Who We Are
Our Current Agenda
What We’ve Recently Achieved
What They Say About Us
When the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) began in the 1950s, only one name was associated with the newly formed organization -- Si Kenen -- founder and Washingtonian. Today, AIPAC has 100,000 members across all 50 states who are at the forefront of the most vexing issues facing Israel today: stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, fighting terrorism and achieving peace. And above all, ensuring that Israel is strong enough to meet these challenges.
For these reasons, The New York Times has called AIPAC the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel, while Fortune magazine has consistently ranked AIPAC among America's most powerful interest groups.
Through more than 2,000 meetings with members of Congress - at home and in Washington - AIPAC activists help pass more than 100 pro-Israel legislative initiatives a year. From procuring nearly $3 billion in aid critical to Israel's security, to funding joint U.S.-Israeli efforts to build a defense against unconventional weapons, AIPAC members are involved in the most crucial issues facing Israel.
Activists work closely with AIPAC's professional staff, people drawn from the top echelons of government, diplomacy, academia and politics. AIPAC lobbyists meet every member of Congress and cover every hearing on Capitol Hill that touches on the U.S.-Israel relationship. AIPAC policy experts each day review hundreds of periodicals, journals, speeches and reports and meet regularly with the most innovative foreign policy thinkers in order to track and analyze events and trends.
Professionals in AIPAC's regional offices reach out to activists in hundreds of communities each year from Missoula, Montana, to Miami, Florida. Whether meeting in a neighbor's living room, attending a ballroom gala or participating in an AIPAC conference in Washington, AIPAC activists receive the most up-to-date analyses of Middle East issues and American politics.
For more than two decades, AIPAC's Political Leadership Development Program has educated and trained young leaders in pro-Israel advocacy, and encouraged them to become politically active. Students involved with AIPAC learn how to effectively advocate for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, bring their Members of Congress to campus, promote voter registration, work on political campaigns, and build relationships with other student leaders.
AIPAC provides its student members with the following:
The Near East Report, a biweekly periodical focusing on events affecting the U.S.-Israel relationship, Legislative Updates, and Action Alerts.
Access to internships in Washington, DC and nine regional offices across the country. AIPAC's internship program has been called one of the finest and most sophisticated in Washington.
Scholarships to AIPAC's national and regional training conferences, including:
Specialized training for propaganda response and effective political advocacy through its newly established Schusterman Advocacy Institute.
- AIPAC's Annual Policy Conference
- Saban National Political Leadership Training Seminars
- Regional Political Leadership Training Seminars
- Campaign Training Institutes
Our Current Agenda
Stopping Iran From Acquiring Nuclear Weapons
Despite legislative efforts to stop the flow of dangerous technologies to Iran, intelligence experts concur that it is likely to have nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and the missiles to deliver them within a few years. AIPAC works with Congress to enact even more comprehensive legislation to contain Iran and to expand U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation to build a defense against this threat.
Standing By Israel to Ensure the Security of the Only Democracy in the Middle East
America must continue to stand by Israel's side politically, diplomatically and economically. Not only is U.S. aid needed to maintain Israel's security during this dangerous and challenging time in the country's history, but aid to Israel supports a reliable, front-line ally in our joint battle against weapons proliferation and terrorism. AIPAC engages Congress to support Israel.
Defending Israel Against Tomorrow's Threats
In future wars, Israel will face the specter of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons delivered by long-range missiles, threats for which no defense yet exists. The costs of developing new systems to keep Israel safe in the next century will be considerable -- and American support, critical. AIPAC works with Congress to increase military assistance to Israel and to strengthen cooperative defense programs to counter these emerging threats.
Preparing the Next Generation of Pro-Israel Leaders
The challenges for today's students are enormous -- fewer Jewish youth than ever identify with Israel, average student turnout in recent elections is only 25 percent and anti-Israel activity on campus is rising. AIPAC trains and educates pro-Israel students across America and develops their leadership skills so that they become effective citizen lobbyists today and pro-Israel leaders tomorrow.
Educating Congress About the U.S.-Israel Relationship
Two-thirds of the House has been elected during this past decade, one in every three senators is in his or her first term and more than 2,000 candidates likely will run for federal office in the next two years. AIPAC educates all of them about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship. To complete this task, we must expand our unparalleled network of activists by traveling to communities both large and small in all 50 states.
Back to top
What We’ve Recently Achieved
AIPAC worked with Congress to…
Counter Terrorism Aimed at the United States and Israel
- Isolate Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad by advocating that the Administration place the terrorist groups on a more restrictive terrorist list, allowing the United States to sanction foreign financial institutions if they fail to block the organizations’ assets.
- Disrupt Hamas financing by urging the Administration to freeze the assets of the U.S.-based Holy Land Foundation, which has been accused of funneling money to the terrorist organization.
- Defend Israel from terrorist bomb attacks by securing $28 million for Israel to purchase American technology, including robots and scanners, designed to detect and neutralize bombs.
Ensure That the Palestinian Authority Meets Its Obligations to Fight Terrorism
- Attach safeguards to aid to the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the assistance is spent helping the Palestinian people, not siphoned off by terrorist groups or corrupt officials.
- Urge the Administration to hold new PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas carries to his responsibilities under the internationally backed Roadmap peace plan to dismantle Palestinian terrorist groups.
Enhance U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation to Meet New Threats
- Safeguard Israel from the emerging ballistic missile threat by boosting funding for the Arrow—the world’s most advanced operational missile defense system—and securing a five-year commitment by the Administration to fund the program.
- Ensure faster delivery of Arrow missiles to Israel and provide important missile defense technology to the United States by opening the way for the creation of an Arrow production facility in the United States.
- Protect Israel from short-range rockets such as the Katyusha—hundreds of which have rained down upon towns in northern Israel in recent years—by continuing the funding and development of the Tactical High Energy Laser, which, once deployed, can destroy low-flying rockets at close ranges.
- Help the U.S. war against terrorism by securing funding to acquire Israeli-developed Have Nap, which were used in Afghanistan to destroy Osama bin Laden’s network of underground bunkers.
- Improve the accuracy of American airstrikes by securing funding for the development and acquisition of advanced navigational and targeting systems such as the Israeli-designed Litening Targeting Pod.
Delay Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program
- Block foreign investment in Iran’s oil sector—its principle method of financing nuclear weapon development—through the overwhelming renewal of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act for an additional five years.
- Interrupt the flow of dangerous missile technologies to Iran by passing legislation to sanction foreign companies that help its missile program.
- Press the Russian government to end its weapons cooperation with Iran by withholding up to 50 percent of needed U.S. aid.
Strengthen Israel Through Military and Economic Aid
- Reinforce our commitment to Israel and support its security infrastructure by providing nearly $3 billion in aid, while refocusing that assistance to meet Israel’s changing security needs.
- Help Israel absorb new immigrants from the former Soviet Union by providing $60 million in refugee assistance.
- Recognize Israel’s singular needs by granting unique early disbursal of aid—all assistance is received 30 days after the passage of the foreign aid bill.
Broaden the U.S.-Israel Relationship
- Educate lawmakers and their staffs about the complicated issues facing Israel and the region by organizing substantive congressional trips to Israel through AIPAC’s supporting educational foundation.
- Reaffirm the core value that forever binds the United States and Israel—democracy—by passing a resolution in the House by a vote of 410-1 applauding Israel’s recent democratic elections and restating the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security.
Protect Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel
- Fight to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital on all official U.S. documents—including maps and passports—and place the consulate in Jerusalem under the supervision of the U.S. Embassy, rather than reporting directly to Washington.
- Pressure the Administration to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—as called for in the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act—through legislation, letters and meetings.
End Israel’s Isolation in World Bodies
- Secure Israel’s acceptance into the West European and Others regional group at the United Nations.
- Encourage the Administration to boycott the U.N. World Conference Against Racism, which was used as a forum to spread anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views.
- Press the International Committee for the Red Cross to accept Israel’s Magen David Adom by passing legislation prohibiting U.S. assistance to the committee’s headquarters until Magen David Adom is allowed to participate in the organization’s activities.
Back to top
What Top Leaders Say About Us
"One thing which has not changed, however, is our appreciation of AIPAC. At this challenging hour, we
need you more than ever. We are grateful for your work throughout the year, in every city and in every
state. You help strengthen the friendship between Israel and the United States - a friendship based on the
shared values of freedom, democracy and the sanctity of life."
-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
“AIPAC is an organization like no other. I can't think of a policy organization in the country as well-organized or respected and the subject for which you advocate, the security of Israel, could not be more important.”
-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
"The friendship between Israel and the United States is a
great asset to our country. And AIPAC is a great advocate for this vital relationship."
-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card
"Let me also thank every one of you for being here. Your dedication and work make a difference -- for
the U.S. Congress, for our nation, for the cause of peace. Your untiring efforts reinforce the United
States - Israel relationship in ways that benefit and strengthen both nations. Participatory democracy
depends upon the involvement of its citizens. Now more than ever, you are needed."
-Representative Bob Menendez
"The work that AIPAC does is a vital part of our democratic process. You speak out boldly, and that's good for America, it's good for Israel and good for the cause of peace and justice in the world. You make sure that politicians hear what voters have to say not only on election day but on every day of the year."
-President George W. Bush
"AIPAC has a long and commendable record of promoting the unique relationship that exists between the United States and Israel. Both countries are better for your efforts, and so I thank and congratulate you for all you have done over the years."
-Secretary of State Colin Powell
"I came here to thank you, all of you, the members of AIPAC, the senators, the congressman, the ambassadors, for a moving friendship, for a great joy. I pray to the lord we shall not disappoint you."
-Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres
“I want to express my appreciation to AIPAC for what you do to strengthen the US-Israel relationship.”
-House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
"There is no substitute for peace, and no guarantee of peace without security. AIPAC has long played an instrumental and absolutely vital role in assuring that security. Your cause has always been just."
-Senator John McCain
"(The) convergence between the support of the U.S. government for Israel and the support of the American Jewish community for Israel has an identity card. The name on that card is AIPAC."
-Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
"In what way is AIPAC different from other Jewish groups? … Your organization has but one burning desire, one exclusive goal - to help Israel. … But if I may better phrase a popular aphorism - everything is in one's obsession. And yours, thank God, is Israel."
-Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel
"Thank you, AIPAC, for speaking out loud and clear, for being with us as we close the circle of peace and for bolstering the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel. It is your work on behalf of the closer ties between the U.S. and Israel that is vital to the peace process."
-Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
"AIPAC has done a magnificent job, better than anybody else lobbying in this town. …You have been stunningly effective."
-Former President Bill Clinton
"We need you, we need your leadership, we need your willingness to remain deeply involved in public affairs...Over the years, the relationship that we have all shared has deepened and grown."
-Former Vice President Al Gore
"…America has remained Israel's most steadfast friend and ally. In turn, Israel has become America's most steadfast friend and ally in the Middle East. And since its founding in 1954, AIPAC has embodied and strengthened that relationship."
-Senator Joseph Lieberman
"You are the most effective general interest group…across the entire planet. And if you did not exist, we would have to invent you."
-Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
"I think Israel is especially lucky that AIPAC exists in this country to present Israel's case. I don't think anyone is more knowledgeable than you about the Middle East as it really is. And I think no one can
present the case better."
-Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Back to top