Hundreds of Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) activists from 19 states, including dozens of students, took part in ZOAs annual activist Mission to Washington, D.C., on April 21 to urge Members of Congress to support legislation for immediately imposing new, robust sanctions upon Iran and enforcing the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 as the first step to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Mission activists urged the necessity of military action should peaceful, diplomatic measures fail to stop Irans drive to obtain a nuclear weapons capability; stressed the dangers posed by a lawless, terrorist regime that has called publicly for the destruction of the U.S. and Israel; threatens other Middle Eastern states; could either use such weapons or transfer them to stateless terrorists and terrorist regimes, destabilizing the whole region.
ZOA activists had over 100 meetings with Members of the House and Senate and their staff, urging them to oppose further funding by the U.S. taxpayer of the Palestinian Authority (PA), currently receiving about $1 billion annually from the U.S., until it complies with its obligations under signed agreements, from Oslo to the Road Map, to outlaw terrorist groups; confiscate illegal weapons; end incitement to hatred and murder of Jews and Israelis in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps; rescind the existing glorification of terrorists by renaming all of the streets, schools and sports teams named for terrorists; and cancel the recently commissioned Fatah emblem showing all of Israel covered with an Arab headdress, with a Kalashnikov rifle in the center next to a picture of terrorist Yasser Arafat. ZOA activists also urged Members of Congress to co-sponsor legislation in both Houses restating existing U.S. law recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, requiring the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and above all, to remove the present presidential waiver that has permitted successive presidents to repeatedly defer application of the law. ZOA activists also sought of Members of Congress to support a new resolution urging the U.S. Department of Education to make clear that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which protects against racial and ethnic discrimination encompasses anti-Jewish incidents and protects Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation. The resolution urges the Department to issue a clear and unequivocal statement that Jewish students are protected under Title VI when they face anti-Semitic harassment and to enforce it where Jewish students face intimidation and discrimination. Unlike previous Administrations, the Department of Education under the Obama Administration no longer recognizes Title VI as applying to Jewish students and anti-Semitism.
ZOA activists made a special point to urge Congress to demand that President Obama and Secretary Clinton stop pressuring Israel to make one-sided concessions while demanding nothing of the Palestinian Authority.
During the Mission, ZOA activists heard speeches from over thirty House Members and Senators, almost equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, who attended the ZOA Mission Luncheon on Capitol Hill.
A large sample of statements made by Members of Congress to ZOA follows:
Cong. Ron Klein (D-FL): My pleasure to be with ZOA A very important mission Were all happy to have you making a great case.
Cong. Doug Lamborn (R-CO): Thank you for your support of this great organization I dont understand why this administration is picking a fight with Israel Jerusalem is not a settlement!…It is US law that the embassy be in Jerusalem Were saying to the world Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel I appreciate your organization.
Cong. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA): Total nuclear disarmament where you have nutcases in Iran and North Korea is dangerous When we take this position on Iran, Im not just thinking about Israel Im thinking about the United States We cannot afford to allow a country like that to have nuclear weapons Its about time the United States stop waiting for a crisis to deal with these things. We are in a crisis. We need to support what Israel needs to do Last 10 years the Palestinians have been given a chance to have their homeland (their sovereignty) and they have blown it. The Palestinians have to be held accountable for whats going on in their territory The Palestinians have got to understand its time for them to act Time for them to fully recognize Israel as a Jewish state and give up this nonsense about a right of return I consider myself a Zionist in this regard This should be a position for all in the United States. — safe and secure Israel not just a Jewish policy.
Cong. Anthony Weiner (D- NY) : Aid to Palestinians until the Palestinians return to the negotiating table, we should not give them another dollar, another shekel A lot we need to do & ZOA is doing it We are patriotic Americans when we stand up for Eretz Israel.
Cong. Gene Green (D-TX): I dont know how a Texan can say theyre a Zionist Im as close as you can get Thank you for being here. Thank you for what you represent.
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD): I want to thank you all for being here Its important to be here at this moment You make such a difference ZOA
Iran and nukes We can not let that happen So-called moderate Fatah
Wrong to try to put unreasonable pressure on Israel.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH): Thanks for being here. Thanks for what you do on behalf of Israel Im concerned how the administration is behaving with our nearest and dearest friend Iran sanctions held up for a year, Administration told Congress to slow down They are delaying it. My concern the administration wants us to drag our feet .Youre coming here and talking to Congress is important Israel is our most important friend in that part of the world.
Cong. John Sarbanes (D-MD): Thank you for the advocacy that you will do today Im committed to a secure Israel and our unbreakable bond.
Cong. Edolphus Towns (D-NY): I want to recognize Morton Klein give him a round of applause Thank you so much for being here Only true ally we have in the region is Israel and we need to wake up and act like it.
Cong. Eliot Engel (D-NY): Always a crisis, but timely to be here now The relationship is of paramount importance to Israel and the United States as well I resent and I object to Jerusalem being classified as some kind of settlement I resent and object the United States is putting pressure on Israel and not doing the same to the Palestinians I resent and object to Biden blow-up. thats wrong Theres no peace not because Israel doesnt want peace but because the Arabs havent decided that the Jewish state of Israel belongs there Pressure Arabs to recognize a Jewish state Pressure Palestinians not to name squares after terrorists Israel is the best ally the United States has in the Middle East, but I would argue the best ally in the world. If US pressures Israel youre going to hear it from me.
Cong. Dan Burton (R-IN): Its my belief that Israel has been given to the Jewish people I have been very disappointed Israel is probably our greatest friend in the world I dont believe the administration has shown the kind of support and respect that it should have I have felt like the reception he received was not as it should have been it was shabby Israel has the same goals that we do and we should be supporting then 1,000%…We will need to make sure there isnt any problem with Iran regarding the security of Israel I support Israels security no matter what it takes.
Cong. Steve Rothman (D-NJ): Every penny US gives Israel gets back 20 times its value or 50 times its value literally Israels bombing of Iraq and Syria saved US troops support right for America, right for Israel. He will make sure every option is on the table regarding Iran
Cong. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI): Its an honor to be with you today Its a difficult time for the US and our allies (because of the) threat of terrorism It is critical that we stand with our allies The problem is Iran. We need to express unequivocal support for Israel. He called Israel our siblings in liberty and freedom Thank you for being a part of that.
Cong. Dan Lungren (R-CA): Im sick and tired of people apologizing for my country One of the most exciting movies I saw was Exodus Young people dont understand the importance of having an ally in the Middle East. Young people have to overcome a lack of knowledge and appreciation for Israel and the US.
Cong. Brad Sherman (D-CA): I have worked very closely with ZOA on both domestic and foreign issues. UCIrvine one concern getting the federal government involved We notice the Muslim Students Association was raising money for Hamas Were trying to strip Muslim Students Association of its 501C3 status. If US tries to pressure Israel on P.A.: Everyone of good will will stand up & say it has to make its own national security decisions.
Cong. Debby Wasserman Shultz (D-FL): She praised the good work of ZOA, AIPAC, AJC I wanted them to stand on the Golan and see the security significance to Israel need to make sure we remain vigilant for Israels security We are going to stand in the way as a solid obstacle of Iran.
Cong. Aaron Shock (R-IL): All of us are strong supporters of the US Israel relationship We as Americas would not be able to tuck our sons and daughters in bed if Iran gets nukes Thank you for taking the time to come to Washington Its very exciting to see some of our younger people in the room Younger people need to make sure we continue to side with our allies and hold the Arabs accountable. He went to Yad Vashem many folks of my faith did not stand up at the time We need to demand the same accountability of Arab nations to speak out and condemn terrorism.
Cong. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): Settlements illegal? theyre not as far as Im concerned Theres no immediate prospect of a (peace) settlement that can be enforced. Lawfare distorting international laws making it impossible to defend themselves Israel & US We must put a stop to it a historical monstrosity Goldstone Iran is an existential threat to Israel and a terrible threat to the United States What would stop them from giving a nuclear bomb to Al-Quada We must avoid that at all costs a nuclear Iran We have to insist that the moment the Palestinian refugees (compensation comes up) the American administration must insist that in the same way the 850,000 refugees must also be compensated.
Cong. Trent Franks (R-AZ): Today, Ahmadinejad is holding a gun to Israels head we are very wrong if we dont believe that its Irans intent Some of us are very upset with this administration Obama has shown more outrage over houses than over Iran nukes I dont think theres anything more dangerous than US containment policy .We cannot take the military option off the table (Israels survival is)a matter of survival for the human family Do what you can – by the grace of G-d, United States and Israel will continue to be allies.
Cong. Shelley Berkley (D-NV): Its nice to be among mishpocha. Syria those lunatics I love ZOA so much that I am a member of ZOA I have profound respect and deep love for Mort Klein Your timing is impeccable to lobby Things started going south in the Cairo speech when he (Obama) adopted the Arab narrative. He forgot there were 3,000 years of history before the Holocaust. Israel This is where we belong this is our homeland The state of Israel does not need the permission of the United States where they need to build. Its a Cannard that 1,600 apartments in Jerusalem are in the way of peace General Petraeus is wrong on Israel there is no link threatening US troops How do you negotiate for peace with someone who doesnt believe you have a right to exist. US should not allow Palestinians to unilaterally declare a state – its like a terrorist state in Baltimore You have to be crazy to believe US can talk Iran out of nuclear The US should not rely on Israel to do its dirty work .Get off this settlement nonsense it is not an impediment to peace It makes a dramatic difference to come to Washington to lobby A strong Israel is good for the United States you let your (House) members know that..
Cong. Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL): Thank G-d youre here doing what you do Now now what youre hearing is bi-partisan support for Israel The survival of Israel is the survival of the United States The day the United States loses its willingness to stand up for our best ally is the day we have lost our will to stand up for ourselves You keep fighting!…Thank you for your involvement; thank you for your patriotism.
Cong. Leonard Lance (R-NJ): Settlements I do not believe it is appropriate for the President of the United States to be a zoning officer in East Jerusalem .I commend all of you for your participation today.
Cong. Alcee Hastings (D-FL): Thank you for your efforts Morton Klein
I do compliment all of you and urge you continue your efforts making us informed of your issues.
Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): Our present Middle East policy is undermining US interests. The administration seems to believe its better to be a belligerent menace like Iran and Syria than a loyal ally like Israel .A strong Israel (allows) Americans to sleep more soundly and are safer because of Israel.
We need full political and diplomatic support for Israel What is the solution? Certainly not more pressure on Israel but not holding Arabs accountable.
We reward intransigence of the Palestinian Authority .We must demand accountability from the PA and insist they stop incitement. UNRWA continues to agitate against Israel another $95 Million for UNRWA that US wants to give. Freeze funding for UNRWA .Iran We cant wait for consensus on another watered-down sanction no waiver for President .Syria is following right behind wrong to reward Syria by naming an Ambassador .She called on ZOA to help get her bills passed; standing ovation when she mentioned her work against Goldstone .Lets cut off US funding to UN Human Rights Council.
Cong. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): What is going on now between the White House and Israel is reprehensible We cant trust France and Germany to maintain sanctions Sanctions are not working. Centrifuges continue to keep turning. Every time Israel gave away land, the land was used to attack Israel from it he told Bibi He invoked the religious reasons for Israel. Ben-Gurion held up the Torah and said this is my voucher for the land .World without the United States and Zionism Irans goal .You have to take this guy seriously. – Ahmadinejad Im very concerned about the appearance to Iran of great space between Israel and US .He said Congress should invite Bibi to speak to a joint session.
Cong. Mike McMahon (D-NY): I am a Zionist .I commit to remaining a strong pro-Israel voice in Congress and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, First I want to thank the hundreds of ZOA members who took a day off from their lives to travel from far and near to be part of this critical effort to inform our Representatives of our strong beliefs and thoughts. Secondly, I want to thank so many Members of Congress who listened carefully and patiently when we made our case for strong US/Israel relations while explaining the truth of the on-going Arab war against Israel. We also want to thank the Members of Congress who spoke at our luncheon with such passion and conviction about their support for Israel. Their talks were truly inspiring and strengthened the resolve of everyone in that hall. Finally, I want to thank our great ZOA staff for their hard work in making this mission a success. They include the co-directors of our Government Relations Department, Dan Pollak and Joshua London, Acting Executive Director Stan Kessock, Felice Capustin, Virginia Gilley, Josh Teplow, Harriet Bachmann, Fawn Eng, Josh Nason and David Kadosh.