AIPAC on the Run?
| Thu May 7, 2009 9:02 AM EDT
Change in Washington? How about AIPAC, the pro-Israel super-lobby, losing its stranglehold on Congress and the White House? The Forward reports:
"You're not going to like my saying this," Vice President Joe Biden told 6,000 delegates from the podium of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference - a spot that politicians usually vie over vigorously for the privilege of telling the crowd what they want to hear.
But Biden, after sending up his rhetorical warning, used his May 5 keynote speech to the pro-Israel lobby to convey the Obama administration's insistence on a number of policies directly conflicting with those of the new government in Israel - and some policies held by previous Israeli governments, too.
Other speakers, such as Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, underlined Biden's points on the need for Israel to stop expanding settlements in the West Bank and accept the necessity of a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And when they went to lobby on Capitol Hill, AIPAC delegates even found some stalwart supporters in Congress holding back on one of their key legislative initiatives - a full-court press to impose new sanctions on Iran to accompany the Obama administration's drive to engage Tehran diplomatically.What's next? Obama pushing Israel to acknowledge it has nuclear weapons and to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty? Maybe not. But the dynamic between Washington and AIPAC is shifting, and Bibi Netanyanhu ought to take note.