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Why Will This Year’s AIPAC Conference Be Different From Other AIPAC Conferences?


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The conference schedule heavily emphasizes the Iranian threat, Middle East turmoil and the perceived need to intensify further the U.S.-Israel security alliance. There are a few sessions dealing with the Palestinian issue – some with a pronounced skeptical tone when it comes to the peace process.

“Why, despite persistent efforts and an acknowledgment of the general outline for such an agreement, have the parties failed to attain a negotiated peace?” reads the promotional material for one session.

This year’s “AIPAC action principles,” to be considered by the array of American Jewish groups that makes up AIPAC’s executive committee, mention the Palestinians only in the context of keeping them from advancing toward statehood outside the confines of negotiations but do not explicitly endorse the two-state solution. Most of the principles address the security relationship.

Missing also, however, from the AIPAC legislative agenda is any effort to limit U.S. funding of the Palestinian Authority. AIPAC had pushed such efforts in December, after the UN General Assembly vote in which the Palestinians gained recognition as a non-member state, but they fell by the wayside in part because of mixed signals from the Israeli government.

(JTA)

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Expansive outreach, of course, is nothing new for AIPAC. But in the wake of battles over Iran sanctions legislation that pitted the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse against the White House, many congressional Democrats and liberals more generally, AIPAC’s traditional emphasis on Israel as a bipartisan issue has taken on added urgency.

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“As we have since the beginning of the process, we continue to support Secretary Kerry’s diplomatic efforts to achieve a secure and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman said in a statement to JTA.

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