Congress May Pull Plug on PLO Over Statehood

Are Pro-Israel Lawmakers Grandstanding or Serious?

Premature Celebration? Mahmoud Abbas celebrated the Palestinian statehood win at the United Nations. But pro-Israel lawmakers are looking for ways to punish him for the audacious move.
getty images
Premature Celebration? Mahmoud Abbas celebrated the Palestinian statehood win at the United Nations. But pro-Israel lawmakers are looking for ways to punish him for the audacious move.

By Nathan Guttman

Published December 24, 2012, issue of December 28, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Congressional supporters of Israel, seeking to punish the Palestinian Authority for its recent drive for recognition by the United Nations as an observer state, have set their sights on a conveniently local and long-standing target: the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington.

Earlier in December, a legislative proposal to downgrade the status of the PLO’s Washington delegation failed in the Senate following the U.N. General Assembly’s overwhelming vote in November to upgrade the diplomatic status of the Palestinian Authority in defiance of Washington and Jerusalem’s wishes. Undeterred, prominent House members are now pushing for a similar measure, backed by the pro-Israel lobby.

The initiative, an almost routine move when Palestinians take actions against the will of Israel and the United States, is a carefully calculated punitive step. Targeting the PLO delegation is viewed mostly as a means to signal displeasure with the Palestinians, while refraining from truly substantive changes in policy, such as closing down diplomatic and financial support from the United States for the P.A.

“This is no more than posturing,” said Philip Wilcox, a former U.S. consul general in Jerusalem and president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. “It shows how congressmen are willing to bow to the wishes of (the Israel lobby) knowing the legislation will not go anywhere.”

Shortly after the November 29 vote at the U.N. General Assembly granting the Palestinians status as a nonmember observer state, Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York and Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Barrasso of Wyoming sought to insert amendments to the defense spending bill that would have cut aid to the P.A. and closed the PLO office in Washington.

The measure was ultimately removed before the vote on the bill in the face of opposition to the provision from the Obama administration, vigorous lobbying against it by the dovish J Street lobby and a lack of active support for the proposal from the more powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee pro-Israel lobby.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • 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.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • 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.