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Things to know about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Things to know

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.”

American Israel Public Affairs Committee

History:

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.

What Role did AIPAC Play in the US Elections?

US Elections

While some of the reasons are simple and straightforward, there are also other factors that are visible at the surface level. So let’s get to see some of the important reasons as to how AIPAC influences the US elections.

Role did AIPAC Play in the US Elections

Influence on the US elections:

  • First things first, for those of you who do not know the what AIPAC stands for and the reason behind the institution of the committee, AIPAC stands for American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. It came into existence in the year 1951 shortly after the Second World War came to an end.
  • Needless to say, this move of protection was initiated by the Israel government and when the US government agreed, the result was AIPAC. The committees also agreed to meet annually to reframe the plans and policies as and when required. Having said that the delegates of both the nations formed a part of the committee and the committee began small but now there are more than 65000 members in AIPAC.
  • The main aim of the committee is to maintain a smooth and cordial relationship between Israel and the United States of America. AIPAC is tirelessly working for the same.
  • It is imperative that we remember the committee was formed as a part of the public sector and thereby both the nations decided as a part of the truce that there would not be any political influence or interference. But following it wasn’t that easy.
  • As years passed by the size of the organization grew and the influence it exerted on the American economy was huge. The US government resolved that they wouldn’t in any way harm the affairs of the Israel government and the welfare of its residents.
  • Having all this in mind, the US government had to spend a lot on the welfare, growth, and protection of that nation, since most of the affairs of AIPAC were carried out from Washington, US. After all, AIPAC is the second most powerful committee in the state and imagine the influence it can have in the political affairs of the state. This automatically brought political influence into the committee.
  • During the annual policy meet that met every year, more than 12000 delegates were a part of it. It was more than enough to disrupt the functions of the economy for a day. The political minds were naturally attracted to exercise control over it over the years.

Now the policy of the shunning politics out of the affairs of the committee is only in the papers.

Impact in the 2016 US elections:

  • The two major parties in the US that form the governments are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
  • It is a wide known fact that the US Congress has resolved to help the smooth functioning of AIPAC, but since the members of Congress work for both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, contradicting decisions are taken with regard to public sectors like AIPAC.
  • As of 2016, the rule of the Republican Party under the leadership of Trump saw a significant impact in the US policy papers, especially the foreign policy.
  • The US foreign policies have become pretty stringent that the Israel government has to live in fear of the fact that the US government might retreat from the pact any moment.
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