Intel: COVID-19 forces AIPAC to cancel 2021 conference

al-monitor Speaking via satellite from Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses AIPAC in Washington, US, March 26, 2019. Photo by REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

Jun 1, 2020

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is cancelling its 2021 conference in Washington amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, Jewish Insider reported on Sunday.

“Given the continued uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic and without a predictable avenue to safely bring together thousands of pro-Israel Americans, we have been forced to cancel the 2021 AIPAC policy conference,” the group’s president, Betsy Berns Korn, wrote in an email to members.

Why it matters:  Tens of thousands of AIPAC members descend on Washington in March every year for the AIPAC conference and annual lobby day on Capitol Hill. But in 2021 they’ll be going virtual. AIPAC members have started lobbying meetings with lawmakers and their staff via Zoom as the pandemic continues to sweep the globe.

What’s next:   The zoom meetings could offer a preview into how the influential lobby group will have to conduct its operations for the foreseeable future. Korn reassured members that “AIPAC will continue to find new and creative ways over the coming year for us to connect online and in person to advance the US-Israel relationship.”

Know More:  Despite the pandemic, AIPAC is still getting results, reports congressional correspondent Bryant Harris. Congress has moved several of its priority agenda items in recent weeks, including a key Israeli military aid bill as well as a letter condemning the International Criminal Court for opening an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The group even got a key adversary, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., to sign onto a letter calling for an extension of the UN arms embargo on Iran.

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