This past week I renewed my Capitol Club AIPAC membership – proudly. It isn’t the first time I renewed; in fact I’ve been an AIPAC member for over ten years. I was with AIPAC before it became popular, and I’m with it even as it’s suffering through unjustified attacks – from our own community. AIPAC is the premier organization that lobbies to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. AIPAC gives its members – people untrained like me – the knowledge and skill to petition their elected officials, as is our constitutional right.
Why does AIPAC deserve my money? No other organization so effectively helps the Israeli people. One doesn’t have to understand the mechanics of politics, be an expert in Israeli security issues, or even know the differences between a Republican and Democrat or Likud and Labor, to understand the importance of what AIPAC accomplishes.
Over half of the United States’ total foreign aid is directed to Israel. At times American military aid has reached over $3.6 billion a year. Some complain that this aid creates an Israel that is dependent on american largesse others complain that the terms of the deal require Israel to purchase 75% of its weapons from America. But, it is an undeniable fact that Israel requires American aid to keep its fighter jets flying and its missile defense systems operable. While Israeli military independence is an admirable goal, Israel is years away from achieving it. American aid isn’t automatic, Congress must vote on it annually, and AIPAC is the lobbying group having the conversation with Congress about the importance of Israeli military aid. My investment with AIPAC, along with the investments of other Aipac supporters, ultimately translates into $3 billion of annual aid for Israel.
The greatest threat facing American and Israeli security is Iran. The largest sponsor of terror, Iran has American and Israeli blood on its hands. As much as AIPAC and its supporters tried, we couldn’t convince President Obama and the Democratic Party not to go through with the “Iran deal.” However, our efforts weren’t a total loss. Before the AIPAC campaign to stop the deal, Iran wasn’t even on the average American’s radar. Today, in campaigns across the country, especially the Presidential race, the Iranian threat is one the top foreign affairs issues discussed. The organization that will keep Iran at the forefront of the minds of Americans, members of Congress and the next President, is AIPAC.
In addition to actively petitioning members of the American government, AIPAC spends tremendous effort teaching and training our future leaders. AIPAC’s leadership development division educates high school and college students about the case for Israel, how to effectively identify future leaders on campus and talk to them about Israel, and how to form relationships with members of Congress. The student division is led by Adam Teitelbaum , and his deputy Marissa Wizig, both of whom, along with their staff, are experts at giving students the tools they need to effectively make a difference. I’m a partner in AIPAC’s early engagement high school division, and have seen my students turn into leaders working with AIPAC. Under early engagement director Josh Losner, I’m looking forward to another year of growth.
For all of these reasons, and more, I’m proud to have renewed my membership with AIPAC. I feel that in my financial investment I am making a difference in the lives and safety of the Israeli people. I feel that while I can’t serve in the IDF and defend Israel, I can play this small part. I am grateful to the board members, staff and membership of AIPAC, and I’m proud to play a role in helping them.