Every year the pro-Israel community gathers together to hold a preeminent assembly called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference. Fifteen thousand student activists attended the conference, as well as Israeli and American policymakers. This year multiple ORU students attended the conference in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Convention Center from Sunday, March 26 until Tuesday, March 28.
The conference hosted more than 15,000 pro-Israel Americans, including over two-thirds of Congress, 3,600 plus students from more than 630 campuses, 283 student government presidents from all 50 states and over 275 synagogue delegations as well as current AIPAC members.
Our current Student Body president, Shawn Madison, and president-elect Emily Bishop, along with other politically aspiring students attended the conference. They attended numerous sessions and breakout groups. The main sessions included speakers such as Vice President Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley and Benjamin Netanyahu.
The mission of AIPAC is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S./Israel relationship to enhance the security of the United States and Israel.
As America’s bipartisan pro-Israel lobby, “AIPAC urges all members of Congress to support Israel through foreign aid, government partnerships, joint anti-terrorism efforts and the promotion of a negotiated two-state solution– a Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state,” AIPAC writes on their website. AIPAC believes both the U.S. and Isreal will be stronger countries if they work with each other and support each other.
Many people attend this conference annually for professional reasons, but ORU’s students each had a different reason for attending.
“During my freshman year at ORU, I went with ORU Missions to Israel. At the time, I did not understand why America needed Israel and why Israel needed America,” said Bishop. “Throughout my time there, I realized how essential our alliance and relationship was. I wanted to go to the conference to gain a deeper understanding of just that, while also figuring out a way to relay this message to my student body at ORU.”
The AIPAC has a desire to increase the knowledge and awareness of Iran, as well as the safety of America and Israel. The attendance of ORU’s students, and leaders could be the catalyst needing to push that next step among the student body.