ZOA Disappointed That Richard Haass, Who Has Blamed Israel For Arab Violence, Is Keynote Speaker At Y.U. Dinner
March 29, 2004

NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is disappointed that Yeshiva University has chosen as the keynote speaker for a Y.U. dinner this week Richard Haass, a veteran State Department official who during his years in office repeatedly criticized and pressured Israel and justified the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, and more recently blamed Israel for “provoking” Palestinian Arab terrorism.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein has sent a letter to Yeshiva University president Richard Joel, expressing the ZOA’s strong disappointment over the choice of Haass, in view of Haass’s record on Israel.

Haas is scheduled to be the featured speaker at Yeshiva University’s dinner at the Park East Synagogue in New York City on March 31, 2004.

  • Blamed Israel for “provoking” Palestinian Arab terrorism: In a June 1997 policy brief that he authored for the Brookings Institute, Haass said that Israeli housing construction in the Jerusalem neighborhood was a “provocation” that was to blame for Palestinian Arab terrorism—ignoring the countless terrorist attacks that took place in the weeks and months prior to the Har Homa controversy. Haass wrote: “Violence does not occur in a vacuum. What has provided a context or even impetus for the latest surge in Palestinian acts of violence are Israeli decisions. The most provocative was the decision in February to break ground for new housing at the Har Homa settlement in eastern Jerusalem.” (Forward, Jan. 28, 2000)

  • Authored Bush’s infamous ‘91 speech against loan guarantees for Israel: According to Newsweek (June 1, 1992), Haass “wrote Bush’s comments last September [1991] attacking Israel’s congressional push for loan guarantees.”

    The Long Island Jewish World reported that “Jewish leaders and rank and file” regarded Bush’s comments “as one of the most mean-spirited addresses by an American president in recent memory.” Shoshana Cardin, chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, called Bush’s remarks “disturbing.” Dr. Daniel Pipes, then of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said that “Jew-haters will cite [Bush’s speech] as a reference point for years to come.” After Bush made his statements, “the White House received a rush of congratulatory letters with decidedly anti-Semitic overtones,” according to the Metro West Jewish News (Oct. 2, 1992)

  • Tried to stifle Jews’ criticism of Bush: In April 1992, when many American Jews were expressing concern over the Bush-Baker policy of pressuring Israel, Haass appeared at a meeting with Jewish leaders in New York City and urged them “to make special efforts to ‘cool the rhetoric’ over U.S. policy in the Middle East.” (New York Jewish Week, April 24-30, 1992)

  • Justified Syria’s occupation of Lebanon: Speaking at the University of Miami in 1992, Haass “asserted that Lebanon was better off now, with Syria having imposed de facto control, than it was two years ago with chaos caused by Lebanese militia.” (Miami Jewish Tribune, April 10-16, 1992)

  • Moment Article Called Haass a “Jewish Arabist”: Haass was described as a “Jewish Arabist” in an article in Moment magazine (April 1991) by former Near East Report editor Eric Rozenman. He wrote that Haass was one of those responsible for shaping the Bush-Baker policy that was “indifferent to what Israel claimed as vital interests and undiplomatically hostile to Israel’s prime minister” and had made it “the least sympathetic American government toward Israel in that country’s 43 years.”

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