The feud between a member of the House Committee on International Relations, Betty McCollum, and the Jewish community’s main pro-Israel lobby appears to have been settled.
McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, and Howard Kohr, executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, met last week to address the issue. By the end of the meeting, which was brokered by Rep. Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat, McCollum is said to have agreed to work with Aipac to resolve her conflict with the organization.
The trouble between McCollum and Aipac started after she voted in committee against a bill aimed at isolating the Hamas-led Palestinian government.
McCollum had announced that she was refusing to meet with Aipac representatives until she received an apology from the lobbying powerhouse. She said that, in a recent phone conversation with her chief of staff, an Aipac representative accused her of supporting terrorists because she voted against the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 in committee. Aipac — a leading backer of the bill, which was passed overwhelmingly last week by the full House of Representatives — had denied McCollum’s accusation and had not issued an apology to her.
McCollum was said to have agreed to work at resolving her conflict with Aipac in light of the good relationship she had with the pro-Israel lobby in the past. It is not clear whether she still insists on a formal, written apology, but according to sources familiar with her conversation with Kohr, she is willing to seek a way to “move forward.”
The Senate delayed consideration of the bill, which would cut off assistance to the Palestinian Authority, after a security scare stemming from an erroneous report of gunfire in the Rayburn Senate Office Building delayed business until after Memorial Day, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. With 89 co-sponsors, the act is guaranteed passage. It differs from a version passed last week in the House of Representatives by allowing the president greater leeway in delivering emergency assistance to the Palestinians.