Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The Global Reach of AJC for Over 100 Years

May 8, 2012 12:47 pm 0 comments

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (left) and Weekly Standard founder William Kristol shake hands at the American Jewish Committee 2012 Global Forum in Washington, DC, where they discussed the upcoming presidential election. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

The American Jewish Committee’s 2012 Global Forum, held May 2-4 in Washington, DC, emphasized the international outreach and diplomatic interaction AJC has developed for more than a century, informing attendees about past results and educating them about current and future approaches.

Below is a synopsis of the AJC forum’s worldwide reach:

Brazil

Antonio Patriota, foreign minister of Brazil, joined AJC Executive Director David Harris at the forum’s opening program to emphasize Brazil’s desire to be “more fully responsible for engaging with every single country in a cooperative association.”

“Brazil has no enemies,” Patriota said. “We are a force for peace.”

While Patriota recalled that Brazil supported Israel’s independence in 1948, he made no excuses for his country’s support of the Palestinian Authority’s attempted Unilateral Declaration of Independence at the United Nations last September.

Germany

On May 3, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle noted that AJC was first Jewish organization to support German reunification following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Westerwelle said he is “proud that today German-Israeli ties are closer and stronger than ever. We are partners and friends because Israel is a vibrant democracy, the only full-fledged democracy in the region.”

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. Photo: wiki commons.

“We will not remain silent when Israel is threatened or its legitimacy called into question,” he said. “We will stand up whenever Israel is unfairly singled out in multilateral fora. And we will denounce any incitement against the State of Israel and its right to exist.” He specifically cited the Iranian nuclear program, calling it a “dangerous, looming threat.”

“We cannot and will not accept an Iranian nuclear weapon,” Westerwelle said. “It would represent not only a threat to Israel but to the region as a whole. And it would undermine the global non-proliferation regime, a cornerstone of global security.”

Cyprus

Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis detailed the increasing number of diplomatic exchanges between Israeli and Cypriot leaders. She noted shared concern with Israel about Turkey’s regional ambitions.

“There is skepticism about Turkey’s true intentions, and whether Turkey is a stabilizing factor in the region,” said Kozakou-Marcoullis Turkey, adding that Turkey “appears keen on bullying its way into a position of hegemony in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.”

Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis. Photo: Nathan Morley.

Kozakou-Marcoullis noted that Cyprus assisted Jewish refugees during the Holocaust and worked with the Haganah to circumvent the British post-World War II blockade of Mandatory Palestine.

“We share a common sphere [with Israel]… dating back several millennia, or in the values of democracy and freedom, or even in the fact that we are both small countries, with few resources and facing many challenges,” she said.

Canada

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird unequivocally said, “Israel has no greater friend in the world today than Canada,” receiving a warm welcome from the more than 1,500 attendees.

“Our strong support for Israel is not about politics at home and certainly not about winning popularity contests at the United Nations,” said Baird. “It’s about values.”

Canada’s support of Israel, Baird said, is based on shared values of “freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

“We make it clear that Israel’s right to exist is non-negotiable,” he said. “We vote against one-sided and unfair resolutions,” he added, noting that his government “rejects the concept of moral relativism in international relations.”

Turning the discussion to energy independence, Baird reminded the audience that Canada has the third-largest oil reserves in the world. He spoke of Canada’s strong support of the somewhat controversial—in America—Keystone XL pipeline project. While extolling the benefits of the project, he engendered good-humored laughter from the audience when he characterized the pipeline as “all about the money…ah, many jobs” it would create.

France

When Dr. Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF (Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France) umbrella organization for the French Jewish community, was called to the podium, the specter of the tragedy in Toulouse was active in the room. Standing before photographs of those killed—Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two small sons, Aryeh and Gabriel, and the delicate picture of little Miriam Monsonego—he questioned how a man could grab a child by her hair, then shoot a bullet through her temple.

More than ever, he said, the French Jewish community will work “to strengthen the values of Judaism.” The room fell silent as a cantor intoned the solemn Kaddish prayer memorializing the dead.

U.S.

AJC’s May 4 plenary juxtaposed U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Weekly Standard founder William Kristol in a debate about the upcoming American presidential election. Frank said President Barack Obama is a strong friend of Israel, citing the “unexpected victory” for Israel at the United Nations as a clear result of the Obama administration’s international lobbying.

“The notion that you are only a friend of Israel if you agree with everything Israel does is counterproductive,” Frank said.

Kristol countered, saying Republican Mitt Romney “will be more reliable than Obama” if elected. He contended that any positive results achieved by the Obama administration came only when it followed George W. Bush’s Israel policies. He criticized the current administration’s efforts to quell the Iranian nuclear program through diplomacy.

Frank, however, said the people at the Pentagon were engaged in “serious thinking” about Iran. Obama, he said, “has eliminated the concept of containment.”

“We are probably talking about the most serious military undertaking since Vietnam,” Frank said. “We must do careful planning in communication with all our Middle East allies. It is unfair for Israel to be asked to take on the burden of the military action.”

The Algemeiner newspaper delivers breaking news and insightful commentary from Israel, the Middle East and Jewish communities around the world | Host to an international Jewish interest blogger community covering Zionism, Israeli politics, Middle East security, terrorism, Jewish tradition, Jewish art, Jewish culture, Jewish music, Jewish activism, Jewish family and spirituality, interviews, profiles, features, video and much more. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →