National Security Advisor Susan Rice at odds with AIPAC audience on Iran

Click photo to download. Caption: U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice speaks Monday night at the 2015 AIPAC conference. Credit: Maxine Dovere.

( Amid a rocky week for the relationship between U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and the pro-Israel community, Rice’s assessment of the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers put her at odds with attendees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on Monday night.

After Rice noted that some members in the AIPAC audience would be going to Congress to urge that a nuclear deal suspend all of Iran’s enrichment capacity, she followed a round of applause for that concept by stating, “As desirable as that would be, it is neither realistic or achievable.” If a complete halt to Iranian enrichment is the goal, Rice said, America would lose its negotiating partners within the P5+1 nations and sanctions against would be undermined.

Regarding sanctions, Rice again referenced members of the AIPAC crowd by acknowledging that some of them would suggest that “we should just impose sanctions and walk away.” That concept, too, received a round of applause, prompting a visibly frustrated Rice to throw her arms up in the air.

Rice said, “We cannot let a totally unachievable ideal stand in the way of a good deal [with Iran].” Sanctions, she said, “have never stopped Iran from advancing its [nuclear] program.” New sanctions “would blow up the talks, divide the international community,” and cause the U.S. to be blamed for causing negotiations with Iran to fail, she said.

The national security advisor’s discord with the AIPAC audience comes in the aftermath of an interview with PBS in which she called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Congress “destructive of the fabric” of the U.S.-Israel relationship. A subsequent advertisement in the New York Times by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s This World: The Jewish Values Network said, “Susan Rice has a blind spot: Genocide. Both the Jewish people’s and Rwanda’s.” The ad was widely condemned by Jewish organizations.

Posted on March 3, 2015 .