Jewish group to hold Aspen talk on Israel
August 4, 2014
If you go ...
What: A discussion on Israel with Clifford May
Where: Jewish Community Center
When: 5 p.m. Monday
The latest round of bloodshed in Gaza will end, but Clifford May, who is following the situation closely, says he’s not sure when.
May, a former New York Times reporter, is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington, D.C., think tank focused on national security and the “threat from Jihadist regimes.” He claimed that Israel should no longer have any faith in the Palestinian Sunni Islamic group Hamas, which “has broken numerous cease fires.”
“The bloodshed will end when Hamas is out of rockets and the (Hamas) tunnels are entirely destroyed, and then the Israelis will leave Gaza,” said May, who is speaking at the Jewish Community Center on Main Street on Monday during a fundraiser event for United Jewish Appeal. “I can’t tell you that for sure, but that’s my guess. And then there’s going to be a complex question of what happens in Gaza after that.”
May said in an interview Friday that the United Nations have not contributed “anything useful” to the fight against Jihadism. The U.N. Human Rights Council resolution voted on a resolution earlier this month to address the situation in Gaza. May said it fails to mention Hamas’ use of human shields, attack tunnels and rockets fired against Israel.
“It only condemns Israel,” he added.
May credits President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power for an American vote against that resolution. He said the European nations did not have the courage to do the same.
American policy has been a mixed bag, he said, calling Kerry’s attempt at a cease fire that involved Qatar and Turkey a mistake.
“Both countries have been supporting Hamas and supporting terrorism, and I say that with great regret,” said May, who will be discussing what he sees as Israel’s current policy options during the talk.
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies was created in 2002, following the 9/11 attacks. However, May said he had conversations about forming such an organization before the attacks. A discussion with former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and politician Jack Kemp told May that America was “taking a holiday from history,” a peace dividend at a time when there were still threats.
He pointed to a list of attacks since the 1980s: the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, the 1998 American embassy attacks in Africa and the 2000 USS Cole bombing.
The organization was designed to effect policy in response to all these events. At the time, there was no think thank focused on Jihadism, he said.
May was in Israel not very long ago, and he said he knew the situation was heating up when he heard bomb sirens in Jerusalem.