Monday, March 17, 2014


For the past six years I have been receiving calls from the floor of the AIPAC conference in DC.  I always hear the same question, "why wasn't I there".  So this year I decided to preempt the callers and I took part this year in the AIPAC conference in DC.  My decision wasn't based on any want or feeling that I had to support AIPAC, rather that I felt I needed to learn more for myself.  I admit that my feelings towards AIPAC have not been the most favorable due to their negative stance to the communities in Judea and Samaria, and the continued refusal to take congressmen out to see other realities and alternatives. Over the past few years I have also been meeting more and more congressman, "policy makers" and many others who work in the US admin or political apparatus, all seeking to know more, especially in the security field in which I work.

A common denominator among the US politicians, or at least one of the many, has always been the question, "why doesn't AIPAC take us out to Judea and Samaria?". I have heard congressmen say to me that the more they become pro Israel, the less Jewish support they get.  And have even found outright refusal by some of AIPAC leaders to acknowledge the spectrum of realities in Israel, only to look through the narrow slit, many of us call a point of view.

Even more fuel to this desire to attend was the fact that a week prior to the conference, a contingent of J Street board members, along with other members of not the most Judea and Samaria friendly folk, led by Jeremy Ben Ami himself came out to meet me in Shilo. The match that lit the flame was when one of the members said to me, rightfully so, " I know you don't really like us, but at least we came out to hear you here in your home, AIPAC never does", he was right.

So, armed with curiosity, a healthy dose of motivation and a tie, I set off.  I was not really prepared for what I saw. I was expecting only to see a mob of delusional abyss, a confrontation with the "enemy within", though those two challenges were healthy in attendance, and other similar challenges.

What I did see was a large group of people who honestly support Israel and are doing what they feel they can do best to keep the US on Israel's side. It's a given that, that concept is as diverse as the Jewish people themselves.

Indeed our Jewish people were represented by a healthy show of our own spectrum, all shapes and colors, and yes even political views ranging from right to left (though I personally no longer like to use those terms).  One could see a clear example by the  varied Rabbinical presence afoot. "Rabbis" from all walks of life, genders, and well, let's say all sorts.

Panels, forums, discussions ranging from topics such as the Iranian issue to cooking splattered the many rooms, podiums and varied venues throughout the conference.  Most were filled to capacity. I was truly surprised by the amount of different issues discussed regarding our little country, and the fact that so many people would attend to hear about issues many of us just scan over in our daily reads.

My main curiosity was of course the Israeli - Arab " conflict", the local one, which is the realm in which I traverse. Since this is one of the big two being discussed by the New York Times, HaAretz and the Thom Friedman group, I tried to focus on close to home.

They had the Former head of Shabak, "Think Tanks Scholars", and of a course a HaAretz reporter, among the many experts, whom most in attendance figured is the real knowledge of our present day crisis. I attended as many of these panels as I could.  Half truths, altered facts and premeditated misinformation were the lead actors in these B-rated performances. 

Security officials turned politicians presented partial scenarios rather than a more full accurate picture that would enable those present to have an informed opinion.  The "Mavens" from various institutes definitely presented more facts, but were strategically manipulated from a broader look into the situation on the ground, and needless to say, I was not surprised by the direction taken by the "truly informed", seekers of right, our ever endeared Left wing of Israel, one of which Ari Shavit, HaAretz Champion, who seemed to be hold one of the starring roles.

I watched as people seethed and squirmed in their seats listening to perceived truths and theories. I listened as questions that countered the orchestrated left leaning claims presented were addressed, and only partially answered, leaving only more questions and quizzical looks. Of course I also noticed the looks of pride among those who still dwell in their own ignorant bliss.

None of this left me surprised.

Two main points I found interesting. 

One - the amount of people who are Judea and Samaria "friendly" realists and supporters were in attendance and truly out in force, but they were quiet...too quiet, at times it seemed stifled, and afraid to discuss their views. Even the side discussions by those who at least outwardly appeared to be good ole heartland supporters tended to avoid the subject of Jewish presence and existence in Judea and Samaria. Like some taboo subject to be discussed in dim lit corners, hidden like chased subversives out to start a rebellion, (hold that thought for a future article). Never to let an opportunity pass, I enjoyed the chance to instigate thought and jumped into a few of these quorums to shake things up.  Proud to say that the discussions indeed turned interesting.  Political Correctness seemed to be the password of the day. This was even more pointed out when a dear friend of mine, Helen Freedman attempted to show me a sign showing support of Jewish Sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. She was quickly surrounded by "Security" people and AIPAC staffers, telling her that she was endangering others by simply showing me, I might add, privately, that sign.

Two - the friendliness of so many of the attendees was incredible, the atmosphere was truly a breath of fresh air.  Once people would hear where I and my friends at the conference call home, you would see a thirst for knowledge well up like they haven't had a drink of water in days. So many asked questions, because they were realizing that they just didn't know and always thought that they really didn't belong to "those" people out there. When proofs, other opinions and possibilities were shown to counter the altered facts they had been shown and taught, their interest only heightened. In fact May expressed not only a want to come and see for themselves, but an anger at those who have been keeping them and their children in the dark.

Both of these points have strengthened me, and shown me  just how important it is that we do not forsake our people who do not have the privilege to really experience our land. That we must continue to make the efforts to not just fight for our land but to continue to help defend so many of our people outside who are virtually defenseless to the onslaught of delusional and dangerous efforts made by a well financed group of people who would prefer to change the reality of Israel.

AIPAC has far to go, and their efforts, though claiming to be noble are still playing into the hands of many of our detractors and yes, enemies. Whereas they descend on the many congressmen in continued and determined effort to stay the needed support of Israel (for the greater good I must add), their supporters must see the fuller picture in Israel. That is why we, who are involved with fighting for our land must attend these conferences, and not let them fall further from our reality, thus enabling them to present a stronger picture for the reasons to support and stand by Israel.

I would like to add that I was not alone in my efforts. I was privileged to have in my company, neighbors, friends, truly brothers and who I consider heroes of our land, that made the experience not only more enjoyable, but meaningful.

May we see the miracle of Purim return and our people overturn the threats of our enemies, sooner than later.

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