Aipac and Reform poles apart on US Israel policy

Two major American Jewish organisations are at odds over how the US should react to the Palestinian UN upgrade.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) which defines itself as “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby”, has called for the closing of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s offices in Washington following the UN vote to upgrade the Palestinian Authority.

This position is in stark contrast to that of the US Reform movement, which has urged President Barack Obama to prevent any retaliation against the Palestinians for the unilateral move in the UN, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has reported.

Aipac has backed two congressional bids to shut down the PLO offices: “To send the message that such actions are not cost-free and that, at a minimum, they result in setbacks to US-Palestinian relations.”

The committee also supports cutting US funding for the PA if the Palestinians take Israel to the International Criminal Court.

Conversely, in a letter sent to Mr Obama by leaders of the Reform movement, including the Union for Reform Judaism, the leaders ask President Obama to show restraint.

The letter, seen by JTA, draws Mr Obama’s attention to a December 3 resolution of Reform leaders which opposes retaliation such as building in the E-1 area. The movement said that it: “Urges Congress to eschew any action that would serve as an impediment” to resuming peace talks. However, the resolution supported retaliation in the case of the Palestinian Authority going to the ICC.

Last updated: 3:06pm, January 2 2013