November 24, 2009
The Fall 2009 Board Meeting was held on November 2nd and 3rd at Washington's Ronald Reagan Building and Center for International Trade. The following are highlights.
On Monday, November 2nd, the Board Meeting began with a luncheon keynote address by George Gilder, author of the critically acclaimed new book, The Israel Test. The book seeks to answer several questions: "What is your attitude toward people who excel you in the creation of wealth or in other accomplishments? Do you aspire to their excellence or do you seeth at it? Do you admire and celebrate exceptional achievement or do you impugn it and seek to tear it down?" With the thesis that those people and, by extension countries, that denigrate excellence and put in place impediments to it reflexively demonize Israel, a small country that demonstrates how a culture of excellence leads to societal success.
Next, General John "Bantz" Craddock, USA, who is the outgoing Supreme Allied Commander of NATO addressed the subject of our NATO allies and the future of Afghanistan.
Later in the day, Jim Colbert, JINSA's Director of Communications, led a discussion about our various programs and the impact they are having on national policy formation.
The Board of Directors was then introduced to the 2009 Grateful Nation Award winners and their families before they received their awards later on that evening. This was an opportunity for our Board to meet and thank some of the young heroes of our military.
The following day, the Board Meeting concluded with several very exciting speakers. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) began the morning session by giving the Board a view of the Middle East from Capitol Hill focusing on key legislation to be voted on before the end of the year.
Next was Honduran Ambassador Roberto Flores Bermudez, discussing how the Honduras crisis can be viewed as a reflection of U.S. foreign policy for Latin America.
The Board next heard from Daniel Senor, co-author of Start-Up-Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. The book addresses the question of how the modern State of Israel, a country of only 7.1 million people and but 60-years-old, with no natural resources and in a constant state of war since its founding, produces more start-up companies than many large, peaceful, and stable nations.
To wrap up the meetings, Elliot Abrams, a former National Security Council Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs, and now a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, spoke extensively about U.S.-Israel relations under the Obama Administration. He specifically addressed the Goldstone Report, the recent vote in the UN Human Rights Council, and the training of Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.