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Congregation B’nai Israel to host Ambassador Dennis Ross

On Sunday, March 18, 2018, Congregation B’nai Isreal will host a panel discussion entitled, “Is Middle East Peace Possible? A Diplomat’s Perspective” with Ambassador Dennis Ross. The discussion will include an all-star panel of scholars.

Ambassador Dennis Ross will be joined by Florida Atlantic University professors Dr. Ralph Nurnberger, Dr. Robert G. Rabil and Dr. Mehmet Gurses.

Congregation B’nai Isreal is located at 2200 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, Florida 33431.

Event Details:

Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 2:30 PM

CBI Members: $18
Community Guests: $30
Students & Military with ID: Free
FAU-FSMES Members: Free

Click here to register: https://login.cbiboca.org/dennis-ross

Biography:

Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, DC. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. Ross is the author of several influential books on the peace process, most recently Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, October 2015).

Full biography here: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/experts/view/ross-dennis

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Congressman Gus Bilirakis Pledges to Bring Armenia Closer to Greece, Cyprus, and Israel as New Armenian Caucus Vice Chair

By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Managing Editor

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)

Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) has been named Vice Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. In addition to playing an active role in the Armenian Caucus, notably efforts to secure Turkey’s return of confiscated Christian Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian religious property and U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, Rep. Bilirakis also serves as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, and as Co-Chair of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Caucus, among others.

“I look forward to working with like-minded House colleagues in the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues to continue and grow the Caucus’ focus on issues of concern to the Armenian American community,” Congressman Bilirakis told FLArmenians.com. “I have long admired the tenacity and strong will of the Armenian people who have thrived despite enduring a history of suffering under repressive regimes. I am especially gratified to be a part of the Caucus as we come upon the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide – a horrific massacre of over 1.5 million innocent Armenian men, women, and children. I intend to work diligently so that the Caucus can pass a resolution that expresses a sense of Congress that is meaningful and effective.

“Finally, as Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Affairs and Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance, I am eager to help incorporate Armenia into the broader discussion of energy and security issues with Greece, Cyprus, and Israel. The Caucus has a long history of bi-partisan cooperation which I look forward to continuing as we take on new challenges in the years ahead.”

Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis is a Republican from Palm Harbor, representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. He was first elected to Congress on November 7, 2006, and is currently serving his fourth term in the United States House of Representatives.

As a young boy, Gus learned the importance of public service from his father, Michael Bilirakis, who represented Florida’s Ninth Congressional District from 1983 to 2006. The elder Bilirakis also instilled in his son a pride in the family’s Greek heritage, which Gus proudly carries into his career today.

Bilirakis sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the Vice Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

U.S Slams Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan For Another Anti-Israel Remark

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan (left) tells Israeli President Shimon Peres (right), “When it comes to killing, you know very well how to kill,” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. January 29, 2009

By Taniel Koushakjian
August 22, 2013

In the latest development of the Turkish government’s increasingly anti-Israel posture, this week Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan made the audacious claim that Israel was behind the Egyptian military’s ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi. Speaking to a group of provincial governors of his AKP party, Erdogan reportedly stated: “What do they say in Egypt? Democracy is not at the ballot box. Who is behind it? Israel. We have in our hands documentation.”

This statement was quickly rebuffed by Israeli and U.S. government officials. In response to a reporter’s question specifically citing Erdogan’s comments, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said “We strongly condemn the statements that were made by Prime Minister Erdogan today.” “Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated and wrong,” Earnest stated.

According to the Jerusalem Post, “Erdogan’s rant was not worthy of a response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Tuesday. ‘This is a statement well worth not commenting on.’”

Erdogan’s anti-Semitic statements have become a new normal for him and his Islamic AKP Party. A few weeks ago, Erdogan blamed the Turkish uprisings surrounding the Gezi Park protests as being motivated by the “interest rate lobby,” a reference widely interpreted to mean Israel.

While these statements may win him praise on the streets of the Arab World, Erdogan may be miscalculating the effect. “’Erdogan’s speech blaming Israel for the coup in Egypt pours cold water on the option of Israel cooperating with Turkey on the gas pipeline,” Gilad Alper, a senior analyst at Ramat-Gan, Israel-based Excellence Nessuah Brokerage Ltd. told Bloomberg News. With Turkey looking to import Israeli natural gas, it appears that Erdogan’s continued anti-Semitic statements jeopardize Turkey’s dream to becoming a major energy hub in the region.

Statements such as these also have an unfortunate effect on Turkish society. Anti-Americanism in Turkey is among the highest in world and has been for many years. The growing anti-Semitism and increasing Islamism in the Turkish government appear related.

However, Erdogan’s comments are not just confined to Israel and the Jewish people. A headline last month in Commentary Magazine read “Erdogan’s disdain extends from Jews to Blacks.” Author Michael Rubin states that “Criticizing Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the center-left and secular Republican Peoples Party (CHP), Erdoğan declared, “Kılıçdaroğlu is striving every bit he can to raise himself from the level of a black person to the level of a white man.”

Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg goes even further: “It’s time to call Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan what he is: a semi-unhinged bigot.”

Jewish-American and African-American members of the Congressional Turkish Caucus should be made aware of these statements and reconsider their support of a government and society that is increasingly at odds with U.S. interests and those of our allies Israel and Armenia.

This article originally appeared on the Armenian Assembly’s Blog.