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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Ira Forman’

Shutdown Keeps US Antisemitism Envoy from Ukraine Conference

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Ira Forman, the Obama administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, canceled his attendance at a landmark conference in Kiev because of the U.S. government shutdown, according to a conference organizer.

Forman, who was scheduled to be the opening speaker Tuesday at the two-day conference marking the 100th anniversary of the Beilis blood libel trial, canceled shortly before its opening with an apology to organizers of the high-profile event, JTA has learned.

“Mr. Forman has cited the shutdown,” said Eduard Dolinsky, executive director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, in reference to the standoff that began when Congress missed an Oct. 1 deadline to pass a budget.

The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, is attending the conference, titled “From the Beilis Trial to Berlin and Beyond,” but will not address its 250 participants, including high-level envoys from at least 12 countries.

“It is unfortunate, but that is the way it is,” said Dolinsky, who organized the event with Oleksandr Feldman, president of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and a member of the Ukraine parliament. Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Oleksandr Vilkul spoke at the event.

The Beilis trial was based on an anti-Semitic blood libel that czarist Russian authorities fabricated in Kiev.

Gideon Behar, Forman’s Israeli counterpart, told the conference that “unfortunately, blood libels are still around even 100 years after the trial of Menachem Mendel Beilis, largely thanks to Iran’s efforts to propagate them.”

Beilis was acquitted in 1903 of allegations that he murdered a Christian to use his blood for worship. His trial, often compared with that of Alfred Dreyfuss in France, generated intense interest by international media and served as a catalyst for Jewish emigration out of Europe, according to historians.

Beilis’ grandson, the U.S.-born Jay Beilis, also attended the conference.

Other speakers include the ambassadors to Ukraine from Germany, Israel and at least seven European states, as well as representatives from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the American Jewish Committee and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, which is chaired by Ukraine.

US Envoy to Top Islamic Group Taking Muslims to Holocaust Sites

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Rashad Hussain will join newly appointed Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Ira Forman, Ambassador Mike Kozak, and imams from around the world for a trip to Poland May 20-22 to visit Jewish communities, the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and other Holocaust historical sites.

The trip follows up on Special Envoy Hussain’s visit to Holocaust historical sites with previous Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal and American imams in 2010, and is a part of Special Envoy Hussain’s efforts to combat Holocaust denial and to address discrimination against religious minorities around the world.

For the record, Rashad Hussain is a nice guy. He comes from a family of Muslim-Indian academics (dad a mining engineer, mom and sister MDs, brother medical student). Rashad is an over achiever (got his BA in two years, was editor of the Yale Law Journal). I wish and pray all Muslims were like him (he was born in Wyoming and was raised in Texas, by the way—can you get any more red-blooded American than that?).

The problem isn’t with Rashad Hussain, but with the OIC, which has a permanent delegation to the United Nations, and represents the world views of bastions of liberalism like Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran.

The OIC is credited with the violence that erupted around the planet in 2005, in reaction to some Danish newspaper that published cartoons making fun of Mohammed. The extraordinary session convened the Islamic Summit Conference condemned the publication of the cartoons, which was followed by the violent demonstrations throughout the Islamic world, and a few recorded deaths. Until the OIC pointed out the cartoons, no one had heard about them.

It’s that kind of a restrained, citizen of the world kind of concern that led major Human Rights NGOs to send the OIC’s Ambassador Masood Khan a letter protesting remarks the delivered before the UN Human Rights Council, attacking Holocaust survivors for their role in “Defamation of Religions.”

Turn on your crazyscopes, this is what Amb. Khan said: “In many instances Holocaust survivors, instead of promoting [religious] harmony, are campaigning against Muslim symbols in the Western world. They should be the most ardent advocates against discrimination. Islamophobia is also a cruel form of Anti-Semitism.”

The NGOs told Khan:

We are unaware of any such “campaigning” by Holocaust survivors. Moreover, even if it were true that individuals were engaged in such an alleged effort, it would constitute unjustifiable stereotyping to label an entire group — particularly survivors of a genocide — on the basis of the alleged actions of a few.

We believe that Holocaust survivors, elderly men and women who are often frail and suffering from illness, are deserving of our sympathy and respect, not denigration in a speech at the United Nations.

So, if the very talented Rashad Hussain is able to drag at least some of these insane folks to the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau and if just a couple of them realize the magnitude of the industrial annihilation of Jews—it would possibly endow them with a new perspective on their relationship with Jews and the Jewish State.

Or—God help me—give them new ideas…

Incidentally, Amb. Khan is one of those public Muslim figures claiming he can’t possibly be an antisemite, since he is himself a Semite. This tired excuse, created more than a hundred years ago by Jew hating Arabs, is the true mark of a scoundrel.

Good luck on your version of the March of the Living, Rashad Hussain, go easy on the pierogi.

Kerry Names Ira Forman to Combat Anti-Semitism

Monday, May 20th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has named Ira Forman, who led President Obama’s reelection campaign in the Jewish community, as his envoy to combat anti-Semitism.

The State Department announced the appointment Monday, the same day it released its 2012 report on religious freedom that recorded a “continued global increase in anti-Semitism.”

Forman replaces Hannah Rosenthal, who was appointed by Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, and who left last year to direct Milwaukee’s Jewish Federation.

The envoy travels the world to press governments to address institutional and popular manifestations of anti-Semitism.

Forman, a longtime director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, led the Obama campaign’s effort last year to push back against Republican and conservative depictions of Obama as hostile or indifferent to Israel. He was especially active in Florida.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerry-names-ira-forman-to-combat-anti-semitism/2013/05/20/

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