March 22, 2013 | 3 comments

ZOA Praises Obama For Affirming Jewish Ties To Land, Strong U.S./Israel Bonds, Asking Arabs To Recog. Jewish State & Normalize Relations

shalom

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) today praised several important, positive statements made by President Barack Obama’s during his visit to Israel. In speeches delivered in Israel, President Obama testified to the millennia-old Jewish religious and historical bond with the land of Israel; the success of Zionism in transforming the Jewish people into a genuinely free people in their own land; called for Hizballah to be labeled by all as a terrorist organization; called for the Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish state and for Arab nations to normalize relations with Israel; and affirmed America as Israel’s strongest ally and greatest friend. 

(There were also, however, a number of deeply troubling statements made by President Obama during his visit, which the ZOA has critiqued in detail in a separate press release that can be found here).

In his speech upon arrival at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, President Obama affirmed the millennia-old Jewish bond with the land of Israel, saying:

“I know that in stepping foot on this land, I walk with you on the historic homeland of the Jewish people. More than 3,000 years ago, the Jewish people lived here, tended the land here, prayed to God here. And after centuries of exile and persecution, unparalleled in the history of man, the founding of the Jewish State of Israel was a rebirth, a redemption unlike any in history. Today, the sons of Abraham and the daughters of Sarah are fulfilling the dream of the ages — to be “masters of their own fate” in “their own sovereign state.” And just as we have for these past 65 years, the United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend … I see this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our nations, to restate America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security … Why does the United States stand so strongly, so firmly with the State of Israel? And the answer is simple. We stand together because we share a common story – patriots determined “to be a free people in our land,” pioneers who forged a nation, heroes who sacrificed to preserve our freedom, and immigrants from every corner of the world who renew constantly our diverse societies. We stand together because we are democracies. For as noisy and messy as it may be, we know that democracy is the greatest form of government ever devised by man … I’m confident in declaring that our alliance is eternal, it is forever – lanetzach” (‘Obama: Israel’s founding an unparalleled story of redemption,’ Times of Israel, March 18, 2013).

In his speech in Jerusalem, President Obama said:

  • “I’ve borne witness to the ancient history of the Jewish people at the Shrine of the Book, and I’ve seen Israel’s shining future in your scientists and your entrepreneurs. This is a nation of museums and patents, timeless holy sites, groundbreaking innovation. Only in Israel could you see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the place where the technology onboard the Mars rover originated at the same time.”

  • “while Jews achieved extraordinary success in many parts of the world, the dream of true freedom finally found its full expression in the Zionist idea — to be a free people in your homeland.”

  • “We’ve made it clear time and again that Israel cannot accept rocket attacks from Gaza, and we have stood up for Israel’s right to defend itself. And that’s why Israel has a right to expect Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

  • “Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state and that Israelis have the right to insist upon their security.”

  • “Every country that values justice should call Hezbollah what it truly is, a terrorist organization  because the world cannot tolerate an organization that murders innocent civilians, stockpiles rockets to shoot at cities and supports the massacre of men and women and children in Syria right now.”

  • “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with anyone who’s dedicated to its destruction.”

  • “Now’s the time for the Arab world to take steps towards normalizing relations with Israel.”

  • Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. This is not a danger that can be contained — (applause) — and as president, I’ve said all options are on the table for achieving our objectives. America will do what we must to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”

  • “I think about when Israel’s faced with these challenges — that sense of an Israel that is surrounded by many in this region who reject it and many in the world who refuse to accept it. That’s why the security of the Jewish people in Israel is so important; it cannot be taken for granted. But make no mistake: Those who adhere to the ideology of rejecting Israel’s right to exist — they might as well reject the earth beneath them and the sky above, because Israel’s not going anywhere. And today I want to tell you, particularly the young people, so that — so that there’s no mistake here, so long as there is a United States of America, “Ah-tem lo lah-vahd.”  You are not alone (‘Transcript of President Obama’s Speech in Israel,’ New York Times, March 20, 2013).