Delegates at the AIPAC policy conference let US National Security Adviser Susan Rice know their displeasure with her by cheering during her speech.
At all the wrong moments.
Rice, who came out swinging against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week by calling his visit “damaging” to bilateral ties, made her case before the decidedly pro-Israel and pro-Netanyahu lobby in Washington.
Her hour-long speech often fell into the sentence construction of “I know…, but…,” which attendees used to gently jab by applauding during the first part of the sentence, but before the point she was really trying to make.
For instance, “I know that some of you will be urging Congress to insist that Iran forgo its domestic uranium enrichment entirely,” drew a hearty round of clapping.
However, when she continued “but, as desirable as that would be, it is neither realistic nor achievable,” she was met with crickets.
“I know some would argue that we should just impose sanctions and walk away, but let’s remember–” said Rice, before being interrupted by applause.
“My friends,” she went on, “let’s remember that sanctions, unfortunately, have never stopped Iran from advancing its program.”
Attendees were asked before Rice’s speech to be respectful.
A slide bearing a picture of Casper the Friendly Ghotsand the message, “Don’t Boo! Be Friendly,” was shown before the national security adviser began speaking, which may have prevented more overt jabs.
Rice’s speech also garnered genuine applause. Rice told the 16,000 delegates that “a bad deal is worse than no deal” on Iran, which drew an enthusiastic standing ovation from the slightly critical audience.
“If that is the choice there will be no deal,” she added.
Rice also provided previously unconfirmed information regarding the United States’ negotiating red lines on Iran.
Rice said President Barack Obama was committed to “ensuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon” and repeated the administration’s frequent statements that the US was “keeping all options on the table to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon.”
The bottom line, said Rice: “We have Israel’s back, come hell or high water.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.