As AIPAC’s annual public policy conference looms in an atmosphere of public tension between Israel and the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued a press release urging the Obama Administration to keep any criticism of Israel out of public eye.
After last week’s public relations disaster during Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel, AIPAC has thrust itself into the diplomatic fray between the Obama Administration and Israel’s Likud dominated Government. After heavy criticism from the US Vice President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the announced Israeli expansion into East Jerusalem, AIPAC is taking exception with the unusual reprimand directed towards the Netanyahu Administration.
AIPAC will be gathering in Washington this Sunday for their annual policy conference, where both Secretary Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu are scheduled to speak. In order to defuse any tension casting a cloud over the meeting, AIPAC issued its statement to ensure that US officials refrain from public criticism of Israel, regardless of state policy or action:
“The Obama Administration’s recent statements regarding the U.S. relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern. AIPAC calls on the Administration to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with the Jewish State…The Administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel, with whom the United States shares basic, fundamental, and strategic interests.”
The statement later implores the Administration to discuss and work out any disagreements behind closed doors, fearing a serious long-term rift unless differences can be smoothed over. Congressman Eric Cantor blamed the Obama Administration for ignoring recent ‘Palestinian provocations’ and stated that the recent outrage directed towards the announced East Jerusalem housing units was ‘irresponsible’.
Despite the official backlash against Israel’s provocative expansion, Prime Minister Netanyahu is attempting to maintain the facade of ‘business as usual’ by continuing the Israeli expansion into East Jerusalem. Israel’s Ambassador in Washington Michael Oren admitted to Israeli diplomats last Saturday that ties between Israel and the United States are at their lowest point in 35 years.