CMEP Bulletin: Laying Groundwork for Obama Visit

CMEP Bulletin: Laying Groundwork for Obama Visit

weekly Churches for Middle East Peace update

AIPAC in DC, Kerry and Abbas meet in Riyad

Every year, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) attracts supporters from around the United States to come to Washington for speeches, panels and a day of lobbying. For those of us not part of the annual conference, the high level speakers and the buzz surrounding the large event provide plenty of fodder for pundits to speculate on the state of U.S.-Israeli relations and the future of the peace process. This year much of the focus was on President Obama’s upcoming trip to Israel and the West Bank in the coming weeks.

The New York Times described this year’s AIPAC environment by reporting, “The thundering ovations, slickly produced videos and legions of lawmakers were the same as ever. But something was missing as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convened here this week for its annual conference: tension.”

While in previous years there has been tension between the U.S. administration and the Netanyahu government over the peace process and Iran, this year Vice President Joe Biden was dispatched to charm the crowd and emphasize the close relations between the administration and Israel ahead of the president’s visit. He told the crowd of 13,000 that “No president has done as much to physically secure the state of Israel as President Barack Obama.”

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