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NJDhockeyfan2/17/2010 8:38:27 pm PST

U.S. lawmakers blast Ayalon’s boycott of J Street delegation

Five U.S. Congressmen on a visit here, which the left-wing American advocacy group J Street initiated, yesterday held a news conference in Tel Aviv to demand an official explanation for an apparent snub by Danny Ayalon, deputy foreign minister.

Tension between the Foreign Ministry and J Street was believed to be behind the unprecedented diplomatic rift between Israel and the U.S. Congress.

“It was with real surprise and disappointment that we read a headline in this morning’s newspaper saying ‘Foreign Ministry boycotts members of Congress,’” said Rep. William Delahunt (D-Massachusetts), who heads the delegation.

J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami said at the news conference that he was confused by Ayalon’s calling the lobby anti-Israel. “Our relations with Israel’s embassy in Washington are on the mend…I hope this is no more than his personal opinion,” he said.