Kafe Knesset for Feb. 21

On the sidelines of the Conference of Presidents’ meeting in Jerusalem, Malcolm Hoenlein told Kafe Knesset he plans to initiate a high level world leader summit to combat the recent rise in anti-Semitism. “Anti-Semitism is a virus that you have to counter before it metastasizes and impacts everyone. Fighting anti-Semitism is key to fighting all forms of racism and bigotry. It is not exclusive. That’s why I’m calling for convening a world conference to be lead by leaders in Europe and around the world including Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister May, President Trump — like we did on Soviet Jewry in the 70s – and make it a declaration of war against anti-Semitism and bigotry that will make it clear that its unacceptable and that we will mobilize resources collectively to fight the spread of hate on the Internet.”

Kafe Knesset: There are calls for President Trump to speak out much more clearly about anti-Semitism…

Hoenlein: “I have said that clearly the President is not an anti-Semite and these kinds of charges are irresponsible and certainly counterproductive to the purpose that we all share, which is to fight anti-Semitism. Every society has haters and the way to judge it is how do those in authority stand up and speak out against it — law enforcement, opinion holders, religious leaders, academics. Do they stand up and speak out against it? And do they show that they have a policy of zero tolerance?”

Kafe Knesset: Wouldn’t step one be naming anti-Semitism — the White House appears to be dodging that term and referring to general hate crimes.

Hoenlein: “Hate crimes is a general category but the specific issue is anti-Semitism and you have to name and shame. You can’t just say that crimes took place when there are robberies, shootings and other categories. The fact is, that the increase in the number of attacks against Jews is larger than against other groups. It is a unique category and should be addressed as such. I hope that everyone will join in being clear about it.”

Kahlon reaches out to Mnuchin: 

After the Netanyahu-Trump meeting last week, other senior cabinet ministers have started reaching out to their new US counterparts. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman met with Secretary Mattis last weekend at the Munich Security Conference, and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has also contacted his new American partner, Steve Mnuchin, in recent days. Kafe Knesset has obtained a copy of the letter Kahlon sent out to the new Treasury Secretary after his confirmation earlier this month, in which he expresses his hope and will to developing strong economic cooperation and strategic partnerships and wished him good luck on the job.

“On behalf of the Government of Israel and myself personally it gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on your confirmation,” Kahlon, who had a very friendly relationship with former Secretary Lew, wrote to Mnuchin. “Your consummate experience in the financial services industry provides you with a unique perspective for the challenging position. Furthermore, it is my firm belief that advancing our strong economic ties will not only foster continued economic success but will also contribute to a strengthening of the unshakeable and crucial bond between the United States and Israel.”


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