June 27, 2023
Contact: Sarah Stern
EMET Expresses Profound Disappointment Over Deeply Disturbing Recent Developments within the Biden Administration
(June 27, 2023, Washington, DC) –
On Israel’s 75th birthday, President Biden issued a statement saying, “As a lifelong friend and supporter of the state of Israel, I have worked my entire career to deepen and strengthen our partnership. And I have seen firsthand the benefit to both our nations.” (April 25, 2023).
However, over the last several days, increasingly widening gaps are appearing between the Biden administration’s rhetoric and its actions. We are particularly concerned with three recent developments.
1.) The Biden administration decided last week to increase US aid to UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency). It has been well known by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle for many years that UNRWA’s textbooks extol the virtues of jihadism and martyrdom, erase Israel from its maps, and only refer to Israel as “the enemy”. UNRWA’s textbooks, which have been repeated and thoroughly examined, do nothing to establish attitudes of peace and tolerance; instead, they have escalated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by promoting the refusal to accept the very existence of the state of Israel. UNRWA knowingly hires Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists, among others, to teach in their schools. Unlike any other refugee agency, such as the UN OHCHR (United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) – whose mission is to promptly resettle refugees in the lands into which they have dispersed, offer them shelter, employment, and a path towards citizenship – UNRWA perpetuates a state of squalor and victimhood among the Palestinian population. It denies the reality of the existence of the state of Israel by encouraging the “right of return” of the Palestinian population to established cities, even within Israel’s original 1948 armistice lines, relitigating the original 1948 War of Israeli Independence. The problems in UNRWA’s education of Palestinian students throughout the decades have become so abundantly clear that there is bipartisan legislation – “The Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act” introduced by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) – to review the textbooks once again. The United States is, by far, the largest donor nation to UNRWA, donating $235 million annually. We need to halt any funding of UNRWA immediately until they replace their highly biased textbooks and fire terrorists – listed by our own US State Department – who are on their payrolls.
2.) On Friday, the State Department issued a very controversial statement, declaring that it would stop “participation in joint projects with Israel in the fields of science and technology in areas that came under its control after June 5, 1967.” This became known after a research grant was denied to Ariel University – where fully 20 percent of the student body are Palestinians – because it is located “beyond the green line”.
This decision only limits the opportunities for shared scientific and intellectual pursuits between Palestinian Arab and Israeli Jewish students, and it significantly politicizes educational and scientific efforts. This statement also ignores certain historical realities. Israel was forced to capture these territories – including Judea and Samaria (commonly referred to as the ‘West Bank’) and the Golan Heights – in its defensive war of 1967 and to retain them in its defensive war of 1973. It is important to note that there would be no disputed territories had the Palestinian leadership ever accepted any of the very generous two-state plans promulgated, including the 1937 Peel Commission, the 1947 UN plan, the 1967 Khartoum offer, the exceedingly generous 2000 offer made by Prime Minister Ehud Barak to Chairman Yassir Arafat (97 percent of Judea and Samaria plus 100 percent of Gaza), to the even more generous offer made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in 2008. This offer was so exceedingly generous that then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had called it “amazing,” adding, “Yitzchak Rabin had been killed for offering far less.” All this rejectionism has been followed by wave after wave of intifada and violence. Yet, the State Department is singling out the peacemaker – Israel – for opprobrium.
3.) The Biden administration has made the unfortunate decision to rejoin UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science, and Cultural Organization). President Barack Obama withdrew from UNESCO in 2011 after it had admitted Palestine and before it had been, or has ever been, a legitimate and recognized state. This contravenes the longstanding United States policy of not funding a UN body that prematurely offers full-member UN status to the Palestinians. Beyond that, UNESCO has a record of biased statements against the state of Israel. For example, in 2016, UNESCO issued a highly controversial document entitled “Occupied Palestine” that only recognizes the Muslim claim to Jerusalem. It dubs the profound Jewish connection to the Western Wall as the “so-called Jewish connection” and attempts to erase Jewish history.
Thankfully, the Biden administration led twenty-seven other nations in rejecting the 18-page UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry report, which was overwhelmingly against the state of Israel. The report, issued on June 7, 2023, opened with the words that “the continued occupation by Israel of Palestinian territory and discrimination against Palestinians are the key root causes of the recurrent tensions, instability, and protraction of conflict in the region.” This ignores all of the good faith offers made to the Palestinians that have been summarily rejected throughout the years (as, partially, outlined above), and the decades of Palestinian incitement, the payment of salaries to Palestinian terrorists for the murder of Israelis, and Americans, and the wave after wave of violence that has ensued since the establishment of the state of Israel. It also ignores the unrelenting terrorism initiated by Iran and all its proxy organizations within the Palestinian territories. It depicts Israel, our one democratic ally, as solely responsible for the terrorism, ignoring that of rogue states, such as Iran, and an entire mosaic of terrorist organizations.
Of course, all the above-mentioned are in the backdrop:
The major existential threat to Israel, the Sunni Arab nations and the West is a nuclear weapon-wielding Iran. There are indications that a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran will soon emerge that will set the new threshold of highly enriched uranium at 60 percent; this is in contrast to the 2015 nuclear negotiations with Iran that set the threshold at 3.67 percent. If this rumored level of enrichment is soon to be
a reality, it brings Iran perilously close to enough highly enriched uranium for several nuclear bombs.
Says Sarah Stern, EMET Founder, and President, “It is important that we, the American public, examine not simply soothing and reassuring bromides issued by any White House towards Israel, but at their actions. Notably, the Palestinians have used the United Nations repeatedly to wage their hate-filled war toward eliminating the very existence of the state of Israel. We hope that the Biden administration will retract these alarming developments in its relationship with Israel and examine Israel in the context of its generous offers made to the Palestinians and its complicated history in the region. Through painfully learned lessons, the Israeli public understands that the Israelis do not have a real, genuine partner for peace. It is far time that the administration learns the lessons of history, and understands that the empowerment of Israel’s enemies, whether they be Palestinian factions or Iran exists at our own peril.”
About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET is a pro-American, pro-Israel, and pro-human rights, foreign policy think tank and policy shop in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.emetonline.org
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