Israel and FARA

Israel and FARA

1951-1964 Lobbying Disclosures

American Zionist Council
American Zionist Council for Public Affairs
American Israel Public Affairs Committee

By Grant Smith

“This is to advise you that the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, which is registered with you, has changed its name to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and that henceforth the reports will be filed under this new name.”


In 1951, the American Zionist Council filed under the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act and began lobbying Congress with tax-exempt funding.   Isaiah L. Kenen, formerly an employee of the Jewish Agency and Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, renamed the unincorporated AZC lobbying division the “American Zionist Council for Public Affairs, ” or AZCPA after the Eisenhower administration objected to its use of tax-exempt donations raised for charitable relief.  Kenen (and the AZC) claimed the AZCPA raised and used only separate non-tax deductible funds for lobbying, although a 1962-1963 Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigation discovered that both the Jewish Agency and the AZC continued to fund Kenen’s lobbying through subsidization of his newsletter, the Near East Report.

In the 1950’s the AZCPA raised funding from many controversial sources, including Meyer Lansky associate Aaron Weisberg and mobster John Factor (aka “Jake the Barber”).  In 1959 Isaiah Kenen renamed the AZCPA the “American Israel Public Affairs Committee” or AIPAC to distance itself from the AZC after US Undersecretary of Treasury Fred Scribner advised major Zionist organizations that they needed to restructure their operations to avoid problems with the Eisenhower administration, the IRS, and the US Department of Justice.

In the 1960s the AIPAC received several donations from Abraham Feinberg.  Feinberg was designated by Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in 1958 to be the primary American “benedictor” organizing private donations for Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.   In 1962 the AZC was ordered to begin registering as an Israeli foreign agent by the US Department of Justice.  The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearings in 1963 revealed that the AZC had laundered more than $5 million in Jewish Agency funds into US public relations and lobbying  activities (including to Kenen’s Near East Report) over a period of two years.

Six weeks after the AZC FARA registration order, the still unassociated AIPAC incorporated in Washington, DC and the AZC’s former lobbying division assumed all major functions of the AZC.  AZC umbrella member organizations such as Hadassah and the Zionist Organization of America, along with many newcomers, later became permanent members of the AIPAC’s executive committee.

The lobbying disclosures below were released in July, 2010 by the National Archives and Records Administration from a Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigation.  Click links to the left to download scanned PDFs of the original documents.  Excerpts and summaries of document contents appear in the middle, quarterly receipts and disbursements for lobbying are listed to the right.

PDF/File DateContentsReceiptsExpenditures
1Q/1951Isaiah Kenen leaves his job at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and begins lobbying for the AZC to pass the “Israel Aid Act of 1951” Kenen’s drafts list “John Doe, 1621 Blank Bldg, New York, N.Y”. as a $1,500 donor and the “Roe Corporation, 2511 Doe Bldg, Chicago, IL” as a $1785 donor before attributing income to the American Zionist Council.$1,575$1,329
2Q/1951The AZC spends $11,356.71 lobbying for the “Israel Aid Act of 1951”$3,150$11,357
3Q/1951The AZC lobbies for “legislation for financial aid to Israel” spending $10,921.88$3,150$10,922
4Q/1951The AZC lobbies for “legislation for financial aid to Israel” spending $1,996.19$1,050$1,996
1Q/1952The AZC lobbies for HR 7005, spending $408.85$1,120$409
2Q/1952The AZC lobbies for HR 7005, issues a “Memorandum on Aid to the Near East” and does international press activities spending $6,358.25$3,360$6,358
3Q/1952not available  
4Q/1952not available  
1Q/1953The AZC lobbies for “American aid to Israel and the Middle East.”$3,360$2,707
2Q/1953The AZC lists “Publications: – 13,000 copies, pamphlet, “The Mutual Security Program in the Near East,” May and June, 1953 – International Press; 200 copies, pamphlet, “Who is For Peace in the Middle East?” June, 1953, Herbert Levy Printing Co.; 200 copies reprint, newspaper article, N.Y. Times, June, 1953, AAA Letter Service; 3000 copies, reprint, speech by Senator Taft, April, 1953, Government Printer; 3000 copies, speech by Senator Lehman, April, 1953, Government Printer.”$1,703$2,594
3Q/1953“H.R. 5710 Mutual Security Program”$1,167$2,101
4Q/1953“American assistance to the Near East.  No legislative activity this quarter.”$0$0
1Q/1954Final AZC lobbying disclosure.  Isaiah Kenen writes “This is to inform you that my connection with the American Zionist Council terminated on March 14, 1954, and that this is a final return. I engaged in no legislative activity in this past quarter.”  
2Q/1954The AZCPA files a lobbying report.  Isaiah Kenen lists its duration as “Until adjournment of the 83rd Congress.” AZCPA lobbies “in favor of the Mutual Security Program.”$1,690$1,700
3Q/1954The AZCPA lists its duration as “Until adjournment of the 83rd Congress.” It lobbies “in favor of the Mutual Security Program.”$2,461$2,436
4Q/1954“The committee’s activities in favor of the Mutual Security Program ended with the adjournment of Congress and expenditures here are for services rendered in the third quarter. During the current quarter, the committee’s activities related to the conduct of our foreign policy in the Middle East with specific reference to the Administration’s decision to grant arms to the Arab states, the Egyptian blockade of the Suez Canal, the attainment of peace in the Middle East and other collateral issues. The committee approached members of Congress as part of its general program to inform American public opinion on these matters, but its activities did not relate to any legislation either pending or proposed.”$0$1,292
1Q/1955The AZCPA brands itself a “non-profit association interested in foreign policy.” “The Committee favors economic and technical assistance to Israel ‘and other states in the Near East. Inasmuch as legislation on these matters had not been introduced during the first quarter of 1955, the Committee’s legislative activities were limited and it is estimated that not more than one-fifth of the Committee’s’ funds were’ disbursed, or are properly allocable, for lobbying. The figures which appear on page two are computed accordingly. The Committee’s major activities during this period were-directed toward foreign policy problems in the Near East.”$4,687$4,390
2Q/1955“The Committee is interested in foreign policy problems in the Near East and as one of the items in its program, favors economic and teohnica1 assistance to Israel and other states in the Near East.”$7,142$6,777
3Q/1955During this quarter, the Committee distributed two reports from Washington as Follows: (1) “American Aid to the Near East 1955-1956, 7500 copies distributed August 15, 1955 Kaufmann Press and (2) “New U.S. Program in the Near East”, 7500 copies distributed Sept. 1, 1955 – Kaufmann Press.”$2,670$2,542
4Q/1955“No specific legislation affecting these matters has been pending in Congress during this past quarter and it is estimated that only about one-fourth of the Committee’s activities were concerned with potential legislative matters. Accordingly, in this report it is computed that one-fourth of the committees contributions and one-fourth of its expenditures are properly allocable for lobbying.”$13,068$7,959
1Q/1956“The Committee is interested in foreign policy problems in the Near East. It is primarily concerned with measures by our Government to avert war and to promote peace in the region.”$8,660$15,919
2Q/1956“It did not take any position for or against specific relevant legislation before Congress during the past quarter. Its legislative activities were confined to discussions with Congressional leaders on an amendment to the Mutual Security Act which was not, in fact, presented.” $1,821$2,753
3Q/1956Quarterly donors list includes mobster Meyer Lansky associate Aaron Weisberg of the Sands Casino ($500) and Haganah arms smuggling associate Zimel Resnick ($1,000)$0$0
4Q/1956Quarterly donors list includes mobster Meyer Lansky associate Aaron Weisberg of the Sands Casino ($500) and Haganah arms smuggling associate Zimel Resnick ($1,000)$0$0
1Q/1957AZCPA lists debts of $4,250 and one donor, Dewey Stone.$0$0
2Q/1957In this connection, it advocates passage of the Mutual Security Program and it sent out a communication urging favorable action.$682$575
3Q/1957During this quarter, it issued an appeal for support for the Mutual Security Program and it urged support for a section of a supplemental appropriations bill dealing with scientific education and cultural expenditures, and its total expenditures in connection with these activities are estimated at 10% of the total disbursements of the Committee during this quarter.$1,648$1,472
4Q/1957 $0$0
1Q/1958 $682$575
2Q/1958“The Committee also called attention to the celebration of Israel 10th anniversary on April 23.”$909$934
3Q/1958 $2,215$1490
4Q/1958During the quarter it made available to members of Congress a memorandum dealing with current issues in the Near East and subscriptions to the NEAR EAST REPORT.$2,916$3,291
1Q/1959During this quarter it urged Congress to approve the appropriation for the Development Loan Fund.$3,060$2,957
2Q/1959 $4,660$4,017
3Q/1959The AZCPA changes the duration of its legislative interests to “indefinitely.” The AZCPA discloses that “The Committee furnished members of Congress with complimentary subscriptions to the NEAR EAST REPORT, a semi-monthly newsletter, published by the NEAR EAST REPORT, INC.”  
08/11/1959Letter to the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Senate on AZCPA name change to AIPAC “This is to advise you that the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, which is registered with you, has changed its name to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and that henceforth the reports will be filed under this new name.”  
4Q/1959AIPAC files as a “non-profit organization interested in foreign policy.” with “infinite” duration.  Donor John Factor (AKA mobster “Jake the Barber”) makes a $1,000 contribution.$2,114$1,980
1Q/1960AIPAC spends $2,500 on subscriptions to the NEAR EAST REPORT.$3,638$3,693
2Q/1960Abraham Feinberg makes a $500 contribution.$8,222$5,841
3Q/1960Abraham Feinberg makes a $500 contribution, Dewey Stone contributes $500.$2,095$1,883
4Q/1960“There were no specific expenditures during this quarter.”$1,284$241
ARCHIVEIn November 1962 the US Department of Justice orders AIPAC’s parent organization to register as an Israeli foreign agent.  
ARCHIVEAIPAC incorporates and applies to the IRS for a tax exemption without referencing the FARA order of its parent organization.  It takes over AZC functions.

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