AIPAC: Still the Chosen One?
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Stars of David

Some movers and shakers of America's Israel policy.

In 1956, John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State under President Eisenhower, griped that he couldn't keep track of all of Washington's myriad Israel-advocacy organizations; there were so many that he didn't know who to listen to. His comment led to a new coalition called Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which represents 52 separate groups—including the still powerful, if weakened, AIPAC. Now, to help readers keep track of the key players in the Israel policy realm, we've put together this handy (though nonexhaustive) cheat sheet.

TOP DOGS

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom

Howard Kohr AIPAC head honcho since 1996, he ranked sixth on GQ's 2007 list of DC's 50 most powerful, besting Hillary Clinton and Karl Rove.


Photo: Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Photo: Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Malcolm Hoenlein Israel lobby's unofficial boss; heads the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, representing 52 pro-Israel groups.

 

David Harris Longtime leader of the 103-year-old American Jewish Committee, which took heat in 2007 for an essay claiming liberal Jewish critics of Israel were feeding anti-Semitism.

OTHER NOTABLES

Matthew Mark Horn and Marc Stern took over the American Jewish Congress just before Madoff scandal gutted it.

Abraham Foxman, Anti-Defamation League

Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

John Hagee, Christians United for Israel

 

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THE RIGHT

Morton Klein Head of the fringe, 112-year-old Zionist Organization of America. Claimed Obama "may become the most hostile president to Israel ever."


Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Pipes Director of Middle East Forum (MEF), Pipes insisted last year that Obama was once a Muslim and that his campaign was "ignorant or fabricating" when it said he'd never prayed in a mosque.

 

OTHER NOTABLES

Steve Rosen Blogger for MEF's Obama Mideast Monitor; indicted in AIPAC espionage scandal.

THE NEOCONS

Norman Podhoretz At 79, the former editor of neoconservative Jewish magazine Commentary has been called the movement's godfather. In 2007, he told Politico he had secretly lobbied President Bush to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities.

Photo: Council on Foreign Relations Photo: Council on Foreign Relations

Elliott Abrams Podhoretz's son-in-law now works at the Council on Foreign Relations. A Reagan staffer during Iran-Contra, he later pled guilty to withholding information from Congress.

 

OTHER NOTABLES

Tom Neumann, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs

Photo: American Enterprise Institute Photo: American Enterprise Institute

Richard Perle Having cheered the Iraq invasion, an unrepentant Perle now blames Obama for Iran's election fiasco: "When you unclench your fist, it benefits the hardliners."

 

THE WONKS

Photo: Saul Loeb/KRT/Newscom Photo: Saul Loeb/KRT/Newscom

Robert Satloff Heads Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), DC's leading pro-Israel think tank. In 2008, called Jimmy Carter America's "most embarrassing ex-somebody" for hugging a senior Hamas official.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Martin Indyk A former AIPAC man, he was ambassador to Israel under President Clinton and is now at the liberal Brookings Institution.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Douglas Feith The Rumsfeld underling whose disastrous oversight of the Iraq War led Slate to dub him "Undersecretary of Defense for Fiascos" now directs the Center for National Security Strategies at the Hudson Institute.

 

OTHER NOTABLES

Photo: American Enterprise Institute Photo: American Enterprise Institute

Danielle Pletka, American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

 

Paul Wolfowitz, AEI

 

THE LEFT

Jeremy Ben-Ami His grandparents were among first Jewish settlers in Tel Aviv. Last year, Ben-Ami cofounded J Street, DC's leading liberal Israel policy lobby.

M.J. Rosenberg A former AIPAC official turned critic, he has been with Israel Policy Forum since 1998.

OTHER NOTABLES

Debra DeLee, Americans for Peace Now

Photo: New America Foundation Photo: New America Foundation

Daniel Levy, New America Foundation

 

THE POLS

Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) Since 1989, has received more cash from pro-Israel groups than any senator except Joe Lieberman.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) In 2007, crossed party lines to stop Congress from limiting the president's ability to attack Iran.


Photo: Mike Theiler/REUTERS Photo: Mike Theiler/REUTERS

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Tight with AIPAC, Schumer strongly criticized Chas Freeman, Obama's first National Intelligence Council nominee, as not pro-Israel enough—until Freeman withdrew his name. "I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing," Schumer later said.

 

OTHER NOTABLES

Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.); representatives Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Howard Berman (D-Calif.), and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)

THE OBAMA TEAM

Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Dennis Ross WINEP alum and diplomat under Clinton and H.W. Bush, Ross now sits on the National Security Council and serves as Obama's special assistant.


Photo: Mark Murrmann/ZUMA Press Photo: Mark Murrmann/ZUMA Press

Rahm Emanuel Attended camp in Israel as a kid and briefly volunteered on an Israeli base during the Gulf War. Emanuel made a point of endorsing Obama just after the candidate's AIPAC speech, and, as White House chief of staff, has met with AIPAC high rollers to sell them on his boss' policies. "Obviously, he will influence the president to be pro-Israel," said his Jerusalem-born father. "What is he, an Arab?"

 

OTHER NOTABLES

Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

George Mitchell, special Middle East envoy

 

Dan Shapiro, National Security Council

Jeff Feltman A senior US diplomat who works with Shapiro on Syria relations

THE OPPOSITION

Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters

James Zogby A former Jesse Jackson adviser, he founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and is still its president. In 2007, he was targeted by a midlevel US diplomat whose career ended after he left the institute abusive voice mails and emails: "Fuck the Arabs and fuck James Zogby and his wicked Hezbollah brothers."

 

OTHER NOTABLES

Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Mary Rose Oakar, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

 

Samar Assad, Jerusalem Fund/Palestine Center

Ziad Asali, American Task Force on Palestine

THE MEDIA

Photo: Weekly Standard Photo: Weekly Standard

Bill Kristol, Founding editor of the Weekly Standard, he favors a hardball approach. "It's all fair and nice to talk about this peace process," he said of Obama's Cairo speech, "but he has increased the chances of an Israeli strike on Iran, and sooner rather than later."

 

OTHER NOTABLES

Marty Peretz, WINEP board member and editor of The New Republic

Fred Hiatt, Washington Post op-ed page editor

Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post columnist

Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal columnist

 
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