In his keynote address to the March 18 “Israel’s Influence: Good or Bad for America?” conference, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy described where he would take, and what he would say to, a U.S. congressional delegation to Israel.
He would take them, Levy said, to meet the Abu Khoussa family in Gaza, whose 6-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were killed in an Israeli missile strike on their home. He would tell them about 16-year-old American Mahmoud Saalan of Tampa, Florida, who had been shot dead at a military checkpoint by Israeli soldiers, allegedly for carrying a knife. And, Levy said, he would also take the American legislators to Hebron, because “I never met an honest human being who had been to Hebron and didn’t come back after a few hours in shock.”
Days later and blocks away, members of Congress and three of the four remaining presidential candidates were professing their undying allegiance to Israel at the yearly policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel’s Washington, DC lobby.
Aware of this annual parade of elected U.S. officials, Levy knew that, in his remarks at the National Press Club, he was describing a “virtual tour of those congressmen who would never come to listen to me and will never let me take them around.”
Levy’s presentation at the 2015 conference “The Israel Lobby: Is It Good for the U.S.? Is It Good for Israel?” went viral, and has so far been watched by more than 400,000 people. As a result, the organizers of that conference and this year’s “Israel’s Influence” conference—the American Educational Trust, publisher of theWashington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep)—were more than happy to bow to popular demand and invite Levy to be a keynote speaker this year. Once again, he was a highlight.
The official transcript of Levy’s address is now available on the conference website,www.IsraelsInfluence.org. ;
Rush transcripts of the remarks by the other conference speakers—including Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former NRC official Dr. Roger J. Mattson, journalists Jim Lobe, Rula Jubreal and Philip Weiss, and novelist and poet Susan Abulhawa, among others—are also available at www.IsraelsInfluence.org, where you can watch or listen to all the presentations.
Complete transcripts of “Israel’s Influence: Good or Bad for America” will be published in the May 2016 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.