The legislative effort being pushed by AIPAC would allow visa-free entry for Israelis, but the government is unable or unwilling to reciprocate, insisting on the right to refuse entry to certain U.S. citizens due to security concerns.by JTA 57 comments
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, is an American pro-Israel lobby group based in Washington D.C. A self-described grassroots movement of Israel supporters, AIPAC aims to support Israel by ensuring America’s backing and works closely with Democrats and Republics in drafting measures and bills of support.
For over 50 years AIPAC has been working with members of Congress and the Senate to draft resolution in support of Israel and to ensure American support of Israel stays strong in the face of threats against the Jewish State.
In addition to lobbying for increased assistance for Israel, AIPAC also pursues policies on important issues such as the Iran nuclear threat and advancing peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Boasting a membership over 100,000 supporters, each year AIPAC organizes a policy conference that includes students and members of Congress, as well as leaders from Europe and Israel. Over the years AIPAC has been involved with over 100 legislative and political initiatives concerning Middle East policy or aiming to broaden U.S.- Israel relations.
AIPAC’s activities also aim to keep Israel strong in the face of what it calls growing existential threats. It promotes anti-terrorism cooperation between Israel and the U.S., as well as intelligence and homeland security cooperation, and is increasingly in favor of a strong line over Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.
The lobby also works closely with American political candidates to educate them on issues pertaining to Israel and the Middle East, and encourages them to take a proactive approach towards issues regarding Israel’s security needs, and promoting legislation that will help Israel continue its fight against terrorism.
In recent years, AIPAC has been accused of lobbying to the detriment of Israel on matters including the treatment of Palestinians and recent wars between Israel and armed militants. It has also been attacked by anti-Semitic and anti-Israel groups as a Zionist lobbying force that controls all U.S. policies regarding the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
American politicians, AIPAC itself and most pro-Israel groups reject these claims, although there has been more moderate criticism that the lobby has adopted a right-wing line, which the new pro-Israel group JStreet says it is seeking counter with its own more centrist, pro-peace stance.