AIPAC, J Street back separate letters to Obama

AIPAC-backed letter labels Palestinian UN bid “unacceptable”; J Street supporters urge Obama to reiterate commitment to 2 states.

AIPAC 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – AIPAC and J Street backed separate letters in the US Senate Tuesday welcoming US President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel, with the former emphasizing Israel’s security challenges and the latter calling for US support for a two-state solution.
Click here for full JPost coverage of Obama's visit to Israel
The AIPAC-backed letter by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Susan Collins (RMaine) begins by labeling Palestinian unilateral efforts at the UN “unacceptable” and urging Obama to clearly reject this strategy as well as de-legitimization of Israel.
The letter also refers to the need for Palestinians to stop incitement and renounce Hamas, and stresses that the current upheaval in Arab countries is “not directly related to the peace process” even as a peace deal remains important.
The letter garnered more than 60 signatures, according to AIPAC.
The other letter, which more than 200 J Street supporters from around the country lobbied for during visits to Capitol Hill Tuesday, opens by calling on Obama to reiterate his commitment to both Israel’s security and a two-state solution during his two-day visit, which begins Wednesday.
“It is essential for you to reaffirm on your upcoming trip that finding a pathway to peace remains a priority for your administration,” states the letter, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (DCalifornia).
J Street said that 24 senators had signed onto the missive before it was sent to the White House before press time Tuesday.
Both Senate letters speak about Israel’s security needs and the strong bond between the US and Israel in a difficult regional environment.
More than 100 members of the House of Representatives also signed a letter to Obama expressing strong support for his decision to visit Israel.
“It is crucial for Israelis to know that America stands with them and will support their sacrifices for peace,” the letter states. “And it is vital that Palestinians understand that circumventing direct negotiations, including attempts to upgrade membership status in the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, will not move their people forward toward statehood.”
The message was sponsored by a bipartisan group of congressmen led by Peter Roskam (R-Illinois) and Henry Waxman (D-California).
Members also addressed the issue of Iran.
“We share your hope of finding a negotiated solution to Iran’s nuclear program, but also your clear statements that all options are and must remain on the table,” they wrote. “And we must continue to protect Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge and support Israel’s inherent right to self-defense.”
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