Thursday, November 22, 2012

U.S.: ZOA ordered to register as Israeli foreign agent seven times - declassified Justice Department files

SOURCE Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy

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

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) was ordered on seven separate occasions to register under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) according to newly declassified Department of Justice (DOJ) files. On October 17, 2012 the National Archives and Records Administration released under FOIA the long-secret files, now available online at the Israel Lobby Archive.

ZOA incorporated on April 14, 1920 in New York. DOJ officials determined in 1947 that ZOA was controlled by the World Zionist Organization (WZO), a global entity composed of dues-paying members committed to the Zionist program for a Jewish state in Palestine. ZOA activities, negotiations with governments and NGOs were all subject to WZO approval. ZOA regarded WZO as the ultimate disciplinary and dispute resolution authority. ZOA was also beholden to WZO orders for unspecified "political actions of another kind."

In 1956 ZOA Pittsburgh chapter President Zalman Shapiro incorporated the Nuclear Material and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) which operated a nuclear processing facility on the Apollo Industries steel site. Future ZOA national president Ivan Novick was an original Apollo Industries founder. The FBI investigated excessive NUMEC losses of weapons-grade uranium and Shapiro's 1960s interactions with Rafael Eitan, an Israeli spymaster who later ran Jonathan Pollard against the United States. NUMEC established a joint venture with the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, later revealed by researcher Avner Cohen to be a front for Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons program. A 2001 Energy Department audit found that NUMEC lost more weapons-grade uranium (337 kilograms) than any other facility in U.S. history. Declassified CIA and FBI files reveal US officials believed NUMEC illegally diverted nuclear material to Israel.

The newly released DOJ files reveal a secret 1948 meeting where the Attorney General promised to exempt ZOA from all FARA registration and prosecutions in exchange for changes to ZOA/WZO governing documents. However reports filed by Justice Department staff responsible for FARA enforcement reveal that even by 1960 the promised changes had not been made. ZOA is currently attempting to regain tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS in 2011.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper. It retains 1%-3% of the most important documents of business conducted by the United States Federal government. The Israel Lobby Archive, is a unit of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington.