Via Operation Lifeshield:
The AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington DC is the largest gathering in AIPAC history. Almost 19,000 pro-Israel supporters from a diverse background of politics, beliefs and ages. Approximately 4,000 students, almost 1,000 Christians, and a dedicated army of hundreds of AIPAC staff and volunteers.
The Washington Convention Center and Verizon Center have been our home this week, as we welcome speakers from across a broad spectrum of perspectives. And as a host welcomes a guest, the opinions, regardless of whether or not we agree, are respected as we honor our guests in our home.
Reform Movement leader Rabbi Eric Yoffie is initiating a protest of sorts for this evening. Yoffie and some other of his Movement colleagues have decided to walk out of one of the Presidential candidate’s speeches. They have decided that their sensibilities are more important than anyone else’s at the conference, and will show just how self centred and arrogant they truly are by disrupting the event tonight.
I have a news flash for Rabbi Yoffie. Donald Trump could not care less about your pathetic outburst. And the only people you and other Reform rabbis will be offending are the AIPAC organisers who for months have worked hard to create a space where the American-Israeli relationship can flourish.
The planned protest this evening sends the wrong message to the students here. Perhaps right leaning delegates would have wanted to walk out on Vice President Biden or Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton when they talked about Settlements in the same breath as Palestinian terrorism as the causes for lack of peace in Israel. Many of us at the Verizon Center found those words hurtful and offensive. However, no one got up and left nor acted rudely.
Rabbi Yoffie, it pains me to rebuke a fellow Jew in a public forum. However, you and your friends are demonstrating arrogance, immaturity and recklessness. I heard congregational members of Reform synagogues voice their displeasure with their rabbis on Sunday at AIPAC breakout sessions. Your congregants deserve better leaders. And the 19,000 people at tonight’s event ask you to express your opinions in the correct way, and respect our the golden rule of “hachnasat orchim” welcoming guests into our home.