Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The ZOA is deeply disappointed that Senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert (Bob) Menendez recently warned former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu against including supposed “right wing extremists” in a future coalition government, and threatened this would harm bipartisan support for Israel and Israeli-U.S. bilateral relations. Senator Menendez moreover ignored the real danger of making a governing coalition with radical Islamist parties that oppose Israel’s existence or with true left wing extremist appeasers. (See “ZOA to Israeli Parties: Make No Coalition With Anti-Israel Ra’am Islamic Movement Party,” Apr. 7, 2021; Also see numerous pro-terror and anti-Israel actions and statements of Arab Knesset members and parties here.)
As former PM Netanyahu aptly responded to Menendez: “I would have expected them [Menendez] to warn us of a government that depends on the Muslim Brotherhood who support terrorism and Ahmad Tibi and [Arab Joint List/Hadash party leader and Knesset member] Ayman Odeh. Odeh said that [Hezbollah leader] Nasrallah is a hero. . . [Caretaker PM] Lapid ran to sell [Hezbollah] the gas of the citizens of Israel.”
Senator Menendez’s thoroughly inappropriate threat interferes with Israel’s democratic elections and sovereignty; disenfranchises hundreds of thousands of Israeli voters; and interferes with the hoped-for formation of a strong, stable rational centrist, right-leaning Israeli governing coalition. Israel is America’s most solid ally – and a strong Israel is in America’s best interest. A strong Israeli governing coalition is especially needed now, to undo the massive harm that Yair Lapid has been doing in just a few short months as Israel’s temporary “caretaker” Prime Minister. Against the will of the majority of the Israeli people, Lapid endangered Israel by endorsing and legitimizing a Palestinian-Arab terrorist dictatorship state at the UN; and by making an unauthorized and illegal deal to give Israel’s gas fields to Hezbollah.
Senator Menendez’s interference with Israeli democracy is particularly distressing to us because Menendez is the 2014 recipient of ZOA’s “Defender of Israel” award at ZOA’s Annual Advocacy Mission to Washington, D.C. ZOA previously praised and honored Senator Menendez because Menendez: stood up for Israeli sovereignty; bravely advocated to legislate sanctions against Iran’s terror, nuclear, missile and other malign activities – despite the Obama-Biden administration’s tremendous pressures to prevent sanctions from being placed on the Iranian regime; opposed the catastrophic 2015 Iran deal and the Biden administration’s negotiation of an even worse Iran deal; was one of only two Democrats who voted to confirm the best U.S. Ambassador to Israel ever – David Friedman; and spoke out strongly against antisemitism at the Rutgers college campus. Senator Menendez also famously explained that “side deals governing inspections of the Parchin military complex allows Iran to collect its own soil samples, instead of IAEA inspectors. That is like letting Lance Armstrong collect his own blood samples for a doping investigation.” (See also “ZOA Praises Sen. Menendez For Courage in Fight For Iran Sanctions,” Jan. 22, 2015; “ZOA Praises Senator Menendez’s Speech Condemning Antisemitism at Rutgers,” Apr. 19, 2012.)
We urge Senator Menendez to retract his extraordinarily inappropriate and hurtful statements interfering with Israel’s elections and governance, and resume standing up for Israel’s safety and sovereignty.