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Dershowitz Emphasizes Bi-Partisan Support for Israel at ZOA Dinner

The 2016 ZOA Justice Louis Brandeis Awards Dinner, held at the Grand Hyatt on Sunday, November 20, was attended by over 1,000 people. The honorees included Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot, who received the Brandeis Award; Congressman Ed Royce of California, who received the Adelson Defender of Israel Award; UN Ambassador Danny Danon, who received the award for Outstanding Diplomacy; and Professor Alan Dershowitz, who was honored with the award for Outstanding Journalism.

In light of the recent election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, this year’s dinner became a platform for expressing varying political views. The vast majority of the audience and speakers were Donald Trump and Republican Party supporters. Present at the dinner were David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, Donald Trump’s trusted Israel advisers.

The speeches appeared to favor Trump, until Alan Dershowitz was called on to receive the Outstanding Journalism Award. In a major address that spanned almost 20 minutes, Dershowitz reminded the audience that he is a liberal Democrat and an ardent supporter of the Democratic Party. He reminded the audience that the election was actually a “tie,” with Trump winning the electoral vote and Clinton winning the popular vote. That statement elicited boos from the audience. Dershowitz further stated, “I’m going to say something that you may not want to hear. The ZOA is a great, great organization, but it must be the home to all Zionists, not just right-wing Zionists.”

Dershowitz said that many Jews in the world are being seduced by the hard right while the world moves to global extremism, with the left moving farther left and the right farther to the right. He stated that ZOA should not take sides on Israeli domestic or American domestic policy, but rather stay within policies that have little disagreement between Israel and the United States.

“There is no disagreement in Israel on how terrible the Iran deal is. Don’t tear up the Iran deal, enforce the Iran deal. Iran must reaffirm that it will never, under any circumstances, be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.

“There is no disagreement that the BDS movement is not designed to end the occupation of settlements, but to end the State of Israel.”

Dershowitz continued his remarks and centered on his thesis that the presidential election should never become a referendum on Israel. “We must make sure that both parties and candidates for both parties support Israel.”

He acknowledged that the Democratic Party had moved to the left, and stated, “I will fight for the Democratic Party to once again become pro-Israel and it won’t be easy, especially with the possible selection of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) as DNC chairman.”

Investor and philanthropist Ken Langone awarded the Justice Louis Brandeis Award to Bernie Marcus. Langone, a long-time friend and business associate of Marcus, stated, “Bernie Marcus is still at work doing spectacular things—for the Jewish people, for the State of Israel, for the medical world and for the United States of America, which he has always loved. He never forgot where he came from, never forgot his roots, never forgot the opportunities that were given to him and never forgot being Jewish. He is the epitome of the American dream.”

In accepting the award, Marcus, who is 86 years old and a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, stated how happy he was that a true friend of Israel has been elected president. Speaking about his past he reminded the young people of today about the importance of the State Israel. “Something changed in the world. What changed the world was the 1948 establishment of the State of Israel. You don’t know how good your life is. Israel has saved your life and careers because when Israel was born things changed for Jews in the United States.”

Dinner speakers also included Klein, Michael Leven, Israel’s Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, Jim Tisch, Congressman Ed Royce, UN Ambassador Danny Danon and various campus representatives.

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