New State Department Mideast Committee Includes Extremists Who Called For Israel’s Destruction & Softer Line On Saddam
July 18, 2003

NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized the State Department for stacking its new Mideast advisory committee with hostile critics of Israel, including extremists who have called for the destruction of Israel and did not support strong U.S. action against Saddam Hussein.

The New York Sun revealed (July 18, 2003) that the State Department recently established an “Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World.” The group’s declared purpose is to “study the efficacy of the Department of State’s public diplomacy efforts aimed in these regions and recommend policy initiatives.”

A State Department official quoted by the New York Sun said that Secretary of State Colin Powell personally approved the list of members appointed to serve on the group.

In a letter to President Bush, ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, chairman of the board Dr. Alan Mazurek, and National Executive Committee chairman Dr. Michael Goldblatt wrote: “The State Department is once again trying to stack the deck against Israel. This ‘advisory committee’ is filled with people who have made up their minds —against Israel— before they even begin their work. How can you, Mr. President, allow the State Department to fill its committee with individuals who are so hostile to Israel and have a chairman who wanted a softer line regarding Saddam Hussein…?”

The ZOA notes that given the group’s slanted membership the “policy initiatives” it will recommend are virtually a foregone conclusion:

* Edward Djerejian, the group’s chairman, is closely tied to former Secretary of State James Baker —widely regarded as the most anti-Israel secretary of state in U.S. history— and is director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University.

Compared Israel to Saddam Hussein: The Washington Times reported (Jan. 16, 2001): “Mr. Djerejian has criticized the Clinton administration for its insistence on maintaining U.S. sanctions against Iraq as long as Saddam Hussein is in power, but failing to force Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to carry out the peace process.”

Opposed “unilateral” U.S. action against Saddam: When the Clinton administration was considering action against Saddam Hussein, Djerejian urged that “any U.S. response should be consistent with keeping the Gulf War coalition together, rather than a unilateral action.” (Houston Chronicle, Feb. 24, 1998)

Rationalized Arab terror against Israel: After an Arab terrorist attack against Israelis in 1997, Djerejian gave an interview to National Public Radio (March 13, 1997) in which he suggested that both Israel and the Arabs are guilty of terrorism, and that Israel’s obstruction of the “peace process” was causing terrorism. He said: “If the peace process is not moving forward and it’s not being perceived as moving forward, that has usually been a formula for increased violence and acts of terrorism on the ground from either party.” He then cited Israel’s building of homes in the Har Homa neighborhood of Jerusalem as an obstacle to the “peace process.”

Whitewashed and praised Syrian dictator Hafez Assad: Interviewed on National Public Radio (June 11, 2000) following the death of Hafez Assad, Djerejian did not say a word about Assad’s brutal dictatorship or sponsorship of international terrorism, but instead praised “the tremendously powerful force of his political intellect and his negotiating skills.”

“Even-handed” towards Israel and Hezbollah: After Hezbollah terrorist attacks that forced Israel to strike back, then-Assistant Secretary of State Djerejian, instead of blaming Hezbollah, “even-handedly” called on “all parties” to refrain from “escalation.” (Buffalo News, July 28, 1993)

Pressured Israel to give in to terrorists’ blackmail: When Iranian-backed terrorists kidnapped Westerners in Lebanon and demanded that Israel release imprisoned terrorists in exchange for the hostages, then-Ambassador to Syria Djerejian in effect pressured Israel to give in, by asserting that “the United States looked for the release of all persons held against their will,” a position the media described as “a signal to Israel” to give in. (Daily Telegraph, May 2, 1990)

* John Zogby – Called for the destruction of Israel, by signing a full-page advertisement in the New York Times, March 13, 1988 (p.28), which declared: “Israel is an apartheid state [which has] a quintessentially racist character … In Israel, no less than in South Africa, minimum justice requires dismantling the apartheid state and replacing it with a democratic secular Palestine.” The ad was sponsored by the “Campaign to End All Aid to Israel and for a Democratic Secular Palestine.”

In addition, Zogby worked during the 1980s for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). Among other things, the ADC during those years denounced Israel as “Nazis” and led a campaign on behalf of Ziad Abu Eain, a Palestinian Arab terrorist who had planted a bomb in Israel (murdering two people and wounding 36, including a Connecticut woman who was permanently crippled) and then fled to the U.S.

The New York Sun also points out that Zogby “has supported the Arab American Leadership Council Political Action Committee, which funds extremist critics of President Bush’s foreign policy and of Israel, such as Reps. Jim Moran, Earl Hilliard, and Cynthia McKinney.”

* Stephen P. Cohen – Cohen is a senior official of the Israel Policy Forum, which was established by the Israeli Labor Party in 1992 to “build U.S. support for Israel’s Labor Party,” as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. Later, the IPF, led by former Americans for Peace Now president (and New Jewish Agenda activist) Jonathan Jacoby, actively promoted the Oslo process—and continued to promote it despite the complete failure of Oslo to bring the peace which the IPF had promised.

Blames Israel for Arab terror: In an op-ed article last year, Cohen in effect blamed Israel for causing Arab terrorism. Denouncing Israel’s self-defense actions, Cohen accused Israel of “persisting in a strategy that feeds the killing culture.” (New Jersey Jewish News, April 4, 2002)

Israel conspiring to “replace” the Arabs: Cohen has also promoted the bizarre theory that Israel is secretly conspiring to “replace” the two million Arabs who live in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. He said in a speech in New Jersey last year that the existence of Jewish communities in those territories is “a sure sign” that Israel is considering a plan “to occupy and replace the local population with its own.” (New Jersey Jewish News, Feb. 21, 2002)

Moral equivalency: Suggesting a moral equivalency between Israel’s actions and those of the Palestinian Arabs, Cohen wrote that there must be “no more provocations by any party, regardless of whether the provocative action is legitimate and legal, or violent and illegal.” (N.Y. Times, April 7, 1997)

Make part of Jerusalem the “capital of Palestine”: In that article, Cohen also proposed what would be, in effect, the redivision of Jerusalem—he asserted that Jerusalem should be “in its eastern sector a capital of Palestine.” The eastern part of Jerusalem includes the Western Wall, the Temple Mount (Judaism’s holiest site), the ancient Mount of Olives cemetery, and the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus.

Made millions of dollars from the Oslo process: As the New York Sun noted, Cohen was recently at the center of a controversy over his profiteering from the Oslo process that he was promoting. “He acknowledged,” the Sun reported, “that he ‘made contacts between business people in Israel and the Arab world’,” and “an associate of one of his partners in the deal told an Israeli newspaper that the partner ‘made millions’ through commissions on gas and cement deals between Israeli companies and the Palestinian Authority” —at the very time Cohen was publicly promoting the Oslo process on the grounds that it would bring peace. At the time he was making those profits, Cohen did not acknowledge publicly that he was financially profiting from the Oslo process.

Whitewashed Syrian dictator Hafez Assad and said Assad wants peace: In a New York Times op-ed on Aug. 25, 1994, Cohen praised Syrian dictator Hafez Assad —despite Assad’s brutal dictatorship and sponsorship of international terrorism— as “a tough and idiosyncratic character” who has “a shrewd, practical strategy … He says he is determined to make peace. He is very convincing to those who hear him, as I did on Aug. 16 in Damascus as part of a Council on Foreign Relations delegation, and to those who overhear him.”

* Shibley Telhami Blames Israel for terrorism: In an interview with National Public Radio on Dec. 28, 2002, Prof. Telhami was asked about the 9/11 attacks. He replied that while he is “against attacks on civilians for any reason, at the same time, we must understand the causes.” Asked to name the causes, he replied: “The most important motivator to my mind is humiliation and hopelessness … When I look today at the Middle East, what worries me most is the psychological state of affairs, which represent a sense of pervasive helplessness in affecting things that are so profoundly important to people’s lives on a daily basis and also politically. They all watch what’s unfolding globally—what’s unfolding in the West Bank and Israel; what’s unfolding in relation to Iraq—what they see as inevitable war. And they are absolutely helpless.”

Blames Israel for suicide bombers: In an op-ed in the New York Times on April 4, 2002, Telhami condemned suicide bombers, but then asserted that Israel’s “occupation” is the cause of the problem and the suicide bombers who have adopted this method “because they think it is effective in making occupation unbearable to Israel.”

Denies Arafat rewards terrorists with money: Despite overwhelming evidence that the Palestinian Authority encourages children to attack Israelis, and pays rewards to the attackers’ families, Telhami, in an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, on November 17, 2000, denounced what he called “incredible insinuations about the Palestinians: They are throwing their young into the line of fire … Mr. Arafat may have the power to restrain the young, but they are not his soldiers or even his admirers. It is still worse to insinuate that families are encouraged by Mr. Arafat to send their children to die by the lure of financial compensation. How many parents can imagine such a thing?”

Compared Barak to Arafat: In an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, on November 17, 2000, Telhami wrote: “Mr. Arafat is certainly not an angel and neither is Mr. Barak. In their careers, they have both used violence for strategic and political ends.”

* George Salem – The New York Sun reports (July 18, 2003) that Salem has donated to Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), who earlier this year made anti-Semitic statements accusing American Jews of dragging America into war. He has also donated to the aforementioned Arab American Leadership Council Political Action Committee.

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