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Choose to Lead

By Michele Poltorak & Michele Weiss

AIPAC Policy Conference 2018 was held March 4-6 at the Washington Convention Center and was attended by an awe inspiring 18,000 people (Chai X 1000). There were many sessions on the myriad issues involving Israel – Middle East politics, Israeli politics, American politics and foreign policy, Israeli innovation and technology in agriculture and medicine, and even on using clowns in providing medical care.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Choose to Lead”. The conference demonstrated how Israel leads the world in technology and in being a first responder to global disasters. We also learned about individuals who choose to lead by standing up for Israel in their communities.

AIPAC showcased it’s bipartisan approach to fostering the US-Israel relationship. The speakers came from all across the political spectrum. Democrats and Republicans repeated the importance of the US-Israel relationship. There were sessions on progressive support for Israel and on fundamentalist Christian support for Israel.

An interesting twist on the importance of Israel was the representation at the AIPAC Village of Israeli innovations and technology, and their contributions to the world’s prosperity, health and environment. As Prime Minister Netanyahu demonstrated during his Ted-talk style presentation, the world needs Israel because Israel is at the forefront of technology in numerous industries. Walking around the Convention Center stage, he pointed to graphs and charts showing Israel’s explosive growth in global technological trade. He also illustrated how Israel is a light unto other nations in its constant endeavors to assist other nations when they experience natural disasters. A historical moment occurred at the Conference when the President of Guatemala declared that Guatemala plans to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem on May 16, 2018. two days after the United States plans its embassy move. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley powerfully stated that the United States will no longer tolerate other nations bullying Israel at the UN. Vice President Pence pronounced strong support for Israel.

During his speech, Prime Minister Netanyahu explained that despite all the progress Israel has made in trade and diplomacy, the looming specter of Iran and the tyranny and terror that it spawns pose an enormous challenge to Israel and its Arab neighbors.

After the Prime Minister’s speech, the 18,000 delegates dispersed to Capitol Hill to their assigned lobbying groups. AIPAC had arranged for lobbying appointments with every member of Congress and every Senator. Participating in the lobbying appointments gave all the AIPAC delegates an opportunity to proactively contribute to strengthening the US-Israel relationship. 

Shabbat starts Friday: 7:05PM
Shabbat ends Saturday: 8:06PM
Fri, April 12 2024 4 Nisan 5784