Steve Bannon was greeted enthusiastically Sunday night when he told the ZOA’s annual gala that “I’m proud to stand with the state of Israel … I’m proud to be a Christian Zionist … I’m proud to be a part of one of the greatest nations on earth, the foundation of the Judao-Christian West.”
Bannon’s 10-minute address climaxed a five-hour event that drew more than 1,000 supporters of Israel — overwhelmingly friendly to Bannon and President Trump — to the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan.
The former White House chief strategist described America as “a nation at war” in a fight that’s “going to take strong leadership” and not moderation.
“I am not a moderate,” he said. “I’m a fighter. And that’s why I’m proud to stand with the state of Israel.”
He said that President Trump needs his allies to “have his back” as he combats efforts by “the radical left … to nullify the 2016 election.”
“We have a long dark valley to go through, folks — Iran, Turkey, Hezbolah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood,” Bannon said. “The Middle East right now is on a knife’s edge.”
“Until Taylor Force is passed, until the Iran deal is totally decertified, torn up and renegotiated, the establishment is just tapping along the Jewish community in this county and our partners in Israel,” he said.
He blamed establishment Republicans for “playing games” and lowering the bar, which resulted in what he considers a bad nuclear deal with Iran. “That’s how you get the Iran deal,” he continued. “That’s how we still allow the American government to finance people that have blood on their hands of innocent Jewish civilians.”
Bannon, lavished praised on one of ZOA’s major backers, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, but was disappointed on Monday when Adelson spokesman Andy Abbound told Politico that Sheldon and Miriam Adelson “will not be supporting Steve Bannon’s efforts” to unseat establishment Republicans.
“They are supporting Mitch McConnell,” the Kentucky senator who is the Senate majority leader, “100 percent. For anyone to infer anything otherwise is wrong.”
About a month ago, Adelson met with Bannon in Washington. Adelson was not present at the ZOA gala.
Bannon praised the ZOA and its president, Morton Klein, for being “unapologetic about the defense of the state of Israel.”
Bannon was introduced by East End Rep. Lee Zeldin, who called the executive chairman of Breitbart News “a friend of Israel and a friend of Judaism.”