DATAPOINTS

For AIPAC / AIEF

$4 Million

LOBBYING SPEND (2018)

2

LOBBYING/PR FIRMS

10

REGISTERED AGENTS

AL-MONITOR
LOBBYING RANK

#1

The Kar-Mar Company (CBRNE Response Solutions)
(for Israeli Police Bomb Disposal Unit and HBA System Integrators)

Hired: May 2018

NEW Supplemental (termination filing)
(Nov. 15, 2018 – May 15, 2019)
Fees and expenses: $0
Meetings: None

The Tennessee-based Kar-Mar Company has ended its year-old registration on behalf of the Israeli police’s bomb disposal unit and Israeli robotics firm HBA System Integrators. Kar-Mar president Mark Kauchak disclosed that discussions of a joint Chemical Biological Radiation Nuclear incident response program with Israel never developed and that he “had no interactions with any US entities to discuss this program because Israel never was prepared to discuss the potential program.”

  • 2018 total: 40 trips; $443,000
    In-house lobbying
    • Registered: 2003  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Jeffrey Colman
      • Marvin Feuer
      • Michael Fleischman
      • David Gillette
      • Brad Gordon
      • Enia Krivine
      • Ester Kurz
      • Taylor Parker
      • Samuel Peyton
      • Deborah Saxon
    • 2018 fees: $3.5 million
    In-house lobbying
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Moran Banai
      • Michael Lieberman
      • Erika Moritsugu
      • David Weinberg
    • 2018 fees: $155,000
    Monument Advocacy
    • Hired: 2019  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Kimberly Ellis
      • Stacey Hutchinson
      • Andrew Howell
      • Ashley Hoy
      • Melanie Lehnhardt
      • Kate Mills
      • John Mulligan
      • C. Stewart Verdery Jr.
    In-house lobbying
    • 2018 fees: $400,000
    In-house lobbying
    • 2018 fees: $200,000
    Capitoline Consulting
    • Hired: 2018  
    • Registered agents

      • Elizabeth Roberts
      • Judith Zink
    • 2018 fees: $10,000
    Teva Pharmaceuticals USA
    • Hired: 2002  
    • Registered agents

      • Dolly Judge
      • Colman Ragan
    • 2018 fees: $2,610,000
    Holland and Knight
    Polsinelli PC
    • Hired: 2019  
    • Registered agents

      • James Davidson
      • Julius Hobson
      • Sylvia Kornegay
      • Harry Sporidis
      • Steve Stranne
    The Russell Group
    • Hired: 2018  
    • Registered agents

      • Randy Russell
        President
      • Samantha Buchalter
      • Andrew Harker
      • Tyson Redpath
      • Jessica Schulken
      • Karla Thieman
    • 2018 fees: $180,000
    McHugh LeMay Associates
    • Hired: 2019  
    • Registered agents

      • Anne LeMay
      • John McHugh
        Former Congressman (R-N.Y.) and Army Secretary
    Signal Group Consulting
    • Hired: 2019  
    • Registered agents

      • Paul "Ted" Anderson
    Republic Consulting
    terminated April 1, 2019
    • Hired: 2018  
    • No currently registered agents

Trump’s gifts to Israel come at cost

Editor

Julian Pecquet

@JPecquet_ALM

jpecquet@al-monitor.com
bookmark

Julian Pecquet is the Washington Editor for Al-Monitor.

Posted: September 11, 2019

The Israeli government got everything it wanted and more from President Donald Trump in 2019.

The bill may come due in 2020.

After delighting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his own Christian base with his Jerusalem move in 2017, Trump doubled down this year. He recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights in March, while turning the screws on Iran and punishing the Palestinians for refusing to participate in his Middle East peace plan.

“Over the years, Israel has been blessed to have many friends who’ve sat in the Oval Office,” Netanyahu told Trump at the White House signing of the Golan Heights proclamation. “But Israel has never had a better friend than you.”

The cozy relationship between the two leaders has delighted right-wing pro-Israel groups, some of which actively advocate for American Jews to break with the Democratic Party as it wrestles with the rise of pro-Palestinian voices in its ranks. Jewish voters remain strongly opposed to Trump (only 26% have a favorable view, according to a June poll of 1,006 adult American Jews from the American Jewish Committee), but are slightly more willing to give him credit for improving US-Israel relations (36% agree versus 59% who disagree).

“For those who care about Israel, the position of many elected Democrats has become anti-Israel,” the Republican Jewish Coalition wrote in a series of tweets defending Trump’s Aug. 20 comments calling American Jews who vote for Democrats “disloyal.”

The liberal J Street group has responded in kind, raising money for its 2020 presidential campaign fund with stickers that read “Disloyal to tyrants, to bigots, to Trump.”

But the increasingly naked partisanship is causing an existential crisis for traditional pro-Israel advocacy groups — and growing concerns within Netanyahu’s government itself.

"We must not intervene in the political disagreements in the United States,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Reshet Bet Radio when asked about Trump's statement. “We keep good relations with both the Democrats and Republicans, and we must continue to do so.”

That’s long been the mantra of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The largest US pro-Israel issue advocacy organization ($3.5 million in lobbying spending in 2018) owes its unrivaled reputation for success to its deep connections with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle bolstered by periodic trips to Israel conducted by its sister organization, the American Israel Education Foundation ($443,000 in 2018 for 40 trips by lawmakers and staff). When Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tried to organize an alternative trip to the occupied West Bank this year, AIPAC criticized Netanyahu’s government for denying them access, tweeting that “every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.”

With US taxpayers shelling out $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel — a fifth of the country’s defense budget — even Democrats critical of the two Muslim congresswomen’s stance in favor of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement have rallied to their defense. Their treatment has also prompted 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to renew his call to condition aid to Israel.

The deepening partisan rift has forced AIPAC and others to carefully calibrate their lobbying, while cutting into their success rate. On the Golan Heights issue, the group has defended Trump’s decision but tellingly declined to lobby for Republican-only House and Senate bills that would codify it into law. AIPAC has also struggled to pass one of its top priorities, legislation bolstering state-level anti-BDS laws, which remains stuck in the Democrat-controlled House amid free-speech concerns.

HIGHLIGHTS

Main lobby:
AIPAC

 

 

$4 million

Total lobbying spending by AIPAC/AIEF for 2018

 

 

WINS
  • Trump recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights
  • Kushner-led diplomacy seen as largely biased toward Israel
  • US dials up ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran
LOSSES
  • Trump seeks to turn Israel into a partisan issue
  • Democrats decry travel ban on Muslim congresswomen
  • 2020 candidates seek to condition US military aid

  • Trip: Aug. 2, 2019 to Aug. 11, 2019
    7 staffers; $47,000
  • Trip: June 6, 2018 to June 14, 2018
    1 staffer; $6,000
  • Trip: April 27, 2018 to May 5, 2018
    7 staffers; $26,000
fy-2019-us-aid-request-for-israelus-bilateral-aid-to-israel
major-proposed-arms-sales-to-israel