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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.