Kerry Appoints Ira Forman as Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism

Secretary of State John Kerry announced yesterday that Ira Forman will serve as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Forman, a graduate of both Harvard and Stanford Universities, previously served as Director of Congressional Relations for the Office of Personnel Management during the Clinton administration. He led the National Jewish Democratic Council for fifteen years. Secretary Kerry made the announcement as he released the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report.

Response after the jump from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
The Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 created the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Special Envoy Forman’s first act will be to join a group of imams for visiting the site of the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. He will then proceed to the International Conference of the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs enthusiastically welcomed the selection of Forman. JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutov said:

For decades, I have admired my friend and colleague, Ira Forman, as a devoted father and husband, model in his community, and voice for positive change in the world. I am proud of our government’s unprecedented commitment to make fighting anti-Semitism a national priority, thanks in large part to the extraordinary leadership in recent years of the immediate past Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal, my beloved predecessor at the JCPA. In selecting someone with the experience and wisdom of Ira, Secretary Kerry and President Obama have made sure this important work will continue. We also are appreciative of the excellent work in this arena carried out by Ambassador Michael Kozak, who has served as the Interim Special Envoy.

JCPA Chair Larry Gold added:

Ira is a deeply respected figure who has long been a powerful advocate for Jewish community interests here at home. With this new position as Anti-Semitism Envoy, he will take that respect and his passion abroad to help identify anti-Semitism where it persists and bring the influence of the US State Department to bear in attacking this pernicious phenomenon.

Romney in Quakertown: Says he’ll do ‘opposite’ of Obama on Israel

— by Ira Forman

Mitt Romney in Quakertown (Bucks County, Pennsylvania) claimed Saturday that he would “look at the things the President has done and do the opposite” in our relationship with Israel.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

He responded with ridicule when asked what he would do, if elected, to strengthen U.S. relations with the Jewish state.

‘I think, by and large, you can just look at the things the president has done and do the opposite,’ Romney said, to laughter and applause from members of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, an evangelical Christian political organization.

But Romney is, once again, trying to score cheap political points by distorting President Obama’s strong record of support for the state of Israel.

Does Mitt Romney want people to believe he would reverse President Obama’s commitment — in both words and actions — to Israel’s security and the unshakable bond between our two countries?

If Romney was to actually do the opposite of what the President Obama has done, he would jeopardize Israel’s security and international standing:

  • Would Romney actually reverse President Obama’s policy of increasing security assistance to Israel every year, including unprecedented support for Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system? President Obama has increased his request for security assistance to Israel every year of his administration, and his budget includes a record-high $3.1 billion in military assistance to Israel in addition to missile defense spending. President Obama has also directed the Pentagon to expand U.S.-Israel security cooperation, committing $205 million dollars to assist in shielding Israelis from mortars and rockets as part of an ongoing effort to “deepen and expand the quantity and intensity of cooperation to the fullest extent”
  • Would Romney actually let Israel stand alone at the United Nations? President Obama prevented Palestinian efforts to circumvent direct negotiations with Israel and unilaterally seek statehood recognition through the United Nations. He used the first Security Council veto of his presidency to stop condemnation of Israel settlements and stood by Israel in pushing back against the one-sided Goldstone Report. Prime Minister Netanyahu called President Obama’s support for Israel at the United Nations “a badge of honor.”
  • Would Romney actually refuse to come to Israel’s aid when they ask for help? When Israel’s embassy in Cairo was attacked by protestors in September 2011, President Obama called on Egypt to protect the embassy and offered his support to Prime Minister Netanyahu; the next day, Netanyahu publicly thanked the President for his help and called it a “decisive and fateful moment.” When Israel’s Carmel Forest caught fire in 2010, the worst natural disaster in Israel’s history, Prime Minister Netanyahu turned to President Obama for help, and the President directed his administration to “get Israel whatever it needs. Now.

Israeli leaders have highlighted President Obama’s steadfast support for the Jewish state. In an address to the Union for Reform Judaism, Ehud Barak said that the bonds between Israel and the United States are “stronger and deeper than ever” under President Obama. President Peres said that you should judge a President on his record and that under President Obama, Israel and the United States have “the best relationship on the issue of security…. this is a fact.”

It’s time for Romney to stop distorting President Obama’s record on Israel to score political points. Our relationship with Israel is far too important.

 

Jews for Sarah Director debates Former NJDC Director Ira Forman

In the aftermath of Sarah Palin‘s “blood libel” remark, Rabbi Mark S. Golub moderated a debate on Shalom TV between:

They discussed former Alaska Governor and possible Republican presidential candidate Sarah and her standing in the Jewish community.