Natasha Mozgovaya
Monday, May 4, 20099

Pouring rain did not prevent more than 6,000 people from attending Sunday’s opening of the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, which is considered one of the city’s 10 biggest political and media events.

[efoods]Politicians, academics, Jewish community activists and more than 1,000 college students came to participate in the dozens of panels and workshops hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a leading pro-Israel lobby. The topics ranged from “lobbying for beginners” to various scenarios for both the future of U.S.-Israel relations and developments in the Middle East.

Because this year’s conference coincided with a new administration in Israel, there were more former decision-makers than current ones present. However, President Shimon Peres will attend Monday’s conference session, which will focus on the Iranian nuclear threat, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the gathering by video tonight.

Neither U.S. President Barack Obama nor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – both of whom attended last year’s AIPAC conference as presidential candidates – will address the gathering this year. Instead, the U.S. administration will be represented by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Several leading congressmen will also attend.

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