The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) might learn a thing or two from Lyndon Johnson's famous quote about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, "Its probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."
Having received no word back from AIPAC on receiving credentials to cover their annual policy conference at the Washington Convention Center, this editor set out to pick up as many side conversations and abandoned AIPAC literature from the attendees' hotel venues.
This year's AIPAC policy conference's theme is "Relationships Matter."
At a luncheon event at the Hyatt Hotel across from the convention center, 193 student government association presidents from colleges and universities across the nation, including a fair number of historically African American universities, were treated to a right-wing message of unbridled U.S. support for Israel. Although AIPAC's website states that College Democrats of America were invited to the luncheon in addition to the College Republican National Committee, the AIPAC message was clearly conservative in nature. One student, upon leaving the luncheon, said to his colleagues that he was encouraged by the luncheon's theme of "spreading the conservative message on campus."
For AIPAC, that message is ensuring that campus student organizations toe a pro-Israel line and that all campus initiatives to disinvest in Israel are defeated.
But it is not just America's college students who are being subjected to AIPAC's right-wing propaganda blitzkrieg. This editor overheard a conversation by another AIPAC attendee about continued non-profit funding for a network of summer camps to stress support for Israel and "Jewishness" among the generation following in the footsteps of college students and the generation following that. Clearly understood in the conversation was that the effort was planning for thirty years into the future.
Speakers already featured at AIPAC's policy conference are those who represent a "Who's Who" of Israel's influence peddling in Washington: former CIA director James Woolsey; Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) executive director Robert Satloff (who replaced Dennis Ross, who now serves as a Middle East policy adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton); and former Coalition Provisional Authority press spokesman Dan Senor of the Council on Foreign Relations (and the husband of CNN's Campbell Brown. At CNN, with the examples of Campbell Brown and John King, it is best under the tutelage of CNN Washington bureau chief and former AIPAC press spokesman Wolf Blitzer to marry Jewish and convert to Judaism or possible run the risk of losing your job).
Also speaking at AIPAC was Representative Jane Harman (D-CA), who was identified by National Security Agency (NSA) "Stellar Wind" wiretaps trying to get an espionage case dropped against former AIPAC officials Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman in exchange for landing the coveted job as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The espionage case against Rosen and Weissman was dropped by the Obama administration prior to the AIPAC conference. Harman is but one of Israel's and AIPAC's many water carriers in the U.S. Congress.
Hasidics brave the wet weather to protest at the AIPAC conference: they can be counted on to be there every year. They expected more of their collegues to be arriving from New York in time for the May 4 banquet event.
This editor recently spoke briefly to former Representative Paul Findlay (R-IL), who was driven from office by AIPAC money for refusing to bow down to Israel's dictates. Findlay later wrote a book titled, "They Dare to Speak Out" about the power of the Israel Lobby in Washington. A former top U.S. diplomat recently told this editor that at a luncheon, Rosen once told him that AIPAC was so powerful that by the end of the afternoon, Rosen could have seventy signatures of U.S. senators, with no questions asked, on a napkin he was holding up.
AIPAC conference attendees were greeted by this mobile billboard across from one of the conference hotels.
AIPAC insists that it is a private lobbying organization funded through private donations. From the license plates pulling into the convention center and hotels it appears that much of AIPAC's support comes from New York. However, given the presence of Israel's top government, military, diplomatic, parastatal, and intelligence leadership at the AIPAC policy conference, it appears that AIPAC is running afoul of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938, which requires lobbying organizations that represent foreign governments to register with the Justice Department.
FARA was originally enacted to combat Nazi German propaganda in the United States. Given AIPAC's indoctrination of college students, and summer camp-age children in their political dogma, it would appear that the Israelis and their American supporters are taking a page right out of the Nazi playbook that resulted in the passage of FARA. But AIPAC claims FARA does not apply to it. However, FARA was enacted when it became apparent that Berlin was funding the German American Bund and two camps for the indoctrination of young people, Camp Nordland in New Jersey and Camp Siegfried in New York. It all sounds very familiar.