Excerpted from AIPAC 2017 by Yishai Fleisher in The Jerusalem Post 4/11/17
|Yishai Fleisher interviewed|
by JooTube at AIPAC
An Awesome Gathering: Indeed, in terms of numbers AIPAC did not disappoint as 19,000 participants showed up, 4,000 of whom were school and university age, and bringing them all together is no small feat.
The atmosphere was electric when US Vice President Mike Pence spoke and the crowd went wild when the new US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told the packed Verizon Center that “there’s a new sheriff in town.”
(Excerpts from Vice President Mike Pence's address)
But for me, the real magic was at night, after the official program had ended. Young Jews gathered in bar events run by organizations like Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), The Israel Project (TIP), Stand With Us, Israeli American Council, Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and Young Jewish Conservatives, among others. Beer was flowing, business cards were exchanged, hearts were opening – and the huge ocean that divides Israeli Jews and American Jews dried up like the Red Sea on Passover.
Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld of Marble Arch Synagogue in London hailed the Trump Administration's alignment with Zionism and hoped American Zionists activism might set an example for British Jewish leadership.
While the physical gathering itself was inspiring, the messaging of it was, in my eyes, less so. You might have thought this year’s 50th anniversary of the miraculous Six Day War and the triumphant reunification of Jerusalem would have been the overarching theme of the conference. The Six Day War did get a few honorable mentions, including a outstanding movie clip from Christian Broadcast Network, but that’s it. While we all remember the famous AIPACian phrase “Jerusalem will always remain the eternal undivided capital of Israel,” this year the motto was noticeably absent.
|(Photo: Zola Levitt Ministry)|
The neglect of unified Jerusalem at AIPAC was made even more conspicuous in light of the Trump administration’s exploration of moving the US embassy to the City of Gold. But while there was no finer moment to make an appeal to move the embassy than the giant annual pro-Israel gathering in Washington on the 50th year of reunification, alas, the issue was dropped.
Balfour - Not Dead, But Buried: Yet another theme which was amazingly absent at AIPAC was the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
The key document to the birth of the State of Israel is celebrating its first centennial, precisely as Israel’s international legitimacy is being threatened. Yet the instrument of American pro-Israelism, AIPAC, neglected to so much as mention Balfour.