“He’s good for Israel, good for the Christians, good for the United States,” said host Alan Mazurek, chairman of the ZOA National Advisory Council, of Gary Bauer, keynote speaker at the November 21 Zionist Organization of America Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award dinner. “There are more of us — millions — who support Israel, said ZOA Defender of Israel Award recipient Bauer, founder and chairman of the board of Christians United for Israel. Bauer, who served during the Reagan administration as under secretary of state of education and as chief domestic policy adviser, added, “We are Hamas’s… worst nightmare. These are evil men who worship death — to Jews, Americans, free men everywhere.” French Senator Jean-Pierre Plancade received the Cherna and Irving Moskowitz Award. Accepting it on his behalf was journalist and media critic Philippe Karsenty, whom Plancade officially and publicly supported in his campaign and exposé of the Palestinian-perpetrated anti-Israel al-Dura blood libel. Harley Lippman, founder and CEO of Genesis 10 and recipient of the Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award — the ZOA’s highest honor, awarded to individuals who demonstrate outstanding dedication to Israel and the Jewish community — recounted his family’s visit to Poland, where, in conjunction with his daughter’s 2009 bat mitzvah, he presented a 129-year-old Torah to Warsaw’s Nozyk Synagogue. Danny Danon, introduced as “the youngest-ever deputy speaker of the Knesset,” vowed “to keep Jerusalem the united capital of Israel.” Addressing the more than 700 guests at the Grand Hyatt, journalist William Kristol, recipient of the Ben Hecht Award, joshed how “as part of the ZOA wing at Harvard [where he received his doctorate] it was hard to be a conservative.”
Lippman, who by presidential appointment serves as a member of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, includes among his philanthropic endeavors financing the extramural needs of Israel’s armored brigade and adopting an orphanage in Cambodia. In a video shown at the dinner, he is seen hand delivering the 1876 Strasbourg Torah “to the Jewish community in Poland.” Lippman stated that he wanted to inspire his family to give back. This was part of his promise to his grandmother, Basha — who arrived at Ellis Island as a 15-year-old fleeing Cossack terror — that he “would never break the chain.” The Lippman family’s mitzvah projects include searching for unmarked Jewish graves in Poland and putting up signs to help honor and preserve their memories.
The award presented to Placande was established by Cherna and Irving Moskowitz, whom the journal describes as “pro-Israel activists, patrons of Jewish and non-Jewish charities in both America and Israel who helped bring the Indian Bnei Menashe Jews to Israel.” In French-accented English, Karsenty detailed the Palestinian “ blood libel hoax.” During the September 30, 2000, clash between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers, a Palestinian boy named Mohammed al-Dura was supposedly killed by an Israeli bullet. The story of the murder, which included a photo of the 12-year old victim lying dead in his father’s arms — seen around the globe — was exposed as a hoax.
Danon, whose titles include chairman of World Likud and deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset, shared with the audience: “Going through immigration [in the U.S.], I don’t know what the [official’s] post was, but he said to me: ‘Don’t give in to President Obama.’ The problem is Iran! Iran! Iran! It is not our policy to accept any pre-conditions.’
“The settlements are an asset to our security. The people of Israel voted us in because we told them we would build all over Israel…. Can’t go against the people… who believed in us…..” Danon stated that Jerusalem “will be the united capital of Israel!”
The dinner, which opened with an impassioned invocation by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, founder and director of the National Jewish Outreach Program, ended with ZOA National President Morton Klein’s address: “At ZOA we have been beating a drum about the key issues often ignored by other American Jewish organizations — the unreconstructed extremism of Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority regime, who refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish state.”
As he noted in his message in the dinner journal, Klein stated, “Wherever we look we see peril ahead for Israel and the United States.”
“There was a time in New York City when animals were protected… but not children,” said Deborah Norville, host and co-chairperson of the November 18 New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Gala. Held at The Plaza, the event honored Steven Golub, vice chairman of the advisory investment bank Lazard. “And yet,” continued Norville continued, “you still read in the papers, ‘Man beats 4-year-old daughter because she soiled her pants,’ ‘Mother of 4-year-old girl [who died] accused….’” Mary Pulido, the NYSPCC’s executive director, touted the agency as “the first child protection agency in the United States… [It] maintains the most comprehensive and oldest set of records on child abuse and neglect cases from the organization’s inception.
Other gala co-chairpeople included Neil Friedman, president of Mattel, Inc., and his wife, Amanda, and Jerry Storch, chairman and CEO of Toys ’R ’ Us, Inc., and his wife, Jacquie. The organization’s Strength of Our Society Award was presented by NBC’s senior producer, Richard Greenberg, to Emmy award-winning journalist and “Dateline NBC” correspondent Chris Hansen.
The evening highlighted the remarkable work performed by the NYSPCC since its incorporation in 1875. The historical notes in the journal inform: “To date there are more than 650,00 files concerning over 2 million children. Notably, the NYSPCC’s digitized archives and documents will enable researchers to retrieve original books, documents, ETC. Even the dress that Mary Ellen, the organization’s first client, wore when rescued in 1874 will be professionally preserved. When I asked about the percentage of Jewish children who might have come through NYSPCC’s doors, I was told, “We accept all children, regardless of race or ethnicity.”
The evening’s entertainment was by a platinum-selling recording artist who has sold more than 9 million records worldwide, Sophie B. Hawkins, whose struggle with her own troubled childhood was chronicled in the 1997 documentary “The Cream Will Rise,” which was bought by the Sundance Channel.