Why we have the right to lobby Congress

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2007

In response to the gentleman from Wasilla, I agree that questions must always be asked to ascertain situations and gain knowledge about a great many things. It is now my desire to assist this gentleman by giving a perspective answer to one of his many questions.

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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, is neither sanctioned by the Israeli or American government, but rather was initiated by people both young and old Jewish and non-Jewish who come from different social and economic backgrounds who care about a single cause, the support of a land in the Middle East that is a safe haven for the Jewish people and a beacon of democracy in this otherwise prominent theocratic and oligarchic region.

The gentleman asks why the committee has the power to lobby Congress and the answer is simple, the members of AIPAC initiate conversation with their representatives. I was recently invited to participate in AIPAC's 2007 conference a few weeks ago in Washington, D.C., and I was surrounded by 6,200 other individuals from the United States. Joined by other citizens of Alaska, I (a humble student at the University of Alaska Southeast) petitioned our case of American support to Israel to all three representatives of Alaska's congressional delegation.

All Americans have the right to lobby their Congress, but they must make an effort to be heard. I'm sure that if the gentleman from Wasilla gave up time and resources to go to Washington, D.C., and schedule a meeting with Alaska's congressional delegation, he will be graciously accepted and allowed for his voice to be heard beyond the letters to the editor of a newspaper.

Brian Westad

Juneau



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