Friday, June 05, 2009


From the Israel Project:

Cairo Speech: President Obama Stands with Israel, but Disappoints on Iran

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Ending the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (The Times of London)
President Obama's Cairo speech (read transcript, watch video)
Experts available for comment
TIP's Press Kit for President Obama's trip to Cairo
TIP's Press Kit for President Obama's trip to Germany
Obama to Visit Buchenwald Concentration Camp Friday As Iranian President Says Holocaust a "Big Deception"
Twelve Ways to Prevent Iran from Acquiring Weapons without War
TIP's Conference Call with German Scholar Matthias K√ľntzel

In his speech to the Muslim world Thursday (June 4) from Cairo, President Barack Obama called on Palestinians to renounce violence, stop firing rockets at Israelis and said Palestinians – as well as the Arab world – must recognize Israel's right to exist.[1]

"Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed…violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered," Obama said during his almost hour-long speech at Cairo University.

Obama's address comes at a time when Americans have clearly stated that they stand with Israel by a seven-to-one margin.

In a new national poll among registered voters conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for The Israel Project, fully 50 percent of all respondents said they supported Israel over Palestinians in the ongoing conflict.

When asked, "Thinking about the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in the Middle East, please tell me whether, in general, you consider yourself to be a supporter of Israel…Palestinians," fully 50 percent said they were supporters of Israel, while seven percent said they were supporters of the Palestinians. The poll of 800 registered voters was conducted June 2-3 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.46 percent.

Since Obama's inauguration Jan. 20, terrorists in Gaza have fired more than 200 [2] rockets, mortars and missiles at Israel – and a total of more than 6,700 [3] since Israel handed all of Gaza over to the Palestinians four years ago in hopes of paving the way for an independent Palestinian state living side by side in peace next to Israel. Since the start of 2009, Israel has been hit by at least 685 rockets and mortars. [4]

Obama also said, "Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist."

A day before his visit to
Buchenwald, one of Nazi Germany's largest concentration camps, Obama emphasized the importance of recognizing and remembering the Holocaust and condemned those who refuse to recognize that: "Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve."

Obama, reiterating the importance of U.S.-Israel relations, also said: "America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied."

On Wednesday, however, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again repeated his denial of the Holocaust, calling it a "big deception." [5]

"The identity of the liberal democracy has been exposed to the world by its protection of the most criminal regime in the history of humanity, the Zionist regime, by using the big deception of the Holocaust," Ahmadinejad told a gathering of 600 international scholars in Tehran June 3.

The Israel Project Founder and President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi commented on President Obama's Cairo address: "President Obama's speech was historic in its bold outreach to Muslims and in its dramatic move for peace. There is a lot in the speech for Americans and Muslims to celebrate."

A number of points, however, caused concern about Israel's security. Said Mizrahi,
"While we knew Israelis would feel pressured about implementing a two-state solution and stopping settlements, I am very concerned about President Obama's comments that Iran has a right to nuclear materials for energy given the dangerous fact that some of those materials could get into the hands of terrorists including Iran's proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad."

Mizrahi added,
"President Obama's speech did not convey a sense of urgency on stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons – although it is clear he does share the goal of preventing a weaponized nuclear Iran. We can't forget that North Korea's program started as an energy program and now they are actively testing nuclear weapons in defiance of the United States. We cannot afford for this to happen with Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terror."

Mizrahi said President Obama's speech also denied basic facts about key security issues and omitted important aspects of today's realities, including, she said:

• "The fact that until peace is real, President Obama's goal of a completely nuclear-free world is not consistent with Israel's need to at least have the impression that it might have nuclear weapons for defensive purposes. We know that deterrence saves a lot of lives.

• "The fact that President Obama did not mention that Israel has said that they don't want to govern Palestinians and do want to create a better life for the Palestinian people within the context of their own security needs.

• "The fact that President Obama spoke rightly of the suffering of Palestinian refugees without, however, remembering that approximately the same number of Jewish refugees were pushed out of Arab countries.

• "The fact that President Obama didn't point out that Jewish refugees have gone, and should continue to go, to Israel whereas Palestinians refugees should find their homes in a Palestinian homeland."

Mizrahi said President Obama should have mentioned that not only does Iran-backed Hamas control all of Gaza, Hamas's own charter calls for killing Jews: "The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!" [6] It also states: "The indoctrination campaign must involve ulama, educators, teachers and information and media experts, as well as all intellectuals, especially the young people and the sheikhs of Islamic movements. It is [also] necessary to introduce essential changes in the curricula, in order to eliminate the influences of the intellectual invasion which were inflicted upon them by the Orientalists and the missionaries." [7]

Obama's trip to the Middle East comes a week after his meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, where Obama urged the Palestinian leader to end the culture of hate that permeates Palestinian educational and religious institutions. Said Obama, "…It was very important to continue to make progress in reducing the incitement and anti-Israel sentiments that are sometimes expressed in schools and mosques and in the public square, because all those things are impediments to peace." [8]
Recent examples of the culture of hate that permeates Palestinian society

In May, Abbas rejected the idea of a Jewish State and met with Palestinian youth leaders in Ramallah where he held up a framed map of Palestine – clearly labeled in English - that covered all of Israel. "I say this clearly: I do not accept the Jewish State, call it what you will," Abbas said during the meeting. A photo of Abbas holding the map appeared on the front pages of both Palestinian Authority daily newspapers. [9]

Obama's speech at Cairo University was part of a five-day trip that started in Riyadh Wednesday (June 3) for meetings with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah before continuing Thursday to Egypt, where Obama also met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In Germany Friday, Obama will visit Buchenwald along with Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel [10] and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. [11] Before the Buchenwald stop, Obama will hold talks Friday in Dresden with Merkel. Obama's final stop in Germany, before continuing to Normandy, France, is Landstuhl medical facility, where Obama will visit U.S. soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. [12]

Just a few weeks ago, during talks with Obama at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear he too looked forward to advancing the peace process and wanted the Palestinians to govern themselves.

"I share with you very much the desire to move the peace process forward," Netanyahu said at the White House following a meeting with Obama On Monday (May 18). "And I want to start peace negotiations with the Palestinians immediately. I would like to broaden the circle of peace to include others in the Arab world…I want to make it clear that we don't want to govern the Palestinians. We want to live in peace with them." [13]

In 2003, Israel agreed to implement the
Roadmap to Peace, [14] a performance-based document that provides a framework for a two-state solution and calls for an end to Palestinian violence and terrorism - including requiring all Palestinian institutions to end incitement against Israel. [15] Despite the Palestinians' failure to end incitement, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon both have agreed to honor the Roadmap. [16]

The U.S., Israel and other Western countries actively support Abbas's more moderate Fatah movement against Iran-backed Hamas. [17] In the meantime, Netanyahu has also pledged to work with Abbas's government in the West Bank, and has
proposed a "triple track" towards peace including political, security and economic tracks. [18]

Experts available for comment


Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Founder and President, The Israel Project
Tel.: 202-857-6644 (office); 202-365-0787 (cell)
Web site:
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, an American peace and security activist, is the founder and president of The Israel Project, an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about the Middle East. Mizrahi meets regularly with top Israeli leaders such as President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Ambassador Sallai Meridor. Mizrahi previously served as a foreign affairs legislative assistant to the U.S. Congress. Mizrahi has worked on projects with the White House, President Clinton, Vice President Gore and dozens of U.S. senators. Mizrahi has been interviewed on "One on One with John McLaughlin," CNN, CNBC, FOX, MSNBC and C-SPAN. The Forward newspaper has twice listed Mizrahi in its "Forward 50" most influential Jews in America.

Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff, Chargé d'affaires, Embassy of Israel
Tel: 202-364-5578 (office)

Nonie Darwish, Arab peace activist and author of "Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror"
Tel: 818-366-2452
Web site:
Nonie Darwish is the daughter of a former member of the Egyptian intelligence service who directed terrorist attacks against Israelis in the 1950s. When she was eight years old, her father was killed by a special Israeli assassination team. Today, Ms. Darwish is a noted author and advocate for peace with unwavering support for Israel.

Mitchell Bard, Executive Director, American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise
Tel: 301-565-3918
Mitchell G. Bard is the author of 19 books including "Myths and Facts: A Concise Record of the Arab-Israeli Conflict" and "Will Israel Survive?" Mr. Bard is a well-known expert on foreign policy and the Middle East and has appeared on local and national television and radio outlets.

Jonathan Peled, Spokesman, Israeli Embassy
Cell: (202) 276-2800

David Makovsky, Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Tel: 202-452-0650 (office)

Robert Satloff, Executive Director, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Tel: 202-452-0650

Prof. Yoram Peri, Dollye and Woldrod Berman Visiting Professor, Center for Israel Studies at American University
Tel: 202-885-3682
(Peri is the author of "Telepopulism," which described how Netanyahu established a "coalition of the rejected.")

Ambassador Martin Indyk, Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy
Office: 202-797-6462

Iran experts

Ilan Berman, Vice President for Policy, American Foreign Policy Council; author, "Tehran Rising: Iran's Challenge to the United States" (2005)
Tel: 202-543-1006 (office)

Patrick Clawson, Ph.D., Deputy Director for Research,
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy;
Tel: 202-452-0650 ext. 220 (office), 202-302-1722 (cell);

Jeremy Issacharoff, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Israel
Tel: 202-364-5578 (office)

Orde Kittrie, Professor of Law, Arizona State University; Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Michael Ledeen, Freedom Scholar, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Tel: 202-207-0190; Cell: 301-370-1443

Gary Milhollin, Executive Director, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control
Tel: 202-223-8299 (office)

Peter Zimmerman, nuclear physicist, Professor Emeritus, King's College, London
Tel: 703-966-6680

U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., Member, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia
Tel: 202-225-5965 (office)

U.S. Rep. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Member, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Tel: 202-224-4524

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
Tel: 202-225-2464

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Member, House Appropriations Committee
Tel: 202-225-4835 (office)

U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., Member, Committee on International Relations; Ranking Member, Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights;
Tel: 202-225-5911 (office)


Marcus Sheff, Director, The Israel Project's Jerusalem Office
Tel.: 972-2-623-6427 (office); 972-54-807-9177 (cell)
Web site:

H.E. Danny Gillerman, Israel's former ambassador to the UN
Tel: 011-972-50-688-8777

Mark Regev, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Spokesman for International Media
E-mail via:

Avi Pazner, Israeli Government Spokesman
Member of Advisory Team to Prime Minister Netanyahu, available for comment only after 13:00 EST and 20:00 Israel time
Tel.: Assistant, Jaqueleine: 011-972-2-670-1809

Zalman Shoval, Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
Member of Advisory Team to Prime Minister Netanyahu, available for comment only after 13:00 EST and 20:00 Israel time
Tel.: Assistant, Tammi: 011-972-3-517-3310
Cell: 011-972-54-453-3747

Dan Meridor, Israel Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy and Deputy Prime Minister
Tel.: Assistant, Irit - 011-972-2-670-3382

David Baker, Senior Foreign Press Coordinator, Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Tel: 972-2-677-3649; cell: 972-506-205061; e-mail:
Web site:

Danny Ayalon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Via Ashley Perry. International Media Advisor +972 (0)50 620 3197

David Baker, Senior Foreign Press Coordinator, Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Tel: 972-2-677-3649; cell: 972-506-205061; e-mail:
Web site:

Ambassador Dore Gold, President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Contact via Adam Shay, JCPA Project Coordinator
Tel.: 972-2-561-9281; 972-2-563-2947
(Amb. Gold was the 11th Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations (1997-1999) and served as foreign policy advisor to Netanyahu.)

Daniel Diker, Director of Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA); serves as Knesset Affairs correspondent for Israel Broadcasting Authority's English news.
Contact via Adam Shay, JCPA Project Coordinator
Tel.: 972-2-561-9281; 972-2-563-2947

Yehuda Ben-Meir, Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University; former Member of Knesset
Field: Israeli domestic politics; civil-military relations in Israel; Israeli public opinion; author of "National Security Decision making: The Israeli Case"
Tel.: 972-3-640-0400 ext. 469
Tel.: 972-50-380-8849

Reuven Chazan, Associate Professor in Political Science Department of Hebrew University
Field: Comparative politics; political parties and party systems; electoral laws; legislative studies; Israeli politics.
Tel: 972-54-057-0104 (cell)

Avraham Diskin, Associate Professor of Political Science, Hebrew University
Field: Government and politics of Israel; electoral and constitutional reform
Tel.: 972-2-588-3060; 972-2-566-1323; 972-52-362-9990 (cell)

Reuven Erlich, Director, The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Cell: 011-972-50-629-8023

Shmuel Rosner, Columnist, The Jerusalem Post and Slate (Formerly of Ha'aretz)
Cell: 972-52-801-5220

Gil Hoffman, Chief Political Correspondent and Analyst, The Jerusalem Post
Cell: 011-972-50-205-2612


[1] "Text: Obama's Speech in Cairo," The New York Times, June 4, 2009,

[2] "Israel air raid on Gaza tunnels after mortar fire," AFP, May 6, 2009,

[3] IDF Spokesperson's Unit, Dec. 19, 2008

[4] "Rocket hits home in Sderot, IAF targets Gaza terrorist sites," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 19, 2009,

[5] "Ahmadinejad says Holocaust a `big deception," AFP, June 3, 2009,

[6] "Hamas Charter (1988)," The Jerusalem Fund, accessed May 13, 2009,

[7] "The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas,", Special Dispatch - No. 1092, Feb. 14. 2006,

[8] Jones, Frank, "Obama Wades Deeper Into Mideast Morass," NPR, May 28, 2009,

[9] Marcus, Itamar and Crook, Barbara, "Mahmoud Abbas: `I do not accept
the Jewish State, call it what you will'," Palestinian Media Watch, April 28, 2009,

[10] "Once war-torn Dresden gears up for Obama visit," DPA via Khaleej Times Online, June 3, 2009,§ion=international

[11] "Merkel to accompany Obama on visit to concentration camp in Germany," DPA via Haaretz, May 31, 2009,

[12] Shear, Michael D., "Obama's Middle East Trip a Balancing Act," The Washington Post, June 2, 2009,

[13] "Remarks by Presdient Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel," The White House – Office of the Press Secretary, May 18, 2009,

[14] "Government meeting about the Prime Minister's statement on the Roadmap," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 25, 2003,; Keinon, Herb, "FM Lieberman off to Europe," The Jerusalem Post, May 3, 2009,

[15] "A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 30, 2003,

[16] Keinon, Herb, "FM Lieberman off to Europe," The Jerusalem Post, May 3, 2009,

[17] Marcus, Itamar and Crook, Barbara, "Will the US follow its laws and suspend funding to Abbas?," The Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2009,

[18] "PM Netanyahu convenes meeting of Ministerial Committee on Improving the Situation of the Palestinian Residents of Judea and Samaria," MFA Newsletter, May 27, 2009

1 comment:

Anonymous said...