The Zionist Organization of America, which works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations and combat anti-Israel bias, announced last Friday that it will award the “rarely given” Theodor Herzl Medallion to former President Donald Trump.
In an email sent to its members, the ZOA said it was honoring the former president “for being the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.”
Dr. Miriam Adelson, physician and billionaire, will present Trump’s award on Nov. 13 at the Zionist Organization’s national awards dinner in New York City. Adelson will also honor House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., with ZOA’s Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Defender of Israel Award.
In the email to its members, the ZOA listed among the former president’s accomplishments:
- Moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem;
- Recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights;
- Brokering the Abraham Accords peace agreements between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates; and three months later, between Israel and Morocco;
- Removing the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal;
- Stopping U.S. funding of the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, a group exclusively focused on financing Palestinian refugees and their descendants;
- Recognizing the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria;
- Being the first U.S. president to pray at the Western Wall; and
- Issuing an executive order to strengthen Title VI of the Civil Rights Act in order to protect Jewish students:
In January 2019, the U.S. Department of Education described Trump’s executive order as strongly reaffirming the statutory anti-discrimination protections of Title VI, which prohibit race, color, and national origin discrimination in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
The Department of Education recognized from the order that the executive branch would “enforce Title VI against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in anti-Semitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI.”
In August 2019, then-President Trump called himself “history’s most pro-Israel U.S. president” and suggested that Democrat voters “are very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people.” Prominent American Jewish leaders – who, for the most part, vote Democrat – protested his rebuke.
Nevertheless, most Israelis perceived Trump’s position on Israel positively. In January 2020, then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated the description, calling Trump “the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House.”
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in the spring of 2019 on 33 countries found that Israel was the only nation where a majority of people (55%) approved of Trump’s policies. In Israel, 71% expressed confidence in the U.S. president’s “world leadership.”