Live on Haaretz: AIPAC Policy Conference 2012

On this page you will find live streaming, blogging and Tweeting of the largest AIPAC conference of all time, featuring Peres and Obama as opening speakers.

Since early Sunday morning, a long line has curled around the largest convention center in Washington D.C.

This year’s AIPAC (American Israel Political Action Committee) Policy Conference is the biggest of all time.

More than 13,000 people showed up at the opening event of the conference, where Israeli President Shimon Peres and U.S. President Barack Obama are set to deliver speeches.

It is no wonder AIPAC is the third largest lobby in the United States. Thousands of people from all across the U.S. - most, but not all of them Jews – come to take part in the annual conference.

Jews were not the only ones to make it to Washington this year. Among the crowd are Christians, African-Americans and Latinos, as well.

The convention center’s main hall is decorated with the American stars and stripes, alongside the Israeli flag’s blue and white.

Even the pyrotechnics, the lighting and video streaming met the expectations of conference participants.This is the kind of event can only be found in the U.S.

On this page you will find live streaming, blogging and Tweeting of the event.  

LIVE BLOGGING (Eastern Standard Time)

11:42 - Obama: If you want to know where my heart is, just look at what I have done for Israel (Barak Ravid)

11:42 - Obama: We may not agree on every single issue but we agree on the big things that matter (Barak Ravid)

11:41 - Another dig at Republicans: Too much loose talk of war (Chemi Shalev)

11:41 - Obama: Now is the time to speak softly and carry a big stick (Barak Ravid)

11:39 - Obama: I don't have a policy of containment but a policy of preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons (Chemi Shalev, Barak Ravid)

11:38 - A new formula: Obama will only use force when the time and circumstance demand it (Chemi Shalev)

11:37 - Obama: Iran should have no doubt about our resolve, and about Israel's sovereign decision to do what it needs for its security (Barak Ravid)

11:36 - These are the decisive moments of Obama's speech (Chemi Shalev)

11:35 - Obama: the only way to truly solve this problem is for Iran to give up their nuclear program (Barak Ravid)

 11:35 - Obama: Iran's leaders can still come back to the community of nations (Barak Ravid)

11:33 - Obama: in 2012 Iran will face more crippling sanctions. Iran is isolated and its leadership is divided (Barak Ravid)

11:33 - Obama tries to turn to policy of engagement, which Republicans describe as weakness, as gambit that allows international measures against Iran (Chemi Shalev)

11:31 - Obama notes that his predecessors did nothing to stop Iran's nuclear drive (Chemi Shalev)

11:30 - Obama: A nuclear Iran is counter to U.S. national security interest (Barak Ravid)

11:30 - Strong wording: I understand that no Israeli government can tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of a regime that is threatening to annihilate it (Chemi Shalev, Barak Ravid)

11:29 - Obama rightly notes his courageous speech to United Nations on Israel (Chemi Shalev)

11:28 - A statement of unequivocal support for peace with Palestinians, like Obama's, somehow seems courageous (Chemi Shalev)

11:26 - Obama: The upheaval in the region makes peace more difficult, but as hard as it may be we cannot give up (Barak Ravid)

11:25 - Obama: I make no apologies for pursuing peace. I believe peace is in Israel's security interests (Barak Ravid)

11:23 - Good reception for Obama's exhortation that Israel is too important for partisan politics (Chemi Shalev)

11:23 - Obama: there shouldn't be a shred of doubt. When the chips are down I have Israel's back (Barak Ravid)

11:22 - Obama: We challenged the Goldstone Report. We supported Israel after the Gaza flotilla (Barak Ravid)

11:22 - Obama: Make no mistake we will do whatever it takes to make sure Israel can defend itself by itself against any threat (Barak Ravid)

11:20 - Obama: Republicans (without mentioning them specifically) are good with words. I am good with deeds (Chemi Shalev)

11:20 - Obama: I have kept my commitment to Israel and I have been there for Israel any single time (Barak Ravid)

11:18 - Obama: Support of Israel in the United States is bi-partisan, and this is how it should stay (Barak Ravid)

11:17: Obama: US and Israel share common values (Barak Ravid)

11:14 - Obama announces that he is presenting President Peres the presidential medal of honor (Haaretz)

11:14 - Obama praises Peres, calls Israel "the historic homeland of the Jewish people" (Barak Ravid)

11:12 - Obama is in campaign mode, as he was in 2008 when he promised that Jerusalem "must remain undivided" (Chemi Shalev)

11:11 - Obama praises Ambassador Dan Shapiro for his work in Israel and for working on his Hebrew (Barak Ravid)

11:09 - Obama enters AIPAC conference to a standing ovation (Barak Ravid)

11:07 - Lee Rosenberg, a staunch Jewish ally of Obama since his Chicago days, has maintained a delicate balancing act between AIPAC and the Obama (Chemi Shalev)

11:06 - AIPAC president Lee Rosenberg presents Obama and complains about Obama not keeping his promise for a basketball match (Barak Ravid)

11:00 - In his speech, Obama will announce that he is giving President Peres the presidential medal of honor (Barak Ravid)

10:58 - Peres looks overwhelmed with emotion as he receives hugs from AIPAC leaders onstage (Barak Ravid)

10:55 - Huge standing ovation when President Peres finishes his speech (Barak Ravid)

10:53 - Peres: Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel has a friend in the White House. Thank you President Obama on behalf of my people (Barak Ravid)

10:52 - Standing ovation when Peres thanks America for its support of Israel (Barak Ravid)

10:52 - Peres: America was, is, and will remain the Indispensable leader of the free world. Today more than ever, The world needs America (Barak Ravid)

10:51 - Peres: I believe Jews are never satisfied because they are always seeking new answers. A better tomorrow - "Tikkun Olam" (Barak Ravid)

10:49 - Peres: The United States and Israel share the same goal - to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon (Barak Ravid)

10:47 - Peres: Iran is a danger to the entire world. It threatens Berlin as well as Madrid, Delhi as well as Bangkok. Not just Israel (Barak Ravid)

10:43 - Peres: Ben-Gurion taught me to be just. To do justice. To never deny justice to others (Barak Ravid)

10:40 - Peres: From a dispersed people we became a united democracy. No day of war ever interrupted a day of democracy (Barak Ravid)

10:40 - Audience does not seem to thrilled that Peres has called Obama a "great friend" of Israel (Chemi Shalev)

10:39 - Peres: We have to defend ourselves. Self-defense is our obligation (Haaretz)

10:36 - Peres: It is good to be here - strong, united (Haaretz)

10:35 - Shimon Peres receives standing ovation as he begins his speech (Haaretz)

10:33 - Israeli Prime Minister Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears in the appreciation film, as does Knesset opposition leader Tzipi Livni, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice (Barak Ravid)

10:29 - AIPAC screens an appreciation film for Israeli President Shimon Peres (Barak Ravid)

10:23 - At opening panel, Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice president, says Obama has delegitimized Israel more than any previous president (Barak Ravid)