Morris J. "Morrie" Amitay, (born July 5, 1936) is a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) (1974–1980), currently vice chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and is the founder and treasurer of the Washington Political Action Committee.
Amitay was born in New York City. He is a Washington attorney and lobbyist, with offices on Capitol Hill, who represents a range of corporate clients specializing mainly in defense and national security issues.
In 1981, he founded the Washington Political Action Committee, which through 2006 had contributed more than three million dollars to Israel’s supporters in the U.S. Congress.
He 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.
Before taking over AIPAC, Amitay worked for one year in the U.S. House of Representatives and for five years as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate, where he "took a lead role in organizing congressional initiatives affecting Israel and Soviet Jewry".
Prior to that he was a Foreign Service Officer from 1962 to 1969, with assignments in Italy, South Africa and the State Department.
Amitay earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, his J.D. degree from the Harvard Law School (where he wrote his thesis for Henry Kissinger’s Defense Policy Seminar) and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.
On July 25, 1977, Amitay's home was the target of a bomb that killed the family dog but caused no other injuries to Amitay or his family.
He resides in Virginia with his wife, Martha. Amitay continues to service his clients and run the Washington PAC. He is actively involved in matters pertaining to U.S. national security and the Middle East.