President Shimon Peres’ annual Israeli Presidential Conference is full of kitch yet it’s also full of inspiration. Do I love it? Do I not? With the Tomorrow conference beginning tomorrow, I am thinking about the pros and cons of this huge event. Here are the biggies. (Please share others in the comments.)
Pro – a warm welcome to a mega event
First, there is Elie Klein of Finn Partners who makes us bloggers feel so welcome. Finn Partners is the International Media Relations team for the conference. (They work hand-in-hand with Debby Communications, the Domestic Media Relations team.)
I know Elie. Besides being lovely (I’m sorry if that’s not a manly thing to say about a manly man), he is extremely professional and talented. Because I know him – we’ve even worked together – I am more aware of the hard work that goes into making an event of this magnitude run smoothly. And it’s a pleasure to have a pass as a blogger to come and watch the days unfold.
Thank you Elie and Finn Partners!
Con – Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres. I’m sorry. I’m not a fan. Am I allowed to say this and then be the president’s guest for two days? I can’t help but grimace when I picture all the sucking up that happens at the conference. What is with that?
Are these people up for another serving of Oslo Accords?
I lived in Jerusalem at the time with bombs blowing up constantly on buses, in cafes and on the streets. I know people who were killed and injured. The idea of having to forgive or forget is appalling.
I can’t figure out why Peres is so respected in Israel (I don’t care about outside of Israel). It’s upsetting.
Also, what is it with leftists stealing words and making them their own? Peres, you do not own the word peace, it doesn’t have to mean what you and your cronies have made it mean (Jews bending over until their backs break in order to make terrorists happy). And I refuse to let you now own the word tomorrow! I will use the word tomorrow and not think of your conference Tomorrow tomorrow. Tomorrow.
But worst of all, I hate when I find myself getting starry-eyed about a public figure I don’t even respect.
Last year I attended the huge opening event where people terribly enthusiastically cheered on the president, standing ovations and all. I also went to the bloggers’ closed meeting with Peres and found that like almost everyone else there, I was hanging on his every word. Why? And how absolutely strange that I was disappointed by what he said when I already knew he speaks a language I proudly do not understand: Fluff.
Here is a video to give you an idea:
Pro – serious inspiration
With all the sucking up and fluff in the background, there is still a ton of substance and some serious inspiration just waiting to happen. These two days give you the opportunity to hear amazing leaders in almost any field.
Last year there were four people who stood out for me and made the whole thing worth while:
Wow. So eloquent and strong and she was one of the only speakers on a panel talking sense about the Arab and Muslim world. Um, she’s the one who lived amongst them. All the other speakers in that panel were middle aged white males.
I know! I decided to go hear him speak not knowing what to expect and I found him a real pleasure to listen to.
Talk about a unique brain. Genius and funny. Awesome awesome.
I was inspired by his ability to balance his Jewishness with his personal identity (which includes being gay). I really loved how he spoke.
Con – fear of missing out
This conference should also be coined the FOMO conference.
There is so much going on at once and so many people that it feels like most of the time, no matter what you do, somewhere there very possibly is something better going on. I mean, God forbid you should just hang out with a friend! And what about when you go to a lecture that wasn’t great? Let alone when you try to make it to a session that is so popular it fills up before you get inside?
Oh, the pain!
Pro – fun
There is so much fun to be had at the conference. There is a world of potential between those four walls.
Honestly, I am giving myself pep talks to get over the cons so I can enjoy the pros. And in order to kill two birds with one stone, I am hereby announcing that I will not be attending either of the sessions with Shimon Peres. I won’t go because that isn’t where I want to put my time. (Don’t worry, Elie, I do plan to make it to as many of the other blogger sessions as I can.)
But when it comes down to it, despite the somewhat repetitiveness of this conference, to be part of such a huge event, in size and scope, is an extremely unique experience and there is much to be gained spending a couple of days a year there. Because here and there you’ll be inspired. And here and there you’ll really connect with someone awesome. And here and there you’ll just hang out with friends and have fun.
Yes, I’m really excited for Tomorrow tomorrow. So, Shimon Peres, although I won’t be your friend for peace (and I know you don’t want me on your team anyway), thanks for making this really special event happen. And thank you to all the organizers that make it happen so beautifully.