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House Members In Israel for Obama-Bashing

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On Wednesday, August 5, President Obama spoke for an hour at American University, the site of the 1963 speech by President John Kennedy, when Kennedy outlined his vision for peace with the Soviet Union during the early age of nuclear threats.

While President Barack Obama was speaking about the people's business, and his Kennedy-like preference for diplomacy over war, freshman members of the U.S. House of Representatives were either 5,000 plus miles away in Israel, or preparing to go there to be feted and educated by a foreign power which opposes the nuclear agreement the U.S. has reached with Iran and major European powers.

A U.S. delegation of Democratic freshman congress members had been in Israel for two days when Obama spoke. Their freshman Republican colleagues will join them in Israel August 8.

In his American University speech, President Obama was blunt and insistent. This is how Obama's speech was reported by ABC news:

"President Barack Obama assailed critics of his Iran nuclear deal Wednesday as 'selling a fantasy' to the American people, warning Congress that blocking the accord would damage the nation's credibility and increase the likelihood of more war in the Middle East.

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"Besides challenging opponents at home, Obama cast Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an isolated international opponent of the historic accord, saying, 'I do not doubt his sincerity, but I believe he is wrong.'"

The President explained what was in the agreement:

"'The agreement would require Iran to dismantle most of its nuclear program for at least a decade in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions. But Netanyahu and some critics in the U.S. argue that it would not stop Iran from building a bomb.'

"The president's blunt remarks, in an hour-long address at American University, were part of an intense lobbying campaign by the White House ahead of Congress' vote next month to either approve or disapprove the international agreement. ...

"The stakes are high, Obama said, contending that it isn't just Iran's ability to build a bomb that is on the line but also 'America's credibility as the anchor of the international system.'"

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Those Democratic freshman congress members who may or may not have heard the Obama speech, are traveling in Israel (all expenses paid) courtesy of an educational nonprofit "affiliated with" the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the American Israel Education Foundation, AIPAC's charitable arm.

What "affiliated with" means is that AIPAC runs the trip while its "education foundation" pays the bills.

The two congressional trips -- this year with 22 Democrats, and 36 Republicans -- are a fixture in Washington, an AIPAC travel-educational reward for recently elected House members every two years.

From Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer
Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer
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From Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy
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James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)

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