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.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 13, 2015: President Reuven Rivlin eulogizes victims of Paris attack at Jerusalem Funeral — Transcript

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President Rivlin eulogizes victims of Paris attack

Source: MFA, 1-13-15
MFASummaryNew

Regardless of what may be the sick motives of terrorists, it is beholden upon the leaders of Europe to act, and commit to firm measures to return a sense of security and safety to the Jews of Europe.

At the funeral ceremony today (13 January 2015) in Jerusalem, President Rivlin eulogized the victims of the terror attack on the kosher market in Paris:
“Dear families, Yoav, Yohan, Philippe, Francois-Michel, this is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel. This is not how we wanted you to arrive in the Land of Israel, this is not how we wanted to see you come home, to the State of Israel, and to Jerusalem, its capital. We wanted you alive, we wanted for you, life.
At moments such as these, I stand before you, brokenhearted, shaken and in pain, and with me stands an entire nation.
Phillipe, you wanted to shop for the Sabbath, and what is more Jewish than preparing, shopping on a Friday, for the holy Sabbath day.
“My father is a hero”, wept Rafael, your son. “He was murdered, simply because he was a Jew.” What can we say to your dear wife Philippe? What can we say to your three young children, whose cries of ‘Daddy’ will be met with silence?
Francois-Michel, the apartment that you bought here in Israel, was ready for your arrival. You so wanted to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel), to live here with us. But you will never now be able to affix a mezuzah upon the doorpost of your home in Israel. “What man is there, who has built a new house and has not yet inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in battle,” as it is written in the Torah. But for you, the war came to you, and the murderer’s hand destroyed everything.
Yoav, you were here, just two weeks ago in Jerusalem, for the first time. You stood at the Western Wall, you were photographed wrapped in the Israeli flag. Today, you are here for the second, and the final time. As a Jewish hero, at one with us.
Yohan, you could have got away, escaped, you could have run – but you did not surrender. You fought with the murderer, to save the life a three year old boy. You succeeded in that, but paid with your life. Just twenty years old, and already a hero.
Dear families, people of Israel. Philippe Braham, Yoav Hattab, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada, were murdered on the eve of the Sabbath, in a kosher supermarket in Paris, in cold blood, because they were Jewish. The murderer made sure to be in a Jewish shop, and only then did he carry out the massacre. This was pure, venomous evil, which stirs the very worst of memories. This is sheer hatred of Jews; abhorrent, dark and premeditated, which seeks to strike, wherever there is Jewish life. In Paris, in Jerusalem, in Toulouse, and in Tel Aviv. In Brussels, and in Mumbai. In the streets, and in the synagogues. In the schools, and in the local market. In the train stations, and in the museums.
Like many, I watched the millions who marched in the streets of France. It was a demonstration of deep solidarity which warmed my heart. While the last weeks and months have proven, that terror does not discriminate between blood, we cannot escape the fact that this terrorism, explicitly targets the Jewish people. Those wearing tzitzit (the tasseled four cornered garment), those wearing kippot (skullcaps), those eating kosher food, praying in synagogues, ‘students of the Torah’.
It would be dangerous to deny that we are talking about anti-Semitism, whether old or new. Regardless of what may be the sick motives of terrorists, it is beholden upon the leaders of Europe to act, and commit to firm measures to return a sense of security and safety to the Jews of Europe; in Toulouse, in Paris, in Brussels, or in Burgas.
We cannot allow it to be the case, that in the year 2015, seventy years since the end of the Second World War, Jews are afraid to walk in the streets of Europe with skullcaps and tzitzit. It cannot be allowed, that we should see in the news, frequent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, of Jews being beaten, and of synagogues and communities under attack. It is no longer possible to ignore or remain ambiguous, or to act weakly or with leniency against the rabid anti-Semitic incitement. Ignorance and violence will not simply go away on their own.
My brothers and sisters, members of the French Jewish community, we have in recent years witnessed a strengthening and a tightening of the vibrant and strong connection between the Jewish community of France, and the State and citizens of Israel. This strong and close bond finds expression in times of joy and grief, in good times and in bad.
We stood here together, and accompanied on their final journey, Miriam Monsonego, Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, and his infant children, Gavriel and Ariyeh. And just last summer, the people of Israel stood as one, as they laid to rest Jordan Ben-Simon, a ‘lone soldier’ from France. I met his parents, and his sisters. Special people, a family committed to a love for Israel, Jewish tradition, and a love for the State of Israel.
At these difficult times, I have learned how much we truly are one people. I understand how important it is that we stay together, close together, regardless of geographical distance. And today too, we are brothers, members of one family, with heads bowed, with tears of sorrow. A bond which cannot be unraveled by time or distance. A bond of spirit and blood.
Much has been said since the murders, on the issue of the immigration to Israel of French Jewry. My dear brothers and sisters, Jewish citizens of France, you are welcome. Our land is your land, our home is your home, and we yearn to see you settle in Zion.
However, returning to your ancestral home need not be due to distress, out of desperation, because of destruction, or in the throes of terror and fear. Terror has never kept us down, and we do not want terror to subdue you. The Land of Israel is the land of choice. We want you to choose Israel, because of a love for Israel.
Dear families, aside the graves of your loved ones, we promise that we will continue to fight for your right to live as Jews – wherever you may be. We will continue to fight for your right to open up proudly the synagogues, to educate your children in the study of Torah, a love for Israel, and a responsibility to the world around them.
Jewish blood is not worthless. Human blood is not worthless. The earth will not cover the blood, nothing will cure the pain. Here, between Jerusalem’s mountains, upon Har HaMenuchot, we lay to rest our brothers who have come from afar, our brothers, sons of France, but also sons of Jerusalem. May they be of blessed memory.”

PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the funeral
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s media Advisor)
[Translation]
We see the extent of your grief, the depth of your sorrow. When I embraced you in Paris, I told you that I am familiar with your agony, the anguish of partners, parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who lost their beloved. On this day, when four new graves have been dug in the soil of Jerusalem, the entire State of Israel embraces you with love. These graves are the final resting place of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel.
Four dear, upstanding people who loved their fellows. Four people who, like the victims from Toulouse who are buried here, were murdered only because they were Jewish. Their lives were cut short in a frenzy of hatred by a despised murderer. But we shall not waste words on the contemptible killer, nor on those who slaughtered other innocents on French soil, as it is their actions that provide testimony of their murderous zeal, the poisonous fanaticism of the radical Islamic terrorist organizations that serves as the motivation for carrying out horrific acts around the world.
I have been saying this for many years, and I will say it again here today: they are not the enemies only of the Jewish people. They are the enemies of all humanity, and the time has come for all civilized people to unite and eliminate them from our midst.
I returned from Paris yesterday. I marched with leaders who came from all over the world. I think that most of them understand, or are beginning to, that radical Islamist terrorism is a real and present danger to the peace of the world we live in.
And there, in Paris, I witnessed once again the strength of spirit and the warmth of the Jewish community in France, a community that has made a great contribution to France, and is connected with every fiber of its being to the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel – the three-ply cord that has never been severed, which has ensured our existence and is the secret of our resurrection.
Therefore, at this time, we should focus on the great spirit that is present here, the spirit of Israel which is saying: you will never, ever defeat us. The secret of our nation’s strength is our internal unity, our faith and the mutual responsibility that binds us together. This is the source of our power, our resilience – the resilience of an ancient people that has overcome every obstacle and adversity, and has risen from the dirt.
Look around here in the mountains of Jerusalem. Today, thankfully, we have a state of our own – a thriving, modern state; a state that shines a bright light, like a moral beacon for the world; a state that takes responsibility for its own fate. And our President was right when he said that Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety. But I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the State of Israel, the historic homeland that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children.
Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state – and that is the hope of the entire Jewish nation.
May the souls of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel be bound in the bond of life.
May we be comforted by the prosperity of our people and the building of our country.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 13, 2015: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Funeral of the Four Victims of the Terrorist Attack at the Hyper Cacher in Paris — Transcript

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Funeral of the Four Victims of the Terrorist Attack at the Hyper Cacher in Paris

Source: PMO, 1-13-15

יום שלישי כ”ב טבת תשע”ה

We see the extent of your grief, the depth of your sorrow. When I embraced you in Paris, I told you that I am familiar with your agony, the anguish of partners, parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who lost their beloved. On this day, when four new graves have been dug in the soil of Jerusalem, the entire State of Israel embraces you with love. These graves are the final resting place of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel.

Four dear, upstanding people who loved their fellows. Four people who, like the victims from Toulouse who are buried here, were murdered only because they were Jewish. Their lives were cut short in a frenzy of hatred by a despised murderer. But we shall not waste words on the contemptible killer, nor on those who slaughtered other innocents on French soil, as it is their actions that provide testimony of their murderous zeal, the poisonous fanaticism of the radical Islamic terrorist organizations that serves as the motivation for carrying out horrific acts around the world.

I have been saying this for many years, and I will say it again here today: they are not the enemies only of the Jewish people. They are the enemies of all humanity, and the time has come for all civilized people to unite and eliminate them from our midst.

I returned from Paris yesterday. I marched with leaders who came from all over the world. I think that most of them understand, or are beginning to, that radical Islamist terrorism is a real and present danger to the peace of the world we live in.

And there, in Paris, I witnessed once again the strength of spirit and the warmth of the Jewish community in France, a community that has made a great contribution to France, and is connected with every fiber of its being to the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel – the three-ply cord that has never been severed, which has ensured our existence and is the secret of our resurrection.

Therefore, at this time, we should focus on the great spirit that is present here, the spirit of Israel which is saying: you will never, ever defeat us. The secret of our nation’s strength is our internal unity, our faith and the mutual responsibility that binds us together. This is the source of our power, our resilience – the resilience of an ancient people that has overcome every obstacle and adversity, and has risen from the dirt.

Look around here in the mountains of Jerusalem. Today, thankfully, we have a state of our own – a thriving, modern state; a state that shines a bright light, like a moral beacon for the world; a state that takes responsibility for its own fate. And our President was right when he said that Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety. But I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the State of Israel, the historic homeland that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children.

Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state – and that is the hope of the entire Jewish nation.

May the souls of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel be bound in the bond of life.
May we be comforted by the prosperity of our people and the building of our country.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 11, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Great Synagogue of Paris — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Great Synagogue of Paris

Source: PMO, 1-11-15
יום ראשון כ’ טבת תשע”ה

On this day, all citizens of Israel and Jews around the world stand with France and the French people. I greatly appreciate the determined stance of the President of France, Francois Hollande, and Prime Minister Valls against any expression of anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism and against terror. This stance is important to France and it is important to the world.

I wish to convey my condolences to the families of the journalists and police and all those innocent people who were murdered while realizing their most basic rights: freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of belief, even the freedom not to believe. These are the values on which modern France is built and these are values that are worth fighting for.

Today I marched through the streets of Paris, in one line with leaders from around the world, in order to say that terror must end. It is time that we fight against terror together. And I would like to use this opportunity to salute the French security forces who acted with remarkable bravery, as well as to express my appreciation to the Malian, who is a Muslim, who helped save seven Jews.

My dear brothers and sisters, I came here from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, to share in your pain over the murders of Francois-Michel, Philippe, Yoav and of Yohan, who bravely tried to grab the terrorist’s gun and was fatally wounded. The memory of our four holy brothers will be forever engraved on the hearts of our people.

Unfortunately the people of Israel have experienced this pain. We have experienced it many times because we have been fighting against terror for many years, and like many in Israel, I am personally familiar with the wounds of terror as well as the agony of bereavement. As a soldier, I was wounded in an operation to free hostages who had been kidnapped on a Sabena airplane. My late brother, Yoni, was killed in Entebbe when rescuing the hostages kidnapped on an Air France airplane. For years, the best of our sons and daughters were killed in many terror attacks, and the finest of our fighters fell in heroic battles against terrorism, including just recently during Operation Protective Edge.

Today we bow our heads in memory of the victims in Paris. However, as representatives of an ancient and proud people, we stand tall against evil because we can overcome it. “The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread” – because truth and justice are on our side. And here is the truth: Our shared enemy is radical Islam, not Islam and not just radicals – radical Islam. This form of Islam has many names: ISIS, Hamas, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, al-Shabab, Hezbollah; but they are all branches from the same poison tree.

Although the various factions of radical Islam are given to local bloody conflicts, including amongst themselves, they all share the same aspiration: To impose a dark tyranny on the world, to return humanity one thousand years to the past. They trample anyone who does not share their path, first and foremost their Muslim brothers, but their greatest hatred is saved for Western culture, that same culture that respects freedom and equal rights – all the things they so despise.

For this reason it is not a coincidence that radical Islam has sought to destroy Israel from the very day it declared its independence: Because Israel is the only Western democracy in the Middle East, because Israel is the only place that is truly safe for Christians, women, minorities, that respects all human rights.

Well, here is another truth: Radical Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because it is an organic part of the West. It rightly views Israel as an island of Western democracy and tolerance in an ocean of fanaticism and violence that it wishes to impose on the Middle East, Europe and the entire world.
Israel is not under attack because of this or that detail of its policies, but rather because of its very existence and nature. But we are not the only ones under attack. Look around you: The entire world is under attack, the entire world – the Twin Towers in New York, the subways in London and Madrid, tourists in Bali, students at schools in Russia and Pakistan, a hotel in Mumbai, the mall in Nairobi.

A very short path connects the issuing of the fatwa against the author Salman Rushdie, the murder of Theo van Gogh in Holland and the attacks on Jews in Israel and around the world – it is a short distance from this to the murderous attacks in Paris on the office of Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket not far from here. These are not isolated actions and we must see what they have in common. Otherwise we will not be able to fight against terror in methodical and consistent manner.

We must recognize that there is a global network of radical Islam at work – a network of hatred, fanaticism and murder. I believe that this threat will only grow larger when thousands of terrorists come to Europe from the killing fields of the Middle East. The danger will grow much greater and will become a serious threat to humanity at large if radical Islam gains control over nuclear weapons, and therefore we must use all means to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic weapon. We must support each other in this fateful struggle against radical Islamic fanatics wherever they are.

Israel stands with Europe and Europe must stand with Israel. As the civilized world today stands with France against terror, so must it stand with Israel against terror. It is the exact same terror. Those who slaughtered Jews in the synagogue in Jerusalem and those who slaughtered Jews and journalists in Paris belong to the same murderous terrorist movement. They should be condemned in the same measure and they must be fought in the same manner.

Only when the international community fights our shared enemy in a uniform manner will we know that we are on the path to victory. I promise you: Israel will continue to fight against terror. Israel will continue to defend itself and we know that when we defend ourselves, we defend the entire civilized world.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, Jews of France, I would like to say to you what I say to our Jewish brothers and sisters from all countries: You have the full right to live in safety and tranquility as citizens with equal rights wherever you wish, including here in France. But Jews of our time have been blessed with another right, a right that did not exist for previous generations of Jews: The right to join their Jewish brothers and sisters in our historic homeland, the Land of Israel; the right to live in our free country, the one and only Jewish state, the State of Israel; the right to stand tall and proud at the walls of Zion, our eternal capital of Jerusalem.

Any Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed with open arms and warm and accepting hearts. They will not arrive in a foreign land but rather the land of our forefathers. God willing, they will come and many of you will come to our home. Am Yisrael Chai.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 11, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Departure for Paris — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Departure for Paris

Source: PMO, 1-11-15
יום ראשון כ’ טבת תשע”ה

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, upon his departure for Paris, made the following remarks:

“I am going to Paris in order to participate in the rally, along with world leaders, for a renewed struggle against the Islamic terrorism that is threatening all of humanity, which I have been calling for for years. This evening I will attend a special rally, along with French President Francois Hollande, with the Jewish community in France. I will say there that any Jew who wants to immigrate to Israel will be received here with open arms.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 9, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement in Wake of the Terrorist Attacks in Paris — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement in Wake of the Terrorist Attacks in Paris

Source: PMO, 1-9-15

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening, issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to send our condolences to the French Jewish community and the French people who have suffered a murderous terrorist assault in the last few days. These attacks in Paris are the continuation of extremist Islam’s war against our free civilization, in the West, in the entire modern world and also in the moderate Arab states and among entire publics in the Islamic world. This is a wave of terrorism that is spreading a global net of hatred, fanaticism and murder. After establishing its bases in the Middle East, terrorism is now sending its arms throughout the world. If the world does not take action quickly, we will find this terrorism gaining momentum and increasingly striking at other centers of the free world and in other places.

The terrorist organizations of extremist Islam have many and varied names – Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Al Qaida, Nusra, Islamic Jihad and Boko Haram. They are all motivated by the same bloody hatred and the same fanaticism that knows no borders.

They want to take humanity 1,000 years backward to a dark tyranny that we freed ourselves from after many generations. They simply want to take humanity backward.

Further proof that these organizations are branches of the same poisonous tree may be seen in the fact that one of Hamas’s official organs praised the reprehensible murderers in Paris. It must be understood that this is a war against us all.

I am convinced that if we are united this terrorism will be unable to defeat us. But if we ignore the true root of the problem, if we ignore the fact that extremist Islamic terrorism seeks to exterminate Western civilization as a whole, including the Jewish People, if we ignore this – what we are now seeing in Paris will be only the beginning. These are not frightening words or prophecies of rage, this is the simple reality and the time has come to recognize it.

Last night I spoke with French Prime minister Manuel Valls and with French President Francois Hollande. I commended the determination with which the French authorities eliminated the terrorists, these murderers, and I also commended the courage of the French security services. But this is not enough. In order to fight terrorism, it is essential to strike at its sources of financing and at the centers of incitement that encourage these murderous acts throughout Europe. It is also essential to take action against countries that give support, shelter and passage to terrorism.

The first law is that it is forbidden to give in to the fear that it seeks to instil in us. In order to fight terrorism it is simply necessary to fight it. We express our deepest sorrow over the French citizens who were murdered, the journalists, the police officers and the innocent citizens who were murdered simply because they were citizens of the free world. We express our deepest sorrow over our Jewish brothers who were murdered simply because they were Jews. Our brothers and sisters in the French Jewish community, we grieve with you over the terrible loss. I would like to send condolences to the families of Yoav Hattab, Philippe Barham, Johan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada. We also send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all the wounded.

This evening, I spoke by telephone with Celine Shreki, who was a hostage in the kosher market in the heart of Paris; she is recovering. She told me about the terrorist’s inconceivable cruelty and of the heroism of the young Jewish man who attempted to seize his weapon and shoot him; he was shot by the terrorist and died about 45 minutes later.

To Celine and all French Jews, and to all European Jews, I would like to say: The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home. This week, a special team of ministers will convene to advance steps to increase immigration from France and other countries in Europe that are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism. All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our state that is also your state.”

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 Musings January 21, 2014: Canadian PM Harper pledges staunch support for Israel in historic Knesset speech

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Canadian PM Harper pledges staunch support for Israel in historic Knesset speech

By Bonnie K. Goodman

For the first time in history a Canadian Prime Minister has addressed the Israeli Knesset. On Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 Stephen Harper on his first trip to Israel became the first and only Canadian leader to have the honor of…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 20, 2014: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s historic speech to Israel’s Knesset

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Full text of Harper’s historic speech to Israel’s Knesset

Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses the Knesset on Monday, January 20, 2014. Harper is visiting Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan on this trip.

Source: Globe and Mail, 1-20-14

Shalom.

And thank you for inviting me to visit this remarkable country, and especially for this opportunity to address the Knesset.

It is truly a great honour.

And if I may, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my wife Laureen and the entire Canadian delegation, let me begin by thanking the government and people of Israel for the warmth of your hospitality.

You have made us feel extremely welcome.

We have felt immediately at home.

Ladies and gentlemen, Canada and Israel are the greatest of friends, and the most natural of allies.

And, with your indulgence, I would like to offer a reflection upon what makes the relationship between Canada and Israel special and important because the relationship between us is very strong.

The friendship between us is rooted in history, nourished by shared values, and it is intentionally reinforced at the highest levels of commerce and government as an outward expression of strongly held inner convictions.

There has, for example, been a free trade agreement in place between Canada and Israel for many years, an agreement that has already proved its worth.

The elimination of tariffs on industrial products, and some foodstuffs, has led to a doubling in the value of trade between our countries.

But this only scratches the surface of the economic potential of this relationship and I look forward to soon deepening and broadening our mutual trade and investment goals.

As well, our military establishments share information and technology.

This has also been to our mutual benefit.

For example, during Canada’s mission to Afghanistan, our use of Israeli-built reconnaissance equipment saved the lives of Canadian soldiers.

All such connections are important, and build strong bridges between us.

However, to truly understand the special relationship between Israel and Canada, one must look beyond trade and institutions to the personal ties of friendship and kinship.

Jews have been present in Canada for more than 250 years.

In generation after generation, by hard work and perseverance, Jewish immigrants, often starting with nothing, have prospered greatly.

Today, there are nearly 350,000 Canadians who share with you their heritage and their faith.

They are proud Canadians.

But having met literally thousands of members of this community, I can tell you this:

They are also immensely proud of what the people of Israel have accomplished here, of your courage in war, of your generosity in peace, and of the bloom that the desert has yielded, under your stewardship.

Laureen and I share that pride, the pride and the understanding that what has been achieved here has occurred in the shadow of the horrors of the Holocaust; the understanding that it is right to support Israel because, after generations of persecution, the Jewish people deserve their own homeland and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland.

Let me repeat that: Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so.

This is a very Canadian trait, to do something for no reason other than it is right even when no immediate reward for, or threat to, ourselves is evident.

On many occasions, Canadians have even gone so far as to bleed and die to defend the freedom of others in far-off lands.

To be clear, we have also periodically made terrible mistakes as in the refusal of our government in the 1930s to ease the plight of Jewish refugees but, as a country, at the turning points of history, Canada has consistently chosen, often to our great cost, to stand with others who oppose injustice, and to confront the dark forces of the world.

It is, thus, a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.

But, I would argue, support today for the Jewish state of Israel is more than a moral imperative it is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own, long-term interests.

Ladies and gentlemen, I said a moment ago, that the special friendship between Canada and Israel is rooted in shared values.

Indeed, Israel is the only country in the Middle East, which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

These are not mere notions.

They are the things that, over time and against all odds, have proven to be the only ground in which human rights, political stability, and economic prosperity, may flourish.

These values are not proprietary; they do not belong to one nation or one people.

Nor are they a finite resource; on the contrary, the wider they are spread, the stronger they grow.

Likewise, when they are threatened anywhere, they are threatened everywhere.

And what threatens them, or more precisely, what today threatens the societies that embrace such values and the progress they nurture?

Those who scorn modernity, who loathe the liberty of others, and who hold the differences of peoples and cultures in contempt. Those who, often begin by hating the Jews, but, history shows us, end up hating anyone who is not them. Those forces, which have threatened the state of Israel every single day of its existence, and which, today, as 9/11 graphically showed us, threaten us all.

And so, either we stand up for our values and our interests, here, in Israel, stand up for the existence of a free, democratic and distinctively Jewish state or the retreat of our values and our interests in the world will begin.

Ladies and gentlemen, just as we refuse to retreat from our values, so we must also uphold the duty to advance them.

And our commitment as Canadians to what is right, fair and just is a universal one.

It applies no less to the Palestinian people, than it does to the people of Israel.

Just as we unequivocally support Israel’s right of self-defence, so too Canada has long-supported a just and secure future for the Palestinian people.

And, I believe, we share with Israel a sincere hope that the Palestinian people and their leaders… will choose a viable, democratic, Palestinian state, committed to living peacefully alongside the Jewish state of Israel.

As you, Prime Minister [Netanyahu], have said, when Palestinians make peace with Israel, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations — it will be the first.

Sadly, we have yet to reach that point.

But, when that day comes, and come it must, I can tell you that Israel may be the first to welcome a sovereign Palestinian state, but Canada will be right behind you.

Ladies and gentlemen, support – even firm support – doesn’t mean that allies and friends will agree on all issues all of the time.

No state is beyond legitimate questioning or criticism.

But our support does mean at least three things.

First, Canada finds it deplorable that some in the international community still question the legitimacy of the existence of the state of Israel.

Our view on Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is absolute and non-negotiable.

Second, Canada believes that Israel should be able to exercise its full rights as a UN member-state and to enjoy the full measure of its sovereignty.

For this reason, Canada has spoken on numerous occasions in support of Israel’s engagement and equal treatment in multilateral fora.

And, in this regard, I should mention that we welcome Israel’s induction this month into the western, democratic group of states at the United Nations.

Third, we refuse to single out Israel for criticism on the international stage.

Now I understand, in the world of diplomacy, with one, solitary, Jewish state and scores of others, it is all too easy “to go along to get along” and single out Israel.

But such “going along to get along,” is not a “balanced” approach, nor a “sophisticated” one; it is, quite simply, weak and wrong.

Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world where that kind of moral relativism runs rampant.

And in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can be easily planted.

“And so we have witnessed, in recent years, the mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism and the emergence of a new strain.

We all know about the old anti-Semitism.

It was crude and ignorant, and it led to the horrors of the death camps.

Of course, in many dark corners, it is still with us.

But, in much of the Western world, the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society.

People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.

As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel.

On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students.

Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state.

Think about that.

Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism.

It is nothing short of sickening.

But this is the face of the new anti-Semitism.

It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make  the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation.

Of course, criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily anti-Semitic.

But what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring – or excusing – the violence and oppression all around it?

What else can we call it when, Israel is routinely targeted at the United Nations, and when Israel remains the only country to be the subject of a permanent agenda item at the regular sessions of its human rights council?

Ladies and gentlemen, any assessment – any judgment – of Israel’s actions must start with this understanding:

In the sixty-five years that modern Israel has been a nation, Israelis have endured attacks and slanders beyond counting and have never known a day of true peace.

And we understand that Israelis live with this, impossible calculus:

If you act to defend yourselves, you will suffer widespread condemnation, over and over again.

But, should you fail to act, you alone will suffer the consequence of your inaction, and that consequence will be final, your destruction.

The truth, that Canada understands, is that many of the hostile forces Israel faces, are faced by all western nations.

And Israel faces them for many of the same reasons we face them.

You just happen to be a lot closer to them.

Of course, no nation is perfect.

But neither Israel’s existence nor its policies are responsible for the instability in the Middle East today.

“One must look beyond Israel’s borders to find the causes of the relentless oppression, poverty and violence in much of the region, of the heartbreaking suffering of Syrian refugees, of sectarian violence and the fears of religious minorities, especially Christians, and of the current domestic turmoil in so many states.

So what are we to do?

Most importantly, we must deal with the world as we find it.

The threats in this region are real, deeply rooted, and deadly and the forces of progress, often anaemically weak.

For too many nations, it is still easier to scapegoat Israel than to emulate your success. “It is easier to foster resentment and hatred of Israel’s democracy than it is to provide the same rights and freedoms to their own people.

I believe that a Palestinian state will come, and one thing that will make it come is when the regimes that bankroll terrorism realise that the path to peace is accommodation, not violence.

Which brings me to the government of Iran.

Late last year, the world announced a new approach to diplomacy with the government in Tehran.

Canada has long held the view that every diplomatic measure should be taken to ensure that regime never obtains a nuclear weapon.

We therefore appreciate the earnest efforts of the five permanent members of the security council and Germany.

Canada will evaluate the success of this approach not on the merits of its words, but on the implementation and verification of its promised actions.

We truly hope that it is possible to walk the Iranian government back from taking the irreversible step of manufacturing nuclear weapons.

But, for now, Canada’s own sanctions will remain fully in place.

And should our hopes not be realized, should the present agreement prove ephemeral Canada will be a strong voice for renewed sanctions.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude with this thought.

I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world.

It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society a vibrant democracy a freedom-loving country… with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary, an innovative, world-leading “start-up” nation.

You have taken the collective memory of death and persecution to build an optimistic, forward-looking land one that so values life, you will sometimes release a thousand criminals and terrorists, to save one of your own.

In the democratic family of nations, Israel represents values which our government takes as articles of faith, and principles to drive our national life.

And therefore, through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.

My friends, you have been generous with your time and attention.

Once more, Laureen and I and our entire delegation thank you for your generous hospitality, and look forward to continuing our visit to your country.

Thank you for having us, and may peace be upon Israel.

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 April 8, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: We cannot forfeit our security — Speaking at Yad VaShem’s Yom HaShoah Ceremony

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Netanyahu: We cannot forfeit our security

Source: Jerusalem Post, 4-8-13

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the main state ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Sunday, quoting anti-Semitic statements by Iranian religious leaders as evidence that the hatred against the Jews….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief January 29, 2013: Sunday Times editor apologizes over Benjamin Netanyahu cartoon

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Sunday Times editor apologises over Benjamin Netanyahu cartoon

Source: The Guardian, 1-29-13

The acting editor of the Sunday Times has apologised unreservedly to Jewish community leaders for what he said was “a terrible mistake” in publishing a cartoon featuring Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which prompted a wave of complaints….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 17, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Hungarian President Janos Ader — States Concern About Anti-Semitism in Hungary

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PM Netanyahu Meets with Hungarian President Janos Ader

Photo by GPO

Source: PMO, 7-17-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning in his Jerusalem office, met with Hungarian President Janos Ader. The two men discussed advancing bilateral relations, Iran’s race to develop nuclear weapons, the unrest in the Middle East, ways to advance the negotiations with the Palestinians, and anti-Semitism.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “There is concern in Israel and the Jewish world over a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Hungary. Such a dangerous phenomenon must be uprooted before it can spread.” Hungarian President Ader underscored his firm opposition to any manifestation of anti-Semitism.

At the end of the meeting, President Ader invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit Hungary.

Jewish News Brief May 30, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Jewish American Heritage Month White House Reception

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IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA HOSTS AMERICAN JEWISH HERITAGE MONTH EVENT AT WHITE HOUSE

Obama hosts Jewish heritage event at White House

Source: JTA, 5-30-12

President Obama celebrated the values of communities petitioning government at a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month.

“We don’t just celebrate all that American Jews have done for our country; we also look toward the future,” he said. “And as we do, I know that those of you in this room, but folks all across this country will continue to help perfect our union, and for that I am extraordinarily grateful.”

Obama focused a large portion of his remarks on the 150th anniversary of an order that was issued by Gen. Ulysses Grant expelling Jews “as a class” from the military department of Tennessee.

“It was wrong. Even if it was 1862, even if official acts of anti-Semitism were all too common around the world, it was wrong and indicative of an ugly strain of thought,” Obama said.

He went on to note that American Jews protested the order. “What happened next could have only taken place in America,” the president said. “Groups of American Jews protested General Grant’s decision.”

Obama described how a Jewish merchant from Kentucky met with President Abraham Lincoln and, following the meeting, the order was revoked.

“Like so many groups, Jews have had to fight for their piece of the American dream,” Obama said. “But this country holds a special promise: That if we stand up for the traditions we believe in and in the values we share, then our wrongs can be made right, our union can be made more perfect, and our world can be repaired.”

The order by Lincoln to revoke Grant’s order was on display during the reception, as were letters from two Jewish groups asking for the revocation.

Years later as president, Grant said that he recognized his mistake and apologized for the order. Also on display was a receipt for his contribution to the Adas Israel congregation, which still exists, after attending an 1876 service.

Before he delivered his little history lesson, Obama’s staff consulted with Brandeis University’s Jonathan Sarna, who is an expert on American Jewish history…. READ MORE

  • Obama’s elegant post-blunder speech on Jewish heritage: Obama chose to ignore his referring to Nazi concentration camps as ‘Polish death camps’ during the Jewish American heritage reception, instead choosing to focus on a Jewish struggle during the Civil War…. – Haaretz, 5-31-12

Remarks by the President to a Jewish American Heritage Reception

Source: WH, 5-30-12

East Room

5:17 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Well, welcome to the White House, everybody.  I hope you’re having fun.  Excellent.

I want to recognize Ambassador Michael Oren, and thank him for his work representing our great friend, the state of Israel.  I want to recognize and thank all the members of Congress and the members of my administration who are here today.  I want to thank our musical guests, Rak Shalom.  (Applause.)  I was just meeting with all of them back there — they said they did quite a few numbers.  And they were outstanding, I know.

This year, we celebrate Jewish Heritage Month — Jewish American Heritage Month, and we’re also commemorating an important anniversary.  One hundred-fifty years ago, General Ulysses Grant issued an order –- known as General Orders Number 11 –- that would have expelled Jews, “as a class,” from what was then known as the military department of the Tennessee.  It was wrong.  Even if it was 1862, even if official acts of anti-Semitism were all too common around the world, it was wrong and indicative of an ugly strain of thought.

But what happened next could have only taken place in America. Groups of American Jews protested General Grant’s decision.  A Jewish merchant from Kentucky traveled here, to the White House, and met with President Lincoln in person.  After their meeting, President Lincoln revoked the order — one more reason why we like President Lincoln.  (Laughter and applause.)

And to General Grant’s credit, he recognized that he had made a serious mistake.  So later in his life, he apologized for this order, and as President, he went out of his way to appoint Jews to public office and to condemn the persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe.

Today, we have a few documents on display –- maybe some of you saw them when you walked in.  There are two letters of protest from Jewish organizations to President Lincoln.  There is President Lincoln’s handwritten reply, saying that he had taken action.  And there is a receipt for the donation that President Grant made to the Adas Israel Synagogue here in Washington, when he attended a service there in 1876.

So together, these papers tell a story, a fundamentally American story.  Like so many groups, Jews have had to fight for their piece of the American dream.  But this country holds a special promise:  that if we stand up for the traditions we believe in and in the values we share, then our wrongs can be made right; our union can be made more perfect and our world can be repaired.

Today, it’s our turn, our generation’s turn.  And you guys, your generation’s turn.  You’re younger than us.  (Laughter.)  We got some later generations here in the front.  We’re the ones who have to stand up for our shared values.   Here at home, we have to rebuild an America where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.

Beyond our borders, we have to stand alongside our friends who share our commitment to freedom and democracy and universal rights; and that includes, of course, our unwavering commitment to the State of Israel and its security and the pursuit of a just and lasting peace.  (Applause.)

It’s no secret that we’ve got a lot of work to do.  But as your traditions teach us, while we are not obligated to finish the work, neither are we free to desist from that work.

So today, we don’t just celebrate all that American Jews have done for our country; we also look toward the future.  And as we do, I know that those of you in this room, but folks all across this country will continue to help perfect our union; and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful.

God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
5:21 P.M. EDT

Israel Political Brief April 6, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks Regarding Gunter Grass’s Poem Equating Israel & Iran

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

 

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanayahu blasts Gunter Grass poem

Source: JTA, 4-6-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted a German poet who wrote that Israel is a threat to world peace.

In a statement, Netanyahu condemned German Nobel laureate Gunter Grass for his “shameful moral equivalence,” the Times of Israel reported.

“Gunter Grass’s shamelful moral equivalence between Israel and Iran, a regime that denies the Holocaust and threatens to annihilate Israel, says little about Israel and much about Mr. Grass,” Netanyahu said.

Grass, 84 and the winnter of the 1999 Nobel Prize in literature, published a poem Wednesday in which we writes that Israel is “endangering world peace” and criticizes the German government for its support of the Jewish state.

In 2006, Grass acknowledged that he had served in a division of the Waffen-SS.

On Thursday, Grass responded to criticism of his poem, telling a German television station that his critics had not bothered to look at the poem and were interested only in a campaign to ruin his reputation.

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks Regarding Gunter Grass

Source: PMO, 4-6-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks regarding Gunter Grass:

“Gunter Grass’s shameful moral equivalence between Israel and Iran, a regime that denies the Holocaust and threatens to annihilate Israel, says little about Israel and much about Mr. Grass.

It is Iran, not Israel, that is a threat to the peace and security of the world.

It is Iran, not Israel, that threatens other states with annihilation.

It is Iran, not Israel, that supports terror organizations that fire rockets on innocent civilians.

It is Iran, not Israel, that is supporting the Syrian regime’s massacre of its own people.

It is Iran, not Israel, that stones women, hangs gays and brutally represses tens of millions of its own citizens.

For six decades, Mr. Grass hid the fact that he had been a member of the Waffen SS. So for him to cast the one and only Jewish state as the greatest threat to world peace and to oppose giving Israel the means to defend itself is perhaps not surprising.

But decent people everywhere should strongly condemn these ignorant and reprehensible statements.”

Israel Political Brief March 19, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement Following the Terror Attack on a Jewish School in Toulouse, France that killed four

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Following the Terror Attack in Toulouse, France Today (Monday), 3-19-12

“Today we had a savage crime in France that gunned down French Jews, among them children. It’s too early to say what the precise background for this act of murder is, but I think that we can’t rule out that there was a strong murderous anti-Semitic motive here. I’m sure that Nicholas Sarkozy, the President of France, and his government will do their utmost to find the killer and we, in Israel will do everything to help them in this task.

I haven’t heard yet a condemnation from any of the UN bodies but I have heard that one such body, the UN Human Rights Council, invited on this very day a senior representative of Hamas – on this day, when we had the savage murder, they chose to invite a member of Hamas. This particular individual condemned the United States for disposing of the arch-murderer Bin Laden, and he represents an organization that indiscriminately targets children and grown-ups, and women and men. Innocents – is their special favorite target. They kill Jews anywhere – that’s their constitution – kill Jews wherever you find them – that’s what they do. And this is what the Human Rights Council decided to do today – to bring in to its quarters a member of Hamas. So I have one thing to say to the UN Human Rights Council: What do you have to do with human rights? You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Jewish News Brief March 19, 2012: Jewish school shooting attack in Toulouse, France that killed four linked to shootings of soldiers

ISRAEL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

French Jewish school attack that killed four linked to shootings of soldiers

Source: JTA, 3-19-12

Ozar Hatorah, a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, was the site of a shooting Monday that killed four people.  (Ozar Hatorah)
1 out of 1Other Media

Ozar Hatorah, a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, was the site of a shooting Monday that killed four people. (Ozar Hatorah)

The shooting attack that killed four people — a teacher and three students — at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, is linked to recent deadly attacks on French soldiers, forensic tests indicate.

A man riding a motorbike reportedly opened fire Monday morning outside the Ozar Hatorah School, where students were waiting to enter the building at the start of the school day. The shooter then entered the building and continued shooting at students and teachers before fleeing on his motorbike.

Several students also were injured inside the building. The dead are reported to be a 30-year-old rabbi and his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons, as well as the 10-year-old daughter of the school’s principal. Some 200 students attend the school, according to Israel Radio.

Forensic tests found that the weapon used in the attack at the school was the same one used in a pair of fatal shooting attacks targeting off-duty French soldiers in and near Toulouse last week. Those shootings, which were also committed by a gunman on a motorbike, left three soldiers dead and another seriously wounded. The soldiers who were shot were of North African or Caribbean background….READ MORE

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