The Jerusalem Post
Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 1:59pm

The American Jewish Congress lauded the state of Indiana on Thursday for passing in its Senate an bill against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The Indiana Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure 47-3 on Tuesday.

"We thank Indiana for being a friend to Israel and for making a wise decision -- both economically and politically -- to stand up against detractors of the Jewish State," said AJC President Jack Rosen. "We expect Indiana’s Governor Mike Spence to sign the bill into law, making Indiana the sixth state to adopt an anti-BDS provision in recent months."

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 4:18pm

By Jack Rosen

At a time when European nations are turning their backs on Israel, Italy has held steadfast in support of both the Jewish State and its own Jewish citizens. Polls consistently show Italians with the lowest percentage of anti-Semitic views compared to other Europeans, even as anti-Semitism is making a resurgence throughout the continent.

Last week, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, as the world paid formal tribute to one of the darkest periods in modern history, Italy took it a step further when a local newspaper distributed skullcaps to all of its subscribers in a show of solidarity with Jews.

The daily paper, Foglio, emphasized the move was in response to a French Jewish leader who recently advised Jews to hide their religious identities in public after a French Jew was assaulted with a machete for donning a yarmulke.

In an article that accompanied the free token, the paper asserted that “the West should not obscure its roots and its religious symbols,” and that in response to the surge in anti-Semitism across Europe, “this year we must do more.”

Italy has led the way in commemorating Jewish culture and protecting the rights of Jews in Europe since World War II, and is an active contributor to the fight against anti-Semitism today.

Indeed, Italy was the first country to make January 27, the date of the 1945 Soviet liberation of Auschwitz, a national day of remembrance.

This year, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Italian ambassador to Israel Francesco Maria Talo echoed Foglio’s sentiment, emphasizing Italy’s special responsibility to remember the Holocaust: “It is especially important to remember what was done to participate in the persecution.... We have more responsibility and we need to do more,” Talo said.

While these words regrettably will fall on the deaf ears of the many Europeans who support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, they will resonate with Israelis, who face a multi-tiered threat from those who continue to seek to undermine the Jewish state. BDS has played a role in inciting the recent wave of killings by Palestinian knife-wielders, and it encourages baseless and misguided rhetorical attacks at academic institutions and college campuses across the world — some of which have produced violent protests and veiled threats directed at Jewish students and faculty from BDS supporters.

Italy’s brave and lonely position last week is a barometer of its support for Israel. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is an ally of the Jewish State, and last year delivered an eloquent speech to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on the dangers of the BDS movement. The American Jewish Congress was lucky enough to have him as a guest at our 2012 International Conference of Mayors in Israel while he was the mayor of Florence.

Italy’s ambassador to the UN, Sebastiano Cardi has also been outspoken on the subject of anti-Semitism, addressing the issue at the United Nations General Assembly last year:

“Italy supports multilateral initiatives against anti-Semitism....We must clearly and unanimously condemn every act of anti-Semitism and its ideological roots,” Cardi said.

Given the growth of anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant sentiments on the continent, Cardi’s admonition is timely. Selling fear and demonizing the “other” in society is nothing new in Europe. Responsible leadership is an uncommon commodity, and the world should be grateful that Italian leaders have stepped forward to remind us that tolerance and inclusivity must be championed at the highest levels of government.

Italy has become a crucial ally of Israel, and Jews everywhere are thankful that Israel has such a reliable friend in Europe. Just as significant, though, is the example Rome is setting for its continental neighbors, for whom the lessons of liberty and freedom constantly must be reinforced.

The Huffington Post
Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 4:56pm

Of all the criticism Donald Trump has taken in recent weeks for making provocative statements, the most interesting was uttered by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. Following Trump’s call for banning Muslims from entering the United States, the Prince, a member of the Saudi royal family, said of the Republican presidential candidate, “You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America.”

Hearing that message from Prince Alwaleed is like the pot calling the kettle black. If intolerance to other religions is the criteria for a disgraceful policy, he ought to direct equal attention to his own government’s long-standing positions. Is it necessary for the “custodian of Islam” — by virtue of Saudi Arabia being the location of the Haj — to prohibit the practice of all other religions? Is it right that barriers to citizenship and even entry into the Kingdom can be enforced on the basis of religion?

The Hill
Friday, December 18, 2015 - 11:13am

The election of Mauricio Macri as Argentina’s new president is a promising development, not just for his long-suffering nation, but for the prospects that Latin America can move successfully into a post-Chavez period of reintegration with the West. As Argentina works to reinvigorate its economy, abandon a provocative and failed foreign policy and assure citizens that rule of law and an independent judiciary will be respected, the U.S. has a rare opportunity to make a real difference by supporting the fresh wind blowing through the Western Hemisphere.

Having personally gotten to know Macri over the past few years, I believe he has the leadership qualities to fulfill his vision of leading Argentina into a new era of economic prosperity. Renewing strong economic relations with the United States and other western nations will be part of Macri’s effort to repair the damage of Buenos Aires’ default on its debt and exit from the dollar in 2002 amid the Argentine Great Depression. Reversing his predecessor’s isolationist trade policies will be applauded in Washington and most other western capitals, and contribute to jump starting Argentina’s stalled economy.

The Jewish Chronicle
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 3:00pm

Argentina’s new government was set this week to quash a pact with Iran under which the countries had agreed to jointly investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires. Upending what had been a pillar of the country’s foreign policy, Germán Garavano, Argentina’s justice minister, said in an interview that the ministry would nullify an appeal, lodged by the administration of former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, against a court’s decision declaring the pact unconstitutional.


...“We applaud the Argentinian government’s new direction on this important matter,” said Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, in a statement.

Fairport-East Rochester Post
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 4:30pm

Last month, I had the opportunity to travel to Israel to attend the 30th International Conference of Mayors, organized by the Jewish American Congress, the Council on World Jewry, and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I was one of just four mayors from the United States invited to join about 25 other municipal leaders from around the world to discuss urban innovation.

During my visit, I was impressed how Israeli cities place a strong emphasis on future generations in their decision-making process, and I intend to do the same in Rochester.

i24 News
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 5:30pm

As the results of Argentina’s pivotal presidential elections started pouring in, a sigh of relief echoed in Israeli diplomatic circles. Ending the era of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, defined by tensions and animosity between Jerusalem and Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri’s election as president was widely hailed in Jerusalem as a double victory, good tidings for both Israel and Argentina's 180,000-strong Jewish community.

Nevada Appeal
Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 5:00pm
As was recently reported by the Nevada Appeal, by invitation from the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, I, along with Supervisor Bonkowski and City Manager Marano, attended the 30th Annual International Mayors Conference in Israel (on our dime, of course). The topic of this year’s conference was Smart Cities. It was a fascinating conference on many levels, but one of the takeaways I came back with was the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in the development of the country of Israel. It’s a way of life in Israel, promoted not only by its educational system but its government organizations and many private international companies as well.
Times of Israel
Monday, November 9, 2015 - 3:32pm

To hear scholars and historians tell it, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu completely turned history on its head when he said that Haj Amin el Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, convinced Adolf Hitler to implement the Holocaust.

Netanyahu, who has walked back his assertions, was inaccurate in saying that Hitler needed anyone’s help to decide to annihilate Jews. He regrettably managed to make himself the center of attention while obscuring an important point about an issue that should stand on its own.

No historical invention is necessary to remind the world that Palestinian hostility to Jews is not a new phenomenon. For nearly 100 years, Palestinian riots focused not on colonial occupation by Ottomans or the British, but on violent attacks against Jews. Many recall the organized violence in 1929 and the even larger revolt of 1936, but only because the scale of the murders and destruction of Jewish homes and synagogues was so great that it captured outside attention.

Times of Israel
Monday, November 2, 2015 - 4:26pm

The construct set forth in Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl’s recent op-ed is highly troubling.

Mr. Levitsky and Mr. Weyl argue that the only way that Israel can secure international respect is to remove their presence from Palestinian territory. They do not, however, recognize wrongdoing by Palestinians or mention the historical context of the situation. They do not mention multiple instances in which Palestinian leaders refused to sign peace agreements with Israel, nor do they mention the most recent incitement of violence by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.