Grant F. Smith: Big Israel

How Israel’s Lobby Moves America

Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (2016)

Publisher’s Presentation:

SmithThe Israel lobby exerts incredible power and influence over America. Some identify only one organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as “the lobby” citing its influence on Capitol Hill. This is wrong. Many interconnected organizations channel their power and influence through AIPAC in Congress. Hundreds more “mini-AIPAC’s” coordinate with AIPAC and their own national office to lobby state legislatures to pass model legislation and spending authorizations benefitting Israel – without publically disclosing most of their lobbying activities. Others operate quietly, policing what is allowed to appear in mainstream news media and channeling “hush money” to civil rights organizations to keep them out of grassroots pro-Palestinian movements. Coordinated, effective and highly averse to public scrutiny, the Israel Affinity Organizations that make up the lobby have transformed America. While some informed voters know the U.S. provides more foreign aid to Israel than any other country, the total flow of charitable, tax dollar, military aid, intelligence and “opportunity cost” are unknown to those footing the bill – and the lobby is determined to keep it that way.

Yet storm clouds are gathering over Israel’s lobby. Public opinion polls asking the right questions indicate Americans are nowhere near as approving of unconditional support as many Israel lobbyists insist. Most American Jews have nothing to do with Israel lobbying organizations. More important, broad and deep societal changes, along with the technology-driven rise of alternative and social media, are transforming large numbers of Americans from mostly unaware supporters into informed and active dissenters.

Big Israel is a comprehensive, historical, data-driven analysis of how the Israel lobby exerts influence across the United States. Based on a detailed review of more than 4,000 nonprofit organization tax returns, declassified U.S. government files and closely-held internal reports from Israel lobby organizations, Big Israel reveals how staid, respectable and bona fide social welfare organizations transformed themselves into a networked lobby for a foreign country – inflicting immense damage on average Americans. Big Israel offers many surprising insights into the Israel lobby’s strengths and weaknesses so that Americans working for peace and justice in Middle East policymaking can finally turn down the rolling thunder of propaganda and take effective action.

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About the Author:

Grant F. Smith lives, researches and writes about the Israel lobby in Washington, DC. Smith is director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep), a nonprofit organization that studies U.S. Middle East policy formulation. Smith’s research about the lobby is frequently published at the Antiwar.com news website and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine. Big Israel is Smith’s eighth book about the Israel lobby. In his thirty-year professional career as a researcher, Smith has investigated financial services and global telecommunications industries, worked in twenty-two countries assessing the impact of regulatory and trade regime changes, and managed multinational research teams. Smith has a BA in International Relations from the University of Minnesota and MIM (Master of International Management) from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

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Jan Olof Bengtsson D.Phil. (Oxon.)

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