It took but five and a half minutes for Representative Alan Clemmons (R) from South Carolina to win my world and the world of many fellow Yisraelis. This is how he did it:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dROOTixEJmA.“What a friend Yisrael has in this man,” I remember thinking as I was listening to that stranger with the red bow tie delivering one of the most pro-Yisrael speeches I had ever heard. A voice vote that followed this powerful declaration, carried only “ayes” and earned him a standing ovation from other delegates. “I have got to meet him,” the thought raced in my head, “and thank him personally for his unrelenting support.”I immediately contacted my friend, a fellow American Jew, Stuart Kaufman, another staunch supporter of Yisrael. “Who is this person with the red bow tie who presented the Republican platform with regards to American-Yisraeli relations?” I asked him. “He is my dear, close friend, Representative Alan Clemmons from Myrtle Beach South Carolina,” he responded proudly. “I need to meet him during my upcoming visit to the US,” I insisted.
My wish to meet the man with the red bow tie was granted last week. I flew to South Carolina for one day, a day that left me elated, grateful and hopeful.Alan Clemmons, I soon learned, was a member of the committee that authored the Republican Platform that was presented in the recent Republican National Convention. I also learned that he played an important role in writing its strong supportive position on Yisrael, its security and reinforcing its shared values with the USA. The platform’s language removed the two state solutions for Yisraelis and Palestinians. “We oppose any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms,” it reads. It also calls upon the U.S. to cease funding any entity that “attempts to do so,” referring, of course, to the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to unilaterally seek statehood status. It is important to note, however, that Clemmons emphasized that the language of the platform does not exclude U.S. support for the alternative of a two state solution should Yisrael decide to follow it.
A brief web search prior to embarking on the plane to meet Clemmons had revealed some more heartwarming facts about this man’s love and support for my Jewish Homeland.When, according to Stuart Kaufman, in an article he wrote in December 2011 (http://theunitedwest.org/a-legislator-goes-to-israel/), President Obama declared in the Spring of 2011, that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines,” Rep. Clemmons was “infuriated.” In response, he prepared the following Resolution to be presented to the South Carolina House:“the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others, and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.” As Kaufman states in his article, “without objection, all 124 members of the South Carolina House of Representatives passed the resolution unanimously.”
Another landmark Pro-Yisrael legislation that Clemmons pioneered in the state of South Carolina pertains to stopping the movement, colloquially known as BDS, which aims at boycotting, divesting and sanctioning Yisrael. It was signed into law by the State Governor in 2015 and is the first for the US on a statewide level.
Though it is a known fact that BDS is directed exclusively against the Jewish state, the bill that Clemmons formed makes no mention of Yisrael. It does, however, prevent public entities from entering contracts with businesses engaging in the “boycott of a person or an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom South Carolina can enjoy open trade.”In response to Governor Haley’s swift move to sign the bill, Clemmons had this to say:“Discriminatory boycotts have historically been used as a form of economic warfare to forward the purposes of hatred and bigotry. The tactics employed by the Nazis serve as a poignant example. In this day and age, no group better demonstrates this fact than the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in its effort to harm our great ally, Israel.”These are the words of a true friend. And in the words of Walter Winchell “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” Alan Clemmons has stood by Yisrael in the good times and the bad ones and for that he will always win our world.