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I-P Peace Lobby to Challenge AIPAC

Soros, Bronfmans mull Israel-Palestinian peace lobby

The lobby could face off against AIPAC for support in Washington

Ran Dagoni, Washington 12 Oct 06 17:56

Globes (Israel Business Online)

Billionaire George Soros, tycoons Charles and Edgar Bronfman, and Jewish activists are considering setting up a US lobby for promoting a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. The lobby could face off against AIPAC (American Israel Public Action Committee), which has a hawkish perspective, to win the support of legislators and administration officials in Washington.The “Jewish Telegraph Agency” (JTA) reports that a Soros staffer met recently with senior representatives of the dovish pro-Israel community to discuss setting an alternative lobby to APAC. The JTA goes on to say that Soros will attend a follow-on meeting later this month, and that Edgar and Charles Bronfman, along with other Jewish philanthropists and activists, have been invited to attend.

Soros is on the liberal side of the US political spectrum. He supports Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, and recently called on Israel to recognize Hamas. In his latest book “The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror”, he describes how he tried to persuade the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to enter into negotiations with Hamas, and compared the terrorist organization to the Solidarity trade union, which paved the way to democracy in Poland.

A Jewish activist said that Soros and other tycoons were only prepared to listen at this stage. They have agreed to attend a meeting of Jewish activists unhappy with AIPAC’s hard line, and want to boost awareness of what they call a “sane Jewish voice” in the US. The meeting is scheduled for October 26.

Sources in Washington believe that the willingness of Soros and the Bronfmans to attend the meeting is evidence of their wish to play an active role in establishing a more dovish lobby.

“Soros is one of the people we want to recruit for financing a dovish lobby, together with other wealthy people,” said a Jewish activist. “I hope, and I’m even optimistic that he will support the initiative. The time has come for a moderate Jewish voice, which represents the Jewish majority in the US, to make itself heard.”

The possibility that Soros will begin to play an active role in Israeli-Palestinian relations by financing a pro-peace lobby grew out of a recent meeting between Morton Halperin, a director of Soros’s Open Society Institute, and representatives of dovish organizations in the US, including Americans for Peace Now. Americans for Peace Now spokesman Uri Nir confirmed to “Globes” that Americans for Peace Now president and CEO Debra DeLee had attended the meeting.

Soros has refrained until now from direct involvement in the Israeli-Arab struggle. He made large donations to a campaign against President George W. Bush in the last presidential election.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – – on October 12, 2006

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2006

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