Added Pages

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Students Attend AIPAC's High School Summit

Israel Activism Students & Mr. Rothbort on the AIPAC  Stage 
Last week students from our Israel Activism Commission visited Washington D.C. with Mr. Rothbort on a lobbying mission part of AIPAC's High School Leadership Summit. Here is one student's reflection:

They say that an imperfect voice is better than a perfect silence. At the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual High School Summit, over 400 high school students were trained in pro-Israel advocacy, lobbying techniques, and methods to increase student engagement. The students represented Jewish high schools, synagogue groups, and teen leadership organizations nationwide, in addition to the diverse group of AIPAC staff members who organized the conference. Attending alongside me from Flatbush were Sammy Tbeile, Rashelle Gersh, Louis Franco, and David Idy.
Sgt. Benjamin Anthony with students
From the first session “Why we commit” to the final open-mic session (in which Rashelle Gersh and myself both spoke), the three-day Summit provided us with the tools needed to be effective advocates for the US-Israel relationship. On the final day of Summit, all 400 students went to Capitol Hill to lobby a member of Congress or Congressional staffer, allowing us to put into action the skills we’d been taught.
Alumnus, Joey Cohen-Saban, with students
Yet perhaps more important than any actual lobbying we did was the constantly reinforced message “I need your help.” This was a message told to us by AIPAC, that we in turn are responsible to tell our fellow students. Unlike other lobbying organizations, AIPAC has only ten paid lobbyists. We as individuals and supporters of the US-Israel relationship are responsible to seize initiatives and ensure that our voice is heard within Congress, and that only through us can a strong US-Israel relationship endure. This relationship can not be taken for granted, and must be maintained by its supporters, rather than submitting to apathy.
Summit’s message will remain meaningless if Summit is viewed only as a conference, and not as a catalyst for change. And so, as commissioner of Israel Activism, I say to the Flatbush student body, “I need your help.” Israel Activism at Flatbush has grown tremendously this year, but there is always room for more people to expand the base, and to join the movement. It only takes one candle to light up a dark room. It only takes one person to make a difference. ~Andrew Hersh, Israel Activism Commissioner