Highlights from Sebastian Kurz's Keynote Speech on EU-Israel Relations and Jewish Life in Europe
The recent news of a U.S.-brokered historic peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates was electrifying. Moderate Arab states have much to gain from partnering with the Jewish state--from Jerusalem’s expertise in cyber-security and technology to counter-terrorism. AJC CEO David Harris reflects in Europe’s largest circulation newspaper BILD on the accord’s implications for the EU’s Middle East policy and urges Brussels to embrace the new regional dynamics reflected in the UAE-Israel deal.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, AJC Transatlantic Institute Director Daniel Schwammenthal argues that America is today what it has always been: a flawed society, like all others, but also a unique force for good in the world. If the country convinces itself that it’s inherently and irredeemably racist, it can’t possibly continue to believe that it has any right to lead the free world. As they watch America’s self-immolation, leaders in Moscow, Beijing and Tehran surely can’t believe their luck.
On 17 July, the eve of the anniversaries of Hezbollah's deadly bomb attacks in Argentina (1994) and in Bulgaria (2012), TFI Secretary General Daniel Schwammenthal and TFI Chair MEP Lukas Mandl co-authored an op-ed in Newsweek entitled "It's Time for the E.U. to List Hezbollah as a Terror Organization."
There is new momentum in Europe on tackling Hezbollah. After Germany banned the terror group in April, the Austrian parliament unanimously urged the EU to end the artificial distinction between the organization’s ‘military’ and ‘political’ wing. Writing in Poland’s major news outlet ONET, the Acting Director of AJC’s Warsaw-based office, Sebastian Rejak, argues that Central European countries could collectively tip the balance in the EU Council in favor of a total Hezbollah ban.
The Jewish state celebrated its 72nd birthday this week. AJC CEO David Harris writes in this powerful essay about the history and meaning of Israel’s miraculous journey. The establishment of the state in 1948 was the fulfillment of its envisioned role as home and safe haven for Jews from around the world. Forced to fight wars and terrorism from day one, Israel’s wholehearted embrace of democracy, its impressive scientific, cultural, and economic achievements are all the more remarkable.
Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s Jerusalem-based Director of Interreligious Affairs, was the first Jewish faith-leader to be hosted by Saudi King Salman. Rabbi Rosen reflects in Tablet Magazine on his experience in Riyadh with a multifaith delegation of the King Abdullah International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue who met to discuss deepening interreligious dialogue and understanding. The historic visit bodes well for the future of Jewish-Muslim ties.
Foreign policy pundits were quick to declare U.S. President Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan dead on arrival. Whatever its shortcomings, the roadmap shines a much-needed light on the self-perpetuating Palestinian refugee problem embodied in UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Writing in New Europe, AJC Transatlantic Institute Deputy Director Michael Sieveking argues that Europe can play an important role in reforming the troubled body.
Egypt’s once vibrant Jewish community all but left the country decades ago, most of them by force. Earlier this year the 14th century Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue in Alexandria was re-opened after Egypt invested some five million dollars in refurbishing the building. Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC’s Director for International Jewish Affairs, reflects in The Times of Israel on the synagogue’s potential to showcase the history and tradition of Jewish life in Egypt and help educate a new generation of Egyptian youth about the value of pluralism and diversity.
Writing in the French daily Le Figaro, AJC Paris director Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache and Fondapol‘s head of research Victor Delage write that the AJC-Fondapol survey shows that “extreme right-wing antisemitism has not disappeared and antisemitism on the extreme left has resurfaced over the last 20 years or so, but it is Islamist antisemitism that is asserting itself most forcefully.”
McGill University’s student government condemned a Jewish student leader for accepting an invitation to travel to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, but said nothing about his fellow student who isn’t Jewish. The victims of BDS, it seems, are the students and the state of higher education in North America, argues AJC’s Global Director of Young Leadership Seffi Kogen in The Forward. After all, when it comes to Israel, “illiteracy becomes a virtue, and students who seek to learn are ostracized and shamed.”