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Israel’s latest voice in Washington has both the safety of Israel and of the United States on his mind. Ambassador Ron Dermer is an Israeli who was raised in the U.S., and sees Iran’s nuclear aspirations as a very real threat to both allied nations:
How is Iran’s nuclear program not just a problem for Israel, but a problem for America as well?
Dermer explained it’s “because we’re [Israel] the Little Satan to Iran [and] you’re [the United States] are the Great Satan.”
“The only thing you put on an ICBM is a nuclear warhead. That’s it,” he continued. “And they’re designed to be propelled, to be sent, thousands of miles across the ocean to try to reach you.”
And as the United States and Israel stand together as allies, Dermer realizes that the greatest American friends of the Holy Land are Christians:
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“I believe that the Christian community in the United States — the tens of millions of Christians, of evangelical Christians, throughout this country — can stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel and beat back any attempts to delegitimize, to libel, to malign Israel,” he said.
Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 11:36 AM | Stand For Israel
We don’t always agree with Jeffrey Goldberg’s assessments, but he’s always worth reading and, today, he’s right on the money. There are a number of, we assume, unintended consequences to the incessant warnings coming from Secretary of State John Kerry and others about the possible results of failure in Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians. Giving voice to them makes both failure and the negative result of failure more likely:
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Kerry makes the argument that Israel will face new, and intensified, boycott pressure if peace talks fail, and he may be right. But by publicly discussing this possibility, he is providing fuel to the forces aligned against Israel (and keep in mind that most boycotters are not opposed to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but instead to the idea of a country for the Jewish people). He is also terrifying Israelis, and terrified Israelis are not the sort of people who will make dangerous compromises for peace.
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 at 8:46 AM | Stand For Israel
What is the U.S. trying to accomplish with its push for a negotiated peace framework between Israeli and Palestinians and how, given the current atmosphere, do they reasonably hope to attain one? Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, lays out his thoughts on what might happen next:
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This is why the Israeli government will likely respond to the new U.S. framework document with a “yes, but,” not a “no, never.” The benefits to Israel are significant, the costs of rejection are high, and the commitments Israel is asked to make — while potentially substantial — are not yet well defined.
Friday, February 7th, 2014 at 9:13 AM | Stand For Israel
While President Obama’s supportive stance and remarks during his visit to Israel last year left some thinking he would win over the people of the Jewish state, a recent Times of Israel poll shows that is not the case. Writing at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin not only agrees with Israelis’ distrust of Obama, he explains why they feel this way and why those who stand for Israel should, as well:
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The reason for Obama’s low approval and trust ratings among Israelis is no mystery. He came into office in January 2009 determined to establish daylight between Israel and the United States and wasted no time in achieving that goal. The fights he picked with Netanyahu were largely intended to undermine the prime minister’s standing at home but only served to strengthen him among his countrymen.
Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 at 8:53 AM | Stand For Israel
Israel Hayom columnist Gonen Ginat writes that, while it might not have been particularly diplomatic or popular in Western capitals, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s comments about John Kerry and the peace process are views that are widely held by the Israeli public. Perhaps that’s something the Obama Administration might want to pay attention to — the views of the free citizens of a sister democracy — before pushing them to do something they believe is unsafe and unwise:
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Indeed, most Israelis commonly agree that the Americans have a shoddy understanding of the Middle East, and that the current administration has done a great job utilizing the so-called Arab Spring to show that it has no clue what to do, whatsoever.
Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at 8:29 AM | Stand For Israel
Reports out of the region indicate that a number of Arab leaders — mostly foreign ministers — have notified U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that they will not accept any declaration of Israel as a Jewish state, nor will they accept any compromise on Palestinian sovereignty in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, at the funeral of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Vice President Joe Biden is quoted as saying that Israel’s future security requires it to make peace and that he believes Prime Minister Netanyahu is “up to” the task.
Once again, Western leaders preach about sacrifice to Israel while the Jewish state’s “partners for peace” reject even basic, symbolic concessions. Once again, Western leaders know better than Israel’s own elected leaders what is best for the future of their own country. Once again, Western leaders assume not only that there is peace to be made, but that it is solely Israel’s responsibility to make it. Once again, Western leaders lecture Israel about the importance of living in peace; as if, having just lost a living symbol of the sacrifices required to defend Israel from her enemies, Israelis need a sermon from the manicured lawns of Washington. The hubris is astounding if unsurprising.
Without support — open, public support — from Arab leaders, the hands of the Palestinians (who are represented at the talks by only one of the two terror groups that control Palestinian life) are tied. Thanks to decades of cultural conditioning, any concessions — no matter how small or meaningless — will result in a Palestinian leader being called a sellout throughout the Arab world. Without Arab leaders backing up such concessions, there’s not much point to negotiating. And yet, Ariel Sharon’s funeral is yet another opportunity to lecture Israel.
The Palestinians and their enablers are, obviously, not prepared to make any concessions — no matter how insignificant — in these talks. And why should they? They can count on the Western powers to continually improve their bargaining position.Comments (21) »
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 at 8:39 AM | Stand For Israel
At Commentary, Tom Wilson questions the priorities that the Obama administration has set for the Middle East as a whole and for Israel in particular — especially insofar as the ongoing peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders go. U.S. administrations have never been particularly understanding of Israel’s needs, but as the security situation gets worse and more complex, Israel needs to be able to set its own agenda:
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For if Kerry is as committed to the survival of peoples and the ending of conflicts as his above statements would suggest, then there are serious questions that Israelis need to be asking about where the Obama administration has been trying to direct their attention in recent years. What really counts as a luxury and a distraction?
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 at 8:26 AM | Stand For Israel
As we mentioned last week, the annual convention of the 30,000-member Modern Language Association (MLA) was held this past weekend just blocks from our Chicago office. At the convention, a panel was held to discuss academic boycotts of Israel. This panel — featuring only BDS supporters — was only open to MLA members, so we were unable to attend.
However, directly after the MLA’s panel, an alternative discussion hosted by the Israel on Campus Coalition featured presentations by four BDS opponents (including three MLA members), each of whom made compelling arguments against the move to boycott Israel. Luckily, Stand for Israel was able to attend and listen to these strong and varied criticisms against this alarming trend.
The panel was moderated by former MLA president Russell Berman, a professor at Stanford University. Dr. Berman introduced the panel members and later said that boycotts like the one adopted by the American Studies Association cast “an Orwellian pall.” Not only do such boycotts limit the free flow of ideas and exclude the opinions of others, they jeopardize the quality of academic life. Instead of calling for a boycott, Dr. Berman suggested, the ASA should have simply given their opinion.
MLA member and past president of the American Association of University Professors Cary Nelson spoke on his area of expertise — academic freedom. Academic freedom is the freedom to teach inside and outside of the classroom without the fear of discipline, argued Dr. Nelson of the University of Illinois. Boycotts like the ASA’s not only rob professors of the ability to teach their students and to reach the community, they disregard the fragility and importance of such basic and valuable freedoms.
The next speaker gave the most compelling and personal presentation of the afternoon. Ilan Troen, professor at Brandeis University in the U.S. and Ben-Gurion University in Israel, opened by stating, “I’m an Israeli and an American.” Noting that his grandchildren learn both Hebrew and Arabic in their Israeli schools, and that his daughter-in-law, a physician in…Read More » Comments (7) »
Monday, January 13th, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Stand For Israel
Just blocks from our Chicago office, the 30,000-member Modern Language Association (MLA) will be holding a panel on the BDS movement tomorrow at its annual convention. While the panel has received its share of scorn because it will feature five BDS supporters and no dissenters, an association member and BDS opponent explained the panel, as well as the MLA’s anti-boycott stance:
The panel is among several hundred to be held at the convention, and Nelson said such panels typically reflect a single point of view and are not debates.
The Modern Language Association also is already on record opposing academic boycotts. In response to the removal of two Israeli scholars from a British journal, the group adopted a resolution in 2002 calling boycotts based on nationality or ethnic origins “unfair, divisive, and inconsistent with academic freedom.”
While some might worry that such a one-sided panel echoes a nation- and worldwide uptick in BDS support, we agree with the director of the Israel Action Network, who argues that the movement is actually losing momentum:
“The reality is that the broad academic community is rejecting BDS in terms of its singling out one country and saying there is only one narrative. We are winning this debate.”
MLA members against boycotting Israel will attend the panel to offer their opposition before going to a nearby meeting organized by Hillel and the Israel on Campus Coalition.Comments (3) »
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 at 12:45 PM | Stand For Israel
Alexander Joffe, writing at The Algemeiner, has an excellent dissection of how the recent boycott resolution passed by the American Studies Association passed and the impact it is likely to have. Joffe’s view of the future is much like others we’ve seen, but his discussion of the tactics of the BDS movement are exceptional and his perspective on how this resolution passed is unique:
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During the two week voting period eight former presidents of the ASA issued a public statement urging members to reject the resolution, as did the American Association of University Professors. Of approximately 5000 members, the ASA stated that 1252 voted, of whom 66% voted in favor of the resolution while 30% objected. The motion was thus passed by approximately 16% of the ASA’s total membership.
Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 at 8:45 AM | Stand For Israel