Our khaver, Hillel Schenker, passed this along from a graduating senior at Santa Monica (California) High School, with the comment that, “If this is the level of the writing and thinking of some Jewish high school seniors in the States today, there’s hope for the future.” This was originally published at the Los Angeles Jewish Journal; readers should visit its website to see the entire article.
INSIDE AN AIPAC CONFERENCE
By Alice Ollstein, HS Senior
I’ve been working as a teacher’s assistant at my temple’s religious school for the past four years. I love teaching my second-graders their first Hebrew letters. I love watching my sixth-graders find Israel on a map. But what I love most is the connection my job gives me to Judaism and to Israel, where I hope to travel during college.
That is why I jumped at my grandfather’s invitation to attend the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington D.C., where I could join more than 1,000 students and 4,000 adults in discussing the future of Israel. I returned from the conference, however, feeling manipulated, disturbed and disgusted with a great deal of what I witnessed there.
The first thing I noticed about the conference, besides the sheer volume of participants, was the carefully manufactured atmosphere of fear and urgency. The cavernous hall that hosted all our meals and plenary sessions was always filled with dramatic classical music, red lighting and gigantic signs reading “Now Is The Time.” That, combined with the montages of terrorism footage projected onto six giant screens, whipped the audience into a “Save Israel” fervor that most found inspiring. By the time we finished our meal, the audience seemed eager to agree to anything that would protect Israel – even war.