Minnesota legislator boycotts AIPAC

Rep. Betty McCollum cites a 'hateful' attack by an AIPAC activist.

betty mccollum 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
betty mccollum 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Representative Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, has announced that she is cutting off all ties with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) after what she described as a "hateful" and "vile" attack from an AIPAC activist who had called her office. McCollum was one of two members of the House International Relations Committee who voted against the anti-Hamas bill last month. The AIPAC activist, Amy Rotenberg of Minnesota, spoke to the congresswoman's chief of staff after the vote and, according to McCollum, told him that "on behalf of herself, the Jewish community, AIPAC, and the voters of the Fourth District, Congresswoman McCollum's support for terrorists will not be tolerated." In response, McCollum wrote a letter to AIPAC's executive director, Howard Kohr, in which she said that until she received a written apology, "AIPAC representatives are not welcome in my offices or for meetings with my staff." McCollum's letter was first published in The New York Review of Books. Rotenberg wrote back to McCollum, saying that the account of her conversation with the chief of staff was "seriously distorted" and that she "was not accusing anyone of anything." In a separate letter, AIPAC director Howard Kohr proposed to meet with the congresswoman to discuss the issue. His letter, sent a month ago, was not answered. The anti-Hamas bill, known as the Palestinian Anti-Terror Act of 2006, is scheduled for a vote on the floor of House of Representatives on Monday and is expected to be approved.