An explosive new report claims that the federal investigation into the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying organization, has been expanded to include suspicion of meddling in affairs of the House Intelligence Committee. The report comes immediately on the heels of two new surveys that shine a critical light on Israel and on the role that the pro-Israel lobby plays in shaping American foreign policy.
Under the alleged deal — which both sides vigorously deny was ever made — the lobby would actively support Harman’s bid to become the next chair of the intelligence committee if the Democrats win control of the House. In return, Harman would press the government to go easy on two former Aipac staffers, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, who are being prosecuted under the Espionage Act for allegedly communicating classified information to Israeli diplomats and reporters.
“Federal officials told The New York Times that such an investigation had indeed been opened, although they said that the inquiry was “no longer being actively pursued.”
A recent poll by Zogby International found Americans almost evenly split on whether the pro-Israel lobby was a key factor in influencing the Bush administration to invade Iraq and take a tough stand against Iran’s nuclear program. In a separate study exploring the views of faculty members at American universities, a significant percentage of scholars identified Israel and the United States as threats to global stability.
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Sources close to the issue, and congressional staffers, have speculated that the Harman issue was raised in an attempt to damage the image of Democratic lawmakers in advance of the upcoming midterm elections. The sources also suggested that the leak might be an attempt to get back at senior Democrats on the intelligence committee for leaking the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which embarrassed the administration.
On The Good News Front:
Senior company executives to fly to Israel next month, tighten ties to Israeli high-tech industryby Dudi GoldmanA series of senior executives from IBM in the United States, including two vice presidents, are set to arrive in Israel at the beginning of next month in order to meet with venture capital fund managers.IBM’s elite is expected to reveal before the local venture capital fund community its strategy for investing in Israeli start-up companies, including probing of possible promising future software projects.IBM heads hope to present themselves in Israel and to take advantage of the knowledge and connections of the venture capital fund managers in the local market.Manager of the Global Technology Unit & International Cluster in Israel Yoel Nahari said Wednesday that the guests on the list, and particularly those of senior rank, reflect how important IBM feels strengthening its bond with the Israeli hi-tech industry is.Among the executives to arrive in Israel are IBM Web Communities and Developer Relations VP Gina Poole, IBM retail-industry strategist Christopher Wong, Computer Science Research Lab VP Stuart Feldman, and Strategic Alliances Director Deborah Magid.