Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tom Foley and Israel

It was 1984.  My late wife and I were in Washington, D.C. to attend the APAC convention.  What a great experience to be in the nations capitol.

Copngressman Foley's Walla Walla office had supplied us with passes for the White House and other capitol landmarks.

The Majority Whip office supplied us with an intern to guide us through the halls of congress where we viewed debates on the floor and Jeannie was thrilled to sit in the chair reserved for the First Lady when the President addressed  the body.

Congressman Tom Lantos, an old friend, invited us to lunch with him in the congressional dining room.
Also, we attended with him a joint house-senate hearing on a resolution urging the moving of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the capitol, Jerusalem.  The resolution sponsored by Tom and Senator Moynahan of New York.

In a briefing by the APAC staff member we were told that there was legislation in progress for a $100,000.000.00 grant to Israel for civil uses going forward in congress.  This would  be a switch from from the loans previously offered.  This would be a sea change and was a priority.

On our last day we dropped in to Foley's office to thank him for his courtesies.  Actually, we were hustled into a waitng limousine with the Congressman and an aid as we drove to the airport where he was to fly to the midwest for a speech he asked about the Lantos-Moynahan Resolution.

I thought hard for a moment, swallowed and said, "I agree that it is tragic that because of Arab pressure Isreal is one of only two countries in the world where the embassy is not in he capitol but the more pressing need is the passage of the grant to Isreal.

Returning home I began receiving calls from APAC urging me to call Foley's office to urge action on the grant.  I kept assuring them that my rep was on board but the calls became more urgent.  The bill was in trouble aand only the Majority Whip could herd it through.

On the last day of the session, literally at midnight the bill slipped through with a positive vote.

The following week Tom  Foley was back in the  district addressing a Chamber of Commerce meeting.  I went over to him to shake his hand.

"Alan, I got your grant through." he wispered.

As far as I know, almost fifty years after Isreal recaptured Jerusalem from Jordan and declared it the capitol, the US still refuses to move the embassy. 

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