President Obama gave a preview of his upcoming weekend address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference at a campaign fundraiser in New York City last night.
Obama tacked a fundraising blitz onto yesterday’s official trip to New Hampshire to talk energy. After leaving Nashua, the president hit four campaign events in New York.
At a private home on one of the stops, he delivered lengthy remarks about Israel, talking about the Mideast and saying “there’s a lot more work that we have to do internationally.”
“One of our long-term goals in that region is to make sure that the sacrosanct commitment that we make to Israel’s security is not only a matter of providing them the military capabilities they need, not only providing the sort of qualitative military edge that they need in a very tough neighborhood, but also that we are a partner with them to try to bring about a peace in the region that can be lasting,” Obama said. “And that is a challenge.”
Referring to governmental shakeups of the Arab Spring, he said that “it used to be easier just to deal with one person who was an autocrat when it came to knowing who you could strike a deal with.”
“At the same time, one of the things that I’m absolutely convinced of is that for Israel’s long-term security, it is going to be necessary for us — even as we draw sharp lines in terms of Israel’s security — to also continue to reach out to people of goodwill on the other side and try to shape the kind of lasting, two-state solution that will allow Israel not only to preserve its security, but also to preserve its essence as a democratic, Jewish state,” Obama said.
He accused Republicans of having a foreign policy vision “that as long as we are flexing our muscles militarily, the need for engagement and diplomacy is a sign of weakness rather than strength.”
Obama addresses AIPAC on Sunday morning along with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Monday night gala.
On Tuesday, Obama and Netanyahu meet at the White House for talks.