U.S.-Israel friendship

U.S.-Israel friendship

I have been an AIPAC supporter for 25 years, but just went to my first policy conference. Since you chose not to go, let me tell you, it was fabulous. It represented the best of America, for whom friendship with Israel is an important commitment.  

Although the largest group of attendees was clearly Jewish, support came from every slice of the U.S. regardless of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, or political party. Speakers and participants were from around the globe; there were Pakistanis, Mexicans, Albanians, Azerbaijanis, Lithuanians, Estonians, Latvians, Guatemalans, and more. To be there was to understand why, in spite of the continuing attacks on the state, particularly from the left, support for Israel remains strong and widespread among the American public. The best news was the large presence of young people from high school and college. 

Regarding NJJN’s editorial about not attending (“Why we won’t be at the AIPAC conference,” March 1), let me suggest you rethink that. Petulance is never a good guide.  

There were ample opportunities to report on the conference. As an attendee, I appreciated the ease and comfort of not being part of any reportage. I appreciated the candor of fellow participants when they are neither showboating for the camera nor reluctant to put themselves on display. NJJN is correct, cellphones have the potential to make any of us an unwitting celebrity, but that is far different than having the media circus surrounding attendees as we learn about a legislative approach to BDS (the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement) or Israel’s relationship with Azerbaijan. 

If you had attended the general sessions, which were open to the press, you would have seen a wonderful series of speeches reflecting the breadth of support for Israel. What other stage has Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Steve Scalise, Mitch McConnell, Bob Menendez, and others all talking in the same direction?

Jonathan Hirst

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