January 31, 2017
ZOA in the news

Florida Paper: ZOA’s Klein Speaks Against UN Resolution at Florida Synagogues

The Zionist Organization of America’s National President Morton Klein recently visited South Florida where he condemned what he believes is an anti-Semitic United Nations Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements.

UNSC Resolution 2334, adopted on Dec. 23, 2016, states that Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders. The resolution passed with 14-0 vote by members of the U.N. Security Council, with the United States abstaining from voting. Klein has also condemned then-President Barack Obama‘s decision not to veto the resolution.

Klein discussed the topic, “UN Anti-Semitic Resolution: What Happened? Why? What Now?” during a Shabbaton at Temple Menorah in Miami Beach from Jan. 13-14. He also served as scholar-in-residence at Palm Beach Synagogue on Dec. 24.

Klein told congregants at Temple Menorah that the resolution is “quite serious” and that Jewish communities in several areas in Israel are now considered illegal.

Sharona Whisler, executive director for ZOA’s Florida Chapter, said that Klein is addressing communities on the topic of the recent UN resolution while explaining its significance during his presentations.

“The resolution falsely states that all of Judea and Samaria (official Israeli phrase for the West Bank, but excluding East Jerusalem) and eastern Jerusalem are occupied Palestinian territory,” Whisler noted. “The word Judea comes from the word Jews, because it is the land of the Jews. Clearly the UN is not in the business of historical accuracy and this puts up significant roadblocks and setbacks when it comes to peace for Israel.”

Whisler continued, “Mr. Klein shared that the Zionist Organization of America had warned that former President Barack Obama may put Israel in this compromising position by not vetoing the resolution.”

“Unfortunately, as is often the case, ZOA was alone in making this prediction. Audiences are getting the background of what led up to this predicament and why it happened. Of course, ZOA hopes that by providing insight, analysis, and proposes action, we can increase our support so that our messages will be heeded.”

Klein told congregants at Temple Menorah that the resolution is “quite serious” and that Jewish communities in several areas in Israel are now considered illegal.

“Jews are considered not permitted to live there [Israeli areas he mentioned],” Klein explained. “You can really say that now 700,000 Jews have been deemed criminals and there can even been potential action taken against them there and even the leaders of Israel for perpetrating what is now considered illegal. It also says we have to reverse the trend of the communities, meaning we have to throw the Jews out.”

Klein asserted that this resolution allows and promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. He also mentioned legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to fully or partially defund the UN if they don’t reverse this resolution.

“This is very important,” Klein said. “This could force the UN to try to rescind it if this legislation passes.”

While many in the Jewish community criticized the Obama administration for not vetoing the resolution, the organization J Street, which describes itself as the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, welcomed the U.S. abstention in a press release issued on Dec. 23. The organization stated that the administration’s decision “reaffirms the need for a two-state solution and calls for a halt to actions by both sides that serve to undermine the prospects for peace.” It also stated that the resolution “is consistent with longstanding bipartisan American policy, which includes strong support for the two-state solution, and clear opposition to irresponsible and damaging actions, including Palestinian incitement and terror and Israeli settlement expansion and home demolitions.”

However, in the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of top ten worst global anti-Semitic/anti-Israel incidents in 2016, the UN erasing Jewish history was no. 1. According to the list’s description, the most stunning UN attack on Israel last year was facilitated by Obama when the U.S. abstained on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for settlement construction.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean and head of social action, was in town last week where he spoke at an event in Deerfield Beach. In a phone interview while in South Florida, Cooper said this decision to abstain violated not only American Jewish policy under previous presidents, but also Obama’s own.

“Unfortunately for whatever reason, Obama made this 180-degree turn, and it does not serve peace and we are grateful that President Donald Trump has indicated he has no intention of following this kind of path and we hope that maybe he has some new ideas about getting things started in terms of peace for the Middle East.”

Cooper concluded, “Right now the path to peace in the holy land will not run through the United Nations. We hope and pray that maybe it will be through Washington. We all have to wait and see what develops in the next few weeks and months.”