Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Congressional leaders inadvertently
expose Israeli lobbyists, AIPAC, behind letter to Obama
By John Byrne
Raw Story, May 21, 2009
Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
(D-MD) circulated a letter to colleagues this week urging President Obama to
support Israel when moving forward with any Israeli peace process.
Trouble is, they forgot to delete the name of the lobbying group involved in
the letter from the document.
Attached to the email message they
circulated when seeking signatures from other members of Congress was the
document, titled, "AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf."
stands for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a powerful
bipartisan pro-Israel lobbying group. Recently, the group found itself in
the news over allegations that two former staff members were involved in
espionage - though the Justice Department recently dropped the case against
them and no wrongdoing was alleged against the group itself.
file name flub was discovered by The Washington Post's Al Kamen in his "In
the Loop" Column Friday.
The email to congressmembers seeking their
support said they hoped they'd sign onto "the attached letter to President
Obama regarding the Middle East peace process," which argued that the US
"must be both a trusted mediator and a devoted friend to Israel" and added,
"Israel will be taking the greatest risks in any peace agreement."
"Seems as though someone forgot to change the name or something," Kamen
quipped. "AIPAC? The American Israel Public Affairs Committee? Is that how
this stuff works?"
The practice of lobbyists writing letters for
congressmembers - to which they affix their names - is not uncommon. The
custom was prominently in view during the scandal involving fallen
power-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose staff were sometimes responsible for
drafting letters that found themselves on congressional letterhead. Abramoff
pled guilty to fraud and corruption charges in 2006.
An email to
Hoyer's press secretary was not immediately returned. The spokesperson for
Cantor could not immediately be reached for comment, nor could a
spokesperson for AIPAC.
The letter follows as a GIF. The PDF version
can be downloaded here.
President Barack Obama spoke to the AIPAC
Policy Conference in June 2008.