NEAR EAST REPORT AIPAC'S BIWEEKLY ON AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST POLICY

Article photo 1
Student government presidents gave Ambassador Oren a letter welcoming him to their campuses. More than 70 presidents from around the country signed the letter.
Article photo 2
At the Saban Leadership Seminar, pro-Israel students from around the country learn how to effectively advocate for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

Students Learn Political Activism in Washington

More than 400 pro-Israel student activists from college campuses and high schools across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., in July for the Saban Leadership Seminar. The conference, which occurs twice per year, is the only Israel-advocacy program in the United States that prepares students to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship through political activism.

Participants at the Saban Leadership Seminar built lasting relationships with today’s and tomorrow’s opinion leaders and policymakers. In major plenary events, attendees heard from key political players who discussed a range of subjects related to Israel’s security and the U.S.-Israel relationship.

On one evening, the Saban Leadership Seminar coincided with the third forum of AIPAC’s 2010 Summer Seminar Series, which hosts Washington-based interns and young professionals. At that event, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ron Klein (D-FL) discussed Congress’ role in preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability. Hillel International President Wayne Firestone also spoke.

The keynote speaker at the conference was Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. He discussed the many threats facing Israel and thanked the student activists for their efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance.

After Oren spoke, Student Government Association (SGA) presidents in attendance presented him with a framed letter expressing their appreciation for America’s partnership with Israel.

More than 70 SGA presidents signed the letter, which praised the way that the United States and Israel have a “historic investment in one another’s security, growth, and freedom,” and lauded the “the instantaneous and perpetual bond” that the two allies have shared for decades.

All of the signatories invited Oren to speak on their campuses during the school year.

Throughout the conference, Saban Leadership Seminar participants were exposed to a diverse group of campus leaders and young political operatives who discussed their commitment to sustaining the U.S.-Israel alliance. These guests included College Democrats of America President Katie Naranjo, College Republican National Committee Chairman Zach Howell and a number of political professionals.

Students also participated in a series of leadership-skills workshops that introduced approaches to building lasting relationships with campus professionals, student leaders, policymakers and candidates for public office.

Seminar participants will use their Saban training to advance three key initiatives on their campuses this fall:

Israel as a Strategic Partner

AIPAC-trained campus activists will demonstrate to student leaders and American decision makers that Israel, because of its stability, reliability and strength, remains an indispensable ally and tremendous asset to America. Through a variety of activities, Saban-trained campus activists will engage student leaders and political officials to emphasize the value of the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Iran Sanctions Implementation

In conversations with American policymakers and campus leaders, AIPAC campus activists will push for the immediate and complete implementation of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA). By enlisting the support of campus political leaders and a variety of student constituencies, students will send compelling messages to policymakers, conveying their support for Iran sanctions implementation.

Campaign 2010

Pro-Israel campus activists will build support for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance by forming relationships with candidates running for office in the 2010 midterm elections in Congress. In addition, AIPAC-trained activists will engage greater numbers of pro-Israel students in the political process and ensure that politically minded students understand the issues that are most important to the pro-Israel community. To maximize their impact on the fall elections, AIPAC-trained activists will support the candidates of their choice by volunteering for campaigns as self-identified pro-Israel volunteers.

Students will benefit from additional AIPAC-provided advocacy training opportunities during the coming school year. Upcoming events include AIPAC’s Schusterman Advocacy High School Summit, AIPAC’s National Summit in South Florida and an AIPAC Taglit-Birthright Israel trip for students involved in pro-Israel political advocacy. BACK TO TOP