The Wall Street Journal reports: Despite threats of protests, the crowd appeared largely receptive to Mr. Trump, save for a few moments. He received several rounds of cheers, with some standing to applaud him, when he said Israel would no longer be treated like a “second-class citizen” and when he criticized the Iran deal.
But he drew some titters when he said that no one had studied the Iran deal more than him — “believe me.”
Having drawn fire last year for giving an ambiguous response on a key litmus-test issue, Mr. Trump also told the audience: “We will move the American Embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”
Mr. Trump’s prior insults to women and minorities had prompted protests from rabbis and other critics who threatened to walk out or boycott the address. Some attendees, wearing stickers that read “Come together against hate” — a play-off of Aipac’s theme, “Come Together” — planned to walk out before he began speaking, while protesters gathered outside.
Daniel Burg, a rabbi from Baltimore who was attending Aipac this week for the ninth year in a row, was among the attendees who walked out. “People are exercising their rights to not simply abide the presence of Mr. Trump and pretend that this election cycle is business as usual,” he said. He called the real-estate billionaire’s rhetoric “so hateful, so misogynistic, so racist” and said it had “undermined the democracy that we believe in.”
Rick Jacobs, a rabbi from New York City and president of the Union for Reform Judaism, helped author a letter to Mr. Trump requesting a meeting to discuss the community’s concerns with the front-runner, citing his comments about Mexican immigrants, women, Muslims, and other groups.
Mr. Jacobs said the campaign has said it is considering setting up a meeting later this week. “It’s not that we won’t engage with this candidate,” he said. “We want to have a chance not just to listen—we want to have a chance to speak.”
Mr. Jacobs walked out ahead of Mr. Trump’s speech and gathered with about 70 others outside the auditorium while Mr. Trump speaking. He said he saw hundreds leaving the stadium before Mr. Trump took the stage. [Continue reading…]
Politico reports: The leaders of the largest American pro-Israel lobby distanced themselves on Tuesday morning from Donald Trump’s attacks on President Barack Obama at their policy conference.
Trump addressed the annual Washington gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday night, and some of his biggest applause lines were his characteristically blunt critiques of Obama, who he said “may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me, believe me.”
AIPAC president Lillian Pinkus read a statement from the stage on Tuesday to disavow Trump’s remarks.
“We say unequivocally that we do not countenance ad hominem attacks, and we take great offense to those that are levied against the United States of America from our stage,” Pinkus said. “While we may have policy differences, we deeply respect the office of the president of the United States and our president, Barack Obama.”
She also castigated attendees who responded positively to Trump’s comments. [Continue reading…]