More than 130 congressional staffers attended the America Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) 2013 Mideast Policy Seminar, which featured a keynote address by Dr. Robert Satloff and a panel of top AIPAC experts. AIEF is an educational organization affiliated with AIPAC.
Dr. Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, talked about major trends in the Middle East and their implications for Israel and the United States. Satloff identified Iran’s “ground war” – that is, its efforts to create disturbances in the region through its proxies, particularly Hamas and Hizballah – as a significant issue that is often overshadowed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Dr. Satloff also argued that the Middle East is more unstable than it has been in decades, and that for the first time in a generation the Middle East could in fact be descending into war.
The AIPAC panel, which consisted of Brad Gordon, Marvin Feuer, Ester Kurz and moderator Jeffrey Colman, discussed the variety of challenges confronting the United States and Israel and how Congress and the administration have worked with the Jewish state to address them.
Gordon spoke about the broad regional implications of a nuclear-armed Iran and the impact of sanctions, while Kurz addressed the importance of foreign aid and highlighted the steps that Israel has taken to advance the peace process with the Palestinians. Kurz also pointed out that despite a heated and polarized U.S. election, bipartisan support for the Jewish state has remained strong.
Feuer discussed the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship and the importance of U.S. efforts to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge, which has allowed Israel to pursue peace and has deterred major wars between Israel and its neighbors for the past four decades.