Israeli PM Bennett, Secy. Pompeo, Miri Adelson & More at Extraordinary ZOA Gala – Thousands Watched
News Press Release
December 22, 2021

[Full transcript of Morton Klein’s Dr. Shillman Lecture and full Gala video available below.]

Thousands watched the extraordinary Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Virtual Superstar Gala featuring Israeli PM Naftali Bennett, former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Global philanthropist and distinguished physician Dr. Miri Adelson, ZOA Chair and civil rights lawyer David I. Schoen, ZOA President Morton A. Klein, honorees Rubin Margules and Gloria Kaylie, and many more.

The many highlights of Sunday night’s gala included:

Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett received ZOA’s Myron Zimmerman Award and an impressive and stirring welcome from distinguished businessman and philanthropist Henry Schwartz. Prime Minister Bennett highly praised ZOA and our activists, saying: 

My long and close friendship with your leaders and activists is a source of great pride. Since its founding, ZOA has been a staunch defender and supporter of the State of Israel. With remarkable clarity, I’ve seen you raise your voices countless times to point out the unjust treatment Israel receives in the international arena.

Prime Minister Bennett then spoke out strongly against Iran’s relentless plots against the State of Israel and the Jewish people; opposed a return to the catastrophic Iran deal; and spoke out about Iran’s nuclear violations and the need for, and the real effectiveness of, increasing sanctions. The Prime Minister also spoke out against the terrorist dictatorship of the Palestinian Authority’s continuing payments of lifetime pensions to Arabs to murder Jews, and lawfare targeting against Jewish soldiers at the ICC. The Prime Minister stated:

I’m here to say to them [the ayatollahs] that under my leadership, Iranian aggression will be met with the full weight of Israel’s force. . . . Iran is closer to becoming a nuclear threshold state than ever before. I’m against a return to the JCPOA [the 2015 Iran deal] because it has many flaws, and ultimately the benefits are much lower than the downside. I urge the Americans and Europeans to take this matter to the UN Security Council, to act. I call on them to double down on applying tough financial sanctions. We know that these measures work. Iran only understands force. They are much more vulnerable than they seem and displays of force greatly impact them.

At the end of the day, though, I have not, and will not hesitate to act, even alone.

Iran is sending unimaginable amounts of money to fund their proxy terror groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and, of course, in Gaza, and Judea and Samaria.

Gaza is no different. With Hamas and Islamic Jihad destroying any hope of prosperity for the people living there. When Israel uprooted over 8,000 Israeli citizens and left Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians could have chosen to turn the enclave into Singapore. Nothing was stopping them. Yet, here we are, 16 years later, with thousands and thousands of Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad’s rockets targeting Israeli civilians.

He concluded with more praise for the ZOA:

Having friends like you helps Israel succeed in the optimal conditions, and we’re truly grateful to have you on our side. Just as you have our back, we have yours. The eternal people are not afraid of a long path.

Dr. Miriam Adelson – global philanthropist, renowned physician and dear friend – introduced former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, winner of the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Defender of Israel Award. Dr. Adelson spoke movingly about her beloved late husband and soulmate Sheldon Adelson, and how he would have “loved to have been at the ZOA gala:” For him, there was no question that supporting the ZOA was the right thing to do, the necessary thing to do. The ZOA and he were a natural match. Like Sheldon, the ZOA is proudly American, and proud to promote the principles and spirit of the most deserving of U.S. allies, the State of Israel. Like Sheldon, the ZOA stands up for what it believes in, even if it means standing alone. And the exact same thing is true of our honored guest, Mike Pompeo.

We all join Dr. Adelson in wishing that her beloved husband Sheldon were here. He would have been so proud of how beautifully Dr. Adelson is continuing this wonderful couple’s tremendous endeavors for the Jewish people.

Dr. Adelson continued her magnificent introduction of Secretary Pompeo: 

Service to this great United States is in Mike’s DNA. He distinguished himself as a U.S. Army soldier, Congressman, as Director of the CIA, and as President Trump’s Secretary of State. And just like the Biblical angel, Michael, who he is named after, he has always fought for what is right and righteous. Mike knows that the United States is strongest when it stands by its friends, and he knows that it has no better friend than Israel. When real friendship is demonstrated, it draws in others. Witness how Arab countries lined up to establish relations with Israel under Mike’s watch. The Abraham Accords were the first Middle East peace deal in a quarter century. And a huge boost for America’s international prestige. When real friendship is demonstrated, evil-doers are weakened. Witness how Iran’s militias were weakened by the strong stance that the Trump administration took, and which Mike enunciated at every opportunity. When real friendship is demonstrated, the truth shines forth. Witness how Mike worked to set the historical record straight about Israel’s rights to the ancient Jewish homeland, whether in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, or the Golan Heights. And even out of office, he continues to speak up, to stand up, to show up for the Jewish people’s rights to self-determination. That, ladies and gentlemen, is true friendship.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warmly thanked Dr. Adelson and ZOA for the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Defender of Israel Award. Secretary Pompeo also voiced how, while we all miss Sheldon, Dr. Miriam Adelson has continued Sheldon’s great work. Secretary Pompeo told ZOA and everyone at the gala “Your work and support of Israel has never been more important.” He worried that the world is turning its back on Israel more and more today. “Never again must mean never again, without conditions.”

Secretary Pompeo’s phenomenal speech then recounted the Trump administration’s remarkable pro-Israel accomplishments, their dangerous erosion today, and the unity of American and Israeli patriotism; and reaffirmed Jewish state’s right to all of the land of Israel, including Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and reaffirmed that “anti-Zionism is indeed antisemitism,” as follows:

I was in Israel just a few weeks ago. I was speaking at a conference, continuing the work of ensuring Israel’s security. You know, every time I travel to Israel, I’m always overwhelmed by the country and its people. I’m also reminded why it’s so important that we stand with Israel.

There’s no more important task of a secretary of state than standing with Israel. We know what happens when the world turns its back on Israel and her people. I worry this is happening more and more today. Never again must literally mean never again. Not maybe. Not with any conditions.

And I’m proud. I’m proud of the record we had of standing with Israel.

You know, I became the first secretary of state ever to visit the Western Wall with an Israeli prime minister. It was an enormous privilege. I had the privilege too to visit our embassy in the eternal capital of the Jewish State, Jerusalem.

We were told in the administration, ‘You can’t end the terrible Iran deal because it will make it more likely that there’d be war and that Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon.’ But we ended our participation in that terrible deal. We applied maximum economic pressure to Iran and to its leadership. And we brought Iran to its knees.

We were told, ‘You can’t move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, there’ll be war.’ Well, we did. And there wasn’t.

We were told, too, that ‘you can’t secure peace between Arab nations and Israel without buying off Palestinian kleptocrats and starting World War III.’ Well, we did forge real peace and there was no war. The Abraham Accords rewrote decades of failed shuttle negotiations because we were willing to go against the elites of the foreign policy establishment to secure American freedom and to champion American values.

You know, we were told, ‘You can’t allow Israel to have its rights in Judea and Samaria and in the Golan Heights. If you do that, there’ll be war.’ Well, we did. And there wasn’t.

And ridding the world of Qasem Soleimani meant much to the security of Israel. We defended Israel. And we changed the Middle East forever.

Israel, alone among all the countries of this region, defends the rights of its citizens from all backgrounds. These principles make our nations exceptional, and will always be worth fighting for. Period.

It’s no wonder, then, that Israel and America find themselves bound together, in the eyes of both our friends and of our enemies.

U.S. support for Israel is a perfect expression of American patriotism. It’s because it demonstrates our ability to recognize and defend our own democratic interests and our values with absolute moral clarity. Israel teaches us that we cannot long remain the land of the free if we don’t proactively make sure to be a home of those who are patriots.

I’m also aware of the role that I can play in confronting the classic antisemitic accusation of dual loyalty that confronts Jews around the world. In this sense, Israel is not alone, and our interests in supporting Israel are one and the same.

The pro-Israel accomplishments we’ve worked so hard to achieve in recent years are coming under attack by this administration. And it’s up to each and every one of us to stand up to them. Antisemitism is on the rise, and it’s up to us to speak out against it. I believe strongly in our support for Israel because of our Judeo-Christian heritage. And I’m proud of the tough choices we made to support Israel.

But I see them today being eroded, relatively quickly. Consider Judea and Samaria, rightful territories of Israel. Over 80% of Judeo-Christian heritage sites lie in this small region, from the time the 12 tribes settled, now 3,000 years ago. It’s a narrow highland stretch where the patriarchs lived. I’m talking about cites like Bethlehem and Hebron, Jericho and Jerusalem, and so many others. Judea and Samaria is the same territory that some have in recent decades renamed the West Bank, as part of their demand for the creation of a 23rd Arab Islamic state. This all takes place in the context of a Middle East where their Arab brothers already control more than 500 times the area as Israel. The East Bank that connects to the West Bank is the country of Jordan, a territory 3 times the size of Israel, 80% of whose population self-identity as part of the Arab bloc, that officially took the name ‘Palestinians’ only in 1964.

You know, often when an international leader talks about Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria, we hear them accuse our ally Israel of occupation, and of illegal settlement. President Obama and Secretary Clinton did this repeatedly.  And so has the new Biden administration. Even though these legal terms are just a casual way of calling the Jewish State of Israel a thief in essence, they use it. In turn, we see at the United Nations, institutions, and in the media and political circles, how these accusations are used to launch all manner of hostile misrepresentations and condemnations. They do this to encourage antisemitic boycotts against the Jewish state, to suppress religious freedom for Jews and Christians at their ancestral heritage sites. And they do it to justify acts of terrorism and mass murder.

But is there really any legal truth to the accusation that Israel is occupying Palestinian land? You all know, the answer is absolutely not.

Many nations, and even past U.S. administrations, labeled Israelis as ‘occupiers’ of the land that is rightfully theirs, justifying the murder of Jews, the rejection of our Judeo-Christian heritage, or even in the denial of the right of the nation of Israel to exist.

One of my priorities as Secretary of State was to set the record straight, as a matter of fact and as a matter of law. And so, as Secretary of State, I proudly directed to put the hurtful lie of occupation to rest within our Department of State, as part of a factual – strictly factual – and legal policy stance, that has become known to some as the Pompeo Doctrine. It makes clear that Israel exists within its present territory, with legal title and sovereign legitimacy, as a matter of international law. This includes the most important city in the history of the world, Jerusalem. And all of Jerusalem belongs to Israel and should not be divided.  

The bottom line is that Israel is not an occupier and the hundreds of thousands of Jews and Christians who call Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem home, have a perfectly legitimate right to live there, in safety under Israeli sovereignty.

But you can see this today, the Biden administration is now preparing to reverse the Pompeo Doctrine, to once again suggest somehow that the Jewish State of Israel is an illegal occupier, that Jewish and Christian heritage there is illegitimate, and to pressure Israel into territorial concessions that threaten the free access and freedom of worship of many faithful pilgrims. We can’t allow that to happen. We can’t allow the current administration to reverse the historic change, the historic progress, we brought to the Middle East.

When we stand with Israel, we’re defending our own, America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. That’s why we must always stand with Israel.

And that’s why we must also act to reject antisemitism at home and around the world. Religious liberty is a fundamental value for our people and for our nation. And it’s because I’m a champion of religious freedom that I’m here today to tell you that the United States must stand with the Jewish people in the fight against the world’s oldest bigotry: antisemitism

Even more alarming, I must say, is that the world’s oldest bigotry has found a new expression. People will say ‘I’m not antisemitic; I’m just anti-Zionist.’ Friends, let me go on record again: Anti-Zionism is indeed antisemitism. We must oppose it unequivocally. And we must fight it relentlessly.

The nation of Israel should be admired – not attacked; embraced – not vilified. It should be emulated – not ostracized. This is straightforward.

So today, let’s let us renew our commitment to putting America and Israel, and our values, first. Because when we put them first, we prosper, and the whole world around us prospers too. There’s more peace. When America leads from the front, and not from behind, we are a better nation. I was proud to lead in the fight, in the defense of Israel, the Jewish people, and the perennial cause of religious liberty. You should know that I’m going to continue to do so. If we devote ourselves to this mission, if we devote ourselves to what we know is right, we’ll preserve that which matters most.

I pray that G-d will continue to bless you, that G-d will bless Israel, and G-d will bless the United States of America. Thank you all.

Dr. Bob Shillman ZOA National Vice President and major high-tech entrepreneur – warmly introduced ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, who then gave the Dr. Bob Shillman lecture. Dr. Shillman lauded Mort Klein’s transformation from an accomplished academician into a Jewish warrior; Mort’s courage and outspokenness on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people at ZOA; Mort’s fearlessness in calling out blatant antisemites and defamers of Israel such as Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and the Black Lives Matter organization – even when certain others vilify Mort for doing so; and Mort’s transformation of ZOA into a “high profile outspoken organization that is known for taking on any and all groups that challenge the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.”  

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein warmly welcomed all of ZOA’s dear friends, guests and honorees. Mr. Klein spoke about the Jewish people’s rights to their eternal capital and holy city Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria; ZOA’s efforts to pass the Jerusalem Embassy Act and relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem; pro-Israel advances under the Trump administration, which the Biden administration is backtracking on; the Biden administration’s efforts to open a divisive, unlawful consulate for Palestinian Arabs in the heart of Jerusalem; the ZOA’s strong campaign against the consulate; other major groups’ failures to speak publicly about consulate; the Biden administration’s efforts to rejoin the catastrophic Iran deal; the Biden administration’s anti-Israel appointees; failures to speak out about antisemites in Congress; and the need to speak out against the anti-Israel lies and blood libels that promote antisemitism. Mr. Klein also provided hope that the Jewish people will prevail over all of these challenges.


A transcript of Mr. Klein’s highly-praised Dr. Bob Shillman lecture is available at the end of this press release.  

Yaakov Hagoel, the Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, introduced and strongly praised ZOA Brandeis Award honoree Rubin Margules for Rubin’s activism, and incredible volunteer work on Israel’s behalf, including assisting Israeli soldiers. Chairman Hagoel also praised ZOA, stating: 

For 125 years, the ZOA has been at the forefront of Zionist activity, in the world in general, and in the United States in particular. All the distinguished people of the ZOA are people of action, who dedicate their energy and time for the people of Israel and the land of Israel.

Chairman Hagoel also praised Morton Klein and ZOA’s work to double their voice in Israel’s national institutions (the World Zionist Congress, etc.); to stop the opening of a U.S. consulate for Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem that would infringe on Israeli sovereignty over her capital city; and to support settling Judea, Samaria and the Golan. 

Rubin Margules graciously and humbly accepted his award “on behalf of all of you.” Rubin praised ZOA President Morton Klein, his fellow and past ZOA honorees, and ZOA staff member Howard Katzoff, Esq., who has played an important role in the ZOA program that Rubin has led for 20 years, to bring tens of thousands of beautiful Purim gift baskets to Israeli soldiers, with notes of thanks from American children. Rubin spoke about how Hanukkah, which just passed, is the story of the Jewish people’s spirit, the few against the many, who won this time. It is the story of the ZOA, which helped reestablish the nation state for the Jewish people.

ZOA President Morton Klein proudly presented ZOA’s Mortimer Zuckerman Award for Outstanding Jewish Philanthropy to his friend and very special Jewish soul, philanthropist Gloria Kaylie. Mr. Klein spoke warmly of Gloria Kaylie’s and her late husband Harvey Kaylie’s love of Israel and Torah Judaism, beautiful family, and caring, loving hearts. The Kaylies gave millions every year to Jewish causes, including Jewish education; synagogues; Chabad; social services and healthcare in Israel; Hatzoleh; Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services; and the fabulous Camp Kaylie; in addition to their deeply appreciated support to the ZOA.

Gloria Kaylie spoke of how very proud she was that she and her late husband were honored by Mort and ZOA. She explained:

You do know I’m very committed to Israel and Judaism. I worry about both. I do rest a little easier with you at ZOA behind us and in front of us. You say how it is, loud and clear. I’ve known Mort for more than 20 years. He has never let anyone or anything get in the way of doing the right thing. They defend Israel and push the truth when all the lies are flooding the media and our government. We have big times ahead of us, and antisemitism and anti-Israel lies. But I must say, with you and ZOA, there is hope for the future.

ZOA’s Regional Honorees: Everyone at the gala also had the pleasure of hearing the heartwarming words of ZOA’s regional honorees: Pittsburgh honorees Ira Frank and Judy Kobell; Greater Philadelphia honorees Morton and Ruth Gleit and Dr. Marguerite Werrin z”l & Dr. Ronald Werrin; Florida honoree Dani Oppenheimer; and Michigan honorees Dr. Charles Greenberg (Jabotinsky Awardee) and Drs. Phoebe & Harris Mainster (Lifetime Achievement Awardee); and philanthropist Donald Lewin, who spoke of his blessed father Otto Lewin.

ZOA National Board Chair David I. Schoen, a renowned civil rights lawyer and lawyer to U.S. Presidents, spoke about what a privilege and pleasure it is to serve as the Chairman of the Board of the ZOA, an organization dedicated to fighting for truth and sharing the facts. Chairman Schoen eloquently noted that despite the increasing antisemitism around the world, physical attacks on college campuses and synagogues, and a harsh anti-Israel climate on Capitol Hill, ZOA is unafraid of a fight to expose the truth and to combat injustice wherever it occurs, even if it means standing alone – but we are not alone because of our supporters. We are strongest when we are together.

Chairman Schoen also mentioned a few of ZOA’s most recent campaigns, including loudly protesting against U.S. plans to open a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem, including placing large, visible banners on one of the city’s busiest highways and openly praising Congresspersons who sent a letter to Biden opposing the consulate; continuing efforts to prevent a nuclear Iran; publicly calling out leaders who remain silent about those who demonize Israel; fighting against teaching “opposing perspectives” on the Holocaust; and standing up against President Biden’s pressure to stop Jews from building in Judea and Samaria. 

Lisa Daftari – the well-known Iranian-born political analyst, news commentator, and campaigner against nuclear Iran – did a wonderful job as the ZOA gala emcee. Ms. Daftari applauded the ZOA for being “bold, brave and virtuous, and committed to fighting for truth,” and for “standing publicly and proudly” against a nuclear Iran and for the freedom of the Iranian people from the current dictatorial Iranian regime.  

ZOA thanks and appreciates our many friends and supporters who donated to ZOA and wrote beautiful messages of support in ZOA’s Virtual Gala Journal, and online during and after the gala, as well as all the ZOA staff members who worked so hard to make this such a successful event. Thank you to the Gala committee: Nancy Hollander, Alan Jay, Howard Katzoff, Michelle Klahr, Jackie Shafer, Kelly-Ann Brown, and Enid Roman. We also thank Kobi Erez, Steve Feldman, Sharona Whisler, Stuart Pavilack, Ravi Namakkal, Dan Pollak, John Rosen, Jonathan Ginsburg, Dan Illouz, Marlene Martov, Shoshana Munk, Dana Bar, Paul Basisty, and Lily Dillon.

TRANSCRIPT of the Dr. Bob Shillman Lecture by ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, after Mort warmly welcomed and thanked all of ZOA’s dear friends, guests, honorees and fellow Zionists from all over the world:

“Ever since the Zionist Organization of America was founded 124 years ago, the ZOA has been the leader in working for the recognition of the Jewish people’s rights to our homeland, Eretz Yisrael, and our eternal capital Jerusalem, and to protect the safety and security of Israel and the Jewish people, and to combat antisemitism.

“Unfortunately, our people’s achievements, and ZOA’s efforts to bring about these advances, have sometimes been reversed when governments or administrations backtracked or denied the Jewish people’s hard-won rights. Thus, after binding international legal agreements and treaties were enacted in the 1920’s, enshrining the Jewish people’s rights to immigrate, to resettle and reconstitute the Jewish homeland, Britain turned around and illegally slammed shut the doors to Israel, just at the moment when millions of Jews faced annihilation in Europe.

“In recent times, during the previous friendly administration, we had tremendous pro-Israel advances on issues that ZOA long fought for and continued to fight for. The Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; relocated the embassy there; recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan; and recognized that “settlements” – the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – are legal.

“The previous administration also ended the catastrophic nuclear Iran deal, which promoted a pathway to Iranian nuclear weapons; carried out a maximum pressure campaign that limited Iran’s funding of terrorism; and consistently supported Israel at the United Nations. They also imposed sanctions penalizing the International Criminal Court’s lawless, phony war crime investigations of Israel. They stopped funding the Palestinian Authority – which of course is a terrorist dictatorship that continues to pay terrorists to murder Jews and Americans. They stopped funding UNRWA – which teaches Arab children to aspire to kill Jews and hides rockets for Hamas; and they issued an executive order making real efforts to curb campus antisemitism.

“But we are now facing an administration that is moving to backtrack on some of these very important advances. We are at a critical moment when Israel and her leaders – and all of us who love Israel – must stand strong against what this administration is trying to do. The Biden administration is attempting to re-enter the catastrophic Iran deal; undermine Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Golan; and deny the Jewish people’s right to live and build in the Jewish heartlands of Judea and Samaria, while allowing the Palestinian Arabs to build there. The Biden administration also failed to oppose a recent dangerous anti-Israel UN resolution. They resumed funding the Palestinians and UNRWA. They lifted the ICC sanctions; and are failing to effectively address or even cite and condemn the antisemitism coming from the Squad and other Jew-haters in Congress, and from radical Muslim and left wing groups on college campuses and in our cities.”

[Jerusalem] “It’s fitting for us to first discuss Jerusalem, the eternal capital and holy city of the Jewish people. When the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple in Jerusalem and exiled much of Jerusalem’s Jewish population, the Jewish people prayed:

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not.

if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.

“For 2,000 years since the destruction of the Second Temple, Jews have continued to pray towards Jerusalem every day; remember the Temple’s destruction during our weddings; and exclaim B’Shana Ha’Ba-a B’Yerushalayim – Next Year in Jerusalem – on our holidays. Our holy book, the Torah, mentions Jerusalem 700 times.

“By contrast, Jerusalem is not holy to Muslims. Muslims pray towards Mecca – not Jerusalem, and never mention Jerusalem in their holy book, the Koran. Five centuries after Mohammed lived, Muslims claimed that Mohammed in a dream was transported to a mosque in Jerusalem one night, while he was simply dreaming. But there was no mosque in Jerusalem, so he could not have been going to Jerusalem, to a mosque there.

“And no Arab leader except the King of Jordan ever visited Jerusalem, when the Arabs controlled it from 1948 to 1967.

“And we must always remember, the majority of people living in Jerusalem, since at least the first census in 1840, were Jewish people. Few people realize that. 

“In the 1990’s, ZOA, together with our friends in Congress, led the fight for the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. For a while, we were the only organization fighting for that Act. This Act recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s re-united, undivided capital; and called for the U.S. embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act almost unanimously. Unfortunately, the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations still failed to move the embassy, as the Act required. I personally testified in Congressional hearings and continued to push for the embassy to be relocated, until the Trump administration finally did this in May 2018.

“Back in 1995, when he was a U.S. Senator, President Biden supported the Jerusalem Embassy Act, and eloquently spoke up for the Jewish people’s right to Jerusalem. I’ll read to you what Senator Biden said – reported in the official Congressional Record. It may surprise you, in light of what his administration is doing today. Senator Biden said: 

Those familiar . . . with the Jewish people know the central meaning that the ancient city of Jerusalem has for Jews everywhere. Time and again, empires have tried to sever the umbilical cord that unites Jews with their capital. They have destroyed the temple. They have banished the Jews from living in Jerusalem. They have limited the number of Jews allowed to immigrate to that city. And, finally, in this century, they tried simply to eliminate all the Jews. They may have succeeded . . . in destroying physical structures and lives. But they have never succeeded in wholly eliminating the Jewish presence in Jerusalemor in cutting the spiritual bond between Jews and their cherished capital. After the horrific events of the Holocaust, the Jewish people returned to claim what many rulers have tried to deny them for centuries: The right to peaceful existence in their own country in their own capital. How many of us,” said Biden, “can forget that poignant photograph of an unnamed Israeli soldier breaking down in tears and prayer as he reached the Western Wall after his army liberated the eastern half of the city in the Six Day War? Those tears told a story. A story of a people long denied their rightful place among nations. A people denied access to their most hallowed religious sites. A people who had finally, after long tribulation, come home.

“And as Biden then emphasized: ‘The only way there will be peace in the Middle East is for Arabs to know there is no division whatsoever between the United States and Israel. None, zero, none,’ Unquote, said Senator Joe Biden.

“But now, the Biden administration is pushing to open a consulate for Palestinian Arabs in the heart of Jerusalem – in western Jerusalem. Such a consulate would undermine Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. It violates the Jerusalem Embassy Act; and will likely result in violating the Oslo Accords, which prohibit the Palestinian Authority from engaging in foreign relations. The consulate is a diplomatic insult and danger to Israel and the Jewish people.

“Such a consulate for Palestinian Arabs would send a terrible message that Jerusalem does not really belong to Israel. The consulate would promote making Jerusalem the capital of an Iranian-proxy Palestinian Arab terrorist state; and promote dividing Israel’s eternal capital.

“The consulate would also reward and encourage the Fascist terrorist dictatorship of the Palestinian Authority, which is simply a terrorist regime, in continuing to pay terrorists to murder Jews, and to continuing to incite hatred against Jews. The Palestinian Authority terrorist dictator Mahmoud Abbas continues telling Muslims to ‘spill their blood to stop Jews’ and Christian’s filthy feet,’ says Abbas, ‘from defiling Jerusalem, from defiling the Temple Mount, from defiling the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.’ Why is this horrific action being rewarded?

“Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs, the U.S. cannot legally open such a consulate without Israel’s permission. It would be against international law. But the Biden administration has been trying to twist Israel’s arms to obtain such permission.

“In August, President Biden pushed for opening such a consulate during his summit meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Washington. The Biden administration is exerting pressure on Israel every week on this issue.

“ZOA is pushing back on this important issue. We at ZOA placed giant banners on the front of tall major buildings in Israel, in Jerusalem, stating ‘no to the consulate’ with pictures of the Kotel, the western wall. We at ZOA are speaking with government officials. We’ve sent out action alerts to our activists, held seminars, published op-eds, spoke out on TV and radio, and urged other Jewish groups to join our efforts.

“But no Jewish group has, I’m sorry to say. It pains me to say. Not AIPAC. Not the American Jewish Committee. Not the ADL. Not the Conference of Presidents. And not any of the other major groups have done so. We must urge them to do so, to support the Israeli government.

“When Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked visited the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations a few weeks ago, I personally asked her to speak about whether it would be important for American Jewish groups to speak out publicly against opening the consulate in Jerusalem. Minister Shaked strongly agreed, and said that Jewish groups must speak out publicly. She also clearly explained that Israel’s leadership – including Gideon Sa’ar, Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Bennett, and the Israeli people are all firmly opposed to the consulate. I’d like to ask everyone here who is also connected to other organizations, to ask those organizations, to ask your rabbis, to join the ZOA in speaking out publicly against opening this Palestinian Arab consulate in Yerushalaim.”

[Settlements]The Jewish people’s right to build in and live in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – so-called “settlements” – is another issue that the Biden administration is attempting to unravel.

“Judea and Samaria have been centers of Jewish life for thousands of years. Abraham and Sarah are buried here in Hebron. The Maccabees had their base here in Beit El. We are called ‘Jews’ because we are from Judea. ‘Jew’ is a contraction of the word ‘Judea.’ Today, approximately 500,000 Jews live in Judea and Samaria.

“The 1922 Mandate and surrounding binding international agreements and treaties – including treaties to which the United States is a party – guaranteed the Jewish people’s rights to settle and live and build in Judea and Samaria.

“In 2019, I’m proud to tell you, Secretary Pompeo publicly supported and acknowledged the Jewish people’s legal, religious, historical and political rights to live and build in Judea and Samaria. Former President Trump’s peace plan also acknowledged that Judea and Samaria is ‘territory to which Israel has asserted valid legal and historical claims, which are part of the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.’ Thank you, President Trump.

“Secretary Pompeo also reinforced the legality of these communities by himself visiting the Psagot winery, in Benjamin, Israel, in the Judean Hills near Jerusalem. I understand that the winery actually named one of its wines ‘Psagot Pompeo,’ in his honor and appreciation.

“But now, the Biden administration is undermining the Jewish people’s rights in Judea and Samaria. At the Biden-Bennett meeting in Washington in August, Biden also demanded that Israel should exercise ‘restraint’ regarding building in ‘settlements’ in Judea/Samaria and Jerusalem.

“But no restraint was requested on the Palestinians building. It wasn’t demanded at all by Biden. And their building goes on at ten times the rate of Israeli building. Biden’s demand that only Jews must curtail building homes in Jewish homelands – while Palestinian Arabs can build as they please – is blatant antisemitic discrimination, which would be illegal under numerous U.S. laws, including Florida’s and New York’s housing discrimination and human rights laws.

“Jewish building freezes and ‘restraints’ only whet Palestinian Arab leaders’ appetite for more unilateral Israeli concessions, thereby hindering the possibility of peace. In November of 2009, under pressure from the Obama-Biden administration, former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month building freeze. The freeze was supposed to jump-start Israeli-PA negotiations. Instead, PLO dictator Mahmoud Abbas refused to even meet, and he hasn’t negotiated for 12 years.

“Over 2,400 Israeli security and military professionals also explain that Israeli sovereignty and control over Judea and Samaria is essential for securing Israel’s defense.”

[Iran] “Another challenge is the Biden administration’s efforts to reinstate the catastrophic Iran deal. In 2015, ZOA helped organize massive protests in Washington and elsewhere against the Iran deal. We pointed out the deal’s fatal flaws. The deal lacks ‘anywhere, anytime inspections.’ It prohibits inspectors from entering Iran’s military facilities, which are likely used as places to promote the development of nuclear weapons. It has early sunset clauses. It lacks military [missile] restrictions. It allows Iran to continue running over 5,000 centrifuges and develop advanced centrifuges; and gave Iran $150 billion dollars which Iran used to increase its terror operations throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. It didn’t make them moderate, as Obama proclaimed. The deal’s temporary restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program are easily reversible. Side deals, uncovered by then-Congressman Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton, absurdly enabled Iran to collect its own samples to inspect.

“After the Iran deal went into effect, ZOA pointed out Iran’s violations of the deal, and urged its rescission. The treasure trove of documents that Israel’s daring agents seized from a warehouse in Teheran in 2018 proved that Iran’s nuclear weaponization program was far more extensive than anyone previously thought. The Trump administration finally ended U.S. participation in the deal, and imposed sanctions that effectively reduced Iran’s ability to fund its terror proxies around the world.

“The Biden administration’s efforts to re-enter the Iran deal are truly idiotic, and extremely dangerous. The efforts to woo Iran, such as turning a blind eye to Iran’s sales of oil to China, are enabling Iran to fund its terror and military operations.

“We must continue to work against this.”

[Antisemitism] “The final challenge that I’ll discuss is the growing scourge of antisemitism. ZOA praised President Biden for his inspiring words on the recent anniversary of the massacre of eleven innocent Jews at the synagogue called the Tree of Life. Biden stated, quote, ‘if we give hate oxygen, it can consume,’ and ‘We must always stand up and speak out against antisemitism with clarity and conviction, and rally against the forces of hate in all its forms, because silence is complicity,’ said Biden, so appropriately.

“But then we were compelled to ask the President, why has neither he, nor the Democratic Party, or leaders like Speaker Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Jim Clyman, Chuck Schumer, why have they not implemented Biden’s own important words by speaking out and condemning the antisemites in Congress? Why do they remain silent?

“Antisemitism is being given vast amounts of oxygen today by a frighteningly growing number of Jew-hating and Israel-hating members of Congress including Ilhan Omar; Rashida Tlaib; AOC; Betty McCollum; Mark Pocan, Cori Bush; Jamal Bowman; and others who promote legislation against the Jewish State of Israel; falsely accuse the Jewish state and her Jewish citizens of blood libels; and accuse American Jews of disloyalty and buying Congress.

“Most of these Jew-haters in Congress publicly support boycotting Israel, falsely call Israel ‘evil,’ and a racist apartheid state which practices ethnic cleansing against Palestinian Arabs. What rubbish. Some even justify Arab murderous riots, and openly honor Jew-killers, and stand next to Jew-killers who have escaped, and praise them.

“Horrifyingly, instead of condemning such Congressmembers’ antisemitism, on May 18, 2021, while Israel was being bombarded by 4,400 Hamas rockets, President Biden shockingly, strongly praised the Jew-hater Representative Rashida Tlaib – who opposes Israel’s very existence. Shortly after Tlaib again promoted boycotting Israel, and called Israel an apartheid state, Biden disgracefully said to Rashida Tlaib, quote, said Biden, ‘I admire your intellect. I admire your passion. I admire your concern for so many other people. You’re a fighter,’ Rashida Tlaib, ‘and G-D thank you for being a fighter.’ What a disgraceful episode in Biden’s administration.

“And after a student falsely accused the Jewish state of Israel of committing “ethnic genocide,” an insane lie, Vice President Kamala Harris failed to challenge the student against this ugly, phony blood libel, and instead supported it. She said, quote: ‘Your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard.’

“In addition, numerous Biden appointees have lengthy antisemitic and Israel-bashing records. This is so alarming, and so extensive, that ZOA established a ‘Biden Appointments Watch’ webpage documenting the records of the twenty hostile-to-Israel officials that Biden has appointed.

“Just for a few examples: Hady Amr, who is the Deputy Secretary for Israel-Palestinian Affairs, said he was inspired by the terrorist Palestinian Arab intifada. Maher Bitar, the Intelligence Director for the National Security Council, ran an annual program called ‘How to Demonize Israel.’ And Avril Haines, the National Intelligence Director, falsely condemned Israel for violence, terrorism and incitement. All lies.

“People often take their cues from the country’s leaders. We are deeply concerned that this country’s leaders’ failures to speak out and take action against the antisemites in Congress; the antisemitic appointments; is helping to inspire hatred of and attacks on innocent Jews in Brooklyn, Muncie, Jersey City, LA, and elsewhere. I also believe that the propaganda lies against Israel is a significant factor in the surge in antisemitism.

“Israeli leaders and Jewish leaders and rabbis and pro-Israel Christians must fight against these lies by proclaiming the truth. The truth that Jerusalem is not really holy to Muslims, that the Koran never mentioned Jerusalem, that no Arab leader but the King of Jordan ever visited Jerusalem, that the Arabs never made it their capital when the Arabs controlled it. We must all proclaim the truth that settlements comprise only 3% of the entire West Bank. And proclaim that there is no occupation. Another lie. The Palestinian Arabs control all of Gaza and 40% of Judea and Samaria. That’s where 99% of all the Palestinian Arabs live, under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, who run everything in their lives, except sharing security with Israel. And we must all proclaim the truth about the so-called Palestinian-state solution. We must proclaim that the Palestinians were offered a state six times in the last 85 years, and 4 times in the last 20 years, only to be rejected by the Arabs every single time. Why? Because these offers required the Arabs to accept Israel as a Jewish state. They wouldn’t do it. It required that the Arabs end their demand that millions of Arabs be permitted to move into Israel, destroying Israel as a Jewish state. They wouldn’t do it. And agreeing to ending all further claims. And they wouldn’t do it.”

[Hope]: “Although we face many challenges today, I urge you to not be discouraged. The fact that thousands of us are gathered here today shows that such a huge number of us do care. We will continue to be strong. And with the help of almighty G-d, and with the help of the Jewish Zionists, Evangelical Christian Zionists, and the remarkable Israeli people, we will overcome all of these serious, but temporary, obstacles. We will ultimately strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, promote the truth about the Arab-Islamist war against Israel and the West, and finally implement the moral, principled, wise policies that will strengthen and benefit both Israel and America.

“Thank you all. May G-d bless you all. May G-d bless America and Eretz Yisrael.”

Watch the full 2021 ZOA Virtual Superstar Gala on our Youtube channel below:

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The ZOA speaks out for Israel – in reports, newsletters, and other publications. In speeches in synagogues, churches, and community events, in high schools and colleges from coast to coast. In e-mail action alerts. In op-eds and letters to the editor. In radio and television appearances by ZOA leaders. Always on the front lines of pro-Israel activism, ZOA has made its mark.
  • Center for Law & Justice
    We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
    We assist American victims of terrorism in vindicating their rights under the law, and seek to hold terrorists and sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions.
    We fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses.
    We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.