A Landmark Year for Israel Advocacy in BBYO

April 6, 2020
Ethan Fine

Plano, TX

Class of 2020

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Hundreds of Alephs and Bā€™nai Bā€™rith Girls on both the national and local levels have engaged in Israel advocacy through numerous organizations, including theAmerican Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).Ā 

What is AIPAC? AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is a bipartisan organization that works to strengthen, protect, and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of theUnited States and Israel. AIPAC doesnā€™t rate, endorse, or contribute to political candidates.

Upon being given the opportunity to serve as a chair ofBBYOā€™s Explore Israel Committee, I made it a priority to increase our attendance at AIPACā€™s student training opportunities as well as AIPACā€™s AnnualPolicy Conference. I feel that by bringing members of our BBYO community to educational experiences through AIPAC, we can strengthen our skills and practical knowledge of the U.S.-Israel relationship, which can benefit us in college and beyond. I am happy to report that my expectations were exceeded .BBYO once again showed that we are a force to be reckoned with in the Jewish Community and that our teens are not just the leaders of tomorrow, we are also the leaders of today.Ā 

This past November,Ā BBYO doubled our attendance at the American Israel PublicAffairs Committeeā€™s (AIPAC) annual Schusterman Advocacy Institute High SchoolSummit.Ā We brought more than 50 Alephs and Bā€™nai Bā€™rith Girls to our nationā€™s Capitol to learn about the importance of a robust US-Israel Relationship.Ā 

What is AIPAC High School Summit? AIPACā€™s Schusterman Advocacy Instituteā€™s High School summit brings together more than 400 high school student leaders from across the country to Washington, D.C., for Israel advocacy and political activism training. The goal of the Summit is to educate students on the U.S.-Israel relationship and to help them become effective pro-Israel political activists on and beyond their school campus.

AIPACā€™s High School Summit gave Alephs and BBGs the chance to hear from experts on a range of issues and lobby members of Congress on relevant legislation affecting the US-Israel Relationship.Ā Ā 

In January, several BBYO members had the opportunity to reinforce what they learned at High School Summit at AIPACā€™s premier advocacy training conference for college students and select high school studentsā€“AIPACā€™s Saban Leadership Seminar. At Saban, BBYO members had the opportunity to learn alongside college students from leading Washington policymakers, Middle East experts, and AIPAC Leadership Development professionals. Saban is one of the many possibilities with AIPAC that BBYO has to show just how powerful our Alephs and BBGs are.

In March, BBYO sent its largest delegation to AIPACā€™s Annual Policy Conference, which brought together over 18,000 Pro-Israel Americans to learn about the importance of a strong U.S.ā€“Israel relationship, hear keynote speeches from critical American leaders from both political parties and lobby Members of Congress. Notably, attendees at Policy Conference were able to hear moving stories of Israeli heroism and learned about the ground breaking Israeli innovations that are changing our world. In addition to the Alephs and Bā€™nai Bā€™rith Girls who attend AIPACā€™s Policy Conference with BBYO, dozens attend AIPACā€™s Policy Conference with their synagogues, communities, and families (like me).

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), former Democratic candidate for president, addresses AIPAC Policy Conference Attendees, his remarks can be viewed here:Ā cs.pn/BookerAIPACĀ Ā 

When we join the leaders of the Jewish Community and show up to events like AIPACā€™s Policy Conference, BBYO sends a strong message to the rest of the Jewish Community that in the face of rising Anti-Semitism and hostility toward Israel, we arenā€™t afraid to stand up and advocate for what we believe in. Our presence tells the world that we are hereĀ today, weā€™ll be hereĀ tomorrow, and thatĀ together,Ā we are more powerful. BBYO is and always will beĀ #AIPACProud

Want to learn more aboutĀ AIPAC? Want to attend High School Summit, Saban, orĀ Policy ConferenceĀ in the 2020-2021 school year? Want to find more ways to get involved in Pro-Israel advocacy? Message me, and weā€™ll find ways to get you more involved!

Ethan Fine is an Aleph from the North Texas Oklahoma Region #74 and enjoys talking/learning/reading about politics and Israel. Ethan will be attending Indiana University in the fall. Go Hoosiers!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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