The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is one of the most influential groups that endorse the pro-Israel policy to the Executive Branch and the Congress of the United States of America. The organization has more than 10,000 members and 17 regional offices. They believe that cooperation between two countries is an advantage for both of them and its mission is to “Strengthen, protect and promote U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.”
AIPAC was founded by Isaiah L. “Si” Kenen in the year 1951. Kenen initially was in the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs and before that he was an Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs. AIPAC helped in the resettlement of the Holocaust refugees in Israel and preserved the relationship between both the nations. The Headquarters of AIPAC is located in Washington, D.C. The members of the organization actively participate in the committee sessions and also keep their presence in the halls of the Congress. They review the legislation that may affect the relationship between two nations and work with key officials to develop law and policy. A total of a thousand meetings are conducted annually with the congressional offices.
The organization also supports the U.S involvement in bringing about peace and advocates for a two-state solution based on the negotiations between Israel and Palestinians. It supports U.S in the participation of the talks for acceptance of Israel’s need for a secure and defensible border. Financial aids are also provided by the U.S to help Israel obtain about three billion dollars yearly; this makes Israel the largest cumulative recipient of the U.S foreign assistance. The Congress members are advised about the issues faced in the Middle East. AIPAC earlier supported the Counter-Terrorism Act of 1995.
Functions of AIPAC:
AIPAC lobbies the Congress in many ways. They maintained congressional support to bring about peace in the Middle East and to strengthen the position of Israel.
A policy conference is held annually, and it is one of the largest gatherings of the Pro-Israel movement. The conference takes place at Walter E. Washington Convention Center. In the year 2016, since the crowd was more the meeting was held at Verizon Center. Various delegates from all the states attend the event and listen to many politicians and advocates discuss multiple ways to strengthen the bond between Israel and U.S.
The supporters of Congress include members who are from both Democratic and Republican parties. In the year 2011, two-thirds of the members of the Senate had attended the policy conference. Some of the political people who participated in the meeting were President Barack Obama, Harry Reid, John Boehner, President Bill Clinton, Vice president Joe Biden, Hilary Clinton, John McCain and many other politicians.
A sister non- profit educational organization was founded to handle educational work. Regular seminars are conducted for the Congressional staff. The Forbes magazine has stated that AIPAC is one of the most influential organizations and it continues to lobby U.S Congress in various ways.