Barkat meets top Dems, GOPers on D.C. swing


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat met with top Republicans and Democrats during a brief Washington visit.

Barkat met with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, as well as with Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the House’s Middle East subcommittee; Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee; and Robert Dold (R-Ill.), who represents a heavily Jewish suburban Chicago district.

Ros-Lehtinen in a statement after her meeting Monday with Barkat said she "reiterated my support for the formal U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. The Administration must finally move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and require that Jerusalem be identified as Israel’s capital on relevant U.S. government documents."

It has been the policy of successive presidencies not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until a final-status agreement with the Palestinians is achieved.

Ros-Lehtinen referred to the disagreements between the Obama administration and Israel over settling in eastern Jerusalem.

"The Administration must end its one-sided criticism and pressuring of the Israeli government, particularly concerning its building policies," she said.

While Obama administration disagreements with Israel over settlements have been more public than under previous presidents, U.S. opposition to such building is longstanding policy.

Barkat, who the previous week had been a featured speaker at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Denver, also met with Obama administration officials, his spokesman said. 

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