Wow, what a wild few days! The AIPAC Policy Conference just concluded in Washington DC, and I am on a flight home as I write. I will share my personal reflections of the event in the next day or two. However, I must fill you in on my first experience as a lobbyist!
Part of our group ascends Capitol Hill
This was not my first time to DC, so walking where some of the world’s most powerful leaders walk didn’t hold the luster that it did the first time I set foot in DC. But marching up Capitol Hill and through the underground
Tunnel between Senate and House Buildings
tunnel between the Senate Buildings and the House of Representatives with a special purpose and a specific message was a privilege not experienced by most Americans. Indeed, each of us was a voice for thousands of other constituents back home, and I was truly honored by the privilege to speak for those with whom I am like-minded.
The AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference was all about 18,700 delegates supporting the interests of Israel. I am happy to say that Jews and Gentiles from all walks of life, of every skin tone known to man, from both political parties (and more!), and of various faiths and lifestyles stood in absolute unity, and with three specific points of emphasis as we flooded the offices of every Senator and Representative in the U.S. Congress! Here are the three points of which every member of Congress was confronted:
- Reimpose and strictly enforce tough sanctions on Iran when they fail in their obligations to the nuclear deal, and to existing UN requirements that are not included in the nuclear agreement.
- Support bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and do not allow the UN (or any other body) to arbitrarily declare statehood. This is critical because the UN is highly unfavorable toward Israel and the Palestinians are pressing for the UN to act unilaterally on their behalf.
- Support robust funding of military necessities to Israel, which will in turn bolster US capabilities. The U.S. and Israel have a unique partnership, in that there is a free flow of technology and intelligence between the two. The innovation and benefits brought by one benefit both. It’s a two-for-one deal…and knowing Israel’s incredible advances in intelligence, that is a huge bonus for America!
Delegation of Arizona Christians gathering for a lobbying appointment
So, most of the 18,000 AIPAC delegates went to The Hill to personally deliver the message! I’m proud to say that Arizona, despite the distance, had one of the largest delegations. So large, we required larger meeting rooms! And, though I’m sad to say that Arizona has a couple of Representatives who don’t take as strong a stance as we would like, I’m very pleased to say that our Senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain, are leading proponents of Israel’s security!
Senator McCain has long sat on the Senate Arms Services Committee, and has strongly supported Israel. Likewise, Senator Flake is a leader in the Senate when it comes to Israel.
Both have already signed off on specific documents, committing continued strong support. Thus, though neither was in Washington today to meet with us personally, we met with Chiefs of Staff and/or Legislative Assistants well-versed on the issues. Each gave us assurance that the Senators are fully onboard with AIPAC’s stated concerns.
Arizona contingent with Rep Schweikert
David Schweikert is the Representative in my district, and we met personally with him. I am proud to say he is a leader in the House when it comes to Israel! He, too, has already signed off on appropriate legislation to uphold the specific concerns we presented, and pledged to remain a leader in the House of Representatives when it comes to Israel’s security.
It was a thrilling experience, and a very positive one. If there is one issue in Washington that Congressmen seem to agree for the most part, it is Israel! Please join me in praising God for Republicans and Democrats alike who are committed and working every day to keep Israel safe! Pray that they stand firm against an administration that doesn’t share the depth of their commitment. Prayer is vital and I hope you will always pray for our government leaders…and for the peace of Jerusalem!
Check back tomorrow for interesting reflections from my experience at the Policy Conference.