Arutz Sheva Interview
'US Jews Shouldn't Interfere in Israeli Elections'

Prominent US Jewish figure Malcolm Hoenlein says media amplifying negative aspects of US-Israel relationship, but reality still positive.

Yoni Kempinski and Ari Soffer,

Malcolm Hoenlein
Malcolm Hoenlein
Arutz Sheva

Israeli-American relations are still going strong - even if the media doesn't portray it that way - and American Jews should not "interfere" in the Israeli elections, according to a leading American Jewish figure

Speaking to Arutz Sheva at AIPAC's 2015 Policy Conference Monday, Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, hailed the "record numbers" who had turned up to the annual pro-Israel extravaganza.

In all, some 16,000 participants are attending this year's AIPAC Policy Conference, setting a new record for what is already the largest pro-Israel gathering in the Diaspora.

That record attendance is a sign of how Israel remains a bipartisan issue despite the controversy over Prime Minister Netanyahu's upcoming speech at Congress today - something Hoenlein insists is "essential" for both countries.

Hoenlein added that he was confident that the Israel-US relationship was as strong as ever, and that the media was simply amplifying the negative aspects.

"There are so many things that go on on a day-to-day basis where America and Israel cooperate," he pointed out. "Unfortunately the focus is always on when there are differences."

"It is only natural" that differences will exist between states, even allies, Hoenlein said, nor was this the first time American and Israeli leaders have disagreed on key issues.

Now, as then, Hoenlein is confident that the "special relationship" between the countries would weather the storm. "I think we will get past this because the American people in the polls understand the threat of Iran."

"What's at stake here is not just a personal relationship."

On the topic of Iran, Hoenlein echoed concerns shared by Israeli and American leaders alike.

"I think it's a huge sakanah," he said of Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, using the Hebrew word for "danger".

"I think it's a danger for us, for our children, for our grandchildren.

"This is something we will be judged by future generations, if we fail to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power."

Turning to the looming Israeli general elections on March 17, Heonlein criticized US citizens attempting to sway the outcome by funding campaigns inside Israel - a possible reference to the controversial V-15 campaign seeking to install a left-wing government.

While people should be free to express their opinions, "I do not believe that American Jews should interfere. I don't believe they should give money to candidates," Hoenlein stated.

"It's damaging to democracy, it distorts democracy, and it imposes people who have no real stake in the outcome. They don't pay the price for what the governments that are elected choose to do.

"It should be the people who have to live with the consequences who should be free to elect the candidates of their choice without outside interference."




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