Berlin and Frankfurt to host Jewish solidarity confabs
The European Council of Jewish Communities holds a conference on "Leading Jewish Europe Together Now" in Germany.
By BENJAMIN WEINTHALPublished: OCTOBER 24, 2010 02:43Advertisement
BERLIN – This will be a busy week for pro-Israel activists in Frankfurt and international Jewish leaders in Berlin.The European Council of Jewish Communities will hold its “Leading Jewish Europe Together Now” conference in the German capital from Sunday through Tuesday.“The Berlin conference will mark the beginning of a new era in Jewish activism in Europe. European Jewry is the third largest after Israel and the US. Community leaders and key philanthropists from Eastern and Western Europe understand that now is the time to act, both on facing contemporary challenges and making the best of the opportunities that comes with it,” Tomer Orni, ECJC’s executive vice president, said in a statement. Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger will address the ECJC conference.Jewish leaders from across Western, Central and Eastern Europe — as well as North American — plan to tackle increased cooperation between Europe and Israel; strengthening Diaspora ties between the countries of the former Soviet Union and the West; and increasing collaboration between European and American Jews.And next Sunday, German pro-Israel activists will jumpstart the first Israel congress to be held in Frankfurt.The principal message of the “German Cross-organizational Israel Solidarity Conference” is to show that “Israel is not alone” regarding its national security concerns.Claudia Korenke, who heads the German-Israel Friendship Society in Frankfurt and is on the board of the “I Like Israel” organization, wrote The Jerusalem Post by e-mail on Friday, “My father was one of the architects of the German-Israeli relations. By then the dialogue was commitment, responsibility and moral obligation.Today, being an outspoken friend of a Jewish State of Israel automatically makes you a target of attack in this country; not only for Islamists, Holocaust deniers, and anti-Semites, but also for a large part of the average German public. Even among so-called ‘friends of Israel,’ being unconditionally pro- Israel is a rather unique position.”Korenke added, “We therefore felt it is time that those who stand for Israel in Germany are strengthened. I am very happy that the more than 700 visitors who registered for the congress are coming from all religions, organizations and companies – it is the first time ever that they unite in one voice for Israel.”The pro-Israel conference in Frankfurt is the brainchild of Sacha Stawski, who heads the media watchdog organization Honestly Concerned, which tracks anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism in the German media.“We are proud to say that this is the first time ever that organizations from literally all sectors of society – Jewish, Christian, nondenominational, leftist and whatever else – will be coming together on such a large scale, to learn from one another and to seriously discuss long lasting ways to cooperate and network with one another – whether in times of crisis, when quick actions may be needed, or merely as a way to express their unanimous solidarity with the State of Israel,” Stawski, who is also the chairman of “I like Israel,” told the Post on Saturday.More than 70 organizations have registered to attend.Ambassador to Germany Yoram Ben-Zeev and Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner are to address the conference. One panel will discuss “Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in Daily Life.”Nathan Gelbart, a Berlinbased attorney and head of Keren Hayesod Germany, will speak on modern anti-Semitism.Stawski told the Post, “In times when the challenges and threats facing the State of Israel on all levels have been increasing continuously, particularly in light of the Iranian nuclear threat, the need and thirst for cooperation has also become increasingly more urgent. The outburst of openly expressed anti-Zionism, combined with a general increase in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide – particularly in Europe – have further underlined the urgency within many organizations to be able to exchange and cooperate much more with other like-minded organizations, when it comes to expressing their support for the State of Israel.”
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