The United States of America is one of the countries in
which lobbyists are highly active, so much so that they even enjoy legal
privileges. The Israel lobby (at times called the Zionist lobby) is the
diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek to
influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Zionism,
Israel or the specific policies of its government.
The Israel lobby, many political experts believe, has grown so powerful that it is a defining factor in the success or failure of presidential candidates.
The definition of the Israel lobby does not provide that these groups or people are united against any specific leader or center. Neither does it mean that all the Jews in America are Zionist lobbyists. Jews living in the US have so far founded some very important organizations which are considered as parts of pressure groups. The Zionist pressure group is not limited to Jews. It has drawn members from Christian Zionists and Neo-conservatives as well, which for example, includes influential Evangelical Christians such as Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, and Pat Robertson. Neocons such as John Bolton, William Bennett, and John Kirkpatrick are also closely associated with this lobby.
Although this one is like any other pressure group, it varies in two strategies: First, it exerts extreme, influential pressure on executive officials of the government and Congress. Second, it makes much effort to cast a positive image of Israel in the public mind. For example, AIPAC, the most influential known Israel lobby in the US, has set up special apparatus for promotion and influencing the public mind, especially boosting Congress consciousness about US-Israel relations. The group publishes documents and political notes in support of Israel, promoting enmity with Arabs, and also material concerning Middle East developments.
The influence of Israel lobbyism on the Congress is so great that it precludes any objection to Israel’s policies. It can be even claimed that the text of many speeches of the Congressmen are written through the offices of American Israel Public Affairs Committee members.
One of the most important undertakings of the Israel lobby is making sure that critics of Israel do not end up in important positions that involve decision making in the field of foreign policy. They adopt both direct and indirect ways to lay influence over how members are elected into the legislative and executive branches. Their strategy is to pressurize those who speak in the Congress against Israel or in favor of Arabs. They try to prepare situations for the critics’ failure in their electoral campaigns.
Another point to mention about the group is the votes and support they receive from the Jew. Although the Jew comprise about 2.5 percent of the citizens of the US, financially they contribute a great lot to their candidates.
The Israel lobby also in the past 25 years have spread their wings into many an important research institute in the US, including the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings, the Center for Security Policy, Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Hudson Institute, etc. where they hold vital presence. The main core of the Israel lobby comprises of organization such as AIPAC, American Jewish Committee, and Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. These organizations are directed under extremist forces who generally work toward realizing the expansionist policies of the Israeli Likud party.
The American Jew have launched key organizations and established links between US and Zionism interests to turn into one of the most influential groups in America’s foreign policy. Of 281 Jewish organizations and 250 regional unions, one of the most important groups is AIPAC. A poll carried out from 1998 to 1999 named AIPAC the second most powerful lobby in the US. The same result was obtained in 2005.
The organization is responsible for coordinating and planning the activities of all Jewish organizations in the US and is also responsible for collecting public aid to the Zionist regime of Israel. The group is based in Capitol Hill, Washington D.C., which gives it a very special advantage to easily access the Congress.
The CNN in a report said that AIPAC holds 2000 meetings with Senators and members of the House each year. It also said the group passes about 100 laws each year in favor of Israel. Up to the 1980s the AIPAC concentrated more on the Congress, but in recent decades it is aiming influence over both legislative and executive branches.
Another Israel lobby group is the Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897. ZOA was launched with the objective of staging a Jew state in Palestine. Prominent Jewish leaders played roles in launching the group.
The ZOA was initially founded as the Federation of American Zionists (FAZ), an amalgam of Hebrew societies, Chovevei Zion, and Jewish nationalist clubs that all endorsed the Basle programme of the First Zionist Congress. Initially founded in 1897 as an organization for the greater New York area, the FAZ was established as a national organization at a conference in New York the next year where the constitution was adopted by the delegates with Richard Gottheil elected as president and Stephen S Wise as honorary secretary.
ZOA had initially adopted the role of collective financial aid. Now, it tries to absorb support centers for Israel from the Congress, the government, as well as the public. The organization also monitors the activities of the Congress, White House, and governmental offices in Washington and beyond. Through a news bulletin, it publishes material to its officials, most of the time conveying highly important news and reports. The outlet also includes notes about Israel sent to government officials. ZOA’s youth wing has stages branches in American universities and publishes a magazine.