Group concerned that 'deteriorating relations' could stoke anti-Semitism

A pro-Israel group has sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing concern for "deteriorating relations" between Israel and the U.S.

The letter from the America-Israel Friendship League also worries that harsh rhetoric from the White House over Israel's plans to continue construction in East Jerusalem could stoke anti-Semitism.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Our concerns are not only with the breach of good relations between two countries that we love and hold dear to us but we are concerned with the possibility that such extreme words coming from the United States following numerous apologies from the Prime Minister will give aid and comfort to those who seek to incite hatred of Israel and, indeed of Jews," says the open letter, signed by the AIFL's board of directors.

The letter also suggests that the administration is damaging its overhall foreign policy.

"The opening of a rift between the U.S. and Israel on these issues must create doubt among other U.S. allies," the AIFL states. "It cannot be too comforting to our allies that if Israel can be disdained with such ease, what does this say about the U.S. and its steadfastness with its other allies?"

The rift that began with the announcement of new condo building during Vice President Joe Biden's visit -- and continued when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the U.S. to speak at the AIPAC conference and stressed Israel's right to keep building in East Jerusalem, depspite U.S. concerns that this would hamper proximity talks with the Palestinian Authority -- was also evident when Netanyahu sent a deputy to Obama's Nuclear Security Summit this week.

The AIFL charged that the Biden incident "was used as grounds for criticizing Israel publicly, and perhaps attempting either explicitly or implicitly to humiliate [Israel's] Prime Minister.

"Such actions are not justified against a close, democratic ally with whom policy differences arise."

The group takes issue not only with the tone of relations, but urges the White House to stop demanding that Israel halt East Jerusalem construction.