As pro-Israel students in the Greater Washington area attending American University, George Washington University and the University of Maryland, we were fortunate to attend this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference. With much of the Jewish media claiming that young Jews care less and less about Israel, and have turned their back on the so-called Jewish establishment, we would like to provide an alternative perspective.
With no real marketing, just peers engaging peers, and with limited financial scholarships, 2,300 students from 491 campuses in all 50 states attended this year’s policy conference! This marked a significant increase from last year and more than two years ago.
This was AIPAC’s most diverse gathering, with student representation from 59 of America’s 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 25 Christian-centered campuses and 19 Hispanic-serving institutions. This diversity is actually one of the most compelling factors attracting young American Jews to become more involved with the AIPAC on Campus movement. We are deeply inspired by our non-Jewish peers who care so much about this issue and choose to dedicate their limited discretionary time to help protect the U.S.-Israel alliance.
Students from around the country feel empowered to act on a local, state and national level to advocate for this common cause. We were honored to associate with informed, dedicated activists who care enough to inject themselves into the public policy arena. After attending this exciting conference, each of us returned to our local campus with plans to continue nurturing the U.S.-Israel relationship.
The sheer number and radical diversity of passionate campus delegates at the policy conference should demonstrate that our generation’s political proclivities cannot be summed up in superficial slogans. But one thing can be said: AIPAC has captured the hearts and minds of a whole lot of young people.
Ian Hersh attends American University, Jeremy Miraglia is a student at George Washington University and Josh Levitan studies at the University of Maryland.