First I am going to say this: I enjoy going to AIPAC. I get to hang out with my friends, talk about Zionist things with other actual Zionists face to face, and it’s nice to be around people where the default position is strong support of indigenous rights and Zionism.
But it’s the attendees who make AIPAC fun and worthwhile because frankly some of the people AIPAC brings in to speak, are not only counterproductive if you are building support for Israel, but frankly, I don’t even believe many of them are Zionists at all.
I was actually torn. I wanted to go, do some networking, talk about some projects I’m working on, spread the message of indigenous rights, listen to some of the speakers I respect, and attend the amazing Judea and Samaria event (which has easily become the highlight event of the conference). But I started crunching numbers and looking at who was speaking. I remembered being threatened that if I engaged the screaming protesters outside I would have my pass taken away, I remembered seeing J Street and other non Zionist speakers being given the stage, while actual Zionists are not. I saw how they marginalize any pro Judea and Samaria voices by not including them on panels that are about Judea and Samaria. How they pander to leftist and “progressive” voices, and I decided that since I am headed to Israel in a few months anyway, my money would be better spent in Israel where it will support actual Zionism, not this virtue signalling wannabe Zionism.
There are some really great people involved at AIPAC. They organize some great events for young people, but I worry that it’s becoming a social thing rather than working for a cause. I think having all these left-leaning idiots speaking, will dilute the resolve of young Zionists. Instead of seeing the inherent justness of being a Zionist, instead of being unapologetic and firm, they will erode the strength of purpose that is needed in today’s world.
AIPAC needs a face lift but not one that results in swinging to the left. There are enough lefty Jewish organizations and federations. What the Jewish community needs is a conservative voice that is unapologetic about being Jewish and pro-Israel. Right now, pretty much the ZOA is the only such voice.
I know some of you think I am being too harsh here but lets look at some of these “progressive” voices AIPAC is bringing in to pander to the left…
There will be a speaker at AIPAC this year who wrote an article stating that the US should listen to Jordan on the Jerusalem announcement. The same Jordan that refuses to allow Jews to pray on the Temple mount should be allowed to dictate if Jerusalem is the capital of Israel? The same speaker also wrote several articles espousing the two-state delusion and ignoring the simple fact that it’s dead. He spoke on a panel at J Street events where he made equivalence arguments and the consensus was that “the occupation must end,” assuming that Israel is actually occupying someone else’s land and conceding the moral high ground that comes from being an indigenous people living on its ancestral land.
Another speaker has written about how J Street should have been included in the commonality of Jewish pro-Israel organisations, despite the simple fact that J Street has been outed as anti-Israel several times and that actual Zionists understand them to be a gateway drug to JVP.
Last year they had a speaker who has waxed eloquent on “Rabbis for Human Rights, Bt’selem, and Breaking the Silence” being part of “her Israel.” Those are not exactly Zionist organisations.
At some point you have to ask, what the hell is going on here. They have panels with Hillel people on them but then do not allow questions asking why Hillels have become a hotbed of anti-Israel activism and events in many schools with no real response from Hillel international other than a few rah-rah speeches and no action.
With “Zionists” like this, being given a podium at North America’s largest gathering of Zionists, who needs enemies outside?
Like I said, I still think if you have extra money and time, it’s a great opportunity to schmooze, to see and be seen, but AIPAC’s time as actual activists is setting. They want so badly to reach everyone that they are losing their base. As for me? I will spend my money and time doing Zionist things, supporting actual Israelis and not contributing to the slow erosion of actual Zionism. I will be headed out East next month, but to speak with grassroots people, people who are committed to this struggle. and that is why I am not going to AIPAC.