Sitting in the annual AIPAC policy conference held in DC, in the magnificently sized Verizon Center Stadium, I can’t hold back the tears…
18,000+ people in one room.
18.000+ people stand in unison with one voice, one goal, one commitment.
18,000+ people from all across the nation, all walks of life, all religions, all political views and all ages.
18,000+ people present to show their support and fervor for a secure Israel, a safe America, and for the shared values and goals of both countries.
We begin the plenary session with the singing of the US national anthem followed by the Israeli one. The mesmerizing voices captivate the entire crowd during this auspicious moment. We all stand in unison, with shared love and commitment for peace, a better future and a determination to stand up for the safety and security of both nations.
The strength in the room is electrifying.
I look over and see a Holocaust survivor holding his grandchildren’s hands at each side. I see a family, parents alongside their children, standing closely together. I also see an elderly couple, attending their 20+ AIPAC conference, looking into each other’s eyes. Thousands of college students are there as well, bringing their youthful energy.
We are all there. Singing our hearts out. Knowing that our commitment to our countries and our devotion to democracy and freedom will make a difference.
The plenary sessions continue for two days, with smaller breakout sessions in between, as various US leaders come to speak. Presidential candidates, US congressmen and Senators, leaders from across the nation addressing the crowd and expressing their strong, unwavering commitment to the safety and security of Israel.
Here is only a taste of what some of them had to say:
Joe Biden, US Vice President
Biden reaffirmed the U.S.’s unyielding support for the survival of the State of Israel and condemns all terror attacks being perpetrated on Israelis.
“The conditions under which the Israeli people live, the sense of vulnerability, the constant fear of attack is real. The people of Israel have lived under siege from the beginning. They built a nation in defiance of relentless threats from their neighbors…Israel is a nation of uncommon courage.”
Hillary Clinton, US Democratic Presidential Candidate
Clinton reaffirmed her commitment to Israel’s future for a secure and democratic homeland for the Jewish people.
She empowered students fighting on the front-lines against Anti-Semitism and bigotry. “Don’t let anyone silence you, bully you or try to shut down debates…Anti-Semitism has no place in a civilized society.”
Clinton also announced that “Palestinian leaders need to stop inciting violence, stop celebrating terrorists as martyrs and stop paying rewards to their families.”
Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House of Representatives
Paul Ryan stands strongly with Israel and made it clear that both countries should do everything possible to strengthen their friendship. He discussed how Israel helps the US fight terrorism, unlike its counterparts who fund terrorism.
Ryan also expressed that the current administration “understands that we need our allies, but it fails to understand what our allies need.”
Donald Trump, US Republican Presidential Candidate
Donald Trump settled any doubt that he would remain neutral when it comes to matters relating to Israel.
When discussing Iran, Trump stated, “we will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network, which is big and powerful, but not powerful like us…Iran has test-fired ballistic missiles three times [and] painted on those missiles in both Hebrew and Farsi the words ‘Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth’. You can forget that!”
About the incitement within Palestinian society, Trump said that “in Palestinian textbooks and Mosques you’ve got a culture of hatred that has been fermenting there for years and if we want to achieve peace, they’ve got to go out and they’ve got to start this educational process, they have to end the education of hatred.”
Ted Cruz, US Senator
Ted Cruz made it very clear that America will stand unapologetically with Israel.
“All of us here understand that Israel is not the barrier to peace, it is the PA authority, in a so-called unity government with Hamas that celebrates the murder of women and children and even compensates the terrorist attacks. If the Palestinians try to push through a UN resolution to unilaterally declare PA statehood, America will veto that resolution.”
Cruz also expressed awe at “the Ziv hospital in northern Israel where they have treated over a thousand refugees from Syria wounded in that horrible Syrian civil war and have done so free of charge, showing the heart and character of the people of Israel.”