ZOA To Bush: Break U.S. Diplomatic Relations With Syria, In Response To Syria’s Espionage Against U.S.
September 24, 2003

Syrian “Volunteers”
Murdered U.S. Soldiers

NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is urging the Bush administration to break U.S. diplomatic relations with Syria, as the first step in responding to the revelation that Syrian government agents have been conducting espionage aimed at the American military base where Al Qaeda terrorists are being held.

The New York Times revealed (Sept. 24, 2003) that a U.S. Air Force translator has been indicted for providing Syria with information about the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorists, and a Muslim chaplain in the U.S. Army has been detained on similar charges.

The Syrian espionage revelation is the latest evidence of Syria’s close ties to anti-American terrorists around the world, including Al Qaeda.

Undersecretary of State John Bolton, testifying before Congress on September 16, 2003, said: “Syria permitted volunteers to pass into Iraq to attack and kill our service members during the war, and is still doing so. He also acknowledged that Syria “offers physical sanctuary and political protection to groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose terrorist operations have killed hundreds of innocent people, including Americans.” (Hezbollah, which is based in Syrian-occupied Lebanon, carried out the 1983 car-bomb massacre of 241 U.S. Marines in Lebanon, among other attacks.)

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “It is unthinkable for the United States to maintain normal diplomatic relations with a regime that spies on the U.S. Army, sponsors anti-American terrorists, and is facilitating the murder of American soldiers in Iraq. The Bush administration should immediately sever all diplomatic relations with Syria and begin making concrete plans to bring about regime change in Damascus.”

The ZOA notes that Undersecretary Bolton’s remarks stand in stark contrast to the State Department’s attempts, earlier this year, to delegitimize and humiliate critics of the Bush administration’s soft-on-Syria policy.

In April 2003, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich suggested that Secretary of State Colin Powell should delay visiting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad until Assad stops harboring terrorist groups and Iraqi war criminals.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage publicly questioned Gingrich’s mental stability, asserting that Gingrich is “off his meds and out of therapy.” Assistant Secretary of State A. Elizabeth Jones, likewise tried to delegitimize and publicly humiliate Gingrich, by telling an interviewer that Gingrich “is an idiot and you can publish that.” (Washington Post, April 28, 2003)

The ZOA supports the Syrian Accountability Act, (sponsored by U.S. Representatives Eliot Engel [D-NY] and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL]) which provides a menu of diplomatic and economic sanctions for the president to impose on Syria if the Syrians continue occupying Lebanon, sponsoring terrorism, and developing chemical and biological weapons.

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