On March 1, 2020, the coronavirus was barely making headlines in the United States and Israel. Both countries had more pressing matters. In Israel, which counted just 10 confirmed cases, the media was focused on the next day’s general election. In Washington, D.C. it was the Super Tuesday primary, not America’s 65 confirmed COVID-19 cases, that dominated the headlines. The virus was far away and the American capital felt safe – safe enough to host a gathering of more than 18,000 people, including dozens of members of Congress, in the largest annual Jewish event in the United States. But it would be two other, unheralded guests who would prove the most influential.
Every year, supporters of Israel locally and globally gather for three days in Washington’s main convention center for the AIPAC Policy Conference – a display of political force just a stone’s throw away from Capitol Hill. The 2020 conference featured speeches by then-Vice President Mike Pence, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and a video address from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stayed home because of the election.
Two anonymous participants from a suburb of New York, attending the event as part of a small synagogue delegation, managed to dramatically change the agenda of the American Jewish community within days. It wasn’t what they did at the event, but what they unknowingly brought with them: the virus.
suivi, avec animation grand format, d’un des premiers événements disséminateurs états-uniens, il y a un an : la conférence annuelle de l’AIPAC