AIPAC allows US lawmakers to criticise Israeli annexations

AIPAC say US lawmakers can criticise Israeli annexations, but within limits
2 min read
11 June, 2020
AIPAC has told US lawmakers it would not object to criticism of Israel's annexation plans as long as it does not threaten US aid to Israel.
AIPAC had to call off its 2021 conference due to the coronavirus pandemic [Getty]
The leading pro-Israel lobby in the US has told American lawmakers that it will not push back on criticism of Israel's annexation plans, according to a Wednesday report by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), but with restrictions.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) - which usually fervently opposes criticism of Israel - told lawmakers they can criticise the Israeli government's annexation plans so long as it does not threaten relations between the two countries, according to JTA.

A donor who is involved in lobbying US Congress told JTA that AIPAC conveyed this message to senators, while cautioning against jeopardising aid to Israel.

"We are telling the senators 'Feel free to criticise annexation, but don't cut off aid to Israel,'" they said.

A Democrat congressional aide told JTA AIPAC said it is "the time to warn Israel" without threatening American defence aid to the Jewish state.

AIPAC's move comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government brushed off privately conveyed warnings from the organisation and American Jewish groups, the donor told JTA.

An AIPAC spokesperson told the agency that the organisation "does not encourage members of Congress to criticise the government of Israel".

AIPAC recently had to call off its 2021 conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Israel's plans to annex one third of the West Bank was greenlighted by US President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century". The plan also envisages the creation of a severely restricted Palestinian state.

The Palestinians have rejected the plan outright, while world leaders have urged Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt annexation plans.

Beyond American Jewish groups, 40 prominent British Jews last week signed an open letter to Israel's ambassador to the UK condemning the annexation plans.

Israel could begin implementing annexations as soon as 1 July.

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