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Sun Mar 4, 2012, 05:40 PM

AIPAC Confab Starts With Sparring Over Obama [View all]

March 4, 2012

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- 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, were among the participants in a panel Sunday on the Middle East that opened the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington.

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Harman kept circling back to the threat of Iran and sparred over whether Obama would stand by Israel as tensions with Iran intensified.

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.



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