President Barack Obama is sending National Security Advisor Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power–widely seen as among the most anti-Israel members of his administration–to address a prominent pro-Israel gathering next week. The move is described by the Associated Press as an effort to mend fences after the administration had withheld speakers from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference. In reality, it is a further slap in the face.
Rice caused an uproar earlier this week when she told interviewer Charlie Rose that the forthcoming speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a special joint session of Congress was “destructive” to the U.S.-Israel relationship and to bipartisan support for Israel. Power is controversial because of her earlier view that the U.S. should send troops to impose peace between Israelis and Palestinians–a view she recanted as she campaigned for the United Nations position.
President Obama addressed the gathering in 2012, but no major administration officials addressed the 2013 gathering, as tensions rose with the Netanyahu government over the terms of a potential nuclear agreement with Iran. In 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the AIPAC conference in the midst of a public dispute with Netanyahu over housing in Jerusalem. Some conference attendees chose to skip her speech rather than raise a protest inside the forum.
AIPAC has spent the past 20 years warning Congress of Iran’s ambitions to become a nuclear power and to export terrorism throughout the region. It supports bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to restore and expand sanctions on Iran in the event that nuclear talks fail. President Obama has promised to veto the bill–but it may have a veto-proof majority. Netanyahu will also be speaking to the AIPAC conference.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
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