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This was an effective segue to the presentation of African-American political leaders who support AIPAC, but a look at the audience made clear that AIPAC is still largely an organization made up of white Jewish activists. Opening the conference, AIPAC sought to stress American-Israeli cooperation rather than military challenges facing the country.
A tear jerking moment at the opening session of AIPAC’s policy conference, set the tone for the bigger-than-ever gathering of the pro-Israel lobby.
It was a moment crafted to drive home the message of a relationship between the American and Israeli people not based solely on security concerns but on innovative technology and shared human interests.
Staring the presentation was Dan Webb, an avid hunter from Pennsylvania who became paralyzed following a hunting accident. In a touching video Webb told the story of his injury and his miraculous recovery thanks to an Israeli medical innovation that allows paralyzed patients regain their ability to walk. Many in the gathering, filling to capacity Washington’s conference center, were already in tears, but when Webb solely walked onto the stage, assisted by crutches and the Israeli-made device, emotions bubbled over.
And if that was not enough to excite the crowd and send a message of cooperation between the two nations, Webb was joined on stage by Dr. Amit Goffer, founder of Argo Medical Technologies that developed the device. Dr. Goffer, in a wheelchair, promised that his company is working on further developments that will allow people like himself to walk too.
Adding to the point were a list of Israeli innovators, including an impressive presentation by a scientist who made a breakthrough in superconductor research, and an Israeli activist who managed a campaign in Africa to circumcise African males as a way of reducing transmission of AIDS.