Con­sid­ering that a majority of Hillsdale stu­dents are inter­ested in current events and pol­itics, if not majoring or minoring in pol­itics, it’s probably safe to assume that most stu­dents are familiar with the United States’ rela­tionship with Israel. I know I am familiar with it, but then again, this is also my fourth year working as an intern for the American Israeli Public Affairs Com­mittee (AIPAC) con­ference. And as expected, I def­i­nitely had a few instances that showed my inner Hillsdale pol­itics fan girl.

For example, Michelle Bachmann came up to me and asked for a badge cre­dential and an escort. I asked to see her ID, said nothing for a good 30 seconds, and then told her that I liked her eye shadow before scur­rying behind my boss to wait for her badge to print. I met Bill Kristol and almost asked him why he left Fox News. And there was that time when Donna Brazile asked me to escort her to a room and I des­per­ately wanted to tell her that I did not find the jokes she was telling to be funny or appro­priate. Or when Ben Sasse asked me if I’d ever been to Nebraska and I told him that, while I had not phys­i­cally been there, I cer­tainly felt like I had been since half of my college seems to be from there.

Luckily, there were no cat­a­stroph­i­cally embar­rassing moments like one of my past years when I spoke Spanish to Prime Min­ister of Israel, Ben­jamin Netanyahu. (I’ve only ever taken French, by the way.) Antics aside, working this con­ference these past few years has opened up my eyes to the U.S.-Israel rela­tionship and also given me a passion for foreign rela­tions.

But this year, the con­ference was con­ducted in a dif­ferent way. There was a pal­pable sense of dis­comfort.

Many attendees, speakers, and del­e­gates of the AIPAC Policy Con­ference were worried about both the White House response to their con­ference and the address their beloved Netanyahu would deliver. And let me tell you, it was pretty amazing to hear his pas­sionate appeal firsthand. But people were also uncom­fortable with the fact that Netanyahu had essen­tially under­mined the insti­tution of the American pres­ident by agreeing to speak before Con­gress without alerting Pres­ident Obama’s admin­is­tration.

The current sit­u­ation in Israel leaves much to be desired as ter­rorist Iran grows closer everyday to the pos­si­bility of becoming a nuclear force. Iran is closing in and encroaching on the Israeli people’s lib­erties through its support for random bombings, public ter­rorist threats against Israel via Twitter, etc. But if Iran becomes a nuclear power, America’s safety is also threatened. Iran could destroy the demo­c­ratic Israel, com­pletely desta­bilize the oil-pro­ducing Middle East, and pos­sibly use their nuclear weapons against America.

Netanyahu’s address to Con­gress was not intended as an insult or as a back­handed maneuver, but rather a pas­sionate attempt to shed light on some major Israeli issues. At the end of March, American leg­is­lators need to decide whether to impose further sanc­tions on Iran, ratify a con­crete agreement with Iran regarding nuclear activity, or to take mil­itary action against Iran. Iran’s inten­tions are unknown, which prompts a desire for safe­guards that may prevent the building of a nuclear weapon.

The question on the minds of American leg­is­lators is where to draw the line as the Obama admin­is­tration nego­tiates with an enemy of peace. The U.S.-Israeli rela­tionship has never been stronger and it has been care­fully con­structed through a bipar­tisan coalition. A majority of the American public sup­ports Israel and trade between the two coun­tries is steadily increasing. Con­gress will hope­fully act in a way that will be ben­e­ficial to Israel. Since Israel first became a nation in 1948, America has stood by Israel in support. Netanyahu’s address to Con­gress was like a student asking a friendly student for help against a bully in their class. It wasn’t going around the teacher’s head, rather just asking for help directly from the friendly student who helped them out before.

I’m cer­tainly hoping that Con­gress acts favorably toward Israel. I am hoping to work the AIPAC Con­ference again next year so I can awk­wardly interact with political figures.