20 Episode results for "AJC"

AJC Passport: U.S. Antisemitism Summit and LGBT Rights in Israel

People of the Pod

28:20 min | 1 year ago

AJC Passport: U.S. Antisemitism Summit and LGBT Rights in Israel

"Hello and welcome to AJC passport brought to you by JC the diplomatic arm of the Jewish community each week. We'll chat with experts from around the world to help you better understand the weeds headlines and what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people. I'm your host Seffi Cogan. Jason Isaacson is AJC's chief policy policy and political affairs officer. He joins us in studio now Jason. You had an interesting Monday. Why don't you tell us about that. Thanks except it was interesting. I was on a panel in the Department of Justice in an all day program entitled Summit on Combatting Semitism. It was from eight thirty nine o'clock in the morning until five o'clock in the evening several panels several presentations by cabinet secretaries very important addressed pressed by the Attorney General William Bar experts from academia from not other organizations as our as we were the only mainstream Jewish organization that was represented on these panels from scholars and experts and government officials including the new special envoy to combat antisemitism speaking about subject subject speaking about the the threat to of our community the threat to civil society what's going on on college campuses what's going on in in General Society Society and the media and had come at it and I was able to speak about the various sources of antisemitism that we've identified from the far right from the far left left from those who are following a perverted interpretation of Islam and how Confronting Anti Semitism does not have to trample on on the first amendment you can have free speech you can criticize you can make various comments there lines you cannot cross but action against Anti Semitism combating abetting Anti Semitism on the compass or whether in the media including social media does not have to represent a violation of free speech and that was an important distinction that several of us on the panel tried to try to get across from Jason I I noticed. You said that they were cabinet. Secretaries there in the plural. You spend a lot more time around Washington Washington than I do but to my knowledge. It's not that frequent that you have an event. That's attended or addressed by multiple cabinet secretary infrequent. So why don't you tell else about that. You know did that make this event special for small which secretaries were there is that as significant as it seems and what did that to say quite significant I don't believe certainly not in the years that I've been in Washington which is a long time now working on Capitol Hill working for AJC that I've ever seen a all day program organized organized by a Department of the United States government focusing on the subject of antisemitism in combating antisemitism the fact that the secretary of Treasury the Secretary of Education along with of course the Attorney General would devote time to this subject. was very. GonNa get the address. Violon car was very significant. I've heard a special envoy on many occasions. The government is taking seriously the fact that this government is taking the sleep is very significant and by the way I have to say that was Monday the the following three days the State Department was organizing and conducting a seminar they call that a ministerial ministerial on advancing religious freedom the second time they they had done this last summer as well so for three days you had paddle discussions as well on various forms of protecting religious freedom including the the fight against anti-semitism and we had colleagues of ours from AJC Rabbi Andrew Baker Rabbi no Americans on various panels in the course of the three State Department program as well so it's a major focus of the the US government in in this week and a welcome Focus I noticed that there was a lot of discussion around in about quote the new antisemitism which generally means left wing Anti Semitism was there sufficient focused you think on the old antisemitism I I was glad that AJC Jesse was able to weigh in on the subject and speak about the various sources and forms of antisemitism and make it clear that of course the antisemitism awesome that we have seen mystically from the far right has its counterpart to some degree and Anti Semitic comments anti Semitic sentiments on the far left as well in our country and abroad God as well as the religious sources well that I cited I emphasized the fact that in the last nine months attacks murderous attacks on Jews who's in the United States have come from people who adhere to extremist white supremacist ideologies but the sources have to be identified without without discrimination against any ideology. You have to be able to clearly say where it comes from and combat it where it comes from. I think our statement was able to do that. I think not all focused as broadly as pointedly as they might have on that particular source which has caused the attacks that we've seen in in our country from AJC's perspective. Obviously it's nice to be invaded evaded places but we played a really important role. It sounds like you played a really important role Jason and drawing attention to one of the three streams of Anti Semitism that otherwise might have been in kind of missed. I think I think it was important to pointed out by the way if I may suffer L. I also have to point out that Dan elbaum agencies chief advocacy officer in played a key role in preparing testimony that I was able to work on and deliver I have we have colleagues in this organization not not only at the leadership level of the organization but in all of our regional offices real expertise on the subject of Anti Semitism and activists who are working with other constituencies sees to combat this this virus. I I'm going to quote from your prepared remarks. one of the things you said was quote here at home. After the events of the last year from Pittsburgh to Powei to rhetoric from some elected leaders no it's not nineteen thirty nine but it is twenty twenty nineteen and that is caused enough for concern. What did you mean by that. pathway occurred in two thousand nineteen and abroad we we have seen attacks on. Jews and across this country whether it's instances of graffiti sprayed on synagogues or vicious things things that are said either by elected officials or people in in various communities the viruses not ceased it continues to attack our country continues take our community and abroad so you do not have a government anywhere that is building factories to kill. Jews what you have individuals who are forgetting lessons of history and are adopting old conspiracy theories and old distorted ways of looking at our community and buying into into a propaganda that has been discredited but still survives and that has to be called out and it has to be it has to be confronted. Yeah I love the way you put that I think there's this really it kind of navel-gazing fixation that many in the Jewish community have with sank while you know is it nineteen thirty nine you know meaning obviously are you on the precipice of a second. Holocaust it doesn't have to be nineteen thirty nine in order for there to be a problem and I think that that's a really important point point and I'm glad that you made it and if I may say our government is taking a very active role in confronting this identifying it and confronted and and the fact that our government government is doing that and it's an and by pointing no pointing several different times over the last fifteen years a special envoy to Combat Semitism to work with other countries interest push other countries to confront this It's an entirely different context than what we had in the nineteen thirties we now have serious governmental action institutions created to Combat Semitism awesome instead of appeasing anti Semitism turning away from antisemitism also rejecting people who are fleeing at Semitism. It's an entirely different context. Let let me turn to a a difficult question now. do we have any reservations. Jason about the trump administration undertaking this effort. I I haven't lined up the timeline exactly but roughly around when you were talking at. DOJ about antisemitism president trump was tweeting some pretty ugly racial slurs at four members of Congress. How do we at AJC deal with that dissonance. This administration poses unique challenges it has has taken very bold steps in important areas to the Jewish community. it's defensive. Israel has been outstanding. It's identification of antisemitism as a major problem that requires additional government attention and resources has been outstanding especially in recent months after the appointment of a new special envoy took a couple of years to appoint a special envoy but they picked a good one and and work has been extraordinary the level of activity has been extraordinary on other issues that that relate to the well being of society the the health of our country of the maintenance of the fabric of our pluralistic society this administration fallen short and it it it it starts at the top. I must point out that the Attorney General in opening this conference talked about our society about maintaining haning the poorest fabric of our society defending that in a way that was a counterpoint to the tweets that were issued by the president over the weekend and it was a welcome series of remarks by the Attorney General that defended the values that we defend so so you have different voices coming from the administration we called out the president's comments and others did as well there is an ugly strain train in American politics of attacking people of dividing the country of of scapegoating. We've identified it. we've tried as hard artist possible not to personalize it. We've also understood that there are many actions and statements made by public officials and we can praise those that comport fort with our values and our interests and criticize those that don't and I think that we've been able to do it in a way that has been responsible and has earned us respect to the point that we you were invited to participate in a discussion organized by the Justice Department after criticizing actions by the Justice Department by the government on immigration issues and on a range of things and also praising the government on issues relating to Israel and other national interests that the United States is has stood for that this administration has stood for I think we can discriminate and call that statements and actions that offend our values offend American values and the jeopardize American interests and at the same sometime praise administration actions statements that are in pursuit of those interests and values is this the most divisive divided time that that you've seen in in Washington Washington without question well on behalf of myself and the rest of us here at AJC Jason. I'm glad that we have you and your diligent hard-working empathetic thoughtful brilliant team hard at work on these issues down in Washington and working to to bring our country together. Well thank you said that you play a key role in helping to keep us together and also getting the word out about the work that we're trying to do so thank you for your involvement in that and your your counsel as well Tigra is the executive director of a wider bridge a North American organization working to to create equality in Israel by expanding LGBT inclusion in the Jewish state and equality four Israel by ensuring fair fair treatment for the country in lgbt communities around the world. He joins us now to discuss some recent unsettling news tie. Thank you for joining us. It's my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me over the weekend. Israeli Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz said in an interview that he believes the a highly controversial practice called gay conversion therapy is effective for our listeners who don't know can you explain the idea behind gay conversion Asian therapy and why this is a problematic belief for Israel's education minister to hold yeah this is a really reprehensible remark on his part Gay Conversion Therapy Society that largely stems from old school psychological movements and religious movements that says that we can take someone's sexuality and turn it straight and that has since been widely disproven and it's shown to lead to harm in the people that are continuing to go through its rates eight suicide spike drug use depression. It's very harmful practice. That unfortunately still exists today well. Perez minister parents received a lot lot of backlash for those comments actually education administration of Tel Aviv published a letter signed by seventy two elementary school principals in the secular religious Arab and a special education school systems accusing Minister Parrots of expressing a position that was quote exclusionary discriminatory racist and expressed hatred of others is that criticism appropriate is a too strong. Is it not strong enough. It's very appropriate. One of our grantee is hosting which is the education. LGBT organization in Israel rail and they go into schools to work on LGBT visibility and curriculum to make sure that Isreaeli students in public schools have access to to an understanding of LGBT issues in their community and to have the head of that ministry demonizing LGBTQ people especially youth that are predominantly those that are going going through these conversion therapy practices reprehensible so I I would command those who sign onto that letter for their important pushback so now now that we've laid out actually since the initial interview minister parents has now come out against gay conversion therapy and he said quote. I know that conversion therapy is illegitimate intimate and severe. This is my unambiguous position okay so there was a little bit of ambiguity. He says it's unambiguous but fine now he's come out on the right side of the issue. Is that may culpa enough or should we want to see more from him. Well maybe we can get into this later in the interview but there's another set of comments that that he made the previous week about Jews in the Diaspora intermarrying being a second Holocaust which is equally inappropriate if not more so so I think he has a long way to go to demonstrate that he belongs as the Minister of Education in Israel but in terms of this particular issue. It's a good starting starting point and it proves that. LGBT causes in Israel are rallying point for Israeli society. This is such a divided society much like our own and there's very few issues that the general public can rally around and polls show that seventy eight percent of Israelis support same sex marriage including by the way a plurality of traditional unreligious Israelis so I think that it shows that there still is movement that is capable in Israeli society and the LGBT causes a really important one and today even in this friction divided country that we all care about as they head back to elections in September. no doubt you're correct that there are other challenges is for groups like ours in trying to help minister parrot see the offensive nature of several of his remarks not only the one about gay conversion therapy but also the one you brought up about about referring to intermarriage the second Holocaust. You're certainly correct about that. Since you mention same sex marriage in Israel I would hazard to guess the not all of our listeners are intimately familiar here with kind of the state of play around LGBT marriage in Israel. Can you kind of just fill in for people what that looks like. If you're a gay person in Israel who wants to get married absolutely so in Israel. You can't go to city hall and get a marriage license. The only way to get married is through the religious authorities so if you're Jewish you go to the Orthodox rabbi that is sanctioned to perform marriages. If you're Muslim you go to the Imam. If you're Christian you go to the priest you have to do it through a religious figure and that's the system that has existed in Israel since nineteen forty eight in fact it was around during the British mandate and before that that was the system that the Ottoman Empire pyre setup before the British mandate started so this is a long standing system that existed for more than a hundred years and that's the way that Israeli society has been structured structured and it's only been recently as people not only in the LGBT space but beyond that are marrying across face or frankly in the reform movements or people that just want to have marriage license done in a secular way they don't have those capabilities so unlike in the US where we can go to San Francisco or New York or not city hall to get a license. There's only one entry point so it's not only in LGBT issue. It's a civil marriage issue and the only way that it's going to change is if all of the the groups that are currently disaffected by the status quo start working together and so the main challenge from the LGBT community's perspective in Israel as some of those other constituencies these are not yet entirely on board with the LGBT 'cause in particular the Russian immigrant community that has made Aliyah for the past couple of decades. There's still l. a great deal of homophobia in some of the Russian Israeli immigrant community who are also facing an issue around getting married themselves because some of them can't prove their Jewishness to the Orthodox rabbis that would be able to marry them so right now. It's really about coalition building in Israel because approximately one out of every eight Israelis. Israelis can't get married in their current system. The main change though is that several gay couples went to the Israeli Supreme Court to say. I WANNA have my I'm marriage recognized that was performed abroad so now Israelis Ganz straight who want a civil marriage can go get their certificate and countries will marry to non-citizens and bring it back in Israel will now have to recognize them as married under the law you know. Jews are good at finding loopholes so that is currently the state of play today and that's really interesting the way that you kind of laid out the different folks who may be kind of pro or anti changing the status quo around this issue you know earlier earlier this summer on AJC passport on this podcast we mentioned the pride parades in Israel but as you say not everyone in Israel is happy about the country being such a a AH generally accepting place for LGBT people even if there are still strides to be made when it comes to gay marriage one set of unhappy people is the ultra-orthodox people religiously to the right title of Minister Parrots and we kind of touched on that a little bit but the other Group surprisingly is actually to the left. Can you tell us a little bit about the charge of pink washing sure so as you mentioned on the right there certainly are closed Orthodox spaces for LGBT people and two of the organizations that we supporter but Colin have roots the Gay Orthodox Men's organization and the Queer Orthodox Women's organization and they're the ones at the forefront on the frontier of of changing attitudes sued in spaces that were once seemed impossible through visibility campaign and working with Orthodox rabbis on the flip side we do have some challenges from from the left in the US and in Europe in particular with folks accusing the Israeli lgbt community of covering up the conflicts to what they perceived to be war crimes or or bad behavior by the the state of Israel on the conflict and to that. We say where's the beef you know. LGBT Israelis have been fighting for their rights most often then against the government's or taking their their case to the Supreme Court to win their rights over decades and decades and the reason we think that this charge of pink washing is a false argument is because it's incredibly disrespectful towards those folks who had to fight for their rights who went through the AIDS crisis who went through you know being kicked out of their families ways in their homes to get to this point today so you know Tel Aviv pride is sort of the epicenter of this and yes. It's incredibly open and it's one of my favorite vents of the year but it's really about celebrating how far we've come and those accusing the Israeli community of pink washing are totally sweeping that under the rug doc and we think that that really does damage to to the cause that is yet in front of us to continue to achieve equality this tension is kind of reflected in the mission of your organization a wider bridge as well right you you talk about equality in Israel and equality for Israel right that folks in Israel regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity should have full equality but also that Israel should be treated equally in LGBTQ communities around the world in countries news around the world. Would you say that one of those challenges is harder today than the other. I think that they're both fundamental challenges that need to be solved and some people Alaska's. Why do you have two missions as an organization and I say we can't advance. LGBT rights in Israel if the American and European LGBT communities want to boycott the Israeli lgbt. 'cause you know we are communities are stronger if we work together and if our Israeli friends don't have access to resources in collaboration with with LGBT causes internationally it's going to be really tough and we also can't you know talk about Israel and advance acceptance of Israel in the LGBT space if we're not authentic about caring about the LGBT community which is why we advocate for LGBT issues like this education minister issue and why we make grants to eight different different LGBT Israeli causes if we're going to have a serious conversation with the American lgbt community about Israel we need to be committed to the fight for LGBT equality ourselves elves that that's about our authenticity in the conversation just one final topic. I wanted to pick your expertise about famously a couple of months ago. Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed Emir Ohana to be Israel's justice minister youngster of China is a member of the Likud party of Prime Minister Netanyahu's right-wing Party. He happens to be Israel's first gay minister it's interesting because you know this is the equivalent of a gay. Republican cabinet secretary in the US something that has never happened not only have we not had a republican cabinet secretary. I don't think we've had a gay democratic Cabinet Secretary so we now that's a good point so you know they're kind of twin. Impulses here right. I saw a number of people on social media for example celebrating this as you know a a great thing a great stride for Israeli society that there was a gay person in this role on the other hand. I also saw a lot of people coming from the left generally. I'm not kind of the the pink washing left but you know the Zionists left saying well hold on a SEC. We don't actually like a mirror Khanna's policies so you know we're. We're not happy that there's a gay justice minister in Israel. I'm curious tie. Where do you fall out on that so we don't take positions on different political parties in Israel but I think you laid out a pretty a good case of the situation on one hand yes the vast majority of the LGBT activists that we partner with what identify with the Israelis center or left the the merits party the Labor Party and the blue and white party ranging from the left to the centre-left are all really where the heart of the LGBT causes that said Likud does have an LGBT caucus. It's one of the parties that has a committed group of LGBT activists within the party in a mural Hana was one of those caucus leaders before he was elected to the Canessa an asset and he comes under immense criticism for some of its political decisions from some of the mainstream activists but the important counter questions that I would ask those people people is who do you think was more likely to have the conversation with the education minister that led him to walk back his comments someone in merits or or Miro Hana you know he serves serves an important purpose dealing with some of the other coalition partners that have this historic bent towards opposing the ultra bt 'cause the other thing that's important and now is there's a lot of resources versus. A lot of shackles have come from the ministries of health and the ministries of education and having him on the inside to have those discussions is a very different place to be in coalition politics in the parliamentary system. You know you WANNA be on the inside versus in the opposition. Tab that conversation about how resources are spent and certainly there are millions of shekels going to some some of our partner organizations and the Lt Community. There could be a lot more but you know so in my opinion it's important that he's there but we do recognize the criticism in terms of his policies on other important issues around social justice in the conflict well tie thank you so much for joining us on AJC passport and for sharing your expertise with us today. It's my pleasure. Thanks again for having me now. It's time for our closing segment good for the Jews. We're each week I share one final thought about a recent development in the world and try to answer that old question is it's good for the Jews Greece good for the Jews. We're not going to get into ancient history here. Okay let's leave has Bonyan's and the maccabees Alexander the great straight out of it but let's start in the nineteen eighties when AJC I began engaging with Greece which at the time had no formal relationship with Israel. It was only in the early nineteen nineties after years of steady. AJC diplomacy that Greece became one of the last countries in western Europe to extend diplomatic ties to Israel but the story of Greece and Israel doesn't end there instead HEC has been credited with architect getting a vision of an eastern Mediterranean community patterned on that of the EU that consists of for starters Israel Greece Cyprus Jordan and Egypt with Albania and Bulgaria right next door. These countries are united by proximity sure but also by the opportunity to collaborate elaborate on energy and electricity and by the need to face the challenges created by the region's bad actors like Iran Hezbollah and Turkey. AJC was in Greece and Albania last week where the delegation met with the prime ministers of both countries including a meeting with the new Prime Minister of Greece Qiriako macos Mitsotakis on his very first day in office just as the European Union was born out of a desire among former foes to cooperate on steel and coal so too could the natural gas beneath the floor of the Mediterranean Sea be the fuel for a ONCE UNTHINKABLE EASTERN EARN MED alliance the role that Greece plays in the story means that it is good for the Jews you can subscribe to AJC passport passport on Itunes or on stitcher follow us on soundcloud or learn more at AJC dot org slash passport the views and opinions of our guests. Yes don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions you can reach us at passport at AJC AJC DOT Org. If you like this podcast be sure to read it and write a review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. I'm your host Steffi Koby. This episode is brought to you by the American Jewish. Our producer is coupon. Dough are sound engineer is t k Broderick tune in next week for another episode of A._J._C. Passport.

Israel AJC United States AJC Jason Isaacson Attorney Israeli Supreme Court Washington Department of Justice Washington Washington justice minister Semitism Minister of Education secretary Europe AJC Jesse Israel Greece Cyprus Jordan Seffi Cogan cabinet
Highlights from the First-Ever AJC Virtual Global Forum

People of the Pod

51:44 min | 4 months ago

Highlights from the First-Ever AJC Virtual Global Forum

"Hello and welcome to people of the pod brought to you by AJC each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what it all means for Israel, and the Jewish people I'm Stephie Cogan and I'm on Uber Sheer men. This week thousands of global Jewish advocates were supposed to have been in Berlin for the AJC Global Forum. Unfortunately, the pandemic had other plans, but we weren't just going to cancel our critical conference, so we took the global forum virtual all week. Thousands of people from around the world have been tuning in on AJC DOT ORG to watch high level addresses, intimate conversations and fierce debates over the future of Israel, America in Europe over the course of. Of this episode, we're going to bring you. Parts of those conversations Dr Anwar. Gosh is the United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs this week. He joined the J. C. Virtual. Global Forum for conversation with his friend and our chief policy officer Jason Isaacson in doing so he became the highest level official from an Arab country without relations with Israel to publicly address an American Jewish audience. Let's listen in to some of that conversation now. I want to begin by thanking the distinguish minister, not only for taking the time to share his insights with AJC and our many thousands of guests on this virtual platform, but for the multiple times that he and his colleagues in the leadership of the UAE have met with AJC over the twenty plus years that we have been regularly traveling to his country in pursuit of regional peace and cooperation and understanding or meeting with government officials when they have visited the united. States Dr Guard Gosh. It's very good to see you again. Thank you, Jason. Thank you I'd like. Like to begin by thanking you for boosting need today and I that this would be opportunity for a frank and constructive discussion, which is much needed I want closer to take the opportunity to thank ag see for what has been quite remarkable bridge to the ridge. There has been an octave work that was done to numerous visits to all the countries of ragent, all the countries of the Gulf and I think this sort of visiting and understanding the food of Fiji sees. Look over this city has been quite busted sounded, so thank you very much for that. Thank you very much. His remarks Dr Garg. The has a proud tradition of philanthropy including major charitable dishes here in the United States. How has your country contributed to the global fight against Akron bars pandemic, and what is your assessment of international cooperation in this fight generally closer to home, please talk about public health cooperation across the Middle East. How successful has it been? How can it be improved going forward? What specific role has the UAE played and I note by the way that the has twice in recent weeks, Asakusa and medical aid to the Palestinians by Israel feel free to discuss that as As well. I would actually agree with lock analysts who have said that our national responses have been more important than what I recall regional responses or googlers, every country, really as sort of look into its own and thermal situation, and this raises a lot of issues rarely about global cooperation, regional cooperation on issues such as the CAL now. If you look really adept policy, it's interesting, because in my opinion, we have come with a very I would say organized which nationally which is allowed us to actually and pry and help others and Binat relations originally and. We I think done something very successfully. Separate. Elliptical from the humanity so here for example we have no relationship with is ran, but at the same time we have recognized that this isn't Adia that we need to cooperate together because it is one that edges human beings finally from the religious affiliations at. Let's look at the long term effects of the pandemic on. The long lockdown of the widespread in deep economic disruptions, the effect that they will have on regional stability and security. Not every country in the region has the kind of resources that the UAE. Does you throw in the recent plunge in oil prices on the crisis across the region really is amplified. Are you forecasting a regional power relationship restructuring a potential conflict between states, says spike and out-migration, perhaps from the Gulf states. Where do you see a softer landing after the pandemic? I would say that things will change and things will stay the scene. To suppose that fundamental issues that we have not been able to tackle for forty and fifty and sixty s will suddenly change overnight I think is expecting too much unfortunately, but at the same time I think that we need to try and work at the edges of. So clearly I think we need to avoid rhetoric that leads plus colletion. We need to avoid confrontation because everybody will be affected the dubs. Demographics guns. Economy and so on so so clearly if we can't really turn this area on trouble region into an ideal region which I think, it'll be very difficult to see that, so see of change at least let us would make it a little bit more stable a little bit more. See a little bit more connected. Among the changes that we have seen in the Middle East in recent years, and you're alluding to that and the US has played an important role in you personally played an important role in this changes new thinking about Israel's place in the region while your government has always been clear about support for the Arab peace initiative and the creation of independent Palestinian state. There have been visits to the UAE by Israeli government ministers. What's the way forward to realizing that vision and what obstacles if any lie on the way? Fundamentally is can I have a political disagreement with Israel, but at the same time try and bridge other areas. I think I can't and I think this is fundamentally where we are today, we are for example facing hoover, nineteen challenge, and if I am able working with the UN and working with a through the with Israel, to try and bring support to the Palestinians very fragile health service A- Tetra How does that really affect my physician? Reserve the issues of the day such as for example, the proposed annexation I think sixty seventy years. Our relationship has shown that the. Breakup of the relationship between Israeli out of countries has increased animosity and built in my opinion is huge and Gulf. That could have been much easier to bridge in my opinion, so clearly the need today is. Out of consensus that basically looks at the solution as a two state solution, Hartselle. Do you A. also wants to see continual stadium is reading. The. Is clearly against any annexation as being used by the is later. Having said that that is the political now. Do I have to really look at all of the. And make them basically. Almost sort of static because of the political me, and I think we've tried that over many years as a group of Arab, countries and I. Don't think it has really led to what we want the bringing stability to that each. This is enlightening on fascinating and really encouraging on. Thank you for addressing the AJC Global Forum. And for your thoughtful, your candid observations and more than anything for the refreshing outlook that you and is Hynix Abella and the entire leadership of the consistently bring to the challenges, confronting the Middle East and the challenges confronting all of us who are dedicated to peace and progress in your region in conclusion I. WanNa, thank you I wanNA thank the UC and I. Want to show you that ideally you will continue on its path of moderation on its back of our specialty and on it's also leaching very successful and forward looking country in each. Academic Argyle. Senator Cory Booker of new. Jersey served two terms as mayor of Newark before he became the longest serving Black Democrat currently in the Senate last year he addressed AJC Global Forum video as a twenty twenty presidential candidate on Wednesday, he sat down for a conversation with my colleague Julia Raymond Ajc's Deputy Director of policy and diplomatic affairs to share his thoughts on the fight for racial equality in the United States, and how the Jewish community can be effective allies. Here is a portion of that conversation. It is my great pleasure to introduce a leader in the fight for American civil. Rights and Racial Justice Senator. Cory Booker of New Jersey senator. Thank you so much for being with us today. Good to be with you, thank you, of course you've been on the ground floor of many recent bills to address racism from finally making lynching federal crime to the Justice Policing Act two, a bill to remove confederate statues from the capital. Recognizing that it has taken us four hundred years to get to this point in the much progress needs to be made. Can you help us understand? Is We prioritize advocacy? What's the hierarchy of knee in your appeal? Well first of all I. Just want to say thank you. Aj has been extraordinary champion for justice. You live so many of the highest ideals of Judaism. This idea that if I'm not for myself, who will be for me if I am only for myself. What am I if not now? And I think the thread that ties together all of the issues that I know you to your core justice equality in end to racism, anti-semitism bigotry of any kind I think a lot of this work on the bills that you mentioned have to deal with getting people's consciousness raised. We've become too comfortable with injustice in this country, if a criminal justice system that is way out of whack with the rest of humanity, we are the mass incarceration nation, incarcerating often the most vulnerable people into our prisons and jails people that need health care the need addiction treatment folks that are often in criminalized just for being poor and the challenges is most. Most of us just aren't aware of the injustices. What we see now across this country with people protesting in the streets, all fifty states, thousands of cities is that it's a wonderful thing that you see such diverse groups of folks who are confronting the injustices of our times, and so if there's an area for AJC to in terms of prioritizing, it's just that awareness where people need to be maladjusted to injustice again and need to recognize the are invested in the outcomes and to do nothing is complicity that mixed legislation passing a lot easier and a lot quicker a win. They're more Americans. Who Voices are demanding that we create real change. You? Make it sound sort of common sense, but sometimes the most common sense efforts ended up being really difficult I feel that way I have a very frustrating day as we're trying to get gearing going around the justice and policing issue, and I have to remind myself when I feel on days like this frustrated, or if like banging my head against implacable walls of resistance now. Now I have to remind myself that how long it took to pass civil rights legislation voting rights legislation, but people didn't give up and as we say the names of Brianna Taylor George Floyd let's just say their name, but remember the conviction of people who face the same wretchedness or worse Emmett till yet still found a way like Mamie. Till did when she left the casket. For her murdered son with this brutalised body, lying there as a call to conscience of others change doesn't come from Washington. It comes to Washington by people who are willing to take the darkness of our times and be light workers that arc of the moral universe at King talked about that bends towards justice. There are people out there that have to take responsibility for being the ARC benders and realize from workers rights that we take for granted from suffrage to civil rights legislation. It really took the demands of millions of people in diverse coalitions that ultimately created the atmosphere that we can make change, and that's what actually gives me hope right now in this moment. eminem switch gears a little bit. At, the first time that I met with you in your office, we spoke about the historically close relationship between blacks and Jews. Especially during the civil rights movement, and we think that we can be proud that at critical moments our communities walked together and stood shoulder to shoulder. It is clear that we still need each other right racism. anti-semitism have not abated. The relationship isn't what it. It used to be. What do we need to do to rebuild? That nation will don't let a few individuals ever steal away from the enduring truth of incredible alliances between blacks and Jews in this country right here. This conversation is a testimony to that truth. I look at the people out protesting right now, and I see people from all different religious backgrounds, and yes, choose leading. Many of the calls for justice so. Often worry about simplifying this down, and not realizing that I see it in so many areas, in which blacks and Jews are partnering against injustice, but you're right. Relationships always need work. They always need tending to and I think a flourish the best. When you have individuals that say you're suffering your challenges, your injustices I see them as my injustices just came off the Senate floor where Van Holland was talking about an African. American man who people dumping on his property. They were white men, and he told them to leave. They got angry with him that they would allow him them to dump refrigerator on their. Their property, they lied. They bring back three more men. They surround him menacing hin jeering at him. He has a lawful gun on any pulls out his gun with one is for cell phone with the other calls police they arrive. They arrest the black man pastor on his own property in drag him to jail before the sheriff realized who he was, and that they made a terrible terrible mistake. Well, this happens every single day in this country. Are we comfortable with that? We witnessed the torture of a black man with Neapolitan his neck. Can't we understand that those are the ones they're caught on video tape? What kind of country are we? Nothing will change unless we do and if we want to be about alliances, my voice has to speak up about fifty percent increase in anti-semitism over the last two years our country. Vandalism to temples, threats and Nazi swastikas being painted. My silence in that face is complicity. We didn't have to the horrors that happened in Pittsburgh. We didn't talk enough about the rise of anti-semitism in our country. We were silent to it. You know I'm reminded of jeans Baldwin's letter to Angela Davis when she was imprisoned, and he just said. If they come for you in the morning, they will come for me at night. Hate is hate and it's endemic. Unfortunately, systematic racism is endemic to many of our institutions. We are bound together in many ways through experience. Thank you. You for that I. Think in so many ways these times are those times, but in some ways they're not right. We're not in the same Arab. James Baldwin in Angela Davis, and there are protests in movements in this country that recently and because of Israel have routinely rejected her actively alienated Jews and my question is this. How can do is actively be advocates of the black community now if other allies would rather exclude us than have us be a part of their ranks. I, you know I feel that question as much as I hear it where I have been frustrated myself with seeing. Forces, trying to de legitimize the state of Israel and see individuals who don't even believe the Jewish homeland should exist, and it hurts me and especially in this environment as a senator get frustrated when people try to make it a partisan issue in order to score political points, one way or the other, and so they're cynical. Folks who want to try to divide alliances divide unity to exploited fear and bigotry to whatever the political aim is, and so as I learned from one of the greatest books I've ever. Ever read man's search for meaning Viktor Frankl where he, he talked about your defined in that space between stimulus and response. How you choose to respond to this world, you're not defined by the hatred. You're not defined by the divisiveness, and so in the face of those who try to divide in the face of people who want to try to de-legitimize my hope always is that we will live up to our highest values anyway and I'll never forget when the Muslim ban came in in January of two thousand seventeen. I raced out to airport with a federal court order. Make sure those detained families from other countries. Muslim families would get access to lawyers for when I got into the concourse. And I saw a concourse full hundreds and hundreds of Americans, singing songs and chanting and patriotic slogans, and that was one of the most beautiful things I saw that evening was a circle of Orthodox Jews with key pause on and sits US hanging out. Celebrating in Glee over Muslims coming into our country. I get chills now when I think about the beauty of these people who lived there values I believe fundamentally that before you tell me about your religion, show it to me and how you treat other people. I still remember them linking arms dancing like I was at a Jewish wedding. That's how much joy they found in strangers in greeting strangers because they were once strangers in a strange land. So there will always be darkness. There was always be bigotry. I. Don't think we ever think that we've snuffed it out. We must remain always vigilant, but what will define the character of this country what will define the Jewish people in the black people who are interwoven into the fabric of America? What will define is how we respond to that darkness. Weeks ago, we had the privilege of speaking with the Black Secretary of the Smithsonian Money Bunch. We asked him this question. Might look you instead. What inequality here's an incredibly accomplished respected senator who worked hard in one election after election. To some you are. Right on a bunch bunches proof Barack. Obama is proof that there are no longer boundaries or issues of access in America. What you stated that. Well Look I. Don't Know Folks WanNa Point to me as somehow to relieve us of the burden to deal with the enduring racial challenges of our country, and my experiences alone show me that we can do so much better when I got to the United. States Senate I was shocked, it was the least diverse place I ever worked. And the and Brian shots a great senator, Jewish senator, and I went to Chuck Schumer Great Senator also happen to be Jewish, and three of US said we gotta do something about this and we decided. To have every Democratic senator have to publish their diversity statistics well guess what's happened since is since then you've seen a lot more people of color hire. and which is important to me, because this body is making laws and places like the Judiciary Committee that disproportionately seem to impact black and Brown people. And so I think that anybody who wants to say that somehow we're in a post. Racial Society needs to look at the data and look at the evidence from the criminal justice system to environmental injustice to our economy to our healthcare system and see that when you control for other factors, that race is still very dominant influence in what kind of healthcare you'll get what? What kind of education you'll get what kind of job opportunities you'll get. What kind of encounters you'll have with the criminal justice system, and so I'm remarkably blessed, but I grew up in a household that even the house I grew up in in one, thousand, nine, hundred, sixty, nine. It was literally my parents were turned away and told it was already sold in a white. White couple posing homebuyers came rafter I-. Parents found out. It was still for sale. They walked into real estate agent. On the day of the closing. The white couple didn't show up to their closing. Instead my dad did in a lawyer happened to be a Jewish lawyer. Mardi freed them, and they walked into agents office and confronted them and the Real Asia didn't relent he. He punched Mardi Freedom May Freeman in the face and sick. The Dog on my dad will eventually after a lot of rigmarole I moved into this town as my dad used to say to be boy. Don't you walk around this house? Like you hit a triple? You were born on third base. You drink deeply from wells of freedom and opportunity that you didn't dig. They taught me that. Yeah, I had horrible conversations with my parents about being realized that you know, take care of yourself, because whether it's encounters with police. People are going to see a large black man as a suspect to be feared, but they also told me that that doesn't define me what I do with the blessings I've received. I have an obligation to make. The most of every opportunity presented me and I'll. I'll tell you you know. My parents taught me that the greatest thing I could do is not personal accomplishment, but service to others, and that I couldn't pay back the blessings I had I had to pay him forward, and so I've had a remarkable life, but I cannot in any way be comfortable with my accomplishments when there's so many Americans from Lgbtq Americans Trans Black, Americans were being killed at alarming proportionate rates. I can't be comfortable when I still live in a nation where hatred towards Jews is made manifest through violent action. This is still a nation where we have much work to do. And the only way we could prove worthy of the sacrifices suffering bloodshed trauma that our ancestors overcame to give us. The privileges we enjoy is not to grow comfortable, but to stay with an urgent everyday urgency, asking yourself the question, what am I doing for others? I'll end with just this. I get very emotional when I think about the Batman I've had conversations with including Lonnie Bunch. Or watched him in an interview. Say That when you saw George Floyd killed. One of his feelings was. That could have been me. And so. Maybe, there's some wisdom in the Torah. And this overlap between the words of the Torah and the words of a King Martin Luther King. At the place where he's dead where he was killed. After giving this powerful speech that call to mountain in Israel named Mount Nebo Call to the old, testament the Torah story of of of Moses going to the mountaintop and seeing the promised land, and then that final speech kings that I've been to the promised land. And I've seen over I've been to the mountaintop I'm sorry and I've seen over I've seen the promised land I may not get there with you, but we the people who make it to the Promised Land Mine is have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord and then just hours later slain at the Lorraine Motel. After! Being Prophetic in that speech about might not getting to the promised land himself. Well if you go to the Lorraine Motel right now. You will see a marker there. Where he died with words of the Torah on it and their word, the words of Joseph's brothers. They exclaim these words before they grab Joseph and threw him into a well die. But. We know he didn't die there. He rose up. And helped lead a nation through crisis Egypt. And the words Joseph's brothers explain are these behold here cometh the dreamer, let us slay him and see what becomes of his dream. How many Americans died for the dream of this country? How many people have died? Being shortchanged by those who would cheapen the dream? And the question that has to be answered is not by the echoes of our ancestors of by us. What will become of our dream? Will it become divided demean degraded? We perish in the pit of darkness, or will we in this generation like those before us and dark and challenging times. Will we rise? Over hate rise over discrimination. Rice over. Challenges of our time. If not now when this is the moment, this is the time and I'm grateful to have allies and friends who share my conviction that the dream will not die, and that we can still have impossible hope that we can make the dream real our generation. We have the hope and the willingness to work. And we're proud to work with you. Thank you for your for your vision for your leadership for your friendship, and frankly for this inspiration that I. Think we all need in this time. Thank you. We'll Yashar call to you and all all the folks within your phenomenal resist. It's been friends of mine long before. It became a senator, so thank you. It is a time honored AJC tradition to feature civil yet forceful debates at the AJC Global Forum each year. We weren't going to give that up. Just because we are meeting virtually without further ado here is AJC director of communications. Avi Mayor to introduce our great to be on the future of the West Bank. The West Bank is in many respects. The Jewish heartland known in Hebrew as Some alone or today and Samaria. It is where Jewish kings reigned Jewish prophets preached, and it is today home to some four hundred and fifty thousand Israelis it is also home to an estimated two point seven million Palestinians many of whom have lived there for generations and none of whom have ever had a sovereign state to call their own. The question of what to do with the West Bank has vexed Israeli decision makers since this all came into possession of the territory during the nineteen sixty seven six day war now the Israeli government appears to be considering. Considering the unilateral extension of Israeli sovereignty, two parts of the West Bank a move fiercely opposed by Palestinians who claim the territory for a future Palestinian state? Where should Israel go from here with us to debate this pressing question today are two distinguished guests and friends of AJC member of Chris admit ally, of Israel's Labor Party, who was previously a prominent journalist and commentator, an ambassador gold, a veteran Israeli diplomat, including as permanent representative to the United Nations and current president of the Jerusalem Center for public. Affairs welcome to you both. Let's get started member of. Your opening statement, please. The state of Israel has existed unfortunately twice as long with the Palestinian Israeli conflict at this form twice as long as it has without. So to a large extent, it doesn't know itself without this contract. But we need to go back to the forming of the state of Israel and ask ourselves. What is design is dream what has designed vision, and I think it is very clear. It is a state for the Jewish people, a democratic state, or all the Jewish people now in order to have that we need to have a border which separates us from the two seven million Palestinians live in West Bend. If possible a border of peace, which I strongly believe is achievable despite the failures in the past. This is a border that meet will maintain Israel, not only secure frontal ensure its identity. As Democratic home of the Jewish state, and will ensure its long lasting existence were hopefully wherever. Annexing unilaterally now, parts of the West doesn't matter how big or small will seriously jeopardize the future of Israel the security of this out, and unfortunately the mere existence up. This is a grave mistake that we should not do under any circumstances. Thank you, remember. 'cause Kelly Ambassador Gold. You know. I think it's impossible to have this discussion without having a sense of what's at stake, wise a future of the West Bank such a critical issue for Israel. Why does it engender such strong feelings debate I think the first reason is you have to look at the geostrategic position of where the West Bank is located. This is not a typical conflict in the middle of Central Asia the West. Bank is adjacent to the Israeli coastal plain where seventy percent of our population is located and eighty percent of our industrial capacities locate. Therefore should any hostile forces in the future take over the West Bank which we also called unions. The results of that could be disastrous for our country, which is why we have to seek demilitarization of the area, we can't allow it to just continue onward with any kind of hostility that we might face now. We thought in the past that if we just withdrew from territory over which there is controversy contested areas that would reduce the hostile intent of our adversaries. Where we tried that out, tried that out in the Gaza Strip and that was in two thousand, five when Prime Minister Sharon put forward his plan for the unilateral Israeli pullout, and what we found was that actually the hostility in Gaza increased after we pulled up. Thank you, embassador gold member Mikhail your rebuttal. It's absurd actually that ambassador should speak about security because a let's remember that the state of Israel when he was much younger, much smaller, much less developed with a much smaller and less developed army managed to live very security in the narrow borders without them list bank, and moreover to win glorious glorious victory in the sixty seven war when we occupied. Moreover today, one of the main foundations of Israel's security and the Israel's degree. Today is the peace treating that we have with the Kingdom of Jordan. This belong eats water. The Israel has and these kept very very secure a lot. Thanks to the cooperation that Damian's are doing because they are far are in keeping the water safe and one needs to admit al-Sina. SORITY is spike. Every conflict that we have had him in are having missing. Are maintaining that security corporation now. A unilateral annexation will jeopardize all this stability that we have. It will create a lot of disability in the West. Bank itself. It may cause escalation also from Lebanon and it's not for nothing that the vast majority of people from the security system in Israel are strongly opposed to this new. Thank you member pessimistic, highly ambassador gold your rebuttal. Frankly. I never said that I was going to argue for annexation. And there are two reasons. Why have not aren't you tracked station? The first is that it's the wrong term. You know one of the things I did when I was ambassador to the United Nations, so I would read the record of previous ambassadors when certain issues would come up, and it was fascinating to find that nineteen sixty seven right after the Six Day War Pakistanis called are move in Jerusalem when we added territory from the eastern parts of Jerusalem Jordan previous we added them to Israel. And ebon complained that Israel is being labeled as an annexationist that it was annexed territory. It wasn't annexing territory for very good reason you annexed territory that belongs to somebody else, but if the territory was assigned to be part of the Jewish national home. How do you call that annexation? It's cook. Robbing felt very strongly that at the end of the day Israel has to retain a united city of Jerusalem. And his final speech to the Knesset on October, Fifth Nineteen ninety-five. He stated that so if you're forward dividing Jerusalem, you got a problem with that and supporting a Rabin's legacy. Depicting this is debate or discussion between those who WanNa conceived territory in those who what you know, everything for Israel is not true in a much more complicated issue and best goal just showed two of the tactics that the Ryan is using constantly one. There are rules. I kept the roles he didn't so. That's constantly were power dealing in Israel were playing by the rules. They're breaking the rules. And so this is the game were. Constantly and I moved to anyone who can achieve in an agreement as much Schlamm for Israel as possible, but I believe in reaching an agreement because every war and every battle must end in a political discussion and political achievement. The only true security is peace and no matter. How much investment will vote convince us that this land used to be our ancestors was given to us. It was also given to other people. They live there now, so unless there's some magic ambassador. World has no make two point. Seven young Palestinians just disappear then we need to find a solution for the security and the majority of the state of Israel. I'M GONNA ask one last that actually will be for both of you. Bearing in mind the reality on the ground, including the presence of hundreds of thousands of Israelis over the nineteen, sixty seven Green Line and the life occasion, the population between the West Bank and Gaza. What's the solution to the conflict and injure judgment? Is there a realistic pathway to get their ambassador gold? Why don't you go first? Basically a if you go with the demographics where we have people living Palestinians living Israelis living within Israel within the West, bank within Gaza, it's a messy map is not a clean man. You know something. We made a mistake with Gaza. This engagement and we put thousands of Israelis close to ten thousand Israelis in an impossible situation forcing them out of their homes. Whatever we do, however, we draw the maps. We should never again forces. RAILLY's out of their homes to make a peace plan work. L. Should never force Palestinians out of their homes either. That means the map is going to reflect where people are living. And when you look at that map, you're gonNA. Say how you GonNa make this map work. We will make it work and we will create a situation. which creates the foundation of some kind of new stable outcome? Thank you embassador member customers. Kelly your vision for a final peace agreement. I know that if we decide if Israel decides he wants to meet reaches Russian do we can't reach at least the two state solution? Let's say what in the Palestinian state in West. Now we'll about. must unions be willing able among themselves to? Agree on one st want to. They want a half to stage. HOW MISTAKES FIVE STATE? That's not my business. We will continue protecting the state of Israel as we have always but I believe that we should really work for 'em jest. And not only using more and more power. That is something that never. Never ever. Now, I want to already be over this, not because I'm tired of food as I said because it really does crumble the state of this it really does. The nations of what it means to be interesting. Israel has become too much about the conflict and too little about itself. The question of how come Israel is the only state in the world does not recognize equally all of the Jews. All kinds of Jews is partly because you're so deeply some in the conflict rather than sorting out the question of the whole in for all of the Jewish people. Thank you member Pacific highly. We've reached the time for closing statements Basseterre, gold on a to go first. We have lived for many years in a situation where we have been branded all kinds of names, all kinds of terms that are not true. And we've sought peace. And we have sought stability for people I will never forget. After the sixty seven war I gotta go back that far when the Soviet Union decided they were GonNa brand us as the aggressors in that conflict. And they went through the Security Council. To have is branded as an aggressor and they lost. And they tried go to the General Assembly of the United Nations and Abbas branded as an aggressive and they lost again. And why is that relevant? Because we knew we knew at the time of the morality of our position. And that's what we will know today, and that's what we will know in the future. We're willing to make a compromise a territorial compromise, but we are not willing to put the people of Israel endanger. We insist on peace with security, and that is going to be a policy, the motto and the mission of every Israeli diplomat in the years ahead. Thank you ambassador member. Leader Closing Statement. Yes ambassador gold is insisting on narrative. Amang rich on consciousness, and of course it's very important, but at the end of the day there's reality a unilateral annexation as small as it may be, or as big as it may be endangered I is room from the Palestinian aspect from the Jordanian, aspect from the Gulf countries that we've managed to hawk. It jeopardizes the mets. WHAT BI partisan support Israel has in the US it jeopardizes Israel from event. Its Society and question is what do we? And there is zero beginning here. That is the biggest drama. And so really, there's no recently wrong. Why should presume this other than? A personal interests that will lead to very very heavy tool. Remember Cassette mcreilly ambassador gold on behalf of AJC both for joining us on the virtual global forum stage today for such a timely debate. By. Now it's time for our closing segment about table, talk and joining us at our table this week. Is REMCO loose? The brand new director of AJC BERLIN REMCO when you're talking with your family and friends at your table this weekend. What are you going to be talking about well as everyone at AJC understand? Despite the fact that virtual global forum was a huge success reaching more people than we ever could have hoped, and if you'd shout out to the team that organized it for awesome between. It was bittersweet over the last couple of days. We haven't been able to stop thinking about what could have been in. Berlin. All our speakers were lined up all our meetings. Partner Organization and politicians confirmed on excursions to historic sites throughout the city booked. We've kept thinking about what it would have been like to welcome all our AJC. Friends, colleagues and global foreign participants to Berlin it would have been truly historic gathering. But, we are very glad that much of all work has incorporated into the virtual global forum issues in Europe and particularly Germany have come to the fore, and one of these issues is without adult, the rise in anti-semitism. I and we in Berlin have long been concerned about the steady rise anti-semitism in Germany and across Europe. While Age acs achieved many policy victories I still feel that mainstream society has not fully appreciated the magnitude of the problem until now. How grave the is and what a catastrophe it is that some question whether Jewish life has a future in Germany seventy five years after the war. Is Germany home for juice? In this climate I've also been thinking about how everyone is so quick to call anti-semitism of their political opponents, but fall short of acknowledging the problem on their own side. I've been thinking about the deterioration civic public discourse in recent years debate, rather than being an exchange of argument has turned into a death match. It's not about ideas about winning and humiliating the other side shortly. Social media is not helpful, but I'm thinking about how to reverse this trend. Can we go back to a situation where you can disagree with someone and still acknowledge that, even though our politics defer, this doesn't make them a bad person to do so means acknowledging that world is a messy place, and the people are not all good or all bad, but there are huge grey zones. And lastly, and on a more lighter note, and thinking about my favorite suck club of Hamburg, and if they will move up to the first division again, yes, soccer is being played again in Germany budget right now. It is not looking good for Hamburg and took it over to Manja. Seffi Remco at our Chabad table. We'll be discussing the importance of showing up edge. Has Been showing up for more than a century even though we couldn't show up in Germany this week, REMCO AJC was present Germany shortly after the end of world, War Two it was present in America. During the civil rights struggle, it was present in the former Soviet bloc after the fall of communism and today on June teeth, which marks the day news finally reached the remote Lone Star state. That African Americans were. Were now free today. AJC is now present in two cities where brutal murders by law enforcement illustrate how much work there is left to do to make sure African. Americans across this nation are truly free on Thursday as AJC closed its virtual global forum our CEO David. Harris announced that AJC has opened to more regional offices in memory of those murder victims one. We'll be in Louisville Kentucky where Brianna Taylor a medical. Medical worker asleep in her bed was shot by police after they forcibly entered her home. The other will be in the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul where George. Floyd died after calling out for his mother, and pleading with the police officer, kneeling on his neck that he could not brave. David said AJC wants to be part of the solution. What that solution looks like remains to be seen. We've never seen. Seen Racial Justice in this country, not in eighteen, sixty five, and not in twenty twenty of course just opening offices solves nothing. It's what AJC does there that matters, but AJC doesn't just show up as David also said on Thursday AJC has a history of building relationships getting people to talk to one another learn about each other appreciate. Each other showing up is important. Yes, but the really hard work is relating. The value of those relationships was on full display this week. At AJC virtual global forum, we heard from German leaders, including the chancellor to prime ministers and Arab leaders once considered unimaginable at a Jewish event. Why because AJC has been building relationships for decades? It's why longtime beat reporters are so good at what they do. They build relationships. It's why business people succeed. They build relationships so. So I'm optimistic now with four regional offices across the country in Atlanta Chicago La Houston, and now Louisville and Minneapolis Saint Paul I'm hopeful that this renewed focus on racial justice will yield some progress and some relationships and while I know these relationships don't happen overnight I just hope it doesn't take more decades. That's what we'll be talking about at our Chaban table this week, Seffi. Well on June nineteenth, eighteen, sixty five two months after the civil war ended in confederate surrender and two and a half years after the emancipation proclamation news finally reached Galveston Texas. That slavery was no more today. The black community in America celebrates the anniversary of that day as June eighteenth. AJC is had a presence in Galveston where the first June eighteenth was celebrated since our founding in nineteen O six. Created an organization to keep Jews safe, but they knew then what time has only made more. Jewish safety and success in the United States is bound up with that of other minorities, including our brothers and sisters in the black community. Just five years after its founding, AJC had already taken up the cause of racial justice pushing New York state bar discrimination on the basis of race in public accommodation in nineteen eleven. As Reverend Martin Luther King. Junior would point out when accepting EJ American liberties medallion in nineteen, sixty five. That was a time when quote, few men dared to speak out about racial injustice, but the successful passage of that New York bill in nineteen thirteen lead, many other states to follow suit slowly too slowly paving the way for the landmark advances of the nineteen sixties this June eighteenth when AJC joins our black brothers and sisters and celebrating this June, eighteenth is no less festival of freedom than the Jewish festival of Passover, but it also demands introspection no less than the Jewish holiday of Europe. Poor what? Must we each do to root out the racism that exists in our country and our states and cities in our own communities in our homes in our own souls? How can our synagogues organizations be forces for good in this fight? How can we the allies to our black partners? How can we ensure that our? Jewish spaces are as welcoming to black Jews as they are two white ones, these and more are the questions that we must grapple with, and what better place to start than at archambault tables, June eighteenth provides a welcome opportunity to reflect on my favorite lines from what has been termed the black national him. Lift every voice and sing. Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us saying song full of hope that the president has brought us. Through faith that we will persevere, and with hope that a brighter day is dawning, and with a song on our lips. Let us rejoice as we continue to make America the land of the free happy June teeth and `Shalom. Shalom. You can subscribe to people of the podcast on Itunes, Google. Play or spotify or learn more at JCP dot. Org Slash people of the Pie. The views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod at each seat dot born. If you like this podcast, you should rate it and writer review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. This episode is brought to you by AJC. Our producer is COO condo. Our assistant producer is a Tarlac grits and our sound engineer is t K. Broddrick tune in next week for another episode of people of the Pot.

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AJC UAE Office; Reflections on #BlackJewishUnity Week

People of the Pod

22:32 min | Last month

AJC UAE Office; Reflections on #BlackJewishUnity Week

"Hello and welcome to people of the pod brought to you. By Hac each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what it all means for Israel and the Jewish people I'm seventy KOGEN and I'm on Uber Sheer Pashmina. For nearly a year, planning has been underway for AJC, to open an office in the United Arab Emirates last week with Israel, and the UAE inking peace deals normalizing relations AJC announced those plans to the world. Joining us now to discuss the history of AJC's work in the UAE and our plans for the future is the architect of AJC's middle, East strategy AJC chief policy, and political affairs. Officer Jason is accent Jason, thank you for joining us. It's good to be your savvy. Can you tell us a bit about your first visit to the UAE, when was it? What kind of butterflies maybe did you have in your stomach at the time? What was the country like then what did you do I? Don't know maybe it'll runs together in your mind, but if you can reminisce back and share some of those recollections with us. Well, it was two thousand. So twenty years ago. And very small delegation it was myself and. A J C member. Is Very different place there were roads that were not paved. It was. There were not hundred and fifty story office towers. The rate of expansion sophistication worldliness openness has just been meteoric what has happened over that period? So the UAE that AJC visited two decades ago is not the of today, which is a modern dynamic. Ambitious, creative open place and welcoming of people from every corner of the world. It is often said that they have something like two hundred nationalities in the UA two thousand and nineteen was declared the year of tolerance and they have extended that tolerance promotion which translates into tolerance inaptly frankly from the Arabic, it's really more description than tolerance itself. It really conveys more mutual respect and welcoming but that has been the spirit that has been directed really from the top down but absorbed by the society in so many ways that there is an ex patriot Jewish community in the UAE becoming. Jewish communities from really all not not Jewish. But is GONNA be religious communities, religious factions from every possible branch it every faith practicing in that country. But. We try to do a twenty years ago when we first went to the UAE and what we have continued to do over those years in smaller and larger group visits and sometimes single visits by myself has been to explain the Jewish people to civil society leaders. Government officials learned from them, their concerns about the region hear from them, their aspirations for. A more stable secure regional architecture explore the possibility of developing a relationship with the sole middle. East democracy. That actually also is a country that has different faiths respects, diversity celebrates diversity, and that is Israel. And that also has strategic concerns that are common to the. UAE. At other countries other Sunni Arab countries in the Gulf a by the way I should point out that HEC has been elsewhere in the Gulf going back even further back to. Nineteen ninety four was our first visit to the Gulf. It was developing these relationships developing friendships, opening doors, disabuse people of various misconceptions they might have they might have been taught about the Jewish people introducing a narrative about Israel that was contrary to the narrative that was widely available in the media and in school curricula but that was consistent with the way we saw the region and the way many in the world see the region and the possibilities of a very different political and cultural context. Than was kind of enforced over. So many decades I've seen estimates that there are as many as a thousand Jews today in the I'm not sure if that's a little high little low suffice to say, there were not a thousand Jews in the twenty years ago. So you are very much a trailblazer at the time it wasn't your first kind of foray into the Arab world, but were you nervous to be a Jewish person heading to to the Emirates in in two thousand? No not the least Yes, you're right There was a very tiny Jewish community when we were there twenty years ago maybe it was just the two of us who were visiting the time. Although that's not really accurate because of course, there have been Jewish engineers and lawyers and doctors and other experts professionals who have come into work in the energy companies there and consulting companies, various kinds and other businesses well, of course but there was not what you would describe as a Jewish community there. Individual Jews that changed for many years when hse would visit, we would host a Chabad dinner and service in a banquet a small. Banquet. Room. In a in a hotel that we would occupy and we would invite those Jews we knew were there to come and be with us on a Friday evening and we would continue this ritual year after year and the group would meet other people other Jews in the UAE and Dubai mostly. But a little bit in Abu Dhabi as well and and other Emirates, and they would gather together convened by AJC a until about. Five six years ago maybe it goes back seven years when the community had grown enough the network had expanded enough that people were meeting in a villa and were conducting services, Atalante Friday evening, but on Saturday as well, and gradually that sort of villa operation grew and became very substantial, Jewish, enterprise in in the UAE and then really just in the last two years I think it. Really wasn't the fall of two, thousand, eighteen. So almost two years when there was the first public declaration in the local media that there was a Jewish community until that time people had been very quiet as they would gather at the villa on a Saturday, they would be careful about how they arrive. They wouldn't come in a bus they would come individually in cars there was no. Sign outside the villa that said that it was a Jewish center of any kind. But that change two years ago, and now there is a robust community it's not large. I. Don't think it's a thousand people but it certainly in the hundreds and they have organized the Jewish Council of the Emirates there is a chief rabbi of the Jewish community of the emerets Rabbi Yehuda SORTA. who was the nyu Hill L. Rabbi in New, York, but because nyu as a campus in Abu Dhabi his frequently and Abu Dhabi as well and he has been adopted by the community as their chief rabbi and we have regular Friday zoom Coupla about services that I and others in AJC have been invited to participate and sometimes speak in the services David Harris spoken I've spoken. David Rosen our colleague in Jerusalem. Or International, director of into religious affairs. So Agency is very fully embedded in this community and supportive of admiring of this community we will continue to work with as we make our plans to establish an ongoing permanent presence in the U. E. which we just announced obiekwu. I've heard from countless middle, east experts over the years has been that the Israeli Palestinian conflict represents a kind of glass ceiling on the potential for Israel's relationship with the Gulf states. Now, in the span of less than a month, we've seen Israel in the UAE announce and proceed along the path toward full peace and normalization between the two countries and proudly Zionist Jewish organization AJC opening an office in the Emirates. What should we make of that Maxim today that there's this kind of limit to how far Israel's relationship with the Arab nations can go? The reality is that Israel has had quite relations with many Arab states even with this formal declaration by the Arab League and enforced from time to time in various Sarab summits that there would be no normalization of relations with Israel despite that official stance, there have been unofficial contacts and quite extensive unofficial contacts at the intelligence level security level. But also with businesses there have been many Israeli business relationships that have developed with folks in the Gulf in North Africa over decades and their products and services that the go back and forth, which is exciting a now, it can be really built on in a much more. Open and sustained and I think mutually satisfying way what we've started seeing just in the last couple of years especially I think maybe I would trace some of this to the October two thousand, eighteen visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu to Amman was graded by the then Sultanate of Oman not having a diplomatic relationship with Israel but having invited the prime minister of Israel to come and meet with the Sultan. From that point and there were other events that occurred in that same several months of two. Israeli. Ministers going to the two one two Attila Communications Conference want to sport international sporting event. Of course, in the summer of two, thousand and nineteen. You had the Buffoni hosting of the peace to prosperity onference over the course of months multiple declarations by influential Arab leaders to the effect that They understood the decades with pretending that Israel doesn't exist hasn't helped the Palestinians that if we are trying to advance Palestinian statehood a two state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict what we've been doing for decades hasn't really done that there haven't been serious negotiations since the Oslo accords nothing has moved forward since nineteen ninety-three how can we continue to insist on doing something that is obviously not working? Let's try different path and frankly AJC for centuries has been encouraging different path. We've been saying to foreign ministers and heads of state and various other officials and business people if you want to help. The Palestinians. You'll do a better job if you are talking to the Israelis if you're encouraging them to move forward if you are looking over the shoulders of negotiators and tried to push things in a direction that makes for you and make sense for your Palestinian cousins. So some of this is, of course, common threats, the common threat from extremism common threat posed by an aggressive Iran these are concerns that Israelis and Gulf Arabs have naturally but it's more than that. It's the opportunities that could exist that could be exploited by a real relationship with Israel and over the table relationship with Israel. Now comes the news that. Is is opening an office in the UAE. It'll be our thirteen overseas post. What kind of work will that office do is going to be focused solely on the E. or also work with other countries in the Gulf to try to deepen our relationships there. We started working on plans to open an office in the UAE well, before this announcement when one of the objectives at the end of the line was the establishment of diplomatic relations now that that has accelerated and is moving forward so quickly, and in fact I think the finishing touches are being put on an agreement between Israel and the way we will develop other aspects of agenda that we'd been laying out over the last year that has to do with the with interfaith relations AJC already for several years, but involved in in efforts in the UAE to deepen Muslim, Christian Jewish relations and in fact, as you know. The has announced plans in the next couple of years to build what they're calling an air brake family house, which will be a synagogue, a church, and a mosque on a complex in Abu Dhabi, that will also have educational programming exhibit space. We hope to be able to do more to to contribute to to to that planning as well into participate in some of the programs that will take place. So interfaith is one aspect of it. We will be there we will be able to engage in these discussions with higher committee in the that is dealing with these issues we. Would like to be able to use a base of the US to reach out to others in the Arab world. This will be AJC's first office in the Arab world we have maintained relations with North African and Gulf in live on countries for many years by flying in as often as possible and meeting with officials when they come to the United States and be with their embassies and their diplomats supposed around the US. But this'll be much more satisfying, much more direct to have the ability in a few hours to be another Arab capital, the possibility exists that AJC could serve as A. An introducer, a connector, a networker for business people, and also civil society organizations in Israel and in the United States and in the Arab World I think we'll be quite busy. We don't expect to have a staff of fifty people in the UAE we'll start small as we have in other places and we will have friends and we will deepen those friendships and we'll also be able to set up some exchange programs. I. Hope between the US and Emirati officials and student leaders and others and introducing more and more of our people. Our concerns are aspirations to this dynamic culture in the Gulf. I'm just before we close I want to throw a critique at you that I've heard a friend of mine who's a journalist with the Jewish publication through a critique me over the weekend and I've seen this echoed a few other times on twitter as well. In addition to the words enhancing the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel. AJC's mission statement also includes the words advancing democratic values around the world. It's very obvious to everyone how an AJC office in the Emirates relates to the former the part about the well of Jews and Israel but how will our first office based in a non democratic country wreck in with the part of our mission statement talks about democratic values? That's an interesting question Steffi on a complicated one. Over. The many years at AJC has been operating internationally have been exercising our diplomacy in many different countries at many different settings. multi-laterally, and bilaterally, we have encountered governments that have political systems that we don't find necessarily a surly compatible with American constitutional principles. We have nevertheless found ways to advance our interests and Arkansas and our communities a term. Aspirations by dealing with specific issues that are at the top of our agenda listening to the folks we are talking to, but not necessarily feeling compelled to agree with every aspect of how that country operates. We hope that through time and through modeling of our principles and our behavior, we can perhaps have some long term influence in countries. Where we might share some concerns and some values, but not all we are not going the world to change every society. We are there to protect the interests of the Jewish people and to advance normal relations with and respect for Israel and widen the protection for minorities universally and respect for human rights universally. But we will steer our way through this challenging environment. In every country we operate in as we have learned to do through more than a century of diplomatic activity it may be challenging from time to time, but I will tell you that in a country like the which celebrates tolerance which has expressed a desire for close relations with the Middle East's sold democracy. which aspires to an even closer deeper relationship with the United States. We have a lot to work with and we are looking forward to working with our friends in the UAE. The opening of this office is a very exciting step for our organization Jason and one for which you are do tremendous Kudos. So congratulations on the step in. Thank you so much for joining us here on AJC's people the pod. Thank you very much that it was pleasure. Now it's time for our closing segment about table talk and joining us Chabad table. This week is Naomi Ravic, the newly appointed program associate AJC's young. Leadership. Department often called the best department at AJC. Now when you're talking with your family at your table this weekend, what are you going to be talking about Anke you. For having me back for about table talk it is such a pleasure. My family has been talking about Jewish unity this whole week and our own forms of interaction -ality. So I expect our spot table will be no different coming from an interracial family these conversations that being black and Jewish have always been a part of the discourse of my life, but I'm really excited to see that agency and the national. Urban. League are taking these incredible steps to not only acknowledge the history of these two communities working together. But also talk about the intersection of what it means to be a part of both for me. I've never felt that being black and Jewish is an obstacle. I do oftentimes feel caught between two different planes of being both black and Jewish, and I've definitely had the experience of feeling other by one community or the other. The feeling of being other it isn't necessarily one of exclusion rather of being highlighted for your differences. I've never felt this is a challenge for me to overcome more. So another part of identity that I have to reconcile with the world around me like anything else. My mom and I have been discussing our own unique perspectives as a black Jew and myself as by Racial Ju- of a different generation we've been talking a lot about our similar experiences as are many different ones and I've been reflecting on how fortunate I feel that you've made so many strides in the last forty or so years. unity week has come at such an opportune time considering everything that's going on in the world recently from the protests rounding racial quality in this country and the rising anti-semitism to a black woman being nominated two major party ticket for the first time in American history. As Dr Jani said on the program earlier this week about the experience of Jews of Color in America. I believe that we're at a crucial jumping off point but that the work will truly be done when we no longer have to identify as Jews of color when we can walk into any Jewish based unjustly. Jewish. I've never been prouder to be Jewish woman of Color and I'm so thankful that AJC has taken this week to highlight these stories. I'm looking forward to the day when I can just be who I am without having to myself. But for now I'm proud to see kids who grew up like I. Did of the opportunity to see their stories shared on a platform like AJC is in the National Urban Leagues I'm optimistic that the work is in stopping with s week and that this movement is only just reigniting. Thanks. You heard a bit about this program already in Naomi's beautiful Chabad table talk but this week AJC featured three Jews who are black in one of our black Jewish unity week programs in partnership with the National Urban League. Rabbi Sandra Lawson, the associate chaplain for Jewish life at North Carolina's Ilan University Tiffany Harris the chief program officer for the International Jewish community, Building Organization Moisture House and Dr. John Eaves, the former chairman of the county commission in Atlanta's Fulton County and a member of AJC Atlanta's regional office board joined conversation with Dove. WELKER AJC is director of black Jewish relations to discuss their experiences being both black and Jewish. When AJC I worked with the National Urban League to conceive of black Jewish unity week, there was a risk of reinforcing an erroneous binary of putting a slash between the words black an Jewish of implying that it's only possible to be one or the other to be black or Jewish we knew we had to avoid that because we know that there are too many Jews who are black who are members in our communities who are leaders in our community like Rabbi Sandra and Tiffany and John and I might add like Naomi. Ignoring those Jews is not only an affront to them, but it robs the broader Jewish community of the full breadth of our diversity depending on your definition and how you count somewhere between five percent and fifteen percent of the American Jewish community are people of Color. It is critical that we see those Jews that we engage those Jews in our organizations and that we work to ensure that our community fully embraces those Jews in all that we do. Judaism puts a high value on welcoming the stranger because we ourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt, if that's the case with strangers, think how much higher the value is. Welcoming all of our Jewish brothers and sisters regardless of the color of their skin. If you haven't thought much about this before or even if you have I, hope that you will head to AJC. Dot. Org To watch the recording of that remarkable conversation I hope that you'll discuss this imperative to welcome all Jews at your table. I know I will at mine show botulism Shabazz's alone. You can subscribe to people of the pod on itunes Google play or spotify, or learn more at AJC dot org slash people of the pie the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC, we'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod at E. J. C. Dot born if you like this podcast, be sure to rate it and writer review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening this episode is brought to you. By AJC. Our producer is condo. Our system producer is a Tarlac Rats and our sound engineer is t k broaddrick tune in next week for another episode of people of the Pot.

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Buckhead South: Wednesday - Bell Street Burritos

Dinner Tonight Atlanta

00:58 sec | 7 months ago

Buckhead South: Wednesday - Bell Street Burritos

"Welcome to dinner tonight. Atlanta I'm your host Susan Cooper and I'm here to help you make decisions on where to go eat. Atlanta has no shortage of awesome restaurants. It can get overwhelming so I'm going to take you to a new neighborhood each week and help you decide where to go tonight this week. We're going to buckhead the southern end. It's Wednesday night. You're going to build St Burritos at eighteen. Sixteen peachtree street tonight. Let's keep it casual with Bell Street. Britos they were named best Burrito in Atlanta by creative loafing Atlanta magazine and the AJC. For a reason you can build your own Burrito bowl or case idia and here's a tip. Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree. Can't beat that for a Hump Day treat. This is Susan Cooper from dinner tonight. Atlanta have a great time. Tonight and tip generously.

Atlanta Susan Cooper creative loafing Atlanta magaz buckhead AJC
AJC CEO David Harris and Times of Israel Founding Editor David Horovitz in Conversation

People of the Pod

29:58 min | 1 year ago

AJC CEO David Harris and Times of Israel Founding Editor David Horovitz in Conversation

"Hello and welcome to people of the pod brought to you by AJC AJC and the Times of Israel each week will take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people. I'm your host. SEPE HE COGAN. AJC and the Times of Israel have a lot in common. We're both passionate about the future of Israel and the Jewish people we both employ a lot of good writers. We both work in several different languages and both organizations are led by someone named. David h this week were joined in-studio by David Harris CEO of AJC and by phone by David David Horovitz founding editor of The Times of Israel the two are both eloquent spokespeople for their organizations and for the Jewish people and they both have incisive Jason minds that enable them to easily explain the intricacies are complex political and societal moment. Listen in on our chat to mark the very special launch of our new joint podcast people of the pod David Harvey. It's David Harris. Thank you both so much for joining us. It's a pleasure sexual. This is is the very first official episode we had kind of a soft launch last week of people of the pod but this is our formal start and this was something that was so exciting waiting to us as we were talking about it you know behind the scenes before we launched David Horovitz. Why is it that this partnership makes so much sense well. I think the idea of doing something that's very immediate. you know I work in text mode usually see pictures a little bit video but to be able to partner with an organization that has this framework going to be able to reach people blue care about the kind of work that we cover to do so through conversation in new and exciting. Pro Dude Harris from perspective why this partnership with this precocious it's news organization that came on the scene only about seven years ago but has immediately become a must read first of all because we're big fans of the Times of Israel. I personally am a big fan and I've been a blogger for the times of Israel from many years and I have great respect for the publication secondly because I believe in Jewish partnerships together where we can leverage on our respective audiences and reach more people and thirdly perhaps obviously this direction which the world is going so as as much as many of us have been text driven myself included. audio is the way to go and podcasts are here to stay so we're thrilled to have this partnership together with the Times of Israel Israel David harvests writing just a few weeks ago in the pages of your publication. You cited some. AJC stats you were talking about our annual survey survey of American Jewish opinion and you said quote many young American. Jews in particular are less instinctively invested in Israel's wellbeing. They're becoming alienated native from Israel that they regard as less pluralistic and less democratic unless that trend was reversed the next AJC survey will find even more American and Israeli the Jews writing off those in the other country as not part of my family. What do you see as contributing to the growing divide in the Israel diaspora relationship from from the Israeli side of the Atlantic yeah well first of all that sounds really blake coming right that you know there are lots of positives to the relationship as well but you know there are factors that play one of which is simply that time has passed and you know there are two sizable Jewish community. That's the one in Israel that's the one in the United States people have had a decades now seven over them to make their choice about which of those communities especially to come in and and the lot in with the Jewish people in Zion and you know by definition as the years go by the community's going to evolve in slightly different ways but you also have you know you have I think in Israel and abiding and and they've even growing sense that around the world and certainly including Pasta Jewish community there's not nearly a failure to understand some of the challenges we're up against but even a disinclination to look deeply at some of the challenges and some of the realities that we grapple with I think four Israelis and many asper jury you know there is perpetual and it wouldn't be normal otherwise I suppose the fact inspection with some aspects of the way the Jewish state is playing out as their disatisfaction everywhere with with everything at some level but you know this country that has tried and to a large extent have managed to both establish itself as a thriving democracy but also to show fealty to the religion sustained us in exile for Millennia nonetheless the ultra-orthodox maintain kind of monopoly other life cycle Michael Events and that I think is eighty and eighteen for much of the diaspora and much of Israel by the way that doesn't subscribe to the Ultra Orthodox outlook. there are other factors. Was You know he's ready democracy and now they're I think dissatisfaction in some cases is not merited. Think democracy is an incredible thing. I think it's being batted. I think it can't be taken for granted but I think that some of the Gulf should not be as long as they are and that we should be smarter in trying to find ways to bridge some of those cow Gal to talk better to have nuanced dialogue and maybe things like this podcast is part of that David Harris that stat that David Horovitz was citing in that quote that I read about American and Israeli Jews being part of the same family or not that's from a question that we ask each year where we use that analogy as of family and ask American Jews weather. They feel like Israelis are their brothers and sisters are their cousins or not part of my family. We've been asking that for. I don't so how long you might know how long what can we do. What are we doing here at. AJC to ensure that American Israeli Jewish communities are not drifting further apart. I think first of all in order to do something one has to understand the phenomenon and I think David Horowitz with whom I should be noted by all your listeners I share the same initials the maybe there's cosmic meaning in that we have to understand the issues and they're not simple and because they're not simple. They're not going to be easy to solve number. One would drifting apart historically geographically a generational by now. We're probably second cousins in most cases maybe even third cousins in. I don't know about other people's families but in our family second and third cousins weren't necessarily part of the core a nuclear family moreover American Jews unlike many other diaspora Jewish communities with which I'm familiar always saw kind of American exceptionalism whereas whereas other communities always saw Israel is an essential part not just of their metaphysical self but potentially of their physical selves as a potential alternative a potential home home potential haven most American Jews never saw Israel and quite those terms because they believed America was kind of second promised land thirdly yeah and this is a very big issue as well. There's a kind of attenuation of Judaism for many in America and for some. It's become a kind of decorum lamaism. That's replaced Judaism away now. I know this is tricky stuff and we don't have the time to get into it but if Judaism becomes reduced to a very sort of simple notion that it's all about do-goodism then Israel as a sovereign state a which is still battling for its borders its protection. It's security in very rough and tumble. Area has a rough time fitting into that notion of kernel lamaism in other words. We get to a very deep issue about the difference between being being a sovereign state and being a minority community. It's very easy in a minority community to spend about talking about prophetic Judaism invoking vocal all of the the the wonderful elements of Jewish heritage about which we're so proud welcoming the stranger pursuing justice and the like Israel wants to in brace that but at the same time has to defend itself against Hezbollah Hamas Iran Iran Iran Iran in Syria Iran and Lebanon so there are different clashes because of statehood than there are because of minority status all of these things come together and require deep analysis in order to try and find a pathway forward. What are the symptoms of this attenuation that you spoke about. David Harris is that we're seeing a waning it might be cliche to speak Ed at this point but we're seeing a waning in the loss of bipartisan support for Israel here in the United States. Do you think that that's overplayed. Overdone Cliche Cliche at this point or is it something that is very real and and that we're concerned about. I'll give you a very typical answer. The answer is yes. The the answer to me at least is that it's all the above the American Jewish Committee is fiercely nonpartisan we're also deeply committed to ensuring that there's bipartisan support for the US Israel relationship going forward and not simply because it's in the interest of Israel but because it's in the interest of the United States I think that to some degree the descent and the Democratic Party is being overplayed in part. That's because the dissenters are very successful in social media. They have a very high visibility decibel decibel level but at the same time there are trends and poll after poll after poll reveal those trends that there is a growing gap between self self identified Republicans support for Israel and self identified democratic support for Israel so we shouldn't overreact to the current situation bipartisan support for Israel as reflected in vote after vote in Congress is striking on the other hand we shouldn't under react to the potential for erosion and that bipartisan support support for Israel is specially today as polls reveal within the Democratic Party David harvests from the Israeli side of the Atlantic looking at this issue you you know I'll talk to cousins of mine by their at their dinner table when I'm actually in Israel or from afar and these are lifelong labour voters like we're talking people in their seventies of Indiana eighty s the typical Ashkenazi elite Labor voter who thinks of him or herself as a liberal and tells me you know seventy one of the Democrats doing to us. There's this total break. Is that something that's become pervasive in Israel. Look I think the clear bipartisan collapse right as the polarization between two nations to go into nuance intolerance for for differing views and the whole israeli-american relationship and the aspects of that relationship are victims of that you know that part of this I think all societies in the United States and Israel you see in Britain and beyond there are very few bipartisan issue in the United States at the moment and the political climate in Israel is also increasingly shrill and polarized you can go into the specifics from the Israeli perspective as the president of the United States who's right. He's not chosen in the last elections according to our polls but who would be better for us than the one we would've voted for according to the polls in other words he's in the police that they would have voted Hillary Clinton but they trump would be better for Israel and you explain that contradiction by internalizing he's ready felt like no would be with Clinton and trump you know could well turn out the accent but they couldn't be sure since becoming President of course you know he went to the Western Wall as a serving president movie dumb not not the full he recognize Israeli sovereignty andrus me recognizes race suffering Tillman Golan They seemed down. You're on although it's you know that particular up process is still playing out so love of the things that trump has done very close to the Israeli consensus the part of the Israeli consensus and he's appreciated for that at the same time you know he's a using his relationship with Israel as a potential battering rams his political opponents some of those political opponents are beyond unfairly critical of Israel and within Israel the Israeli government has made it too easy to allow yourself to be perceived as particularly close to one side of the spectrum and that's just bad politics in the medium term because unlike in Israel where the pendulum has not swung for a decade the pendulum swing in the United States and Israel deserves to be supported across the spectrum in the United States not only because of shared values but also because of shared interests we all the dependable democracy on the front line against Iran that fees of little sites and and you know the big Satan. This relationship is us-israel relationship. It has a value in terms of the things we stand for but it also has practical importance and therefore that support needs to so whoever's in power in whichever country speaking of politics. It's election season. I think in two thousand nine hundred feels like it's always I I was gonna say what what is it not election but here particularly there might be a case to say that it's it's especially election season because Israel Israel has elections coming up as we record today on September third Israel's elections coming up in precisely two weeks time British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is threatening elections elections coming up also very soon and the American election actually isn't all that soon but it's certainly looming one thing. I'm wondering I think a lot of people are wondering is is there a common through line right our politics all moving in the same direction. Are there identifiable patterns that we can pick up on or whereas it sometimes feels is everything just you know so chaotic and perhaps most unnervingly chaotic in different ways David Harvey. What are you say good grief mashed to try and draw exact parallels. I think there's certainly some common factors you know the lack of motivation and the erosion rosen of middle ground stunts is I think is coming through the country that you mentioned and that's really problematic because I think much wisdom is usually between the extremes extremes by you know the you know the there are other factors playing out him into the you know the capacity of leaders and others you know opponents old players to to misdirect to peddle misinformation and in some cases this information to escape scrutiny by an increasingly week journalistic hierarchy lost some you know many. I think a similar factors play out we in Israel two weeks away from elections. You actually wouldn't believe in other words by comparison previous election campaigns. You would not think that we were only two weeks away from the vote and I think part of that because he's already public really hasn't been this way that this was necessary. you know we had elections. Just five months ago we made characteristically complicated. Israeli political views known we had expected our elected leaders to sort out the potential coalition that we had entrusted them with forming and they didn't do that I don't know how it's GONNA play out ahead but I think what you most sense in. Israel is a disapproval with the politicians putting us through this again when we we made us clear and it was four or five months ago David Harris. What are you say I think where I typically agree with. David is on the sort of the vanishing center and as a lifelong centrist representing ferry fiercely please centrist Organization the American Jewish Committee. That's particularly difficult for me as I observe trends in in the United States in particular elsewhere as well well a sense that we have become deeply polarized societies with two warring camps in effect to sub countries within a larger nation and and of course living in an era of social media and unfortunately I'm. I'm kind of addicted to social media. I wish I weren't I'd probably wake up in a better mood food but watching social media play out watching the vitriol watching the anger watching the kind of star conclusions drawn in two hundred eighty characters actresses less on twitter or an image on instagram or wherever it may be sort of removes all elements of nuance and context they become dirty pretty words me. History has gone out the window. lessons learned gone out the window. instead it's all about the moment and it's about politicians tapping happen the moment and tapping the kind of residual anger of many and I think if I could reduce it from my vantage point especially in the United States dates. I don't know whether David would agree in the UK which he knows well and Israel. You used to be in the states. It's the economy stupid. I think we're now talking about. Two phenomena Domina- it's the economy stupid and it's the culture stupid culture meaning if you will identity it it. It's much more complex than than race alone or ethnicity alone but it's this sort of complex mix of what does it mean today to be an American. What does it mean today it to be a Brit. What does it mean to be an Israeli and it seems to me at least that we no longer have any kind of consensus at least around that say that eighty percent mark leaving aside those on the margins in the past. We've lost their center ground about not just the economy but identity and it it becomes now we're kind of a duel between the so-called deletes and the anti elites and the haves and the have nots and those who are the globalists' and those who are if you will the nationalists again. This is simplifying all the phenomena Jeffie but I think we have to begin to scratch below the surface to understand this if we're going to find a way out and restore a sense of consensus in democratic societies which at the end of the day depend on consensus. David is is David Wright is the cultural war becoming increasingly central in Israel much as it is in the US like I I wouldn't put everything in exactly the same terms that they did and I would add another element element that I'm not saying it's unique to Israel but it's incredibly prominent to Israel our divisions here now on our elections here part of them do revolve around sort of tribal aspects if you like a part of it which is very prominent here like I say the security issue the lost elections and this one and maybe a few in the recent past we're referenda to some extent on the ten yeah but not simply Netanyahu as a person part of it isn't it anyhow domestically than the internal leader I love by some moved by others very divisive and so on but part of it and I think really the key factor in the success of the Pasta cade has been been been referenda on Netanyahu as as mister security as the person capable of keeping this country safe in other words. What I'm saying is a possible the other issue that they mentioned we have had this imperative to you know to exist here and if we have leadership that not smart enough in steering the security hierarchies then ensuring that we are able to survive here you know all the other issues become marginal what's striking about ten yahoo not losing tonight bulletin win but he didn't lose is was he was up against an opposition party led by former chief stuff with two other chiefs of stuff in its top ranks and yet he I would say out security them. He is as I speak to you. Today I would say we've just had a major flare up with his beloved which is still being learned in a way he's nonetheless been for a decade the most credible figure when when it comes to keeping Israel's safe and that is part of the mix here and that has pushed aside maybe some of the other phenomena that you grappling with the United States and that people are dealing with in Britain for example. I WANNA start to wind us down here with a couple of final questions David Harris what keeps you up at night from Eur per charity. JC How much time do we have. Several you told US wakes you up early. In the morning. You know the to get on twitter. So what about the other end of your sleep schedule anti it's hard to encapsulate one thought in closing minute as you hit the at the wind up of of this podcast but I think that I'm most concerned about on the one hand the attenuation of Jewish identity in in too many parts of of the world beginning here in the United States and on the other hand. I'm very worried that a seventy five years after the end of the show off Anti Semitism is reemerging variety of forms both familiar and if you will in a newer guys of the individual Jew the collective Jew do the Jew and the Jewish state and there are fewer breaks on expressions once upon a time they were confined to more extreme places and spaces today. They're much more mainstream th they they instead of listening total anger and disapproval disapproval there now subjects of increasing discussion and debate and I worry it. It's interesting that in this past week as we record this podcast we mark the the eightieth anniversary of the start of the Second World War there are lessons to be learned from that war and from the run up to the war from nineteen thirty three to nineteen thirty nine but I fear Saffy that in the largely historical world in which we live many of those lessons will be learned because history is seen as a luxury to many if that and that's profoundly concerning to me as a Jew David Harvey seven hours earlier each night on Israel Standard. Time what what's keeping you up look let me ask the question to be constructive as opposed to dismal which I often feel I burnish yeah. I'm expedition but yeah look you know I think we do need to recognize from recent history that the Jewish eight people need somewhere where they can determine their like the best of our little country on the western edge of a hostile landmass can and I think we need to internalize is that there's not that many of us around the world and that you know in the podcast bridging that geographical gap we need to remember that we're all in this together and the people who who don't care which side of political spectrums we're on and we need to find ways to engage each other and not give up on each other and showed a little bit more. I against Grayson temperance in the discussions that we have you know I tell people a critical Israel well which is that you'll critical off. I'm sure there are lots of aspects of the other countries that we would like to change what we think would be the better so you know invest in constructive efforts to make our two communities as as good and fine as we know how to Waza then becoming destructive and hypercritical and so on so you know there's lots of stuff that keeps us up but less direct energy's to maximizing what we can do constructively together and one final positive note to end on. What are you most excited about. David harvests about the future of journalism journalism about the future of your field wow I thought about the future of the country that I would talk about my kids and that and that pairs 'cause we're producing these extraordinary generations of young innovative capable motivated people not gonNA stop. You're talking about your kids. If you want to talk about your kids talk about your kids how many of you talk about your future journalism I it's easier to be less optimistic think about but I you know I'd like to think those channels and outlets that strive to cover things barely and tried to give people the tools to make their own decisions and give expression to diverse viewpoints reasonably argued. I hope that those outfits at the time. This is one of them. continue to thrive. I haven't and the signs are encouraging. Shall we say David Harris with the last word you can speak Fair's fair you can speak either about the future of your grandchildren or about the future of advocacy well actually they're intertwined because my grandchildren are. Jewish and my grandchildren are Israeli citizens and and so it it all fits together saffy very neatly this is unplanned but but there it is so the future my grandchildren in the future of Jewish advocacy offer me one and the same but I will say that if I can just turn the question a little bit what what what what gives me the great sense of satisfaction in my advocacy and I've been it involved in AJC advocacy now around the world for decades. I think the most extraordinary thing that has happened and I hope and trust that David Horvitz will agree is is the emergence of Israel as a remarkably strong resilient successful state that doesn't mean it doesn't have both domestic issues and external challenges and threats it has both but I think if we step back and sort of witness the trajectory of Israel over the decades and and I've seen it up close in AJC advocacy on every continent in well over one hundred countries today Israel is seen by more and more four countries indeed. I would say a vast majority of countries as an essential part of the twenty first century landscape and as an essential part of the solutions to the twenty twenty-first-century problems whether it's about water whether it's about food whether it's about medicine whether it's about cybersecurity whether it's about terrorism or defense go down the long list list of twenty-first-century challenges once upon a time. Israel was seen as has just a conflict so nothing more nothing less you who picked sides and too often the countries we met with pick the other side out of political expediency or energy diplomacy today. They're no longer picking taking sides in quite the same way because they understand that to pick against Israel's to pick against their own twenty-first-century interests. This is the biggest change in our advocacy and this is what I hope will propel Israel forward in the years to come as it faces external challenges its domestic challenges but at the same time continues to become an an increasing global powerhouse and one that I think my grandchildren as Israelis will identify with very profoundly well David David. Thank you both for your time. I'm Anne. Thank you both for your leadership of these two indispensable organizations that we love so much. Thank yous EFI now. It's time for our closing segment good for the Jews where each week I share one final thought about a recent development in the world and try to answer that age old question is it good for the Jews judo good for the Jews look you don't get the name people of the book because of your fighting prowess but a major theme of the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in our ancestral astral homeland has been the new the strong Jew the Jewish army that theme can be a complicated one at times and at times. It's really really as simple at times it just means cheering for the new judo world champion Israeli Segi Murky but Segi earned and unexpected affected fan this week in keeping with the long standing antisemitism of the Iranian regime Iranian judoka Eden ally was forced to throw throw a match at the world championships in Tokyo to avoid facing off against saggy but that was a bridge too far for Sade who defected after the competition and is now seeking asylum in Berlin was he just peeved that his country made him waste a chance at the championship to avoid an Israeli. Actually it could have been something more the Iranians Sade left a simple comment on instagram page saying congratulations champion to which saggy replied thank you you are an inspiration as a human being and as an athlete a few simple words and a couple of Emoji emoji exchanged on instagram and the world gets a powerful reminder that the Iranian and Israeli people don't actually hate each other if Iran's John's regime ever stopped. It's hateful assault on Israel. Iranians and Israelis could quickly resume warm ties that would certainly be good for the Jews Jews you can subscribe to people of the pod on itunes or Google play follow on soundcloud or learn more at AJC dot org slash people of the pot the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC Times of Israel. We'd love to hear your views views and opinions or your questions you can reach us at people of the pod at AJC DOT Org. If you like this podcast be sure to rate it and write review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. I'm your host Sethi Cogan. This episode is brought to you by AJC and the Times of Israel. Our producer is coup. CONDO are sound engineer. Tk Broddrick tune in next week for another episode sued of people of the pod.

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AJC Passport: Cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Democratic Presidential Debates

People of the Pod

45:32 min | 1 year ago

AJC Passport: Cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Democratic Presidential Debates

"Hello and welcome to AJC passport brought to you by JC the diplomatic arm of the Jewish community each week we'll chat with experts from around the world to help you better understand the weeds headlines and what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people. I'm your host Seffi Cogan in addition to being a longtime friend of AJC see Andy's Amanita is the Chicago based Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council and thank you so much for joining us. Hey great to be here. I think the first first thing that many American Jews think about when they hear about Greeks and Jews probably a pie or some other Jewish fraternity or worse. Maybe maybe the Hanukkah story or something like that but actually they're strong ties between the Hellenic American community and the American Jewish community ties that you've been instrumental in strengthening. What's the background there. Well you know prior to me too. I mean I I'm very proud of our partnership with AJC and what we've done but we do stand on the the shoulders of giants and you know sometimes. It's it's easy to forget where we came from. It wasn't too long ago was certainly in my lifetime to Greece and Israel were not that close and in nineteen eighties. He didn't enjoy full diplomatic relations and so you know you're Chicago. Oh crowd will love this. Maybe the rest of you but the whole Greek Jewish relationship been even at the state level has ties in Chicago 'cause. AJC's then president president maynard listener and the lay leader who we affectionately called the Patriarch of the Greek Community Andrew Athens endeavored decided together they were going to get Israel in Greece to upgrade to full diplomatic relations now tying it to today the then prime minister who is the father of the recently elected Prime Minister so Curios Mitsotakis his father Constantine Mitsotakis was elected prime minister and and AJC with their partners into Greek American community undertook to get this full diplomatic upgrade done any any got done so I I would say that's kind of the origin story so just this week actually we saw some of the fruits of that burgeoning relationship the inaugural east Mediterranean Energy the summit kicked off in Greece senior leaders from Greece and Cyprus from Israel the US from other countries met to discuss significant energy cooperation Grecian why are these kinds of US backed partnerships in the region significant well because the East Med. I tell the people that swear civilizations. We know it started you know another. Greek Jewish tie Winston Churchill's famous quote that no two cities counted for humanity the way Jerusalem and Athens and and the US you know for Americans. Let's remember we have a navy today. A Marine Corps right because of piracy in the Mediterranean Right Retina the Marine Corps theme from the halls of Montezuma to the Shorjah Tripoli and they met in Tripoli Libya naturally the landlocked city in Greece. We face some of the greatest threats right. you know the Arab uprisings at turn into who in Islam like winter Syria Hamas and Hezbollah presence and Islamic state at presences on the Mediterranean Libya s still a mess Turkey has become a revanchist a state. The one piece of good news in the last ten years is the spirit of cooperation that really started with Israel Greece and Cyprus and now has expanded and I it wasn't inaugural this week actually inaugural wasn't February in Cairo the East Smith Gas Forum but it's something that AJC and how have been working on from the establishment of the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance Caucus where we said we got to help help create a regional infrastructure that just like the European Union started because of an energy source and still trying that that natural gas and renewables by the way can play a similar role and when you sit there and see Egypt and Greece and and Cyprus and Israel and Jordan and Italy and the Palestinians all sitting down working on joint communiques now you have the French ambassador under saying we want to be part of this. I we're GONNA frontlines a history here. It's really an amazing thing to think about you know the sky's the limit with a project like that right yeah the Mediterranean right by definition right the word in Greek means the middle C. or middle of the earth right. It's been a great connector her and at a time where people argue that nationalism or tribalism is the most important or the most powerful force in the world they have people connected to have the EU connected with the Levant to have Eastern Orthodoxy in Western Orthodoxy tied directly in working cooperatively with with Judaism and Islam and to be connected especially because of law the C. issues these are borders right and you look at the Mediterranean in you know that it's Israel's only friendly border truly friendly border is its it's border. It's it's exclusive economic zone with touching exclusive economic zone of Cyprus and this is not a theoretical issue you know people may may forget this but when Moore she came to power for sing he said he was going to do is cut off our energy. to Israel and immediately Israel Greece recent Cyprus came to a deal to lay the world's longest emerged power cable that you early Asia interconnector which which took another step forward again the last couple of weeks and this is one that one will make sure Israel's never cut off from electricity because it's going to connect Israel directly right to Europe's `electricity grin but it's also a two way if Israel produces excess electricity it can help power Europe which then makes yes Europe more energy independent from countries like Russia right so what's going on here is going to change geopolitics a moment ago you mentioned the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance or or Chia which your organization and mine helped to get off the ground Chia am and specifically. I think Congressman Ted had Deutch who longtime listeners of AJC passport will remember as an engaging guest she is urging the passage of legislation in Congress to provide formal US support for the burgeoning alliance between or among rather Israel Cyprus and Greece I'll just add that if people are interested in earning more or or supporting that they can head to AJC DOT Org Slash Eastern Med to write to their representatives and ask them to sign on while people are are navigating over to that link Andy. I I understand why the relationship is important for Israel and I understand why it's important for Greece and Cyprus and by extension. I understand why it's important for me and why it's important for you andy but why is it important important for America because the U S you know what we've learned and especially with the forever wars the US can't be everywhere and the US does not avenue endless supply of blood and treasure and at the same time the US can't withdraw from the world we see every place a US withdraws from becomes. It's more dangerous so the US needs reliable allies reliable strategic partners unfortunately in this region Indus region for a long time there was an and the region being eastern Mediterranean there was kind of a dual pillar that the US could rely on Israel and the US could rely on Turkey Turkey has proven to be not reliable and in fact doesn't even work with the other pillar Israel while anymore so if we are going to have an arc of stability in what has become a sea of instability basing a new US or a re conceived US strategy on the three democracies in the region and this is only a value this is one of those rare moments where your values and your interests can work quite well. Greece host the southern most NATO base Sabet right which is a hard asset that is incredibly important and it happens to be the only military base equidistant from the eastern front against the Islamic state and a western front ends directly across from the Sinai Desert. We know Cyprus a host three percent of Cyprus as a result of the decolonization. I has remained sovereign British bases so they are very important military installations installations and Cyprus the French and the Germans conduct operations against the Islamic state or against Assad from Cyprus and you look at it. It's like a permanent from an aircraft carrier in the middle of the sea so besides value reasons they're hard reasons intelligence sharing maritime Cyprus and Greece two of the most prominent merchant marines not only in the region book into world are part of anti piracy and anti proliferation initiatives which which allow us to make sure weapons to terrorists weapons of mass destruction are not they're not being transported by CS and finally they're very important because if we're gonNA do stuff from whether it's designating Hezbollah's terrorist group enforcing sanctions ends against rogue states and terrorist states. We need people who are. GonNa lead to charge in Brussels in Greece and Cyprus have been doing that a few weeks ago you you travel to Greece with AJC CEO David Harris while they're David met with the newly elected Prime Minister Qiriako Smith's Otoka's who you mentioned before I say newly elected but I'm I'm not sure that quite does it justice within the first twenty four hours after Prime Minister Talk is assumed office that he and David Matt back in twenty eighteen gene when you were with us in Jerusalem the JC Global Forum Prime Minister Mitsuo Takas who then was the leader of the New Democracy party but not yet prime minister addressed our Global Forum Forum and he promised to strengthen his country's already robust ties with Israel fast forward now to just this weekend the Greek foreign minister WHO's only been in office. I guess for about about Gen three weeks was in Israel and he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Foreign Minister Israel Katz President Reuven Rivlin Do you expect prime instruments with us to keep this promise to you. See someone who's who's really going to strengthen these ties with Israel serious way absolutely first of all they're strong in historical ties even from the meat so donkeys family like I said it was his father upgraded to full diplomatic relations. Prime Minister Show me today keys people forget he was in the previous the New Democracy government he was a minister with then prime minister some Ross another very strong friend of Israel's and of the Jaycees and the upgrade that we're seeing right now that we're enjoying is rooted in that government went to so he has the policy background. He has a personal tie and right before he came to global forum actually just days before war he was the first meeting from Athens to Jerusalem delegation that AGC access and how leadership twenty thirty km so there's there's a constant line of communication several of his ministers Foreign Minister Dan Diaz served as Defense Minister in some Saas government minister of Health Galea's. is a longtime friend of AJC has spoken at joint hockey event spoke ended ended the Chia Conference. there are a host of officials in this government who have been pro. Israel pro American Jewish but at the very top of it the prime minister. I think we're looking as someone who's hit the ground running on day. One very impressive start committee said I don't need a break. He's told his parliament and his party forget about August. Recess gave a detailed plan every ministry a six month plan he said I don't WanNa breakout Hawaii one hundred days. I want results immediately which is very critical because we are looking at a time in the region that it's even more unstable you know the s four hundred purchased by Turkey Turkey deciding. We're not gonNA let Israel in Greece and Cyprus Egypt. Go along and set the rules on on energy so I think having him ready to go. He means it. I I expect very good things especially because does being pro Israel right now and pro. US is a matter of bipartisan consensus this series government which series are means actually literally the Party of the radical left anything but in terms of that geopolitical orientation are very good friends of Israel very good friends of the EU very good friends of the US I think we have a moment in time which is unique in Greece at you have the two major parties and everybody everybody else is kind of a minor but if you look at the breakdown of the parliament when you look at the top three parties the control well over eighty percent of the seats and they are all on this consensus in terms of geopolitics may be on a specific issue changes but we are not going to go back anytime soon the days in Greece that you thought one parties in their pro-western another parties in they may be you know anti Zionists or anti NATO or that's not we. We are in a very good spot. Uh where we can use these years to launch an even better relationship and in the last election we actually saw golden dawn the Neo Nazi party voted out how Harlem Element out completely out completely out not only out of the parliament but they also have no longer having their political base having other essential problems they were. They couldn't afford their office. Space where visited from there big criminal case case against some of their leaders continues for inciting violence at led to murder whether you call him a singer rapper but you know that that has shown to be a pretty false ideology. Greece I mean it was born of economic problems. In Greece right austerity was born of of dual crises by the Greek people have always stood up against Nazism did it again. They're gone. You know it's interesting to think about perhaps born worn out of the stress of economic challenges that Greece was facing Greece in many ways got to where Europe was heading. I write it. was you know one of the first countries that we saw elect any kind of neo-nazis into its parliament. It was one of the first countries that turned to a real radical in this case series the reason the the radical left to lead the country and it also seems like it's too early to draw conclusions but perhaps Greece is one of the first countries to emerge from that that kind of fevered politics and maybe one of the lessons to draw we can look back on this in a year and say well that was ludicrous or say. Maybe I was onto something. Maybe it's one of the first countries to emerge from that kind of fevered state of crazed radical politics may be Greece's a harbinger now for things coming a little a bit back to normal in European politics. I hope so I think Greece is a good news story. I only challenge your premise. In the way you you let into it makes sense by what you read. In the English Language press about grace by always liked to remind people that golden dawn did get elected. They weren't the first I Nazi party all of West Europe had Nazi parties in parliament smaller for much longer than Greece dead Bod and unfortunately we're witnessing this in the US golden donkey top dollar about seven eight percent Unfortunately we live now in a country that I would not be shocked. Doc Different openly Nazi party got more than that in the United States here we are you know in the last election in Chicago in a a fairly ethnic neighborhood Republican candidate wasn't a Republican. The Republican Party ran away from this was an open Nazi. The Guy who ran against Dan Lipinski and he got twenty four percent of the vote right but even during the depths of the crisis the worst time of the crisis when the Greek population and thought that each partners in Europe had abandoned and on top of that you had the refugee and migrant crisis hitting Greece heart even adapt get worst point in the crisis. I'd like to point out that no one ever ever entertained and six parties had government experience at that time I am had passed through government at that time nobody ever even entered into discussions with golden dawn to participating governments. Nobody nobody tried to recruit a golden on member to leave their party and come into a mainstream party. The President of the Republic never handed golden dawn a mandate to try to form a government and in fact two straight governments both the summer ask government and the two brads government carried out a prosecutions against golden dawn on members for inciting perpetrating violence so that doesn't make it any less distressing for me that they actually had a legit voice at one the point but they were a isolated or shunned minority political voice which we haven't seen in every country and you're exactly series I was you know in opposition pretty radical an went to the centre-left very quick. Now you can argue about why I was forced to but I did and governed like a center left party far more center left than even the former center-left in Greece but the good news story is and if Greece can be this is this is kind of like going back to series. I the early on some serious officials will we're. We're not GONNA let Europe Change Greece. We're GONNA have grease change. Europe will maybe now we can do that because the center held in. Greece that's amazing the center has held in Greece Greece and that's why I think it's even more imperative that the US and Brussels and friends of Greece like AJC do whatever they can to have this success story play out in Greece because if the center can hold no country in the world got that that same economic migrant crisis and political crisis at the same time no country of the European Union had had a grease lost twenty five percent of its GDP and if you look at the same time the only other countries that lost similar percentages of uh of GDP were Yemen Ukraine Venezuela not the best companies could dietrich countries that were at war in effect some type of your sense award nobody has had such a peace time drop in GDP since the Great Depression for Greece to come out holding the center from that and being a leader in the region and in fact making progress in certain things fighting anti-semitism actively you so you have the effort to restore a lot of Jewish history of Salonika you have international hall. Kosh Remembrance Day and Holocaust remembrance which is is an by the way international hawks remembrance. Day is a national holiday in Greece something most people don't know you don't have the Jewish community. They're feeling feeling physically threatened and that just you have the first mosque opening in Athens. You have probably probably the pride and joy of Greece the most recognized Greek worldwide being African Yanni's under the Greek freak so there's there's you know to make that play out to make that success. Permanent is important for all of us and for the values we stand for I think that's far more astutely put within the point. I was trying to make this concept that the center has held which I think is something that we're all looking with some trepidation toward other places in Europe toward the UK eight toward France or Germany and and hoping indeed at the center will will hold there as well and I'd like to point out because you know obviously the middle back he's covering that means the his family gets a lot of credit for it but we have to remember the progress that was made during the government because a lot of people came in and said all their are you know anti Zionist or pro Palestinian and I think a lot of the center holding the geopolitical relationships and even the real fight against anti-semitism was ratcheted up during those years and so we're talking about the center we're not only talking about this government the government which is a tremendous victory for the center-right but the fact that the government and the former prime minister himself has not only. We seem to have consolidated the centre-left has declared that has a goal. I'm going to consolidate the centre-left. These lines is huge and you before I let you go. What more do you on our listeners to know about the Hellenic American community I think I'd like to go back to how close we have been for centuries and I referenced before that we stand on the shoulder of giants but these are not giants only who lived during our lifetime right Athens and Jerusalem Greeks Jews Jerusalem is a holy city for Greeks by the Patriarch in Jerusalem is one of the most visited places for Greek Orthodox Christians in the United States. Almost every parish does some mission to Jerusalem and in Greece there were historic. Jewish communities predated predated Christ Judaism in Greece before there was Christianity so those ties are very important for us to remember and what what similarities we have and I'll go back to this Winston Churchill quote that I that I referenced before but Churchill said no two races have set such a mark upon the world both have shown a capacity for survival in spite of unending perils and sufferings from external oppressors matched only by their own ceaseless feuds corals. The passage of several thousand years sees no change in their characteristics and no diminution of their original vitality. They have survived in spite of all the world could do against them and all they could do against themselves and each of them from angle so different have left us the inheritance of their genius and wisdom well the unending perils continue and we can reaffirm our rights our values and our survival instincts all that much better by working together well here's to facing down those unending perils together. Andy thank you so much for joining us on AJC. Thank you Julie Fishman Raymond AJC Director of political outreach. She joins us now to recap this week's debates in the race for for the twenty twenty. Democratic presidential nomination Julie. Thank you so much for joining us now. All of America it seems is paying being close attention. Perhaps even to close attention to the fight over the Democratic nomination in two thousand twenty the latest sporting event that our compatriots here in America have become how obsessed with What are the primary issues that AJC is paying attention to this race so I i WanNa challenge you a little bit that everyone's paying attention because I think that those of us who are paying attention are really paying attention but the actual readings for this last debate were pretty abysmal abysmal. I think they were down forty percent from the debates in June and on Tuesday the Bachelorette was trending higher than the debate perfectly Herbert understandable yes exactly even in DC where we assume everyone's in the bubble and everyone's watching these issues all the time the local local news station that I watched in the morning the day after went around to interview people on the street you know to get their reactions and hear what they had to say and even those people people hadn't watched it. They could not find people who watched the debate. It'd be interviewed about their impression. That's a good point that for those of us who are in it were super in it but for much of America you know when are the caucus February January you know this is the rest for a long time exactly exactly so people waiting you know they realize there's a huge field and people dropping out and popping in all the time and I think they're saying you know what I'll wait and honestly I think in some ways it's for the better because what's happening on this debate stage. Now is a little bit ugly and and I think it's not good for for American general right to see our politicians even up the same party fighting it out bugling each other our it's it's of course what debates are are want to do what naturally happens but at this point when we have so many candidates you have to have the debate over two nights there's there's probably even more of that sort of partisan infighting then than is necessary or or helpful but in terms of the AJC issues that we're watching. It won't surprise you at all. Of course we're wanting to hear more about what the candidates think about at the state of the US Israel relationship frankly. What's the state does the the Democratic Party is relationship Israel at this point in time we want hear more about the views about rejoining the joint comprehensive plan of Action the Democratic National Convention had done a resolution solution where they supported the unknown renegotiated re entrance to the JCP la it was it was sort of non controversial and it was only a bullet a blip blip on the on the media cycle but what we saw in these last few debates? Ah even though we ron didn't get a huge mention we saw a little bit of a difference of opinion and Andrew Yang for example said ah need to renegotiate the J. C. P. O. based on new timelines because the timelines from the existing JCP that we've withdrawn from as a country tree don't make sense anymore so certainly Israel certainly Iran definitely the state of anti-semitism in hating America. The issues is that have been and will continue to be at the top of agencies priority agenda so to boil that down. You've basically highlighted three things as the the main issues. I think you spoke about Israel the US is our relationship and the Democratic Party's stance toward Israel you spoke about the continuing nuclear threat from Iran and how these candidates would deal with that should they end up in the Oval Office and you spoke about the state of antisemitism and he in this country and I would add ah around the world. Is that basically right so let's go point by point. Where are we where where is? AJC vis-a-vis you you know the Democratic Party's relationship with Israel. There's been a lot of overheated rhetoric lately when it comes to concerns around the future of Israel and the Democratic Party are- concerned looking at the stage over the past two nights. I don't think that we can delegate this kind of conversation to just what we've seen from the debates because there's simply he hasn't been enough as it relates. Israel we actually know much more about the Kennedy towards Israel from for example the the videos that that many of them provided for JC for Global Forum where they talked in greater depth about Israel then the debates have allowed them to do this far more from other things that have been written a. I think that there's I don't want to say it's a concern. Only about the Democratic Party is it really is just really oh. I think it's a concern about bipartisan support for Israel in the United States right. There's been you're pointing to go around There's blame to be put on either side. I think there's a real concern about the poll that are coming out if we're looking just at the Democratic Party of where are the grass roots it's Democrats when it comes to Israel the the candidates generally and I would say all elected officials generally find that support for Israel is what's in the best interest of the United States and espouse that view freely the the the polls of Democrats especially Young Democrats. I would say are are not and if you said in that support art it's a it's a little more nuanced or tinged in a way that I think is concerning. You know that there's fear amongst especially young. Democrats that a a perceived right wing government in Israel means that Israel in itself is a right wing cause and that's something that we can't you think organizationally allowed to be the perception because if Israel is perceived as only a right wing causes. We're frankly only a left bring. God then we're sunk because the American political pendulum swings all political pendulums swing and the bright and ability for Israel to exist with strong international sport is strong. It's been whereas weekends it has been. I should say has really dependent on American uncritical support from both sides what about on Iran you said it a little bit of nuance that Andrew Yang offered in terms of you know not rushing to get back into the Iran deal precisely as it was written a few years ago but renegotiating some parts of it. I think Cory Booker has also gone on the records saying that you know we shouldn't just rejoin the deal. We should look to get as good of a deal as we possibly can which ideally would be a far stronger deal than the original original. JCP would you said there's a push among the Democratic contenders to just jump right back into the deal as negotiated by Obama and John Kerry and when sermon I think it's going to be a struggle for a number of those candidates in like especially cory booker mclovin people it really wrestled with this when Congress had to be the joint comprehensive plan of action and I don't want to say that it's a massive concern but I think they're going to wrestle and I think there. There's a lot of politics involved one of the most interesting things that I think we saw from the debate on Wednesday night especially because that was the debate in which Joe Biden participated was a a willingness amongst the candidates to go after Obama policies and that may in fact offer some sort of opening It's certainly risky for them but I think it will provide some sort of opening I think that there's definitely also this recognition amongst the candidates now that we're in a really different place than we were both when the the JCP away was negotiated and when the US president and currently in office withdrew the United States from the joint conference plan of action as well you heard a couple of candidates throughout the last two days of debate referencing the the march towards war with Iran and I think that there's a feeling amongst us I'm in the Democratic Party and certainly some of the the stage that we are in fact marching towards war that there's some sort of inevitable military complex and if that's truly their concern then I think the the ability or the willingness to negotiate will be higher and what about on Anti Semitism and hate which candidates have been outspoken so far on combating adding Anti Semitism and looking toward kind of hate more generally. Is it safe to assume that a democratic administration is simply going to be better on that issue than the current one. It's such an interesting question because some of the sort of the globalist were internationally focused experts and pundits if that you know we're not really hearing doing anything from the candidates on that but what we're actually hearing I think is sort of loud and clear because they're talking about national security and they're talking about terrorism but they're talking about domestic terrorism. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday night made a really pronounce statement about the about the need to call hate the crimes in white nationalism and white supremacy incidents that evolved from oh domestic terror all thirteen videos that AJC JC received from twenty twenty candidates for our global form reference to hate crimes or the right of the extreme-right or white nationalism in some way often connecting it to anti-semitism because you know hate is hate at the end of the day but I think that's a really the interesting kind of a lens through which we view the it's not a parochial issue. It's a it's a universal issue and in that way I think we're hearing loud and clear from the candidates that they're they're not willing to engage or tolerate racism anti-semitism etcetera we should hear or more from all of them. I think nationally you know. AJC heard from them but I think it's some point the the Jewish communities should be vocal John saying we want to hear more specifically about this issue. we don't want anti-semitism simply to be lumped in with other types of aid but it is an exceptional and distinct type of hate with a lot of manifestations and facets and we need to to let's see exactly what the candidates and would propose from our policy and go specifically with regards to Anti Semitism one interesting phenomenon that we've seen taking place over the last last a month or so is a group of young radical left. Jewish activists affiliated with the group if not now who've been engaging in a tactic called bird bird dogging where they kind of tail and trail Democratic candidates in order to ask them a question on camera. Maybe meanwhile they're posing for a selfie with them or something like that. asking them you know what they'll do to end. Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories worries. What are we to make of this phenomenon you know. AJC is on the record as being you know great fan of Israel's settlement enterprise on the other hand. We're realistic. We know that the occupation can't simply end tomorrow and that what's needed is constructive American engagement to try to bring the conflict to an end and that includes pressure on the Palestinians at least as much as it does pressure on on Israelis but that's not on the agenda for these folks folks. So what do we think of this tactic and more to the point. How do we feel the Democratic candidates have stood up under this kind of of pressure role well I would say in terms of the tactic bird dogging probably not a great or effective way of getting a point across putting someone on the defensive is not generally really really good way of starting a conversation certainly about an issue that's as complex and sensitive as Israel and the Israeli Palestinian conflict occupation etcetera etcetera etcetera in terms of having those conversations if you look at the the candidates statements about Israel if you look at their records for those who have political records there is a an actual surprising degree of friends and of benefiting the Council on Foreign Relations on. I believe it was Tuesday. Put out a candidate responses contest various questions related to foreign policy and one of those questions was do you support a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict and while they you manifestly those were asked by cf are said that they do in fact supporters Tuesday pollution they go into a lot of Buea interesting detail about you know what is the relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians what is the US role. Are we allowed to be a broker are we currently is perceived as an honest broker. there are a lot of really touchy details. that can't be parts out by a bird dogging kind of question asked while somebody's trying to take a Selfie and I think that it it behooves the Jewish community read wired whatever side of the spectrum you're on to not allow this issue to be AH minimized to the point of a conversation around a selfie right we need to have bigger longer more intense conversation about these issues news and and I don't think if not now is allowing for those conversations to happen or enabling the Jewish community to have the by doing this sort of bird dog tactic check one thing that many people have noted over the first couple rounds of debates is that there really hasn't been much of a focus on on foreign policy in the vein vein of those council on Foreign Relations questions that you said what are the questions that we would like to hear posed and the foreign policy questions that we would like to hear posed in the next debate in in September This is a great question. I think that this will happen. I don't WanNa make it sound like I'm pinning this on on certainly not the candidates but not even the media because the debate the largely are a response to what the nation wants to hear but even more specifically we're the debates are located and what that particular constituency wants to hear right so we started in. Miami and it was a Telemundo broadcast as well well of course there was gonNA be a lot of conversation about immigration migration etc in this most recent round within Michigan's of course. We're talking talking about healthcare manufacturing the workforce issues around race so I think that we will get there. I don't think it's even someone say assigned signed that the foreign policy issues aren't first and foremost of importance or on the minds of these candidates eventually at their although we people say that it's it's interesting that multiple candidates these sort of used the phrase our house is on fire dig on on the current administration but also sort of saying there's so many pressing issues within our borders on the domestic front that you know these these have to kind of come first but in terms of the questions that AJC ask I think we have to first and foremost start with questions about the US's role in the world world period question about you know what is principled American global leadership mean what's the US role when it comes to the when when the European Union NATO international treaties an obligation the protection and promotion of Human Rights sort sort of that big picture question of what is America's role before we can even get down into into the other issues right because we're GonNa talk about what what America's role with regards Israel or what's America's role with regards to combating antisemitism where worldwide or even the most clear example what can be America's role in negotiations with Iran post withdrawal from the joint comprehensive ends a plan of action it has to start with where is America now. Are we reading. Are we taking a backseat. What should our leadership will look like. What's the role of Dr Allies which of all the multilateral institution well. Julie will certainly be watching this as the months tick by we get closer and closer to actual votes being cast and caucuses being held in the Democratic primary. Thank you so much for walking us through the state of play today. It's my pleasure Asia now. It's time for our closing segment good for the Jews where each week I share share one final thought about a recent development in the world and try to answer that age old question is good for the Jews summer in Israel. Well good for the Jews sure it's hot but as the mercury ticks up so does the star power. Israel plays host to millions of tourists every every year in May the country was mobbed by fans of the Eurovision Song contest June brought tourists eager to check out Israel's gay scene gene and celebrate pride in Tel Aviv Jerusalem and elsewhere including Neil Patrick Harris but now July has topped the past two months ons first Jon Bon Jovi came to Israel and performed for tens of thousands at higher cone park in Tel Aviv including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Murphy a longtime friend of Israel who was elected New Jersey governor twenty seventeen after serving as President Obama's ambassador to Germany was in Israel Israel as part of a family vacation and there's another family spending time in Israel Jennifer Lopez her fiance Alex Rodriguez and their kids Jaylo one of the most famous popstars in the world will be performing in Israel as part of her first international tour in seven years a-rod awed the fourteen time all star three time. MVP in two thousand nine world series champion who played for the best team in baseball the New York a Yankees from two thousand and four through twenty sixteen a-rod has been showering Israel with praise on social media extolling the country for its energy and saying that he is quote in love of course he is he's enjoying summer in Israel and that's good for the Jews you can subscribe to AJC passport on Itunes or on stitcher follow us on soundcloud or learn more at AJC dot org slash passport the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions you can reach us at passport at AJC DOT org. If you like this podcast be sure to read it and write a review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. I'm your host Steffi Kogi. This episode is brought to you by. EEG See the the American Jewish Committee. Our producer is coupon doe. Our sound engineer is T._k. Broderick tune in next for another episode of A._J._C. Passport.

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Election 2020: The Republican National Convention

People of the Pod

24:11 min | 2 months ago

Election 2020: The Republican National Convention

"Hello and welcome to the people of the pot brought to you by AJC each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what it all means for Israel and the Jewish people. I'm Stephie KOGEN and I'm on Uber Sheer Pash men. High, Steffi welcome back from vacation. Thanks. It's good to be back in my cramped Manhattan apartment from the Glorious Mountains of Colorado I. Don't think you mean that but perhaps your conversation with a guest this week made it better to just speak with I. Actually followed up on your fantastic conversation last week with Haley Soifer from the National Jewish Democratic Council and I spoke with Matt Brooks. The executive director of the Republican Jewish coalition about his takeaways from the RNC and what he thinks American Jewish should know about the Republican platform ticket this year excellent and listeners after that stay tuned for our Chabad table talk segment. This week we have at our table Sassou Mak, the Associate Director of Ajc Los Angeles talking about some troubling developments in their ethnic studies curriculum. Now, let's show. As the Republican National Convention dominated the news this week I sat down with Matt Brooks the Executive Director of the Republican Jewish coalition to hear him make the Jewish case for the Republican. Party. Just a reminder AJC is a five. Oh, one C. Three, not for profit organization that neither endorses nor opposes candidates for Elective Office Matt. Thank you so much for joining US Saffy. It's great to be with you. Thanks for having me AJC held a series of virtual programs last week at the Democratic National Convention and we're doing the same this week alongside the RNC you spoke at. An Age RNC program yesterday and you guaranteed the Donald Trump will win a larger percentage of Jewish vote in two thousand twenty than he did in two thousand sixteen. What makes you so confident of that first of all, my understanding of the politics of the Jewish community I've been doing this job for thirty years. So I think I have a very good feel for the Jewish community. But then the most important reason is to look at the record of this president There is no question that he has been without a doubt, the most pro Israel president ever in history. That's not coming just from Matt Brooks, but it's coming from people like the prime, minister of Israel has said as much in the Oval Office in meeting with them. So there's a reason why fifty six percent of the Israelis who were polled in a recent poll would like to see president trump reelected and only sixteen percent. WanNa see Joe Biden reelected because they understand that this president is absolutely transformed the US's relationship beyond that Steph. Touch on domestic issues I think people in the Jewish community are deeply concerned about what's happening in our big cities whether it's Portland Seattle New, York, the lawlessness, the rioting, the efforts by the left wing progressives in the Democratic Party who want to defend the police. I. Think People in the Jewish community understand that president trump giving his incredible track record. Pre covid is the best person to revitalize our economy postcode and also recreate and bring back all the jobs that were lost as a result of this pandemic. So I think there's a wide range. Of issues that both foreign and domestic that to me give me great confidence to have my back moment point into the stands and guarantee that this president will do better among Jewish voters and twenty twenty than he did in two thousand sixteen was the Yankee Fan I. Appreciate any reference to Babe Ruth let me just follow up on that though you pivoted and spoke about domestic issues at the end, which obviously are very important. You started out with Israel though I'm curious does the RJ see any kind of polling or anything like that indicates that the? Percentage of American Jews do vote based on. Israel. My sense is generally not at top issue for American Jews. So we do have extensive polling and we're very data driven in our messaging and how we look at the races you know, I think your point is well taken but you know elections and campaigns about mosaics. It's about putting pieces of the puzzle together. It's not just one issue. There is definitely a segment of the Jewish community that does care about Israel we're going to appeal to them. There's definitely a segment of the Jewish community that appealed issues. Like school choice we're going to appeal to them. There's definitely segments of the Jewish community the care about the issue of defunding the police and having law and order in our streets in protecting us against anti-semitism. So we're GONNA have various messages targeted to various constituencies within the Jewish community. Our community as you well know is not monolithic. So to say that there is one issue that's gonNA drive the Jewish vote would be a mistake but I think we have enough experience and expertise in this arena to make sure that we're serving up the right messages. One issue that you just mentioned Matt is is Antisemitism Joe. Biden actually laid the cornerstone of his campaign on President Trump's comments after the unite the right rally in Charlottesville in his video announcing his candidacy, and then again last week when he accepted the nomination, vice president. Biden cited the president's very fine people on both sides comment at which he saw as excusing anti Semitism he cited those comments as motivating him to get into the race to beat the president. How would you want Jewish voters to think about those comments? Well, I, mean, that's going to be part of our task and we've had several events both with Nikki Haley Mark Levin with Senator Ted Cruz just this last Sunday night you know in which we've talked about that there is a mythology that has taken hold by the Democrats to try and create a false narrative that the president Or somehow tried to give support to white nationalist. If anybody takes a step back reads the entire transcript and admittedly I wish he had been clearer and less awkward in his original remarks when we put out a statement to that effect. But if you read a few sentences before and a few sentences after very fine people on both sides, it's very clear that the president strongly condemns White Nationalist Neo Nazis, and you know it is absolutely unambiguous also to some of his other speeches in actions you go back and look right after the tree of life synagogue tragedy he gave a speech that day to the future farmers of America No. President no president go back and take a look at the record, and you'll agree if you read the opening speech, no president has ever condemned anti-semitism and planted a flag about us and our strong commitment to fight anti-semitism wherever it raises its ugly head, and then obviously you look at what the president did it on his executive order to help protect students on college campuses who have been the victims of anti-semitism and I will tell you time and time. Again, this president has by action demonstrated his commitment, not only to condemn white. Nationalist Neo. Nazis. But also to stand up and take strong stands against the rising antisemitism in this country. Do you agree that Joe Biden shares that same commitment to fighting Anti Semitism. I agreed that Joe Biden does absolutely but I wish they'd others in the Democratic Party took a stronger point I. think it is absolutely unconscionable that Democrats gave a platform to Linda Sarsour to speak as part of a an event associated with the Democratic convention and I think she was trayful enough to be kicked out of the women's March but she was kosher enough for the Democrats to have her featured at they're convention. I think. That is I think that is repugnant. I think the way they've handled it is repugnant. I think the fact that Joe Biden strongly condemned her, and then they had a walk that back in apologized to her for condemning her is absolutely absurd in that should send chills down everybody's spine in the Jewish community but beyond that institutionalization of anti-semitism within Democratic Party I for one, don't understand how we can have a speaker of the house. Nancy Pelosi who not only endorses Ilan, Omar in her primary that just happened a few weeks ago not only endorsed or given her her record of making anti Semitic comments that also edition gave her fourteen thousand dollars in campaign contributions personally from our. So while I think Joe Biden has spoken out against anti-semitism and I believe he cares deeply about anti-semitism. Unfortunately, there's a festering malignancy within the Democratic Party that folks aren't prepared to to. Step up to deal with both parties kind of festering malignancies right I'm sure the you're maybe even sick of answering questions like this because the RJ has really done the right thing people like Steve King from Iowa, the NEO confederate doesn't seem to know that I was part of the Union or Marjorie Taylor Green is conspiracy theorist from Georgia who the president called quote a real winner. The RJ has done the right thing here and Has Spoken out on on both of those people but doesn't it say something about the Republican Party that these people someone like Steve, King, stuck around for so long someone like Marjorie Taylor Green is being welcomed by the president. Now that's a great question seven. Thank you for for asking you because it gives me an opportunity again, point out how different are two parties are take for example, the point you made about Steve King Who You're correct since about twenty Tan we made a decision that we were not going to support Steve King. This is not a you know sort of johnny-come-latelies in for us. We have felt that he is not represented who we are as as Republicans for quite some time. We've not had him speak any events but look what happened after his most recent controversial at repulsive comments the Republican leader of the House Kevin McCarthy literally on the. First Day that he took over as Republican leader stripped Stephen King of all of his committee assignments compare contrast that to how the Democrats are handling people like Ilan Omar. Anti Pelosi Endorses Alana Omar. Nancy Pelosi contributes money to Ilan Omar. Nancy Pelosi doesn't Strip Lonzo are of a committee assignments rather she gives her a coveted slot on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. So I think there is clearly a difference how are parties deal with? Bad Apples and I think you know it's easy to point out Steve King or or Marjorie Taylor Green who we also opposed by the way supported her opponent in the primary. But take a look at what's happening broadly in the Democratic Party. We had a resolution recently in the house trying to get folks on record in opposition to be DS, which I think is absolutely Antisemitic Sixteen Democrats Sixteen Democrats voted no on this resolution to condemn. The antisemitic s movement and so I think that you know are Republicans, we certainly have the occasional bad apples in i. think we deal with them strongly effectively I think if I were in, you know as a member of the Jewish community I'm much more troubled by how the Democrats are are dealing with their bad apples. Let's. Let's take some time to talk about the good apples what about some of the candidates that you have endorsed this cycle who are some people who are particularly excited about that you wanNA share with our listeners a great question. Thank you for that will first of all I think we have a couple of critical races in the Senate with some incredibly influential in stalwart friends who were in in tough races folks like Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham David Cory Gardner in Colorado Martha mcsally in Arizona are all terrific friends Thom Tillis also North Carolina's in a very tough race. These are senators who you know not only talk the talk about stand with the Jewish community but have a strong track record. I am particularly excited about two races in the house because as you know, we have to Jewish Republicans in the House Caucus right now we have David Kostov from Tennessee Zeldin joined us on the AJC call yesterday but. I think. We're going to add to new members of the Jewish Republican caucus in this election lisa sharp in Pennsylvania seven right outside of Philadelphia got an incredible story. She is passionate about her pro Israel activism She has a home in Israel. She speaks fluent Hebrew she's a successful business woman, but she also has a compelling story in that. You know in her youth, she was a heroin addict overcame her addiction to heroin into alcohol has become an absolute force for. Good in her district in terms of working with the drug treatment programs and helping people who are also suffering the horrible tragedy. But diction and she's wanted successful business, which is employed one of the largest manufacturing businesses in her district, which is employing thousands of people, and then we also have another terrific Jewish Republican who were very excited about cross the river in New Jersey David Richter running against Andy Kim in New Jersey three and we think he provides a a terrific contrast. Also. Successful businessmen not a career politician and we're very excited about both of those races and look forward to welcoming to new Jewish Republicans to the house. Let's close with one question. It's not entirely fair question because this episode we're going up on Thursday evening and we're speaking now on Tuesday mornings I'm kind of asking you to look into your crystal ball a little bit here but what are some moments at our NC that you think American Jews should be watching for. Well, I think we saw a little bit of it last night and I think we'll continue to see it again throughout the week you know it's very interesting how the two parties dealt with in out on the issue of Israel as we said before is certainly an area of concern among a large of our community Nikki. Haley talked about last night in her speech she also talked about the threat from Iran I. Suspect. The president will say some strong words about his record with regard to and I have not seen his speech. But I think that he will say some strong words about the incredible record. He's added in terms of standing with Israel, and the kind of things he's done whether it's moving the embassy and recognize Jerusalem as the capital Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights ending the Iran deal the killing Sulamani those all that I. Hope, he will talk about you also see Secretary of State Pompeo speak to the American people from the balcony of the King David Hotel and know that he will talk about the success that we've had regionally with the brokering of the historic peace agreement with Israel and the UA as well as the other things that I just mentioned about what this administration has done to transform the US's a relationship. So I think. It's GonNa be very compelling certainly standing stark contrast to the DNC convention really the only person who mentioned Israel at any point in the convention was Linda Sarsour source. So you know I think that something that community will will take note out. Matt. Brooks. Thank you so much for being a part of AJC's programming at the political conventions and for joining us here on people the pod great to be with you seventy. Thanks adamant. Now, it's time for our closing segment Chabad, table talk and joining us this week is the associate director of Ajc Los Angeles Sabah Suma Sabah when you gather with your friends and family for Chabad this week, what will you be talking about? High Manja. Thank you for having me. We're GONNA be talking about the California ethnic studies model curriculum that will be mandatory for every single high school student in California as a longtime professor of religious studies in Middle Eastern History and is an Iranian Jew I was not surprised at certain. Middle. Eastern ethnicities are completely absent from this curriculum the many courses I took on the. Middle East and North Africa throughout my Undergrad and graduate studies ignored histories, cultures, and traditions of Jews and other religious minorities in the Middle East it was as if we plainly did not exist outside of the Slavic focus on academia I was born in Tehran. My family fled before the nineteen seventy nine Islamic revolution and we came to Los Angeles along with seventy thousand Iranian Jews. and. We have become major players in the economic social and political life of Angelenos and we have established ourselves as one of the most well established immigrant communities in Los Angeles. And the purpose of a California ethnic studies model curriculum it says, it's to empower students to learn and to combat racism and discrimination, and the revised draft curriculum wrecks that the Asian section of ethnic studies. Curriculum includes quote the unique experiences of Arabs and other Middle Easterners, and which I think is wonderful. They should include this. What bothers me is that it completely ignores Iranian religious communities. Jews Christians, Zoroastrians in Bahamas all of us live in, Los. Angeles. In all of us are integral to the Los Angeles population. It leaves out our history elise out our voices. The curriculum does not talk about us. It is a historical in its faulty scholarship and it projects revisionist in an Arab Muslim centric understanding of diverse region. Now, my courses and others offered on religious minorities in the Middle East are highly attended and celebrated because for the first time in California a wider range of Middle Eastern students are learning about their own history, their own culture and their own traditions they are seeing themselves represented in their college curriculum. The California State Board of Education must do the same thing for high school students might community and all California's students. We deserve a more nuanced inclusive and demographically accurate portrayal of are ethnically diverse state Sabah. Thank you for sharing your personal perspective on this issue I grew up in the south where my Jewish heritage was not fully accepted. So I can kind of relate to your feeling of being overlooked growing up. Now it's important for our listeners to understand your speaking about the kindergarten through twelfth grade draft curriculum that still moving through the approval process there in California I've had my eye on the new college requirement there which as you know, became law last week. Four years from now graduates of California State University the largest four year public university system in the nation. That's twenty three schools. Graduates will be required to take a three credit traditional ethnic studies course that focuses on specific marginalized communities of Color African. American. Asian American Latin Necks and native American. Now when the chancellor and trustees of the California universities heard about this bill before it became law, they developed an alternative which would have provided students with a much broader approach to ethnic studies and social justice. Let's face it ethnicity and race are multifaceted. And many. Jews. Are Mizrahi Sephardi Jews of color believe it's important. The Jewish experience and anti-semitism to be included as part of ethnic studies. Other groups have been left out to Hindus Sikhs Americans Armenians, if the point of the graduation requirement is to help students comprehend racism and bigotry why limit the course requirement to just four communities and why out Jews who are the targets of a majority of religiously based hate crimes. Now we are in the middle of a long overdue reckoning right now in America, we must confront the mistreatment of blacks over the last four, hundred years and native Americans going back much further we must but we also must confront the ugly history of how other minorities have been treated and still are and learn to respect and understand other cultures otherwise or doomed to repeat that ugly history. I've talked to here before about knowing only to Jews in college one of them, a cherished professor who actually inspired to embrace Judaism more than I ever had. But that was before the BBS movement came on campuses to discourage students from voicing support for Israel or even studying abroad there if they do some face ostracism or even sanctions from their colleagues student government, they encounter a lack of support from certain professors or they find nasty flyers on their dorm room door. For Jews to be left out of a college level ethnic studies curriculum. One that purports to guard against bigotry all while these events are unfolding right outside the classroom. It just seems odd. So, Sabah I do more careful thought and consideration is given to the k twelve curriculum and that the concerns and the collective experiences of AJC California or heard after all not all students go to college their careers don't require it. But Life Life requires a strong foundation in history and respecting others the model curriculum has the potential to offer that. So hopefully, Sabah, they'll listen and heed your experience. Thank you so much Steffi what's on your mind this? Chabad. Longtime listeners of people of the pod have heard me talk about baseball from time to time, and while I'm a life long loyal and passionate fan of the University of North Carolina's men's basketball team. I have never much cared for the NBA. But there are two pieces of NBA news this week that caught my attention. I The news that the former Nick Star. Amare. Stoudamire who has been living in Israel for years and was named the MVP mcabe tel-aviv basketball team. This season has completed his Orthodox conversion to Judaism. His Hebrew name is Yoshafat Ben. Avraham. This is a beautiful story of a soul finding its home with the Jewish people and I wish Amara and his family a very happy Jewish life. There was also news at. In. The NBA The season which was interrupted in March by the covid nineteen pandemic has resumed in a secluded in Orlando where the teams have been playing out the postseason. That changed on Wednesday night however, when players on the Milwaukee Bucks the only NBA team in Wisconsin decided to boycott their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha Wisconsin shortly after the bucks decision, the League announced that Games on Wednesday would be cancelled the WNBA soon, followed suit as did several MLB teams and women's tennis. Star Naomi Asaka sports have long been appreciated for their ability to provide a distraction from sometimes grim world events think of the Yankees and the mets opening New York backup after nine eleven. In numerous interviews, professional athletes made clear that they wanted to play that role to help the country get through the Cova crisis too. But. They refuse to ignore the seemingly ceaseless shooting of unarmed black men by police who can blame them. The Los Angeles Lakers led by Megastar Lebron James who has as much power in the NBA as any player or owner and the Los. Angeles. Clippers. Announced that they would not be completing the season whether they stick to that and whether the other teams complete the postseason is up in the air as we record this but they're anguished cry for justice forces, all of us to sit up and take notice I'm wishing Jacob Blake of complete and speedy recovery and I'm wishing of you ish Shalom. Shalom ship at shallow. You can subscribe to people of the pod on Itunes, Google play or spotify, or learn more at AJC dot org slash the pot, the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflective positions of AJC we'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod at E. J. C. Dot Org. If you like this podcast, be sure to rate it and writer review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening this episode is brought to you by AJC our producer is condo. Our system producer is a Tarlac Ritz and our sounded generic tk broaddrick tune in next week for another episode of people of the pod.

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AJC Passport: Israel Blocks Members of Congress; Californias Ethnic Studies Curriculum

People of the Pod

30:38 min | 1 year ago

AJC Passport: Israel Blocks Members of Congress; Californias Ethnic Studies Curriculum

"Hello and welcome to AJC passport brought to you by E AJC. The diplomatic arm of the Jewish community each week. We'll chat with experts from around the world to help you better understand the weeds headlines and what they all mean for Israel L. and the Jewish people. I'm your host seth decoding the shocking news came early on Thursday morning wing as Israel reversed course on its decision to allow in the boycott supporting members of Congress Ilhan Omar and Russia to the with President trump pressuring Israel to deny by them entry with their I tin ARY revealed to be entirely one sided and anti Israel and with elections rapidly approaching in Israel and looming in the United States states. Their trip was now effectively cancelled. Aj slammed Israel's decision expressing love for the Jewish state but saying that in barring during the two representatives it quote did not choose wisely AJC CEO. David Harris joins us now to discuss this news David. Thank you for joining us in my pleasure. I think the number one thing a lot of American Jews are wondering today is why well assuming that the question is about Omar and to lead the two members of Congress I I think first of all one has to understand what was going on in Israel and then what what was going on here. Look the bottom line to just jump ahead for moment. Steffi is that at the end of the day Israel was faced with two choices but the less bad choice we believed was letting them into the country. The worst choice was barring them from visiting Israel so wipe Israel in the end do this well. It seems to me that there are three possible reasons why the first is as some Israelis have said they had a peak at at the planned itenerary of the two members of Congress and this was not about a trip to Israel in order to meet with Israelis and see Israel and hear different perspectives Specter's this was very politicized trip that focused on sort of everything that was perceived as bad and wrong with Israel so some some would call it a propaganda exercise. The second reason that Israelis offered was there is a law that people who support B. D. S. that is boycott. Divestment and sanctions action against Israel are not going to be admitted to the country while both of these Omar into leave have supported the BS movement and the third and perhaps APPs most intriguing explanation that we're hearing from Israel is this resulted from conversations between the United States and Israel and specifically typically involving the president of the United States who was very clear in saying that he hoped that Israel would not admit them so somewhere in an among those three reasons you have the explanation nation that being said as I mentioned a moment ago from our perspective. There's also a cost here and we believe at the end of the day from our balance balance sheet that the cost of refusing them entry might be even higher than the cost of allowing them to go in their propaganda exercise. AJC put out a characteristically characterisically thoughtful statement this morning I would say and it mentioned that every country has the right to determine for itself who can and cannot enter in light of that was it unsettling to see the president of the United States kind of put his thumb on the scale and tweet this morning and rumors abound that he was kind of pressuring rushing behind the scenes prior his tweet said it would show great weakness if Israel the two representatives and was that unsettling well look first of all to your I point Let's not forget that every democratic country does reserve the right to control entry into the country so this is not the first time that any democratic country in the world has refused entry to anyone the United States under various administrations including the previous administration in which also barred entry to Michael Ben Ari who was an extremist Israeli politician that they do want to see come to the United States at the time. I was two thousand in twelve so every country does this so some of what I'm seeing. The twitter storm in the reaction is kind of over the top. It's overblown as if this were the first time in history history that any country had denied entry to anyone and pointing the finger at Israel but having said that I still believe that these two members of Congress as members of Congress and given the US Israel relationship and given all the sensitivities in the political parties et Cetera et Cetera et cetera should have been allowed in and yes is an unusual. It's quite unusual for the President United States in this case as you say to put his thumb on the scale to weigh in publicly and privately early and to ask the Israelis to to reconsider this and then what we saw was a tweet from president of following these really news which depicted the Democratic Party as being embodied by these individuals Omar into lead so you already see some of the contours not just of next month's Israeli election Shen but next year's American election. I'm still kind of grappling with all. That's happened with news. That is coming out with. You know what the implications of this may be so I I I may disavow this hypothesis at some point down the road but isn't there a way of looking at this where Israel is the victim. I I mean a month ago Prime Minister Netanyahu on Yahoo Decides to let Omar and to Leib in his ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer says without equivocation that they would be permitted entry quote wrote out of respect for the US Congress then we have pressure behind the scenes from the president. We have the tweet this morning from the president you know talk about being caught hop between a rock and a hard place right very much so Israel would say because we've had discussions with the Israelis quietly in the hours hours and days leading up to their final decision or seemingly final decision barring entry look they would say you know a month ago. We did not have a sense of their full agenda so maybe we were still a bit hopeful that their agenda would include efforts to meet with mainstream. Israelis not necessarily who agree with Benjamin intimate on Yahoo but who fall within the you know the the contours of of mainstream Israeli society but we got a peek at their plan to gender they say we got a peak at WHO's funding them and the group that's funding them as a strongly pro. Ds Movement the Israelis assert so you have those developments plus plus the president of the United States on usually weighing in very publicly and saying you know I. I don't think this is something you WanNa do Israel and who knows what what was happening privately as well now. Look again to be absolutely fair here. It's very difficult for any Israeli Prime Minister of of whatever political party to simply ignore any American president of the United States in this case is donald trump at it could be any American president if if he makes a direct pitch to you and I don't know what form the pitch took. I don't think any of us were talking. Do those who know Oh don't talk and those who talk probably don't know but if the president had state says you know either as a personal request or as part of some larger discussion about out give and take please don't do this if you're sitting at home on a couch in the United States. It's easy to kind of reject that if you're the prime minister of Israel it's a little little harder. I'm not saying therefore that I agree with the prime minister as I said I have great respect for him but I don't agree but it you know it's only when you're sitting on the couch and have have no responsibility for your actions that you can kind of dismissal of these things sure let them in to Israel. It doesn't matter what they do. It doesn't matter if they create tumult. Well sure it doesn't matter what the president the United States says the things do matter so in the real world. You have a cost benefit analysis and it's a tough call as you said. It's between clean a rock and a hard place on this one. We just came out in a different place than I was really friends in her statement. Replying to this Ilhan Omar said that trump's Muslim ban has been exported to Israel and representative Alexandro Cossio Cortez said something on the lines of you know. It's no coincidence that these are two Muslim women being banned from Israel. I saw that and I kind of thought well hold on a moment. I was in Israel two months ago on an AJC project interchange trip that included a Muslim woman by the way Muslim women of color. Do you think there's anything to these accusations that Akasa Cortez and Omar are leveling against Israel the there's a bias a gender bias religion by a race bias to to the ban. I don't not at all I think they're simply trying to play at these cards knowing that they're toxic incendiary cards and I don't even think Selfie with all due respect that one has two point two individual Muslims that one saw entering entering every single day on just about every plane headed for Israel or at any number of entry points on the ground including luding from Jordan the West Bank people of every faith including many many many Muslims are entering Israel. I mean last year alone. According to the statistics of these the public statistics. We don't know what else there is. Something like thirty or forty thousand people entered from Muslim countries to visit Israel countries that have no diplomatic relations with the state of Israel so the idea of playing this card you know associating Israel with Donald well trump and with this the Muslim ban is a is a dirty card to play to be absolutely honest a very dirty card to play you know for some it will evoke you know enthusiasm in the United States but for many I think it will frankly only undermine any case or credibility that Omar and Toledo may have have with respect to this whole issue me. Were they going in good faith or not. I don't believe they were going in good faith. I simply believe that the cost of not not letting the mentor was potentially way higher than the cost of letting the mentor engage in their political stunts and Shenanigans and letting them leave at the end of the day there are four hundred thirty thirty five members of Congress their grand total of two people that were going in this delegation to people they come just after more than seventy seven zero. Republican and Democratic Democratic members of Congress came to Israel in the largest single gathering or collective gathering of members of Congress in one week so I think Israel L. is stronger than these two people way stronger the pro Israel movement the us-israel relationship role way stronger and I don't think we should cower in fear even as they pedal. It'll these ridiculous conspiratorial theories. Here's a thought experiment to close our conversation on. Let's say representative to leaves office had reached out to you and and said David Ilan and I were going to Israel. We're GONNA spend most of our time in the West Bank but we have time to go to one place in Israel. What is the best place is to go to to get a sense of the real Israel. What would you have told them David. If that question has been posed to you well I I I would have said first of all don't limit me me too one and I would have squeezed in it even into the one sentence more than one place look. I I first of all I think from their point of view they should've asked for at least one or two meetings with mainstream. Israeli political leaders are they so afraid of hearing hearing from them are are they are they somehow going to be what poisoned quote unquote by engaging with an Israeli political leader. They can't even talk to them so so on the one hand I would have said go there on the second hand. I would have said Go-to Yada Sham and understand the Israeli psyche Jewish history and the third hand I would have said and walk the streets of Jaffa and Tel Aviv and look at not just the vibrancy the diversity of the complexity of Israel L. but also look at the Muslim citizens of Israel in some cases wearing a he job with mosques open with Friday services full everything you would see contradicts everything you've allowed yourself to believe from a distance everything the nature of government in Israel the nature of democracy crecy the nature of pluralism the nature of minority rights of the nature of racial and religious diversity. Everything contradicts what you've allowed yourself to believe leave from Minnesota and Michigan through all kinds of narratives mythologies you've heard are you afraid of exposing yourself to it. So why was there I tin are- we so restricted that they were unwilling even to expose themselves to all of these sides of Israel. I'm not saying they would come back abandoning their pro. Palestinian policies also but were they really so fearful so on the one hand Israel was fearful of allowing them in but these two were also fearful of exposing themselves to mainstream extreme Israeli society that show. It's a shame all parties. I think are guilty here but it's a shame that they won't have that opportunity. David thank you for joining us. My my pleasure Steffi thank you in and the new curriculum didn't even last until the first day of school this month special committee in California announced a new model ethnic studies curriculum for possible statewide wide adoption. The only problem was that the curriculum though it helped elevate the stories of some minorities totally ignored an erased others and even traffic trafficked in some mild antisemitism. AJC and other Jewish groups swung into action and the California Legislative Jewish caucus helped lead the charge. This group composed of the Jewish members of the California state legislature announced this week that the new curriculum would not be rolled out and a new group. We'll work to revise the finished product state. Senator Ben Allen Chair of the California Legislative Jewish caucus joins us now Senator Allen. Thank you so much for joining. Yes happy to be here so tell me how did the issues with the California ethnic studies model curriculum. I come up well. They were first brought to our attention by the folks at the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council. They had been monitoring bring this issue for some time and had gotten a copy of the draft curriculum raise a whole set of concerns about what was in there and brought to our attention and we were then able to craft a response and raise the profile of some of the concerns that they had what is it about the content of the curriculum raised concerns among folks in the Jewish community well everything from the draft curriculum effectively erasing the American experience to Omitting Anti Semitism to denigrating Jews in some areas which is pretty ridiculous reinforcing some negative stereotypes against Jews to singling out Israel for condemnation there were just a number of things in there that were real concerned and this is just the stuff relating to the Jewish American community. There's a lot of focus on bigotry and hatred of all sorts of different forms mentioned in the glossary and various aspects of the curriculum. There's not a single mention of antisemitism in the Gloucester even though they have twelve different forms of hatred and bigotry he from Islam Phobia to Patriarchy Hetero Patriarchy colonialism and not a single mention of antisemitism so it's it was very problematic and we felt the need to to push back you know the Jews Caucus as a body supports the idea of ethnic studies. I think we love the vision that was articulated by advocates. You know I I have a quote here from Cynthia. Lou was one of the advocates for the bill that created the draft curriculum in the first place and she talked about how we hope that mutual understanding empathy and Rachel and cultural literacy will be the fruit this important law this is supposed to be about in our whole point at the end of the letter was it it'd be such a cruel irony if the very curriculum that is supposed to be about promoting understanding in an embassy would actually help to institutionalize the teaching of aspects of Anti Semitism to California's kids. What a crazy thing that would be yeah having no connection to the California Public School System Myself. It's kind of hard for me to wrap my head around. You know exactly what we're talking about here right. You know what what was this curriculum mm-hmm designed to be was going to be an elected was going to be something that schools would have to implement. You know what age kids are. We talking about. What students are going to come in contact with this curriculum. you know what what was the vision here well. It's a great that's a great question and it does deserve some explanation. This is a draft model curriculum so when this model model curriculum is finalized in whatever form it will be a suggestion effectively guide a guideline guidance to school districts around the state who might want to implement an ethics course so anyone who might WanNa do that would be able to turn to this as a as there's a guideline or they wouldn't be required to take this particular curriculum as their own but it is very these draft. Curricula are very influential in determining what school district to teach on the ground when they design courses for their students now here's the kicker though there is a bill making its way to the legislature that would require the teaching of ethnic studies as a graduation requirement Garmin for K. through twelve so if that were to pass then school districts would have to pull together ethnic studies curricula they teach their high school kids and this would certainly be very influential in that process is one of the reasons why when we saw this we knew the context of the bill we thought we had to get involved quickly forcefully and so what was the process by which this was designed obviously it seems like it was a flawed process but how did it happen that it went without input in put not only from the Jewish community from so many other minority communities well so they various three authors who were chosen by the covering part of education and there was an advisory committee that met with them to go over what they were producing. It turns out that one of the author is very committed to be yes and It's a tricky thing I think traditionally ethnic studies has focused on the four say four pillar groups of communities of color so our our Latino Community Africa Community Asian Pacific Islander and native American indigenous communities and not as that's traditionally been the focus of ethnic that makes study there are folks in the community said Hey. We really want to be included here. I'm one of the things we heard back from. Some of the folks of the adviser community basically said hey if you guys wanted to be included. Why didn't you speak up. Ah We didn't really know that was even an option or that was something that was being encouraged. Once we found out that that's what they were saying we we will speak up and we will certainly ask to be included. I think then folks from the Hindu Community and the Armenian community in many other communities started to realize that they needed to basically. We're being told that we all need to advocate for ourselves selves to be part of this conversation. No other state has done this before so this is all kind of new and I think it's a some extent this controversy Chrissy the result of of the growing pains of his academic discipline you know we at AJC pride ourselves on being coalition builders and you alluded to this it. Just you know make it explicit my colleagues in California actually worked and put out a joint statement in partnership with several other significant populations in California Koreans reopens Armenians Greek Americans Hindus organizations representing those communities to make clear that this is not just the Jews speaking out against this but it's it's something that really impacts a lot of people who view their stories as their minority stories. They're immigrants stories as ones that Dr or at least should be considered important to California and really to America an especially as we're in this moment where our discourse around immigration around privilege things like that is so fraught it's important to not ally the stories of the different communities that make up our beautiful patchwork not only of the state of California but of the country asshole yeah. I couldn't agree more. Let me let me take it one step further. I actually think that if we were to broaden out the curriculum to give students a better context of the long history of xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment it would actually help sensitize a lot of white students to the historical stoorikhel context associated with the current anti-immigrant vitriol. If more shooting understood the kinds of slurs that were launched against their own ancestors coming from Italy coming from Ireland coming from wherever else in Europe there's terrible things that were being said in the mainstream media in cartoons on it a to`real pages of respected newspapers papers and magazines about Italian immigration for example and if people were to better understand that I think they would also better understand and better contextualized the current current anti-immigrant sentiment that is being hoisted upon folks coming from Latin America or elsewhere. Actually I think that would help to create more empathy amongst white students who are maybe descendents the very same immigrants who were attacked and Ila fi just because they were coming from Ireland or Italy or elsewhere. Oh yeah you know the good news. Now is that you know announced. Ah Late this week or or in the middle of this week rather is that we're GONNA see a change in this proposed curriculum so senator Alan. Are we starting from scratch. Now you know where do we go from here. What does this this process look like. And how can you make sure as a legislator that with this success that you've achieved that the Jewish caucuses achieved that AJC and other community groups have achieved. You've that systems will be put in place to prevent this kind of thing from happening again so great question first of all. It's unclear as to what exactly will happen. I think there are those in the leadership of of this decision making process. He wants to see the whole thing scrapped in to start at a new I think there's real strong argument for doing that. Given how fundamentally flawed this curriculum is there are others who I think would say well well. Maybe we can jettison the problematic parts in and take the good parts and kind of work to to rebuild the existing curriculum so that's the debate right now that's one of the conversations at the State Board and the Iq C. which is the instructional quality commission. It's IT'S GONNA tasked with overseeing this process so we'll see how it all goes. I do think that there is a fundamental agreement. Amongst leadership that whatever happens there needs to be major changes to curriculum and and I'm you know we've been talking about the Jewish communal. There's a lot of other stuff in there that I think is going to demand scrutiny as well just before we close famously or perhaps semi famously. Maybe this is not famous at all. Maybe this is really niche US House of Representatives has no Jewish caucus our listeners in different states across across the country. Maybe kind of scratching their heads wondering whether their state assembly or Senate has a Jewish caucus or maybe they know for sure that that state does or doesn't you are the chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. We're just curious. What does that mean you know. Is that a helpful body to advance Jewish Jewish concerns to perform Jewish advocacy and California. Is it a model that you would want to export to other states as well. You know what is that like well. We wanted to make sure the Jewish community had a voice at the table. We have an important piece of the California story that California Fabric Jus been vitally important part of California Culture here in California and Ju- stood alongside all sorts of communities to stand up for civil rights and for inclusion and for a truly inclusive vision for the state and that's that's been part of our heritage. It's been part of our responsibilities with regards T- couldn't alarm and so we come together as a caucus and advocated for the Jewish community you need but also advocated for the Jewish community in the broader context of of of our goals of inclusion and and pluralism. I'll give you one example right when there was the tax on the powei synagogue here in California we already done the groundwork with the governor to talk about how we needed to get some more money down the pike to help with security grants to help institutions that might be at risk of attack hardened their facility so as to be able to better protect against hate violence and by the way that's money that is going go to mosques synagogues community centers churches all sorts of different institutions that might be at risk because of hate fueled bigotry and violence so so we were able to get funding for the Museum of Tolerance the Museum of the Holocaust to kind of keep telling those stories and make sure that new generation of Californians will know what it happened in the past and have a better context to fight against bigotry in the days ahead. We're able to get some funding for some of the Jewish summer candidate burned down during the fires and by the way they also serve the broader Los Angeles and Bay area communities a lot of communities kids coming from disadvantaged backgrounds who go up to those camping able to benefit from those cancers including many many non-jewish Jewish kids we're able to get funding for Holocaust survivors and we were able to get you know a bill just passed that I carried that made it so that. Hoa's can't discriminate against against folks who want to put them up on their door and we were able to include some language to help Muslims and Hindus and Christians as well who wanted to put in obtrusive but but meaningful religious in biology on their doors so as to be able to protect their freedom of expression right now we're working with Muslim community leaders to get a prayer space at Los Angeles International National Airport in the International Terminal Bradley Terminal so that folks have faith certainly focus of Muslim faith. You have to pray five times a day but people of all faiths can have a safe place the terminal where they can pray and or or have a moment of reflection so we're looking for ways to help advance engage both causes that are important to the Jewish community committee but that also branch out just the other day we went with the Latino Caucus to visit one of the detention facilities down on the border and learn about the challenges there and learn about the incredible work that the Jewish family services are doing with the ACLU with highest and and some of the other traditional refugee resettlement organization to assist asylum seekers who've been coming over the order and learn about ways that we can work further and deeper with our friends from Latino Caucus and other members of the legislature to kind of address our our shared goals in that respect so this is there's a place for Jewish members to come together defend our community stand up for our community but also reach out to other communities and help and work and collaborate and cooperate with them to advance mutually beneficial goals well center Allan. Thank you so much for the advocacy work that you do with the caucus and your broader responsibility in the California legislature thank you for being a friend and ally JC well. I appreciate you guys a great deal and by the way we've also been working hard on issues relating to Israel trying to make sure that folks understand. There's a lot of other aspects of what happens in Israel beyond the conflict we've been working on everything from you know memorandum of understanding associated with our institutions of higher learning between Israel and the State of California and the University of California work on water and conservation efforts on energy efficiency and clean energy and green energy and there's a lot of really interesting work happening in that space that we've been very involved as well and in fact we're probably going to bring a group of legislators out there including some members of Latino Caucus. We're looking at December as possible trip so we look forward to continuing to partner with you you and making sure that we're all doing our part well. The job is never done. Thank you so much Senator Alan thank you and now it's time for our closing segment good for the Jews where each week I share one final thought about a recent development in the world and try to answer that age old question is it good for the Jews Tel Aviv on fire good for the Jews. No this is not about arson or wildfires to things that are decidedly not good for the Jews. It's about the latest cinema sensation from Israel. A film called hauled Tel Aviv on fire. The name comes from a fictional soap opera filmed in Ramallah and aired on Palestinian and Israeli television a a junior writer for the show. Salaam is stopped one day at a checkpoint on his way home to Jerusalem. A random string of events leads to him sitting down with the commander of the checkpoint. WHO's wife it turns out as a huge fan of the show thus Salaam the unsuccessful Palestinian writer secretly enlists lists OSCE the Israeli soldier who turns out to have the soul of a poet to help him write scripts for the show and hilarity and something a little darker her ensues the movie is a great watch hysterical but also empathetic and viewers will walk away having laughed and also learn something about Israel that kind of experience is always good for the Jews you can subscribe to AJC passport on Itunes or on stitcher follow although us on soundcloud or learn more at AJC dot org slash passport the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC JC. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions you can reach us at passport at AJC dot org if you like this podcast insure to read it and write a review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. I'm your host Steffi coking. This episode is brought to you by AJC the American Jewish Committee. Our producer is coupon down. Our Sound Engineer Erica's T._K. Broderick tune in next for another episode of A._J._C. Passport.

Israel California United States Congress Ilhan Omar American Jewish Committee AJC Israel L. president Congress California Legislative Jewish Steffi coking donald trump David Harris David San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Senator Alan seth West Bank representative
AJC Passport: 25th Anniversary of AMIA, Trump Takes on the Squad

People of the Pod

31:30 min | 1 year ago

AJC Passport: 25th Anniversary of AMIA, Trump Takes on the Squad

"Hello and welcome to AJC passport brought to you by JC the diplomatic arm of the Jewish community each week. We'll chat with experts from around the world to help you better understand the weeds headlines and what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people. I'm your host Seffi Kogen. DC Van is the director of AJC's Arthur. and Rachelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American affairs. She joins us now to fill us in on her recent trip to Winter Cyrus to talk about the nineteen ninety-four for Armenia bombing there in the capital of Argentina and to discuss recent developments in the way that Argentina treats the Hezbollah terrorist organization position Deana. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much if he once again many of our listeners don't remember the early nineties but this past week marked the twenty the fifth anniversary of a horrible tragic event in Argentina. Can you tell us about the one thousand nine hundred four bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires of course if the July eighteenth nineteen ninety-four was really a day that change perceptions not only of Argentina's gene jewelry and Argentinian society as a whole but I believe of world jewelry and also Latin America in general on July fourteenth a van exploded in front of Amu- which is I'm just glad he's that I leave that hinting that it is the let's say like the Jewish family service of Argentina the institutional heart of Argentinian jewelry and resulting in eighty five dead and hundreds of wounded it was a the lobbyists and the worst anti Semitic attack at that moment in world and as I said it really had a terrible effect on the sense of security of Argentinian jewelry and of Argentina as continues society as a whole two years before he nineteen ninety-two we have to remember there was another terrorist attack that took place in these rayleigh the embassy windows so this you know having a second attack two years later undertaken by John and his lap was really a a an incredible effect in Argentina's a hole and you know the twenty five years later. Unfortunately nobody has been brought to justice and for twenty twenty five years we have really encountered you know all kinds of promises from the government from different governments Tina to tale well. Do you know you anticipate my next question because whenever something like this happens one of the first questions that is on everyone's lips. Is You know who did this. Who carried this this out? You just said very authoritatively that both bombings were carried out by Iran and Hezbollah but I don't believe that Argentina has ever been quite so oh why is that why has no one been brought to justice for these attacks. Argentina has been definitive. I'm in two thousand and six legal ready had identified his Iran as those responsible and in fact during the Interpol meeting in two thousand and five they we had prosecutor Special Prosecutor Alberto knees man who we can. You know I'm sure will come up in later questions but Alberto needs man already had had been very successful in having red alerts raised two four six individuals five live high government officials of Iran and won his up red alerts were already in place and it was a clear charge that that's you know Iraq is responsible for that so they have have has been they have been identified but there's very little that can be done by urgency Agentina without being trained national community putting pressure also on this country so that has been a huge problem and last week fortunately President Moldy Sumati the incumbent president of Argentina finally created a registry Ed Bouchette decree by presidential decree that identifies individuals a terrorist individuals organizations including his Orla so this is really one of the concrete step in the right direction by the Argentine government but we have known about Iran in his for many many years. This is probably a naive question but why attack Argentina what beef did Iran have with Argentina. There's all all kinds of hypotheses you know which have been put forth bud that one of the reasons why it could happen is because they could because you had a country were security was lax were corruption existed and therefore you could enlist local resources and people to help you undertake the attack because two years before you already had had at an attack against Israeli embassy nothing had been done and when there's impunity we know that we're you're setting the groundwork for other attacks to happen. I and you had the six large as you have the six largest Jewish community in the world the largest Latin American Jewish community so if Iran wanted to send the message that it was a right place to do it. You mentioned Alberto Nissan who had been the special prosecutor in Argentina four four for decades working on this until he was shockingly found dead in his apartment. just a couple of years ago. What what is the Nissan Story? How is it that he had so much success in identifying you know following back the footprints and yet was stymied in some key ways and then what happened to him yeah well Alberto newsmen who was a personal friend of AJC David Harris and and I had the chance to meet with him many times in window side is ending Washington and in fact when the Interpol red alerts were established established when he came back from a ruckle we weren't window scientists and really we were the first organization together with our partners that he met with the to let us know what had happened so there was a very close partnership relationship so we really were distraught when we heard the news again? There's a lot of theories that are floating their hypotheses about what happened to him now we know that he was murdered at some point. They said that he committed suicide. But now I think it's very clear that he was murdered. and he was appointed by President Nestor Gift Schnitt in two thousand thousand five the Tiffany bursary of the attack to look into what Willie was What's left of the evidence? One of the problems albums was that evidence had been tampered with and contaminated and he was able to recreate whatever way he could this evidence this and get to the conclusion that Iran and his beloved were responsible for that of course he got help from the United States he got help from Israel he got help from other services services intelligence services and therefore he was successful in doing so unfortunately you know he had discovered that the alleged there was some alleged charges against it President Cristina Kirchner incumbent President Cristina Kirchner she she can sign a memorandum of understanding with Iran and dates bumped that was very criticized by JC by international Jewish Jewish community by the families of the victims and many nurturing Tina because you know it's you cannot invite those who are victimized or to try to find you know to try to clarify the case so it was kind of ridiculous to do so but it was you know was that they were trying to come to some agreement agreement with Iran you know economic agreement and then you know kind of under undermined investigations and needs was about out to declare before Congress when he was found dead now. We don't know if that was the reason why he was assassinated. We don't know there were other reasons why he was assassinated. Everything's speculation. What remains is that you know? His murder remains a mystery Jaaz as the case in many any respects and this is a huge sane on Argentina which is a country of loss in a country that believes that it has to clarify in this cases so dino. Let me see if I have this timeline right in nineteen ninety-two Iran and its terror clients blow up a van Dan outside the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and I think killing twenty something people and in nineteen ninety four they blow up a van outside ride the AMIGA building this Jewish community center this social service center killing eighty five people wounding three hundred people at some point after Nineteen Nineteen Ninety four the Argentine government enters into this agreement with Iran some kind of an economic support from Iran in exchange range for not pursuing the case further in two thousand and five Alberto Newsman is appointed nonetheless as a special investigator and it does Incredible Investigative Work Traces this conclusively to your on Gets Interpol red notices placed on six Iranian people all who are responsible for the attack continues doggedly pursuing the history here the facts and then about ten years after that is murdered murdered on the eve of when he's about to present evidence against the then president of Argentina to the country's legislative body is that right that is right. That's that's that's. That's a movie in the Movie Continue Surfing. The movie continues because you know we we now have of course president McAfee has been very committed to seeing the the case move forward so now he did this decree that I told you about this registry and he really wants to stem the activities taste of Hezbollah you know and and all of its operatives in the region including the tribe or their area which is this area so were Argentina Brazil Argentina Paraguay come together and it's a no man's land where there's were his bully supposed to be doing money laundering activities and were the mastermind of the attack against them. Mia came from so president Oh has has done a lot at so far to move the process forward but to be very honest with you. We believe that the Argentine state in general has has been really at fault here. You know we want to be optimistic. Who wants to be hopeful but at the end of the day because of what you have described described you know we are skeptical? We are skeptical we many times. We've heard you know that new developments are taking place than things are moving in the the right direction and then we are we are totally a frustrated and disappointed well Dina as you know at the twenty one thousand nine hundred. AJC Global Forum in Washington Lewis on Magro the secretary general of the Organization of American States which is you know kind of like the EU of of Latin America. Oh that's that's that's not exactly the perfect analogy but he announced that the Os would now be viewing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. you mentioned this very welcome. Step by President Mockery. Do we think that other Latin American nations are going to follow suit. I think it was very important that last week you also had a ministerial or second ministerial counter-terrorism convened by the United States Tena when Secretary of state bomb bail was there and he's a there was a ceremony Nambia where you had many ministers of Security Curitiba and foreign ministers and of course we had the president and members of Congress that went to window side is especially for the occasion and the message was very clear by the foreign minister. If Argentina Argentina cannot do it on its own and that's the reason why Iran is Bola have prevailed all these years without any punishment in they don't even recognize her culpability and this has to do with the fact that Latin American countries and the world at large have remaining the difference was certain extent and in fact many of the Iranian government officials that have red alerts against him have traveled around around the world. I've been in China. They've been Russia. They've been in Bolivia and they have not been extradited. So you know even the Latin American community. He doesn't come together the nations of the Americas. Don't come together and follow Argentina in what it's doing. You know there's no hope there's no hope the same thing around the world with with Hezbollah the only way that we can fight effectively is by all of us understanding that terrorism arisen doesn't recognize any boarders and that we're all vulnerable to its effects and we're all complicit if we don't do anything to stop it so so you know we are going to be undertaken as you can imagine AJC through our institute. We're GONNA be undertaking now a very and we've already in the process of up doing it a very firm campaign to convince other countries in the region to follow in Argentina's food sticks otherwise otherwise there's no hope well Deana. Thank you so much for telling this story I for one hope that this movie will have a satisfying. Thank you so much before invitation. Ron Campus is the Washington bureau chief for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency or ATA HE JOINS US now to discuss the squad the president and recent legislation in the US House of Representatives Ron. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me now. The Democrat controlled. US House of Representatives voted on three Israel related things this week what were they okay so the first one was a non binding resolution condemning gaming. PD S and also and this was very important to the democratic drafters upholding the two state solution the second one horrified into lots principal support bumps into law but thirty eight billion dollars over ten years that President Obama contracted to give Israel towards the end of his term in two thousand sixteen steen the importance of that is just a having con Congress approved the protection to it if the current or any future presidents and then we can't get this money but can't do that now. Congress has authorized and the third thing targets a month in Palestinian Islamic Jihad for further sanctions I think they're already sanctioned pretty thoroughly thoroughly but it adds a further sanctions particularly because of the of their targeting civilian areas in Israel rocketfire now I noticed you referred to the anti PD s vote as a nonbinding resolution but there are critics of the bill like Russia to leave the representative from Michigan for example who who says that she voted against it and other should as well because it was unconstitutional because it tailed free speech. Is She right to say that no. I think you know to bill encourages. Courage is support of previous language that was passed actually under the Obama Administration and passed by Obama that reinforces boycotts lots of boycotters. It's nowhere near that even that bill that older bill from two thousand fifteen or sixteen is nowhere near as draconian and some of the bills that she might that'd be referring to that are currently under review so no and plus. It's nonbinding you know there's a whole sort of you can have a philosophical arguments about what it means when when you passed non-binding resolution are you actually it is legislation. It does create a kind of dictionary of terms and ideas that Congress uses but but it's gone binding doesn't have the power of law. CNN called that vote divisive but the final vote tally might suggest otherwise right. Oh yeah it was like seventeen against seven even some critics of Israel sat it out like Justin almost the independence from Michigan didn't even voted presence and so you had sixteen eighteen democrats and one Republican voting against and three hundred ninety eight voting for could guard across the board support and I think it sort of goes to show you know there's this argument even regarding the more the tougher anti pdf legislation and the most pressing one at the one that has the most supportive right now is one that will protect states to penalize boycotters. there's an argument on the Republican side that shows that Democrats support in fact Marco Rubio the Senator Senator who pushed it through in the Senate has outright said that the people who oppose this bill support. DDS Democrats counter no we're just concerned about free reese speech implications in terms of penalizing boycotters might eight the reason they're cutting but they have the right to boycott and I think live kind of a it's a it's a served win for the democratic side in that shows that that would agree with that because they're opposing DDS but they're also knocked backing bills that would impinge on the right to boycott and there is this kind of languages for little weird it seems to place but in the resolution that apple's the right to petition government either for its policies or against its policies so ah broadly could be understood to fifty say we support the free speech right to boycott at the same time as this bill was was being voted on there. There's another bill that was being introduced that was looking for co-sponsors that was co sponsored by Ilhan Omar by Rashida to Leib and by the legendary a civil rights hero John Lewis that never mentioned Israel but was interpreted as a pro bedia bill of sorts because it was another resolution also non-binding but sticking up for people's right to to boycott it kind of stuck in people's Kraaz a little bit because it specifically mentioned the a boycott of Nazi Germany end of apartheid South Africa and those were seen as really offensive analogies to draw to Israel of course but but it never mentioned and Israel what what are we to make of this resolution and do we think it's going to move forward at all. I don't think it's GONNA move forward at undercut support. You need to support leadership shift to move forward. I think it's symbolic but I do think it's an expression a of the two things that you mentioned I mean the offensive thing which would be to like and BBS to the the boycott of Germany during the Nazi era and the work you know you'd have to go into the motivations and each of them I didn't you know Russia to play both backbeat. Es So I think constructively concluded. That's probably why they're there. John Lewis it's just a you know that's the other side of the equation thing. Let's not to legislate against boycotts. You're creating the sort of precedent could get pretty complicated and in fact some of the state boycott laws have been rewritten because they have been applied kind of promiscuously because they were written a little sup- broadly and you had state agencies in Texas refusing to send aid to people who were affected by hurricane unless in accepting the they signed a document pledging boycott Israel so you go there is there's a substantial argument on the other side. You have to very careful legislating against AH cards switching gears here last week president trump went after to leave Omar Alexandra Ocasio Cortez and Hannah Presley saying that that they should quote go back to where they came from the strong implication was that they weren't really Americans even though three of the four were born here and all four hold old US citizenship not to mention that all four are duly elected members of Congress many news outlets kind of bent over backwards as usual to try a to describe these comments. I think the New York Times called them racially infused which some people on twitter said sounded like a new kind of tea but what did you you think of the president's remarks Oh. I think they were clearly racist. It's okay to call them racists yeah yeah I think he has to do with that. I mean if you're saying that somebody's unqualified the office because of who their ancestors are what she's saying at least three four cases if he directed it purely Omar I think it would have been offensive. It would have been difficult for the American politics on somebody who's attacking the Marines but you could say that she is an immigrant that it comes from somewhere and a Presley is is to slaves who predate arrival of trump's grandfather by a couple of hundred years so what he says go back that you can have there is no other connotation but race. He's talking about particularly about Diana Presley and and Alexander. You're pretentious worked. Puerto Rican also have here's hundreds of years she played this is the second race this your parents emigrated from the West Bank. It's so so you're saying that you're he the the fact of the country descended from somehow impugns defines racist in a way the president also centered Jews and Israel in his criticism calling the four anti Semitic back and saying that they need to quote apologize to Israel and defending the President Senator Rick Scott of Florida called the Democratic Party party anti Semitic which led to AJC tweeting quote. We can't believe we have to say this but no the Democratic Party is not anti Semitic and some of the Jewish people's greatest champions wins have been and are Democrats. Politicizing Anti Semitism is exactly the wrong way to fight it end quote Why do you think the president is using this moment to stick up for Jews in Israel Israel first of all? Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Degree episode is offended by the you know when Ilhan Omar accuses people people who are Pro Israel being paid for somehow in which feeds into anticipated tropes sure he he's got close Jewish advisors. He's got close. Jewish family William probably offense into a degree but he's also you know I mean the bigger issue. The more preeminent issues that he's very vulnerable one race you're going to an election in in which the Democrats are GONNA do their best to get out to vote. you know this is going to be not an election where you win any kind of center over this isn't election. Get Out your base and e- e- actually thanked African Americans after the last election for not voting in the same numbers they did in two thousand twelve and two thousand and eight which helped and win in that election against Hillary Clinton and so he doesn't want the Democrats between up their base and the most effective way for them to turn up the basis to point that he says braces thing so you said that things going home and he realized how toxic it was visors realized their talks. It's like it's a typical music to type of move in politics. Try and Tar your opponent with the thing that they're using against against do. I don't think it works that well in this case I just think you know as a practical matter. It doesn't work that well with Omer stupid things that she did you know one had to go out and explain why these tropes were anti Semitic because it's not immediately apparent and trump just blatantly racist in his tweets and it's just you know practically it's much easier for Democrats so that trump has said races things in it is Republicans to show that the Democratic Party is a whole anticipating so I don't think it's going to work but I I I do think that that's a big part of it. They want to be able to reflect this back onto the Democrats longtime listeners of AJC passport will remember episode when we had on Adam Serwer from the Atlantic Mta talk about Louis Farrakhan and some of the issues related to the women's March this week he wrote this is a long quote here he wrote Omar it must be defended but not because of her views on Israel gay rights or Progressive Taxation. You needn't agree with her on any of those things in fact you needn't like her at all but she must be defended because the nature of the president's attack on her is a threat to all Americans black or white Jew or gentile who citizenship who's belonging might similarly early be questioned if multiracial democracy cannot be defended in America it will not be defended elsewhere that all is the serwer quote which certainly beautifully written written in a certain respect makes a lot of sense there. There's a fine line to walk though between defending Omar on the narrow ground of you know no-one no one should be subject to this kind of attack verses rallying around Omar and all that she stands for President Trump himself was gloating on twitter under the other day. About how Democrats were you know. It seemed like they were kind of about to push the squad out of their camp and now they've circled the wagons around them. are are the Democrats within at a strategic moment Ron. I mean if you look at the vote this week. It doesn't look like it because they you know a lot of people are printed out. I I think Michael Coppola or there's no policy for one Daniel Superior the former US investors or with another it looks like the squad really isn't controlling the Quad Caucus doc is because three out of four of them voted for this bill that they were in the minority of sixteen. I mean that that gets together at the you know the other thing about trump trying to target the squad as us as itself a single entity. If you look at their using David from Jews in Israel it's quite diverse than Anna Presley voted for the TVD explained why in a in a lengthy secretes lease sequence because he had her critics in the left for doing that but it just doesn't feel it's the right way to get to two states and a lot of people would say that I mean I would look at it this way you you know the main feature of the policy side at the dispute between spot policy was when she just convened people supposedly privately and it was leaked to said shut up to the squad you know keep this so I think from her side we'll have to wait and see things because if she does take action to distance the Democrats from the squad. It's GonNa it'd be done without public statements. It'll be a little more subtly and we'll see going forward. I think you know one it not relate to Israel but if the measure will be how the party goes on impeachment LISSI wants to slow walk impeachment and it sounds as if she's getting her way right now and this is where or the argument five in this issue they do the the calls for impeachment sooner rather than later so if beach moves more on Pelosi's schedule as it looks like we'll all right now then I think she is you know they're certainly circling the wagons around the squad in terms of protecting them for a tax for Donald Trump but they're not deferring to them in every single matter well. There's never a dull moment in US politics Ron. Thank you for keeping all of us up to date on the ever shifting grounds down there in Washington. DC thank you now. It's time for our closing segment good for the Jews where each week I share one final taught about a recent development in the world and try to answer that age old question. Is it good for the Jews Mariano Rivera good for the Jews okay. Here's what's not in dispute Mariano Rivera the famed Panamanian Relief Pitcher who played his entire career for the best team in baseball baseball the New York Yankees serving as the rock steady relief pitcher who closed games for the Yankees Dynasty of the nineteen nineties and two thousands is one of the best pitchers in the history history of the game and is the only person in baseball history to have been unanimously elected to the hall of fame Rivera or Mo as he was known in his playing days is the all time time leader in games saved a thirteen time all star and a five time world series winner. You probably heard his name this week. Even if you're not a baseball fan as he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of fame on Sunday Congratulations Mo- here's what you might not have known Rivera who grew up poor in a Panamanian fishing village and is an ordained minister is also a proud lover of Israel. He has traveled to Israel twice and been quoted as saying every time that I go to Israel it blows my mind. I wanted to see more. I wanted to understand more. I wanted to learn learn more. The Bible comes to life when you're there indeed Mario was good for baseball. Helping the sport recover from Labor strife and unflagging fan interest in the mid nineties he was good for New York as he closed games for one of the most overpowering dynasties in the history of American sports and with his love of Israel and the Jewish people he certainly is good for the Jews you can subscribe to AJC passport on I itunes or on stitcher follow us on soundcloud or learn more at AJC dot org slash passport. The views and opinions of our guests don't own necessarily reflect the positions of J. C. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at passport. AJC Dot Org Org. If you like this podcast be sure to read it and write a review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. I'm your host Seki Kogi. This episode is brought to you by. Ag See the American Jewish Committee. Our producer is condo our sound engineer T._k.

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An Impeachment Conspiracy Theory, Jersey City Shooting, International Criminal Court

People of the Pod

43:54 min | 11 months ago

An Impeachment Conspiracy Theory, Jersey City Shooting, International Criminal Court

"Hello and welcome to people of the pot brought to you by. AJC The Times of Israel each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people aren't Cogan and I'm on your bre share pacman German so money. Who did you talk with this week? I had the religious speaking with two fellow journalists from the Times of of Israel. Jacob Maggot and Eric Cordola. Jacob explained the latest developments in the international criminal courts examination of the tension between Israelis and Palestinians. And whether are there any war crimes have been committed by either party. Or both and Eric explained why anti-semites see the impeachment of president trump as Jewish conspiracy. Seffi tell us nurse who you spoke with. I spoke with Rabbi David Levy Director of AJC's New Jersey Office about the ongoing efforts to fight antisemitism in that state in the wake of the shootings as last week in Jersey City. Let's show this week. The House of Representatives resentatives voted for only the third time in history to impeach the president of the United States after eleven hours of debate on the House floor between Democrats and Republicans over trump's conduct with Ukraine lawmakers voted almost entirely along party lines to impeach him on charges that he abused his office and obstructed Congress but nowhere in that eleven hours did anyone mention or condemn the term juku which is making the rounds in antisemitic circles as a way to describe the plot to impeach the president. This troubling term combined with the rise of antisemitic incidents across the United States and other troubling signs has American Jews concerned here to discuss some of those signs is Eric Quarter Lesser who covers American politics politics for the Times of Israel Eric. Welcome thanks for having me so depending on who you ask. Some people believe Wednesday's impeachment vote was nothing but a pre-election political employ believe it was a victory for the constitution and the rule of law but regardless of party affiliation. What does it mean for American Jews? Well well American. Jews are deeply involved in that process at a range of levels for one. They are some of the leading members of Congress who have been behind mind the impeachment inquiry and leading up to the vote that includes people like House Intelligence Committee Chair. Adam Schiff that includes how judiciary committee chair Jerry Nadler and one of the things that you've seen as the impeachment process has ramped up is that anti-semites on the fringes have really begun to adopt and amplify an antisemitic conspiracy theory that it is and a ball. Jews who were behind an effort to oust the duly elected president of the United States and this is concerning a lot of Jewish leaders because we're already amidst period ran antisemitic incidents are on the arise and specifically anti-semitic acts of violence. So I think the concern is what's going to happen as the impeachment process was forward now. We're getting eating into the process where we're trying to negotiate a Senate trial What's going to happen with these conspiracy? Theories are they going to be amplified. Are they going to be given a megaphone. The phone and you know the worst possible scenario of course and they don't want to sound overheated is that it could inspire someone to do something crazy to act violent and you know this is not unprecedented. Given reason history Robert Bowers the man who shot up the tree of life. Synagogue and Pittsburgh said that he was motivated because he believed that Jews were responsible for bringing migrants into the countries who caravans so This is something that sort of happening on the fringes but the concern is that it's going to start making its way into the mainstream depending on how people highest levels of leadership respond to these ideas. Yeah so now take us through you just talked about some of the high profile positions held by Jews take us through the cast of characters in this impeachment process. Sure so you know in Congress you know. Some of the leaders in the house side are include people. Like as I said Adam Schiff Jerry Naylor. There's also Elliott Angle Point Fares Committee One of the a real sort of cheerleaders for the impeachment process who's been sort of an intellectual leader on the impeachment front has been congressman. Jamie Raskin From Maryland whose Jewish so those are some of the main players in the House of Representatives. it's also true that some of the warriors who the judiciary very committee called to testify several weeks ago to you know. Give the sort of the historical and constitutional view of what constitutes Trent weather. The president's Vince abuses that are alleged abuses of power and obstruction of Congress. Merit and impeachment. itself you know all three of the poem pitch owners were Jewish That was has no effect. Michael Gerhardt and Pamela Carlin And there are other players involved including Ukrainian president a lot of your Sliwinski. Some of the other People in worked in trump's administration who were called to testify are Jewish like his ambassador to the European Union Gordon signed lend and other officials as well like Alexander van and so there really are quite a few Jews who are involved in the impeachment really from a bunch of different angles though. I have to wonder that in a lot of white supremacist circles. Jews are seen as the puppeteers the people behind the curtains so even if there weren't Jewish characters in this drama I have to wonder if these conspiracy see theories would still be alive. They absolutely would be an exact they are. I mean one of the sort of really troubling events that happened in recent weeks was going back. Who's got a highly watched show on his channel called the blaze ran an entire segment calling? George Soros a wealthy Jewish financiers at the center of a lot of antisemitic conspiracy theories you know generally about things. He has nothing to do with He made dealing entire segment about how he was quote unquote the puppet master in Ukraine. So some of the sort of you know usual suspects as they were are appearing on these sort of antisemitic channels and on social media You know regardless of whether Jews are not are involved in impeachment MHM so I mentioned the term Juku earlier tell us where that comes from and what other troubling terms and signs are emerging on networks. That works like Glenn Beck or others. Yeah I mean the term Juku Hard to know exactly where it originated from but it got its original sort of amplification advocation when the founder of true news sort of fundamentalist Christian platform that has a best history publishing anti-semitic homophobic racist content. He published a video in which he blamed the Juku that was responsible for the impeachment of trump. came out back in November as the process is really ramping up. But he said it was essentially a Jewish. I I And from there you've seen sort of Warren more figures of part of the far right movement. Pick up that term is a popular antisemitic. Platform called owns owns review dot com. And you know that's a frequent sort of theme that is often sort of expressed on those pages. So you no. The JUKU is essentially a conspiracy theory. That is being promulgated from far-right anti-semitic extremists. Who believe that? What is really early driving? This whole thing is a bunch of powerful Jews who WANNA get rid of this president to advance their own interests. In fact there was a piece on owns owns that criticized president trump for his policies. vis-a-vis Israel saying that he you know rewarded Israel and in exchange got betrayed by Americans marriage series that are sort of taking hold these corners of the Internet. Okay so now has any of trump's rhetoric encouraged this I mean. I know that we were out on the streets a few weeks ago. Testing people's knowledge on Anti Semitic terms and one of the gentlemen that we stopped asked us a question about shifty shift. He said I've heard that's an anti Semitic term. Can you explain why. And you know that came out of trump's mouth so I'm just curious if anything he has said has encouraged this. Yeah well a number of people I spoke to for peace. We just published in The Times of Israel made that exact argument that trump's language and rhetoric has not only in this impression. And you know I almost round impeachment. You would say his call Adam Schiff shifty shift. That's sort of the most overt example during these proceedings but a lot of rhetoric that he is used comments. He's May way before this or something that a lot of people who sort of track extremism anti-semitism say has sort of given the so. You know impression to a lot of these people that this kind of thinking is legitimate so that goes back to some even campaign rhetoric hugh member his final advertisement leading up to the days before the campaign talked about. You know globalist power figures who were out to you know dominate the economy and should should pictures of prominent Jews like George Soros. Janet Yellen This has to do with his comrades in Charlottesville saying that they were very fine people who marched alongside a neo Nazis and not immediately condemning them in the harshest terms possible. It's other rhetoric more recently to use the address Jewish Americans if Israel American Council Florida Jews would vote for him and not for his is one of his potential democratic opponents in a general election was born because they wanted to protect their wealth also accused American. Jews of dual loyalties by saying that they didn't love Israel often these are antisemitic tropes that have deep sea that place and you know extremist rhetoric and extremist thinking and when the president himself is promulgating. Damn it sends a message that hey this is tolerated indeed. Maybe even welcome and I think that's the concern for a lot of people. Is that as these ideas are getting more. Traction you're not going to have the kind of scolding of them to compete denouncing them that you would need from people who hold hold the highest positions of authority and that not just comes from president trump itself but also from Republican leadership as well so why not. Why aren't we hearing condemnations on the House floor on the Senate floor of this kind of language? Well somewhere I'm not sure how aware many legislators are of this pattern of rhetoric that's been emerging so that's one thing As far as whether you're hearing from President trump or Mitch McConnell I mean you know one thing obviously trump doesn't like to bash people. Oh who like him So you know he's shown that that's that's a very clear pattern so you know. He is look the other way on a whole range of sort of contemptible behavior when it's coming from people who are in his core that's one thing And I think the other thing is that you know. Republican leadership has been pretty subservient to the president in recent weeks and recent years. They have not wanted to Kim and I would imagine that that is one of their reservations which may not be but I imagine that it is one of the reservations. Okay Well I. It'll be interesting to see how this develops whether indeed he faces a trial and the Senate and What the debates are like there And also what the conversations on the fringes are as well. Eric thank you so much for explaining all of this to US thank you. Yeah Hi my name is Bellio Ellie and I'm chief of staff if to AJC CEO and director of J. C. Global Forum during these troubled times rest assured that AJC is on the job working to ensure a safer and more secure future feature for all people together. We can combat antisemitism defend Israel and safeguard Jewish communities across the globe join. AJC In this fight. Don't miss the chance to have your gift and impact doubled donate before December thirty first at AJC dot org slash donate and now a word from the Times of Israel. Hey Everyone I'm Sarah Tuttle singer the new media editor at times of Israel. And I'm so excited to tell you about our times of Israel community that we've recently launched. This is a tremendous opportunity for behind the scenes insight. A place where we can get to know each other better. We'll have live. Discussions with some of our leading. Journalists analysts that our founding editor David Horovitz the types of Israel's community is like having a backstage pass to your favorite show. I hope you'll sign up. You'll join us and be part of our community unity in in order to do so all you have to do is read an article on times of Israel and they're at the bottom. We have a link so that you can be part of this really exciting initiative breath. Thank you so much. Rabbi David Levy is the director of. AJC's New Jersey office over the past week. He has been at the center of much of the response to the Anti Semitic shooting in Jersey City. He joined us in in studio this week to help fill us in on the situation there. David thank you so much for joining us. I'm glad to be here. Thank You Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. Who is Jewish himself was right at the center of the response to this attack? What have we seen from other New Jersey? Elected officials like Governor Phil Murphy. Are we satisfied with the way that New Jersey Asia has responded. I think we've been really happy with the response that we've gotten from our leaders in New Jersey Governor Murphy has been out front. He's He's been in Jersey City himself Many times throughout the past week. He's met with interfaith leaders. He's met met with the families of the victims. He met with members of the community He took part in an inter-faith study session right right before the weekend to really connect with the religious leaders of the community. We were with him at his at. The governor's governor's mansion For a Hannukah celebration that had been previously scheduled and both he and the first lady Tammy I spent a good amount of time talking about what had happened to the Jewish community their support for the Jewish community Attorney General Gruber Gray while has been an amazing partner and friend during this past week. I think he's brought a sense of calm and thoughtfulness and I really have to give a a special recognition to The Director of the Office of Homeland Security in New Jersey Jared maples. Who has he in? His staff have really worked hard to be in touch with all of the Jewish leadership throughout New Jersey. To make sure that we were keyed in on what was happening with breath the investigation. I met with him yesterday. Along with our director of Global Communications. Avi Mayor and one of the things. Jared stressed to US was that they've been one of the key. Parts of their investigation has been determining. Winning is there any continuing threat and he was very clear that based on their investigation and on federal investigation. There are no continuing timbering threats tied to this particular incident. I can just say in my role kind of as host here at somewhat impartial observer. I can say that there's You know new organization that has done more to survey the field when it comes to antisemitism in America than AJC. Here I think in our show notes. We should link to do the antisemitism in America study that. AJC put out recently and listeners All of you can check that out for yourself to understand the state of play. When it comes to antisemitism in America I would say in fact when we met with the Office of Homeland Security it was to introduce them to that survey which they found to be very he useful to them in their work? Supporting the Jewish community in fighting this threat of anti-semitism They gave us a lot of Kudos for the work. We've been doing doing and how useful they're finding it. Let me ask you something of a complex question now. David which is I think many of us notice that this shooting it didn't receive maybe the media attention that we would have expected it to receive an. I can think of two possible reasons why that might be. One is as some people said twenty years ago during the Crown Heights. Riots where similar to Jersey City ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews were the were the victims quote. They're not what our kind of Jews. And so because they don't look like Jerry Seinfeld you know people muster less sympathy when hurried are the are the victims. The other there is Quite frankly that the perpetrators were not the kind of people who prefer to see killing Jews right. Obviously we don't want to see people killing Jews but I think American Jews News in general have a liberal mindset and expect that when Jews are victims white supremacists will be the perpetrators that was not the case here so because of those two complicating locating factors. Perhaps there was a lackluster response. Perhaps lackluster attention. Paid to this incident. Do you think that that's right. Well I think. Certainly there's a piece of this that involves the fact that the ultra-orthodox community can be seen as somewhat insular and so people don't feel as naturally early connected I think that that may be a place. Certainly the fact that we've come to expect violent antisemitism to to come from white supremacists made this incident. Not Fit may be the story that most people have in their heads. I would add another piece from some of the things. Yes I've heard. Many people are wondering if maybe we're becoming a little inured to this following going back to the shootings in Pittsburgh and the fact fact that in Pittsburgh it was eleven people killed in a synagogue during worship following that we had powei which certainly again was in a sanctuary and again felt shattering we had Christ church which hit the Muslim community and some are wondering if maybe we are getting a little the two used to hate crimes and violent hate crimes that involve killings I hope not and I think one of the things that we've we've tried to do since especially through some of the statements we've put out is to make it clear that even one life lost to hate is one life if too many. It's scary to think that this might be the new normal and it's up to us to make sure that no one really feels that way in the aftermath of the shooting and elected member of the Jersey City the School Board Joan Terrell posted on facebook calling Jews living in Jersey City quote brutes spreading the wild conspiracy theory that quote six six. Rabbis were accused of selling body parts and asking. If quote we are brave enough to explore the message that the shooters were trying to send both earful up and governor Murphy have called on her to resign but this raises the larger question. What kind of conclusions should we draw about the state of black Jewish relations in New Jersey? Well first of all let me say that we also condemned her statements and I think her statements drew roof from that well of toxic language that only clauses anti Semitism to thrive She deleted the post but then later double double down by saying she. She meant it so I I would double down by saying she truly does need to resign. There's no place on a board of education especially Saly for someone who would speak that way in terms of the relationship between the black and Jewish community in New Jersey. In general I have to go to my own experience which is very close relationships with leaders from the African American church world from the Muslim world world the variety of relationships that we have both personally and professionally Don't point to an overarching issue. But I do think we have to pay attention to the fact that there are certainly tensions in various of our communities between black and Jewish Members of those communities and in Jersey City. They're certainly from everything I've learned. I don't live there but from everything I've learned There are some underlying tensions between the black and the Jewish community in that area of Jersey. City they're not worthy of the language that was is used. They certainly have no connection from anything. I've heard or anything. I know no connection at all to this incident but perhaps they've opened our eyes to the fact that we do need to redouble our efforts to bring together our communities to work on those issues shoes that are often economic issues that caused deep despair within their community to work on those issues together and to see how our communities can can work together to rebuild our relationships and strengthen them to the mutual benefit of both our peoples. Well that brings me to my last question which is kind. Where do we go from here? You know I saw this morning. That support totaling one point. Five million dollars has been sent to Jews in Jersey City. I assume that they don't need any more money. So what does the community need. How can we at J. C.? Help how can our listeners. Help support the Jewish Community Jersey City. I've been heartened by how much money seems to have been a raised for all of the families of the victims They certainly need and deserve our support. it was wonderful that with the support of the community that Mr Rodriguez who his family's wishes were to bring him back to Ecuador to be buried in his home country that that was able to happen. And this is the Latino man who was killed he worked in the store exactly I was heartened. That are Medical Examiner worked very quickly and expediently to make sure that the Jewish victims could be buried according to Jewish tradition and that there would be no delay in their Barium so a lot of those initial good things have happened. I think the work that needs to happen going forward is is a lot of the relational work that Aj sees been very involved in that other members of the Jewish community. That have been involved in. I have to give a bit of credit to my colleague. Rabbi Leeann Morritt. Who is the rabbi of Beth El Congregation in Jersey City who immediately brought together people for for healing service? Who brought together people for that? Interfaith study session that I that I spoke of and I've been in touch with Liana about how can AJC a c help her in the next steps in the next steps I really think Speak to what we were speaking about before. Certainly healing rifts. May that this may have been brought out in Jersey City community and certainly are as JC doubling down on our efforts to combat anti. He's Semitism in our society making sure that we didn't just do a survey but now we're using the results of that survey which we are to inform federal authorities which was shared with the FBI recently in a briefing to share it with state authorities like we did with Homeland and security to share it with our congressmen and senators. So that as they encourage the use for instance of our definition definition of antisemitism the I.. HR A Definition of Anti Semitism not as a legal tool but as a eh tool so that they can Recognize Anti Semitism and combat and in all its forms. I think we need to be as a community. Very focused on those kinds of efforts right when you get right down to it. There's no one else who's GonNa come in and with a magic wand wad and make antisemitism go no one else is coming to fix this problem at the end of the day. It's up to us. David thank you so much for all of your hard work for JC and for the Jewish people in New Jersey. And thank you for joining us today on people at the pot. Thank you January. Two Thousand Fifteen International Criminal Court announced it would open a preliminary investigation into the situation in Palestine. Five years later that investigation is still ongoing here to explain. Why is Jacob magazine? The Times of Israel settlements correspondent who has been covering this issue for the past ear Jacob. Welcome to people the POD. Hi thanks for having me so the ICC announced it would be examining the Palestinian situation. Those are their words. What is this so-called Palestine situation? Can you define it for us. So they were purposely broad but they asked to look into three specific issues and then left an area open for various other issues. That may come about in the reaction to those issues so the three issues that they said they'd look into broadly. Were the twenty fourteen Gaza the war and then because of looking into the Gaza war. What's they've come to a second subject they now look into as well or these protests that are known as the march of return protests That have started after the trump announcement to move embassy to Jerusalem the half started last March and and the third topic that they look into our Israeli really settlements beyond the Green Line so they include in that East Jerusalem and then obviously in the West Bank as well and those are the three main subjects that are considered to be part of the situation -Tuation in Palestine so now how was this announcement received five years ago both spy Palestinians by Israel so amongst Palestinians. I think be responsible relative. Excitement particularly among supporters of the Palestinian Authority which obviously is kind of shrunk in recent years because is this was seen as the new routes for them to take to kind of get some sort of degree of international legitimacy? The idea of justice is a very important part of the Palestinian narrative. And this part was they believed that through this. They could get some sort of justice for what they consider the knock bonding general establishment of Israel and with peace talks kind of that had fallen apart earlier that in two thousand fourteen under the with the Kerry taxes they were known by Secretary of State. John Kerry This was the new the Palestinians we're taking and the fact that the ICS agreed to open up this investigation. Kinda give Palestinians at least leadership amongst the certain degree of hope In Israel is obviously met with a great degree of trepidation and But also angst and anger amongst the members of the government that spoke out against it but I think if you spoke to foreign ministry officials at the time I think there was still some sort of Wait and see approach to it. Because belief entirely that based on their dealings with the icy and I think some of the members of the might have been reaching out to or Israel been in contact with kind of saying that this is not just going to be an investigation of Israel only but it's also investigation of all what's happening in this situation in Palestine and and that includes Hamas rocket attacks at Israel during the Gaza war and includes various other instances terror attacks instances violence that happened in the situation in Palestine Al Stein and meaning. The Palestinians are opening themselves up to the same types of scrutiny. That Israel is an investigation. And it's not gonna be necessarily one-sided decided so I think there's this kind of process and I think with the update that was given this past week that might paid off this Willingness to wait and see what will happen even so did it seem that the Palestinians thought this was going to be a surefire indictment of Israel. Did they not realize that it was going to be more balanced examination. Yeah I think that you hope at the time was definitely this is going to be something that could work in their favor. The international community in general has been very sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and therefore there there was little reason for them to believe I or at least they're understanding at the time was that the I see what act differently. Okay so what did develop most recently. Yeah sure so. A couple of weeks ago there was a an up every year they do. They had prosecutor writes an update on where the status of various preliminary investigations Gatien's that she is looking into complex around the world Obviously some twenty four. Fifteen is the situation in Palestine and she says basically basically that responding to a lot of frustration for tickets amongst Palestinians. Kinda wondering. What's going on with taking so long saying we are wrapping it up which is similar language? What they used before but now it's even a little bit more firm really wrapping up or coming to an end and she talks about the? We are also expressing concern over a number of new issues. That hadn't I've been mentioned before in previous reports. One of the some of them have to do obviously with just developments on the ground And the main thing specifically regarding Israel that was mentioned as this new concerns guarding the possibility of West Bank annexation based on Prime Minister Netanyahu's pre-election or pre election in April pre-election September remember announcements that he plans to annex to them Or specifically now the Jordan Valley So the ICC head prosecutor expresses concern about that and says that they'll be watching watching carefully And then regarding the Palestinians she mentioned concern regarding three issues. Sorry two issues one is the in. PA Allegations by prisoners of the Palestinian Authority of torture by the Palestinian Authority security forces and the other is the payment that the Palestinian Authority makes to security eighty prisoners in Israeli jails that are suspects of terror attacks against Israeli citizens. Okay so those two issues that have not come up before and these reports are now how all of a sudden four years into after starting a reporter all of a sudden A part of it I think this definitely concerned Palestinian Tinian officials in Ramallah. So now. You've been covering this for a year and it was a year ago when the prosecutor said she seemed ready to present her findings as you said. They've said they were wrapping it up before. Is that why you were tapped to focus on this at the end of last year because you thought it was coming to an end I mean there was definitely a feeling that this is wrapping up. I I think they stunned the conversations. I've had it was kind of. They still wanted to interview and more officials is. There's actually been relatively cooperative. In the beginning there was pressure from Israeli uh-huh ministers not to cooperate with the C.. But the Foreign Ministry is actually has been cooperating and various security officials are giving testimony and the idea is to with degree cooperators So I think that the explanation that has been received is that there's been some sort of the really dotting their is probably talking to anyone and everyone relevant and and then before they wanna make some sort of decision I mean if you ask analysts I think some would probably say that. They're a little nervous about the pushback. They might get from both sides to any any sort of report so. I think that they're kind of getting ready for that as well. And wanting to make sure everything's In order before they put a their final the report. What about the hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza fired by both Hamas as well as Palestinian Islamic Jihad does that factor into this? It does get in. That is totally in the report that has also been in previous updates that have explained where the the status of the preliminary investigation is over the past four years that has has always been included on my own lunch to new or three if you include the West Bank annexation side in addition to the to Concerns against the PA thought thought were new but the specifically rocket attacks against Israeli civilians are absolutely part of the report. Whether it's to the degree that Israel prefers. It's unclear at this point. Yeah I mean it just seems like the idea of wrapping this up pending no new developments. Seems Bit Ludicrous. Because they're always seemed to be new development could go on forever. Well let me ask you this. The United Nations. We talk a lot about Their bias against Israel twenty-seven resolutions questioning Israel's conduct versus one each questioning the conduct of just several other nations does the ICC have a similar reputation for biased or they kind of expected to conduct a more balanced inquiry as a judicial. Oh Body I would say I think in Israel there's kind of Morphing and the two together. I don't think I think international community I see you. You went kind of all kind of seen as being relatively hostile towards Jewish state and for good reason but I think that there's been a little bit more willingness from Israel to work with the ICC then maybe other UN bodies particularly obviously when you're which is trying to get funded The Palestinian refugees a Agency and I also think that has to do with this slightly more willingness to tour possesses. He might have to do with the experience that the prosecutors have with the Israeli officials they feel like they're somewhat less bias. This also has to do with the fact that I think Netanyahu has kind of been known to be concerned about not very much in terms of international pressure but I think the idea the Idea of soldiers being tried for war crimes to see something that he very much concerned about and I think is worried about which is also why I think that recently. There's there's been pressure or there've been members of the Justice Ministry and the Attorney General's office that have kind of worn tim about the possibility of annexing. The Jordan Valley possibly landing Israel in the ICY So I think those are warnings that I do think you take seriously because it's just it's kind of different playing field than a typical. UN resolution. Yeah so is there an estimated time for win verdict will be rendered if that's the correct term for an ACC decision so no No one in the ICU. We'll give a specific day to their say they're wrapping up then again they said that last year The fact that there's been I think a greater amount of pressure from the Palestinians to wrap it up from what I've heard from Both Israeli and Palestinian officials. They do believe it's in the coming six months but again even if a decision is made to open up an investigation because this is just a preliminary investigation right so then a decision be made. Whether it's they're going to open up a formal investigation. Formal education takes years if not more So it's a very long ahead but officials. I've spoken to believe that this time they think Mexican months could could be wrapping up I do hope. There's a resolution in sight Don't we all Jacob. Thank you so much for breaking this down for us thank you. Thanks for having me now. It's time for our closing segment about table talk and joining us this week at our table. Is Jacob Maggot. The settlements correspondent for the Times of Israel Jacob. When you're talking with your family million friends at your table this weekend what are you gonna be talking about so I was at a funeral area this week unfortunately and what was new for me being at a civilian funeral for the first time was to see how these types of ceremonies are run through the rabbit? And I've noticed this And weddings but this is the first time I've noticed it in a funeral and there are lots of things where I think American Jews can learn from Israel and a lot of my time is growing up in America Ju- where we took things from into various parts of Israeli culture became part of our culture and in America And I kind of leaving the experience of being in a funeral in Israel With something I felt that Israelis Israeli's could gain from American Jews in that. This was a ceremony that was run by a Haredi. Rabbi that had no connection to the family that was being buried married or that was burying their loved one and the ceremony felt very dry but not very personal on because the requirement of that it'd be done by the rabbit and because the family is very secular. They had no personal rabbi that they could turn to carry out the ceremony and I felt a lot of meeting was kind of taken out of it because of that So that was something I I was. I've been telling you about this week and I look forward to sharing it at my about table. Jacob is their freedom to you here in America. There's such a variety of burial rituals and Dan Memorials. I've been to so many different kinds of celebrations of life. Is that same. Freedom exists in Israel Well if you are ordained or to have approval from the rabbit and that is a great deal of orthodox rabbis then then they are given the opportunity to lead the ceremony But from my understanding that this is not not the case if you are possibly practicing conservative and you want some sort of more conservative style or just non Orthodox style burial service that is not necessarily and option that the state can provide Jacob. That sounds like it will be a very thoughtful conversation that you're Chabad table and my condolences. You Seffi what are you going to talk about the number one reason why. Russia is persistently in the news. Here in America is probably due to the ongoing fallout from their meddling in the two thousand sixteen presidential election in support of Donald Trump. Now I haven't done a full scale assessment to prove this but I guess that the number one reason why Russia is persistently in the news in Israel. Real is a very different one and her name is now my Sahar. Now Miami twenty-six-year-old Israeli American who spent many of her formative years living in Fairlawn Fair Lawn New Jersey. which just happens to be the town? I grew up in as well. And we're my parents still live when I go home on Sunday night to celebrate the first night of Conaco go with my family. I'll be thinking of Amar who won't be doing the same because she is locked in a Russian prison cell. In April Amal was finishing Russian up a backpacking trip in India and transiting through Russia on her way back to Israel instead of catching her connecting flight. She was arrested at the airport and forced to sign a confession in Russian language which she does not speak admitting that she was smuggling nine grams of marijuana. China now says that she had no idea how the drugs got in her bag but even so the idea of smuggling nine grams of weed is laughable bowl that is a miniscule amount for this crime now. Amal was sentenced to seven years in prison now behind the scenes. All of this was apparently apparently going down because Israel was preparing to extradite to the US a Russian credit card hacker it had arrested named Alexi Berkow who apparently apparently stole millions of dollars from American citizens Russia wanted to use the Amah as leverage to repatriate the hacker and ensure they a he evaded justice in recent days. Russia has also briefly detained dozens of other Israelis maybe even over one hundred Israelis heading home from Russia as this odd diplomatic spat threatens to spiral out of control as we record this Thursday morning Russian officials shows have just rejected not mas appeal and have determined that she will need to serve the entirety of her term. Hopefully a thought chimerical miracle will come about and she will be able to be safely back home in Israel very shortly. Thank you Seffei. That is definitely a scary situation in Russia and Hopefully if it's not a Hanukkah miracle it'll be a Christmas miracle because seventy and Jacob every conversation in our house. These days revolves around around Christmas and our Shabat Table will be no different. What we're getting so-and-so which decoration project we're going to tackle next which song the kids are singing at the winter concert which I mentioned last week now I can tell from the look in Cepheids I right now what you're thinking Steffi Manja you're Jewish and you work for the American and Jewish Committee that what I did not fully disclosed last week is that I was raised loving Christmas In fact my orthodox Jewish grandfather loved. I love Christmas while he did. More than raise. An eyebrow at the Non Jews married into our family much more than raise an eyebrow even those who did become Jewish. They didn't let go. Oh of Christmas traditions. And my grandfather didn't seem to mind that one bit Christmas was the time of year when everyone no matter what faith they practiced or didn't practice. They traveled doubled from all around to come together. Cook eat exchange presence. Cook eat listening to Carols Cook Eight. Yeah see it was a pretty Jewish affair. My my father who converted to Judaism also loved Christmas and this will be our first without him. He passed away in March and my family will be coming here to celebrate. Which is why I'll be off next week? So the pressure to preserve the Christmas celebration weighs heavily but the pressure to preserve and protect our Jewish traditions without oversee assimilating. That also weighs heavily a specially. Now so I welcome pointers on how to do that. And I loved learning. Recently that many of our favorite carols were written by Jews Rudolph the red nosed reindeer he was a Jew let it snow. Ju- chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Of course a Jew would sing about a delicious delicacy at Christmas. Cue The music please. Outside is frightful. The police do do those. So when Hanukkah's starts Sunday night we will like the MINORA's and exchange presence and guilt I have already placed an order. A dozen donuts SUF- Gannett from one of the more heralded Kosher Bakeries in North New Jersey. It's in your hometown. Steffi of course and and we will sing carols composed by Jews with maybe a few rounds of drill drill mixed in for good measure. We'll do that every night including on Christmas Eve when we remember my father entering the room. I'm in a white beard and a red suit bellowing Jojo and all of the other many traditions. We've enjoyed over the years to celebrate our family so saffy Jacob listeners. Happy Hannukah Annika. Merry Christmas festivus. Whatever you celebrate and Chabad Shalom shoe? Bochum run about China you. You can subscribe to people of the pod on itunes Google play or spotify or learn more at AJC dot org slash people of the pot the views and opinions of our guests. I don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC and the Times of Israel. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod At EJ C dot Org. If you like this podcast be sure to rate it and writer of you to help more listeners. Finding thank you for listening. This episode is brought to you by. AJC and the Times of Israel our producers producers condo are sound. Engineer is T K Bhadra tune in next week for another episode of people. Love the POD.

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AJC Passport: American Jews and the Democratic Party; President Truman and Israels Founding

People of the Pod

40:43 min | 1 year ago

AJC Passport: American Jews and the Democratic Party; President Truman and Israels Founding

"Hello and welcome to AJC passport brought to you by AJC the diplomatic arm of the Jewish community each week. We'll chat with experts from around the world to help you better understand the weeds headlines and what they all mean for Israel L. and the Jewish people. I'm your host. Sethi Code Representative Brad Schneider is a democratic member member of Congress representing Illinois's Tenth Congressional district. He's also a former member of AJC's Chicago Regional Board. He joins us now to discuss the fallout from the Israeli government's decision to bar Democratic members of Congress Ilhan Omar and Russia to EIB president trump's recent attacks on Jews who vote for Democrats and the landslide vote in favor of Congressman Schneider's Antibeach Bill in July Congressman Schneider. Thank you so much for joining US happy to be here saffy. I WANNA get the the most important thing out the way I which is if my informants are correct this is your birthday week so happy birthday on my own behalf and on behalf of all of our listeners here at AJC passport thank you. I appreciate it to something a little bit more serious last week. The Israeli government made the decision to bar representative Rashida she to leave and Ilhan Omar from entering the country due to their support for the Anti Israel boycott movement. You're a longtime lover of Israel and a champion the pain of the US relationship. What was your first reaction when you heard that your colleagues representatives Omar Leib would be denied entry. Well let me first. I say that when it comes to Israel us-israel relationships Israel's path to peace and security I don't I think it's possible for me to disagree more than I do with the positions of Toledo Omar. I I think they're wrong. I think they're on the wrong path. I think their criticisms are misguided. That said I think it was a mistake for Israel to have blocked their entry and my first thought at the time was this is really going to play out unfortunate because it and that's why I said Ambassador Dermer when I spoke to him that effectively it not only gives these two members of Congress to freshman members members of Congress. It doesn't give them a bigger microphone it. It's GONNA sound stage to broadcast their message and that's what's happen. That's what we've seen. Do you think that it has now entirely played out or is there more more to come. There have been reports that Congress is going to be taking some action against Israel or one or the other of the ambassadors the American Ambassador to Israel the Israeli Ambassador to America okay in response. What kind of a response is on the table right now. Well a couple of thoughts. I've spoken certainly not to the entire caucus by spoken to many people both in leadership and and and new freshmen members of Congress and I've been emphatic to say we can be angry at the Israel government took we can angry at the present United States per interfering in Israel politics but we shouldn't conflate that with anger for the state of Israel for the people of Israel and I think that's been pretty much a ah across the board feeling Israel still is our most important ally in the region one of our most important allies in the world. The US Israel relationship is crucial for both of our national securities we share values we share worldviews and I think that all will continue that said there's certainly some disappointment and anger that two members of the Democratic Caucus okkas where prevented from entering Israel I think they're obviously will be discussions around that event but I am hopeful that it won't have ramifications longtime into the future. You know it's almost crazy to think about this now because it feels like this was an eternity ago but if we rewind the tape to just about a week ago. House majority party leader Steny Hoyer had just finished chaperoning a huge group of mostly freshman democratic members around Israel it seemed like all was well with the relationship between being the Democrats and Israel Omar until you've had been proven to be truly marginal now. That's not so clear again you know. Where does the Democratic Party go from here here so I was on that trip I had the privilege of being part of what was the largest delegation ever Israel. We were forty plus Democrats. thirty. Republicans came a week later. We the overlap for two days. It was an extraordinary trip. with the Democrats that the best way to describe our weeklong experience together was magical and there were members who described the having never been to Israel having seen his only through the eyes of news reports or or briefings whatever the chance to be there see it experienced they came back with a love for Israel Anna and respect for the challenges Israel faces as I mentioned subsequent to the decision not to allow our our colleagues in I've spoken to many those members I don't think we've lost the value of that trip of seeing Israel firsthand in fact. I think that the trip enhanced the relationship because we see that it's more than in just one person so that's the good news. The bad news is that the decision Prime Minister Netanyahu took apparently at the influence of not direction the president of the United States is GonNa have ripple effects. I worry always about a a loss of bipartisanship in the house. and we're GONNA have to double our the effort to make sure that that continues into the future at the same level and by same level. I mean we can get four hundred plus votes on us-israel Bill. We WanNa make sure that continues in the future if we think ahead to the next class of freshmen dams. Do you think that this is an issue. That's GONNA come up again. Are People going to turn down this kind of trip. Because is you know they'll still be ramifications from the denial of entry tomorrow until the two years out we'll cross that bridge when we get there I think people people will still continue to go to Israel. We will continue to welcome delegations from Israel to the United States and and build a person to person relationships we have to because that's how you secure the connections between our two countries but you know my hope is that their trips plan later in the year that people will continue to go on those trips and the digital welcome those members and on the people will see that. Israel's multifaceted country just like the United States earlier this week in response to the continuing fallout from this earth. Perhaps in effort to continue the fallout from this president trump said I think he was sitting next to the president of Romania at the time he said quote. I think any Jewish people that vote for for a Democrat. It shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty. was that an anti. Semitic thing for the president to say look one of the most dangerous and commonly repeated empathetic tropes is that of dual loyalty what the president said I think he said it on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday hey double down and then triple down was questioning the loyalty of American Jews whether he was crushing it to loyalty to Israel loyalty to him personally it was an antisemitic trope trope. It was wrong. It is dangerous and I called for him not just to stop it. He needs to apologize to the Jewish community and all Americans. We are a democracy democracy of people with many opinions and multiple political alliances but within that all are Americans and also have the right to vote author conscious in and make their voice heard so I think what the President says it's dangerous. I think it was antisemitic and I think he needs to apologize. If anything the Jewish vote vote has been trending further and further into the democratic camp with each successive election. I think just looking at the last two I think got Hillary Clinton got about seventy one seventy three percent of the of the Jewish vote and then this is a statistic that's been cited quite a bit in two thousand eighteen in the midterms seventy nine percent according to CNN exit polls seventy nine percent of American. Jews pulled the lever for a democratic data candidate. Do you think we're going to see something roughly similar to that in two thousand twenty well. I think the balance has been pretty consistent anywhere from sixty to seventy percent of Jewish voters who voted Democrat and that's just a little bit depending on the election but you know I have friends who are Democrats have friends who are Republicans. I I think almost all Jews only Hebrew use mostly the only Hebrew I know but those payments statement of you may not only unevenly Amelie if I'm not for myself who will be he goes on to say if I'm only for myself. What am I that kind of defines Jews across the political spectrum across the religious legit spectrum. We are people who believe that we can't do just for ourselves. We have to be a part of our community and do for others and at least of late. There's been the Democratic Party who has been putting that front and center so I wasn't surprised to see more. Jews voting democratic in two thousand eighteen irrespective of what president trump has been saying. I would expect to see a skewed towards Democrats again just because some of the priorities of the respective parties but they're jus on both parties. I don't question their loyalties. The president's clearly wrong to be questioning anyone's loyalty as well. It's nice to know that cory booker isn't the only person in Washington who can give a Dr Torah from time to Time Congressman Schneider. You are one of the co-sponsors of h res- two four six which was the anti CBS resolution that passed resoundingly in the house back in July. I think that the vote total was three ninety eight to seventeen. There were more than three hundred and fifty co-sponsors. I think you were one of the lead co-sponsors we're seeing this cast into stark relief now with the various issues that have come up over the past few days not least of course these to boycott supporting members of Congress. Why was this resolution important so thank thank you for asking the question. It's a great question I was privileged to have the chance to be the lead cosponsor on this bill to be the one talking to my colleagues over the course of actually a a few months trying to build support and breaking into two pieces I why it's important and then why we got the support that we did it was important on a number of levels not the the least of which is it was a affirmation from Congress on three key lines of argument. I that the United States support a strong us-israel relationship is committed to Israel's security that nothing has changed in that realm second that the United States Congress believed that the path to long term peace. Maybe maybe not tomorrow but in the future piece is going to be achieved in the region by negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians that ultimately will achieve two states for two people's and thirdly in condemning the boycott divestment and sanctions movement that the global movement because it denies the Jewish aspiration for their own state because because it poses to states it stands in the way of peace and we were clear to condemn it so it was important to get that message out and I wanted to make sure that we voted on that bill before students started going back to college campuses because eds is getting a lot of on campus student support for a number of reasons reasons but many of those reasons our because as misrepresenting itself I think having Congress and a strong voice make the statement gives students pro. It was real students just another Arrow in their quiver. If you will the reason we got the great support that we did. Is that you know I talked to virtually every member of of not just the Democratic Democratic Caucus but the Republicans well explained what we were trying to do why it was important. I think everyone understands. Israel is a great ally understands. Israel's security is of paramount importance and came to understand that the global movement as distinct from past efforts that have used boycotts. That's his tactics for example civil rights movement the the global movement wasn't enemy of peace and so again pro Israel bill coming to the floor all congress. We have three hundred ninety eight votes for it. I was very pleased to see that as a representative from the Chicago suburbs. I think skokie is actually in your colleague Jan Schakowsky district but famously Nazis marched on the streets of Skokie back in the middle of the twentieth century and many of us in the Jewish community. Hold that up today. As has you know that's how far our free speech rights should go even something that is so clearly imporant should have licensed to be given voice in Dr Discourse here in America. What would you say to those people like as it happens representative Rashida Leib. Who say that this resolution curtails freedom them of speech well? I spoke about it and asked her perspective because she was saying this and he and I disagreed with her and I told her why first of all this doesn't curtail anyone's right to free speech it makes an argument it says as I said before we support Israel we support the path to peace negotiations and congress believed the media and opposition to states is a opponent to piece that doesn't challenge anyone speech in fact. It's reflection of Congress's right to have an opinion opinion but everyone else is entitled to their opinion as well. I actually moved to Chicago in nineteen seventy nine to go to college so I was here for that Nazi protests in skokie okay and I remember saying at the time that no matter how repugnant I may find someone's views or remarks I will fight with everything I have to defend unfair right to speak them. That is the American ideal of freedom of speech but that is distinct from saying that all messages are equally just or equally true and what I said to leave and too many my other colleagues that this gets to the idea boycotts. We've used boycotts in the past civil little rights against Montgomery bus boycott you saw with efforts to end the apartheid regime in South Africa that is a use of a boycott not for just purpose but not all boycotts have just purposes or desirable ends and that is the case of the global boycott divestment sanctions movement. She disagree with me. She said it in her mind. It has a chilling effect. I disagree and we were very clear on that. Just to close the other interview in our episode this week as with Dr Kurt Graham who's the director of the Harry Truman Presidential Library and one of the things he and I talked about was the role that Eddie Jacobson listen who was Harry Truman's best friend and a Jewish person from Kansas City the role that he played in helping ensure that Truman would would extend recognition to the new state of Israel when it was created in nineteen forty eight. We talked a little bit Kurt and I did about what it is to be. Jewish advocate and how Eddie Jacobson might represent kind of that Paragon of advocacy you congressman Schneider are an example of someone who has been an advocate when you you served on AJC's Chicago Regional Office board and through involvement with AJC and other Jewish organizations and now you've made that a transition and you're actually a a policymaker. What is it like to take that step to go from being someone who committed to helping to shape policy from the outside and then going and and actually taking a step into the legislature yourself. I'm sure thanks you know being a representative representing the seven hundred and some some odd thousand people that live Illinois's tenth Congressional district. I say all the time it is the greatest responsibility highest honor. I could possibly have but but I also say when I talked to folks. AJC in particular that the transition for me from going to advocating issues that I cared about to being on the other side and listening to people advocate for their issues was a I think in many respects a smoother transition then I might have expected because of the experience I had in particular working with AJC and my roles of having been to Washington and meeting with members of Congress here in Chicago but it also the just the the policies that JC covers so to a great extent my ability to be effective at my job as a representative is built Ulta upon my experience and the lessons I learned as an advocate for AJC so it was that that difficult of a transition because the two go hand in glove and I I greatly appreciate the work that AJC does that AJC members in Chicago and across the country perform the conversations they have with with their members of Congress makes it so much easier for me when I talk to them on to touch on these issues to explain where I'm coming from wine issue. I think is important. US should resonate for them so definitely something that goes hand in glove any last words of advice for all of the Jewish advocates listening in any suggestions as someone who has advocated to every day on how to be the most effective advocate. They can be sure a couple things. The first is when we're advocating for an issue it's important for us to be passionate about what we care about but also to continue to try to understand the other perspectives that relate to the issue of which were speaking and the second taught and this is from my experience on both sides of the conversation is it's not enough just have one conversation if it really is about building relationships about getting to snow elected officials at the local state and federal level of understanding that different people have different experiences so when AJC people come and talk to me were coming from the same place we start at the same perspective that's really simple but for other members you're. GonNa Start with someone who may have never even thought about an issue that we're bringing ringing up and the famous I think it's Stephen Covey who said it's often better too. I understand before seeking to be understood. all of that wraps in together as one well Congressman Schneider. Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your expertise sappy thank you. I enjoyed talking. Look forward to doing so again. Dr Kirk Graham is the director of the Harry. S Truman Presidential Library in Independence Missouri next year will be seventy five years since Truman succeeded. FDR's president and an anticipation of that anniversary sorry the Truman Library has undertaken a major renovation. Kurt join me in studio last week for a wide ranging and fascinating conversation on the importance of history. Sorry the founding of the State of Israel and Truman's legacy today Kurt. Thank you so much joining us great to be here. I WANNA start with kind of a Meta question from that thirty thousand in foot view before even dive into Truman. Why is it important to study history well. I mean if you think about where we've been that gives us. A good sense of is it provides context for where we are so I think the main reason to study history is to get context for your own time but also to expand your your experience we all lead fairly limited lives and I think you go back in the past and meet characters in the past for the same reason you take a plate of cookies and go meet your neighbors because that that expands your horizons expand your experience. It introduces you to people who don't think an act and talk and look like you do and I think that's always very beneficial. There's an interesting kind of debate. The in the community of historians think about or maybe a debate in the general public about whether history repeats itself your typical historian would say no but you can still learn something thing from history about maybe not learn about the future but as long as we know the lessons of history it can inform the way we address the future. Where where do you fall out. I think yeah I mean I think that people who who are fearful that somehow we're not learning the lessons of history. We're doomed to repeat some catastrophic decision. The fact of the matter is the context. The circumstances are always different so you you can't go back and say well see we learned this from World War. Two or we learned I mean honestly one of the reasons that Vietnam went the way it did is because we were applying the lessons of World War Two and it was a very different kind of engagement and so I I is obviously very worthwhile to study history to know ourselves better and to have a broader experience because it just makes us better the decision makers in general but the idea that we can go back and figure out what you know what Abraham Lincoln do in this situation well you know I mean you know people. Ask that all the time. What would the founders under. Do you know around this. You know global warming or something well. That was the furthest thing from their mind. They wouldn't have even known where to start with that question so we need to be bold enough to make our own decisions and not try to pass it off on other people who you know grab a quote and taken out of context and say we'll see here's what Emerson would have done or here's what Jefferson would have done well yeah. Maybe I'm picturing someone explaining leaning twitter to Abraham Yeah. I'm not sure how that would and trying to explain it. Not only one hundred forty characters Kurt your. AJC AJC story starts in two thousand eighteen at the AJC global forum in Jerusalem when you spoke on our main stage and you said quote you believe there's no better place in the United United States to tell the story of the founding of Israel than the Truman Library for our listeners who don't know that part of history. Can you tell us about Truman's role in the rebirth of modern Israel well. It is just to pick up on that on that statement. I appreciate you starting there. Because there is no other place there is no other museum. There is no other think tank. There is no other sort of university department or unit that is pursuing this important question and the thing that is important to me is that Harry Truman literally changed the map of the world. The fact that this farmer from Missouri became president it says a lot about a lot of things but it does have an impact on the world far beyond just farmers in Missouri so certainly his decision and desire hire to recognize Israel immediately upon its declaration and to have been concerned about that problem to have been concerned about the Holocaust about the DP camp. Some of this had been playing him for years. This was not oh he got three memos and you know sort of weighed this in in an afternoon decided what to do this decision which was momentous. Mantis was years in the making and and it speaks to the heart not just a crisis in the world and what needed to be done it speaks to WHO Harry Truman was he always was concerned about people who are being abused or or taking advantage of some ways I mean his civil rights. Legacy speaks to that he was ahead of his time in terms of an I don't know maybe that's not even the right phrase ahead of his time. He was concerned about others. It was a very basic principle whole there's a humanity to that. There's there's a reality that that Truman just always went back to kind of moral core when he made those kinds of decisions. I'm glad you mentioned that and Holocaust there. If I recall correctly Truman spoke at a rally in either New York or Chicago in Chicago. It was called. I'd like Rally for our Doom Jewish brothers in Europe something like that right to demand rescue the doom Jews I believe was the phrase and this was where where was this was in nineteen forty three when he was still in the US Senate yeah so he was a little known political figure at that time I mean he was getting known and being known for the Truman Committee which he went around the country in a crisis that we have on display at the museum the traveled No no first class jet travel in those days so he went from place to place and he was investigating fraud and abuse in government contracts around military installations and that kind of thing so so that was kind of what he was known for him he was getting known a a sort of a a guy that really knew how to find waste and fraud and the budget and whatnot but the idea that he was this voice for the underdog that he was this great humanitarian this champion the rights of other people even though those of us who look back on his career well of course I mean this was this was this was this was growing all along but the fact of the matter is that speech in Chicago was was a turning point for the rest of the world to hear from him with with that kind of clarity and this is a young senator with ambition establishing a foreign policy credential or this is just someone who feels called to speak out against injustice in the world. Oh I think it's I think but I think it's more the latter. I mean I really don't. I don't know that Truman at that time. I think that you know not only was he not necessarily trying to carve out his exact thing. You know we're we're used to the United States Senate Senate today being a place where as soon as people get there they start thinking about how they get on the ticket and what they do to position themselves for that next bump Truman was a senator senator. He was very hesitant to become vice president he wanted to stay in the Senate. you spoke a little bit about what the founding of if Israel would have meant to Truman and certainly what it meant for the world. Can you just back up a little bit and tell us the story you know my understanding is that kind of all of his advisors here in the states. All of his official advisors were saying you pump the brakes right so what happens in. May Nineteen forty eight well you know it is an interesting moment and it is not a moment that would be the easy to predict. I mean if you didn't know how the story turned out and somebody said okay. Here's all the data points leading up to this decision. How do you think it's going to go. I don't think you can clearly guess us what is going to happen because I think the decision was rooted. Not In policy not in the particulars was rooted in character and it was rooted in this deeper kind of humanity yeah the story was was that Truman with these DP camps and we had the Harrison report. He had all these things telling him look things are not good in Europe. These people are displaced in many cases. Don't have homes to go back to so this idea of a of a partition plan of the following through on the Balfour Declaration. which was you know? World War One product which basically basically promised the Jews a homeland and Truman just felt that that's something that should be honored but you're right. I mean he had to go against his own State Department. Many of his I mean including General Marshall who was very close friend mentor advisor someone he respected probably more than anybody else at the time he also had a to grapple with an ally the British who were were not wanting to take people from Europe allow them to land in in and with a called Palestine because they didn't you know the problems at that would create from their perspective but Truman valued and follow that partition plan that idea of sort of what we would call today a two-state solution didn't go that way obviously but but nevertheless it was something that he felt was important so when when the country was going to be declared this this new nation was going to be sort of birthed if you will he was right there within literally within hours of that declaration the United States recognized the new state of Israel. There's this famous story of high invites men who would go on to be the first president of Israel was in D. C. and the Jews in mandatory Palestine the Jewish community designers community unity in America kind of thought that the best chance for US recognition I think would be vitamins sat down with Truman and there's a fellow named Eddie Jacobson who kind of facilitates dates this right right the so Jacobsen is a as a World War Two buddy of Truman's they ran the commissary together and then after the war they went into business together in in Kansas City and that's the you've heard the failed haberdashery clothing store that went out the because the economy was bad they couldn't make a go of it but he Jacobsen Simpson Jacobson of course with Jewish and they were very close friends which when you go back into that time thinking about a southern Baptist an Jew being close enough friends to to actually go into business together you know I it speaks a lot about about Truman. I think even even then but they went into business and you know when that business failed. Truman's mom was the KKK supporter or something they were there. These overcoming some family history overcoming civil rights legacy the same. He is a that's where you can say sort of ahead of his time. I mean he had to come out of family and regional history in a way that few people are able to transcend what he had been taught from the from the very beginning but nevertheless they had a great relationship and Eddie Jacobson comes to see him and and Truman's not at all happy about it partly because you know as much as he wanted to help and do something thing he makes several comments about being kind of fed up with Zionists I mean he was he felt they were pushing too hard asking for too much. Yes he wanted to solution so when Jacobson comes to see him it's you know their friends and he's willing to kind of take the meeting and and and I don't know if anybody can say for certain whether Truman would have met Wiseman or even if he hadn't hadn't whether he would have gone ahead and recognized you can't argue counter factually and go back and undo at that meeting or undo what was done but I think most of us who who look at this thing you know. It didn't hurt that. An old friend came by to say look I mean would you would you listen to this guy and just see what he has to say. I think that the most passionate and the most historically quickly informed Jewish advocates today would think of Eddie Jacobson as kind of this you know paragons of of what it means to be an advocate what lessons can. AJC's constituents situation who wanna be effective Jewish advocates. What can we learn about effective advocacy from from Eddie Jacobson well. I think what you learned from anybody who advocates agitates agitates is that it's worth it. I mean you need to do it. You need to get out and Y- even Eddie Jacobson. You can't say like I said just a moment ago. Whether or not got it made a difference I mean we we go through our lives and we try to affect positive change. We try to spend our days doing good but we don't really have the full measure of our own impact. Even so you know Jacobson would be no different in that in any of us who advocate for any cause hope. We're making a positive difference but I think the positive difference for making his just in in in doing it and just getting out there and saying hey look I believe in this. I WanNa see something positive happen for people and if nothing else it's good for you. It's good you know it's good for your soul all to be doing something worthwhile and I think you know and of course there. There is an impact because we're all human beings I mean everything is based on relationships at a certain level level. You know we care about our friends think we care what people around us think and so when people are advocating for something and you're in a position it gives you to make a difference references to make a decision it gives you some support gives you a reason to to think that it's the right thing to do next year will be seventy five years since FDR died and Truman assumed the presidency how has Truman's legacy evolved in the ensuing. You know not quite three quarters of a century because I actually lived out his term but how is his legacy evolves since his presidency well. I'll tell you I appreciate that question very much because it has been a tremendous evolution as you are well aware when Truman leaves office in Nineteen fifty-three when I is inaugurated he leaves office with the lowest poll numbers in modern history even lower than anything today. I mean it's it's incredible. The amuse like thirty two thirty three percent something like that and today Truman is consistently really ranked as one of the fifth or sixth most important presidents in our history period behind Washington Lincoln and the to Roosevelt's you'll see I can jefferson and others kind of rotate in there as well but but he's always in the middle of the top ten somewhere which is an incredible turnaround from where he was when he left office and I think there are a couple of things that we can say about that. One is Harry. Truman had to make a lot of decisions a lot of really tough decisions. I'm including recognizing Israel desegregating the troops for example both of which which happened by the way in the summer of forty as spring and summer of forty eight when he's gotTa face election in the fall. Can you imagine someone coming out with those kinds of positions uh-huh alienating the sort of base. If you will it was it was a very gutsy move in in both cases so I think we look back on Truman German and we appreciate now the fact that even though he took some heat in the short term for decisions he made like the Fire Macarthur for example. That's one that's a classic example apple of where he kind of took it on the Chin there for a while because he was seen as weak whereas now we look back and constitutional historians will say well the difference between us and a Banana Republic is that this civilian supremacy of the armed forces is intact and that's because of Harry Truman Harry Truman reiterated that so I think back to your question about what makes a big difference here is I think Truman got bogged down in Korea the Korean War and that's what really sort of created a little bit of a problem problem for him in terms of his legacy because people thought you got the bomb use it. You know go in tough. You know whatever and I think it's when Johnson gets bogged down in Vietnam Tom and stuck in that quagmire later. You know a couple of decades later that people look back and say you know maybe Harry. Truman's restraint wasn't a sign line of weakness. Maybe there actually was resolve and reserve that were beneficial and maybe his ability to take a level-headed approach and to not draw China into a nuclear war and all of that. I think sort of adds up to a guy who's got steady hands on the reins and who's you know a firm hand on the Tiller. However you WanNa WanNa say it and I think things like that happen and then I think just the amount of scholarship that's been done. I mean I tip my hat to David McCullough that great biography who wrote a quarter of a century ago now but but what a difference that has made in terms of Truman's legacy and his reputation and his place among the Pantheon of great American Presidents and there have been many many other great books Britain even in recent years. I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who come to the Truman Library to do research on this important president in that era and as long as that continues I think people people are fascinated because it is so relevant today and I think his stock just goes up as we realize that we're dealing with a lot of the same problems. That's exactly where I want to go. You know today restraint is maybe not a word that we associate with our president but there certainly are some resonances between the Truman era our era incredibly close elections writing. There's the famous Miss Defeats Truman. He's actually not quite a bipolar world as China now rises into the position presumably the second superpower Truman prosecuted to wars ride his were not at the same time but you know close World War Two and prosecute Korea and kept Korea it from becoming World War three certainly and incredible racial tensions as we discussed in this country. What lessons does Truman have for our era well. I say to anybody somebody who looks at me and says why does Harry Truman matter. Why should we care about this guy and I say pick up a newspaper looking at a headline and I can promise you that it will trace back to Harry Truman and whether it's the Middle East whether it's race relations whether it's the Korean Peninsula whether it's you know the aftermath of World War. Two you know our allies is like Germany and Japan that were rebuilt along with other allied nations the the things that Harry Truman had to deal with our ongoing the problems in the world today and I think what we can do. We can't recreate those that context can't recreate those circumstances exactly but we can certainly we go back. I think in Tara page from his book about how to approach the problems I mean and the fact is the integrity the character the concern for the welfare of other people those are very American principles. I mean you go back to the founding documents you know the declaration and the the preamble to the constitution to promote the General Welfare affair and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our austerity that is American as it gets and that is something I think that Truman he read so widely in history and very deeply and I just wish that we could return to an appreciation for the kind of structure that we have and how that structure is supposed to work and worry less about the short term wins. We've had a whole era now the whole modern era where it's it's all all about the short-term win and it's not really about pushing back and saying where does this leave our children our grandchildren. Where does this leave a whole you know race of people or a whole religion religion or a whole anything a whole swath of the population a whole section of our democracy. Where does that end up and we just we don't seem to care. I mean ah our leaders at the highest levels we don't get that level of of not just even compassion but that level of thoughtful engagement about consequences even even selfish consequences were were unable to even think selfishly we just think about right now and and nothing beyond that so I think Harry Truman is a great lesson in in the long view even posthumously. He's a great lesson in the long view of history when he died he was not the fifth most important president in our history. I mean that is something that what has happened. Since then this hold true mania this whole notion of all these books that have been written and whatnot but he he did his best and you know when Walter cronkite narrated the coverage of his funeral service. He said you know Truman because he was a man uniquely of his time. We will never see his like again and I fierce cronkite was right that we will never see someone who just pulls himself up the sort of bootstraps kind of guy that Harry Truman couldn't afford to go to college didn't have the kind of powerful all connections and things that are just a requirement today to even get into you know any kind of office and it's a very different kind of game but Truman was in it for the right reasons reasons he he made decisions. I'm not saying you never made made poor. Decisions are made the wrong decision but I'm saying he made decisions from the right place. Well Kurt we started out saying that history doesn't tell us where we're going but it's nevertheless important to know how we got to now. Thank you so much for filling all of our listeners here on AJC password on this important part of our history a great to be with you. Thank you for having me now. It's time for our our closing segment good for the Jews where each week I share one final thought about a recent development in the world and try to answer that age old question is it's good for the Jews spa good for the Jews last week's episode of Malcolm. Glad dwells podcast revisionist history is called Chutzpah Chutzpah versus in it. He examines the difference between the Americanized glorified idea of Chutzpah which would be a synonym of spunk from the Israeli version chutzpah which is a type of disrespect for the needs and feelings of others. How is it that the two meanings of Chutzpah have diverged so wildly I won't give away the findings of the episode but if an Italian Mafia story mixed with the Hebrew lesson from glad wells Israeli Israeli neighbors sounds interesting to you then you should check it out as to whether Chutzpah is good for the Jews well. Let's stick with the American meaning and say that we are people with gumption and with spunk with boldness and creativity that we stand by our values and stick up for ourselves and heck yeah that's good for the Jews uh-huh you can subscribe to AJC passport on Itunes or on stitcher follow us on soundcloud or learn more at AJC dot org slash passport art the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at passport. AJC Dot Org if you like this podcast be sure to read it and review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. I'm your host Seki coping. This episode is brought to you by. Ag See Z. The American Jewish Committee our producer is coupon doe. Our sound engineer is T._k. Broderick tune in next week for another episode of A._J._C. Passport.

Harry Truman Israel president AJC Harry Truman Presidential Libr US Congress Congressman Schneider Dr Kurt Graham representative Truman Chicago trump Truman Israel L. Jacobsen Simpson Jacobson America Truman Committee
Israels Response to the Coronavirus; Creatively Quarantined

People of the Pod

41:56 min | 7 months ago

Israels Response to the Coronavirus; Creatively Quarantined

"Hello and welcome to people of the pot brought to you by. Ajc and the Times of Israel each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people on Steffi Cogan and I'm on your brashear Pacman this week. Ajc launched a series of digital conversations. With experts and policymakers as part of its new advocacy anywhere initiative on Thursday it hosted several Israeli experts. Who were on the front lines of the global fight against the novel Corona Virus Dr Daniel Landsberg regional medical director Maccabi Health Services and Dr Cure Radinsky chair and chief technology officer for diagnostic robotics shared with Israel is learning and sharing with the rest of the world during this global public. Health crisis. Here is an edited and condensed version of that conversation moderated by AJC's Jerusalem director. Avi Tall Leibovitch. A name is of Italian Vich and I'm the director of Ajc Jerusalem welcome to advocacy anywhere powered by AJC advocacy anywhere is AJC new digital platform that will enable you to engage with AJC's global expertise content and advocacy from wherever you are with its flourishing science and Technology Sector. Israel is on the cutting edge of medical innovation as the novel Koran virus or Kovac Nineteen sweeps the globe Israeli doctors researchers and enterpreneurs are working diligently to help find the cure. Any proved treatment options joining us today to discuss these efforts as well as the country's own strategies to prevent the spread of the virus are Dr Daniel Landsberg who serves as regional medical director of mcabe health services. And Dr Kira the Ski Chair and Chief Technology Officer of diagnostic robotics although the corona virus threat to most of the world including the US in Israel there are major differences in the approach of the two countries. Could you please share with us? How Israelis handling the current situation? So I think I'll just by spending to people awaiting. I'm sure everybody's probably pretty saturated with the news but just putting perspective where we started off in December of two thousand nineteen at Corona virus outbreak was announced in our province China by the end of December China already decayed a type of epidemic on the thirtieth of January which now seems to me being involved in so much already ages ago but on a video of China that will actually one hundred seventy debts in China at that stage. Of course by now we have other three thousand deaths in China by at that stage. One hundred seventeen Israel is one of the first countries in the world to decide to stop and links with China and all flights is China was suspended so as I said. Israel started a regular on the first countries in the world to cut any links with China. Consider very drastic step. We have a lot of trade links to China but this is considered necessary to stop the spread of the virus to Israel and the mantra quarantine was puts affect for Old People. Returning owners writing systems quite rapidly. Air Pardon team was extended to other countries career Taiwan and Singapore Hong Kong and over the next few weeks We saw Restriction slowly being formed of people returning from different countries including Western Europe when it started become evident that there were cases. Coming out of its Leeann Austria This was very controversial in the beginning. It wasn't well accepted by the public. But as a result we saw very few cases in Israeli the beginning there was one or two cases and devices being very slow to develop in the country at the same time the Health Organization started preparing and this is one of the big issues and one of the strengths because we really are under the law of centralized control of the health system. We basically all got a direct to to prepare. I'll give you examples of how the country has been preparing over the last five weeks already. For example even before there was even one patient in intensive care in any hostile all medical staff were forbidden for travelling overseas so we all had our holidays that conferences and everything cancelled and none of us know. Doctors nurses physiotherapists though on his allowed to travel overseas. We've all been basically restrained to Israel and this is quite. A strange thing happened in a democracy. I don't think this has ever happened in the past in Israel's history and immediately after that All the for example. I'm in a position. Where presponse area of five hundred thousand people? We started having initially weekly meetings with Health Ministry to be brought up to date and start preparing for what was thought to become now. This all sounds strange but we still didn't have any patients In Israel we had three or four comeback from that famous cruise ship. The diamond princess in Japan. But we didn't really have any patients that we seem to be doing a lot of preparations for nothing. And maybe that's an important message to you in Americans start preparing. This is coming and when it comes it's going to be big and so the type of things that we've started preparing us. How are we going to deliver healthcare? Keep going to be stuck in their homes. How are we going to deal with sick? People and much more secure than we're used to dealing with at one stage and all this has been going on for the last few weeks and I can stay navy just in time. Because increasing amount of patients seek is increasing exponentially stabbed by the cross device Every patient every person's device can potentially a averaging fit and other four people. Save you start off the beginning of the week with two people and if a doubles every three days you got four eight sixteen and basically by the end of the month without realizing thinking that you've only got four six patients by the end of the month. You can have ten twenty thousand and the next month you can have one hundred thousand or even more in fact it is the World Health Organization estimates that if we don't do anything to prevent the spread of the disease about fitting into the world will become infected in the although the community health situation. These excellent Since we one of the Best Community L. Services in the world out suggestions of hospital is not as have very few hospital beds per thousand people two point two thousand people in Japan for example. It's over seven bits. Two thousand people so if we get a lot of sick people in hospitals having and people are going to get into trouble includes concrete them. And that's really why we'd be preparing curious rallies famous for its spirit. I would say you have seen a leading researcher in an exciting first of its kind project. Can you please explain to us about the technology developed? How it supporting the current challenge and how the Ministry of Health became also a partner of yours through this project. Wonderful thank you for the questions. I'm one of the founders of company called diagnostic robotics confronted with Professor Shawn in Johnston Amir and we started the company. I tried to bill automated systems up for triaging patients in emergency rooms. In order to reduce the loads inside emergency rooms over time we started working with different hospitals in Israel started collaborations with hospitals in the U asks out with a mostly my Mayo Clinic. And then with time we realized that we can also bring value in star triaging from the community so we started working with the differentials mos here in this row and recently started collaborating with different payers. The United States Last week Israel government decided to start aching digital triaging and spread it on a daily basis for the entitled Police Into Stock Monitoring. Data is to identify patients. Who are starting to develop symptoms of Corona virus by a set of systems that actually calling them or texting them going on a clinical triage additionally. We're getting ready for hospitalization at home. So people at home and hospitalized we WanNa make sure that we can identify deteriorations. All of this information is eventually being delivered as Fred. Flax or different. Hmo's nine one services here. In Israel an poppulation level healthcare would actually providing a map off. Were viruses right now and how actually building a system to predict how Zagat spread? All of this information is going to be very bottled make better decisions understanding around which areas should be in isolation which ones need more attention which once we can actually reduce the isolated in its trump. I would like to ask you. Is this project which sounds to me quite something to make revolution here. Is this project you think. The international community could benefit from it. And if so. In what way so. We're actually reaching out to whatever needs our help. Everybody can use our platform for triaging. Where here feel free to contact us? Directly will be glad to share it A. including the knowledge that we started a gaining. We see the information over time as well also can start learning about the disease together. So who's listening here and needs access in any way please do conduct's so having heard your description and actually this very unique kind of system we have your in Israel. What would you say are the one or two major lessons that the US can learn from Israel's experiencing the current crisis so subtle Remarked that what you that. It's very important to track where the cases are because the most effective thing for preventive screenings is is to isolate people are sick and separate in from from other people and from the contact. So the mapping is crucial. I think the first thing that we can try to experiences that it's important not not threat. It's coming you've gotta believe it's coming and and don't ignore it that just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there and by the time you're aware of being married it might be too late to start preparing start preparing. Doesn't mean you need to stockpile on on on toilet paper. I mean for some reason. This is a big thing network over the will. I don't know what's going on with that. You don't need a supermarket I'm not gonNA collapse. Brought to pair is to make sure this disease which affects especially the elderly. So make sure that your your your parents are built to cope with being maybe a known for a few weeks that have medications that have lines of communication with their primary caregiver their doctor. That's on a personal basis on a countrywide basis. You've got to start preparing medical teams. The the many teams have to realize that they are going to go through quite difficult period. And you need to start thinking about how you'd be protecting your medical teams a physically and mentally. Because they're going to be dealing with a lot of sick people on a government level. You need mobilized local governments. You've got inside what you're going to be doing when you find people wave and keep them a lot of people aren't that sequel other people. I've just got a little bit of color but you don't want them going around spreading the cease to other people so how you can explain and you've got to keep people updated all the time and updating is not essentially you know what's on the the the news broadcast evening they tend to sensationalize things you need to have good public education and it needs to be done now already quick by thank you so much. I think it's time now to Get your questions are interesting things you would like to ask. There have been reports that Israel. But it's really companies are really of hurt at work on a vaccine and I'm wondering if either of you would be able to share what you know about the status of a possible vaccine coming out at Israel I can give them to. There is A. There's a company in the Galil. Cold Mikhail They've been it's a small private company. For many years they have been working on. A Corona Virus Vaccine Chronic viruses are very common virus infect. Everyone of US probably had occurred affectionate from station. They lives causes. The common cold. But Corona virus can also pose serious illness amounts poultry chickens and and and Turkey especially and they've developed a vaccine for use in these animals and birds and they feel that within a few may be months maybe weeks we know they can adapt the bird. That scene and trinity human backseat. They very optimistic. View must realize that medico medical devices take a long time and you need a lot of testing to be done to to be sure. They're safe but they feel that. Close to a breakthrough and of course sharing his rele- with Hopeful that will be the first country to have to have a vaccine for advice would be wonderful. Obviously I'll just add to that. So there's several efforts right now trying to focus on drug repurposing. That's the concept of a taking known frogs and saying out the fact other diseases so as Israel has been collecting data since denied. These animals private way by. Hmo's though they chose of been collecting data since the ninety ninety. Three in digital form If you can think about doing clinical experiments on ourselves as patients and today they have access to this and several researchers working with mccown means to the institute are trying to identify drugs. That are being used by. All of us are ready. Pass all of death days and saying whether they can be used for example corona virus based on the nation that getting some Some of the first patients Dr Radinsky may be a final sentence from you about The essential parts of the essential part the technology really plays in the virus like corona others. Justice summarized sentence from you. I think that in we always had a very strained a healthcare systems when we don't have enough doctors. There is a shortage off around sixty to ninety thousand dollars. states alone and we've been building tools to start automating some of their work to build better decisions of systems etc. But now enduring this dynamic times actually leveraging this data that we obtained from patient's and building a coherent map of going on and how it can actually serve decision-makers. It's actually taking all of the knowledge that in Israel has been developing for years based on its digital medical records into army etcetera and finally this technologies have the power to actually help and save lives amazing. And as you said before this technology could be adopted by the entire world and I do WanNa end on an optimistic note. Approximately an hour ago. Tens of thousands of Israelis were standing in their poached porches and the balconies in their homes from south to north applauding for a long time for all the medical teams are. There are saving lives researching Twenty four seven just to get us through this Situation in uncertain times so without optimistic note. I do want to thank all of you. The members of the AJ seek immunity. Join US today. I wish you all to be safe and healthy. Thank you everybody and shallow. Joyce Franco and Stephanie Grace didn't know each other before. They traveled in a group from Israel to Italy at the beginning of the krona virus outbreak. It was when Joyce's roommate told her she wasn't welcome back when she returned that the two struck up a friendship and an instagram account. Creatively Quarantine now has more than twelve hundred followers and has become an incubator for those searching for inspiration in isolation. The creators of creatively quarantined are with us now to talk about their experience. Joyce and Stephanie. Welcome to the show. Thank you so tell US ladies? Was it worth it that trip to Italy? That you took. We don't have any regrets so walk us through your decision to go to Italy. What was in the news at that time and then when you came back how did you learn that you weren't going anywhere so my roommate actually got a trip to Italy. She was doing work there and she offered me to come. She invited me and I went to Italy. This was before anyone knew about. Corona Corona wasn't a global issue and Sunday February. Twenty third of that trip. I got Italy that Wednesday before. Four of our friends joined us. Enjoys was one of them. Yeah so I decided like over Chabad. On on Saturday I was like having lunch with friends and was like Hey. What are you guys doing tonight? And they're like Oh we're actually flying out to Italy at like six. Am and unlike a cool. I'm coming with you. I was very spontaneous and I don't I don't see all of that Sanjay but for some reason I was like I gotta I gotta go on this trip. I got a crash this trip with these people that don't know like I really didn't know who we were meeting on the other end and I just knew our friends than sheer that was with over spot and like yeah something in me was just like you gotta go so I I a flight literally like one. Am We got? We left to the airport at four. Am and before. I knew it I was Italy and like little. Did we know actually like as we were in the air was when everything started building up around Corona virus at in Italy? Yeah like zooey. We were at okay. I'll I'll be honest with you. Somebody was like. Oh you're traveling like you should probably check corona virus like is has hit Italy Google chrome virus Italy and like an article or two came up. And I'm like Yo bed. Are we sure about his trip? And he's like no worries like come on like court like don't don't listen to that during that whatever by and then we landed on me got like bombarded. Yeah people started with people. Sending US articles like that Sunday ever wanted to start sending US articles heading northern Italy. Where like on the west side but two of the cases were on the east side in northern Italy so we were like eight people. Were freaking out for US marriages leg. Everybody's overreact hey like we were trying to like blow it. They were in the most beautiful place in Italy. Nothing could bother right right well and I am curious. Yeah what were you hearing on the ground? Because that's often the case. I live in the New York area often. When there's something in the news my mother hears about it on MSNBC. Before I even hear about it. And I'm hearing from her in Texas. So we're you just enjoying vacation so we like did not realize anything like what they report breezy. Nothing really Until the next day it was Monday. We're sitting at lunch for like starving. We're actually I think things were closed regardless. Because it's Monday but who knows and we sit down at the restaurant and we're like offering pizza pasta and the waiter like our like schilling with us and unlike comes like goes in comes back out in his by the way. Everything's closed at six PM tonight and we're like Oh okay. He's from now for tonight until March. I said literally like all of us were like Oh x. cool there must be like some sort of like national holiday through March. I like I'm telling you this is what we were like. Oh Cool Italy celebrates March I for some reason and then and then we're like. Oh what's what's on March person. He was like no like. Everything's close tonight until my corona our like out tending it. Then we're just like that's interesting. And then he comes back out again and he was like no no no museums. No restaurant he starts reading US. The list and we're just like what is going on here. So what did you do? Did you go hole up in your hotels schedule early flight home now? I was actually leaving that day. So like everything you're thinking about with corona was Marley because Israel was publishing the Health Ministry was publishing all this all these new notices macgarvin people flying from Italy so at this point. We're like Oh my God. When we come back to Israel we're going to have to quarantine like is it dangerous to fly back as dangerous to go on a flight right now So all these questions were setting in and it was just this era It wasn't normal so we were just like you got a little bit trip did go on and I ended up going home but they continued on. Okay do you not fly back together now? Okay so how did you end up together here in quarantine so deft at home which was fine but we weren't friends before we didn't know each other's we again so the Paulina is seven. And I was going to stay in Europe with Paulina to continue traveling. That was her plan and I decided that I needed to get back to like anxiety set. It said in for definitely Cremona reasons that other things and I was at Mike. Okay I was staying with a friend. Murray saw my best friend that lives in Tel Aviv. And she basically like texted me on Monday. When all this stuff like hit the fat she would just like. I hope you have another place to stay because I warned you about leaving so she works a hospital with kids to like. You're not like I wasn't kidding like you're not allowed back in my apartment right now like also like now. Everything's getting a lot more in real and I'm just like Like I don't know where I'm GONNA stay out of my best friends apartment and then. Paulina was like well. I'm not using. I'm not GonNa be home like us. Like Steph doesn't mind. She was just in. Italy's you never asked me but like I said fine I find. She can stay with me like I'll take. Yes I ca I tech Steph like on my way to the airport being yellow. Is it cool? Like if I take his room until she gets back they figure out like a next move is and she's like sure. I figured like okay. I'll be there for Wednesday night. Is that on Wednesday Wednesday night. No problem and then like I mean the the next day is when we got like everybody must go endorse and then we were stuck together. Okay now whereas Paulina in all of this she was still traveling at the time. Yeah she was in Illinois Austria. Where is she now? She's so she's sharing in this quarantine situation with you now and she's still in quarantine. Jesus yet Friday Friday okay. All right so any signs of illness. No they wonderful wonderful. So tell me how you came up then with this. Instagram account creatively quarantined. This a coping mechanism for you guys to stay connected or to to share information and ideas with people out there in your same predicament. What was the purpose now I got back. I went to a Gaga. Damn slashed I'm a dancer so I I know guys Gaga. I don't know what got guys. Gaga is a dance style that was created by Ohana. Harine who is the choreographer of the batch of a dance company which is like humongous? And it's got it okay very famous and very but yet okay fragile movement. I went to. I went to dance and dancer and I haven't danced and while I like I need to move and I can't wait to like come to Gaga every single Jane sign up to the unlimited monthly. Had this whole idea Manhattan they had. I'm like literally four hours later. I was told that I can't leave by space of residents for two weeks And at first I was like okay like I want to hold myself accountable like I have this urge to create a move. Why not create an account that basically is tracking creative process Daily and basically turn my time in quarantine into of creative incubator and redefine what time alone could look like at actually give it some sort of like bigger purpose and creative creative space And then and then like I kind of got shy and backed away from the idea and then I was thinking about it as like a quarantine journal that I was just GonNa keep for myself like a picture and then I was like brands like I was just like a brainstorming. The idea because I was like you know jamming on my own creativity about the idea. He loved high. I you know Velika crown just open inundated with like all these crazy ideas about the cal. Creative quarantine can be and step dude like. You can't keep that private like you gotta take. The public like may get a journal for people that I could see like. Show them how well because we actually like having like this really elaborate cheese plate that I I just gorgeous. Choose Labor nine in quarantine treat ourselves and she's like show the world like how well you're doing Barney. Yeah it was just. It was space like we don't need to have like negative when we got back. We were the only ones in quarantine like people didn't know it was. Were making jokes about it and for others. Like okay doesn't need to have a negative connotation. Let's just make the best to be racist what we're given like. This is what we have to do and It was really fun. So yeah than than it just spurred into like okay like. How do we encourage a first of all? We wanted to be funny because like I like these funds we finally So like comic relief on the front end but on the back end we're kind of like also generating this idea of or charging people to create a space because every single day more and more people entering quarantine does like all right. Let's encourage creativity that doesn't necessarily mean get up and make a dance that can being like go onto a lingo and learn a new language or like out. Clean out your closet. 'cause you like anything that you were avoiding procrastinating and claim to not have time for right like here is the optimal space for it. So like use it rather than like Netflix channel. Like be productive be creative be forward Like a yet US using the time. Well yeah anytime. So what have you accomplished during this time? And what have you learned from other people? Who are contributing their creative ideas. What have you gained from that and tried so I mean honestly like what ended up being really interesting. That be account became our creative outlet like you know like I moved to once like I did that one out of the whole like the time that we are here. 'cause like if it came we created a community. Yeah that was our biggest thing it was like you know. I I would wake up. And like Steph was already on the phone like Germany Australia. Like people were reaching out to us. First of all sending us like what they were doing like picking up a guitar for the first time boxing calligraphy like which was amazing to see and it was like at the same time we also became like a sojourns of of information for people which was like confusing in the air. Not Clear like people were messaging us being like. Hey I'm supposed to fly out of a Germany in three hours into Israel yet. People were asking for advice like should. I take the flight in the fight and we were like I guess where the Voice of like we. Yeah what. What's your advice. Did tell them to get on that flight like you did. I think that the closer no like scared to get on a plane. If they know they have to be in quarantine for two. Yeah fact that we were like we were in the quarantine Went on in humor just wondering like what they should do so they would ask us for advice and most of the time is like maybe shouldn't go right. So did any of these ideas inspire you to do something new. Did you get inspired to pick up guitar or take on a new language? Yes so each day. We tried to create like a mission for the day. Oh good okay. What were some of the hash say so spreading kindness not germs? That was wonderland before forum. we did well like Steph took initiative getting like Mitchell Trying to get Michelle might not to people in quarantine which was like really awesome. Yeah on her part At Yeah we like painted. We GOT POTTERY SENDS TO US. We had a paint night Word Games of that. We've never played before but part of it all like this. This time is really cool. Because what we're seeing is a lot of people out there. When quarantine or isolation had taking their own initiatives. There's so many accounts out there now. And maybe they're not as big as ours but so how many followers do you. Now have? We all know by heart at note. Twelve seventy up to one seventy one. Yeah I mean in the first couple days like we were weak. We had like a thousand dollars in four days. Yeah we were like every day. Three hundred grand more yeah and it was just really cool. And right now it's like it's a big. It's a big conversation between us weather like how to stay relevant. 'cause everybody's inhabiting right talk about us but we we. I mean helping. Yeah we'RE GONNA die not the sound like cheesy at but like it's not about us like no we want it to be about. The Community of people have been inspired by the account or that are are finishing off acquainted and started it with us in some way or like are now entering Hornsey and so just trying to like I don't in someway keep that encouragement going. Yeah we also found like people are willing to talk about like their timing quarantine. I think it really does have such an impact on individual. Hang you know the account it can take. It can take on different tone So gathering people's accounts of their time in quarantine you know what they thought it was gonna be and maybe even talking to them at the halfway mark in talking to them afterwards just to see experiencing you know people share really. I really like Boehner in this time. Because it's doesn't happen could happen once in a lifetime. It can happen. You know little times just weren't really unique time right now so just sharing good with it is the best. Yes we are. Well Jason Stephanie. Thank you so much for introducing us to this very creative idea. The handle for the instagram account is repeat it for me underscore quarantines okay. Well thank you very much and hope that you get out of that. Corentin various soon. Hope we all do you. Well you'll be well stay healthy now. It's time for our closing segment. Chabad table talk. Joining me at the table is our friend and colleague. Amanda Marshall Don the Jewish World Editor at The Times of Israel. Amanda when you're seated with your family at the table this week what will you be talking about High Munya Saraf? You hear a bunch of background noise but as you know. The six kids are out of school since last week. And they're going a bit stir crazy you know at the best of times being a mother of sixes kind of like being an airport traffic controller. But between my work their school their sports scouts their doctors and dentists points and maybe most importantly my yoga classes. I generally manage just fine. You know a countered the other day and I'm an eleven what's up groups connected to judo. I have teen carpools and five different SCOUT GROUPS. There are neighborhood groups and one for the synagogue. I sometimes go to and another one for the one. I don't and sermon different family. Groups of course up through the massive group that's now filled with jokes that includes most of my husbands aunts uncles cousins into siblings. And usually it's okay but since last week schools across Israel have been closed in our kids ages seven through sixteen are all home and always hungry but at the same time they're meant to continue studying and actually after years of distance learning drills. The kids do have some kind of schoolwork to do is rally is almost always on war footing and the Ministry of Education is pretty. Prepare Ed but with swarms of what's up messages coming from the teachers to explain this islands. My air traffic controller job is becoming overwhelmed most of the day in our new normal. The three teens are sitting in front of the computer in classes which are taught by Brazzale teachers sometimes holding babies sometimes on spotty Internet and last week for the first several days. The three youngest spent much of their time visiting friends playing outside but slowly are circles are closing in friend. Visits are no longer allowed but currently there still locate to meet up with friends and small group said the playground. My Yoga classes are cancelled but I can go still walk. The dog and admire desert homes beauty so as we navigate these uncertain days. I think it's natural to desire closer connection to family and I'm happy that my chicks are all in my nest. Ironically I was supposed to flow into the United States right now to sit in the studio with Monica and Steffi in New York and to visit my almost ninety five year old grandmother. Now I really don't know if I'll ever see her again. My israeli-born husband is accustomed to seeing his mother several times a week but since last Friday. She's on lockdown in her cell to living facility in Jerusalem for her pirates. She claims she's happy not to prepare her lavish Friday night meals and glad for the vacation from minding the grandkids but he is going through withdrawal and he phones her several times a day. Personally perhaps because I'm anti-social but I am so far doing okay not seeing people outside of my nuclear family and I wonder if immigrating alone to Israel over twenty years ago has given me the distance learning drills. I needed to be able to physically keep away from my family and friends but maintain close relationships with them. I feel like we are blessed to have tools to learn and love in the time of corona even if now only a few weeks ahead of Pesach Passover may kids are turning into locusts. How about you man? Yeah Yes locus I can relate Amanda and we missing you here in the New York area. But we're all quarantined at home now and you will undoubtedly here my children soon to. I talked last week about forced family. Separation being a topic of discussion in the public health context and the pain and discomfort of that God willing. You will see your grandmother again. Amanda because the Astronaut Jessica Mirror recently reminded us when she posted pictures of planet Earth. This too shall pass this week with the responsibility of homeschooling and work on our shoulders. I've been reflecting a lot on forced family togetherness and really what a blessing that should be instead of the thirty seven minutes a day of quality time with my kids that experts say I get on average. I'm getting thirty seven hours a day. Yes that's how it feels and I feel so guilty saying so but while they're in Israel you're accustomed to distance learning. This is new to us. We're accustomed to limiting screen time. Not Encouraging it. But these days. This is how we're connecting with people with lesson plans even museums and the opera. It's all virtual all but the time with our children for once. I'm not face timing them from the office to say good night or good morning if I've had to catch an early train. This is a bounty of quality time. So why am I not grateful? I'm really trying to take a deep breath. Be Less grouchy and embrace this time together. It's tough but I do think I will look back on it as an opportunity missed if I don't one thing I have been touched by. Are The people out there who have not let this virtual reality and anarchy get in the way of opportunities to help those who really are in trouble. We are going to be suffering from this virus for a long time economically emotionally and their angels out there who know that and are looking out for those who are most vulnerable for them. I am so grateful. Ajc has launched a campaign to encourage and recognize these good deed doers. It's called be a mench using the yiddish term for a person of integrity and honor a good deed doer. If you know of an individual and institution accompany even a whole municipality or a country that's doing something to provide comfort and ease during this time share their story on facebook twitter or instagram. Using the Hashtag be a match or go to. Ajc Dot org slash be a match at our Chaban table. This week. My family and I will be talking about ways we can be more menchie and will be thinking of people who are meant she around us. That seems like a wonderful way to enjoy are forced family togetherness Chabad Shallow Abacha. Dome who've re. Ah You subscribe to people of the pod on itunes or Google play or spotify or learn more at AJC dot org slash people of the pod. The views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC and the Times of Israel. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod at AJC DOT Org. If you like this podcast be sure to rate it and writer of you to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. This episode is brought to you by AJC and the Times of Israel. Our producer is condo are sound engineer? Is T K Broadway tune in next week for another episode of people? Love the POD.

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Jewish Life in Belgium, China-Israel Relations

People of the Pod

32:28 min | 1 year ago

Jewish Life in Belgium, China-Israel Relations

"Hello and welcome to people of the pot brought to you by. AJC The Times of Israel each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people aren't Cogan and I'm on your brochure. Pacman German money. Who did you speak with this week? Daniel Schwartman Thal director of AJC's Transatlantic Institute joins me from Brussels to talk about what it's like for Jews living in Belgium where there have been a constant string of antisemitic. Episodes and officials have been low to condemn condemn savvy. Who did you speak with? I spoke with ambassador. Matan Vilnai about the relationship between his country Israel and the country in which she served China sounds fascinating. Let's do it last week. Sophie Wellness became the first female and first Jewish Prime Minister of Belgium. A mother afford will mess is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and lost ancestors during the Holocaust. Only recently did she embrace her Jewish heritage. She will serve as a caretaking caretaking prime minister. While the country establishes a coalition but as anti-semitism reemerges across the European continent in different forms Belgium stands out earlier This spring a parade and also featured afloat shaped like an Orthodox Jewish man with a rat on his shoulder clutching bags of money and the accompanying soundtrack was a tune about Jewish greed in August a column Major Belgian newspaper. Accusing Jews of stealing Palestinian land went a step further saying they also have ugly noses and in September number a Socialist Party Alderman artist. who was very proud of his art presented his painting of a swastika at a Brussels art gallery emblazoned by the words and God Created Hitler what makes Belgium stand out is the lack of condemnation of these events by anyone outside the Jewish community here to talk about what it's like for Jews living in Belgium and why politicians have been loath to condemn these episodes of anti-semitism is Daniel Sch woman Paul Director of AJC's brussels-based Transatlantic Trans Atlantic Institute Daniel Welcome hello so first annual. Did I leave anything off. The list. Have there been other troubling expressions of antisemitism in Belgian and did the episodes I mentioned do they all rise to the same level of concern. Well you definitely hit all the most important reason to public. Thank you Ben. So of course antisemitic incidents that may not be publishing the newspaper that happened maybe and in Jewish schools bullying insults and threats on the Internet etc etc as is the case unfortunately in many other particularly with European countries And I think this collection these three incidents festival show a phenomenon that we sort of the merging of anti-semitism from different sources. If we look at it comes not only from What many people believe to traditional far ride but the far-left which is often centers around Israel and also Slama political anti-semitism? And we here you know the accusations against Israel that have antisemitic undertones and then of course the more traditional idea of anti Semitic economy honorarium. What would almost say we think if they floats in our and what strikes US indeed? If you've noticed that there is a sort of a look of public outrage and and very Not even defensive but almost dismissive responses from those who who are directly responsible for this for instance the carnival floats in. All the organizers simply claimed this is part of the the General Edgy Humor and that there's nothing potentially specifically anti Semitic about it And the sign language of video deal that was posted. Well the University of simply say well you know. These are the signs that are being used. Apparently they're number of different signs in the Belgian sign language guage to signify Jews. And that's simply one of them and they have to be complete of course not thinking that maybe they want to leave this one out and maybe they ought to be eh a general revision of the Belgian sign language but it points also what we've seen over the last twenty years when we have. Aj Fee. I I pointed out that the rise of anti-semitism in Europe and when at that time many European leaders across the nation simply didn't want to listen and and didn't want to hear that we now see such an accumulation of incidents that we sort of a normally vacation almost to that You know I would suggest that the lack of public outrage is partly the result that it has become now so common that you know ought to boo boo has been broken. It seems to be one and I just want to make clear to listeners. You were talking about the inclusion of a of a hook nosed knows gesture for the word Jew in the official Flemish sign language dictionary. That was actually. I did leave that one off the list and that is another troubling episode. That has normalized normalized. This kind of antisemitic language. Even sign language. Well tell me what is it like to be Jewish in Belgium. What is Jewish Jewish life like? They're given this kind of shadow of normalized antisemitic rhetoric It is actually very similar to Jewish life. Let's say in neighboring France and Germany the Netherlands their degrees of shades of differences Francis. But generally you know Jewish institutions have to be protected by police in Belgium since the Laugh terrorist attacks. They are being protected by Belgian military. Because the police simply overwhelmed with the work they have to do in the fight against general. No terrorism Not just specific anti Jewish terrorism. We look at the recent survey by the European Union's fundamental right agency which survey Jews in in twelve EU countries Representing ninety percent of European. Jews There is a clear picture of dramatic rise in the perception of anti-semitism from already high-level and Belgium and generally really is among the top three countries in in most of the categories of the questions asked both in terms of simple perception and an experience of whether they experienced recent antisemitic attacks and also when it comes to the question of whether they You know hide eight occasionally. They're Jewish or avoid to Jewish Institutions. Also fear so they've definitely Belgium is belongs alongside fortunately among top category of countries in Europe. But as I said you know it's not fundamentally different from France Germany Holland Sweden rip it. You know you talked about the edgy humor of the parade and it reminded me of a comment that Labor leader Jeremy Korman made British Labour leader talking about how Zionist just don't understand the irony British irony and and I'm curious if Corbin were to become prime minister. Many people fear that British Jews believe do Belgian. Jews want to stay. I think we have a simulation issue here. First of all we're coming back to Corbett. He didn't specifically refer to resign if he spoke of people have been living here for hundreds of years. Clearly simply talking talking about the Jewish community and I would say that I found particularly in faulted of all the antisemitic and anti Zionist tropes. The idea the Jews have no sense of humor. I think is the most hurtful one almost Arabia scientists referring to write British Jews or British Zionists who have lived here It wasn't it wasn't a little unclear. But he seventy referred to people have been living here for hundreds of years and there is no acute figure such as Cohen. Luckily about to become Prime Minister Corbyn really is in a League of his own in the sense that here. We have in Great Britain. A situation where uh-huh mainstream party has been overtaken by a really violent anti-semites and everything has no become a cesspool. What's may have started with violent? Anti Zionism Kuban himself calling Hezbollah and Hamas it friends friends and so forth is assessable of all sorts of anti-semitism in addition to the general also concerns that you have in the the United Kingdom. You have a you have a very specific acute concern about the Kuhlman coming prime minister. We don't have that situation here in in Belgium but there is and has been for years. A general threat perception here and that many people in Belgium generally have contemplated leaving Belgium. Out of fear out of concerns about driving anti-semitism. I don't know really family in Belgium Komo Heaven at some point or the other really contemplated leaving the country and particularly I think What it's tracking is that people are really concerned about the children that even if they believe you know that they are still going to be? Okay Particularly IF MON- discusses assist with Jewish families. You know what will the next ten twenty years bring for our children experience. I think the concerns are are much higher so the expectation nation Definitely rather widespread that things are rather going to get worse than better so that brings us back to the election albeit. I'll be at temporary of prime minister will mess. I mean does that put Belgian Jews at ease to any degree to be extended I can really measure it. Donald Trump. You know if you have said in your intro. She thought of recently only really discovered or acknowledged her Jewish heritage heritage. She's not somebody who is really a prominent member in any way of the Jewish community. I'm not aware I'm I don't know she's a member at all of the Jewish community so in that percents she's a very private and it's sort of found much more complicated stories. This is certainly not the story of a proud open. Two ND prominent Jewish figure becoming prime minister And they have four. I don't think that her appointment she wasn't elected. It's it's a caretaking government that at least in my view ought to put anyone at ease that this is therefore an indication that you know. anti-semitism is not an issue So certainly I would not consider it a reason to be no at Eve okay. I guess as a caretaker what could she do to Belgian Jews at ease. What can a prime minister due to tackle this problem? It is difficult to say whether caretaking prime minister can do much You know in terms of Decision making power generally what I would advise Not just in Belgium. Prime ministers but prime ministers and government leaders throughout Europe is first of all to really fully acknowledge ledge the problem and to not denied and to acknowledge that the problem come from many sources. It's fairly easy to get solidarity dougherty not just from petitions but from society at large when anti-semitism comes from the far right if we have recently seen in holly in Germany when right wing terrorist attack the synagogue and killed two bystanders. WHO HAPPENED TO BE NOT Jewish? So it's very important to really poor leaders in Europe to acknowledge that we have a problem for from radical Muslims and from the far-left and these are the two issues that therefore serve particular attention on the far left when it centered around is well when hiding as so-called criticism of Israel but really is demonization one of Israel the denial. It's it's right to even exist is simply treating as well as a Jew among the nations and is a form of antisemitism. This is still a battle battle that we have to win and once this is acknowledged we need to see the concrete implementation of policies and how to tackle cold days And again I don't see real evidence throughout Europe where definitely leaders generally. Ah come much more responsible in terms of recognizing the threats. But they're still far behind in devising very concrete comprehensive hence of policies to tackle. Well ask you what prime minister will mess can do. What is a J. C.? And the Transatlantic Institute doing to address some of these issues. Well we have working in on exactly the issues that I just described primarily Making sure that all forms of anti-semitism his recognized as such there is a very important tool called the IRA working definition of Antisemitism IRA stands for the International International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance with some facilities three countries members including most of the EU countries and they create a working definition of Antisemitism Anti Semitism that includes the sort of new modern forms of anti-semitism that sent around Israel. You know that identifies the demonization of Israel and antisemitic holding Jews collectively responsible for Israel is actions both real and imagined and And we have been really at the forefront in pushing for you leaders to accept and to endorse it and indeed two years ago the European Parliament endorsed it last year. The European Council which is where all the twenty eight member states got together to come together and that's called the council the come together either as foreign ministers or budget ministers depending on on the issue and in this particular case where the home minister who endorsed this definition. The Nisshin and encouraged all member states. Who haven't done so yet to really adopted and this is something that we continue working on throughout not just in Brussels but my colleagues throughout Europe to encourage governments to adopt it and then the crucial issue? The next step is as I said to really implement it The idea is to use this definition and sensitize and educate teachers policeman social workers etc people. The WHO engaged society at large so that they identify recognize that these are forms of anti-semitism. Because if we don't even recognize that then Obviously we can't find it right and they're less likely to shrug their shoulders like they're doing in Belgium directly Daniels showman all thank you so much for joining us and taking us into Belgium to get a glimpse of what it is like there. Thank you so much my pleasure. What has Matan Vilnai? E Not done. He was deputy commander of operation. Thunderbolt is Israel's nineteen seventy-six mission to free. The airline passengers being held hostage in Entebbe. Uganda he rose to the rank of major general in the idea if he was elected to the Knesset four times and served as a government minister under several different Prime Ministers and from twenty twelve to two thousand seventeen. He was Israel's ambassador to China. A crucial role at a critical period as as China rose in prominence on the world stage. I sat down recently in the people of the PODS STUDIOS WITH AMBASSADOR VILNA E to discuss Israel's ties to China And what they mean for the future of the start up nation Matan. Thank you so much for joining us. In crew Israel and China on the one hand are both these kind of ancient Chint civilizations and on the other hand they're fairly new countries. Israel of course was founded in nineteen forty eight The People's Republic of China was established in nineteen forty nine and and another thing they have in common is that neither of them kind of received universal recognition from other countries around the world at least initially. When did the two of them establish tablet formal relations and what has that relationship looked like? When China became? The people of public of China is the first of October forty nine and no one recognized China in the Middle East. One St the Set of vision and you have to remember that three real then as today under the US umbrella and not even one stateful under this umbrella communist Christina only is run and then came their cognition over the material the first and its burnished because most of the tongue that was President of China the further Noushin his fund. The funder of I'm trying to in every aspect he was under percent pro-police Pearl Arab pro Palestinian Yasser Arafat was and on your guests regulary in Beijing and it changed. When shopping became the president he was it was up to a Muslim there was always and then Deng took over? He was very smart. He saved nine. He opened shine. Cool the world and He was the main leader. The change dramatically the position of China in the world and they realize that it is Is Very Long Technology and very strong and innovation in Tunisia junction. And for them. The Chinese people is very important. In order to improve that economy Deng undersold it a newark accordingly and it took slang and only in January nineteen. ninety-two We open diplomatic relations between China and the set official our a minister of foreign affairs. The drive in those days sign in January and ninety two the agreement of diplomatic relations between China and the site of so two into successor. Twenty Twenty Twenty six seven years so just just to stick with a history lesson a little bit once upon a time. There were real questions about whether Israel would fall under the sphere of the United States or that of the Soviet Union in that. What kind of bipolar world? That question is obviously not relevant anymore. Israel chose America long ago and there isn't even Soviet Union today but we are entering a new era of international affairs. There are two superpowers again or there will be soon the. US and China are they going to be competing over Israel in a similar way due to the way that America and Russia wants dead. It's a very delicate situation and is an ambassador bridge in. I always remember the the main support officer former statistic point only one is the United States of America and they're used to say to every Chinese Ledo the relation between Israel and the. US is a cornerstone in owes thirty. And and all my stuff settling down. You don't have to say you are almost to charter. Because I'm a bus Indochina. Elected each of us remember the importance of the necessary. America for is in many respects. It's the job of Israel's foreign ministry as you kind of allude to it's the job of Israel's Foreign Ministry to make sure that doors remain open to Israel in both the US and in China even as the two countries now are in the early stages of a trade war year now on the outside of the Foreign Ministry so maybe you can evaluate it for us. How is Israel doing at that job? It's the third is is not good not American not with a Chinese enough on the whole world. Then Israel in this aspect is part of the room and we you have to be very careful about this and to never get accordingly land sending the importance of China from a toy point of view from Komo's point of view and their deep interests between Israel and the US and now the Louis important for us we have to remember. It's not only a business question right. That's kind of where we focus where our minds immediately run to when we talk about a trade war but there are national security issues at play when dealing with China as well right according to the Senate with Americans will allow to do something which China dealing with Military dealing with national security. Nothing we're working only in severe renal and nothing else of this and some southwest questions when they put me as ambassador to China and general and they ask why a general have to be done bustle to China but we are very clear about it and reverse-sticked about it that's dealing with the Chinese me something that can be connected to national security the crew through traditional military. Nothing so I'm going to start by telling you a little bit about a day that I had in June and I think you'll quickly please see where this is going. I was in Israel on. AJC trip leading a group of university presidents around Israel and we're meeting with other presidents of Israeli universities so that they could explore possible partnerships. So we woke up that morning in Tel Aviv and our bus kind of wended. Its way through the traffic that was caused by the Light Rail. That's being built in Tel Aviv. And we made it to stove airport and we took off by helicopter. Flying North we went to FIFA we flew over the port of Haifa. We landed at the technion and then we had a meeting and lunch with the president of the town. So that sounds like okay. There's a helicopter ride in there. So it's not a totally mundane day but a fairly mundane and day except that light rail in Tel Aviv is being built by China. The port in Haifa is potentially about to come under the ownership ownership of a Chinese company. I think a company that's owned by the government of China and the technion has a relatively new campus in Guangdong in China. Sundell Somerton Gondal in Szanto in Guangdong Province. So that's a lot of kind of intermingling there. It's intermingling that even though none of that sounds like a military thing actually their military implications for all of those things because you know infrastructure structure in any city like the Light Rail Tel Aviv is important. We don't think of it that way but it has a a national security application. What if a Chinese company could just press a button and the light rail in Tel Aviv would shut off? The port plays host not only to several important parts of the Israeli navy but also occasionally to the US Sixth Fleet and the tech neon Israel's kind of MIT though lots of brilliant minds that have created important national security advances base. There all of that. What matters right all of that is really important and maybe a little bit threatening even all this point six are under and basic understanding between China and Asia? All these projects were checked by our security buddies every aspect and everyone is under Sunday Minnesota just said and we work accordingly if you we look at the seaports in the United States on the coast of the Pacific and Atlantic will find a huge huge amount of Chinese equipment and Chinese people all over in ten the loudest ten posts in the world of cargo. Seven them listen isil include American Supposes so the Chinese are low over not only in his Dan. It's all over because it's a super the become over time economically Matan. Let's just close I. I've kind I've been Maybe my line of questioning has been a little bit depressing. But there's excitement here too. There's reason for excitement so i. I wonder if you can just close by telling us a little bit about what are the most exciting citing opportunities that relations between Israel and China potentially open up for Israel in for those who care about Israel for voter news the most important thing not the circuit technology and Takuji. It's innovation and they need belly they innovation mood and the technology of these earl is in order to develop the economy. The can get it from the Americans but America because a superpower with own interests. And it's a problem to duluth. Americans leaser is smaller than America of course and in many aspects where some kind of a bridge between China and the US we some kind of a gate between China and the US this and this is the menu of the many search technology and innovation and for Israel for Israel. It's a wonderful market is zero is very small country with a use capability in innovation in technology and we can bring our clouds to the huge market of China. There for is an one side and China lopsided me. We are not competing each other like the American computer with we litany but in some complimentary between China and the sort of his own while Matan. Thank you so much for sharing your immense knowledge with us on this important topic Suzhou thinking wonder now it's time for our closing segment Shabat table. Talk when you're talking with your family and friends at your table this weekend Manja well will you be talking about well. SAFFY Jeffy I know. He devoted our show a few weeks ago to the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre but I cannot stop thinking about an article I read that week in the Atlantic by my incredibly talented colleague. Emma Emma Green with whom I had the pleasure of celebrating Chabad back in September. It's title haunts me. And maybe that was the point of it. Will anyone remember eleven dead Jews that was the headline and the article itself was a profile of Eric. Ligi the curator of Jewish archive in Pittsburgh who has taken on a second fulltime job of curing the Memorabilia Leia and artifacts from the day of and the days that followed that horrible shooting artifacts include prayer books from a young man whose nearby synagogue went into lockdown during his bar Mitzvah signs wilted dried flowers and melted candles that line the sidewalks in front of the tree of life building picket signs from President. Trump's visit a few days later. It felt like archiving the ocean he told Emma. I WanNa read the ending of Emma's piece which I hope listeners will go read in full either now or months from now months from now may make it even more more poignant from dust to dust a century hands no one who witnessed the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and its aftermath will be around to explain why they loved Squirrel Hill. If it survives Liege's archive will be all that's left to tell him more. Textured story depending on what comes next. Those stones and signs and notes of grief could tell radically different stories stories of a rare aberration in American Jewish history or the restarting of an anxious clock. Emma is not only beautiful writer. She has spent a lot of days in in Pittsburgh in the past year of trying to get her head in her heart around this tragedy and what it means for our country and the Jewish community she's written other pieces to and Steffi. I encourage as you and all of our listeners out there to look them up and follow her work well I am. One of emigrants biggest fans. She's one of a startling. The number of people at the Atlantic who I consider every piece they write a must read. So thank you for bringing that to your ship. Table in two thousand fifteen. Several members of Congress got together and with the support of. AJC established the bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism. Currently one hundred and seventy four members of Congress are a part of the task force representing visiting both parties and districts all across the country. AJC is continuously working to get even more members to join and you can go to AJC dot org slash task force to to make sure that your representative is a member last week again supported by AJC. Senator Jackie Rosen of Nevada and Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma created a bipartisan task force for Combating Antisemitism in the Senate they're words as they launched the group. Give me a little hope that we might be able to prevent anti Semitism from becoming just one more partisan issue just one more useful way to take potshots at your political opponents. Here's here's what they said today. The two of US practising Jewish Democrat from Nevada and a devoted Christian Republican from Oklahoma are calling on our colleagues to set aside the labels bulls bickering and the grandstanding to join together to take on one of the most disturbing trends of our time. We stand united in the common goal of of defeating hate and combating violence scourge of antisemitism. And we at AJC stand with them. That's our show. Show Bochum Salaam. You can subscribe to people of the pod on itunes Google play or spotify or learn more at AJC dot dot org slash pot the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect positions of AJC and the Times of Israel. We'd love to hear your views and opinions opinions or your questions. You can

Israel China Belgium US prime minister Europe AJC Matan Vilnai Jewish Institutions Atlantic Transatlantic Institute president European Union Brussels Prime Minister Emma Emma Green Pittsburgh AJC Donald Trump Major Belgian newspaper
AJC Passport: Israel-Diaspora Relations, Return of the Battle for Balfour

People of the Pod

38:38 min | 1 year ago

AJC Passport: Israel-Diaspora Relations, Return of the Battle for Balfour

"Hello and welcome to AJC passport brought to you by AJC diplomatic arm of the Jewish community each week we'll chat with experts from around the world to help you better understand the weeds headlines and what they all mean for Israel L. and the Jewish people. I'm your host. Seth Decoder Dr Steven Beim is director of AJC's Jaycees Contemporary Jewish life department. He just returned from a critical fact finding mission to Israel and joins us now to share what he learned Steve. Thank you for joining joining us now pleasure now you've into Israel dozens of times in your life. I'm sure sometimes for work sometimes for pleasure this time you are on a particular killer mission what was it that brought you in a small group of AJC leaders to Israel but six months ago the AJC executive committee determines that Israel asper relations will be the main challenge of contemporary Jewish life departments our flagship program really about next three to five years minimum us we slapped a task force of AJC leaders to identify what we the specifics of a program that would bill bridges enhance relations between Israel and American jewelry. Obviously the sense is that the chasm is growing wider as we speak and if we don't take initiatives to try to bridge the chasm we'll be talking talking about the world's two largest Jewish communities who are really at odds with one another or best indifference one another so the task force was designed to come up with practical recommendations nations of what AJC can and should do. We went really on a listening tour tier. What Israelis expected of us with a mind thing. What would you recommend ended. AJC consider doing and so what sense did you get in terms of you know you mentioned what should ajc considered doing that is kind of a a solutions oriented ranted mindset but you also have to have a sense of of what the challenges are. What are the main challenges Stephen in Israel Diaspora relations. the hardest thing. I think Steffi for Americans juice get used to is that Israel. Today is very much a center right society There's obviously a left exists in northern Tel Aviv. Maybe a few other places but the chasm really is one of Israeli society moving towards the right politically to lesser extent religiously although that's part of it as well American can jewelry is primarily especially in non Orthodox dimension which is the overwhelming majority the community we basically been bought into the liberal consensus so essentially these is a political divide here that is of enormous consequence parallel to that political divide is a cultural divide over language religion. even our own uncut forms of cultural expression with speaks to Israelis doesn't speak to American Jews and vice versa. This is interesting right because American Jews are as you said a largely she left leaning group and Israeli Jews are increasingly right-leaning or or at the very least center right-leaning group both might cite Jewish values in terms of how they ended up the way that they are. What do you think about that like. How is it that kind of two similar sociological kind of toolkits have led to two pretty radically different outcomes in perspective? Look the the liberal value that speaks American shoes in one form or another is universalist value that what we're about is taken alums saving the world but in a broader sense we feel fundamentally optimistic. I missed the about where society is going and with position of juice in society are as a result our basic instincts here in the states is not the survivalist instinct thank our basic instinct is the universalist instinct coupled with that obviously is the reality of American Jewish assimilation the words the more American we are the less Jewish we are the less we're likely to think in terms of particularistic. Jewish imperatives these rarely see themselves as living under value system of survival ISM. They're under daily threat even existential threat if you bring in the the question Iranian nuclear bomb so Israelis look at American Jews and say you're liberal values are nice but frankly we don't have the luxury of them are key. Imperative is that of maintaining our security. Perhaps the best example is the symbolism of President Donald Trump American Jews again with the exception of Orthodoxy largely have rejected trump. I think he got maybe twenty five percents. Maybe thirty percents of the Jewish vote I. I don't think do any better in two thousand twenty among Israeli's. His popularity rating is close to eighty percents so they look at us and say trump has in the most pro Israel presidents ever and here. You guys seem to have much relationship with them. Anything you have relationship that is borderline contempt. It is interesting just to stay on this for one moment more. It is interesting that in the one place in the world where Jews are a majority. I e Israel they. I have this kind of circle the wagons mentality now. I understand why that is right. It's because just beyond those borders more threatening neighborhood but you would think that if there was anyplace where Jews would be able to kind of set aside any sense of being a minority like needing to kind of look out for for number one and it would be Israeli. It'd be the place where Jews are majority but in fact the place where that actually happens more than anywhere else is America where we make up just two percent China the population. It's an interesting irony Steffi but I think the real turning point is two thousand with the collapse of slow during the Oslo Years Israel very much each other's sense of optimism piece would not be immediate but we'd get there over relatively brief period is high but even incentive period of time but we'd get there today no when things pieces on the horizon if anything they feel Islamic terrorism has been on the rise rejectionism of Israel's been on the rise especially in groups like Hamas and his bowl up in that light their approach to it you say is that of a majority acting like a minority I think what has to realize that the collapse of Oslo disappointed pointed so many people what the Brooke Government did at the time was put forth the most far-reaching peace proposal for two state solution and even a compromise over Jerusalem the answer to that was no further efforts by Sharon by Olmert for even more liberal proposals disengagement by Sharon in the Gaza Strip and and Olmert's plan plan that was even more extensive in terms of the concessions on the West Bank yet again the answer was negative so Israelis look at that and they say the optimism that we had during the Oslo years years has been disproven by history and in that respect no one's talking about a two state solution the gap here with American juries fundamental for American Jews the two State Solution Shen is the moral lynch pin are the linchpin of Israel's moral claim of Israel's position in the international arena that Israel is willing to take a two-state solution. reality is this is as we speak the two state solution becoming evermore elusive if it has not yet disappeared what are some of the specific policy differences that we occasionally run into between Israeli Susan and American dream. I know that and and longtime listeners to J. C. Passport will note that you've spent a lot of time thinking about religious pluralism is that still kind of a focus guests of this enterprise certainly as far as the agency taskforces concerns there is no way that we're going to retreat on that agenda item it speaks to American Jewry in other words American shoes sickly and the reform and conservative Campsfield de legitimated by the Israeli government over issues like the Kotel over issues like conversion we speak to Israelis about several different responses though that I think are very important for us to at least understand number one is that contrary to popular opinion in Israel is not becoming more religious. Take a walk on Friday night on the streets of Jerusalem when I was I think is probably my my fiftieth or sixtieth trip but when I was firstly Jerusalem on Friday night was is quite literally closed down now you take a walk. The theater's are open. The restaurants are open in that respect Israel's not becoming more religious if anything in the the center of Israeli Orthodoxy namely Jerusalem you're finding greater availability of Non Kosher food greater availability of Sabbath entertainments Sir Friday night entertainments. So when answer is they're saying that you casting us as a religiously backward country reality is the progress has been made on the so-called pluralism front in recent decades has been quite significance so the number of conservative form synagogues has grown number two the focal point of American Jewish. Wish anger is the Chief Rabbinate with its monopoly over issues the personal status marriage conversion burial and divorce Israelis argue chief Robin. It's irrelevant relevant to our daily concerns. We interact with it when we have to. We get through it. You guys have made it into a more ex essential issue that needs to be most important -portant and this year again. I think the amount of confusion among American Jewry is quite significant. most important is that we have stereotypes of Israel becoming coming more ultra Orthodox society the common phrase often used as that of Herrera's -ation in other words that the Haredi community is taking over. There's a lot of diversity within the Haredi the community on the one hand there is greater openness because there are people want to have a better standard of living for themselves. They don't WanNa live petrol poverty number two. They don't WanNA backlash rush coming from secular Israeli society as result. They're not pushing for more extreme religious legislation. If anything fundamental threat is less Haredi Society at this point though if you call it ultra nationalism which it doesn't overlap with Haredi society per se overlaps with religious scientism in its more extreme incarnations there people are saying that's the real threat to Israel's future. Will we be a liberal national society a Woobie an ultra nationalist society and frankly is the the ultra nationalist groupings contained within them some real fascist elements as we saw right here in terms of HAC with our debate six months ago over the should we issue a statement over the possibility of the Connor Party or Communist Party entering into a future coalition agreements. That debate is alive and well today. I guess guests it's really the intersection of Haredi and nationalism right. There's this community. That's referred to as hard doll. Leumi term is being used frequently really the symbolism of it is interesting that on the West Bank and was among West Bank religious scientists nationalist settlers. You find young men boys in particular with their side curls. Now what's amusing amazing about this is that the side curls were always the symbol of Haredi Society Non Zionist. That's right now. You have the religious legit scientists using the side curls. Obviously people have a right to dress as they wish but symbolically speaking is what you call Harlem meaning some synthesis between Haredi Eighty society and religious lioness society or National Society it just for the edification of our listeners people might like to know that the word hurdle literally translates to mustard which has nothing to do of course right with with any of this I guess there is a question we ask you. You said that Israelis would say you know come on. What are you American Jews. You know going on about with this. You know concern about heart as ation like I may turn around and say well. Why does it bother them right. The country is still largely secular. Are you said that it's a myth to say the country is or at least you know overly simplistic so the country is becoming more religious so why don't more secular. Israelis care about this this whole group that has absented itself from the workforce about certain public spaces you know having kind of religious rules around them shouldn't more Israelis care about this for their own sake. Jake Lieberman Phenomenon Steffi Lieberman is the head of the railway TANU party originally a party of Russian immigrants translate says Israel our home and it was meant to represent the interests of Russian immigrants many perhaps as many as three hundred thousand have problem in terms of personal status namely that their status under Jewish law is questionable. Maybe children's Save Jewish father and Jewish mother. Their spouses may not be Jewish. the the best solution obviously be conversion conversion. The Chief Rabbinate makes conversion next to impossible so in that respect Lieberman and his group us and people he represents are concerned about a growing Haredi minority. This trying to impose legislation reality is that while they're strong grouping and they certainly resent very heavily the intrusion of the religious parties into politics. They've never captured much beyond the Russian Jewish sector which means in effect that other Israelis from from secular Israeli society. They don't like the Hurry Diem. They're not particularly enamoured with it but they see number one. There have been gains namely that there is greater pluralism so to speak in the American sense of the word of greater openness number two. They're really interested in recruiting hurry into the university's into the army was interested in integration integration their perspective. I would sum up one simple sentence is that with all the American Jewish clamor over the absence of religious pluralism are existential challenge which is integrating this large and growing Haredi population into the body politic Israel a confrontation with them to do the job opening things up bringing them in society. That's how they see the wave of the future for my last question I wanNA change perspective a little bit and ask you know what would you say to those this American Jews particularly young American Jews. I think a growing subset of my age cohort who would say that sure it's it's annoying that when they go to the Kotel they can't have the same experience that they have in their you know conservative or reform synagogue in the estates or or they're independent prayer group or whatever and they might say you know sure it's inconvenient that they can't go on public transportation nation in Jerusalem on Chabad or you know it's rude that even though they consider themselves Jewish from birth the Israeli government doesn't consider them Jewish because X Y and Z Z. in their personal history that bothers them but that the real source of the divide that they feel between and them selves and Israel is actually geopolitical is actually the occupation and Israel's ongoing conflict with Palestinians rather than anything anything kind of religious SEVI-. I think I'd be forced to say three different. Things number one is that the political divide is real and any attempt to cover it up is engaging an apologetic We can't really control it. I don't like it either as mentioned before the the growth of Kahane's elements we find that abhorrent and and we said so in the past yet doesn't mean it's not there even claims that Israel will extend sovereignty over West Bank Jewish Settlements Irma Tom. That's fundamentally makes a two-state solution impossible If that happens again the political divide will be seriously aggravated and any attempt to suggest. It's not all all that compelling. Frankly I think is pure politics. That's the first thing I would say secondly I would say. Is that this this sort of thing I I know you've been working with with the leaders for tomorrow program that young people I mean they're a little bit younger than than your cohort but young people in general born say after nine hundred sixty seven they've known the reality -ality occupation what I think oftentimes I feel they forget about is what might be called the true miracle of Israel. I only miracle in a supernatural sense. I do mean the return of the Jews. The sovereignty in statehood after two thousand years of statelessness is one of the greatest success stories of Jewish history certainly as the success story of modern Jewish history that needs to be celebrated in other words are narratives should not be about I can't go to the Kotel or my Jewishness not recognize those problems but the larger narrative. Tiv- is that of the miracle of creating a Jewish state the third thing I would say is really to go back internally and talk about ourselves and that is one critical reason jason for the chasm is the reality of simulation in American Jewish life. The more distant you are from Jewish matters will just going to be from Israel so in that respect blaming Israel for the chasm is a one-sided indictment. The real charge needs to be two sided that Israel's done some things that American Jews have enormous problems with again. I wouldn't apologize for that. I wouldn't try to suggest that's not real what I would also say though is that American Jews have drifted away because the power of relation has taken a significant toll on Jewish identification here in the United States well Steve. There are few people who have the kind of expertise that you do about American Judaism and Israel to aspirations so thank you so much much for joining us today to share a bit of that expertise rated. Thanks it's time for our special. Israeli elections segment periodically between now and the upcoming general elections on on September seventeenth will be bringing you an exclusive update on the race to determine who will be the next occupant of the prime minister's residence on Balfour Street three in Jerusalem. This is the battle for Balfour if you're looking for a basic primer on how Israel conducts elections please check out the January third the episode of AJC passport featuring Lava Har- cove of the Jerusalem Post joining us today on the battle for Balfour is Benji Rogers AJC associate associate director of policy and Middle East initiatives Benji. Thank you so much for joining us seven great to be here. Israeli politics are known for this kind of shuffling shuttling of parties that takes place in the run-up to each election so over the past few weeks there've been splits and mergers and new parties and things like that what I want to hear from you you now. Benji is what has changed since the April election in terms of the landscape of parties. Let's go sector-by-sector here. We're going to start with the left wing. Then then we'll go to the right wing then go the religious parties and then to the Arab parties so starting with the left wing what has changed in the political landscape shirt sure so I think the first thing to keep in mind is that August I which was just a a week ago was the cutoff date for all parties within Israel to merge together which is why in the last couple of weeks. We've seen so much movement around everybody was trying to get in. Everybody was trying to make their their agreements remits before that August first deadline which is why I would say we've seen the most activities so far in this second election as far as the what's changed and looking at the left I would say big picture not much has changed but when you get into the specifics there's definitely been the emergence of new parties new new alliances being formed so looking at the left you still have the blue and white party as the Center Party that still united and that's still the front runner in the left camp camp. polls are always hard to judge but they're slated to get around thirty seats in in the next election. there were a lot of people who thought that the Balloon White Party may not maintain its cohesiveness after the April elections but as we see now at least as of now so on August eighth they are still together to the left of them. We've actually seen a few changes. the one change is with the Labor Party. They elected a new chairman. It's now individual named Amir parents who was a labor that Britain and one of the first things that Amir parents did was he merged with a party called the Gesher party which was a single person party run by woman immorally Levy so she was part of used to be part of Israel. Tena is a bit more. I would say Cetera writes than than a lot of people in the Labour Day formed party together the other thing that we I saw was that we had we have created called the Democratic Union so who Barack who was the prime minister in the late nineties early two thousands put together a new party notice the Democratic Union and he combined with the merits party leader the merits party and there is also a few defectors from the Labor party that are part of his party a side note. That's interesting about this party is Barack was really the I would take the force behind this party yet. He threw his choice place themselves on the ten spot meaning that the Democratic Union would need to get ten seats in order for Barack to to lead to to be in the Knesset so interesting move. I think that you know if you ask as people. Why did he do this. I think he'd say look. This isn't about me. This is for the betterment of Israel so tell us about who else is in that Democratic Union party already so who'd Barak is the founder but he included another entire Party the Merits Party and pretty famous lawmaker who came out of the Labor Party right correct correct so needs on Horowitz who is the new leader of the merits party is actually the number one on the seat of Democratic Union party. I guess technically the Party Chairman of his New Democratic Union Party on the other person who's on that list is stuff should fear who comes from a Labor her she was a very prominent figure within labor she was actually running against a mere parents to be the chairwoman of labor and she was very opposed to the union that Adam your parents made with Orly Levy and use that for say look I'm going to break away and join this new party but with WHO Barack and and with me on Horowitz the other person who's in that party that people may have heard of as well is the ear Golan who was the deputy chief of staff just a few months ago so there are some very interesting people in this new party so that roughly speaking is the state of things on the left. We have kind of going from left to right or left to center. Maybe we have the Democratic Union this new party led by Barak and stop share and it's on harvests. We have the Labor Party party. which is maybe reinventing itself more as like a social welfare kind of party that is maybe shying away from some of the traditional left-right issues in Israel? I the at Israel Palestinian conflict and then we have blue and white this kind of for people like you and me bent you who grew up on power injures This magazine Party that puts together a bunch of individual large personalities and for the goal of taking down the person who they see as the big bad which maybe is a good good segue into talking about the right sure so on the right. We still have the Likud party. disease sees the most powerful party the most prominent party run by Prime Minister Netanyahu. He is continuing to push for as as many votes as possible. Has One would assume he however has lost a bit of power. I would say since his last election right now again. Polls are always hard it to predict how accurate they are but he's pulling also round thirty votes similar to what blue and white is doing but the reason he's lost in voted. It wasn't to the left. He awesome votes to the right and so what's interesting is if you look at what happened what's going on to the parties right of. Likud so you've had the creation or or I should say maybe the recreation of the United Right Party so the United Party is a few right wing parties that have been linked together parties to the right of Likud so I yell at Kid who was hand in hand with not tally Bennett in the Jewish home party and then the New Right Party is actually now slated as the head of this further new party known as the United Right Party. That's also with a few other people enough. Tally Bennett has actually part of the party as well small church who we know as the former former head of the Jewish home party is also part of that and then a few others as well so it's a I liked share imagery of a mega toward This is also a combination of a lot of prominent right wing figures into one party. What might be the beer news actually when it comes to the united his who is not in it. Can you tell us about that. That's correct so one of the biggest criticisms I would say that was leveled in the last election was was the was about including the Oldsmar party in in the far right combination of parties the old small party we as a party that has ties to radical parties Jewish terrorist parties in the past and this time they did not make the the larger right wing base which I think for. AJC's perspective is very welcome news running from right to center like we did before we have have this united right party. That's the furthest right of the parties that can viably be expected to make it into the Knesset which is plenty all right. I think that one of the accomplishments of the news around oats my who ends hoot and no on this kind of Trifecta of extremely far right parties is that it makes the the Union of right wing parties seem a little less right-wing but they are traditionally the extreme far right of Israeli politics than in the center right. We have Likud Kood leapfrogged over someone. Can you tell us about use rob eighteen you yes oh. This is actually if you're asking what is the most interesting thing about this election. Cycle is really what's coming out from Israel Tanu and this is Victor Liebermann's Party so if everybody remembers correctly Avigdor Lieberman was the individual who who is however you WanNa put it credited blamed cursed celebrated as the individual who stopped Netanyahu from being able to form a right-wing Wean coalition in the April election. Let's Lieberman had said and what he's pushing for very I would say powerfully now is this idea of having a united fronts a grand coalition if you will of mainstream Israeli parties so he's talking about the his desire to be able to form a coalition with Likud goon white and of course Israel Baytown new at at the helm his message you look at the polling results. Now people are more interested in him this election than they were less election. He's in a lot of polls. He's slate to get around ten votes. that's one hundred percent increase from last time when he received five votes he will likely be a kingmaker in the next election and what I mean by that is if you look at the possibilities of coalition formation right now it is still very difficult for Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a right-wing coalition without the support of their Lieberman so the question is what what will that mean will Netanyahu form a unity coalition with Israel-beitenou and blue and white the issue with that is blue and white has said they will not sit in a coalition with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Also you saw saw an op. Ed this past week from Prime Minister Netanyahu saying that he's goal is not to form a union coalition but to form a right wing party and when as far as as to condemn Lieberman and saying look if you don't vote coup if you don't vote for me you're essentially voting scene four the left because Lieberman is going to try to undermine the process and force us to form a coalition with bloom white It's very interesting messaging and it's very dynamic. all of this is uncertain because we still have a lot of time before September seventeenth when the elections are coming up but this is the most interesting political dynamic right now is what is going to happen between Avigdor Lieberman Berman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I WANNA come back in a moment or two that Termi raised unity government and explore that a little bit more before we do we we should finish our wraparound here. Let's talk now about the religious parties. The ultra-orthodox parties have been any changes in that part of the landscape though not too many changes their their sleeves and get similar amount of votes as they got last time you still have shots which is the party and editor Judaism. Which is the astronauts party in recent news. That's men who is the head of the United Torah Judaism party. Police recommended that he'd be indicted on mm two different counts one is unfortunate account of trying to impede the extradition process of a individual vigil who was accused of sexually harassing a few women Australia's trying to to bring the individual back. and Lipman was accused of of trying to stop that process however because the way the religious parties work is that it's very membership base have have you believe in the Haredi astronaut view is rocky view religious view this you tend to not really change your political affiliation so it's unlikely that the indictment excitement will impact the amount of seats that United Torah Judaism gets in the next election and what about in the Arab sector of there been any changes there so yes so this is also quite interesting the Arab in the last election the Arab sector was split on and now they have formed together joint list similar to what they did not in the previous elections but the elections before that one in two thousand fifteen running on one ticket and something that was interesting about them is that I'm an ODA. WHO's the head of the party gave a comment this week last week saying that he may be willing to sit sit in a government with with blue white whether that helps balloon whites? I don't know what it would mark one of the first times that there's this willingness. There's there's this desire from the parties to be part of a an Israeli coalition so so that I think is is significant Benjamin before we close I want to learn a little bit more from you about what you said before about a unity government so first of all you know here in America the idea of the two main opponent parties cooperating to form a government together and make sure everything runs smoothly is shall we say foreign but actually in parliamentary democracies. This happens from time to time. Can you tell us what is the unity government yes so the way that the Israeli Israeli political system works you have to form a coalition and more times than not the way that they form coalition is exactly the way we just spoke about it. Members of the right wing parties banning together to create a coalition members of left wing parties banded together to create a coalition but sometimes in Israel's throughout Israel's history particularly during times of war particular uncertainty there. There's something called unity government which brings together traditionally the left and the right party the main parties in the past Knowsley cooed and it was labor brings them together to bring more stability more. I would say more representative policies to these people so what is what does that mean really in means. A lot of people in Israel are frustrated with fringe parties parties that have a lot of power but do not necessarily speak for what the entirety of the country wants so we're talking you know center left and center right. I mean it's the centrist approach but more often than not. It's not these two centrist parties that band together. It's the Senate rights with the far right or the center left with the far left so there's this idea that has a lot of prominence particularly in the last elections that how nice would it be if we had a unity government and this is something that that Lieberman in particular has been vocal about although it's hard to imagine politically how that would happen under the current circumstances right now. I do want to make one since we're we're getting into the weeds here. The latest rumors right now our fears however however you WANNA say them is if Israel maintained you and the blue and white party can get the rest of Likud without Netanyahu to be part of the the unity government you may have also seen this this week that all the Likud members signed a unity pledge saying that there are only being a government and with Prime Minister Netanyahu this is we can get more and more into the weeds but there's all these kind of maneuvers going on people are trying to undercut undercut each other trying to get ahead in the political fight and I actually saw recent polling indicates that actually a majority of Israelis these would be in favor of a unity government although the individual who fancies himself and his party a catalyst to create that union government that is to say Ignore Lieberman German and and you saw that actually the majority of Israelis would prefer for him to not be a part of that unity government so this is a rapidly changing changing landscape although even though the particulars of the parties have now solidified and that was an excellent wrap around from you Benji on left and right and unreligious and Arab there will doubtless be many many more changing headlines between now and about five weeks from from now when Israelis head to the polls Benji. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us today. SF thank you so much now. It's time for our closing segment good for the Jews where each week I share one final thought about a recent development in the world and try to answer at that age old question is good for the Jews Netflix good for the Jews or to be more specific assertain. Netflix show called Walsh diesel diesel is an Israeli TV show available on Netflix that follows the lives of the large Haredi Steel family as they go about about their lives in the ultra Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem called gala. The experience depicted on the show is very specific with few exceptions explores the lives of Haredi Jews who live in Jerusalem and Practice Their Ultra Orthodoxy in accordance ordinance with Lithuanian tradition. They speak quite a bit of Yiddish. especially the older generations and yet something about the show is incredibly universal sel so much so that one of the stars of the show recently quoted a fan from abroad told him quote. I'm a Norwegian Christian and watching diesel makes me along for my childhood and Gula apparently a sizable number of hundred team who generally don't own computers or TV's have also found their way to watching the show and why shouldn't Haredi Jews and Christians in Norway and Americans all enjoy the show at its core sh- diesel is a beautiful at times was painful story of family and belonging and making your way in the world all the more so for the American Jews who have fallen in love live with the show binging both seasons available on Netflix eagerly awaiting the third for them steal also represents a fairly uncomplicated picture of Israel devoid eight of political inflection or conflict life in St Sel is filled with love and loss and learning and Kogel in in recent years a slew of Israeli programming has made its way to our shores a process accelerated by netflixing voracious appetite for content if we American Jews can connect to our Israeli brothers and sisters through binging schiessle and Foutah and when heroes fly and beauty and the Baker through game and Arab labor and Hostages Ages and Shabaab any team well that would be good for the Jews you can subscribe to AJC passport on Itunes or on stitcher follow follow us on soundcloud or learn more at AJC dot org slash passport the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC JC. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at passport. AJC Dot Org if you like this podcast sure to read it and write a review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening listening. I'm your host Steffi coding. This episode is brought to you by. AG The American Jewish Committee. Our producer is coupon down our sound engineer nearest T._k. Broderick tune in next for another episode of A._J._C. Passport.

Israel Jerusalem Prime Minister Benjamin Netany Avigdor Lieberman American Jewish Committee Labor Party Steffi United Torah Judaism party Democratic Union party United Right Party Israel L. AJC Center Party Israeli government Likud Tel Aviv Chief Rabbinate Stephen Haredi Society Non Zionist
Election 2020: The Democratic National Convention

People of the Pod

27:10 min | 2 months ago

Election 2020: The Democratic National Convention

"Hello and welcome to people of the pod brought to you by AJC each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what it all means for. Israel. And the Jewish people I'm Stephie Cogan and I'm on Uber Sheer? Men? This year AJC is hosting virtual programs on the sidelines of the virtual democratic and republican national conventions to correspond with this week's convention, we are joined by Haley Soifer executive, director of the Jewish Democrat Council of America next week, we will talk to Matt Brooks Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition Haley Soifer previously served as national security adviser for Senator Comma Harris now, the Democratic nominee for vice president and Joe Biden's running mate. She joins us now to talk about the role. Jewish. Voters play and how she believes. Democrats addressed. Jewish. Priorities please keep in mind. AJC. Is a five. Oh One C. Three not profit organization AJC neither supports nor opposes candidates for elective office and with that disclaimer Haley welcome thank you so much for having me. So let's start with the basics and Kinda, the horse race aspect of this how much of the American voting population identifies as Jewish? So the Jewish community in terms of the American population is about two percent, but we're actually about three percent of the electorate and we'd play an outsized role in. NHS for three reasons, we voted higher rates. On average Jewish Americans vote at a higher rate than. By about fifteen percents we also where we live correlates with wear our votes tend to matter even more we tend to live in swing states and a third reason which I'm sure we'll get into is that we overwhelmingly support Democrats in our view as Jewish Democrat organization that is especially or in terms of the outsize impact we have. So Haley Bernie Sanders in his speech on Monday addressed the many Democrats who really wanted him to be the nominee and many of them were Jewish are Jewish many of them have us on Israel, that don't jibe with the very pro Israel aspects of the party, platform. It really sounded like Bernie was calling on Democrats to unify despite their differences and I'm curious how the Party and its leadership have prevented Israel from becoming a wedge issue. Joe Biden has done an exceptional job in unifying the party around these critically important issues, including Israel and the platform that's been adopted at this convention exemplifies what is overwhelming democratic support for the US Israel relationship. Ebeidi s support a full funding for military. And Support of the STOORIKHEL alliance, it's the view of the majority of members of Congress that is the democratic mainstream media. So you emphasize what a majority of Democrats you certainly we've had concerns over the years about Ilan Omar had to leave. Is that kind of who you're thinking about when you say a majority of Democrats feel this way I should have said an over overwhelming majority you mentioned. Two. Members, of Congress, we currently between the House and the Senate head of over two hundred and seventy. So between those two members of Congress who we agree do not share our views on Israel and we've spoken out against them going back to before they were even elected. But between the two of them to over two seventy, we're talking about less than one percent of the Democratic members of Congress. They are very outspoken though they have expressed views with which we disagree and we've made that clear and that's why we're not supporting their re election and we don't share their views but luckily, their views are not shared by our party either look at the platform I mean the platform is the views of our candidate and the views of our Party and the platform could not be more clear in. Its support of Israel, what I the states to watch in this upcoming election and in which of those states could the Jewish vote really make a difference. When we look in elections, we always look at the last election as a baseline and we know that had Donald Trump not one Florida and either Michigan or Pennsylvania. He would not be president today and in those three states Florida Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Jewish vote alone could made up those margins. So when we looked to twenty twenty in this election, we are looking at the Jewish vote in those critically important states, my home state of Michigan Donald. Trump won by just ten, thousand, seven, hundred, and four votes. That margin could be overcome by the Jewish student population of Michigan in Michigan state a low. We are looking at the Jewish vote in those three critically important states but also states like Arizona and Colorado and Georgia, which in addition to being presidential swing states are going to be critically important in terms of the control of the Senate. Are you saying that the Jews in those swing states voted Republican or didn't vote at all did shoes in those swing states voted we know that Jewish voters do turn out and in twenty sixteen, it was no different than in previous elections choose turned out. But. We also know bat they turned out in support of Hillary. Clinton at about seventy two percents. If you look at the two thousand eighteen midterms Jewish voters supported Democrats at seventy nine percents. So we saw an increase, we believe that in twenty twenty, those numbers can continue to go up in terms of Jewish support for Democrats. So now we'll talk with your Republican counterpart on next week's episode. But from your vantage point, you said that most Jews identify with the Democratic Party why is that? So, choose have historically for decades defied overwhelmingly with the Democrats, the values that Jews hold dear tend to be those aligned with the policies supported by Democrats. So when it comes to domestic policies such as access to affordable healthcare and education ED and gun safety and ensuring that we are country welcoming the stranger and not enacting cruel and discriminatory policies toward immigrants and refugees. These are all key issues driving the Jewish vote. On those issues and more, that's where Jewish voters align with Democrats when it comes to foreign policy is well, we know that support of Israel is an issue that is important of course to Jewish voters and Mrs. Issue Where Democrats to our squarely aligned with the priority of Jewish voters, which is the support of the strong US Israel relationship, and in this election, we have a new issue. So all of those things have been constance. New issue in this election that is impacting the Jewish, vote in Support of Democrats and that is our rising insecurity as a community. We have seen an unprecedented rise in anti-semitic attacks targeting our community including the horrific attacks in Pittsburgh and Powei we know that seventy three percent of Jews feel less secure than they did years ago and over half of US blame. Donald Trump for that and that's because we've seen him embolden anti-semites white nationalist just last night he tweeted out support for an extremist group Hugh a non that has peddled conspiracy theories still on these issues especially when it comes to the security of our community. There's a clear choice in this election and Jewish especially do not believe that Donald Trump has the best interest of our community in mind he has Jewish family members. He's certainly been friendly to Israel is strengthened that relationship. So how does that square? There's no question. He has Jewish family members. He's also married and he's done said many misogynistic things. So that alone does not qualify him as what I would consider to be someone who's been particularly good for the Jewish community I look at the numbers and I look at the unprecedented rise in white nationalist propaganda or anti Semitic attack and the words that. Come out of his mouth better clear signs to anti-semites to racist to bigots that he is their ally whether it is identifying anti-semites white nationalist marching Charlottesville as very fine people or calling the extremists that marched in Michigan with swastikas very good people that was earlier this year or hiring someone recently, Sebastian Gorka who is affiliated with the Nazi party in Hungary? When it comes to Israel. Donald Trump. Has Been Long on symbolism and short on substance. Yes. He moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and we recognize that Jerusalem is, of course, the capital of Israel. But the substance matters and when you look at the record of Joe Biden who with President Obama finalized unprecedented historic thirty eight. DOLLAR AGREEMENT WITH ISRAEL PROVIDING FOR AID for the next ten years, and you look at the security issues that Israel faces. Actually Donald. Trump has not been that great for Israel. Let's go back to that you an arms embargo that you just mentioned it is set to expire in October and the trump administration is demanding snap back sanctions go into a fact do Democrats agree with this? What would the Biden Administration do in this case? What would the approach to? Iran be? In the Obama Administration. which in many ways, Joe Biden was very much a part of it was a part of these decisions with regard to Iran the goal with Iran was and would, of course, continue to be to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapon. The way that the Obama Administration went about it, which I believe would be continued in. Abidin. Administration. Is To exhaust all diplomatic options to ensure. That's not the case. The JCP away was the combination of successful diplomacy but that didn't happen in a vacuum. It was the result of years of sanctions against Iran forced Iran back to the negotiating table given your experience with Kamala Harris as her national security adviser. Do you foresee a vice president Harris exerting as much power in foreign policy decisions as Biden and his predecessors? Well. Having served at the national. Security. Adviser. For Comma Harris I can tell you that she is a values driven leader. Then that includes on national security she serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee. She's been an integral member of that committee in its three year investigation of Russia's role interfering our twenty sixteen elections. She deeply values and appreciates debt breath of the US as a relationship we traveled to Israel together and I saw that firsthand I know just how capable he is at leading on these issues I can't speak to specifically what role other than vice president she would have in. This administration and what role that would take on, but I know that if in fact. Joe. Biden decided that she would lead on foreign policy and national security. She would be a fantastic leader whose priorities would align with the Jewish community and again I've seen it firsthand as it relates to Israel I've also seen it firsthand as it relates Taro insecurity when attacks started targeting our community including in California in twenty seventeen, she led a bi partisan effort to condemn take measures against the rise of hate crimes, the white nationalism, and I was proud of that work but it was really. Driven directly by her and it was a bipartisan effort. It was a resolution that passed unanimously in the Senate and as someone who had just arrived in the Senate just a few months before it really was a demonstration of not only her leadership by her ability to work in a bipartisan manner to get things done that really matter and for her the security of our community was hair amount. So I'm glad you pivoted to domestic issues here and I want to explore that a little bit more before we go. In fact, some polls rank Israel Iran, Russia foreign policy issues as. Really at the bottom of the priority list for many if not most Jewish voters and instead gauge healthcare gun, violence, social security Medicare those are the key issues that Jewish voters care about do those mayor how you view Jewish voters priorities. The issue that you're referring to, which we also see in polling is when you ask Jewish voters, what are the most important issues to you when deciding which candidate support they will overwhelmingly choose domestic policy issues starting with healthcare to include gotten safety climate, change, economic issues, and other domestic policy issues impacting our life and our own security to include anti-semitism. because. Those are the issues where there's the biggest difference between the two parties between Democratic candidates and Republican candidates. But we also know that when it comes to Israel, which, yes, does fall to the bottom of that list that doesn't mean it's not a priority for Jewish voters. We know that Jewish voters overwhelmingly consider themselves to be pro. Israel but it's not an area where there is as much distinction frankly between the parties and that is a good thing. Supportive Israel remains strongly bipartisan. So I think that it is what we consider to be a threshold issue. Of course candid. It have to be supportive of Israel in order to have support of Jewish voters. And the overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans alike meet that threshold. So voters are going to the polls making their decisions on issues where there's the biggest distinction and that is access to affordable healthcare that is gun safety that is the security of our own community, and frankly at this stage, a weather, our leaders share our values and it's pretty clear that Donald Trump does not. Some of these priorities have been addressed during this week's program and Gabby giffords opening speech on Wednesday highlighted the importance of gun violence. The testimony of the daughter of Corona virus victim very moving heartbreaking highlighted healthcare has the virtual convention been able to really adequately explained how a Biden administration would address what matters to. Jewish voters. It's exceeded expectations. It's been a very accessible for people, right so that in of itself is an accomplishment and I do think it's had a great narrative each night about issues such as racial justice and the impact of climate change and gun safety even gender-based violence last night. These are all issues that Jewish voters care about and prioritize the discrimination against the targeting of immigrants and refugees and. Ultimately, Jews care about issues that are correlated with our values. Haley for those listeners who might have missed the rabbi speaking at the convention can you tell a little bit about the story behind his appearance there? The story that is told by by Rabbi Rabbi deals is one that talks about the character Joe Biden and frames him as a mench the mench we need in the White House but the story is that in two thousand six, this rabbi attended a Shiva Service. I was leading Shiva Service, and in walks Joe Biden a very unassuming way not necessarily to be seen or got. You know he didn't he wasn't speaking and the rabbi asked Joe Biden. Why he was there and he said that this woman gave him eighteen dollars every six years and she supported him in he was there to support her family it speaks to his empathy and his compassion, and the fact that he shares our values just in terms of his character and who he is and that has been a theme throughout this convention. Frankly that's where when you compare that with what we're going to see next week at the Republican convention. That's the choice that voters face in this election. We'll Haley as good good note to end on. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you appreciate it. Now. It's time for a closing segment. Shabat table talk says on vacation this week but I'm not alone joining me is Jason Isaacson AJC chief policy and political affairs officer. Jason, when you sit down with friends or family at your table this week, what will you be talking about Manja, my Chabad table which by the way weather permitting, we'll be a folding table on the balcony of my wife's and my apartment in Washington. Be Talking about our children men will be talking about were new job as a counselor in. Use Clinic and I'm quite sure we'll be talking about the latest really dramatic developments in the middle. East? Just a few days ago as you know President Trump grants Mohammed bin Zayed on Afghan of Abu Dhabi and Prime Minister Netanyahu nnounced. United Arab Emirates and Israel will establish formal diplomatic relations. You he will be the third Arab country with an embassy in Israel twenty, six years after Jordan and forty one years after Egypt reached peace agreements with Jewish. Emirati relations will open a new chapter in the Middle East with direct flights investments in each other's countries, educational cultural exchanges, sharing of energy water-management, medical technology enhanced security cooperation against extremists and other regional threats and the small but vibrant Jewish community of the emerets which AJC by the way helped establish more than a decade ago will surely grow as Israelis discovered business at arts and other opportunities there in a country celebrates diversity and that has already committed to building a synagogue on its new Abraham family. House cap is in Abu. Dhabi in the next two years and there's reason to believe that the US will not be the only Arab states open new relations with Israel in recent days there has been considerable speculation that the coming months we'll see a further widening at the circle of peace as pragmatic governments seek both to realize the vast potential benefits to their people from normalizing ties with Israel. NTM's the political influence. Those normalized ties confer to help, restart, and bring to a successful conclusion Israeli Palestinian. Negotiations money as you know, the the drive to expand peace and cooperation across the Middle East and North Africa to assure Israel's security and improve the lives of all the children of Abraham has long been in AJC priority in the twenty nine years that I've been privileged to play a role in guiding AJC policy at our international outreach it's the pursuit which I've to go to the greatest attention in the company of many able staff colleagues, hundreds of dedicated HAC lay leaders and in partnership with creative. And indefatigable Israeli diplomats as well as rave and visionary Arab policy experts business people at officials, and of course, American diplomats have played a significant part throughout this over more than a quarter century. AJC has made scores of visits to Arab capitals seeking to open doors and open minds to the possibilities of engagement with Israel. We've developed our own important relationships trusted relationships with a number of Arab states. It's long been understood that a collateral benefit of openness toward Israel would be new friendships in the United States. I couldn't be more excited about the vistas opened by the Israel announcement. I was already looking forward to leading an AJC delegation to the Israeli Villian in the World Expo in Dubai which is scheduled to launch in October twenty twenty one, and now I can look forward to what just a week or so ago seemed an impossible dream to attending the opening in the not too distant future. Of. The Israeli. Embassy in Abu. Dhabi. And on the of really many discussions over many years and other countries in the Gulf and North Africa. I can confidently look forward to other milestones on the road to true Israeli Arab reconciliation and cooperation in the months and years ahead. This hopeful. Suddenly attainable future is what I expect to be talking about our Chaban table. How About Yours Munya? Well. Jason. I love that you use the word indefatigable no one else I know uses that word but it is the perfect word to describe some of the folks that you deal with on a regular basis I mean frankly they have had to be because it seemed as though they were hitting their heads against the wall for a long time, but actually the wall was cracking. Yeah. So you really do. Believe this will speed up diplomatic relations with other countries, I. Don't want to emphasize too much the speed at which will occur but clearly other countries have taken notice other countries have had various levels of contact over many years. We've facilitates contact, a lot of it has happened of course on its own, but the advantages are so apparent and I believe will be seized by by other governments. I hope that you do get to attend the opening of the Israeli embassy and Abu Dhabi. That will be very exciting. Will there be one of those iconic photo opportunities in the White House Rose Garden soon when the United Arab Emirates signs this with Israel what are you should ask that because? Yes, I do believe that right now in the White House they are making plans I just thought you need to have the Murad the Israelis with the finishing touches on what their agreement will look like but I know that for sure there will be a White House signing ceremony and I I'm guessing it's going to be before the election. Well Jason Thank you so much for sharing your insights on that. At our Chaban table, we will be talking about the willing suspension of disbelief. It came recently when my son and I were watching a trailer of Seth Rogan's American pickle a movie about an immigrant in one, thousand, nine, hundred, thousand, nine who falls into a vat of pickle juice and Brian's for a century before. Popping out of the VAT and seeing things have changed a bit. I'm sure he also learned that things haven't changed that much since that's usually how these Hollywood narratives go. But as you might have guessed, he tracks down his great great grandson played by none other than Seth Rogan as well and comedy and adventure and sue now, of course, my six year old son asked could that. Really Happen Mom and when the answer was. No. So began the conversation about the willing suspension of disbelief and how it's necessary to enjoy and create literature theatre cinema, and sometimes history as listeners might recall Seth Rogan in an interview on another podcast. Got Himself into a bit of pickle juice doing publicity by making some sarcastic remarks about Israel. Rogan criticizes Israel Education which he said. Contained a huge amount of lies and questioned why it was a good idea for Jews to be gathered in one country his attempt at humor sparked some outrage in the Jewish community understandably, and in a series of damage control interviews. Afterward, Rogan clarified that his comments about Israel where made ingest and that he does not want Jews to believe he thinks the Jewish state should not exist. But it has been my experience that jokes always contain a kernel of truth and indeed when Rogan apologized for how the jokes came across he also emphasized his concern that the education he received about Israel through Jewish schools and camps was well oversimplified. This is a common complaint and I I. Wish Steffi, were here this week not on vacation to back me up on this because here's a lot from the young people with whom he works. ISRAEL IS A. Messy complicated, complex story to tell and more importantly and Jason I think you would agree Israel does not exist in a vacuum. The Middle East is a messy complicated complex story to tell which makes the Emirati is announcement all the more historic I'm sure for people like yourself Jason envisioning a world when Israel has normalized relations with Arab countries requires to some degree willing suspension of disbelief you have to transcend just this unimaginable reality and envision history so. I asked you who's next and I'm sure a lot of people have a hard time imagining a friendship between Israel and some of the countries that we talked about but willing suspension of disbelief. That's what we'll talk about it. Our chaban table this week Shabat Shalom Shalom. You can subscribe to people the pod on Itunes, Google play or spotify, or learn more at AJC dot org slash people of the pie the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the position spe. JC We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod at AJC dot born if you like this podcast, be sure to rated and writer review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening this episode is brought to you by AJC. Our producer is condo. Producer is Tarlac and our sound engineer t broddrick tune in next week for another episode of people of the Pot.

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Facebook Bans Holocaust Denial Content

People of the Pod

24:28 min | Last week

Facebook Bans Holocaust Denial Content

"Hello. And welcome to people of the pod brought to you by HAC each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what it all means for Israel and the Jewish people. I'm seventy KOGEN and I'm on your sheer cashman. Hi Saffy. Tell us about our guest this week well-known Yeah I spoke with Jordana Cutler facebook's head of policy for Israel and the Jewish Diaspora about the company's decision to ban Holocaust denial content from the platform. Is Very, encouraging news. I'm really looking forward to hearing that, and I'm really looking forward to seeing you next week's during our first live podcast of the pandemic on October twentieth at four PM I hope our listeners tune in to hear from our friend Jacob Cordon Bleu of Jewish insider to talk about the unrest and Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of Brooklyn where protests over covid nineteen restrictions have led to occasional violence some of targeting him go to AJC dot org slash people in the pod to register. Now let's the show. On Monday in a major departure from the company's previous position facebook announced that it would ban Holocaust denial content from the platform E. J.. C. is proud of our sustained advocacy to help facebook or at this decision. Joining us now to discuss the new policy is join ANA cutler facebook head of policy for Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. Jordan, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having me here now in two thousand eighteen facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously said that he hates Holocaust denial but that he doesn't believe it is facebook's place to censor the free exchange of ideas. This week facebook reversed course and announced that Holocaust denial would no longer be permitted on the platform what changed between then and now. I think I'll start just bipolar mark because I could say a lot of things but I think the most important thing is what he says himself I think what's really interesting mark doesn't post about every policy change and every step of the company takes, but he felt it was important that he posted he set himself. I struggled with the tension between standing for freedom of expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the her the Holocaust. My thinking has evolved as I've seen data showing an increase in. Antisemitic violence as our water policies have also changed on hate speech drawing the right lines between what is and isn't acceptable speech in straightforward but with the current state of the world I believe this is the right balance and I just I felt it was important just to read all of his words. I'm I'm sure many of you saw it on facebook and then read one hundred other news articles but to go back into what mark said his thinking of all for two reasons, one data in the real world. And I'm really actually excited to get the data from the new AJC survey coming up not to give you a plug. No one asked me to do that. By all means, plug away that day that is important to us. We we look at it and we see it as a connection between what we see online and offline world that's important to us, and second is the discussions that we've had with people around the world. That's also important Tyson. You guys have been a part of that. So again, these processes evolve and I think it's important to note all of our processes and all of our policies evolve. So mark you know having. A policy change isn't that unusual? This one obviously is something that we've been all very focused on so it stands out to us. facebook famously has more than a billion, maybe even two billion monthly active users, something like that. Right the the numbers. That I'm not counting. The number is is way up there and certainly makes you number one among social media platforms. So I would imagine with so many people. So frequently using facebook, the sheer number of posts, individual posts in facebook's history must be well well into the billions does this decision apply retroactively? So if someone five years ago, posted some piece of Holocaust denial content in among these many billions of posts is facebook using some kind of system to find that and remove it. Great question because we actually find remove. Two ways the first is our AI systems that look and find for this stuff and the second is user reports and hoping many the listeners here when they see content that they think violates our policies, not just our speech policy but any of our policies that they report it because every piece of content whether it's a comment page post, all of those pieces of content are things that you can report and have checked by were, and those reviewers are people that are. Based all around the world that are operating twenty, four, seven, and operating in every language on our platform to find those violations it's important to say that no matter what changes we've made as soon as content is violating our platform, we will remove it because hate speech what it was two years ago isn't necessarily hate speech today, and that's not just because we've changed our policies the words that we used as slurs change over time and so speech changes as time. Evolves. We also take a look at those changes and reevaluate our policies. So of course, if we find content because it's reported to us or because we find it no matter when it was posted, we will remove that from our platform. Now, it will take time when it comes to this new policy to get it up to speed and to try to get as much of this content off. One of the things about ai is that it takes time for us to. Learn and to be able to use automated technology to find things and remove them. does take a learning process especially considering how many languages we have. So I just encourage everybody listening if you see Holocaust denial or distortion content to report it, but I would like to flag that we might make mistakes especially in the beginning, you'll have an opportunity to appeal that mistake, and if we continue to make mistakes I can promise you that will continue to work on improving. One thing I've seen kind of these things will go viral when when mistakes are made sometimes. On on twitter of course, not not facebook but you'll see that someone you know intended or someone. Did you know share their great grandmother's story of being in the Holocaust something in there there's a line about how you know someone once told her that her story was made up or something and enough words are used in just the right pattern that the AI picks it up and flags it as something like that. So I guess those are the kinds of mistakes that that can happen is they're? Going to be some kind of a notice I, go on my facebook and I like post my usual daily Holocaust denial post and ten of my friends like it and two more calm and whatever, and then someone says like what the hell are you doing like this is terrible and they report me and facebook becomes aware of it and they take it down as well. They should what happens then well, it's going to be the same as any other content on our platform and I think it's important. To notice the policy that we came out with to remove how Austin I own distortion content is a subsection of an existing hate speech policy that already provided a lot of protections against hate speech or antisemitic content against Jews, and so for us it's I wouldn't say reinventing the wheel here. What we're doing is adding onto a policy that we already started in August I kind of look at that as the moment where these changes really took shape where we added a line into the hate speech. Policy that said, we will remove harmful stereotypes against Jewish people that claims that they are controlling the world arts, major institutions, and so this is going to be a line under that. If you go in and anyone can go door community standards and see there's a new bullet point under there that says Holocaust denial distortion anyone who reports content for violating hate speech policy we'll be treated the same anyone who reporting any content is treated the same. We're not doing something separate for this policy so just in. General. When you report content I think it's important to know that often anonymous reports so people should feel safe to report the person on the other side. If that content isn't violating, they're not going to even know that that content was reported. But if the content is violating, then they will get a message from US telling them that the content was removed and we'll tell them for what policy it was removed. We won't be specific as to what word was violating. We will tell them what policy. That's been a huge undertaking from our engineering teams. We usually just in the past would say this is violating our community standards and we understood that that wasn't enough information for people. So now we explain what policy was violating. It's important to note that people report content for many different reasons. But when we see that report will look at it under all of our policies. So you might report something for being hate speech, but we actually removed it because it was nudity we will evaluate all that content. And then let the person know as to why we also explained to them that if you continue to violate our policies, we will block you from using our services or eventually remove you from our services and just since you mention other facebook services facebook is more than just facebook does this policy apply on Instagram and then probably most complicated Lee does it apply on WHATSAPP as well? So it does apply on instagram all of our content policies anyone that resort community standards those are applicable both to facebook. And instagram what's up is an end to end encrypted messaging service, and so our content policies in terms of controlling or looking at the way in which people use language is not applicable in WHATSAPP. We do want to make sure that we're working with law enforcement and making sure that our services are not being used for things like child pornography or terrorism, and we have some ways to be able to do that. But again, there's a very different set of challenges when it comes to and encrypted messaging. Sheryl Sandberg facebook's. Met this week with Asia Ao David Harris and said of facebook's work with AJC on this issue that quote external perspectives help us improve our policies. Our experience with AJC has been that you are people who we can really trust learn from. Can you just pull back the curtain a little bit for our listeners and share how did facebook benefit from its engagement with AJC, and and how did that engagement factor into this important decision? Course so I think first of all, I'll just use opportunity to thank AJC. It's been really exciting to get to know everyone and I think that these relationships really helped to bring the company to a different place. So I thank you second. What does that mean? Why am I talking to AJC? To go to your question, facebook doesn't in vacuum facebook hires people that come from a variety of different backgrounds. So my background, for example, for anyone who might not know I worked a lot in these really government I have a background in Jewish diaspora affairs and I know a lot about the issues that we're talking about in addition to thirteen years of Jewish day school education or going to brandeis. So I feel quite confident walking this I mean I'm not an academic etc. But the fact that facebook is hiring someone like me with my background to deal with this issue says something about what the company feels about. These issues and the same thing for all the other issues that we're dealing with when it comes to women's safety people on the team that have been rape crisis counselors we have lawyers a lot of people that have come from military backgrounds around the world that doesn't mean that we understand every problem happening in the real world and so engagement with civil society and communities around the world is very important and so we've always worked with the Jewish community, but I would say that over the last year and a half or so we've really tried to up the ante on making sure that we are plugged into what's. Happening in the Jewish world and that doesn't just mean I want to say about hate speech and anti-semitism. There's a lot of really other positive things that are happening on our platform that we can discuss and engage with the Jewish community and one doesn't negate the other but I think it's important to note that the engagement doesn't necessarily mean it's all around content discussions but we do a lot of programs related to positive messaging. Will we call counter speech campaigns, etc using our platform and the power of the platform to connect. So HEC has been one of the communities that has been really engaged in our state. Holder roundtables, which means that we brought many different Jewish organizations together in the United States and also in Europe to really delve in and discuss these issues in addition to this latest. Holocaust. Denial decision facebook also recently decided to ban content promoting the complex web of conspiracy theories called Cunanan are these two decisions part of growing realization that facebook needs to take a more proactive role in combating hate speech should we be looking at this as a body of policy is facebook moving away beyond just the Holocaust decision is facebook moving away from this idea that it can serve as a neutral platform for people to spout any view. Well I mean I would say that if we're looking at the history of facebook, the way that we see people using language on our platform has greatly evolved. So I would say that one hundred percent we work three months ago or even a year ago saying we're a neutral player and have no policies and take no stance. We've always had very robust policies and you know I don't feel like I need to be modest here, and Senate facebook has really been the leader in writing and creating very robust community standards and one of the important. Things of those community standards is that they work in concert with one another, and so what you mentioned about looking at these networks of extremists, for example, they actually don't fall under a hate speech policy. We look at them under a policy called dangerous organizations and individuals. That policy is really really important because what it does is it looks at activity not only on our platform and not looking only at just oppose or a piece of content, but looking at the combination between offline behavior and how that connects to what it means on our platform. So. An example would be. When we bombed Louis can you know quite a while ago from being on facebook that wasn't because he had a series of fifteen posts that violated so we removed him we have a team of people that's focused on looking at people that we would designate to take off of our platform completely that they're not allowed to have a place on our platform even if they were posting a page with their favorite recipes were. Pictures of their latest travels, we don't allow them to be on our platform and this policy of dangerous organization. An individuals looks at both terrorist organizations and extremist groups not just from the right from the left and anywhere they might be coming from, and so we have a team of people that solely focus on this. It's led by an amazing person named Brian Fishman and I would encourage anyone actually to follow him on twitter. And I know I gave a plug for another platform. It's totally okay. He gives amazing announcements on these issues. He also posts in our newsroom. Constantly, when we make these announcements and his job and the job of his team, which is of over one hundred people around the world really researching only these issues would be, when does a person's behavior Goto the step where we don't want them on our platform and so we've been doing this for years. Obviously, we're stepping it up because the activity in the real world is stepping up. So we're going to acting concert to what's happening in the real world in addition to the Holocaust denial decision and the and. On decision, there was one other recent buzzed about facebook policy decision, which I think you actually alluded to a few minutes ago. This was about restricting many types of political ads on the platform. Especially, I'm not sure if it's a permanent decision or kind of a placeholder decision right now in the run up to the election here in the states but I think my question is I wonder if in general facebook thinks that the Internet needs to move away from the kind of constantly quarreling always at the boiling point. That has settled in over the past decade or so right like the internet once thought of as friendly magical place and now I think for so many of us, it feels like a chore or Cesspool or you know pick whatever kind of bad. Want. So let's close here with one last question. Do you think facebook can play a role in helping us all be kinder online. Yes. Very simple. Yes. But I'll just say one extra thing I think we've tried to give people tools as much as they can to control the experience that they have on facebook to be able to pick the kind of content that you wanna see from your friends and family what you WANNA. See I to have more controls over the ads that you see. You know I think that there's this concept of it's also bad out there, but you also can control a lot of what what you want to be around. You don't WanNa. See News sites. You only want to see your friends than you can do that, and so I think it's important to remember that it's a few extra clicks in a little more time on your phone, but you can work to control in control also the amount of time you're spending on facebook you can. Set reminders to remind yourself that you've been on for an hour and turn it off. We created that because we knew it was important to people but I also think that the power of count speeches I've mentioned a few times does help to remind people to be kinder. You know I think that people and organizations can use the power of our platform to spread messages about reminding people to speak online the way that they speak in the real world and I think that that balance of. A, person that you are talking to on the street or in a classroom you're in your house or at your dining room table should be much more usually more respectful than it is to somebody online and we're actually working with a lot of organizations to empower their kind of campaigns to get this message out to people. So that's the long version to a yes and I really hope so and proud to be a part of a company that wants to make the world a better place while Giordano. Thank you so much for taking the time and I know that my colleagues. And I look forward to continuing to partner with you and your colleagues have facebook to help make the world a better place. Thank you again. Thank you so much. Now, it's time for a closing segment Chabad tabletop Saffy when you're gathered with your friends and family at the Chabad table this week. But will you be talking about? There's a lot that we don't know about Cleopatra. We don't know what she looked like for one unless you put much stock in tiny thousand-year-old imprints on coins from Europe. We don't know then if she was as beautiful as the legends have it though we know her father was Macedonian Greek we don't know who her mother was. There's a lot. We do know about gallagher dote the Israeli actor who became world famous as wonder woman we know she is talented. We know she is charming. We know she is the seventh generation of her family to have been born in Israel, and of course, hails from Israel as do all Jews. So in many ways, it seems like an inspired choice to have one person of Mediterranean Extraction Gaga Dote play another Cleopatra in a new movie focusing on. The Japan monarch indeed recent research relying on genetic testing of mummies has demonstrated that the closest match for an ancient Egyptian wouldn't be an Arab or a north African person but someone of Levin Time, heritage? Like. For example, a Jew guess what happened next the casting announcement incited a series of angry tweets which have since metastasized into think pieces in the Guardian Aljazeera and the like the piece in the Guardian begins by calling dotes casting as quote a backwards step for Hollywood representation and concludes by saying that quote Gaga Dote has proved herself that nobody can become an allaster when given the chance to play a massive role. Yikes. It's one thing to talk about representation in movies where again good dote terrain woman is a logical choice to play another Mediterranean woman but it's quite another to demean a talented women by saying that, her star power is only the result of the happy accident of being cast as wonder woman. I saw at least one person on twitter and account the regularly posts anti Israel content tweet that Gal dote is actually too ugly to play Cleopatra they called her manish that's a tweet that was celebrated with many Palestinian flag emojis in the replies folks. Let me assure you Gago dote is not ugly. What do we learn from this? Well, people on twitter are hateful and stupid for one. But we already knew that I'm actually not sure what are takeaways are I do know is that my Chabad table I'll be talking about how excited I am to see Gallagher Dote Star as Cleopatra. Sethi. At Our table, we will be talking about Charlie and the chocolate factory. Now I'm in that season of life when I'm reading nothing but children's books a second time around last week Max Rosen I tore through books twenty three through twenty eight of the Magic Tree House series and finished one of my favorites about that Wacky Willie Wonka. Since reading it as a young girl, I've learned that role dolls live was fascinating and sad and tragic. If you dare climb his family tree, you'll find plenty of fodder for page six. I've also learned that he was a rabid anti Semite and very proud of that fact in one, thousand, nine, hundred, eighty, three interview about the time I was introduced to him he told a reporter, there is a trait and the Jewish character that does provoke animosity. Maybe it's a kind of lack of generosity towards non-jews. I mean there's always a reason why anti anything crops up anywhere even a stinker Hitler didn't just pick on them for no reason Oh, and that's just one of many repulsive opinions he shared. Now, this revelation has led me to read these novels. They were cautious I-, combing for Anti Jewish sentiments or dog whistles, but it's also led me to question whether I should be reading these novels to my children at all. Should they be introduced to the mad genius of role doll or should I find other literary heroes to encourage their creativity and love of literature you know authors who don't hate Jews the answer came over the weekend when we actually sat down to watch the Nineteen seventy-one adaptation starring Gene Wilder of blessed memory who yes was Jewish. Role Doll hated that adaptation which kind of made they love it even more. But here's what he really would have hated earlier this year Netflix's announced yet another adaptation by Jewish director Taika Waititi of Joe Rabbit fame. Now, if you haven't seen Joe Rabbit, you aren't familiar with how not portrayed Hitler. It was hilarious unsettling but most importantly probably had adolf rolling in his grave the mere prospect of what t t a Jew taking artistic liberties with Dole's work is delicious by doing. So He's preserving and honoring what matters the living breathing words. Why t will present them in the proper context, which is what I decided. We will do as we continue to read eventually discussing the very flawed man behind the words. Childhood wouldn't be the same without willy, Wonka, the BEF G or James and the giant peach which. Rose started reading this week and I'm not about to let an anti Semite ruin that fantastic journey for my kids. So John Stone fruit that is what we will be talking about at our Chaban table this week. Chabad Shalom. Shalom. You can subscribe to people of the pot on itunes Google play or spotify or learn more at AJC dot org slash people of the pie the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions. Of Ajc we'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod at E. J. C. Dot borne. If you like this podcast, be sure rate it and writer review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening this episode is brought to you by AJC. Our producer is condo. Our sister producer is a Tarlac Ritz, and our sound engineer is t k Broddrick tune in next week for another episode of people of the Pot.

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Lonnie Bunch on Race Relations; Isaac Herzog on Israel and the Diaspora

People of the Pod

42:53 min | 5 months ago

Lonnie Bunch on Race Relations; Isaac Herzog on Israel and the Diaspora

"Hello and welcome to people of the pod brought to you by AJC each week. We take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what it all means for Israel and the Jewish people. I'm Stephie Cogan and I'm on Uber Sheer men. The protests rocking cities across the United States following the death of George, Floyd in Minneapolis have many Americans asking. How did we here? To unpack that complicated history and where we go from here AJC's Melanie Merrin pill turned to Lonnie. Bunch Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and founding director of the National Museum of African American history and culture AJC invited Lonnie as part of our advocacy anywhere series zoom conversations that you can register to watch in real time by going to AJC dot org slash advocacy anywhere. Just as we expected lawn, who has been a guest on this podcast before did a masterful job explaining the reality of institutional racism and the impact of civil unrest in this country. Here are portions of that conversation from earlier this week. Our country is facing unprecedented struggles and challenges as an organization with a long history of involvement in the civil rights movement. This conversation is particularly important to US Lonnie. Ura Historian so before to the events of today. Let's look back this week. Marks the ninety ninth, th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre where the business district in the heart of the black community in Tulsa was destroyed, hundreds of people were killed and injured. What can we learn from that dark day and what? We're a lasting impacts from that community trauma? Will thank you for letting me to be with you today. I always appreciative my dear friend Allen Rich. I think it's really important to realize that Tulsa was one of those moments where racism destroyed a community, here was a thriving black downtown black businesses, but many people who were not African American were concerned about how well they were doing, so they basically rioted burn. The town destroyed people's lives, and in a way. What this tells us is at first of all. It tells us that America often fails to live up to its stated ideals and met often those that hurt. The most people have come and so. So what I think we learned so much from. Tulsa is two things one. We learn that there's a resiliency that people have to rebuild their communities to rebuild their lives, and to basically even in the darkest moments. People realize that they dream of America yet to be and so rather than the Tulsa. Folks have saying it's time to flee. It's America's not going to be fair to us. They said it's time to rebuild, but it's now time for us to continue to challenge to make our country better. Thank you so having to what's happening today? In the situation? In which we find ourselves today it has taken four hundred years to get to this boiling point. This did not happen overnight as evidenced by what you Your remarks on the Tulsa massacre. We know that there are certain inequities that are essentially baked into the American cake, and cannot be fixed by the passage of a new law or simple policy change, although those are critically important. What are the greatest gaps, is the big question, but what are the greatest gaps in equity, and while we have made progress to be sure what is holding us back for more rapid progress on racial justice? I think first of all. Let me answer the big question by continuing to step back historically and to frame this. On one hand somebody said to me Oh is this unique moment I think there are some unique characteristics, but the reality is. This is something we've seen over and over again whether it's also the I keep at this moment I keep hearing the words of Ella Baker who was important woman who helped to shape the civil rights movement and over fifty years ago. She said you know until this country views the death of black mother sons. Sons as important as a death of white mother sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest so for me. This is really a moment that is part of a wall along trajectory of where individuals are destroyed by racism where the institutional racism increases the number of African American to earn the criminal justice system in essence. What it strikes me is, I could name for you. The list of names from Trayvon Martin Gerald Gardner to George Floyd. But what I think we really need to recognize is that this is a moment to look at some of those inherent inequalities, but have shaped this country, I am really struck by the educational gaps, the fact that African Americans are not graduating college at the levels that I think we'd love to see I. Think even when you look at the educational system. What you're struck by is the percentage of African Americans who were in the case who twelve who don't have access to technology, so there are medic falling behind i. I think I'm struck by the fact. That I live in Washington DC and I can drive a mile from my house and see people who've been left behind the lack of economic opportunities in what that means to an inner city neighborhood. So for me it's really about both addressing legally and politically what needs to happen, but also recognizing that without educational opportunity without the opportunity to really have the life you WanNa live by based on the job you have. We're going to be back at this moment time and time again. Some I look at you and say you know what quality here's. This incredibly qualified historian worked hard earned his appointment to his position as secretary of the Smithsonian to some you are proof for Obama is proved. There are others that are proved that there are no boundaries or issues access. So what do you say to those who question that I want to dig into that a little bit deeper? On the one hand I say don't see the exception as the rule. That essence, there is no doubt you could make strong arguments I. do it all the time. That America's changing even in my lifetime from being a kid that remember seeing signs that said you know white only to Secretary Dismiss I. IT'S A it's an amazing transformation. I agree, but on the other hand. I think that if you look at the totality of the African, American experience granted. There's a growing middle class. You don't have the same percentage of people in poverty issue it, but on the other hand it is still so much higher than it should be. The percentage of African Americans in prisons is frightening to me and that what I realize is that I am one left turn away from being George Floyd that there is a fragility regardless of who you are being African American that says you could run afoul of the institutional racism that is still strong in this country. So I think that I'm proud that I can point to Barack Obama and say. Say there's possibilities there's hope their examples of people who have really done very well, but I am more worried about those that are left behind those that are locked in a sense of not believing in the fairness and the possibility of a country, so I am proud. If people look at me and say see, I can do that as well, but I also want people to recognize that there are a lot of people who I know who should have had the same opportunities of I have, and who have not an fallen by the wayside. Thank you! So turning back to the protests of today in the wake of the murder of George Floyd much attention has also been given to the destruction into the looting that have followed would have otherwise been peaceful protests around the country. We know the vast majority of protesters are there peacefully crisply and yet these incidents of vandalism and property destruction among other things among being just fundamentally wrong in criminal invite intervention that can then lead to more confrontation. What is your sense of the dynamic at play here help us talk through and work through. Some of what we're seeing will on the one hand, I think it's important to recognize the. Is the highest form of patriotism. It is the way that people who are voiceless say he is how I can make a country better. Here's how I can ask the country to address fundamental issues, and we can talk for a long time about the impact. The protests but I think that the challenge for us is to recognize that there are always going to be people who are going to take advantage of an opportunity to loot to steal. There's some concern I have that there's evidence that white. White nationalist and others who aren't interested in the actual caused racial justice or taking advantage of the situation for their own ends. I think it's important with anything else, and I hope that all the protesters feel this way that what they're trying to do is one to remember George Floyd and to two point, a nation's attention to the possibility opportunities of change, and my concern is that when people focus on the looters, the breaking of the windows. It actually turns everybody's attention from word should be. When we look at our history, we know we have so much shares. Of which were so proud, AJC is incredibly proud that we funded the landmark research of of car that was the underpinning of the board of Education. Decision that showed his research showed that separate, but equal is not in fact equal, so we are incredibly proud of that out. There have been many watershed moments. We've stood shoulder to shoulder and we do still. We really need each other I'm. Racism still plagues the society. Antisemitism still plagues the society. We need to be visible in vocal allies. Allies for each other, so you started to answer this question but I want to ask if you can help us understand a little bit more about what is essential. Both to rebuilding the Jewish relationship as you began talking about that, but then also how can we better out is? What is it that we can do to speak about racial justice and inequality in ways that will be heard and again I? Think to your point seeking as equals so that we're not seen as tone-deaf or Or as privileged by black friends and cartner devolve into the oppression Olympics. We sometime say when community is compared. Trauma seemed to compare trauma. I'm always struck by one. I see right wing racist when I see the set of people who are causing the great pain in Charlottesville what I realize is who they hey. People of color juice. So in some ways the notion ought to be is the recognized. We are in the same boat together that we are in the minds of some. Some, what is wrong with America instead of what was right as America so I want us to start from a position of we really need each other. We're made better by our collaboration, but I also think it is really then demonstrating that there are these moments where we actually come together as equals I've been really taken by the variety of things I've seen with AJC. Talking to different groups have collar working with groups to be able to say. We're trying to understand each other. And I know it sounds like you know a nine hundred sixty guy, but I really do think the interaction of getting to know who we are what we believe it really is the foundation for us to move forward. I believe strongly that we as a country need this unity in order to make sure that we have the resources, the creativity and resiliency to battle because of something that Allen said when he introduced us. Is that often? We view this as a sprint rather than a marathon and one of the things that I think is important to realize is to be able to look back as a historian and say here's rare profound change happened. Tipping points he is where moments where WAG Jewish. Relations made a fundamental difference. I was always struck by the relationship between black women white women in a variety of women coming together to protest anti define you know support to get anti lynching laws. Even if that fail, it told me the strength what happened. The people come together? And, we look forward to continuing to do that with you. and with the black community I WANNA turn back to something that we spoke very briefly before we alluded to a little bit about the nature of protest and the role that protests has played throughout history. And what is it in your estimation that will make this moment and these protests have a lasting impact. What is it that needs to happen in order for this not to just be a flash on the panthers? Are the raise raised a really crucial. Point when you look at the moments that we've had great crises where the country said Oh my God. What is this about? People are coming together and saying here's the commission report. Here's what went wrong and here's what we can do in. That goes into a library shells. What I think needs to happen is first of all is to recognize that one of the things that's missed. Is that these demonstrations which are amazing around the country which are driven by social media, but they're still disconnected. I think that the sixties one of the great strengths of the sixties student violent coordinating could actually bringing people together to say here are the strategic. That, we can accomplish by demonstration in protest. Dr Martin Luther King realized that the key for protests was that it would lead to something else. Whether would lead to legislation or lead to concerns from during the Cold War that America look bad in the eyes of the rested world. So what's missing is the overarching strategy. What's also missing? candling is political leadership of all stripes from the highest down to the local level to be able to serve operationalize for lack of A. A better term this time in our country and the reason. Why am hope mature? I'm optimistic, but I'm hopeful is because when I see the diversity of people who are coming together, it really means that people are beginning to realize that this is an issue that shape the African American community, but it's an issue that profoundly shapes all of us, and that sense of collective ownership is part of the key to moving forward. I WANNA. Thank you so much for guiding us on this journey with you again I know this is a conversation that we could continue for many many hours We know you're quite busy, so we will keep you for many many hours, but I wanNA. Thank you for this. You've given US quite a bit to think about did Xuan and we look forward to working with you and together alongside you as we continue to try to build the world in which we want to live. Thank you for me to be with you today. Isaac! Herzog spent fifteen years as a member of Knesset last five at the leader of the opposition. In June twenty eighteen, he became the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The pre state body that founded Israel in that role. He is responsible for the Jewish Agency's mission to ensure that every Jewish person feels an unbreakable bond to one another and to Israel no matter where they live in the world. He joined an AJC advocacy. Anywhere Zoom program this week where he was interviewed by AJC CEO David Harris to see all of our upcoming programming on advocacy anywhere head to AJC dot org slash advocacy anywhere, and now I'll give the floor to David Harris the low to of our viewers around the world and a special thanks to our guests in very dear friend today, AJC, Isaac or his friends call him Bucci Herzog, so would g since boozy. boozy before we get into the real substance I'm sure many of our viewers want to know the origin of the name which if I'm not mistaken as a certain French connection? Yes, absolutely French connection first of all, thank you, David is true honor to speak for AJC and speak to your audience. A organization is a very very unique and important institution Jewish Life Jewish world and the state of Israel. I can tell you that the law that. Gave special status to the Jewish Agency and the zero the world Zionist Organization in. was legislated as as an outcome of a deal struck between David Ben. Gauri on, and the chairman of AJ CJ Blaustein in the early fifties. So you know you left your mark on history and you're still doing it today. Thank you very much. So Bushy, Beaujolais my mother. Actually people know about my father's lineage. You know president of Israel son of the chief rabbi. Team and my uncle out by Ben and many other legendary Israelis in the list, but my mother, my mother was born in Egypt on the banks of the sewage canal. A father was chief engineer of the source canal, and my grandparents were simply fled as refugees from Egypt in nineteen, forty, seven, following the. UN resolution forming a joy state. And the riots that ensued, so my mother's mother tongue was French. And as a rare breed. That was a cute big. Unlike any other API by mother called me by Hebrew. In Xuzhou, in France which is by which means doll, and it stuck as bourgeois nobody. No, it was a family secrets. And then one day, the major party conference body convention thousands of People Prime Minister. L. Barack got up on the podium and said I think showed I. Don't know the committee or something. And so everybody turned around. WHO's Bhushan if you look at the book? Startup nation. You'll see that it's familiar. Way of nine Israelis like BP, Busey and bulky. Okay so now our audience can all call you. Push your old secret, APP. Now more to your bio, because if the subject matter, Israel relations you, yourself are bridge. You've lived in New York fiery recall not far from where living in speaking right now on the east side newer the Ramaz School. What are your recollections of your years in New York? How did that influence your all outlook? Calm the unity of the Jewish people in Israel relations in how they impact on my life. Huge and I think that will ever deals with this issue should experienced if possible something in living in Jewish communities abroad nightside came as A. Lesson might father was then Israel's ambassador to the United Nations. In those days. You know it was post. Young Kipper War and my father, and defended the right of Israel in front of the family of nations in a debate, which is heralded until today as one of the greatest speeches of the twentieth century, defending Zionism against the resolution, equating Zionism with racism, and so the spirituals different, but. I was exposed to the pluralistic nature of Jewish life, and I'm really grateful to my parents, or had no reservations about it meaning they enabled me. I went to an also school to Ramaz. School that which impacted my life tremendously, and they headmaster by asking look Stanley mental mind all my life. And, but it also taught me. I went to many other institutions and went to Masada. Masada income from Ma and I went and went to various other programs simply. Spent all my life getting to know what it is to be. Jewish in those days was totally ignore on you know and lack of knowledge, and not ignorant and behavior about what is right is all about one as life in his people then. And so there was a different vision of Israel than reality. But It did, impact My being in the fact that I am adamant about the need to be a bridge between Israel and the Jewish people and to keep this bridge gone because I think it's a, it's a say. Clear need of the Jewish people to the whatever they can to speak. So I want to continue, but I want to be sure that if you haven't heard the speech of client Of Bush's father in November nineteen, seventy five at the time of the UN General, suddenly resolutions, three, three, seven, nine, which was the infamous science Ms Racism Real Solution I urge you not only to read it, but also to watch it because there's drama not just in words, but the actions of father at the podium of the General Assembly. So. Let's four since two thousand eighteen new chairman, soft notes of the Jewish Agency. Many recall undoubtedly know a lot about soft note. I suspect there are some people who don't really know an awful lot about this very storied agency which I think again in nineteen twenty nine. That right? It's actually began way before that. Believer Donald David began on the as ago with a conference called the Sun Limo Conference. which is a very stark pillar in a right for serfs, determination inanity sled. Because that conference or a conference where they convened all leaders. Of the World Post World. War One, headed by Lord also bows for. The, one that gave about declaration in one, thousand, nine, hundred, seventeen, which recognized the right of the Jewish people for a national homeland, and they took that resolution that led to about full end inserted in the resolutions of the British Mandate, which was to be formed in. The land of Israel and Palestine, and this is like are the source of our right of self-determination of statehood in Palestine. And in that process, David Greene that in order to implement the Balfour Declaration. It's fascinating chapter history. They must form an entity that will help the Jews deliver this vision, and it took two years for them until they completed it and gave the charter the mandate to Brits One, thousand, nine, hundred, twenty, two, in which they wrote, there would be a Jewish Agency imagined the family of nations decided that would be a Jewish Agency and. Be Done with the Zionist movement with Hertzel's movement, and therefore one, thousand, nine, hundred, twenty, nine, after the squabbling in quarreling like people lay, now can't know how to do. They finally agreed on how to form the Jewish Agency and the Jewish Agency's charter was to found a Jewish state, and he did, and I sit in the room in which David been going on sat. Sat in lead our nation to independence, and sat in even late onto nine, hundred, sixty, two as prime minister, so yes, indeed, it's a very stark organization. Then we were commissioned, and we built about nine hundred villages and towns in Israel. We built the national infrastructure on behalf of the Jewish people, and then of course we were commissioned to bring lame to gather the exile. And we brought in four million. Orleans so far around including thirty five thousand last year, including twelve hundred during the covid nineteen license. So, let's begin. Though is two thousand eighteen. You become the chairman of the Jewish. Agency city. Of the top two or three priorities, we all know his seat IOS. If you have twenty priorities, you have no priorities. The first priority was dealing with the rift. There is an apparent rift. There's a growing disparity between Jews in Israel and Jews in America. Let me explain. I'm not ignoring Joe's all over the world, but we have two main pillar communities in Jewish world Israel about six and a half million in North America about six and a half million I call it Jerusalem and Bob Dylan I go to the ancient history of the two towns which were created in the ancient times of Jerusalem and Babylon say. Where's the interaction between current? Current Jerusalem and babbling mouth dozen normal interaction. Don't get me wrong. I think that the as opposed to the notion irreversible Rift I. Beg to differ I. think There's a lot of lovers rollout and as a lot of connections and enormous amount of intertwining connections, but we also know that there are strong undercurrents of diversity and change, and I say I'll try and I said it definitely up to the covering that there is lack of knowledge, a total lack of knowledge on behalf of Israelis as to what it is to be Jewish abroad and AS Roma's lack of knowledge by world, especially north. American Jewry about what Israel is all about. What I've done since gone into office of down whatever I can to low well the race or the tension, the differences by both initiating you programs to educate Israelis including all schools in Israel on what it is to be Jewish abroad asper jury lessons including going to the most extreme rabbis of all groups, in Israel and speaking to them directly in for. For is and I found that lots of admission of lack of knowledge and willingness to know more and the same I did by crisscrossing the entire world, especially communities and also American telling them guys. You don't know enough. You don't know much about Israel. Now. I'm aware about the issues of unaffiliated and people have frustrations and political divide, which looms over all. All over it, we know it, but I tell everybody we must think way beyond the political divide, and because we have the strategic goal of maintaining our nation. The second challenge erupted as soon as I went in, and you are very much aware of it because you're dealing with it, yourself is unfortunately the growing hate of Jews or let's say the growing. Growing symptoms of hates of juice, 'cause Joe's was always there. Antisemitism and hate of Jews and especially you know in life off Pittsburgh and Watson. You're all you're seeing even today, and that's a major challenge because that impacts, everybody's lives and we say you know I'm challenged on this in Israel, do you think that it's only the as the solution? Nice say. Is a very important metaphysical part of being, but we advocated every Joel as the full right to live, and enjoy his or her practicing ability as Joe's in which ever former manner aware they want. You said another of your child's was the growing antisemitism around the world. Are you seeing Elliott principally driven by push factors antisemitism economic distress. Factors Zionism fulfillment of a dream or combination of both and one of the principal countries driving this today. Okay, it's a combination of both because the pull factor is you know when you have a? Let's take a community like you know. What because they're willing that we speak about them so from day one day tally the Italian Jewish community literally collapse. It has twenty thousand Jews in. In twenty two communities Wednesday with have been stark names in Judaism, like vanishingly Vaughan on Geno and others, and clearly when I spoke to the leadership of the community from day one I never heard such devastating description of what a community went to. We even had start by Israelis, where we raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Israeli public, so the community in its. Way, above our loan fund, which we had established to assist Jewish communities all over the world, which is in operation as already distributed seven million dollars and the overwhelming demand by the way of issues. On the table so. In this respect, we found out that the community needs assistance in hell. There are communities that the process to a sit stem and what they do on walled in all that Feast of Pentecost. With respect to way social distancing I, mean communities were devastating and turn to ran for assistance, so you can say say push factor meaning, okay life is better there or pulled factor because we see on social networks cleanly and rising antisemite Gregory, including vandalizing synagogues and other events all the world than we are all aware of it. You'll definitely we're. Sushi if you met a young American Jew for example and I think many of the songs called no suggestion young. American jobs essentially say Israel means nothing to me. It's far away. I have no connections Israel. What would be your short speech today? Young person about why. Israel should matter to this young person five thousand miles away today why? When so that's a beautiful question because when I meet many people who were struck by little? Kindling all of a sudden when they landed here, they felt at home in something inexplicable, but all in all I would say that you know we all the nation state of the Jewish people. We are a fountain of strength and resilience and culture and knowledge of the Jewish people. Yes, we have many issues. Many problems many challenges many things to debate, but you feel at home. It's the state of the Jews in any joys. Welcome here to. To be pardoned, possible this saga or at least feel like that he has she has a safe haven to be there at any given moment, and I think this gives a sense of confidence in relaxation for people, even if they have doing citizenship or even if they have just getting to know the country, Sunday see that this is their land. This is the place to be around the world, if need be Oh if they want to be. So I want to express huge saints. Tabuchi for taking the time and I think for helping to widen deepen that rich. That must remain between Israel the aspe- especially. Israel American jewelry. We had AJC. Always been three core principles because you mentioned one of his style love of Israel the second is hot. One people. We are one people we may express our Jewish identity, multiple ways also inherent to who we are, but at the end of the day when people and the notion of other beam says. That, we are all responsible one for the other I think you, so this expressed by Hoochie from start to finish the day I all work of the Jewish Agency, the soft move and white we HAC cherish this partnership with the Jewish Agency, because we have so many so many pressing and overlapping goals, so thank you to you for being with us. Being our partner of roasting made, it was a huge pleasure, really huge pleasure on. Now. It's time for our closing segment Chabad table, talk and joining us at our table. This week is Julie Raymond AJC, deputy director of policy and diplomatic. Affairs Julie when you're talking with your family and friends at your table this weekend. What are you going to be talking about? We're talking about racism. How could we be talking about anything else? But because it's Chabad and because frankly I think we all need it. I WanNa talk about the light at the end of the tunnel, and some of the good things that are in fact happening. You may know that this week is the anniversary of the congressional. Caucus on black. Jewish relations which was launched on ABC's Global Forum Stage one year ago. This caucus the brainchild of Detroit Congresswoman Brenda. Lawrence started really small just her Debbie Wasserman Schultz John Lewis, the civil rights icon Lee Zeldin and will heard now. There are more than fifty black Jewish members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and the caucus. The caucus was started in recognition of the rift between blacks Jews while the communities were intertwined for so many years walking arm and arm especially during the civil rights movement in more recent years, officiers emerged. This mission of reuniting blacks and Jews healing. The rift remains primary to the caucus. Important I know you spoke with Lonnie Bunch earlier, and he said it time and time again. This is too difficult a time for blacks Jews to be separated. We had AJC are working hard to make sure that our communities are not separate, and the caucus is doing the same. But what's really amazing now in this moment is that the bipartisan caucus is creating opportunities for much-needed conversations, not just between blacks and Jews, but between Democrats and Republicans about the issue of race, the caucus put out a statement this week. That said in part the death of George. Floyd is nothing less than a modern day. Lynching our country cannot achieve the values of justice for all until we address the structural inequality, an ongoing racism that has long plagued this country. Now this may read like one of a million anti rhesus demons in your twitter feed and don't get me wrong. We should celebrate each and every one of those statements, but it is huge. Remember that these are words being endorsed by Republicans and Democrats alike, and it's not just a one and done statement well heard one of the caucus co chairs, and the only African American Republican in the house was marching in the protests in Houston. Doing what Abraham Joshua Henshaw called praying with his feet. Lease Zeldin another caucus co chair, and one of just two Jewish Republicans in Congress tweeted. The whole country must be united in peacefully standing for Justice for George Floyd and his loved ones. The Caucus statement about George. Flood's tragic killing outlined several tangible steps the need to be taken to address this dramatic racism. They say we need an American public that is educated on the legacy of slavery. Lynching and all forms of injustice in this country. They go on to demand that our justice system. Treat all people the same. The caucus also recently endorsed the no hate act, which is an ATC advocacy priority. This bipartisan bill would improve hate crimes reporting with grants to empower state and local governments train Juan forcement Crete reporting hotlines direct resources to minority communities and conduct public educational forums in exchange for Federal Funds. Agencies would be required to submit hate crimes data to FBI BI. Because currently reporting is a fallen Terry Nichols mandatory, so we really have no idea of the state of hate in our country, the no hate act offers assurances to minority communities that concerns about their safety are counted on a national scale that they are counted. The no hate act was recently passed by the House in the Heroes Act coronavirus stimulus package in AJC's working hard to make sure that it passes both chambers and gets to the president's desk. At a time of really great division amongst people and politicians, this caucus is modeling, unity and healing in pushing real concrete actions to make the changes that our country desperately needs to see. It is those changes in that leadership that I'll be talking about it. Misha about table, Manja. What are you talking about? Well Julie I really do appreciate that. Light at the end of the tunnel. Because I have been overwhelmed this week. Really overwhelmed with grief. The constant bickering on social media, the pictures of the destruction the memories of outrage over Rodney. King and Trayvon Martin. The reminder that this keeps happening and nothing seems to change. It has become painfully clear to me that until we as a nation confront are evil passed in the way Germany, eventually did and try to make amends by fixing our very broken system. I just don't see an end to this. There is so much work left for us to do if we could just get a moment when we're not so overwhelmed with grief. So. There's not much to say at our Shibata table. Well, there's not much to say except their names, a litany of victims whose lives still matter Ahmad. Brianna Taylor George Floyd Eric Garner. Fil Landreau Castille Sterling Liqun McDonald. As you know, the list goes on and on and on. So at our sh- about table this week. We're going to light Chabad candles and we're going to say their names and we're going to hope people will stop shouting at each other. And just listen but thank you. Julie for reminding us that there is a way to get this work. Done Saffy, but will you talking about? While I was thinking this week of an old acidic story bear with me REP, simpler boom of Shiva, the eighteenth century Hasidic master used to tell his students to keep to slips of paper in their pockets on one. You should write the words from Genesis Bishop leany Farrah. How lamb for my sake the world was created, and on the other a teaching from the Talmud on. Afar via a fair. I am but dust and ash. The idea according to the story is that when you feel depressed, you should reach into that first pocket and pull out that I slip of paper. The reminder that the world was created for you couldn't help but lift your spirits. And when you get arrogant, you should reach into the other pocket to be reminded that you are nothing but Dustin. Ash. I was thinking about this story this week. Because the idea behind ribs simpler Bonham's advice about the to slips of paper is that each of those verses apply to all of us? I was thinking about this story this week. Because what right does any one of us have then in God's eyes to kill someone when we are but dust and ash, and they they are the reason why God himself created the world. Now that may seem facile to some of you. We as a society vested in some people, the legitimate use of force, but we as a society cannot change the immutable belief that human beings were created, as it is also written in Genesis, but sell them L. Akeem in the image of God. Trayvon Martin was created in the image of God. For his sake. The world was created. Eric Garner was created in the image of God for his sake. The world was created. Michael Brown was created in the image of God for his sake. The world was created. Brianna Taylor was created in the image of God for her sake. The world was created Ahmad. Barberie was created in the image of God for his sake. The world was created. George Floyd was created in the image of God for his sake. The world was created. May Their memories be a blessing, an inspiration to all of us, who after all are nothing, but dust and ashes to do whatever we can possibly do to fix the terrible evil in our society. Show Bochum Sobat botulism, but thank you. You can subscribe to people the pot on itunes. Google, play or spotify or learn more as J. C. Dot org slash people of the Pie. The views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod EJ. See Board. If you like this podcast, be sure to rate it and writer review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. This episode is brought to you by AJC. Our producer is condo. Our system producer is a Tarlac Credit and our sound engineer is t k Broddrick tune in next week for another episode of people of the Pot.

Israel AJC George Floyd Jewish Agency America United States chairman Julie Raymond AJC Tulsa Lonnie Bunch Smithsonian Institution Allen Rich AJC Congress Ella Baker Donald David Dr Martin Luther King Stephie Cogan
Quarantine in Israel, Jews in the UAE

People of the Pod

36:27 min | 8 months ago

Quarantine in Israel, Jews in the UAE

"Hello and welcome to people of the pot brought to you by. Ajc and the Times of Israel each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people aren't Cogan and I'm on your brashear. Pacman This Week. Israel imposed a blanket. Fourteen Day self quarantine on everyone arriving from outside the country in order to control the spread of the novel Corona Virus The requirement is set to last two weeks but some experts predict it could remain in force even longer if the virus doesn't subside. Later in the season in fact Israel has imposed quite a few open ended restrictions limiting gatherings that might draw more than two thousand people and asking Israelis to stay away from hospitals and nursing homes suggesting they visit their loved ones outside the facilities instead. Dr Yonatan Freeman is an international relations expert and lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He specializes in national security and emergency responses. Dr Freeman welcomed the people of the Pod for having me so first and foremost. How are you feeling? Are you healthy? Are you talking to us from Quarantine Yourself? Well I'm healthy quarantine. We currently have tens of thousands in this country that are currently under quarantine but then life continues and the state of Israel continues to make moves which really balanced between having a proper daily life but on the other hand also having a proper response to the virus. I'm glad to hear that you're healthy. Explain why Israel is taking such drastic measures in response to this virus. Why are the steps so strict compared to other countries? I think there's two main reasons why Israel is taking very very strict moves to try to Intact the spread of the virus for one. I think that Israel has for decades proven that it really holds the safety of the country in a very very high regard and that means their intelligence agencies car security establishment. Always make sure we know of threats before they become very very strong against us so I think one of the things which is really pushing us to take a strict moves against this virus is really that there might be a lot of information. That's flowing into our decision makers which is making us not so comfortable pets for one. The second thing is that Israel is a very very small country. We lack geographic depth so any type of outbreak of the sort that we're seeing in Italy or that we saw in China and continue to see South Korean other countries such an outbreak. We'll bring a a very tragic situation a situation which can really create a a havoc and the fact that we don't really have so much geography so much land makes us have to move very quickly to prevent the spread of such a virus in our borders So is this unprecedented. I mean did Israel take similar measures when people got hit with swine flu or SARS. Yeah we take this sort of measures but again what we're seeing right now is. The world is different than the little devils during SARS even the connection that China has the world so what was going on in China was not the same China that was also being involved and connected to the SARS outbreak in other viruses. In the past so I think what Israel is doing is really drastic. It's really unique. We haven't done anything like this in the past. I think that the fact that in the past when we had such outbreaks around the world and they didn't really make a big footprint in Israel. This really proves that Israelites. Always taking the correct steps and has done so in a way which prevented any sort of outbreak here in prison times. So now what role does intelligence play or did even intelligence play in. Israel's emergency response in other words I mean intelligence and the official sense Did public officials do they track outbreaks and other countries before they come to Israel who wasn't in terms of the intelligence. We always made sure we have all permission in our hands especially when it comes to things that confront our security threaten our economy for Jewish people Worldwide and even been reports recent reports in our media that weeks before we even had any kind of a virus in her country. We went ahead and sent individuals to collect the virus samples of the Corona virus from Italy from China from Japan. We collected the samples. He brought it here to our biological center in Niskayuna to try already to see what's going on there. Why does inspire is? How can we protect from it? So even before God here we already went ahead and brought the virus here obviously in a very secure manner. The second thing is really preparing weeks before I got here we. It was published that we've purchased a lot of equipment. We knew that the masks would run out on a local market. We started preparing our Israel Defense Force in terms of the possibility that maybe flights full stop. And we'll need the air force here to be able to Pick up the slack and bring things into the country in case. There's a big problem with that. So I think part of our intelligence on the one hand knowing what can impact our security and our economy or key pool in on the other hand. It's also about what we can do. If it is certain that it will get here just like we probably knew about the thing in China what we can do to prepare a population and our decision makers so that when it reaches their played they'll know what to tell the public in how to act on a day like in other words. I really good strong. Emergency response is emergency preparedness right. I mean really having some advance warning and really trying to prepare for the worst. Yes preparing for the worst as you probably know and your listeners probably recalled. Israel's sent even individuals in the past to help fight in Africa other viruses around the world so part of our preparedness is also being based on our experience. And that's what we gain. Every time we assist people fighting viruses around the world assist people in humanitarian situations like in power and different places. So we help them but we also assist ourselves knowing what to do when such a time comes to our own wars. Do you find that other countries are learning from Israel and taking a page from from Israel's playbook on this yes a couple of days ago actually Netanel. Our Prime Minister had a teleconference that leaders in Europe including leadership in Italy. Cyprus other places and I think that even during this teleconference we probably conveyed to them what they need to do. Because based on what we're seeing in terms of the numbers the people getting infected. That's really need to do something. I don't know if there's a connection. Maybe there is where Italy just recently announced a complete lockdown on the entire country so I think part of what we're teaching them is on the one hand to make decisive moves. Because if you don't get out of hand the second thing is really getting the public involved and I think one major difference that we have as an advantage here in Israel compared to most of the Western world is that most of our people have been in uniform one day or another and the fact that most people are served in national service in the military causes us to be have a mindset in the back room mine and in times of emergency and times of drastic need to move. There is a sort of discipline that comes about even though we may forget what we did in the army. The army never forgets us. It's still in our system and I think that's an an advantage that has in terms of our ability to be prepared to act as a population when the time comes. That's a really interesting point because I know here in New York. I mean you see the occasional person wearing a mask or avoiding touching the handrails on the subway but those subways are still packed and I would say that not. Many people have let the virus impact their daily routines. And so I was going to ask you. How are Israeli citizens you handling all of the restrictions? Do they abide by them? Do you see them flouting. Them sounds like they obey. Yes yes we obey. And that's why the viruses obeying till now not spreading. I think that of course some people complaining but I gotTa be quarantined but I think the system here really allows for people here to follow instructions. You know that. We don't have said geographical death the small country. We can't afford to make any mistakes because if we lose a battle as we always saying a war if we lose a battle we lose the country so I think that's one of the things is pushing people to follow instructions. Nothing is really the safety net that we have on a social aspect. I've seen reports in different countries. Where people even though. They're sick are coming to work because they're afraid not going to get their paycheck. They're not GONNA get their salary here. We have a system which and it's already been published and people using it if you're quarantine you'll get paid There's no way to fire. You'll be paid and not only that even if you're unemployed and you're getting unemployment benefits you'll still beginning those benefits even though you're not showing up to the job center so I think our safety net system also makes it that the economic reasoning for someone not following instructions is not there. Yeah so I saw a list and the Times of Israel up a list of places where presumably patients have been and therefore anyone else that has been. There has to be quarantined for example. Anyone who was in the Church of the Nativity between three and four thirty on a particular date must go into quarantine and anyone who was in the Herod Supermarket. Between five thirty and six on March. Sixth needs to go into quarantine. This seemed remarkably precise. If not a little insane I mean are Israelis keeping journals to track their moves. How do you keep up with where you are on a particular day at a particular time? Is there a methodology to this? That's kind of built into the culture at the very question because I've been getting questions as if what is the government spying on everyone that we know where everyone is going. And what's going on? I can tell you ninety nine percents of all the information you see on that list were. You was where she was where she eight. That's the citizens themselves telling us what's going on. I presume to ask so one of the other locations I read. Was that anyone inside a Jerusalem voting booth at a particular school on March. Second Between Eight and eight ten. Am You know they need to go into quarantine as well and that made me think about the political friction that has kind of been the story there For the past year and I'm just curious you know it has this given any added perspective. Has it had any kind of galvanizing effect or has it? Even maybe exacerbated the political friction that has dominated there. Well I think two things for one. I think there was a consensus in terms of even does against Nathanael that Netanyahu and health minister leads on are doing the right thing took the correct steps and says that the Germans really working at it correctly I think. Another impact is really that this continuing situation worldwide which has great effects on our economy tourism. Different things disc could push more and more all sides to form a unity government. I think this is something which We're hearing more and more voices about that. That there is a need for you. Determine is a worldwide medical emergency. We need to stop talking about the other issues that. Divide US apart and talk about this major issue which is growing worldwide. And there's even call right now to maybe form a coalition just for the corona virus issue in other words. The only deal with this. 'cause what's happening right now. Is that the parliament. Can't vote on certain laws to fight the virus because there is no garbage. I was sell out saying that. Former coalition of the right and the left and they were only vote on things related to the corona virus. So I think this virus which is infecting a lot of people could also infect in other words the right and left to try to like each other coalition government very interesting very interesting Dr Freeman. Thank you so much. For sharing your perspective with us and most importantly stay well victory very much have the Jewish diaspora reaches every corner of the globe beyond the obvious places like the US and Israel you can find Jews as far north as Reykjavik Iceland Fairbanks Alaska or Oslo Norway and as far south as Buenos Aires Argentina Johannesburg South Africa or Melbourne Australia. Until recently one might have thought that the Arab Gulf states wouldn't be a great place to look for Jews but a recent series of articles have highlighted what. Ajc has long known. There is a small growing thriving Jewish community in the United Arab Emirates. Joining us now from Dubai to shed light on the community. He heads as a volunteer is Ross Creel Ross. Thank you so much for joining us. Great to be with you now. There are Arab countries with rich Jewish. Histories Egypt comes to mind for example but the United Arab isn't one of those right. How is it that came to be a Jewish community in Dubai? Well the whole reason why we excited about the Jewish community of the emerets. Is that precisely for this reason? Because it's a new Jewish community so rather than being a fragment of an ancient Jewish community. It's something new with something hopeful. Why's it here onto your question because this is a place of business It's a place where they should be juiced. And that's why we feel so strongly that he should build up the community obvious. Follow up question to that. Which is why now I guess the. Uae is a very different country today than it was even just a couple of decades ago. Isn't that right? Well that's a good question and I like to think that it's not in other words. I like to think that the tolerance and pluralism which has been so powerfully demonstrated in the. Us is not in. You think it's something that is decades old and goes in fact to Fonda Shaykh Zayed. He's values we're all about them and in fact even though the Jewish communities new there the communities and Hindus Sikhs the hives and certainly Christians that have been here for for decades. So the the concept of fluids not you but indeed our community is new in the and that's a fascinating point about pluralism will turn more toward what interfaith pluralism looks like in Dubai and in a moment but I guess my question was more just economically right. You said the part of the reason why Jews are. There is because it's a place of business so ex pats. From other countries around the world are coming to Dubai and that happens to include Jews and you have found this community and coalesced but that it was not such a business hub. Ten years ago twenty years ago right. Yeah I guess. There is a miraculous aspect to the development of the UAE. Twenty or thirty years ago the fabulous skyscrapers and development that you see here in Dubai number W did not exist so it is relatively new I think that made very smart decisions in the late nineties especially in Dubai which in fact is not an oil based economy and they realized very early on that they had to build up an economy naturally best commodities which was based on human talent. And if they didn't do that They would never succeed so. It's a decision taken in the late nineties if you come and visit you biosphere. Now that those ideas have sorriest Wendy Can you just share with us a little bit of your own story? Ross what it is that made you a judging by Your Voice a South African Ju decides to leave that community and make your home in Dubai. You could say it with the at the time anyway Something of a crazy decision. But I'm Dr Beavis Shit so to speak something about my destiny. But on a question I'm an Orthodox observant Jew Probably not the kind of person you would expect to find here in the east when I first arrived. Why am I here? Because I worked for Global French company which has a regional head off They wanted me to be. I'm along with how the experts and told me that if I wanted my career to develop needed to be here and they asked me for two years and I said no for two years and eventually I said yes and why did I say yes because I came here with my wife and we met the sort of embryonic Jewish community of here Iran twenty ten twenty and Evan and we went into the supermarkets and fun. Kosher Food and we decided had a great adventure on we could never of imagined how great that eventually really would be but all the Jews that yeah so it needs. You came at the time that I did. I guess adventurous and Edgy and feel that we have something to offer. I WANNA say that I. I made a kind of a personal pledge to myself if I was going to come. Yeah I wanted to be a fitness and literally two weeks off to my arrival my wife and I were hosting rush. You'RE GONNA say this is. We've never looked back. No I'd say it's probably the most exciting wonderful thing we've ever done now. Every Jewish community I think has its own kind of flavor. I'm an upper west side. Ju I'm I'm a little bit different. I feel from La Jews. Maybe we're both a bit different from French. Jews or South African Jews like yourself do you have Jews from everywhere in Dubai has their kind of emerged. A unique Dubai Jewish flavor Yeah so eventually when somebody says to me my from I wanna be able to say Dubai rather than Johannesburg. I'm very committed to the place. What would it mean to be Dubai? Ju Ju think as we'll discuss and of course with this conversation sexy it'll mean being global in your outlook. It'll mean being very inclusive it'll mean being committed to a vision of Jewish and Muslim Brotherhood. And those would be some of the flavors eventually that the Dubai Jews. The Jews will have intensive demographics. Whereabout is global that you could imagine. There's every nossa every language every misora every tradition and that's the beauty of the community When I went back to China's Berg one time off the being into by fifty years my robot came up to me to be paid and he said to me rock. Isn't it nice to pray with people that are like you and I thought for a minute? I thought to myself no I actually liked per people that are different from me and I think that is sort of definitive of community. It's just the beautiful variety dynamism of it and the difference of it and what you see here in Dubai is just the richness and beauty of global jewelry. I love that the article in The Times of Israel that maybe kind of first announced to your community to the world. The headline was for the first time. Dubai's Jewish community steps hesitantly out of the shadows. What was it that led you and your co religionists the Jewish community of the Emirates? What was it that led you to step hesitantly out of the shadows Lovey dramatic okay. So we just to say that we had been developing for many years quietly before the Times of Israel and beautiful article spoke about how community. Why did we decide to tell the world about ourselves? I guess because there was massive interest in community and people were writing about us but often in a way that accurate and in a way that we thought Didn't do justice either community e I mean he felt the need to on story Through a journalist that trusted and funding interviews and research etc and so we just thought they need to put on record a narrative about our community treat for reliable and the other thing is that at that time I think there was more willingness on the side of the authorities to start having all story and in fact today encouraged us to do so so it was a mix effective. Ajc's own Jason. Isaacson has of course been travelling to the Gulf for many many years and one thing that he has found. I'm there in which you alluded to as well Ross is the way in which interfaith relations and a kind of pluralistic spirit is important to the Emirati government. Can you say a bit more about what that has meant for the Jewish community? Well I think the first thing that's mentioned that we've always felt welcome in You know years of our community. There was a certain amount of paranoia. Urban myth was it. Okay TO HEAD IS READY STAMPS. And your passport was it. A Katie said that you Jewish in official documentation was IT A. K. To open up your friends and colleagues that you Jewish and there were worries and concerns entire neue and I think that as we adjusted to life in the yeah you realized that affect our presence here is is really quite natural you would expect it to be juicier because as you say. They're experts from all around the world doing business and it should be Jews. Yeah and we started to realize that in fact in terms of the social contract with the play with its massive emphasis on respecting your fellow human being especially respecting the religious differences among human beings. We realized in fact that there wasn't a problem with us being on the country that our presence here is something that is celebrated and you know you can speak about why that is and how that can't be but ultimately where we want to get to and where we already feel to some extent is that it's just the most natural thing in the world for us to be here Do you wear a key. Pa Out on the streets of Dubai. Yeah so that's the question people ask and the Simplon says that I don't but I don't not where it keeps Because it could be dangerous in any way to do the as unfortunately it may be in certain cities in Europe. And another world. We don't keep puts for two reasons first of all because we don't want to sensationalize presence. Yeah you know we ordinary people living ordinary lives and certain way who just want to be Jewish as well and we don't want to be posted boards and go full. You know big SUV and political and ideological ideas. We just WANNA get on without knives. So that's the first thing is we don't want to sensationalize presents. And the second thing is that we have to acknowledge that notwithstanding the amazing embrace of the Emirati that enjoy it so many years. I'm Dubai a very cosmopolitan city with people from all over the world and We have to be patient. We have to normalize how presence at the time so it's our judgment as a community that it's premature to you know having to have Jews wearing keep putting innovate public context and a more private setting in business meetings in her towel and the airport. It's generally not an issue and if people do keep that it might be that somebody politely gently few to find another head covering. That's the worst to that but we rocky put in summary Judgment. It's panic CIA to do so. Well Ross I look forward to someday hopefully joining us for Shabat in Dubai and I'm sure many of our listeners. Do as well thank you so much for joining us on the pod being a great pleasure and I really encouraged to come and visit you. Buy and other Debbie. It's the most incredible place and Kinda like completely changed the time. Yeah now it's time for a closing segment. Chabad table talk and joining us at our table. This week is Miriam her. Schlaug opinion and blogs editor at The Times of Israel. Miriam when you're talking with your family and friends at your table this weekend. What are you gonNA be talking about High Steffi and Monica well? I'd like to imagine we'd get a break from talking about the corona pandemic but. I know we won't everyone is talking about it and that being the case. I'm going to riff on the ways. This frightening illness intersex with the Purim holiday. We just celebrated so my thinking on. This started on Sunday when I was in the supermarket on Palmer Street here in Jerusalem I was heading to the checkout to pay for seven kilos of self rising flour two kilos of sugar and twenty four containers of tomato paste and it occurred to me that in these days of quarantine someone might reasonably assume. I was engaged in hoarding. It's not a good look. I mean it's viewed as alarmist and even worse as being insensitive to the needs of others for the record. When I took my items I did check to see that. The shelves had plenty more of each product. I was not clearing the place out like some kind of hoarder. I was just getting ingredients for a major food making project for him and that was when I started a little game in my head. Is it corona virus or is it just poor It can be a little hard to tell. It's not just hoarding versus our over the top. Prep for a holiday. Oh and by the way if shopping for poor and looks like hoarding. Wait till April when Passover. Shoppers pick the shelves clean. And you have here in Israel and actual hoarding tradition. Where NON-OBSERVANT JEWS FILL THE FREEZER WITH BAGS OF PITA bread but there are other poor connections eerie similarities. So another one is obviously masks masks. Have been trending for weeks ensure a mask for having fun on. Purim is totally different from surgical mask for screening out bike robes. The main difference. Is that the poor mask achieves its goal. Of course we also know that both the corona virus and poor can make you feel sick although the symptoms do differ. But what about the fact that Kerr or crown is mentioned three times in the poem story and Corona Means Crown to note the spiky surface of the virus and children? What about children? They have more fun than everyone on forum and they are the most safe from Cova nineteen the serious illness produced by the corona virus. There's a lot of noise involved in both the Purim story and corona virus. A lot of edicts are being handed down from on high. And what about care packages in the poem context? These are known as Michelle Ma. Note that pretty bag or say an upside down clown hat filled with treats is just the kind of item of friend might give to someone in quarantine and it's not just the what but the how delivering Michela Monot. If you go to the home of neighbors or friends to give them therefore him treats and they aren't home what do you do you hang it on the DOORKNOB and move on? That's exactly how friends and Food Delivery Messengers are leaving food for those many thousands here in Israel who are under quarantine. So you can see. It's a game show waiting to be made and about that flour and other stuff. I was buying on Sunday. Well these were for the lowest note my family gave out one part of it was a bag of lentils spices freeze dried onions tomato paste that cook up into a quick pot of soup and there was also a flour mixture plus a bottle of beer for making a fast loaf of beer bread. This to be truthful wasn't a matter of poor verses Corona virus it was the central overlap section of Jewish ven diagram that shows what the two things have in common feeding. Those we care about food to fulfill the poem tradition of giving and food to live out the value of helping those who are in need or who might just be feeling a bit lonely here in. Israel we may be proactively quarantining more people than any country in the world but one thing we don't do so well is isolating now Manja. What about you Saffy Mariam Family Separation? Travel bans discrimination. These of course have been some of the more controversial topics of political debate for the last three years. They've been in the context of national security well-being. Americans don't want terrorists in this country so the administration ban Muslims a discriminatory policy. Ajc has been outspoken against the government discourages people seeking asylum by quarantining parents in detention centers and separating their children another policy. Ajc has denounced. Now we're talking about the very same things but in a very different context public health. This virus does not discriminate. Well one colleague pointed out it actually. Does it targets the elderly. Those whose health is already compromised. The young and healthy. They seem to escape with mild cases. But now some of the travel bans. Don't discriminate either. Israel quarantining everyone that gets off an international flight. The United States is banning travelers from twenty six European countries as the spread of the virus picks up pace across the Middle East and elsewhere like Australia. Where Tom Hanks in his wife or convalescing. That list is sure to grow these. Tough travel bans make sense inconvenient to be sure but they make sense but for some there also painful because they've led to forced family separation to keep our parents and grandparents healthy suddenly requires that to know visits to nursing homes. Some families are already cancelling Passover Sater's my in laws had planned a huge trip here to see their grandkids and celebrate a bevy of big occasions. We've urged them to reconsider. I've been here before about this time last year. In fact my father's health was quite fragile and my children's health was constantly gross. Finding that sweet spot. When there were no sniffles to share seemed impossible and it was driving me mad but that sweet spot did emerge and my children were able to see their grandfather just two weeks before he passed away as my father's yard site approaches on Monday I'm experiencing a bit of a deja Vu. I had been eager to see my mother and my sister. And celebrate my father. But regardless of sniffles that is not going to happen. Not for a while to be honest. I'm not even sure I'll be able to get into a synagogue to recite. Codfish I share all of this. Because I've really been thinking about how an illness possibly fatal illness put life in perspective. It aligns priorities inspires creativity and in some cases. Besides the runs on disinfectant whites and paper towels highlights examples of altruism. I do hope listeners can take their minds off the many inconveniences that the corona virus is imposing on all of us and find those sweet spots. They will emerge if you let them perhaps even on the campaign trail. Wouldn't that be something? My father John Rhys Year like to say. It's always something it is. If it wasn't a highly contagious virus. It probably would be something else so along with many fond memories of my father priorities and perspective. That's what we'll talk about at our table Saffy. Welcome back from Israel. What will you be talking about on Chabad? That's beautiful? Thank you for sharing that. I was in Israel last week and I had all these grand plans of returning to people of the pod to share the special experiences. I had like visiting my friends who are new Israeli citizens and meeting their baby daughter or accompanying them when they went to vote in their new home for the first time or the beautiful contrast between old tradition and new exciting development as I joined my friend for his commute from Jerusalem to his office at Google Tel Aviv and prayed in the morning. Minion on Israel's brand new high-speed train but the talk at my Shabat table this week will doubtless be about corona virus as we try to avoid making hand contact while passing food around the table. I feel like I have been racing ahead of the pandemic for the past two weeks when I departed from the US to Israel. I like most of my friends wasn't really concerned yet about the disease. While in Israel I gradually found myself spending more time indoors and avoiding public places more than usual. I canceled a planned trip to Barcelona because Israel announced a mandatory quarantine for all travellers returning from Spain to the friends. I have been traveling with. Were returning to Israel after that trip so a two week quarantine wasn't an option and the rest of US decided not to chance it. I departed from Israel for London as planned and shortly after landing in the UK. Learn that Israel had further tightened flight restrictions. Basically it was good. I got out when I did as most flights are no longer flying in London. I had the opportunity to observe a bizarrely calm debate in the House of Commons about corona. I had just come from mostly shuddered Israel only to hear the. Uk's Health Secretary downplay the need for quarantines. The next day I read that one of his under secretaries had tested positive for the virus the next day yesterday I flew home on a plane with only thirty eight out of one hundred and eighty seats filled. I landed back in New York and less than an hour later. Found out that the US was instituting. Major travel restrictions on European flights. I returned to a very different America than I left. So far I feel okay but who knows with all that travel may have been exposed to the virus. That's why I'm recording this for my Home Office away from Montana and our producer con we at J. C. Cancel Program scrapped travel and will be working from home for at least next week continuing are crucial advocacy but at the same time doing everything we can to help prevent the spread of the virus. I hope that you will join us in doing your part and together. We'll beat this. Shabana them bellone ship Bat. Shalom you can subscribe to people of the pod on itunes Google play or spotify or learn more at AJC dot org slash people of the pot. The views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC and the Times of Israel. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod at AJC DOT Org. If you like this podcast be sure to read it and writer of you to help more listeners. Find US. Thank you for listening. This episode is brought to you by JC and the Times of Israel producer is Condo are sound engineer is tk Broadway tune in next week for another episode of people. Love the POD.

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U.S.-Iran Crisis; Hate Crimes in NY; #JewishandProud Day

People of the Pod

55:55 min | 10 months ago

U.S.-Iran Crisis; Hate Crimes in NY; #JewishandProud Day

"Hello and welcome to people of the pot brought to you by. AJC The Times of Israel each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what they all mean for Israel and the Jewish people aren't Cogan and I'm on your bre share cashman German. Somanje who did you talk with this week spoke with Deborah Lauder the Executive Director of the Office for the prevention of hate crimes here in New York City about the rise of hate crimes and how the city is trying to address that seven. Who did you speak with? That sounds fascinating. I spoke with the two different experts to get a full picture of what we should be thinking about the aftermath of the assassination of Iranian general. Qassem Sumani I I. I spoke with Dr Patrick. Clawson the director of research at the Washington Institute followed by Dr Tamara. Cofman witness the senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy. Not at brookings and money. I think we had the second ever edition of our Special Monte on the street segment is not just Manja. Our producer could condo. And I I Hit the streets once again to talk to folks about what it means to be Jewish Why they're proud to be Jewish honor of AJC's Jewish and proud campaign this week and we got some really powerful responses will? I can't wait to hear that. Let's at the show after after the US assassinated Iranian General Qassem Sulamani last Thursday night cable news and social media were inundated with people sharing their thoughts. What's on what the strike would mean for the future of the Middle East and whether it might mean war between the US and Iran? This week I spoke with two foremost Middle East. Experts is to clear the noise and get the real sense of what this all means. I here's my interview with Dr Patrick. CLAWSON director of research at the Washington Institute a fluent Farsi Speaker an eminent Iran expert. Who helped us understand what is going on right now inside Iran? Patrick thank you so much for joining us. Yes thanks for having me now. I saw a few people comparing the other night. The assassination of Qassams Sulamani to if an enemy had killed the American American Vice President Chairman of the joint she says staff of the Armed Forces and the director of the CIA all rolled into one. I'm not sure if that's exactly Accurate but it certainly gets. The point across that Sumani was a hugely important figure in Iran. Who did most of his work outside of the country? So maybe you can tell us who was costume Sumani when he was only responsive to the supreme leader so he was somebody operated outside completely outside of the control rule the elected government and he had had quite a low profile until the battle against Isis when is is the Islamic state launched some spectacular tax writing Tehran against the modulus parliament and against Khomeini's tune. Many the Iranians became afraid that Isis was going to wound their country your same way that it unexpectedly rolled across northern Iraq and over much just Syria and there was the perception that was the role luminary guards particular vessel money who saves the country from that fate and that really is what launched him on this past being so incredibly popular and then he capitalized on on this by showing up on the front lines and the battles against Isis and the battles against the opponents of the Syrian regime and he showed up on the front lines. It's both in Iraq and Syria repeatedly tried to claim credit for Iran For the battle against Isis which was not very deserved of course the irony is that it was the sectarian policies ultra sectarian policies. That Isis had the knicks had a push the Iraqi government to adopt which. We're so responsible for young Sudanese turning to Isis. They're only possible savior. And it's this part of the broader kind of complexity the day of the Middle East that you know when we think of maybe America's enemies or or Western enemies in the Middle East. We often think of well. I guess nowadays now as we think of the Sunni extremists Isis but kind of historically we think of Shiite extremists backed by Iran groups like Hezbollah for instance. Right right right and Iran has a long history of being prepared to work with the Sunni radicals at the same time that it's fighting. That's what it did with the Taliban with what with al Qaeda in Iraq would simultaneously work with and fight these organizations and so that history of Iran being both the firemen and the arsonist is what he wrong same approach Brought to the fight against Isis. What do we know about the specifics of the attack last week? That Killed Sumani. Well we know that it was remarkably stupid on the part are risky shall always say on the part of Some money and his key Iraqi interlocateur arguably the most important person in Iraq effectively able to control all the militia. Many who adopted the The Sudan Hondas To be in the same car they made a very attractive target so so the United States was able to track some of these movements across the Middle East he had become much less discreet over the years and decided they would interact attack attack him here at the Baghdad airport at a spot where there was no possibility of collateral damage is very isolated area now in the hours after the attack a lot out of elected officials and foreign policy types you know landed on roughly the same assessment. I would say they felt that Sumani was a bad actor Dr. no-one should shed any tears that he is dead. But without any serious strategy for what comes next they felt that the assassination wouldn't be helpful. Awful step do you share that assessment. Oh I think the fascination clearly had to be accompanied by a whole lot of additional steps and We won't have to see how things things unfold for instance. I would say that. It was pretty obvious that after the assassination Iran would pick some reprisals and the hope would be that The reprisals would be like like the ones that we saw the other night in the missiles fired at Iraq year basis actions which Iran could claim were bowled strikes against United States dates but which in fact inflicted very little damage. And if that's all Iran does well and Mr Trump's decision to take out Mr Solomon need look pretty good The question is what will come next. Will Iranians Start Planning something which they will carry out in the months ahead. That'll hokey much damage than what we've seen to date. Of course that wasn't the only staff writer. The Iranian regime also announced an additional degree of noncompliance with the JCP with twenty fifteen Iran. Deal right but that had nothing to do with saw money. I mean they've been saying for some time that they plan to announce that on January fifth and sure enough. They did so since we've been told ever since November fifth that every sixty days Iran would be announcing the next step. It was hardly surprised that Iran announced measures January fifth breath. And when they did they measures were markedly less veer than what people had fought in that the expectation ever since the November fifth actions of reducing adducing Iran's commitment to nuclear deal had been announced that a good chance that on January Feron would announce it's going to stop cooperating with the enhanced inspections nations by the International Atomic Energy Agency. He wanted nothing of the sort And Iran is still cooperating. Those enhanced inspections So what Iran announced in January fifth was if anything less than what people have thought they might get. Maybe you just have a cooler demeanor but you sound rather less concerned than a lot. Lot of people out there on Cable News on twitter. Would you say that there's less to be concerned about. Then some people are portraying the situation. Well I'm a believer in the muddle through theory of history three and the dramatic events or not as likely as muddling along. I would simply say that You always have to ask yourself once the alternative So for instance a number of people partially criticizing the decision to kill someone. Money are people harshly criticized trump's decision not to respond militarily early after the attack on Saudi oil facilities and if salamone in fact was planning terrorist attacks with killed dozens or more Americans uh-huh and he'd carried those out. Then these some of these critics would have been complaining that Mr Trump hadn't done anything to forestall the actions so I would just simply say that Often when you're in a tough situation all the options facing you are tough and imperfect and in this case Mr trump came down a very different side. They come down on over the last six months. I think that we calibrating had some merit to it. Call the goodness knows. This step was a very bold and potentially dangerous injury step. Let's just turn before ran. Let's just turn quickly to a little bit about how this killing has been received inside of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ron. You mentioned that Sumani is seen or had been seen within Iran kind of the figure who saved Iran from Isis or or from other bad actors in the region there were reportedly millions of Iranians at his funeral a gathering so massive that fifty people actually died in a stampede in the middle middle of the proceedings so to what degree is that due to him truly being a revered and beloved figure or is there some degree to which the turnout was is more a sign of fear of the regime and kind of a sense of needing to fall in line. Well the government's certainly encouraged and siltation people turning out. I wouldn't say that he was beloved and revered I would say that he was respected and that many people who can't stand the Islamic republic. We'll tell you look. We don't like the Revolutionary Guards yards at all but in their hand they did save us from a worse fate namely the Dash and furthermore that last summer when Iran I was having a record floods. It was the goods for us. which effectively organized relief thought areas after the government had turned out to be utterly incompetent doing that and so there were large numbers of people in several of the cities where the funerals were held Who felt a personal gratitude to for the coots force had done for them and their neighbors? But I don't think that he was so much loved as he was respected And the image that the regime constructed for him was not really entirely accurate. Put it mildly. I mean this is a man who is also a brutal thug at home as well as a terrorist abroad and It really was a clever marketing to take advantage of the role that you played against Isis. Won't he played in flood relief to make him into a popular figure. The last question. Since president trump reimpose sanctions on Iran. The value of the Iranian riyal has plummeted. I think the exchange rate eight today stands somewhere around forty two thousand riyal to a single. US dollar there have been major protests against the regime in recent months over over economic dissatisfaction. Yes but also interestingly pushing back on repression of women and and perhaps other social issues does the US killing Sulamani Johny weaken or strengthen the standing of the regime at home. I think that it makes a lot of rainy INS scared where the future is headed. And I don't think that's good for the regime so while it's certainly true that some of the money was a unifying figure in Iran. People Kinda got S- care net the possibility that it'll be war with the United States while all this is certainly something that will be watching very closely over the coming days and weeks weeks and months. Patrick thank you so much for joining us and sharing your expertise. Okay thank you sir next. I spoke with Dr Tamara. Cofman wittes a senior fellow in the Center for Mill East Policy at Brookings Dr Witness previously previously served as deputy assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in the Obama Administration and she is a Co host of one of my other favorite podcasts. Rational security security which focuses on foreign policy and national security issues. Tomorrow thank you so much for joining us to be here. Can you start by telling us a bit about the work of the goods force that Qasim Sumani used to command. Why did they exist? And what did they do okay. So the Islamic Revolutionary Guard hard core is essentially the foreign military or quasi military expeditionary operation for this Llama Republic of Iran and within that the force which has somewhere between ten and twenty thousand fighters is the Sort of main liaison to Iran's Clients and proxies other military and paramilitary organizations around the region region that help Iran influence regional politics and gain and gained a foothold in neighboring states. So that could force. Where is the primary liaison to Hezbollah in Lebanon? Could fourth has worked with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The could force Helped train and supply the Iranian linked militias in Iraq that after our invasion of Iraq waged a major campaign against the American military on the ground in Iraq and killed a couple hundred Americans there So when you think about you you know. The the arm of Iran is reaching into other countries in the region and trying to use local Militia forces is to influence politics the Chris Forces the pointy end of the spear of that effort. That's a fascinating analogy the tip of the spear I you know you mentioned the work around the region of the kids force as part of the I. R. G. See the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. So I actually want to focus on three specific places in that region and just kind of you know wrap around the Fertile Crescent as it were so you know some are suggesting and some of the developments after the assassination of Qasim. Assoumani seemed to suggest that this could mean the end of the US. War in Iraq simply because Iraqis won't want us there anymore. What do you think this means for? US involvement in Iraq. I think US engagement in Iraq at the military level has has been Certainly an issue of controversy within Iraq from the very beginning Remember we we went in of our own accord and overthrew the government and helped set up a new government which has now had several sets of democratic elections in a very divided society ninety and then not divided society there also very divided polarized opinions about the American rule and the American presence So Oh it's never not been a controversy. Having American forces in Iraq when President Obama withdrew American combat troops in two thousand. I was an eleven. That was because the politics in Iraq would not support status-of-forces agreement that would allow American forces sources to stay with the protections that the American government insisted on for them But with the rise of Isis in two thousand fourteen and A new Iraqi government with a new leadership asked the United States to come and help combat isis and help train the Iraqi Iraqi military so that it could become a more competent counterterrorism force Well it's complicated. Is that during that Anti Isis fight American and in other coalition forces fighting Isis with the Iraqis we're working alongside pro Iran militias that were backed by could force and by Customs Sulejmani. They were also fighting Isis. We all had in common the idea of defeating the extremist Sunni terrorist. I group that was trying to take over Iraqi territory But one stat site began to wind down the underlying differences over Iraq's independence and sovereignty its political orientation in the region. All of those reemerged. And so I don't think we can say that. The killing of Customs Sulejmani has made a determinative difference in the long term prospects for keeping American troops in Iraq it may have just radically the accelerated a trend that was building anyway to reduce if not eliminate the American military presence there And you know speaking of of these strange bedfellows of this fight against Isis. We can kind of keep moving west from Iraq to Syria where Iran and Russia increasingly Russia have been the primary sponsors of Bashar. Al Assad's continued rule. Does Sulamani is killing. have any implication Russian for the future of this long dragging out Syrian civil war. I think it has significant implications for Syria and and for the Russian presence in Syria and for the threats that the Syrian war poses to the neighborhood including Israel. So let me start with the fate of the Charlotte. Assad himself so at a moment when his regime was teetering on the brink of collapse in the face of opposition assaults it was bolstered Mr by a Russian intervention but also by very strong support from Iran and Iran's guidance from Lebanese Hezbollah and and Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian backed militias. Some of whom are not Arabs. At all but came from other parts of the world to help support the iranian-backed regime in Syria they were the ground forces. and Russia was the strategic advisor and the Air Force ear defense for Charlotte pushing back against the opposition Now that that that they have consolidated that regime in place the question is what becomes of the Iranian presence in Syria over the long term And Israel among others has been extremely concerned To See indications that the IRA G C has been trying to embed Abed permanent military installations with personnel and equipment inside Syria and a number of Israeli airstrikes have been an attempt to to destroy or deter that kind of Iranian presence With the United States now under increased pressure in in Iraq we. I think it's important to acknowledge that is our presence in Iraq is what has enabled us to sustain the forces the small aw number of American forces that we have sitting at a tough on Iraqi Syrian border. Those are the remaining American forces in Syria. Right now they. They are guarding this highway. That runs from Baghdad in Iraq to Damascus in Syria the the I. R. G. has been trying to use to bring it quick and personnel into Syria and also the Lebanese Hezbollah And so if the American presence in Iraq is removed I think it gets much much more difficult to sustain that American presence at a tough on the Syrian border and therefore much harder for the United States. Do Anything to help. Deter prevent Iran from embedding itself further in Syria. Then just to call this a little bit more for our listeners. I guess Iran's Iran's involvement in Syria is due to ideological alignment and Russia's is due to wanting to keep a report on the Mediterranean Sea. Does it all kind of boil down as simply as that or is there more to this I think those interests are both quite correct. But I think that there's a lot more to it than that. The alliance between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Assad regime in Syria dates back more than three decades It is partly ideological. It's partly sectarian because the outside family are from a breakaway sect of Shia Islam. That is considered by many Muslims especially Sunni Muslims to be radical and so There is that affinity with the Shia Shia regime. That's more tolerant of these kind of sectarian minorities But there there is also an ideological orientation attention and that the alliance with Iran has helped Syria. As a you know in a loose sense leftist Arab nationalist astray GM to maintain some independence from other heavyweights in the Arab world like Saudi Arabia and Egypt and and to maintain a sort of independence. Dance and so it's had political now. kind of security interests not only ideological eddie logical interests at the heart of that Alliance for the Russians. Yes the port The Mediterranean port that warm water port is important It's also into a place where Russia has been able to kind of Harry. The United States thumb its nose at the United States and the perception of America declining American influence in the Middle East. And it's also been a place where simply by its presence and its influence over the the Syrian regime. Russia has made itself an address for other governments in the region. That care about the fate of Syria to Show show up in Moscow and spend a lot of time. Talking of Ladimir Putin Putin has been able for example to convene What they call a peace process Between Turkey Iran and Syria. You know over the fate of of the Syrian civil war. I don't think that that's a peace. He's process that is actually going to produce an end to conflict But again it's made Putin and important address And raised his prestige and and raised his presence in the region. Okay well you alluded to Israel before so just before we close we add. AJC are all worried. About what what this will mean for. Israel Iran itself is a threat of course and if the conflict with the US were to continue to escalate then. Iran might. Well you know kind of Target Israel as a way of getting to America plus the situation with Hezbollah the Iranian Tara proxy that more or less controls Lebanon is dangerous in and of itself has has something like one hundred and fifty thousand missiles stockpiled in southern Lebanon. Ready to fire at Israel so even if the US Iran are are able to avoid a shooting war. It seems like they may be able to do. How likely is it now that we see something of a kind of proxy battle between between Israel and Hezbollah Well number one I would say. Hisbah is not a mere client of the Islamic republic. It is an actor after in its own right with degree of autonomy so I would say it's a partner with the Islamic Republic And it's important to keep that in mind At that doesn't necessarily push in one direction or the other in terms of how his bulloch may play the current situation and and it's threats against Israel but it is important to keep in mind that his ball is going to make its own decisions. It doesn't simply take orders from Tehran And as as an actor with a deep vested interest in Lebanon his Bella has to weigh Knowing that any attack on Israel is going to lead to another Israeli land invasion into Lebanon and pounding of Lebanese infrastructure. The Lebanese civilian population by these really earlier force. That is given. The Israelis have been crystal clear that that will be an immediate result of his bulloch. Missile attack on Israel So I think that deterrence has its own dynamic no matter what the Iranians may want his bullets do but looking at the broader situation whether or not there is an active direct military face-off between Iran and the United States. Iran has all of these other capabilities around the region that create leverage. Now look the United States other capabilities around the region as well but Iran's modus operandi is asymmetric. He's symmetric response. They don't have to you. Know go tank to tank They can respond to something like the targeted killing of Qasim Salani with How you know encouraging their Yemeni partners the UC's to heat up the civil war in Yemen and torpedo pedo the very delicate peace process now underway with the Saudis an Emirati and and They could us Cells that they have built up in Bahrain to conduct terrorist operations in Bahrain. Either against Bahrainis or against American naval forces we have a major naval base on Bahrain. So you know. They have a lot of levers. They can use in the region and also internationally nationally Let's not forget that. The Islamic Republic is the leading state sponsor of international terrorism. And we've seen them take action very very far outside the Middle East in Argentina. You know bombing both the Israeli embassy and and the Jewish community center there so there is you know they have a lot of options for response. We have a lot of options And a lot of capabilities around the region for response but I think that they will have to make a choice about about how much pressure they want to put. Not only on the United States but on other regional governments that are allied with the United States. And what it is is. They're trying to get out of applying pressure. Well tomorrow let me just ask you as the last question here you know to kind of put a button on the whole thing. I think this is the sixty four thousand dollar question. Is the region more dangerous. Now the Qassams Lamont is dead or less you know a decapitation strike of somebody. Somebody who had this much charisma and individual capacity as a leader and also someone who had built so many important relationships ships with these iranian-backed groups around the region removing not person definitely has at least a short term impact reducing you think the Iranians capability reducing the coordination amongst these groups and Tehran. Whether in the longer term it makes the region safer or not it depends on not this individuals presence or absence but on the broader shape of conflict between the US and its partners earners and Iran. Any Ron's partners and I think one of the Challenges we face today. Is that in that broader confrontation. The United States government is not yet clear on what it's looking for what it's seeking. It's putting all this pressure on Iran and it wants Iran to do what exactly exactly the list of conditions laid out by the trump administration is so long and diverse that it's entirely unrealistic and so to deescalate the conflict and to move it into a track where this pressure actually produces a change in Iranian behavior and a commitment from Iran to change its behavior through diplomatic agreement. We have to be clearer about what we want. Well these are sobering thoughts lots I. I'm not sure anyone knows more about the region that we just discussed than you so we appreciate so much that you would Take the time to help us. Better understand what's going on in that part of the world. Thank you so much tomorrow. My Pleasure Steffi last last October. AJC conducted a landmark survey. That found a third of American Jews hide or conceal their Jewish identity in response to that anti-semitic attacks across the city of New York and New Jersey. AJC decided to sponsor a Jewish and proud campaign this week encouraging. People to display display their Judaism where their key pas where stars of David and do other things that might display their Judaism producer condo and I hit the streets of New York to ask. Ask people how they were displaying their Judaism. What made them proud to be Jews and what it means to be? Jewish here are some of the responses so we are here asking people why they're proud to be Jewish and what being Jewish means to them. Okay so it's going to New York raising in a kosher like mice but not off death. Nice Restaurant Meeting people you know. Xp these weird question and you feel you feel like you're part of the beginning and Dan seminary any something amazing how we can connect all around the world and Jewish people and not always only kosher is your places you can find people in that you feel a connection part and this is what I love about Travelling and eating Jewish people so I think there are many ways to express once Jewishness one of the ways for me. Interestingly it was really the focus ward for about the seven Jewish ams. That's an amazing gift from God and in today's twenty four seven forever on society. It's amazing gift to be able to look forward to this disconnecting it. Spending time with family traer Torah thought. I look forward to every day and the moment that avid fans is the moment of afforded the next week definitely the values. It's something that keeps you. Grounded keeps you too Driven and on a mission in life And and really gives you purpose that suffer some four months And what it means to me and how I displayed on on a daily basis about. Oh I can speak for for many Being in the workforce and being having an office in Manhattan the center of the the World Really Mossman of all cultures and we will display that wear yarmulkes. We're proud of what we do our heritage where we come from. And we're very lucky and fortunate to have that ability in America today how to Jewish. I'm sure it's an other religions. Well other parents teach their children while I was taught and I've learned Hans. What's his point this out there? Somebody some think can you help regardless of their religion or they are here to help after running the route. Think being good June this world is trying to reveal God's presence in the world every believer. Yeah I think that's sees their goal as such and Jews Latins different. I think it's a really oh interesting. Point of view at life and at this world is seeing as a hidden potential of God being every and every person we meet and every interaction with the world. That's how I see my Judaism. How do you come to split your Jewish pride being civically engaged in volunteering is would I associate with being Jewish and carrying about making the world a better place? I connect the most with Toco Nolan overtime. Volunteer or engage in my community unity. I feel like that's me acting my Judaism Jewish boy purpose living and display it by acting accordingly to be signed persons. Everybody we had AJC survey back in October. That said that about Thir- third of Jews conceal or hide their Jewish identity. Is that a concern that you share Or not so much it's really It depends where Amer depends who I'm with. It's always like meeting that but like my wife won't lighten. She doesn't like me wearing a key out in public in many places I'm busy from the UK so when we've been in London she asked me to our baseball cap No friends who feel that way increasingly miss city now so it's scary thing for me. I kind of play it by ear and judge my own comfort. A BIOS affiliates important to represent myself as Jewish in certain situations. It's just something that I very aware of and have become much more of in this city in the pasta very negative reasons. So do you. So you're we're indoors so and you're wearing a coupon now. Do you wear it outdoors for people to see often. Yes okay I do. Yeah and again. That's become such a loaded. It feels like a loaded thing to do now. fills like a scary thing to do being from Jerusalem slim. I mean there's this shocking to you or not so much when you hear about these attacks leaving a crazy environment in Israel and we feel safe but suddenly our heart is with you and what what is happening in America. But we don't feel unsafe here because we live in Israel in Jerusalem in. I always feel that we are all in Holmium Q.. Post traumatic in this way. Very it's very important to go against the to speak to talk to make a change jeans last year New York City Council pave the way. Hey for an office for the prevention of hate crimes to be created by the month of November but in the months that followed crime went down in the city. Hate crimes went up so mayor. Bill Bill de Blasio by September had that office staffed he tapped Debra Lauder as the executive director and Deborah is here to join us to talk about the rise of antisemitic attacks ax in Brooklyn and what the city is doing to address. It Debra. Welcome thank you. Thank you for having me on so you joined. The mayor's office earlier this year. What was the catalyst for that to the good news in New York City? Who's that crime has come down but when they were looking at various this area's there clearly wasn't increased in hate crimes so the city council actually acted the legislation to open this office year ago? So January twenty nineteen and they wanted the office to be opened in November. Two Thousand Nineteen The city continued to see over the Spring and summer months a number of hate crimes increasing and so mayor de Blasio announced. You know what we don't have the luxury awaiting the office to open. Let's get going so do I was brought on board and started really right at the beginning of September so it's only been a little over four months now okay. was that the threshold for needing a position. Like like this. Where crime goes down hate crimes? Go up or what is the threshold. How do you know you need a position like this? Yeah I mean people were just seeing this increase Jason trying to get a handle on saying you know what we need to take a long-term approach to this issue. We can't sweep it under the rug and I thought as an incredibly credibly good sign that the mayor was taking this seriously and instead of just condemning incidents as they occurred saying you know what let's look let's see if we we can indeed find patterns. What's motivating this increasing trend? And what can we do not just reactively but in the long-term be proactive to squelch Welsh. It so what are some of those measures that you're taking right so I mean I've been in this business long time fighting hate and discrimination the one thing I can assure you there's not one way to do it. So I mean taking a multi pronged approach There's a couple initiative one will the multi pronged the approach focuses on three areas. And that's working with law enforcement working in community relations and third working in education and they all have to work together and separately at the same time I brought together what. We're calling an inter agency committee on hate crimes. When I got in to the city government I realized there were actually eleven different agencies in New York City sort of have their fingers on doing something related to a hate crime so every agency from department of Education to the NYPD Department of Health and mental hygiene the City Commission on Human Rights? The mayor's Ariza Office of immigrant affairs all these organizations Or have been doing great work but they've never been brought together in a comprehensive way to look at the issues discussed what they're doing. Maybe come up with some innovative solutions to address it so that good workers already underway. They've been convened. They're now working and working groups around specific topics At the same time that the city council enabled this office to open. They also created a program called the Hate Violence Prevention Initiative. These were a series of grants to community based organizations who are really in their communities doing the good work to to educate their constituents on what our crimes how to report provide victims assistance. So this officers overseeing all those grants in fact we just met this afternoon with all of them to permit them to share what they're doing share best practices. So you know you have the Jewish organizations sitting with the Muslim organizations sitting with Lgbtq organizations and the immigrant organizations all discussing sort of holistically. What we're doing so I'm very excited about that? Initiative in response to the increase in the religious neighborhoods in Brooklyn particularly the mayor announced about a week ago a new initiative initiative Called Neighborhood Safety Coalition. And so we're in the process of forming those these will be very diverse Representatives and leaders leaders from the three communities in Brooklyn most affected and be Williamsburg Borough Park area and Crown Heights A really coming together and having them develop their action plans for how they can stand up for each other and to really be a very public face of saying we will not tolerate any form of hate or hate crimes in in our communities so a lot going on we have been working with the Department of Education last week Chances of Karan's sent to all the public schools rules Resource Sheets About how to bring more attention and discussions into the classroom on respect and discussing. What's been going on? He The first lady and I attended a high school to talk to kids to get some feedback on what they're saying and how they can be part of the solution. So there's a lot of things is going on a lot of activities that I'm really excited about that. We want to see Scaled and said a real value to community respect respect. It sounds like a lot of what you're doing is breaking down silos a lot of good workout there but nobody really talking to each other or learning from each other. Yeah there's actually actually I mean I I would say there have been some really good things going I think people got a little bit taking things for granted and now it's been you know the thing thing about with crisis comes opportunity and I've just been meeting a lot of incredibly thoughtful individuals and organizations who who have done some of this work but they realize it needs to be done at a much larger scale They're real committed to doing it so I think some of the work. We're doing doing right now in the crisis mode is going to have a long-term impact and I'm particularly excited about that. You talked about the grants dedicated to the hate violence prevention initiative. How much much money has been allocated for that? And is that number going to go up or has it already gone up to address. This city council allocated a million dollars for those grounds okay. All right and that number has remained the same since last year Yeah so this is the first cycle that it's been done okay now L. Congresswoman Nita lowy our CEO. David Harris called the spate of attacks. That's been happening. An epidemic and some authorities are calling these incidents domestic terrorism. Are these terms accurate. Would you agree with them or would you add some terms of your own to describe what's going on and so the Mayor de Blasios has called it a crisis prices You know when you look at the data. There's no doubt something is going on that warrants direct attention and that's why we're also focused on it right now so so Listen I I've spent a lot of time with New York. Police Department all the different levels particularly working closely with the hate crime task. Force here I I have full confidence that they are devoting really heightened resources to addressing the issue This is a priority for the city of New York and I think my message Jewish community is that this has been taken very seriously it always has been but in light of the data and the numbers going up. They've all said one. Hate incident is too many and so the fact that there were last year two hundred thirty four antisemitic incidents And those are just reported ones. That was a fifty five percent of all the reported hate crimes. You know no matter what you call it. It deserves attention engine and response. Yeah you your office. I should say addresses all kinds of hate whether it's against Muslims against the LGBTQ community. What would you say is the common thread? I mean besides hate But the common thread of what could worked to prevent this you know so breaking breaking down stereotypes and buys against individuals getting to know the other the quote unquote the other. I think will have a long-term consequences. there's fair. We're you know we're in a stage in our country's history where there's clearly a lot of polarization and People are not feeling secure. And let's somehow manifesting. I believe the bigotry is always been underlying But somehow that lit has come off the sewer and people are feeling more empowered or whatever to express it and so we were seeing an increasing. These incidents we've got to figure out how to tamp that down and to stop the normalization. Asian of Hate Debra. Thank you so much for joining us and thank you for the good work that you're doing for the city of New York. Thank you so much pleasure to speak to you. Hi It's Sarah Singer. From The Times of Israel come join our community and support fast and fair independent journalism. You can sign up with the link at the bottom of every single article on the site. Now it's time for our closing segment Shabat table talk and joining us at our Shabat table. This week is sue circle the environment correspondent for the Times of Israel. Sue when you are talking with your friends and family at your table this weekend. What are you going to be talking about? Returned last week from Uganda where I visited a bunch of projects by an Israeli organization called Innovation Africa. They use rarely technology to bring in Trinity and Clean Malta all to task for the villages. What they do is they installed sonal panels the three range one is to bring it to school so that people can study some older another is to power clinics so that babies can be delivered as all hours so they can have fridges to store vaccines and medications and the third is draw? Water up from I'm underground aquifers. There's a lot of underground watching Uganda filter. It and channeled through taps into the village. Because what you see in Uganda is is women. Mainly and children Walking for miles with yellow plastic jerry cans to fetch water over the past ten years. Innovation Africa's raise funds to complete two hundred seventy ninety nine projects in ten African countries. And it's improved the lives of one point seven million people which is totally amazing this year. It wants to maybe double that by doing another two hundred projects. The interesting thing is that there's actually quite cheap to do. It costs eighteen thousand dollars to do medical central school. What they do they connect the clinical the school also connect the homes at the school medical staff to keep the nurses and teachers in the village to bring doctors in and it cost fifty thousand dollars list to do a water project not drilling construction solar panels storage tank piping taps remote monitoring and labor really? It's not a lot that trip. I it provided me with a lot of food for thought and raised a lot of questions in my mind. Many years ago I traveled really quite extensively around East Africa and I so who ruled populations mainly living in mud hawks without any electricity toilets or access to clean water and dirt roads really connecting with different areas. And what throwing Uganda. This time suggested that very little has changed and so I ask myself what are the lives. International relations been doing over the years. I actually asked to run your IRA who founded and runs innovation Africa and. She said that she had no idea. She asked the same questions. And she doesn't have the answers. I think income organization is amazing and inspiring. And it's bringing a message to Africa that Israel has the village is always cold rainy organization that uses Israeli lady technology and with all the Anti Semitism and anti Israel feeling around the world. Today it's great to know lots of village in Africa Israelis putting his best foot forward food menu. What will you be talking about? So that sounds like a really rewarding story and a a really rewarding experience in the field so sue and Steffi last week during the segment. I explained how I needed to overcome my reticence to advertising my Judaism and find a way besides broadcasting adhere to to tell the world and really show the world that my family is Jewish away. That's comfortable for me and my family now on Sunday Steffi. You met my three year old daughter as we marched across the Brooklyn Bridge Shoes Adore. Thank you I think so too. We were marching across the bridge to show our Jewish pride and solidarity with those who have been victims of anti-semitism now while carrying a three year old for two miles is not generally advisable. Unless you have plenty of Ibuprofen on hand for the next day I did love that moment. Moment at the peak of the bridge when we could see the thousands in front of us and the thousands behind us. She was genuine awe when I showed her that she is not at all alone. She is part of tradition a community. Who believe in repairing the world and taking care of their fellow men and women now as I joked on twitter my son is is also totally into the concept of Jewish and proud but not Jewish and crowd and he declined to come perhaps wisely given the turn out? I really don't think he would have been pleased but having having my daughter there who was energized intrigued interested it was really an incredibly powerful experience. And she and I encouraged each other. I think I talked last week. About how as a religion reporter. I've often kept my faith to myself. Concerned that sources would not trust me to be unbiased but on Sunday it really hit home that I have an additional personal calling to fulfil now as a wife and a mother living in the New York area. They're assaulting Jews in the streets here. They're killing them in grocery stores and inside their homes uh-huh so it's really up to me to teach my children how to embrace their own. Religious tradition equip them to explain it to others and respect and honor others beliefs as well. Well I need to teach my children. What being Jewish means both the beauty and the burden now on Monday the official Jewish and proud day I took him more muted approach? I wore ring saying that once belonged to my mother proclaiming and I added a star of David to the chain on which I wear my father's masonic ring in fact it's it's still there you can hear it jingling but it also did something something less public this week. I subscribed albeit a day or two late to another podcast to guide me through the next seven and a half year cycle of Doff Yummy. A daily study daddy of each page of the Talmud is something I have wanted to do ever since I learned about it seventeen years ago but at that time it was way too late in the cycle to begin and I just kept missing my chance. Yes we need seven and a half year cycle restarted. Every time I remembered it seemed I was a year or two too late. It's really the story of my life but now for those who have no clue what I'm talking about doff. Off Yummy was developed a century AGO BY ACIDIC RABBI in Poland as a way to unify the Jewish people around the world by having them study meditate on the same page of text every day. Now it's it's remained largely male largely orthodox tradition but that's been changing to include more women and I'm going to be one of them now. There's a wonderful memoir by Ilana. Christiane called called if all the seas were inc.. I got it through my kids. Pj Library subscription one day and that memoir details how the daily ritual doff Yummy guided her through the transition of divorce as I undergo a few significant transitions of my own. Including this whole wife and mother and embracing Jewishness thing. I'm going to give the staff Yo MIA try. Who knows if I'll stick with it but that undoubtedly will be what we talk about at our table so beautiful I have a very fond memory of in two thousand and twelve valve bringing a group of Jewish teens around Eastern Europe and then Israel for the summer and when we got to lean in Poland we went to yeshiva she that Hook May Lube Lean which was Rabbi Mayer Shapiro's yeshiva where he devised this idea of Dhafi and got to teach a little Torah to my kids that summer which was really a powerful experience that has stuck with me? Here's what I'll be talking about on Sunday together with our partners at Uja Federation of New York and a few other major ager Jewish organizations. Like you're saying Manja. AJC planned a march against antisemitism across the Brooklyn Bridge ending a rally at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn. In truth having had no more than a week to promote the event we had no idea whether it was going to be the crushing crowds that your son was worried about. But in the the end more than twenty five thousand people Jews and our allies turned out on a frigid Sunday morning to stand together against antisemitism. But what happened. Next was also incredible. They didn't let their energy fade away. We've all been there right. It can be so easy to say. Okay I marched. I check that box and move onto the next thing to worry about instead. These people all took another action the next day on. AJC's Jewish and proud day on Monday thousands and thousands thousands of Jews in sixty countries around the world did something to make themselves identifiably Jewish in solidarity with those identifiably Jewish Jews who have found themselves on the front lines of Anti Semitism we asked people participating to let us know on. AJC DOT ORG why they were proud to be Jewish. And we you were inundated with answers. Here are just a few of them from Julia. F in Suffolk County New York. I am proud to be the daughter of a refusenik. The wife of the son of a soul Holocaust survivor and entire massacred family and the mother of three Jewish children whose very existence is an act act of resistance from teak is in Montgomery County Maryland. I am proud to be a part of the Jewish people who lived in exile and under persecution for nearly two thousand years and now having established the state of Israel works and sometimes struggle to make real our values in a complicated world from Mary. Kay in Memphis Tennessee. Being Jewish is life changing. Not only does it mean a sense of community but it means a sense of belonging to me the Mitzvah of making the world. A better place is at my core and lives in my soul. No matter how hard the world may get and be I know I must wake up every day to put put more love into the world and I wear this as a badge of honor. We didn't end antisemitism this week. We have lots of work ahead but tens of thousands of people took action to say that people have good conscience have no tolerance for antisemitism no matter who perpetrates it no matter who they target and that's what I'll be talking about am I sh- about table this week. Sure Bachelor everyone you can subscribe to people of the pod on itunes Google play or spotify or learn more at AJC dot org slash people of the pot. The views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions of AJC and the Times of Israel. We'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at the people of the pod at AJC dot org if you like this podcast. He should've rated and writer of you to help more listeners. Find US thank you for listening. This episode is brought to you by AJC and the Times of Israel our producer is CUCO are sound. Engineer is T K Bhadra tune in next week for another episode of people of the Pie

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Election 2020: VP Candidate Kamala Harris; Upheaval in Lebanon

People of the Pod

30:08 min | 2 months ago

Election 2020: VP Candidate Kamala Harris; Upheaval in Lebanon

"Hello and welcome to people of the pod brought to you. By AJC each week we take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what it all means for. Israel and the Jewish people. I'm Stephie Cogan and I'm on Uber Sheer men. This week, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. Before. They are officially nominated next week. At the Democratic National Convention, we wanted to hear from Ron Campus Washington bureau chief at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency always, Astute at finding the Jewish angle to any story to learn American Jews should know about Senator, Harris Ron. It's good to have you back with us on people about thanks. Thanks for having me. I can't help but shake the feeling that we just wasted a year from the outset someone could've guessed, okay. The nominee is going to be Joe Biden, and then once the nominee was Joe Biden someone could've guessed was this decision a surprise to you or should we have seen? This is always where it was going. I think when you what kept a Joe Biden in the race. Was the loyalty of his donor is really down around. December make up with him. He was defiant having difficulty fundraising then part of it is. The fact that he's been in, you had enough of the face and donors they sustained him through whereas people that Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris Didn't survive that period because they just didn't have the the donor base he did but there were certainly ups and downs and you had the beginning of this year where for about four weeks Bernie Sanders was the front runner I do think that once the vice-presidential stakes started. It was down to a couple of serious contenders and Kamala Harris was definitely one of them. Now. That things have shaken out and we have Joe Biden at the top of the ticket followed by Camel Harris I think American Jews are wondering. Comma was not exactly a stranger. She certainly someone who had exposure during her time in the presidential primary but I think American Jews are wondering or beginning to wonder what they should expect from her as vice president, what they need to know about her so i. i WanNa, just kind of start with some of the issues that are most commonly associated with Jewish voters start with antisemitism moved to Israel and then kind of hear about some general Jewish Info. Maybe there's some tidbits that you know that you WANNA share. Before she was Attorney General when she was a prosecutor in San Francisco and then I think she continue this terrorist status as attorney general she backed hate crimes. which is a you know a key organizational Jewish push. To tobacco. To to an answer, existing crimes with penalties if they're. Committed because of a bigotry of because bias. So he's very much in the front on that. She specifically mentioned in pushing for attacks on A. On a Jewish targets in California. So very, very sensitive to that better as far as that goes I think she's She's really Out Front. On the antisemitism issue. And IF PEOPLE WANNA take action on eight crimes. They can head to AJC dot org slash take action and help join our push to to get. Congress to pass the no hate act. Let's move now to Israel I. Mean Joe. Biden has these kind of rock solid half a century of Israel where he he likes to tell the story and I think I've heard him tell the story wants and have heard you either on twitter or in writing recount the story more than once of his first meeting with an Israeli Prime Minister Golden May. all those many years ago. What about comma harasses relationship with with the State of Israel? Also close has been there she uh, she waxed when she came back I think she went on an ai es trip amok sore which is definitely been there. Is the educational affiliate of a pack? and she waxed very eloquently about the Supreme Court's relieve at the the the architecture and there is what would myron anybody ever been big. Beautiful building she definitely more a pack than Jay Street J. Street liberal Middle East Jewish Policy Group. Now, has the secured now has endorsed or the agreement to be endorsed by a majority of Democrats in both Chambers House and the Senate Kamala Harris is about one of them. She's the minority that would prefer to hang out with eight-pack or you know the exclusion of Jay, street because there are people who are in both candidates that. She In two thousand and nineteen, and there was a kind of specious attempt to say that Presidential candidates boycotting eight-pack when a pack makes pointed knock inviting presidential candidates to speak until it's actually a year of the elections. In other words they weren't going to go until twenty twenty. So people you know just saying come on earth is. Back in two thousand, nine, nineteen, that means she's getting eight-pack to make the point that she wasn't. She posed with the the pack Delicacy Impure Office that year and put it on twitter about projects. To stand with a pack she She helped Oscar a resolution in two thousand seventeen right after the Obama Administration allowed through a UN Security Council resolution that criticized Israel for its settlement activity. One that was very unpopular with the the centrist pro community with a pack and she authored a resolution bet you know took a bomb administration to task for having allowed that there's loosen. So she's just definitely. Centrist, on his own, she did one thing where where Republicans A couple of things where Republicans kind of Dinger and our you'd probably come she wasn't a senator in two thousand fifteen when the Iran deal. was approved by by Congress or wasn't a or more accurate. Me Wasn't scuttled by Congress, but she said she would have voted for Iran. Deal The other thing is that There is a bill in Congress that would add penalties for boycotting Israel or would support stakes that panel penalize people for Boycotting Israel. She opposes back and like other Democrats oppose it. She says that she opposes media. But she believes in boycotts to be protected speech that they shouldn't be targeted for penalties. There's one word that hasn't crossed either upset, and it's GonNa bring us into the last thing I'm GonNa talk about like General Jewish Trivia about Kamla and things that are maybe secondary but still important to know and that word is doug. Her husband, Doug him off his Jewish, a you know in somebody who? Is was a member of the Temple Shalom in San. Francisco. I heard that they met because they were fixed up either by communist sister Maya by friends they met on you'd he married I don't think she'd been married before she had term relationships before so he has grown children Say corker Malla. Presumably, this is their her proudest title presume because it rhymes with Kamla but Bob beautifully obvious you know the. RID FOR MOTHER MODEL? and. They smashed the glass with their wedding because. To honor his his Jewish. Heritage she has if you're looking for video on, she has a very funny story about meeting her inlaws for the first time and his mother sort of grasps her face between her hands. On mothers for doing that and see store husband Mike Mike look it has so much prettier in real life it on TV shit very big last couple of hours. So it comes out when she. When she told that story so she asked she definitely has. That Jewish. That Jewish connection in Jewish awareness and he I mean, I, guess it probably informs of physicians as well of four candidates. Now Biden come Howard Mike Pence and Donald Trump only one mike and Jews in the faculty. Everybody also, Tuesday immediate cameras. I imagine someone could write a doctoral dissertation about what that says about the State of American Jews today right Ron thank you so much for for joining us and helping us to to understand this very important news just a little bit better. We look forward to having you again in the future. Thank you. Last week, an explosion rocked Lebanon's capital Beirut killing at least one hundred and seventy one people injuring thousands and damaging more than half the city. Since then protesters and looters have filled the streets the Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his cabinet have resigned and France has organized an international aid conference to help a country that had already plunged into economic crisis. But donors and diplomats have said Lebanon needs more than humanitarian aid. They have called for a meaningful conversation about reforming the system there and the significant role played. By Hezbollah, a global terrorist organization that actually serves as one of Lebanon's political parties. Here. To help us understand the events unfolding in Lebanon is Matthew Levitt Director of the Reinhard Program on counterterrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute, and the author of the Book Hezbollah. The global footprint of Lebanon's Party of God Matthew Welcome to the show. Thanks for having me now first, let's understand Lebanon, we hear a lot about the civil war in Syria the nuclear threats in Iran but please describe for our listeners who might not yet know what is the history of Lebanon and how does that reverberate today in terms of how government is structured? So. Lebanon one point under French colonial rule and then achieved independence. It's a country that has a many confessional communities, many sectarian communities. and. It's been very, very sensitive ever to take A. Because that might suggest a rebalancing of WHO's larger who smaller within the Lebanese political. System. And the system is divided between each of these confessional communities, and so the speaker of the parliament comes from one secure and community and the president from another and the prime minister from another and the entire system is built on being divided across these various communities. What's happened over time however is that each of these communities is led by basically one person, and so you have a small number of individuals who almost like Mafia dons are the kind of vested leaders of their community even if they are not personally holding a position governments, one of their people who is each of these communities is able to make a tremendous amount of money. Off Of. Out of. And from the government, and so they'll have invested interest in the government sting as it is more than they have an interest in seeing that the government provide better governance better services to the people be more responsive to the people, and after the horrific explosion in Beirut that you're seeing protests on the street where people want everyone out not just the individuals who are holding office right now but they want the confessional system gone fearing that if the only issue that's dealt with in the immediate is the humanitarian catastrophe and there is a humanitarian catastrophe and we have to deal with it in the immediate. But everybody every Lebanese I've seen saying on on social media for example, give please give do not give to any government agency gift to the Red Cross give to other international organizations otherwise the money just going to be going to something other than humanitarian aid. If we don't want something more than just a humanitarian catastrophe if we don't deal with the political underlying political problems, you're just going to have a new national unity government with the same old mafiosos who run each of the steering communities, the Sunni community, the Shia community, the Druze community, etc, and there will be no change in the concern is that the French have as a former colonial power of taken the lead to their credit to try and address the humanitarian crisis and to try and put in place a new national unity governments that there will be stability but they are laser like focus on stability and on humanitarian. Support. The concern is risks losing opportunity a once in a lifetime opportunity to actually change the system. So how does the resignation of the prime minister change that process or affect that process? Does it hasten it? Does it tie it up? The resignation is kind of necessary for there to be changed, but there was no way that was going to be able to stay. In power he was not an effective person. Explosion in Beirut comes on the heels of the coronavirus which comes on the heels of a massive economic crisis, which predates corona virus, a corruption crisis, and so Lebanon's been dealing with these things now piling one on top of another people say you know Lebanon get such resilience I saw someone saying Lebanese and social media today I? Don't WanNa have to be resilient anymore. You'd think that of the two countries Lebanon and Syria they think that the one that have collapsed would have been Lebanon because so deeply divided but look it was Syria that collapsed even though it was a police state and the answer I've seen some people give. Is that it's kind of like building an airplane if you build an airplane with no give and as soon as it starts to take off, it's going to break apart and in Syria, there was no give it was a police state wants thing started taking off and there's a lot of pressure. It couldn't sustain itself without much much more violence in pressure whereas Lebanon. There's so much flexibility built into the says Deng it can take so much. But what we've clued scene is it still too can only take so much before if you build an too much flexibility engineer, Plano won't have cohesion it'll fall apart two with the resignation. Of the Prime Minister, you have now the opportunity for a new government he's still the caretaker until new government comes into place and there's a real risk that the French and others will simply move to put a new unity government based on the same principles in power. Soon, as possible for the take stability I, think that's a very big mistake has is not just another political party it is the most powerful political. Party because it maintains its own army that is larger better armed better funded than the Lebanese armed forces. Actually, if you look the New Zealand designation of just the military terrorist wing Hezbollah eight point two has taken over downtown Beirut by force of arms in two thousand eight and turning its weapons against fellow Lebanon's as an act of terrorism One of the prongs for which they decided has blow warranted that partial designation. So, Matthew, you mentioned the aid conference and there has been a push among some international donors and organizations including AJC that in order for other to be a meaningful conversation about aid and recovery Lebanon Hezbollah must be addressed. Can you explain what the concerns are there? So, there are multiple concerns here, but the concern specific has blown again, I want to stress their multiple concerns across the political spectrum that are not limited only it has blood, but because bull as the militant organization involved, the concern with Hezbollah is that it is best positioned to take advantage of a massive influx of humanitarian aid which is desperately needed. But for which there is not an absorption capacity within the state and a lot of this money would be either siphoned off by Hezbollah for its own purposes or used by Hezbollah to provide Hezbollah services. Paying Hezbollah salaries and gaining Hezbollah grassroots support because people see that it's Hezbollah that is providing these services. So Matthew I also WanNa talk a little bit about the ongoing conversation and push to get the European Union to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization in its entirety the UK has done. So Germany has done. So this is a cause that AJC has been very invested in. How do you think this moment could shift that ongoing conversation I do think that it has new impetus and momentum. Though I am concerned that the tragedy in Beirut will divert some of that for a period of time. because. For some in particular, the French the argument will be now's not the time to have that conversation because holding Hezbollah to task could really make them angry and could further destabilize Lebanon at time which already. So stabilized an at risk whereas I would argue that there's no party that is more destabilizing to Lebanon. Then has blah. So Matthew you and your colleagues just unveiled and interactive map of Hezbollah activity around the world. How did that project come about and how will it be updated? How often and by the way listeners we will include a link to that map in our show notes. So I wrote a book on Has Blit came out in two thousand thirteen just before the designation. debate in Europe started. What are the things I've found when I went to Europe and talk to people? Is that too big baskets have concerns. One of them was kind of policy issues will we still be able to have influence in Lebanon? Could we still talk to even has bulla parliamentarians if we? Has Blah and by the quick and simple answer to that is under the European Union's Common Position Nine, three, one, nine, three, one. Absolutely. Whether it's a smart decision to or not whether newspaper might hold you accountable just designated them and now you're talking to them but legally sure you can talk to them all day and the second was things like would there be reprisal attacks would has so angry designation that they'd start blowing things up in Paris or what have you, and there's never a case where because of a designation of any kind has has resorted to that team the other basket though was people said listen. We don't have any information. You don't share information how I'm if America doesn't tell us how are we supposed to know and the little bit that we do know what's classified? We can't use it. There's a real need for. Vetted, pure reviewed information unclassified are declassified but that is to say open source information on has both covert activities and military activity, the criminal activity, the terrorist activity, and so it was very hard to have a kind of. Conversation about all the different things that is has bluff because they had successfully give them credit that shaped the debate by choosing and successfully making only that they wanted to know accessible I wanted to level that playing field. A book by definition is not easily user accessible it's not interactive, it's not easy and fun to use, and so some colleagues sets me maybe you should do something with all that data were you're putting in. There's believe nine hundred, ninety nine entries in their today with the next few weeks, we have probably about two hundred more. We're going to be adding new entries all the time and not just entries maybe most important documents. Nothing classified but a lot of stuff that you can't just get on Google court documents and particular, but also declassified at the I reports. Reports. But we can't just add anything. We're taking information as a way to send information to us. If you have information please Senate, don't assume that means it's going to make it into the map everything gets vetted. Well, I like to say information is power. So this seems to be a very reliable resource that will help countries do the right thing or at least to be able to have a full-fledged bounce discussion about it matthew. Thank you so much for joining us for this important conversation and helping us understand the Juggernaut That is Lebanon. Now, we really appreciate it. Thanks for having me. It's always a pleasure. Now, it's time for a closing statement about table talk and joining us at our table. This week is truly Raymond AJC's deputy director of political and diplomatic affairs. Truly when you're talking with your family, your table this weekend what are you going to be talking about? High Saffy and Mayanja much for having me here today. So we are eighty two days from election day four days until the start of the Democratic National Convention and eleven days from the Republican National Convention, and to be honest I am thinking and talking about Berry little. It might show about table I'm going to be discussing conventions during a pandemic. Now, AJC is held programs alongside the DNC and the RNC for decades can meeting panel discussions and diplomatic receptions to a degree that is frankly unparalleled in the Jewish community. Each day of each convention, we pulled together panels, members, of Congress, other elected officials, diplomats, journalists, and more to discuss key issues to AJC into the broader Jewish community. These programs show what we as an organization and as a people are thinking about to the myriad constituencies that show up at a convention. There also an important advocacy vehicle is they allow us to bring our views on the issues of the day to delegates, officials, and others. This year, we were all set to attend to commission a Milwaukee in Charlotte. We had venues, spaces, confirmed hotel rooms, booked we were ready to go. then. The pandemic struck. It is he decided quite early on that. We could not responsibly take part in the conventions at least physically. Than the Democrats decided to host Virtual Convention, the Republicans I shifted from Charlotte to Jacksonville then didn't in now almost every part of that convention will also be virtual. A recent political headline read our IP conventions. Of course, that's an exaggeration. There's still a lot of excitement around these virtual conventions and work frankly that needs to get done at the conventions. But for you to see I'm excited and proud to say that we are not missing a beat everything that we would do in person we are doing online and really for the first time ever everyone in our broader family can be a part of it not just the few people who could manage to get the crowded convention sites like in previous years. Whereas before it was something important that a small team did now it's something that we're all doing together. In fact, our regularly scheduled advocacy anywhere program will be fully replaced during the next two weeks by our convention programming. Chabad supposed to be a time separate set apart maybe I'm too in meshed in this but I think that this pandemic and the virtual programmatic world that it is created his open the door for us, organizationally to commit hopefully in the long term to thinking about the convention as a special time a time set apart. Certainly much of what happens alongside convention is a far cry from the sacred but the issues that we're talking about are only growing in importance in being of set aside these upcoming two weeks to dive into how those issues are understood and articulated by the two parties is critical. I hope everyone will join us like our advocacy anywhere programs. The events alongside the conventions will be virtual and open for all more information and registration is available at AJC dot Org backslash conventions. Thank you so much Julie for all of your hard work on our convention programming. I, for one really eager to see both conventions unfold this year. One reason being I'm excited that a woman has been nominated to serve as vice president now, I've. Heard scuttle. But that it could happen on both tickets but I'm not going to spread rumors. All I know is I remember as a young girl watching Geraldine Ferraro run alongside Walter Mondale. Little girls watched inspired as Sarah. Palin ran alongside John McCain and when Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic presidential nomination shortly before my daughter was born I patted my belly a little happier that I was bringing her into an America where women could do that. Before the Mondale Ferraro ticket, I look to other countries as a child, Indira Gandhi India Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and I heard all about the legendary Prime Minister of Israel. Golda ear who had died by the time I was old enough to comprehend what it meant for a woman to be the head of a nation. But there are so many barriers to be broken. So. Many lines to be crossed in this world, and I really enjoyed a recent story in the Washington Post about four Israeli women who have broken new political ground as lawmakers. It's a beautiful picture of Israel's diversity. No, it is not exclusively ethnic as some opinion writers for the Washington Post might tell you in hopes. You don't look it up no on the contrary these female lawmakers illustrate that. Panini. Tomato Shehata has served in the Knesset since two thousand thirteen. Now, she's the first government minister born in Ethiopia. The Minister of Immigrant absorption no less. She was three years old when her family left their village in Ethiopia and spent months hiding their Jewish identity in a refugee camp in Sudan. They were secretly airlifted to Israel in a military operation called Operation Moses in the nineteen eighties. Minister Oh Mary Yankelovic an ultra Orthodox Jewish woman now serves as Israel's Minister of Diaspora affairs, a crucial role serving as the liaison between Israel and the Global Jewish community. Ghadir come all Marie became the first non Jewish woman to anchor in Israeli news broadcast in two thousand seventeen. Now, she's the first Druze woman in the Knesset and Iman Khattab. Yacine has become the first lawmaker in the parliament to wear he job. Several of the women had to overcome significant pushback from men in their conservative communities. Hey, let's face it. They all overcame some reticence even if it wasn't obvious. But it's not just being women that makes these ministers and members of the Knesset. Noteworthy. It's being women who embrace who they are and where it confidently whether it's her ethnicity or religious practice, her race or politics. My daughter turns for this month about the age I began to announce that I wanted to be president of the United States one day I. Hope the extraordinary circumstances of this particular presidential contest allow my daughter to watch a few campaign speeches featuring Kamala Harris I want my young Jewish daughter to hear and see the possibilities if she wants to continue declaring princess as her future occupation. That's fine. It's her choice but that's just ditch. She has choices and that's what we'll be talking about at our Chaban table this week savvy what will you be talking about? Well this week was a busy one at Aj with advocacy anywhere programs featuring celebrity nick cannon on Monday and chair of the House Democratic Caucus of Jeffries on. Wednesday but in between the cultural and political celebrity was a little known name who shared a message no less important than conversations about antisemitism in the black community or about the inner workings of Congress. Nuri. Turquel is a commissioner on the United States Commission on International. Religious Freedom. He's also the chairman of the Board for the Rieger Human Rights Project which he co founded in two thousand and three and has served as the president of the weaker. American. Association. Where he led efforts to raise the profile of the weaker people in the United States Commissioner Cal was born in. Xinjiang province in China a territory more than three times. The size of California the majority of the workers live in Xinjiang and make up forty five percent of the population of that territory. The largest demographic group they are predominantly Muslim and they are under Grave Threat Commissioner Cal spoke of coming to the US for graduate school and escaping decades of escalating persecution of his. Fellow Leaguers, he said he never expects to see the land of his birth again nor does he have hope of reuniting with his loved ones? He spoke about the one, two, three, million liters dollars that China has imprisoned in so-called reeducation camps and the urgent need to help them and support their fight to survive to save their culture and to save their very lives. For more than seventy five years we Jews venerated the motto never again. Right now, the least we can do is to watch the video of new rhetoric house story at AJC DOT ORG and to discuss the plight of the weirs at our Chaban tables show Bochum, Shit Bat Shalom. Shalom. You can subscribe to people of the pot on itunes, Google play or spotify or learn more at. Dot Org. Slash people of the pie the views and opinions of our guests don't necessarily reflect the positions. Of Ajc we'd love to hear your views and opinions or your questions. You can reach us at people of the pod at E. J. C. Dot born. If you like this podcast, you should read it and writer review to help more listeners find us. Thank you for listening. This episode is brought to you by AJC. Our producer is condo. Our assistant producer is a Tarlac grits and our sound engineer is t k Broddrick tune in next week for another episode of people of the Pot.

AJC Lebanon Israel Hezbollah Joe Biden Congress Senator Kamala Harris prime minister Beirut California Matthew Levitt Syria San Francisco Iran Harris Ron Lebanon Jewish Telegraphic Agency