THE AIFL MOURNS THE DEATH OF ARIEL SHARON
Former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon speaking at the 2001 AIFL Partners for Democracy Awards Dinner
Press Release For Immediate Release, January 14th, 2013
For further information contact:
Daniella Rilov, Associate Executive Director
America-Israel Friendship League
January 14, 2014, New York, New York. Ariel "Arik" Sharon will live in the pantheon of great figures who were the founders, the builders, the leaders of a relatively small group who established the State of Israel in 1948, developed its principles of freedom and liberty, fought for its existence against evil enemies seeking its destruction, and established its institutions committed to the advancement of mankind in all its attributes which has established Israel as a Light among Nations.
The Board of Directors of AIFL extends its deepest condolences to the family of this great man, to the Government and people of the State of Israel and indeed to the Jewish people to whom he regularly pledged his commitment and devotion. There are many who will personally feel his absence as he passes into history.
Mort Zuckerman Kenneth Bialkin Dan Gillerman
Honorary President Chairman and President Chairman, AIFL,Israel
AIFL Letter to the US Senate
On December 17th the AIFL sent out formal letters to all 100 U.S. Senators expressing our concern regarding the recent Joint Plan of Action agreed among the P5+1 with Iran in Geneva. Below is a copy of the letter sent to Honorable Robert Mendez.
Dear Senator Menendez,
The U.S. Executive Committee of the America-Israel Friendship League (the "AIFL") concerns itself with ensuring continuing close relations between the United States and Israel. To this end, we wanted bring to your attention our concerns about the recent Joint Plan of Action (the “Plan”) recently agreed to among the P5+1 with Iran in Geneva on November 24. While its intended purpose is to promote a safer world free of a nuclear Iran, we feel that it does quite the opposite eliminating significant sanctions based on mere promises by Iran. Moreover, reinstituting such sanctions after they have been eliminated would be a daunting undertaking by the world community. No sanctions should be fully lifted until Iran’s obligations have been met.
Our concerns and our opposition to the Plan are summarized as follows:
1. Iran’s Obligations.
There is significant ambiguity given the technical jargon employed about Iran’s obligations regarding the enrichment of uranium at levels currently in existence and allowed going forward, particularly given the uncertainty as to the timing of the Plan's effective date and how Iran's obligations to cease further uranium enrichment and plutonium production will come into effect;
2. Iran’s Obligations to Adhere to the Six UN Security Council Resolutions.
Iran is allowed to continue to be in violation of the six UN Security Council Resolutions, 1696, 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835 and 1929, that have been passed since 2006 up until 2010 with the mere promise of “…addressing the Security Council resolutions, with a view toward bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the UN Security Council’s consideration of this matter.” This does not constitute adherence to these Resolutions now or in the future. Iran is given a flagrant pass on the direct and specific requirements of these Security Council Resolutions, which represent the full force and effect of international law. These resolutions do not call for the “limiting of progress” or “impeding progress” as President Obama and Secretary Kerry have characterized the Plan but these Security Council Resolutions have required the following actions for complete compliance: A. the halt of uranium enrichment and reprocessing within a month; B. imposition of sanctions for failure to comply; C. broadening sanctions for failure to comply; D. broadening sanctions even more; E. Reaffirming Iran’s obligations to halt enrichment; and F. Imposing further sanctions for failure to comply with earlier Resolutions, all in accordance with the respective Resolutions 1696, 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835 and 1929.
3. Promises from Iran but Release of $7-10 billion by the P5+1.
There is no guarantee of any outcome after six months, which time period may be “renewable by mutual consent”, all the while some $7-10 billion will have been turned over to Iran, which can be used to further its uranium enrichment and plutonium production activities whether on a R & D basis or otherwise;
4. IAEA Verification.
Limited verification provided by IAEA Inspectors and ambiguous “information” to be provided within three months; and,
5. No Suspension of Iran’s Uranium Enrichment and Plutonium Production as required by the Security Council Resolutions.
There is no suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment and plutonium production activities completely, as “Iran (is allowed) to continue its safeguarded R & D practices…”, for example. With these parameters, there is nothing to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear capability for military purposes after the completion of either a six month period or any other mutually agreed upon time frame.
We support and thoroughly endorse the letter of November 19 of Senators Schumer, Graham, Menendez, McCain, Casey and Collins.
Further, we call on the Senate to commence Hearings immediately in order to more fully explore the details of the Plan while implementing further Sanctions should Iran either violate the terms of the Plan or otherwise take any actions in contravention of the intent and purpose of this Plan. We might add that restricting Congressional action on “imposing new nuclear-related sanctions” could constitute an unconstitutional Executive usurpation of legislative authority and would be unenforceable as a matter of constitutional law.
We must take note of the obvious. Iran is not a western European democracy imbued with a tradition of respect for human rights and the rule of law. It is classified as a terrorist state by the State Department and, as a result, it has been stripped of sovereign immunity. Moreover, its titular leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called for the destruction of Israel, in gross violation of the UN Charter-all with no consequence and its current President, Hassan Rouhani, has responded with silence to this vitriol.
In addition, there must be concrete and considered consultation with our allies in the Middle East, who stand to be most affected by any arrangement reached with Iran. Such consultation must include Israel, Saudi Arabia and Arab Gulf States.
Termination of Iran’s capability to possess enriched uranium (and its removal) necessary for the manufacture of a bomb must be the goal that is secured in any final arrangement. Merely retarding the process is not adequate and will not produce a peaceful and secure world and we look forward to achieving these goals.
We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this matter more fully with you.
U.S. Executive Committee of the America-Israel Friendship League
Kenneth J. Bialkin Paul M. Kaplan
Chairman & President Vice President
Fantasy in the academic world about Israel boycotts
Written by Dr. Michael Curtis, AIFL Board
Having your cake and eating it is usually seen as a fanciful dream. That dream has now become real and fulfilled by at least one-third of the American Studies Association (ASA) which does not believe that an academic boycott is a violation of academic freedom.
A resolution proposing the ASA "endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions" was originally proposed by a Caucus group of ASA on December 4, 2013 .
It was endorsed unanimously by the National Council, and in an election of December 15, 2013 in which 1252 of the total eligible 3853 voters participated, it was passed by votes of 66% in favor, 30.5% against, with 3.5% abstaining.
The whole episode is not simply a demonstration of the well known inherent bias against the State of Israel held by many of the supporters of the boycott, but also one of glaring hypocrisy, disregard of the stated official objectives of the ASA, improper action on behalf of a foreign group, and violation of United States law.
The bias expressed by the ASA, a body not versed in the complexities of Middle Eastern affairs, stems from the proposal to boycott only one country, Israel. Even the current president of ASA, Curtis Marez, Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego whose main interest is U.S. Latinos, appeared troubled in explaining his tortuous logic on the issue.
He confessed that many countries, including Israel's neighbors, are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than or comparable to those of Israel, but "one has to start somewhere." (Emphasis added)
Curiously, the "somewhere" for Professor Marez has to be the only democratic country in the Middle East. Moreover, his dilemma went even further. He explained, without realizing what should be embarrassment in his reference to a foreign agent, that " in countries with oppressive governments, past and present, civil society groups had not asked his association with a boycott, as Palestinian groups have." Does he anticipate other foreign groups asking him for support?
One may indeed ask if it is the intention of ASA, or its leadership, to acquiesce in other future foreign demands of Palestinians or anyone else. Unfortunately for the ASA its members have apparently has not received the latest instructions.