Fair Policy, Fair Discussion

March 19, 2010

AIPAC to Obama: “Halt public criticism of Israel”

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.



  1. If ever the term “arrogance of power” applies, it is to AIPAC. After 30 years of political blackmail and threats, the pro-Israel lobby is drunk with power. They think they can dictate to our President what the American people can or can’t hear! How dare they tell President Obama to keep the settlement dispute “out of the public eye.” I’m afraid Obama is now in AIPAC’s crosshairs.

    Comment by Tim Donovan — March 19, 2010 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

  2. it’s going to be interesting to see which pres. obama and sec. clinton show up at aipac..the ones who have the concerns of gen.petraeus and other generals along with 300 million americans in mind?.. or are they going to show up with the customary hat in hand?, once again declaring their ”unconditional” support for our close friends.

    Comment by carl of queens,ny — March 19, 2010 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  3. It’s very encouraging to see such organizations as CNI in the United States and B’tselem in Israel doing the good work that they do and to finally hear people speaking out publicly in opposition to the settlement movement.

    There are plenty of Israelis who are ashamed of the whole history of occupied land appropriation and I’ve no doubt most Americans would be outraged if they knew the situation in the West Bank and Gaza. It makes perfect sense that AIPAC would want to keep things off the radar since that has been so productive for the right wing agenda in the past. Netanyahu’s apology for the “timing” of the housing announcement was laughable. At last the Obama administration is giving signs it might actually DO something to change things.

    Anyone who has any sense of justice cannot be tolerant of the denial of justice to the Palestinians. Their daily oppression by Israel has driven that country into a corner diplomatically and made the United States look hypocritical by the support of behavior that has nothing to do with the principles this country is built on. To speak about standing with a country that acts to repudiate our own principles is an outrageous contradiction.

    CNI’s program Jerusalem Calling is a must for me each week. Through that outlet I’ve heard a wealth of intelligent conversation that has strengthened my opinion that Israelis are worthy of respect even as their government drives erstwhile friends away in revulsion at what is going on. It isn’t a matter of if the occupation will end, only of when. The sooner the better so that Israel can once again be known for its many admirable accomplishments instead of a shameless land grab that is a national embarrassment.

    I hope you will be organizing a lobbying effort against the continuation of the 40+ year occupation. Count me in.

    Comment by Clif Brown — March 20, 2010 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

  4. Of course Clinton will grovel before AIPAC–nothing new for her. Obama will also appear as conciliatory as possible. But that’s never good enough. The zionist lobby has consistently opposed any politician who disagreed or displeased it in the slightest way. I’m glad there are organizations like CNI, and commentators who courageously speak or write against current US policy and the lobby behind it. It’ll be a tough fight, but I’m confident we’ll oneday win out, big time. 🙂

    Comment by Tim Donovan — March 21, 2010 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  5. Oh, btw, I just saw an article in today’s Hartford Courant which was critical of guaranteed US aid to Israel. I emailed my thanks to the author and she emailed back to say she appreciates the support, since she tends to get hate mail for expressing such views. How do you like that–hate mail! Why not charge the pro-Israel bunch with “hate crimes?”

    Comment by Tim Donovan — March 21, 2010 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  6. So Hillary was frank in her speech to AIPAC after all. That’s fine, but the Administration will likely lose jewish support.

    Comment by Tim Donovan — March 22, 2010 @ 10:18 am | Reply

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