WASHINGTON (JTA) — A delegation of Lebanese political leaders at the last minute canceled a meeting with the American Jewish Committee.
The delegation of young leaders, which included representatives from all of Lebanon’s major political parties except for Hezbollah, had requested the meeting through the U.S. State Department to "dialogue" with the AJC in New York during the week of Sept. 20, when the United Nations General Assembly was in session.
With breakfast ready at the AJC offices, a State Department official told the AJC that the group had canceled the meeting without explanation, according to an account by AJC director David Harris appearing Saturday on the Huffington Post website. No explanation was forthcoming.
The meeting would have been the first of its kind for the AJC, which routinely conducts meetings with delegations from other Arab countries.
"I have no illusion that one meeting in New York between eleven Lebanese and a handful of American Jews would have changed the world," Harris wrote. "But I also know that, without such meetings, the chances of any change are virtually nil."
It was not clear why Hezbollah was not part of the delegation but, as a State Department-designated terrorist group, its members are routinely banned entry to the United States.