Tuesday, April 01, 2003

CONDOLEEZZA RICE TO GIVE SECRET TALK TO ISRAEL LOBBYISTS

HOWARD WITT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE - When Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, gives a speech Monday to roughly 4,000 members of an influential pro-Israel lobbying group, her remarks will be closed to the media and the public, the White House said Thursday. The decision, termed routine by the White House, is causing particular discomfort for the lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which has been battling the perception among some political commentators that Jewish groups unduly influenced the Bush administration's decision to wage war against Iraq. Some of the harshest commentaries, viewed as blatantly anti-Semitic by Jewish groups, allege that prominent Jews within the administration conspired to persuade the president to target Iraq because of the threat Saddam Hussein poses to Israel. . . But American Israel Public Affairs Committee officials say privately that they are concerned that a closed-door briefing in the midst of the Iraq war by the president's national security adviser may only add fuel to the conspiracy theories.

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