The mission of the Beth El Synagogue Israel Affairs Committee is to provide education about the thriving economy in Israel, the various accomplishments of Israel and to address threats to the existence and security of the State of Israel. We do not have a political agenda, and our programming strives to avoid being labeled as pro-Democratic or pro-Republican, or left or right wing. Rather, we are pro-Israel Zionists.
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December 19, 2019
The following is taken from a recent AJC Dispatch. You can sign up for your own weekly email Dispatch at ajc.org/dispatch and forward them to your friends! Information about AJC is in a holder on the table outside the Synagogue office.
|The Good News Stories of 2019|
|A Geostrategic Breakthrough For Israel
As democratic neighbors who share the Mediterranean coastline, Israel, Greece, and Cyprus have forged an unprecedented alliance. While Israel has long been considered part of the Middle East and Greece and Cyprus have long belonged to Europe, a new way of looking at their shared region emerged last week. The Eastern Mediterranean was at the heart of a geostrategic breakthrough for Israel years in the making: Congress passed bipartisan legislation to lift the arms embargo on Cyprus and establish a United States-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center to facilitate energy cooperation with Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. The package also authorizes Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance for Greece and increased International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance for Greece and Cyprus. The swift passage of this legislation, coupled with the recent adoption of the Working Definition of Antisemitism by both Greece and Cyprus, shows how integral AJC is to the trilateral Eastern Mediterranean alliance, and how important this relationship is for Israel and the Jewish people.
|Countries Take Crucial Step in Combating Antisemitism
Imagine trying to stop, report, – or even call out blatant antisemitism – and being turned away by police or local government officials. In order to protect Jews from rising antisemitism, it’s essential that nations, especially those in Europe, adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which provides law enforcement with a clear and compact description of antisemitism in its various forms. The Definition sends a message that governments understand the threat, which is the obvious first step in addressing it. AJC was involved in the original drafting of the definition 14 years ago. Over the past year, 10 countries, thanks to AJC’s advocacy, adopted the IHRA Working Definition: Luxembourg, Hungary, Canada, France, Greece, Cyprus, Moldova, Czech Republic, Hungary, and North Macedonia. AJC also launched its Translate Hate campaign, which helps people understand what fits the definition and why.
|Senate Launches Antisemitism Task Force, House Task Force Nearly Doubles
With antisemitism rising in the U.S., according to a landmark survey conducted by AJC earlier this year, the issue has reached the highest levels of government, including in the Senate where Republicans and Democrats have set aside their discord to address the troubling trend. Shortly after her trip to Israel with AJC Project Interchange, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) teamed up with U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) to launch the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism. The mission of the task force is to collaborate with law enforcement, federal agencies, state and local government, educators, advocates, clergy, and other stakeholders to take on the disturbing rise of antisemitism. Since February, the same task force in the House of Representatives has grown from 110 members of Congress to 175. AJC encouraged the formation of the task force in 2014 and has backed its efforts since its creation.
|Countries Ban Hezbollah
Hezbollah, the anti-Israel, antisemitic terror organization founded by Iran, has, for its entire 34-year existence, been allowed to operate, raise funds, and recruit freely throughout most of Europe and Latin America, despite carrying out major terror attacks in both locations. But that firewall was significantly breached in 2019: first, the UK and Argentina blacklisted Hezbollah activity, then Paraguay announced a ban of the group’s military wing, and Guatemala’s incoming president promised to take action as well – and just last week, the Bundestag made the unprecedented move to ban all Hezbollah activity on German soil – currently more than 1,000 Hezbollah operatives call Germany home. Ahead of this year’s AJC Diplomatic Marathon at the UN General Assembly, AJC and the Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) produced a fact-based analysis to make the case that calling Hezbollah what it is – a hybrid terrorist group – would serve to strengthen Lebanon, protect the West, and promote stability across the Middle East.
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