Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chairman Mark Levenson, Esq. released the following statement:
ZOA urges Joe Biden to retract his profuse praise of extremist anti-Israel J Street and to reject J Street’s and far-left Israel-bashing socialist Senator Bernie Sanders’ endorsements. ZOA also urges Biden to retract his anti-Israel video remarks at AIPAC last month, condemning and threatening Jewish communities and lawful Israeli sovereignty in Judea-Samaria. (Biden failed to attend AIPAC in person.)
Biden’s remarks and embrace of these radical endorsements do great harm to bipartisan support for Israel.
Inappropriately, during his pre-recorded video remarks at AIPAC, former Vice President Joe Biden demanded that Israel “has to stop the threats of annexation and settlement activity, like the recent announcement to build thousands of settlements in E1.” Biden was actually condemning Jewish communities in historic, lawful Jewish lands, and the possibility that, after years of delay, Israel might finally exercise her lawful sovereignty rights and build 3,500 much-needed Jewish apartment units in “E-1.” E-1 is a small patch of land, essential for Israel’s security, between Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives and the Jewish suburb of Ma’Aleh Adumim. It is also important to note that Israel has not built a single new settlement since the Oslo Accord in 1993.
In his AIPAC video, Biden moreover falsely and absurdly claimed that such Jewish homes and Israel’s assertions of her lawful rights would “choke off any hope for peace”; “tak[e] Israel further from its democratic values”; and “undermine” U.S. support for Israel, especially among youth. In fact, the real impediments to peace are that the Arabs refuse to accept Israel within any borders, and that the Palestinian Authority continues to pay Arabs to murder Jews, and constantly glorifies Jew-killers.
Furthermore, it is threats and language such as Biden’s AIPAC statement that undermines support for Israel.
Jews building homes isn’t “undemocratic.” Israel’s right to exercise sovereignty over historic Jewish lands guaranteed to the Jewish people under international law isn’t “undemocratic.”
It is Biden’s statements that are undemocratic, and downright discriminatory. For instance, under the human rights laws of the state where Biden attended Syracuse Law School (New York), it is prohibited housing discrimination to demand that Jews cannot live in any neighborhood. (See, e.g., N.Y. Exec. Law, Art. 15, § 296.5.)
It is moreover disgraceful that Biden embraced J Street’s endorsement, saying: “I’m honored to have earned J Street’s first-ever presidential endorsement,” and, absurdly and obscenely, praised J Street as “a powerful voice to advance social justice.”
J Street’s sordid history includes: condemning Israel at every turn; lobbying for anti-Israel United Nations resolutions; promoting the lie that the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem are “occupied Arab territory”; lobbying for the U.S. to pressure Israel to make suicidal concessions; regularly providing platforms to leaders of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement; opposing sanctions on Iran; promoting the catastrophic Iran deal (which Biden thanked J Street for, during Biden’s 2016 J Street speech); justifying Arab terror attacks; opposing moving the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s capital Jerusalem; raising money to unseat pro-Israel Congresspersons and to elect hostile-to-Israel Congresspersons; lying for years about the anti-Israel radical George Soros’ millions in financial support for J Street; and much more.
And, as liberal Democratic Professor Alan Dershowitz stated, “J Street has done more to turn young people against Israel than any organization in the whole of history.” (For details, see ZOA’s online book, “J Street Sides With Israel’s Enemies & Works to Destroy Support for Israel.”)
It’s also alarming that, during their joint endorsement video: Biden told Sanders “I’m going to need you not just to win the campaign but to govern”; revealed that the Israel/bashing Sanders’ and Biden’s teams are working together on policy including foreign policy and frighteningly assured Sanders “I promise you I will not let you down.”
Senator Sanders’ anti-Israel history includes: declaring that the U.S. should divert military aid earmarked for Israel, to instead give funds to Hamas-run Gaza (stated during Sanders’ speech at J Street’s conference); calling Israel’s prime minister “racist” – while refusing to condemn Palestinian Authority (PA) dictator Mahmoud Abbas’s incitement of terror against Jews and Christians and payments to terrorists to murder Jews and Americans; employing hostile-to-Israel staffers such as Israel-hater Linda Sarsour; legitimizing antisemitism by praising Jew-hating Ilhan Omar as “one of the greatest people I know”; and repeatedly perpetrating false, anti-Israel blood libels that Israel killed thousands of innocents in Gaza.
We urge Joe Biden to turn back from and abandon this divisive, anti-Israel, J Street-Sanders path.