Pro-Israel Groups Suspend Lobbying Push on Syria

250 AIPAC Activists Flooded Capitol Hill

getty images

By Ron Kampeas

Published September 16, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(JTA) — Pro-Israel groups suspended their high-profile lobbying effort for a strike on Syria now that the United States and Russia have struck a deal to strip the Assad regime of its chemical weapons.

A spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which organized a Capitol Hill blitz last week aimed at persuading Congress to back a strike, confirmed Monday that lobbying has been suspended for now.

The American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, which also had been involved in the lobbying, said they would suspend lobbying, too.

“We sent many messages over the last week and a half; we are not formulating new letters to the Hill,” Jason Isaacson, the AJC’s director of international affairs, told JTA. “Our message is out there should it be required.”

Jewish groups had hesitated at first to sign on to the lobbying effort, fearful that their support would be construed as a pro-Israel initiative. But they dove in after President Obama called for a strike last month and senior administration officials solicited their help in persuading Congress to sign off on the military action.

AIPAC sent 250 of its members for personal meetings with Capitol Hill lawmakers, a show of strength the lobby reserves for major initiatives. The group kept up its effort even after Obama called last week for Congress to delay a vote while he explored the Russian proposal for international monitors to take over and destroy Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons.

The AJC in a letter Sept. 12 to Congress members said the threat of credible military action must be maintained even as the United States looked at the Russian plan. Leading pro-Israel figures echoed the view.

“Every day that goes by without congressional authorization, it undermines the vitality of the threat,” Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, said in an interview Friday.

By Monday, however, the groups had changed their tune, suspended their lobbying and endorsed the putative deal brokered in Geneva over the weekend by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.


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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.