Today is the final day of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. Defense Sec. Leon Panetta and three of the four top GOP candidates addressed the conference’s 13,000 supporters. Presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) (right) appeared in person while Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) appeared via satellite.
On Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres and US President Barack Obama addressed the conference hall. Obama said his policy toward Iran is not one of containment but of preventing the nation from developing a nuclear weapon. He also defended his policies toward Israel and stated the U.S. commitment to preserve Israel’s security.
In a side conversation, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu met Monday morning to discuss the status of the U.S.-Israel alliance. The president reiterated that the U.S. did not want the possibility of nuclear weapons “falling into terrorist’s hands” and said there is a still a window that allows some negotiation. Pres. Obama also said he continues to reserve all options in dealing with Iran.
Other speakers included:
- US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta,
- Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA),
- Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI),
- Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT),
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA),
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
The policy conference is the largest gathering for America’s leading pro-Israel lobby, which works with both major parties to secure public policy that strengthens the U.S.-Israel relationship.
AIPAC has announced that up to 14,000 people are attending this year’s three-day conference, a crowd nearly twice the usual size.