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Students attend pro-Israeli conference, hear from world leaders

March 6, 2014 : By Joshua Tiprigan/Liberty University News Service

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the 2014 AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C.

Members of Liberty University’s Stand With Israel Club visited the nation’s capitol March 1-4 to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) 2014 policy conference. A group of 11 students joined approximately 14,000 AIPAC supporters who spent four days discussing the necessity for continued American support for the nation of Israel.

Their trip followed a week in which Liberty hosted two special guests who spoke on support for Israel, including Holocaust survivor Irving Roth and Dr. Jacques Gauthier, an expert on Israeli legal land rights. Liberty regularly organizes study trips to Israel with various departments and the Center for Judaic Studies.

For the second year in a row, the club was nominated for AIPAC’s Activist of the Year award because of its pro-Israeli presence on campus during a time when many schools have chosen to boycott America’s chief ally in the Middle East. Liberty won the award in 2010. Liberty’s club is sponsored by the Helms School of Government.

Liberty University Stand With Israel Club members pose with Penny Nance.
Members of Liberty University's Stand With Israel Club pose with alumna Penny Nance ('88), president of Concerned Women for America, at the AIPAC conference.

Senior Bethany Poulos, the club’s president, credited the group’s annual lobbying trips to meet with Virginia’s members in Congress and their current-event briefings as the key reason for the nomination.

“It is crucial now more than ever that Liberty University be a light and an example of the values of peace, freedom, and equality,” Poulos said. “We hope to create more activists who will support Israel, because it is the sole democracy in the Middle East.”

The group heard from U.S. Sen. John McCain, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who all warned against possible breaches of international security found in a nuclear-capable Iran.

The students also attended smaller breakout sessions to hear from experts on subjects such as Israeli culture, American national security issues, and Israel’s latest technology.

At a “Friends of Faith” session, students had the opportunity to meet Liberty alumna Penny Nance (’88), CEO and president of Concerned Women for America. Nance was part of a panel on the duty evangelical Christians have to support Israel as the chosen people.