This coming weekend, the largest gathering in the history of the pro-Israel movement will take place at the annual Policy Conference of AIPAC. This high-profile, nationally-televised event brings together Americans from many religious backgrounds with one common goal: to advance the diplomatic, military and economic relationship between the United States and the State of Israel. I look forward to attending this year’s conference in Washington DC.
What is AIPAC?
AIPAC stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. According to an article in The New Yorker, this organization currently boasts over 100,000 paid members. With regard to the mission and goals of AIPAC, a page on their website states, “As America’s bipartisan pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC urges all members of Congress to support Israel through foreign aid, government partnerships, joint anti-terrorism efforts and the promotion of a negotiated two-state solution – a Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state.” Now, more than ever, AIPAC believes that it is essential to advocate for these issues. This belief is obviously shared by many Americans, as this year’s Policy Conference will shatter the record for the most participants, bringing in upwards of 20,000 people to Washington DC.
What is the Policy Conference?
The AIPAC Policy Conference is the culmination of all of AIPAC’s lobbying and outreach efforts throughout the year. At this event, tens of thousands of “delegates”, including myself, travel down to Washington DC for three jam-packed, busy days of attending interesting and relevant lectures, lobbying US Senators and members of Congress at the US Capitol, and listening to live speeches from elected officials such as Vice President Joe Biden and the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and leading presidential candidates including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump. Also, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the conference live, via satellite. As I previously stated, this year’s conference will have record-setting attendance. This year the Policy Conference’s registration exceeded the capacity of the Washington DC Convention Center, where the event has always been held. For that reason, the general sessions of the Policy Conference will be held in the Verizon Center, a sports arena that is the home of the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards. For any political junkie, especially for a passionately pro-Israel political junkie, this event brings a lot of excitement. A special part of the conference is the evening gala. Only the State of the Union Address and joint sessions of Congress have more members of Congress in attendance than the AIPAC Policy Conference Gala.
Stay tuned for another article with the inside scoop from the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference. Based on the speakers who are slated to attend and the exciting events throughout the conference, I doubt it will disappoint.