Tue. Jun 03, 2008
Washington The annual debate over the Aipac Action Agenda the pro-Israel powerhouses lobbying platform took a turn to the right this year, with the leader of the Zionist Organization of America introducing 14 amendments that were approved as official Aipac policy.
Most of the changes pushed for by the ZOAs president, Morton Klein, were minor, but each gave a right-wing tint to the platform. The action agenda is produced by the American Israel Public Affairs Committees executive committee, which includes representatives from major Jewish groups, as well as Aipac board members.
In one move, the executive committee approved an amendment sponsored by Klein demanding that Fatah, the political party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, change 10 clauses in its charter calling for
The amendment was adopted by Aipacs executive committee, though it is not yet clear whether the organization will actively lobby in favor of congressional action on the charter issue.
The other major change that Klein successfully pushed deals with the American embassy in Israel, which pro-Israel activists have long wanted moved from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Jewish states capital. Congress passed legislation in 1995 requiring the move, but administrations since then have utilized a clause allowing them to delay relocating the embassy if necessary for reasons of national security.
In the Monday meeting, Klein proposed adding quotation marks to the term national security and opposing the governments use of this waiver to prevent the relocation of the embassy language that was reflected in his amendment.
Aipacs leadership opposed the amendment, arguing that it would put the pro-Israel lobby on record as contradicting the governments reasoning on issues of national security. Nevertheless, the change passed with the support of an overwhelming majority of the committee.
Morton Klein said after the meeting that he believes the amendments gained support because 15 years after
A member of the executive committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while the changes made to the action agenda are mainly symbolic, they can cause Aipac embarrassment and run counter to the groups stated support for the peace process.
Klein did propose a number of changes that were rejected, including a call to drop the word peace when referring to negotiations with the Palestinians and to support the right of Jews to settle in the