I was at the policy conference today and must concur with Jen’s take: there was a palpable sense of raw emotion at the event, and I suspect that a lot of the worst feelings were held by people who had allowed candidate Obama’s soothing words on Israel to convince them that he would be kind to Israel.
I meandered among several panel discussions and heard regular rounds of applause from the audience in response to criticism of the administration. The attendees I spoke with were not simply upset by the administration’s rough treatment of Israel; they were also well aware that America’s most entrenched rivals have never received the criticism and lectures that Obama has directed at Israel. Even the liberals among them understood on a gut level that this is no way to conduct foreign policy.
Lee Rosenberg, AIPAC’s new president (and a major Obama fundraiser), gave a bluntly critical speech that received three standing ovations. Something tells me that pro-Israel dollars are going to be a little harder for Democrats to come by in the coming years.
The big question is: how will the crowd respond to Hillary Clinton on Monday? I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some booing, and I’d be shocked if there was hearty applause. Booing is something AIPAC officials hope doesn’t happen, because they want the policy conference to be the place where real fence-mending takes place. But I’m not sure it’d be a bad idea for Clinton to hear some boos — not because I think it’s great to boo people, but because Obama has already made clear the signals he responds to: the worse you treat him, the better he treats you, or at least the more he respects you.