TheFridayReport: AGPI Applauds Deborah Lipstadt Nomination as Next US Antisemitism Envoy
07/30/21: To all my dear friends, first and foremost, may I wish you and yours a Shabbat Shalom and a peaceful weekend. Even while our days seem to be flying by, there seem to be a continuance of critical issues arising, including another violent assault in Toronto.
This week, we were in touch with the Toronto police hate crimes unit to discuss the vicious assault on a young Toronto man. In that incident, the man was attacked and pushed to the ground on the street with the assailant shouting antisemitic epithets. The attacker yelled - "F...you, you Jew. You will never take Israel. Free Palestine".
Given our strong relationship with Toronto's police and policing around the country, we have been assured that the assault is being thoroughly investigated.
In reaction, The Abraham Global Peace Initiative's (AGPI) Vice President, Leora Shemesh, a prominent criminal defence lawyer said she is "concerned about the rising level of antisemitism that is plaguing our country and believes that these types of hate crimes ought to be investigated to the fullest extent. Those who are violating our Canadian principles of freedom and democracy ought to be prosecuted through the criminal justice".
Through our network and affiliation with the legal community, policing and the attorney general's office, we aim t bring all parties together to formulate a plan for dealing with the rising tide of hate crime and antisemitism.
This week, to our great relief, Rudy Rochman, Andrew Noam and Edouard David Benaym have been officially released by the Nigerian Government DSS' (Secret Service). In a press release put out by the "We Were Never Lost" documentary team, the three Jewish men were "wrongfully taken on Friday July 9th, 2021". There were "caged and held for 20 days in horrendous conditions, locked into a small cell, sleeping on the floor with no access to showers or clean clothes. They were interrogated and mistreated without ever officially being arrested or accused of anything"
As previously mentioned, I had been in touch with the Rochman family during this terrible episode to offer our community's solidarity and support as necessary.
This inspired me to write today's column in the National Post about the terrifying new reality of state-sponsored hostage-taking. In that article, I wrote that nowhere is safe. Being taken without charge or on trumped up charges by a foreign government has become a common theme in geo-politics:
"Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been held hostage by China since December 2018. Their imprisonment is clearly the result of a spat between China, the U.S. and Canada over Canada’s detainment of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request. Whether called “hostage diplomacy” or outright state-sponsored kidnapping, the stage is set for an increasingly dangerous and perilous world, especially for journalists, diplomats and human rights defenders".
To read the full article in the National Post, please click this link: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/avi-benlolo-the-terrifying-new-reality-of-state-sponsored-hostage-taking
But here is why The Abraham Global Peace Initiative is different and necessary: With the decline of democracy and the rise of tyranny and instability around the world, the threat to individual rights and freedom has increased spectacularly. Freedom is quickly disappearing and we need to start speaking out in its defence. This is one of the many reasons why a strong credible organization like AGPI is necessary now more than ever.
In the quest for defending freedom and democracy, we must also fight antisemitism and intolerance, because the simple fact is - our fundamental freedoms are at stake. This is why today along with AGPI - I welcomed the appointment of Deborah Lipstadt to be the next U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.
More and more companies and platforms are taking action against Antisemitism. This week, I commended Netflix for its social media post condemning Antisemitism, anti-Jewish hate crimes and Holocaust denial. I have been pleased to see its inclusion of the Academy Award winning documentary, "The Last Days" to its roster of films, clearly an effort to educate.
In London, the British government cleared the path (finally) to build a national Holocaust memorial beside parliament. Its positive news given the shocking backlash by its opponents saying the location is unsuitable! The rising tide of antisemitism in the UK coupled with the fallout from the Corbyn era actually makes the location perfectly suitable. The Brits may need a constant reminder of the hate and intolerance the Nazis brought forth.
Given the importance of this news, The Abraham Global Peace Initiative will be dialoguing with some of its International Advisors who are situated in the United Kingdom - about how it can solidify this important step, especially given the fact that antisemitism increased four times higher than any previous month in May.
Still, we might say, that our fight against antisemitism is far from over. It seemed ironic that a swastika was found to have been etched into the wall of the elevator at the U.S. State Department. Both President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken condemned the hateful carving and promised an investigation.
In one other issue close to my heart, a Syrian doctor charged in Germany with crimes against humanity. Apparently, instead of helping people, he beat and tortured them. Charges against him serve as a precedent for the international community about Syrian war criminals. But what about his boss, Bashar? Plenty of documents now exist proving that he authorized torture, murder and gassing of innocents. Will the world community come together and indict this mass murderer for war crimes?
Even while Bashar Al Assad continues to target innocents (as he did this week), he is being left behind by an advancing Israel. This week, Israel and Morocco launched their first commercial flights between the two countries. Given the substantive Moroccan community in Israel, this development came with huge fanfare - as a major success of the Abraham Accords.
In another successful development for peace, Israel's Ambassador to Azerbaijan, George Deek announced the opening of Azerbaijan's Trade Representative Office in Israel. Clearly a first step to strengthening and fostering the relationship between the two nations.
In all of this, our community is getting more and more excited about joining AGPI - and being part of a global voice for humanity. A voice that strengthens peace and human rights while standing up to those who threaten freedom and security. This week, we proudly welcomed former Israeli General and Vice Prime Minister of Israel, Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon - as we continue growing our base both here at home and around the world.
To join us, you can subscribe to this website (for now) at www.avibenlolo.org. We would be delighted to have you.
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AGPI is a new Canadian based global human rights organization that promotes peace and defends freedom and democracy. It counters Antisemitism and discrimination; focuses on Holocaust remembrance and distortion; stands up for Israel and Canada in the court of public opinion and speaks out for universal human rights. AGPI is based on the guiding values, principles and philosophies of its Founder and Chairman, Avi Abraham Benlolo.
AGPI will be officially launching soon. To subscribe to our list-serve and get involved, please register at www.avibenlolo.org (our temporary hub). To become a founding member, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org