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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
This month’s historic White House signing ceremony for peace agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain showed how conventional wisdom about the Middle East is crumbling before our eyes and a new regional peace doctrine is unfolding. AJC Managing Director of Global Communications Avi Mayer argues in Newsweek that the Abraham Accords are a “wake-up call to Palestinians who have long been led to believe that Arab leaders will sacrifice their own national interests on the altar of Palestinian rejectionism.”
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."