Lobbies are to be natural parts of pluralist, democratic societies. Lobbying constitutes a mainstream method of influencing government policy, as a means of enhancing representative government. Jewish lobby in America is an ideal example of such a lobby.
Jewish lobby has played a leadership role in formulating American policy on issues such as civil rights, separation of church and state, and immigration, guided by a liberalism that was a complex mixture of Jewish tradition, the experience of persecution, and self interest. It was thrust into prominence following the Nixon Administration’s sharp shift of American policy towards significant military and foreign aid support for Israel following the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The term Jewish Lobby is a conglomeration of approximately thirty-four Jewish political organizations in the United States which make joint and separate efforts to lobby for their interests in the United States, as well as for the interests of the State of Israel. A group of individuals devoted to supporting the needs and interests of the Jewish community is also considered as a part of jewish lobby. Multiple lobby groups, political action committees (PACs), think tanks and media watchdog groups form Jewish lobby in US.
These organizations are most actively involved in lobbying activities at federal, state and local levels of political and governmental institutions.The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is one of a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States and is stated similarly as its goal by the AIPAC. It is a mass-membership, American organization whose members include Democrats, Republicans, and independents. AIPAC regularly meets with members of Congress and holds events where it can share its views. AIPAC is not a political action committee, and does not directly donate to campaign contributions. However, it wields influence on the potential donars. Web site of the organization details how members of Congress voted on AIPAC’s key issues, and the AIPAC Insider, a glossy periodical is scrutinized by thousands of potential donors. According to one estimate, Pro-Israel interests have contributed $56.8 million in individual, group, and soft money donations to federal candidates and party committees since 1990. Between the 2000 and the 2004 elections, the 50 members of AIPAC’s board donated an average of $72,000 each to campaigns and political action committees.
Christians United for Israel, another formal lobby group, is a national grassroots movement focused on the support of Israel. According to its founder, the organization gives every pro-Israel Christian and Christian church the opportunity to stand up and speak up for Israel. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is yet another lobby group which is the main contact between the Jewish community and the executive branch of the US government
Apart from these organizations, many think tanks and media organizations have pro jewish individuals as key members. Groups sustaining college campus activism are also increasingly seen promoting Jewish interests and awareness among students about these issues.