At an elegant gala in New York City last night, the Center for Security Policy was proud to confer awards on two extraordinary men: Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, who received the 2016 Freedom Flame, and Zionist Organization of America Communities President Morton Klein who received the 2016 Keeper of the Flame award.
Amb. Dermer was warmly introduced to the 220 attendees by Judge Jeanine Pirro, currently the host of the highly rated Fox News program, “Justice with Judge Jeanine.” David Horowitz Freedom Center Senior Fellow and Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick provided a videotaped introduction and tribute to Mr. Klein.
Both men used the occasion to make remarks that were powerful, memorable and moving. Amb. Dermer brilliantly discussed the threats posed to freedom in his country, in the United States and globally by “militant Islam.” He warned in particular of the peril posed to liberty if freedom of speech is suppressed by those like the “Orwellian” Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) – a group he acknowledged once admiring for its defense of First Amendment liberties, but now condemns for its role in abridging them.
The Ambassador noted that the SPLC had demanded that he not accept the Center’s award, a demand echoed by a number of Jewish, media and Islamist organizations. To his great credit, and the delight of the audience, Amb. Dermer spurned those efforts to suppress his speech. Instead, he delivered a scathing critique of those who malign fellow freedom-fighters like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dr. Daniel Pipes and the Center for Security Policy for their informed, fact-based warnings about militant Islam.
For his part, Mort Klein exhibited the formidable intellect, rhetorical skills and passion that have made him for the past twenty-three years as ZOA president, the bane of freedom’s foes and a true Keeper of the Flame. In his remarks, Mr. Klein served notice that the Obama administration must not be allowed, on its way out the door, to make one last effort at the United Nations to delegitimate America’s most important ally in the Middle East and, arguably worldwide: Israel. Should that occur, he called for Congress immediately to enact legislation cutting off U.S. funding for the UN and the Palestinian Authority.
Center for Security Policy President Frank J. Gaffney, who served as Master of Ceremonies for last night’s “Flames Dinner,” observed:
The Center was enormously gratified by the opportunity to recognize Amb. Ron Dermer and Mort Klein. We look forward to working with both men and the new Trump administration to revitalize the U.S.-Israel strategic alliance – and to thwart the efforts of all enemies, foreign and domestic, to suppress or otherwise subvert the freedoms our two nations revere.