Yesterday, a group of 100 liberal American Jewish leaders released a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on him to make "painful territorial sacrifices" to the Palestinians. In response, ECI has written its own letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu:
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:
We know you don’t need our advice on how to handle the peace process – but given the decision by a group of self-described American Jewish leaders to call for you to make “painful territorial sacrifices,” we felt it appropriate to convey our own thoughts on the matter.
Be assured that they don’t speak for us or for a majority of Americans. We not only question the wisdom of their advice, we question their standing to issue such an admonition to a democratically-elected prime minister whose job is not to assuage the political longings of 100 American Jews, but to represent – and ensure the security of – the Israeli people.
Indeed, it’s puzzling to us why a small group of American Jews believes it appropriate to demand “painful territorial sacrifices” of Israelis, when those issuing the demand will not experience the pain, or be compelled to sacrifice anything, should their advice prove foolish – as it has so many times in the past. We affirm the words of Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who recently asked an American Jewish audience to “respect the decisions made by the world’s most resilient democracy.”
The “American Jewish leaders” who deign to advise you today are largely the same leaders who rarely, if ever, demand “painful sacrifices” of Palestinian leaders – or even demand that they come to the negotiating table, which they have refused to do in any meaningful way since 2008. From the safety of America, in the past they have recommended trusting Yasser Arafat, dividing Jerusalem, surrendering the Golan Heights to Syria, and withdrawing from territory that today is controlled by Iranian-backed terrorist groups.
Before rushing to issue new recommendations, we suggest that these oracles of bad advice might pause to reflect on the wisdom of the recommendations they’ve already made.
We, too, have strong opinions on the peace process – but one thing we never presume to do is instruct our friends in Israel on the level of danger to which they should expose themselves.
We trust, of course, that you are under no misapprehensions about any of this. But we felt it important that you heard from a mainstream voice in addition to the predictable calls from a certain cast of American activists for more Israeli concessions.
William Kristol Rachel Abrams Gary Bauer Noah Pollak Michael Goldfarb
Statement by Noah Pollak, Executive Director, Emergency Committee for Israel, on tomorrow's meeting between Secretary of State Kerry and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan:
"Yesterday, at a UN-sponsored conference and in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that Zionism is a "crime against humanity." Moon, who was on stage with Erdogan, said and did nothing in protest. But tomorrow, the new Secretary of State, John Kerry, arrives in Ankara to meet with Erdogan.
"What will Kerry say? How will he respond to Erdogan? If he says nothing, he will be turning a blind eye to an explicit denial of the Jewish State's right to exist. The denial of Israel's right to exist is defined by Kerry's State Department as a form of anti-Semitism. Will Kerry stay silent in the face of such a reprehensible statement by a member of NATO, a major recipient of advanced American arms, and -- ostensibly -- a U.S. ally?
"President Obama likes to say that "when the chips are down, I have Israel's back." Erdogan's call for the destruction of Israel does not mean the chips are down. But shouldn't the U.S. president and secretary of state speak out when they hear such a statement? Will American leaders remain silent in the face of eliminationist rhetoric from leaders who seek our good favor? We will see tomorrow whether Secretary of State Kerry and the White House have Israel's back, not when the chips are down, but when the leader of an important country over whom the U.S. has substantial influence speaks in a way that forecasts and encourages the worst kinds of deeds."
Statement by William Kristol, Chairman, Emergency Committee for Israel, on the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense:
"We fought the good fight, and are proud to have done so. We salute all those -- Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews -- who joined with us in the effort to secure a better Secretary of Defense. We are heartened that the overwhelming majority of senators from one of the two major parties voted against confirming Mr. Hagel. We take some comfort in Mr. Hagel's confirmation conversions on the issues of Israel and Iran, and do believe that, as a result of this battle, Mr. Hagel will be less free to pursue dangerous policies at the Defense Department and less inclined to advocate them within the administration. And since hope is an American characteristic and a Jewish virtue, we will also say that we hope Mr. Hagel will rise to the occasion and successfully discharge his weighty duties. In this task we wish him well.
"This battle against Chuck Hagel is over. The fight for a principled, pro-Israel foreign policy goes on."
"The fight goes on. The Emergency Committee for Israel salutes the Senators who courageously voted today to prevent the rubber-stamping of Chuck Hagel as the next Secretary of Defense. Based on his record and his performance at his hearing before the Armed Services Committee, it's clear that Mr. Hagel is ill-suited to this position of high responsibility. The Emergency Committee for Israel intends to redouble its efforts to bring to light Mr. Hagel's complete record for Senators to consider. Even today new reports have emerged of further anti-Israel statements by Mr. Hagel, including the slander (in a 2007 speech at Rutgers University) that the State Department was acting as an "adjunct" of the Israeli foreign ministry. The Emergency Committee for Israel will continue to work to convince a majority of senators of the undeniable truth that we can do much, much better than Mr. Hagel."
With news reports suggesting former Senator Chuck Hagel may be nominated for the job of Secretary of Defense, today the Emergency Committee for Israel released "Not An Option," a 30-second TV ad that highlights Hagel's troubling record on Iran.
The ad recounts Hagel's numerous votes against sanctions, his opposition to designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, and his view that there is no "viable" military option for preventing a nuclear Iran -- in contrast to President Obama, who insists all options remain on the table.
The ad will air on cable this Thursday and Friday throughout the Washington DC area.
Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released "Extreme," a 30-second TV ad that highlights Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin's troubling foreign policy record. In a significant buy, the spot will air hundreds of times statewide over the next two weeks on cable and broadcast television, including during Green Bay Packers games.
Throughout her career in the House of Representatives, Baldwin has been nothing less than hostile to the U.S.-Israel alliance. She has accused Israel of war crimes, befriended anti-Israel groups, refused to sign bipartisan letters of support for Israel, and defended the libelous Goldstone Report.
ECI's executive director Noah Pollak said: "Over the past decade, Tammy Baldwin has established a foreign policy record of extremism. Yet now that she's running for Senate, she's attempting to obscure that record -- in fact, her campaign website doesn't even include a foreign policy section. Since she doesn't want to tell the voters where she stands, we will."
Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released "What's Wrong," a 30-second TV ad that highlights Rep. Lois Capps' troubling foreign policy record. The spot will air hundreds of times over the coming weeks on cable and broadcast television in Capps' district, which includes Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo counties.
Capps has been consistently hostile to the U.S.-Israel alliance. She has accused Israel of war crimes, befriended the radical Islamic group CAIR, refused to sign bipartisan letters of support for Israel, and supported the libelous Goldstone Report.
ECI's executive director Noah Pollak said: "If there is a member of Congress whose foreign policy record is more extreme than Lois Capps', I can't think of one. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated an inability to distinguish between America's friends and enemies and has repeatedly attacked America's closest ally in the Middle East -- Israel."