Israel's gov't deserves US Jewry's unconditional support - Netanyahu ally

Robert (Bobby) Rechnitz, Jewish American philanthropist close to Benjamin Netanyahu: Abe Foxman is “boycotting Israel”

American and Israeli Jews [Illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
American and Israeli Jews [Illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)

A Jewish-American philanthropist close to prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu said the remarks made by former Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Abe Foxman about his “conditional support” toward Israel are a “boycott,” and that “the elected government of Israel deserves unconditional love and support from American Jewry.”

“The elected government of Israel deserves unconditional love and support for American Jewry.”

Robert Rechnitz

Robert (Bobby) Rechnitz responded to Foxman in an interview with The Jerusalem Post during a visit to Israel on Sunday.

“To have the [former] head of an organization like the ADL, that was supposed to fight defamation of Israel and the Jews, say something defamatory against Israel, there's no other way to put it but saying it is a boycott of Israel.”

Robert Rechnitz

“To have the [former] head of an organization like the ADL, that was supposed to fight defamation of Israel and the Jews, say something defamatory against Israel – there’s no other way to put it but saying it is a boycott of Israel,” he said.

“If Israel ceases to be an open democracy, I won’t be able to support it,” Foxman told the Post three weeks ago. Referencing reports of the incoming government’s plans to implement significant changes to the judiciary and issues regarding religion and state, Foxman said he would have a difficult time rallying American Jews to support Israel.

Rechnitz is a Modern-Orthodox real-estate developer and philanthropist living in Los Angeles. He has been a significant supporter of the Likud Party and Netanyahu for decades. He was instrumental in the passage of the US Iron Dome legislation and lobbying the Biden administration against reentering the proposed new Iran deal.

“Having someone say: If [Bezalel] Smotrich and [Itamar] Ben-Gvir enter the government, I will not support Israel, to me, is the same as boycotting [Israel]. Its as if he said: 'I am boycotting my support of Israel, based on things that Israel is doing and I don't agree with.'”

Robert Rechnitz
Ron Dermer (credit: REUTERS)Ron Dermer (credit: REUTERS)

“Having someone say: ‘If [Religious Zionist Party chairman Bezalel] Smotrich and [Otzma Yehudit chairman Itamar] Ben-Gvir enter the government, I will not support Israel,’ to me, is the same as boycotting [Israel]. It’s as if he said ‘I am boycotting my support of Israel, based on things that Israel is doing and I don’t agree with.’”

Rechnitz explained, “This is the way that it works in a democracy; it’s not up to the former head of the ADL to decide if he approves of Israel. He’s abusing his influence and his legacy by making a statement like that and not retracting it... I think it’s horrible.

“All the people who went out and voted, voted with their hearts. They voted with their lives and their children’s lives to serve in the army.”

According to Rechnitz, Foxman “isn’t respecting the democratic process.” Rechnitz added that he doesn’t agree with all of the statements made by the members of the incoming government, yet he believes “that whoever the democratically elected government of Israel is, it deserves unconditional love and support for American Jewry, because we only have one Israel. We in the Diaspora can do all we can to support and to help that.”

Rechnitz: Ron Dermer is the best choice for Israel's foreign minister

Rechnitz shared that in his opinion, former ambassador to the US Ron Dermer would be the best candidate for foreign minister in the next government.

“Ron’s experience as ambassador to Washington qualifies him in a way that no one else can match,” he said. “It’s important when someone deals with a foreign minister that they know they have a clear channel to the prime minister and there is no information gap between the two of them. Israel needs Dermer as its foreign minister.”