Netanyahu at AIPAC

President Obama had his chance to clarify his Thursday speech at AIPAC on Sunday; last night it was Netanyahu’s turn.
He gave a classy, straightforward speech. First, he expressed his sympathy for the residents of Joplin, Missouri, after the terrible destruction there. Then he thanked House Speaker John Boehner and Harry Reid, who has gone against the president’s new policy, and Senator Joe Lieberman for his continual support of Israel. Saying that U.S. support has been a tremendous help to Israel, the Israeli Prime Minister said that every president since Harry Truman has committed funds to Israel. He thanked America for its help and skipped over Obama.
A group of protesters who turned out to be members of Code Pink interrupted Netanyahu. The audience responded by clapping loudly and cheering. Netanyahu countered, “Do you think they have these protests in Gaza?” Shortly afterwards the protesters were removed.
Netanyahu went on to say that “The problems of the region are not rooted in Israel. Time to stop blaming Israel for all the regions’ problems.” That drew a sharp contrast with Obama’s references to the Palestinians’ right of return. He echoed President George W. Bush in countering that “one word – freedom – is the key to peace.” Then he bitch slapped Obama by insisting that Israel could not return to the pre 1967 borders. The audience leapt to their feet and gave him a standing ovation. Netanyahu called for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held in prison by the Palestinians for 5 years now.
It was not an offensive speech; AIPAC’s leader, Lee Rosenberg, is a former Obama advisor and fundraiser and Netanyahu was careful to be diplomatic.
Today, Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress at the invitation of Speaker Boehner. He promised to focus on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and his vision of peace for the future.

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