DEFENSE FOR AIPAC DUO SAYS GROUPS REFUSE TO TESTIFY
Several Jewish organizations are refusing to cooperate with the defense in the case against two men accused of passing classified information while working for the main pro-Israel lobby.
According to sources close to the defense team, three major Jewish organizations are telling their employees not to testify on behalf of Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The defense sources expressed disappointment over the alleged refusal to cooperate, describing it as yet another example of the organized Jewish community turning its back on Rosen, Aipac's former policy director, and Weissman, its top Iran specialist.
Sources with the three Jewish groups, however, argue that it would be "premature" to characterize their answer as an outright refusal.
The Forward has learned that the appeal to the Jewish groups relates to a dinner meeting that took place three years ago. During the meeting, which was arranged by Rosen, he and officials at the three other Jewish organizations were briefed by a senior administration official on issues relating to the Middle East.
Sources said that testimony from the other officials who attended the dinner meeting would help make the case that the passing of information - even classified information - from government officials to Jewish organizations, as well as to other interest groups, was common practice in Washington. Such testimony, the defense team hopes, would convince a jury that Rosen and Weissman had no way of knowing they were engaged in any kind of illegal activity.
The identities of the administration official and the Jewish organizational representatives who participated in the meeting could not be confirmed for the record by the Forward.
Rosen, who was under FBI surveillance at the time, briefed his colleagues at Aipac the next day about the meeting and about the information - presumably, some of it classified - that was shared by the government official.