Shift trends in the West
Australian Jewry’s role as arguably the most successful diaspora Jewish community was included in discussions at the Jewish World’s most significant think tank, the Jewish People’s Policy Institute, in Jerusalem recently.
Jeremy Jones, the Director of International Affairs and of Community Affairs of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, a Life Member and former President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and highly regarded international authority on both interfaith relations and antisemitism, was among a select group of international figures invited to the discussions.
The subject of the symposium was “Shifting Trends in the West and Their Impact on the Jewish People.”
Input from Israel was provided by politicians including Yair Lapid and Isaac Herzog, former MKs including Einat Wilf and Natan Sharansky, Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, academic figures including Professor Sergio della Pergola and Shlomo Wald and other senior figures in government, academia, religion and civil society.
North American involvement included Elliott Abrams, Ambassador Dennis Ross, Ambassador Stuart Eisenstadt, Professor Irwin Cotler, former Canadian ambassador to Israel Vivian Bercovici, Malcolm Hoenlein, Professor Judith Liwerant and Senator Nom Coleman, with European experts including Dominique Moisi, and Shmuel Trigano. Jones was the only representative from the Southern Hemisphere or from Asia/Pacific.
The conference was opened by President Reuven Rivlin and closed with a presentation from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“Serious, informed – sometimes passionate – debate took place on the challenges presented by the new US Administration, the tension between nationalism and globalisation, developments within Islam and Christianity, the changing Middle East landscape, Israel’s internal dilemmas, the Israel-diaspora relationship and other crucial issues”, Jones said.
“Each of the open sessions featured a range of views, meaning that every participant’s preconceptions were constantly challenged, and in the working groups the quality of ideas and interventions was consistently outstanding”, Jones added.
“It is of enormous credit to the Australian community that AIJAC’s Jeremy Jones was offered one of the highly-sought-after seats at the table, and it was an exceptional opportunity for him to share observations and experiences with outstanding scholars and thinkers”, AIJAC’s executive director Dr. Colin Rubenstein concluded.