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!
  • 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.