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White House Now Says It Will Send Susan Rice and Samantha Power to Major Pro-Israel Conference

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 05: U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L), former aide Samantha Power (R), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice (2nd R) and incumbent National Security Adviser Tom Donilon (L) return to the Oval Office after a personnel announcement at the Rose Garden of the White House June 5, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama has nominated Rice to succeed Donilon to become the next National Security Adviser. Obama has also nominated Power to succeed Rice for her position to UN. Credit: Getty Images

The Obama administration will send National Security Adviser Susan Rice and United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power to the largest meeting of America's top pro-Israel lobby, amid chilly relations between the U.S. and Israel.

The White House announced Thursday that Rice and Power will attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference, after initially seeming unsure about whether it would send a representative from the administration.

The announcement comes just days after Rice said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress was “destructive” to the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 05:  U.S.  President Barack Obama (2nd L), former aide Samantha Power (R), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice (2nd R) and incumbent National Security Adviser Tom Donilon (L) return to the Oval Office after a personnel announcement at the Rose Garden of the White House June 5, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama has nominated Rice to succeed Donilon to become the next National Security Adviser. Obama has also nominated Power to succeed Rice for her position to UN. Credit: Getty Images Getty Images

Though relations between the U.S. and Israel have been frosty, White House press secretary Josh Earnest presented Power and Rice's attendance as the usual course of action.

"The participation of Ambassador Power and National Security Advisor Rice is consistent with the kind of administration participation you’ve seen in previous AIPAC conferences," Earnest said. "If it's perceived by some as an effort to demonstrate bipartisan support for the relationship between the United States and Israel, then that would be great. That would be a great conclusion."

Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when he is in Washington for his address to Congress next week, citing the proximity of the Israeli elections. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry will be out of the country when Netanyahu is in the United States.

Obama himself spoke at the AIPAC conference in 2012, an event where administration officials typically attend.

One last thing…
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