JCRC Appreciates the President’s Strong Commitment to Israeli Security and Regional Cooperation, as well as his Rejection of Anti-Israel Voices Within the Democratic Party
July 14, 2022
Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:
“The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) applauds President Joe Biden for his trip to Israel, his warm words of friendship between our two nations, and his demonstrated commitment to Israel’s security. This trip marks the seventh visit to the Jewish state by an American president. Minnesotans are proud that Ambassador Tom Nides, from Duluth, greeted and is accompanying the President for this trip.
“Presidential visits to Israel and the Middle East are historic occasions. This visit, however, is particularly well-timed. It unofficially marks the beginning of the celebration of Israel’s 75th anniversary and comes at a time when Israel’s formal and informal relations with the Arab world are fundamentally changing for the good. At the same time, Israel and much of the region is existentially threatened by Iran’s unrelenting drive to develop nuclear weapons and impose regional hegemony over its neighbors.
“The challenge for President Biden is to continue to advance the progress made by his predecessors – from Presidents Clinton to Trump – towards regional cooperation, stability, and mutual recognition, best embodied by the growing number of Abraham Accords nations, while working with Israel, and our European and Arab allies to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear power.
“The Jerusalem Declaration, released today, deepens the historic special relationship between Israel and the United States. The declaration reaffirms the ‘unbreakable bonds between our two countries and the enduring commitment of the United States to Israel’s security.’
“The JCRC strongly commends the spirit and substance of the declaration as it reflects the history of U.S.-Israel relations since the birth of the state, the importance of the mutuality of support between democratic nations, and the critical importance of the alignment of the militaries of both countries. Our country and Israel continue to go from strength to strength as the declaration notes that the relationship is based upon moral and strategic considerations.
“Recognizing the existential threat that Iran poses to Israel and its Arab neighbors, the declaration affirms the profound necessity of the United States’ pledge to never allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and to use ‘all elements of its national power.’
“The United States’ commitment to Israel’s security and to addressing the ongoing threat of Iran are anchored in the reality and promise of a fundamentally changing Middle East. As veteran negotiator Ambassador Dennis Ross tweeted: ‘[t]oday there are two pathways. Iran’s axis of misery vs. the emerging coalition of those seeking to build resilient, smart economies.’ The gravitational pull of history and the prospect of better lives for all are pulling nations towards the latter alternative.
“We also appreciate President Biden’s straight talk regarding the presence of those expressing anti-Israel views within the Democratic Party. In an Israeli television interview, the president remarked: ‘[t[here are few of them. I think they are wrong. I think they’re making a mistake. Israel is a democracy. Israel is a friend.’
“President Biden’s unequivocal position in support of Israel is a welcome contrast to the deep hostility towards Israel demonstrated by a resolution labeling Israel as a ‘Naqba’ which is Arabic for ‘disaster.’ The resolution essentially demands that Israel grant citizenship to 7 million Palestinians, which would erase the Jewish majority and mean the end of Jewish national sovereignty. The resolution found few backers in Congress but, to our profound dismay, this deeply misguided resolution was co-sponsored by Twin Cities Representatives Betty McCollum and Ilhan Omar. By championing this resolution, Representatives McCollum and Omar are supporting the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Any recognition of the Jewish people’s inviolable connection to the Land of Israel, or a fair understanding of the historical context which led to the establishment of the State of Israel and the current status of Palestinians, is absent from this one-sided resolution.
“By contrast, we applaud President Biden for his efforts to bring Israelis and Palestinians together. We were encouraged that Interim Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Palestinian Authority President Abbas spoke by phone last week in what is believed to be the first direct call between an Israeli prime minister and the PA chief in five years.
“Finally, we agree with President Biden that ‘you need not be a Jew to be a Zionist.’ The JCRC welcomes the support and friendship of all Americans, whether Jewish or not, in maintaining ‘the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.’” Israel, like the United States, is a democracy, and, like the US, is still striving to fulfill the promise of its founders to ‘ensure [the] complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants.’”
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights antisemitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.