AIPAC head adapts pro-Israel lobby to changing political landscape

No. 17 on The Jerusalem Post's Top 50 Most Influential Jews of 2022: AIPAC president Betsy Berns Korn.

 AIPAC president Betsy Berns Korn. (photo credit: AIPAC)
AIPAC president Betsy Berns Korn.
(photo credit: AIPAC)

AIPAC President Betsy Berns Korn has served on the AIPAC National Board since 2012 and held a variety of positions at the important American lobby organization, which works for a strong US-Israel relationship. 

The author of sports guidebooks and founder of BVision Sportsmedia, Korn also writes a blog about sports and previously served as a consultant to the National Football League. She has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University. She lives with her husband, Doug, and three children in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

“I grew up a proud Zionist with the understanding of the importance of a strong US-Israel relationship. During the first Gulf War, when Israel was bombarded by Scud missiles, I felt I could no longer sit on the sidelines.”

AIPAC president Betsy Berns Korn

“I grew up a proud Zionist with the understanding of the importance of a strong US-Israel relationship. During the first Gulf War, when Israel was bombarded by Scud missiles, I felt I could no longer sit on the sidelines,” she told The Jerusalem Post. “That’s when I was first inspired to do my part to ensure that Israel always has the means to protect itself by itself. From that time, I committed to help our community stay focused on enhancing the relationship of the United States with our greatest ally, Israel,” she says. “AIPAC’s mission is to strengthen the US-Israel relationship – and that has been my primary goal as AIPAC president.” 

 THEN-PRIME minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the AIPAC Conference in Washington in 2018. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO) THEN-PRIME minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the AIPAC Conference in Washington in 2018. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

How has AIPAC adapted to a changing political landscape?

In the two and a half years since she has been president, she says the organization has developed, approved and implemented a new strategic plan to adapt to a changing political landscape.  

“In December of last year, for the first time, we created a PAC and Super PAC to deepen the involvement of the pro-Israel community in politics. In just six months, AIPAC-PAC has established itself as the largest pro-Israel political action committee and has made a critical difference supporting successful pro-Israel candidates. It has supported nearly 340 candidates, and its PAC portal has delivered millions of dollars contributed by AIPAC members in support of candidates. Our affiliated Super PAC, United Democracy Project, has provided decisive support to pro-Israel candidates through independent expenditures in House primary races. We are demonstrating that being pro-Israel is good policy and good politics and strengthening the bipartisan pro-Israel coalition in Congress.” 

Describing current challenges and opportunities today, Korn says that with the support of the US, Israel has achieved improved relations with many of its Arab neighbors. “However, the greatest threat to the peace of the region and Israel’s security are the nuclear weapons program and regional aggression of the Iranian regime.” In addition, she says the United States and Israel must work together to confront Iranian aggression and ensure that it can never obtain a nuclear weapon.

“Americans disagree on many issues, but support for America’s democratic ally remains remarkably broad and deep. It is AIPAC’s mission to nurture that bipartisan consensus, respond forcefully to Israel’s detractors and make the case for the substantial benefits to the United States of a strengthened relationship with Israel.”

Bipartisan support for Israel is important today in a polarized political environment, and she notes that support for the US-Israel relationship uniquely brings together both Democrats and Republicans. “We witnessed that bipartisan support last year when both parties came together to support supplemental funding for replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense program, which saves both Israeli and Palestinian lives. AIPAC will continue to take the lead in maintaining bipartisan support for the Jewish state in Congress by reaching out to first-time congressional candidates, supporting pro-Israel policies in Congress and inspiring our activists to engage in the political process. 

“AIPAC always has been, and must always be, a truly bipartisan organization.”