U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a resident of the Five Towns community of Woodburgh, told the ZOA gala on Sunday that President Trump was on Israel’s side.
“We came to office on the heels of perhaps the greatest betrayal of Israel by a sitting president in American history,” Friedman said of the Obama administration’s orchestration of the Iran nuclear deal.
He said that if Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu were asked for his three top foreign policy objectives, “he will tell you it is Iran, Iran and Iran.”
“This is not the same as saying ‘location, location, location’ when talking about real estate,” Friedman said. “In Iran, there are three independent things to be concerned about: Iran as a nuclear power that threatens to annihilate Israel; Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism through Hezbollah and other proxies; and Iran as regional superpower expanding through Iraq, Syria and Yemen and filling the vacuum created by the defeat of ISIS.”
Friedman said that while the U.S. is “the nation of my birth, the nation of my citizenship,” Israel “is the nation of my faith [and] no loyal American need apologize for loving Israel and urging our government to support it. Support for Israel is a quintessential American value.”
He added, “The United States government treats Israel the way it deserves to be treated: as a critical strategic and trusted ally in one of the world’s toughest neighborhoods. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I agree that we have turned a page on the relationship between Israel and the United States. It is a change for the better.”
Other speakers included former Senator and vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, who recalled that Zionism didn’t begin with founding of the ZOA in 1897.
“Zionism began a long time before that — about 4,000 years before that in the covenant that G-d entered with Abraham,” he said. “You might say that G-d, in fact, was the first Zionist.”
Healther Alper of Brooklyn College, one of two students to receive ZOA’s student award, said Zionists “have a place in whatever social justice movement you can think of because Zionism is a liberation movement at its core.”
“There are many anti-Semitic BDS proponents like Linda Sarsour that will say that Zionists can’t be feminists,” Alper said, noting that one of the reasons she was chosen for her award was her work “addressing Jewish exclusion from the feminist movement.”
Upon accepting ZOA’s Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson Award, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said that Israel “must never stand alone” in its fight against a nuclear-armed Iran.
“Red, white and blue must stand beside blue and white,” Cotton said, referencing the colors of the American and Israeli flags. “We are in this fight together, all the way until the end. Remember the ayatollah’s chant, ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’. … Our two nations have never ducked a challenge.”
Cotton added that if forced to act, the U.S. can “totally destroy” Iran’s nuclear arsenal, and if the Iranians “choose to rebuild it, we can destroy it again until they get the picture.”
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz emphazied the importance of keeping support for Israel bi-partisan — and in that fight, Dershowitz said he will remain a Democrat.
He concluded that “today the hard left is far more dangerous to Israel’s existence and to the safety of the Jewish community. The right has no infludence today on college campuses,” from which will emerge the future leaders of America.