Israel Political Brief March 4, 2012: Liz Cheney & Jane Harman sparring over President Obama at AIPAC



AIPAC confab starts with sparring over Obama

Source: JTA, 3-4-12

Former Republican and Democratic officials sparred at the AIPAC policy conference over President Obama’s commitment to protecting Israel.

Liz Cheney, a deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs in the George W. Bush administration, and Jane Harman, a former congresswoman from California who for years was the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, during a panel Sunday on the Middle East that opened the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington kept circling back to the threat of Iran and sparred over whether Obama would stand by Israel as tensions with Iran intensified.

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said “everyone in the room understands” that Obama has made statements “more focused on containing Israeli actions than they have been on containing Iran.” Harman countered that “this administration has done more than any in history to help Israel protect itself,” citing unprecedented levels of defense assistance and close cooperation on missile defense.

She noted an interview in The Atlantic last week with Obama in which the president said he “had Israel’s back” and emphasized that he was not bluffing about a possible military option with Iran.

Harman also delivered subtle digs at the administration that Cheney served, saying the wars it started in Iraq and Afghanistan left the region “unsettled” and had “cost dearly in treasure and lives.” She noted the pro-Iranian tilt of the current Iraq, calling it “very troubling.”

Cheney concluded her remarks, “There is no president who has done more to delegitimize and destabilize the State of Israel in recent history than President Obama.”

Harman shot back that it was a “grave mistake” to “turn support of Israel into a political football.”…READ MORE

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