Today, the Associated Press reported that a pair of high-ranking White House officials will address the upcoming AIPAC Policy Conference. Matthew Lee writes:
In a bid to ease simmering tensions with Israel over a potential Iran nuclear deal and to make its case for one, the White House has decided against snubbing America’s leading pro-Israel lobby and wills end President Barack Obama’s national security adviser and U.N. ambassador to address its annual policy conference.
The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee announced Thursday that national security adviser Susan Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power will speak to its conference that begins this weekend.
As we’ve noted many times before, both officials have proven to be stalwart friends of Israel during their careers. Thanks to Ambassador Power’s leadership at the United Nations, the administration has maintained a 100% pro-Israel voting record. During her 2013 Senate confirmation hearing, Power stated:
The United States has no greater friend in the world than the State of Israel. Israel is a country with whom we share security interests and, even more fundamentally, with whom we share core values - the values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. America has a special relationship with Israel… Just as I have done the last four years as President Obama’s UN advisor at the White House, I will stand up for Israel and work tirelessly to defend it.
As National Security Advisory, Rice’s actions show her to be a staunch supporter of Israel. During last summer’s conflict in Gaza, Rice represented the administration at a national gathering of Jewish community leaders, where she made clear that the United States stands by and supports the Jewish state. Rice stated:
This Administration, from President Obama on down, has made it clear: Israel has the same, unequivocal right to self-defense as every other nation… All this is rooted in a very special friendship between the United States and Israel, stretching back from before Israel’s birth to today. And, for me, it’s rooted in powerful personal experience. I will never forget my very first visit to Israel. I was just 14, and I went with my younger brother and my beloved late father, who was then on the Board of Directors of Trans World Airlines. On that trip, we bowed our heads at Yad Vashem, floated in the Dead Sea, walked the lanes of the Old City, climbed Masada, and picked fruit at a kibbutz. I learned by heart the words of the Sh’ma.
And here’s something that has always stayed with me: to go on that first trip, I was privileged to take one of the very first flights from Cairo to Tel Aviv, just after Israel and Egypt had signed the Camp David Accords. That peace seemed impossible for so long - but it wasn’t. That peace, enduring to this day, reminds us that human conflict and human problems can be resolved by human courage.
Once again, President Obama and his administration deserve praise for demonstrating tht the relationship between the U.S. and Israel will never be in doubt. As Vice President Joe Biden stated last November, “Like all close friends, we talk honestly with one another. We talk directly with one another. We disagree with one another. We love one another, and we drive one another crazy. That’s what friends do. There is never a miss between the cup and the lip here. We are straight with one another.”
UPDATE: The National Security Council’s official Twitter account confirmed the attendence of Power and Rice, stating that they will be representing the White House because the “US-Israel relationship should be unquestionably strong.”