Morris J. Amitay
Founder and Treasurer of the Washington PAC
Morris J. Amitay (“Morrie”) is a Washington attorney and lobbyist with his firm’s offices located on Capitol Hill. He represents a range of corporate clients specializing mainly in defense and national security issues. In 1981, after leaving AIPAC as its Executive Director, Morrie founded the Washington Political Action Committee, which since then has carefully contributed more than three million dollars to Israel’s supporters in the U.S. Congress on a bipartisan basis.
Morrie has appeared as a commentator on a number of national radio and television programs including CNN, National Public Radio, the Lehrer Report, the Voice of America, Fox News, and the BBC. He has written columns on political and foreign policy topics for a number of Jewish weeklies, and has addressed such diverse audiences as the Georgetown University Law Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Enterprise Institute, and the U.S. Naval Academy. He is often quoted in the media on a variety of Middle East- related subjects.
Morrie served as Vice Chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) for many years, and has led its annual visit to Israel of retired U.S. Generals and Admirals for frank and informative exchanges with Israel’s top military and political leaders. He also serves on the boards of a number of national security think tanks in Washington, and has been an adviser to Presidential candidates of both major political parties on Middle East issues.
Morrie was Executive Director of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) from 1974 to 1980. During his tenure, AIPAC gained the reputation- in the words of the New York Times – as being “the most powerful, best run and effective foreign policy interest group in Washington.” A lengthy 2006 Washington Post article on the “Israel Lobby” written about Amitay stated that “even among his peers his success is something of a legend.” He maintains close contact with AIPAC’s top leadership and his advice and counsel is frequently sought by major Jewish organizations and by Israeli officials.
Before taking over AIPAC, Morrie served for five years as a senior legislative aide in the U.S. Senate, where he took a lead role in organizing congressional initiatives affecting Israel and Soviet Jewry. As a Foreign Service Officer from 1962 to 1969, Morrie had assignments in Italy, at the State Department in Washington, and as Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in South Africa.
Morrie earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia, his J.D. degree from the Harvard Law School, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard.