Pro-Israel Activist Harley Lippman Receives Brandeis Award
NEW YORK Nearly 800 people attended the Zionist Organization of Americas (ZOA) 113th Louis B. Brandeis Award National Dinner on Sunday, November 21 at the New York Citys elegant Grand Hyatt Hotel. William Kristol, founding editor of the Weekly Standard, regular Fox TV panelist and co-founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel, and Gary Bauer, co-founder of Christians United for Israel and former chief domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan, were keynote speakers at the dinner at which they were also honored. Mr. Kristol was awarded the ZOAs Ben Hecht Award for Outstanding Journalism; previous recipients of which have included A.M. Rosenthal, David Bar-Ilan, Cal Thomas, Daniel Pipes, Caroline Glick and Jeff Jacoby. Mr. Bauer was this years recipient of the ZOAs Defender of Israel Award, previous recipients of which include Israeli Vice-Prime Minister and former Israel Defense Forces Chief-of-Staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon and House Minority Whip Cong. Eric Cantor and former UN ambassador John Bolton. Special remarks were also delivered by Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Danny Danon. French Senator Jean-Pierre Plancade was honored with the Cherna & Irving Moskowitz Award for outstanding pro-Israel activism in recognition of his extraordinary work by calling for the truth of the Al Dura hoax to be fully investigated and for new hearings into the matter while the French establishment has done its best to block the truth from coming out. Philippe Karsenty, a distinguished journalist, deputy mayor of Neuilly, France, and President of Media-Ratings, who exposed the Palestinian Authoritys Muhammad Al-Dura hoax [the fabricated killing of a Palestinian boy allegedly by Israeli gunfire in September 2000, for which Israel was lambasted in the international media ], spoke of Senator Plancades extraordinary efforts to see justice done. U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) also addressed the Dinner, as well as ZOA National President Morton A. Klein.
This year, renowned pro-Israel activist Harley Lippman received ZOAs highest honor, the Louis D. Brandeis Award. Mr. Lippman is CEO of Genesis 10, president of the America Israel Friendship League and board member of the Middle East Forum. Previous recipients of the Brandeis Award include Dr. Miriam Adelson, Vice-President Joseph Biden, Abba Eban, Justice Arthur Goldberg, Ronald Lauder, Natan Sharansky, Simon Wiesenthal, Elizabeth Taylor and
Before Danny Danons speech, Rabbi Effie Buchwald gave the Dvar Torah and made moving remarks on the late ZOA stalwart, Carl Freyer, who passed away earlier this year. Mr. Danon, who was introduced by Michael Orbach, former chairman of the ZOA Board and ZOA Brandeis honoree, spoke powerfully about the importance of the ZOA and its perception of the crucial issues involved in the Arab war on Israel. He said that We have a problem with Barack Obama. He is focusing on Jews building homes in Jerusalem, rather than the issue of the moment Iran going nuclear.
I know that the dangers of creating a Palestinian state are understood in this room. I dont have to convince you. All of you love Israel, and I commend you. Mr. Danon elaborated on the profound security threats entailed for Israel by a PA-run Palestinian state. When you come to Ben Gurion Airport, the plane that carries you must take a U-turn in order to take a safe flight path into Ben Gurion. I told Prime Minister Netanyahu, we dont need another ceremony at the White House, we dont need another accord that will be violated. I know that its difficult to be the prime minister. Yet, if you told us 18 months ago that youd put in place a freeze on Jewish construction, you wouldnt be prime minister and I wouldnt be sitting in Knesset, because the people voted for us to defend Israel. I want to send to the prime minister a message today Dont go against the people, who believe in us. You have attacked the ideology of the left. In what you do now you will get the support of Labor and Kadima but you will lose your loyal supporters. Reject the idea of second building freeze in Judea and Samaria. Mr. Danon recounted Secretary of State Hillary Clintons demand for an explanation from Israel for approving new construction in Gilo and Pisgat Zeev, responding, There is only one explanation Jerusalem is and will remain the united capital of Israel. In closing, Mr. Danon said, I want to commend Morton A. Klein and ZOA for what you are doing for Zionism. I want to tell you I am proud of what you are doing, because there are a lot of Jewish organizations. If we work together, we will defeat our enemies.
Dr. David Milch introduced Brandeis Awardee, Harley Lippman, whose speech was preceded by a screening of a short film, A Torah Returns to Poland. Mr. Lippman, whose ancestors came from Poland and most of whom were exterminated by the Nazis, spoke of his joy in being able to restore a historic Torah scroll to Warsaws only surviving synagogue, the moving trips that he and his family had taken to Poland and his efforts to help Jews and others in need, including setting up an orphanage in Cambodia. He recounted the moving story of his grandmother, who at 15 years of age narrowly escaped molestation from a Cossack before coming alone to America and thereby continuing the line of his family that was otherwise obliterated in the Holocaust. Concluding, Mr. Lippman said, I have kept the chain going to educate my children to be dedicated to the state of Israel; to enthuse Judaism in their lives; to be part of the longest story in the world. As for what he had concluded from his own family story, When bad people say theyre going to kill you, believe them; when Irans leaders say theyll wipe Israel off the face of the map, believe them. We are at risk in world in which demonstrators in Iran wave placards saying, Jews only appear human, and when clerics calls for fighting and vanquishing the Jews.
Cong. Anthony Weiner made a short speech, speaking of the uniqueness of the ZOAs contribution to Zionism and the defense of Israel. There is really only one organization in Washington speaking for the Zionist community as you do. Many others do not speak up when we need it most. Mort Klein was introduced to me in my first year in Congress and I have grown to know and admire his work. When a huge aid package was prepared for the Saudis, only one Jewish organization stood up to oppose it the ZOA. Some of us stood up for Jonathan Pollard, but only one organization stood up with us the ZOA. So I want to say thank you to you. Speaking of the similarities of atmosphere between the 1930s and today, Cong. Weiner said that Israel needs to be staunchly defended that standing up for Israel is one of the ways we say G-d Bless America, noting his stances in opposition to President Obama on aid to Saudi Arabia, aid to the PA and dividing Jerusalem.
Martin Gross, president of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a ZOA Brandeis honoree, introduced William Kristol, who spoke of the significance of Zionism to Jews both before and after the Holocaust and how he learned from Leo Strauss, a proud Jew, a student of Maimonides, Aristotle, Machiavelli and Hobbes, someone who was already a Zionist in the 1920s about the life-altering course of political Zionism, which was an attempt to restore the Jews inner freedom of which only people who are loyal to their heritage and loyal to their faith are capable. He recounted how previous Ben Hecht Awardee Philippe Karsenty had fought an infinitely difficult fight for justice in the Al-Dura hoax case in France and how he himself had experienced the difficulty of being part of the ZOA wing of the Harvard faculty an allusion to Cong. Weiners frequent statement that he comes from the ZOA wing of the Democratic Party. He referred also to the little-remembered 1936 book, The Yellow Spot, documenting the Nazi assault on the existence of the Jews already then in evidence, telling how Winston Churchill said that it is important to act to preserve England, not only have good intentions. It is the same with Israel: we cant just wish Israel well, we have to make sure that the forces are there to secure it and that the U.S. can survive and flourish. It is not enough to want to do the right thing; one has an obligation to combat evil.
Joyce Chernick, a great activist Zionist, introduced Gary Bauer, who gave a rousing address celebrating Israel and the ZOA. You are Jews who are strong in your faith. I want to tell you that there are millions more of us who support Israel. We are Hamas Hizballahs and Islamic Jihads worse nightmare. Yet, when you are here with friends and neighbors enjoying this evening, there are evil men who worship death who are feverishly working on ways to bring to you, and to all Americans and Israelis sorrows greater than those youve already experienced. They dont want to kill 3,000 or 30,000 people, but millions. They wont rest until there is a mushroom cloud over New York, or London or Berlin or Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. They are motivated they tell us by their faith. I dont know why political correctness has such a hold on us, but I take these people at their word. Today the greatest threat to the Jews is the Islamists and the Western elites who are too cowardly to confront them. When someone of questionable background said that he was going to build a mosque at Ground Zero, 70% even here in this diverse city said no. I watched the Mayor of New York and our President say that the mosque should be built, then they went on to lecture us why it should be built and they told us that we who are opposed were somehow intolerant, that we didnt understand the Constitution. Why are they unable to understand the instincts of normal Americans? We say that there should be no monument erected in the name of the faith in which the terrorists acted. The problem of intolerance is not in the heartland of America, it is in the heartland of Islam. Planning an act of evil, like the Holocaust, cannot occur unless good men avert their gaze and rationalize evil. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can come to this very city and speak at the UN, without having to worry that he is a war criminal who needs to be brought to justice. Turning to Jewish-Christian relations, Mr. Bauer said, I cant ignore what Christians have done to Jews. I cant explain it. Good Germans brought the crooked cross and placed it beside the cross of Jesus; I cannot erase the memory but today, I can tell you that there are millions of Christians who know that we cannot worship a Jewish carpenter and be opposed to the Jews. Im actually an optimist; we live in an unbelievable civilization, the Judeo-Christian civilization with its roots in Rome, Athens and Jerusalem. I know that we, Christians and Jews can overcome the disdain of our own elites and the jihadists. We know that there are still young men in this country willing to go into the heart of darkness to fight the death worshipping-jihadists. I believe that because of men and women like you, that in a year, and in 100 years, the Stars and Stripes will fly over a free America and the Star of David will over Jerusalem, united forever as Israels capital.
Dr. Shelley Ventura-Cohen, a prominent Beverly Hills psychologist and president of ZOA in California, introduced ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, who opened by congratulating Harley Lippmann, Gary Bauer, William Kristol and Danny Danon for making the 113th ZOA Dinner such a special evening before turning to the commitment of ZOA activists and supporters, saying, Had the Jewish and Christian Zionists in this room existed in the 1930s, history would have been very different. Klein recounted the many important ZOA successes in preventing or terminating the appointments to important government posts of people like Islamist apologist Salam Al-Marayati, Israel-basher Joe Zogby, top aide to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Israel-basher John Roth and Saudi apologist and inveterate anti-Israel bigot Chas W. Freeman. He noted how the ZOA incenses its critics, observing that the ZOA, only one of several organizations targeted in the Israel-bashing Mearsheimer-Walt book on the pro-Israel lobby, is cited 12 times. Klein spoke of the ZOAs recent important breakthrough in having Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which has applied to blacks and Hispanics, now applied to protecting Jewish students from discrimination, intimidation and harassment. Yet Klein noted the distressing fact that ADL and Hillel had early on condemned ZOA for being gun-slingers from the east coast and exaggerating the problems for Jews on campus.
With respect to Israel, Im getting sick and tired of leaders telling us what we want to hear, but not what we need to hear. We keep hearing if Israel would only give more land and make more concessions, then we can finally have peace. But the truth is, the Arab war against Israel has nothing to do with borders, land, settlements or a Palestinian state. It is simply old-fashioned Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism. The Arabs dont want a Jewish state within any borders. Please understand, Arabs dont want peace with the Jewish state, they never wanted peace with the Jewish state. And as much as we want peace, Israel will live and thrive without it as it has since 1948.
Nevertheless, President Obama and much of the world think differently, despite the absence of any sign of peace after giving away half of Judea and Samaria, all of Gaza, and having 98% of Palestinians living under Palestinian rule. Obama is demanding yet another unilateral freeze and unilateral land concessions from Israel, while he and his Administration condemns Israel for building homes for Jews in eastern Jerusalem.
President Obama condemns Israel while speaking from Indonesia, which doesnt even allow Israelis to enter their country. How much more important and powerful it would have been if he had urged the large Muslim majority country of Indonesia to recognize Israel? And how powerful would it have been if President Obama had publicly urged Muslim leaders, imams and sheikhs to hold a press conference and publicly condemn radical Islamic terrorism as a nightmare and outrage, while accepting Israels right to exist as Jewish state? Nevertheless, while President Obama and his Administration condemn Israel for building in east Jerusalem, they are silent on the PAs recent anti-peace, pro-terror actions. When Mahmoud Abbas told Arab journalists that, if Arab states go to war with Israel, We are for it, President Obama and Secretary Clinton were silent. When Salaam Fayyad walked out of a meeting at the UN with Israeli counterparts because he refused to sign a joint communiqué that spoke of a state for the Jews, President Obama and Secretary Clinton were silent. When the PA celebrated terrorist leader Dalal Mughrabi, President Obama and Secretary Clinton were silent. When Abbas praised the late terrorist mastermind Abu Daoud, President Obama and Secretary Clinton were silent. When the PA ambassador to Iran said that Israel would be destroyed in due course, President Obama and Secretary Clinton were silent. When Fayyad paid condolence calls on the families of dead terrorists while praising them as heroes, President Obama and Secretary Clinton were silent. When, in the last few weeks, the PA referred to Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities as occupied, President Obama and Secretary Clinton were silent. But when a Jews says he wants to live in Jerusalem, all hell breaks out from this anti-Israel administration. I say to President Obama and Secretary Clinton, for shame, for shame.
Klein observed that the Obama Administration has given the PA nearly $2 billion without any conditions no outlawing of terrorists, no condemnation of terror, no end to incitement. The PA gets more money per capita than any nation on earth. American Jews see what is happening and recent polls show that by more than two to one they disapprove of Obamas policies towards Israel. So every American Jewish organization has the right and basis to criticize Obama for his demands and pressure on Israel.
Klein concluded, The whole world is condemning and pressuring Israel. Can the whole world be wrong and Israel be right? History teaches us that, when it comes to the Jews, the whole world has been regularly wrong and the whole world right. When Israel bombed the Iraqs Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, the whole world condemned Israel for it, nevertheless the whole world was wrong, and we were right. Across much of history, we were monotheists, everyone else were polytheists the whole world was wrong, and we were right. When the world accused us of crucifying Jesus, or killing gentile children , poisoning wells, causing bubonic plague, made blood libels against us the whole world was wrong we were right and the same is true today. Mort received a standing ovation.
Approximately 100 college students attended the dinner, and those who participated in a ZOA student mission to Israel rose when called upon by ZOA Campus Coordinator, Josh Nason, and were acknowledged by dinner attendees. Martin S. Foont, founder and CEO of Global Tax Services, and Yacov Wrocherinsky, founder and CEO of Infinity Info Systems, were Dinner Co-Chairmen. Several students with ZOA active on their campuses made the blessing over the bread and Dr. Alan Mazurek, Chairman of the ZOAs National Advisory Council, was Master of Ceremonies, presiding over proceedings with his usual sparkling wit and charm.