On December 11, a record 1000 people attended the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National Dinner at which the keynote speaker was one of Israels truest friends in the world, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, who opened his address by saying, When Mort Klein asked me some months ago if Id be available I said: tell me the day and Ill be there. Also addressing the Dinner was the distinguished syndicated columnist Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post Managing Editor. Both speakers displayed uncommon clarity and insight into the enormous problems facing Israel and the United States.
The United Nations, despite the hopes of some that it was reforming its attitude towards Israel in the wake of Israels unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria, has not stopped passing anti-Israel resolutions and funding bodies that propagandize against Israel. Bolton was refreshingly direct in speaking out against entrenched anti-Israel bias at the U.N . In his words, to say that Israel is treated as a normal nation at the UN would be a statement of fantasy.
Bolton promised to pursue the issue of U.N.-sponsored anti-Israeli campaigns. Referring to the recent Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, at which a Map of Palestine was displayed from which Israel was expunged and which was attended by senior U.N. dignitaries, including Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Bolton said that there was reason to believe the map had been produced and paid for by the U.N. He referred also to the case of the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) that had produced mugs and t-shirts with the statement, Today Gaza, Tomorrow Jerusalem, saying that the U.S. would pursue these matters.
Bolton continued, If that is true, then you, the American taxpayer, paid for 22% of that map [percentage of UN budget paid for by U.S.]. You probably paid 22% of that entire event. Were going to find out if that is true … This is not simply a mistake that [Annan and other officials] made not speaking about the map. They didnt speak about the map because they didnt see anything unusual … We need to say this is a pivot point to change the culture at the U.N. … 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 noted U.S. efforts to pressure the Security Council to condemn groups that commit terrorist attacks on Israel, something we sadly have to do quite regularly in the Security Council [which failed to condemn Islamic Jihad for the Netanya bombing] … we said … If this body cant summon up the political courage to state the truth, well just do it on our own. And its something we plan to do quite regularly in the future.
Calls for Israels destruction are nothing new in the Middle East, but Bolton refused to ignore the repeated calls in recent weeks by the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, something which he says has drawn almost no attention at the U.N.: this is no mere flight of rhetoric … remember this is the same president of the same government that is trying to acquire a nuclear capability that could wipe Israel, or any other state, off the map. Bolton also praised the ZOA for being willing to speak the truth about the Middle East even when others are reluctant to do so.
Caroline Glick, who was presented at the Dinner with the Ben Hecht Award for Outstanding Journalism on the Middle East, spoke powerfully of the dangers for Israel in pursuing new political fantasies about unilaterally withdrawing from territories and setting up barriers that will supposedly buy it security. Sharon and his associates are planning to move immediately after the general elections to expel an additional fifty thousand Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria … the tragic toll such an event will take on the lives of thousands Israelis and our allies around the world. The result of choosing fantasy over reality is the murder of thousands of real people. The ZOA will remain a voice of truth even if the power rests in the hands of those denying the truth.
In my own address, I took up the same issue, noting that, 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 and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas continues to praise the martyrs and actually named the Rafah border crossing after a terrorist killer of Jews. Yet despite this major unilateral concession by Israel, the Palestinians and Europeans are dismissing it and simply demanding more.
Poll after poll has demonstrated that Americans, by convincing majorities, support Israel and not the Palestinians, oppose U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority and the establishment of a Palestinian state, and also support Jerusalem remaining under Israeli sovereignty. In this context, I gave a detailed historical, political and religious analysis exposing the propaganda myth that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims.
I noted that the Torah mentions Jerusalem more than 600 times, while the Koran never mentions Jerusalem even once. Throughout history, Jerusalem has only been the capital of Israel. When Arabs conquered the area in 716 CE, they made Ramle their capital, not Jerusalem. When the Arabs controlled eastern Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, they treated it with utter disregard. They allowed it to become a slum, there was no steady water electricity or plumbing and they destroyed the 58 synagogues and the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. Very tellingly, no Arab leader visited eastern Jerusalem during that period. Since the mid-1800s, the majority of people living there have been Jews. Remarkably, the PLO Covenant does not even mention Jerusalem .
The ZOA was honored to be addressed by Ambassador Bolton and Caroline Glick, speakers who, like the ZOA, are not afraid to speak the truth about Israel and the Middle East. It is often the case 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 ZOA National Dinner invigorated the 1000 supporters of our activities who attended the night to redouble their efforts in support of Israel.
Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America.