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Israel Spent $1,250 To Lobby America in 2013, So Why Is Everyone Obsessed With The Israel Lobby?

If you estimated the amount of money a country spends on lobbying the United States based on critical media coverage of that lobbying, you'd probably put Israel at the top of the list. But a new study by the Sunlight Foundation reveals that not only isn't Israel a big spender, it practically doesn't even make the list. Of the 84 countries surveyed, Israel ranked 83rd, spending just $1,250 to lobby America in 2013. (The only country that ranked lower was Mali, which spent nothing at all.) By contrast, other key American allies unloaded massive sums to influence the U.S. government. Topping the list is the United Arab Emirates with $14.2 million. It is followed by Germany ($12 million), Canada ($11.2 million), and Saudi Arabia ($11.1 million).

Why doesn't Israel spend comparable amounts–or even a fraction of that–to lobby the American government? As the Washington Post notes, the Jewish state doesn't need to bankroll an advocacy effort from abroad because it has domestic supporters who do the job. Thus, AIPAC spent approximately $3 million lobbying for Israel in 2013. This arrangement is unsurprising. As polls have shown for decades, Israel remains wildly popular among the American population, Jew and non-Jew alike. By contrast, countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia don't inspire such support, and need to fund their own outreach to maintain their alliances. Likewise, while Americans view Canada and Germany quite favorably, it seems they are not willing to lobby on their behalf, perhaps because neither possesses the unique mix of religious and ideological affinities that Israel does.

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Author:Rosenberg, Yair
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:May 20, 2014
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