The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbies Congress to advocate for pro-Israel policies. The organization hosts an annual Policy Conference that celebrates the U.S-Israel partnership and educated its attendees, of which there are over 18,000, to prepare them to lobby their representatives.
For three days every March, Washington, D.C., is flooded with diverse pro-Israel activists, representing different religions, ethnicities, and political affiliations. Additionally, more than two thirds of Congress attends, over 3,600 university students from over 630 campuses, 283 student government presidents from all 50 states and AIPAC members from all over the country. Policy conference assistant to the Speakers Bureau, Jordan Stern (this reporter’s sister) said, “I was in charge of greeting our Congressional speakers and escorting them backstage. It was an exhilarating experience and I was honored to interact with members from both sides of the aisle.”
This year’s theme for the conference was “Connected for Good,” which reinforces the idea that pro-Israel Americans, whether they are a Democrat or a Republican, remain steadfast in their connection to Israel in a time when politics are becoming extremely divisive over issues pertaining to the US-Israel relationship.
This year, the conference took place on Mar. 24-26. Throughout the three days there were five general sessions and five tracks of breakout sessions. General sessions were two hours of programmed shows that featured speeches, video clips and special moments that highlight Israeli organizations and innovations and world leaders from other countries. At this year’s conference, the Romanian Prime minister spoke in the Sunday morning general session and announced that Romania would be moving their embassy to Jerusalem, following a move that the US made in May 2018. Breakout sessions give delegates the opportunity to listen to and participate in in-depth panel discussions on a wide range of topics relating to the US and Isreal.
The purpose of the policy conference is to bring together America’s pro-Israel community, to educate and inspire its members to continue to take action and lobby the government throughout the remainder of the year. In addition to this, the attendees take this information back to their local communities to educate others about AIPAC’s mission.