish and civic organizations.

    • Debonnaire
      August 11, 2011, 4:01 pm

      Very interesting. These so-called liberal Jews need to be exppsed in billboards and TV ads for the anti-American corruptors they are. They use their money to buy OUR elected representatives and put us all at risk of another 9-11.

  17. mudder
    August 11, 2011, 3:49 pm

    Stephen Walt’s blog now has a post linking to this post.
    “The greatest elected body that money can buy.”
    link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

  18. DICKERSON3870
    August 11, 2011, 4:21 pm

    RE: “the Washington Post said that 81 congresspeople are going to Israel this summer ‘courtesy of the AIPAC lobby’– as if we have the bad old right-wing Israel lobby to blame.” ~ Weiss

    FROM ALISON WEIR, 08/11/11:

    (excerpts)…81 Congressional representatives from all over the country, led by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, are traveling to Israel this month…
    …No other lobby on behalf of a foreign country comes anywhere near to controlling such wealth or taking so many of America’s elected representatives on a propaganda trip to their favorite country.
    Not all those going on these trips are enthusiastic. The wife of one Congressman who made a similar trip some years ago said that she and her husband had never been exposed to such pressure in all their lives. She said that at one point on their trip, her husband – a normally extremely tough man – was curled up in a fetal position.
    A staff member of one representative participating in this month’s junkets said the representative had no choice. If the Congressional rep didn’t go on the trip, the rep would be targeted by AIPAC, large quantities of money, including massive out-of-state money, would be raised for the opponent in the next election, and quite likely the representative would be defeated. The staffer said that the Israel Lobby is far too powerful to ignore and that American voters have no knowledge of what’s going on.

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org

  19. Keith
    August 11, 2011, 4:52 pm

    PHIL- What your data tends to indicate is that Israel continues to enjoy strong support among the American Jewish power elite regardless of the label which you attach to them based upon other criteria. Of course, this generalizes to all members of the power elite. How many members of the American power elite oppose the American empire? How many would be members of the power elite if they did?

    • Keith
      August 12, 2011, 6:41 pm

      Upon reflection, some additional comments seem appropriate.

      Let us begin by noting that in general liberal or “progressive” foundations provide funding only for very specific causes which, to the degree the foundation is progressive, tend to ameliorate the consequences of systemic injustice in such a way as to not challenge the system which produces the injustice. They provide band aids, but never undertake surgery. As such, they indirectly support the system which produces these injustices.

      Furthermore, through the power of the purse, they define the boundaries of fundable dissent, in effect co-opting individuals and organization that might otherwise challenge the system. Virtually all of the big green groups (Sierra Club, etc) have been co-opted. Not only does this limit the range of activities of the major groups, but it creates the illusion that something is being done to correct obvious problems creating a certain complacency regarding the problems.

      Additionally, liberal foundations provide an altruistic façade for pursuing what amounts to undemocratic, tax exempt social engineering to achieve elite objectives. On occasion these objectives may be socially beneficial, however, they frequently serve a hidden agenda. The dissemination of “educational” propaganda to schools, for example. Or even making beneficial services dependent for funding upon the good will and philanthropic nature of some Fat Cat, who then has the de facto power to punish society if displeased. The more society is dependent upon “charity” rather than taxes, the less independent and democratic it becomes.

      Finally, many of the big foundations have a history of complicity with the CIA and other government agencies in providing cover for the funding of covert activities. Even when legal, foundations provide a tax exempt base for elite power seeking. The Rockefeller Foundation funding of the Council on Foreign Relations, for example.

      On balance, a strong case can be made that most large foundations are an integral part of elite control and imperial power seeking, whether or not they are labeled “Liberal.”

  20. Taxi
    August 11, 2011, 6:09 pm

    Yeah well no surprises over here this sunny side of California – I mean we all know WHY and WHERE the whores of Babylon (Capitol Hill) go on their pre-paid Mediterranean vacation every year.

    So then begs the question: why isn’t President Obama visiting israel? Could the rumors be true that the FBI and the NIC are strongly advising against it? If so then this means that the mosad couldn’t guarantee Obama’s personal security while visiting israel. It’s unsafe for our powerful(?) president to visit our ‘best friend in the whole wide world’.

    In fact there appears to be so much tangible hostility towards Obama from both sides of the I/P conflict that there are no plans whatsoever for Obama to visit any mid eastern country any time soon – not even Iraq, not even Afghanistan.

    Obama as persona non-grata in a region that’s vital to our interests – uhuh the pathetic shame of it!

    Presidente Lamo Ducko, is who we now have running our country. Aipac knows this because it planned and executed it. It works it – it works it to the bone – it bitchslaps Obama at every given opportunity. But in the end I reckon aipac will pay for it’s back-street thuggery in further strained race relations between jewish-American and African-American communities nationwide.

    Point is, at some point it won’t just be the lone ‘pro-palestinian’ camp that is active against Aipac. The African-American community already knows the score when it comes to Aipac, as this link attests:
    link to forum.prisonplanet.com

    Every year, Aipac makes more and more enemies. Yeah and I bet my farm that this year they’ve made more enemies than the 81 congressional eggheads they corrupted/coerced into visiting Apartheid israel summer of 2011.

  21. American
    August 11, 2011, 6:33 pm

    All I really want to know is how to get rid of them….AIPAC, their politicians, the whole zionist crew, their funders, all of them.

    Don’t tell me about voting new politicians inton office to take care of the problem, that’s nothing but putting new chickens in the fox’s house.

    Very simply what IS it going to take to get rid of them?

    • Ellen
      August 12, 2011, 8:59 am

      American, as long as we have a political system that depends on money from donations, it will be compromised.

      And there are just too many powerful (special) interests involved that would want to see it changed.

      What might help is refusing to support any legislator who receives PAC or Lobby money.

      The McCain-Feingold act tried to get this fixed, but failed by six votes.

      The system enriched too many in Congress.

      Maybe we make a PAC to end PACs?

  22. Citizen
    August 11, 2011, 8:02 pm

    We won’t know all the names of the 81 there now (democrats) & headed there very soon (repubs, incuding half of the new republicans in the House) until they come back and file a mandated report: link to legistorm.com

    List of named congress people who have taken bribe trips by this AIPAC spinoff org to Israel up to 6/2011: link to legistorm.com

    In 2009, the AIEF (AIPAC spinoff org) paid for 50 US congressmen to go to Israel; the pro-Israel lobby group uses a loophole forbidding such bribery. link to legistorm.com

    The loophole is the usual creation of a corporate shell so AIPAC is not directly connected. It’s a varient of how the Zionist predecessor of AIPAC got around registering as agent of a foreign government back when JFK was pursuing them. Can you imagine an Arab American organization getting away with this BS?

    • Ellen
      August 12, 2011, 9:03 am

      The system allows a lot of leeway in soliciting the ear of Congress; there is obviously something smelly with any entity that has to create shells and middle “men” to conduct its activities.

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