Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sept. 9: Federation's IAN Teleconference: David Makovsky on the Palestinian UN Bid for Independence

The Jewish Federation's Israel Action Network will present a conference call 
Friday, September 9  11:00 am Central Time with
political analyst David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies.
Mr. Makovsky will help clarify the implications of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence,
 which is expected to be introduced by Palestinian leadership at the UN on Sept. 20.
JCRC and Jewish Federation hope you can be available for this important conference call.
For the toll free call-in number and passcode, contact
The Jewish Federations of North America
           IAN Alert
IAN Teleconference with David Makovsky
September 7, 2011

The Israel Action Network (IAN) is hosting a special teleconference this week with David Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. The discussion will take place in advance of the release of an extended study on the unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood (UDI) by Makovsky.

The call, at noon (EST) Friday, Sept. 9, is part of efforts by the IAN, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America, in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, to help communities meet emerging challenges surrounding the Palestinian’s UN effort and other Israel advocacy issues. Mr. Makovsky will help clarify the implications of UDI, which is expected to be introduced by Palestinian leadership at the UN on Sept. 20. 

You can express your opposition to UDI by signing an online petition, created by IAN, in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY), which will be presented to the U.N. as part of a larger community relations and media strategy.

Biography of David Makovsky:

David Makovsky is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. He is also an adjunct lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Mr. Makovsky is the coauthor with Dennis Ross of the 2009 book Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking/Penguin), as well as numerous other books and policy papers.

Mr. Makovsky is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. His commentary on the peace process and the Arab-Israeli conflict has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and National Interest.

Before joining The Washington Institute, Mr. Makovsky was an award-winning journalist who covered the peace process from 1989 to 2000. He is the former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, was diplomatic correspondent for Israel's leading daily, Haaretz, and is a former contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. Makovsky received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master's degree in Middle East studies from Harvard University.

The Jewish Federations of North America
Wall Street Station
PO Box 157
New York, NY 10268



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 25: Special JCRC lunch. ISRAEL UPDATE with remarks from the Rabbis

--  Please make an effort to attend this important program, open to the community. --
Special JCRC Event in light of yesterday's tragic terrorist attack on Israel from the Sinai
                 * Thursday, August 25, 2011 *  12:15 pm  at Tifereth Israel Synagogue
                                                           ISRAEL UPDATE  from JCRC
with remarks by Rabbi Leib Bollel, Rabbi Steven Edelman-Blank, and Rabbi David Kaufman
                                                                 followed by discussion.
For your convenience, those wishing to order a parve, dairy, or vegetarian lunch from Palmer's Deli can place their order through
Thank you for your interest.  To facilitate set up, RSVP to
Note: This program replaces the previously scheduled JCRC Current Events lunch on Thursday September 1st.  The topic for September 1st will be re-programmed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jewish Federation: Stand with Israel against contractors of terrorism

Statement from The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines      August 18, 2011
The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines condemns the multiple cross border attacks by Arab terrorists today on southern Israel from the Sinai.  We join with the people of Israel in mourning those whose lives were taken by the terrorists, including the two children ages 4 and 6.
We stand with Israel as it seeks to protect its citizens from further attacks. 
 Israel is committed to negotiating peace with the Palestinians.  It is prepared to make hard concessions to provide for a two state resolution, recognizing Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people.
 But to do so, the Palestinian leadership must speak with one voice for peace, for acceptance of Israel as the Jewish homeland and for a permanent end to the conflict.  
Make no mistake about it: Such attacks as the ones today are intended to encourage others to weaken and eliminate Israel -- in this case, by establishing a southern front, once secured by the peace treaty with Egypt.  There is already a northern front, threatened by Hizballah.  There is the western front, threatened by Hamas.  And there is an overall threat by both alQaeda and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary regime.  None of the above named bodies -- under any conditions, no matter what conciliatory policy Israel adopts in the West Bank-- accepts the concept of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.   The attacks on Israel, including attacks on its civilians  from Gaza or Sinai are designed to displace Israel, not change its policies.
It is important, therefore, that Americans stand with Israel against the contractors of terrorism and that Americans demand that the Palestinian leadership speak with one voice for peace.
Mark S. Finkelstein
Director of Community Relations
Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
33158 Ute Avenue
Waukee, IA  50263
Send comments to
cc:  Barbara Hirsch-Giller, President
       Elaine Steinger,  Executive Director
       Steven Schoenebaum,  JCRC Chair

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Partnership Revolution: new brand, new resources, new people.

A Partnership Revolution: new brand, new resources, new people.

The Jewish Agency for Israel's Partnership Unit officially launched the new ‘Partnership2Gether(P2G) brand during the 5th Partnerships Conference in Tel Aviv this summer. The new name replaces Partnership 2000 / Partnership with Israel, which had been in use for the past 15 years in 550 communities and 45 Partnerships.

Along with this new brand, dynamic changes are taking place in our Western Galilee/ US Central Area Consortium Partnership. Our P2G Co-Chairs, Zoe Riekes (returning U.S. Central Area Consortium Chair) and David Laron (Western Galilee Chair), said to ensure a flourishing future we will strive to expand our network, impact, awareness, and support – all of our activities – by 10 times within the next 3 years. For example, if we currently have 500 teenagers engaged in our programs both in the US and the Western Galilee, by 2014 we will strive to multiply that number by 10 to have a total 5,000 teenagers involved. Woah - that’s a big multiplier, right?

Even in the best of times how can we expect that type of growth to happen? How do we achieve this when we are dealing with tightened budgets, leadership changes, and a complex system of connections, programs, and communities? Both Zoe and David agree this will not be an easy task but they know that we have a highly professional staff and lay leaders in place who can initiate a strategic plan to execute our goal. Based on a recent GAP analysis survey of our Partnership, our focus will shift to three critical challenges or ‘gaps’ and in doing so we will be moving ourselves into position to achieve the WG/Central Area Consortium P2G x10 Goal.

Challenge 1: Engage & Utilize Communication Platforms - Inform, Enlighten & Inspire

Partnership is about building people-to-people connections; obviously we should be the best at communication, right? David Laron said, based on our GAP analysis results, we have under-utilized our communication resources. Too many are stuck in old ways of communication; there is a lack of initiative in exploring and using new technologies and online networks. It is critical to our Partnership’s future success that we effectively communicate.

A central communication platform will be launched that will allow our communities to be instantly connected and updated. This new platform will increase productivity, initiate collaboration, build on our connections, increase dialogue, and strengthen our engagement and commitment. In addition, we will actively harness the power of social networks to create a synergy of connection allowing anyone at anytime, no matter where they may be, to tap into the flowing stream of current Partnership information – to be informed, enlightened, to inspire and to be inspired.

Challenge 2: Expansion of Lay Leadership & Volunteers – Involve, Network & Grow

Once the new communication tools are initiated and used, we will have a well-oiled support system in place to expand our people resources. As Zoe states, our Partnership is a model for others, we are considered pioneers of the Partnership organization and should be proud of all we’ve accomplished to this point. To continue the success and momentum of our best practices we need to build upon the passion of our current pool of lay leadership and volunteers and expand our people resources. This will involve creating specific programs that target recruitment initiatives. We will be actively planning and introducing new programs focused on involving and growing our team of talented and passionate people.

Challenge 3: Expansion of Financial Resources & Relationships with Partnering Organizations – Stabilize, Secure, & Strengthen

During the next year we will develop a strategic plan for fundraising in Israel while simultaneously seeking new cooperation with organizations to establish a stronger financial base. This is big news – we are planning to expand upon the current funds that come from our Federations Partnership allocations, and begin to create additional avenues of revenue to support our programs for the future.

Zoe and David spoke for all of us when mentioning the tremendous appreciation we have for our US communities continued support, and they agree that it is time to initiate additional creative approaches to ensure a strong financial platform for a flourishing future. Our Partnership mission is focused on creating and promoting mutually beneficial endeavors - forging relationships through programs that build Jewish identity and strengthen connections. To fully realize our mission we will initiate a balance in our fundraising efforts – we’re in it together, we’re intrinsically connected, and we have the potential to grow exponentially because of it.

Our programs have proven to be successful and are life-changing for our participants. We have touched over 30,000 people’s lives in the past 13 years. Just as we’ve seen other revolutions taking place around the world, we will face our current challenges directly and with a keen focus, knowing that we have great momentum behind us and even more amazing potential for our future. The time is now to start our WG/Central Area Consortium P2G x10 Revolution. Join us, connect and make a difference today.

For more information on Partnership2Gether programs contact your local Jewish Federation and visit:

Monday, July 25, 2011

U Iowa Prelim info

Dear Parent/Guardian:
The below message was just sent to your admitted student, and we also wanted to share this information with you.
We look forward to seeing you at Orientation August 15! This e-mail is a reminder to take any required placement tests before the deadlines outlined in this e-mail so your academic advisor can appropriately assist you during Orientation. Your placement test scores help determine the level of course work appropriate to your ability. We require all tests to be completed at least 14 days before your scheduled Orientation.
Our records show you still need to complete the online Mathematics Placement Test (MPT). The deadline to complete this is August 1, based on your August 15 Orientation date. You’ll be given 60 minutes for the test, but plan to allow 90 minutes so you can take the tutorial and practice test beforehand.
Depending on your major, you may also need to complete the Chemistry Diagnotic Test (CDT) if you haven’t already. Whether or not you need to take the World Languages Placement Test (WLPT) depends on your previous study of a world language and your future plans for language study at Iowa. These tests also need to be completed no later than August 1 based on your Orientation date.
You can access all placement tests through the “Your Next Steps” section of your Admissions Profile on ISIS.
Your Admissions Profile on ISIS also explains our measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) immunization requirement and will indicate if we still need additional information from you, such as your official test scores or final official transcript.
If you misplaced your Hawk ID and password or need your password reset, call the Office of Admissions at 1-800-553-4692 or 319-335-3847 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Also, be sure to bring your Hawk ID and password with you to Orientation as you will need them to register for classes.
The University of Iowa
Orientation Services

P.S. Now that you're officially a Hawkeye, join the Official Facebook Page for the UI Class of 2015!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ajami: UN Can't Deliver a Palestinian State

Wall Street Journal – June 1, 2011

The U.N. Can't Deliver a Palestinian State

By Fouad Ajami


It had been quite a scramble, the prelude to the vote on Nov. 29, 1947, on the question of the partition of Palestine. The United Nations itself was only two years old and had just 56 member states; the Cold War was gathering force, and no one was exactly sure how the two pre-eminent powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, would vote. The Arab and Muslim states were of course unalterably opposed, for partition was a warrant for a Jewish state.

In the end, the vote broke for partition, the U.S. backed the resolution, and two days later the Soviet Union followed suit. It was a close call: 10 states had abstained, 13 had voted against, 33 were in favor, only two votes over the required two-thirds majority.

Now, some six decades later, the Palestinians are calling for a vote in the next session of the General Assembly, in September, to ratify a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. In part, this is an appropriation by the Palestinians of the narrative of Zionism. The vote in 1947 was viewed as Israel's basic title to independence and statehood. The Palestinians and the Arab powers had rejected partition and chosen the path of war. Their choice was to prove calamitous.

By the time the guns had fallen silent, the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine, had held its ground against the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Its forces stood on the shores of the Red Sea in the south, and at the foot of the Golan Heights in the north. Palestinian society had collapsed under the pressure of war. The elites had made their way to neighboring lands. Rural communities had been left atomized and leaderless. The cities had fought, and fallen, alone.

Palestine had become a great Arab shame. Few Arabs were willing to tell the story truthfully, to face its harsh verdict. Henceforth the Palestinians would live on a vague idea of restoration and return. No leader had the courage to tell the refugees who had left Acre and Jaffa and Haifa that they could not recover the homes and orchards of their imagination.

Some had taken the keys to their houses with them to Syria and Lebanon and across the river to Jordan. They were no more likely to find political satisfaction than the Jews who had been banished from Baghdad and Beirut and Cairo, and Casablanca and Fez, but the idea of return, enshrined into a "right of return," would persist. (Wadi Abu Jamil, the Jewish quarter of the Beirut of my boyhood, is now a Hezbollah stronghold, and no narrative exalts or recalls that old presence.)

History hadn't stood still. The world was remade. In 1947-48, when the Zionists had secured their statehood, empires were coming apart, borders were fluid, the international system of states as we know it quite new. India and Pakistan had emerged as independent, hostile states out of the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, and Israel had secured its place in the order of nations a year later. Many of the Arab states were still in their infancy.

But the world is a vastly different place today. The odds might favor the Palestinians in the General Assembly, but any victory would be hollow.


The Palestinians have misread what transpired at the General Assembly in 1947. True, the cause of Jewish statehood had been served by the vote on partition, but the Zionist project had already prevailed on the ground. Jewish statehood was a fait accompli perhaps a decade before that vote. All the ingredients had been secured by Labor Zionism. There was a military formation powerful enough to defeat the Arab armies, there were political institutions in place, and there were gifted leaders, David Ben-Gurion pre-eminent among them, who knew what can be had in the world of nations.

The vote at the General Assembly was of immense help, but it wasn't the decisive factor in the founding of the Jewish state. The hard work had been done in the three decades between the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the vote on partition. Realism had guided the Zionist project. We will take a state even if it is the size of a tablecloth, said Chaim Weizmann, one of the founding fathers of the Zionist endeavor.

Sadly, the Palestinian national movement has known a different kind of leadership, unique in its mix of maximalism and sense of entitlement, in its refusal to accept what can and can't be had in the world of nations. Leadership is often about luck, the kind of individuals a people's history brings forth. It was the distinct misfortune of the Palestinians that when it truly mattered, and for nearly four decades, they were led by a juggler, Yasser Arafat, a man fated to waste his people's chances.

Arafat was neither a Ben-Gurion leading his people to statehood, nor an Anwar Sadat accepting the logic of peace and compromise. He had been an enemy of Israel, but Israel had reached an accord with him in 1993, made room for him, and for a regime of his choice in Gaza. He had warred against the United States, but American diplomacy had fallen under his spell, and the years of the Clinton presidency were devoted to the delusion that the man could summon the courage to accept a practical peace.

But Arafat would do nothing of the kind. Until his death in 2004, he refrained from telling the Palestinians the harsh truths they needed to hear about the urgency of practicality and compromise. Instead, he held out the illusion that the Palestinians can have it all, from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean. His real constituents were in the refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria and Jordan, and among the Palestinians in Kuwait. So he peddled the dream that history's verdict could be overturned, that the "right of return" was theirs.

There was hope that the Arafat legacy would go with him to the grave. The new Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had been a lieutenant of Arafat's, but there were hints of a break with the Arafat legacy. The alliance between Fatah and Hamas that Mr. Abbas has opted for put these hopes to rest. And the illusion that the U.N. can break the stalemate in the Holy Land is vintage Arafat. […]

The General Assembly may, in September, vote to ratify a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. But true Palestinian statehood requires convincing a decisive Israeli majority that statehood is a herald for normalcy in that contested land, for Arabs and Jews alike.


Mr. Ajami is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is co-chair of the Hoover Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Remarks by the President at the AIPAC Policy Conference 2011



Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release                               May 22, 2011





Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Washington, D.C.


10:56 A.M. EDT


     THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Good morning.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Please, have a seat.  Thank you.


What a remarkable, remarkable crowd.  Thank you, Rosy, for your very kind introduction.  I did not know you played basketball.  (Laughter.)  I will take your word for it.  (Laughter.)  Rosy, thank you for your many years of friendship.  Back in Chicago, when I was just getting started in national politics, I reached out to a lot of people for advice and counsel, and Rosy was one of the very first.  When I made my first visit to Israel, after entering the Senate, Rosy, you were at my side every step of that profound journey through the Holy Land.  So I want to thank you for your enduring friendship, your leadership, and for your warm introduction today.


I also want to thank David Victor, Howard Kohr and all the board of directors.  And let me say that it is wonderful to look out and see so many great friends, including a very large delegation from Chicago.  (Applause.)  Alan Solow, Howard Green.  Thank you all.


I want to thank the members of Congress who are joining you today -- who do so much to sustain the bonds between the United States and Israel, including Eric Cantor -- (applause) -- Steny Hoyer -- (applause) -- and the tireless leader I was proud to appoint as the new chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  (Applause.) 


We’re joined by Israel’s representative to the United States, Ambassador Michael Oren.  (Applause.)  And we’re joined by one of my top advisors on Israel and the Middle East for the past four years and who I know is going to be an outstanding ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro.  (Applause.)  Dan has always been a close and trusted advisor and friend, and I know that he will do a terrific job.


And at a time when so many young people around the world are standing up and making their voices heard, I also want to acknowledge all the college students from across the country who are here today.  (Applause.)  No one has a greater stake in the outcome of events that are unfolding today than your generation, and it’s inspiring to see you devote your time and energy to help shape that future.


Now, I’m not here to subject you to a long policy speech.  I gave one on Thursday in which I said that the United States sees the historic changes sweeping the Middle East and North Africa as a moment of great challenge, but also a moment of opportunity for greater peace and security for the entire region, including the State of Israel.


On Friday, I was joined at the White House by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and we reaffirmed -- (applause) -- we reaffirmed that fundamental truth that has guided our presidents and prime ministers for more than 60 years -- that even while we may at times disagree, as friends sometimes will, the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable -- (applause) -- and the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad.  (Applause.)


A strong and secure Israel is in the national security interest of the United States not simply because we share strategic interests, although we do both seek a region where families and children can live free from the threat of violence.  It’s not simply because we face common dangers, although there can be no denying that terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons are grave threats to both our nations. 


America’s commitment to Israel’s security flows from a deeper place -- and that’s the values we share.  As two people who struggled to win our freedom against overwhelming odds, we understand that preserving the security for which our forefathers -- and foremothers -- fought must be the work of every generation.  As two vibrant democracies, we recognize that the liberties and freedoms we cherish must be constantly nurtured.  And as the nation that recognized the State of Israel moments after its independence, we have a profound commitment to its survival as a strong, secure homeland for the Jewish people.  (Applause.) 


We also know how difficult that search for security can be, especially for a small nation like Israel living in a very tough neighborhood.  I’ve seen it firsthand.  When I touched my hand against the Western Wall and placed my prayer between its ancient stones, I thought of all the centuries that the children of Israel had longed to return to their ancient homeland.  When I went to Sderot and saw the daily struggle to survive in the eyes of an eight-year-old boy who lost his leg to a Hamas rocket, and when I walked among the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, I was reminded of the existential fear of Israelis when a modern dictator seeks nuclear weapons and threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the map -- face of the Earth.


Because we understand the challenges Israel faces, I and my administration have made the security of Israel a priority.  It’s why we’ve increased cooperation between our militaries to unprecedented levels.  It’s why we’re making our most advanced technologies available to our Israeli allies.  (Applause.)  It’s why, despite tough fiscal times, we’ve increased foreign military financing to record levels.  (Applause.)  And that includes additional support –- beyond regular military aid -– for the Iron Dome anti-rocket system.  (Applause.)  A powerful example of American-Israeli cooperation -- a powerful example of American-Israeli cooperation which has already intercepted rockets from Gaza and helped saved Israeli lives.  So make no mistake, we will maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge.  (Applause.)


You also see our commitment to our shared security in our determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  (Applause.)  Here in the United States, we’ve imposed the toughest sanctions ever on the Iranian regime.  (Applause.)  At the United Nations, under our leadership, we’ve secured the most comprehensive international sanctions on the regime, which have been joined by allies and partners around the world.  Today, Iran is virtually cut off from large parts of the international financial system, and we’re going to keep up the pressure.  So let me be absolutely clear –- we remain committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  (Applause.)    


Its illicit nuclear program is just one challenge that Iran poses.  As I said on Thursday, the Iranian government has shown its hypocrisy by claiming to support the rights of protesters while treating its own people with brutality.  Moreover, Iran continues to support terrorism across the region, including providing weapons and funds to terrorist organizations.  So we will continue to work to prevent these actions, and we will stand up to groups like Hezbollah, who exercise political assassination and seek to impose their will through rockets and car bombs.


You also see our commitment to Israel’s security in our steadfast opposition to any attempt to de-legitimize the State of Israel.  (Applause.)  As I said at the United Nations last year, “Israel’s existence must not be a subject for debate,” and “efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States.”  (Applause.) 


So when the Durban Review Conference advanced anti-Israel sentiment, we withdrew.  In the wake of the Goldstone Report, we stood up strongly for Israel’s right to defend itself.  (Applause.)  When an effort was made to insert the United Nations into matters that should be resolved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, we vetoed it.  (Applause.) 


And so, in both word and deed, we have been unwavering in our support of Israel’s security.  (Applause.)  And it is precisely because of our commitment to Israel’s long-term security that we have worked to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians.  (Applause.)


Now, I have said repeatedly that core issues can only be negotiated in direct talks between the parties.  (Applause.)  And I indicated on Thursday that the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace.  (Applause.)  No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction.  (Applause.)  And we will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements.  (Applause.)  And we once again call on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit, who has been kept from his family for five long years.  (Applause.)


And yet, no matter how hard it may be to start meaningful negotiations under current circumstances, we must acknowledge that a failure to try is not an option.  The status quo is unsustainable.  And that is why on Thursday I stated publicly the principles that the United States believes can provide a foundation for negotiations toward an agreement to end the conflict and all claims -- the broad outlines of which have been known for many years, and have been the template for discussions between the United States, Israel, and the Palestinians since at least the Clinton administration.


I know that stating these principles -- on the issues of territory and security -- generated some controversy over the past few days.  (Laughter.)  I wasn’t surprised.  I know very well that the easy thing to do, particularly for a President preparing for reelection, is to avoid any controversy.  I don’t need Rahm to tell me that.  Don’t need Axelrod to tell me that.  But I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu, I believe that the current situation in the Middle East does not allow for procrastination.  I also believe that real friends talk openly and honestly with one another.  (Applause.)  So I want to share with you some of what I said to the Prime Minister.


Here are the facts we all must confront.  First, the number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian Territories.  This will make it harder and harder -- without a peace deal -- to maintain Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state.


Second, technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself in the absence of a genuine peace.


Third, a new generation of Arabs is reshaping the region.  A just and lasting peace can no longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders.  Going forward, millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained.


And just as the context has changed in the Middle East, so too has it been changing in the international community over the last several years.  There’s a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations.  They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process, or the absence of one, not just in the Arab World -- in Latin America, in Asia, and in Europe.  And that impatience is growing, and it’s already manifesting itself in capitals around the world.


And those are the facts.  I firmly believe, and I repeated on Thursday, that peace cannot be imposed on the parties to the conflict.  No vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state.  And the United States will stand up against efforts to single Israel out at the United Nations or in any international forum.  (Applause.)  Israel’s legitimacy is not a matter for debate.  That is my commitment; that is my pledge to all of you.  (Applause.) 


Moreover, we know that peace demands a partner –- which is why I said that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Palestinians who do not recognize its right to exist.  (Applause.)  And we will hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions and for their rhetoric.  (Applause.)


But the march to isolate Israel internationally -- and the impulse of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations –- will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative.  And for us to have leverage with the Palestinians, to have leverage with the Arab States and with the international community, the basis for negotiations has to hold out the prospect of success.  And so, in advance of a five-day trip to Europe in which the Middle East will be a topic of acute interest, I chose to speak about what peace will require. 


There was nothing particularly original in my proposal; this basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. administrations.  Since questions have been raised, let me repeat what I actually said on Thursday -- not what I was reported to have said. 


I said that the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine.  The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps -- (applause) -- so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state. 


As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself –- by itself -– against any threat.  (Applause.)  Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security.  (Applause.)  And a full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign and non-militarized state.  (Applause.)  And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.  (Applause.)


Now, that is what I said.  And it was my reference to the 1967 lines -- with mutually agreed swaps -- that received the lion’s share of the attention, including just now.  And since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” means.


By definition, it means that the parties themselves -– Israelis and Palestinians -– will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967.  (Applause.)  That’s what mutually agreed-upon swaps means.  It is a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation.  It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years.  (Applause.)  It allows the parties themselves to take account of those changes, including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides.  The ultimate goal is two states for two people:  Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people -- (applause) -- and the State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people -- each state in joined self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.  (Applause.)


If there is a controversy, then, it’s not based in substance.  What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately.  I’ve done so because we can’t afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades to achieve peace.  (Applause.)  The world is moving too fast.  The world is moving too fast.  The extraordinary challenges facing Israel will only grow.  Delay will undermine Israel’s security and the peace that the Israeli people deserve.


Now, I know that some of you will disagree with this assessment.  I respect that.  And as fellow Americans and friends of Israel, I know we can have this discussion.


Ultimately, it is the right and the responsibility of the Israeli government to make the hard choices that are necessary to protect a Jewish and democratic state for which so many generations have sacrificed.  (Applause.)  And as a friend of Israel, I’m committed to doing our part to see that this goal is realized.  And I will call not just on Israel, but on the Palestinians, on the Arab States, and the international community to join us in this effort, because the burden of making hard choices must not be Israel’s alone.  (Applause.)


But even as we do all that’s necessary to ensure Israel’s security, even as we are clear-eyed about the difficult challenges before us, and even as we pledge to stand by Israel through whatever tough days lie ahead, I hope we do not give up on that vision of peace.  For if history teaches us anything, if the story of Israel teaches us anything, it is that with courage and resolve, progress is possible.  Peace is possible.


The Talmud teaches us that, “So long as a person still has life, they should never abandon faith.”  And that lesson seems especially fitting today.


For so long as there are those across the Middle East and beyond who are standing up for the legitimate rights and freedoms which have been denied by their governments, the United States will never abandon our support for those rights that are universal. 


And so long as there are those who long for a better future, we will never abandon our pursuit of a just and lasting peace that ends this conflict with two states living side by side in peace and security.  This is not idealism; it is not naïveté.  It is a hard-headed recognition that a genuine peace is the only path that will ultimately provide for a peaceful Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people and a Jewish state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.  (Applause.)  That is my goal, and I look forward to continuing to work with AIPAC to achieve that goal.


Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless Israel, and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Thank you.   


                             END                11:21 P.M. EDT



The White House · 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW · Washington DC 20500 · 202-456-1111

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

June 4: NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman at the Caspe Terrace

Dave Liebman with Guitarist Vic Juris
Sat., June 4  7:30 pm at the Caspe Terrace in Waukee
For tickets, call 279-6452

Earlier this year, saxophonist Dave Liebman was on the stage of the Kennedy Center receiving the Jazz Master designation from the National Endowment For The Arts, the highest honor for
jazz musicians in America.

On June 4, he'll be on the stage at Caspe Terrace in Waukee.  Dave will be joined by long-time 
musical partner guitarist Vic Juris for their first-ever duo performance. 

Dave is one of the most prolific players on the scene, who began his career in the bands of trumpeter 
Miles Davis and drummer Elvin Jones. He is a direct connection to saxophone master John Coltrane, 
who inspired Dave early in his career.  

There is no better place to experience the subtleties of this music than Caspe Terrace.  

Join Dave for a question and answer session at 6:30 p.m., prior to the show.

Seating is limited to 150 so order your tickets today by contacting Abe Goldstien
 at 515.279.6452 or

Presented by Abe Goldstien and Jackie Garnett with support from the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines and the Waukee Arts Council

Monday, May 16, 2011

Recent and upcoming B'nai Mitzvah

All of the following B'nai mitzvah will be or were held at Temple B'nai Jeshurun.

10:00 AM
Sarah Rose Ballard
10:00 AM
Mandi Vogel
4:30 PM
Gabriel Butler-Klein
4:30 PM
Regan Copple
10:00 AM
Eva Saltzman
4:30 PM
Samantha Sobel

The Jewish Federation wishes Mazel Tov to the students and their families!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 8 Israel Independence Day program!

               The community's  Israel Independence Day celebration   
Sunday, May 8, 2011    7:00 pm at Temple B'nai Jeshurun 
Sponsored by Tifereth Israel Synagogue, Ames Jewish Congregation, Beth El Jacob Synagogue, Temple B'nai Jeshurun, Judaic Resource Center, and Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
Come enjoy the free  Falafel Bar 
in celebration of Israel's 63rd Birthday!

Falafel and Pita
Hummus, Tahini Sauce
Zchug (Harissa) – spicy sauce
Feta Cheese
Tomato and Cucumber Salad with mint
Tzatziki (yogurt sauce)
Pickled Red Onions
Sweet Potato Fries
 Ice Cream

Iced Tea
Catered by The Tangerine Food Company

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 23: A Balanced Presentation on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

 The Troublesome History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Balanced Presentation
With  Dr. Arthur Pitz, professor and historian                                             
                              Blackhawk College, St Ambrose University, Augustana College in the Quad Cities

                                                       Monday, May 23, 2011    
                                                                             6:30 pm8:00 pm  
                                  at the Des Moines Public Library, Central Branch, 1000 Grand Avenue, Des Moines

Dr. Pitz will provide a balanced presentation of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.  He has traveled many times to Israel and the Palestinian territories.  In 2010 he spent a month in the region where he was briefed by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, traveled to the Israeli towns adjacent to Gaza, and visited the West Bank and a Palestinian refugee camp.

The program is free of charge and open to the public    No reservations required. 

 Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Commission of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines and the JFed Forum.    For additional information, contact