2012 AIPAC Policy Conference Day 3 by Claire Cohen

The Final Exam


Following this morning’s final plenary in which three of the Republican presidential candidates (of course, not Ron Paul) and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke, many of the 13,000 pro-Israel advocates went to Capitol Hill to lobby 530 out of the 535 offices of Senators and Members of Congress. Everyone lobbied on three issues:

-Excluding foreign aid from the potential 9% budget cuts coming in 2013 so that Israel receives $3.1 billion from the United States, as agreed to in the Memorandum of Understanding executed between the countries in the last decade

-A resolution stating that all options must remain on the table, except containment, in terms of preventing Iran from acquiring the capability of producing a nuclear weapon

-A resolution which calls for increased cooperation between the United States and Israel so that Israel’s Comparative Military Edge will be secured specifically through acceleration of delivery of F-35 fighter jets and coordination of intelligence activities

I participated in the lobbying of Senator Sherrod Brown, Representative Marcia Fudge, Representative Bob Gibbs and Representative Tim Ryan. When meeting with Representatives Gibbs and Ryan, I personally lobbied them on the resolution about Iran. I thanked each of them for co-sponsoring a former resolution in the House, speculated on the terrible things that could happen if Iran obtained a nuclear weapon, and asked them each to consider co-sponsoring or at least voting in support of the resolution. Explaining the issues to the House Representatives once again proved to me the importance of creating personal relationships with members of the government so that they vote how I want them to. As well, lobbying demonstrated the importance of AIPAC in both informing me and helping me to inform them on important issues. Lobbying the Senators and Members of Congress was the perfect cumulation to the AIPAC Policy Conference.