Netanyahu, Obama, Iran? It's all kicking off at AIPAC

AIPAC's yearly conference is providing a platform for some of the biggest issues concerning Israel and the US

Happy families?
Emily Schrader
On 4 March 2012 14:12

“Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury.” – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

That’s just one teeny example of the kind of open-minded, peace-seeking rhetoric we’ve come to expect from Iran. For years now that oppressive theocracy has been threatening to wipe Israel off the map (and later the “Great Satan,” America), while simultaneously expanding their widely condemned nuclear program. Hmmm… what could that be for?

With mounting pressure on both Israel and the United States to stop Iran, it will be interesting to see what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres have to say to President Obama at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference (March 4-6) in Washington DC.

From the onset of Obama’s presidency there has been significant tension between Netanyahu and Obama due to Obama’s statements on settlements and his general approach to the Israeli government.

Last year at AIPAC Netanyahu served up a strong rebuke of Obama’s Middle East address in which he expressed support for the “67 lines.”

Netanyahu used his opportunity in Washington to explain to the American people (and the U.S. Congress) why the 1967 lines are indefensible and why settlements are not the obstacle to peace. In short, he essentially (but tactfully) explained why Obama is wrong.

But the issue this time around, for both countries, isn’t just the peace process – it’s a nuclear-armed Iran.

Thus far, Obama’s reaction to Iran’s nuclear program has been to send sternly worded letters, and to demonstrate through the UN and with the EU that he dislikes Iran’s nuclear program.

So it’s not surprising that people chuckled when this week Obama indicated he “means business” on Iran.

Obama does say some of the right things. But statements of the kind that “all options are on the table” for Iran don’t hold much water when his response to Iran shooting down a US spy drone was to ask politely for them to return it.

Or more to the point, when his response to radical Jihadists slaughtering American soldiers in Afghanistan because of an accidental Koran burning is “we’re sorry, Mr. Karzai” – while Americans continue to be attacked.

Or, how about his severe pressure on Israel not to attack Iran? It’s almost as if he’s under the impression that you can reason with people who care more about bringing about the 12th Imam than their own people starving. Well, you can’t.

The fact is that President Obama is weak and Iran knows it. That is why their response to Obama’s request to return the U.S. drone was to make pink toy drones and ship one to the White House.

As long as he is perceived this way, Iran is not going to back down – and Israel will be forced to step in. You can bet this is on Netanyahu’s mind as he meets with President Obama this weekend.

It is embarrassing that our President, the leader of the Free World, has to have some sense pounded into his head by our ally Israel.

But thank God for Israel existing to do so. 

The pro-Israel community waits with great anticipation to see what the next few days will mean for the future of the relationship between the two nations they love best – Israel and the United States.

Emily Schrader is a researcher for a pro-Israel education organisation and a blogger at

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