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August 14, 1992 - Image 108

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-08-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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The pro-Israel rejects Village Voice
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Village Voice article
claiming that the
American-Israel
Public Affairs Committee
engages in reputation-
smearing and quasi-
espionage has called into
question the propriety and
ethics of the nation's most
powerful pro-Israel lobby.
The four-page article,
which AIPAC vehemently
refutes, asserts that an
AIPAC "secret intelligence
unit" dabbles in McCarthy-
type tactics. It was written
by Robert I. Friedman, a
free-lancer for the New York
weekly who is no stranger to
controversy regarding his
Mideast reporting.
Thomas Dine, AIPAC's
executive director, called the
claims "false and profoundly
misleading." He categorical-
ly denied that AIPAC
engages in covert intel-
ligence gathering or has
"conduct(ed) field investiga-
tions of anyone, ever.
"This fantastic portrait
bears no resemblance to the
real AIPAC," he said. "If it
did, most of our 55,000
members, as well as our offi-
cers and staff, would have
nothing to do with the
organization."
Among the article's many
assertions are that AIPAC:
• Spies or eavesdrops on
"dissidents" or "opponents,"
on whom it keeps volumi-
nous dossiers comparable to
"those kept by J. Edgar
Hoover or Stazi, the East
German secret police."
• Keeps a "burgeoning
enemies list."
• Uses smear tactics.
• Wages "a secret war
against Jewish liberals to
dam the rising tide for land-
for-peace sentiment."
• Maintains a "stealth
unit that monitors the
speeches of professors and
students on campus."
AIPAC's response has
been unusually aggressive
for an organization that
keeps a low profile with the
press.
New York writer Edward
Tivnan said that much of the
Voice article "rings true."
Mr. Tivnan said that when
he researched his 1987 book,
The Lobby, which was
critical of AIPAC, "AIPAC's
attempts to nail people was

legendary. There was no
question they knew who was
for them and who was "'"'
against them. To conspire
against the critics of AIPAC
policy is, ultimately, un-
American and raises the
bogeyman of dual loyalty."
However, he conceded, "if
anyone was on top of 11
AIPAC's 'enemies list,' it
was me. Yet, there was no
evidence they were trying to
get me."
Mr. Tivnan acknowledged •
that "intelligence and in-
formation is the stuff of .
lobbying and of journalism.
AIPAC gets information
leaked from the Hill and
from the Defense Depart- mi
ment, and AIPAC does some
discretionary leaking itself.
Without this trafficking in
information, even jour-

"This fantastic
portrait bears no
resemblance to the
real AIPAC."

Thomas Dine

41

nalists wouldn't function.
That's how Washington
works."
Jewish organizations have
long been critical of Mr."
Friedman's reporting. The
Anti-Defamation League
said that he has "a long his-
tory of Israel-bashing, as 11
well as distortion regarding
the activities of American
Jewish organizations." Mr. 40
Tivnan, who knows Mr.
Friedman, described him as
"a very well-connected jour-
nalist who goes for the •
jugular" and "very much in
the Village Voice model of
advocacy journalism."
Perhaps the most damning
charge against AIPAC in the
Friedman article was that it
had helped engineer the 4
demotion in April of the
managing editor of the

'

Washington Jewish Week.

Two months after Andrew
Silow Carroll had basically
been lowered to the status of
a reporter, he quit the paper,
"demoralized and
humiliated," according to a
friend of his.
The Voice article at- "
tributes Mr. Carroll's demo-
tion to a memo about Mr.
Carroll that Steven Rosen of
AIPAC gave to Richard
Schifter, a former assistant



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