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Biden to address AIPAC conference

JTA

February 26, 2013 | 7:43 am

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (2011). Photo by REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (2011). Photo by REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Vice President Joe Biden will address the upcoming AIPAC policy conference.

Biden will speak to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference on the morning of Monday, March 4, officials in the White House and with AIPAC told JTA.

His speech comes ahead of President Obama's visit to Israel later in the month, and at a time of renewed concerns about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not attend the conference, but will deliver a video message.

Ehud Barak, the outgoing defense minister, will address the conference in person, as will leaders of both parties in both houses of Congress.

Legislation to be advanced by AIPAC during the conference includes bills planned for introduction in the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives that would designate Israel a "major strategic ally," a new designation not previously conferred on any country and one that would recognize Israel's role in keeping the Middle East stable and in combating terrorism around the globe. Another bill would guarantee to Israel U.S. backing should it act against Iran.

AIPAC expects 13,000 activists, including 2,000 students, to attend the conference.

The three-day conference will end March 5 with a lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill.

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