Washington Mission 2014

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)’s Annual Advocacy Mission to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. will take place on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Now more than ever, it’s crucial our lawmakers hear from you — about the importance of ensuring Israel’s safety and security, and maintaining a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

Sign up TODAY!  SCROLL DOWN TO PURCHASE TICKETS.

Your paid registration for the Annual Advocacy Mission to Capitol Hill is NOT tax deductible. All other contributions that do not involve services from the ZOA are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. The Zionist Organization of America is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible.

 

IS THE MISSION FREE?

NO, but you are being charged for less than the actual cost because ZOA is subsidizing each registrant. Regular registration –including a meal–before April 25 is $75 and $100 after that date. Transportation to Washington and back–which includes a sandwich for each leg of the trip is $100. Student registration is cheaper.

 

CAN I BUY TICKETS TO THE MISSION?

YES. Scroll down to Ticket Information below. Or you can register via email at dcmission@zoa.org or by phone at 212-481-1500.

 

CAN I GET A FURTHER BREAK ON THE REGISTRATION PRICE?

NO. ZOA offers a discount for early registration. We have no other discounts.

 

CAN I REGISTER THE DAY BEFORE THE MISSION?

NO. Mission registration ends May 15, 2014. No exceptions will be allowed.

 

ARE THE MISSION MEALS KOSHER?

YES. You will be provided with a light breakfast, a box dinner and snacks if you use our bus transportation. All Mission participants will  have lunch at our Congressional Luncheon. All food served at ZOA events is glatt kosher.

 

TENTATIVE PARTICIPATION SCHEDULE

10:30 AM Russell Senate Office Building, Room 325; Registration for non-bus attendees
11:30 AM Buses arrive Capitol Hill, Russell Senate Office Building, Room 325
12:00-12:15 PM Briefings on issues and how to lobby (equivalent briefings given on bus), Q&A for all attendees
12:15-12:30 PM Welcome by ZOA National President Morton Klein; David Wilder, spokesman from Hebron in Judea will speak about the situation in Israel and the territories
12:30-2:15 PM Senators and Congressmen address ZOA attendees during lunch
3:00 PM Senate Appointments in Russell, Hart and Dirksen Buildings
4:00 PM House Appointments in Cannon, Longworth and Rayburn Buildings
5:00 PM Return to buses – Departure ASAP

 

THREE TALKING POINTS FOR THE MISSION


 

Iran

The ZOA strongly opposes the acquisition of a military nuclear capability by Iran, which would pose an extreme danger to both the US and Israel. To accomplish that end, the ZOA opposes the existing negotiating framework with Iran. The Interim Agreement will not achieve the US goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Sanctions, which were an important element of pressuring Iran, have been diluted and the threat of US military force has become highly unlikely. Although additional sanctions will not be decisive in changing the Iranian’s position, the least the US can do to show resolve would be to pass the additional sanctions being considered by the US Senate.

ACTION:

SENATE: Urge your Senators to support S.1881, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, and urge the Majority Leader to bring the bill to the floor. Introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL); Thank the 59 co-sponsors of this legislation.

               

  • HOUSE: Thank your Representative for voting to pass  H.R. 850, “Nuclear  Iran Prevention act of 2013.” Introduced by Rep. Ed Royce(R-CA), and lobbied for by ZOA at last year’s mission.

 

  • Urge Members of both houses to:
    • Provide Israel with whatever military hardware, including ‘bunker buster’ bombs, it needs to be capable of effectively striking Iran if that should prove necessary
    • Support an Israeli decision to take military action if required
    • Support the complete dismantling of the Arak Plutonium Reactor
    • Support the end to all enrichment activity in Iran and the destruction of all stockpiles of enriched uranium; all centrifuges must be destroyed to prevent continued enrichment.
    • Support robust enforcement of existing sanctions to keep the pressure on Iran
    • Require Iran to retract public calls for the destruction of Israel and the US

 

TALKING POINTS

• ICBM development by Iran has to be halted. These missiles are only useful for nuclear attacks and Iran is expected to have the first ones operational during 2015.

• Iran has achieved the nuclear threshold status Israel has been warning about.

• As a result of current negotiations, the sanctions regime has been greatly weakened.

• Support for additional sanctions is the least Congress can do to influence events; Sanctions alone cannot stop Iran from continuing their nuclear program.

• During the so-called ‘interim agreement,’ oil exports have more than doubled since October, and the Iranian Currency has gained 24%; Inflation has halved; Economic growth has surged.

• Inspection of all secret military sites, including Parchin, must be included in any final deal.

ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS

• This congressional sanctions bill would only establish additional sanctions if the Iran negotiations failed, and are therefore excellent leverage if the Administration were trying to achieve the best deal possible.  Inexplicably, the President opposes the bill, and will not let it be voted upon.

• Iran has nearly achieved a nuclear weapons capability. A year ago there were differences between US and Israeli estimates about how far Iran was from accumulating enough enriched uranium to create a nuclear device. Today there is a consensus that they are at most 2 months away.

• Iran has historically cheated on every nuclear deal it has reached.  There are surely undisclosed sites today that are capable of secretly completing the last step in nuclear enrichment.

• Long range Ballistic Missile development is continuing in Iran, and so far the Iranians have refused to negotiate about this.  Existing missiles already allow Iran to target Israel- the new missiles they are developing are only significant in allowing the US and Europe to be targeted as well. 

• Due to the negotiating tactics and comments by the Obama Administration, the threat of force is not considered credible by the leadership of Iran or any of the governments in the region.

• The requirement in the interim agreement to dilute 20% enriched uranium to 5% enrichment is easily reversible.

• An Iranian nuclear weapons capability will embolden Iran’s regional allies including Hezbollah and Hamas and would likely spur a nuclear arms race in the region and beyond.                        

• Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other counties in the region may feel compelled to develop nuclear weapons if Iran is not stopped at once, causing a dangerous Mideast Arms race which could dramatically destabilize the area. Saudi Arabia is reported to have already arranged to take delivery of several Pakistani nuclear devices upon the announcement of Iran’s weapon.

• Iran would be able and possibly willing to share nuclear technology with terrorist groups and regimes including Al Qaeda, Hamas and Syrian clients.

• The American people are in favor of stronger sanctions on Iran by a large majority of 59% to 17% (National Omnibus poll, conducted by McLaughlin Associates and published on January 17, 2014).

• The House and Senate should support Israel in the event military action against Iran becomes necessary.  ZOA supports any steps to force Iran to stop its nuclear advances, as required by the UN Security Council.

• A bad agreement with Iran is worse than no agreement at all.


 

Judea and Samaria

The ZOA strongly supports the legal, political, historic, and religious rights of Jews to live anywhere in the land of Israel, and especially in Judea and Samaria, the territory that was illegally occupied by Jordan from 1948-1967. International Law actually supports the claim of Israel to the territory between the ‘Green Line’ which marked the cease-fire locations of 1949 and the Jordan River.  The Arab position that there should be no Jews living anywhere in Judea or Samaria is racist, illegal, and contrary to both American ideals and our concept of basic human rights. Even if Israel’s legitimate claim to this territory was to be discounted, the status of Judea and Samaria would be as unallocated international territory that is in dispute, and could therefore not be classified as ‘occupied.’

ACTION:

SENATE and HOUSE: Educate the lawmakers about the rights of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria. International law is strongly on the side of Israel

TALKING POINTS:

• When Israel captured the “west bank” in a defensive war in 1967, Jordan had been illegally occupying it since 1948. The United Nations never recognized Jordan’s sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and neither did the Arab League.

• King Hussein of Jordan publically relinquished all claims to the territory in July 1988.

• Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention does not make Israeli building in Judea and Samaria illegal because there was no “forcible transfer” of population by Israel, which the  Geneva Convention prohibits.

 

• By more than a 3-1 margin (47%-14%), Americans believe that Israeli Jews should have the right to live in the disputed territories, (National Omnibus poll, conducted by McLaughlin Associates and published on January 17, 2014).

 

• Israel never forced any citizens to move there. People moved to these territories on their own. Additionally, Judea and Samaria was no one’s sovereign territory.  It was unallocated international territory.

 

• Israel has given away 42% of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority; Israel has developed only 3% of Judea and Samaria for Jewish communities; the remaining 55% is essentially uninhabited.

 

• The Jewish people are called “Jews” because we are Judeans from  Judea; the term “Jew” is a contraction of the term ‘Judean.” Contrary to what is assumed to be true by many, no new ‘settlements’ have been established since 1993, as a good will gesture by Israel.  Israel has only built new homes within the existing boundaries of existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

 

BACKGROUND:

In 1920, the victors of WWI convened a conference in San Remo, Italy to decide the future status of the Middle East for the League of Nations.  The conference explicitly endorsed the promise that was made in the Balfour declaration of 1917 by Great Britain, allocating this territory (which included what today is Jordan, Israel within the ‘Green Line’, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza) to a future Jewish homeland; it was confirmed by the League of Nations in July 1922, making it binding under International Law. When the UN was founded in 1945, the UN charter (Article 80) explicitly stated that existing trusteeship arrangements would continue.  In the case of Palestine, that trusteeship called for the establishment of a Jewish National Home, without prejudice to ‘the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.’ There was no mention of any political rights for Arabs under this or any other treaty that has the force of international law.

In August, 1949, the Fourth Geneva Convention was adopted and subsequently ratified by nearly every nation.  It includes article 49, which prohibits the forcible transfer of persons from or to an occupied territory (the phrase “occupied” only applies to previously sovereign land).  This article has nothing to do with the establishment of Jewish communities in the Jewish historic and ancestral homeland. 

ADDITIONAL POINTS:

 

• The Oslo Accords allow Israel to maintain Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria until the final status is agreed to by the parties, which has still not occurred.

• UN Resolution 242 allows Israel to administer all of Judea and Samaria until there is a comprehensive Peace agreement as well.

• The US government position that ‘settlements’ are an obstacle to peace is not consistent with the history of the peace negotiations.  There was no peace from 1948 to 1967 even though there was not a single Jewish community past the ‘Green Line.’ The peace process negotiations continued for close to two decades without regard to the ongoing construction of new homes in Judea and Samaria, and actually attempts to freeze construction have not been correlated with progress in negotiations.

• The PA, in a racist law, has made it a capital offense to sell any land to a Jew.  They further insist that, after negotiations with Israel are complete, there will be no Jews in the new Palestinian State.

• Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the forefathers of the Jewish nation, dwelt in the mountains of Judea and Samaria, residing in Shechem, Elon Moreh, Beit El (Bethel) and Hebron. Judea and Samaria are the historic heartland of the Jewish People.

• In July 2012, a report written by an Israeli governmental commission (Levy Commission) concluded: “From the point of view of international law, Israel is not an occupying force in the region.” Consequently, “the establishment of the Jewish communities in the region of Judea and Samaria bears no illegality.” Furthermore, the Commission concluded: “Israelis have the lawful right to settle in Judea and Samaria.”


 

Stop U.S. Financial Aid to the Palestinian Authority

 

ZOA is opposed to giving U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until they fulfill their 20 year old signed agreements. ZOA supports the Stand with Israel Act of 2014, S. 2265 (Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY) and the Palestinian Accountability Act, H.R. 1337 (Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-FL).

 

ACTION:

  • HOUSE: Urge your Representative to co-sponsor H.R.1337.
  • SENATE: Urge your senator to co-sponsor S.2265.

Thank them if they have already done so.

TALKING POINTS:

 

  • For over 20 years the Palestinian Arabs have not fulfilled any of their obligations under the peace agreements they have signed, yet the US continues to fund the PA with $600 million annually. Total funding since 1994 exceeds $5 billion.
  • Examples of PA non-compliance include, naming of schools, streets and sports teams after terrorists; promoting a culture of violence and hatred against Jews in their media and institutions and refusing to outlaw terrorist groups.

 

 

SENATE and HOUSE BILL

 

The Stand with Israel Act (S. 2265) will prohibit all US foreign aid, loan guarantee, or debt relief to the PA, or any affiliated governing entity or leadership organization. This prohibition can be suspended for one fiscal year only if the President certifies to Congress during that fiscal year that the PA has:

  1. formally recognized the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state;
  2. publicly recognized the state of Israel;
  3. renounced terrorism;
  4. purged all individuals with terrorist ties from security services;
  5. terminated funding of anti-American and anti-Israel incitement;
  6. publicly pledged to not engage in war with Israel; and
  7. honored previous diplomatic agreements.

 

The Palestinian Accountability Act (H.R. 1337) will similarly prohibit all US foreign aid to the PA until it recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, embraces free elections, ends corruption in its governance, ends incitement and endorsement of terrorism, ends support to the boycott of Israel, and excludes Hamas from the government, unless Hamas meets conditions.

 

BACKGROUND:

 

Since 1994 the PA has failed to fulfill any of its binding obligations, including the following:

  • To end promotion to hatred and murder of Jews and Israelis in the PA-controlled media, speeches by officials, in mosques, schools and youth camps
  • To show the existence of Israel on maps produced by the PA, and to discontinue the use of the Fatah emblem showing all of Israel covered by a Kaffieh in the colors of the Palestinian flag
  • To imprison anti-Israel terrorists
  • To outlaw terrorist groups such as Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (the military wing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party)
  • To extradite terrorists to Israel
  • Palestinian terrorists and terrorist groups continue to operate and continue to arm themselves and anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement continues unabated on a daily basis. The PA has refused to negotiate with Israel without preconditions.

 

The PA must also cancel the naming of hundreds of schools, streets and sports teams that have been named after Jew-killing terrorists. They also must stop printing posters honoring suicide bombers and posting them all over school and universities. They must stop having parades honoring the worst of the terrorist murders. These intolerable terrorist-honoring practices honor and glorify murder, and encourage young Palestinians to become killers.

 

It is already US law that:

  • No US funds can be used to pay the salaries of PA officials in Gaza
  • No US funds can be used to assist Hamas or any entity controlled by Hamas
  • No PA government can have any ministers who do not agree to recognize Israel and agree to adhere to all agreements signed between Israel and the PA

 

ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS:

Since 1994, more than $5 billion has been given by the US to the Palestinian Arabs. Since FY2008, U.S. direct assistance has averaged around $600 million.

In a material violation of the Oslo accords, the PLO unilaterally sought membership in the UN, has sought “state” membership in related international bodies, and has threatened to continue its “struggle” against Israel in international law venues including the ICC and World Court. 

Incitement by PA leaders continues on a daily basis. For example: The remains of terrorist Al-Din Al-Masri were transferred by Israel to the PA at the end of April 2014, whereupon the PA immediately honored Al-Masri as a fallen hero, gave him an official military funeral, and lauding him on official PA government TV as a “shahid” or holy martyr. On August 9, 2001 at around 2pm this Palestinian ‘hero’ blew himself up in the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, killing 15 people–7 of them children–and wounding 130 others. [PMW “PA and Hamas honor Sbarro suicide bomber who murdered 15”, May 5, 2014].

The United States is currently experiencing significant budgetary pressures, but gives more than half a billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Arabs. This is an annual bailout of a terrorist, corrupt regime that is inimical to the interests of the United States and its allies in the region.