At AIPAC, assessing the Obama-Bibi standoff on the eve of Purim.
Editor And Publisher
Washington — The timing this week was hard to ignore. A do-or-die confrontation over Iran between two influential leaders, with the fate of the Jewish people at stake.
I’m not just referring to the Obama-Netanyahu showdown at the White House on when and whether to strike at Tehran’s nuclear sites, but to an encounter centuries ago between Queen Esther and King Ahasveros in ancient Persia — today’s Iran — and her plea that he reverse the wicked Haman’s death sentence for the Jewish population.
Just a day after Monday’s inconclusive U.S.-Israeli summit meeting aimed at forging a unified stance on Iran, the Islamic republic decided to open for inspection a secret military site believed key to its nuclear weapons program and the world powers agreed to restart talks with Iran aimed at ending that disputed program.
But the actions appeared to do little to salve those who fear Iran is determined to develop a nuclear bomb at all costs.
WASHINGTON —The United States will act against Iran if all efforts to end its suspected nuclear weapons program fail, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.
“Military action is the last alternative when all else fails,” he said Tuesday, the last day of the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “But make no mistake, if all else fails, we will act.”
Panetta’s pledge was the most explicit by an Obama administration official warning of military action.
On Tuesday, many of the 14,000 delegates to this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference — by far the largest attendance ever — fanned out across Capitol Hill, with more than 500 meetings planned with congressmen and the staffs of all 100 senators. Their message: the U.S. should close ranks with Israel and get tougher with Iran.
Israeli public’s feelings on Iran a stark contrast to Netanyahu’s security warnings at AIPAC.
Jerusalem — You would think, given the number of headlines devoted to a possible Israeli or American air strike on Iran in recent weeks, that Israelis would be storming their supermarkets, stocking up on bottled water and other essentials, as they did prior to the 1991 Gulf War.
Yet other than a run on milk and bread in Jerusalem in anticipation of last Friday’s short-lived snowstorm, most Israelis seem to be taking the threat of a strike on Iran, and the war that would likely result, more or less in stride.
All eyes were on Bibi Netanyahu yesterday as he delivered his AIPAC speech. At times he was disarming, at others bellicose, both emphasizing that Obama has Israel’s back, but that if need be, Israel would go it alone. “The purpose of the Jewish state is to secure the Jewish future,” he thundered. “That is why Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”
President Obama said it was still possible to resolve Iran's suspected bid for a nuclear weapon through diplomacy, but added that a military option was still on the table and that containment was not an option.
"I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy, backed by pressure, to succeed," Obama told the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference on Sunday in Washington.
At AIPAC conference, expect nukes talk on stage and behind closed doors.
Ron Kampeas JTA
Washington — There will be the speeches, and they will resound like an echo. And then there will be the talk.
When President Barack Obama speaks on March 4 to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the group the following day, expect many of the same catchphrases to carry over: A nuclear Iran is unacceptable. Israel and the United States stand together.
The war between Israel and Iran has already begun, if declarations of hostility and sabotage mean anything. The war is in a phase not unlike the Sitzkreig, or “phony war,” in late 1939 and early 1940, only insofar as there is, at least on the surface, more talking and jockeying for position than anything else, an almost eerie readying for an explosion that everyone was certain would happen, but had yet to ignite.
After New Delhi attack, concerns that the conflict could grow.
Ron Kampeas/ JTA
Washington — Iran and Israel appear to be locked in an assassination contest.
Israeli leaders blamed Iran for two assassination attempts late Sunday and early Monday — in Tbilisi, Georgia, and in New Delhi, India. The bomb in Tbilisi was disabled before it could be activated, and the attack in India wounded the wife of an Israeli diplomat and her driver.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.