Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
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The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is a Washington, D.C.-based pro-Israel non-profit think-tank founded in 1976 focusing on issues of national security. JINSA's stated aim is to: Provide leadership and affect policy on crucial issues of national security and foreign policy; to promote American security cooperation with like-minded allies including, but not limited to, Israel; to engage the American defense community about the role Israel can and does play in securing Western, democratic interests in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions; and to improve awareness in the general public, as well as in the Jewish community of the importance of a strong American defense capability.
JINSA's advisory board includes such notable figures as Joe Lieberman, General James T. Conway, and Chief William J. McSweeney of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, 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 former Congresswoman Shelley Berkley.
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 counterterrorism training and funding, prior to September 11, 2001 attacks.
- Increased defense cooperation with Israel.
- 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 Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Libya, and support a re-evaluation of the U.S. defense relationships with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Persian Gulf nations.
Generals and Admirals Program to Israel
One of JINSA's most important programs is to invite, with the assistance of the Pentagon and the U.S. Department of State, retired U.S. senior military officers to Israel. The Generals and Admirals Program includes meetings with Israeli 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.
"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."
Other retired flag grade U.S. military officers recruited by JINSA include: Lt. Gen. Anthony Burshnick (USAF), Gen. Crosbie Saint (USA), Maj. Gen. Lee Downer (USAF), Gen. John Foss (USA), Adm. David Jeremiah (USN), Adm. Jerome Johnson (USN), and Rear Adm. Sumner Shapiro (USN).
Law Enforcement Exchange Program
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 many trips, over 100 police chiefs and sheriffs from departments in major American metropolitan areas (including Los Angeles, California (LAPD); Orlando, Florida; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chicago, and the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) of New York and New Jersey) have participated. The program has already led 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 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 Iraq.
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 senior U.S. Government or Armed Forces official, 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), Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (2007), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen (2008), and (2009) all five chiefs of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command (U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr.; U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway; U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead; Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad W. Allen; Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz; Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command U.S. Navy Adm. Eric T. Olson.)
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 Ethiopia, Belgium, South Korea, India, Bulgaria, Italy, the Republic of China, Uzbekistan, Costa Rica, Spain, Eritrea, Jordan, the People's Republic of China, Hungary, United Kingdom and Germany, to name a few.
JINSA, a charitable 501(c)(3) organization, maintains a staunchly non-partisan stance in its official policies and statements.
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 Alaska governor Sarah Palin from a rally protesting against the Islamic Republic of Iran. 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.
In 1981-91 the executive director was pro-Israel hawk Shoshana Bryen, wife of Steven Bryen, who was fired in January 2012, leading to the resignation of R. James Woolsey, Michael Ledeen, and Richard Perle.
- American Israel Public Affairs Committee
- American Jewish Committee
- Center for Security Policy, Washington think tank with overlapping membership and interests
- Foreign policy interest group
- Jewish Council for Public Affairs
- Military history of Jewish Americans
- Saban Center for Middle East Policy
- The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
- Washington Institute for Near East Policy
- About JINSA
- JINSA Board of Advisors
- Jason Vest, , The Nation, September 2, 2002
- Rightweb profile of Shoshana Bryen