web analytics
March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


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


AIPAC-030113

WASHINGTON – Next week’s annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington may be as notable for what – and who – is missing as what’s planned.

For the first time in at least seven years, neither the U.S. president nor the Israeli prime minister will attend. In addition, for the second year in a row, no mention of the Palestinians, negative or positive, appears on the conference’s legislative agenda.

Instead, the agenda will focus on Congress enacting legislation that would designate Israel a “major strategic ally” of the United States – a relationship not enjoyed by any other nation – and on facilitating a U.S. green light should Israel decide to strike Iran.

Should the measures being considered by the Senate and the House of Representatives pass, it would constitute the most explicit congressional sanction for military action against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

The conference runs Sunday to Tuesday, ending with the annual AIPAC lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill.

An official with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who spoke on condition of anonymity said the thinking behind this year’s theme is the twin urgencies of what appears to be an accelerated Iranian nuclear program and turbulence in Syria and Egypt, both Israel’s neighbors. The official also said AIPAC remains as committed as ever to advancing the two-state solution.

Both emphases dovetail with recent signals from the Israeli government that talks with the Palestinians are not going anywhere soon, and that Iran is the largest looming threat in the region.

The absence of both President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be due to external circumstances more than anything else.

Obama will be visiting Israel just two weeks after the conference – his first visit to the Jewish state as president – obviating the need for the president to deliver another Israel policy speech at AIPAC. In his stead, the administration is sending Vice President Joe Biden, who will address the conference on Monday morning. Obama has been to four of the last six AIPAC conferences.

For his part, Netanyahu is still trying to cobble together a coalition government following Israel’s Jan. 22 elections in which the prime minister’s Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu faction was weakened. Netanyahu will deliver a video message to AIPAC; Ehud Barak, Israel’s outgoing defense minister, will address the conference in person.

Democratic and Republican leaders in both houses of Congress also will address AIPAC.

Despite the absences, AIPAC expects 13,000 activists, including 2,000 students, to attend the conference – a number commensurate with last year’s record-breaker. AIPAC officials say the number is more remarkable in 2013 because it’s not an election year.

The AIPAC official interviewed by JTA said that part of what motivates the push to name Israel a major strategic ally is an appeal to maintain defense assistance funding, averaging more than $3 billion annually, at a time when both parties are seeking ways to drastically cut spending.

Secretary of State John Kerry wrote congressional appropriators last week to warn that across-the-board “sequestration” cuts due to kick in Friday – unless the White House and Congress achieve a compromise – will hit Israel funding, among other things.

“This is no time to cut aid to an ally,” the AIPAC official said. Conferring major strategic ally status upon Israel “would mean that the United States and Israel would work together on a cooperative basis on missile defense, homeland security, energy independence, medical research and innovation and military technology,” the official said.

The push to name Israel a major strategic ally comports with a longstanding preference among some leading Republicans to tweak apart assistance for Israel from other foreign aid, which the conservative wing of the party advocates slashing.

The overriding consideration in such a designation, however, was Israel’s increasingly close security ties with the United States, in the Middle East and across the globe, where the two nations have collaborated on cyber-security issues, the AIPAC official said. The legislation will be introduced in the House and Senate in the coming days.

Separately, a nonbinding resolution that would call on the president to support Israel “if it is compelled to act against the Iranian nuclear threat” will be introduced in the Senate. The House will consider legislation that would authorize the president to sanction any entity that trades with Iran.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Why Will This Year’s AIPAC Conference Be Different From Other AIPAC Conferences?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the US Congress on March 3, 2015.
‘Alliance Between Israel & US Must Always Remain Above Politics’
Latest News Stories
The Oval Office.

Pres. Barack Obama says Israel’s prime minister offered “no viable alternative” to the current deal with Iran. Here’s how it lines up.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the US Congress on March 3, 2015.

Dozens of Democrats gathered to spew a stream of venom before the cameras Tuesday at Israel’s prime minister after his speech to Congress.

Eli Beer on Ambucycle

Eli Beer stunned the 16,500 AIPAC conference participants by arriving on stage with lights and sirens blaring on an ambucycle, a specially equipped motorcycle ambulance designed by United Hatzalah to speed up emergency response times.

Americans have a more favorable view of Netanyahu than they do of Obama.

Israel’s PM Netanyahu was interrupted 40 times with standing ovations in his 40 minute historic speech to the US Congress on Tuesday. Transcript here.

The transcript of PM Netanyahu’s speech is available here. The speech begins at 6pm Israel Time / 11AM NY Time.

Former US Secy of State Hillary Clinton is found to have exclusively used private email while at State Dept.

Bottles of wine accompany the Pesach storytelling – each glass of wine represents the four expressions used by G-d in describing the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

“Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate…” to wipe out Israel, PM Netanyahu told Congress.

The Prime Minister showed AIPAC a map of Iranian-backed Hezbollah attacks in five different continents.

If Iran is serious, Netanyahu can skip his speech and tell the Air Force to rev up its engines.

Names and contact information of House Democrats who have confirmed attendance at Bibi’s speech.

The anti-Netanyahu crowd, in the spirit of topsy-turvy Purim, drummed up support for his speech.

Iran, like the Palestinian Authority, has one mindset. A deal is not peace. It is an evil piece of paper.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas is making sure PA children will go without milk and the parents forced to ration what little milk they have.

US President Barack Obama contends Israel is “safer today than ever before,” says give Iran talks a chance.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is threatening to kill the founder of Twitter and his employees because they are blocking tweets from Daesh, known also as ISIS.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
Hillary Clinton

Clinton derided perceptions that U.S.-Israel tensions had become tense under Obama.

“We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text.”

It’s not yet clear if Nemmouche was acting on orders and, if so, whether the orders came from ISIS.

“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.

The disagreements don’t seem to have gone away, despite a cease-fire that appears to be firmly in place.

“On the Hill and with some people with whom I have spoken who are robust Israel supporters, people are concerned if not angry,” one of the staffers, a Democrat, told JTA

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/why-will-this-years-aipac-conference-be-different-from-other-aipac-conferences/2013/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: