On Obama and Netanyahu: A View from AIPAC Policy Conference

From the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC –

With election season coming into full swing, a definitive Obama-Netanyahu meeting upcoming, and the looming Iranian threat growing more potent by the day, the stakes at this year’s AIPAC Conference could scarcely be higher, politically and globally.  President Obama is set to give a speech to today’s crowd that will help set the tone for what both the United States and Israel hope will be a successful meeting between the American and Israeli heads of state tomorrow.

The big question of the day is, with the Israel’s quest to help bring Washington around to Jerusalem’s understanding of so-called “red lines” to trigger military action, and the U.S.’s hope to glean more information on Israel’s preparations and delay a military strike, is there room for a trade-off that would render tomorrow’s all-too-important meeting an unabashed success?  On its surface, there seems to be a compromise in place.

But upon closer scrutiny, the answer is not as clear. The US fears that an American gesture toward Israel’s “red line” – namely, an Iranian nuclear capability rather than the actual move to procure a nuclear bomb – may actually encourage Israel to attack before sanctions have a chance to work.  And on the Israeli side, Netanyahu has made clear that Israel is in charge of its own security – that is to say, that Israel is unlikely move back its own red lines back, which would de facto put Israel’s security in the hands of the United States.

Today, I will be closely following this crucial topic, and working to answer the following questions:  What can be, and is being, done to pave the way for a successful Obama-Netanyahu meeting?  What are the most apt metrics to measure that meeting’s success?  And finally, with President Obama set to address today’s AIPAC plenary, will he move toward Israel’s position on red lines?

In short, can tomorrow’s meeting succeed?

Analysis to follow throughout the day. Stay tuned!

About the Author
Mark is a non-resident research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.