Former IDF Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren and Director of the White House Policy Council Cecilia Munoz Address ADL Conference in Washington, D.C.
New York, NY, May 16, 2012 … A former top Israeli military official and expert on Iran told an audience of Jewish leaders recently that a nuclear-armed Iran poses a serious threat to not only Israel, but to the entire Arab world, Europe and the U.S.
"The Iranians are smart, sophisticated and rational. However, their rational is not always our rational and you can be very rational but very dangerous," said Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, Director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University and Former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Defense Intelligence.
Maj. Gen. Yadlin discussed Iran's strategy and its security implications for Israel and the U.S. during the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) 2012 Shana Amy Glass National Leadership Conference.
"It is not only an Israeli problem. I tell you that the Iranian nuclear bomb is threatening the Saudis, the people in the Gulf, the Arabs, the Sunni Arabs, sometimes more than they threaten Israel. The Iranians have developed weapons and missiles that can deliver the bomb to Europe and if they will not be stopped, an intercontinental ballistic missile can bring the bomb also here," he added. (Watch Video)
ADL's annual National Leadership Conference, held April 29-May 1 in Washington, D.C., brought together nearly 500 leaders from across the country to participate in discussions on a range of issues at the forefront of the League's agenda, including global anti-Semitism, terrorism, implications of the Arab Spring, the Iranian nuclear threat, U.S. policy in the Middle East, the fight for civil rights, and the 2012 election. The conference was chaired by Pamela Schwartz, ADL Leadership Chair.
U.S. and Israeli Policy in a
Dynamic and Dangerous Middle East
Steven Simon, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council, reaffirmed America's commitment to Israel and discussed the Obama Administration's approach to advancing Israel's security, which he said is a task that has never been more urgent or more challenging.
"The U.S. government has done more to ensure Israel's security under the president's leadership than under any previous administration from providing record level security assistance that is saving lives, to leading vigorous diplomacy that is defending Israel at the U.N., to championing sanctions against Iran," said Mr. Simon. "Based on my own first-hand experience working these issues day in and day out, I can assure you that Israel's security is at the top of the agenda of President Obama's national security team." (Watch Video)
A panel discussion on the Middle East featured Aaron David Miller, Distinguished Scholar of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; David Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Danielle Pletka, Vice President of the Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Ron Kampeas, Washington Bureau Chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, moderated the discussion. (Watch Video)
Ambassador Michael B. Oren, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., called the relationship between the U.S. and Israel the "most multi-faceted and deepest relationship that this nation, the U.S., has had with any foreign nation in this post-World War II era." He discussed the spiritual affinity, the democratic affinity, the military and strategic alliance, and the joint technological and humanitarian projects that have led to and help maintain an "extraordinary" connection between the two countries, especially in the tumultuous Middle East. (Watch Video)
Experts Discuss Civil Rights in America
Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, discussed the Obama Administration's record in support of equality, such as repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" military policy, signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and heralding anti-bullying education and legislative initiatives.
"We are doing this work, you are doing this work, at a very consequential time in our country's history—the promise of this country that we be the kind of place where everyone gets a fair shot as long as you work hard and play by the rules," said Ms. Muñoz. "That promise is at risk and we are making decisions as a society every day, which speak to the fundamentals of who we are as a nation."
Ms. Muñoz talked about these challenges and the Obama Administration's goals, which include fighting tax cuts that would lead to the elimination of education and job training programs, working to provide affordable health care, advancing legislation to protect women against violence and enforce equal pay standards, and advocating immigration reform. (Watch Video)
An experts roundtable on advancing the fight for justice, equality and fairness included Chai Feldblum, Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Wade Henderson, President & CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Amber Khan, Board Member at Muslim Advocates; and Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Director of Immigration and Campaigns at the National Council of La Raza. Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director, moderated the discussion. (Watch Video)
The new documentary "Bully," which highlights the rise of bullying and its effects on children, was shown during the conference. The League has been a community partner on "The Bully Project," providing resources for the film's website and helping to promote the film nationally. The movie was preceded by a discussion about ADL's educational programs against bullying that have been conducted in schools across America.
Workshops Delve Into Key Issues of the Day
Conference participants explored other topical issues in a series of ADL workshops featuring experts on civil rights and religious freedom, terrorism and cyber terror, the Middle East, and global anti-Semitism:
• Fighting for Civil Rights: Trayvon Martin, LGBT Equality and Religious Liberties, featuring Daniel B. Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Department of State; Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Hilary O. Shelton, Washington Bureau Chief, NAACP; and Michael Lieberman, ADL Washington Counsel.
• Countering the Threat of Terrorism and Cyber Terror, featuring Brenda L. Heck, Special Agent in Charge, FBI's Counterterrorism Division of the Washington Field Office; Matthew Levitt, Director, Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Oren Segal, Director, ADL Center on Extremism.
• Tensions in Securing Religious Freedom and Civil Rights, featuring Jill C. Morrison, Senior Counsel, National Women's Law Center; Daniel Mach, Director, ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief; K. Hollyn Hollman, General Counsel, Baptist Joint Committee; and Steven M. Freeman, ADL Director of Legal Affairs.
• The Changing Middle East: Arab Spring or Islamic Winter?, featuring David Pollock, Kaufman Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Hussein Ibish, Senior Research Fellow, American Task Force on Palestine; Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President of Research, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; and Michael A. Salberg, ADL Director of International Affairs.
• Global Strategies in the Fight Against Anti-Semitism, featuring Hannah Rosenthal, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Department of State; Fred Turner, Senior Advisor, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe; and Susan Heller Pinto, ADL Assistant Director of International Affairs.
A session entitled, ADL Issues and the 2012 Election: Meet the Pundits, featured Ron Brownstein, Editorial Director at the National Journal Group; and Ruth Marcus, Opinion Writer at the The Washington Post. Laura Meckler, White House Correspondent at The Wall Street Journal, moderated the discussion.
Awards and Commendations
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano received the ADL William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award for her leadership in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. In her remarks, Secretary Napolitano discussed the need to balance safeguarding national security and protect fundamental civil rights, and underscored the importance of partnerships between law enforcement and community organizations in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
"Local communities and organizations are an important part of our efforts to counter violent extremism and keep communities safe," said Secretary Napolitano. "Nonprofit organizations, such as the ADL, help in this effort by providing invaluable training to thousands of law enforcement officers on how to identify early signs of violent extremism." (Watch Video)
Other awards and commendations presented during ADL's 2012 National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. included:
• In recognition of his career in public service and his outspoken advocacy for human rights and the welfare of the Jewish people, especially Holocaust victims, Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat was honored with the inaugural ADL Abraham H. Foxman Exceptional Leadership Award. The award was established by Ron D. and Barbara B. Balser, members of the ADL National Commission, as a tribute to the League's longtime national director, Abraham H. Foxman. (Watch Video)
• Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, was recognized for his leadership in the fight against anti-Semitism and human rights around the world. His remarks focused on combating hate and anti-Semitism, saying that the government and community organizations must "motivate, share best practices, and organize with a particular emphasis on what practical steps we ought to take, not just to mitigate this centuries-old evil, but to crush this pernicious form of hatred." (Watch Video)
• The League presented its Daniel R. Ginsberg Leadership Award to six outstanding individuals for their leadership in the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of prejudice in their regions. This year's recipients were Ali Brodie, Denver; Michael Freeling, Florida; Shira Goldberg, New York; Jeff Jubelirer, Philadelphia; Ian Scharfman, Houston; and Karen Weil, San Diego. (Watch Video)
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The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.