Conservatives speak about Mideast


A group of political conservatives intent on spreading the truth about events in the Mideast was honored by EMET, Endowment for Middle East Truth, during its annual Rays of Light in the Darkness fundraising dinner June 19.

About 275 people, including members of Congress and foreign ambassadors, gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in D.C. to listen as speaker after speaker talked of Islamic terrorism, Iran’s attempts to have nuclear weapons, governments intent on wiping Israel off the map and an Obama administration unwilling to stop any of it.

The Middle East “is a very dangerous part of the world in which our friends in Israel find themselves increasingly isolated,” said the evening’s moderator, Frank Gaffney, founder and president of Center for Security Policy.

Illustrating just how difficult the struggle against terrorism is, the evening’s keynote speaker opted to address the audience by Skype while donning a mask and speaking with a disguised voice.

Reza Khalili, a former CIA operative who had served in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, has made it his mission for the past 20 years to let the world know “how dangerous the regime is not only for Iran but for the world.”

He predicted that “in less than a year” Iran will have ballistic missiles equpped with nuclear weapons and that economic sanctions are incapable of stopping this effort.

Without action by the rest of the world, “humanity will witness another Holocaust of a much greater magnitude” than has ever occured, said Kahlili, who for his security used a pseudonym.

During his speech, he made it clear that he was less surprised that he lives under the constant threat of arrest by countries in which he works under cover than the fact that the world has not taken heed of his warnings. Apparently, he said, most countries are “selling out their principles for greed.”

Also honored was Bret Stephens, foreign affairs columnist for The Wall Street Journal and former editor in chief at The Jerusalem Post. He criticized the media for caring more about whether its reports were balanced than at getting at the truth. Because of this, Stephens said, accusations of Israel being an apartheid state guilty of war crimes and deliberately targeting innocent civilians have now “become part of an anti-Israel narrative. It is not simply Israel that is under attack, it is [also the] truth.”

Journalists tend to “know just enough about a subject to know nothing about it,” Stephens declared.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), also were honored and both declared themselves true supporters of Israel.

It is very important for America to have a strong defense and continue its strong relationship with Israel, Duncan said, declaring, “I’m an unabashed supporter of Israel.”

During a recent trip to Israel, he recalled looking over an Israeli women’s collection of rocket fragments, noting that when he was young, he collected arrowheads while Israelis collect pieces of bombs from their neighborhoods.

Cruz stirred up the audience with his anti-Obama comments, noting he has “grave doubts that this administration is going to do anything to stop Iran.” He also doubts that the mullahs in Iran have any fear that the United States will act.

“Frankly Israel shouldn’t have to [stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons]. We should be able to get up and defend ourselves,” Cruz said.

He called for the release of Alan Gross, a local Jewish contractor who has been imprisoned in Cuba since 2009.

The fifth honor was awarded posthumously to Tom Lantos, the California congressman who fought against the Nazis in Budapest and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.

His wife and daughter were there to accept the award, and his daughter Katrina Lantos-Swett told the crowd of her recent trip to Egypt where she asked why people don’t stand up to President Mohamed Morsi’s comments about Jews being the descendents of apes and pigs. Instead, Egyptians and Israelis should be saying “enough, enough” and calling each other cousins, she said.

Lantos-Swett said she received a dose of reality when someone agreed that it would be a great thing to do except that the next day that person “would be assassinated by his own people.”

In praising the five honorees, Gaffney noted, “There is a common denominator when it comes to all these awardees, and it is courage. It takes courage.”

Sarah Stern, founder and president of EMET, agreed, noting that people need to “not delude themselves” about world events and instead should “have the courage to ask the unpopular questions.”

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