AIPAC conferences

AIPAC holds an annual conference in Washington, D.C. each year, normally in March.

Here are some articles describing what happens at those conferences.


Hillary Clinton’s AIPAC Speech Was a Symphony of Craven, Delusional Pandering
Clinton had an opportunity to show some political courage.
She decided to alienate the left instead.
By Michelle Goldberg
Slate, 2016-03-21

Any presidential candidate speaking to AIPAC,
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,
during an election year is going to bow to the hawkish elements of the Israel lobby.
[And just why is that?
It seems to me that proves the omnipotence of the Israel lobby.]

Hillary Clinton’s keynote speech at AIPAC’s annual meeting Monday, however,
was more debased than it needed to be,
promising that under her administration,
Israel will be spared even the mild rebukes it has suffered under President Obama.
A symphony of pandering,
it attempted to outflank Donald Trump on the right
and will end up outraging a large chunk of the left.

[It is not clear to me why support for Israel is associated with the right, etc.
Consider a historical example.
President Eisenhower [34] forced Israel to undo its conquest of the Sinai Peninsula in 1956.
Was President Eisenhower not a conservative?]

As Joe Biden acknowledged in his AIPAC speech on Sunday, Israel’s “steady and systematic process of expanding settlements, legalizing outposts, seizing land” is making a two-state solution impossible. The settlements are pushing Israel toward a one-state reality, in which Jews rule over the Arabs with whom they are geographically intermingled. Clinton’s speech, however, barely nodded toward this reality, and when it did, it was with a promise to protect Israel from the consequences of flouting international law.

Here is the entirety of Clinton’s remarks about settlements: “Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements. Now, America has an important role to play in supporting peace efforts. And as president, I would continue the pursuit of direct negotiations. And let me be clear—I would vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the U.N. Security Council.”

She spent significantly more time railing against the “alarming” Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which is gaining traction on college campuses nationwide. Pledging to “take our alliance to the next level,” Clinton said that one of the first things she’d do in office is invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House. That was a barely veiled rebuke to Obama, who never treated Benjamin Netanyahu with the deference the prime minister felt entitled to. Before the speech, some had hoped that Clinton might offer a word of solidarity or encouragement to beleaguered progressives in Israel. She gave them nothing.

It’s understandable that Clinton would want to widen the gulf between AIPAC and Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee. “We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything is negotiable,” she said to applause, out-hawking the man who is running on a platform of Middle Eastern war crimes. In doing so, she offered a bridge to #NeverTrump neoconservatives like Max Boot and Robert Kagan, who has already written that, should Trump be the nominee, “the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be.”


This year of all years, Clinton could have afforded to show a bit of courage before AIPAC. Jews will vote Democratic no matter what. Sixty-nine percent of them voted for Obama in 2012, despite the well-known tension between him and Netanyahu. Unlike Obama, Clinton is going to be running against a demagogue with German roots who plays footsie with white supremacists and reportedly kept a volume of Hitler’s speeches beside his bed. She’ll have all the Jewish support she needs without sucking up to the Likud.

So why is she doing it? Her correspondence with adviser Sid Blumenthal—a man loathed by the Israel lobby for not disavowing his anti-Zionist son, Max—suggests that she’s aware of the damage Netanyahu is doing to the cause of peace in the Middle East. But if she is, she doesn’t care about it enough to take even a tiny political risk, to tell a crowd something other than exactly what it wants to hear. Either Clinton’s AIPAC speech was driven by belief, or it was driven by cynicism. It’s hard to say which is worse.

In Speech to Aipac, Donald Trump Affirms Support for Israel
GOP front-runner uses address to try to allay doubts about his support for Jewish state
By Janet Hook And Rebecca Ballhaus
Wall Street Journal, 2016-03-21


The New York businessman used his address—
drafted by his Jewish son-in-law
[i.e., Jared Kushner]
to try to allay doubts about his support for Israel
and about his mastery of foreign policy...

Donald Trump Calls Himself ‘Lifelong Supporter’ of Israel
By Alan Rappeport
New York Times, 2016-03-22

Donald J. Trump expressed his solidarity with Israel in passionate terms on Monday, promising a gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that as president he would always stand up for it against its enemies in the Middle East.

The Republican presidential candidate, who has been criticized for saying that he would like to remain neutral in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, made clear in no uncertain terms that Israel had his unbridled support. He assailed the United Nations and the Obama administration for failing to side with Israel and promised to take a hard line against Iran.

“I speak to you today as a lifelong supporter and true friend of Israel,” Mr. Trump said.

Drawing several rounds of standing ovations, Mr. Trump thundered against the Iran nuclear deal and made clear that he was not, in fact, on the fence when it came to brokering a deal with Israel and the Palestinians.

“The Palestinians must come to the table, knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely and totally unbreakable,” Mr. Trump said. “They must come to the table willing and able to stop the terror being committed on a daily basis against Israel.”


The Pander Bears
by Patrick Lang
Sic Semper Tyrannis (his blog), 2016-03-22