5 years ago Leighest 0

By, Zachary Schulman/Philadelphia, PA/11th Grade

The AIPAC Conference is something that I look forward to every year. For those who do not know, AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Founded in 1951, it has continued grown since, to the point of 18,000 strong this year. Jews and non-Jews from all over the world come together in Washington D.C. for three days, all with the same vision in mind, a strong and secure Eretz Yisrael (Israel). Democrats, Republicans, Black, White, Hispanic, Asians and many more types of people with diverse views and cultures all come in unison, which is something that is hard to come by these days in politics. The one thing that binds everyone is our unwavering support for our homeland. You see the most conservative Republicans come together with the most liberal Democrats and it seems like there is no difference, once again due to their love for Israel. Everyone understands how important US-Israel Relations; that’s what we were all there for.

As someone who loves and advocates for Israel everyday, I find myself at home at the conference, with people just like me. Our love for Israel is not something that all of us just picked up as a hobby, it is something ingrained in us, something that is inherently part of us, that we feel the obligation to stand up for. I truly believe that it is my job to defend Israel, and keep it safe.

One of the most powerful things that AIPAC has helped me understand is how to stand up to anti semitism. There will be people who try delegitimize us, hate us, and will and try to wipe us away. There were even protesters that arrived at the conference! Every time I saw them at the conference, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride in the knowledge I have to defend my nation and the land of Israel from people like them. As history has shown, the Jewish nation always comes up on top. The mission of the conference is to give everyone in attendance the tools they need to defend Israel, and to keep it growing and thriving.

AIPAC does a great job in preparing teenagers especially, for the BDS and groups of the sorts that you will unfortunately be forced to face on college campuses.  I cannot stress it enough, our generation needs to stand up for Israel, for the Jewish people. We do it for ourselves, for those that came before us, and those who will come after us.

My favorite memory from the conference was the first time I walked into the convention center. Walking in, seeing thousands of people just like me, made me feel at home, similar to the feelings I experience every time I’ve visited Israel. It’s the feeling of community and an unbreakable bond. The last time I was in Israel I met up with Rabbi Mendy Cohen, my CTeen Rabbi, at the Kotel, and a similar feeling arose within me, as we prayed together, in unison. All it takes is one trip to Israel to help you really understand why it is so important to love this place and its people. Stand up for Israel at all times, no matter where, no matter when!