Archive for September 27th, 2012
AIPAC-Drafted US Aid to Israel Illegal
By Grant Smith
Israel’s nuclear weapons render it ineligible for US aid.
September 26, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – The Israel lobby’s biggest and longest-running Washington boondoggles are the massive annual weapons and economic packages to Israel. Tightly coordinated campaign contributors (both individuals and political action committees) and the Israeli government’s own quiet demands manifest themselves within AIPAC-drafted foreign aid legislation. The U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 forces Americans to fork hard-earned tax dollars over to Israel’s coffers on the pretext that it is in eminent danger. Yet declassified documents reveal that even the current prime minister once worked inside the state’s clandestine nuclear arms smuggling rings. Transferring foreign aid to the Middle East’s sole nuclear weapons state — which can obviously take care of itself — is not just unseemly and unnecessary. It is illegal.
AIPAC’s publicly available tax return [.pdf] reveals it has now become as seamlessly linked to its foreign principal as its parent organization — the American Zionist Council — was when it was finally ordered by the Kennedy administration to openly register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962. AIPAC spent $1,541,572 maintaining its Jerusalem office. The office, led by Wendy Senor Singer, is described as the official location for daily meetings with senior Israeli government officials. It is also used to coordinate the visits of supplicant U.S. politicians with funding from a mysterious captive charity of no employees claiming to be an educational organization [.pdf]. The Israeli government’s desires are seamlessly transcribed into legislation at AIPAC’s headquarters in Washington — raising the perennial question why AIPAC is not registering as Israel’s foreign agent.
In relation to the sheer volume of American taxpayer dollars it transfers to Israel, on paper AIPAC is a rather thinly-funded and top-heavy organization. In its latest schedule of contributors, filed in late April and just obtained by special request from the IRS, AIPAC reported that only 1,949 individual contributors provided 61% of its $64 million in total contributions and grants.* The top-tier donors each gave on average $20,206, with the top donor chipping in an impressive $6,610,181. Although contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations like AIPAC are not tax-deductible, corporations and partnerships can write off contributions as a business expense. One AIPAC donor, an attorney in New York City whose confidential data the IRS didn’t successfully scrub, presumably paid AIPAC with funds from his law partnership, which AIPAC listed as the contributor’s address.
AIPAC claims in mandatory disclosures filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives over the same time period that it spent approximately 4% of its total budget on actual lobbying. AIPAC’s core lobbying mission hasn’t changed much since AIPAC’s founder left his Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs post in New York in 1951. Isaiah Kenen’s mission was to obtain U.S.-taxpayer-funded weapons and aid by lobbying from a Jewish Agency funded front group of “concerned Americans” rather than working openly as Israel’s officially registered foreign agent. In Kenen’s day, Israel first obtained massive amounts of surplus WWII conventional weapons simply by stealing or purchasing [.pdf] them to be scrapped and instead smuggling them from the United States in violation of the Arms Export Control and Neutrality Acts. The smuggling networks were established and funded by small numbers of wealthy Zionists who were curiously immune from criminal prosecution. When less enfranchised citizens later demanded warranted prosecutions, the Justice Department simply ignored them, establishing a policy that has held fast to the present day.
The AIPAC-sponsored U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, signed into law by President Obama on July 27, 2012, makes unprecedented demands on U.S. taxpayers and diplomats. It mandates American economic largess to Israel via high technology, agriculture, medicine, health, pharmaceutical, and energy transfers. It demands funding for Israel Aerospace Industries (a corporation only recently linked to Israeli espionage activities against the U.S.) missile-defense programs and air-refueling tankers and munitions Israel could use to unilaterally set off a wider war with Iran. Israel even won a detour of used weapons from U.S. forces departing Iraq. The aid law extends already generous loan guarantees to Israel.
However, the package also requires the U.S. president to issue to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and House Committee on Foreign Affairs a report on the status of Israel’s “qualitative military edge” by Jan. 23, 2013. It is finally time for some hard truths. An honest presidential response to this AIPAC-mandated reporting rider would wipe clean all current and future U.S.-taxpayer-funded obligations to Israel. A truthful presidential assessment would finally tell the American people the following: “Israel has deployed a clandestine nuclear arsenal with some components and materials stolen from the United States. Our foreign aid laws therefore make Israel ineligible for further taxpayer dollars.”
Such a truthful declaration would turn the tables on AIPAC and its small group of donors now pushing Americans to steal from themselves by systematically violating the Symington and Glenn amendments to U.S. foreign aid laws. Ending aid would disentangle unwitting Americans from Israel’s unending conflicts, illegal settlements, systematized abuse of Palestinians, and clandestine nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
*As reported in 2011, in previous years AIPAC filed contributor schedules with the IRS that improperly listed only two donor entries. After numerous complaints were made to the IRS, AIPAC has apparently been forced to again file proper schedules listing every contributor donating more than $5,000.
Grant F. Smith is the author of the new book Divert! NUMEC, Zalman Shapiro and the diversion of U.S. weapons-grade uranium into the Israeli nuclear weapons program. He is director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.