Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Pro-Israel Supporters Concede Defeat on Housing Loan

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Pro-Israel Supporters Concede Defeat on Housing Loan

Article excerpt

For the first time since 1981, when they failed to prevent the sale of sophisticated AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the other pro-Israel lobbies lost a major battle in Congress. AIPAC and the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) launched a well-coordinated campaign to convince Congress to provide Israel with a $10 billion housing loan guarantee to absorb Soviet Jewish immigrants. But despite a nationwide grassroots effort that included a "fly-in" of 1,000 activists to Capitol Hill on Sept. 12, Congress went along with President Bush's request to delay consideration of the loans for 120 days.

The president said he favored the delay so the loan guarantee would not interfere with the Middle East peace conference expected to be convened this fall. Bush let it be known, however, that he would continue to oppose the loans unless Israel placed a freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Jewish leaders have been warning Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that he might have to choose between settlements and the loans. But they are still hoping the loans will be approved unconditionally in January. …

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