Israel Political Brief May 31, 2013: US Secretary of State John Kerry talks peace, settlements with PM Benjamin Netanyahu, PA President Mahmoud Abbas

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Kerry talks peace, settlements with Netanyahu, Abbas

Source: GlobalPost, 5-31-13

Top US diplomat John Kerry spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas about settlements and the Mideast peace process, the State Department said Friday….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 30, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Orders Personal Protection Kits for All Israelis

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Netanyahu Orders Personal Protection Kits for All Israelis

Source: Arutz Sheva, 5-30-13‎

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently ordered the defense system to ensure that personal protection kits, which include gas masks, are distributed to all Israelis, Channel 10 News reported on Thursday….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 30, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu calls in the army to bust strike by Foreign Ministry officials

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Netanyahu calls in the army to bust strike by Foreign Ministry officials

Source Haaretz, 5-30-13

Foreign Ministry employees, who are protesting their salary conditions, are angry at the Prime Minister’s Bureau for turning to IDF military attache to help arrange cabinet ministers’ trip to Poland….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 29, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Praises Greek – Israeli Similarities

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Netanyahu Praises Greek – Israeli Similarities

Source: Arutz Sheva, 5-29-13

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met this evening (Wednesday) with Greece’s Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos. The Prime Minister stated “the colors of our flags are similar, which is not surprising, since Jerusalem and Athens are the foundations….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 29, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu, US Senator Robert Menendez, Talk Iran

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Netanyahu, Sen. Menendez, Talk Iran

Source: Arutz Sheva, 5-29-13

Prime Minister tells key senator nuclear Iran is the greatest security threat to the United States…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 29, 2013: Israel ends controversial military exemptions for Ultra-Orthodox Jews

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Israel ends controversial military exemptions for Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Source: India Today, 5-29-13

Israel clinched a deal on Wednesday to abolish wholesale exemptions from military service for Jewish seminary students, ended a brief crisis that divided the ruling coalition parties….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 29, 2013: ‘Historic’ haredi draft bill ends coalition crisis

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‘Historic’ haredi draft bill ends coalition crisis

Source: Jerusalem Post, 5-29-13‎

Clause allows exemption of 1,800 yeshiva students; Lapid says in 3 years 70% of haredim will be drafted. Lapid, Perry and Shelach hold press conference, May 29, 2013…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 29, 2013: Dep FM Elkin: Israel seeks to re-engage with UNHRC United Nations Human Rights Council

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Israel seeks to re-engage with UNHRC

Source: Jerusalem Post, 5-29-13

Israel seeks to re-establish ties with the United Nations Human Rights Council in exchange for a pledge of fair treatment from the international body with a seven year record of unfairly singling out the Jewish state, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 28, 2013: Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism Conference 2013 Videos Opening Session

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GFCA Conference 2013 videos 

Opening Session 28 May 2013

Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism

Source: MFA, 5-28-13

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 28, 2013: Deputy FM Zeev Elkin’s Speech Addressing Opening of Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism Conference

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DepFM Elkin addresses opening GFCA Conference

Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism

Source: MFA, 5-28-13

I believe that the fact that we are all here today – not only representatives of Israeli society, but also representatives from all over the world, to fight antisemitism – can make a difference.

 

Dear Global Forum Guests, Vice Minister Germanans, Deputy Minister Karagounis, Secretary of State Retvari, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Chair Dr. Silva, Ambassadors and  diplomats (Members and leaders and members of Jewish organizations, Members of Parliaments, Members of Knesset, representatives of government , universities and think-tanks, fellow Muslim, Christian and Druze, Ahmadis and Baha’i leaders, concerned members of the Israeli society –
Dear participants of the 4th International Conference of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism,

As Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, I thank you for gathering here tonight in Jerusalem from more than 40 countries, to send a strong message against antisemitism.

I am encouraged by the holding of the Global Forum. I believe that the fact that we are all here today – not only representatives of Israeli society, but also representatives from all over the world, to fight antisemitism – can make a difference.

Israel, as the homeland of the Jewish people, has of course a special connection to the issue of antisemitism. But antisemitism is not only an Israeli problem or just a Jewish problem. It is foremost the problem of every society in which it is allowed to manifest itself.  History has taught us that for evil to prevail over good, it is enough that decent people stay silent and complacent while the immoral and hateful few gain power.

That is why it is so important that governments, parliaments, international organizations and civil society around the world adopt a zero-tolerance approach towards antisemitism.

Israel is of course part of this battle, but the international community needs to work together in order to change the current reality.

In recent years we see the rise of political parties who no longer shy from promoting racist and extremist policies. Neo-Nazis are again marching the streets of European capitals; synagogues and other communal Jewish buildings need to add more and more security measures, and in certain neighborhoods it is not safe to walk around wearing a yarmulke. 2012 saw the culmination of this with the terrible massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse. This can no longer be characterized as sporadic or rare events. It is time we look this problem in the eye and call by its name – rise in blatant antisemitism.

The classic old malady of antisemitism has metamorphosed into “modern antisemitsm” and has spread to new audiences. Some leaders of Muslim countries, Iran in the lead, and some heads of Muslim communities in Europe, are now exploiting this twisted old hate to deflect criticism from internal problems to “blaming the collective Jew for all that is wrong”. New media is used to spread ancient venom. This is especially tragic when occurring in Muslim society, where Jews and Muslims used to live for centuries in relative harmony.

Anti-Israeli rhetoric and propaganda in the Arab world is all too often nothing but age old antisemitism without even a new veneer. And in our immediate environment the thinking of more than a generation of Palestinian schoolchildren is being poisoned by the hateful and malicious educational and media brainwashing against Israel and Jews.

In addition we see growing sophistication of some antisemites, who hide their hatred behind extreme anti-Israeli rhetoric. They hide behind proclamations of anti-Zionism, opposition to Israeli policies and so called “legitimate criticism” and claim vocally that they are not antisemitic.

We should perhaps fear the “closet racists” more than the skinheads marching with their swastika flags.
Of course Israel is willing to accept criticism of its acts, decisions and policies, but criticism is only legitimate as long it does not single out Israel for different treatment and does not delegitimize our existence and right to exist.

This is what is happening, for example, today in Tunisia where the draft constitution includes a clause equating Zionism with racism and in effect criminalizing any contacts or cooperation with Israel. Of course there is no such clause relating to any other country.

And in Iran the situation is of course much worse. Its leaders openly deny the Holocaust, brainwash their youth with hatred. They do not only call for the destruction of the Jewish state but they go to great lengths to develop a military nuclear apparatus which would be a danger to the region and to the world but clearly would be specifically dangerous for Israel.

Such a situation is clearly unacceptable and intolerable, yet despite various rounds of sanctions and pressures, the international community has not risen to the challenge of an Iran with a nuclear vision and a program of implementation. And all too often we see an uninterested or even a forgiving attitude towards Iranian Holocaust denial and antisemitic statements by its leaders, including its president who feels at home in too many countries around the world.

But it is not just in the Arab and Moslem world where Israel suffers from official and institutionalized discrimination. We face such singling out also in the Human Rights Council in Geneva where, despite the lofty notions of universality and equitable treatment, Israel is not a member of any regional grouping and it is the only country which has an agenda item, the infamous item 7, specifically to condemn its so called violations of human rights.

While all along countries such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen and others, not known for their protection of minorities, freedom of the press and other political and civil rights, are never or are only rarely condemned. But numbers speak louder than words – 46 of 103 country related resolutions and 6 of the 19 Special Sessions, since the establishment of the Human Rights Council, were against Israel. Can such a miserable record be defined as anything other than antisemitism in the guise of anti-Israelism?

Exactly because of this built in discrimination, Israel decided last year to freeze its contacts and cooperation with the Human Rights Council. Since then many countries have asked us to change our policy. And I ask myself: Is Israel expected to agree to being discriminated against or should a change in our policy come about only through the ending of discrimination? The answer is clear and after much deliberation I have recently agreed to diplomatic engagement with the Council and major actors in the international community to see if we can arrive at understandings and guarantees that will enable our return to the Council while ensuring that fair play and international standards are applied towards Israel.

I have outlined some, but not all, of the problems Israel faces. Yet we must not despair. Not all is bleak. The Jewish people have today many courageous friends of all religions. Religious and political leaders have come out with strong condemnations to antisemitic incidents and more societies are admitting publicly the existence of antisemitism with this being the first crucial step in countering it.

And Israel also needs the assistance of all who stand up against antisemitism in combating the new antisemitism – the pathological hatred and opposition towards the very existence and legitimacy of Israel,  which is becoming the most dangerous form of antisemitism.

So I thank you again for gathering for this Global Forum in hope of making a difference. antisemites throughout history tried to isolate the Jews, to make them feel alone. Your coming here this evening sends them a strong message: Jews, Jewish communities and Israel, the one and only homeland of the Jewish people, are not alone and shall never be alone again.

Thank you.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 28, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Message to the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism

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PM Netanyahu message to GFCA Conference 2013

Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism

Source: MFA, 5-28-13

Three vilifications – that Israel is guilty of war crimes, that it doesn’t want peace, and that we are guilty of violating human rights – are the antisemitic campaign that is leveled against the Jewish people and their state.
[Transcript]

I commend all the delegates attending the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism.

There were two myths about antisemitism. The first was that after the Holocaust antisemitism would disappear. And the second was that with the creation of the Jewish state, antisemitism would disappear. That didn’t happen. Neither one of them. In fact, the antisemites took a respite after the Holocaust, but that’s all it was. It was a brief intermission.

And what was unfashionable is now becoming fashionable again. After the rise of Israel, what is fashionable today is to say, “Well, I don’t hate Jews, I just don’t think they should have a state.” Or, effectively, that their state is an illegitimate one that doesn’t have the right to exist.

To further this attack on the Jewish state, three arguments are put forward by the antisemites all the time, and they are false all the time.

The first is that Israel is guilty of war crimes. We, who fight war criminals with measured means, whose cities are attacked by terrorists who fire from built-up areas and try to pinpoint the rocketeers – we are accused of war crimes by the war criminals. That is one facet of the vilification that we experience.

The second is that we are expansionists, we don’t want peace, we never agree to compromise. That’s patently false. The State of Israel repeatedly has offered concessions, has made concessions for peace that no other people, no other state has made in history. I don’t know of any other case in which the victor made concessions in order to achieve peace, but we’ve done it again and again.

We are prepared to compromise for peace – for a genuine peace. This is our most reverent hope, to live in peace with our neighbors. It is not reciprocated as much as we want, and recently it is not reciprocated at all. We can only hope that it will change.

The third argument is that we are violators of human rights. Did you hear that? Israel, the one country in the vast expanse that recognizes the rights of everyone – women, minorities, every individual – who have access to the best court system in the world. Israel has a free press and a vibrant democracy, and Israel is accused of violating human rights. This is when in our neighborhood hundreds of people are killed daily, massacred daily in neighboring regimes.

These three vilifications – that Israel is guilty of war crimes, that it doesn’t want peace, it wants to continue expansionist policies, and that we are guilty of violating human rights – are part and parcel of the antisemitic campaign that is leveled against the Jewish people and their state.

That’s by way of saying: You have a lot of tasks before you and I hope you’re up to it. I’m sure that you believe there is only one remedy for the slander, and that’s the truth. And I encourage you to fight and win the battle of truth.

Thank you.

Israel Political Brief May 28, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu at Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism: Prepared to compromise for peace, but not reciprocated

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PM: Prepared to compromise for peace, but not reciprocated

Source: Jerusalem Post, 5-28-13

At Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem, Netanyahu says anti-Semitism has “come back in fashion” in the form of criticism against Israel; Elkin: Jews are “not alone and shall never be alone again….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 28, 2013: Amid controversy, Foreign Ministry kicks off Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism conference

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Amid controversy, Foreign Ministry kicks off anti-Semitism conference

Critics bash forum for hosting top officials from Hungary, Greece, Lithuania and Ireland — countries with ‘tainted records’ — on battling Jew hatred

Source: Times of Israel, 5-28-13

In the run-up to the 4th Conference of the Global Forum for Combating anti-Semitism, the lineup of speakers sparked controversy, with some experts bashing organizers for inviting dignitaries from countries with questionable records on the fight against anti-Jewish activity.

More than 500 delegates, from over 50 countries and representing six religions, gathered in Jerusalem, with the declared goal to “develop a specific and proactive plan of response” to increasing anti-Semitism, according to organizers….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 28, 2013: Dep FM Zeev Elkin: The Jewish People Are Not Alone — Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism

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Elkin: The Jewish People Are Not Alone

Source: Arutz Sheva, 5-28-13

Anti-Semitism is not just an Israeli or a Jewish problem, but is first and foremost a problem for any society in which it is allowed to manifest itself, Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said on Tuesday. Speaking at the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 28, 2013: Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism 4th International Conference in Jerusalem, May 28-29, 2013 Agenda / Schedule

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The 4th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism

Source: MFA, 5-23-13

​Ten working groups will convene between 28th May to 30th May to develop a work plan to combat anti-Semitism.

(Communicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson)
On Tuesday 28th May the 4th Global Forum for Combating anti-Semitism opens at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem. 500 guests from 50 countries will participate including government representatives, civil society activists and religious leaders. The goal of the Forum is to draw up a work plan to combat anti-Semitism. The Conference ends 30th May.
A recorded speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu will be broadcast on the opening night as well as speeches by Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin and the Economics Minister & Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett.
A number of participants from overseas will speak including the Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter; Deputy Foreign Minister of Lithuania Neris Germanas; Deputy Justice Minister of Greece Konstantinos Karagounis; Deputy Justice Minister of Hungary Bence Retvari and the Chairperson of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Mario Silva.
Ten working groups will be convened to develop a work plan to combat anti-Semitism including anti-Semitism on the internet and in Social Media; in the Moslem and Arab world and on university campuses.

Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism 4th International Conference in Jerusalem

Source: MFA, 4-22-13

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs will hold the 4th International Conference of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, co-hosted by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Zeev Elkin and Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, on 28-30 May 2013.

The delegates will convene to discuss ways of combating the different manifestations of current Antisemitism at a three-day conference in Jerusalem. This conference will serve as a follow-up mechanism to previous conferences, and will aim at discussing, through 10 different working groups, viable models for facing the global challenge of Antisemitism.

The conference will take place at the Ramada Jerusalem Hotel.

There will be a live link for viewing videoed plenary session deliberations.

A highlight of this upcoming 2013 Conference, will be the convening of 10 working groups that will deliberate and formulate concrete action plans on the second day of the conference (29 May).

1. Antisemitism in the Muslim and Arab World
2. Antisemitism in Latin America
3. Antisemitism in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe region
4. Antisemitism in the EU and Western Europe region
5. Antisemitism in the Guise of Delegitimization and Anti-Zionism
6. Antisemitism in the Internet and in the Media
7. Law, Legislation and Enforcement in the Combat of Antisemitism
8. Inter Faith Dialogue as an instrument to mitigate Antisemitism
9. Maintaining continuance of Diaspora Jewish Life (Kosher slaughter; Circumcision etc.)
10. Antisemitism on the campuses and Education for Tolerance and Mutual Respect

Participation in the conference is by invitation only.The Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism (GFCA) is an active and worldwide alliance of statesmen, parliamentarians, diplomats, journalists, legal experts, NGO’s and scholars led by the State of Israel. Our goal is to fight the growing expressions of antisemitism and other forms of racism as they manifest themselves around the world. We do so by learning best practices from experts and practitioners in the field, thus enabling us to fight current trends and prepare for future developments.

Min. Edelstein addresses Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism
Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein (Photo: MFA)

Ayalon and head of ODIHR
Deputy FM Ayalon and ODIHR Director Lenarcic sign agreement to fight antisemitism and Holocaust denial, July 2010 (Photo: MFA)


FM Avigdor Liberman addresses the opening of the 2009 conference (Photo: MFA)

The last international conference, held in December 2009, drew hundreds of leaders and experts from all over the world to Jerusalem. Participants addressed global antisemitism and discussed effective approaches to combat it.

Since its inception in 2000, the Global Forum has developed into one of the largest international Jewish bodies to focus on coordinated efforts to combat antisemitism. The 2009 conference included in-depth sessions focused on a wide variety of issues related to antisemitism ranging from it spreading online to trends in Central and Eastern Europe. The upcoming conference will continue to build on past successes, developing new ideas that will be incorporated into the future policies we need to continue to combat the growing threats of an evolving and strengthening antisemitism.

Over the millennia, antisemitism has taken on many forms. To confront this ever changing, dynamic antisemitism, in addition to other, more ‘classic’ forms of antisemitism, the GFCA and its International Conference has become an absolute necessity, and is now one of the leading international bodies coordinating efforts to counter global antisemitism.

Former ministers Natan Sharansky and Rabbi Michael Melchior established the GFCA in 2000. It has since been consolidated by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its Department for Combating Antisemitism. The GFCA’s first large International Conference took place in 2007, followed by two more in 2008 and 2009. The GFCA has been co-chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister for Diaspora and Public Diplomacy – a move that indicates the high priority that successive governments of the State of Israel attach to combating and eradicating global antisemitism.

The GFCA convenes periodically at its international conference, which provides an opportunity to come together, exchange ideas and formulate effective, coordinated and wide-ranging strategies for dealing with the antisemitism that plagues our global society.

During the 2008 GFCA International Conference, it was first announced that an inter-parliamentary body was to be established where parliamentarians can share knowledge, experience, best practices, and recommendations in an attempt to deal more effectively with contemporary antisemitism. As a successful result, in early 2009, the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) was convened in London for the first time under the auspices of the British parliament.

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Israel Political Brief May 28, 2013: Knesset Finance Committee approves VAT increase

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Knesset Finance Committee approves VAT increase

Source: Jerusalem Post, 5-28-13

The Knesset Finance Committee on Monday approved Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s plan to increase the value added tax to 18%, as committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) announced plans to seek a differentiated VAT in order to make the tax….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 27, 2013: Haredi draft debate spurs Yair Lapid threat to bring down government

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Haredi draft debate spurs Lapid threat to bring down government

Source: JTA, 5-27-13 

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid threatened to bring down the Israeli government if a bill requiring the enlistment of haredi Orthodox men does not include their imprisonment for avoiding conscription….READ MORE

 

Israel Political Brief May 26, 2013: President Shimon Peres & PA President Mahmoud Abbas call for peace at World Economic Forum

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Peres, Abbas call for peace at World Economic Forum

Source: JTA, 5-26-13

Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for peace at the World Economic Forum in Jordan….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 26, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel is the most threatened state in the world

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Netanyahu: Israel is the most threatened state in the world

Source: Jerusalem Post, 5-26-13

“In recent years we have significantly increased the preparedness of the home front vis-à-vis such attack,” Netanyahu said. “We are investing billions so that the home front will be better protected and better prepared….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 26, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel is most threatened state in world

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Netanyahu: Israel is most threatened state in world

Source: Jerusalem Post, 5-26-13

“Israel is the most threatened state in the world,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of “national emergency week….READ MORE

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