- Charles Elmore Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Steven Alembik called President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and asked for the scheduler.
“He thought I was calling to cancel something,” Alembik said Thursday. “I said no, we’re moving in. He was like, ‘what?’ He was tickled pink.”
Alembik, 66, bucked a tide of groups canceling Mar-a-Lago events in the wake of the controversy surrounding Trump’s remarks blaming “many sides” for Charlottesville, Va., violence that killed one and injured 19.
The Boca Raton communications executive is the organizer for “The Truth About Israel,” which aims to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics that left 11 Israeli athletes dead, celebrate Israel and honor the work of Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
“I’m reading about these groups pulling out of Mar-a-Lago and I’m thinking, ‘This is ridiculous,’” Alembik said. “Somebody needs to take a stand here and do something. My president is my president. I like what he stands for. With him as president, I don’t have to worry. He’s got Israel’s back.”
His organization initially booked the Boca Raton Resort & Club but changed to Mar-a-Lago for the Feb. 25 event, as first reported by newsmax.com.
That Feb. 25 date was open because of the cancellation of a fundraising gala by American Friends of Magen David Adom, Israel’s ambulance, blood services and disaster-relief organization.
“After considerable deliberation, AFMDA — an apolitical and humanitarian aid organization — will not hold its 2018 Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala at Mar-a-Lago,” a brief statement from the group last week said.
Other organizations pulling events last week from Mar-a-Lago included the Cleveland Clinic and the American Cancer Society.
“Our values and commitment to diversity are critical as we work to address the impact of cancer in every community,” the American Cancer Society said in announcing it would move two 2018 events from the president’s Palm Beach estate. “It has become increasingly clear that the challenge to those values is outweighing other business considerations.”
Counting cancellations before last week, more than two dozen charities have pulled out and at least three have stayed at Mar-a-Lago, with several more still deciding.