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News :: Politics
Declassified Papers: DOJ Accepted AIPAC Parent's Demand for Secrecy
27 Oct 2008
WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Papers kept secret for 43 years show that the US Department of Justice attempted to register the parent organization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, as the foreign agent of Israel.
By: PR Newswire
Oct. 27, 2008 09:40 AM

Such a registration could have changed the course of Middle East history by giving the president, State Department and American public more insight and leverage over the Israel lobby during peace negotiations to compensate displaced Palestinians and avert Israel's covert development of nuclear weapons.

The 1962 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) order was approved by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) and senior officials. The DOJ found the American Zionist Council had received the equivalent of $35 million in directed Israeli funds to lobby and conduct public relations in the United States for arms, aid and preferential diplomatic treatment.

Declassified documents newly available from the Israel Lobby Archive at reveal that the DOJ's efforts to register the AZC and publicly disclose its activities almost reached the level of FBI raids and grand juries. But in the years following John F. Kennedy's assassination and RFK's subsequent departure from the DOJ, the AZC asked permission to limit normal public release of AZC FARA filings. After the DOJ granted requests for a secret filing, the AZC shut down and shifted operations over to AIPAC.

According to research director Grant F. Smith, the declassified archive provides timely insights into the mechanics of thwarting rule of law. "It's unimaginable that AIPAC executives would now be under indictment for alleged violations of the Espionage Act if AIPAC and its forebears had properly registered under FARA. US courts return to this overarching question on October 29, 2008. Curiously, the AIPAC defendants now argue that such secrecy is no longer in their interest. They insist the US government must now release sensitive national security information about Iran in order to prepare their case that the Espionage Act, like FARA, can not be applied to the Israel lobby."

The Israel Lobby Archive,, is a unit of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington. The Archive digitizes declassified documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act filings with law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The Archive facilitates permanent direct citizen access to critical records that briefly enter the public domain but vanish for lack of warranted mainstream media coverage.

SOURCE Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy

This work is in the public domain
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