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March 8, 2012 10:24 am

AIPAC Attendees Rally Behind Bibi

avatar by Heather Robinson

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets crowds at AIPAC. Photo: Ruvi Leider.

Reactions to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Monday night in which he declared that, “[a]s Prime Minister of Israel I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation” were overwhelmingly positive.

Out of about 15 AIPAC delegates, or citizen lobbyists from across the nation who were interviewed after the speech at random, all expressed strong approval.

Netanyahu’s stated refusal to allow Iran, whose leadership has declared its intention to destroy Israel, to attain nuclear capability was approvingly cited by most listeners.

Some stressed Netanyahu’s reference to Israel’s right to self-defense.

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“It re-affirmed my belief Israel is … very independent,” said Jessica Gordon, 18, of San Diego, a high school senior who plans to attend Emory University next year. “Although the U.S. is as close to Israel as ever, Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to defend itself.”

Others noted the speech’s historical perspective.

“It was excellent,” said Aaron Biston, 60, a real estate developer who had traveled to the conference from his home in Beverly Hills, Ca. “He talked about how the U.S. didn’t want to take away resources [to try to save Jews during the Holocaust]. Israel won’t bury its head in the sand like France, America, and Britain did during the 1930’s. They thought it wouldn’t happen. That’s what happens when you appease.”

Some referenced the speech’s humor.

“I thought it was great the way he mixed humor with the reality that Israel has the right to defend itself at any time,” said JB Leibovitch, 40, who works for Nestle Corp. in Oakland, Ca.

A few also expressed anxiety

“It was inspiring, but he didn’t report on his meeting with Obama,” said Nathan Laufer, a physician from Scottsdale, Ariz. “That’s a bad sign. If there were something positive they’d agreed to, I’m sure he would have reported it.”

“He mentioned Congress’s unwavering support right away but didn’t mention the President until later [in the speech],” noted Judy Laufer, also of Scottsdale.

“It’s pretty clear Israel feels it’s got its back against the wall, and may be going in,” said Avi Mazloumi, an attorney from Great Neck, NY who hails originally from Iran. “I think that’s what he wanted to say.”

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