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

Davos and the Hatred of Evil

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

At Davos, where I attended and spoke last week, there was endless talk of a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. According to Martin Indyk, the American special envoy whose panel I attended on Friday, the deal would look like this. Israel gives up the West Bank and returns to the ’67 lines, with land swaps. Israel gives up about half of Jerusalem for the capitol of a Palestinian state (Abu Mazen is demanding the entire old city). Israel offers some sort of unspecified redress on the refugee issue. In return, the Palestinians will guarantee not to make the West Bank into Gaza and will recognize Israel’s right to exist, albeit not necessarily as a Jewish state.

Gosh. Why hasn’t Israel said yes before time runs out?

But the most painful part of an otherwise illuminating and extraordinary Forum, without question, was Iranian President Rouhani’s speech where he demonstrated an astonishing capacity to lie to one of the world’s most educated and sophisticated audiences, with few in attendance calling him out on his fabrications. The New York Times ran a story on Sunday which showed that nearly everything Rouhani said at Davos was said ten years earlier by his Iranian president Khatami and that Rouhani’s speech was nothing but a regurgitation. Same promises of peace. Same commitment not to pursue nukes or violence. And just as, within a year of his Khatami’s speech, Iran was spinning centrifuges, similarly, Rouhani told Fareed Zakaria just three days after his Davos speech that even amid the nuclear deal with the West, Iran will not shut down a single centrifuge.

None of this stopped Rouhani from being treated as el numero uno one rock star at Davos. I saw him walking through the halls with his entourage a few times. He was trailed by rushing media. Scores of participants went to say hello. He was easily the biggest draw of the entire Forum, even though, over the past three weeks, Iran has brutally hanged about 40 people in public.

Then there was the panel on Syria, which featured key players such as UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, UN Under Secretary General Baroness Valerie Amos, and former UN Under Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown. I sat in disbelief. Not one of the speakers was prepared to apportion blame for the slaughter. Not one condemned Bashar Assad for gassing children. Not one made mention of The New York Times front page story that same day which showed graphic pictures of some of the thousands of prisoners that Assad had tortured and starved to death in the most ghoulish fashion imaginable. The panelists spoke of the procedural difficulties of passing a UN Security Council Resolution against Syria without once saying that Vladimir Putin and Russia, arch protectors of the butcher in Damascus, were responsible for blocking every resolution introduced by the United States against Assad.

In her last comment of the panel, Baroness Amos actually praised Russia as having been the first to try and pass a resolution that called attention to the humanitarian crisis in Syria. I was live tweeting the panel (WEF published social media statistics that said ranked my Twitter feed first that day at the Conference) and I wrote, “Gd Almighty! Did I just hear baroness Amos of the UN defend Russia on Syria at the #WEF in Davos? U got to be kidding.”

All of which leads to a conclusion I came to years ago. There is no way to make the world a better place without first hating evil. You can’t love the victims of oppression without loathing, resisting, and sometimes even fighting the bad guys who oppress them. If you’re indifferent on the brutality of Iran – a country that stones women to death and hangs homosexuals from public cranes – then you have a broken moral compass. And if you’re seriously thinking of leaving Assad in power as part of a “peace” deal then you have utter contempt for his victims.

In wanting to be open-minded enough to embrace everybody we have forgotten how to hate anybody. And make no mistake. Hatred has its place. There can be no moral neutrality when it comes to things like children being gassed. How can you not feel revulsion, detestation, and disgust toward Assad when seeing rows of dead children?

I am writing this column on a plane, en route to Auschwitz from Davos, where I will, God willing, participate in the historic visit of the Israeli Knesset to the death camp for the very first time, on Monday. Beyond remembering the victims and paying homage to their sacred memory, are we not meant to be repulsed by the Nazi beast that created this hell on earth? And if we don’t despise them, what will stop this from happening again?

At Davos I spent time discussing the upcoming twentieth anniversary, this April, of the Rwandan Genocide, with President Paul Kagame, the hero who stopped the genocide in 1994. I told him that at the panel that I moderated between him and Elie Wiesel this past September, he had moved me deeply with his response to my question of whether he trusted the UN and the world to protect his people. He shook his head, lowered his eyes, and said, “No, I learned after the genocide that I, and noone else, is responsible for protecting my people.”

Kagame has been criticized by the UN for continuing to fight the genocidaires who fled to Congo. He has resisted great pressure to give up the fight. But as someone who witnessed his people hacked to death in the fastest genocide in human history, he is not out to win popularity contests but to serve as guardian of his nation.

The same is true of Prime Minister Netanyahu who drew perhaps a quarter of Rouhani’s audience at Davos and could not compete with the his popularity. If Bibi would just let up about the genocidal threat of a nuclear Iran and say all the right things about peace, friendship, and a new beginning he would increase his European popularity by orders of magnitude.

But he too, as the head of a nation that 70 years ago watched a third of its number gassed, learned that while it’s nice to be popular it’s even nicer to be alive.

Netanyahu: Agreement with Devious Iran Cannot Succeed

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Any permanent agreement with Iran “cannot succeed if its President Hassan Rouhani acts according to its words, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday in his report on conversations at last week’s World Economic Forum at Davos.

“Rouhani said that Iran was against international involvement in Syria, but Iran is the country that is most involved and aids the Assad regime in perpetrating mass slaughters on a daily basis,” the Prime Minister noted.

“He said that he was against the killing of innocents, but several days previously dozens of people were executed in Iran, most of whom, I can assure you, were innocent….

“The most important and most significant thing, Rouhani said that Iran would not dismantle even one centrifuge.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu cited Rouhani’s “assault of pleasantness” and added, “There is a problem here. We know the truth. There is a regime here that, under cover of an assault of smiles, is trying to arm itself with nuclear weapons, to reach the status of a threshold state that could achieve nuclear weapons very quickly, and a country that has not changed its true ideology at all.”

Peres: Listen to What Rouhani Did not Say

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

President Shimon Peres found himself in rare agreement with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Davos Thursday in denouncing the speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the 2014 World Economic Forum.

After the Prime Minister warned everyone not be deceived by Rouhani’s smiles, Peres said at a press conference, “The most significant remarks were the ones he didn’t make – he didn’t express support for peace in the Middle East. He is the only leader I know who didn’t say clearly the time has come to make peace between Israel and the Arabs.

“He excluded the reference to peace and when he was asked if his vision included all countries he said it included only the ones that Iran will accept, that is some definition.

“He didn’t announce that in order to reduce the bloodshed in Syria, he’s going to stop sending arms and money to Hezbollah to the stop the killing. He could have announced that seeing as he doesn’t want a nuclear bomb that he will stop building long range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

“He didn’t announce that Iran will stop being the center of terror in our time. “

Lest anyone think that President Peres’ vision of the world might have improved, he put them at ease by stating his support for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “I believe President Obama is trying to do the right thing and the US has decided not to stop the sanctions fully until they see the results,” Peres declared.” Secretary Kerry is doing an excellent job with dynamism and determination. There are different opinions, different options and it is normal that they are being examined.”

Netanyahu Says Rouhani Master of Deception

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Mohammed “Rouhani is continuing with the Iranian show of deception,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday after the Iranian president’s speech to the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos.

Rouhani said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to engage in constructive cooperation for promoting global energy security, drawing on its vast oil and gas resources. I hereby announce that one of the theoretical and practical priorities of my government is constructive engagement with the world.”

He limited his definition of the world to those countries that Iran recognizes- in other words, a world without Israel.

Rouhani also said with a straight face, “We never sought and will never seek nuclear weapons. I declare that a nuclear weapon has no place in our security strategy.”

The media lapped up the loving words, but Netanyahu warned everyone not to be fooled.

“At a time when Rouhani condemns the killing of innocents, dozens of innocents were recently executed in Iran,” said the Prime Minister. “At a time when Rouhani talks about a positive approach to technology, he prevents Iranians from freely surfing the Internet. At a time when Rouhani talks about peace with the countries of the Middle East, he refuses – even today – to recognize the existence of the State of Israel, and his regime daily calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.

“At a time when Rouhani claims that Iran is not interested in a nuclear project for military purposes, Iran continues to strengthen its centrifuges and heavy water reactor, and to arm itself with intercontinental missiles, the sole purpose of which is for nuclear weapons….

“The goal of the Iranian ayatollahs’ regime, which is hiding behind Rouhani’s smiles, is to ease sanctions without conceding on their program to produce nuclear weapons.”

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to Visit Israel in July

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Davos Wednesday that she expects to visit Israel in July.

Meeting at the 014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, the Prime Minister told her that whereas major powers were once measured in terms of territory, today they are measured by the number of unique users.

He presented the advantages of investing in Israeli technology, discussed the leading position of cyber technologies and asked what he could do to increase Yahoo’s investments in Israel.

 

Netanyahu to Address Davos Forum on ‘Israel – Innovation Nation’

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel Wednesday to the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, where he will deliver an address under the heading “Israel – Innovation Nation,” with an emphasis on the cyber industry.

He also will attend the IT session, in the presence of Cisco CEO John Chambers, and a cyber session that is expected to draw dozens of corporate managers and senior government officials from countries active in the field.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is due to meet with Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer and with Google Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora and will emphasize Israeli innovation and the technological leadership of the Israeli high-tech industry in order to expand economic cooperation with the two companies.

Google has bought out Israeli firms, most notably Wade, for which it paid more than $1 billion. It also has established an active presence in Israel, including a research and development center.

“Israel is an exception on the Western economic scene,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said Tuesday, “We have succeeded in dealing with the global economic crisis better than almost all Western countries. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to develop new markets and new partners and this is my goal in going to Davos. My intention is to talk with leading global high tech companies, in the cyber and other fields, in order to tell them to come to Israel, invest in Israel and create jobs in Israel.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-to-address-davos-forum-on-israel-innovation-nation/2014/01/21/

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