An American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) briefing book (PDF) from a December 2014 congressional staff junket to Israel may be the first piece of “educational” information ever to leak out of the captive AIPAC shell organization to the public.
AIEF was incorporated in 1988 to promote a more “balanced and realistic” understanding of American interests in the Near East and within the general public and among policy-makers, academics and journalists. Although it promised the IRS in its application for tax-exempt status that “All research produced and published will be made available to the general public” AIEF has never complied. Its relatively new, single-page website contains no information on education programs.
Only on Legistorm is AIEF’s main accomplishment readily apparent: sending members of Congress and their families on all-expense paid trips to Israel – over 1,000 since the year 2001.
That no AIEF briefing books are publicly available should come as no surprise to the observant. AIEF is not functionally separate from AIPAC, a lobby for the Israeli government ever since it split off from the defunct American Zionist Council in 1962. AIEF is housed in the very same offices as AIPAC , with 66% of its board of directors drawn from AIPAC. (PDF) On annual tax charitable returns, AIEF (which raises $45 million in yearly tax-deductible donations) claims to have no employees. It doesn’t need any since according to materials accompanying the briefing book AIPAC employees like the “Grassroots and Missions Director” and “Israel Seminars Assistant” accompany travelers to Israel.
AIEF, like AIPAC, echoes the rhetoric of the Israeli government. Members of Congress on junkets are told by AIEF that “Jerusalem is Israel’s largest city – not a ‘settlement.’” There are no longer any final status issues to be negotiated – despite UN insistence to the contrary – because according to AIEF “Israel later incorporated the eastern half of the city and declared the unified Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.” AEIF’s “case closed” approach to what the rest of the world considers to be open issues probably did at least prepare junket-attendees for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election-time declaration that there would be no Palestinian state on his watch.
The AIEF briefing book is full of flattery to Congress, declaring that “Congress has regularly recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in various resolutions and law.” Yet how representative of America are such “regular” resolutions?
A statistically significant Google Consumer Survey question fielded by IRmep to American adults at the end of March, 2015 stated, “Congress and state legislatures pass scores of resolutions condemning Palestinians and voicing unconditional support for Israel every year.” Responders could choose one of two options, “These resolutions do not represent my views” or “These resolutions represent my views.” The order of the response choices were randomly reversed.
A whopping 68.2 percent of Americans chose, “these resolutions do not represent my views.” Americans also oppose lavish U.S. aid to Israel while the majority (64 percent) also do not take Israelis or Palestinians sides. For Israel front groups like AIPAC and AIEF, it is now becoming an open question whether coordinated campaign contributions, disinformation campaigns and free trips will be enough to fill the widening gulf between the policies enacted by Congress and the American public they claim to represent.
IRmep is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit researching US Middle East policy formulation. Select CIA and DOD lawsuit filings may be viewed at IRmep’s Center for Policy and Law Enforcement web page at: http://irmep.org/CFL.htm.