Forward Thinking

AIPAC vs. the Oscars

By Daniel Treiman

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With the AIPAC conference competing with the Oscars, Jewish politicos will have to choose between watching willowy Natalie Portman grace the red carpet and Jacob Lew explain the White House’s policy on Israel.

(JTA)— Anti-Semites say that Jews control Hollywood. And they say that Jews control Washington. But can we control both at once?

The biggest event in pro-Israel Israel advocacy — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference — kicks off this Sunday, the same day as Hollywood’s biggest night, the Academy Awards.

According to the AIPAC conference schedule, the day’s big speakers (Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog and AIPAC President Bob Cohen) will have wrapped up by 7 p.m. — early enough for them to catch the red carpet broadcast from Hollywood.

AIPAC evening events going head-to-head with the Oscars include an offsite dinner for AIPAC leaders, a campus awards program titled “Sunday Night Live” and unspecified “special events.”

This isn’t the first time that a major Jewish organization has had to compete with a major television event.

In 1998, the American Jewish Committee scheduled its annual meeting opposite the series finale of “Seinfeld.”

“What the hell are you all doing here? Don’t you know what tonight is?” show co-star Jason Alexander asked AJC attendees in a video-taped message.

This year’s AIPAC conference continues on Monday and Tuesday, starring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary of State John Kerry, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and musician David Broza.


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