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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘AIPAC’

AIPAC Mourns Shimon Peres, Indefatigable Advocate for Justice [video]

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby group extended its condolences Wednesday on the passing of former Israeli President Shimon Peres.

The organization created an especially dramatic video tribute to Peres, using for the audio track a recording of a stirring speech delivered in English by Peres himself, against starkly simple piano notes.

In a separate statement the organization said, “We join the people of Israel in mourning the loss of Shimon Peres, a visionary Israeli patriot and beloved statesman who came to symbolize the reborn Jewish state.

“He sought to realize the ancient Jewish yearning for peace where there was strife and pursued reconciliation amidst discord.

“As an indefatigable advocate for justice and human progress, he earned the respect and appreciation of his fellow leaders and the global community. Indeed, his life’s work was an inspiration to all who strive for peace and freedom.

“Throughout his distinguished career in public service, including his work as Prime Minister and then as President, Shimon Peres sought to strengthen ties between the United States and Israel in deep appreciation of the democratic values we share.

“As we mourn his passing, we know his legacy will live on through the many good deeds he accomplished, the countless lives he enriched, and the commitment to the Jewish state he inspired in so many. May his memory forever be a blessing.”

Hana Levi Julian

Anti-Israel NGO Al-Haq Making Inroads on Capitol Hill

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Al-Haq, a Ramallah based NGO established in 1979 has been making friends on Capitol Hill in recent months, establishing a group of 20 Congress members who are on the record in support of the PA against Israeli policies in Judea and Samaria. The list of 20 lawmakers, which Al-Haq boasts on its website, is not made up of anti-Israel Congress members, which is probably the most worrisome part of this story. They are Congress Members who have mostly bought into the seductive message that Israel has lost its way in trying to, justifiably, deal with the wave of Arab youth rioting and violence in areas under its control, and that the US should come up with ways to help the Israelis rediscover their moral compass.

This group of Al-Haq friendly lawmakers is led by the most anti-Israeli Congress Member, Betty McCollum, US Representative for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district. Back in 2006, she got into a huge feud with AIPAC, when her chief of staff said they had been told by an AIPAC representative that the congresswoman was supporting terrorists because she voted against the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 in committee. The bill was passed overwhelmingly by the House, and AIPAC claimed the Congresswoman was lying about that phone call. McCollum took her story everywhere, including an open letter to AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr in The New York Review of Books—not a hotbed of Zionist fervor. She demanded an apology, AIPAC refused. She told Kohr: “Until I receive a formal, written apology from your organization, I must inform you that AIPAC representatives are not welcome in my offices for meetings with my staff.”

The June 20, 2016 Congress Members’ letter to President Barack Obama, written by Rep McCollum, urged the president “to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth to travel to the west Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel to hear directly from Palestinian youth, human rights and legal experts, NGOs, Palestinian and Israeli officials, including police and military leaders. Such a fact finding mission will provide the Obama Administration with vital information necessary to actively promote human rights, but also establish a framework for the next US administration.”

McCollum’s letter also called on the State Dept. “to elevate the human rights of Palestinian children to a priority status in our bilateral relations with Israel and our ongoing engagement with the Palestinian Authority.”

And, McCollum ended with a threat, “ignoring the trauma being inflicted on millions of Palestinian children undermines our American values and will ensure the perpetuation of a conflict and occupation we all want to see ended peacefully.”

To sum up: 1. Appoint another Goldstone commission; 2. Accumulate a one-sided, anti-Israel body of “evidence,” this time with the backing of the White House; 3. Rinse, repeat.

The ambitious letter to Obama, which is touted on the Al-Haq website, attracted the endorsements of US Reps Eddie Bernice Johnson, Andre Carson, John Conyers, Earl Blumenauer, Donald Beyer, Barbara Lee, Keith Ellison, Hank Johnson, Bobby Rush, Marcy Kaptur, Chellie Pingree, Danny Davis, Peter DeFazio, Raul Grijalva, Sam Farr, Luis Gutierrez, Jim McDermott, Yvette Clarke, and Mark Pocan. Although they are all liberal, and mostly from blue states, these US Reps are not necessarily all enemies of Israel. But they were taken in by the Al-Haq propaganda, as it was sung to them by McCollum.

This fall, Al-Haq is revving up its efforts on the Hill. On Monday morning, October 17, on Capitol Hill (Room TBA), Al-Haq is offering a Capitol Hill Briefing on “Israeli Settlements: Their Impact on Palestinians Living Under Military Occupation.” The briefing will feature speakers from Al-Haq, as well as from Youth Against Settlements and from Al-Shabaka. All three NGOs are heavily funded by European countries and charity organizations.

At the October 17 briefing, the “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation” will launch its policy paper on “steps that Congress and the Executive Branch can take to make US opposition to Israeli settlements more effective.”

A light breakfast will be served, probably not kosher.

According to NGO Monitor, Al-Haq has been a leader in the anti-Israel “Lawfare” and BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) campaigns. Lawfare is the overall title of the strategy aimed at delegitimizing Israel using legal frameworks. It was adopted at the NGO Forum of the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, as a plan to single out Israel as a “racist” and “apartheid” state; isolate Israel internationally through a BDS campaign; and explicitly advance the political war against Israel. The NGO Forum Declaration called for the “adoption of all measures to ensure [the] enforcement” of international humanitarian law, including “the establishment of a war crimes tribunal to investigate and bring to justice those who may be guilty of war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing and the crime of Apartheid . . . perpetrated in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

These efforts are being led by Al Haq, as well the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan, and Badil, and aided by international NGOs including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Federation of Human Rights (France), and the Center for Constitutional Rights (New York). Israeli NGOs Adalah, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and Yesh Din also figure prominently in this scheme. All of these organizations are largely supported by European governments and foundations.


Rumor: AIPAC Meddling in GOP Platform to Tone-Down Pro-Israel Language

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Alan Clemmons, a member of the GOP Platform committee, who on Monday wrote on his Facebook page that he was “honored to propose a strong Israel Plank of the GOP Platform” (See Lori Lowenthal Marcus’s report in today’s Jewish Press), also mentioned that “unfortunately, the saga is not over. The rumor is that AIPAC is trying to recruit surrogates on the Committee to oppose and weaken our strong Israel Plank language tomorrow when it comes before the full committee for approval.”

Last week, the Washington Free Beacon revealed that “AIPAC pursued a quiet campaign to weaken pro-Israel language in the Republican Party’s 2012 platform.” According to the WFB, “AIPAC-backed changes to the 2012 platform included the removal of support for an ‘undivided’ Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the removal of language calling for the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,” ostensibly to insure a balance on Israel between the Democratic and the Republican platforms.

AIPAC’s success in weakening the 2012 pro-Israel language left some Republicans angry, according to sources who told the Free Beacon that the fight over the platform’s Israel language is likely to renew next week in Cleveland.

AIPAC denied working to cool down the pro-Israel language in the 2012 GOP platform.

But Jeff Dunetz, writing for The Lid, reported Monday that he “was able to contact another person involved with the committee who [confirmed] that they too heard that AIPAC is working on a full court press to roll back the 2016 GOP language.”

Jeff Ballabon, chairman of Iron Dome Alliance, who told the Jewish Press‘ Lori Lowenthal Marcus on Monday evening that AIPAC “is amongst the most firmly pro-Two States,” and that “Republican pro-Israel legislators have grown increasingly less enthusiastic about AIPAC,” also told Jeff Dunetz that he is “personally familiar with a number of instances where AIPAC lobbied against Israel’s clear interests and stated policies in pursuit of their own agenda.”

Clemmons, who posted a link to the Dunetz story on his Facebook page, called on his fellow registered Republican Jews: “If you know any Platform Delegates please send them a note to STAND STRONG FOR ISRAEL!!!”

At this point, these are only rumors based on last week’s story about AIPAC and the 2012 GOP platform language. It should be said that, even if AIPAC denies the new rumor, which they probably will, their involvement in preventing a war between the GOP and DNC over who is more pro-Israel is understandable. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have attempted to make Israel the battlefield where the two sides in this election would fight each other, and no one in their right mind would want this — especially not a political PAC investing in ongoing, day in and day out pro-Israel lobbying.

David Israel

AIPAC ‘Deeply Disappointed’ Obama Won’t Up Israel’s Missile Defense by $445 Million

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued a statement criticizing the White House Office of Management and Budget’s “Statement of Administration Policy” which threatened to veto the Senates $576 billion defense spending bill, among other reasons because the statement of policy “opposes the addition of $455 million above the FY 2017 Budget request for Israeli missile defense procurement and cooperative development programs.”

Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $600 million in funding for 2017, which represents an increase of $455 million over the president’s original request.

The statement of administration policy released Tuesday by the Office of Management and Budget reads: “The bill is inconsistent with the [Bipartisan Budget Act], and the administration strongly objects to the inclusion of problematic ideological provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation. … If the president were presented with H.R. 5293, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

One of those “problematic ideological provisions” is the increased allocation for Israel’s missile defense research and development.

The White House used the same tactic against the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which the president also threatened to veto.

AIPAC said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” with the White House’s choosing to include the increase in defense spending on Israel’s missile programs in the components of the budget to which it objected. “On a bipartisan basis, Congress has increased funding above administration requests this year, as it has done for well over a decade,” AIPAC said. “These cooperative programs—including the Arrow, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome—are critical for Israel’s defense against a growing array of missile threats and make an important contribution to US missile defense programs. We applaud Congress for consistently supporting these key programs, and urge their full funding in both the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization and Appropriations Acts.”

Incidentally, on the same day the White House announced it would not increase the funding for Iron Dome, among other programs, DefenseNews reported that after five years of a stellar performance in which Iron Dome has been credited with more than 1,500 operational intercepts—a 90% success rate, and despite a reported widespread global interest, government and industry sources say Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket intercepting system, developed by state-owned Rafael Ltd., has not yet been sold to a single customer.

“Who else in the world is constantly threatened by rockets?” former head of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization Uzi Rubin asked DN, noting: “It’s essentially only us and perhaps sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf, where for obvious reasons, we do not yet export.”

Rubin did not mention that in other, saner parts of the world, persistent rocket attacks from, say, Mexico, against, say, the US, would result in a one-time search and destroy response, rather than with a technological solution such as Iron Dome that contains those unceasing rocket attacks. You don’t have to be Donald Trump to figure that one out.

David Israel

Rejuvenation: A Medley of Voices From AIPAC [audio]

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Eve was cooking at AIPAC last week; listen the to the Melting Pot of Voices: Artists4Israel- Craig Dershowitz is coloring Israel out of the BDS box and Sydney Pensky is developing and distributing ‘Healing Arts Kits’ for preventing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder thru Artists4Israel. Malcolm Hoenlein, Head of Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations speaks to Eve about strengthening the America-Israel relationship in a world of intensity and complexity moving at warp speed. Eve ventured outside to the ‘Free Palestine’ demo. With the chilling background of voices of hate she spoke with gutsy Ben Packer and Jootube’s Scott Jacobs. Then the Donald Trump show-protestors before and after his speech decide on his wickedness, and the man himself. Can he be believed? Lastly, the little known Republican contender John Kasich. “I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land.” Sounds good but he doesn’t have a chance in hell. Which if some people have their way is exactly where America is headed. We all need to act. Now!

The Land of Israel

AIPAC Rebukes Trump’s Obama Truth telling, Ignores Hillary’s Insult to AIPAC

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

On Monday, Mar. 21, four Americans who are competing to be the next President of the United States spoke to the thousands gathered in Washington, D.C. at the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

In what should be considered a shocking breach of etiquette, the morning after those speeches, the president of AIPAC gave a verbal spanking to one of the speakers.

The four speakers on Monday were the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, and the three remaining Republican candidates in the race, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) and Gov. John Kasich (OH).

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders chose not to attend the AIPAC conference.

It’s hard to come up with a more familiar face at AIPAC than Clinton. Her speech was warmly applauded by the crowd and she threw out lots of the standard tropes: “defending our ally in the Middle East” and the “unbreakable bond between Israel and the U.S.”

The audience also responded appreciatively when Clinton repeatedly attacked Republican frontrunner Trump. Nor did they boo when she spoke positively about perhaps the most important – and detested – foreign policy issue of the past year, the Nuclear Iran Deal.

AIPAC spent an unprecedented nearly $30 million in advertising and lobbying efforts to kill the Iran Deal. That was because AIPAC leadership decided the deal was far too dangerous for Israel and for the United States for them to sit on the sidelines. There are many who believe AIPAC badly – perhaps permanently – damaged its reputation by pouring so much money and other resources into fighting the terrible deal, and losing.

And yet, Hillary Clinton praised the deal during her talk to the AIPAC policy conference on Monday. Of that Iran Deal, Clinton said,: “I really believe the United States, Israel and the world are safer as a result.”

Lillian Pinkus, AIPAC’s president, did not chide Clinton for, essentially, rubbing AIPAC’s nose in its loss on the Iran Deal. Nope, that would be bad form.

But what Pinkus did go after was criticism of President Barack Obama, who was, of course, the architect and chief cheerleader of the disastrous Nuclear Iran Deal. It was also Obama who said in words and later in deeds that he wished to put daylight between the U.S. and Israel.

According to reports, Pinkus was tearful when she gave a statement, flanked by her top officers, apologizing for one of the speakers who dared to actually call Obama on his misdeeds towards Israel.

In the context of rumored threats that the President was going to impose a “solution” on Israel in a U.N. Security Council Resolution, Donald Trump said to the AIPAC policy conference that Obama was “in his last year in office.” He then extemporaneously added “yay.” The audience responded with a roaring cheer and thunderous applause. Trump continued with: “Obama may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel,” which was met with more, albeit subdued, applause.

Near the end of his talk, Trump said what so many pro-Israel Americans fervently believe, which is that “Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have treated Israel very, very badly.”

That so many in the audience applauded those statements by Trump – though he is not generally a favorite in the American Jewish community – should have lifted the blinders from the eyes of the firmly-cemented-in-the-Democratic-party AIPAC leadership. It didn’t.

Instead, Pinkus and her team decided to attack Trump for making his statements, thereby injecting their own political orientation to the mix.

No harsh words for Clinton who praised the Nuclear Iran Deal, AIPAC’s sworn nemesis, but a “tearful condemnation” of Trump for daring to speak from his heart about the current president, and an admonishment for those in the crowd who dared to applaud Trump’s temerity.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Kasich’s Speech to AIPAC [video]

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the third contender for the Republican nomination for President of the United States spoke at the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Council on Monday, March. 21. Kasich spoke after Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, so his transcript and video were not available when the AIPAC edition was published on Monday.

Here is Kasich’s entire speech:

Well, I’m delighted to be back at AIPAC, an organization I’ve known and worked with since the early 1980s.

You know, back then your audience numbered in the hundreds. A testament to AIPAC is that those crowds are now in the thousands, as we can see today.


You know, I first visited Israel in 1983 with my late dear friend Gordon Zacks. As you all know, Gordon was a founding member of AIPAC, and it was on that trip that I actually visited Bethlehem and I called my mother on Christmas night from Jerusalem. As you can imagine, it was a very, very special moment. And Gordon always reminded me of it.

Gordon helped me as much as anyone has over the years to know and to appreciate the importance of our relationship with Israel and Israel’s unique security challenges. And I can’t think of a better guy who could have taken me to Israel.


It was on my trip in 1983 that Gordon introduced me to Avital Sharansky, when her husband Natan was still in a Soviet prison. She told me her husband’s story over lunch at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and said she was going to Washington to plead for his release. I asked her, would you mind if I organized a rally in support of your husband on the steps of the Capitol. And so we came together in a bipartisan way to call for Natan Sharansky’s release.

You know, Gordy had taken Sharansky into the Oval Office to meet with the President Reagan. And when the meeting ended, Mrs. Sharansky was told by the president I will not rest until your husband is free. Sharansky’s story has always inspired me from the day that Gordy first introduced me to Avital. But I don’t know how many of you here have ever read his book, “Fear No Evil.”

Natan wrote in that book, as I related to him, and he said, I’m glad that you saw it, that when they went to him in the prison, they wanted him to confess something. And they said to Natan, well, you understand that Galileo even confessed. And think about Sharansky sitting in that prison in that solitary confinement. And he thought to himself and told them you’re using Galileo against me? No one will ever use me any against any other prisoner of conscience. For that he deserves to always be remembered.

I had a phone conversation with Natan for years, but I never had the chance to meet him. And ironically, I met him at the cemetery when we laid Gordy Zacks to rest, where Natan gave a eulogy on behalf of our great friend. Look, I want it to be clear to all of you that I remain unwavering in my support for the Jewish state and the unique partnership between the United States and Israel.


When I was first introduced to Israel and some of its leaders, of course the core of our partnership with Israel was already very well- defined. And we give thanks to Harry Truman for the courageous steps he took when Israel was first established.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kasichs-speech-to-aipac-video/2016/03/23/

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