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Letter: AIPAC event showed Israel is not alone
May 1st, 2012
Last year, a friend suggested that I attend this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., March 4-6.
I was one of 13,000 delegates among people from all across the U.S. and Israel and in the company of officials such as President Obama, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and President Shimon Peres.
Yet I did not feel like a grain of sand in a desert. I felt empowered, and my fears that my little Jewish country is facing alone a world of rising extremism were somewhat reduced.
I felt the presence and support of the Jews, Gentiles, whites, blacks, Asians, young and old who had come to the event. Some 1,600 students from campuses across America, West Point Military Academy cadets, and many volunteers like myself all listened and cheered.
The format was similar to scientific conferences I have attended. After the plenary session, one rushes to discussion forums either to give, or listen to, presentations.
The numerous sessions discussed the political, civic, scientific, and cultural aspects of Israel and the world. While the Iranian nuclear threat was the central theme, presented as well were topics like the Arab Spring and its consequences, the recently discovered natural gas off the Israeli coast, and many others.
Every discussion always included a representative from each side of the political spectrum. Everything was balanced.
Lobbying was the next highlight of my trip. I spoke to my Congressional representatives and asked them to support Resolution 380 to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. It was all fascinating.
Eti Ganin, a native of Israel, is Israel Committee chair at Congregation Sinai.