American conservatives ensure US-Israel 'historic bonds' never break - CPAC head

"If America embraces this idea that Israel should be boycotted — which a lot of people in the Democratic Party want to do — it would be tragic, and we're trying to make sure that never happens."

 CPAC Florida 2022 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
CPAC Florida 2022
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Over 2,000 people attended the first International Conservative Conference, co-hosted by CPAC, Tel Aviv International Salon, Sella Meir Publishing, and Shibolet Press at Hangar 11 at the Port of Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

“As we started adding these CPACs around the world, so many people said that we should go to Israel,” said Matt Schlapp, CPAC chairman, ahead of the event. “And obviously a lot of our American supporters thought that would be great.

The conference in 2018

We had a delegation to Israel three years ago to start the conversation about the conference. We’re just excited to be here on the ground with a really large delegation. Israel is full of so many interesting religious and historical sites, so we wanted at least to spend a few days learning and touring.”

Schlapp said the conference is about “making a connection with conservatives in Israel about what we have in common, and about what the challenges are in a very dangerous world."

Tucker Carlson on the Exhibit Floor at CPAC, 2010 (credit: GAGE SKIDMORE)Tucker Carlson on the Exhibit Floor at CPAC, 2010 (credit: GAGE SKIDMORE)

We’re building relationships here over the days before the conference starts, and the conference itself will obviously have over 2,500 people and international news media. In each country we go to, we have partner organizations, and we’re very proud to be working with these co-sponsors, and we’re really excited for the event on Wednesday night.”

The conservative mission

The event is part of a series of similar conferences the CPAC is hosting worldwide, including in Australia, Japan and Brazil, among other countries. Schlapp says that having a global presence is not a substitute for the organization’s core mission.

“We have a lot of problems in our own country,” he said. “And we don’t want to take our eye off the ball and say that somehow we’re going to focus on America less. We’re very focused on America. This is additional to all of our challenges in our own country. We were approached first by conservatives in Japan who wanted to start a Japanese conservative union, and they told us they wanted to have a CPAC in Japan. They started the organization, and then we thought it was a stretch goal, to say the least, to actually have a CPAC in a foreign country. And we started – we had the first one in Japan five years ago, and the roster of countries where we had CPAC is pretty impressive. It started in Asia with this whole concept of being anti-communist and worrying about China on the move.

“Part of what CPAC is trying to do is push back on the idea that global institutions like the EU or the UN will make decisions that nation-states should be making. Our idea is that conservatives in Australia should determine the course of the country, not China, not big powers in the region, not the UN.

“I think the common theme with the countries where we have a CPAC conference is that they worry that America will lose its way. And if America loses its way, that’ll be very bad for each of these countries. And I think that’s especially true for Israel.”

“I think the common theme with the countries where we have a CPAC conference is that they worry that America will lose its way. And if America loses its way, that'll be very bad for each of these countries. And I think that's especially true for Israel”

Matt Schlapp, CPAC Chairman

He said that there’s a strong bond between the US and Israel, “and it’s quite a dynamic partnership. And if America embraces this idea that somehow Israel should be boycotted and that we should separate our historic bonds, which a lot of people in the Democratic Party now want to do, it would be tragic, and we’re trying to make sure that never happens.”

"If America embraces this idea that somehow Israel should be boycotted and that we should separate our historic bonds, which a lot of people in the Democratic Party now want to do, it would be tragic, and we're trying to make sure that never happens"

Matt Schlapp, CPAC Chairman

The three-hour event featured right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro, reporter Amit Segal and former NBA star Omri Casspi as the conference’s highlights, and will also feature a panel discussion with Schlapp. 

Matthew Whitaker, former US attorney-general, and Amir Ohana, Likud MK and former Justice minister, were expected to participate in a panel discussion titled: “Conservative judicial revolution” with Dan Schneider, CPAC executive vice chairman.

Ric Grenell, former US ambassador to Germany and former director of national intelligence, was speaking about “Europe’s response to Israel.” Former US ambassadors to the UAE and Morocco were discussing “Peace through strength” with CPAC senior fellow Mercedes Schlapp.