As Sharon visits White House, Jewish leaders to meet with Mubarak

washington | American Jewish leaders will travel to Houston to meet Egypt’s president on the day Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is expected at the White House.

Hosni Mubarak will meet Bush at the president’s Crawford, Texas, ranch on Monday, April 12. Many Jewish leaders will leave straight from the end of the Passover holiday for an April 14 meeting in Texas with the Egyptian leader. Sharon will meet with Bush in the White House the same day.

Past meetings with Mubarak have been contentious in the Jewish community, and this year’s is proving to be no exception. The Anti-Defamation League has refused an invitation to attend in protest of Egypt’s cold shoulder toward Israel.

Several other groups will not be represented either, though primarily because of the meeting’s location.

The ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, said he’ll skip the Mubarak meeting because Egypt boycotted events in Israel celebrating the 25th anniversary of the two countries’ peace treaty.

“There have to be consequences for behavior that is insulting and offensive to the Jewish community,” Foxman said.

Representatives from Hadassah, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Union for Reform Judaism, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are expected to attend the April 14 meeting with Mubarak.

“We’re going to ask difficult questions,” said Reva Price, JCPA’s Washington representative. “We’re going to talk about anti-Semitism and Egypt’s participation in any future plans for Gaza” after Israel’s planned withdrawal.