Full Text Israel Political Brief June 26, 2015: Israeli response to Vatican recognition of Palestinian Authority as a state

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Israeli response to Vatican recognition of PA as a state

Source: MFA, 6-26-15

Israel cannot accept the unilateral determinations in the agreement which do not take into account Israel’s essential interests and the special historic status of the Jewish people in Jerusalem.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its regret regarding the Vatican decision to officially recognize the Palestinian Authority as a state, in the agreement signed on Friday (June 26, 2015). This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement and harms the international effort to convince the PA to return to direct negotiations with Israel.

We also regret the one-sided texts in the agreement which ignore the historic rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and to the places holy to Judaism in Jerusalem. Israel cannot accept the unilateral determinations in the agreement which do not take into account Israel’s essential interests and the special historic status of the Jewish people in Jerusalem.

Israel will study the agreement in detail, and its implications for future cooperation between Israel and the Vatican.

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Full Text Israel Political Brief June 22, 2015: Israeli response to the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry

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Israeli response to the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry

Source: MFA, 6-22-15
It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge and the terror organizations it confronted. This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate.
The 2014 Gaza Conflict: Factual and Legal Aspects – The Full Report

Israel is studying the Commission of Inquiry Report (COI) from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC). However, some initial comments can be made about the COI process in general:

1) It is well known that the entire process that led to the production of this report was politically motivated and morally flawed from the outset. Just as Israel seriously considered every complaint, no matter its origin, it will also seriously study this report. We take note of the fact that the authors of this report admitted that they lacked much of the relevant information.

It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge and the terror organizations it confronted.

2) This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate, and initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson, William Schabas. The UNHRC has a singular obsession with Israel, passing more country specific resolutions against Israel than against Syria, Iran and North Korea combined – in fact, more than against all other countries combined. The commission of inquiry’s mandate presumed Israel guilty from the start and its original chairman, William Schabas, was compelled to resign due to a blatant conflict of interest (paid work for the Palestinians), which he concealed from the United Nations.

3) The COI also lacked the necessary tools and expertise to conduct a professional and serious examination of armed conflict situations.

Israel will consider the report in light of these essential failings. It would encourage all fair-minded observers to do the same.

4) Israel is a democracy committed to the rule of law, forced to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists who commit a double war crime: They indiscriminately target Israeli civilians while deliberately endangering Palestinian civilians, including children, by using them as human shields.

5) In defending itself against attacks, Israel’s military acted according to the highest international standards. This was confirmed by a comprehensive examination by Israeli military and legal experts, as well as reports produced by internationally renowned military professionals.

6) Israel will continue to uphold its commitment to the law of armed conflict despite the brutal tactics of its enemies. Israel will continue to investigate alleged wrongdoing in accordance with international standards and to cooperate with those UN bodies that conduct themselves in an objective, fair and professional manner.
See: The 2014 Gaza Conflict: Factual and Legal Aspects – THE FULL REPORT

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 3, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Robert Nicholson

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PM Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Nicholson

Source: MFA, 6-3-15

Canada, led by Prime Minister Harper, is always stalwart and tells the truth. And we think that this is a refreshing wind in an increasingly hostile environment, hostile to the truth.
PM Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Nicholson

 PM Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Nicholson

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Wednesday, 3 June 2015), met with Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson and told him at the start of their meeting:

“Rob, welcome to Jerusalem.

Our friendship, the friendship between Canada and Israel, is a model of the partnership between two democracies, exemplary democracies. Israel values the support, unstinting, unfaltering, of Canada in an international environment that is often marked by cynicism and double talk. Canada, led by Prime Minister Harper, is always stalwart and tells the truth. And we think that this is a refreshing wind in an increasingly hostile environment, hostile to the truth.

As an example, a national student group in Britain voted to support a boycott of Israel. This is less than a year after they refused to support a boycott of ISIS. They boycott Israel but they refuse to boycott ISIS. That tells you everything you want to know about the BDS movement. They condemn Israel and do not condemn ISIS; they condemn themselves.

Israel has an exemplary democracy. We have academic freedom, press freedom, human rights. ISIS tramples human rights to the dust. It burns people alive in cages and the national student groups in Britain refuse to boycott ISIS and have boycotted Israel. It tells you everything you want to know about the BDS movement.

At the same time, in the UN, we’ve seen Turkey and Iran vote to give Hamas affiliate status – Hamas. Hamas fires rockets on our cities while hiding behind Palestinian civilians, hiding behind Palestinian children. It tells you about international hypocrisy a lot.

I stress these points, Rob, because Canada stands out so clearly and so powerfully against these distortions of truth and distortions of justice, and I want to express the feeling of the people of Israel that we believe we have no better friend than Canada. We value that partnership. It was exemplified last week, two weeks ago, in the vote of Canada, alongside the United States and Great Britain, in rolling back the attempt to single out Israel in the NPT votes. That is deeply appreciated here.

So we welcome you here in challenging times, sometimes perilous times, but in days when we know that the best defense against the democracies, the attack on the democracies, is the partnership of democracies, as exemplified by our two countries.”

Israel Musings November 19, 2014: Netanyahu looks for condemnation, unity after Jerusalem synagogue terror attack

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Netanyahu looks for condemnation, unity after Jerusalem synagogue terror attack

By Bonnie K. Goodman

After a terrorist attack at a Jerusalem synagogue killed five and injured six and carried out by two Palestinians that occurred on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an evening press conference called for world condemnation…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 13, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

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PM Netanyahu meets with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Source: MFA, 8-13-14

MFASummaryNew

PM Netanyahu: There is a moral divide that is evident today in the world; on one side you see democracies committing to a real future for their people, and on the other you have Islamist tyrannies that have no inhibition and pursue their grisly creeds and their grisly deeds.

PM Netanyahu with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in Jerusalem
 

PM Netanyahu with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in Jerusalem

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Wednesday, 13 August 2014), met with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Following are their statements:

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

“Governor, I want to welcome your delegation to Israel. It’s a pleasure to see you all here, especially at this time. I just said to you that the first thing I want you to do is to send warmest regards to your father. I remember him fondly from my days in the UN. At that time in the UN, I had to address the question of the constant attempts to force a moral asymmetry on the world or a false symmetry on Israel. That’s what you do in the United Nations if you are the ambassador of Israel. And I remember how strongly, firmly and clearly Governor Cuomo, Mario Cuomo, stood with Israel at the time and this is a tradition that continues with you and your delegation.

I want to thank you for coming here, for standing clearly with Israel, representing the American people and the people of New York, and also representing the rejection of this false symmetry that is, has made. Just as you wouldn’t put America and ISIS on the same moral plane, you’d never put Israel and Hamas on the same moral plane. Remember that Hamas celebrating 9/11; they celebrated the murder of thousands of innocent people, including thousands of New Yorkers. They celebrated! They were standing on the roofs cheering while all the people of Israel grieved with the United States. When the United States killed Bin Laden, they accused the United States and condemned the United States of committing crimes. This tells you where Hamas is and Israel is on the other side.

Hamas continues to do these horrible things that ISIS does: They persecute Christians, they persecute gays, they persecute women, they basically reject modernity and there are a terrorist tyranny that is imposed on their people. And where their people reject being used as human shields, you know what they do, Governor? They execute them. This is the kind of moral divide that is evident today in the world, and on one side you see Israel and the United States representing democracies committing to human rights, committing to a real future for our people; and on the other side, you have the likes of ISIS and Hamas, Islamist tyrannies that have no inhibition and pursue their grisly creeds and their grisly deeds.

I thank you for coming here and standing on the right side of the moral divide.”

New York Governor Cuomo:

“Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, Prime Minister, it’s our pleasure. We know that you’re going through a very difficult time right now and Israel is going through a very difficult time. And that is precisely why we’re here: Because we want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel, we want to stand in solidarity with you. The delegation that has come forward is unprecedented in some ways. We have both sides of the legislature, the Assembly and the Senate. It’s a bipartisan delegation. We have business representatives, [unclear] leaders, and we all wanted to come as one, in solidarity, in unity, to say to Israel: We understand the situation you’re in, we understand what you are facing and we support your right, your leave to defend your people against terror.

The United States has always been a strong ally of Israel on many, many levels. As New Yorkers, we have many connections, family connections, cultural connections, historic connections, so our relations go very deep. And I speak for all New Yorkers when I say: We stand in solidarity with Israel. The fight that you fight is the fight against terror. Unfortunately in New York, we’ve had a rude awakening to the pain and suffering that terror can cause in 9/11. So we have a special sensitivity in our hearts for what you’re going through now.

We wish you peace, everyone hopes that the killing will stop and we can get to a place of peace. I know that’s your hope. You’ve been quite articulate and eloquent on the subject, but we understand that Israel must defend itself. The discovery of these tunnels I find very troubling indeed. It shows the extensive approach of the enemy, the constant rocket fire and the Iron Dome is successful, but it must stop and we understand that also. So, we pray for peace. We stand with you in defense.”

Israel Political Brief June 30, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu will appoint ex-adviser Ron Dermer as new US envoy

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Netanyahu will appoint ex-adviser Dermer as new U.S. envoy

Source: JTA, 6-30-13

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly will appoint Ron Dermer as Israel’s new ambassador to the United States….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 7, 2013: Embarrassing media leak forces Avigdor Lieberman to declassify Knesset defense committee discussions

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Embarrassing media leak forces Lieberman to declassify Knesset defense committee discussions

Source: Haaretz, 6-7-13

Furious chairman makes decision after highly sensitive comments made by Shin Bet security service chief about PA President Mahmoud Abbas were leaked to the press….READ MORE

Jewish Political Brief June 5, 2013: Congressmen urge Obama Administration to move embassy to Jerusalem

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Congressmen urge US to move embassy to Jerusalem

Source: Ynetnews, 6-5-13

The heads of the bipartisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus on Tuesday urged the Obama administration to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem….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: 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: 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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GFCA 4th International Conference Brochure GFCA 4th International Conference Brochure

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu can hold Foreign Ministry for Avigdor Liberman, Attorney General says

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Netanyahu can hold Foreign Ministry for Liberman, AG says

Source: The Times of Israel , 3-6-13

Netanyahu’s agreement with Liberman has been put to the test in coalition talks with Yesh Atid, whose leader Yair Lapid has his eyes set on the foreign minister position….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 5, 2013: Chuck Hagel to Ehud Barak: I hope to visit Israel soon

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Hagel to Barak: I hope to visit Israel soon

Source: Jerusalem Post, 3-5-13

Hagel is working to ensure there is no interruption of funding for Iron Dome, Arrow, David’s Sling rocket, says US official. Defense Minister Barak embraces US counterpart Hagel….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 4, 2013: VP Joe Biden & PM Benjamin Netanyahu Stress Points of Unity in Speeches at AIPAC 2013

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Biden and Netanyahu Stress Points of Unity in Speeches to Pro-Israel Group

Source: NYT, 3-4-13

Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., right, with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington on Monday.

The thundering ovations, slickly produced videos and legions of lawmakers were the same as ever. But something was missing as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convened here this week for its annual conference: tension….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 3, 2013: Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Speech at AIPAC Policy Conference 2013

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Full text of Ehud Barak’s 2013 AIPAC speech

Source: Times of Israel, 3-3-13

‘We live in a tough neighborhood, where there is no mercy for the weak. And no second chance for those who cannot defend themselves’

Full text of Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s speech to AIPAC, March 3.

Thank you for such a warm welcome. What an indescribable feeling to be surrounded by so many true friends in the capital of the world’s greatest democracy. Members of the Administration, Members of Congress, distinguished ambassadors, especially our ambassador Michael Oren…. Michael, Rosey, Bob, David, Howard and Richard, AIPAC members… older and young…

Good evening to you all.

It is your toil and your graft – your unwavering support – that keep us safe. I have six humble words for all of you: Thank you, thank you, thank you. I would like to express my personal appreciation to President Obama and Secretary Panetta for their resolute backing of Israel. History will surely record your immeasurable contribution to the strength of Israel, and the maintenance of the truly special relationship between our peoples. On behalf of the people of Israel, I wish Secretary Hagel all the best in his new role. As Secretary of Defense he will, no doubt, serve his country with the same pride and honor with which he served, both on the battlefield and in Congress. It is great to see so many young activists here. Thank you for your energetic commitment to Israel! A commitment which is so lucidly dictated by the head… yet so deeply underpinned by the heart… Keep it up – you are the future!

It is thanks to the rock solid US-Israel relationship, alongside the devotion of the young men and women of the IDF, that our capacity to defend ourselves, has been guaranteed for years to come! With US support, combined with the ingenuity of our scientists; Israel finds itself at the cutting edge of missile defense technology. The ‘Iron Dome’ recently intercepted over 400 incoming terrorist rockets. Practically – this is like hitting a bullet… with a bullet! Just last week, we – the US and Israel – conducted a successful exo-atmospheric test of the Arrow 3 interceptor. The State of Israel simply would not be the strong island of stability it is, without one crucial constant. You! The United States of America. Its people. Its leadership. Its Congress. Its Jewish community.

It is no secret, and I’ll repeat it again, that we live in a tough neighborhood, where there is no mercy for the weak. And no second chance for those who cannot defend themselves. Israel is the strongest country in the region and the only genuinely open democracy. An unprecedented geopolitical earthquake in the last three years has shattered the generations’ old regional order. There are two clear lessons and one insight which I have drawn from this period: # 1: Be modest with predictions……. especially about the future! Take Egypt as an example; Mubarak was unable to predict it… who did? Who thinks he could? #2: When friends tell me: Don’t worry… If worse comes to worst … the world will step forward and act! My answer is: Do not take this for granted.

Look at Syria – you don’t need classified intelligence; it’s on your screens. Assad’s jet fighters, tanks and artillery are slaughtering his own citizens. Over 70,000 Syrians killed. Yet still… there is no sense of direction and no political will to act. There is an extremely relevant lesson here… especially for all of us in Israel. And an insight…

Many believe that the root cause for all the problems in the Middle East… is our inability to solve the conflict with the Palestinians. Well, I say… That’s not true! Recent developments in the Middle East have been far beyond our control… and independent of our deeds. Even if a peace agreement with the Palestinians had been signed and sealed a long time ago: The Muslim Brotherhood would still have come to power in Egypt. Syria would still be mired in a bloody civil war. And Iran would still be pursuing nuclear capabilities and a hegemonic role in the Gulf.

And ladies and gentlemen, it is Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities which is the greatest challenge facing Israel, the region and the world today… A nuclear Iran spells the end of any conceivable non-proliferation regime. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and later Egypt will follow suit. In the future, even terrorist groups may try. Diplomatic efforts continue. Sanctions are unprecedented and hurting, but frankly – while exhausting all diplomatic means is understandable – I do not believe it will lead to a “moment of truth”, where the Ayatollahs will give up their nuclear aspirations. Therefore, all options must remain on the table.

We have stated this time and again. And we expect all those who say it… to mean it… Ladies and gentlemen… We mean it. And let me repeat it: we… mean it.

A nuclear Iran is the most imminent and acute danger to the stability of the entire region. But it is not the only one: Radical Islamist terror is spreading rapidly. And the accumulation of missiles and rockets will necessitate regional missile defense. So what is to be done? It is an interregnum right now in Israel, and the new Netanyahu government will have to shape its approach.

But allow me, just before I leave my post, to share with you my positions: The Middle East is a Gestalt – everything depends on everything else. Facing this array of threats, we have to: Firstly, start building a ‘Regional Security Framework’… This should be built around the common challenges of radical Islamist terror, border security, missile defense… and of course, Iran. And being led by the United States, it could provide a variety of synergies for all its regional participants.

Secondly, we need a daring peace initiative vis-à-vis the Palestinians. A two-state solution is the only viable long-term solution. It is a compelling imperative for us, in order to secure our identity and our future as a Jewish and democratic state; it’s not a favor for the Palestinians… Believe me, I tried hard as Prime Minister, together with President Clinton. So I know, from personal experience, that the Palestinians are not easy partners for peace. Prime Minister Netanyahu has taken courageous steps, to renew the process including an unprecedented settlement freeze. But still – from the Palestinian side… no proper response. They clearly bear most of the responsibility for past failures. And I know, a fully fledged agreement is probably not feasible today, But if this is the case – and only a sincere effort can determine this – we have to try and achieve a reasonable, fair, interim agreement. I strongly believe this is possible, while guaranteeing all our security and vital interests.

But if even an interim agreement is unobtainable, then we should consider unilateral steps, in order to place a wedge on this extremely dangerous slippery slope towards a binational state. It involves demarcating a line within the land of Israel… Within which we will have the settlement blocs and a solid Jewish majority for generations to come. As well as setting security arrangements, and a solid Israeli, long-term military presence along the River Jordan. Rest assured… our security should not – and will not – be compromised under any of these alternatives. Tough decisions must be taken; but it is possible. And as our sages teach us: “If not now… when?”

I strongly believe that this intertwined strategic triangle: First, The Regional Security Framework. Second, a reinvigorated political process with the Palestinians… And third: tackling Iran. This triangle, is the most effective approach to deal with the challenges on our horizon.

Israel, has also been experiencing its own tremors of change. In the summer of 2011, the people of Israel took to the streets… demanding a more equal allocation of the burden. Just last month, 53 new, fresh members of the Knesset were sworn in, about half the serving members of Knesset … (Present company included!)… were out. That is what I call democracy in action. A democracy I am proud of. A democracy you can be proud of. I am confident that Prime Minister Netanyahu will lead his new government with the same dedication and responsibility which he led the last.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was born 71 years ago, at the height of World War II; the Nazi crematoria in Europe were working day and night. And now… in 2013, I am ending my tenure as the Minister of Defense of a strong, independent Jewish state. Look at what we – as a nation – have achieved… Who would have believed it then? Today we have an agile and adaptive high-tech and export oriented economy. A start-up culture flourishes on an eruption of talent and an underlying entrepreneurial spirit.

I am optimistic, and my vision for Israel is clear: A strong, self-confident, thriving Jewish, democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors. An exemplary state and world leader in science, technology, education and culture. A country in which our children will want to live, and your children will be proud of.

Ladies and gentlemen, We are at a decisive juncture in our history… As President Kennedy noted during the Cuban Missile Crisis: “The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are. But it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation…” I believe we possess the character and courage as a nation to make those tough decisions for the future, peace and security of the State of Israel. Please allow me to end with the millennia old blessing: May the Lord bestow his people with courage; may the Lord bless his people with peace. Thank you…

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