AIPAC Policy Conference, 21-23 April 2002
SCENES OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTION flash across huge video screens before a packed hall in the Washington Hilton. Attendees of the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) gaze upon carnage and confusion, some gasping audibly as they are transported to the “front lines” of the War on Terror. And where are these “front lines”? The bigscreen images and accompanying narration thrust two answers to the fore— the streets of New York in the wake of the 11 September attacks and the streets of Jerusalem, Netanya, and Haifa in the wake of Palestinian suicide bombings. The video takes its viewers from the remains of the World Trade Center to those of the Sbarro pizzeria and back again, interspersing horrifying battlefield images with testimonies of American and Israeli emergency personnel, police, and survivors. Shifting seamlessly from one attack scene to the next and blurring the lines between them, the narrator pits two societies—American and Israeli—against a common evil—Terror in its various guises. President George W. Bush himself provides the framing sound bite, standing before Congress and declaring, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
DANA HEARN is assistant editor of JPS.