Lawmakers Sign Protest on Palestinian Aid

By Nathan Guttman

Published March 30, 2007, issue of March 30, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Washington - Two congressional letters strongly supported by the pro-Israel lobby have attracted a great deal of support in recent days.

Seventy-nine senators signed a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging the Bush administration to maintain its policy of denying financial aid and refusing to meet with the Palestinian government until it recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism and accepts past agreements with Jerusalem. A similar letter to the European Union’s high representative, Javier Solana, was signed by more than half the members of the House of Representatives.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee pressed lawmakers in the House and Senate to sign the letters. Thousands of delegates to the Aipac convention in Washington two weeks ago raised the issue in meetings with congressmen.

The House letter was written by two Jewish Democrats, Robert Wexler of Florida and Gary Ackerman of New York, and by two Republicans, Elton Gallegly of California and Mike Pence of Indiana.

The House letter was delivered personally to Solana Tuesday in a meeting in Washington.

Observers in Washington said Aipac had a much tougher time lining up senators to sign the letter, written by Florida Democrat Bill Nelson and Nevada Republican John Ensign.

The initial language of the letter was seen by dovish Jewish groups and pro-Palestinian organizations as being too harsh and as excluding any negotiations with Palestinians, even ones who favor a settlement with Israel.

Several days after the signing campaign was launched, the letter was revised by its authors and a new version was sent out to Senate offices. Aipac officials said that the revisions reflected details in the final agreement on a Palestinian national unity government reached March 17.

One revision, however, did not relate to any new developments — the change from the “Palestinian Authority” to the “Palestinian government,” apparently making clear that signatories were not calling for a boycott of P.A. president Mahmoud Abbas.

Aipac sources said that the letter was well received, even in its initial version, by most lawmakers who were contacted by members of the lobby. Yet an internal memo of a staff member in Nelson’s office said that the revision was needed not only for updating the letter following developments on the ground but also to “clear up any misperception” regarding changes in American policy.

“This sentence was never meant to call for a cut-off of funds to the office of President Abbas and we hope you will agree that the revision clarifies that,” the memo stated.






Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.