News / USA

Iran, Israel and Palestinians To Top AIPAC Convention

Meredith Buel
Iran’s nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are expected to top the agenda when the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC holds its annual convention beginning Sunday in Washington.  The convention convenes as U.S. President Barack Obama prepares for a visit to the Middle East - including his first trip to Israel as president.

Every year, thousands of Jewish Americans arrive in Washington for the annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee - or AIPAC.

The group is the most influential pro-Israel lobbying organization in the U.S.

Ori Nir is spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, which promotes a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

“This gathering always sends a message that, as far as I am concerned, is a very positive message, that the American public stands with Israel, that Israel has major support here in the United States,” Nir said.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is to address the convention along with many members of Congress.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to appear via satellite.

Once again, concern over Iran’s nuclear program is expected to top the agenda.

President Barack Obama addressed the convention last year.

“No Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel’s destruction,” Obama said.

The AIPAC gathering comes just a few weeks before President Obama travels to the Middle East, where Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops are clashing again.

Some analysts say this ongoing conflict is why Israel and the Palestinians should be brought back to the bargaining table.

“You now have a complicated situation in the region, in the Arab Spring and the uprisings. It is a reason to move faster, not to ignore it,” said Daniel Kurtzer of Princeton University.

At the start of his first term, President Obama made Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking a top priority.

But talks stalled over Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Now Obama may try again.

“But I think if he could connect with, not just the Israeli public but also the Palestinian public, and find a way to say I still care about this issue,” said David Makovsky, an analyst at the Washington Institute.

Direct involvement of the President would bring hope.

“We hope that it does signal a seriousness of intent in terms of re-engaging in a positive and constructive way," said Hanan Ashrawi, a major figure in the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The civil war in Syria will be another important topic when President Obama visits the volatile Middle East.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs