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AIPAC's Talking Points On Iran and Palestinians

More on AIPAC message - New Talking Points Memo, Text of Senate Sign-On Letter

By Lara Friedman

March 21, 2010 "
Peace Now" - -March 19, 2010 --As noted in today's Round-Up, AIPAC will be on the Hill next week lobbying members of Congress to pass "crippling" Iran sanctions and to sign on to letters to the Administration regarding US-Israel relations and the peace process. 

The Senate version of that letter, being circulated by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), can now be read here; the Dear Colleague circulating with it can be read here.  As expected, it is a carefully crafted, moderate-sounding letter -- an updated version of last year's Bayh-Risch letter.  In brief, the letter (addressed to Secretary Clinton):
 
  • implies that the problem with the recent announcement of new Jerusalem settlement plans was a problem of timing, not substance, and that the construction itself is not a serious issue since it will take place sometime in the future ("We write to urge you to do everything possible to ensure that the recent tensions between the U.S. and Israel over the untimely announcement of future housing construction in East Jerusalem do not derail Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations or harm U.S.-Israel relations.")
  • asserts that the failure to re-start Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is entirely due to Palestinian intransigence and in no way due to Israeli actions ("Despite your best efforts, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been frozen over the past year.  Indeed, in a reversal of 16 years of policy, Palestinian leaders are refusing to enter into direct negotiations with Israel.  Instead, they have put forward a growing list of unprecedented preconditions.  By contrast, Israel's prime minister has stated categorically that he is eager to begin unconditional peace negotiations with the Palestinians."
  • implies that the Obama Administration should not publicly criticize Israel, even when Israel does things to publicly embarrass it ("We recognize that our government and the Government of Israel will not always agree on particular issues in the peace process.  But such differences are best resolved amicably and in a manner that befits longstanding strategic allies."
The letter dovetails closely with AIPAC's new talking points memo on the topic, entitled "Close U.S.-Israel Ties Key to Forging Middle East Peace -- the memo goes beyond the Senate letter by asserting explicitly that "the United States and Israel should work out differences privately."  The memo goes on to criticize the Obama Administration's reaction to the Biden Incident, and argue that such criticism against Israel is not only inappropriate but counterproductive:

"As in any relationship, there will be times of tension and disagreements. The best way for the United States and Israel to work through their differences is to communicate directly, privately  and with an eye to the overall value of the relationship that they share.  While the announcement regarding housing construction in Jerusalem made during Biden's recent trip to Israel was a deeply regrettable incident for which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly apologized, the public nature and harsh wording of the criticism and demands placed on Israel by the administration are unlikely to serve to advance the peace process or efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. In fact, such public pressure could have the opposite effect. It further solidifies the Palestinian and Arab refusal to enter into direct talks with Israel, while they wait instead for the United States to press Israel to make concessions."

AIPAC has also posted a list (with hyperlinks) to Members of Congress who have made statement in the wake of the Biden Incident in Jerusalem - Statements by Members of Congress Reaffirming the U.S.-Israel Alliance.

AIPAC has also posted their talking points memo regarding making the case for final passage of "crippling" Iran sanctions and pressing for better enforcement of existing sanctions - Crippling Sanctions Needed to Prevent Nuclear Iran .
 

 

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