US President Barack Obama is sending National Security Advisor Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power to address the AIPAC convention next week.
The two are “widely seen as among the most anti-Israel members” of Obama's administration, according to Breitbart.com, which says the decision to send them is “a further slap in the face” by Obama.
Rice caused a stir earlier this week when she told interviewer Charlie Rose that the decision by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address a special joint session of Congress – after being invited by republican House Speaker John Boehner – was “destructive” to the fabric of US-Israel relations.
Power said, in 2002, that the US should send troops to impose peace between Israelis and Palestinians – although she later took back this statement.
President Obama addressed the AIPAC in 2012, but no high level administration officials addressed the 2013 conference. Breitbart notes that in 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the AIPAC conference in the midst of a heated dispute with Israel over housing in Ramat Shlomo, in northern Jerusalem. Some conference attendees chose not to attend her speech.
AIPAC supports bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to expand sanctions against Iran if that nuclear talks fail. Obama has promised to veto this bill – but it may prove to have a veto-proof majority. Netanyahu will also be speaking to the AIPAC conference, and his address to Congress is likely intended to create this veto-proof majority.