Because of continued uncertainties caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, AIPAC announced on Monday that it has decided to once again cancel its in-person annual policy conference for the second year in a row.
The decision was announced in a letter from AIPAC president Betsy Berns Korn, who wrote that the organization’s top priority is the health and safety of attendees. She added that while it seems that the country is reopening as a result of vaccinations, the logistics remain too difficult to move forward with the next phase of planning for the 2022 AIPAC Policy Conference, especially with the rise of the new Delta variant.
She compared prepping for the conference to building a city for the estimated 18,000 attendees for three days, which requires more than a year of advance planning, “including irrevocable contracts with the convention center, hotels, catering and many other vendors who help bring the conference to life.”
“We are now at the stage of planning that requires us to make those financial commitments,” she wrote. “After considerable review, we feel strongly that signing contracts at a time of such continued uncertainty about the safety of the conference and our delegates would be an irresponsible use of the resources you entrust us to use wisely.”
Korn guaranteed that AIPAC will continue the work to advance its mission as it has over the past year, as well as find creative ways to engage with members of Congress, their staff and AIPAC supporters.
“We will be introducing new opportunities to build our movement and engage personally with each other. And we plan to host in-person programs when we determine that it is safe to do so,” she wrote. “Together, with your continued support, we will devote ourselves to achieving the same outcomes that the conference typically generates.”
The policy conference, scheduled to take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in March, was also canceled in 2021 and supplanted by a virtual conference.
The organization’s last in-person policy conference occurred in 2020, after which multiple attendees tested positive for COVID-19.