Aipac is considered one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States with more than 100 000 members.
 
Washington’s senior officials trooped to the Aipac conference and dutifully pledged their undying affection for Israel.

To rapturous applause, Dick Cheney, the US vice president, said: "I stand as a strong supporter of Israel and Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than George Bush!"
 

'Number one issue'

 

With more than six thousand delegates, this years Aipac conference is the biggest ever and the biggest issue by far is Iran.

 

Benny Schechter, a delegate, said: "Number one issue is that Iran needs to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons."

 

Aipac members see Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power as an existential threat.

 

Another delegate said: "We have to take people at their word. The world didn’t take Hitler at his word and we lost not only six million Jews but eleven million people."

 

Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister: "It is a regime which denies the holocaust while threatening the world with a new one."

 

'Crippling effect'

 

As well as lobbying the US Congress for tougher sanctions against Iran, Aipac members are also pressuring US financial institutions to stop investing in companies with ties to Iran.

 

Howard Kohr, Aipac executive director, said: "If the largest state pension funds in the country were to divest from companies with ties to Iran it would have a crippling effect on Iran’s economy."

 

Having a powerful lobby in Israel helps provide tangible benefits for Israel, including $2.4 billion in mostly US military aid every year, making it the largest single recipient of US taxpayer dollars sent abroad.

Source: Al Jazeera