After already announcing that President Barack Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his trip to Washington, DC in March, the White House is reportedly mulling a “snub” of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.
On his trip, Netanyahu will speak to both Congress and AIPAC. The Obama administration has opposed the Congress speech on the grounds that House Speaker John Boehner did not consult the president in advance, while citing the close proximity of Israel’s March 17 election in its decision not to meet with Netanyahu.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Obama administration officials are considering options that include “a presidential interview with a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu, multiple Sunday show television appearances by senior national security aides, and a pointed snub of America’s leading pro-Israel lobby (AIPAC), which is holding its annual meeting while Netanyahu is in Washington.”
The White House is weighing sending a lower-ranking official to the AIPAC conference, such as Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to The Associated Press. The move would fall in line with the recent trend on the Obama administration’s participation in the conference. Obama himself addressed AIPAC in 2011 and 2012, but in 2013 the highest-ranking U.S. official to speak was Vice President Joe Biden, and last year, it was Secretary of State John Kerry.