WASHINGTON — In a meeting with Senate Democrats, top pro-Israel leaders endorsed the Obama administration’s latest Israeli-Palestinian peace bid and warned that the recent Iranian election was of little consequence.
Michael Kassen, the president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, began his talk at the meeting Wednesday with what participants said was a “hearty” endorsement of the efforts by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, to restart the talks.
Kerry earlier this month, in an address to the American Jewish Committee, had asked for Jewish support in advancing the peace process, which he has said is critical to reconvene in the coming months. He is arriving in Jordan this week for another round of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
According to participants who described the off-the-record meeting in the Capitol, Kassen said much of the burden of reviving the talks lies with the Palestinian Authority, which has resisted returning to the talks until Israel freezes settlement expansion.
Also endorsing the process was Rabbi Steve Gutow, who directs the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella Jewish public policy body. Gutow delivered the opening overview of Jewish community concerns.
Debra DeLee, the president of Americans for Peace Now, thanked Kassen and Gutow for endorsing the process.