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Obama agenda: Addressing AIPAC

“President Obama struck back at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in a speech to a pro-Israel lobbying group on Sunday, defending his stance that talks over a Palestinian state should be focused on Israel’s pre-1967 borders, along with negotiated land swaps, and challenging Israel to ‘make the hard choices’ necessary to bring about a stable peace,” the New York Times writes.

“Mr. Obama, speaking before a conference of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, offered familiar assurances that the United States’ commitment to Israel’s long-term security was ‘ironclad.’ But citing the rising political upheaval near Israel’s borders, he presented his peace plan as the best chance Israel has to avoid growing isolation. ‘We cannot afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades, to achieve peace,’ Mr. Obama said. The world, he said, ‘is moving too fast.’”

“President Obama sought to prove his pro-Israel creds Sunday by assuring the nation's largest pro-Israel lobby that America's commitment to the security of the Jewish state is unwavering,” the New York Daily News adds.

There have been plenty of critics on the right of Obama’s speech about Israel. The Boston Globe, though, says, “Netanyahu was hearing what he chose to hear when he objected to the principles for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement that President Obama outlined in his recent speech on the Mideast.” And: “Obama was right to say what he said. And the overall import of his speech was protective of Israel’s long-term interests… More than ever, Israel needs the security that can only come from a two-state peace agreement. Netanyahu would be acting in Israel’s interest if he welcomed Obama’s offer to help forge that peace.”

“George Mitchell, who stepped down as the Obama administration’s special envoy to the Middle East last week, said Sunday that President Obama’s call to base Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on pre-1967 borders is not a threat to Israel,” The Hill writes. Mitchell said on ABC, “I don't believe it is threatening Israel. A major objective of this initiative, among others, is to prevent a disaster for Israel from occurring at the United Nations General Assembly in September, when the Palestinians have said they will see a unilateral declaration of statehood. The president spoke out strongly against that. We oppose it. And the way to prevent that from occurring is to provide an alternative in direct negotiation that would foreclose or make not necessary that option.”

The Boston Globe on the backlash Cornell West is facing: “A leading black scholar is unapologetic for his scathing and racially loaded comments about President Obama last week, which have ignited fierce blowback from African-American leaders and intellectuals in arguments that continue to rage in black media and on the Web.” More: “Critics have suggested that West’s comments, published on the political blog Truthdig, were motivated by personal slights. West has acknowledged he felt Obama disrespected him and did not return his calls after West stumped for him in the 2008 election. Critics have also described West as a phony, an ivory tower advocate for the poor, or just unhinged. ‘My question to Dr. West: Is this personal or it is political?’ the Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and Obama ally, said in an interview. ‘Where has the president’s politics changed since when [West] endorsed and supported him for president?”

“Stephen J. Kerrigan, who also helped coordinate the Democratic convention when it was in Boston in 2004, has been named as chief executive officer overseeing the 2012 convention in Charlotte, N.C.,” the Boston Globe reports.