The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is throwing mountains of money around in an attempt to derail the Iran nuclear deal.
Mondoweiss reported in early August that AIPAC’s education wing was taking all but three freshmen House Representatives on a visit to Israel in hopes of sabotaging the US government’s negotiations with Iran.
A few days later, the New York Times picked up the story. It reported that 58 congresspeople—including 22 Democrats and 36 Republicans—in total would be traveling to Israel in August.
The Times also revealed just how much money AIPAC is hemorrhaging in hopes of stymieing the international diplomacy between the P5+1 (the US, the UK, France, China, and Russia, as well as Germany) and Iran.
In the first half of 2015, AIPAC spent approximately $1.7 million lobbying Congress to oppose the deal. Yet this is mere chump change compared to what it has since funneled into advertisements and lobbying.
AIPAC created a new tax-exempt lobbying group in July called Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran. The sole purpose of the organization is to oppose the Iran deal—which, in spite of the name of the group, will in fact prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons (weapons the Iranian government denies ever even seeking in the first place, and for which there is not a shred of evidence) in return for an end to Western sanctions on the country.
Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran is spending up to $40 million to place anti-Iran deal ads in 35 states, according to the Times, up from a previous estimate of $20 million. This figure may increase even more as the 60-day period in which Congress can review the deal draws to a close.
In August 2013, AIPAC paid for a congressional trip to Israel. The organization paid around $18,000 for each congressperson who went. Assuming these costs remain the same today, AIPAC will be shelling out another $1 million to send US lawmakers to Israel.
NPR estimates AIPAC will spend $20 million to $40 million to oppose the Iran deal. In light of the above findings, $40 million may in fact be a lower limit.
AIPAC’s spending dwarfs the estimated $5 million liberal pro-Israel organization J-Street plans to spend in support of the international diplomacy.