Simple. Punchy. Donald stunned them

Letter from: Washington DC

November 24, 2016 23:21

I arrived at the Aipac policy conference not knowing what was in store. Travelling to Washington, all I knew was that I was to be one of approximately 18,700 delegates converging on the US capital to celebrate the US-Israel relationship.

What I saw was perhaps the most perfectly orchestrated political event I have ever attended.

Aipac showcased its brilliant strategy of ensuring that support for Israel transcends political, ethnic and religious boundaries in America. By reaching out to African-Americans, Hispanics, Christian activists and more, and by giving concrete examples of how Israel is a force for good in the world, it achieves its goal of ensuring continuous, cross-party support for the Jewish state.

We attended informative sessions and briefed friends, such as the American Jewish Committee, on the Jewish Leadership Council's regional investment plan. Meanwhile, think tank Bicom briefed US groups on foreign policy attitudes in the UK. We fielded many questions about the challenges facing Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, delegitimisation on campus and combating the boycott movement. Our US colleagues were very complimentary about the work of the British Jewish community, its ties to the Government, and our ability to advocate for a strong UK-Israel alliance.

On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden delivered an impassioned speech to a packed stadium. On Monday, Hillary Clinton spoke eloquently and compellingly about her commitment to the ties that bind Israel and the US. She was greeted like an old friend: her speech prompted standing ovations.

Donald Trump's speech on Monday night loomed large over the conference. Jeered by some, embraced by others, he gave a barnstorming address made up of punchy, 20-second sentences. It left thousands of the delegates stunned.

November 24, 2016 23:21

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