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Groups attack Israel funding in ‘Dear Obama’ ad

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A coalition of U.S. Muslim groups and critics of Israel published a full-page ad in The New York Times calling on President Obama to reassess assistance to Israel.

The ad, published on Obama’s first full day in office, Jan. 21, expresses concern "that our nation’s one-sided approach to the Middle East crisis compromises America’s ability to act as a fair negotiator. Our foreign policy has upheld the interests of Israel, but has failed to do the same for the Palestinian people."

It refers to the recent Gaza Strip war, launched last month by Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the territory, as "Israeli aggression," noting the deaths of 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis in the conflict, and calls for Obama to "reevaluate the $3 billion of annual U.S. aid to Israel."

"The U.S. Arms Export Control Act mandates that American weapons not be used to attack civilian populations in offensive operations," it said. "However, American tax dollars have helped finance the attack on Gaza and paid for the guns, ammunition, and aircraft used to kill innocent Palestinians and collectively punish an entire population."

The ad was signed by, among other groups, the Muslim Public Affairs Council-New York, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, L.A. Jews for Peace and United for Peace and Justice, a group that has led Iraq war protests.

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