Highlights from Sebastian Kurz's Keynote Speech on EU-Israel Relations and Jewish Life in Europe
Antisemitism can only be overcome if it is correctly identified in all its forms. Writing in The Times of Israel, AJC’s Rabbi Andrew Baker and Holly Huffnagle call on governments worldwide to adopt and implement the Working Definition of Antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The definition, which recognizes anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism and was endorsed by the EU Council in 2018, is a critical tool to train law enforcement, judges, and educators and should serve as guideline for social media platforms to effectively fight anti-Jewish hate speech online.
With just days to go before the U.S. presidential election, Halie Soifer, Executive Director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, and Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, examined trends related to the Jewish vote in 2020. In the debate moderated by AJC’s Jason Isaacson, Soifer and Brooks sparred on their candidates’ positions and track records on issues of importance to American Jews, ranging from rising antisemitism to the future of the U.S.-Israel partnership.
On 18 October the international arms embargo on Iran expired. The regime can now legally purchase upgraded and advanced weaponry. “This is bad news for the Middle East and sets the conditions for even more bloodshed,” writes AJC Berlin Director Remko Leemhuis in Switzerland’s biggest newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Germany, one of the JCPOA’s signatories, must live up to its special responsibility to help end Tehran’s quest for nuclear arms, its aggression in the region, and its support for terror proxies such as Hezbollah.
The Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) group held an exclusive briefing entitled “The Central European Case for Banning Hezbollah.“ Moderator Avital Leibovich, AJC Jerusalem Director, discussed with MK Avi Dichter, Member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and Michael Doran from...
Over 20 legislators from the Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) network discussed the Hezbollah threat with leading Knesset Member Avi Dichter, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Michael Doran, and AJC Jerusalem Director Avital Leibovich. In light of Poland’s V4 Group presidency, TFI members Michał Jach, Chair of the Sejm's National Defence Committee, and Michał Kamiński, Deputy Speaker of the Polish Senate, hosted the exclusive virtual gathering in the presence of Israel’s ambassadors to Poland and Czechia.
More and more European countries are declaring all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization. AJC discussed this trend with Ambassador Nathan Sales, U.S. State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Sajid Javid MP, who as Home Secretary initiated the UK ban on Hezbollah, and Hans-Georg Engelke, German State Secretary at the Interior Ministry. On the AJC program, Ambassador Sales revealed that Hezbollah moved large amounts of ammonium nitrate through Europe, the same explosive compound it used in the 2012 suicide bombing in Bulgaria.
With Lebanon’s future at stake, France holds the key to making a difference. Writing in the French weekly Le Point, AJC’s Simone Rodan-Benzaquen and Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache write from Paris that President Macron’s efforts will fail unless the government finally gets real on Hezbollah: “By considering Hezbollah as a legitimate interlocutor in the process — engaging its representatives in Lebanon — France is perpetuating the problems. Unless Macron addresses the issue of Hezbollah, nothing will change.”
AJC and the National Urban League wrote a new chapter in the history of Black-Jewish relations in the United States. #BlackJewishUnity week featured groundbreaking online events viewed over 100,000 times and - as part of the campaign - AJC President Harriet P. Schleifer and National Urban League head Marc H. Morial published an op-ed in USA Today, America’s largest circulation paper: “Blacks and Jews can draw from a long history spanning many decades to tackle today’s monumental challenges. Once again, we stand shoulder to shoulder as Lewis did in 1965 with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.”
Over the past few weeks alone, Israel’s global diplomatic position has dramatically changed. AJC CEO David Harris reflects in The Times of Israel on the positive trend that began already years ago. Whether it’s the Start-Up Nation’s vast knowledge industry and innovative power or the fact that Israel, an arid country, has become a water exporter – country after country is seeking deeper ties with Jerusalem, including states in the Arab world.
AJC unveiled its plans to open an office in Abu Dhabi after the historic announcement of the U.S.-brokered peace between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. For over 25 years AJC has engaged with the Gulf by advancing understanding and fostering cooperation between Arab states and the Jewish people. As reported in The Times of Israel, UAE’s envoy to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, hailed AJC’s “longstanding dialogue and engagement with the UAE” which “has played a productive role over many years.”