AIPAC President Lee Rosenberg has sent an e-mail to delegates not to boo President Barack Obama during his speech to the AIPAC annual policy conference on Sunday. "We ask that you act and react to every speech, address, and briefing, that will be offered as part of the conference program in only the most positive manner," Rosenberg wrote.
Rosenberg's e-mail is clearly targeted at responses to Obama's speech, as there is no concern that the AIPAC delegates will heckle Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or other Israeli speakers.
While top US administration officials (usually the president or vice president) always reiterate the US's commitment to Israel's security, calls for talks with the Palestinians, or to show flexibility, are liable to inflame some delegates. Whistles and boos, or alternatively a thunderous silence or weak handclapping, have been heard in past appearances.
AIPAC's leadership wants to avoid such spontaneous protests during Obama's speech, especially now, when no one knows what his message will be. As far as AIPAC is concerned booing the President would be a public relations disaster.
"Politico" blogger Ben Smith provided the text of Rosenberg's email, entitled "Welcoming Guests Into our Home".
Rosenberg wrote, "The goal of the conference, as always, is to have every speaker, honored guest, member of Congress, Senator, and administration official who joins us feel that we have done everything we can to extend our hand in friendship. They must walk away from the conference knowing that we look forward to working together, with them, to make America and Israel stronger. Each speech and appearance at the conference is an important opportunity for us to accomplish that critical goal…
"Therefore, how we conduct ourselves during the conference, individually and collectively, is a matter of great importance. Because we know that you - Democrats, Republicans, and Independentscome to this conference with one overriding concern - a stronger US-Israel alliancewe ask that you act and react to every speech, address, and briefing, that will be offered as part of the conference program in only the most positive manner."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 19, 2011
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