Most Successful ZOA Dinner on Record
On December 11, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), held its annual dinner, with Benyamin Netanyahu as guest speaker and Dr. Irving Moskowitz of Miami Beach as the guest of honor.
The Jewish community looked forward to this event because for many months the "establishment" organizations -- America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations -- had tried, in vain, to discredit the ZOA and its new, dynamic president, Morton Klein. These misguided attacks were, of course, nothing but sour grapes, because Klein had single-handedly accomplished all of the targets that he had set for himself but which AIPAC and the Presidents' Conference did not do much if anything about.
The dinner was a singular success, by far exceeding the fondest hopes of the ZOA and its many friends. Over 700 guests crowded into the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. There you could find the true leaders of the Zionist community, who felt that the ZOA, the oldest Zionist organization in America, had been reborn as the most successful and effective Zionist body in America.
The dinner was attended by important personalities from the Senate and the House of Representatives who had done the most to bring about the Peace Accord Monitoring Group, which makes it impossible for the president to send foreign aid to the PLO -- up to half a billion dollars of tax payers' money -- until his administration can certify that the terrorist organization has complied with its publicly made commitments. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Rep. Elio Engle (D-N.Y.), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) graced the main table at the dinner and made speeches in which they lauded Morton Klein for his professionalism and strict adherence to required protocol in Washington and lauded Israel as this country's most important ally.
In his speech Morton Klein outlined the trail of his successful campaigns in Washington, starting with the fight against the appointment of Strobe Talbott as under secretary of state. By distributing documentation on Talbott's dismal record of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic bias, Klein convinced over 32 senators to vote against his appointment, which makes it impossible for the president to nominate him to the post of secretary of state, which will soon become vacant due to Secretary of State Warren Christopher's many foreign policy failures.
Next, Klein recounted how he tackled the matter of American foreign aid payments to the PLO and the terrorist organization's failure to comply with its basic commitments -- to stamp out terrorism and to abrogate the horrible and murderous PLO Covenant.
It was during that fight that the AIPAC and others started bad-mouthing Klein in an effort to destroy his effectiveness in Washington. Of course the Israeli Embassy assisted in that ugly campaign against the country's greatest Zionist, because the Peres-Rabin government is, curiously, keen on helping the PLO regardless of its violations of commitments.
Right now Mr. Klein is engaged in supporting the campaign against placing American troops on the strategic Golan Heights and against a peace with Syria, which would be just as fraudulent if not worse than the "peace" with Arafat.
Klein was proud to report that the attacks on him have ceased, and AIPAC is now trying belatedly to jump on the bandwagon by claiming credit for achievements that were Klein's. The reason for this about face is probably that contributions to AIPAC have understandingly fallen off badly, since the Jewish public is dissatisfied with the inactivity and, in some cases, destructive attitude of AIPAC.
Klein spoke with great passion, because, as he said afterwards, he spoke from the heart. He was greeted with enormous applause. No doubt he has won the confidence not only of the Washington establishment, but also of the Jewish public. Those who listened to him realized that they were witnessing the renaissance of Zionism in America.
Dr. Moskowitz spoke with great eloquence of his vision of a strong Israel. He certainly was one of the most deserving awardees of the coveted Justice Brandeis Award.
Finally, the main speaker, Benyamin Netanyahu, and his wife arrived. Netanyahu was introduced with a hearty mazel tov on the birth of his second child. He later related how immensely astonished and impressed he was with the fantastic turnout of guests in which he saw signs of a real rejuvenation of Zionism in the United States.
Netanyahu first analyzed some of the stale arguments still used by Rabin and Company to defend their discredited policies of "peace." He then explained how the defense of Israel relies entirely on holding the Golan Heights. Without them, Israel would have neither "eyes nor ears. Our Arab adversaries want to deprive Israel of these defenses in order to be successful in a future war, which they are preparing."
Peace, he said, can only be achieved on two conditions: 1) there is a will for peace on the Arab side; and 2) Israel maintains a deterrent to war. In the case of the peace treaty with Jordan, both factors exist. The Jordanians have the will for peace, and Israel maintains proper defenses. Netanyahu had just met with King Hussein -- a visit that received little press coverage -- reinforcing the impression that the King is genuinely interested in peace.
The border with Jordan holds no terrorists, he pointed out, as is the case with Lebanon. By contrast, in the cases of the PLO and Syria, these conditions do not exist. The PLO has no will to bring about peace and, on the contrary, openly professes its intention to break any peace agreement in two years and to capture Jerusalem, Haifa, Beth Shean and Ashkelon. The PLO's refusal to abrogate its covenant is a brazen violation of the Oslo agreement and should not be rewarded with further concessions.
Concerning the Syrians, Netanyahu noted that they have breached all their agreements to date, including their undertaking to withdraw their army from Lebanon. The only agreement they have not breached is with Israel for the simple reason that Israel is within sight of Damascus, and Syria knows that any attack on Israel, would lead to instantaneous retaliation of the most extreme sort.
The Golan Heights must be retained and cannot be substituted with American troops, he asserted. There were observers on the Golan Heights before the Yom Kippur War and they did not prevent Syria's attack. Only a large contingent of tanks on the ground saved Israel from the Syrian invasion. In today's situation, American troops as observers would have no value whatsoever and could not repulse massive tank attacks by Syria. That can only be achieved with large tank forces, which America would have to base on the Golan Heights. This is of course unthinkable, so there is no use to invite such feeble forces, especially considering that the U.S. troops in the Sinai have just been ordered out by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. This is a sad replay of Nasser's order to United Nations Secretary General U Thant in May 1967 to withdraw U.N. troops, which led to the Six Day War.
On the subject of the Nobel Peace Prize, Netanyahu reminded his audience that in 1938, after the Hitler-Chamberlain "peace" agreement, Hitler was nominated by some for the Nobel Peace Prize! That certainly puts Arafat's "peace" prize into its proper historical context!
Netanyahu's speech was met with ear-splitting applause. His presentation was so masterly that any argument that the audience had heard previously from Rabin's people was totally demolished.
The evening lasted until after 11 p.m. when the happy guests left the successful dinner. It is noteworthy that Morton Klein is an observant Jew, who belongs to an Orthodox synagogue in a suburb of Philadelphia. It is refreshing to hear him invoke traditional Hebrew expressions and prayerful terms.
Last week I reported on the coalition formed between Middle East Christian and Jewish groups. Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-N.Y.), who now will be chairman of the all-important House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has expressed in a letter to me his satisfaction with the coalition forged last week between leaders of oppressed Christian minorities in Moslem countries and Jews who support a strong Israel. "I wish you well in your endeavors and look forward to future activities by your coalition."
There has long been growing wonder as to why the Israelis do not rise more forcefully against the Rabin-Peres government, which has led the country to a catastrophe though a flimsy "peace" slapped together by amateurs -- mainly Danish socialists Pundik and Austrian socialist Hirschfeld. By contrast, the majority of the American Jewish community is deeply disturbed by the Israeli government's actions. A poll among 10th and 11th graders in American Jewish day schools and ordinary Israeli citizens gives a significant indication of the polarization between the two Jewish communities.
The question asked was, "Who are your Israeli Heroes?"
In the United States: 1) Golda Meier; 2) David Ben-Gurion; 3) Moshe Dayan; 4) Yitzchak Rabin; 5) Theodor Herzl; 6) Menachem Begin; 7) Yoni Netanyahu (Entebbe martyr); 8) Nachson Waxman; 9) Yitzchak Shamir; 10) Eliezer Ben Yehuda. In Israel: 1) Yitzehak Rabin; 2) punk pop star Aviv Geffen; 3) op star Gidi Gov; 4) David Ben Gurion; 5) pop star Shlomo Artzi; 6) op star Ofer Levi; 7) Menachem Begin; 8) basketball player Kickey Berkowitz; 9) poet Jonathan Geffen; 10) comedian Dudu Topaz.
The cultural decline in Israel under the present government, along with the horrendous decline in army morale may bear the clues as to the different attitudes of American and Israeli Jews as to the security future of Israel. This is not a comforting realization. But it shows how important American Jews are for maintaining traditional Zionism.
Whenever I find Rabin's words or actions reflecting a strong stand in support of a strong, historical Israel, I express my admiration for him. Such an article appeared in this newspaper after President Clinton refused to enter the Old City with the Jewish mayor of Jerusalem. I applauded Rabin's principled stand of canceling the visit unless Mayor Ehud Olmert was allowed to accompany the American president. I have now received a letter of appreciation from Mr. Rabin:
"Dear Mr Lehmann...thank you for your letter dated October 26, 1994, regarding President Clinton's visit to the Old City. With warm greetings from Jerusalem..."
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