ZOA lobbies Congress on Iran, PA


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Activists for the Zionist Organization of America lobbied Congress to consider military action against Iran if sanctions fail to deter the Islamic Republic from seeking nuclear weapons.

In more than 100 meetings with members of Congress on Wednesday, the ZOA said hundreds of its activists also asked the lawmakers to defund the Palestinian Authority unless it takes several steps, press the U.S. embassy issue and enshrine anti-Jewish discrimination safeguards in education legislation.

Thirty lawmakers addressed the group’s luncheon, the ZOA said.

The activists "urged the necessity of military action should peaceful, diplomatic measures fail to stop Iran’s drive to obtain a nuclear weapons capability," a ZOA statement said, and called for a suspension of assistance for the Palestinian Authority until it ends incitement, outlaws terrorist groups and confiscates illegal weapons.

The statement also called for new legislation that would remove the presidential waiver from existing legislation requiring the United States to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a removal would likely have little effect; successive presidents have cited broader waivers to assert executive primacy in foreign policy.

The ZOA activists also sought congressional action "to make clear that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which protects against racial and ethnic discrimination — encompasses anti-Jewish incidents and protects Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation."

This has been a thorny issue, as successive administrations and congresses have sought to include such protections while also protecting church-state separation. Bush administration appointees, for instance, were concerned that such language would inhibit proselytization.

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