Combating Anti-Semitism

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AJC Dispatch 12/12/14 A Palestinian Leader Dies, Iran is Cheating, Elections are Coming, and more...

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"I say to the Jews loud and clear: The time for your slaughter has come. The time to fight you has come. The time to kill you has come... Please do not leave in our hearts a single grain of mercy towards you, oh Jews, because when the day of your slaughter arrives, we shall slaughter you without mercy."
—Sheikh Omar abu Sara, in a sermon delivered in the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount


A Complicated Palestinian Leader Dies in a Complicated Way, Complicating an Already Complicated Situation
New York Times / 3-minute read
Ziad Abu Ein first made his mark on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 1979 through his involvement in a terrorist bombing that killed two teens and wounded 36. After fleeing to the U.S., he was extradited back to Israel and convicted, only to be released in a prisoner exchange. Since then, he has risen to prominence as a popular Palestinian political figure. He died after a confrontation with Israeli security forces at a rally on Wednesday. Israeli and Palestinian doctors disagreed over whether the confrontation was itself the cause of death, but nonetheless the PA has, in response, threatened to end security cooperation with Israel and to step up unilateral moves to achieve statehood recognition at the UN and International Criminal Court. Read more

Iran is Cheating
Foreign Policy / 8-minute read
Iran agreed to a set of restrictions on its nuclear program as part of the negotiating process. The U.S. had stated that Iran was abiding by those restrictions. Now, however, a leaked confidential report, presented by the U.S. at the UN, says...

Date: 12/12/2014
AJC Dispatch 12/5/14 Election Season, Media Bias, and More...

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"Why is there so much more focus on Israel than on Syria [and] other places where many more civilians are dying? In other ongoing wars, more civilians die in one week than in Israeli wars in a full year."
—Jacques De Maio, head of the International Red Cross in Israel and the territories.


Election Season Returns
The Daily Beast / 6-minute read
The big news out of Israel this week was the dissolution of the government coalition and the scheduling of elections for March 2015. After much internal cabinet strife, Prime Minister Netanyahu fired Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni from their posts, leading quickly to a vote to disband the government. With elections now on the horizon, Aaron David Miller argues that the Obama administration is certain to consider meddling in the race, as have U.S. Presidents on at least three prior occasions. Read more

Is the Media Biased Against Israel?
The Atlantic / 10-minute read
Following up on his much-read Tablet article released this summer, former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman details the systemic anti-Israel biases he witnessed at...

Date: 12/5/2014
AJC Dispatch 11/28/14


"70% of Americans don't want a deal that allows Iran to maintain nuclear capabilities, against 15% that are somewhat undecided and 15% who don't care. That's as universal a finding as anything I've done in recent years. America is polarized. But when it comes to Iran, they're united: no nuclear — not now, not ever, no excuses, no exceptions."
- Pollster Frank Luntz


Iran Never Intended to Compromise
Times of Israel / 5 minute read
Earlier this week, negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 were extended (for a second time) through July 2015. According to veteran U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross, the U.S. signaled flexibility on key issues, but the Iranians showed no signs of budging and may be incapable of reaching any final deal. While Ross played no official role in the talks, many took note of this report from a well-respected and connected...

Date: 11/28/2014
Ten Years Later

First, some background. In 1975, in the midst of the Cold War, the U.S., Western Europe and the Soviet Union created the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as a mechanism for the West to press for human rights and the Soviet Union to secure economic and security concessions. Today, the OSCE has grown to comprise 57 countries, including all of Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the United States.

In 2004, the OSCE met in Berlin for a high-level conference on anti-Semitism. The German President opened the conference, which was presided over by the German Foreign Minister. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke, as did many of his fellow Foreign Ministers. The consensus document that emerged from this conference, the Berlin Declaration, “declare[d] unambiguously that international developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism.”

This summer, that assertion in the Berlin Declaration proved more relevant than ever. Protests against Israel’s actions in Gaza turned into anti-Semitic mob scenes, as demonstrators besieged...

Date: 11/14/2014
Who Will Be the Next EU Foreign Policy Chief?

As the five-year term of Catherine Ashton, foreign policy director for the European Union, nears its end, leaders of the 28-state EU are meeting this weekend to choose a successor. The EU is one of the P5+1 powers engaged in negotiations with Iran on that country’s dangerous nuclear ambitions, and so the identity of the new EU foreign policy chief is of critical importance to world peace.

Several high-ranking European officials have been mentioned as candidates. Here is what you need to know about the three top contenders:

1. Federica Mogherini, Foreign Minister of Italy

Described by the Wall Street Journal as “typical of center-left politicians of her generation,” Mogherini, pictured above with AJC Executive Director David Harris, was appointed foreign minister in February 2014. During a trip to Israel at the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, Mogherini met with Israel’s then-President Shimon Peres and said, “The region is tense and there is the risk of radicalization in the Arab world and also in Europe, where we know we have to pay attention to the risk of anti-Semitism, especially...

Date: 8/28/2014
European Anti-Semites Come in Four Varieties

1.  Neo-Nazis. Those who believe that Jews are racially inferior and out to conquer the world are a marginal element on the European scene, but make their voices heard nonetheless.

2.  Right-Wing Nationalists. There are large numbers of Europeans who feel that their societies should be as ethnically and religiously homogeneous, and distrust such minority groups as Roma, Muslims—and, often, Jews.

3.  Left-Wing Radicals. Both the Marxist and the anarchist strands of radicalism claim to be universalist and in favor of the poor and oppressed; Jews, who maintain a separate ethnic and...

Date: 7/31/2014
The Nazis’ First Factory of Death

By Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC’s Director of International Jewish Affairs

On June 25, 2014, AJC and the Government of Poland will commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Belzec Memorial and Museum, in a solemn ceremony at the site. The establishment of this memorial in 2004 was the culmination of a fifteen-year project.

Belzec was the first factory of death built by Nazi Germany...

Date: 6/24/2014
Why are Jews in Ukraine Optimistic?

By Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC’s Director of International Jewish Affairs

Tensions in Ukraine have eased somewhat following presidential elections that overwhelmingly endorsed Petro Poroshenko as the country’s next leader. Nevertheless, fighting in eastern Ukraine continues as the Ukrainian military seeks to oust the pro-Russian separatists who established self-declared “independent” states in a number of cities. Few doubt that these separatists rely on Russia for guidance and support, so it is probably Vladimir Putin who will decide if this fighting keeps going. Meanwhile, Jewish communities in the region share the same anxieties and apprehensions as their fellow citizens. A few families have reacted to the unrest by immigrating to Israel; some others have relocated to other parts of Ukraine until the situation improves.

And yet Jews in most of Ukraine are heartened by the election results and even...

Date: 6/2/2014
Why France Matters to the Jewish People

In anticipation of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’s speech at the AJC Global Forum on Monday, May 12, AJC Paris Director Simone Rodan-Benzaquen details the importance of France to the Jewish people.

In November 2013, French President Francois Hollande made his first official state visit to Israel. AJC Paris was honored to represent the only American Jewish organization officially invited by the President to accompany the delegation.

During the visit, the President reaffirmed France’s strong and profound relationship with Israel, saying, "Israelis turned their tragedy into...

Date: 5/8/2014
Free AJC E-Book – Anti-Semitism in Europe: A Growing Danger

Several sessions at the AJC Global Forum 2014 will explore the alarming state of anti-Semitism in Europe and what AJC and some European governments are doing to combat it.

Use this free AJC e-book, Anti-Semitism in Europe: A Growing Danger, to equip yourself with the latest updates for the following two AJC Global Forum sessions:

Date: 5/1/2014
Latifa Ibn Ziaten: AJC Moral Courage Award Recipient

By Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, AJC Paris Director

On March 10, 2012, Latifa Ibn Ziaten was a happy woman.  Since arriving in France with her husband in 1978 from Morocco, Latifa embraced her new country. Brave, strong and independent, she learned French, found a job and raised a family—and she hasn’t looked back, despite a devastating tragedy:

On March 11, 2012, Mohamed Merah, an Islamist terrorist, went on a killing spree in southern France. His first victim:  Master Sergeant Imad Ibn-Ziaten, age 30, an off-duty paratrooper, the son of Latifa Ibn Ziaten. 

Merah would go on to kill two other soldiers, and, on March 19, he attacked a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing three Jewish schoolchildren and a teacher.

Once again, Latifa’s life changed forever. And she made a tough decision—to take action.  

Embracing the values that she clung to upon her arrival in France, Latifa created the Imad organization for peace and youth, which promotes interreligious dialogue among young people.  Its goal is to prevent the sectarian and extremist drift experienced by many young people who live in the tough neighborhoods of France's cities.

"When I go to schools, prisons for minors, I pass on to these young people a testimony of peace, tolerance and respect. My objective is that there will never again be a Mohamed Merah," Latifa Ibn Ziaten says of her work.

Date: 4/15/2014