Joe Biden joins Clinton and Trump among AIPAC speakers


WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the AIPAC annual conference, which already promises appearances by top lawmakers and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee announced over the weekend Biden’s address to the March 20-22 conference in Washington, D.C.

Biden is perhaps the Obama administration figure closest to Israel and the pro-Israel lobby, and has been the go-to official to calm the waters during the many periods of tension between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In Israel earlier this month, Biden criticized those among Palestinians and in the international community who do not condemn terrorist attacks on Israel. The Israeli government has bristled when Obama administration officials couple such commendations with calls for all sides to show restraint.

Also speaking at the conference are the front-runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively Clinton, the former secretary of state, and Trump, a real estate magnate, as well as the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; the majority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and the minority whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

The Reform movement, meanwhile, said Monday that AIPAC was correct in inviting Trump to speak, but took exception with Trump’s “hate speech” and pledged somehow to engage with him about it at the AIPAC conference.

“The Reform Movement and our leaders will engage with Mr. Trump at the AIPAC Policy Conference in a way that affirms our nation’s democracy and our most cherished Jewish values,” the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis said in a statement. “We will find an appropriate and powerful way to make our voices heard.”

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