The American Israel Public Affairs Committee defended itself Tuesday from claims that it has been directing pro-Israel political action committees to contribute funds to candidates for the U.S. Senate.
The Washington Post published a memorandum Monday, dated Sept. 30, 1986, in which Elizabeth Schrayer, then AIPAC’s deputy political director, said nine pro-Israel PACs had not contributed to certain candidates.
They were listed as Christopher Bond in Missouri and W. Henson Moore in Louisiana, both Republicans, and John Evans in Idaho, Thomas Daschle in South Dakota and Harry Reid in Nevada, all Democrats. All but Moore were elected to the Senate.
AIPAC is the registered American lobby in support of Israel and is not a political action committee. AIPAC officials emphasize that although they could legally endorse candidates, their policy is not to do so.
Instead, they provide information on a candidate’s record and positions.
“We will not be drawn into a fiesta of speculation based on isolated and anecdotal material stolen from our files,” AIPAC said in a statement responding to TQhe Washington Post story.
“AIPAC is a membership organization and exercises a constitutional and legal right to participate in the democratic process. It has operated entirely within the letter and spirit of the law and will continue to do so.”
AIPAC has some 50,000 members across the country and some of them head PACs. Thomas Dine, AIPAC’s executive director, has long urged American Jews to participate in the political process.
Similar questions were raised last month against AIPAC by the CBS-TV program, “60 Minutes.”
The program accused AIPAC of directing pro-Israel PACs to support Richard Licht, the Democratic candidate in Rhode Island, who was running against Sen. John Chafee. Licht, a Jew, was heavily supported by pro-Israel PACs, but was defeated by Chafee.
At the time, AIPAC denied it directs PACs, although it provides them with information on candidates.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.