Seven student lobbyists of the Penn Israel Coalition claimed their seats at a round table in Congressman Chaka Fattah’s (D-Pa.) district office Friday afternoon as they prepared for their final meeting of the day. They were about to begin a video conference with Maisha Leek, chief of staff for Fattah.
The lobbyists visited a total of three Congressional offices, including those of Congressman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.).
The Penn Israel Coalition’s agenda stressed three main aspects of the United States-Israel relationship: continuing U.S. foreign aid to Israel without cuts, ensuring the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, and urging Egypt to honor its existing peace treaties with Israel.
Wharton and Nursing sophomore Jeff Rollman, vice president of governmental/political affairs for the Penn Israel Coalition, thought the conferences went well. “The meeting with Bob Brady went phenomenally,” he said. All three “were very receptive of what we had to say,” he added.
Some members felt that the day was a personal mission. Drexel sophomore Eitan Shamir said that they were there “to inform and deliver the truth.” He added that “as a pro-Israeli American, it’s an obligation.”
“Regardless of background … there are a plethora of reasons why we should support Israel,” Wharton and Engineering junior Stu Posluns said.
Representatives from each congressional office praised the students for taking action. Karen Gurmankin, field representative for Schwartz, told Rollman that the Penn group was the first group of students to visit Schwartz’s office. College freshman Brian Mund, a Daily Pennsylvanian contributing writer, noted that the Penn Israel Coalition was the “first student group to lobby [Brady’s] office in 26 years.”
Leek told the group that they “should really be proud of being politically active. You know how apathetic some students can be.”
Rollman said that the lobbying trip was the Penn Israel Coalition’s most politically significant activity this year. “The most effective way to influence members of Congress is to meet with them,” he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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