Israel Today’s Amb. Brad Gordon issues community call to action

Ambassador Brad Gordon briefed the Tidewater community on current events surrounding the Israel-Hamas war and the impact of the conflict on the region and Washington, D.C. The March event brought 300 people to the Sandler Family Campus to learn more about the war and hear what they could do to help.

Gordon, longtime political and government affairs director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), shared his expertise through the lens of his roles as the staff director of the International Operations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and as the staffer of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee responsible for the Middle East and South Asia. As ambassador, Gordon represented the United States in the 1990 talks regarding the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Few people are better suited to speak about the strings Iran is pulling through their proxies – Hamas and Hezbollah – in the region.

Presented by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Jewish Community Relations Council and community partners, including AIPAC, as part of the 13th annual Israel Today series, the event was moderated by Jay Klebanoff, a past UJFT president.

He posed questions to Ambassador Gordon concerning Iran, the Gaza cease-fire resolution passed by the United Nations, the likelihood of de-radicalizing Gaza and the West Bank after the war, the situation on the ground in Israel’s war with Hamas, as well as developments in the north on the Lebanese border with Hezbollah and ISIS, and the current political tensions between the Biden administration and Israel, which, as Gordon told the crowd, isn’t exactly what the media portrays it to be.

Klebanoff suggested that this war is the first time in Israel’s short history that the small democracy is facing potential world condemnation. Gordon responded that there was no alternative. “This war was forced on Israel.” If Israel had wanted to cause genocide to the Palestinians, why did the government allow weeks for people to leave the north, including Hamas?
“I am amazed at the care that Israel is taking for their concern for human life,” he said.
Gordon followed with three additional points:

  • Israel is a strong country with a strong population.
  • The State of Israel will not be defeated.
  • Israel does what’s necessary to protect its citizens with the full support of the U.S. government.

Before October 7, 20,000 Gazans entered Israel each day for work. “Hamas blew that up,” according to Gordon. “Gazans resent Hamas.” Gordon also shared the news that the mainstream media is not reporting on, that the humanitarian aid the people of Gaza so severely need is instead being sold off by Hamas.

When asked about governing a post-war Gaza, Gordon said, “Egyptians want no part, Jordan can’t, Arab forces won’t, and the United Nations brings unique challenges should they be chosen to lead.”

Despite the war with Hamas, no Arab states have broken ties with Israel. The threat of a nuclear Iran looms large, and Israel is the only country in the Middle East that can take on Iran.

“During these uniquely troubling times for Israel and Jews worldwide, it was timely and beneficial to hear from Ambassador Gordon, given his extensive knowledge and deep commitment to Israel,” says Klebanoff. “With all of the one-sided negative media coverage, it was illuminating to hear a more Israel-centric viewpoint on the challenges Israel faces in prosecuting the war and for post-war Gaza.”

The evening also included a discussion on the current climate of antisemitism, or ‘Jew-hate,’ as Gordon called it. “What’s new about it is the number and loudness. Today, however, unlike in the past, in Israel and around the world, Jews are not prepared to sit back and take it,” he said.

Linda Spindel, longtime UJFT board member and community leader, says, “I can’t remember ever learning so much in such a short time. The program was exceptional. The ambassador was so informative. Jay Klebanoff did an outstanding job presenting the questions submitted by attendees. Looking around at so many people I’m not used to seeing at Federation events was encouraging. I feel they learned so much about why caring about and always supporting Israel is important.”
“I was heartened to see such full attendance,” says Klebanoff. “I think everyone left with some insight regarding the war, the heated politics concerning the war, and the tenuous situation with Iran. The voices calling for a unilateral cease-fire – essentially a victory for Hamas – are loud and passionate. Ambassador Gordon and AIPAC reminded us how important it is to speak up for Israel and to let our congressional representatives know how we feel.”

Stressing the importance of America’s support, Klebanoff says, “As the war continues, America must give Israel the time, resources, and support it needs to win this war and achieve Israel’s objectives of destroying Hamas’ military and terror capabilities, driving the group from power and freeing the hostages who are still alive and recovering the bodies of those who have been murdered. Call members of Congress (each day) and encourage them to stand with Israel and to vote to supply Israel with the assistance it needs to defend its population from rocket attacks coming from Gaza and Lebanon and to achieve its military and humanitarian objectives.”

Find Tidewater’s Members of Congress’ phone numbers and a sample script for making daily calls to Congress below, and on United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Israel Resource Page at Contact Nofar Trem, UJFT’s Israel Engagement manager with questions at