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AIPAC Conference Begins Softly

A new president, a hard push for hard sanctions

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The opening plenary yesterday.(Courtesy AIPAC)

This year’s annual AIPAC Policy Conference, which kicked off yesterday in Washington, D.C., promises to be one of the most watched and important ones ever. Not only does it have the highest attendance (more than 7500 people will attend), but it follows upon probably the greatest crisis in U.S.-Israel relations—the very thing AIPAC is dedicated to cultivating—in over three decades. Because it’s so important, and because it lies squarely within what we hope is our wheelhouse—Israel’s impact on U.S. politics—we will have plenty of coverage of the goings-on here at The Scroll, including dispatches from Senior Writer Allison Hoffman, who is there. And we will have even more coverage of it on our Twitter.

For now, here’s what people have been saying about the conference, and what happened on the first day.

• Secretary of State Clinton reassured the crowd that the administration has a “rock solid” commitment to Israel and its security. She also noted, “It is our responsibility to give credit when it is due and to tell the truth when it is needed.” [AP/WP]

• In his remarks, new AIPAC President Lee Rosenberg declared, “allies should work out their differences privately.” [Capital J]

• A profile of “Rosy,” the new president, who made his bones in the jazz recording industry and was a major Obama campaign fundraiser. [Arutz Sheva]

• The opening ceremonies featured zero mention of the recent spat, instead focusing on celebrating Israeli technological innovation and highlighting the Iranian threat. Hoffman emails in to report that “the images were all about friendship,” with pictures of Obama with Prime Minister Netanyahu and with President Shimon Peres. [Forward]

• AIPAC will lobby Congress for “crippling sanctions” targeting Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (which the administration doesn’t necessarily want). [Ben Smith]

• Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, was eagerly making the rounds. [Capital J]

• A panel dicussed the proximity talks and the promise of future direct negotations. [Capital J]

• Jeffrey Goldberg accuses AIPAC of “presenting an oversimplified vision of the Middle East.” [Atlantic.com]

Below: Rosenberg speaks.

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fred lapides says:

The crisis between US and Israel is not going to vanish that quickly, despite the recent publilc Make Nice talks….Bibi now on record as saying no halt to settlements. How will Obama respond? Obama thought by some to be a ushover demonstrated with victory on health care bill that he can be direct, strong, and unafraid.

grant says:

we are watching with rapt attention.

we shall see who is who and what is what, perhaps.

Obama has shown that he will beat-up on Israel and Jews in order to show his “objectivity” in Middle East negotiations and to show that he is a friend of Muslim states.

And his “victory” in health care has shown that despite talking “bi-partisan” he is only interested in the bi-partisan agreement with his agenda. So too will it be with negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians; what Obama wants is what Obama will attempt to get – unless he is thwarted by forces he can not control or manipulate.

Darla Dyer says:

You are right Eli. Obama is no friend to Israel, nor is H.Clinton or Biden. Obama is Muslim and he will always be sensitive to their causes. He is also a socialist and desires for total government control of the masses. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not done any research of their own on him and is only listening to the liberal media hype. Most of all, do your research on the people he surrounds himself with. You only hire those types of people if that’s the way you are yourself. Not looking good for this country!!!

Oh dear. Right wing talking points. Obama is NOT a Muslim. He is a Christian. So is Michelle, and her first cousin is a RABBI (and a friend of mine). Name-calling isn’t helpful– Obama is not a socialist or a fascist or a communist, and by the way, there is no such thing as the liberal media. Stop getting all your information from Fox News and start looking at what’s really happening out there. Obama will not do anything to harm Israel. Now, is he a hawk? No, I don’t think he is. But neither are many of us– Americans are of all types– hawks, doves, and in between. But I doubt that Obama would agree to help any Muslim countries unless they agreed to recognize Israel and stop all incitement. (This is different from George W. Bush, who had many friends who were Saudi and even though the Saudis put out all the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel literature used in mosques all over the world, you NEVER heard him criticize Saudi Arabia.)

I also think the extreme hardliners in Israel are doing nobody any favors, and it’s time for less insults and more dialogue. But perhaps you think only threats and tough talk are what works?

Karen Tucker says:

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Devorah. Thank you. I wonder if Darla realizes that she sounds exactly like so many gullible listeners who believe everything spouted by Fox News and the likes of Rush Limbaugh. Maybe she should do her own research as she exhorts others to do; in her short paragraph, she repeats a number of falsehoods bandied about by the far right, as Devorah points out.

Devorah and Karen, yes, Obama is a Christian, one who spent 20 years with a Christian Pastor Jeremiah Wright who certainly hates Israel and Jews (and has said so many times).

Has this rubbed off on Obama? Let us see his actions; though what we have seen from his administration is indicative. So, I repeat,

Obama has shown that he will beat-up on Israel and Jews in order to show his “objectivity” in Middle East negotiations and to show that he is a friend of Muslim states. And this gives me concern about negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians which Obama and his administration “supervise” and the ways they will put pressure on Israel.

craig says:

“But I doubt that Obama would agree to help any Muslim countries unless they agreed to recognize Israel and stop all incitement.”
What mid east country has changed its text books to be not negative to Israel, and agreed to recognize Israel since Obama took office? Surely we are helping Muslim countries.

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AIPAC Conference Begins Softly

A new president, a hard push for hard sanctions

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