This morning I had the annual pleasure of attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) Policy Conference held in the Washington, DC convention center. I have been attending this conference as press since I was a senior at Yeshiva University (YU) in 2005 when I was mistakenly left off the registration list as a student and managed to be recognized as a legit blogger. It is possible, although not likely, that Jewneric was the first blog to cover AIPAC — or maybe the earliest blog to be consistently covering the conference.
The first thing you notice upon entering the main hall is the GINORMOUS screen: hundreds of feet long — running the length of the great hall, seamless, bright, multi messaged, multiple video feeds — stunning. As I entered the room with fellow press memberÂ David Saranga of the Aspen Center/IDC, both of us stopped in our tracks and were speechless– we immediately began to take pictures. My first thought was of the Vancouver Olympics which before that I had not seen such incredible use of media and projection. In a much tinier setting, AIPAC captivated the audience and drew us into their story… which is the theme of this year’s event:
“Israel: Tell the Story”
The many facets of Israel will be told during the conference through videos, stories, experiences andÂ renownÂ speakers. Â The clear message is this: Israel â€”innovator, homeland, light unto the nations.
The first plenary was about Israeli innovation, called “Start-Up Nation,” after Dan Senor, the moderator’s new book. Led by Senor, this informal chat between Google’s Israel Chief, Meir Brand and the Weitzmann Institute’s President, Dr. Daniel Zafjman, was a discussion about Israel the Innovator. This sessions was alsoÂ (unfortunately) the only session I could attend this year at AIPAC.
“Diplomacy through innovation,” coined Senor. “Can that be one of the next frontiers in Israel’s engagement?”
How can Israel promote itself in the modern world? By showcasing success in business and technology through innovation. I highly recommend “Start-Up Nation,” and should get around to reviewing it here at some point soon.
AIPAC has gathered close to ten thousand participants for three days in Washington and Â has managed to keep them fully engaged and excited to lobby, advocate, and tell Israel’s story.