Washington (JTA) — AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee refused a White House request to suspend lobbying for new sanctions on Iran.
Top National Security Council staffers in an Oct. 29 meeting had asked the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the AJC to suspend for 60 days lobbying for new congressional legislation that would intensify sanctions. They also made the request to the Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
ADL National Director Abraham Foxman told JTA that he favored the suspension and would not lobby for or against new sanctions. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice president of the Presidents Conference, was unavailable for comment.
AIPAC said over the weekend that “there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts” to advance the sanctions.
In a column Monday in Haaretz, AJC director David Harris showed some sympathy to the Obama administration’s view that new sanctions could disrupt renewed talks with Iran to end its suspected nuclear weapons program.
However, he found the argument in favor of such sanctions “more compelling.”
“Since it is the ever-toughening sanctions that got Iran to negotiate in the first place, there needs to be a reminder that things will get still worse for Tehran if nothing changes soon on the ground,” Harris wrote. “Elaborate efforts on Iran’s part to buy time — with Tehran’s mastery of modulated feints, nods, winks, and hints of openness — just won’t wash.”