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ISRAEL'S INFLUENCE: Good or Bad for America ?

A Conference in Washington, D.C. 
March 18, 2016
at the National Press Club

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 12, 2016


March 18 Conference to Examine Israel’s Influence on America


“Israel’s Influence: Good or Bad for America?” is the theme of a daylong conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on March 18, 2016.

“Israel’s Influence” is co-sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). Attendees receive lunch and an invitation to a special attendee-speaker reception.

Expert panelists and keynote speakers will analyze the enormous impact Israel’s influence has on Congress, establishment media, academia and other major institutions. They will explore the costs and benefits in terms of foreign aid and covert intelligence, foreign policy, America’s regional and global standing, and unbiased news reporting.

American taxpayers provide Israel with more than $3.1 billion annually in military aid. Since 1948 Israel has received far more than any other country, despite polls showing that most Americans oppose such aid. Israel and its U.S. supporters are now lobbying for a $1 billion increase—to $4.5 billion yearly—as “compensation” for the recently concluded nuclear deal with Iran, despite Israel and its lobby’s overt attempts to prevent it. What Israeli assumptions about America drive this?

In 2001 Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who characterized the 9/11 attacks on America as “good” for Israel, stated, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.”

The lobby in charge of moving America is vast and powerful. It will raise and spend another estimated $4.1 billion in 2016 charitable contributions to indirectly subsidize Israeli institutions such as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), finance U.S. Israel advocacy, lobby local, state and federal officials, and support Israel-centric “education” programs. Some of this “education” supports pro-Israel programs in schools, colleges and universities. It also covers training federal and local law enforcement officials to focus on American Muslim and Arab communities as potential terrorist and “violent extremist” threats.

History reveals that Israel and its lobby are most influential when they can point to—or, in the case of the Iran nuclear threat, manufacture—an existential crisis that allegedly threatens Israel or the U.S. What could the U.S. do differently without the constant influence of Israel and its advocacy campaigns? What actions can Americans take, especially leading up to the ballot box?

In 2012, delegates to the Democratic National Convention opposed by voice vote a plank naming Jerusalem the “undivided capital of Israel”—though party bosses eventually passed the measure. Key constituents who are younger, more ethnically diverse, and focused on justice reject the party’s traditionally unconditional support for Israel. On the Republican side, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu enjoys higher approval ratings than the American president. In polls, many Republicans would side with Israel even if it meant siding against their own country. Yet some powerful conservative forces are rallying against elite US foreign policy consensus. They reject the neoconservative principle of "primacy" and unquestioned alliances which are "all cost and no benefit." What do these seismic shifts portend for Israel?

“Israel’s Influence: Good or Bad for America?” (See the YouTube informational conference video at will take place two days before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the lobbying umbrella for Israel, holds its annual policy conference in the nation’s capital. According to Steve Rosen, AIPAC’s former director of foreign policy, “AIPAC spent 10 years” trying to torpedo any nuclear agreement with Iran. What will be the lobby’s next target during the coming decade and how will that affect Americans?

For speaker and program updates, follow us on Twitter @IsraelInfluence or Facebook at

Lunch/breaks/evening reception

All attendees will receive a box lunch with beverage and coffee/tea/water during breaks. Attendees are invited to stay and attend a post-conference networking reception from 5pm until 7pm. All ticketholders will receive one complimentary reception beverage ticket and may purchase additional beverages at the professionally-staffed bar located between the Holeman Lounge and Ballroom.


The National Press Club building is located at 529 14th St. NW, Washington DC, 20045. The Ballroom is located on the 13th floor. Elevator banks are located at the 14th St. entry. Nearby Metro stops within three to four blocks include Metro Center (Blue, Orange, Silver and Red lines), McPherson Square (Blue, Orange and Silver lines) and Federal Triangle (Blue, Orange and Silver lines).

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Israel's Influence: Good or Bad for America? by AET & IRmep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Good or Bad for America?

Media credentials may be requested at:




The March 18 all-day conference "Israel's Influence: Good or Bad for America?" at the National Press Club will feature the following experts:



Susan Abulhawa is executive director of Playgrounds for Palestine, author of the bestselling novel Mornings in Jenin, and plaintiff in a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury over illegal settlement funding flows from U.S. charities.



Kirk Beattie is a professor at Simmons College and author of the book Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East. The book dissects the enormous power of lobbies, like AIPAC.



Rula Jebreal is an award-winning journalist, author, and foreign policy analyst. See our Keynote Speaker news release.



Maria LaHood is deputy legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she defends the constitutional rights of Palestinian advocates in the US.



Gideon Levy is a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and is widely considered the "dean" of Israeli journalism. See our keynote speaker news release.



Jim Lobe served as Washington bureau chief of Inter Press Service from 1980 to 1985, and from 1989 to the present. In 2015 received the Arthur Ross Media Award from the American Academy of Diplomacy.



Roger Mattson is a former executive of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and author of the forthcoming book Stealing the Atom Bomb: How Denial and Deception Armed Israel.



Tareq Radi is a Palestinian-American organizer who works at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. He is a graduate of George Mason University (GMU), where he was a founding member of GMU's Students Against Israeli Apartheid.



Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of, writing thrice-weekly columns. He is a regular contributor to The American Conservative and Chronicles magazines.



Grant F. Smith is director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) and author of the forthcoming book Big Israel: How Israel's Lobby Moves America, a comprehensive study of 336 Israel affinity organizations.



Philip Weiss is founder and co-editor of Mondoweiss, a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective.



Col. Lawrence Wilkerson served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff (2002-05). See our previous news release.



For more speaker information visit



Media credentials may be requested at:



Register for this conference, lunch and reception at: Eventbrite



For speaker and program updates, follow us on Twitter @IsraelInfluence, or Facebook at



The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (a National Press Club member) and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) are the sole conference organizers.  



The nationally distributed news release on this event may be viewed at:




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