Weekly Top 10
WASHINGTON, D.C. February 08, 2019

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Aleksander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

Dear Friend,

On February 5, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he had appointed Elan Carr to the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Carr, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, is a U.S. Army veteran and former international president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. Upon Carr’s appointment, NCSEJ Chairman Daniel Rubin said “we anticipate working closely with him to fight the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Eurasia and around the world.” To read more, please see NCSEJ’s February 5 press release.

Today, NCSEJ hosted representatives from B’nai B’rith International, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and the World Jewish Restitution Organization to meet with Republic of Moldova Minister of Foreign Affairs Tudor Ulianovschi and Ambassador Christina Balan. We discussed U.S.-Moldovan bilateral relations, Moldova’s support for Israel, and the country’s recent initiatives to commemorate the Holocaust.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he will travel to Moscow on February 21 to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in Syria. Before his trip to Moscow, Prime Minister Netanyahu will attend the annual Munich Security Conference from February 15-17. The Prime Minister is also expected to attend the 2019 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington D.C. in March.

This past weekend, Limmud FSU hosted a learning and culture festival in St. Petersburg. The event featured over 600 participants, making it the largest of its kind in the organization’s history. The festival featured over 100 lectures, workshops, and discussions.

Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. February 08, 2019

With Diverse Experience, New U.S. Anti-Semitism Monitor ‘Great Fit’ for the Job
By Ron Kampeas
JTA, February 06, 2019

From Hanukkah in Saddam’s palace to prosecuting gangs, Elan Carr’s rich background gives him the ability to see the big picture, a vital skill for the task ahead.

Elan Carr’s career until now has been equal parts prosecutor, policy wonk, politico and performance artist.

That makes him perfect for his new job as the US State Department’s special envoy to monitor anti-Semitism, according to people most familiar with his appointment, which was made public on Monday.

Ira Forman, Carr’s predecessor, who has been leading calls for President Donald Trump to fill the position — unfilled since Forman’s departure two years ago — said Carr’s CV speaks well of the skills he brings to the post.

Bulgaria to Apply High International Standards in Fighting Discrimination and Anti-Semitism—Deputy Foreign Minister
The Sofia Globe, February 06, 2019

At a conference in Bratislava, Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Sterk has expressed concern about the rising populism in Europe that is creating a favourable ground for development of phenomena such as antisemitism.

Sterk underlined Bulgaria’s active policy of counteracting all intolerance and racial hatred, according to a Foreign Ministry statement at the close of the two-day conference on February 6.

The conference was organized by the Slovak Presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Office of the Organization for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Resistance to antisemitism is part of the OSCE’s work on the human dimension of security, the statement said.

Anti-Semitism Is No Longer a Question of Extremism  
By Robert R. Singer
The Jerusalem Post, February 03, 2019

Polls released over the last few months in the lead up to International Holocaust Remembrance Day reveal a troubling reality of hatred, denial and ignorance sweeping the Western world – even in the mainstream. A disturbing picture emerges, underscoring a frightening proliferation of antisemitic sentiment, a severe and dangerous lack of Holocaust education and obfuscation of its memory. Some might argue that these claims are exaggerated, perhaps true among only marginal, extremist segments of society, but the numbers are jarringly to the contrary.

A CNN survey last November, for example, found that one in 20 Europeans do not believe that the Holocaust happened and a third believe that Jews exploit it to advance their own positions or goals; one in five believe that antisemitism is the result of everyday behavior of Jewish people.

Netanyahu Set to Meet Putin in Moscow before Elections
By Herb Keinon
The Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that he will be traveling to Moscow in just over two weeks for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The announcement came on the day satellite images were released showing that S300 missile defense systems Russia transferred to Syria after the downing of the spy plane were erected and nearly operational.

This will be the second meeting between the two leaders since Syria’s downing of a Russian intelligence plane in September, an incident Russia said Israel was indirectly responsible for and which strained Jerusalem-Moscow ties.

House Members Introduce Bill That Would Fund Holocaust Education Programs in School
By Ron Kampeas
JTA, February 05, 2019

 A bipartisan slate of House members introduced a bill that would grant money to Holocaust education in schools.

The Never Again Education Act would establish the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund in the U.S. Treasury. The bill would combine appropriated funds and private donations.

A release from the office of Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., one of the lead sponsors, said the bill would “finance grants to public and private middle and high schools to help teachers develop and improve Holocaust education programs.”

Ukraine’s Far Right Is Growing Increasingly Violent—Why Aren’t Local Jews Concerned
By Michael Colborne
Harretz, February 04, 2019

They were huddled in the corner of an underpass: Two young women who had just been running down the street screaming for help.

They were soon surrounded by medical staff and a few police officers. Their faces red and teary, looking like they could barely see, the two women had just been pepper-sprayed by far-right extremists after an attempted march in the Ukrainian capital to commemorate victims of transphobic violence.

"Attempted," because the far right didn’t let the march of no more than 50 people take place last November.

600 Participants Gathered for the Largest Jewish Event in St. Petersburg
Limmud FSU, February 03, 2019

The three-day Jewish festival of learning and culture Limmud FSU St. Petersburg took place this past weekend in Crowne Plaza hotel in the city. The dynamic, volunteers-driver and pluralistic event gathered 600 participants and ran from Friday through Sunday noon.

Saint Petersburg today it is one of the most vibrant, flourishing Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union, with roughly 100,000 Jews, making it the second-largest Jewish community in Russia. Annual conferences, started in 2011, reflect high intellectual caliber and cultural-oriented programming, as one would expect from a Jewish learning festival held in Russia’s cultural capital.

Lithuania Rejects Israeli Request for Remains of Vilna Gaon
The Times of Israel/AFP, February 02, 2019 

Lithuania said Friday it has rejected a request from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to move the remains of Vilna Gaon, a famed 18th-century rabbi, from Vilnius to Israel for reburial.

The issue was raised during talks between Netanyahu and his Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Skvernelis’ national security advisor Arnoldas Pikzirnis told AFP.

“We received a kind request to consider whether the remains of Vilna Gaon could be relocated to Israel,” Pikzirnis   

Read the full article here.

Vowing to Confront Iran, Trump Scolds the ‘Vile Poison of Anti-Semitism’
By Eric Cortellesa
The Times of Israel, February 06, 2019

US President Donald Trump strongly condemned anti-Semitism Tuesday night as he vowed to confront Iran and learn the lessons of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, during his 2019 State of the Union address.

In the speech before a joint session of Congress, in which the president laid out his policy agenda for the next year and lambasted the special counsel’s investigation, Trump spent a fair portion of time on the subject of Jew-hatred.

He contextualized his Iran policy by castigating the regime’s rapacious anti-Semitism.
“We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants, ‘Death to America,’ and threatens genocide against the Jewish people,” Trump said. “We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.”

Rada Moves to Make Ukraine’s Integration with NATO, EU Part of the Constitution
By Illia Ponomarenko
Kyiv Post, February 07, 2019

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has passed a law on inserting amendments to the Constitution regarding Ukraine’s strategic rapprochement with NATO and the European Union.

The document was endorsed by 334 lawmakers, while at least 300 votes were necessary to amend the country’s principal law, particularly states that the Constitution’s enacting clause will mention Ukraine’s “irreversible course on the Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Besides, the amendment enshrines gaining full European Union and NATO memberships among the competencies of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Rada. It also defines the president as a guarantor of this strategic course.

[Link to pdf of full articles]
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Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.