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Take action.
by Take Action
Wednesday Sep 6th, 2006 8:57 AM
Members of the public can also help by signing the Foreign Lobby Registration Act, which seeks to provide transparency and accountability for organizations such as AIPAC that work for foreign interests, not those of the United States.
Ten years after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu summoned a group of American policy makers to recommend strategies and policies that would best serve the interests of Israel, the implications of these recommendations outlined in the document entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” are finally becoming a reality. Grant Smith, the director of research at the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, spoke on August 29 at the Palestine Center, Washington, DC on the objectives of the Clean Break Plan, the targets it has already archived, and its flaws.

During his critical review, Smith focused on the Plan's six major aims. The first goal was to increase congressional support for Israel. By using unifying Cold War rhetoric and identifying Israel as a country with Western values, policy advisers hoped that members of Congress would more readily agree to support Israel.

The second purpose was to destabilize, contain, and weaken countries in the region that challenge Israel’s existence. Redrawing the map of the Middle East, questioning the legitimacy of Syria and the possibility of weapons of mass destruction within that country, rejecting the concept of land for peace as a bargaining tool, and removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq were all recommendations that would strengthen the status of Israel in the Middle East.

The third objective was Israel’s intention to use peace for peace as a bargaining tool in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as attempt to achieve a balance of power within the region. By rejecting the idea of land for peace as a possible resolution to the conflict and finding an alternative leader to Yasser Arafat, Israel would improve its ability to survive. The use of military power in the region to enforce or replace peace would further serve Israel’s interests.

Smith briefly discussed the intent to reform Israel’s economy, as well as the goal to anticipate and plan around the reactions from the United States and the worldwide community. The final objective was to rejuvenate the influence of Zionism that would work in Israel’s favor.

The chief criticism Smith spoke of was the lack of respect and reference for international law and democracy. The Clean Break Plan ignores the basic principles and purpose of both, as well as its key applicability for Israel and all of the Middle East. Following through with the recommendations listed in the Clean Break Plan would negatively affect international law and undermine the reputation of the United States.

Smith drew attention to the ongoing case of the AIPAC spies, now proceeding to trial in Alexandria, Virginia. Rosen and Weissman are two former pro-Israeli lobbyists are charged with illegally receiving classified information on Iran through wiretaps. Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), wiretapping is legal for material to which the public does not have access. However, if the two men are found to have completed the wiretaps for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), they could be convicted of espionage.

AIPAC could also be found in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires foreign agents to provide transparency in their activities and financial accounts. If AIPAC is classified as a foreign agent, it will be required to submit detailed statements on political activities and financial transactions, which are crippling in themselves. Under these conditions, the secrecy with which the organization has traditionally (and successfully) worked, could not be sustained. It would limit the ability of the group to lobby effectively, possibly leading to a permanent end to AIPAC activities.

These various scenarios are discussed in Ron Kampeas' article in The Jewish Telegraphic Agency “New Ruling in AIPAC case raises questions about ‘foreign agents’.”

Jewish leaders are vigilant, but are not yet overly concerned since the trial has not yet been scheduled. Although AIPAC refuses to comment, Kampeas quotes a source stating that the organization is not worried about the possible consequences of the case.

Currently, AIPAC is one organization that is not required under FARA to report its activities and finances, allowing it to maintain a veil of secrecy about its work from the American people as well as the government. The Rosen/Weissman case provides the opportunity to plug a glaring legal loophole. Smith argued at the end of his talk that Israel’s manipulation of the United States’ foreign policy can only be stopped by legal recourse.

Members of the public can also help by signing the Foreign Lobby Registration Act, which seeks to provide transparency and accountability for organizations such as AIPAC that work for foreign interests, not those of the United States.

http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/cnif/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=2678



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