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!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • 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.