Israel Lobby Lacks the Latitude to Challenge Bush's 'Road Map'
This piece reposted from the LA Times to Agonist, where the url is given for the full (free registration) article
ul Richter, Times Staff Writer
Israel may have never had a better friend in the White House than George W. Bush. But suddenly, that friendship is becoming uncomfortable for the lawmakers and lobbyists who push for Israel's interests in Washington.....
....The deferential tone may not last as the two sides get down to hard bargaining in the months ahead. Yet it shows how much leverage Bush has, at least in the opening rounds of the process.
....the president promised his most important war ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, that he would do so.
.....House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) called the proposal the "road map to destruction." In a scorching March 12 speech to the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, DeLay said Israelis "don't need to travel the path of weakness as defined by the neo-appeasers."
When AIPAC held its annual policy conference in Washington in March, the atmosphere was hostile to the plan. References by speakers to the road map were met with boos, according to attendees.
But when the White House made it clear recently that it would not rewrite the plan before its release -- rejecting the 14 points a Sharon envoy presented last month -- the tone shifted.
Last week, DeLay emphasized that he supported the president's effort, because he'd been assured "over and over again" that Bush would stick to the approach he laid out in the June speech.
Though some Jewish groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the conservative Zionist Organization of America, have continued to stress their opposition to features of the plan, others, such as AIPAC and the Republican Jewish Coalition, have stressed their support for Bush's effort.
Meanwhile, some more dovish Jewish American groups and prominent individuals have stepped forward to voice support for the road map...