AIPAC: Policy Conference March 2012: Policy discussion sessions

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AIPAC Policy Conference March 2012

This is the AIPAC PC agenda for the four “breakout” sessions[1] Several of the sessions appear several times in the original schedule; these have been removed below.

Breakout Sessions: Sunday I

Panel Discussion - Alliances and Rifts in a Volatile Mideast

The various pieces of the puzzle that is the Middle East have shifted significantly over the past year. Regional players have either succumbed to the "Arab Spring" or realigned their policies to adapt to changes in their neighborhood. Syria, Iraq and Bahrain have become the epicenter for the centuries-old Sunni-Shiite enmity and the Saudi-Iranian rivalry for power and influence, while posing major obstacles to Turkey's "zero problems" policy with its neighbors. Our speaker provides a bird's-eye view of the geopolitical struggles reshaping the Mideast.

Featuring:

A Final Settlement: The Past and Future of Peace Agreements

The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, beginning with the 1991 Madrid Conference, has resulted in a number of bilateral agreements. Although the general outlines of a final agreement are fairly clear, certain issues, such as borders and the status of Jerusalem, have yet to be resolved. This session delves into the history of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and explores what a final agreement might look like.

Featuring:

  • Martin Indyk VP for Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution, Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel
  • Elliott Abrams Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Deputy National Security Advisor

Evolution and Development of the U.S.-Israeli relationship: 1947-2012

Within minutes after the Jewish state declared its independence, President Harry Truman recognized Israel on May 15, 1948. Through the years, the U.S.-Israeli relationship had its rocky moments. Slowly, it changed as American politicians and bureaucrats realized that core values, as well as regional and international realities, demanded trust and close engagement. From the Cold War to the "Arab Spring," Iran and beyond, the special relationship remains critical to both countries. Our speaker delves into the nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship, looking particularly at how presidents, prime ministers and others have shaped and will likely influence the essence of this enduring and strategic partnership.

Featuring:

  • Kenneth Stein Director, Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, President, Center for Israel Education

Home-Grown Terror: Islamic Radicalism in America

The United States today faces the threat of terrorism perpetrated by home-grown Islamic extremists. Attacks like the November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 people were killed, point to the severity of this threat. Our panel examines the phenomenon of Islamic radicalism in America and discusses how to deal with it.

Featuring:

  • Steven Emerson Exec. Director, Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)

The End of the Peace Process?

With negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel stalled due to Mahmoud Abbas' refusal to return to direct talks, pundits and policymakers have begun wondering aloud whether the peace process is dead. What would the end of the peace process mean for the different actors involved? Are there any viable alternatives? Our speaker discusses the prospects for American-led efforts to bring about a negotiated peace.

Featuring:

  • Tal Becker International Associate, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Senior Fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America

The Land of Israel: A Historical and Archaeological Perspective

As a geographic bridge where the cultures and influences of three continents converge, the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, and a holy land at the center of power struggles between vast empires, the Land of Israel has a history without parallel in its richness. Our speaker reviews the archeological record of the land and its three millennia of documented history, placing some of today's issues and questions into their proper context.

Featuring:

The Middle East in 2012: A Regional Overview

There is never a dull moment in the Middle East. An intrinsically unstable region, it has become even more volatile and unpredictable over the past year. The Arab Spring, Iran's continued march toward a nuclear weapon, the formation of a Hizballah-controlled government in Lebanon and a stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, all make for a combustible situation. Our speaker surveys recent developments and discusses their implications for U.S. policy.

Featuring:

  • Robert Satloff Exec. Director, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Panel Discussion - A Strategic Asset: The U.S.- Israel Military Alliance

In this era of state-sponsored terrorist proxies and Islamic fundamentalism, military ties between the United States and Israel have never been stronger. The two countries conduct numerous joint training exercises, share intelligence and technologies and learn from each other's military skills. This panel describes the military partnership between the United States and Israel and examines how this partnership strengthens both countries' defense capabilities.

Featuring:

  • Robert Blackwill Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations

Moderator:

  • Marvin Feuer Director, Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC

Panel Discussion - Civil Society? The State of Human Rights in the Arab World

The wave of civil uprisings rocking the Middle East this past year has exposed the brutality of the Arab regimes. Dictators like Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and Syria's Bashar Assad have used appalling violence to try and suppress opposition to their rule. And, human rights are not on the agenda of the Islamist movements that now seek to replace these regimes. Our experts review the state of human rights in the Arab world.

Featuring:

  • Charles Dunne Director, Middle East and North Africa Programs, Freedom House; Former Director for Iraq at the National Security Council
  • Nina Shea Director, Center for Religious Freedom, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Panel Discussion - East-West Divide: Where Is Turkey Headed?

A onetime model of a moderate secular Muslim nation, Turkey's ruling AK Party is increasingly pushing the country in an Islamist direction. And, while relations with Israel have strained, Turkey has cultivated close relations with the terrorist group Hamas. What underlies Ankara's shift in foreign policy? How has it been influenced by regional events of the past year? Our panel delves into Turkey's role in an increasingly fragile Middle East.

Featuring:

  • Alan Makovsky Senior Professional Staff Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, United States House of Representatives
  • Robert Wexler President, S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace
  • Leah Odinec Asst. Dir., Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC

Panel Discussion - Hamas and Fatah: Is Reconciliation a Possibility?

The Palestinians have been split since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007, leaving the Strip under the terrorist group's control, while the Palestinian Authority governs in the West Bank. Hamas and Fatah have been unable to implement a reconciliation deal, signed almost a year ago, or to agree on a unity government. Learn more about the two primary Palestinian groups and the relations between them.

Featuring:

Panel Discussion - Iranian Infighting: Inside the Islamic Republic

Over the past year, the Iranian leadership has been locked in a power struggle between loyalists of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At the same time, the regime continues to crack down on all forms of political dissent. What is the structure of the Iranian regime? Who are its key players? Who makes up the opposition, and how powerful is it? Our panel discusses the current power structure in Iran and examines what the future might hold.

Featuring:

Panel Discussion - Israeli Democracy: News and Views on Israeli Politics

Golda Meir once joked that "in Israel, there are 3 million prime ministers." The country's system of government typically yields a highly fractured parliament, with small parties and interest groups having an influence that is disproportionate to their size. This session describes the complex Israeli political system and examines possible developments in the near future.

Moderator:

  • Devorah Patt Director of AIEF in Israel, Jerusalem Office of AIPAC

Featuring:

  • Dalia Itzik Member of Knesset, Kadima; Former Speaker of the Knesset
  • Gilad Erdan Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection; Member of Knesset, Likud
  • Aharon Barnea Senior Correspondent and Anchor, Channel 2 TV News, Israel

Panel Discussion - Middle East Media: Covering a Region in Turmoil

At a time when traditional media organizations are cutting back and social media is taking their place, providing an accurate picture of events is becoming increasingly difficult. This difficulty is amplified in the Middle East, where longstanding biases, ongoing turmoil and restricted access result in a misinformed international public. Our panel addresses the challenges involved in covering the region and examines strategies to ensure that the public gets the whole story.

Featuring:

Panel Discussion - Model of Success: U.S. Economies Learning From Israel

Despite its small size, lack of natural resources and constant attacks by belligerent neighbors, Israel has become an economic powerhouse. The Jewish state's achievements, based on cutting-edge technology and innovation, have turned it into a model for businesses in the United States. Our panel discusses what America can learn from the Israeli success story.

Featuring:

Panel Discussion - Nuclear Near East: Nuclear Proliferation in the Arab World

While no Arab state currently has a nuclear weapons capability, this is not for lack of trying. Saddam Hussein's Iraq made an enormous effort to develop such a capability, and the Assad regime in Syria worked with North Korea to build a nuclear reactor. Our panel describes the current state of nuclear proliferation in the Arab world and debates how Iran's nuclear efforts might affect this situation.

Featuring:

  • Leonard Spector Dep. Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies
  • Amos Harel Military Correspondent and Defense Analyst, Ha'aretz
  • Michael Eisenstadt Director, Military & Security Studies Program, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Panel Discussion - Peace Prospects: The Future of Israeli-Palestinian Relations

Since leaving talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2010, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has pursued recognition of Palestinian statehood through the U.N., rather than in direct talks with Israel, and signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas. What underlies the PA's policies? Can the United States do anything to affect these policies? And, what does the future hold for the peace process, given Palestinian reconciliation efforts? Our experts explore the prospects for peace, in light of recent developments.

Featuring:

  • David Makovsky Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director, Program on Middle East Peace Process, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Michael Herzog Milton Fine International Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Aaron David Miller Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Panel Discussion - State of Humanity: How Israel Is Helping a World in Need

As a country founded upon Jewish values, Israel views humanitarian aid as an integral part of its role in the international arena. The Jewish state has a long-standing tradition of extending assistance to alleviate hunger, disease and poverty, as well as in the wake of natural disasters and terrorist attacks beyond its borders. Learn more about Israel's humanitarian outreach to the world.

Featuring:

  • Eliav Benjamin Counselor for Political Affairs, Embassy of Israel
  • Ofer Merin Dep. Director-General for Medicine and Administration; Head, Trauma Unit, Shaare Zedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem
  • Mark Talesnick Senior Lecturer, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; Professor, University of Haifa

Panel Discussion - Street Sense: Understanding Palestinian Public Opinion

The views on the Palestinian street are often a mystery to people in the West. Why are Palestinians divided between Fatah and Hamas? Do they support violence against Israelis? And, what is their opinion of the Palestinian Authority's U.N. strategy? This panel takes an in-depth look at Palestinian public opinion on these and other key questions.

Featuring:

  • Robert Danin Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Head of the Quartet in Jerusalem
  • Avi Issacharoff Palestinian and Arab Affairs Correspondent, Ha'aretz

Panel Discussion - The Struggle to Secure Israel on Campus: 1956-2016

Young people are exposed to levels of anti-Israel animus virtually without parallel in contemporary American society. How has the campaign to discredit Israel on America's college campuses changed - and in what ways has it remained the same - over the past several decades? How have our own approaches to campus challenges evolved and what are the most effective strategies for dealing with Israel's campus detractors? Experts representing a wide variety of different perspectives put today's campus dynamics in their proper historical context and explore what we can anticipate dealing with on campus over the next several years.

Featuring:

Moderator:

Tech Demo - Better Place: Reducing Our Dependence on Oil

Few statements elicit more nods of approval than when somebody declares that the answer to many of the world's problems is to stop relying on oil. Better Place is working toward that goal. The American-Israeli company is building the world's first electric vehicle network in Israel. It recently delivered its first electric cars to Israel and is setting up battery switching stations throughout the country, which will allow drivers an unlimited driving range. Better Place estimates that by 2020, most cars sold in Israel will be electric, allowing the Jewish state to achieve oil independence. Learn more about this unique American-Israeli partnership that is destined to make the world a "better place."

Featuring:

Israel's Second Battlefield: Legal, Diplomatic and Media Challenges

While Israel has not been forced to fight a major conventional war since 1973, the Jewish state is facing increasing challenges in the legal and diplomatic arenas, as well as in the media. Realizing that they cannot defeat the country on the battlefield, Israel's enemies have tried to use Western courts to restrict its options in the fight against terror, appealed to international bodies to force its hand in negotiations and resorted to demonizing the Jewish state on TV and in print. Our speaker addresses these non-military threats to Israel and discusses what the country is doing to fight them.

Featuring:

National Resiliency in Israel: How They Cope With Terror

The citizens of Israel have been dealing with the scourge of terrorism since the country's founding. Despite two Intifadas, multiple suicide bombings and countless rocket attacks, the Jewish state has thrived. This class discusses how the Israeli people have remained resilient in the face of tragedy.

Featuring:

Three Who Made Israel: Weitzman, Begin and Ben Gurion

In the history of the Jewish state, there have been a number of individuals who stood out as leaders: military chiefs who saw the country through periods of war and terrorism, economic experts who made Israel into the success story it is today and visionaries who made tough political decisions in the face of opposition from home and abroad. Our speaker examines the lives of Israel's leaders, from Ben-Gurion to Begin.

Featuring:

  • Stephen Berk Henry and Sally Schaffer Chair, Professor of Holocaust and Jewish Studies, Union College

Words That Work: Communicating Israel's Side of the Story

Frank Luntz, one of the world's foremost experts on political communication, hosts a dynamic session exploring how supporters of the U.S.-Israel relationship can get their message across more effectively. This session uses the latest research and polling data to provide communicative strategies that are guaranteed to work.

Featuring:

Panel Discussion - After Bin Laden: The Future of Al-Qaeda

Bin Laden's death in May of last year, though a severe blow to al-Qaeda, did not spell the end of the terrorist organization. Its members continue to operate in places like Yemen and Somalia and scheme to attack targets belonging to the United States and the West. Who are al-Qaeda's leaders today, and how strong is the organization? Our panel evaluates this persistent threat.

Featuring:

  • Matt Levitt Senior Fellow and Director, Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Lee Smith Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Visiting Fellow, Hudson Institute; Senior Editor, The Weekly Standard
  • Juan Zarate Senior Advisor, Transnational Threats Project and Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Panel Discussion - A Military Edge: Ensuring Israel's Military Superiority

The United States has a long-standing policy of maintaining Israel's Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in the Middle East. Over the past year, President Obama and Congress have reaffirmed America's commitment to Israel's QME. This session examines how Israel's military superiority is ensured, why it is so important and how the U.S. commitment to Israel's QME can be guaranteed in the future.

Featuring:

  • Thomas Carter VP of Government Relations, Elbit Systems
  • Amos Gilad Head of the Political-Military and Policy Bureau, Ministry of Defense, Israel
  • Jeff Kuhnreich Dep. Director, Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC

Panel Discussion - Changing the Game: The Evolution of Campaign Politics

Major demographic shifts, the digital and social media revolutions and the advent of super-PACs are impacting political campaigns at every level across the nation. As a result, the upcoming presidential and congressional races promise to further challenge long-standing campaign assumptions. This panel of insiders explores the changing American political dynamic.

Featuring:

Moderator:

  • Stu Rothenberg Editor and Publisher, The Rothenberg Political Report

Panel Discussion - Continental Divide: European Delegitimization of Israel

The European Union is Israel's major trading partner, and cultural and scientific ties between the two remain strong. However, individuals and groups seeking to delegitimize the Jewish state and destroy these ties are becoming more vocal. Accusations equating Zionism with racism and calls for a financial, academic and cultural boycott are spreading throughout the continent. This session examines the ongoing campaign against Israel in Europe.

Featuring:

  • Alan Mendoza Co-Founder and Exec. Director, The Henry Jackson Society
  • Fiamma Nirenstein Chairwoman, Italian Parliamentary Committee for the Inquiry on Anti-Semitism; VP of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of Italy
  • Gideon Meir Head, Pubic Affairs Directorate, Israel Foreign Ministry

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - Crude Realities America's Risky Dependence on Oil

President Obama has repeatedly emphasized the danger of America's dependence on fossil fuels and the need to develop alternative energies. Recent events in the Middle East have illustrated this danger. Learn more about the national security vulnerability posed by overreliance on oil and what can be done to overcome this vulnerability.

Featuring:

  • Jonathan Baron Principal, Baron Communications LLC
  • Gal Luft Exec. Director, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security
  • Arthur Koll Former Israeli Ambassador to Serbia

Panel Discussion - Eastern Interests: China's Middle East Strategy

As a rising power with an energy-hungry economy, China has come to play an increasingly important role in the Middle East in recent years. Beijing's interests have at times placed it at odds with American policy, leading the country, for example, to pursue close economic ties with Iran. Our experts describe China's involvement in the Middle East and debate how the United States should approach this involvement.

Featuring:

  • Jonathan Adelman Professor, Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver
  • Dan Blumenthal Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Panel Discussion - Iran Incorporated: The Islamic Republic's Dangerous Influence

In order to achieve geopolitical dominance, Iran has set up terrorist proxies that operate throughout the world, supported like-minded groups and cultivated close relations with a number of countries. What are the implications of Iran's growing presence in Latin America? How will recent events in the Middle East affect Iran's alliances? This session explores the global reach of the Islamic Republic and the danger it poses.

Featuring:

  • Ted Deutch (D-FL) Member, Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, United States House of Representatives
  • José Cárdenas Associate, Vision Americas

Panel Discussion - Iran vs. the West: Iran's Quest for Dominance

Ever since the 1979 revolution, Iran has pursued a hostile and belligerent policy toward the West, particularly the United States. The theocratic nature of the Islamic regime, its efforts to disseminate Shiite fundamentalism and support for terrorist groups throughout the world have put it at odds with the West. This panel chronicles the history of Iran's relations with the Western world and explores what the future holds for these relations.

Featuring:

Panel Discussion - Islamic Allies: Why Some Muslim Countries Embrace the Jewish State

Despite being predominantly Muslim, countries like Albania and Azerbaijan have cultivated close ties with Israel. Cooperation between the Jewish state and these countries encompasses the economic and security spheres, building on Israel's technological know-how. What are the interests underlying this cooperation and where is it headed? This panel takes a look at Israel's unlikely allies in the Muslim world.

Featuring:

Panel Discussion - Israel's Isolation: Israel After the Arab Spring

The past year's wave of uprisings in the Arab world has toppled stalwart Western allies like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and brought Islamist movements to the fore. These events have created a great deal of instability and uncertainty, raising concerns in Israel about what the future may hold. This session examines the ramifications of the so-called Arab Spring for Israel.

Featuring:

  • Bret Stephens Foreign Affairs Columnist and Editorial Board Member, The Wall Street Journal
  • Oded Eran Senior Rsch. Ass., Institute for National Security Studies; Former Israeli Ambassador to the European Union and Jordan
  • Mike Singh Managing Director, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Panel Discussion - National Security: Homeland Defense Cooperation

The United States and Israel have both been forced to invest a great deal of resources in the arenas of homeland security and counterterrorism. Learn more about how the two governments and companies in both countries are working together to design techniques and technologies aimed at protecting their citizens.

Featuring:

  • Greg White Sheriff, Cole County, Missouri
  • Rafi Ron President, New Age Security Solutions
  • Gregg Rickman Dep. Director, Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC

Panel Discussion - Terrorism.com: Joint U.S.-Israel Counter Cyber-Terrorism

In this digital age, terrorism is no longer limited to bombings and airplane hijackings. Attacks on computer networks and government information systems are a growing threat to both the United States and Israel. Learn how the two countries, as centers of high-tech know-how and innovation, are cooperating to combat the threat of cyber-terrorism.

Featuring:

  • James Van de Velde Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Itzik Ben Israel Head of Tel Aviv University's Security Studies Program; Chair, Israeli Space Agency
  • Jim Lewis Director and Senior Fellow, Technology and Public Policy Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Panel Discussion - The Brotherhood: Egypt's Growing Islamic Movement

After being locked out of Egyptian politics for decades, the Muslim Brotherhood is poised to become a major player in coming years. The well-organized group has emerged victorious from parliamentary elections, enabling it to influence both domestic and foreign policy. How dangerous is the Brotherhood's rise to power? What are its foreign policy positions? How will this affect American interests and relations with Israel? Our experts discuss the rise of Islamism in Egypt and its regional implications.

Featuring:

  • Eric Trager Ira Weiner Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Martin KramerSenior Fellow, Shalem Center; President-designate, Shalem College; Wexler-Fromer Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Senior Fellow, Shalem Center
  • Tom Sawicki Director of Programming, Jerusalem Office of AIPAC

Tech Demo - Weapons of Mass Destruction 101

Iran's continued march toward a nuclear weapon and the possibility of Syrian chemical weapons falling into the hands of Hizballah have brought the threat of weapons of mass destruction to the fore. The danger of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons lies not only in their possible use by a regular military, but also in their appeal to terrorist organizations. They are difficult to detect, create fear and are often inexpensive. Get a behind-the-scenes look at weapons of mass destruction in the Mideast: who has them, how they were developed, how they work, and what can be done to counter this threat.

Featuring:

Tech Demo - From Jewelry to Nanosensors

Did you know that ingredients commonly found in jewelry, such as diamonds and precious metals, can be used to make tiny sensors that have a variety of medicinal purposes? Because these nanosensors are able to accurately identify and distinguish between particular cells, they are very helpful in delivering medicine and monitoring developments in the body. Some medical applications include early detection of pregnancy and a non-invasive biopsy needle to improve cancer detection. A researcher from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology shares a number of such scientific breakthroughs involving nanosensors and demonstrates how they work.

Featuring:

Breakout Sessions: Sunday II

Tech Demo - Iron Dome: Protecting Civilians From Rockets

Missiles and rockets in the hands of Israel's enemies pose a major threat to the country's civilian population. To deal with this threat, Israel and the United States have been developing the world's most technologically advanced missile defense systems. The Iron Dome, produced in Israel by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is one such system. In its first week of operational deployment, Iron Dome stunned observers by shooting down eight out of nine rockets fired from Gaza toward Israeli cities. Washington has played a crucial role in this effort, by providing $205 million to help fund Israel's urgent procurement needs of Iron Dome batteries. Learn more about this technological first from an engineer responsible for developing the system. Featuring:

  • Ari Sacher Iron Dome Systems Project Manager, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

Israel's National Security Strategy: An Insider's View

Situated in a hostile environment, Israel has faced major security challenges since its founding. To deal with these challenges, the Jewish state has used a combination of military power, alliances with regional actors and global powers, as well as robust intelligence capabilities. Our speaker provides insight into the complex considerations and processes involved in determining Israel's national security strategy.

Featuring:

  • Chuck Freilich Senior Fellow, International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University; Former Israeli Deputy National Security Advisor

The European Response to Iran's Nuclear Efforts

Though an Iranian atom bomb is a threat to Europe and European interests no less than it is to the United States and Israel, the continent did little to counter this threat until recently. Short-term economic interests trumped the longer-term threat of a nuclear Iran. Now that the European Union has decided on targeted sanctions targeting Tehran's oil exports and central bank, it is worth examining the history of political and economic relations between Europe and Iran.

Featuring:

Undivided Capital: Jerusalem and the Peace Process

Jerusalem has held a special place in Judaism ever since King David established it as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel in the 10th century BCE. As the capital of the modern State of Israel, Jerusalem continues to serve as the focus of spiritual, cultural and national life for Jews around the world. This session explores Jerusalem's ancient Jewish history and its future.

Panel Discussion - Brotherly Behavior? The Arab States and the Palestinians

Despite expressing support for the Palestinians over the years, the Arab states have done little to integrate Palestinian refugees into their societies and grant them equal rights. Will the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East change this attitude? Our panel discusses the past, present and future of the relations between the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world. Featuring:

Panel Discussion - Israeli Democracy: News and Views on Israeli Politics

With Israeli elections already three years behind us, the political system in the Jewish state is heating up as new elections draw near. What is the political landscape ahead of these elections? What are the policy challenges facing the country and how do the different parties respond to these challenges? This session provides a unique, in depth look at the current state of play in Israeli politics. Featuring:

  • Gilad Erdan Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection; Member of Knesset, Likud
  • Dalia Itzik Member of Knesset, Kadima; Former Speaker of the Knesset
  • Aharon Barnea Senior Correspondent and Anchor, Channel 2 TV News, Israel

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - Israel on Campus: Creating Tomorrow's Leaders

Pro-Israel students have emerged as a potent political force throughout the United States, helping shape Israel's image and engaging with the Jewish state's detractors. This session, featuring AIPAC's Leadership Development Director and a panel of national student leaders, explores the status of pro-Israel activism across U.S. college campuses. Moderator:

Featuring:

  • Alexis Crews AIPAC Campus Activist, Spelman College
  • Aviv Gilboa AIPAC Campus Activist from the University of California, Berkeley
  • Justin Taleisnik AIPAC Campus Activist from Arnold O. Beckman High School
  • Susan Finch AIPAC Campus Activist from the University of Pennsylvania

Panel Discussion - Crude Realities: America's Risky Dependence on Oil

President Obama has repeatedly emphasized the danger of America's dependence on fossil fuels and the need to develop alternative energies. Recent events in the Middle East have illustrated this danger. Learn more about the national security vulnerability posed by overreliance on oil and what can be done to overcome this vulnerability.

Featuring:

  • Jonathan Baron Principal, Baron Communications LLC
  • Arthur Koll Former Israeli Ambassador to Serbia
  • Gal Luft Exec. Director, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security

Panel Discussion - Growing Alliance: Israel and the Latino Community

As the largest and fastest growing minority in the United States, Latinos are poised to have an even greater impact on American politics in the years ahead. As a community determined to succeed, despite hardships, Latinos in the United States have much in common with the citizens of the Jewish state. This session explores how shared experiences and values have led members of the Latino community to become involved in the pro-Israel movement and describes the important role they play.

Featuring:

Moderator:

Tech Demo - EndoPAT: Diagnosing Early Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event. Luckily, an Israeli company has found a quick and easy way to diagnose early heart disease, using a device known as the EndoPAT. By measuring blood flow through a patient's fingers, the EndoPAT assesses the functioning of the endothelial cells, which line the inner walls of blood vessels. Damage to these cells may be an early sign of heart disease. Learn more about the EndoPAT and see a demonstration of how this Israeli innovation works by a representative from Itamar Medical, the company developing the device.

Featuring:

Breakout Sessions Monday III

Egypt's Extremists The Rise of the Salafis

For many analysts the story of the 2011 Revolution in Egypt is not the Muslim Brotherhood at all, but the rapid elevation of the Salafist group, represented primarily by the al-Nour Party, which secured over 20% of the seats in the new Egyptian parliament. The emerging leadership is dominated by hardline religious sheikhs long associated with Salafi teaching and preaching. We will discuss the history of this traditionally anti-democratic movement, its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, reasons for its electoral success, and possible impact on Egypt's political direction and foreign policy.

Featuring:

  • Jonathan Adelman Professor, Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver

Living With Realities in Sderot

In October 2001, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired the first rocket at Israel. Few people imagined then that well over 10,000 rockets would be fired throughout the following decade, killing 16 people, injuring dozens and profoundly disrupting daily life. The city of Sderot, less than a mile from the Gaza Strip, has borne the brunt of the rocket fire. Learn from a resident of Sderot how people living in the city have dealt with this daily threat.

Moderator:

  • Devorah Patt Director of AIEF in Israel, Jerusalem Office of AIPAC

Featuring:

Moscow and the Mideast: Russia's Involvement in the Region

Russia has long maintained vital interests in the Middle East, dating back to the Soviet era. While pursuing good political and economic relations with Israel, Moscow has also assisted Iran's nuclear efforts and has supported the Assad regime in Syria. Our panel analyzes these seemingly contradictory trends in Russia's foreign policy and asks how its policy might be affected by the Arab Spring.

Featuring:

  • Ilan Berman VP, American Foreign Policy Council
  • Jon Alterman Director and Senior Fellow, Middle East Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Ariel Cohen Senior Research Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, The Heritage Foundation

Saudi Strategy: The Complex U.S.-Saudi Relationship

Saudi Arabia is both an important American ally and the birthplace of Osama bin Laden. It is the second largest supplier of oil to the United States, but also the epicenter of Wahhabi radicalism. What are the origins of the close ties between the Saudi Kingdom and the United States? How have they been affected by the past year's events in the Middle East? This session looks into the complex relationship between Washington and Riyadh.

Featuring:

  • Simon Henderson Baker Fellow and Director, Gulf and Energy Program, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Steven Miller Rsch. Ass., Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Panel Discussion - Alliance Building: Israel's Strengthening European Partnerships

In order to deal with evolving geopolitical realities in the Middle East and Mediterranean, Israel has put an emphasis on developing new alliances in Europe. The Jewish state has cultivated ties with Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, among others, focusing on shared geopolitical and economic interests. This session explores new directions in Israel's foreign relations with Europe.

Featuring:

  • David Hatchwell VP and Spokesman, Jewish Community in Madrid, Spain
  • Elena Poptodorova Amb. of Bulgaria to the United States
  • Einat Wilf Member of Knesset, Independence; Former Foreign Policy Advisor to Israel's Vice Prime Minister

Moderator:

  • Tom Sawicki Director of Programming, Jerusalem Office of AIPAC

Panel Discussion - Battling Lawfare: The Global Legal War Against Israel

As part of the effort to fight the Jewish state, NGOs are increasingly exploiting Western courts to harass Israeli officials. By filing lawsuits accusing Israelis of "war crimes," these organizations tie the country's hands against terror and subvert its relations with Western countries. Our panel addresses this relatively new strategy to delegitimize Israel and discusses how it can be combated.

Featuring:

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - Energy Pioneers: Finding New Sources of Energy Together

Vast gas fields recently found off Israel's shores have potentially positioned the Jewish state as a new global energy player in coming years. This finding was made possible thanks to cooperation between Israeli and American companies. Our panel discusses how the United States and Israel can work together to meet their energy needs.

Featuring:

  • Eric Danko Asst. Dir., Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC
  • Bini Zomer Director of Corporate Affairs-Israel, Noble Energy
  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; Member, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; Member, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate
  • Michael Granoff Head of Oil Independence Policies, Better Place

Panel Discussion - Nuclear Intentions: Why Iran Really Wants Nukes

Iran regards its nuclear program as a source of power and prestige, and the Iranian leadership has used the program to rally nationalist support and distract attention from problems facing the country. Our expert panel examines in depth the motivations behind Tehran's quest for nuclear weapons, including the regime's ideology, internal politics and regional geopolitical considerations.

Featuring:

  • Mark Dubowitz Exec. Director, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Brad Sherman (D-CA) Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, United States House of Representatives
  • Avi Issacharoff Palestinian and Arab Affairs Correspondent, Ha'aretz

Panel Discussion - Sky-High Defense: U.S.-Israel Joint Missile Defense

The arsenal of thousands of missiles in the hands of rogue states like Iran and North Korea poses a significant threat to the United States and its allies throughout the world. To deal with this threat, the United States has joined forces with Israel to develop the world's most technologically advanced missile defense systems. Learn how the two allies are working together to defend against this common threat.

Featuring:

  • Steve Rothman (D-NJ) Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, United States House of Representatives
  • Yair Ramati Head, Israeli Homa Missile Defense Agency; Director, Israel Missile Defense Association
  • Jeff Kuhnreich Dep. Director, Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC

Panel Discussion - Syrian Revolt: Inside Syria's Violent Uprising

Like much of the Arab world, Syria has been rocked by a popular uprising this past year, leading the country to full-fledged civil war. The regime of President Bashar Assad is now struggling to remain in power amid intense domestic pressure and global isolation. Learn more about the factors behind the revolt against the Assad regime and what a post-Assad Syria might look like.

Featuring:

  • Andrew Tabler Next Generation Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Tony Badran Research Fellow, Levant, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Michael Totten Journalist and Author, The Road to Fatima Gate

Arab Factions: The People and Ideas Behind the Arab Spring

Perhaps the most important event in the world this past year, the Arab Spring largely caught pundits and policymakers by surprise. What were the catalysts for this vast upheaval? Why is it so significant? What are its short-term results and where might it lead? This panel takes an in-depth look at the wave of protests and demonstrations rocking the Arab world.

Featuring:

  • Shlomi Dinar Asst. Prof., Department of Politics and International Relations, Florida International University

A Year of Turmoil: The Impact of the Arab Spring

The civil unrest that began in Tunisia in December 2010 continues to engulf much of the Arab world. Nonetheless, the events have already resulted in a Middle East that looks very different from what it did just one year ago. And, anti-government protests likely inspired by these events have spread throughout the world. Why is the Arab Spring so significant? What are its short-term results, and where might it lead? Our experts discuss the regional and global repercussions of the Arab Spring.

Featuring:

  • Shibley Telhami Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland; Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution
  • Marc Ginsberg VP, APCO Worldwide, Former Ambassador to Morocco
  • Shai Feldman Director, Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University

Delhi to Jerusalem: The Key Israel-India Alliance

In recent years, India and Israel have emerged as close allies, sharing extensive economic, military and strategic ties. Bilateral trade is expected to reach $6 billion, and recent visits by senior officials from both countries promise to further enhance cooperation in trade, research and security. Learn more about the relationship between the Jewish state and the world's largest democracy.

Featuring:

Inside the IDF: A Conversation With an IDF Soldier

The security of the Jewish state rests on the shoulders of the young men and women who serve in the IDF. Whether manning observation posts at Israel's borders or flying its cutting-edge fleet of fighter jets, these 18-year-olds are a crucial component of Israel's strength. Hear the unique story and experiences of one IDF soldier.

Featuring:

  • Oren Zini Former Givati Brigade Tzabar Battalion Commander, Israel Defense Forces

Moderator:

  • Amy Berelowitz Legislative Assistant, Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC

Protecting Lives Together: Iron Dome and U.S.-Israel Cooperation

A key achievement of U.S.-Israeli cooperation this past year was the deployment of the Iron Dome rocket defense system in southern Israel. In its first week of operational deployment, Iron Dome – developed in Israel and partly funded through U.S. aid – stunned observers by shooting down eight out of nine rockets fired toward Israeli cities. Learn about the technology behind this groundbreaking system.

Featuring:

  • Ari Sacher Iron Dome Systems Project Manager, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

Panel Discussion - Arab Democracy: Institution Building in the Middle East

While the ultimate result of the Arab Spring remains to be seen, pundits and policymakers have expressed the hope that this unrest will lead to modern democratic governments across the Arab world. Such governments, however, require a democratic tradition and set of institutions that are, by and large, missing from the Arab states. This session takes a look at the progress made and the work that remains to be done in order to create democratic Arab nations.

Featuring:

  • Leslie Campbell Senior Associate and Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, National Democratic Institute
  • Michael Rubin Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Martin Kramer Senior Fellow, Shalem Center; President-designate, Shalem College; Wexler-Fromer Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Senior Fellow, Shalem Center

Panel Discussion - Civic Cooperation: U.S. Cities Bank on Israeli Ingenuity

Discussion of the U.S.-Israel relationship typically focuses on the high-level, strategic cooperation between the two countries. No less important, however, is cooperation at the local level. U.S. cities have benefited greatly from business partnerships with Israeli firms, focusing on energy research, environmental concerns and the high-tech industry. Learn how cooperation at the municipal level has become a driving force behind the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Featuring:

Panel Discussion - Do Sanctions Work? Preventing a Nuclear Iran

Economic sanctions are a crucial component of the efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Though the Iranian leadership has admitted that sanctions have hurt their country's economy, the Islamic Republic continues to pursue a nuclear weapons capability. Might tougher sanctions make Tehran change course? What can we learn about their possible impact from other sanctions regimes? Our panel tackles these questions.

Featuring:

  • Avi Jorisch Founder and Director, Red Cell Intelligence Group
  • Stephen Rademaker Former Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, U.S. Department of State; Principal, The Podesta Group
  • Howard Berman (D-CA) Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives

Panel Discussion - Egypt's Evolution: Change in the Post- Mubarak Era

It has been more than a year since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power by a massive civil uprising. With parliamentary elections completed and presidential elections still ahead, the country remains in a state of uncertainty and flux. What is the current situation in Egypt? Where is the country headed? To what extent will this be affected by the Islamist majority in the new parliament? Our panel discusses Egypt in the post-Mubarak era.

Featuring:

  • Michele Dunne Director, Atlantic Council Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
  • Tom Perriello President and CEO, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Counselor for Policy, Center for American Progress
  • Michael Herzog Milton Fine International Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Panel Discussion - Emergency Response: U.S.-Israel Joint Disaster Response

The reality of life in Israel has forced the Jewish state to become a leader in disaster response. The Israeli National Search and Rescue Unit has become world-renowned for coming to the aid of victims following tragic events in Egypt, Turkey and Haiti. This session explores how Israeli know-how can be combined with American technology to save lives around the world.

Featuring:

  • Greg White Sheriff, Cole County, Missouri
  • Kurt Schwartz Undersecretary of Law Enforcement and Fire Services, State of Massachusetts; Director, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
  • Ofer Merin Dep. Director-General for Medicine and Administration; Head, Trauma Unit, Shaare Zedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem

Panel Discussion - Foreign Aid Matters: Why U.S. Financial Assistance Is Paramount

Though the entire U.S. foreign aid bill is only 1 percent of the federal budget, American leadership around the globe depends on a robust foreign aid budget. In particular, U.S. assistance to Israel is vital to ensure Israel's security and to safeguard America's interests in the Middle East. Learn more from our panel about foreign aid – why it is important, how it is determined and where it is spent.

Featuring:

  • Mark Green Senior Director, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition; Former Member, United States House of Representatives; Former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania
  • Ester Kurz Director, Legislative Strategy and Policy, AIPAC
  • Thomas Cole (R-OK) Vice Chair, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, United States House of Representatives

Panel Discussion - Red State, Blue State: The Changing Face of American Politics

Major demographic shifts, the digital and social media revolutions, youth involvement, all of these factors contributed to making the last election cycles different from those before. The upcoming presidential and congressional races promise to further challenge long-standing assumptions. This panel of insiders explores the changing face of American politics.

Featuring:

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - Stopping Iran: Can the West End Iran's Nuclear Drive?

President Obama has repeatedly stated that Iran's nuclear program is a grave threat to the security of the United States and to the world. He has also said that the United States and the international community are determined to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. This session examines the steps that have been taken to end Iran's nuclear drive and asks what more can be done.

Featuring:

  • Jeremy Issacharoff Dep. Director General for Strategic Affairs, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Valorie Lincy Exec. Director, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control
  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) Chairwoman, Foreign Affairs, Committee, United States House of Representatives

Panel Discussion - The Progressive Case for Israel: Liberals Supporting the Jewish State

Support for the U.S.-Israel relationship across the political spectrum is the key ingredient to ensuring Israel's safety, security and very survival. This session features some of America's most well-known progressive leaders, making the case for why progressives do and should support the Jewish state.

Featuring:

  • Al Green (D-TX) Member, United States House of Representatives
  • John Perez (D-CA) Speaker of the Assembly, California State Assembly
  • Ann Lewis President, No Limits Foundation

Moderator:

Breakout Sessions Monday IV

Diversity in Israel: Israel, Gay Rights and the Middle East

Israel's record of protecting gays and lesbians is not only the most impressive in the Middle East, but also considerably more progressive than many other Western nations. In a region where homosexuality is typically illegal and sometimes punishable by death, the Jewish state has a vibrant gay culture, allows gays and lesbians to serve freely in the military and bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This session highlights Israel's outstanding gay rights record.

Featuring:

  • Bernard Cherkasov Chief Exec. Officer, Equality Illinois
  • Dan Slyper Chair, LGBT Section, Israeli Labor Party
  • Uzi Even Former Member of Knesset, Meretz; Professor of Chemistry, Tel Aviv University

Egypt and Israel: Will the New Egypt Keep the Peace?

Islamist parties have emerged as the new power players in Egypt's parliament, capturing a majority of seats in the recent elections. These parties are openly hostile to Israel and to Jews, and have repeatedly expressed support for terrorist organizations dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state. This session address the future of the relations between Egypt and Israel in light of these developments.

Featuring:

Egypt's Extremists: The Rise of the Salafis

For many analysts the story of the 2011 Revolution in Egypt is not the Muslim Brotherhood at all, but the rapid elevation of the Salafist group, represented primarily by the al-Nour Party, which secured over 20% of the seats in the new Egyptian parliament. The emerging leadership is dominated by hardline religious sheikhs long associated with Salafi teaching and preaching. We will discuss the history of this traditionally anti-democratic movement, its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, reasons for its electoral success, and possible impact on Egypt's political direction and foreign policy.

Featuring:

Israel and the Diaspora: Challenges and Opportunities

Relations between Israeli Jews and Jews in the diaspora have undergone significant change over the years. Israel has become a robust, globally competitive economy, while those living in the diaspora are by and large no longer in danger, making the traditional contract between the sides obsolete. Our speaker discusses the different avenues through which Israel and the Jewish diaspora can interact in light of new realities.

Featuring:

Panel Discussion - Congressional Consensus: Bipartisan Support on Capitol Hill

Support for Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship is one of the few issues that enjoy bipartisan support in Congress. On topics ranging from foreign aid to the Jewish state to Israel's right to self defense, Democrats and Republicans consistently see eye to eye. Our panel examines the reasons for this across-the-board support and its significance.

Featuring:

  • Tim Scott (R-SC) U.S. Congress
  • Nita Lowey (D-NY) Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, United States House of Representatives

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - Congressional Journal: How Members of Congress Experience Israel

Traveling to Israel is the single most effective way for America's policymakers to understand the Jewish connection to the land, regional challenges and the strategic cooperation that exists between the United States and Israel. In the past year alone, 90 members of Congress participated in Educational Seminars sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), AIPAC's supporting charitable organization. Members of the House of Representatives and the people who guide them will discuss the personal impact of their experience and the value of these trips toward strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Featuring:

  • Ben Chandler (D-KY) Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives
  • Terri Sewell (D-AL) Member, Agriculture Committee, United States House of Representatives
  • Reid Ribble (R-WI) Member, Committee on Budget, U.S. House of Representatives
  • James Lankford (R-OK) Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Asher Afriat Founder and CEO, The Israel Seminar

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - Northern Exposure: The Strengthening Israel-Canada Relationship

Canada's close relationship with the Jewish state began in 1947, when it was one of 33 countries to vote in favor of the U.N. partition resolution. Recently, however, there has been a marked shift to even stronger ties. Cooperation between the two countries has increased in areas such as defense, trade, culture and education, and Prime Minister Harper is often considered Israel's closest friend in the world. This panel discusses the past, present and future of Israeli-Canadian relations.

Featuring:

  • Stockwell Day Former Minister of Public Safety, Minister of International Trade, Canada; Member, Board of Directors, The Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs
  • David Sweet Member of the Canadian Parliament; Chair, Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - Shifting Sands: U.S. Policy in the Middle East

The events of the past year have radically changed the face of the Middle East, forcing a rethinking of American policy in the region. What is the impact of the ongoing instability on U.S. interests? How should the United States respond to the rise of Islamist parties? Our experts discuss America's place in a radically shifting Middle East.

Featuring:

  • Brian Katulis Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
  • Lee Smith Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Visiting Fellow, Hudson Institute; Senior Editor, The Weekly Standard

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - The Hashemite Kingdom: Turmoil and Change in Jordan

Jordan is one of the few states to have remained relatively stable amid the ongoing turmoil in the Arab world. Regional developments, the Hashemite Kingdom's ethnic makeup and its monarchic rule nevertheless make popular unrest in the country a distinct possibility. Learn more about the current situation in Jordan and its importance from a regional perspective.

Featuring:

  • Merav Horsandi Chief of Staff, Ambassador from Israel to the United States
  • David Schenker Aufzien Fellow and Director, Program on Arab Politics, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Oded Eran Senior Rsch. Ass., Institute for National Security Studies; Former Israeli Ambassador to the European Union and Jordan

Panel Discussion - Unbreakable Alliance: The U.S.-Israel Defense Relationship

The military partnership between the United States and Israel spans everything from sharing intelligence to collaborating on the development of cutting-edge technologies. This year, the two countries are scheduled to conduct two unprecedented joint exercises. What is the history of the U.S.-Israel defense relationship? What does each side gain from this relationship? How might it be affected by the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East? This session looks into the unique military alliance between the two countries.

Featuring:

  • Marvin Feuer Director, Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC
  • Gadi Shamni Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attaché, Embassy of Israel
  • Andrew Shapiro Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, United States Department of State

Panel Discussion - A Hizballah Government: The Situation in Lebanon

Over the past year, the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hizballah has strengthened its grip over Lebanon. While expanding its huge arsenal of rockets and receiving advanced weaponry from the crumbling regime in Syria, the group has also taken control of the Lebanese government. How does Hizballah's domination of the government affect Lebanese policy? What can the United States and Israel do in the wake of this threat? Our panel examines the current situation in Israel's neighbor to the north.

Featuring:

  • Amos Harel Military Correspondent and Defense Analyst, Ha'aretz
  • Eliot Engel (D-NY) Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, United States House of Representatives
  • Leah Odinec Asst. Dir., Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC
  • Mara Karlin Fellow, SAIS-The Johns Hopkins University; Levant Analyst

Panel Discussion - Friends of Faith: Evangelical Christian Support for Israel

Israel is not just an issue of concern to the Jewish community. Christians all across the United States are expressing support for Israel. In recent years, growing numbers of Christians are becoming increasingly involved in pro-Israel advocacy on behalf of the U.S.–Israel relationship. This session brings together theologians and activists to discuss the basis of Christian support for Israel and examine how this support is being expressed

Featuring:

  • Mark Walker Senior Pastor, Mount Paran North Church of God, Georgia
  • Richard LandPresident, Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • Susan O'Dwyer National Council Member, AIPAC; Director, Business Development, Habif, Arogeti & Wayne, LLP

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - From Solidarity to Support: African Americans and Israel

Prominent African Americans, including Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., have long been strong supporters of Zionism, identifying with the Jewish quest for self-determination. In recent years, a growing number of African Americans have become involved with the pro-Israel movement in the United States. Reflecting on shared histories of struggle and marching together for freedom, African Americans are key supporters of the Jewish state. Our panel explores the contours of this support and how it is being expressed.

Featuring:

Moderator:

Panel Discussion - Winds of Change: Israel's New Strategic Environment

Situated in a structurally unstable environment, Israel has had to deal with multiple security challenges since its founding. The past year's events, including the uprisings in the Arab world, developments in Iran's nuclear program and Turkey's aggressive foreign policy, have changed and added to these challenges. This session examines Israel's neighborhood in early 2012 and discusses how the Jewish state is dealing with changes to its environment.

Featuring:

  • Amos Gilad Head of the Political-Military and Policy Bureau, Ministry of Defense, Israel
  • Tal Becker International Associate, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Senior Fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America

References

  1. AIPAC, Breakout Session 1, 4 March 2012.