They demonize those who provide information they dislike as “antisemitic,” re-writing the definition itself to center on Israel, and they work to silence an honest, full discussion of the Israel lobby.
While a number of authors have discussed the Israel lobby in detail, and described the tragedy it enables in the Middle East and the damage to our own nation, none seem to have provided a comprehensive list of its members (although one lists many of them – see update below).
Several years ago I decided to do this. I began to compile a list of all the groups that advocate for Israel, influencing American perceptions and actions regarding Israel-Palestine.
In no particular order, I started an inventory of organizations that indicate on their websites that they support Israel. I also included financial information about each when possible.
I’ve occasionally added to this list through the years, but have not yet listed anywhere near all the groups I’ve discovered (such as these, and the most recent organization, which targets progressive Democrats).
Pervasive and Powerful
I’ve found the quantity, scope, and financial power mobilized on behalf of Israel that this list represents astounding. See the list here.
As I write in the introduction, the fact is that the pro-Israel special interest lobby is one of the most significant and pervasive in the United States.
It consists of numerous institutions and individuals that work to influence Congress, the President, academia, the media, religious institutions, and/or American public opinion on behalf of Israel, and It has been active in the U.S. for well over a century.
Some of the organizations are official lobbying groups whose primary purpose is to lobby governmental officials for pro-Israel policies.
Others are groups or individuals that work to influence the media, academia and/or other power/opinion brokers in a pro-Israel direction.
Still others strive to develop public favor for Israel or inculcate a deep devotion to Israel within Jewish communities (an effort that has swung the numbers within those communities to almost an about-face since the pro-Israel movement began).
Some advocate for Israel full-time; others do it as one portion of a diverse array of activities.
While the entities listed span the political spectrum and range from hardcore supporters of the Israeli right to liberal critics of some Israeli policies, all support and promote Israel.
It’s essential to understand the full extent and power of this lobby. At the same time, it’s important to realize what it’s not.
While In Israel this lobby is called “the Jewish lobby” and virtually every mainstream Jewish organization in the U.S. supports Israel, often claiming to represent all Jewish Americans, the fact is that there are many Jewish Americans and Israelis who oppose Israeli governmental actions, colonialism and imperialism.
The resistance to the attacks on Ilhan Omar suggest that this time around many Americans have awakened to Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, and to the Israel lobby’s destructive power, and are supporting its latest victim.
As an AIPAC insider once said: “A lobby thrives in the dark.”
It’s time to turn on the light. It’s not just AIPAC.
One extremely valuable book that does an excellent job of listing and describing what it calls “Israel Affinity Groups” – these are defined as nonprofit organizations that actively and unconditionally support Israel as a major function.
These groups are projected to have total financial resources of over $6 billion.
This is in addition to the resources of such actively pro-Israel campaign donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Haim Saban, Paul Singer, Norman Braman, and Larry Ellison, who have a combined net worth of close to $115 billion. (And this is an incomplete list of U.S. billionaires who support Israel.)
Added to the other groups that work for Israel as one of several missions and/or that are not registered nonprofit organizations, the Israel lobby would appear to dwarf any other interest group in the United states. It is little wonder that it drives U.S. policies on numerous related topics. Especially since discussing it is always labeled “antisemitic.”