Michael Oren was born in New York, raised in New Jersey and gave up his citizenship in 2009 to become Israel's ambassador to the United States. Today he inadvertently let one of the most poorly hidden cats out of the bag--though AIPAC portrays itself as an American organization, it is AT BEST an organization with dual loyalty. Indeed, its primary loyalty MAY rest with Israel and not the United States. If U.S. and Israel's interests ever clash, AIPAC's loyalty is suspect.
I take no joy in making this accusation. I know very well that bogus accusations of dual loyalty have been used in the past to libel Jews and set them up for discrimination and pograms. But three things should be kept in mind. First, AIPAC does not represent all American Jews. MJ Rosenberg used to work for AIPAC before he became one of their fiercest critics. In 2012 he wrote:
... the lobby does not speak for most Jews who, while most are pro-Israel, are not particularly Israel-centered.
There are at least 5.3 million Jewish adults in the United States. Depending on your definition of "who is a Jew" that number could be as high as 9 million. Let's be conservative for the sake of argument and assume there are only 5 million Jewish adults in the U.S. If AIPAC has 100,000 members then it represents only 1 in 50 Jewish adults. It may have the biggest voice on matters regarding Israel, but it is not necessarily representative of what most Jews think.
The second thing to keep in mind is this: Just because Jews have been scandalously smeared in the past by charges of dual loyalty doesn't prove that every American Jew will always be primarily loyal to the United States. When individuals or groups do show dual loyalty then they need to be called out for it. (Last year I questioned AIPAC's loyalty for supporting a bill that would have torpedoed nuclear negotiations and given Israel the ability to drag the U.S. into a war with Iran. )
And thirdly and perhaps most surprisingly, Israel may be viewed even more favorably by Evangelical Christians than it is by American Jews. Shibley Telhami recently conducted a poll that showed that Evangelicals were nearly evenly split on whether Israel should emphasize its Jewishness or its democracy, whereas 61% of the limited sample of Jews wanted Israel to emphasize its democracy. And the Pew Research Center's 2013 poll showed that "White evangelical Protestants also are more likely than Jews to favor stronger U.S. support of Israel."
Now that these caveats are out of the way, it's time to turn to what former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren had to say about AIPAC.
If rumors are true, and the administration boycotts @AIPAC it will damage the US-Israel alliance. AIPAC is Israel's national strategic asset
— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) February 21, 2015
So there you have it. Israel's former Ambassador to the United States flat out states that AIPAC is Israel's (not America's) national strategic asset. If that isn't evidence that AIPAC should be registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, I don't know what is.
Update: 3/11/18: M.J. Rosenberg, who worked directly for AIPAC's founder, I.L. Kenan, in the 1970's, wrote an article entitled "It's Time For AIPAC To Register As A Foreign Agent". He reveals that when Kenan found a loophole to get around the Foreign Agents Registration Act, Kenan assumed that Israel's values would always be the same as American values. But Israel took a hard right turn in maintaining a permanent occupation, and Kenan grew to regret finding that loophole. Rosenberg writes:
Toward the end of his life, Kenen was outraged by the AIPAC leadership with its unquestioning support of the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade against Gaza, and other right-wing Israeli policies. He hated what he saw as AIPAC using its political power to keep the United States government and other influential Americans and perhaps most importantly, the media, from straying from the Israeli line.
Not only was AIPAC making it hard for the United States to restrain the Israeli government; it was weakening forces inside Israel that were trying to do so. The Israeli peace camp needed the United States on its side, but thanks to AIPAC, the United States could not help our natural Israeli allies. Of course, when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was actively seeking peace and an end to the occupation, that was the moment AIPAC chose to separate itself from Israel, resulting in Rabin’s blistering exhortation that it get the hell out of his way. By the time of his death, Kenen was thoroughly alienated from the organization.
Don't be satisfied with this short excerpt. Read the entire article.