June 20, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
June 20, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Soaring on an AIPAC High

Those who have visited or have spent extended time in Israel know what a marvelous, almost out-of-body experience it can be. Washington, D.C. is hardly Israel, but AIPAC’s annual policy conference, held in DC, comes close. It’s a feeling of being surrounded by family and friends, including those who are not Jewish but love and support the world’s only Jewish state. This year, attendees numbered 18,000: 1,000 times 18, the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word for life, chai. And that is what AIPAC is all about: ensuring Am Yisrael Chai.

AIPAC supports the security and growth of Israel through political activism by advocating for pro-Israel policies to Congress and executive branch of the United States. It does not distribute funds to elected officials but does lobby them. AIPAC, inclusive, bipartisan and interfaith, informs and educates America’s leaders and the world that Israel, the only truly democratic sovereign state in the Middle East, shares America’s values and remains its steadfast ally.

This year’s AIPAC Policy Conference, which drew attendees from throughout the United States, Israel and the world, was historic. The first rocket attack wounding seven Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv occurred during the conference. Also concurrent was President Trump’s signing of the document that recognizes the Golan Heights, won during the Six Day War, as belonging to Israel.

As expected, many of the speakers gave variations on the same theme: Israel’s inherent and indisputable right to its ancestral land not only because it’s the home of three major religions but because only under its sovereignty are all free to practice their own faith traditions, or disavow religion altogether, should they so choose. They are also free to criticize their democratically elected officials, a rarity in that region and throughout much of the world. All who live there are equal before the law and enjoy health, social and educational benefits.

While many of the AIPAC attendees were staunch Democrats, who oppose the current administration, none could deny that the president made good on his promise to support Israel. Most Israelis are also quite happy with his administration for making good on his promises. He has moved the embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawn from the Iran Deal, acknowledged the Golan and put a stop to America’s funding of monies designated for humanitarian purposes that are funneled into building and maintaining an arsenal of deadly weapons.

What made this year’s conference different from previous ones was the recent rise in pernicious anti- Semitism in America and across the globe. Our leaders are finally acknowledging a phenomenon that many of us have seen mushrooming over the last two decades. Increasing denial of the Holocaust with the simultaneous rise of revisionism, fascism, racism, nationalism and the absurd accusation that Israelis are Nazis has infected the world. As past history has taught us, this is a deadly threat that must be addressed, and both communal and political leaders are finally coming to that realization, and are determined to act on that reality.

Thus, although AIPAC serves to remind us that there is plenty to be concerned about, there is also much to be grateful for. That Israel is on a mission to the moon, and at the forefront of medical, scientific, technological and artistic advances, is nothing short of a miracle. It is truly amazing that despite daily existential threats, the nation’s hard-won standard of living and quality of life is so high.

On the last day of the conference, buses took attendees to Capitol Hill so that they could meet their legislators, thank them for the support shown and petition for continued support of Israel as well as support and funding for legislative measures affecting Americans today, including rising anti Semitism. Ambassador Ron Prosor, an Israeli diplomat who served as Israel’s ambassador and UN envoy, agreed to speak with The Jewish Link.

“It’s exciting to see the amazing show of force in Washington, the capital of the United States and of the free world,” he said. “Seeing senators and congressmen on both sides of the aisle standing up for Israel shows an amazing bond between both peoples. Being here since 1998, every year, it’s really quite impressive. This year it’s obvious that the anti- Semitism issue has become center stage at this conference. It’s also quite remarkable to see senators and congressmen standing up to this challenge. Also quite amazing is to see the United States’ support under President Trump and the current administration, especially President Trump’s support on three major issues: the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the move of the embassy, negating the Iran Deal and recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel.”

Former Ambassador Prosor continued, “Israel has been on the front line fighting those trying to destroy our way of life, a life dedicated to democracy, liberty and humanity.” Referring to David Friedman, America’s ambassador to Israel, who had addressed the assembly earlier that morning, Prosor spoke of the need for Jews and others to put aside their religious and political differences to unite in the fight to support imperiled Israel, “As Ambassador Friedman said, ‘The rockets that are launched do not differentiate between religious and secular Jews, between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews.’”

“Next year in Jerusalem – and also at AIPAC,” concluded Prosor.

By Barbara Wind

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles