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ADL leader: American support for Israel critical
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ADL leader: American support for Israel critical

ADL leader Kenneth Jacobson spoke during the Aug. 14 Israel Bonds event at Congregation Beit Shalom in Monroe. Photos by Debra Rubin
ADL leader Kenneth Jacobson spoke during the Aug. 14 Israel Bonds event at Congregation Beit Shalom in Monroe. Photos by Debra Rubin

The American-Jewish community’s and United States government’s support for Israel is often viewed as a bellwether by the Jewish state’s enemies; when they perceive it as waning, they see a chance to build support for their cause.

“I find people don’t realize how important American support is,” said Anti-Defamation League deputy national director Kenneth Jacobson during the annual State of Israel Bonds brunch at Congregation Beit Shalom in Monroe. “You can’t imagine what it does when [Israel’s opponents] hear the American-Jewish community is not contributing money or support to Israel. They view it as an opportunity to make the Israelis look like parasites.”

The Aug. 14 program, run in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County, also honored Frances Cohen, Charlotte Himber-Liberman, and Lillian and Martin Rich.

The event raised $170,000 from 64 Bonds purchases.

Jacobson said he finds “very disturbing” the current trend of the Jewish community’s turning its back on Israel in times of disagreement and acknowledged that while there have always been differences among American Jews about Israeli government policies, until recent years their support for Israel was unflinching.

“There was always the feeling we have a responsibility to support Israel,” said Jacobson.

American government support is also critical, he said, noting that “it is one of the goals of Israel’s enemies to try and separate the Unites States from Israel.”

That backing is becoming even more vital with the looming threat of Iran’s acquiring nuclear capability and with the threats from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to declare an independent Palestine and seek recognition when the UN meets in September.

“The unilateral declaration is a very fearful moment, with the Palestinians trying to tie the reason it is needed to Israel’s intransigence,” said Jacobson. To debunk that perception of Israel’s inflexibility in making compromises for peace, he gave examples of proposals offered over the years by Israeli leaders on the Right and Left to give up land or accept establishment of a Palestinian homeland in exchange for peace.

The Palestinians and their supporters offer “a complete distortion of history,” said the ADL leader. “As Abba Eban once famously said, ‘The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.’”

While Jacobson said he once was worried about the Obama administration’s position on the UN action, on this issue, he said, “the president has not wavered. To its credit, the Obama administration has worked very diligently to stop [the declaration] from being brought before the UN,” and if it is, the administration “will take a stand against it.”

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