Editor, Daily Nexus,

Several students from the on-campus group, American Students for Israel (ASI), participated in a nation-wide American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., from March 5 to 7. “Forbes Magazine” rates AIPAC as one of the top five most influential lobbying organizations in the nation. Over 5,000 Israeli advocates from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C., to hear Congressional leaders from both parties and to lobby their Congressional Representatives on Capitol Hill. More than 1,000 students attended the conference. Among the top speakers were Vice President Dick Cheney, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Past speakers at the AIPAC Policy Conference included former president, Bill Clinton, and our current president, George W. Bush.

The focus of this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference was Iran and Hamas. Iran continues to build up its nuclear weapons arsenal, which is a direct threat to the world, especially to Israel. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was compared to a modern-day Hitler because of their shared hatred of the Jews and rejection of negotiations with the West. Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust and is not afraid of using his nuclear weapons against Israel. He once stated that Iran could absorb a second strike when referring to a situation in which Iran would nuke Israel first. He refuses to allow open inspections and will not allow Russia to enrich uranium outside of Iran. As he explained on Sept. 18, 2005, “We want the fuel cycle. It is the right of all countries, including Iran.” Iran is a dangerous, theocratic rogue state. Right now, Iran is only developing its nuclear weapons, but five years from now they will have the capability to put these deadly devices into use.

It is our responsibility as students to know about what is going on in the world. Here on campus, we don’t always recognize what is happening on a global level, though it is very important. ASI has begun a campaign of writing letters to our congresswoman, Lois Capps (D), urging her to sign the Iran Freedom Support Act. I encourage you to write to your local congressman and senators and urge them to support this pressing piece of legislation as well. The weekend after the conference, Capps spoke with Hillel students. ASI again lobbied her, and it was a very successful night.