In a rare statement and at a time of sharp Republican criticism of President Obama's Israel record, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee thanked elected leaders including the president for "steadfast" support of Israel.
The decision by Temple Israel of Miami to cancel an invitation to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) to speak at Friday evening services appears to be in response to the objections and threats of an influential Republican congregant. This sideshow may have signaled the beginning of the 2012 political campaign within the Jewish community.
When our Brooklyn synagogue recently hosted two former State Department veterans, Elliot Abrams and Robert Malley, a few congregants and even a local merchant objected to our having invited Mr. Abrams, a known “war criminal.”
Similarly, when our synagogue hosted Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian academic, others claimed our pulpit now had “Jewish blood on its hands.” Another congregant asked, “How can you invite Malley? He and the president hate Jews.”
Judging by the volume and nature of some of the comments posted to my article on Rick Santorum in last week’s Jewish Week, I seem to have touched a raw nerve in some readers. I assume that to be the case because of the tone of some of the postings, which is, shall we say, dismissive of my point of view.
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.”
Sanctions and diplomacy have not stopped Iran's nuclear push, and Israel cannot wait much longer for these efforts to succeed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
"I appreciate President Obama's recent efforts to impose even tougher sanctions against Iran, and these sanctions are hurting Iran's economy, but unfortunately Iran's nuclear program continues to march forward," Netanyahu said in his address Monday evening to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference.
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.