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March 21, 2013 2:25 am

Obama Urged to Stand by Israel in Letter From More Than Three-Fourths of Senate

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A bipartisan letter signed by more than three-fourths of the U.S. Senate urged President Barack Obama to stand by Israel ahead of his trip to the Middle East.

The letter, signed by 78 U.S. senators and supported by the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), asks Obama to “reaffirm your commitment to working closely with the new government of Israel.”

Also referenced in the letter is last November’s upgrade of the Palestinians’ status in the United Nations to a non-member observer state. The U.S., along with a handful of other allies, such as Canada and the Czech Republic, strongly opposed the measure.

“It is important to re-emphasize that the United States will not tolerate efforts to isolate or delegitimize Israel,” states the letter, which was led by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

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“During your first term, you and your administration actively stood by Israel at the UN and other agencies to try to block such efforts,” the letter adds. “It is critical that you now make clear that our relationship with Palestinians will be jeopardized by seeking action against Israel at the International Criminal Court.”

An alternative letter—organized by the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and signed by 27 Democrats— urged Obama to reaffirm his support for a two-state solution during his trip to the region.

“It is essential for you to reaffirm on your upcoming trip that finding a pathway to peace remains a priority for your administration,” the letter reads.

Obama began his trip to Israel on Wednesday with a speech affirming Israel as the “historic homeland of the Jewish people.”

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