AIPAC Policy Conference: Celebrating 50 Years; Largest and Most Important Event Affecting US-Israel Relationship


From: Josh Block of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, 202-639-5273 or 202-997-4614 (mobile)

WASHINGTON, May 11 -- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual Policy Conference is the most important event of the year for Americas pro-Israel community, with nearly 5,000 people traveling to Washington to lobby Congress in support of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

This year, AIPAC is celebrating 50 years of working to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel. The number of Policy Conference delegates is up over 300 percent from just three years ago, and AIPAC has experienced similar record growth nationwide since September 2000, with membership up over 50 percent, to over 85,000 across the country. The breadth and depth of America's universal, bi-partisan support for a strong US-Israel relationship, and AIPAC's commitment to working with leaders of all political and denominational stripes, is reflected in this year's AIPAC Policy Conference. Republicans and Democrats, Christians, Jews, and Muslims will address the largest and most dynamic AIPAC event in history. "The diversity of speakers participating in AIPAC's Policy Conference illustrates the universal appeal of our message," said AIPAC President Amy Friedkin. "At a time of unprecedented difficulty for America's democratic ally in the Middle East, the deep and abiding support for Israel in all quarters of American society is truly exemplified by this years conference," Friedkin said.

The AIPAC event -- scheduled for Sunday, May 16, to Tuesday, May 18 -- is expected to be the largest ever. Panels and forums will cover a wide range of issues concerning the U.S.-Israel relationship, the War on Terror, and the future of the Middle East. (FULL PRESS SKED FOLLOWS THIS RELEASE) Conference Speakers slated to include: President George W. Bush (invited), Sen. Joe Lieberman, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Israel's Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israel's Minister of Justice Yosef 'Tommy' Lapid, Israel's Minister within the Ministry of Finance Meir Sheetrit, and many others of note. The All New Strategic Tour 2004 will be open throughout the conference. This emotionally moving and stimulating self-guided exhibit includes the shell of a bus bombed in a terrorist attack, a full sized section of the anti-terrorism security fence Israel is erecting along the West Bank, and examples of Israeli technological innovations being used in the war on terror. The Strategic Tour combines dramatic staging with sophisticated multi-media to create an unforgettable experience.

Portions of the Policy Conference are open to members of the press with valid federal press credentials. Register by emailing Rebecca Dinar at or Josh Block at For additional information, contact Josh Block at 202-997-4614. Space is very limited.

Consistently ranked as the most influential foreign policy lobbying organization on Capitol Hill, AIPAC is a nonpartisan American membership organization that seeks to strengthen the relationship between Israel and the United States. For more than 40 years, AIPAC has been working with Congress to build a strong, vibrant relationship between the United States and Israel. Its more than 85,000 activists throughout the United States work to improve and strengthen that relationship by supporting U.S.-Israel military, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation. Please visit the Web site at




Opening Plenary, 10 am - 11:45 am, Convention Center, BALLROOM ABC

You Can Affect Israel's Future

-- Hon. Yosef Lapid, minister of justice (Shinui)


Forums, 1 pm - 2:30 pm

The Changing Map of the Middle East: What Does it Mean? (Convention Center - ROOM 151AB):

-- Dr. Shai Feldman, director, Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv University

-- Ambassador Martin S. Indyk, director, The Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution


Blocking the Bomb: Can Iran's Nuclear Designs be Stopped? (Convention Center - ROOM 152AB):

-- Hon. Paula DeSutter, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of State

-- Dr. Ariel Levite, principal deputy director general, Israel Atomic Energy Commission


Knesset Crossfire: Israeli Politics Today (Convention Center - ROOM 147AB):

-- Hon. Meir Sheetrit, minister in the Ministry of Finance (Likud)

-- Hon. Matan Vilnai, member of Knesset (Labor)

-- Mr. Yaron Deckel, chief political commentator, Israel Television


Through the Looking Glass: An Examination of Israeli Society Today (Convention Center - ROOM 144ABC):

-- Mr. David Horovitz, editor and publisher, The Jerusalem Report

-- Ms. Donna Rosenthal, author, "The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land"


Old Wine New Bottle: The Return of Anti-Semitism (Convention Center - ROOM 145AB):

-- Mr. Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior editor, Commentary Magazine

-- Jonathan Kessler, leadership development director, AIPAC


Common Threats, Shared Values: The Growing Partnership Between India, Israel and the United States (Convention Center - ROOM 105A):

-- Hon. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), United States House of Representatives

-- Dr. Stephen Phillip Cohen, senior fellow, The Brookings Institute

-- Ms. Danielle Pletka, vice president, American Enterprise Institute,


Forums 2:45 pm - 4 pm

Dilemma in Damascus: Where is Assad Taking Syria? (Convention Center - ROOM 152AB):

-- Hon. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), United States House of Representatives

-- Dr. Flynt Leverett, visiting fellow, The Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution

-- Mr. Zohar Palti, visiting fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


Good Morning Arabia: Can American Media Win Over the Arab World? (Convention Center - ROOM 145AB):

-- Mr. Moufac Harb, news director, Al-Hurra

-- Dr. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat professor, University of Maryland


Drawing the Line: Will Israel's Disengagement Plan Work? (Convention Center - ROOM 147AB):

-- Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Eival Gilady, former head of strategic planning, IDF

-- Mr. David Makovsky, senior fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


WMD Today: What Can Be Done to Stop Their Spread? (Convention Center - ROOM 144ABC):

-- Hon. Stephen Rademaker, assistant secretary/arms control, U.S. Department of State

-- Mr. Gary Milhollin, director, The Wisconsin Project

-- Dr. Marvin Feuer, director, defense and strategic issues, AIPAC


Inside Islam: What do Muslims Really Believe? (Convention Center - ROOM 151AB):

-- Mr. Hussain Haqqani, visiting scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

-- Dr. Hillel Fradkin, senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center


Plenary, 4:30 pm - 6 pm (Convention Center - BALLROOM ABC):

The New Middle East: America's Role in it

-- Hon. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), United States Senate



Morning Plenary, 8 am - 10 am Convention Center - BALLROOM AB

America and Israel Today: A View from the Hill

-- Hon. Tom DeLay (R-TX), majority leader, United States House of Representatives

-- Hon. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Democratic whip, United States House of Representatives


Forums 10:30 am - Noon

Saudi Arabia: American Ally or Adversary? (Convention Center - ROOM 147AB):

-- Mr. David Aufhauser, former general counsel, U.S. Department of Treasury

-- Dr. Michael Scott Doran, Near East Studies Department, Princeton University


The New Globalization: The Terrorist Network and How it Works (Convention Center - ROOM 151AB):

-- Ambassador J. Cofer Black, coordinator for counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State


Desert Democracy: Can it Grow in the Arab World? (Convention Center - ROOM 145AB): -- Dr. Kenneth W. Stein, professor, Emory University

-- Mr. Richard Olsen(*), director, Office of Northern Gulf Affairs, U.S. Department of State


Revolution From Within: Can the Iranian People Reclaim the Republic? (Convention Center - ROOM 144 ABC):

-- Mr. Philo Dibble, deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of State

-- Ms. Haleh Esfandiari(*), Middle East Project consulting director, Woodrow Wilson Center


Iraq: Rebirth of a Nation (Convention Center - ROOM 152AB):

-- Dr. Amatzia Baram, professor of Middle East history, University of Haifa

-- Dr. Kenneth Pollack, director of research, The Saban Center for Middle East Policy

-- Hon. Peter W. Rodman, assistant secretary of defense, Department of Defense


AIPAC Leadership Development: Campus Awards 12:45 pm - 2:30 pm (Convention Center - BALLROOM B):

AIPAC's annual recognition of top Hillel campus allies, exemplary pro-Israel advocates, and the most accomplished AIPAC campus activists.


Monday Lunch Plenary

Destiny or Deadlock: Prospects for Israeli-Palestinian Peace 12:45 pm - 2:45 pm (WASHINGTON HILTON / INT'L BALLROOM):

-- Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Eival Gilady, former head of IDF strategic planning

-- Dr. Khalil Shikaki, director, Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research

-- Mr. David Makovsky, senior fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

-- Mr. Yossi Harel, Tel Aviv, Israel


AIPAC Leadership Development: Activists Town Hall 3 pm - 4:30 pm (Convention Center - ROOM 152 B):

AIPAC activists from across the nation as participate in a televised discussion of trends challenges, and accomplishments in pro-Israel campus advocacy with national television and radio personality Armstrong Williams.


Banquet Plenary, 7:30 pm -10 pm (STADIUM ARMORY)

A Celebration of AIPAC at 50

-- Hon. Ehud Olmert, vice prime minister of Israel



Morning Plenary -- Convention Center, 8:30 am - 9:30 am (Convention Center - BALLROOM AB):

Special Address -- Hon. George W. Bush (invited), president of the United States of America




This article comes from Science Blog. Copyright 2004