Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
Whenever I’ve asked AIPAC’s top leadership why AIPAC took certain positions or remained silent on issues that were important to Israel’s rights or security, AIPAC’s leadership always stated to me that AIPAC supported those positions that the Israeli government supported. That’s why, AIPAC explained, they reversed course from opposing negotiations with terrorist Yasser Arafat to supporting it and the Oslo Accords, and supporting the unilateral expulsion of Jews from their homes in Gaza and a Palestinian State.
AIPAC’s leaders have given the same explanation to board members and others. Yet AIPAC has not supported the Taylor Force Act (Senate Bill S. 474; House bill H.R. 1164), which conditions U.S. aid to Palestinian Authority (approximately $500 million each year) on the PA ending its practice of spending $355 million/year on large pensions to Arab terrorists and families of terrorists who murder Jews or Americans on a visit to Israel. The PA also gives top PA government jobs to these killers when they leave prison.
Additionally, AIPAC does not support the right of Jews to live anywhere in Judea/Samaria, which Israel does support. AIPAC even refused to support releasing Jonathan Pollard from prison. (AIPAC simply refused to take a position on these two issues.) AIPAC also remained silent about the prospect of anti-Israel Cong. Keith Ellison becoming the Chair of the Democratic National Committee and numerous other anti-Israel people being confirmed to important posts. AIPAC didn’t speak up in support of pro-Israel attorney David Friedman becoming U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
Accordingly, the ZOA urges AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) to join ZOA in supporting two vitally important matters that Israel clearly strongly supports: (1) The Taylor Force Act, and (2) the right of Jews to live in Judea/Samaria. Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer confirmed that Israel strongly supports these two matters, during his eloquent speech at the CUFI (Christians United for Israel) Annual Washington D.C. Summit to Honor Israel on Monday evening (July 17).
Supporting Israel’s rights to Judea/Samaria is especially important today in light of anti-Israel groups’ efforts to falsely brand Israel as a “foreign occupier.”
And Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who sponsored the Taylor Force Act in the Senate (along with 15 bi-partisan Senate co-sponsors thus far) correctly noted that the Taylor Force Act is a “moral imperative.” The House version of the Taylor Force Act, sponsored by Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), has garnered 76 House co-sponsors thus far.
At CUFI, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, on behalf of the Israeli government, clearly and adamantly declared that Israel supports the Taylor Force Act, saying:
“Fake news always ignores the poison that has been taught, preached, and broadcast to a generation of young Palestinians since the Oslo Accords were signed 25 years ago. Fake news refuses to expose the Palestinian glorification of terrorists, the naming of public squares after mass-murderers, and the ghoulish practice of the Palestinian Authority paying a lifetime salary to terrorists who murder Jews.
“Now that members of Congress, led by Senator Lindsey Graham, are actually trying to do something about this ghoulish practice by passing the Taylor Force Act, the purveyors of fake news don’t quit. Just three days ago this was the fake news headline of a Reuters story: ‘Israel Frets Over Congress Push to Slash Palestinian Aid Over Terror Payments.’
“Fret? Ladies and gentlemen, I’m the ambassador of Israel to the United States, so my job is to speak for Israel in the United States. And I can assure you that Israel is not the slightest bit concerned that the Taylor Force Act will pass. Israel would be concerned if the Taylor Force Act didn’t pass.
“Israel believes that the United States should end economic assistance to any government that pays people to kill Jews. Period.” (Video, starting at minute 1:21:50)
AIPAC’s “Revised Bill” Excuse:
The Jerusalem Post reported a few days ago that AIPAC now says regarding the Taylor Force Act that AIPAC “is working toward a revised bill that would attract bipartisan support.” AIPAC’s statement is both troubling and puzzling because the current bill already has broad bi-partisan support. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-VA) has joined many Republicans as a co-sponsor. Also, numerous members of Congress have personally told me that if the Taylor Force Act came to a vote as is, it would pass overwhelmingly, with every Republican vote and with many votes of Democrats who are not official co-sponsors. Moreover, “bi-partisan” support is not needed for this much-needed bill to pass.
AIPAC’s “revised bill” could water down the bill in such a way that it would gut the entire impact and purpose of the Taylor Force Act. A “revised” bill could continue hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. payments to the PA (supposedly designated for other purposes), even if the PA continues to make its “pay to slay” payments. Since money is fungible, such a “revised” bill would enable the PA to continue using U.S. tax dollars to “incentivise and reward” Palestinian terrorists who murder Jews, Israelis and Americans.
Attracting unneeded additional “bipartisan” votes or sponsors is not a good reason for weakening the Taylor Force Act’s effectiveness. All payments to the PA need to be cut in order to stop the PA from using $355 million/year of American tax dollars to reward Arabs to murder and maim innocent Jews and Americans.
AIPAC Should Finally Tell Congress They Support the Right of Jews to Live In Judea/Samaria
During his speech at CUFI, Israeli Ambassador Dermer also eloquently affirmed that Judea and Samaria is the Jewish people’s home. It’s time for AIPAC to join ZOA in likewise affirming the Jewish people’s rights to Judea/Samaria and support the Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria.
Ambassador Dermer said:
“Dealing with fake news is bad enough. But Israel also has to deal with fake history. Two weeks ago, UNESCO voted that the Cave of the Patriarchs was a Palestinian Heritage Site. . . . The place where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried has been declared a Palestinian Heritage Site. That’s funny. I could have sworn that when Jacob was blessed after wrestling with the angel, he was given the name ‘Israel,’ not ‘Palestine.’ [Audience cheers.] What a complete and utter joke.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Palestinian leaders and their fellow travelers falsify history because they know that even the smallest kernel of truth will collapse the entire edifice of lies they have painstakingly built to justify their ongoing war against Israel. To them, the Jewish people are colonialist occupiers who stole their land. To them, we are modern crusaders, who like the previous crusaders, will eventually be forced to leave. But in Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not occupiers. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are home. [Audience cheers.] This is the land where our patriarchs prayed, our prophets preached, and our kings ruled. This is the land where Abraham bound Isaac atop Mount Moriah; where David felled Goliath, and where Jeremiah prophesied destruction and redemption.
“My friends, the people of Israel have been fighting fake news and fake history for a long time. Once we were falsely accused of blood libels; today we are falsely accused of war crimes. Once we were condemned well poisoners; today we are condemned as foreign occupiers. But just as Israel persevered despite those ancient lies, I am fully confident that Israel will persevere in the face of today’s lies, and that our future will be brighter than ever.” [Audience cheers.] (Video, starting at minute 1:29:45.)