The changing face of Pro-Israel activism in America highlighted at AIPAC brunch

by | Mar 1, 2013 | Featured

Ashley Bell, Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg, Staci Eichelbaum, Robin Mancoll and Pastor Isaac Mooneyham.

Ashley Bell, Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg, Staci Eichelbaum, Robin Mancoll and Pastor Isaac Mooneyham.

More than 200 people gathered on Sunday, Feb. 10 for brunch at Ohef Sholom Temple and for an inspiring America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) event.

Following a delicious brunch prepared by the Men’s Club of Ohef Sholom, who joined with the Sisterhood, Young Adult Community, Adult Education Committee and Membership Committee to offer the free and open to the community event, three speakers addressed the changing face of pro-Israel activism in the United States. They included an African American elected official, Ashley Bell from Hall County, Ga., a Baptist Pastor, Isaac Mooneyham from Danville, Va., and local student Staci Eichelbaum from James Madison University.

The speakers explained how they came to be activists for the pro-Israel community, each with a different motivating story.

County Commissioner Bell’s story was especially enlightening and affirming. During his visit to Israel with the African American Leaders Mission, they met with leaders of the PLO. In a candid conversation without AIPAC staff in the room, Bell asked one of the PLO leaders, “Do you think Israel has a right to exist?” When the PLO leader answered “No,” Bell realized that all other statements were suspect and there was no further reason to continue the conversation.

Attendees heard that while the Jewish state is facing a rapidly deteriorating security situation on all of its borders, what makes this moment in time different is the growing support for Israel across the diverse American spectrum. Hard work from not just the Jewish community, but through the work of the African American and Christian friends of Israel is making a difference. Many of the most important decisions affecting Israel’s basic security are being made in Washington, not Jerusalem. The relationship, which will need to be stronger in the future, is strong now for several reasons: supporters of Israel as a community are willing to stand up and be counted; as a community, supporters are willing to engage elected officials in exactly the way the Constitution prescribes, and because of that, supporters of Israel as a community have a real voice in Washington.

“What was unique about this event is that it illustrated how anyone, regardless of their religion, race or age, can be educated and inspired to advocate for Israel’s security and survival,” says Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg. “We can join AIPAC, gaining access to constant updates and action alerts; attend the Annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington D.C., and hear exceptional briefings by Israel, Mid-East and world wide experts; and we can lobby our local and congressional representatives making them aware of issues affecting Israel and why their support is important not only for the Jewish State, but also for a strong United States.”

To learn more about AIPAC, visit them at or call Kate Samuels, AIPAC’s Southern States Area director at 770-541-7610.

(photography by Steve Budman)

by Robin Mancoll