Before loading the buses en route to Capitol Hill, Aipac delegates got a dose of reality with Vice President Biden reminding the pro-Israel activists just what it is the administration believes in.
Biden, it turns out, doesn’t necessarily buy into the Peres–Netanyahu doctrine of moving forward with the peace process without mentioning the term “Palestinian state.” Speaking on the last day of the Aipac policy conference, Biden actually used the term “two-state solution” and went on to say: “You’re not going to like my saying this, but [do] not build more settlements.”
This message is coming not only from the administration. Senator John Kerry, speaking in advance of Biden’s address, made a similar point: “Settlements make it difficult for Israel to protect its own citizens,” said the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
But while differences might exist with the administration, one thing is clear: The Israelis felt perfectly at home. President Shimon Peres told the Israeli press that the atmosphere was so warm that “even all the refrigerators in the world could not chill it.”
Maybe it sounds better in Hebrew.
To watch video from the Aipac conference, or to read transcripts of the addresses given there, click here.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Aipac Forum, Day 3: Your Refrigerators Are No Good Here