Being one of 16000 members and 700 rabbis at the AIPAC Policy Conference March 1-3 was an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to hear Bibi Netanyahu, Robert Menendez, Mitch McConnell, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, as well as to lobby Senators Chuck Shumer, Kristen Gillibrand and Congressman Steve Israel. I heard Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird speak about how he turned Canada from voting anti-Israel to pro-Israel. There was also a major concert featuring Rita, David Broza and Matisyahu.
One of the most moving sessions for me was a breakfast with Donniel Hartman where he shared with us that the lesson of Purim is not to become Ahashverus. Ahashverus was indifferent to the fate of the Jewish people, letting Haman do his will with them. Very few of us have the danger of becoming Haman and vindictively deciding to annihilate a people. We do have the danger of becoming Ahashverus,of being indifferent to the plight of people.
What I love about AIPAC is its bipartisan nature. You can be a Democrat or Republican, a progressive or a conservative, and find a place to AIPAC (as a matter of fact there is a progressive track at AIPAC). AIPAC’s focus is keeping our Congress informed and passionate about Israel no matter who has the Congressional majority. This is done through regular lobbying and relationship building between Congressmen and their constituents.
I plan to be back in Washington DC for the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference next March.