My AIPAC experience

by | Apr 8, 2016 | Other News

Last month I had the amazing opportunity to attend the American Israeli Publican Affairs Committees (AIPAC) annual policy conference.

The conference attracted more than 18,700 pro-Israel Americans, including 4,000 college students with the goal of strengthening the ties between the United States and Israel. The theme of this year’s conference was “coming together” because of the current divisiveness of American politics. AIPAC prides itself on its bipartisan nature and keeping Israel a bipartisan issue—above Democrat / Republican politics. This year’s conference was all about coming together regardless of political affiliation.

At the conference, I was joined by fellow William & Mary students, VCU students, and by Rabbi Gershon Litt. We had the opportunity to see Presidential candidates speak including Hillary Clinton, John Kasich, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, as well as Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and others. Outside of general sessions with keynote speakers, we attended smaller, more personal breakout sessions to learn more about Israel and the Middle East. At these smaller sessions I had the opportunity to meet with Congresswoman Comstock, Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.

Besides politics, we also learned about Israeli technology and society and had the opportunity to hear from world-leading disaster relief groups such as Israel Aid, which provides millions of dollars worth of manpower and support to areas struck by natural disasters. We also learned about Israel as the “start up nation” and how innovations in medical fields and technology are changing the world.

At the conference, we got to see and meet some of the most influential people in U.S. politics and learn from experts about foreign policy and Israel. Our group’s main takeaway from the conference was that it does not matter what your political affiliation is, you can be Democrat, Republican, Socialist, or Libertarian and still support Israel. AIPAC works to further the relations between these two great nations and to keep Israel above partisan politics.

by Drew Liquerman
—Drew Liquerman is a student at William & Mary and is an active member of the Hillel student board.