AIPAC and U.S. Middle East Policy: October 1973- December 1988
In the immediate aftermath of the Egyptian-Syrian joint surprise attack on Israel on the morning of October 6, 1973, AIPAC's primary concern was to ensure congressional support for Israel ( Kenen 1981, 300; Near East Report, October 10, 1973). The morning following the attack, AIPAC director I. L. Kenen invited thirty Jewish community leaders, sympathetic politicians, and legislative assistants to his office. Operating under the assumption that Israeli forces would quickly prevail, Kenen wanted this group to draft statements urging congressional support of Israel at the end of the hostilities. Strongly worded statements of support for Israelfollowed from this and other meetings. Many of these statements drew analogies between the Arab attack on the morning of Yom Kippur and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They were signed by a group of influential senators, including Edward Kennedy, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Claiborne Pell, and John Tunney ( Kenen 1981, 301; Near East Report, October 10, 1973).
It was four days into the war before the full gravity of the initial Arab advances upon Israeli positions became known. At this point, AIPAC's concern became Israel's desperate need for weapons and replacement parts, to be fulfilled by an American airlift of arms and material ( Kenen 1981, 302-3). Regardless of Jerusalem's and AIPAC's pleadings, the Nixon administration did not implement such an airlift until October 13. The reasons for the delay remain a source of conflict between Washington, AIPAC, and Jerusalem ( Kissinger 1982, 497; Quandt 1977, 171, 183-87; Spiegel 1985, 250-52).