AIPAC Prepares for Trump
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
The attendees at the AIPAC policy conference which begins on Sunday faces a major challenge which already has received much media attention. Having invited, as they do quadrennially, all the presidential candidates who remain in the running at the time of the policy conference, the expected crowd of 18-20,000 members face the question as to how to respond to Trump and his presentation.
While some have suggested disruption and some rabbis have called upon the assembled to march out and hold a class, Liel Leibovitz writing in Tablet, said it most eloquently:
Let him speak to an empty room, and let the cable news channels carrying the latest Trump spectacle marvel that one group of Americans—not particularly large, not particularly influential—had the courage to say enough to this shameful circus of lies and violence, turn its back, literally, to this dangerous demagogue, and walk out.
Some in the pro-Israel community argue that all legitimate political voices should be heard and no one should be denied the opportunity to make his/her case. This AIPAC strategy is based on the theory that they want access and entre on behalf of Israel’s interests regardless of who is president; therefore there is need to treat all candidates alike and not alienate anyone.
As citizens and as voters, the conference attendees have a personal option. The question that should be asked is why might there actually be any Jews and pro-Israel supporters who remaining in the room. Trump had to be invited and AIPAC did do the appropriate thing, but except for staff, security, and press, given the nature of his campaign, no one should be honoring Trump by attending his speech. No disruption and demonstrations are required. Absence speaks for itself. The integrity of this type of demonstration will speak legions. Show Trump–and the entire country–how much Jews love America.