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Omnibus: Trump grovels to AIPAC, abandons Neutrality on Israel, from Peter Myers | ODS

(1) Hillary criticizes Trump's neutral stance on Israel
(2) Trump grovels to AIPAC, abandons Neutrality on Israel
(3) Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Vow to Protect Israel but Differ on Means
(4) Trump reads from prepared speech at AIPAC; Sanders did not attend
(5) Trump no longer 'neutral' on Israel

(1) Hillary criticizes Trump's neutral stance on Israel

  Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:55pm EDT

Clinton criticizes Trump's neutral stance on Israel peace efforts

WASHINGTON | By Steve Holland and Emily Flitter

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the
American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Conference's morning
general session at the Verizon Center in Washington March 21, 2016.
Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton attacked Republican
Donald Trump on Monday for taking a neutral stance toward
Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, in a preview of a possible general
election battle between them.

On a day Trump was visiting Washington, Clinton told the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference that Trump would undermine
Israel's security by taking an evenhanded approach to negotiations
between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"America can't ever be neutral when it comes to Israel's security and
survival," Clinton told the pro-Israel lobbying group, without
mentioning Trump by name. "Anyone who doesn’t understand that has no
business being our president."

Trump, the Republican front-runner, was to address the AIPAC conference
later in the day, along with his Republican rivals, U.S. Senator Ted
Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Clinton's Democratic
challenger, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, was not appearing at
the event.

The former reality TV star, who has struggled to win Republican
establishment support, held private talks with a group of Republican
lawmakers. In a separate session with the Washington Post editorial
board, Trump named some members of his foreign policy team.

The team included Walid Phares, who Trump called a counterterrorism
expert, George Papadopoulos, an oil and energy consultant, and Joe
Schmitz, a former inspector general at the Department of Defense.

Trump has drawn fire for his position on Middle East peace negotiations.
The New York billionaire has described himself as extremely pro-Israel
but has said he would take a "neutral" stance in trying to negotiate an
elusive peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump's critics have said he could harm long-standing U.S. support for
Israel. Clinton said she would make it a priority if elected to preserve
the U.S.-Israeli relationship, ensuring Israel has a qualitative
military edge.

"We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday,
pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who-knows-what on Wednesday because
everything’s negotiable," she said.

Clinton, a former secretary of state, also took aim at Trump's vow that,
if elected, he would deport illegal immigrants and bar Muslims
temporarily from entering the United States.

She noted an incident during the 1930s, when the United States initially
refused entry to a shipload of Jews trying to escape Nazi tyranny.

"We've had dark chapters in our history before," Clinton said. "We
remember the nearly 1,000 Jews aboard the St. Louis who were refused
entry in 1939 and sent back to Europe. But America should be better than
this. And I believe it is our responsibility to say so.

"If you see bigotry, oppose it, if you see violence, condemn it, if you
see a bully, stand up to him," she said.

Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the New
York-based organization representing roughly 1.5 million American Jews,
praised Clinton for her command of the issues. He said he hoped Trump
had prepared a speech that revealed specific policy goals as well as a
coherent philosophy of the U.S. role in the Middle East.

"It's as complex as neurosurgery," he said. "I will be listening very
carefully to what he says and what he doesn't say. Can he put forward a
very clear set of commitments that will help us understand him?"

Trump was in Washington for closed-door talks with a variety of
Republicans organized by his top backer in the capital, U.S. Senator
Jeff Sessions of Alabama. It represented his most overt bid yet to seek
party unity at a time when many establishment Republicans bitterly
oppose him.

The meeting, at the law offices of Jones Day, included some Republican
lawmakers who have backed him, such as U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers
of North Carolina. None of the congressional Republican leadership
attended. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attended.

"Donald Trump Is being discounted by the elites as a candidate for
office, just like I was in 2010," Ellmers said in a statement.

Trump also planned a news conference at the hotel he is building at the
Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Trump's rise has alarmed establishment Republicans who have tried in
vain to stop him. Their best hope of derailing his insurgent candidacy
is to stretch the contest out and deny him the 1,237 delegates needed to
formally win the party's presidential nomination.

Trump has 678 delegates to 423 for Cruz and 143 for Kasich, according to
the Associated Press.

If Trump does not win the 1,237 delegates, the nominee for the Nov. 8
election would be decided at the party's convention in Cleveland.
Despite the possibility of turmoil at the July 18-21 event, Republican
Party Committee Chairman Reince Preibus predicted a "fun" convention.

Priebus, on CNN, shrugged off Trump's comment last week that riots would
break out if he is denied the nomination.

"It'll be fine, and I guarantee you we'll have a good time, and it'll be
a fun convention in Cleveland," Priebus said.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Mohammed Zargham, Susan Cornwell,
David Morgan and Emily Stephenson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

(2) Trump grovels to AIPAC, abandons Neutrality on Israel

Trump’s Five Most Important Declarations At AIPAC Speech

by Aaron Klein21 Mar 2016773

TEL AVIV – Here are the five most important aspects of Donald Trump’s
speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, on Monday.

1 – Trump said he will "dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran."

     My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with
Iran. I have been in business a long time. I know deal-making and let me
tell you, this deal is catastrophic – for America, for Israel, and for
the whole Middle East.

However, he stopped short of pledging to immediately nix the
international nuclear accord signed in Vienna last year. He stated at
AIPAC that "at the very least, we must hold Iran accountable by
restructuring the terms of the previous deal."

Channelling the sentiments of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump
said Iran should suffer immediate consequences for likely violating U.N.
Security Council resolution 2231 by conducting a series of ballistic
missile tests in recent days. Netanyahu last week called for Western
powers to take "immediate punitive steps" against Iran for the missile

Trump stated:

     The deal is silent on test missiles but those tests DO violate UN
Security Council Resolutions. The problem is, no one has done anything
about it. Which brings me to my next point – the utter weakness and
incompetence of the United Nations.

2 – Trump declared he will check Iran’s growing regional dominance.

The GOP frontrunner affirmed that as president he will "stand up to
Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region."

He outlined Iran’s support for terrorism worldwide, from Syria to the
Gaza Strip to Lebanon and beyond. "They’ve got terror cells everywhere,
including in the western hemisphere very close to home," he said. "Iran
is the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world and we will work to
dismantle that reach."

This policy of countering Iran’s regional influence stands in stark
contrast to President Obama’s own coddling of Iran, and the president’s
orientation away from America’s traditional Sunni Arab allies.

3 – Trump said he opposes the United Nations unilaterally declaring a
Palestinian state.

     An agreement imposed by the UN would be a total and complete
disaster. The United States must oppose this resolution and use the
power of our veto. Why? Because that’s not how you make a deal.

     Deals are made when parties come to the table and negotiate. Each
side must give up something it values in exchange for something it
requires. A deal that imposes conditions on Israel and the Palestinian
Authority will do nothing to bring peace. It will only further
delegitimize Israel and it would reward Palestinian terrorism, because
every day they are stabbing Israelis – and even Americans.

He further threatened to veto "any attempt by the UN to impose its will
on the Jewish state."

4 – Trump vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

     We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the
Jewish people, Jerusalem – and we will send a clear signal that there is
no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.

5 – Trump will treat Israel like an ally and not a "second-class citizen."

     When I become President, the days of treating Israel like a
second-class citizen will end on Day One. I will meet with Prime
Minister Netanyahu immediately. I have known him for many years and we
will be able to work closely together to help bring stability and peace
to Israel and to the entire region.

While this declaration may sound simplistic, it comes after seven years
of Obama espousing policies some have argued are hostile to the Jewish
state. And it comes on the heels of a turbulent relationship between
Obama and Netanyahu, including a notorious May 2010 White House meeting
in which Obama reportedly snubbed Netanyahu for dinner with Michelle and
his daughters.  Also, the Obama administration faced accusations it
encouraged the activism of nongovernmental organizations working to
defeat Netanyahu in the 2015 elections in Israel.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior
investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and
hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, "Aaron Klein Investigative
Radio." Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

(3) Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Vow to Protect Israel but Differ on Means


WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump on Monday presented
sharply different views on how the United States should deal with the
Middle East and its relationship with Israel, previewing for an
influential pro-Israel audience a debate on foreign policy that could
play out this fall if they face each other in the general election.

Mrs. Clinton promised she would stand unwaveringly with Israel while
accusing her potential Republican rival, Mr. Trump, of being an
unreliable partner for one of America’s closest allies. "We need steady
hands," she said, "not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday,
pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who-knows-what on Wednesday."

Speaking to the same audience hours later, Mr. Trump swore his fealty to
Israel and condemned President Obama’s policies. But Mr. Trump, who
describes himself as a "master counterpuncher," declined to answer Mrs.
Clinton’s criticisms, offering a standard appeal to a pro-Israel
audience. "When I become president," he said, "the days of treating
Israel like a second-class citizen will end on Day 1."

Mr. Trump’s remarks, which came after he had sent a series of
conflicting signals about Israel on the campaign trail in recent weeks,
drew less sustained applause than Mrs. Clinton’s from the crowd of
18,000 people assembled by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,
the nation’s most influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

The competing speeches not only made for rich political theater, but
they also vaulted the presidential campaign into a new phase, in which
Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton seemed to be turning from their primary
battles to the general election. And they thrust America’s complicated
relationship with Israel to the forefront of the campaign.

Mrs. Clinton, the former secretary of state and the Democratic
front-runner, wasted no time taking aim at Mr. Trump for declaring
recently that he would be "neutral" when it came to negotiating a peace
accord between the Israelis and Palestinians. While Mr. Trump’s remark
did not stray far from traditional American policy, his blunt language
rattled some in Israel, who worry that it might portend a less
supportive United States.

"America can’t ever be neutral when it comes to Israel’s security and
survival," Mrs. Clinton declared. "My friends, Israel’s security is

Mrs. Clinton offered a thunderous affirmation of American solidarity
with Israel, with promises to buttress Israel’s military, combat
anti-Semitism, press Iran to abide by its nuclear agreement with the
West, crack down on Iranian proxies like Hezbollah and thwart efforts to
boycott Israeli products.

"We must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and impugn Israel and
the Jewish people," she said.

Mrs. Clinton also played up her credentials to be commander in chief and
accused the Republican candidates of lacking either the experience or
the will to extend American leadership in the Middle East. "We have to
get this right," she said.

Mr. Trump, ahead in the Republican race but opposed by many parts of the
party, focused heavily on Iran, promising to dismantle the nuclear deal
negotiated by Mr. Obama, thwart what he described as Iran’s efforts to
destabilize the Middle East and punish Iran for testing ballistic
missiles. "Nobody has done anything about it," he said to cheers. "We
will. We will."

Mr. Trump’s aides released text of the prepared remarks he used,
something he almost never does on the campaign trail. They contained one
tempered reference to Mrs. Clinton, but he ad-libbed another: "Hillary
Clinton, who is a total disaster by the way, she and President Obama
have treated Israel very, very badly," he said.

But he raised eyebrows in the audience at the Verizon Center when he
referred repeatedly to Palestine. Senator Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican
who spoke after Mr. Trump, noted pointedly that "Palestine has not
existed since 1948." [...]

(4) Trump reads from prepared speech at AIPAC; Sanders did not attend

Trump tries his hand at foreign policy in speech to skeptical Aipac crowd

Republican makes pledges to Israel in first foreign policy speech of
election but gets mixed reaction after branding Hillary Clinton a
‘disaster’ as secretary of state

Ben Jacobs and David Smith in Washington

Tuesday 22 March 2016 11.43 AEDT Last modified on Tuesday 22 March 2016
12.03 AEDT

Donald Trump vowed to stand with Israel and branded Hillary Clinton a
"disaster" as he delivered the first detailed foreign policy speech of
his presidential campaign.

Sounding noticeably stilted, he read from a teleprompter and almost
stuck to a script for the first time in his campaign during Monday
night’s high stakes appearance at the annual policy conference of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac).

As the Republican frontrunner took the stage, he announced: "I didn’t
come here to pander." And, of course, Trump then did precisely that,
offering few policy specifics but instead delivering a series of
pro-Israel bromides to a skeptical crowd, spiced with occasional attacks
on Barack Obama. He received a mix of boos and cheers from the crowd at
the Verizon Center as he branded Clinton a "total disaster" as secretary
of state.

Trump has previously earned criticism for suggesting he would be "sort
of a neutral guy" on Israel and seek to negotiate peace with the
Palestinians, describing himself as best placed to make "probably the
toughest deal in the world right now".

However, on Monday, in front of an influential and passionately Zionist
audience, Trump tried to demonstrate his foreign policy chops and stand
out in a field where he is the only candidate without Washington experience.

He urged support for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem in a policy
shift and demonstrated his credentials as a lifelong supporter of
Israel, bragging about having once "taken the risk" to serve as grand
marshal of New York’s Israel Day parade in 2004.

Trump railed against the Iran deal that the Obama administration
reached. He argued that he would both "restructure" and "dismantle" it,
while also condemning the United Nations as "not a friend of democracy".

The billionaire also claimed his deal-making ability would somehow help
Israel and the Palestinians reach a peace accord. Trump, though,
repeatedly referred to Palestine, which is not a country, and set
himself up for an immediate riposte from Ted Cruz who immediately noted
"Palestine has not existed since 1948" after taking the stage.

Trump’s speech came shortly after the Republican frontrunner questioned
the need for Nato and suggested that the US does not benefit from its
involvement in east Asia in an interview with the Washington Post’s
editorial board.

Democratic congressman Brad Sherman, a stalwart supporter of the
US-Israel alliance, said Trump "did sing some of the greatest hits of
Aipac, he may have sang them a bit off key but he sang them with
enthusiasm and he’s a great stadium performer." He noted: "This is not a
room where you want to play acoustic. He brought his electric guitar, he
brought his amps."

In contrast, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton used her Aipac
speech earlier in the day to go went after Trump. Without mentioning him
by name, the former secretary of state left little doubt that she was
challenging Trump’s qualifications to be commander-in-chief, portraying
him as dangerously malleable and lacking firm convictions. Hillary
Clinton to Aipac: Trump is dangerous for the security of Israel [...]

The only remaining presidential candidate not to attend, Vermont senator
Bernie Sanders, instead expressed his support for a two-state solution
between Israel and the Palestinians at a campaign stop in Utah. Sanders,
who couldn’t appear remotely at Aipac, told attendees in Utah. "We as a
nation are committed not just to guaranteeing Israel’s survival but also
making sure it’s people have a right to live in peace and security."

Sanders did criticize what he thought was Israel’s "disproportional
response" to rocket launches and terrorist attacks from Hamas-occupied Gaza.

(5) Trump no longer 'neutral' on Israel

WASHINGTON, DC — Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls
competed March 21 to prove who is more pro-Israel at the annual
convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in a
show of political correctness that extended even to real estate magnate
Donald Trump.

Author Barbara Slavin Posted March 22, 2016

Trump, the Republican front-runner who has raised eyebrows in debates
and interviews by asserting that he would be "neutral" in peace talks
between Israelis and Palestinians and questioning US aid to the Jewish
state, executed a 180-degree turn as he delivered what appeared to be
his first prepared campaign speech before an enthusiastic crowd of
18,000 at a Washington sports arena.

After asserting, "I didn’t come to pander," he ran through a series of
positions that closely follow the policies of the current Israeli
government on Iran, the Palestinians and recognition of Jerusalem as
Israel’s capital. He also vowed to "totally disband Iran’s global
terrorist network" without defining it or specifying how he would
accomplish that goal.

Trump asserted that he was a "lifelong supporter and true friend of
Israel," but the evidence he cited was thin. Trump said he lent his
private plane to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to visit Israel after the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and was grand marshal in the 2004 Israel Day
parade in New York City. "Many people turned down this honor," Trump
said, adding, "I took the risk and I’m glad that I did," although
failing to explain what was risky about walking down Fifth Avenue in a
city with a large Jewish population.

On the Palestinian issue, Trump said, "To make a great deal, you need
two willing participants," noting that Palestinians had turned down
three prior Israeli and American offers. "The days of treating Israel
like a second-class citizen will end from day one," should he be
elected, Trump said.

Trump, who has previously said he would keep the recently implemented
nuclear agreement with Iran but "police that contract so tough that [the
Iranians] don’t have a chance," hardened his position before AIPAC. He
called the deal "catastrophic for America, Israel and the whole of the
Middle East," and stated, "My first priority is to dismantle this
disastrous deal on Iran."

Along with fellow Republican contenders John Kasich and Ted Cruz, Trump
vowed to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as a
"clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most
reliable ally." US candidates have frequently made this pledge, but no
president has carried it out for fear of prejudicing peace talks in
which the final status of Jerusalem would be a key issue. Cruz, a
senator from Texas, noted that point and said that unlike other
candidates, "I will do it," if elected president.

Cruz has repeatedly said that he would tear up the Iran nuclear deal on
the first day of his presidency. He warned the Islamic Republic to "shut
down your nuclear program or we will shut it down for you." He added
that if Iran were to conduct another ballistic missile test on his
watch, "We will shoot that missile down."

Kasich said he would suspend the nuclear deal because of the missile
launches, although they do not violate the nuclear accord.

Democrat Hillary Clinton, who began back channel talks with Iran when
she was secretary of state, defended the nuclear agreement while
blasting what she called "Iran’s aggression across the region." She
promised to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, "with force if
necessary," and to respond with more sanctions to the missile launches,
which she called a "serious danger" that "demands a serious response."

Clinton, who spoke in the morning, hours before the Republicans, gave a
pre-rebuttal of her GOP rivals. "Tonight you will hear a lot of rhetoric
from other candidates about Iran, but there’s a big difference between
talking about holding Iran accountable and actually doing it," she said.
"Our next president has to be able to hold together our global coalition
and impose real consequences for even the smallest violations of this

However, Clinton agreed with the Republicans that the United States
should oppose any attempt by outside parties, including the UN Security
Council, to impose a territorial compromise on Israel. Trump said he
would veto such a resolution "100%" while Cruz said he would "fly to New
York to personally veto it myself." All the candidates condemned
Palestinian leaders for implicitly inciting attacks on Israeli civilians
by glorifying dead Palestinian assailants as martyrs.

Speaking two days before Jews celebrate Purim, a holiday that celebrates
Jewish survival during the reign of a hostile Persian king, Clinton
invoked both the biblical Queen Esther and modern Israel’s only female
prime minister as apparent role models. "Some of us remember a woman,
Golda Meir, leading Israel’s government decades ago and wonder what’s
taking us so long here in America," Clinton said to laughter and applause.

Clinton devoted much of her speech to skewering Trump without using his
name. Over and over, she said that no responsible American politician
could be "neutral" when it comes to Israel’s security. "We need steady
hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on
Tuesday and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything’s
negotiable," Clinton said. "Well, my friends, Israel’s security is

Clinton also inveighed against bigotry in a clear reference to Trump’s
remarks against Muslims and Mexicans and seeming willingness to accept
support from white supremacist groups. She reminded the audience of
1939, when a ship carrying 1,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany was
denied entry to the United States and sent back to Europe. "Americans
should be better than this," Clinton said. "If you see a bully, stand up
to him."

J Street, a rival Jewish organization to AIPAC, also criticized Trump in
a statement. "Sadly, Mr. Trump’s campaign to date, characterized as it
has been by outrageous and alarming attacks on immigrants, Hispanics,
women and other groups as well as his call for a total ban on Muslims
entering the United States, runs diametrically counter to the values J
Street espouses," the statement said.

A group of 40 rabbis boycotted Trump’s speech and decried the racial and
ethnic hatred stirred up by the New Yorker’s campaign. The
Anti-Defamation League did so as well and announced that it was
"redirecting" donations from Trump to anti-bullying and
anti-discrimination efforts.

All the candidates got rousing receptions from the AIPAC audience. While
about 200 people demonstrated against Trump outside the conference,
there were no visible protests inside the arena, where security was tight.

Clinton’s sole competitor for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator
Bernie Sanders, skipped the AIPAC meeting so he could campaign in
western states that hold primaries March 22. He outlined his views on
the Middle East in a lengthy statement.

The only Jewish candidate in the race, Sanders, who spent time on an
Israeli kibbutz in his youth, said that "real friendship" with Israel
requires friends "to speak the truth as we see it … especially in
difficult times."

He promised to "work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace" not only
by being a friend to Israel, "but to the Palestinian people, where in
Gaza, they suffer from an unemployment rate of 44% — the highest in the
world — and a poverty rate nearly equal to that."

On Iran, he expressed support for the nuclear deal but added, "If Iran
does not live up to the agreement, we should re-impose sanctions and all
options are back on the table."

Sanders was the only candidate to mention Iran’s recent elections, which
he called "a small step in the right direction," saying, "I was
heartened by the results of the recent parliamentary elections in which
Iranian voters elected moderates in what was, in part, a referendum on
the nuclear deal."

Sanders was also alone among the contenders in suggesting "a more
balanced approach toward Iran" in regional diplomacy. "We have serious
concerns about the nature of the Iranian government," he said, "but we
have to be honest enough to say that Saudi Arabia — a repressive regime
in its own right — is hardly an example of Jeffersonian democracy."

Peter Myers