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March 2, 2014 1:45 pm

AIPAC’s Largest-Ever Policy Conference Kicks Off in Washington

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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The opening session at AIPAC's annual policy conference. Photo: AIPAC.

AIPAC’s largest-ever policy conference kicked off on Sunday morning in Washington, D.C., with many of the 14,000 registered attendees at its opening session. The convention literature highlights bi-partisanship, humanitarianism and youth.

The first political speeches focused on Iran and the armed conflicts surrounding Israel. The opening ceremony featured a moving rainbow of voices. In a semi-circle on a dais, the spotlight fell on a sorority sister, a Spanish speaking grandmother, and a Jewish army veteran, with the crowd honoring his service in three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I am a Jew, I am a patriot, I am AIPAC,” the former soldier said to roaring applause.

AIPAC President Michael Kassen explained the organization’s historic role in leveraging a political spectrum across the aisles of Washington. He said that by creating a home for members who are both “progressive Democrats” and “conservative Republicans,” AIPAC has been able to get the ear of both parties in Congress and the Senate to hear its calls for them to support Israel.

Lila Greenberg, 19, a University of Wisconsin student and sorority sister. Photo: AIPAC.

Dr. Masad Barhoum, Director General of Western Galilee Medical Center, spoke about Israel’s humanitarian embrace of the wounded and those seeking refuge from the ongoing civil war in Syria, to which the Jewish state’s medical services have opened their arms to offer treatment.

Lila Greenberg, 19, a University of Wisconsin student and sorority sister, spoke of how her father died, when she was 16, and, shortly before his death, he spoke to their Congressional Representative, who, at his funeral, pulled Lila aside and told her that her father’s wish had been for her to continue in his support for Israel. She is now a leader for AIPAC’s High School Summit program and on her own campus.

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