Mort Zuckerman Assesses Middle East Peace Prospects at AFTAU Event Honoring Lester Pollack Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Former Israeli Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich defines a "key moment" for supporters of TAU think tank
Zvi Galil and Lester Pollack
U.S. News and World Report and New York Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman foresees challenging times ahead for Middle East peace efforts.
Speaking at an intimate dinner on Wednesday night, September 16, in honor of Lester Pollack, founding Chair of the International Board of Overseers of Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, the publisher expressed his “deep and abiding respect” for Pollack.
Zuckerman's remarks offered an insider’s perspective on U.S.-Israel joint policy matters, describing the current situation as “amazingly turbulent.” He applauded President Bush’s strong support for Israeli security concerns, saying one of the most important aspects of the peace process will be the position of the new U.S. President on the defensibility of Israel’s borders and the rearming of Hamas.
Noting that these are long-standing issues, Zuckerman emphasized the continuing need to find permanent solutions as both Israel and the U.S. approach general elections. Calling for new thinking and urging new approaches, he said, “There is an appropriate Israeli saying for the situation: ‘Repetition does not diminish the prayer.’”
Dayan Center “Home to the Best and the Brightest”
At the dinner, which was held at New York’s Loews Regency hotel, Tel Aviv University president Zvi Galil honored Pollack with the prestigious TAU President’s Award. He thanked Pollack for his long-time support of the university and outstanding leadership of the Dayan Center board. Accepting the award, the distinguished American investment advisor said he was proud to support an institution, the oldest and largest institute of its kind in Israel, that is “home to the best and brightest exemplars of leadership.”
Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich, a featured speaker at the event and Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from 1993 to 1996, echoed Zuckerman’s concern for future peace prospects in the Middle East. “The key word is anticipation,” he said, “and the key time is spring 2009,” just after leadership in America, Israel and the Palestinian Authority has changed hands.
Rabinovich also praised Pollack as a key figure in helping to cultivate new relationships, through his work with the Dayan Center, among leaders in the U.S., Israel and the Arab world.
Pollack is the founder and chairman of Centre Partners, a private equity investment firm, and a general Partner of Lazard Freres, one of the world's preeminent providers of financial advisory and asset management services internationally.
Tel Aviv University's Dayan Center, established in 1983 by friends of the late Israeli leader Moshe Dayan, seeks to bring scholarly objectivity to the analysis of Middle East and African political spheres, informing the academic community, policymakers, journalists and the general public about the complexities of these regions, advancing peace through understanding.