In ’92, AIPAC president raised $1 million for Bill Clinton — and he supported the settlements

In ’92, AIPAC president raised $1 million for Bill Clinton — and he supported the settlements

from Mondoweiss by Philip Weiss

MJ Rosenberg explains that AIPAC’s power arises from its ability to buy politicians but this knowledge has always been suppressed. In 1988, 60 Minutes did a piece on the open bribery, Rosenberg says:

The reporter… actually had papers in hand in which AIPAC’s political director assigned amounts of money to be distributed. 

The documents 60 Minutes had was provided to them by a young staffer who worked in AIPAC’s political department. After the segment aired, she was fired and left the country.

There really is no secret about AIPAC’s directing of campaign contributions. At its annual conference in Washington, side rooms are set up where invited donors can meet the chosen candidates and commit financially. This part of the AIPAC conference is by invitation only. No reporters!

Then Rosenberg publishes a lengthy transcript of an October 1992 telephone call, in the last two weeks of the election campaign, between businessman Haim (Harry) Katz and AIPAC president David Steiner (original transcript here).

Katz evidently was concerned by AIPAC’s growing influence; and the publication of the transcript cost Steiner his job, Rosenberg says. In it Steiner repeatedly says that his political influence arises from his ability to raise money to get it to candidates in need: “you could dissipate a million dollars, but the point is to put it where it’s going to do the most.”

Here’s his bragging on cutting a deal with Jim Baker for aid to Israel:

You know what I got for, I met with [U.S. Secretary of State] Jim Baker and I cut a deal with him. I got, besides the $3 billion, you know they’re looking for the Jewish votes, and I’ll tell him whatever he wants to hear. . .


DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Besides the $10 billion in loan guarantees which was a fabulous thing, $3 billion in foreign, in military aid, and I got almost a billion dollars in other goodies that people don’t even know about.

HAIM KATZ: Such as?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: $700 million in military draw-down, from equipment that the United States Army’s going to give to Israel; $200 million the U.S. government is going to preposition materials in Israel, which Israel can draw upon; put them in the global warning protection system; so when if there’s a missile fired, they’ll get the same advanced notification that the U.S., is notified, joint military exercises—I’ve got a whole shopping list of things.

HAIM KATZ: So this is from Baker?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: From Baker and from the Pentagon.

HAIM KATZ: So, not so, not.. .

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Why did he do it, you know, why did he do it? Last year I was a bum. This year I said look Jim, we’re going to fight on the F-l5s. Israel doesn’t want to fight, I said, but some people on it are going to come up on the floor of the Senate and the House and they’re going to fight. If you’ll do this, I think I can hold them back. But you’ve got to do it right away. They didn’t want to fight. I said, “You don’t want a fight before the election. It’s going to hurt Bush. We don’t want a fight before the election. We don’t want to fight at all. Why can’t we work something out?” So we cut a deal. You can’t repeat this.

HAIM KATZ: You’re right. But you met with Baker. . .


HAIM KATZ: Personally. Because you know, he’s the one who cursed, who cursed the Jews.

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Of course, do you think I’m ever going to forgive him for that?

HAIM KATZ: Unbelievable. I said…

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Do you think I could ever forgive Bush for what he did September 12th a year ago? What he said about the Jews for lobbying in Washington?

Then there’s this proof that Bill Clinton supported the settlement project in 1992– one reason he was able to beat George H.W. Bush. Steiner brags that he raised $1 million for Clinton at a critical time, the beginning of his campaign. Katz keeps asking Steiner whether Clinton will support loan guarantees for the settlements, and the AIPAC president says he will. Because Clinton loves Jews and he’s made implicit promises to Steiner.

As you read this remember, This is the political climate for Clinton, George W. Bush and now Barack Obama: Clinton had AIPAC on his side, and Clinton got two terms.

And notice the talk about Clinton’s Jewish friends. This is the sociological aspect of the lobby. It didn’t trust George H.W. Bush because he didn’t have Jewish friends. Do you think George W. Bush got himself some Jewish friends? Ask Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby!

And the mention of Martin Indyk at the AIPAC-linked thinktank, the Washington Institute. Indyk of course got a big job with the Clinton administration.

HAIM KATZ: David, let me just ask you about Clinton. Honestly, what do you feel about Clinton?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Well, I’ve known Bill Clinton for seven eight years. I think he’s got to be a lot better than George Bush. . . we have a lot of people in there. But he doesn’t need money, he really doesn’t need money. I’m a trustee of the Democratic National Committee. We collected $63 million for him so far.

HAIM KATZ: Who’s collected $63 million?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign have raised $63 million.

HAIM KATZ: So they’ve already raised $63 million, so they don’t need money.

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: No, we need money, like we got a guy, Byron Dorgan, in North Dakota, who’s going to be very good for us and we need money to make sure that he gets in. We’ve got people like that, because [unintelligible], whatever you give them would be a tickle on the elephant’s behind. But when you give $5,000 or $10,000 to Bob Kasten, that’s very meaningful.

HAIM KATZ: Let me ask you, I understand what you’re saying. Clinton, when Clinton first started running a year ago, did he need money at that time?


HAIM KATZ: I mean, did you help him out, ’cause that’s the time. . .

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: I personally am not allowed, as president of AIPAC, to get involved in the presidential campaign, because I have to deal with whoever wins. You know, I’ve got to go see Bush if he’s there, but I helped him, we raised over a million dollars for him in New Jersey.

HAIM KATZ: For Clinton?


HAIM KATZ: And this was when, in the beginning?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: In the beginning, yes. After he won, before the convention.

HAIM KATZ: This is before the convention?


HAIM KATZ: Okay, let me ask you, you know, T

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: We’ve also raised for other guys who are running too, because they’re friends AIPAC. Harkin, the senator, you know you have to be with everybody.

HAIM KATZ: Let me ask you, [talks about getting cheated in business by Gentiles]. Let me ask you, Clinton, if he becomes, I mean what will he do for Israel, better than Bush, if he becomes, I know Bush gave you a hard time, this and that. ..

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: I’II tell you, I have frienDavid Steiner AIPAC on the Clinton campaign, close associates. Gore is very committed to us.

HAIM KATZ: Right. Clinton if he, have you spoken to him?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: I’ve known Bill for seven, eight years from the National Governors Association. I know him on a personal basis. I have friends AIPAC. One of my friends AIPAC is Hillary Clinton’s scheduler, one of my officer’s daughters works there. We gave two employees from AIPAC leave of absences to work on the campaign. I mean, we have a dozen people in that campaign, in the headquarters.

HAIM KATZ: You mean in Little Rock?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: In Little Rock, and they’re all going to get big jobs. We have friends AIPAC. I also work with a think tank, the Washington Institute. I have Michael Mandelbaum and Martin Indyk being foreign policy advisers. Steve Speigel—we’ve got frienDavid Steiner AIPAC—this is my business.

HAIM KATZ: I understand, David.

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: It’s very complicated and the more you get into it, you’ll love it. You sound like a smart guy.

HAIM KATZ: I’m a smart guy, but I have a, maybe because I’m more orthodox than you are, I’ve had bad experiences with Gentiles. Let me ask you, you know what “tachlis” means?


HAIM KATZ: From a practical point of view, if Clinton wins the presidency, and I’m sure he will, I hope so at least, what will be the benefits to Israel better than Bush? From a very practical point . . . I mean, you just told me that Bush gave you everything you wanted. . .

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Only, not everything, at the end, when we didn’t want the F-l5s, that’s a terrible thing.

HAIM KATZ: Selling the F-l5s? If Clinton is elected. . .

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Let me tell you the problem with the $10 billion in loan guarantees, right? We only have the first year. We have authorization from Congress, but it’s at the discretion of the president every year thereafter, so if Bush is there, he could say, you know, use it as a club, you know. ‘If you don’t give up Syria, I won’t give you the money. If you don’t give up the Golan Heights.’ It’s at the discretion of the president. And that’s why we need a friendly president and we have Bill Clinton’s ear. I talked to Bill Clinton.

HAIM KATZ: And Bill Clinton has made a commitment that if he’s elected . . . ?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: He’s going to be very good for us.

HAIM KATZ: And he’ll go ahead with the loan guarantees?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: We didn’t talk about that specifically, listen, I didn’t ask him that, but I have full confidence that we’re going to have a much better situation. He’s got Jewish friends AIPAC. A girl who worked for me at AIPAC stood up for them at their wedding. Hillary lived with her. I mean we have those relationships. We have never had that with Bush. Susan Thomases, who’s in there, worked with me on the Bradley campaign. We worked together for 13 years. She’s In there with the family. They stay with her when they come to New York. One of my officers, Monte Friedkin, is one of the biggest fund-raisers for them. I mean, I have people like that all over the country.

HAIM KATZ: So, I mean from a practical point of view. . .

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: He’s going to be with us.

HAIM KATZ: I don’t say, this business, you say, Bush only went ahead with the loan guarantees for one year.

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: We only have. It’s mandatory they give us the $2 billion for one year. After that it’s subject to the discretion of the president.

HAIM KATZ: You mean the other $8 billion?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: That’s correct. On an annualized basis.

HAIM KATZ: Also, I heard that. . .

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: They don’t have to give it to us.

HAIM KATZ: But if Clinton is elected. . .

DAVID STEINER AIPAC:… feel reasonably certain we’re gonna get It.

HAIM KATZ: He’s made that commitment?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Well, he said he’s going to help us. He’s got something in his heart for the Jews, he has Jewish friends AIPAC. Bush has no Jewish friends AIPAC.


DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Reagan had something . . . meshuga, but at least he had a commitment. He knew Jews from the film industry, he was one of the best guys for us. He had an emotional thing for the Jews. Bush doesn’t have it. That’s what it is really, if you have a feeling for our people, for what we believe in. Bush is, there’s a man with no principles. Absolutely no principles.

Notice this juicy bit about getting the secretary of State and national security adviser positions under Clinton:

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: We’ll have access.

HAIM KATZ: You’ll have access and you’ll have a good input into who’s secretary of state.

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: I do believe so.

HAIM KATZ: And the other position is. . .

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: National security adviser.

HAIM KATZ: Those are the two critical positions.


Oh and speaking of Israel firster, here’s Steiner talking about why he’s for Al D’Amato over Robert Abrams for Senate, and why he’d go against his own brother for Israel:

HAIM KATZ: Okay, I’ll just ask you very very quickly. You know, like, in New York, you know, this is your own personal opinion, like in New York we have Abrams against D’Amato.

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Well, let me tell you what my personal position is. Okay?


DAVID STEINER AIPAC: From a Jewish point of view, I believe in political loyalty.


DAVID STEINER AIPAC: And if someone has been good for Israel, no matter who, if my brother would run against them, I would support them because they’d been good to Israel because that’s an important message to people.


DAVID STEINER AIPAC: What I’m going to be doing for you. . .

HAIM KATZ: Now D’Amato, has he been good for Israel?

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: You couldn’t have a better . . . listen I think Abrams would be good too, but that’s not the message.


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