Jewish Groups Pressed On Iraq
Pressure is growing for Jewish groups to abandon their deliberately low-profile pose and dive into the intensifying battle over the Bush administration’s plans for a military strike against Iraq.
The mounting pressure comes as Congress considers an administration resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq — and as some Democrats, led by former Vice President Al Gore, try to galvanize a strong opposition movement.
In recent meetings with Jewish leaders, congressional GOP leaders have called for an active Jewish lobbying campaign on behalf of the Iraq resolution.
The Bush administration is being more cautious — spelling out the reasons for their strong focus on Iraq, but not demanding that Jewish leaders take a high-profile role in the mounting struggle.
The administration “did not make an explicit request for support,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice-chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, whose top leaders met with congressional and administration officials last week. “They just laid out the case in a very straightforward way. There was no direct call for endorsement.”
But some congressional leaders, he said, did ask Jewish groups to back the Iraq resolution.
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