Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Israel: Israel Lobbyist Abraham Feinberg's FBI File Released

The following is being issued by Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy:

FBI files released under the Freedom of Information Act unveil new details about the life of influential lobbyist Abraham Feinberg (1908-1998).

Feinberg is best known for funding President Harry S Truman's "whistle stop" campaign, saving Truman's 1948 election campaign from almost certain defeat. In an interview, Feinberg summarized his long success in Democratic Party politics: "My path to power was cooperation in terms of what they needed—campaign money."

According to new histories of Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons program including "Israel and the Bomb" by Avner Cohen (1998), Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion secretly named Feinberg his chief nuclear weapons fundraising coordinator in 1958. According to Michael Karpin's "The Bomb in the Basement" (2007) Feinberg and 25 others contributed $40 million to the Israeli nuclear weapons program against opposition from presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.

A newly released 1952 file reveals the FBI's early awareness of Feinberg's many secret meetings with Israeli foreign agents: "Feinberg has been in contact with Colonel Ephraim Ben-Arazi, former Israeli Military Attache to the United States; Theodore H. Kollek, Israeli Minister in Washington; Reuben Shiloah [founder of Mossad], personal advisor to the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs; Nahum Bernstein, Secretary of Israel Speaks. All of these individuals are known to have been active in the Israeli Intelligence Service."

In 1952 Feinberg was ordered to register as an Israeli agent conducting foreign propaganda through a bimonthly publication called Israel Speaks the successor to Haganah Speaks. Feinberg briefly considered selling Israel Speaks to the Jerusalem Post before shutting it down to avoid registration under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The FBI files also document meetings between Abraham Feinberg and Rudolph Sonneborn. Sonneborn organized a massive clandestine smuggling network to purchase or steal U.S. WWII surplus armaments for Jewish fighters in Palestine in violation of arms export controls and the Neutrality Act. The Israeli government tasked Feinberg to intervene in the criminal prosecutions of apprehended U.S. members of the smuggling network. The FBI file notes, "There were 70 people involved on the West Coast….On April 1, 1949 Eliahu Elath, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, was advised by his government that it was agreed that the matter relating to Schwimmer and other people under indictment should be taken to the 'highest level' in order to 'squash it once and forever'....one of several courses of action suggested...was to have Abe...take it up with his friends..." In the end few members of the network were ever arrested, prosecuted or convicted of arms smuggling. Those that were (Adolph Schwimmer, Hank Greenspun, and Charles Winters) later received presidential pardons.

All released documents are now available in PDF format from the Israel Lobby Archive at: http://www.irmep.org/ila/feinberg . The Feinberg section of the archive cross-references a separate Senate investigation archive revealing Feinberg's year 1960 financial contributions to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Simultaneously, the Near East Report (now affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC) released stories into the U.S. media such as "No Bombs Possible" that denied Israel had a secret nuclear weapons program even as AIPAC's founder closely tracked U.S. news coverage of the issue.

The Israel Lobby Archive, http://IRmep.org/ila, is a unit of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington.

SOURCE Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy