web analytics
September 1, 2014 / 6 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



AIPAC Makes Belated But Big Push On U.S. Response To Syria Chemical Attack

AIPAC-091313

WASHINGTON – Pro-Israel officials rolled their eyes this week in response to the opposing spins about their support for President Obama’s drive to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for his purported use of chemical weapons against his own people.

Some suggested that once again the tail was wagging the dog and Israel was leading the United States into another Middle East war. Others charged that the president’s arm-twisting was forcing the pro-Israel community to take sides in a congressional debate it would rather avoid.

Whatever the truth, Obama’s concerns about letting the alleged Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack go unpunished dovetailed with broader pro-Israel concerns about maintaining U.S. credibility in the region and the dangers of unconventional weapons.

“A lot of folks are watching, friends and foes,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. “If we blink, if we flinch, foes will draw their own lessons and the world will become a more dangerous place.

“And friends are also watching, including friends in the Arab world, friends in Israel, elsewhere. They will draw their conclusions, fairly or unfairly, that they cannot necessarily rely on the United States.”

Jewish groups were hesitant initially to support Obama’s push to strike following an attack that is said to have killed more than 1,400 Syrian civilians, including several hundred children. But the reluctance all but evaporated after top Obama advisers outlined the administration’s proposed legislation in a conference call last week with Jewish leaders.

The next day, Sept. 3, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee mobilized its grassroots to call members of Congress. On Tuesday, 250 of its top members held one-on-one meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The lobby’s talking points, as outlined by an AIPAC official who spoke anonymously, are twofold. “One, there is a very strong strategic case: If we are to deter Iran from obtaining an unconventional weapon, we must stop its proxy Syria from using them without consequence,” the official said.

“Then there is the moral case: Barbarism on a mass scale must not be given a free pass. We have sent the photos and videos of hundreds of children being stricken, and it is imperative America must act.”

Despite the forcefulness of AIPAC’s push and the lobby’s vaunted clout on Capitol Hill, Obama faces an uphill battle in gaining support from Congress for a strike. In the U.S. House of Representatives, sentiment leans against authorizing a strike. The Senate appears to be split evenly.

The nod from AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups could help shift the balance – in part because lawmakers tend to defer to groups considered expert on a given topic, but also because of the fundraising prowess associated with the pro-Israel community.

AIPAC’s support is joined by that of other leading American Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Notably, both partisan Jewish organizations – the Republican Jewish Coalition and the National Jewish Democratic Council – are backing Obama.

Despite the community’s caution to have the president lead lest it be blamed for another Middle East war, commentators already are fingering Israel as the catalyst for American military action.

“AIPAC wants this war” was the headline over a string of posts by Andrew Sullivan on his influential Daily Dish blog over the weekend. And the conservative Jewish radio personality Michael Savage blamed Israel outright on his syndicated talk show.

“I’m sick of this slavish worship of Israel,” Savage said, according to the conservative website Newsmax. “No, it’s America first and Israel’s the tail, not the dog. We’re the dog, they’re the tail. And I’m sick and tired of America being yanked around like we’re the tail and they’re the dog.”

Until recently, Israel had maintained a careful distance from pronouncing on the Syrian civil war, except to note that it would respond to any attack on Israel – by the government or the rebels. But The New York Times reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reaching out personally to some congressional leaders at Obama’s urging.

Neither the Israeli embassy nor U.S. congressional leaders would confirm the Times report. But in the wake of the chemical attack, Israel has grown more vocal in supporting a response that would degrade Assad’s unconventional weapons capability.

“Israel agrees with President Obama that the use of chemical weapons is a ‘heinous act’ for which the Assad regime must be held accountable and for which there must be ‘international consequences,’ “ Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, wrote last week on a Facebook message.

“Israel further agrees with the president that the use of chemical weapons promotes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and encourages ‘governments who would choose to build nuclear arms.’ “ Oren’s former deputy Dan Arbell said any Israeli pronouncement on a matter of intense public debate would have to be made with considered delicacy.

“It’s always a fine line to walk,” said Arbell, a lecturer on the Israeli-Arab conflict at American University. “You don’t want to insert yourself into the middle of a debate.”

Harris said the narrative of Jewish eagerness for war – peddled heavily during and after the Iraq War – was to be expected. But he added that this should not inhibit Jewish groups from exercising their right to make their views known.

“We’re proud Americans who have every reason and right to engage in the debate as other Americans,” Harris said. “We care deeply about American influence and American national security.”

(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.

No Responses to “AIPAC Makes Belated But Big Push On U.S. Response To Syria Chemical Attack”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF map of terrorist tunnels that were found near Israeli communities near the Gaza border, identified and mapped. July 27, 2014. These were destroyed by the IDF. Residents fear there are more that have yet to be uncovered.
Gaza Belt Communities Fear Lack of Security, IDF Pullout
Latest News Stories
IDF map of terrorist tunnels that were found near Israeli communities near the Gaza border, identified and mapped. July 27, 2014. These were destroyed by the IDF. Residents fear there are more that have yet to be uncovered.

Residents of Gaza Belt communities were furious and worried on the first day of school to find no one at the guard posts.

Egged Bus No. 161, which travels through the Etzion bloc, attacked by Arabs near Beitar junction on Sept. 1, 2014.

Arab terror gangs have again attacked Israeli travelers over the past few hours on main arteries around Jerusalem.

Economics Minister and Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett

Minister Bennett praised the government in a visit to Gush Etzion for its decision to answer terror with Jewish expansion.

The International Criminal Court building in the Hague, the Netherlands.

The International Criminal Court at The Hague has no jurisdiction over Gaza or anywhere else in the PA — yet.

Jerusalem Arabs attacked the Light Rail train Monday morning as it passed through the northern Arab neighborhood of Shuafat.

Arab media claim the US is again pressuring Israel to restart final status talks with the Palestinian Authority.

The Obama administration has sharply condemned the Israeli government’s decision Sunday to designate a lot in Gush Etzion as state land.

What is interesting is the latest reason the Arabs are rioting…

A mortar launched from Syria landed inside an Israeli agricultural area, close to 9am.

Assad and the rebels are fighting again for control over the crossing with Israel.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, boys like their toys. In this case, the boy is Israeli President Ruby Rivlin sitting in a fighter jet in the Tel Nof Air Force base. Vrrmmmm, whoosh, boom…

Jews seeking to shame Netanyahu into enforcing the Apartheid Green Line so as not to anger the UNGA are shameful.

Lady Gaga once again defies the BDSers and will appear in Tel Aviv on Sept. 13.

It’s only taken 12 years, but Jerusalem may once again have a Chief Rabbi…

The US embassy was taken over… so was the embassy’s pool.

Jewish Home leader blocks exhibition of dead bodies citing Jewish tradition to honor the dead; NIF objects.

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/us-news/aipac-makes-belated-but-big-push-on-u-s-response-to-syria-chemical-attack/2013/09/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: