Obama at AIPAC

After Obama shocked many with his pro Palestinian speech Thursday, pundits were waiting to hear what the president would say this morning at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting.
As usual, he was late – about an hour late. I guess we’re all used to this by now. When he did come out, there were scattered boos and tepid applause. I’m always struck by the way he comes out. It makes me think of the strides guests would make coming around the curtain to greet Johnny Carson on a Tonight Show appearance.
Anyhow, he took his place at the podium and started his teleprompter speech where his head goes back and forth like someone watching a tennis match. With Obama, you also get that chin tilted upward which adds to his air of superiority.
He mentioned that friends were there from Chicago and thanked them (one wonders if they were there to seed applause and ovations). He said “I’ve made security of Israel a priority and I’ve imposed the toughest sanctions ever on Iran” (yes, I’s and me’s dotted the speech). Obama said he will keep up the pressure on Iran and that Israel’s existence is not debatable. He mentioned Netanyahu and that got the most applause of the speech.
Obama insisted that Israel would keep its military edge. As for his earlier speech, he said it was only saying publicly what has been discussed privately concerning Israel’s ceding of the Gaza Strip. Blogger Yourish.com, a Zionist, noted, “He’s explaining now saying that what ‘with mutually agreed swamps’ means is that the border will be different from the 1967 lines. He is pretty angry,” she observes. “The crowd is applauding and standing.”
When Obama said, “the status quo is unsustainable. That is why I stated publicly the principles that the United States believes can be the foundation” for peace talks, Yourish writes, “Dead silence. Let me repeat: Dead, sustained silence answered this statement,” by members of the audience.
I noticed awkward stumbling by Obama when he said “Even as we pledge to stand by Israel, with, uh, through, uh, uh. whatever tough days lie ahead, I hope we don’t give up on that vision of peace.” Didn’t sound like he was happy to say that.
He ended with a quote from the Talmud and a grudging “God bless Israel and God bless the United States.”
I get the feeling that this was a speech best understood by being in the audience. The media reaction doesn’t seem to meet what many of us saw.
By contrast, tomorrow’s speech by Netanyahu to AIPAC should shed some light on the true state of affairs, rather than a CYA maneuver.

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