Yeah yeah, I  know, it was a long time ago, but I thought that I should
share with you guys our trip to DC in a mission of lobbying for Israel.
So here is it goes:
 43 people from Pittsburgh ZOA (the largest group), among them 3 YZOA
members (Polina, Albert, and your loyal subject, that reduced the average
age to something around 60), took part in this wonderful trip to
Washington DC to meet with Senators and Congresspersons, as well as other
key speakers from the infamous State Department, Israeli Embassy,
journalists, and pro-Israel influential others.
In the first night we almost met President Bush, but missed him in ten
minutes since we had to leaver the hotel to a real important meeting,
while the guy couldn’t handle timetable;-)
The first dinner included a national forum of all delegations meeting with
Steve Emerson – US expert on terror and a pro-Israel person from the State
Department (yes there are 2 like that). He acknowledged that the SD is
shortened in seeing the reality in the Mideast. As a response to my
question if the SD people eat hypocrisy every day, so they feel free to
criticize Israel on hunting terrorists he said that indeed, the SD
spokespersons do not know what they are talking about. Anti-Semitism in
the SD was mentioned as not so much rare phenomenon.

  Our agenda focused on 3 issues: 1) the Koby Mendel act  (the US Justice
Department should bring to justice Palestinians who killed American
citizens (something that is ignored, against the American Law), 2) Syria
act (to act against Syria that is recognized as a terror-support
country, and 3) the “Road Map” (asking the reps. to make sure the US
Administration does not push Israel to make concessions that will hurt
her security, and 4) other Israel-related issues.

   In the second day we met with PA Senators Santorum and Specter. Then we
met with Congressmen Doyle of our area, and assistants of
Congresspersons Melissa Heart and Tim Murphy (Bob will send them a note
how dared they not to meet with us).

  The issues that people raised asked the reps to make sure that the US
government does not equate Israel and the Palestinians on the same moral
grounds. I was encouraged to hear the Congresspersons (Jews and non-Jews
as well) over lunch on their commitment to Israel, to her safety and
prosperity. I punched myself to make sure that this was the US Congress
and not the Likud Party convention. The reps were so determined in their
care to our homeland, and their care for the Jews how are living there.
We finished the day hearing from Gary Bauer, a non-Jewish leader how moral
is our case, and the message I got from there is that G-d stands with his
beloved kids in his country. It is us who need to act and to be strong.
I would like to ask my fellow YZOA Jews who are (for the time being)
American citizens. Keep sending e-mails and letters to your
representatives in the Congress. It is so important and effective. In the
end of the day, these people, as much as they love Israel, are political
animals and they need your vote, and they need to hear your voice as a
compass for what is right and wrong. Our brothers and sisters are being
killed in Israel every day, the least thing we can do here, is raise our
voice, and stand actively, assertively and maybe sometimes aggressively
for them and for humanity. This is our debt to those who fight and live
for our Jewish identity and pride.

  Finally, I would like to thank our new president Bob Wishnev for an
excellent organization of the trip, and making it fun with good jokes.
It was pleasure to meet the rest of the ZOA members, and now the mission
is…more members, the younger the better for a better ZOA future.

Kobi
********************************************
Jacob (Kobi) Wimisberg
Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Social & Decision Sciences
Porter Hall 321
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office:    (412) 268-2869
Lab:       (412) 268-4496
Fax:       (412) 268-6938
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