The Senate Armed Services chairman used his address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to offer a full-throated defense of President Obama on Israel and Iran.
“As most of you know I’m a proud Democrat and supporter of the president,” Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said to one isolated pocket of applause in the sprawling conference hall.
He said that the audience probably expected him to tout the president today, and he wouldn’t disappoint.
“I have seen him up close and personal,” Levin said of Obama. “There is no bluff and bluster.”
He credited the president with supporting the Kirk-Menendez amendment to the defense authorization bill to impose crippling sanctions on Iran’s central bank, which passed the Senate 100-0. In reality, the Obama administration sought to water down the tough punitive action.
“The president has not just talked, he has acted,” Levin said.
“I hope the Iranians are rational enough to believe him,” adding that Tehran would ignore Obama’s words “at their peril.”
A protester began shouting during Levin’s explanation of U.S. funding for Israel missile defense, and was escorted out of the hall to cheers. It was the only plenary speech disrupted by Occupy AIPAC thus far.