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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘ambassador’

Canada Names Critic of Palestinians New Envoy to Israel

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Canada’s new Ambassador to Israel is Toronto lawyer Vivian Bercovici, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Wednesday.

She is a former Finance Ministry policy adviser and a severe critic of the Palestinian Authority.

She’s smart and capable and will be able to represent this government well,” said Baird , who pointed out that she will be the representative to Israel exclusively and not the Palestinian Authority.

Asked about a general consensus that she is far from being a fan of the Palestinian Authority, Baird replied, “It won’t be a huge shock to anyone that Canada is a strong supporter of Israel.”

The appointment comes less than two weeks before Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make his first trip to Israel as head of the government.

Bercovici writes a column in the Toronto Star, where last April she lambasted major media for not exposing the Palestinian Authority’s goon squad tactics to squelch press freedom while trying to turn Israel into a miserable offender.

Last January she wrote, “The Palestinian leadership, in the meantime, carries on with its unequivocal message — calling for the destruction of Israel — disseminated openly in political forums, the tightly controlled media and taught freely in schools and universities.

“That western leaders, among them President Barack Obama and U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague, regard Israel as the peace spoiler, defies logic.”

Israel Finally Names New Ambassador to Egypt

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

The Israeli foreign ministry has named Middle East specialist Chaim Koren as the next ambassador to Egypt after several months of being without an envoy. The government did not state when Koren will take up his new post.

He has been serving as non-resident ambassador to South Sudan. Koren speaks Arabic and previously has served on the embassy staff in Cairo as director of the ministry’s political planning division.

Anti-Israel violence following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi as president of Egypt forced Israel to law low diplomatically and pull outs embassy staff from Cairo.

British Academy Supporting Racist Lecturer Condemned by UK

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The British Academy is supporting a lecturer who has been strongly condemned for racism by British Prime Minister David Cameron and by the Foreign Office’s anti-discrimination division, reported UN Watch.

The Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group today urged the head of the British Academy, Lord Stern of Brentford, to immediately remove all support for the scheduled September 11 Canberra appearance by Richard Falk, a UN Human Rights Council official recently denounced by world leaders for suggesting that the Boston bombings were the fault of the U.S. and Israel.

Falk was condemned by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, and by the US, UK and Canadian governments, for blaming the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”

The Sept. 11 timing of the conference is doubly offensive because Falk was also condemned by the UN chief for spreading 9/11 conspiracy theories.

A copy of UN Watch’s letter was sent to Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, the UK’s envoy to the UN, and to the London anti-discrimination division, both of whom recently condemned Falk for racism.

UN Watch today also sent a similar protest letter to Gareth Evans, chancellor of the Australian National University, which is hosting the conference. Evans, a former Australian foreign minister, served on a 2004 UN panel that led to the creation of Falk’s Human Rights Council.

Following is the UN Watch letter sent today:

Lord Stern of Brentford President of the British Academy

Dear Lord Stern,

UN Watch is shocked that the British Academy, whose purpose is to support excellence in the humanities, is funding a September 11th platform for Mr. Richard Falk, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who was just condemned by your own government for racism, and who was denounced by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and world leaders for his vile comments blaming the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”

According to a website called Human Rights in Palestine, the Australian National University in Canberra will soon host a “groundbreaking conference” on Palestinian human rights, on September 11. Mr. Falk is listed as a keynote speaker at this event.

This highly problematic event prominently displays a large British Academy logo throughout the website.

Notwithstanding a barely legible footnote on one of the pages containing a disclaimer written in tiny, faded grey letters, the website clearly implies the endorsement and support of the British Academy on its “Home”, “Program”, “Speakers”, “Exhibition” and other pages.   

We understand that this British Academy endorsement may be related to your 2009 grant of £29,836 to Dr. Victoria Mason — a convener of the Canberra conference whose avowed specialties include “Israeli State Terror” — in order to study “Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the West Bank.”

In that regard, please note that while the conference program claims to address human rights, Mr. Falk is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing who uses the language of human rights to absolve terrorists of culpability. He is the only UN expert in history to have been condemned for racism by Britain, or any other member state of the European Union.

We are sending a copy of this complaint letter to the attention of UK Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant — and to Ms. Philippa Thompson, Deputy Team Leader of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Team within the Human Rights & Democracy Department of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who recently examined and addressed Mr. Falk’s racism.

The UK Non-Discrimination Team determined that Falk’s recent writings are “resonant of the longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews (through the State of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world.”

As the British Academy, you may also wish to take note that:  

1. British Prime Minister David Cameron “strongly condemned” Falk’s 2011 publication of an antisemitic cartoon, showing a dog wearing a Jewish head-covering urinating on a depiction of justice and devouring a bloody skeleton. Falk was also condemned by British MPs David Burrowes and Theresa Villiers.

2. The British Foreign Office last year condemned Falk for providing the cover endorsement of a book that asks whether “Hitler might have been right after all.” The UK Mission in Geneva protested to the UN human rights office, expressing London’s “serious concerns.” The book endorsed by Falk, “The Wandering Who,” also accuses “the Jews” of being “the only people who managed to maintain and sustain a racially orientated, expansionist and genocidal national identity that is not at all different from Nazi ethnic ideology.”

3. The British Mission to the United Nations condemned Mr. Falk’s April 19, 2013 remarks on the Boston bombing as “anti-Semitic,” highlighting it was the third time the British Government had to do so.

In addition we note:

•  That Falk is so extreme in his support for the Hamas terrorist organization that even the Palestinian Authorityas revealed in a Wikleaks cable, and which Falk himself admitshas sought to remove him, on grounds that he is a “partisan of Hamas;

•  That Falk recently published an article attempting to downplay, reinterpret and justify the latest call by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to destroy Israel;  

•  That Falk accused Israel of planning a Palestinian Holocaust,prompting a bloc of dictatorships, including Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, to sucessfully nominate him as the UN Human Rights Council’s expert on Palestine; •  That Falk is one of the world’s most high-profile supporters of the leading 9/11 conspiracy theorists, lending his name to those who accuse the U.S. government of orchestrating the destruction of the Twin Towers as a pretext to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;

•  That Falk actively promotes the writings of David Ray Griffin, a disciple and close friend of Falk who has produced 12 books describing the World Trade Center attack as “an inside job”; •  That Falk not only contributed the Foreword to Griffin’s 2004 “The New Pearl Harbor”—praising the author’s “patience,” “fortitude,” “courage,” and “intelligence”—but Griffin credits Falk for getting the book published, and also specially thanks Falk’s wife, Hilal Elver, someone who remains a member of Human Rights Watch’s Santa Barbara Committee, and who is also speaking at the upcoming Canberra conference;

Erdogan: Israel Behind Egypt Coup

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel was behind last month’s military coup in Egypt.

Erdogan told a meeting of the provincial chairs of his ruling Justice and Development, or AKP, party that he has evidence that Israel was involved in the July 3 overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Turkish Hurriyet news service reported.

“Who is behind this? Israel. We have evidence,” the prime minister said, according to Hurriyet.

He cited as proof a statement by a French intellectual he identified as Jewish, who told the Israeli justice minister during a visit to France before Egypt’s 2011 elections, “The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections. Because democracy is not the ballot box,” Hurriyet reported.

The White House condemned Erdogan’s remarks.

“Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated and wrong,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters later Tuesday.

Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and later expelled Israel’s ambassador following the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in May 2010 that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals in a confrontation with Israeli Navy commandos. The ship was trying to evade Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan in March for the incident, and representatives of the countries have met for reconciliation talks. The talks reportedly are held up over the amount of compensation that Israel is to pay to the families of the Turkish casualties and how the payments are to be characterized.

Swedes Fume at Comparison of Palestinian Prisoners to Murderer Breivik

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Comments by Israel’s ambassador to Sweden comparing the recently-released Palestinian prisoners to the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik who, on 22 July 2011, bombed government buildings in Oslo, killing 8, then killed 69 on a vacation island, have left relatives of victims of the Utøya massacre seething, Swedish news website The Local reports.

In a Tuesday interview with Svergies Radio (SR), Israeli ambassador Isaac Bachman compared the release of Palestinian prisoners to setting the monster Breivik free.

“The horrors that [the Palestinian prisoners] did, to put it in a Scandinavian understanding, it’s like what happened in Norway with Breivik,” Bachman told SR.

“Imagine if Breivik was released as a gesture of some sort,” he added, and complained that Israel is not getting enough credit for agreeing to the release.

Pointing out the enormous risk Israel was taking with its gesture, Bachman noted that “research has shown that these people will return to crime. It’s not easy to get public support for releasing these people.”

It turns out the good ambassador was completely wrong in his comparison, which seemed completely reasonable to him, but not to the listeners. You see, Breivik – he killed sweet, pink skinned, blond Norwegians, which was a crime against humanity, while the Palestinians only killed Jews. Big difference, apparently, in Scandinavia.

The comments, which came on the eve of Israel’s Wednesday release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, sparked outrage from none other than survivors and family members of victims of Breivik’s 2011 attack, The Local reported.

“I think it is ridiculous to compare this with a mass murderer from Norway,” Trond Blattmann, whose son Torjusdatter was killed when Breivik opened fire on Utøya, told The Local. “There’s no similarity at all. This is a ridiculous way to talk.”

“The comparison does not make sense,” added Bjørn Ihler, who survived the Breivik massacre by hiding on the southern tip of the island. “Breivik was a solo terrorist whose actions were based purely on an unreal situation. The situation in the Middle East is very different. There is a real fight for Palestinian freedom going on.”

You see, when an entire Jewish family, babies and all, is butchered in its own kitchen – that’s freedom fighting. You have to think blond.

Even Middle East expert Per Jönsson with the Swedish Institute for International Affairs (Utrikespolitiska institutets – UI) slammed Bachman’s Breivik comparison.

“The comparison with Brevik is insane in several ways. Breivik is very special. These people that Israel is now releasing are freedom fighters, murderers, and in some cases terrorists, but they are nevertheless rather normal people,” he told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

We have to understand that the reactions from Sweden are an expression of pure, unadulterated Jew hatred, whether those people are aware of it or not. The world is changing around us, and being Jewish is no longer for the faint of heart.

New Envoy to US, Ron Dermer, Has Big Demands for Perks

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Many Israeli officials are known to think a lot of themselves, but Ron Dermer, Israel’s next ambassador to the United States, takes the cake.

He has demanded to start working before an agreed date and has come up with unprecedented demands for housing and staff, according to the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot newspaper.

Dermer wants to assume his duties on the first of September even though outgoing Ambassador Michael Oren will remain in office until the end of next month.

Dermer also reportedly has demanded to bring his own personal staff from Israel although an ambassador does not have that privilege and has to work with the diplomatic staff that is in place. He also wants an alternative to the official ambassador’s residence, claiming that his family with five children needs bigger quarters.

Definition of Insanity: Failed Negotiators Trying Yet Again

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Twenty years after Yitzhak Rabin attempted to conjure arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat into a worthy partner for peace, it seems we have not learned the necessary lessons from the past.

As the “peace process” continued to hit bumps along the way, Israel and its American ally attempted many different variations, all of which led to the same failed result. Perhaps the problem with Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations lies not with the process but with the people involved in representing the parties at the table.

In most professions, when one fails at his job and leaves the project in question in chaos and disarray, he is not asked to keep working on the task at hand. Not so when it comes to the “peace process industry.”

Saeb Erekat is the main representative for the Palestinian delegation. He has held this position in one form or another since 1991 and has not brought the Palestinians one inch closer to peaceful coexistence with Israel. More troubling, it is clear he never really revised his radical views about the Jewish state. During the second intifada, Erekat accused Israel of massacring 500 Palestinians in Jenin, completely ignoring the facts showing that one-tenth of that number had been killed and most of those were armed terrorists. As recently as 2007, Erekat denied the possibility of the Palestinians ever recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

Representing the United States at the latest round of talks is former ambassador Martin Indyk. Like Erekat, Indyk has been a major player in the peace industry since the early 1990s, and he also can point to zero achievements in bringing peace and prosperity to our region. On the contrary, when Indyk served as the American ambassador to Israel during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s first term, he was known for his disparaging attitude toward the democratically elected government of Israel.

Since leaving public office, Indyk has revealed his true political leanings. Until his recent appointment by Secretary of State Joh

n Kerry, Indyk chaired the International Council of the New Israel Fund (NIF), an organization that has refused to stop funding groups that call for boycotting Israel.

Finally, we are left with Israel’s chief negotiator. Compared to Erekat and Indyk, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is a relative newcomer to peace negotiations. Nevertheless, she too has endured countless hours of negotiating with the Palestinians. Most troubling, her views do not represent the majority of the current government and are at odds with the average Likud voter, not to mention the Israeli public, which sharply spurned her in the recent elections.

While serving under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Livni offered the Palestinians more than 95 percent of the historic Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria and the unprecedented division of Jerusalem – an offer that was ultimately rejected by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Erekat.

As a father of three small children, there is nothing I want more than to believe that the latest round of talks will lead to true and lasting peace. But we all know that a definition of insanity is the endless repetition of the same experiment in the hope of obtaining a different result. Therefore, all sides should end the insanity and appoint negotiators who have not failed us in the past and who truly represent the best interests of the people they aspire to represent.

(JNS)

My Week in Israel with Dr. Oz

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Everything over the past week was memorable and magical as Dr. Mehmet Oz, America’s foremost daytime TV host and the world’s most famous doctor, toured Israel. From dancing the horah outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, to dancing Friday night at the Western Wall with Israeli soldiers and thousands of worshippers, to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu for ninety minutes of substantive conversation about Israel, Turkey, and the United States, Dr. Oz and his family showed the Jewish state extravagant love and admiration.

Mehmet is a remarkable man and seeing him up close reinforced the high regard in which I have always held him, ever since we started working together for Oprah at her radio network. First there was his attention to his children, all four of whom accompanied him, along with his son-in-law. Mehmet would go nowhere without them and pulled them in to hear every last explanation about Israel’s ancient and modern history.

Then there is his dedication to his wife Lisa, a remarkable and brilliant woman in her own right, and vastly knowledgeable of the Bible. Lisa was correcting me constantly on Biblical quotations (I purposely got them wrong so she could feel superior). Mehmet is a man who honors his wife at every opportunity.

Of course, there were the legions of fans – Jews and Arabs in every part of Israel – that pleaded for a picture and he turned noone down.

But more than anything else there was his attachment to the Jewish people on display at every moment. Mehmet is a Muslim, perhaps the world’s most famous Muslim who is not a head of state. He is a righteous and proud Ambassador of his faith and feels an innate kinship and brotherhood with the Jewish people.

He praised Israel constantly, from lauding its treatment of its minority citizens at our joint lecture at Rambam hospital in Haifa, to noting Israel’s phenomenal medical breakthroughs at several news conferences, to highlighting his amazement at Israel’s capacity to turn deserts into thriving cities.

In Hebron, at the tomb of the patriarchs, we prayed together publicly for peace and understanding between the children of Abraham. At the tomb of Maimonides we noted the role reversal. Maimonides, a Jew, was the world’s most famous physician, and he served the Muslim ruler Saladin. Now, a Muslim doctor – the world’s most famous – was visiting his Jewish brothers in the Holy land 900 years later.

Joined with Natan Sharasnky at the Jerusalem Press Club for a public discussion, the three of us debated whether there was an obligation to hate evil. Mehmet maintained that hatred harmed he who harbored it, even for the best of reasons. On this Sharasnky and I disagreed. Natan spoke of the evil he encountered in the KGB. I spoke of Hamas’ genocidal covenant and Hezbollah’s commitment to annihilating Israel. Terrorists deserved our contempt. Only by truly hating evil are we prepared to fight it. In the end we compromised in agreeing that hating evil should not be obsessive and internal but rather externally directed at neutralizing those who slaughter God’s innocent children, whoever they may be.

As I walked Dr. Oz and his family through the old city of Jerusalem on Friday night, we passed through Zion gate, still riddled with bullet holes from the heavy fighting of 1967 that liberated the city. At Shabbat dinner at the home of Simon and Chana Falic, my friend Ron Dermer, Israel’s newly appointed Ambassador to the United States, explained to Mehmet that even after Israel conquered the Temple Mount in the Six Day War it left control of Judaism’s holiest site to the Muslim waqf and that such an action had no precedent in all human history. Ron said that there could no greater illustration of Israel’s desire to respect its Muslim citizens and seek peace.

At the Christian holy sites, like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, and Muslim Holy Sites like the Dome of the Rock and the vast Muslim crowds that filled mosques for Ramadan, Dr. Oz saw first hand how Israel is a country of thriving religious liberty.

But the highlight of the visit was the conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu where Ambassador Dermer joined Mehmet and me as we heard the Israeli leader deeply engage Mehmet about Israel’s search for peace and the challenges it faces with the destabilization of Syria and Egypt on the one hand, and the changes in its relationship with Turkey, on the other.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/my-week-in-israel-with-dr-oz/2013/08/05/

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