Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sarah: Good afternoon, and welcome to yet another very topical and timely EMET webinar. All of us have been shaken to the core by the sheer brutality and savagery of the Hamas attacks of October 7th. Many people look at this war as simply another narrow Israeli-Palestinian war. However, we at EMET look at this as much more as a geo-strategic war with Iran as the head of the snake. Our guest this afternoon is someone very near and dear to EMET, Ambassador Yoram Ettinger. Yoram is the former minister of Congressional Affairs with the Israeli Embassy, former Consul General in Houston, and Director of the Israeli Government Press Office. Yoram is a highly regarded diplomat who regularly meets with members of the US Congress. As a matter of fact, he has been in all this week meeting one member of Congress after another. He briefs the Israeli Knesset and the cabinet regularly, and is a frequent journalist on the radio, on television, and in print media. So Yoram, let us begin. Let us first discuss what the objectives of this war are. How realistic is it to eliminate the threat of Hamas and do you believe that we can realistically get all of the hostages back?


Yoram Ettinger: Well, thank you very much for this opportunity. To achieve Israel’s goals in this war and minimize the possibility of a repeat of the October 7th Debacle, debacle with a capital D and three exclamation marks, both Israel and the US need to use the current war against Hamas and against Hezbollah as a wakeup call. The major challenge is to make sure that this wake-up call reaches Israeli policymakers, American policymakers, public opinion molders, and the public at large. I would like to share with you a few elements which, I think, require an awakening.


This is not only Israel’s war. However, friends of Israel in the US, in general, and on Capital Hill, in particular, are convinced it is their duty to stand by Israel while Israel fights these two wars. Very few, in my assessment, realize that Israel is fighting a war against a shared threat. Israel, in fact, is the first line of defense for the US in the face of a very lethal threat against US homeland security and national security. To understand why Israel’s wars against Hamas and Hezbollah happen to be the war of Western democracies in general, and specifically of the US, we need to understand the identities of the parties involved.


Hamas, established in 1988 by the Muslim Brotherhood, is the largest Sunni terror organization. The Muslim Brotherhood was established in 1928. There is nothing in their charter, vision or fundamental beliefs that relates to Israel. In 1928, they chartered their long-term vision without Israel in mind. The primary vision, strategy and aspiration of the Muslim Brotherhood is to establish a global, universal Islamic society based on the Quran. Islam is to be established as the only legitimate, divinely ordained global religion. That is their first challenge.


The second challenge for the Muslim Brotherhood is to bring the western world and culture to submission. They understand the number one hurdle on this road is the US.  The US, rather than Israel, is their primary target. They perceive Israel to be the major Western beachhead in the abode of Islam in the Middle East. Israel is perceived, and rightly so, as a role model for countering terrorism. They assess, and again, rightly so, that if they succeed in clipping the wings of Israel, they deal a major blow to the West. This is because the West will then lose the effectiveness of its beachhead in this critical part of the world. In this case, the blow to the confidence of the West will be substantial because their role model for countering Islamic terrorism will be defeated by Islamic terrorism.


Then we must consider the Ayatollah regime in Iran. Iran has been the driving force and funder of both Hamas and Hezbollah since day one. They provide almost all military hardware to Hamas and even more to Hezbollah. They strategize on the steps to be taken by Hamas and Hezbollah and train them as well. We will try to examine what motivates Iran. Once again, the US is a higher priority than Israel for Iran. When the Ayatollahs took over control of Iran in February of 1979, they didn’t have Israel in mind. They did not have Israel in mind when they shaped their 1400-year-old strategy. When they began strategizing on how to expand the Islamic revolution beyond the boundaries of Iran, Israel was not a major factor. The major factor was the great American Satan, as they described the US. Iran has a major, major mega strategy. In order to advance that mega strategy, they need a mega capability, which is nuclear capability. In order to get that capability and advance their mega goal, they need to get over the mega obstacle, the great American Satan and not the small Satan Israel. They do not ignore that Israel provides the US a very effective beachhead and force multiplier in the Middle East. They assess, very smartly, once they achieve the weakening of that beachhead, their ability to remove the mega hurdle becomes much easier. The bottom line is that we are not talking about Israel’s war alone. We are talking about the war of Western democracies, primarily the US, against the clear and present and lethal threat of Islamic terrorism.


US policy towards Iran is another challenge to that wake-up call. We have seen the capabilities of Hamas. We have yet to see the full capabilities of Hezbollah but we know they exceed those of Hamas by far. These capabilities are the creation of Iran. They are intended to undermine American interests and get closer to the goal of bringing the great Satan to submission. However, we continue to see the US State Department trying to advance its goal of striking another accord with Iran. This policy ignores what has transpired during the past 44 years under the Ayatollahs’ regime in Iran. The US State Department is still trying to pursue diplomatic relations with Iran and absolutely opposes the regime change and military options. It seems to me that after 44 years, the time that has transpired since the Ayatollah took over Iran in 1979, it is time to exercise due diligence. Has the diplomatic option proven itself to be beneficial to the US or has it undermined American interest? I have no doubt anybody who performs a serious review of the results of the diplomatic option would conclude it has been a mega bonanza for the Ayatollahs anti-American strategy and tactics. As we know, the Ayatollah’s strategy transcends the Middle East, transcends the Persian Gulf and even transcends north, east, west and central Africa, where the Iranians are deeply involved. The Ayatollah’s strategy takes them to Central Asia and all the way to Latin, South and Central America. This strategy began from day one and did not begin yesterday or even ten years ago. During the early 1980s the Ayatollahs, together with Hezbollah, established themselves as a major power in South and Central America through drug trafficking, military hardware trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, proliferation of ballistic technologies, and other advanced military systems,


The question is, why would they do that? Why would they establish themselves in the tri-border area of Argentina and Paraguay and Brazil, or in the smaller tri-border of Chile and Bolivia, and Peru? What business do they have in Latin America? Well, if one becomes familiar with the strategy, the aspiration and the 1400-year-old goal of the apocalyptic Ayatollah’s regime, one realizes they consider Latin America to be the soft underbelly of the United States. Since their goal is to bring the US to submission, they want, first and foremost, to weaken the US posture in their soft underbelly. This means undermining the US all the way to the US-Mexico border. When one considers the Ayatollahs’ presence in Latin America over the last 44 years, one finds out that they established very close collaboration with every single drug cartel in Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil. They have established working relations with every single terror organization in Latin America, and are coordinating closely with the anti-US governments in Latin America. Given the change of governments in Chile, Colombia, and Brazil, this includes coordination with almost 100% of the governments in Latin America. An exception is Argentina as a result of recent election results. The Ayatollahs have developed very intense military and cultural and commercial ties with Latin America. This means, for instance, that they have supplied the drug cartels of Mexico with the appropriate equipment to construct tunnels between Mexico and the USA. These are similar to the tunnels which they helped construct between Lebanon and Syria and Israel, between Gaza and Israel and inside Gaza. As a result of the war, we now know the tunnels in Gaza extend to a few hundred miles and are well equipped to accommodate terror organizations and drug traffickers. That which they have done on the border of Israel, they are now proceeding to do the same on the border of Mexico and the United States.


The profile of the Ayatollahs of Iran is well documented. They have developed a school curriculum to substantiate their rogue conduct of terrorism, drug trafficking and their imperial megalomaniac vision of controlling not only the Gulf, not only the Middle East, not only parts of Africa, but the entire globe. When you examine that, you wonder why the State Department still believes the diplomatic option is the right way of dealing with the Ayatollahs. Why would they believe a proper gesture towards Iran is going to induce the Ayatollahs to accept peaceful coexistence with the neighboring Arab Sunni, pro-American Arab countries? What causes them to think that a generous financial and diplomatic package would convince the Ayatollahs to abandon their strategic fanatic goal and transform them into good faith negotiators who are compliant with agreements? I wish it would be true but we need to be realistic about foreign policy. Foreign policy is not effective when it is based on wishful thinking, when it is based on speculative scenarios or when it is based on a Pollyannaish vision. I believe the needs to be an awakening as regards this policy especially given the current wars between Israel and Hamas and Israel and Hezbollah.


The Palestinian issue is the third element which I think requires an awakening in both Israel and in the US. It has become customary in the West, and among certain circles in Israel, to consider the so-called two-state solution, to be a reasonable, logical and moral way to reduce the tension between Israel and the Palestinians and resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. We have had sufficient time to conduct due diligence on this proposed solution and the results need to be examined. The way to assess the results from the American perspective, would be to determine if a Palestinian state advances or undermines American interests. Americans in general, American legislators and American policymakers should rid themselves of the assumption that they are honest brokers. Whether they are pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian is absolutely secondary for Americans. Americans should be concerned about American interests. When you examine the impact of the proposed Palestinian state upon American interests, you should evaluate track records and not future speculative scenarios. When one hires a new guy for a job, one does not ask the candidate, would you share with me your future plans? One finds out where this guy worked before? How did he perform his job? Is he an honest guy? Is he effective at this work based on his track record? The same principles apply when evaluating the feasibility of a proposed Palestinian state. Do we or do we not know the track record of the Palestinian leadership in the region, not only vis-a-vis Israel, but in the intra-Arab context? The answer from different parties reveals the differences in attitude towards the Palestinian state exhibited by the State Department versus the position of the Arabs. The State Department is anxious to establish a Palestinian state. The Arabs, on the other hand, embrace the Palestinians rhetorically but exhibit anywhere between an indifferent and negative attitude towards a Palestinian state.


On November 11, 2023, Saudi Arabia hosted a joint summit of the Arab League. The summit included the Islamic countries of the world. During that conference, the Palestinians and the Iranians tried to push a resolution ending all diplomatic, commercial tourist, and military ties with Israel. This resolution was defeated by Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and a few non-Arab Muslim countries and reflected the real Arab position towards the Palestinian state. Namely, aside from embracing talks, the Arabs are  taking no tangible steps to advance the cause of a Palestinian state. Why are Arabs opposing a Palestinian state while the State Department actually pressures Israel to advance it? As we talk here, secretary Blinken is either already in Israel or on his way to Israel to try and push the Israelis once again to advance the cause of a Palestinian state. The reason the Arabs maintain a contradictory position on the Palestinian state, as compared to that of the the State Department, is because of their track record with the Palestinians.


During the early 1950s, Egypt hosted the Palestinians and gave them a base from which to terrorize Israel. They terrorized Israel but then joined forces with a Muslim brotherhood and terrorized their host country. As a result, they had to run away from Egypt. The Palestinian leadership was then hosted by Syria, but by 1966, they started to terrorize that host country and they escaped to Jordan. In 1970, however, they tried to topple that host regime. This triggered a civil war called the Black September of 1970. They then escaped to Southern Lebanon which they plundered for five years. Then they said, well, why only Southern Lebanon? Why not Beirut? Let us take over control of Lebanon. This triggered a series of civil wars. They haunted Lebanon until they were expelled in 1982. The Palestinians also joined forces with Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait back in August of 1990. Kuwait at that time was the most generous host of Palestinians anywhere in the Arab world. Once again, the Palestinians bit the hand that fed them by joining forces with Saddam Hussein. When Sheikh Abba, the ruler of Kuwait, restored control over the country, he expelled almost all 400,000 Palestinians from Kuwait. That is the track record of the Palestinians in the intra-Arab sphere and it is consistent with their track record globally. During World War II they collaborated with Nazi Germany. After World War II they collaborated with the Soviet block. Then they collaborated with Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran. They are conducting training sessions in Yemen, in Lebanon, in Sudan collaborating with terror organizations from Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.


Currently, the Palestinian authority continues running an education system proven to be a very  effective terrorist production line. One should not be shocked by the horrific experience of October 7th terrorism. It is a result of an education system established by Mahmud Abbas and by the Palestinian Authority. When you consider existing Palestinian hatred, the school curriculum, incitement during Friday sermons in the mosque and the monthly allowances paid to families of terrorists, you get a pretty good idea about the profile of the Palestinians supposed to establish their own state. By the way, the monthly allowances to families of terrorists include those who were involved in the October 7th assault on Israel. As discussed earlier, such a profile would not earn anyone a job. Such a profile would not earn any businessman a partnership with someone else. For the State Department, however, that profile is irrelevant. The State Department is preoccupied with future speculative and subjective scenarios which are much more optimistic and convenient than the reality in the Middle East. The way to bypass the reality of the Middle East is to create an alternative reality. To create a reality, which in fact is a screen saver, and not a reality.


Last but not least, I would like to refer to a wake-up call needed for many Americans who are not aware yet that there is a two-way street in the relationship between Israel and the US. The current war in Israel and the all-time high concentration of top American military people, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines in that area should cause Americans to wake up. There is a misperception there is a need for an American presence to enable Israel to conduct its wars against Hamas and Hezbollah. The reality is very different. I think the Americans are there to deter Iran but also to deter Israel from taking independent action against Iran. They are also deterring Israel from preempting Hezbollah, which I believe is a much more logical approach for Israel than waiting for Hezbollah to attack and then reacting. No one can deny the Americans are there to deter Hezbollah. However, many Americans officers in Israel right now partake in closed-door meetings with Israeli military personnel. This helps them meet their foremost goal of improving the battle tactics of the US armed forces and enhancing the performance of the US defense and aerospace industry.


This continues the pattern launched in ’67 when about 25 top American military people came to Israel in the aftermath of the Six Day War. They spent three months in Israel and learned Israeli battle tactics. They also learned from the Soviet military systems captured by Israel. They came back to the US with information which improved the battle tactics of the US armed forces and the performance of the US defense and aerospace industry. They did the same thing after the 1973 war. In fact, after every single confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians, we had a delegation of Americans coming to Israel to benefit from the Israeli experience. In many respects, Israel has been the most successful, battle-tested laboratory of the American armed forces and the American defense and aerospace industry. Throughout the years, American specialists in urban warfare have come to Israel. In fact, they come to Israel annually to get the latest information gained by our urban warfare experts from their experiences in Lebanon, Samaria, Judea, and Gaza. Currently, we have an exceptional war. I think this is the first time any country has fought a war the way we are doing in the South against upper ground level Gaza and Metro Gaza. Metro Gaza, extends a distance of a few hundred miles and comprises heavily equipped and very, very sophisticated tunnels. Additionally, we are not only fighting in the South, but also in the North at the same time.


There are many new tactics being tested in this battle laboratory. Tomorrow, the USA may be required to fight in a similar fashion using similar tactics. In my mind, the question is not whether the US will need to fight in this way, the question is when and at what capacity. Americans in Israel are following the way Israel deals with their challenges closely. There is no doubt we benefit much from the American Central command experts, who have experience in Iraq, the Gulf area, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and all the way to Syria. We benefit from that experience. But in the current scenarios, we are sharing our experience with the Americans. It is another aspect of the mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries. During meetings on Capitol Hill, one often hears assertions that Israel has a right to defend itself. Recently, a resolution passed supporting Israel’s right to exist. As I mentioned during the meeting, it is very insulting to hear friends of Israel initiating a resolution which justifies Israel’s right to exist. We do not need such resolutions. I would welcome resolutions which reflect awakening from past wishful thinking and misunderstandings about the relationship between the US and Israel. I would welcome resolutions calling for the US to recognize the role of Israel as a force multiplier and a dollar multiplier benefitting America’s economy, America’s homeland security and America’s national security. Together with Hussein, we met with people from the Homeland Security Committee in the House and we spoke about the benefits of enhanced cooperation between the US and Israel in the areas of border security and homeland security. There is so much that the US can learn from Israel, especially while we are fighting that war against Hamas in Gaza or in the aftermath. There is so much we can learn from the US in view of the highly problematic reality along the US-Mexico border.


So to summarize my opening remarks, I am suggesting we have a war here which could very well enhance US-Israel relations. It may inform US perceptions of Iran. It will then inform the US perception of Islamic terrorism. It will hopefully awaken the US to what the reality of the proposed Palestinian state really is. As discussed, this awakening would come from a real understanding of what the impact of the proposed Palestinian state on American interests will be, as opposed to from their role as a good faith negotiator or as a pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian advocate.


If I will conclude with a story relating to the tendency of some not to look at situations realistically. This story or joke is about a person with hearing problems. He goes to the doctor, the specialist examines him and asks him if he tends to drink too much. The guy responds, no, not too much. I wake up in the morning and I have a drink to really wake up. I get to the office and I have one or two drinks with the boys at the office. I have one or two drinks at lunchtime. After work, we go to the nearby bar, have a few more drinks and get a real good night’s sleep. I have another drink before I retire to bed. The doctor says, well, I think I found the reason for your hearing problems. You must stop drinking. Heed my advice and come back in two months and I promise you will regain your hearing. After two months, the guy comes back. The doctor examines him and finds there has been no change. The doctor said, “What’s going on? Did you heed my advice?” The guy said, doctor, “I did this for a month and at that time, I realized that I like what I drink much better, much more than what I hear”.


Contrary to the story, I am hoping we can achieve an awakening of people in the State Department and other areas of policy making and public opinion molding. I am hoping the current situation will awaken those in Israel and the US who prefer to drink the drink of oversimplification, wishful thinking and an alternative reality. I hope it will awaken them to the need to face reality as unpleasant,  frustrating, violent, and intolerant as it is. I would welcome any comment, criticism, preferably, or questions which you might have.


Sarah: Thank you. That was a very wide sweeping comprehensive introduction that covered a lot of ground. As you know, Secretary of State Anthony Blink is in the region. He is in Israel now. He’s about to go to Judea in Samaria and speak with people in Ramallah. He is about to go to the United Arab Emirates and to promote the Two-state solution. After the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and what happened recently in Gaza, what is the mood in Israel in terms of a Two-state solution? Has there been a wake-up call in the Israeli establishment about this?


Yoram: Well, as I mentioned, the Two-state solution appeals to the State Department, to the so-called elite media and to the so-called elite academia in the USA. The Two-state solution is considered legitimate and feasible in many Jewish circles in the US. In Israel, we have a similar situation. However, there is no doubt that some left-of-center elements in Israel have changed their minds about the Two-state solution. The question is, for how long? Is the change solid? Will it hold or will it dissipate in time and how quickly it will dissipate? My assumption is that some people are going to change their minds because they cannot be blind to reality.


When it comes to the US State Department and the administration, however, I have no doubt, there will be no change in approach at all. I advise my Israeli friends coming to Washington, be they officials or non-officials, not to dwell on wishful thinking. They are very unlikely to change the position of Secretary Blinken, National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, or President Biden. This administration proceeds with a worldview which is the result of their work over decades. They are determined to proceed with their worldview irrespective of reality. The only advice I can give to both Israelis and to Americans, is that we should study precedents and learn them. We should learn from what happened when Palestinian leadership was awarded control over certain territories. Israel was burned pretty badly. After Oslo, we imported over 100,000 Palestinian terrorists from Tunisia, Lebanon and Sudan into the heartland of Israel. This migration immediately triggered an unprecedented wave of terrorism. In 2005 when uprooting Jews from Gaza, we also uprooted the IDF from the area separating Sinai and Gaza. That area is the area from which most of the military supplies, military technologies and manpower was smuggled into Gaza. Beyond that, as I mentioned, the Egyptian government gave the Palestinians some authority over Gaza in the early ’50s to facilitate terror attacks on Israel. They immediately joined forces with terrorists in Egypt and rose against their host government. They did the same thing in Syria. In Jordan, they basically received semi-autonomy or full autonomy in northern Jordan so they could terrorize Israel from that part of Jordan. They leveraged this autonomy to revolt against their host regime. In Lebanon, their semi-independence from 1970 through 1982, brought havoc and destruction. Once again the conclusion is that chartering our future is based on past track-records is the correct approach. Past track-records have proven that granting the Palestinian leadership authority over certain areas generates more violence, more terrorism, and gets us farther from stability and peace. Last comment, Sarah.  You mentioned that Secretary Blinken went to Judea, Samaria. According to Secretary Blinken, however, he never goes to Judea, Samaria. He always goes to the West Bank.


Sarah: Right. Okay. So I have a million questions and so do our viewers. They also have  accolades for your presentation.


As we know, Sheik Nasrallah of Hezbollah does not take his orders from the people in Lebanon, but from Tehran. In your view, do you feel that Tehran wants to widen this war? I know you believe it should not be left up to Tehran, but up to Israel, but do you think that Tehran wants to widen the war right now to the North?


Yoram: The intrinsic interest of the Ayatollahs in Iran is to destabilize the Middle East as much as possible. Destabilization in the Middle East brings them closer to their overall goal of challenging the USA. To further this objective, they aim to tackle the regime of every single pro-American Sunni Arab regime, whether it is Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, Bahrain, or another such regime. Therefore, it is obvious their interest is to equip Hezbollah to be able to irritate Israel at minimum or to destabilize her and maybe even deal her a major blow. One should pay attention to the strategy of Iran from day one. Since February ’79, when they took control of Iran, their strategy has been to take control over their targeted regimes as much as possible. As a result, they now control Iraq to a large extent and are increasingly expanding their control over Syria and Lebanon. That obviously presents quite a challenge to Israel who is increasingly besieged by an Iranian control belt. The Iranians have also been busy recently getting deeper and deeper into Jordan from the east through Iraq and from the north through Syria. Iraq and Syria are both countries, which they control to a large extent. They want to get deeper into Jordan to be able to topple the relatively pro-American Sunni Hashemite regime. They know once they topple that regime, they will have achieved two goals. First of all, they will have tightened the belt around Israel. Also

, Jordan borders Saudi Arabia. Once they topple the Hashemite regime and control Jordan, then they have Saudi Arabia trapped. If the Hashemites are toppled in Jordan, Saudi Arabia will be surrounded by anti-Saudi Arabia, Jordan, anti-Saudi Arabia, Iraq and anti-Saudi Arabia Yemen. Yemen is increasingly controlled by the Houthis who are basically proxies of Iran.


Therefore, yes, absolutely, the Ayatollahs are interested in destabilization. Destabilization undermines the stability of pro-American regimes. Instability undermines the exportation of oil, and of global trade from the far East to Europe and beyond. Therefore, once again, Iranian actions should be  another awakening for the Americans. This awakening could hopefully put an end to the self-destructive, diplomatic option and convince the State Department to conduct their due diligence. If they did this, they would consider other options such as regime change and creating and maintaining a credible military threat over the head of the Ayatollahs.


Sarah: One of our viewers wrote in, with the US becoming an unreliable ally, is there any possibility that Israel could turn to India or another country for weapons acquisition and alliance? Or is Israel capable of being able to produce these weapons by themselves?


Yoram: No one should ignore the periodic problems affecting US-Israel relations. Those periodic problems, however, should not cloud the historical fact that the relationship between the US and Israel is unique. We share a history, Judeo-Christian values, strategic concerns and democracy. Even US-Britain relations are not as deep because, as we all know, the rebellion against Britain was carried out by George Washington. As problematic as relations between Israel and the US may be, the overall relationship is unique. I do not see any other country with the same potential for cooperation with Israel. Israel-India relations are excellent. However, we do not have the same level of shared values, history and Judeo-Christian values as we have with the US. Last and not least, the fact that there are problems between Israel and the State Department is nothing new. The State Department was the most brutal and vicious opponent of the idea of Jewish state in 1948. Since that time, they have not stopped criticizing Israel and trying to clip her wings. The US, however, has a political system which accords the legislature equal power in the areas of national security and foreign policy. We currently have issues with a certain radical wing of the Democratic Party but it is a minority. The legislature in the US has been pro-Israel from 1948 until today. American presidents, with the exception of President Trump, have always pressured Israel. Today, we are back to the routine of White House pressuring Israel. The White House, however, cannot ignore the benefits the US gets from Israel. As discussed, Israel is the research and development center for the American defense industry, aerospace industry and commercial high-tech industry. We are the battle-tested laboratory of the American armed forces. That type of contribution is unique. No other country in the world provides the US with these benefits. These benefits exceed the $3.8 billion annual in foreign aid by far. This aid is actually an annual investment in Israel and yields a return on investment of a few 100% every year.


Sarah: Great. Okay. We have time for one more question. Israeli public relations in America has been pretty negative because of the number of Palestinians who have died in Gaza. The press accepted without question what the Gazan Health Ministry reports even though they probably exaggerate substantially. Many of those who are spouting these “facts” are terrorists. What can Israel do and what can the American supporters of Israel do to be able to change this?


Yoram: Well, maybe that is another issue requiring an awakening. The issue is not limited to the current problem of the ruins of Gaza being displayed as opposed to the horrific terrorism of October 7th. In my mind, it has to do with Israel’s Failure, with a capital F, in the last few decades, to adapt to the changing demography of the United States. Israeli operations, official Israeli operations in the US, and the operations of Friends of Israel in the US have not changed substantially over the last few decades. At the same time, the US demography has changed dramatically over the past few decades. It is a different America and there must be a different approach to this new America. One area of emphasis should be Israeli relations with the Hispanic Latino people in the US. They are the fastest growing group in America with a great potential to be pro-Israel given on their attitudes toward religion, the church, national security and military service. Given my acquaintance with the Latino Hispanic sector in the US, there is no doubt in my mind that a proper focus on the Latino Hispanic community would improve public opinion toward Israel dramatically. Similarly, the influence of women’s organizations in America is expanding dramatically. At minimum, there should be a female ambassador at the Israeli embassy in charge of relations with women’s organizations. That ambassador would travel throughout the US attending every single meeting, panel discussion, congress or seminar, held by a woman’s organization. We see more and more women in the House, Senate and the state legislatures but Israel has not adapted its operations in the US in accordance with those changes. Demographics lead to cultural changes which lead to political changes, including attitudes towards Israel. We should not look at these changes fatalistically but rather very constructively.


Last and not least, it seems to me that messaging from Israeli officials is deficient. It is deficient in the sense that Israeli officials addressing American audiences usually approach issues from Israel’s point of view. Iran is a threat to Israel. A Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria would threaten Israel’s survival. In my mind, when you address an American audience, you should focus on what is in it for America and not what is in it for Israel. Iran is a threat to America. Israel can alleviate that threat to America. A Palestinian state would mean toppling of the Hashemite regime of Jordan. This would trigger a very adverse domino reaction which would undermine American interests etcetera. When the American Embassy relocated to Jerusalem, I did not praise America for their pro-Israel policy. I told then Ambassador David Friedman that the relocation was a patriotic American act. This was because it was the first time America delivered a message to the Arab and Muslim world that the US could not be threatened or pressured into ignoring reality. The reality is that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the US recognizes reality, even when threatened. That policy enhanced the US posture of deterrence. That policy was different from that of prior presidents who proved to the Arabs and Muslim world that the US cannot take pressure. The US posture against terrorism was eroded by President Clinton, President George W. Bush and President Obama. On the other hand, it was restored by the decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel.


Sarah: Right. Thank you so much, Yoram. Ambassador Yoram Ettinger and our very own Hussein Abukar Mansour have been running ragged on Capitol Hill the last few days because legislators need accurate facts and information in order to make good policy decisions that affect our future. For almost two decades, Congress has relied on us here at EMET as a trusted resource for truthful analysis when considering critical policies that affect the security of the United States, as well as our ally Israel. Our educational efforts have resulted in many meaningful changes, helping the United States as well as Israel to pave a path for a more secure future.


I would like to also mention that our annual dinner is coming up this coming Tuesday. We have just a couple of seats left. Ambassador Yoram Ettinger is one of our speakers of the truth. He has been an exceptional speaker of the truth for his entire life, and certainly for as long as I have known him since the early ’90s, right after the Oslo Accords were signed. Our very own Hussein Abubakar Mansour has also been an incredibly courageous hero and speaker of the truth. So if you would  like, please go to our website and register for the dinner. We will be honoring many other wonderful speakers of the truth, including Senator Marsha Blackburn, Congressman Richie Torres, Congressman Mike Lawler, all of whom really deserve to be thanked and applauded. We will see you next week, probably on Thursday of next week. I want to thank all of you for tuning in today to hear some of the wisdom and the brilliance of Ambassador Yoram Ettinger. Thank you very much.





About the Author

The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) is a Washington, D.C. based think tank and policy center with an unabashedly pro-America and pro-Israel stance. EMET (which means truth in Hebrew) prides itself on challenging the falsehoods and misrepresentations that abound in U.S. Middle East policy.

Invest in the truth

Help us work to ensure that our policymakers and the public receive the EMET- the Truth.

Take Action

.single-author,.author-section, .related-topics,.next-previous { display:none; }