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Remarks as prepared and delivered by B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman

Reality check: Flowering from the desert
The world is privileged that we live in a time when Israel is safely and securely in the hands of the Jewish people. Israel is a modern progressive, innovative, pluralistic land. Unlike countries in the neighborhood, it is a Western democracy. It is a country of many faiths, who practice freely. We no longer live in exile and we never will. Am Yisroel Chai.
Israel’s innovations have helped improve the world, feed more people, heal more people, rehabilitate people, cure more people, build and drive businesses. The corporate directory is full of well-known brands — Waze, SniffPhone, ReWalk, PillCam, Flexible Stent, Firewall, ICQ software, the USB drive, desalination, Watergen, drip irrigation. All are among numerous technologies, not to mention the abundance of telecommunications and cybertechnology innovations from Israel.
The dream Theodor Herzl shared in Basle in 1897 for Israel as a Jewish homeland came true. Contrary what our enemies tell you, no one stole land. Ask the Arab sellers who sold parcels to Jews more than a century and a half ago. Ask the Arabs who told the Palestinians to leave their homes and wait for them to conquer the Jews. Then, they could move back. Those promises, despite wars of 1956, 1967, 1973 and Intifadas, were never delivered. In fact, the captured Sinai would be returned to Egypt . . . for peace. The captured Old City would allow Jordan to serve as custodians of the Temple Mount . . . for peace with Israel’s neighbor to the East.
Yet, the Palestinian dream of destroying Israel and displacing Jews is, well, still a dream. In fact, it’s proving to be a nightmare for them. There’s no returning to the Partition Plan. There’s no returning to the 1967 borders. Jerusalem is the united capital of the country. It is in safe hands. It is in the right hands. And there it shall stay.
Palestinians would do well to heed the words of Bassem Eid, a Palestinian who has broken free of refugee camps. He lives in East Jerusalem. He says and I quote, “To my Palestinian brethren, I implore you. Please do not let Hamas brainwash you into thinking it has achieved anything on our behalf. Do not fall prey to its lies and manipulations. Hamas is not a social justice movement and it certainly does not care about me or you. It is a criminal gang that only cares about increasing its own power at all of our expense. Your lives will start to improve when the Hamas reign of terror finally ends. Only will you actually taste the fruits of real peace with your Jewish cousins. . . .“
Eid continues: The media has spread fake news about Sheikh Jarrah being the core of Jewish aggression. It has incited violent riots at Al Aqsa by falsely claiming that the Jews are going to destroy Al Aqsa when that has never been true.
Bassem Eid speaks the truth in saying that Hamas ignored warnings that water wells were growing too salty from over pumping, leading to a point where Gaza’s tap water isn’t safe to drink. He says Israel has sent in humanitarian supplies daily into Gaza;  that purported cement and metal meant for houses has been used to build subterranean tunnels for military purposes only. Hamas has civilians, including children, as human shields. Not true? It’s recorded on authentic night-vision video. Eid says life is about to get worse for the Palestinians in Gaza.
Peace for the Palestinians is staring them in the face. Israel is as perfect and imperfect as any democracy, but what Israel has done for the world can be done with the Palestinians . . . if they will it. For now they don’t have the will; and they won’t find a way until they find the will.
When David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, was a mere pioneer and worked with others to settle the dusty, empty dunes of Tel Aviv, and a Jewish State was in the formative stages with settlers and survivors from the hell of Europe. When the United Nations considered statehood, they came up with a plan for a Jewish State and an Arab State with Jerusalem as an international city. Ben Gurion got less than what he wanted, but what he accepted was a state, a legitimate, legally created Jewish State.
The Arabs, too, got less than what they wanted, but they rejected the Partition Plan, and declared war. They wanted it all. They still want it all. They won’t get it. Somewhere in the future we hope that the Palestinians will learn the wisdom of Ben Gurion. We hope the Palestinians will learn the wisdom of the parties of the Abraham Accords, the Emirates, the Bahrainians and others who’ve grown impatient with destruction and terror and seek the path of innovation, progress . . . and peace.
Anti-Zionism, the politicizing of Israel’s existence and demonizing of Jews is the modern version of anti-Semitism. We see it in the BDS movement, though BDS truly only emboldens the Palestinians to hate and actually hurts Palestinians economically. It’s sad. Anti-Semitism has a 3,500 year history, evolving through biblical times, through vast civilizations and Empires, from Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Turks and the British. It’s manifested itself from the Common Era, through the Dark Ages, Blood Libels, the Inquisition, other expulsions, the creation of Ghettos, exclusions from universities, clubs, and organizations. We can only reverse this hatred if we confront the hatred. It’s a big task, one for which we must educate future generations.
Jews are a faithful people. Our heritage gives us countless reasons to be proud. We contribute much to the world. We embrace people of all faiths and nationalities who embrace us. Too many governments feel the intimidation of supporting Jews and Israel publicly for fear of being attacked by those who want to destroy us. Fear nothing. The strength of tiny Israel should serve as inspiration to us all.
And to my Jewish co-religionists, let me share a warning: If you dare think American Jews can live without Israel, well, consider what Judaism looks like without these words, which have been proclaimed for thousands of years: Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord our G-d the Lord is One.