Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Director of Research & Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:
It was gratifying that U.S. Senators spoke out about the anti-Israel biases, positions and activities of President Biden’s nominee for Assistant Administrator of USAID for the Middle East Tamara Cofman Wittes and Biden’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Michael Ratney, at their Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearings last week.
Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) Todd Young (R-IN) and Rob Portman (R-OH) called out and quizzed Cofman Wittes on her tweet condemning the Abraham Accords as a “Naksa.” (“Naksa” is the Arabic for “setback”: Palestinian Arabs use this term to describe the Arabs’ failure to annihilate Israel in 1967.) Senator Cruz also aptly noted that Cofman Wittes’ nomination was “concerning” and evidence of the “profound anti-Israel bias of the Biden administration.” Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) called out the illegal use of $465,000 of American taxpayer funds to oppose then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’ re-election, when Ratney served as U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem. (See also “New Biden Nominees Opposed Abraham Accords & Involved in Israeli Election Interference,” by Dmitry Shapiro, JNS, June 17, 2022.)
But why are other mainstream Jewish organizations silent? Why have they not joined pro-Israel U.S. Senators and the ZOA in calling out anti-Israel biases and activities of one Biden appointee after another? Biden’s appointees have been so Israelophobic that ZOA assembled a “Biden Hostile-to-Israel Appointments Watch” webpage describing Biden appointees’ horrific records, such as Hady Amr’s statement that he was “inspired by the Palestinian Intifada” (the terror wars in which Arab terrorists murdered or maimed approximately 10,000 innocent Jewish men, women and children), and Reema Dodin’s encouragement of suicide bombings against Jews.
ZOA urges every Jewish organization from American Jewish Committee and ADL to AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative movements to end their deafening silence and join U.S. Senators and ZOA in criticizing Biden’s hostile-to-Israel nominees like Cofman Wittes and Hady Amr. The failure to do so will only result in more of these dangerous appointments. Jewish groups’ silence sends a message that they’re fine with these Israelophobic nominees.
More on Tamara Cofman Wittes Hostile-to-Israel Record:
As noted above, Ms. Cofman Wittes viciously condemned the Abraham Accords – despite the fact that these Accords ushered in a new era of peace in the Middle East. Tamara Cofman Wittes’ dangerous, biased, fundamentally immoral record also includes the following:
- In December 2020, Cofman Wittes wrote an anti-Israel strategy recommendations report, together with anti-Israel advocate Ilan Goldenberg and Israel Policy Forum (IPF) official Michael Koplow (the only witness who opposed moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem during the November 2017 Congressional Jerusalem embassy hearings where Mort Klein testified in support of this move.) Cofman Wittes’ slew of dangerous policy proposals included: working with and encouraging reconciling with Hamas; imposing a hostile-to-Israel Palestinian terrorist state plan; strongly opposing Jews building homes and roads in the Jewish homeland; demanding that Israel turn over more of her lawful land to the Palestinian Authority terror regime’s control; and covering up the Palestinian Authority’s payments to Arab terrorists to murder Jews by disguising them as “social welfare” payments. (See the article previously posted on ZOA’s Biden Appointments Watch webpage.)
- In addition, Wittes’ wrote in her report that the U.S.: “must make clear” that the U.S. supports dividing Jerusalem and making Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state; must restart (illegally) sending U.S. taxpayer funds to the Palestinians (which would help fund the PA’s payments to terrorists to murder Jews); must restart sending taxpayer funds to Hamas-infested UNRWA; must “not shield Israel from international consequences” (a euphemism for enabling anti-Israel United Nations and ICC actions); must oppose demolition of convicted terrorists homes (thus eliminating an important deterrent to anti-Jewish terrorism); and must combine forces with other international actors to pressure Israel into making suicidal concessions.
- Further, Cofman Wittes’ strategy report demanded ending the vital maximum pressure sanctions on Iran. Those sanctions had successfully reduced Iran’s ability to fund its terror proxies, and military and terror activities, and had strengthened U.S. negotiating leverage. (See also “The Importance of Sanctions on Iran,” U.S. State Dep’t archive, Nov. 18, 2020.)
- In May 2021, Tamara Cofman Wittes wrote a despicable article, published by the Brookings Institute, which wrongly and immorally cast blame on Israel for Israeli Arabs’ attacks on their Israeli Jewish neighbors, in order to promote creating a Palestinian Arab terror state on Israel’s lawful land. Wittes’ article falsely treated the violence as mutual, when in fact the violence was an orgy of Israeli Arabs burning and destroying synagogues, burning hundreds of Jewish-owned cars, invading and looting hundreds of Jewish-owned apartments, and violently assaulting their Jewish neighbors.
- Wittes’ May 2021 article also falsely blamed the violence on Israel not negotiating under Oslo, and falsely depicted Oslo as requiring a Palestinian Arab state. Wittes omitted the fact that Israel made repeated over-generous negotiating offers during the 28 years since Oslo, and that the Palestinian Authority: flatly rejected Israel’s offers without even a counteroffer; failed to come to the negotiating table; and violated and reneged on all of the Palestinian Authority’s Oslo commitments. Wittes also falsely blamed Israeli interest in “annexation of West Bank territory” (a misleading phrase for extending Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria – all of which Israel has the right to under binding international law).
- Wittes’ May 2021 article never mentioned the real causes of the Arab violence: namely, the Palestinian Authority’s and Hamas’ non-stop incitement, and the Palestinian Authority’s “pay to slay” payments to Arab terrorists to murder Jews.
- Instead, Wittes blamed: “continued settlement expansion” and “occupation” (pejorative phrases for Jews living in the lawful Jewish homeland); “callously unequal treatment of Palestinians” (a falsehood: Israeli Arabs have equal rights; and Arabs in the Palestinian Authority are under the PA’s administrative jurisdiction); and “forcible relocation of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and communities in the West Bank” (a lie that perhaps referred to two Jewish charities’ 50-year court battle to try to recover the property they purchased in 1875 in Jerusalem’s Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood from several illegal Arab squatters). (See “ZOA Debunks Anti-Israel Propaganda: Learn the Truth About the Shimon HaTzadik (aka Sheikh Jarrah) Property Dispute,” Aug. 26, 2021.)
- Wittes also barely mentioned the rockets that Hamas was launching into Israel at the same time she wrote her article, and never mentioned the overwhelming number of rockets – 4,369 rockets in 10 days. Wittes merely claimed that Hamas was firing rockets to “claim international attention” and “win material benefits for itself and Gazan Palestinians.” Hamas’ rockets were of course aimed at murdering innocent Jews, and thus carrying out the Hamas charter’s imperative to murder every Jew. Those Hamas rockets killed a dozen innocent Jewish civilians, injured hundreds of Jewish civilians, and inflicted billions of dollars of damage to Israeli homes and other buildings. If Hamas was really interested in “winning material benefits for Gazan Palestinians,” Hamas would spend its international aid on helping Gazan civilians instead of on deadly rockets and on building multi-million-dollar tunnels for attacking and kidnapping Israelis.
- And, adding further insult to injury, Wittes attacked Israeli ministers for “focus[ing] their narrative at home and abroad on defending Israeli civilians from Hamas attacks.” Apparently, Ms. Cofman Wittes believes that Israeli ministers are supposed to simply ignore these deadly Hamas rocket attacks.
Tragically, the Biden administration has adopted many of the same dangerous hostile-to-Israel policies recommended by Ms. Cofman Wittes.
Accordingly, ZOA urges fellow mainstream Jewish organizations to join U.S. Senators and ZOA in opposing Tamara Cofman Wittes and the Biden administration’s other dangerous appointees and nominees.