Donald Trump gets standing ovation at AIPAC

Published March 22nd, 2016 - 01:47 GMT
Many Israeli and Jewish commentators watched anxiously as the Republican hopeful was met with applause at the the Israel lobby summit (AFP / Nicholas Kamm)
Many Israeli and Jewish commentators watched anxiously as the Republican hopeful was met with applause at the the Israel lobby summit (AFP / Nicholas Kamm)

After a bombastic and enthusiastically pro-Israel speech, Donald Trump received a standing ovation at yesterday’s annual conference for AIPAC, the flagship organisation advocating for Israel in the United States.

Reading for the first time from a teleprompter, the Republican Presidential candidate slammed President Obama’s record on Israel, pledged to destroy the Iran Deal and committed to being a "friend" to Israel – backing up his points with evidence that showed, at best, a generous attitude to accuracy.

Many observers have called the AIPAC appearance Trump’s first serious political speech – and a turning point in the politician’s bid to become President. Others pointed out that the response to it could deepen faultlines between right and left in Israel and the global Jewish community, already split on issues like the Iran deal and policies toward Palestine.

The fact that Trump spoke at AIPAC at all was divisive from the start, and some attendees walked out before he started talking.

But as the speech progressed – and Trump’s clipped, bombastic delivery with it – the crowd’s enthusiasm grew.

Some commentators started watching the speech expecting to mock Trump – but became increasingly alarmed as his speech progressed:

Others pointed out that while the speech might have gone down well with the AIPAC crowd – a group generally to the right of the spectrum – it would alienate Israelis and American Jews on the political left.

 

 

Other Republican nominees spoke at the conference yesterday, as well as Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton, who slammed Trump for commiting to "neutrality" on the issue of Israel and Palestine. Bernie Sanders, Hilary's rival, did not attend the AIPAC conference.


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