Historically, The Jerusalem Post
has served a unique function in Israel’s media
landscape.In the years following its establishment in 1932, when it was called
The Palestine Post
, the English-language daily catered to the many
English-speaking groups that lived or passed through the British Mandate in
Palestine. Tourists and pilgrims, Jewish immigrants from English-speaking
countries and the thousands of administrators, soldiers and police officers
employed by the British Mandate all made up the paper’s core
Zionist leaders saw in the Post
an important tool for
influencing British policy in the Mandate.
To this day, the Post
to a decidedly international readership. In addition to the millions exposed to
the original English-language content online or in the International Edition,
the thousands who read the hard copy locally have points of reference that are
not restricted to the local.
In foreign embassies and consulates across
the country, the Post is a daily staple. Ambassadors, diplomatic envoys,
military attaches and foreign embassy officials representing dozens of countries
are numbered among our most loyal – and influential – readers. It was in large
part due to this realization that the Post decided last year to launch an annual
On Thursday, the Post will hold its Second Annual
Diplomatic Conference at the Daniel Herzliya hotel, featuring President Shimon
Peres and senior Israeli figures alongside members of the foreign diplomatic
corps and representatives of world Jewry.
The Iranian nuclear drive, on
the one hand, and the peace talks with the Palestinians, on the other, will be
the focus of a question-and-answer session between Post editor- in-chief Steve
Linde and President Shimon Peres. Maj.- Gen. Noam Tibon, commander of the IDF
Northern Corps, will provide a security review of military threats, particularly
on our northern border.
One of the featured speakers will be Justice
Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also chief negotiator of the peace talks with the
Palestinians. Livni recently told the Post that she has “unfinished business” to
complete with the Palestinians.
But what will be her reaction to
pessimism expressed on the right by Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman (Likud Beytenu) and on the left by former
Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin? Even Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is slated to
speak at the Post conference, is highly skeptical, telling The New York Times in
May before talks with the Palestinians began that Abbas was “one of the founding
fathers of the victimizing concept of the Palestinians.” The Post’s senior
contributing editor Caroline B. Glick, who has just written a book on a
one-state solution for Israel, is also likely to address the Palestinian issue
in her talk.
Will British Ambassador Matthew Gould use his speaking time
to encourage Israel to compromise, or will he also have critical words for the
Palestinians? Gould, who vehemently opposes boycotts against Israel, is also
known to see the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict as fueling anti-Israel
sentiment, not because the conflict is presented negatively in the media or due
to the failure of public diplomacy but because of the realities on the ground,
such as “ongoing settlement building, conditions in the West Bank and
restrictions placed on the Gaza Strip.”
Meanwhile, with Roger Cukierman,
the president of CRIF (the Representative Council of French Jewish
Institutions), addressing the conference, the plight of European Jewry –
particularly the recent attacks on circumcision, ritual slaughter and even the
wearing of a kippa or other recognizably Jewish signs – will undoubtedly be
A quarter of European Jewry said they avoided visiting visibly
Jewish places and wearing visibly Jewish symbols like a kippa for fear of
anti-Semitism, according to preliminary findings from a major survey of European
Jewry conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Will
Cukierman offer a forecast on the future of European Jewry? In short, the Post’s
Second Annual Diplomatic Conference will touch on most of the major geopolitical
issues facing Israel and the Jewish people.
Since its founding 81 years
ago, the Post
has targeted the international community, from its significant
readership abroad to the many foreign diplomats stationed in Israel.
year’s conference reflects that international emphasis and promises to be an
exciting, news-making event.