6/18/12 Newsletter

 

 June 18, 2012 

 THE BIG STORY

 

Duties & Dilemmas: AJC, German Consulate and IL Holocaust Museum & Education Center Convenes Chicago’s Diplomats for an examination of German Diplomats in the Third Reich

Nearly 20 diplomats from Chicago’s Consulates attended an event last week that examined the actions of the Third Reich’s Foreign Ministry and contemporary examples of ethical diplomatic dilemmas.  Co-sponsored by AJC Chicago, the German Consulate and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, the event drew upon a recently-released German Government authorized report about the German Foreign Ministry’s complicity in the Holocaust.  

1933 Cable from the Chicago Consul General to the German Foreign Ministry

"The Consulate General is being overwhelmed daily with inquiries, notably from people of the Jewish faith, who are concerned for the safety of their relatives in Germany."

From the German Government's report "The Ministry and the Past: German Diplomats in the Third Reich and the Federal Republic." Click here to read the whole cable.

Diplomats toured the museum and participated in a panel discussion with Northwestern Professor and co-author of the German report Peter Hayes, former Spanish Ambassador Javier Ruperez and German Consul General Onno Hueckmann.  In his concluding remarks, AJC Chicago President Jack Levin, pictured above, at left with Consul General Hueckmann, detailed AJC’s historic relationship with West Germany, AJC’s Berlin Office and spoke about his participation in AJC’s German-Jewish exchange program with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Click here to view a slideshow of the tour and program. 

AJC’s UN Watch Confronts Syria’s Enablers in the UN Human Rights Council

The agenda of Syria’s powerful friends in the UN Human Rights Council was stopped in its tracks last week when AJC’s UN Watch brought 20-year-old Syrian torture victim Hadeel Kouki to tell the truth to what is supposed to be the world’s preeminent defender of Human Rights.  Kouki testified about the Al-Houleh massacre perpetrated by the Assad Regime.  In the end, the Council voted to condemn the Assad Regime.  Click here to read Kouki’s testimony.

AJC Chicago Read of the Week

While it comes as no surprise that Iran’s leaders continue to churn out anti-Semitic and genocidal rhetoric, it may surprise you to see the small weight given to these comments from some western commentators. Click here to read this thought-provoking piece by Jamie Kirchick and Sohrad Ahmari who spoke at the 2012 AJC's Global Forum.

BIG NEWS, BRIEFLY

Greece’s New Democracy Party Emerges Victorious, Pledges to Stay in Eurozone

The New Democracy Party, led by Antonis Samaras, now controls 129 of the 300 seats in the Greece Assembly and it in discussion with the Socialist Party to form a ruling, pro-Eurozone coalition.

The Local Angle: Just last fall, an AJC Chicago delegation met with Samaras in Athens to discuss the burgeoning relationship between Greece and Israel. Photo:  AJC Chicago International Relations Chair Jim Kaplan presents Samaras with a gift

Iran’s President Pans Trip to Brazil, UN’s Sustainability Conference, to Try to Reduce Sanctions

In his quest to improve Iran’s standing around the world and roll back crippling sanctions, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend the UN’s Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, to be held in Rio de Janeiro this week.

The Local Angle:  In preparation for Iran’s charm offensive, AJC Chicago sent a letter to each of Chicago’s Consulates asking that their country’s delegation to Rio+20 refrain from meeting with the Iranian leader and that it walk out of the conference room when he takes the floor to speak.  Click here to read the letter.

Obama Honors Israeli President Shimon Peres with Medal of Freedom

President Barack Obama presented Israeli President Shimon Peres the Medal of Freedom last week, calling him the essence of Israel itself.  Peres is Israel’s ninth president and a two-time former prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner. He was lauded by Obama as a man who “knows the necessity of strength but also understands that a nation's security depends on the righteousness of its deeds.”

The AJC Angle:  In his weekly radio message on CBS, AJC Executive Director David Harris congratulated Peres and highlighted the values that he built his career on. Click here to listen the radio message. 

Global Forum