Paul Findley

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Paul Findley
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Illinois's 20th district
In office
January 3, 1961 January 3, 1983
Preceded by Edna O. Simpson
Succeeded by Dick Durbin
Personal details
Born(1921-06-23)June 23, 1921
Jacksonville, Illinois, U.S.
DiedAugust 9, 2019(2019-08-09) (aged 98)
Jacksonville, Illinois, U.S.
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Political party Republican
Alma mater Illinois College

Paul Findley (June 23, 1921 – August 9, 2019) [1] was an American writer and politician. He served as United States Representative from Illinois, representing its 20th District. A Republican, he was first elected in 1960. Findley lost his seat in 1982 to current United States Senator Dick Durbin. He was a cofounder of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington, D.C. advocacy group and was a vocal critic of American policy towards Israel.

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

The 20th Congressional District of Illinois was a congressional district for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois. It was eliminated as a result of the 2000 Census. It was last represented by John Shimkus who was redistricted into the 19th District.

Republican Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.


Early life

Findley was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, the son of Florence Mary (Nichols) and Joseph S. Findley. [2] He attended the Jacksonville public schools. He received his bachelor's degree from Illinois College, which is currently home to The Paul Findley Congressional Office Museum. The collection contains manuscripts and artifacts related to the life and political career of Paul Findley. It is one of the few congressional office museums in the United States. Findley served in the United States Navy during World War II and was commissioned a lieutenant (junior grade). [3]

Jacksonville, Illinois City in Illinois, United States

Jacksonville is a city in Morgan County, Illinois, United States. The population was 19,446 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Morgan County. It is home to Illinois College, MacMurray College, Illinois School for the Deaf, and the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired.

Illinois College liberal arts colleges in the United States

Illinois College is a private liberal arts college in Jacksonville, Illinois. It is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA). It was the second college founded in Illinois, but the first to grant a degree. It was founded in 1829 by the Illinois Band, students from Yale University who traveled westward to found new colleges. It briefly served as the state's first medical school, from 1843 to 1848, and became co-educational in 1903.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. It has the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.


A portrait of Findley in 1979 Paul Findley.jpg
A portrait of Findley in 1979

Findley served 11 terms in Congress, but lost to Dick Durbin, in his bid for reelection in 1982. [4] He was known in Congress as an advocate for the farmers of his district and as a strong proponent of the Palestinians and of opening up communication with the Palestine Liberation Organization [4] since they were the strongest and most organized representatives of Palestinian people at the time.

Dick Durbin United States Senator from Illinois

Richard Joseph Durbin is an American attorney and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Illinois, a seat he was first elected to in 1996. He has been the Senate Democratic Whip since 2005, the second-highest position in the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate.

Palestinians Ethnic group

The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs, are an ethnonational group comprising the modern descendants of the peoples who have lived in Palestine over the centuries, including Jews and Samaritans, and who today are largely culturally and linguistically Arab. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one half of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in historic Palestine, the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. In this combined area, as of 2005, Palestinians constituted 49% of all inhabitants, encompassing the entire population of the Gaza Strip (1.865 million), the majority of the population of the West Bank and 20.95% of the population of Israel proper as Arab citizens of Israel. Many are Palestinian refugees or internally displaced Palestinians, including more than a million in the Gaza Strip, about 750,000 in the West Bank and about 250,000 in Israel proper. Of the Palestinian population who live abroad, known as the Palestinian diaspora, more than half are stateless, lacking citizenship in any country. Between 2.1 and 3.24 million of the diaspora population live in neighboring Jordan, over 1 million live between Syria and Lebanon and about 750,000 live in Saudi Arabia, with Chile's half a million representing the largest concentration outside the Middle East.

Palestine Liberation Organization Palestinian militant and political organization

The Palestine Liberation Organization is an organization founded in 1964 with the purpose of the "liberation of Palestine" through armed struggle, with much of its violence aimed at Israeli civilians. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed observer status at the United Nations since 1974. The PLO was considered by the United States and Israel to be a terrorist organization until the Madrid Conference in 1991. In 1993, the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist in peace, accepted UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and rejected "violence and terrorism". In response, Israel officially recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. However, the PLO has employed violence in the years since 1993, particularly during the 2000–2005 Second Intifada. On 29 October 2018, the Palestinian Central Council suspended the recognition of Israel and halted security and economic coordination in all its forms with it.

According to the New York Times , in 1982 Findley narrowly lost his bid for re-election for a number of reasons: "a competent opponent, redistricting, the economic recession, and pro-Israel groups support to his challenger," which allowed Findley's challenger to match him in spending. [4] During the campaign, "a former AIPAC [ American Israel Public Affairs Committee ] president called him 'a dangerous enemy of Israel.'" [5] Findley confirmed that his 1982 campaign raised "almost exactly the same sum" as that of his opponent. [6] Following his defeat, he served on the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) from 1983 to 1994.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States. The current President of AIPAC is Lillian Pinkus.

Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD)

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) advises the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on issues concerning agriculture, Higher Education in developing countries, and food insecurity. BIFAD was established by Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act, and both the BIFAD board and Title XII recognize the critical role of U.S. land-grant institutions in food and agricultural security, domestically and abroad. BIFAD consists of seven board members appointed by the White House, four of which must come from the US Academic community. The board's mission is to draw on higher educations's scientific knowledge to advise the U.S. international assistance efforts along with domestic efforts to end food insecurity.

In 1989 Findley, with former representative Pete McCloskey (R-CA), formed the Council for the National Interest. [7] It is a 501 (c)4 non-profit, non-partisan organization in the United States that works for "Middle East policies that serve the American national interest." [8] Its first executive director was ten-term congressman John B. Anderson (R-Il) who ran as an Independent candidate in the 1980 U.S. presidential election. [9]

Pete McCloskey Recipient of the Purple Heart medal

Paul Norton "Pete" McCloskey Jr. is a former Republican politician from the U.S. state of California who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1967 to 1983. He ran on an anti-war platform for the Republican nomination for President in 1972 but was defeated by incumbent President Richard Nixon. In April 2007, McCloskey switched his affiliation to the Democratic Party.

The Council for the National Interest ("CNI") is a 501(c)(4) non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group in the United States. It is aligned with The Council for the National Interest Foundation ("CNIF"), an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. CNI was founded in 1989 by former Congressmen Paul Findley (R-Ill.) and Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.). Its first executive director was ten-term congressman John B. Anderson (R-Ill.), who ran as an Independent candidate in the 1980 presidential election.

John B. Anderson American politician

John Bayard Anderson was a United States politician from Illinois. As a member of the Republican Party, he served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Illinois's 16th congressional district from 1961 to 1981. In 1980, he ran an independent campaign for president, receiving 6.6% of the popular vote.

Political views

A year after the September 11 attacks in 2001, Findley published an article saying that this attack would never have occurred were it not for the United States' uncritical support of Israel. [10] Findley claimed that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was launched primarily to benefit Israel, at the behest of the Israel lobby in the United States. [11]

September 11 attacks Attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001

The September 11 attacks were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Additional people died of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks.

2003 invasion of Iraq military invasion led by the United States

The 2003 invasion of Iraq was the first stage of the Iraq War. The invasion phase began on 19 March 2003 and lasted just over one month, including 21 days of major combat operations, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq. This early stage of the war formally ended on 1 May 2003 when U.S. President George W. Bush declared the "End of major combat operations", after which the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) was established as the first of several successive transitional governments leading up to the first Iraqi parliamentary election in January 2005. U.S. military forces later remained in Iraq until the withdrawal in 2011.

Israel lobby in the United States Groups and organizations that support and promote the interests of Zionism in the United States.

The Israel lobby is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and/or as groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Israel or the policies of the government of Israel. The lobby consists of secular, Christian, and Jewish-American individuals and groups. The largest pro-Israel lobbying group is Christians United for Israel; the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a leading organization within the lobby, speaking on behalf of a coalition of American Jewish groups.

Findley was a frequent critic of U.S. foreign policy regarding Israel. Findley was the author of They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby in which he stated that the pro-Israel lobby, notably AIPAC, has undue influence over the United States Congress. He referred to the lobby as "the 700-pound gorilla in Washington". [12]

A review of the book in the Washington Post stated: "Stripped of all the maudlin martyrdom, former congressman Paul Findley's message is straightforward and valid: Israeli influence in the United States, including in the inner sanctums of government, is very strong." [13] The New York Times review by Adam Clymer described the book as "an angry, one-sided book that seems often to be little more than a stringing together of stray incidents ... [it] does not really accept the idea that people of any political point of view are entitled to organize, support their friends and try to defeat the people they think are their enemies". [4] The review describes the book as "the typical reaction of a Congressman who is offended at being challenged seriously for his seat, especially if the upstart should go so far as to beat him." [4]

Findley listed the Israeli lobby as one of the factors contributing to his defeat in 1982, alongside the national recession of 1982 and the change of his district's boundaries after the 1980 census. "In seeking gains for Israel, they rigorously stifled dissent and intimidated the entire Congress. They still do. They defeat legislators who criticize Israel. Senators Adlai Stevenson III and Charles H. Percy, and Representatives Pete McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, Earl F. Hilliard, and myself were defeated at the polls by candidates heavily financed by pro-Israel forces. McKinney alone was able to regain her seat in Congress." [14]

On the publication of Mearsheimer and Walt's 2006 working paper, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy , he wrote: "You can't imagine how pleased I was [...] I think I can pose as a foremost expert on the lobby for Israel, because I was the target the last three years I was in Congress." [15]

Findley supported the efforts of the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) to improve the image of Muslims in America. [16] In a conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Findley said that "the cancer of anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiments was spreading in American society and requires corrective measures to stamp out this malaise." [16] In May 2006 Findley led a CAIR delegation to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), resulting in a UAE proposal to build a property in the United States to serve as an endowment for CAIR. This proposal amounted to tens of millions of dollars in UAE donations. [17] He was a board member of If Americans Knew and the Streit Council. [18] [19]

Findley endorsed the proposal for the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA), one of only six persons who served in the United States Congress ever to do so. [20]


The Anti-Defamation League has criticized the Council for the National Interest, of which Findley was a founder, as an "anti-Israel organization" that "disseminates demonizing propaganda about Israel to academics, politicians, and other audiences." [21] The Anti-Defamation League alleges that as a member of the Council for the National Interest that they have disseminated cartoons with anti-Semitic based themes by Khalil Bendib. Additionally, the Anti-Defamation League has quoted Paul Findley from an article in 2003 as blaming U.S. support of Israel for the September 11 Attacks: "Nine-eleven would not have occurred if the U.S. government had refused to help Israel humiliate and destroy Palestinian society." Paul Findley continued in the same article stating that "America suffered 9/11 and its aftermath and may soon be at war with Iraq, mainly because U.S. policy in the Middle East is made in Israel, not in Washington." [22]


Findley died on August 9, 2019, at a hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, at the age of 98. He is survived by his son and daughter, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. [23]

Published works

Related Research Articles

Council on American–Islamic Relations American Muslim advocacy group

The Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. It is headquartered on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., with regional offices nationwide. Through civil rights actions, media relations, civic engagement, and education, CAIR promotes social, legal and political activism among Muslims in America.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is an American non-profit organization that addresses issues of critical concern to the Jewish community. It comprises 51 national Jewish organizations. It was founded to develop a consensus voice among Jewish organizations in dealings with the executive branch.

Liberty Lobby organization

Liberty Lobby was a United States political advocacy organization founded in 1958. It was created by Willis Carto and described itself as "a pressure group for patriotism; the only lobby in Washington, D.C., registered with Congress which is wholly dedicated to the advancement of government policies based on our Constitution and conservative principles." Carto is noted for his promotion of antisemitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial.

Adlai Stevenson III Democratic U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1970 to 1981

Adlai Ewing Stevenson III is an American politician of the Democratic Party. He represented the state of Illinois in the United States Senate from 1970 until 1981.

If Americans Knew is a nonprofit organization that focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the foreign policy of the United States regarding the Middle East, offering analysis of American media coverage of these issues. The group's website declares its aim is to provide "what every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine." The site is generally critical of U.S. financial and military support of Israel. It has accused The New York Times and other mainstream news organizations of being biased against Palestinians.

Talcott Williams Seelye American diplomat

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<i>Washington Report on Middle East Affairs</i> magazine

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The term Jewish lobby is used to describe organized lobbying attributed to Jews on domestic and foreign policy decisions, as political participants of representative government, conducted predominantly in the Jewish diaspora in a number of Western countries. When used to allege disproportionately favorable Jewish influence, it can be perceived as pejorative or as constituting antisemitism.

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They to Dare Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby is a bestselling book that was written in 1985, had a second edition published in 1989 and a third in 2003 by former US Representative Paul Findley.

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Anti-Israel lobby in the United States

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  1. "Former US Rep. Paul Findley of Illinois dies at age 98". Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  2. United States House of Representatives-History, Art & Archives-Paul Findley
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Adam, Clymer (July 14, 1985). "IN SHORT: NONFICTION". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  4. McConnell, Scott (December 3, 2007) The Lobby Strikes Back, The American Conservative
  5. They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby, Paul Findley, Lawrence Hill Books, 1989, p. 22
  6. Ayoon Wa Aza, How Pro-Israeli Lobbies Destroy U.S. Interests, Dar Al Hayat, International edition, November 14, 2010, via Highbeam.
  7. CNI web site "About Us" page.
  8. Delinda C. Hanely, CNI Cruises into a New Decade, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January 1, 2010, via Highbeam.
  9. Paul Findley, "Liberating America from Israel", Arab News, September 12, 2002
  10. "Our Israel-centric Foreign Policy", Paul Findley, The Huffington Post , June 9, 2005
  11. Paul Findley Speaker Profile, Stanford University, January 16, 2005
  12. "Measuring the Political Influence of Israel in America", Peter Grose, Washington Post , June 23, 1985, accessed April 28, 2006
  13. The Peril in U.S. Middle East Policies Archived 2006-10-31 at the Wayback Machine , February 8, 2005
  14. Paper on Israel Lobby Sparks Heated Debate, Deborah Amos, NPR, April 21, 2006, accessed April 29, 2006
  15. 1 2 Hassan, Javid (June 21, 2006). "Media Campaign in US to Dispel Islamophobia". Arab News. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  16. "CAIR Watch". Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  17. If Americans Knew
  18. Streit Council: Board of Directors
  19. UNPA website. Retrieved August 28, 2017
  20. "Backgrounder: The Council for the National Interest, Anti-Defamation League, October 3 2008". Archived from the original on April 12, 2010. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  21. "Israel and Iraq War". Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  22. "Former Congressman Paul Findley dies at 98". SJR. August 9, 2019.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edna O. Simpson
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 20th congressional district

Succeeded by
Richard J. Durbin