Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Photo: Richard Chaitt.
— by Richard Chaitt
About 100 congresspersons and legislative staffers participated in the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)’s Annual Advocacy Mission to Washington, D.C. last week.
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) received the ZOA’s Defender of Zion Award.
ZOA’s national president, Morton A. Klein, said that Menendez “has done tremendous work in the field of security since 9/11, has given extraordinary speeches about Israel and has been leading with the introduction of the Nuclear Free Iran Act of 2013.”
Menendez said that he was “honored to receive this award”:
I have had an unwavering view that it is in the national interest of the United States to have a strong relationship with the state of Israel, an island of democracy. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I reject any call for boycotts, divestment or any statement that Israel risks becoming an apartheid state.
More after the jump.
ZOA’s board member, Jim Pollack, said that “Senator Kirk doesn’t just co-sponsor pro-Israel legislation, he initiates and he authors it. There is no better friend in Washington, D.C. than this gentleman.”
Kirk said to the audience, “When you’re told to ‘temporize’ what you’re doing in support of Israel, or to ‘back off,’ don’t. Defend the State of Israel and do exactly what you believe in.”
Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). Photo: Richard Chaitt.
Klein said that the delegates “were thrilled to spend a day in their lives to fight for Israel, for strong U.S.-Israel relations, and to educate Members of Congress about the truth about the on-going Arab war against Israel, which seeks Israel’s destruction, not any sort of negotiated settlement.”
Hundreds of activists from 23 states across the country urged the congresspersons to:
- oppose further U.S. aid to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) (currently more than $600 million per annum) until it fulfills its signed agreements under Oslo to:
- arrest and imprison terrorists; dismantle and outlaw terrorist groups;
- end the incitement to hatred and murder within the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps;
- end the PA alliance with Hamas; and
- recognize Israel as a Jewish state;
- impose new, tough sanctions on Iran in the event that it violates the Geneva Interim Agreement with the U.S. and Europe (P5+1) and fails to agree to ending its nuclear weapons program, given that the Iranian regime has called for the destruction of Israel, America and the defeat of the West; and
- support and understand the legal, historical, religious and political right of Jews to live in Judea/Samaria and to oppose the canard, based on a willful and politicized distortion and intentional misinterpretation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, that Israel’s presence there is unlawful and a war crime.