Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: In Washington, everyone loves Benjamin Netanyahu

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

In Washington, everyone loves Benjamin Netanyahu

Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner listen as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the Capitol March 6, 2012. | Reuters

In the FourSquare of American politics, Netanyahu is the mayor of Washington this week. | AP Photo

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an “old friend,” Mitt Romney told folks at the American Israel Public Affairs Conference in Washington Tuesday.

Rep. Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, edged in close enough at a Capitol press conference to be photographed with Netanyahu.

And Sen. Mark Kirk, who recently suffered a stroke, put out a press release and video to mark Netanyahu’s wish that the Illinois Republican would recover quickly. Kirk isn’t Jewish, but a lot of folks in his old Chicago-area House district are.

In the FourSquare of American politics, Bibi Netanyahu is the mayor of Washington this week….. READ MORE

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can’t agree on much, but they joined arms to embrace Netanyahu for a private lunch meeting with Berman and other lawmakers who have a hand in foreign policy.

And both leaders sent out transcripts of their remarks at the joint press conference.

“Now is the time to stand together,” Boehner said. “We are here today to tell the prime minister that Congress intends to do so.”

Netanyahu tried to return some of the congressional love during his press conference on Tuesday in the Capitol.

“I don’t think there is a place anywhere else on earth where we can match the clarity, courage and wisdom than … the halls of this institution,” Netanyahu said. “I go back to Israel feeling we have great friends in Washington.”

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Congressional Impact AIPAC Activists to Press for Tough Iran Sanctions, Aid to Israel

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Congressional Impact AIPAC Activists to Press for Tough Iran Sanctions, Aid to Israel

Source: AIPAC, 3-6-12

In a resounding show of support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, thousands of AIPAC activists from all 50 states will ascend Capitol Hill today to conduct more than 500 lobbying meetings with members of Congress and their staff.

At the top of the agenda will be stopping Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. AIPAC activists will encourage their representatives to support resolutions in the House and Senate (H. Res. 568 and S. Res. 380) affirming that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and opposing any reliance on a policy seeking to contain a nuclear-capable Iran.

The Senate resolution is being led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Robert Casey (D-PA). The House resolution was introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA).

Similarly, delegates will urge senators to support the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012 (S. 2101), which would escalate the level of sanctions against the regime’s human rights violators and sharply tighten the enforcement of existing sanctions law. The measure was introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL).

AIPAC activists will also urge lawmakers to support the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which House and Senate members plan to introduce in the coming days. The legislation is expected to recommend several ways to strengthen U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation in such fields as missile defense, homeland security, energy, intelligence and cyber-security.

The House version of the bill is being led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), while the Senate legislation is being spearheaded by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

Finally, the AIPAC citizen-lobbyists will be asking their representatives to support $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel as part of the fiscal year 2013 budget. The aid request reflects the fifth year of the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel, signed in 2007 and beginning in 2009, which called for a gradual increase in U.S. security assistance to the Jewish state in order to meet growing regional threats.

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