After President Donald Trump apparently praised a group of white nationalists in Charlottesville last year, describing “some very fine people on both sides,” at last 20 groups cancelled events at Mar-a-Lago in protest. But South Florida communications executive Steven Alembik stood with the president amid the controversy.
“I wanted to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President, for being a supporter of the state of Israel, our only ally in the Mideast,’” reported Newsmax last year. Alembik then moved his The Truth About Israel Gala reservation from a nearby venue to the president’s Palm Beach club.
Very nice to see so many friends this evening at The Truth About Israel Gala Event at Mar-a-Lago. pic.twitter.com/x91uqZisv5
— Danny Ayalon (@DannyAyalon) February 26, 2018
The date was made available after the U.S. arm of an Israeli charity, the American Friends of Magen David Adom, canceled a fundraiser following Trump’s comments on Charlottesville.
Proceed’s from Alembik’s dinner went to a pro-Israel charity of the same name founded by Israel’s former Ambassador to the U.S., Danny Ayalon. The organization produces web shorts in English and in Spanish to “promote Israel abroad and improve her standing in the international community.”
The most recent video released by the group was posted online last week. It stars Ayalon and accuses the Palestinian leadership of running an “apartheid” government that disenfranchises Jews.
— Danny Ayalon (@DannyAyalon) February 20, 2018
Co-sponsors for the gala included the National Committee of Asian-American Republicans and the Palm Beach chapter of Asian GOP. A few Republican lawmakers were in attendance. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Brian Mast (R-FL) were listed on the event’s website as “special guests.”
The former warm up act on Trump’s campaign, YouTube commentators Diamond and Silk appeared on stage. The headliner was performance artist Michael Israel who painted live oversized portraits of Trump and the first lady to the tune of Lee Greenwood’s Grammy award-winning song “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Individual tickets for the dinner cost $750 and a table for 10 sold for $75,000 along with “the opportunity for your table Captain speak for 5 minutes on one of the important issues” including Iran, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the BDS movement, anti-Semitism, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and the peace process.
Alembik estimated around 700 would attend. The Washington Post has reported renting out Mar-a-Lago can run up to $275,000.
Trump was not at Mar-a-Lago during the event.
A website for the gala noted of the event’s mission, “Israel has been under attack for centuries. Anti-Semitism – ignorance – hate, permeate the landscape – radical Islamic fundamentalists want all of us to perish from the Earth,” stating, “it is time to celebrate Israel – it is time to stand for something, or fall for anything.”
“[R]adical Islamic fundamentalists want all of us to perish from Earth, Alembik said in a statement, “this is the right time to CELEBRATE who and what we are. This is time to stand for something – or you’ll fall for anything.”
A press release for the event lists U.S. government agencies as among Alembik’s notable clients, including contracts for “United States Voter Files, US Veterans by Branch of Service, Active Military Personnel and US Donor Files.”
A second pro-Israel event will be held at Mar-a-Lago next month hosted by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The group’s head Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein told David Fahrenthold, If there is a possibility … that the president might also come to say hello and offer greetings, then that’s an advantage. So I think that was kind of what determined it.”