two groups that are beating the drums for war in the MiddlernEast: the Israeli defense ministry and its amen corner in thernUnited States.” Although his remark contained some kernelsrnof truth, he had broken an unwritten rule of American politics:rnnever criticize the Israeli lobby in public. The usual penaltyrnfor a non-Jew who utters such remarks is to be forever labeledrnan anti-Semite. The chief enforcer in this ease was New YorkrnTimes columnist A.M. Rosenthal. With unrestrained anger, hernaccused Buchanan of spreading “venom about Jews” andrnimplying that Jews have “alien loyalties for which they willrnsacrifice the lives of Americans.” These charges shadowedrnBuchanan throughout his campaign for President.rnBy concentrating funds on key congressionalrnraces, the network of pro-Israel PACsrnoften exercises its biggest influence at thernlocal level. The largest amounts are reservedrnfor legislators with the best pro-Israel recordsrnand for challengers of legislators deemed tornhave imperfect records.rnNot until after the war had started did the sensitive topic attainrnthe status of news. That came in a Wall Street Journal storyrntelling how the American Israel Public Affairs Committeern(AIPAC) had “worked in tandem with the Bush administration”rnin a “behind-the-scenes campaign to gain authority forrnthe President to commit American troops to combat.” ReporterrnDavid Rogers said AIPAC’s influence was “crucial” tornthat decision, though the group “took pains to disguise itsrnrole.” Executive Director Tom Dine acknowledged thatrnAIPAC had been active.rnIndeed, quiet power is the trademark of AIPAC, the biggestrnpro-Israel lobby group in the United States, with a staff ofrnover 100 and a budget of $14 million from American donors.rnIt is also “the most powerful, best-run, and most effective” foreignrnlobby in the United States, according to the New Yorkrnlimes. Founded in 1959 by Zionists, AIPAC has become therndominant political voice of American Jews. In recent years, itrnhas sought to strengthen its leadership by establishing a secretrninvestigative unit that author Robert I. Friedman says is usedrnto harass dovish Jewish groups and what it calls “anti-Israelrnactivists.” AIPAC officials deny the accusations.rnMuch of AIPAC’s power comes from its ability to issue “actionrnalerts” to Jewish leaders and to generate grass-roots actionrnamong many of the six million Jewish Americans. But its realrnpower stems from its close ties with numerous pro-Israel politicalrnaction committees (PACs) around the country and theirrnability to reward friendly candidates as well as punish thosernwho stray from the demanding line that prevails anrong them.rnAIPAC has consistently denied that it is a PAC or coordinatesrnany PACs. But a memo and taped telephone call thatrnhave leaked from its inner sanctum have indicated to unbelieversrnthat AIPAC has been very influential in determiningrnwhere all the Israeli lobby’s money goes. Its activities includernsending newsletters to its 55,000 members and holding frequentrnconferences and pilgrimages to Congress. The presidentsrnof 48 major Jewish organizations sit on its board.rnCiting this information, several former State Departmentrnofficials and others filed a formal complaint in 1989 to thernFederal Election Commission alleging that AIPAC was violatingrnelection laws by directing money to federal candidatesrnthrough numerous PACs, thus avoiding legal limits on donationsrnfrom a single PAC. Last June, FEC Ceneral CounselrnLawrence Noble decided that AIPAC had “probably” violatedrnthe law. But the commission vetoed his call for legal action.rnThe decision left pro-Israel PACs free to continue contributingrnthe maximum allowance to each candidate. To helprndisguise the extent of their network, almost all these PACsrnomit the word Israel from their titles. The result is a patchworkrnof names like National PAC, Wishington PAC, andrnAmericans for Good Government. In 1984, author Ed Roederrnmanaged to break the codes and make it possible to determinerntotal amounts for the AIPAC lobby. According tornStealth PACs, a book produced by the American EducationalrnTrust, pro-Israel PACs have consistently raised more moneyrnand contributed more to Congress than any other group. Yetrnreporters often omit the Israeli lobby from news stories aboutrnthe largest PACs.rnIn 1987-88, for example, pro-Israel PACs raised $10.8 millionrnand contributed $5.4 million to political candidates, accordingrnto AFT. The next largest spender was the NationalrnAssociation of Realtors, with contributions of $3 million. Inrnthe 1989-90 season, 95 pro-Israel PACs contributed $5 million,rncompared to $3.1 million from the realtors, the next largestrngroup. Preliminary figures for the latest presidential campaignrncycle arc similar. Over the last five election cycles, pro-IsraelrnPACs have raised over $50 million and spent nearly $24 million.rnBut that’s only half the story. Many of the contributors tornthese PACs give equal amounts directly to their chosen candidates.rnIn a study of the 1990 campaign, the Center for ResponsivernPolitics found that for every ten dollars that wentrnthrough pro-Israel PACs, nine went directly to the same candidatesrnfrom the same donors. On that basis, the total fromrnpro-Israel contributors during this same period was closer torn$46 million, more than three times what any other specialinterestrnPAC gave and 300 times what Arab-American PACsrnspent.rnSuch massive contributions have brought the Israeli lobbyrnunchallenged control over Congress and American policy inrnthe Middle East. Since 1979 its ardent backers have obtainedrn$53 billion in direct and indirect assistance for Israel, far morernthan any other country has gotten, not including $10 billionrnin loan guarantees approved last year. Israel has also cost thernUnited States another $300 billion or so for such things asrnlost arms sales when Arab nations had to seek other thanrnAmerican suppliers, according to George W. Ball, former Undersecretaryrnof State and coauthor of Passionate Attachment.rnAid to Israel, unlike aid to other countries, is not subject tornanv American oversight or penalties for not spending it onrnintended purposes. Also unlike some other nations, Israelrnhas never been denied aid because of its record on humanrnrights or nuclear proliferation.rnTo make sure that Israel gets everything it wants, pro-IsraelrnPACs have buried members of key committees with cash.rnSeven members, a majority, of the 1992 Senate Foreign Op-rn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn