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article imagePro-Israel lobby urging Congress to approve Syrian strike

By Eric Morales     Sep 10, 2013 in World
Washington - Reports claim that Aipac is contacting members of Congress to ask them to support a military strike on Syria, as PM Netanyahu also lobbys support on behalf of President Obama.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee based in Washington plans to dispatch 300 of its members to Capitol Hill according to the New York Times, in an effort by the pro-Israeli lobbying group to persuade members of Congress to support military intervention in Syria.
News of the AIPAC plans comes as reports are surfacing that President Barack Obama has personally asked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assist in drawing up support for attack on Syria. The New York Times reports that the Israeli premier has already called several members of Congress on behalf of the U.S. President.
The Israeli Prime Minister's office has stayed neutral in public on the subject of a strike against the regime of Bashar Assad, however some feel the downfall of the Baathist regime in Damascus may benefit Israel strategically. One senior Israeli official told the New York Times on condition of anonymity that the Israeli state is willing to help the President.
“It is a major dilemma, what Israel should do on the Hill,” the official stated. “We don’t want to be identified with pressing for a strike. This is not for us, we don’t want anybody to think this is for us,” the official said. “But if the president asks us for assistance, who are we to refuse?”
Mark Regev, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman declined to discuss the conversations between Mr. Obama and the Prime Minister of Israel. Further Regev refused to comment on a report from Israel's Yediot Aharonot which stated Netanyahu was personally calling members of Congress.
If AIPAC and the Israeli Prime Minister's office are playing a role in a possible attack on Assad's regime in Syria, it could spell trouble.
“Israel as Israel should stay away from this campaign,” said Zvi Rafiah, a longtime Israeli diplomat said. “We should not be the one that pushes the American people to do or not do anything they want or don’t want.”
Zvi Rafiah who was serving in the corridors of Washington D.C. during Israel's Yom Kippur War says times are different, and Israel should act differently.
“But then we were in danger that’s different,” he said. “Now Israel is not attacked by anyone. Now Israel has the might, I hope, as I’m told to defend itself. Now we are only concerned about the stature, the leadership, of the United States in the world.”
The White House has not only reached out to AIPAC but also reportedly the Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations who held a conference call on Monday to discuss strategies to lobby support for an American strike on Syria.
Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli Consul General admitted to the New York Time's that five congressman had already called him within the past four days concerning how they should vote on the matter.
“There’s nothing sinister, nothing conspiratorial, nothing wrong with the lobbying arm relating to Israel and the Middle East supporting the president on this issue,” said Abraham H. Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director. “You don’t need a phone call from the prime minister to understand that Israel’s interest is with the United States taking military action because it’s a message to Iran. You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to figure out where Israel stands.”
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