AIPAC and some of the many reasons I love it
(DISCLAIMER: This post only includes SOME of the reasons I love AIPAC, Israel, and Politics. Do not be surprised when you see others).
First of all I am sorry. This weekend I went to the AIPAC Policy Conference and have not posted in a while. I have been learning incredible facts, re-kindling friendships and giving extra-ordinarily loud hugs to some of the most amazing people. These are people who will be working in the next generation of pro-Israel politics whether it is through AIPAC or on capital Hill. The conference itself was an incredible with world-class speakers (the greatest political minds in Middle East policy giving panel discussions, it is like triple the fun). I spent from Friday-Tuesday night in D.C. doing everything from hearing what 13,000 people sound like applauding the partnership between Israel and America, lobbying my Representatives and Senators, and sitting in one on one informational interviews.
I was able to set up 10 informational interviews over the four-day (Ain’t gona’ work on Saturday) period. I met with spokespeople for both Senators and Congressman, people from PR agencies, and also issue advocacy. I was trying to get an understanding of what it means to work on the Hill vs.PR Agency vs. on an issue. I now understand not only the obvious differences but also the subtle nuanced differences. However, I will save that for a later blog post. Being in D.C. was incredible but it also meant that I had to make up roughly, a million mid terms so I am working on that now (in the process of writing a paper on the use of TV in U.S. elections).
Was it worth all the added stress and craziness of what I am now facing? YES! AIPAC is in my eyes is the most important organization in America (not including the government). There are many reasons I love AIPAC, not just because I am Jewish, or because I love Israel. Of the many things about Israel I love, I love Israel because it is the physical representation of the words that I hold very dear: never again.
When I was about 13 until currently (I still want to) I wanted to join the Israeli Army (in the picture my close friend is the one in the middle, she is an American who fought to be put into a unit and I am still so proud). I did not want to join the army because I played with GI Joe man-dolls (I did not get GI Joe…thanks mom) and I did not want to join because I thought that the it would be fun, I wanted to join because I know that there is one army in the world that will not let the Holocaust happen again. My grandfather, Sam Goldberg, died when I was 13 after surviving one of the worst places on earth, Treblinka. Treblinka was a Nazi death camp where the Nazis did not bother putting numbers on their arms, they simply murdered Jews. Close to 1,000,000 Jews died (I believe the number is about 850,000) and roughly 60 survived. That is not 60,000 or even 600, it is 60. He helped lead the escape and made it out where he met my grandmother. My grandmother had her own version of hell to live through, running through the woods and hiding in shrubs. They met in the woods and got married. Fast forward about 50 years and there I am. I wanted to join Zahal (Israeli Defense Forces) so that no one ever said “wipe the Jews from the pages of history.” Unfortunately certain people are saying that now, however standing on American soil (and proud of that) there is something I can do to stop them.
That is why I got involved in AIPAC. My mom raised me as a pro-Israel child and my dad raised me as a Holocaust weary child (I got holocaust stories and Israel’s war of independence stories before bed…they took turns). When I came down to AIPAC Policy Conference last year I did not really know what to expect. I knew it was pro-Israel and I was excited to spend some time with my mom. What I saw blew me away. Total bi-partisan support for the US-Israel alliance and it was not only Jews. It was everyone, African-Americans, Hispanic people, Christians, gay and straight alike, everyone was supporting the alliance. I realized something that changed my life: there is more than one way to serve both the State of Israel and the Jewish people. In addition, it was a way that let me serve the United States of America. The strategic partnership does not only help Israel by getting the country aid. It helps America by supplying technology, energy technology, and military intelligence (Israel’s is the best in the world). It allowed me to not declare a political side because despite what people claim, AIPAC is as bi-partisan as you can possibly get. AIPAC is my way to help not only my people (Israelis and Jews) but my country (United States of America). What was strange was that last year, after getting back from AIPAC on March 5 2012, my political fancy had been tickled. I now wanted to learn everything I could about politics because now I had a reason to be interested.
From there, as they say, it was history. I began working on understanding politics, political communications, and speech writing. I started looking at where I fall on issues and what I want to do with my life (political communications in case anyone was wondering/hiring). I began looking at the types of jobs and realizing this is indeed what I want to do with the rest of my life. Once I found out I was not going to be a fireman (that is a different blog post also) I realized, working in politics or AIPAC is the next best thing for what I am passionate about.
In addition, AIPAC introduced me not only to the world of politics but the people of the politics of the future. This December I met some of the most incredible young people I have ever met on a trip to Israel called the AIPAC Advanced Advocacy trip (picture of a few of us on the left). I made friends that I expect I will have for life. When I hear their names associated with some large push through Congress or running for the White House, I will text them and say “I knew you would make it”…or I will be running their communications.In addition, it got me more involved in politics on campus and I am currently the head of the BU Advocates for Israel, a completely political based group working to support the US-Israel relationship through politics.
I know that this blog post was a little bit all over the place but I promise to come at it with more of a focus next post!