Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The ZOA is dismayed at the reports that, in exchange for the promise of a long-overdue meeting with President Joe Biden, at the UN, not even the White House, Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged to a one-sided freeze of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria until the end of 2023, while the Palestinian Arabs continue building. The Prime Minister’s office denied the reports, without demanding a media retraction, so we pray that they are untrue.
But we are deeply concerned. Because any freeze on Jewish building is unconscionable discrimination; violates Jews’ basic human rights; violates binding international law guaranteeing Judea/Samaria to the Jewish people; and is counterproductive. It rewards Arab terrorism and intransigence while sending a message that this is not really Jewish land, which it is.
Arabs continue to build throughout Area C in Judea/Samaria – which is an area legally designated for full Israeli control – and no one is freezing illegal Arab building!
When PM Netanyahu agreed to a building freeze in Judea/Samaria in 2010 (under pressure from the Obama-Biden administration), as a condition for re-starting peace negotiations with Palestinian Authority dictator Mahmoud Abbas, nothing positive was achieved. Instead, the PA and Obama-Biden administration demanded and reportedly obtained de facto freeze extensions. And the Jewish people – including disabled Jewish children who needed facilities – were harmed, both during and for years after the freeze allegedly ended. (See, e.g., “Govt Freezes Building, Disabled Children Suffer,” by Maayana Miskin, May 6, 2012.)
No audience with a U.S. President is worth foregoing or freezing the indigenous Jewish people’s birthright to build homes in our lawful, ancestral, G-d-given land. Agreeing to a freeze would be selling the Jewish people’s birthright for a bowl of porridge.
The proof will be in the pudding. We will know that the reports of a freeze agreement are false only if we Jews in fact proceed with building our homes in the Jewish heartland.
In addition, we are deeply dismayed that the reports say that PM Netanyahu agreed to limiting desperately needed democratic judicial reforms. The Knesset is expected to soon pass one part of the reforms – a law curtailing the Israeli Supreme Court from continuing to base its decisions on the judges’ personal views of “reasonability” – an absurd standard that the Israeli Supreme Court has repeatedly deployed to violate democratically-enacted laws. But, upsettingly, the reports say that the Prime Minister agreed that the rest of the proposed judicial reforms will only be passed if there is “consensus.” Waiting for supposed consensus would give veto power to the anti-democracy radical Left. The Israeli public voted for a government that would finally reform the autocratic, self-appointed judiciary, end judicial tyranny and judicial dictatorship. That should be consensus enough. As we’ve previously explained, judicial reform is in fact good for democracy and is needed for the rule of law. The great judges Robert Bork and Richard Posner wrote of the need to transform the Israeli Supreme Court’s tyranny.
The reports also indicate that the Biden-Netanyahu meeting may not even be at the White House. Instead, in yet another Biden insult to Israel’s prime minister, the meeting may occur in some backroom at the United Nations.
Further, nothing is likely to be gained from a meeting with President Biden. Based on his past record, Biden will likely use the meeting to make more unconscionable demands that endanger the Israeli people’s safety and erode Israel’s sovereignty. Indeed, that‘s exactly what Biden did when Biden visited the Middle East last July. (See “Biden’s Policies Voiced at Israeli and Palestinian Mtgs. Demanding Israel Return to ‘67 “Auschwitz” Lines, End Checkpoints, Open Jerusalem Arab Consulate – and More – Show Biden’s No Friend to Israel,” ZOA, July 18, 2022.)
ZOA urges Prime Minister Netanyahu to strongly stand up against any Biden blackmail-for-meeting. Israel’s leaders need to make it clear, as former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin did in a famous 1981 speech, that Israel is not a banana republic or “vassal state” of the United States, and that the U.S. has no moral right to preach to Israel. (See “Israel Is Not A Banana Republic – Begin’s Rebuttle Of Reagan, State Dept., on ‘Punishing’ Israel,” Dec. 20, 1981.)
ZOA further demands that the Biden administration must stop insulting and making harmful demands on Israel and her leaders. Biden needs to start treating Israel and her Prime Minister as the great allies that they are.