Record 1000 People
Attend ZOA Dinner
NEW YORK — A record 1000 people came to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National Dinner on Sunday night at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in New York City. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, was ZOAs Keynote Speaker. Bolton received the ZOAs Defender of Israel Award and delivered a powerful speech in which he laid out many of the problems at the United Nations, stating, Lets be clear — for it to be said that Israel is being treated as a normal nation at the U.N. is fantasy. Boltons address was repeatedly interrupted by applause and he received a standing ovation.
Bolton, whose appointment as U.N. Ambassador was strongly supported by the ZOA, has worked in recent weeks in the U.N. Security Council to have Syria and Palestinian Islamic Jihad named in connection with the terrorist attack against Israelis in Netanya which killed five and wounded more than 30 and also succeeded in having the Islamist terrorist group Hezbollah condemned for its attack upon Israel. This was the first occasion the U.N. has ever condemned Hezbollah. Bolton said at the dinner that the U.S. would not back down and that naming terrorists is something we plan to do in the future. He also spoke of Irans public threat to wipe Israel off the map as being no mere flight of rhetoric when it comes from a state that has been pursuing weapons of mass destruction.
Ambassador Bolton promised to pursue the issue of UN-sponsored anti-Israeli campaigns. Referring to last weeks Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, at which a Map of Palestine was displayed from which Israel was expunged, Bolton said that there was reason to believe the map had been produced and paid for by the U.N. and referred also to the case of a U.N. funded agency that had produced mugs and t-shirts saying, Today Gaza, Tomorrow Jerusalem, saying that the U.S. would pursue these matters: If that is true, then you, the American taxpayer, paid for 22% of that map (percentage of UN budget paid for by US). You probably paid 22% of that entire event. Were going to find out if that is true … I want to make it clear that we are not finished with the issue … We are setting a new standard for honesty at the U.N. Bolton also praised the ZOA for being willing to speak the truth about the Middle East even when others are reluctant to do so.
Also at the dinner, the ZOAs Ben Hecht Award for Outstanding Journalism on the Middle East was presented to Caroline Glick, the Deputy Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post and a syndicated columnist for both the Post and Makor Rishon, who in 2003 was named the most prominent woman in Israel by the Israeli daily Maariv. Glick said, That ZOA should view me as worthy of this award is a vote of confidence in me from people I respect. I notice there is always a core among us that never loses faith in our destiny as the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and never forgets the distinction between fact and fantasy. The ZOA people in this room are part of this core.
Glick spoke of the current dangers facing Israel in being led by old leaders basing their policies on fantasy rather than reality … To some Israeli leaders, the fantasy of the Oslo peace process was impervious to the screams of our murdered youth … The fantasy of Oslo was that Arabs want peace with Israel. The fantasy of Oslo was not replaced by a strategy for victory based on reality, but with a new strategy based on a new fantasy … Sharons new fantasy of disengagement is that while it is true that the Arab world in general and the Palestinians in particular have no interest in living at peace with Israel, Israel can deal with their hatred by unilaterally disengaging from the Middle East and holding up behind walls and barricades, turning on the internet and becoming immediately transported to a world where we will be safe. The disengagement from geographical and strategic reality that Sharon is advancing is in many ways more dangerous than the fantasy of Oslo
When the mother of an Israeli murdered by a terrorist asked Shimon Peres about the fact that her sons murderers were walking free, Peres told her that there was nothing that he could do about it because he was in the business of signing peace treaties… The odd and tragic thing is that just as the fantasy of Oslo was disintegrating against the overwhelming power of the reality of war, it was replaced not with a strategy for victory based on reality, but by a new strategy based on a new fantasy. Those who for years spoke of the danger of Oslo and watched in horror as their darkest forecasts came true, did not receive the belated thanks of their people but instead continue to be pilloried
Glick also explained that civil rights were denied to Israeli protestors of the Gaza withdrawal. The disengagement fantasy involves Israelis directly in the brutalization of other Israelis … People were denied permits to protest. Peoples freedom of movement was restricted, as police intercepted buses transporting lawful protestors to legal demonstrations. Thousands of people were arrested en masse, kept behind bars for weeks or months without trial or indictment for the crime of opposing their governments polices. Among these political prisoners were hundreds of children and teenagers. When the Public Defenders Office put out a report explaining that laws were prejudicially enforced based on a suspects political view, Chief Public Defender Rubenstein was forced to apologize for the report under the threat of firing from Justice Minister Tzippi Livni…
This Gaza disengagement has paved the way for the next round of expulsions by making it seem easy to throw Jews out of their homes. Today, Sharons and his associates are planning to move immediately after the elections to expel an additional 60,000 Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria and transfer 95% of Judea and Samaria to our enemies, even before beginning negotiations over Jerusalem, so-called Arab refugees and security arrangements Will Israel continue to cling to the fantasy that we can live in our land and pretend that we are not part of our neighborhood? All must be made to know that the result of choosing fantasy over reality is the murder of thousands of real people. She concluded by saying, During these days, the ZOA will remain a voice of truth even if the power rests in the hands of those denying truth.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, in his remarks at the dinner said, Ever since the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria, instead of things getting better, things have been getting worse. Hundreds of missiles have been fired at Israel from Gaza, thousands of weapons have been smuggled into Gaza and dozens of terrorists have entered Gaza. Klein cited poll after poll that Americans support Israel and not the Palestinians and gave a detailed historical, political and religious analysis exposing the propaganda myth that Jerusalem is holy or important to Arabs and Muslims. His analysis included explanations that Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran and that no Arab leader visited east Jerusalem while the Arabs controlled it from 1948 to 1967.
Klein also paid tribute to Israels Christian supporters, noting that, Unlike others, we praise and appreciate Christian Zionists who support Israel. Klein discussed the accomplishments of the ZOA Division of Government Relations on Capitol Hill, the ZOA Center for Law and Justice and the ZOA College Activism Group. He ended his speech by making it clear that it was a common occurrence in Jewish history that a minority of Jews have been proved right and helped in the end to save the majority of Jews, with the Maccabees during this Chanukah season being the classic example.
The ZOAs Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award was given to Eli E. Hertz, a pioneer in the personal computer industry, President of Myths and Facts Inc. and a Board Member of AIPAC, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and CAMERA; and Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, a Principal with Bernstein Investment Research & Management and a Board Member of City College and former official with Governor Pataki, was the recipient of the ZOAs Distinguished Leadership Award. Official congressional proclamations from Congressmen Anthony Wiener (D-NY), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), were presented to Hertz and Wiesenfeld at the dinner.
Irwin Hochberg, past National Chairman of Israel Bonds and Member of ZOA National Board, and Bob Guzzardi, a prominent attorney and a Member of the ZOA National Board and AIPACs Executive Committee, were Dinner Co-Chairs. Ben Brafman, the distinguished criminal defense attorney, was the Master of Ceremonies. ZOA Board Member Martin Gross, who is also a Trustee of Washington Institute for Near East Policy, introduced Ambassador Bolton; Board Member Dr. Ben Chouake, President of Norpac and a Member of the Board of Yeshiva University, introduced Klein. ZOA Associate Chairman of Board Sylvia Freyer delivered the blessing over bread. Josh Orbach, son of the ZOA board member Michael Orbach, recited the grace after meals. Dr. Alan Mazurek, Chairman of ZOA Executive Committee, presented the Journalism Award to Caroline Glick. ZOA Board Member David Schoen introduced Ben Brafman.