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American Friends of the Middle East: The CIA, US Citizens, and the Secret Battle for American Public Opinion in the Arab–Israeli Conflict, 1947–1967


In 1951, the CIA secretly funded the creation of an ostensibly private group of US citizens called the American Friends of the Middle East (AFME). Pro-Arab and anti-Zionist in orientation, AFME was repeatedly attacked by pro-Israel groups before seeing its links to the CIA exposed by investigative journalists in 1967. Drawing on recent scholarship about “state–private networks” and the cultural history of US–Middle East relations, this article examines the origins of AFME, its characteristic values and relations with the CIA, and the reasons for the decline of its influence vis-à-vis the emergent “Israel lobby.”

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Rory Miller , “More Sinned against than Sinning? The Case of the Arab Office, Washington, 1945–1948,” Diplomacy and Statecraft, 15, 2 (June 2004), 303–25

Elihu Bergman , “Unexpected Recognition: Some Observations on the Failure of a Last-Gasp Campaign in the US State Department to Abort a Jewish State,” Modern Judaism, 19, 2 (May 1999), 133–71

Giora Goodman , “‘Operation Exodus’: Israeli Government Involvement in the Production of Otto Preminger's Film Exodus (1960),” Journal of Israeli History: Politics, Society, Culture, 33, 2 (2014), 209–29

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Journal of American Studies
  • ISSN: 0021-8758
  • EISSN: 1469-5154
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-american-studies
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