Kerry, Lew to address AIPAC conference

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will speak at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.

An AIPAC spokesman confirmed the administration speakers but did not give the dates of their speeches at next week’s event.

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Also speaking at the conference, which is expected to draw a record-breaking 14,000 activists, is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The activists plan to lobby Congress on March 4 on efforts to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and assistance for Israel.

Kerry is set to introduce soon a framework for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. A number of Israeli Cabinet officials have objected to aspects of the proposal leaked to the media, particularly regarding the sharing of Jerusalem and security technology that would substitute for some of the Israeli military presence in the West Bank.

AIPAC, however, has yet to weigh in and likely would not until the plan is made public.

Kerry also is guiding the U.S. role in talks underway between Iran and the major powers aimed at keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

AIPAC backs new Iran sanctions to strengthen the U.S. hand at the talks, while the Obama administration opposes them. AIPAC also wants a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program, while Obama administration officials say that some uranium enrichment is likely to continue.

Lew’s department has taken the lead in enforcing existing sanctions and pushing back against claims that the talks with Iran have spurred new trade with the country.

Netanyahu also favors new sanctions and backs the complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear capability.

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