(CCU Student) I as a CCU sophomore and Natasha Starceski as a senior were privileged to take part on March 21-23 in Washington, D.C. when 7,500 people gathered to attend AIPAC’s aptly named Policy Conference. During the conference, guests heard from: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Evan Bayh (D-IN), Quartet Representative and Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Professor Alan Dershowitz, Pastor DeeDee Coleman and Colonel Richard Kemp. The topic was the importance of the U.S. – Israel relationship.
The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC is known as “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby” and one of the top five most powerful lobbies in the country. To put that in perspective, AIPAC ranks alongside the AARP and NRA in lobbing effectiveness, all quite a feat in consideration of their smaller size and lesser funding. The real difference is in AIPAC’s grass-roots approach of equipping citizens and student-citizens to reach out and build meaningful relationships with their respective representatives.
You had to be there… taken inside the cavernous conference facility
Matt Lenell and Natasha Starceski help lead the Mideast Reconciliation Initiative, a newly formed student group at CCU engaged with issues relating to Israel, Islam, and the Middle East. They have taken part in several AIPAC college outreach activities since becoming interested in the subject during the CCU Washington Week study trip last May.