web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » News & Views » Global » UN »

Reform, AIPAC Take Opposing Positions On Penalizing Palestinians For UN Move


Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

WASHINGTON – Two major U.S. Jewish groups are at odds over the prospect of penalties for the Palestinians in the wake of their enhanced UN status.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee in recent weeks has backed two congressional bids to at least shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in the wake of the Nov. 29 United Nations General Assembly’s overwhelming vote that granted Palestinians non-member observer status.

Conversely, the Reform movement has emphatically urged President Obama not to retaliate against the Palestinians, JTA has learned. The Reform movement also has resolved to oppose the shuttering of the PLO office.

The lines dividing the two organizations are not necessarily set in stone. The Reform movement has suggested it might back penalties should the Palestinians use their new status to charge Israel in international courts. An AIPAC official suggested that the organization would wait and see whether the Palestinians go to international courts before it decides its next legislative moves.

Still, the markedly different tone in AIPAC’s call to its activists to back the proposed congressional penalties and the Reform movement’s plea to the president to ignore such calls could portend a split within the pro-Israel community’s center.

An AIPAC official, speaking on condition of anonymity, would not directly address differences with the Reform movement. But the official noted that the congressional letter to Obama that AIPAC backed this month urges a resumption of peace talks in addition to calling for the closing of the PLO office and a suspension of funding to U.N. affiliates that similarly enhance the Palestinians’ status.

“Everyone in the pro-Israel community should be pleased that a solid bipartisan majority signed a pro-peace talks letter in support of direct talks and opposed to attempts to delegitimize Israel,” said the official.

Israel has made clear that the Palestinians’ UN moves should have consequences. It has announced a flurry of new building projects in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, and diverted millions of dollars in taxes earmarked for the Palestinian Authority to Israeli utilities providers that have been dunning the Palestinians for payment.

Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, was asked in an interview with Jewish media during the Chanukah holiday his view on congressional proposals to penalize the Palestinians. His answer suggested pique not just at the Palestinians’ enhanced UN status but also at the speech by PA President Mahmoud Abbas that preceded the vote.

“We think that the Palestinians when they violate agreements, when they declare that Israel is a war criminal or when they describe Israel as a war criminal for defending itself against thousands of terrorist rockets without ever condemning those rockets, we think they should be held to task for that,” he said.

“We do not think they should be given a free pass.”

But Reform leaders have called for restraint from the U.S. in responding to the Palestinians’ UN bid.

In a Dec. 14 letter to Obama, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, and the CEO of the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbi Steve Fox, noted a Dec. 3 resolution jointly approved by the boards of a number of Reform organizations.

The statement, they note in the letter, condemns the Palestinians for moving ahead with the advanced status but also “urges Congress to eschew any action that would serve as an impediment” to resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The letter from the Reform leaders to Obama attaches the Dec. 3 resolution, which opposes funding cuts to the Palestinians, to the United Nations and “any reduction in the currently recognized Palestinian diplomatic presence.”

The resolution also “opposes” Israel’s plans to build Jewish homes in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, and supports “appropriate measures if the Palestinians use their new status at the UN to initiate formal action against Israel via the International Criminal Court or other agency.”

The Reform movement made public the Dec. 3 resolution, but the Dec. 14 letter to Obama was released by mistake to a JTA reporter. A spokesman for the group said the failure to publicize the letter to the president was an oversight, noting that it was sent when the nation was preoccupied with the massacre of first-graders the same day in Newtown, Conn.

Some dovish Jewish groups also have made clear their opposition to penalties for the Palestinians, among them J Street and Americans for Peace Now.

In a fundraising letter, J Street’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, counted the 239 signatures on the AIPAC-backed congressional letter sent Dec. 21 as a victory for his movement, noting particularly that only 67 Democrats signed.

“We’re seeing the impact in Congress where two-thirds of the Democratic Caucus refused to sign AIPAC’s latest letter calling for closing the PLO’s diplomatic mission in Washington,” Ben-Ami said in the letter. “Such letters used to be signed by 4 out of every 5 Members of Congress. Not any more.”

A slate of recent AIPAC-backed letters indeed have scored signatures in the mid-300s, but letters scoring in the mid-200s are not exceptional, and the new letter was still signed by a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The AIPAC official acknowledged that the organization had hoped for more signatures but added that the letter was circulated toward the end of a congressional session – one that was preoccupied with a compromise on spending and taxes.

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Reform, AIPAC Take Opposing Positions On Penalizing Palestinians For UN Move”

  1. Anonymous says:

    It's obvious that the "reform" Jews have not learned anything, anything from our history, and don't read what Abbas and the genocidal Jew haters are saying every day about murdering Jews. Maybe they don't think Abbas is referring them or maybe they are so self righteous they don't have any connection to the new world wide anti Semitism.

  2. Roc Diaz says:

    reform jew suck and cause a greater harm to the jews who actually honor and worship Hashem. they should all see the truth and repent for their rediculous and very self harmful actions.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas's leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh (in blue shirt, center), benefitted politically - and in a dramatic fashion - from this summer's war.  Photo from Hamas victory rally, Aug. 27, 2014.
Gazan Deaths and Destruction Dramatically Drives Popularity for Hamas
Latest News Stories
Hamas's leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh (in blue shirt, center), benefitted politically - and in a dramatic fashion - from this summer's war.  Photo from Hamas victory rally, Aug. 27, 2014.

Rockets and violence over diplomacy and passivity is the Palestinian Arab ruling style of choice, as reflected in a PCPSR poll.

Lady Gaga defies BDS  again with a show in Tel Aviv  on Sept. 13, 2014.

Maybe Abbas should accuse Lady Ga-Ga of incitement for saying “Shalom.”

British Jew Neil Masterson allegedly punched anti-Semitic MP George Galloway in the face.

The prosecutor says Masterson told police, “I didn’t want him to think I’m scared.”

Young Israeli boy dip apple in honey in tradition with the Rosh HaShanah New Year holiday

Honey cake, gourmet honey, flavored honey, and honey as a recipe in chicken, and even fish, are all expected to contribute to soaring sales of honey this Rosh Hashanah and holiday season. Ironically, the US Department of Agriculture is conducting hearings to define honey or just how much honey is required to qualify for “pure […]

Abbas does not have to push agenda because he has the Obama administration is his spokesman.

The Islamic State (ISIS) has just released a video showing the beheading of another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, according to a monitoring group.

Cantor can thank his defeat to a Tea Party candidate for leading him to more lucrative and stable career.

Hamas won the war in political terms, but that won’t stop Kerry.

A farmer in the (legal) Tikkun Olan Cannabis farm near Tzfat. This is one of their greenhouses. The company is licensed by Israel’s Ministry of Health to grow, process and distribute the medicinal plant.

Israeli intelligence sparked a massive manhunt that foiled an Arab terror attack, caught two suspects and kept Israeli civilians safe.

The ‘Talansky affair’ corruption trial of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert re-opened today in Jerusalem.

Iran has successfully tested a new defensive radar and missile system, its air force chief announced Monday.

Diplomatic relations with Israel are likely to remain in deep freeze for the next few years, Turkish PM Davutoglu signals.

Events on the other side of Israel’s northern border are heating up. The IDF is on high alert in the Golan Heights.

Germany and other western countries have begun providing weapons to Kurds in fight against the IS.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Secretary of State Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

Tensions between Russia and the West are mounting over the Russian military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, with the United States and European countries threatening to impose sanctions.

Expansive outreach, of course, is nothing new for AIPAC. But in the wake of battles over Iran sanctions legislation that pitted the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse against the White House, many congressional Democrats and liberals more generally, AIPAC’s traditional emphasis on Israel as a bipartisan issue has taken on added urgency.

Administration officials and Jewish groups sympathetic to Kerry’s initiative say there is a longer-term agenda in preempting attacks on the framework peace agreement the Obama administration is expected to propose soon.

“As we have since the beginning of the process, we continue to support Secretary Kerry’s diplomatic efforts to achieve a secure and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman said in a statement to JTA.

WASHINGTON – Until recently, the rule of thumb in the pro-Israel community was that the bigger the academic group, the less likely it was to consider a boycott of Israeli colleagues.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/un/reform-aipac-take-opposing-positions-on-penalizing-palestinians-for-un-move/2013/01/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: