20181202

Israeli-American Council (IAC) National Conference Concludes with Strong Showing of Bipartisan Support for Israel

Senate and House Democratic Leaders voice deep support for Israel; Adelsons announce new $13 million gift to the IAC as they champion importance of keeping the organization bipartisan
Senate Dem Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Dem Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-C.A.) with Haim Saban at IAC Conf
HOLLYWOOD, FL. — The Fifth Annual IAC (Israeli-American Council) National Conference concluded today with remarks from a high-profile lineup of speakers headlined by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-C.A.), wrapping up a four-day display of bipartisan support for the State of Israel over the course of the conference in South Florida.

Leader Pelosi called the establishment of the state of Israel “the greatest political accomplishment of the 20thcentury,” emphasizing that “the security of Israel is essential,” to any solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. She went on to say, “We have to make it really clear to the Palestinians that we expect them to be responsible negotiators and we haven’t seen a lot of that thus far.” 
Pelosi was joined on stage by Schumer as part of a conversation moderated by Haim Saban, an Israeli-American entertainment industry pioneer and philanthropist, who is also a major supporter of the IAC.
“If you believe in the security of America, you have to support the security of Israel,” said Senator Schumer, calling for a bipartisan effort to educate Millennials and Gen Xers about Israel’s struggles to exist. “We have to show them that Israel’s existence is still precarious despite what it has done to build up its strength.”

Saban described the U.S.-Israel relationship as a “two-way street,” as Schumer noted, “no other country does more to protect America from terrorism than Israel.”

The top Democrats in both chambers of Congress spoke at the IAC Conference two days after the conference’s more than 3,000 attendees heard a keynote address from Vice President Mike Pence.

Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson – the major supporters and visionaries that drove the IAC’s rapid expansion across the country – echoed the sentiment that bipartisanship is critical for the IAC’s mission, as they announced a new $13 million gift to the organization.

“I think the important thing is that this organization is not favoring one side or the other,” said Sheldon Adelson, saying there is no room for “political positioning in the IAC.”

Sunday’s plenary session also featured Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, whose remarks at the Diplomat Beach Resort came just up the road from his native city of Miami Beach.

“We are blessed to have had seven decades of strong bipartisan support for Israel – and hearing from both the Vice President and two leading Democrats should give people confidence that bipartisan support of Israel is going to continue,” said Dermer, who was interviewed by senior defense correspondent for Israel’s Channel 10 Alon Ben David.
The IAC today presented its Activism Award to Robbi and Stuart Force, parents of Taylor Force, an American veteran and graduate student who was killed in a 2016 Palestinian terrorist attack in Jaffe. Taylor is the namesake of the Taylor Force Act, whose passage earlier this year ensured that U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority will now be contingent on the P.A.’s ceasing of its financial rewards for terrorists and their families. 

“The IAC was one of the earliest and strongest supporters of the Taylor Force Act,” said Stuart Force, speaking at the podium with his wife, Robbie. “People ask us where we got the strength – we didn’t find it, you gave it to us.”

The Closing Plenary also included a panel discussion featuring a bipartisan pair of lawmakers from Florida who are staunch Congressional advocates for the U.S.-Israel relationship: Reps. Brian Mast (R-F.L.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-F.L.). IAC Chairman Adam Milstein moderated the discussion.

Mast said, “America represents to the world freedom, democracy, human rights, and entrepreneurial spirit – and the place in the world where you can find that same outlook guaranteed is Israel.”

“The IAC was thrilled and honored to bring more than 3,000 Israeli-Americans and Jewish-Americans from across the nation and to send a strong message of unity and togetherness, as one big Jewish family. These four extraordinary days energized our community to step up and lead the way in creating the changes that are much needed in our Jewish communities,” said IAC CEO Shoham Nicolet. 

“This conference was a historic moment for the Israeli-American community, and a powerful display of America’s bipartisan support for Israel. We demonstrated that our movement is defined by unconditional love and support for the State of Israel, and as such can serve as a unifying force that rallies support for Israel from across the political spectrum at the highest levels,” said IAC Chairman Adam Milstein.

 The IAC has become an important convener for Israelis, Israeli-Americans, Americans Jews and other pro-Israel Americans at a time when many leaders have expressed concerns about the growing rift between the world’s largest Jewish communities. In October, the IAC — which has emerged in recent years as one of America’s premier and fastest-growing Jewish organizations — announced the opening of four new regional offices throughout the country in Orlando, Florida; Austin, Texas; Orange County, California; and Columbus, Ohio. Through its 20 chapters across the country, the organization is expecting to be operating in more than 60 communities in 2019.