If the Arab Spring is such a threat to Israel, why are so many pro-Israelis involved in promoting democracy in the Middle East?
In her Keynote Address at the National Democratic Institute’s 2011 Democracy Awards Dinner, Hillary Clinton praised the contributions of a number of individuals and groups with a “passionate attachment” to Israel for their role in promoting Arab democracy:
Thank you. Well, it’s a great pleasure for me to be here this evening. And I thank my friend and my predecessor, Madeleine Albright [who claims to have only discovered her Jewish roots in 1997 — a year after she said she thought the sanctions-related deaths of 500,000 potential enemies of Israel in Iraq was a price worth paying], for not only that kind introduction, but for her extraordinary leadership, and in particular of NDI. Thanks also to Shari Bryan and Ken Wollack [the NDI president who was AIPAC’s legislative director from 1973 to 1980] for inviting me here today. And I want to begin by wishing an Eid Mubarak to Muslims here tonight and around the world.
I think it’s important to recognize that back when the streets of Arab cities were quiet, the National Democratic Institute was already on the ground, building relationships, supporting the voices that would turn a long Arab winter into a new Arab Spring. Now, we may not know where and when brave people will claim their rights next, but it’s a safe bet that NDI is there now, because freedom knows no better champion. More than a quarter-century old, NDI and its siblings in the National Endowment for Democracy [whose president since its 1984 founding, Carl Gershman, worked in the research department of the Anti-Defamation League in 1968 and served on the Governing Council of the American Jewish Committee in the early 1970s] family have become vital elements of America’s engagement with the world.
And tonight I want particularly to congratulate the winners of NDI’s 2011 Madeleine Albright Award, the women of Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development. Women risked everything to demand their rights for the Egyptian people, and they deserve those rights extended to them. And so we’re grateful for their work, and we hope to see the rights that they’ve fought for and advocated for enshrined in Egypt’s new constitution, and we’re proud to support efforts like these through our Middle East Partnership Initiative [overseen by Tamara Wittes, former director of the Middle East Democracy and Development Project at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, established by Haim Saban, whose greatest concern is “to protect Israel”]. (Applause.)