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The U.S.-Israel Bond: Too Big to Fail

(Photo: White House/ Pete Souza)

(Photo: White House/ Pete Souza)

Throughout Operation Protective Edge – and well before – the United States’ relationship with Israel has been questioned by many, and for good reason. From Secretary of State John Kerry’s failed attempts at a Israeli-Palestinian peace deal to American statements against the Jewish state’s defense of itself and its people, what has long been a solid friendship has sometimes seemed shaky. Yet former State Department peace negotiator Aaron David Miller says that the bond between the two nations is one of shared values, politics, and interests, and is too big too fail:

Obama has few friends in the region. Relations with Egypt and Saudi Arabia are cool, Jordan is a fan but weak, the Qataris can’t be trusted, and a U.S. president is not going to get much from the Palestinians …

With the prospects of U.S. military involvement in Iraq and maybe Syria growing, the U.S. doesn’t need a problem with Israel. Indeed, the Israelis remain central to matters relating to peace and war …

U.S. opinion polls continue to show strong support for Israel, partly because of the behavior of Arab actors. It started with 9/11 and Al Qaeda and got worse as the Arab spring devolved into violence, terror and state repression. When you consider Egypt (under the Muslim Brotherhood or the military), Syrian President Bashar Assad’s bloody rule and his use of chemical weapons, and the Islamic State, the sharp contrast between a stable, democratic and pro-Western Israel (occupier of the West Bank or not) and an Arab world melting down into cascading violence and extremism makes the pro-Israel case.

Throw in Hamas, which the Obama administration sees as a terrorist organization, and you begin to see just how tough it is for the administration to beat up on the Israelis …

The two nations have managed to muddle through serious crises before because the fundamentals of the relationship were more sound than not.

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 8:21 AM  | Stand for Israel

Israel Must Choose Life

(Photo: flickr/ babi_santander)

(Photo: flickr/ babi_santander)

After Israel unanimously rejected John Kerry and the Obama administration’s weekend ceasefire proposal, Operation Protective Edge continues to be waged. Writing at Israel Hayom, Dr. Haim Shine says that this unity among Israelis shows a people who have chosen to live:

However, once Israelis realize they are fighting a true war for their home, there is no Left or Right, no rich or poor, and no divide between residents of Tel Aviv and residents of the rest of the country. The various strands of Israeli society, usually loose, come together as a deadly fist to strike those who rise up against us.

Israeli citizens are grateful for the generous support American governments have provided during both times of peace and times of war. This support allowed for the development of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system. The U.S. has also helped Israel stay on its feet in the international diplomatic arena against a hostile world, which, instead of being anti-Israel, has become anti-Semitic. But given the choice between protecting our right to live and showing gratitude, Israel must choose life. Choosing life is the ultimate Jewish commandment.

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 8:28 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Ceasefire Debacle

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

Israeli politicians on the left rarely agree with their political opponents on the right; the chasm between their respective ideas makes finding common ground an unusual occurrence. This is not the case in Israel today, where the military operation in Gaza is supported by close to 90 percent of the population, and where the only disagreement is whether Operation Protective Edge should continue until Hamas is completely destroyed, or whether it should end once the terror tunnels have been obliterated.

There is one area in Israeli society where the ideological gap between the left and right is even more boisterous than the Knesset during election season, and that’s in the media. So this week’s unanimous rejection of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal by both the security cabinet and the media signaled an almost unprecedented moment in the Jewish state’s history.

The Kerry proposal, handed to the Israeli security cabinet for approval, agreed to all of Hamas’ demands – lifting the siege on Gaza, releasing Hamas prisoners, and continuing the flow of goods, including more cement, into the Strip. Israel’s security needs were vaguely mentioned, almost as an afterthought.

What made Kerry’s ceasefire offer so shocking is that it undercut Egypt’s earlier ceasefire proposal, which Israel has already agreed to, while at the same time rewarding Hamas for a war which it started. Israeli officials were understandably dismayed that instead of placing pressure on Hamas to accept the Egypt’s peace proposal, which calls for the demilitarization of Gaza, the U.S. backed a ceasefire agreement formulated by Qatar and Turkey, two countries that openly support Hamas both financially and diplomatically.

Editorials found in newspapers on both the left and right of Israel’s political spectrum illustrate Israel’s near-unanimous disappointment with Obama and Kerry’s handling of this crisis. The general attitude in Israel is that the U.S. administration has prioritized Hamas’ interests ahead of Israel’s security needs. Israelis understand that this doesn’t represent the general pro-Israel sentiment felt across…

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 12:45 PM  | Stand For Israel

A Letter to the Students for Justice in Palestine

(Photo: wikicommons/ Danny-w)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Danny-w)

Even as millions of Americans stand for Israel during these trying times, the movement preaching the message to “Free Palestine” can often be seen on college campuses and street corners. While those like the group Students for Justice in Palestine might think they are standing up for the oppressed, Chloe Valdary – a Christian, a Zionist, and a consultant for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America – says that such a movement does not align with the ideals of justice, equality, and freedom:

• You do not get to champion regimes that murder, torture, and persecute their own people, deliberately keep them impoverished, and embezzle billions of dollar from them—and claim you are “pro-Arab.” You are not.

• You do not get to champion a system wherein Jews are barred from purchasing land, traveling in certain areas, and living out such an existence merely because they are Jews—and claim that you are promoting equality for all. You do not get to enable that system by pushing a boycott of Jewish owned businesses, shops, and entities—and then claim that you are “against apartheid.” That is evil.

• You do not get to justify the calculated and deliberate bombings, beatings, and lynchings of Jewish men, women, and children by referring to such heinous occurrences as part of a noble “uprising” of the oppressed—that is racism. It is evil.

• You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist.

Coretta Scott King was a Zionist.

A. Phillip Randolph was a Zionist.

Bayard Rustin was a Zionist.

Count Basie was a Zionist.

Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. was a Zionist …

You see, my people have always been Zionists because my people have always stood for the freedom of the oppressed.

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 8:32 AM  | Stand For Israel

Why Nobody But the U.S. Voted Against the U.N.’s Anti-Israel Resolution

(Photo: wikicommons/ russavia)

(Photo: wikicommons/ russavia)

Yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution that condemned what it calls “the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations,” and called for an inquiry committee to investigate Israel’s actions during the current Operation Protective Edge. Writing at The Times of Israel, Raphael Ahren looks at the U.N.’s continued bias against the Jewish state, as well as the fact that the United States was the lone nation to stand for Israel:

Only the United States voted against the resolution. Twenty-nine nations voted in favor, among them not only the usual suspects such as Saudi Arabia, Algeria and South Africa, but also some ostensible friends of Israel, including Russia, Kenya, India and Mexico.

Equally hurtful for Israel, if not more so, were the abstentions of the eight European Union member states who had the right to vote: Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom …

The resolution does not mention Hamas once.

For Israel, the vote was another heavy slap in the face. Because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hesitated before launching the Gaza campaign and accepted several ceasefire offers, officials were sure of the international community’s (relative) support for Operation Protective Edge. But statements reiterating Israel’s right to defend itself are apparently no guarantee of supportive votes at the UN.

“It’s a travesty of justice; it’s a travesty of fairness; it’s a travesty of common sense; it’s a travesty of truth,” Netanyahu said Thursday …

Let us be thankful that Israel still has those who stand with them, and pray that God will continue to watch over the Holy Land and its friends.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 1:15 PM  | Stand For Israel

U.S. Suspends Flights to Israel

(Photo: flickr/nico_)

(Photo: flickr/nico_)

Due to the continued rocket attacks from Gaza – including one where shrapnel damaged a home near Ben Gurion Airport – the United States has suspended flights for at least 24 hours, with some airlines putting flights on hold indefinitely:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration barred flights to Israel Tuesday evening for 24 hours, citing security concerns.

The notice came after U.S. airline Delta said it was indefinitely suspending flights between the United States and Israel.

 U.S. Airways also announced it was suspending flights, but only until Thursday.

The moves were announced hours after shrapnel from a rocket damaged a home in the central Israeli town of Yehud, which abuts Israel’s main international airport.

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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 at 12:07 PM  | Stand For Israel

U.S. Senate Doubles Funding for Iron Dome

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

As Stand for Israel has reported, the Iron Dome defense system has proven to be a great success, keeping the people of Israel relatively safe from the recent nonstop rocket attacks from Gaza. Seeing how effective Iron Dome has been, the United States Senate has proposed a large increase in its funding for the program:

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a defense spending bill yesterday (July 15) that will provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome system that intercepts short-range rockets and mortars. The sum represents a 50 percent increase in funding for the program …

The Iron Dome anti-rocket system has been successful in shooting down rockets and preventing Israeli deaths with a 90 percent success rate, an improvement over the 84 percent success rate achieved in Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’.

The IDF deployed its ninth Iron Dome battery this week, after it was scheduled to be prepared only in a few months and was produced in record time.

We are heartened by this display of friendship from the U.S. to Israel, and pray that the relationship will continue, during times of peace and difficult times such as these.

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 at 9:42 AM  | Stand For Israel

How America Can Stop the War in Gaza

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

As Stand for Israel has reported, the United States has affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’ rocket attacks, while at the same time expecting Israel to show restraint. Writing at Tablet, Liel Leibovitz says that these are conflicting expectations, and says the first thing America needs to do is to admit that there is no moral equivalency between Israel’s actions and those of the true culprit, Hamas:

Some things are just plain evil, and when things are evil, they should be prohibited by law and by the consensus of right-thinking people and nations and prevented with all the means at our disposal. Raining down rockets on a civilian population is evil. Instructing one’s operatives to kidnap and murder children is evil. Using children as human shields is evil. Putting missile launchers underneath hospitals is evil. People who do these things are supposed to pay a price, so that they don’t do them again. That’s how the international system is supposed to work.

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Friday, July 11th, 2014 at 8:56 AM  | Stand For Israel

My Kids Are in Bomb Shelters

(Photo: wikicommons/ James Emery)

(Photo: wikicommons/ James Emery)

While the United States has upheld Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Gaza, it has also urged both Israel and Hamas to “show restraint.” Blogging for The Times of Israel, American Rabbi Shmuley Boteach – who has four children currently living in Israel, living under fear of terrorist rockets – asks that America do the right thing and stand with Israel:

My four children, American citizens all, are running to bomb shelters in the Israeli capital while you’re asking terrorists to show restraint. For goodness sake, Mr. President. Do the moral thing. Say outright that the United States stands with Israel fully, completely, and unreservedly. That it supports the right of Israel to enact all military measures to defend its citizens. That it utterly condemns Hamas for its terrorism and will never recognize Hamas in any shape or form, other than to recognize it as a terror entity that must be destroyed. That it will supply Israel with everything it needs to eradicate the Hamas terror network in Gaza. That the United States, in having experienced the horrors of 9/11, understands the threat Israel is facing and stands with democratic countries everywhere, especially its most reliable ally, in defeating terrorists wherever they may be found.

Mr. President. This is a moral issue. And you are a moral man. Do the right thing.

We thank you, our friends in the United States and around the world, for doing the right thing and standing with Israel, and ask that you continue with your prayers and support.

Comments (3) »

Thursday, July 10th, 2014 at 2:45 PM  | Stand For Israel

Independence Day – A Celebration of Freedom and Friendship

(Photo: wikicommons/ James Emery)

(Photo: wikicommons/ James Emery)

Because of Independence Day in the United States, we’re suspending activity for July 4. We’ll be back on Monday, July 7. If any critical developments related to Israel come up in the meantime we will post them on the Stand for Israel blog. Thank you for always standing for Israel.

We wish our American friends a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July, and present you all a still-timely Independence Day message from last year. In it Rabbi Eckstein expresses his gratitude for the blessings of freedom and the friendship between the U.S. and Israel:

Because I’m blessed to call both the U.S. and Israel home, on Independence Day I cannot help but reflect on the unique and enduring relationship between the U.S. and Israel. That relationship was established from the beginning, when in 1948 U.S. President Harry Truman made the U.S. the first country to recognize the newly-formed Jewish state.

Since then, Israel and the U.S. have been dependable friends. That friendship, it is true, has been strained and tested at times. But it has never broken. This is because both nations are built upon principles of democracy, individual freedom, faith, and the rule of law. These shared values create broad areas of agreement on key principles, meaning that Israel and the U.S. more often than not stand united on important issues.

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Friday, July 4th, 2014 at 8:00 AM  | Stand For Israel

"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
A Fragile Peace

As we continue to pray for a lasting peace, one of our most critical tasks is to help Israel recover – to rebuild, to restore shattered lives, to comfort those who have lost loved ones or livelihoods. And none of this is possible without you who continue to stand by the Jewish people.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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