The lineup of speakers at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual Louis D. Brandeis Awards dinner at the Grand Hyatt in NY Sunday evening, turned out to serve as the perfect venue for venting about Israel’s standing in the world and the offering of suggestions about the U.S. conducting the war on terror in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris and in Mali.
The highlight of the dinner was when Sheldon and Miriam Adelson (“The two greatest Zionists in the World,” according to ZOA President Morton Klein) presented the “Adelson Defender of Israel Award” to Hollywood actor Jon Voight.
“Voight is the leading Zionist in the entire Hollywood genre, a giant among righteous gentiles and an extraordinary defender of Israel,” Sheldon said before presenting him the award, which he said “looks like a marriage certificate.”
Israel’s new Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon addressed the crowd at the beginning of the event, describing his job as a defender of Israel’s policies as much harder than the work of Israel’s Ambassador Ron Dermer in Washington, DC. “I have to tell you, I have been here only six weeks, but it feels like six years,” he told the crowd that included top donors, politicians, and operatives, as well as hundreds of students, gathered in the ballroom. The UN Representative blasted the world body for referring to the wave of terrorism in Israel as a cycle of violence. “Let me be clear: there is no ‘cycle of violence.’ There’s only one side that is instigating violence and attacking Israelis for no reason other than the fact that they are Jews living in their historic homeland,” he stated.
Danon, who previously served as a minister in the Israeli government and as head of the World Likud, also made a point to declare, “We will not allow an international presence on Har Habayit – The Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is the heart of Jerusalem – our eternal and united capital.”
Ambassador Ron Dermer, who received the Dr. Bob Shillman Award for Outstanding Pro-Israel Diplomacy, delivered the keynote address. At the start of his speech, the Israeli Ambassador turned to Klein – an outspoken critic of the Obama administration – and quipped, “I have one request: every once and a while you need to get off the fence and tell the people what you really think – enough of this wishy-washiness back and forth.”
In his 30-minute speech, Dermer decried the world’s double standard when it comes to condemning terrorism directed at Israelis and its confusion in confronting ISIS and Islamic terrorism.
“Now that you’ve watched some of the 24/7news coverage, here is my question to all of you: by a show of hands, how many of you think the world has finally woken up? How many of you think the international community will now have the clarity to successfully prosecute this war and win it?” he asked the crowd. But no hands went up. “Zero, zero,” he joyously declared. “Well, I share your skepticism. Instead of clarity I see confusion – confusion over the nature of the enemy and confusion over the nature of terrorism.”
“The enemy has a name: it’s called Militant Islam. It’s not militant, it’s not Islam; it’s Militant Islam,” Dermer continued. “[But] it is not only important to define the enemy, it is important to defeat the enemy. And, once again, here I see confusion and [lack of] clarity. The main weapon of militant Islam today is terrorism, and to defeat them we must ensure that this weapon is neutralized. But to neutralize that weapon we must identify it. Terrorism is the deliberate targeting of non-combatants and is not defined by the identity of the perpetrator. Terrorism is an immoral weapon no matter what the circumstances… To counter them we need a moral antidote, we need moral outrage, and we need to deny terrorists any moral legitimacy for their actions… And here is where the world has totally and utterly failed.”
The Israeli Ambassador stressed that the world’s confusion is mostly notable with the “shameful treatment” of Israel. “Imagine what would happen if the international community said that the murderers in Paris and the French army in Syria were part of a ‘cycle of violence’ that had to stop,” he asserted. “Imagine what would happen if the UN Secretary General asked the French president and ISIS to act with restraint and work to restore calm.”
“The test … is not how [the world] responds to the terror attacks in Paris. It’s how it responds to the terror attacks in Jerusalem,” Dermer said. Adding, “When I see the Eiffel Tower lit up with Israeli Blue and White after a terror attack in Israel, then I will now that the world [has woken up and] finally gets it.”
Closing the evening was ZOA President Morton Klein. “We at ZOA will never be the ‘Sha! Shtil!’ (Hush! Quiet!) Jews of silence of the past,” he declared. “ZOA will blow, and blow, and blow its horn for the Jewish people of Israel.”
This article was published by Jewish Journal and may be found here.