Israel ambassador to U.S. speaks at Milwaukee Rotary Club

Bill Glauber and Amed Elbenni, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 6, 2018

Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said America’s recent move to relocate its embassy to Israel will help advance the cause of Middle East peace.

During an address Tuesday at the Milwaukee Rotary Club, Dermer called President Donald Trump’s decision to open the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem “historic” and “one of the greatest decisions in the history of Zionism.”

“I know some people are concerned that this decision will set back the cause of peace. I disagree,” he said.

“This is our historic home and peace can come to the region and the Palestinians can cross a psychological Rubicon and say, ‘You have a right to be here, too,’ ” he added.

The event was co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. The Rotary has invited the Islamic Society of Milwaukee to a future presentation.

There were protests outside the War Memorial Center organized by Jewish Voice for Peace-Milwaukee, an organization that advocates for full Palestinian citizenship that has labeled Dermer “Israel’s apartheid ambassador.” Peace Action Wisconsin also was an organizer of the protest, which attracted about 60 people from various backgrounds — Jewish, Palestinian, Lebanese, black.

The groups criticized Israel’s recent actions in Gaza, where more than 115 people have been killed since March. Hamas has organized what it called the Great March of Return.

The protests come on the heel of a recent explosion of violence in Gaza and at the Israeli border that left more than 100 people killed and thousands more injured. The Friday killing of Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old Palestinian medic who was shot by an Israel Defense Forces soldier, has inspired a fresh wave of outrage.

“It’s an atrocity,” said Tony Peressini, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Jodi Melamed, co-founder of the Milwaukee chapter of JVP, attended the address but was not impressed. “As a Jew of conscience,” she said, she was “disgusted that he was joking about ‘Laverne & Shirley’ and baseball” without ever acknowledging the recent violence in Gaza.

Near the end of the protest, the names of recent Palestinian victims were read out. After each name, the protesters said, “We remember you.”

Inside, Dermer said: “The relationship between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever.”

Dermer noted that he was the first Israel ambassador to visit Milwaukee but emphasized the historic links between Israel and Wisconsin.

“The place where Golda Meir was forged, where her Zionism was forged,” Dermer said of Milwaukee, where Israel’s fourth prime minister once lived.

Dermer said Trump had a “faithful decision” to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

“Iran is a regime that openly calls for the eradication of Israel,” Dermer said. “They don’t hide it, they tweet it.”

“For Israel, any deal that would permanently prevent Iran from getting any nuclear weapons is one that we would support,” he said, adding that Israel opposed the deal with Iran because the restrictions against Iran’s nuclear program were temporary.

“All they had to do was wait for the calendar to change,” he said.

He said Iran is dominating the region and becoming a threat in the Middle East and hoped for more countries to put more pressure on Iran.

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April 16-19, 2008
Scott Ritter Events in Madison II

“The Reality of Arms Control: From the Trenches”
Madison Committee on Foreign Relations
Wednesday, April 16, 5:30-7:30 pm
Edgewater Hotel, Rigadoon Room, 666 Wisconsin Ave, Madison

Registration and a fee required — for more information see wage.wisc.edu.

Sponsors: Madison Committee on Foreign Relations; UW-Madison Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE) and Middle East Studies Program.

“Intelligence Failure: Why Did So Many People Think There Were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq?”
Thursday, April 17, 12-1:30 pm
Grainger Hall Room 4151, 975 University Avenue, UW-Madison

Free and open to the public.

Sponsors: UW-Madison Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE), Middle East Studies Program, and Global Studies; Madison Committee on Foreign Relations, and The Madison Institute.

“Overt and Covert Wars: From Iraq to Iran in U.S. Foreign Policy, 1990-2008”
UW-Madison Forum
Thursday, April 17, 7:30 pm
Wisconsin State Historical Society auditorium, 816 State Street Mall, UW-Madison

Free and open to the public.

Sponsors: UW-Madison Middle East Studies Program, Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE), and Global Studies; the Madison Committee on Foreign Relations and The Madison Institute.

“Waging Peace: Citizenship in a Time of Unjust War”
The Madison Institute Forum
Saturday, April 19, 9 am – 12 pm
Wisconsin State Historical Society auditorium, 816 State Street Mall, UW-Madison

Free and open to the public.

At this forum Mr. Ritter will touch on issues such as supporting the troops without supporting the mission, the role of the media in shaping views and how citizens could counter, the Constitution as a citizens center of gravity, and some practical ideas for how citizens can “Wage Peace”.

Mr. Ritter’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with UW-Madison professor Joe Elder and Madison attorney Fred Wade, members of The Madison Institute board.

Co-sponsors: UW-Madison Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE), Middle East Studies Program, and Global Studies.


Scott Ritter served as Chief Weapons Inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq and was a Marine Corps major in military intelligence. He is the author of six books since 1998, including Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement, Iraq Confidential and Target Iran.

March 15 – April 19, 2008
Scott Ritter Events in Madison I

UPCOMING EVENTS from The Madison Institute (TMI), A Policy Study Center in the Progressive Tradition:

The Progressive Roundtable
“Book Review: Two Books by Scott Ritter”
Saturday, March 15, 2008
9:00 a.m. – Noon
Meriter Maingate, 333 W. Main Street, Madison, WI

(See background on Scott Ritter under the forum announcement below.)

TMI Board Members Fred Johnson and Paul Beckett will review two of Ritter’s books: Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Anti-War Movement and Target Iran. This will be followed by a group discussion.

Forum
Scott Ritter: “Waging Peace: Citizenship in a Time of Unjust War”
Saturday, April 19, 2008
9:00 a.m. – Noon
Wisconsin State Historical Society Auditorium
UW-Madison Campus

Mr. Ritter is a former Marine Intelligence Officer and former lead weapons inspector in Iraq for the United Nations. He is also the author of “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Anti-War Movement” and his latest work, “Target Iran”. At this forum he will touch on issues such as supporting the troops without supporting the mission, the role of the media in shaping views and how citizens could counter, the Constitution as a citizens center of gravity, and some practical ideas for how citizens can “Wage Peace”.

Mr. Ritter’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion.

Both above events are free and open to the public

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* Participate in the Progressive Roundtable.
* Pass along names of authors or speakers you feel have ideas that we should hear and/or think about. Send as much information as you can to Fred Johnson at tmifaj@charter.net.
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