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List do AIPAC od Betty McCollum
By Betty McCollum

The letter below was sent by Representative Betty McCollum, a Democrat from
Minnesota, to the executive director of AIPAC. The bill mentioned, H.R. 4681,
the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, would place so many restraints on
aid to the Palestinian people, and so many restrictions on the administration's
ability to deal with the Palestinians, that even the State Department has
opposed it. AIPAC has strongly backed it. The Senate version of the bill, S.
2237, would allow the administration far more flexibility. On April 6, the House
International Relations Committee passed H.R. 4681 by a vote of 36 to 2;
McCollum was one of the two nays. As of May 11, AIPAC has yet to respond to her
demand for an apology.

—Michael Massing

April 10, 2006

Mr. Howard Kohr
Executive Director
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
440 First Street, NW; Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Mr. Kohr:

During my nineteen years serving in elected office, including the past five
years as a Member of Congress, never has my name and reputation been maligned or
smeared as it was last week by a representative of AIPAC. Last Friday, during a
call with my chief of staff, an AIPAC representative from Minnesota who has
frequently lobbied me on behalf of your organization stated, "on behalf of
herself, the Jewish community, AIPAC, and the voters of the Fourth District,
Congresswoman McCollum's support for terrorists will not be tolerated."
Ironically, this individual, who does not even live in my congressional
district, feels free to speak for my constituents.

This response may have been the result of extreme emotion or irrational passion,
but regardless, it is a hateful attack that is vile and offensive to me and the
families I represent. I call on AIPAC to immediately condemn this un-American
attack and disavow any attempt to use this type of threat and intimidation to
stifle legitimate policy differences. I will not stand to be labeled or
threatened in a manner that questions my patriotism or my oath of office.

Last week, I did vote against H.R. 4681 during mark-up of the bill in the House
International Relations Committee. As a Member of Congress sworn to uphold the
Constitution, and ensure the security of the US and represent the values and
beliefs of the constituents who I serve, it was my view that H.R. 4681 goes
beyond the State Department's current policies toward Hamas and the Palestinian
Authority and potentially undermines the US position vis-à-vis the coordinated
international pressure on Hamas. The language contained in S. 2237 accurately
reflects my position.

Keeping diplomatic pressure on Hamas to renounce terrorism, recognize the State
of Israel, dismantle terrorist infrastructure, and honor past agreements and
treaty obligations, while preventing a humanitarian crisis among the Palestinian
people, are all policy goals already strongly supported by myself, the Bush
administration, Congress and the American people. But, if the purpose of H.R.
4681 was to send another strong message to Hamas and the Palestinian people, as
Congress already has sent with the passage of S. Con. Res. 79, then I disagree
with the vehicle for that message. In my opinion, Congress should be
articulating clear support for the Secretary of State's present course of
action; not creating a new law which likely diminishes the diplomatic tools
needed to advance US policy goals with regard to the Palestinian people,
potentially cuts US funding to the United Nations, and largely restates current
law while creating on-going and burdensome unfunded reporting requirements.

As you well know, in Congress we do not shy away from condemning the vile words
of despots and dictators who use anti-Semitism as a weapon to incite hatred,
fear and violence. AIPAC should not have a lower standard for persons affiliated
and representing its organization when they label a Member of Congress who
thinks for herself and always puts the interest of our nation and people first a
supporter of terrorists.

You and your colleagues at AIPAC have the right to disagree with my position on
any piece of legislation, but for an AIPAC representative to say that I would
ever vote to support Middle East terrorists over the interests of my country
will never be tolerated by me or the families I serve. This incident rises to a
level in which a formal, written apology is required.

Mr. Kohr, I am a supporter of a strong US–Israeli relationship and my voting
record speaks for itself. This will not change. But until I receive a formal,
written apology from your organization I must inform you that AIPAC
representatives are not welcome in my offices or for meetings with my staff.
Betty McCollum
Member of Congress
4th District, Minnesota
Washington, D.C.