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The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is a Washington, D.C.marker-based non-profit think-tank focusing on issues of United Statesmarker and Israelimarker national security. JINSA's stated aim is threefold: to ensure a strong and effective U.S. national security policy; to educate American leaders on what it views as the vital strategic relationship between the United States and Israel; and to strengthen U.S. cooperation with democratic allies, including Taiwanmarker, Hungarymarker, Turkeymarker, Indiamarker, and NATOmarker member nations, amongst others.

JINSA's advisory board includes such notable figures as Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, and R. James Woolsey, while Vice President Dick Cheney, former U.S. Representative to the United Nations John Bolton, and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith were all on JINSA's Board of Advisors before they entered the Bush administration. JINSA is officially a non-partisan organization welcoming advisors from both sides of the aisle including Democrats such as former Congressman Dave McCurdy and current Congressman Steve Israel.

Foreign policy positions

JINSA's policy recommendations for the U.S. government currently include:

  • Enhanced WMD counterproliferation programs.
  • National ballistic missile defense systems.
  • Curbing of regional ballistic missile development and production worldwide.
  • Increased counter-terrorism training and funding, prior to September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Increased defense cooperation with Israelmarker.
  • Substantially improved quality-of-life for U.S. service personnel and their families.
  • Support for joint U.S.-Israeli training and weapons development programs.
  • Regime change in "rogue" nation-states known to provide support or knowingly harbor terrorist groups, including Iranmarker, Syriamarker, Lebanonmarker, Venezuelamarker, Cubamarker, North Koreamarker and Libyamarker, and support a re-evaluation of the U.S. defense relationships with Egyptmarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, and other Persian Gulfmarker nations.


General and Flag Officer's program

One of JINSA's most important programs is to invite, with the assistance of the Pentagonmarker and the U.S.marker Department of Statemarker, retired U.S. senior military officers to Israel and Jordan. The General and Flag Officer's program, as it is known, includes meetings with Israeli and Jordanian political and military leaders.

More than 200 retired Admirals and Generals, including Shock and Awe theorist Adm. Leon "Bud" Edney, USN, Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, USA, Maj. Gen. David L. Grange, USA, Maj. Gen. Jarvis Lynch, USMC, Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow, USA, Adm. Leighton "Snuffy" Smith, USN, Adm. Carlisle Trost, USN and Brig. Gen. Thomas E. White, USA, have participated in the trips over the last 21 years. Participation in the program makes no requirements of the invitees to make statements, form opinions or maintain any further relationship with JINSA, yet many trip alums have participated more than once, and 50 past participants co-authored a statement on violence in the Palestinian-controlled territories that appeared in the New York Times in October 2000.

Jason Vest, writing in left-leaning The Nation, describes the program this way:
"The bulk of JINSA's modest annual budget is spent on taking a bevy of retired US generals and admirals to Israel, where JINSA facilitates meetings between Israeli officials and the still-influential US flag officers, who, upon their return to the States, happily write op-eds and sign letters and advertisements championing the Likudnik line."

United States-Israeli law enforcement exchange

In 2002, JINSA initiated a program aimed at exchanging counter-terrorism experience and tactics between U.S. law enforcement agencies and their counterparts in the Israeli National Police. The primary focus of the program is to bring U.S. law enforcement executives (chiefs, sheriffs, deputies, etc.) to Israel for an intensive two week program aimed at educating U.S. law enforcement officials on the possible threats posed by the specter of domestic terrorism in the United States. Over the course of four trips, nearly 60 police chiefs and sheriffs from departments in major American metropolitan areas, including Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker (LAPD); Orlandomarker, Floridamarker; Minneapolismarker, Minnesotamarker; Chicago, and the Port Authority Police Department of New Yorkmarker and New Jerseymarker, already lead to significant changes in local law enforcement counter-terrorism tactics and training.

In addition, the Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) brings Israeli police and counter-terror officials to the United States for intensive two-day seminars that to date have trained more than 1,500 law enforcement officers and officials around the U.S. LEEP has also played a life-saving role in training members of the U.S. Marine Corps in how to better protect civilians and soldiers, alike, against the threat of car and suicide bombers in Iraqmarker.


JINSA publishes U.S. policy-related publications including the semi-annual Journal of International Security Affairs as well as conference proceedings and monographs. For 22 years, JINSA published Security Affairs - a monthly newsletter. In 2004, JINSA published a reference book: Profiles in Terror: A Guide to Middle East Terrorist Organizations by Aaron Mannes.

Each fall, JINSA presents an annual Distinguished Service Award, named in honor of the late-Senator Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson to U.S. government leaders (generally a Senator or two members of the United States House of Representatives) for their career dedication to U.S. national security. Past honorees have included: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz (2002), Senator Joe Lieberman (1997), Senator Max Cleland (2000), then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney (1991), all three Secretaries of the U.S. Armed Services (2001), Congresswoman Jane Harman and Congressman Jim Saxton (2003), Indiana Senator Evan Bayh (2004), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace (USMC) (2005), Senator John McCain (2006), and current Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

In addition, beginning in 2003, JINSA has honored six enlisted representatives of the U.S. Armed Services and U.S. Special Operations Command, each selected by their respective services, with the "Grateful Nation Award" for duty that, while exemplary, might otherwise go unrecognized.


Founded in 1976 as a result of the lessons learned from the 1973 Yom Kippur War, JINSA communicates with the national security establishment and the general public to explain the role Israel can and does play in bolstering American interests, as well as the link between American defense policy and the security of Israel. JINSA's founding, according to Jason Vest, was prompted by "neoconservatives concerned that the United States might not be able to provide Israel with adequate military supplies in the event of another Arab-Israeli war."

In the late 1980s, JINSA underwent a profound repurposing of mission which, although retaining the interest in maintaining and strengthening the U.S.-Israeli defense relationship, widened its focus to general U.S. defense and foreign policy, with missions and meetings with national leaders and military officials from countries as diverse as Ethiopiamarker, Belgiummarker, South Koreamarker, Indiamarker, Bulgariamarker, Italymarker, the Republic of Chinamarker, Uzbekistanmarker, Costa Ricamarker, Spainmarker, Eritreamarker, Jordanmarker, the People's Republic of Chinamarker, Hungarymarker, United Kingdommarker and Germanymarker, to name a few.

JINSA, a charitable 501 organization, maintains a staunchly non-partisan stance in its official policies and statements. According to unnamed critics, JINSA is closely associated with the neoconservative movement and U.S. Military Industrial Complex.

2008 rebuke of the Conference of Presidents

JINSA director Tom Neumann rebuked the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations leader Malcolm Hoenlein for the conference's decision to disinvite the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaskamarker governor Sarah Palin from an anti-Iran rally. [29650]. Hoenlein's decision was based on several of the sponsors unsubstantiated claims that their nonprofit status would be jeopardized through involvement in a program that would have provided a forum to one candidate and not others, a violation of the law. Neumann and others noted that Sen. Hillary Clinton, who had agreed to speak at the rally, withdrew her participation once she learned that Gov. Palin was also invited to speak at the rally. This in point of fact eliminated concerns that the rally was a politically partisan event as representatives from both major parties had agreed to speak. Neumann's rebuke of Hoenlein was for not consulting with the constituent member organizations of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations before acting to disinvite Gov. Palin.


Jason Vest, writing in the neoliberal The Nation, alleges that JINSA, along with Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, are "underwritten by far-right American Zionists" and both believe strongly that
"'regime change' by any means necessary in Iraqmarker, Iranmarker, Syriamarker, Saudi Arabiamarker and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative.
Anyone who dissents -- be it Colin Powell's State Departmentmarker, the CIA or career military officers -- is committing heresy against articles of faith that effectively hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East -- a hegemony achieved with the traditional cold war recipe of feints, force, clientism and covert action."

Colin Powell, according to Karen DeYoung's 2006 biography of Powell, stated that JINSA had influenced Vice President Richard Cheney and others in the Bush administration to rid Israel of Palestinian Arabs' supporters and protect Israel's security by neutralizing Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Libya by invading and changing those regimes.

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