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July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Ballabon’

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

GOP SubCommittee Endorses Groundbreaking Pro-Israel Platform

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

On Monday, July 11, a GOP Platform subcommittee overwhelmingly passed an historically powerful position in support of Israel.

The language of the proposed plank compares Israel’s vision to that of America’s, rejects dictating terms of any peace agreement by those not living in the region and calls for the termination of funding for any entity which attempts to do so.

The language was hammered out over the past several months by the Iron Dome Alliance and several like-minded groups, and introduced and shepherded through the subcommittee by member delegate Alan Clemmons, South Carolina State Representative.

Jeff Ballabon, chairman of Iron Dome Alliance, spoke with the JewishPress.com Monday evening.

When asked how the strikingly strong pro-Israel language was adopted so easily (in a 14 – 2 vote) by the subcommittee, Ballabon explained that “this is where the GOP base is” and that, combined with “the force of the truth from Alan Clemmons” won the day.

Reached early Tuesday morning in Cleveland, Clemmons explained that the strongly pro-Israel platform language which includes respect for Israeli sovereignty and endorses an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital express American support for Israel.

“I believe the full Platform Committee will adopt this strong statement of support of Israel and her citizens this morning to give Republicans a platform that truly reflects their opinions about America’s greatest ally,” Clemmons told the JewishPress.com.

Ballabon also credited the simplicity of the proposed language, which is “spare, direct, and is what every conservative I know believes in,” with paving its way to passage.

The three-paragraph long plank is entitled: “Our Unequivocal Support of Israel and Jerusalem.”

The first paragraph lays out the common values shared by Israel and the U.S. building to a crescendo which calls support for Israel “an expression of Americanism” and the strong desire of Americans for a relationship with “no daylight between America and Israel.” It also recognizes Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state” and calls for the American embassy to be moved to the capital “in fulfillment of U.S. law.”

The second paragraph commits America to ensuring Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over all adversaries, and supports Israel’s right to defend itself in conventional warfare as well as against legal, economic and cultural warfare. It labels the BDS movement anti-Semitic and calls for “effective legislation to thwart actions intended to limit commercial relations with Israel.”

The final paragraph addresses the establishment of a “comprehensive and lasting peace int he Middle East, “to be negotiated among those living in the region.” It opposes “any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms, and call for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so.”

For those who despaired of liberation from the tried and failed “Two State” mantra which seemed to have an impenetrable lock on “pro-Israel” American organizations, the proposed plank is a breath of rarefied air.

And for those who believed that the idea of Two States is the official policy of the Israeli government, you were wrong. There is no such language in the official government guidelines, as reinforced in the prime minister’s statement of inauguration.

As Ballabon put it, the organization which most Americans think of as most firmly pro-Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is amongst the most firmly pro-Two States. But the newly-proposed plank has not “dropped” the Two State idea, it simply hands the decision making over to Israel.

Rather than weaken the more committed, pro-Israel party to line up with uniform but mediocre support, the idea was to dump the idea of the lowest common denominator and instead have a “race to the top.”

Further, Ballabon explained, Republican pro-Israel legislators have grown increasingly less enthusiastic about AIPAC. Iran Sanctions and then the aftermath of the Iran Deal contributed to what was already a growing disenchantment with AIPAC. Ballabon’s distaste for the Israel Lobby is not hidden. He says it has “lots of money but its ideas are bankrupt.”

And while Ballabon was not a confirmed Trump supporter before this GOP Israel plank effort, he said the New York businessman’s Israel policy advisers have been “totally on board” with this effort in a way that was extraordinary.

Ballabon, who has long been a political and media strategist and Jewish community activist, said he has “never seen such a strong Israel policy team as is Trump’s.” He was, he says, “underwhelmed by both Romney and McCain’s Israel policy advisers.”

Tuesday, July 12, the full GOP Plank committee will meet to decide on all the language agreed to by its various subcommittees, including the new Israel Support language proposed by the GOP Platform’s National Security and Defense Subcommittee.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

American PAC Calls for Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Friday, June 24th, 2016

A U.S. Jewish political action committee (PAC) called the ‘Iron Dome Alliance‘ is calling on the Republican Party to recognize Judea and Samaria as the indigenous homeland of the Jewish People, and Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.

The PAC actually has asked both the GOP and the Democratic Party to include the recognition in their official platforms, including the regions under a geographic description of the ‘Land of Israel.’

The Alliance states on its website the belief that the ‘State of Israel is the modern re-establishment of the sovereign nation state of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland and that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish State of Israel, and the spiritual capital of the Jewish people.”

The group also states that “Judea and Samaria is the heartland of the Biblical holy land, the cradle of Jewish civilization, and Israel’s claim to this internationally disputed territory is right and just.”

Alliance chairman Jeff Ballabon said the group is focusing its efforts on the Republican Party because it is simply more attuned to pro-Israel positions.

Hana Levi Julian

JCPA: ‘We’re The Voice of American Jews,’ But Many Beg to Differ

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

As we conclude the somber observance of Tish B’Av, the time when so many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people are recalled, it is perhaps not irrelevant that U.S. secretary of state John Kerry has returned to the Middle East.

Official reports claim Kerry has no plans to visit Israel, but, as Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu reported in The Jewish Press, Kerry met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas while in Jordan.  It turns out he is also meeting with various Arab leaders who, according to al Jazeera, Kerry believes “are essential to his push to get Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks.”  That’s right.  Arab leaders to push – who? Who else, but Israel, to restart the “peace talks.”

Yes, although the entire Middle East is in turmoil, Egypt has just gone through a second revolution, nearly a100,000 have died in Syria’s ongoing civil war, one into which Lebanon is increasingly being drawn, Turkey is nearing the boiling point, Iraq continues to unravel and Iran is approaching nuclear weapons capability, leave it to a group of professional Jewish professionals to sashay into D.C. and tell the relevant congressional committees that now is the time for Kerry to kickstart the Arab-Israeli “peace talks.”  And that’s what happened, just before Kerry left for the Middle East.

The Jewish group making the possibly worst-timed suggestion ever is the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).

According to its website, the JCPA has a tripartite mission: first, “to safeguard the rights of Jews here and around the world”; second, “to dedicate ourselves to the safety and security of the state of Israel”; and third, “to protect, preserve and promote a just American society, one that is democratic and pluralistic, one that furthers harmonious interreligious, inter ethnic [sic] interracial and other intergroup relations.”

From their mission, you might think that the safety and security of Jews and the Jewish state would be the primary focus of JCPA’s activities.  But you might be wrong, as a quick look at their website makes clear.  The JCPA’s focus is on liberal domestic issues. Israel and Judaism play a minor role.

JCPA CLAIMS TO REPRESENT THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY

Nonetheless, the JCPA can prioritize as it wishes and make whatever suggestions it wants to members of congress.  But when the JCPA leaps over its goal to be something and starts proclaiming it is something, that is when people begin to bristle.

You see, on the JCPA Facebook page, and on its Twitter homepage, it states, with no qualifiers, that “the JCPA is the representative voice of the organized Jewish community.”

That’s news to a whole lot of American Jews who shared their response with The Jewish Press.

Because when the JCPA decided to meet with the House and the Senate foreign relations committees, asserting that the American Jewish community wants Kerry to focus on restarting the peace talks, that claim may have been heard as if it had far more weight than warranted.

Let’s put aside for the moment that when the JCPA went to congress to make its claims, it was double-dating with the American Task Force on Palestine.  That’s something they do a lot.  Again, whatever JCPA does is its own business.

But The Jewish Press asked a broad geographical cross-section of American Jews who are knowledgeable about the Middle East in general and Israel in particular, whether, as the JCPA asserts, it is the “representative voice of the organized Jewish community,” and if it spoke representing them when it went to congress urging the restart of the “peace talks” at this time.

In a word, no.

People in California, Chicago, Florida, Washington, D.C., and New York were asked to comment.  Rabbis, architects, businesspeople, financial wizards, intelligence analysts, and Jewish communal leaders were asked to comment.  They all said no, the JCPA does not represent them.

“They don’t represent me,” said Jeff Ballabon, the president of a New York consulting firm and the founder of the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem, a consortium of two dozen national pro-Israel groups.

“Israel has stated very clearly: there are to be no preconditions for starting the peace talks, so I have to wonder, why are these groups putting pressure on Israel?  I don’t see how any American Jew who cares about Israel’s safety and security would be pushing this now,” Ballabon said.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jcpa-were-the-voice-of-american-jews-many-beg-to-differ/2013/07/17/

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