Canada Day Celebrated in Israel

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: Shalom Life, 7-13-11

Canadian Ambassador to Israel Paul Hunt and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman signing the bilateral agreement renewing the mandate of the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation for another five yearsPic: CIJA
Paul Hunt, Shimon Fogel, Yuli Edelstein and Moshe Ronen attend the CIJA-sponsored Canada Day celebration in Jerusalem on July 10Pic: CIJA

On July 10, 2011, the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) hosted a reception at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which celebrated the continued relationship between Israel and Canada. The event was also meant to mark Canada Day, although the festivities were a tad belated.

CIJA is the new, unified constellation for all of the public affairs agencies of the Canadian Jewish community. These include the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC) and the Quebec-Israel Committee (QIC), which all became part of one organization on July 1.

At the event, a formal bilateral agreement was signed, renewing the mandate of the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) for another five years. CIIRDF was established in 1994 with a goal of promoting collaborative research and development between private sector companies in Canada and Israel.

The organization focuses on the commercialization of new technologies, most of which are start-ups. Since its inception, the foundation has supported over 70 projects, which have yielded approximately $1 billion in revenue for the participating companies both in Israel and across Canada.

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“For Canada, CIIRDF was an innovation,” reads CIIRDF’s website. “As a result of its success, the Government of Canada created International Science and Technology Partnerships Program (ISTPP) to deliver the India, China and Brazil programs. For Israel, CIIRDF is one of a number of similar bilateral initiatives, the first being the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) initiative. The CIIRDF program design is based on the success of BIRD.”

Also according to CIIRDF’s website, the organization is involved in three main activities: “promoting and marketing the benefits of joint Canadian-Israeli R&D collaboration, matching companies in one country seeking a research partner in the other and supporting projects by contributing up to 50 per cent of the joint R&D costs.”

On hand for the high profile event in Jerusalem were over 140 Israeli and Canadian government leaders, academics, businessmen and community leaders. Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman; Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister, Yuli Edelstein; and Cabinet Secretary, Tzvi Hauser were all in attendance.

There were also other Israeli representatives there, such as deputy national security advisor to the Prime Minister, Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman; deputy director general of the foreign ministry, Ambassador Baruch Bina; former Israeli ambassador to Canada, Haim Divon; chairman of the Israel-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group in Knesset, Yohanan Plesner MK; director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Professor Efraim Inbar; Professor Gil Troy of the Hartman Center and McGill University; Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University; and NGO Monitor and Col. Yisrael Tal-Saranga, head of Israel Defense Forces public affairs.

The CIIRDF renewal was signed by Canadian Ambassador to Israel, Paul Hunt and Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman during the reception. Hunt thanked CIJA for hosting the elegant dinner reception in Jerusalem and noted Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper’s commitment to defending Israel “no matter the political cost.”

Five Canadian members of parliament were at the dinner, visiting Israel on their CIJA-sponsored trip. This list included James Bezan of Manitoba, Judy Foote of Newfoundland, Larry Miller from Ontario, Joyce Murray of British Columbia and Bev Shipley of Ontario. Professor Irwin Cotler of Quebec was also present to show his support. Immediate past UIAC president Barbara Farber, outgoing CIC chairman Moshe Ronen, and CIJA CEO Shimon Fogel all represented the Jewish community of Canada at the event.

Other Canadians in attendance were embassy deputy chief of mission, Katherine Verrier-Frechette; military attaché, Col. Michael McLean; commercial counselor, Bonnie Berger; Minister-Counselor, Andre Dorion; and the Canadian Representative to the Palestinian Authority, Chris Greenshields.

“This event serves as a much sought after platform to give expression to our deep appreciation for the extraordinary support Canada has demonstrated for Israel over the last number of years and to celebrate the warmth and depth of the friendship between our two democracies,” said Ronen, who spoke at the reception on behalf of Canada’s Jewish community.

“The principled stand that has characterized the policies of the Harper Government serve as the benchmark for all countries committed to democracy and justice, and the personal leadership he has shown is an inspiration and source of tremendous pride for all of us.”

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Benjamin Netanyahu defends anti-boycott law

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: JTA, 7-13-11

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended Israel’s new anti-boycott law from criticism that it damages Israel’s image and is anti-democratic.

“What stains (Israel’s) image are those savage and irresponsible attacks on a democracy’s attempt to draw a line between what is acceptable and what is not,” he told the Knesset on Wednesday, according to Haaretz.

The law allows for monetary sanctions against those who encourage boycotts against Israel or areas it controls, such as West Bank settlements. The bill would allow those damaged by boycotts to sue those who advocate such measures.

Netanyahu, who was absent Monday night when the Knesset approved the law by a vote of 45 to 38, expressed his firm support for the law.

“Don’t be confused – I authorized the bill. If I hadn’t authorized it, it wouldn’t have gotten here,” Netanyahu said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “I am opposed to boycotts against Israel and boycotts against groups within Israel. I oppose boycotts of Arabs, of haredi people and of any citizens of Israel.”

The leader of the opposition Kadima Party, Tzipi Livni, blasted Netanyahu during the Knesset session, which was called by her party. “You are leading Isreal into the abyss,” she said, according to Haaretz.

A variety of left-wing NGOs and civil rights groups are pursuing efforts to get the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn the anti-boycott law. NGO Monitor, a pro-Israel watchdog group criticial of left-wing NGOs, also expressed concern about the new law.

Leaders of a number of American Jewish groups also have criticized the law as an abridgement of freedom of expression.

“The anti-boycott law is undemocratic,” the American Jewish Committee said in a statement Wednesday. “It ironically has already harmed, rather than helped, our community’s overall efforts to defeat those groups who challenge Israel’s legitimacy.”

On the right, the Zionist Organization of America said it opposes such laws in principle. On the left, Jewish Voice for Peace, which has sponsored and supported targeted boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns, called the law “anti-democratic.” Other U.S. groups, including the Union for Reform Judaism, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Americans for Peace Now, J Street, Ameinu and the New Israel Fund have also come out against the law.

A spokesperson for the European Union’s foreign policy chief also raised concerns about the new law on Wednesday.

“The EU recognizes Israel’s sovereignty in the legislative process. Furthermore, the EU does not advocate boycotts,” the spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief, said in a statement. “However, as part of such fundamental values as free expression and speech that the EU cherishes and shares with Israel, we are concerned about the effect that this legislation may have on the freedom of Israeli citizens and organizations to express non-violent political opinions.”

John Bolton: Obama worst president for Israel – ever

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Former US envoy to UN says Jerusalem should pay as much attention to PA’s UN bid as to the ‘grass you tread beneath your feet,’ says country should have hit Iran in 2008.

Source: Jerusalem Post, 7-13-11

US President Barack Obama is “the most anti-Israel president in the history of the state, without any question,” John Bolton, the former US envoy to the UN and a man considering entering the presidential race against Obama, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“If you think that this is just a misunderstanding of where the green crayon went in 1949, then think again,” Bolton said of Obama. Bolton’s comments came during a meeting he had with the Post’s editorial board.

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Bolton, who is currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a Fox News commentator, said that Obama bought in to what he said was the “European line” that if you make progress between Israel and the Palestinians “freedom and light” will break out in the region, and every other problem from Iran to terrorism will be easier to solve.

“I think that is like looking through the wrong end of the telescope,” he said.

Bolton, in the country along with former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar and Nobel Peace Prize laureate David Trimble from Northern Ireland as part of a delegation of international dignitaries involved in an organization called Friends of Israel Initiative, said he was considering running for the Republican nomination, and would made a decision by Labor Day.

“The problem is that we haven’t had an adequate discussion of national security issues for two and a half years,” he said, explaining why he was thinking about entering the race.

“It is not a priority for Obama, and I think that is a big mistake for the United States.”…READ MORE

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