Dr. Gilbert N. Kahn paints a distorted and misleading picture of the recent AIPAC Policy Conference.
I’ve been coming to these events for more than eight years, and I don’t sense the rightward drift that Dr. Kahn laments. Rather, the Policy Conference was the rarest of events in Washington, DC: an opportunity for liberal Democrats like me, conservative Republicans, and everyone in the middle to unite in our support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.
At the 2014 Policy Conference I witnessed:
- Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor arm-in-arm on the stage, united on this issue even as they disagree on so many others;
- Israeli leaders ranging from Labor (Yitzchak Herzog), to Kadima (Tzipi Livni), Likud (Prime Minister Netanyahu),and Habayit Hayehudi (Naftali Bennett), unanimously thanking AIPAC for its steadfast support of Israel;
- Progressive leaders from the African-American, Hispanic and Organized Labor communities proudlysupporting the U.S.-Israel alliance;
- Diverse speakers from a wide span of perspectives, including Ha’aretz senior correspondent Ari Shavit and Palestinian negotiator Ghaith Al-Omari, and AIPAC delegates eager to learnfrom them.
Dr. Kahn’s applause meter tells him that “at least half [of attendees] are conservative or Republican leaning,” but if he registered my loud applause for Sen. John McCain and other Republican speakers as evidence of conservatism, he’s way off base. What he’s missing is that support and enthusiasm for AIPAC’s cause isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, but an American issue.
Naomi Richman Neumann