The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) recently announced President Obama will address this year’s Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., on March 4. President Obama is also scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will speak at the conference, the following day. Though the President has spoken at the conference previously, it is curious why he will be attending, as his past actions do not suggest strong support for Israel.
President Obama claims to support a healthy United States-Israel relationship, but his words and actions suggest otherwise. Obama famously snubbed Benjamin Netanyahu during his 2010 United States visit. Additionally, he and his administration allowed the United Nations to influence, and ultimately slash, the development of Israeli settlements. Furthermore, the President and his ilk have emboldened Israel’s enemies, namely Iran and Hamas in Gaza.
The President ignited a firestorm last year, suggesting Israel return to its pre-1967 borders.
“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states,” the President said in a United States-Israel relationship briefing before the 2011 conference.
Returning to pre-1967 borders is a move considered harmful to the country’s legitimacy. Moreover, this proposal was seen to make Israel’s borders indefensible and vulnerable to attack from Hamas, Hezbollah, and similar terror groups. When President Obama spoke at AIPAC last year, he reaffirmed, yet downplayed the comments about Israel returning to its pre-1967 borders. After the conference he faced immense backlash from Jewish voters and other pro-Israel activists.
Many Jewish voters have deflected from the Democratic Party since President Obama’s election in 2008. A recent Pew Research poll reveals that Jewish voters leaned Republican by 29 percent in 2011 compared to leaning Republican 20 percent in 2008, showing greater discontent for Obama and his party among Jewish voters following his disparaging remarks. Bob Turner’s (R-NY) victory in New York’s 9th congressional district, which boasts a large Jewish voting bloc and was vacated by disgraced congressman and Jew Anthony Weiner (D-NY), was seen as a referendum on Obama’s anti-Israel remarks and positions.
It’s not just the Jewish population that’s noticing President Obama’s Anti-Israel rhetoric and positions. When addressing Christians United for Israel’s (CUFI) Washington Summit last year, Pastor John Hagee voiced his agreement that the President is not a strong supporter of Israel by stating,“President Obama is not pro-Israel.”
As more leaders continue to voice their discontent over Obama’s handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict, voters should keep Obama’s anti-Israel position and statements in mind when they hear him address the AIPAC Policy Conference this March.
The question beckons: if Obama maintains hostile views on Israel, then why is he addressing the conference? Will he backtrack on his past remarks and call for a stronger United States-Israel relationship? Or will he suggest Israel make more concessions for peace when none are needed?
Observers will have to watch Obama’s AIPAC speech to determine if he is disingenuous. If Obama and the Democratic Party continue to trample the United States-Israel relationship, the Republican Party must step in to appeal to pro-Israel voters.