Amid row over Israel and Iran, White House sidestepping AIPAC summit

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February 21, 2015 21:34
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WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State John Kerry are all expected to skip this year's summit of the the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The policy conference, held from March 1-3, has received all three figures in the past. But this year's event comes amidst a polarizing moment: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the group, as well as a joint session of Congress during the same visit, over his concerns with diplomatic efforts with Iran over its nuclear program.

AIPAC supports Netanyahu's position on Iran, where he stands in opposition to Obama and his quest for a comprehensive nuclear accord on America's terms. Obama says world powers have presented Tehran with a proposal that would grant Iran peaceful nuclear power and, eventually, a broader role in the community of nations.

Netanyahu says such a deal will embolden a violent regime, endangering Israel's very existence. He, alongside AIPAC, will lobby against its passage in March.

The White House has not officially announced participation, or lack thereof, in the conference; The administration may still send an assistant-level figure to speak, or else a less visible cabinet-level official, such as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew or Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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