AIPAC delays issuing policy statement for first time

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (JTA) — For the first time its history, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has failed to make a policy statement at its annual conference.

The executive committee of the leading pro-Israel lobby, divided over several issues including whether to restrict aid to the Palestinians and endorse the "peace process," ran out of time after a 90-minute session earlier this month.

AIPAC president Melvin Dow said the policy statement would be discussed in late June at the next executive committee meeting.

The 15-page policy statement outlines AIPAC priorities on such issues as aid to Israel and legislation to tighten U.S. sanctions against Iran.

For the first time, the committee voted 38-36 to change AIPAC's endorsement of the "peace process," instead supporting the effort "to achieve peace."

The decision, which is tentative because a policy statement still has not passed, is seen as an effort by AIPAC to distance itself fromendorsing Labor Party policies.