Full Text Israel Political Brief May 12, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses 5th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism

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PM Netanyahu addresses 5th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism

Source: MFA, 12 May 2015

Today’s antisemitism is not limited to the various sects of militant Islam, nor is it limited just to the xenophobic elements on the fringes of European society. Because today it often wears the mask of so-called progressive thinking in the West.

PM Netanyahu addresses 5th Global Forum for Combating Antsemitism

PM Netanyahu addresses 5th Global Forum for Combating Antsemitism
Copyright: GPO
I’m very pleased to welcome you all to Jerusalem. There are senior government ministers here from Germany, from Romania, from Bulgaria, from Canada. Our own Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Naftali Bennett, the Mayor of Paris, the UN Coordinator for the Peace Process, religious leaders from across the face, many from the Muslim community. I had an excellent discussion just now with the Imam of Paris. There are ambassadors here and distinguished guests from so many walks of life, from so many lands, including great actors.

So I’m delighted to see all of you here, even though the subject of our deliberations is not a source of delight.

Seventy years ago, with the end of World War II and the revelation of the horrors of the Holocaust, some believed that humanity would discard one of history’s oldest hatreds – antisemitism. And it’s true that in the years immediately following World War II, blatant expressions of hatred for the Jews appeared to take a respite, at least in the liberal West.

Yet today there is no doubt that we are living in an age of resurgent antisemitism. Jews everywhere are once again being slandered and vilified.

This is taking place in the intolerant parts of the Middle East but it’s also taking place in what otherwise would be expected to be the tolerant parts of the West. It’s taking place in Beirut, in Damascus, in Tehran. But it’s also taking place, violently so, in Toulouse, in Paris, in Brussels. Because along with vilification come the inevitable violent attacks.

And Jews are now being targeted for being Jews. Jews have the right to live freely and safely wherever they choose. And governments everywhere are responsible for guaranteeing this right.

I want to take this opportunity to praise all the governments that have been witnessing this resurgent antisemitism, their commitment to protect the rights of the Jews, the rights of individuals, the rights of their citizens. Their representatives are here, and I praise you for it. But Jews also have the right to join us here in Israel, and if they make that choice, we will welcome them with open arms.

Contemporary antisemitism doesn’t just slander, vilify and target the Jewish people. It first and foremost today targets the Jewish state. That’s the nexus, that’s the core, that’s the focus of antisemitism.

I want to give you an example of this from today, this morning. I went down to Ben-Gurion airport to welcome home the IDF’s humanitarian mission to Nepal.

The UN filed a report. Actually, this is a good UN report about Israel. It said that of all the countries in the world, and Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world, Israel fielded the second largest rescue and relief team in Nepal. Of all the nations in the earth. Our people did a magnificent job. They saved lives. They took people out of the rubble. They treated 1,600 wounded people and sick people. They delivered life, several births.

Yet yesterday state television in both Iran and Venezuela accused our humanitarian team of trafficking in babies. Now, did any of you see an Iranian rescue team in Nepal? This is the quintessential example of the Big Lie technique. The aggressor accuses his victim.

And this big lie of antisemitism is propagated most enthusiastically by those who trample on the human rights of their own people.

Iran will speak of human rights? I don’t want to talk about Venezuela. I’ll leave that to you. They lecture us on human rights, on the rule of law, on safeguarding human decency? They string people in cranes, innocent people in cranes in the squares of Tehran and Iran’s other cities. They send their goons to Lebanon, to Syria, to Yemen, slaughtering people by the thousands. They slaughter Muslims, they target Muslims who do not share their violent creed.

Today, a lot of the extreme antisemitism that we see today is coming from old quarters, intolerant quarters, xenophobic ones in parts of Europe, in a peculiar marriage with the militants who seek to overtake the world of Islam, and they have integrated the most extreme antisemitism into this murderous theology.

I want to give you an example. First, recognize that their first and greatest number of victims are their fellow Muslims. But they also target us, and I give you the Hamas Charter. It repeats the ancient libels against the Jews. It openly calls for the murder of Jews wherever they are and for the destruction of their state.

And the same can be said of Hezbollah and for the common patron of both Hezbollah and Hamas, which is of course Iran.

And of course they have competition. The militant Shi’ites have competition from the militant Sunnis of al-Qaida, of ISIS and al-Nusra who echo their murderous creed not only about Israel. You’ve seen the horrors they commit on their fellow Muslims.

Today’s antisemitism, as I said, is not limited to the various sects of militant Islam, nor is it limited just to the xenophobic elements on the fringes of European society. Because today it often wears the mask of so-called progressive thinking in the West. Some of those who consider themselves champions of tolerance are remarkably intolerant when it comes to Jews and the Jewish state.

The classic antisemite portrayed the Jews as the embodiment of all evil in the world. Modern antisemites portray the Jewish state as the embodiment of all evil in the world.

When Hamas and Hezbollah rocketed our cities, thousands and thousands and thousands of rockets, fired directly at our cities – that’s a war crime, hiding behind their civilians – that’s a second war crime – when they committed these dual war crimes, tens of thousands demonstrated on the streets of European capitals, not against Hamas, not against Hezbollah, but against Israel.

Now, thousands are being killed in the brutal conflict in Yemen. You see any demonstrations in London or Paris? A quarter of a million people have been savagely butchered in Syria. You hear any word of academic boycotts on the Assad regime? And in Iran now under the Rouhani government, executions have gone up, innocent people are taken to death. You hear any UN resolutions condemning these violations of basic human rights?

And the answer regrettably is no. The demonstrations, the boycotts, the resolutions are all reserved for the Middle East’s one true democracy, in fact it’s the most beleaguered democracy on earth – Israel.

This is a travesty. You can try to explain it away in many ways and it’s true that the internet has a multiplier effect, but you can have a multiplier effect on many, many lies, on many slanders, and yet this has a global multiplying effect, and there is something fundamentally wrong that this slander is reserved for the one country in the region where the death penalty is not even used against the most gruesome terrorist murderers, the one country that holds human rights sacrosanct, where equality is protected under the law – for women, for Christians, for minorities, for all.

You can ask yourself how is that possible, how could it be that the Jewish state is treated like that. There’s got to be fire if there’s smoke.

How do think the Jews were treated for generations? The things that peoples said about the Jews for generations were believed across so many lands. They believed that we poisoned the wells, that we drank the blood of Christian children, that we were spreading disease deliberately. By the way, these are all repeated as we speak.

You see, how could it be that they believed it? But they did. Not only did they believe it, you say, well, that’s because of ignorance. Yeah, that’s true. Except that some of the most educated people in history believed it – Voltaire, Dostoyevsky, and the list is a lot longer, by the way.

So education and knowledge may be a partial protector against this slander, but there’s something deeper here because these are such patent falsehoods. It is the willingness to submit to slander, the willingness to believe this. This is what creates the ground, and it starts not from the bottom. It starts with the elites. And that’s where it has to be challenged.

And today the treatment of Israel is no different from the treatment of our forbearers. The Jewish state is being treated among the nations the way the Jewish people were treated for generations.

And we’re not perfect, by the way. We have a lot of things that we can improve. We have a very boisterous and robust democracy. You should come to the Knesset. I invite all of you. What fun. But it is. It’s alive. It’s free. Everything is debated, everything is open, and there is a system of justice, a system of laws and true tolerance. With all the imperfections of any society, we’ve built here a tremendous society. Beleaguered? Yes, but with great success.

And our best allies actually these days are some of our Arab neighbors because they know we face a common threat.

So we see this country. How can it be that this country is slandered like no other country? Well, probably because old habits die hard.

But the sad truth is that some of them don’t die. The sad truth is that no rational examination can justify the obsession with the Jewish state, and this obsession with the Jewish state and the Jewish people has a name. It’s called antisemitism. I know you understand all this. I know that the people in this room have learned the painful lessons of 70 years ago.

I appreciate your commitment to fighting antisemitism because the battle starts from the top. Antisemitism, contrary to what people think, does not just bubble up from below. It percolates also from the top. And that’s why it’s so important that there are leaders here, across lands, across faiths, across professions, from the public and the private domain, who are gearing up to fight this old obsession.

You have learned from history, but regrettably, many around the world have yet to do so.

I want to assure you that we have. We are no longer a stateless people searching for a safe haven. We are no longer a powerless people begging others to protect us. Today we have an independent and sovereign state. Today we can protect ourselves and defend our freedoms, our lives.

What has changed in the history of the world for the Jewish people is not the hatred of the Jews, but with the founding of the Jewish state, the rediscovery by the Jews of the capacity to defend ourselves against slander and against attack. Today we can speak up against our vilification – as I am doing right now and as you have been doing, and I know you will continue to do.

Because there is a simple fact – a lie that is left unchallenged and endlessly repeated assumes the cachet of self-evident truth. Our biggest job – our biggest job – is to go and light a candle of truth.

When I came to the United Nations many years ago to serve as Israel’s ambassador, I met a famous Jewish religious leader, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and he said to me: You know, you’ll be going into a house where many, many lies will be leveled at Israel and at our people, and he said, “Remember that in the darkest halls, if you light one candle, then people will see the light of truth for a very long distance. They’ll see it from afar, and your job,” he said to me, “is to light a candle of truth in a dark hall.” Well, I’ll tell you, we need a lot of candles, a lot of lighters of candles, and that’s how I see you.

Because nowhere is this calumny that is leveled against our people more systematically propagated than in Iran. The ayatollah regime is conducting as we speak a competition. The competition is an international competition. It parallels our conference, except it’s the very reverse. It’s a competition of Holocaust deniers from around the globe, who can better deny the Holocaust. And while they are denying the Holocaust, they’re planning another genocide against our people. They openly threaten to annihilate the State of Israel.

Just a few weeks ago, a few days before the Lausanne agreement was signed, an Iranian general said, “The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable.” Openly. And of course they seek to build nuclear weapons to implement this mad design.

I have to tell you honestly that the Lausanne framework won’t stop them. Israel wants to see a peaceful solution, a better deal that will actually block Iran’s path to the bomb. But I want to be absolutely clear. The Jewish state will defend itself by itself against any threat.

That’s what we’ve learned from history. That’s what the Jewish state is all about.

But we’ve also learned something else. I don’t know if we’ll be able to eradicate the scourge of antisemitism. I know we have to fight it. We have learned that if you don’t fight it, if unstopped, these fires of antisemitism eventually spread and they consume everyone. That is I think the central lesson of the 20th century, in many ways the central lesson of modern times.

So for the sake of decency, for the sake of our common humanity, for the sake of our common future, we must all continue to stand up and fight antisemitism. The Jewish people and decent people everywhere will salute you for doing just that.

Thank you, thank you for coming to Jerusalem, thank you.

Israel Musings January 5, 2015: American Historical Association (AHA) rejects anti-Israel resolutions at meeting

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American Historical Association (AHA) rejects anti-Israel resolutions at meeting

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Historians gathering at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting in New York City voted on Sunday evening, Jan. 4, 2015 against adding to their agenda a vote on two anti-Israel resolutions with an overwhelming vote of 144…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 28, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement Strongly Condemns Brussels Jewish Museum Attack

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PM Netanyahu Strongly Condemns Brussels Attack

Source: PMO, 5-25-14

יום כ”ד אייר תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening, strongly condemns the murder that was perpetrated at the Jewish Museum in Brussels and shares in the grief of the families of the victims. “This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state. Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength,” the Prime Minister said.

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 18, 2014: PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on ADL’s Global Survey on Anti-Semitism, Visit to Japan and Pacific Alliance

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 5-18-14
יום ראשון י”ח אייר תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“Last week, the Anti-Defamation League issued a global report in which it compared levels of anti-Semitism among adults in various places around the world . It seems that the place with the highest level of anti-Semitism is the Palestinian Authority, where 93% of adults hold anti-Semitic views. This is the result of the Palestinian Authority’s unceasing incitement, which distorts the image of the State of Israel and the Jewish People, as we have known in other places in our past. This finds expression in the fact that they hold parades to commemorate what they call the Nakba. They define the existence and establishment of the State of Israel as a disaster that must be corrected. This also finds expression in the increased activity that the Palestinians are allowing in Judea and Samaria for Hamas, which directly and openly calls for our destruction. Whoever sees the establishment of the State of Israel and its continued existence as a disaster does not want peace.

Last week, I returned from my visit to Japan . The growth of the Israeli economy depends, first and foremost, on expanding our marketing activity abroad and creating new markets. Last year, I visited China  As a result of this visit, we now see economic development and increased economic activity between the two countries. In Japan last week, there was a clear decision to deepen ties and develop economic, technological, scientific and other links between us and Japan.

On Friday, I spoke with the prime Minister-Elect of India There too there is a clear expression of the desire to deepen and develop economic ties with the State of Israel.

Today, we will approve a decision – which has been submitted by the Foreign Minister and which I think is very important – to strengthen economic ties and develop links with the Pacific Alliance .
The Pacific Alliance is a pact between five Latin American countries with a combined GDP of over $3 trillion.

We are making a very concentrated and focused effort to vary our markets, from our previous dependence on the European market, to the growing Asian and Latin American markets, in which Israel needs to take a small market share and bring about growth, employment and social welfare in the State of Israel. This is a strategic and – I think – a very promising effort. It has already begun to show results and will continue to do so. I would like all ministers, each in his or her own field, to join this important effort.

We are also making an effort to lower the cost of living in the State of Israel and today we will approve a joint decision – by myself, the Finance Minister, the Health Minister and the Economy Minister – to lower food prices in various fields. We will simplify the bureaucracy in order to allow for the import of food that does not have sensitive health issues. This will certainly increase competitiveness and lower prices. This is part of the same continuing effort we are making to lower the cost of living in the State of Israel.”

Israel Brief April 28, 2014: Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day Begins

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Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day Begins

Source: Arutz Sheva, 4-28-14

In the official ceremony at Yad Vashem, six torches will be lit by six Holocaust survivors, followed by the reciting of the “Kel Maleh Rachamim” prayer, which is recited for the deceased, and the recitation of the Kaddish for the six million….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 27, 2014: Nation commemorates Holocaust with sirens, ceremonies

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Nation commemorates Holocaust with sirens, ceremonies

Source: Jerusalem Post, 4-27-14

Following the sirens, President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other senior officials took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority’s Jerusalem museum….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 27, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Speech at Yad Vashem on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Address by PM Netanyahu at Yad Vashem

Source: PMO, 4-27-14

יום ראשון כ”ז ניסן תשע”ד

Photo by  GPO

The last time I visited Yad Vashem I accompanied the Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. We went through the exhibition rooms which present heartbreaking documentation of the destruction of European Jewry.

Today in my office, I met Fela, an 82 year old Holocaust survivor. It was important for her to tell me on this day of her memories as a child of seven who was forced to leave her two year old sister. Those memories are always with her. She told me, “I don’t remember what happened yesterday or the day before that, but as is the way of memories at my age, I remember the sad, tearful eyes of my two year old sister whom I left behind to die”.

I met Shalom, an 89 year old Holocaust survivor who told me how, aged 13, he left home at Mila 18 in the Warsaw Ghetto. Conditions in the ghetto were deteriorating. So he, a young boy, decided to leave. He said, “Mother objected and wailed but Father was quiet. He stood up, put his hands on my head, blessed me and told me to save myself”.

All the exhibition rooms here are filled with such heart-wrenching stories.

When we left Yad Vashem, I told the Prime Minister of Canada that my supreme duty as the Prime Minister of Israel is to ensure that there will be no more memorial sites like this, that there will never be another Holocaust.

I have said here many times that we must identify an existential threat in time and take action against it in time.

Tonight, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, I ask: Why, in the years preceding the Holocaust, did the overwhelming majority of world leaders and Jewish leaders fail to detect the danger in time?

In retrospect, all the warning signs were there: the strengthening of the Nazi regime year after year; the horrific anti-Semitic propaganda which grew stronger with each passing month; and the murderous attacks on Jews which began as spurts and became a giant wave.

In retrospect, a direct line connects the racial laws and the gas chambers.

Few world leaders, notably Churchill, understood the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism. Few among our leaders, primarily Jabotinsky, warned against the imminent destruction facing our people. But they were widely criticized, their warnings disregarded and dismissed as the rantings of doomsayers and warmongers.

How is it possible that so many people failed to understand reality? The bitter, tragic truth is this: It is not that they did not see. They did not want to see.

And why did they choose not to see the truth? Because they did not want to face the consequences of that truth.

During the 1930s, when the Nazis were gaining momentum, the trauma of the First World War was still fresh. Twenty years earlier, the people of the West experienced a terrible trench war, which claimed the lives of 16 million people. The leaders of the West therefore operated on the basis of one axiom: Avoid another confrontation at any cost. Thus they laid the ground for the most horrible war in history.

This axiom of avoiding conflict at any cost was adopted not only by the leaders. It was shared by the peoples themselves, and primarily by the educated elites.

In 1933, for example, the year Hitler rose to power, a meeting was held by the students of Oxford University, an institution which produced generations of British leaders. Following a heated debate, the students voted for a resolution stating that they “would under no circumstances fight for their King and Country”.

This resolution passed by an overwhelming majority a mere ten days after Hitler entered the Chancellor’s office in Germany. The message reverberated in Berlin.

This example illustrates the West’s feeble response to the rise of Nazism.

Month after month, year after year, more and more information was received in London, Paris and Washington about Nazi capabilities and intentions. The picture gradually became clear for everyone to see.

But they had eyes and could not see, they had ears but could not hear.

When you refuse to accept reality as it is, you can deny it.

This is precisely what the leaders of the West did. They dismissed the murderous Nazi rhetoric as internal German politics; they downplayed the seriousness of the danger of the Nazi military build-up, claiming that it was the result of the natural will of a proud nation that should be recognized and accepted.

The reality was clear, but it was enveloped in a bubble of illusions. This bubble burst when the Nazis launched their blitzkrieg on Europe and Africa.

The price of illusion and wishful thinking was very steep. By the time the leaders of the West finally acted, their peoples paid a terrible price. World War II claimed the lives not of 16 million people, the horrific number of victims during World War I, but of 60 million, including one third of our people, who were butchered by the Nazi beast.

Citizens of Israel, my brothers and sisters,

Has the world learned the mistakes of the past?

Today we again face clear facts and a tangible threat. Iran calls for our destruction. It is developing nuclear weapons.

This is the reason it is building underground bunkers for enriching uranium. This is why it is constructing a heavy water facility to produce plutonium. This is the reason it continues to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads which will threaten the entire world.

Today, like then, there are those who dismiss Iran’s extreme rhetoric as serving domestic purposes. Today, like then, there are those who view Iran’s nuclear ambitions as the result of the natural will of a proud nation, a will that should be accepted.

And today, like then, those who make such claims are deluding themselves. They are making an historic mistake.

Fateful talks are currently being held between Iran and the world powers. This time too, the truth is evident to all: Iran seeks an agreement that will lift the sanctions and leave it as a nuclear threshold state with the capability to manufacture nuclear weapons within several months at most.

Iran wants a deal that will eliminate the sanctions and leave its capabilities intact.

A deal which enables Iran to be a nuclear threshold state will bring the entire world to the threshold of an abyss.

I hope that the lessons of the past have been learned, and that the desire to avoid confrontation at any cost will not lead to a deal that will exact a much heavier price in the future.

I call on the leaders of the world powers to insist that Iran fully dismantle its capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons, and to persist until this goal is achieved.

In any event, the people of Israel stand strong. Faced with an existential threat, our situation today is entirely different than it was during the Holocaust.

Today, we have a sovereign Jewish state. As Prime Minister of Israel, I do not hesitate to speak the truth to the world, even when faced with blind eyes and deaf ears. It is not only my right, it is my duty. I am always mindful of this duty, never more so than on this day, in this place.

On the eve of the Holocaust, some Jews avoided speaking out to the world’s nations, fearing that the struggle against Nazism would become “a Jewish problem”. Others believed that if they kept silent, the danger would pass.

They kept silent, and disaster struck.

Today, we are unafraid to speak the truth to world leaders. As is written in the Bible: “I will speak of your testimonies before kings, and I will not be ashamed… listen, for I will speak the truth.”

Unlike the Holocaust, when the Jewish people were like a wind-tossed leaf and utterly defenseless, we now have great power to defend ourselves, and it is ready for any mission.

This power rests on the courage and ingenuity of the soldiers of the IDF and the men and women of our security forces. It is this power that enabled us, against all odds, to build the State of Israel.

Look at the remarkable achievements we have made in the 66 years of our independence. All of us – scientists, writers, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, employees, artists, farmers – the entire people of Israel, each one in their own field –  together we have built a glorious state. The spirit of the people of Israel is sublime, our accomplishments tremendous. Seven decades after the destruction of the Holocaust, the State of Israel is a wonder of the world.

On this day, on behalf of the Jewish people, I say to all those who sought to destroy us, and to all those who still seek to destroy us: You have failed, and you will fail again.

The State of Israel is stronger than ever. It is a state that seeks peace with all its neighbors and it pulsates with an iron will to ensure the future of our people.

“The people will arise like a lion cub and raise itself like a lion…and Judea will dwell securely”. (Numbers 23:24; Jeremiah 23:6).

 

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 27, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 4-27-14 
יום ראשון כ”ז ניסן תשע”ד

“This evening we will mark Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day. The State of Israel will honor the memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust. The main difference between the helplessness of the Jews during the Holocaust and the situation of the Jews today is that today we have a strong, sovereign state with a strong military that can defend us against those who seek our lives.

Iran tops the list of those who seek our lives; it has declared its intention to destroy us. In addition to its effort to arm itself with nuclear weapons, Iran arms, finances and trains Hamas and other terrorist organizations on our borders. Hamas denies the Holocaust even as it attempts to create an additional Holocaust by destroying the State of Israel. It is with this Hamas that Abu Mazen chose to form an alliance last week. Instead of issuing statements designed to placate global public opinion, Abu Mazen needs to choose between the alliance with Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel and denies the Holocaust, and a true peace with Israel. We hope that he will disavow this alliance with Hamas and return to the path of true peace.

Today, the Cabinet is due to approve Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s and Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen’s proposal for a national plan to assist Holocaust survivors. Also, a representative of the Senior Citizens Affairs Ministry will present an initiative to assist Holocaust survivors in utilizing their full rights. We have a moral obligation to see to it that Holocaust survivors living among us can live out their lives honorably. We [also] have the supreme national responsibility of preventing another Holocaust; let us do both.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief February 17, 2014: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Iran, Peace Talks, and Boycotts as Anti-Semitism — Transcript

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Source: PMO, 2-17-14

יום שני י”ז אדר א תשע”ד

Photo by GPO 

[Transcription]

Thank you Bob and thank you Malcolm. I’m delighted to see the current and the past President of the Presidents’ Conference, all good friends, and of course Moshe Arens, our Defense Minister. Once a Defense Minister, forever a Defense Minister. But he was Defense Minister three times. A tremendous job. And of course the Consul General of Egypt and all of you my friends.

First I want to welcome you again to Jerusalem, the eternal undivided capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
We meet on the eve of the resumption of negotiations of what is called the final settlement with Iran. They’re supposed to begin tomorrow in Vienna. What is the goal? Or what ought to be the goal of these negotiations? It’s not merely to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. I want to be more precise. It’s to prevent Iran from having the capability of manufacturing nuclear weapons. That is different. If Iran perches itself as a threshold state in which it has all the elements of a nuclear weapon in place, they’ll just have to do one little twist of the knob to get final enrichment of fissile material that is the core of a nuclear weapon, then all they’ll have to do is take these components from one side of a room and another side of a room, put them together and in a very short time, days or weeks or perhaps even hours, they’d have a nuclear weapon.

Our goal is to prevent Iran from having the capacity to manufacture or put together nuclear weapons. That is our goal. Now, if they claim to want only civilian nuclear energy, that they have an abundance and they certainly don’t need what it is they’re insisting on. They don’t need enrichment for peaceful nuclear energy. They don’t a heavy water reactor for that. They don’t need ICBMs, long range inter-continental ballistic missiles. They don’t need that for that. They don’t need a weaponization program that Iran of course refuses to open to inspection. They don’t need any of these things, but these are precisely the things that Iran insists on. And they’re precisely the elements that they have to be denied. Now, they haven’t been denied this, in the so-called interim deal. They’ve been allowed to maintain their ICBMs’ their long-range ballistic missiles program, they continue to develop them. By the way, the range is geared to Europe and soon to the United States. It’s not for us. And there’s only one purpose in the world to develop ICBMs. You don’t develop inter-continental ballistic missiles to deliver some hundreds of kilos of TNT. Believe me, nobody does that. You develop an ICBM in order to deliver a nuclear payload. Iran continues to develop that and continues to develop a heavy water reactor, and continues to develop latter-day models of centrifuges. Now they’re developing, as we speak, they’re developing centrifuges that are supposed to be 15 times more effective and more efficient than the centrifuges that they have today. That will enable them to leap-frog the distance and the time from low enrichment of uranium to high enrichment like that.

We’ve made a calculation. How much time has been saved by the interim deal? How much has Iran regressed by agreeing to distill or to dilute the 20% enriched uranium that they have to 3.5%? Well, given everything that they’re preparing, the 19,000 centrifuges that they have in place, and the advanced centrifuges that they continue to develop under the deal, the sub-total of what they’ve been sent back in time is four weeks. That’s what Iran has given to the world, which means it’s given practically nothing, but Iran has received a great deal. It’s received the easing of sanctions. It’s received the nations that are queuing up to ease more sanction with Iran and do more business with Iran. It’s very important to understand that. Iran has given zero, or practically zero. It’s given four weeks, but it’s receiving a new position in the world. It’s being legitimized. Everybody is embracing Iran because of a smile. But Iran’s moderation is a myth.

You should know what Iran is doing as we speak. As we speak, inside Iran innocent people are being executed. They’re executed in horrific ways. They’re executed with these cranes in the middle of cities, innocent people, hoisted up, executed by this regime. This regime continues to foster terrorism around the world. It sends the most deadly weapons to Hezbollah, to Hamas, weapons that are fired on our civilians. This regime, participates in the slaughter, the massive slaughter, the unending slaughter in Syria. That would not be possible without Iran. The Assad regime does not exist a day without Iran, without Iran’s money, without Iran’s weapons, without Iran’s commanders who were there on the site to tell what is left of the Syrian army what to do. But in addition to that, when that didn’t help, when everything else failed, Iran supplied Assad with the most important component. They actually gave them fighters. Khamenei instructed Nasrallah to go and bring his people to Lebanon, and there they do the fighting for Assad. There is no Assad regime without Iran. So as Assad perpetrates this savagery day in and day out, Iran is committing the savagery. Iran is supporting terrorists around the world. Iran is sending these weapons, deadly weapons to be fired on Israel’s cities, and Iran has not changed one iota its call to annihilate the Jewish state. And yet this regime is being embraced.

So I think what is needed are two things. One, we have to expose Iran for what it is. It smiles but it continues its deadly business every day. And secondly, it has to be stripped of the capacity to make nuclear weapons. What the deal that is being discussed today should achieve is one simple thing: zero centrifuges. Not one. Zero enrichment. They don’t need any centrifuges and they don’t have a right for enrichment. I think this is something that requires firmness and clarity. It may not be fashionable, but it’s the right thing, it’s the truthful thing, and I think that the only way that we could make Iran become a more moderate element, a more moderate nation and a more peaceful nation is by exhorting consistent pressure on it, political pressure, economic pressure and the demands of dismantling the Iranian nuclear program, which should be maintained throughout. I think any other route will actually produce the other result and make a diplomatic solution less likely. It will kick it away and force us into a reality that I think none of us want. We all want to see a peaceful solution. For a peaceful solution to succeed, you need more, not less, pressure.

The second thing that we’re discussing every day is how to achieve a secure and enduring peace with the Palestinians. By the way, the strength of Iran weakens that too, because Iran now controls one half of the Palestinian population. They control Hamas, they control Gaza through their proxies Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and of course they tell them what they say in Tehran, no peace with Israel, no reconciliation with Israel, continuous war in Israel. That’s what Hamas and the other terror proxies that Iran again, arms, funds and instructs are doing in Gaza. So one half of the Palestinian population is under the boot of Iran. And the other half, so far, has refused to confront the first half.

We’re trying to make peace with those Palestinians who at least have not engaged in terror and we say to them, if you want to achieve a real peace, then that peace has to be based on a real reconciliation with the Jewish State of Israel. I appreciate the effort, I must say ceaseless efforts, that Secretary John Kerry is engaging with me. We shall soon see if we have a partner in Abu Mazen, but I think if there is a partner there, then there is a way to move this process forward. And for it to move forward and for it to succeed ultimately, then it must address first the root cause of the conflict. The root cause of the conflict is not the settlements, it’s not the territories. This conflict predated it by at least half a century. The root cause of this conflict is the refusal to accept the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own in any boundaries. That remains a simple truth. Simple truths have a way of eluding common perception until they somehow land on you like a ton of bricks. Here is a simple truth that eluded all the experts and many of the commentators about the Middle East for decades. This was an area that was supposed to be preoccupied with one conflict and they always said the conflict, the core of the conflict in the Middle East, always in the singular. The core of the conflict was the Palestinian Israeli conflict. That’s what was said. Today if somebody repeated it, he should be at least laughed away. I think that you find that rarer and rarer. And that’s good, because when you see Syria imploding, and you see Iraq imploding, and you see Lebanon imploding and you see so many other parts of the Middle East imploding, Libya imploding, when you see all of that happening, you know that has nothing to do with the Palestinians.

I bring to your attention the fact that until two years ago people actually said this with a straight face. Professors, scholars, politicians, heads of state, they said the root cause of the conflict in the Middle East is the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Well that is as accurate as the next statement that they now say. That the root cause of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, inside the myriad conflicts of the Middle East is the settlements. Now, friends, you can take all the settlements and you can uproot them and the conflict will continue. You can have Israel continue, go back to the ’67 lines and the conflict will continue. How do we know that? Because we tried it. That’s exactly what we did in Gaza. We went back to the ’67 lines, we uprooted at terrible human cost and financial costs the 10,000 Israelis who were there. Did we get peace? What we got is a forward outpost of Iran from which they’ve so far fired about 12,000 rockets on our heads.

Now, what is going to prevent that from happening again? Well, what we need to see with the Palestinians who make a deal is that they’re resigned to the fact that they’ll have to make a genuine peace with Israel and that means finally recognizing the Jewish state. This will be a peace between two nation states. The Palestinians expect us to recognize a nation state for the Palestinian people. How do they have the temerity not to recognize the Jewish state, the nation state of the Jewish people? Do they not know that we’ve been here for the last 3,800 years? They don’t know that this is the land of the Bible? That this is where Jewish history and Jewish identity was forged? This is what defines us? This is how we define ourselves. We’ve been here a very long time, for God’s sake. They have no excuse, and they can try to distort ancient history and modern history, they can try to do that, but it doesn’t make it true. This is the land of Israel. We’ve been here on this land, associated with it for millennia, and now we say, we know that there has to be a very difficult decision to be made here. But in our ancestral homeland, we are the Jewish people. This is the Jewish land. This is the Jewish state. When we make an agreement it is an agreement between the nation state of the Jewish people and a nation state of the Palestinian people.

If they don’t accept that, you have to ask yourself why not? Why don’t they accept that? Why do they insist on not recognizing us? There is a reason.  Because once you accept the fact that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people then you have no more claims on this land and on this country, wherever the final border will be drawn. You cannot  claim the so called right of return because that claim of Palestinian refugees or their descendants will be satisfied in the nation state of the Palestinian people. Just as Jews can come here, Palestinians if they chose can go there. That claim evaporates.

Secondly, you cannot make any territorial claims on what remains as the territory of Israel. You cannot say, well there is another people there. Perhaps a sub-group of Israel’s citizens. They’re entitled to a sub-state or to separate state or to an irredentist claim. The minute you agree to the formulation of two nation states, a Jewish state for the Jewish people and a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people, you end all claims. You end territorial claims, and you end refugee claims, you end the so-called “right of return.” That is all incorporated in ending the conflict. The fact that the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian Authority adamantly refuses to accept this raises serious questions on whether they’re committed to a genuine peace. And unless they’re willing to accept it, they’re not committed to a genuine peace.

Now, even if they accept it, which I sincerely hope they do, that doesn’t guarantee that the decades of incitement that they’ve led to their own people, teaching them to seek this solution, an elimination of the Jewish states, that that will come to an end. We don’t know that. We cannot guarantee that. And I certainly am not coming into any of this Pollyannaish. I’m not looking at this wide eyed, from pink eyeglasses. I can understand that this will be a very difficult experience but it starts with a Palestinian leadership that accepts the Jewish state, accepts the end of claims, ends the conflict and disavows, shuts down, the whole claim of flooding Israel with refugees. That’s a necessity. It’s just not a guarantee. In fact, there is no guarantee. There is no guarantee that the incitement will stop, that the culture of hatred will end. And that’s why we need very solid security arrangements.

We hope that there will be a cultural change.  We hope that the fruits of peace will take root in the soil. We hope that the new generation of Palestinians will embrace a different path. We hope, but we can’t base the peace on hope alone. We must base it also on security. I think we have to base it also on sound economic cooperation in every way that we can to give the individual Palestinians a stake in their future. But we cannot base it merely on our wishful thinking. It just doesn’t happen that way. Look at the Middle East as a whole. The whole land is convulsing, there are earthquakes everywhere you go. And how are we to be sure that areas that we cede to the Palestinians will not be taken over by Hamas and Hezbollah and Al-Queda and Salafis. They’re all there. So we must ensure solid security arrangements that protect the peace and protect Israel in case the peace unravels. And that is the second pillar of peace.

Now what are sound security arrangements? Are they security arrangements of which we ask UNIFIL to protect us? I don’t hear a response. Maybe EUBAM? Remember EUBAM? No? EUBAM was the European force that was placed along the Gaza-Sinai border after we departed from Gaza. I have to tell you that in its favor it lasted I think seven days. Well, maybe I’m wrong, maybe a few more, maybe a few less. But that’s about it. The minute Hamas took over, EUBAM evaporated. UNIFIL has been unable to staunch or stop the arming of Hezbollah, which by now has quintupled compared to what it was when we left Lebanon in 2006. UNIFIL was charged with preventing the rearming of Hezbollah. Hezbollah is rearmed five times and in many ways with much more deadly weapons.

Now, the charge, the mandate of UNIFIL is one. It only has one mandate. To report these violations. To report these violations – not to act against them, not to intercede, not to intervene, just to report these violations. So now Hezbollah has anywhere close to 100,000 missiles. How many missiles has UNIFIL reported? Want to guess? Zero. So who are we to rely on to enforce these arrangements? Not UNIFIL, not EUBAM. Maybe UNDOF in the Golan Heights? You know what’s happening there. We have Jihad on our fences. We have attacks literally bouncing off our fences. Sometimes they cross.

We are, of course, not indifferent to the suffering of the people there and we do take, we’ve taken hundreds of these people who were bleeding to death, suffering from loss of blood or loss of limbs. We’ve taken them into our hospitals. But UNDOF? Not UNDOF, not UNIFIL, not EUBAM. And we don’t ask for Western troops. We’re the only country that is allied with the United States in distress that is not asking for American troops or for NATO troops. We’re perfectly capable of defending ourselves by ourselves against any threat, and that’s what we need to continue.

So when we speak of robust security arrangements, these are not ones that include these illusionary, illusory arrangements that don’t foster security. And by the way, if security collapses, it’s not only the peace that will collapse, it’s also the Palestinian Authority that will collapse and other important regional structures. So when we seek a peace that we can defend, that peace and that security serves not only us, but also our partners in peace. These are the twin elements, the twin pillars of the real peace.  Mutual recognition of two nation states, a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian state and it has to be a demilitarized Palestinian state that has around it and in Israel’s immediate borders the possibility of Israel defending itself with its own forces.

Now I don’t think this is a particularly complicated equation. It’s difficult, there are a lot of details in there that I haven’t discussed, as you can imagine. And I’m not saying the pursuit of peace will be easy. But I’m saying it becomes possible if you keep in mind the main items, the main elements of peace, which are mutual recognition and Israel’s capacity to defend itself by itself. I can assure you that these are not matters on which we intend to compromise. Peace always involves compromises, but I will never compromise on Israel’s security. Never. And never apologize for the fact that the Jewish people are living in their ancestral homeland. I never think of myself as an aggressor or as an outsider or some crusader kingdom. We’ve been here for so many centuries, and our attachments are so deep, that I’m always proud of the fact that the Jewish people have come home. This is our home and this is our city.

But obviously there are people who are uncomfortable with it and there is a new campaign against us, having failed to dislodge us with weapons, with armies, with terrorists, with rockets, with missiles, they now think that they’ll dislodge us with boycotts, and that’s nothing new. We’ve had that in our history as well. You know the boycotts of Jews, and I think the most eerie thing, the most disgraceful thing is to have people on the soil of Europe talking about the boycott of Jews. I think that’s an outrage, but that is something that we’re re-encountering. In the past, anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state. And by the way, only the Jewish state. Now, don’t take my word for it. The founders of the BDS movement make their goals perfectly clear. They want to see the end of the Jewish state. They’re quite explicit about it. And I think it’s important that the boycotters must be exposed for what they are. They’re classical anti-Semites in modern garb. And I think we have to fight them. It’s time to delegitimize the delegitimizers. And it’s time that we fight back.

I know all of you participate in this. There are two ways of fighting back. One is exposing them and the other is something that is happening and they can’t do very much about it. And I’ll tell you what it is. You know, I meet heads of state, and captains of industry, as they’re called, that is founders and leaders of big companies and some small companies and medium-sized companies. They’re all coming to Israel, including today. I had a meeting with another head of state, and they all want the same three things: Israeli technology, Israeli technology and Israeli technology. They crave it. They thirst for it, because they know that we’re in the knowledge century. They know that Israel is the repository of great genius, great creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, scientific capability, out-of-the-box thinking. This is a tremendous capacity that we have. It’s crystalized here for a variety of reasons. It’s not always easy to explain why these things happen, but it’s very important for us to realize that we possess a great treasure – the capacity to innovate is a great treasure of profound economic value in today’s world.

And that is something that is bigger than all these boycotters could possibly address. Because people are coming here. The new powers, the old powers and the new powers. You know, the new world powers, the super-powers, Google, Yahoo. They all want to participate in this. They all understand that the world economy is being propelled forward by the internet. The internet requires cyber protection, you have to protect your bank accounts, your privacy, your communications, the power lines, the power grids, traffic lights, train schedules. All of that is run today in the digital world and all of that requires protection and we happen to have a capacity to protect it.

So for this and for many many other reasons, Israel is being sought after. And I say that the response that we have to the BDS is twofold. One, expose them, the second is outflank them. We have the economic future of the world in Israel. We have it because we support it, we develop it. And somebody said to me, you know there are only two real centers of high-tech innovation. This was said to me by a young man whose company is worth today nine billion dollars and two years ago was worth a billion dollars. And he said to me, you know, there are only two centers of high-tech innovation in the world. He said, Palo Alto and Tel Aviv. I said, correction, add Be’er Sheva. Because Be’er Sheva will be the new cyber capital of Israel. And you should see what is happening now in the south of Israel, in the Negev. This fantastic growth, this fantastic explosion. We’re putting highways and railways to the North and to the South, it makes Israel sound like an enormous country. We’re just doing what the United States did in the 19th century. But we’re doing it. We’re connecting the periphery, we’re trying to eliminate the periphery. And the most important lines that we’re paving are the fast cyber, of rather fast fiber that we’re putting from Kiryat Shmona right to Eilat. That’s the real highway. That’s the information highway. That every child, every boy, every girl in Israel, Jew, non-Jew, Christian, Muslims, Bedouins, they’re all going to be connected to it and it’s a fabulous future that we have.

I think we’re perfectly suited for the information society. We have a lot of things that we have to do, improve our education, reduce our bureaucracy, deregulate, open ourselves up and we’re consciously opening ourselves up, including to the cyber companies of the world.

We’re doing this because I believe in Israel’s future. I believe we can overcome all these challenges that we face. But we have to be clear about the challenges. We have to be clear that there’s a force against us, engine of modernism that I call, and that is the force of Medievalism that is centered in Iran, and we have to make sure that those eerie Medievalists do not get their hands on the weapons of mass death. It is perfectly possible. It is within our reach if we so wish it. And we have to achieve a durable and stable peace with our Palestinian neighbors. One that is based on mutual recognition and solid security arrangements, and we have to keep developing the State of Israel while exposing those who would rob us of the legitimacy that we so much deserve and that we have earned over centuries of suffering.

These are tasks that I know you share. We have embarked on a task to ensure the Jewish future by cooperating between ourselves and the Jewish Agency, by bringing young people here in Taglit, in Masa, and so many other efforts. I’m always delighted when I see the Birthright kids who come here. I see their eyes sparkle and glow. I see what happens to them when they touch the Kotel. I see what happens to them when they realize that this is their land. Well, this is your land as well, and I know that we have no better partners than you.

I want to thank you for everything that you’ve been doing this year and over the years on behalf of the State of Israel, on behalf of the Jewish people. It’s one and the same thing.
Thank you

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 Brief June 26, 2012: Haredi Orthodox Men Arrested in Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Anti-Israel Graffiti Vandalism

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Haredi Orthodox men arrested in Yad Vashem vandalism

Source: JTA, 6-26-12

Three haredi Orthodox men were arrested for allegedly spray-painting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel graffiti on the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

The men, aged 18, 26 and 27, of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak and reportedly of the Neturei Karta group, were arrested Tuesday and reportedly admitted committing the vandalism earlier this month. They are also suspected of being connected to vandalism attacks at Ammunition Hill on Memorial Day and on memorials in the Jordan Valley.

The slogans, written in Hebrew, included “Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust,” “If Hitler did not exist, the Zionists would have invented him,” and “The war of the Zionist regime is not the war of the Jewish people.”

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev praised the quick and effective work of the police.

“I believe that it was important to know the identities of those who spray-painted the graffiti. The suspects are extremist ultra-Orthodox Jews, anti-Zionists, who are on the fringes of society, and do not represent the majority who respect the memory of the Holocaust,” Shalev said. “Numerous reactions that we received from Israel and around the world, expressing condemnation and repugnance of the graffiti testify that this warped action offended many, and I hope that the court will mete out justice to the criminals.”

The Neturei Karta is a group of Orthodox Jews that rejects Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel, believing that a legitimate Israel can only be reestablished with the coming of the Messiah.

Israel Brief June 25, 2012: Central Israel Moshav Maor Synagogue vandailzed with Arabic graffiti

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Synagogue vandalized with Arabic sayings

Source: JTA, 6-25-12

A synagogue in central Israel was defaced with Arabic graffiti.

The vandalism was discovered June 22 on a synagogue in central Israel’s Moshav Maor.

The graffiti was from an Islamic prayer and read “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”

It came days after a West Bank mosque near Ramallah was torched and graffiti protesting the upcoming evacuation of several apartment buildings in the Ulpana neighborhood of the West Bank settlement of Beit El was painted on its walls in what is being considered a price tag attack.

Israel Political Brief June 12, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres Condemn Anti-Israel & Anti-Semitic Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Graffiti

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Netanyahu, Peres Condemn Yad Vashem Graffiti

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres condemn the anti-Zionist hate slogans that were sprayed on the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum.
Binyamin Netanyahu

Binyamin Netanyahu
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned on Monday evening the anti-Zionist hate slogans and graffiti praising Hitler that were sprayed on the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum.

“I saw the outrageous graffiti today at Yad Vashem,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “It is hard to believe that a human being could be capable of writing such things. I hope that the police will apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to the justice they deserve.”

President Shimon Peres, who landed in Washington, DC, on Monday, also condemned the incident, saying, “This is one of the most horrible things. What, are we trying to imitate those who tried to kill us? All the people must stand united, as one man, against this phenomenon.”…READ MORE

 

PM Netanyahu’s Reaction to the Desecration at Yad Vashem

Source: PMO, 6-11-12

Following is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction today to the desecration at Yad Vashem:

“I saw the outrageous graffiti today at Yad Vashem. It is hard to believe that a human being could be capable of writing such things. I hope that the police will apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to the justice they deserve.”

Israel Brief June 11, 2012: Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Defaced with Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Graffiti

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Hate Vandals Deface Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum

Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum officials were shocked Monday morning to discover anti-Zionist hate slogans and graffiti praising Hitler.
Yad VaShem

Yad VaShem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum officials were shocked Monday morning to discover anti-Zionist hate slogans and graffiti praising Hitler.

“Hitler, thanks for the Holocaust” and “If Hitler didn’t exist the Zionists would have had to invent him” were among the graffiti scrawled on the walls of the plaza. Another hate message stated, “Jews wake up – the Zionist regime is dangerous,” and the vandalism was signed by “The global Zionist mafia.”

Yad VaShem director Avner Shalev said, “I am shocked and horrified by this blatant act of burning hatred against the country and against Zionism. It has crossed the red line and is very worrisome.”

He said it is not clear who was behind the vandalism, and police are investigating.

Education Minister Gideon Saar asserted that the vandals “intended to insult public sensitivities.”  One of the signatures indicated that anti-Zionist Jews may have been behind the hate attack, and security cameras may offer evidence of the perpetrators.

Yad VaShem was closed in the morning while workers tried to erase the damage.

 

Yad Vashem hit with anti-Israel, anti-Semitic graffiti

Source: JTA, 6-11-12

Vandals spray painted anti-Israel and anti-Semitic graffiti at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.

The slogans written in Hebrew, including “Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust,” “If Hitler did not exist, the Zionists would have invented him,” and “The war of the Zionist regime is not the war of the Jewish people,” were mostly found at the entrance to the museum and concentrated near the Warsaw Ghetto Square and the memorial to the deportees.

Police reportedly believe that haredi Jewish extremists, who are opposed to the state of Israel, believing that it should not be established until the arrival of the Messiah, are responsible for the crime, which occurred early Monday morning.

Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev, who is a Holocaust survivor, called the vandalism a “blatant act of hatred of Israel and Zionism,” and said that it “crosses a red line.”

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