ECI response to ADL and AJC

Today the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee issued a joint "pledge" calling on Jewish and Israel groups not to criticize President Obama's record on Israel (it can be viewed here: The Emergency Committee for Israel will not sign the pledge. ECI's chairman, William Kristol, issued the following statement:
"Here's the Emergency Committee for Israel's answer to Directors Abe Foxman and David Harris: You must be kidding.
"Indeed, this attempt to silence those of us who have 'questioned the current administration's foreign policy approach vis-a-vis Israel' will re-energize us. Nor, incidentally, should those who support the administration's approach to Israel be bashful about making their case. Directors Harris and Foxman need a refresher course on the virtues of free speech and robust debate in a democracy. Their effort to stifle discussion and debate is unworthy of the best traditions of America, and of Israel."

For more information please contact ECI executive director Noah Pollak:


Hate at Occupy Wall Street

Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released a new ad challenging leading Democrats to speak out against the Occupy Wall Street protests, which have featured a disturbing level of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric.

“It’s not surprising that elements of the modern left are anti-Semitic," said ECI chairman William Kristol. "It is surprising that respectable liberals have praised the protesters while ignoring the anti-Semitism. Liberals have pretended to see nothing hateful and hear nothing hateful, and therefore have said nothing to rebuke their allies. Will they now speak up?”

The ad's online debut will be followed by a substantial TV buy in New York City and Washington DC beginning on Monday.


ECI Billboards Hit NYC Ahead Of United Nations General Assembly

The Emergency Committee for Israel has a new ad campaign up in New York City. Alana Goodman at Commentary has the scoop:



The Uniter

President Obama: A Uniter, Not A Divider.


ECI Thanks Israel's True Friends

Today, the Emergency Committee for Israel thanks Israel's true friends - Democrats and Republicans alike.


A Letter to Dennis Ross: Give Voice to America’s Pro-Israel Values

The Emergency Committee for Israel sent a letter to Obama administration Middle East envoy Dennis Ross calling on him to challenge the anti-Israel activists to whom he will be speaking next week at the J Street conference. The text of the letter is below.

A Letter to Dennis Ross: Give Voice to America’s Pro-Israel Values

February 24, 2011

Ambassador Dennis Ross
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20500

Dear Ambassador Ross:

You have devoted your career to helping Israel find peace with her neighbors. In high-level positions in administrations of both parties, you have been a leading presence in the peace process for over two decades. Because you possess such a detailed knowledge of the conflict and the attempts to resolve it, you are capable of distinguishing between truth and falsehood, helpful criticism and destructive activism.

It is thus with some surprise that I learned you would be speaking at this year’s J Street conference. Speaking, that is, before a group that has worked diligently over the past three years to become a voice for weakening the U.S.-Israel alliance, for pressuring Israel to accept policies that Israeli voters have rejected as dangerous, and perhaps most important, for giving Jewish support to a global campaign of delegitimization directed against Israel and Zionism.

J Street has spent much of the last two years opposing sanctions on Iran while demanding that Israel refuse to consider military self-defense; it has partnered with leaders of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement; its inability to draw distinctions between Hamas and the IDF during the Gaza War was so striking that the president of the Union for Reform Judaism called the group “morally deficient” and “appallingly naïve.” And, more recently, the group was exposed as having dissembled for years about its sources of funding (much of it foreign) and about its support for the Goldstone Report. Rep. Gary Ackerman recently ended his relationship with the group in exasperation, writing that J Street is “so open-minded about what constitutes support for Israel that its brains have fallen out.”

The conference at which you will be speaking is titled “Giving Voice to Our Values.” J Street’s values are most clearly articulated by the speakers it has selected for its conference. These include:

Maen Areikat of the PLO, who denies there was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and accuses Israel of “state terrorism.”

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian leader who said that Israel has “a full-fledged Apartheid system” that is “much worse than what prevailed in South Africa,” and that Israel has been “ethnically cleansing” Palestinians since 1948.

Nadia Bilbassy-Charters, a correspondent for MBC TV, who says that Hamas should not be “lumped in” with other terrorist groups because “once Palestine is liberated then [Hamas] will cease to use violence.”

Edina Lekovic, of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who was a managing editor of a magazine that praised Osama bin Laden as a “freedom fighter.”

Imam Feisal Rauf, the Ground Zero Mosque leader, who refuses to call Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups.

James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute, who has compared Israelis to Nazis and accused the IDF of “genocide” and a “Holocaust.” Only three months ago he wrote that “In a real sense, the plight of the Palestinians is to the Arabs, what the Holocaust is to Jews worldwide.”

Lawrence Wilkerson, a former State Department official, who has repeatedly accused Jewish members of the Bush administration of “working for Israel” and being “card-carrying members of the Likud Party,” and asked whether “their primary allegiance was to their own country or to Israel.”

Daniel Levy, one of Richard Goldstone’s leading advocates in Washington.

Jessica Montell, executive director of B’Tselem, who says that “the situation in the West Bank is worse than apartheid in South Africa” and that Israel’s policy toward Gaza is a “siege.”

Naomi Chazan, a leader of the New Israel Fund and a conference honoree. Her organization funds NGO’s that accuse Israel of war crimes and Apartheid, provided the bulk of the accusations contained in the Goldstone Report, support the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement, and seek the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, who runs the BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace. She has said, “Just as in Apartheid South Africa’s day, Israel’s society seems to be turning more bluntly racist and repressive.” She says her organization “speaks out for Goldstone, and we speak out for BDS campaigners.”

Debra Delee, president and CEO of the NGO Americans for Peace Now, who commented on the Turkish flotilla attack on IDF soldiers, “The root of this disaster lies not in the actions of the flotilla’s participants.”

Oded Na’aman, a founder of Breaking the Silence, which accuses IDF soldiers of war crimes. He says the IDF “is guilty of a wide range of abuses” including “allowing Jewish settlers to poison Palestinian wells” and evacuating entire blocks of Palestinian towns and then demolishing them. Palestinian terrorism, he says, is merely a “perceived threat.”

Daniel Seidemann, founder of the NGO “Terrestrial Jerusalem,” who claims that the Old City of Jerusalem is being turned into an “Evangelical settler theme park” and compared Israel’s security fence to the Berlin wall.

Michael Sfard, a lawyer for several radical NGO’s, who routinely demonizes Israel, accuses it of “Apartheid,” and promotes war crimes allegations against it. He testified as a paid witness on behalf of the PLO in a lawsuit brought in U.S. Federal Court by victims of terror attacks perpetrated by the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades. He is best known as a leading advocate of “lawfare” – prosecuting Israeli soldiers and officials in European war-crimes trials.

Will you challenge those who seek to brand nearly every Israeli security measure a war crime? Will you take on the inventors and proponents of so many false claims about Israel? Will you repudiate the Goldstone Report?

The pro-Israel community – and the American people – have great respect for Israel because of her consistent willingness to seek peace with her neighbors, even as those neighbors have used the peace process as a means to continue to fight. The American people not only understand and sympathize with Israel’s security challenges, but they refuse to be taken in by cynical and fraudulent accusations that aim to make it impossible for Israel to exercise her right to self-defense. Not only do they refuse to be fooled, they admire the Jewish State for the way it has created a vibrant and prosperous democracy while being subjected to constant terrorism, hatred, and incitement.

There are few moments when someone with your experience and credibility is invited into the anti-Israel echo chamber and provided an opportunity to dispel myths, combat falsehoods, deliver much-needed moral clarity – and state clearly that the United States stands with Israel. I trust that you will seize this moment to explain why the Jewish State is not just one of our closest allies, but a country that fully deserves the admiration and moral support of all Americans.

Yours sincerely,

Noah Pollak
Executive Director, Emergency Committee for Israel


ECI Letter to Senators Schumer and Levin

Below is the letter sent by the directors of the Emergency Committee for Israel to Senators Charles Schumer and Carl Levin regarding their public call for AIPAC to support the New START treaty.


December 1, 2010

The Honorable Charles Schumer 313 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Carl Levin 269 Russell Office Building Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Schumer and Levin:

We write in response to your remarkable public letter to Howard Kohr, the Executive Director of AIPAC. His ongoing institutional responsibilities will probably prevent him from responding to you—two powerful Senators unafraid to use your power—as frankly as we can. But we will be frank.

Your letter—an effort to pressure an organization to lobby on a matter far outside its expertise and area of concern—is a disgrace. We’ve rarely seen Senators stoop to this kind of public bullying. AIPAC “cannot afford to stand on the sidelines?” What threat do you mean to convey by this statement?

It’s clear that defenders of the New START treaty (on which, needless to say, the Emergency Committee for Israel takes no position) are frantic to have it ratified in the lame duck session, and they apparently lack the votes to ram it through. But your desperation about New START does not justify behavior unworthy of Senators.

Furthermore: Is it your position that if the Senate does not ratify START in the lame duck session, Russia will be justified in violating UN sanctions against Iran, or in selling Iran air defense missiles? If not, why do you appear to give the Russian government such a justification? Is that the action of true friends of Israel, or true opponents of a nuclear Iran?

We urge you to withdraw the letter to which you have so unfortunately lent your name.

As ever,

William Kristol, Chairman Rachel Abrams Gary Bauer

Directors, Emergency Committee for Israel


Rush Holt's Record

Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released a TV ad highlighting New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt’s record on Israel.
The ad focuses on Rep. Holt’s signature with 53 House Democrats on a letter to President Obama that criticized Israel's security measures against Hamas and his leadership role in an anti-Israel conference featuring a speaker who speculated that Israel was responsible for the Sept. 11th attacks.
ECI made a significant ad buy on cable news and prime time television in Rep. Holt's district, starting Saturday, August 28th, and running through this week.
The Emergency Committee for Israel will continue to bring the records of political candidates to the attention of American voters in the days and weeks ahead.


Rauf's Double Standard on Terrorism

ECI has released the following statement on Feisal Abdul Rauf, the New York Imam who hopes to build a Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero.

Rauf’s Double Standard on Terror

How do you know someone really isn’t a “moderate” on the question of Islamic radicalism? When he endorses a double standard for terrorism — appearing to condemn it when it is directed against Americans, refusing to condemn it when directed against Israelis.

Feisal Abdul Rauf, a self-styled champion of moderate Islam, was recently asked whether he thinks Hamas is a terrorist organization. “The issue of terrorism is a very complex question,” he replied. When pressed, he insisted that “I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy.”

But surely there should be no middle ground when it comes to Hamas, just as there can be no middle ground when it comes to Al-Qaeda.

Hamas is an Islamic supremacist group that has murdered dozens of Americans and hundreds of Israelis. Hamas leaders routinely call for genocide against Jews, refer to them as vermin and bacteria, and broadcast TV shows teaching their children that their highest ambition should be the slaughter of infidels. On September 11th, 2001, as Americans recoiled in horror at the murder of thousands, members of Hamas were throwing candy in the streets of Gaza and the West Bank to celebrate.

In light of this, it is especially worrisome that the State Department continues to employ Mr. Rauf as an emissary to the Middle East. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley calls him “a distinguished Muslim cleric,” and says, “His work on tolerance and religious diversity is well known, and he brings a moderate perspective to foreign audiences on what it’s like to be a practicing Muslim in the United States.”

The employment of Mr. Rauf by the State Department lends American credibility to a disturbing trend in the West: the idea that terrorism against Israelis falls into a different and less objectionable category from terrorism against other people. This may be fashionable in Europe, but the United States does not embrace an Israel exception to the unacceptability of suicide bombings.

One of the most important messages the United States can deliver to the Middle East is that there is never a justification for jihadist murder, whether in New York, Madrid, London — or Tel Aviv. It is clear from Mr. Rauf’s statements that when he travels abroad at U.S. taxpayers’ expense he is not delivering this message.

There are numerous Muslim leaders in America who are willing to speak the plain truth about Hamas. If the Obama administration and the State Department wish to deliver a clear and compelling message about American values to the Middle East, they can start by disassociating from Feisal Abdul Rauf.

– Noah Pollak


Jim Himes' Record

Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released a TV ad that highlights Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes’s record on Israel.
The ad focuses on Rep. Himes's collaboration with 53 House Democrats on a letter to President Obama that accuses Israel of the “de facto collective punishment” of the residents of the Gaza Strip – which is a de facto accusation of war crimes.
ECI has made a significant ad buy on cable news and prime time television in Rep. Himes's district, starting today, August 12th.

ECI chairman Bill Kristol told the Washington Post today, "You can't just say you're pro-Israel, you have to be pro-Israel."

The Emergency Committee for Israel will continue to bring the records of political candidates to the attention of American voters in the days and weeks ahead.


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