38 top political, business, civic leaders address the issue of global terrorism at Jerusalem Post confab
NEW YORK, N.Y.–Terrorism, BDS and Israel’s strong economy headlined the Jerusalem Post’s Fifth Annual Conference with more than 38 leading Israeli cabinet ministers, Members of Knesset, U.S. political leaders and business executives at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.
The 1,200 people in attendance were addressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and highlighted speakers included U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Israeli Minister of Internal Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, Former Chief of General Staff of the IDF Gabi Ashkenazi and Former Director of the Israeli Mossad Efraim Halevy. Son of Hamas author Mosab Hassan Yousef, captivated the crowd with his story of how he crossed over from his Hamas routes to fervently support Israel. Israeli Singer and Songwriter David Broza performed for the audience, and the Jerusalem Post 2016 Prize was awarded to Mobileye for its revolutionary approach and life-saving technological breakthroughs.
In major news from the conference, Erdan criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin for not recognizing that their platforms are being used as tools of terror — “Social media companies are happy to use the data they collect on us to make money, but unfortunately, not to help stop terror. These companies must recognize that their platforms are used as a tool of terror,” said Erdan; House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) expressed concern that the Obama administration is preparing to support an initiative at the United Nations on the Middle East peace process; Halevy said the time has come for Israel to speak to Hamas, anticipating that there is likelihood that the next Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, will be the one to do so; and Danon warned that the Palestinians are now using the UN as their platform to spread antisemitism.
“This was a tremendously successful conference that addressed the key issues affecting Israel and the American-Israel relationship. We were honored to have an incredibly distinguished group of speakers and participants,” said Outgoing Editor-In-Chief Steve Linde.
The Jerusalem Post is Israel’s leading English language daily newspaper with the largest global online presence for news and information about Israel and the Jewish world.
Obama “consciously” distanced himself from Israel, former aide says
By MICHAEL WILNER, Jerusalem Post
NEW YORK — Barack Obama is one of five presidents in modern history to make a “conscious decision to try to distance from Israel,” his former aide, Dennis Ross, said on Sunday, May 22.
Addressing The Jerusalem Post’s annual conference, Ross, a veteran diplomat on Israel and the Palestinians under the Reagan, H. W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations, said the White House has worked under the assumption that “Israel is more of a problem than it is a partner.”
“If you distance from Israel, you’ll gain with the Arabs,” Ross said, summing up the premise of the Obama administration’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he said the assumption is not unique to this White House: Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter and H. W. Bush all tried to distance themselves from Israel for the same reason, he said.
Ross offered his analysis of the policy approach: “Every administration that has tried to distance from Israel has gained nothing,” he said.
The diplomat also said that the Obama administration worked toward a two-state solution believing it would bring peace to the wider Middle East. That assumption is flawed as well, Ross argued.
“If tomorrow you could solve this issue, it wouldn’t stop one barrel bomb in Syria,” he said. “It wouldn’t change Iran’s ambition in the region. It wouldn’t change the challenges that Egypt is facing.”
Ross questioned whether a comprehensive peace deal is possible in the current political environment – both in Jerusalem and in the Ramallah. But he characterized himself as an optimist, and said that his new book, Doomed to Succeed, is intended to educate the next president on the mistakes of negotiations past.