Benjamin Netanyahu - Avi Ohayoun - 2009
Benjamin Netanyahu during his speech at Bar-Ilan University, June 2009. Photo by Avi Ohayoun
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Efraim Inbar
Professor Efraim Inbar.

“Bar-Ilan University is the only Zionist university left in Israel,” – this was the bald assertion made by Professor Efraim Inbar, Director of Bar-Ilan’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, at a gala dinner of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) held Tuesday night in New York.

Contacted by Ha’aretz, Inbar stood by his claim, saying that Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, for example, were “not Zionist” in his opinion. “There are many Bolshevik post-Zionists at these universities, who pack their faculties with similar-minded lecturers. The Israeli universities are overflowing with post-Modernists who undermine not only Zionism but academic truth itself.”

Inbar said that although he knows that there are also Zionist lecturers at the various Social Studies faculties, they are outnumbered. “An evil wind is emanating from these places,” he said.

Inbar’s comments, made during a short introduction of one of ZOA’s principal donors, were received warmly by the 800-strong audience that came to the Grand Hyatt Hotel in midtown Manhattan to honor controversial conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck, who received the “Dr. Miriam & Sheldon Adelson Defender of Israel Award” as well as US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who received the ZOA’s “Dr. Irving & Cherna Moskowitz Award for Promoting Strong US-Israel Relations.” Adelson and Moskowitz are both renowned donors to right-wing and other causes.

In her rousing pro-Israeli speech, Ros-Lehtinen, chairperson of the influential House Foreign Relations Committee, attacked the Administration’s policies towards Israel and the “dangerous Palestinian scheme” of achieving independence at the UN, asking: “A Palestinian state? What is that, anyway?” Ros-Lehtinen introduced two women in the audience from the West Bank settlement of Kedumim, saying that such places “are not an impediment to peace - but a solution for Israel’s survival.”

Also on hand was Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann, (R-MN) who thrilled the crowd with her pledge to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “on the day that I am sworn into office” and her assertion that “Israel will never be up for grabs – not one inch, not one acre, not one square foot will ever be on the chopping block.” Bachmann said that “Israel needs a friend, but when it looks at the White House, it does not see one.”

Asserting that Iranian President Ahmadinejad was “striving for a second Holocaust” Bachman said that “once again millions of Jews are at the precipice of losing their lives today”. She called for the US Navy to impose a complete naval blockade on Iran, for the US to deploy comprehensive ballistic missile systems “on land, sea, air and in space” and for the Pentagon to prepare “war plans” in order to counter Iran’s nuclear threat.

Ahmadinejad, she said, “will seek to use nuclear weapons against the US as well – and the US will learn what it is to be Israel if it does not act quickly.” She said that the US Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State and CIA director must all support this “freedom policy” and that those in the bureaucracy who fail to do so – “especially in the State Department” – should be replaced.

Beck, for his part, delivered an apocalyptic address which lasted for more than an hour which interwove the Holocaust with current affairs. He said that the situation is worse today than when Hitler was threatening to annihilate the Jews, because today the world is “aiding and abetting” the ranting of madmen who are out to destroy Israel and the Jewish people.

Beck said that “there is an 18 month window” left in which to save the world – “and I believe I know how to do it”. He pledged to announce on December 8 where he is headed – “there is a vacuum and I intend to stand in its place”, he said – but gave no details what he was referring to.

Beck, who was lauded by Prime Minister Netanyahu in a video address as a “courageous defender of Israel” launched repeated and harsh attacks against liberals and the left, comparing “Occupy Wall Street” activists to Nazi SA Brownshirts in Germany band saying that “many times you cannot tell the difference any more between peace activists and the terrorists and fascists they claim to stand against.”

Also delivering a lengthy address was ZOA National President Morton Klein, described by Adelson as “the greatest Zionist in the world.” In a blistering attack on the Palestinians and on US policy, Klein listed unjust accusations hurled against Jews since the time of the Crucifixion, drawing parallels to the current situation of Israel and the Jews and summing up with a sentence that seemed to encapsulate the attitude of most of the evening’s participants: “The whole world the wrong, and the Jews are right.