I had a much better day today at the President’s conference than I did yesterday. The reason is actually quite simple. I stayed away from the political panels, and instead met with interesting people one-on-one.
Who needs or wants to hear Dennis Ross’s tired proposal of paying Settlers to leave the West Bank for Peace? Maybe, if he had instead said that someone should pay the Arabs to leave Judea and Samaria for Peace he could have been interesting.
And not surprisingly, there were plenty of other people at the conference who had the same idea. They were turned off by the overt left-wing bias of many of the panels and panelists and decided to instead congregate in the various meeting lounges for healthier debates.
During the day I bumped into Stanley Fischer, and thanked him for his contribution to our stable economy. Raanan Gissin and I schmoozed about Social Media and Revolution. Though I admit I found myself surprised when he mentioned Stalin and Marx and wondered what they could have done if they had had Twitter. I told Raanan they did enough damage without it.
I spent part of the afternoon with many of the well-known bloggers and twitterers I’ve met over the years.
But the highlight of my day was the time I spent with Irwin Cotler. We spoke on record for an hour, and talked more after that. And we’re far from done talking.
I found in Cotler an unparalleled advocate for Israel. A man who can argue and put Israel’s position into perspective with incredible clarity, backed up not only by his intellect and knowledge, but also his record and actions.
He was like a voice in the wilderness.
We covered subjects from Human Rights organizations, the new anti-Semitism, the UN, Apartheid, and the Infiltrators. We talked about his family in Israel, and if he would make Aliyah. The stimulating two-way conversation will be getting its own well-deserved, stand-alone article.
The President’s conference does have what to offer, but it comes from the people you’ll meet in the many lounges and hallways, not from the slanted content you’ll to hear on many of the panels.
And if I might add, the food is excellent in the VIP lounge – if you can get in there.Stephen Leavitt