SUBSCRIBER
BENEFITS
Video: Trump Admin’s Legacy in the Middle East—Ellie Cohanim on Peace Deals and Combating Anti-Semitism
42d AMERICAN THOUGHT LEADERS
Saved

As a result of the Trump administration’s efforts in the Middle East, four nations have signed peace agreements with Israel, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bahrain, and Sudan.

Alongside the peace agreements, there are also signs that Middle Eastern countries are agreeing to proactively tackle anti-Semitism.

In this episode, we sit down with Ellie Cohanim, the U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor & Combat Anti-Semitism. To forward these efforts, the Moroccan NGO the Mimouna Association has partnered with the U.S. State Department, a move lauded by Morocco’s ambassador to the US, Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui.

This is American Thought Leaders, and I’m Jan Jekielek.

Jan Jekielek: Ellie Cohanim, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Ellie Cohanim: It’s a pleasure to be here with you, Jan.

Mr. Jekielek: Ellie, you’re the—and I want to make sure I get this right because it’s a long title—the U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor & Combat Anti-Semitism. Of course, the important thing is that you focus specifically on monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, out of the office that you work out of in the State Department. And you guys have this, frankly, really, really good news that I’ve been reading about, which is basically this memorandum of understanding with a Moroccan NGO about combating anti-Semitism. Why don’t you tell me about what’s going on?

Ms. Cohanim: Well, Jan, again, it’s such a pleasure to join you, and it is our breaking news today. We just signed a memorandum of understanding with Morocco’s Association Mimouna. So the MOU [memorandum of understanding] brings into partnership the US State Department and our office specifically, the Office to Monitor & Combat Anti-Semitism and Association Mimouna.

I’ll tell you what’s extraordinary about Association Mimouna first. They were a group of college students, Moroccan Muslim students, who organically were interested in the history of Jews in Morocco. And so these students got together and they started to just study the very long history of Moroccan Jewry, which actually dates back to antiquity.

And they went on to then gain interest in Holocaust issues and created the very first Arabic language Holocaust curriculum. So that’s Association Mimouna, and we could not be prouder. There’s no NGO in Morocco that we would be prouder to be in partnership with than them.

Mr. Jekielek: And so what is the impact of this partnership? And I’m actually going to ask you momentarily about the broader context of what’s happening.

Ms. Cohanim: Well, I’ll tell you, this partnership is groundbreaking in the sense that the MOU agreement language includes a commitment to combating anti-Semitism together, also combating anti-Zionism and Islamophobia. So those are really the challenges that extremists and those who promote hate present to both the United States, to Morocco, and really to the world community. These are global issues.

And the MOU, again, is groundbreaking in the sense that we really confront these issues head-on and a partnership that’s historic because it’s never existed before, to show the Kingdom of Morocco’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism in this way.

Mr. Jekielek: Of course, this is an extension of the Abraham Accords, these agreements signed with four countries now and Israel. I think there are a few more in the works that the U.S. has played a major role in brokering.

Ms. Cohanim: Exactly right, Jan. I think that one of the Trump administration’s most historic and proud achievements is indeed the Abraham Accords. Our administration brokered four peace agreements within four months between Israel and her Arab neighbors and Sudan, of course.

And I would tell you that in 2020, the Middle East is a new place. The prospects for generations of young children and young people to grow up in this new Middle East where war no longer has to be an assumption, violence and hatred, terrorism. All of those forces have really been quelled by the Trump administration in bringing together this new alliance of Sunni Gulf States and the State of Israel and of course, again, Morocco, Sudan.

So you’ve got, like I said, a new Middle East, a new reality, and it’s a very hopeful reality. Now with the signing of the Abraham Accords, what we saw with the United Arab Emirates, with Bahrain, with Morocco and Sudan is a really a correlating, a natural correlation, of a decrease in anti-Semitism with normalization of ties with the Jewish state of Israel. And so again, that’s why our MOU today is historic and it is indeed a part of the Abraham Accords’ efforts.

Jan, you know what I saw when I visited the Emirates recently, I was just in the Gulf in Hanukkah, and there were three Friday night Shabbat services and Hanukkah candle lighting ceremonies in Dubai when I was there, and I was really honored to participate in that.

And then on Saturday night, there was a loud music, Jewish music concert and Hanukkah candle lighting at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Now I see that you’re kind of taking note of that. So any visitor to the Emirates would know that the Burj is kind of like the Times Square of the Middle East. So picture that. And I would tell you that that’s the Abraham Accords. It’s the public celebration of Jewish practice in the Gulf.

Mr. Jekielek: It’s genuinely touching to hear that. There’s this whole kind of context, reality. There are countries in the region, and I think this bears mentioning, right, where even in textbooks there’s literal anti-Semitism and people have been taught in the past to hate the Jewish people. It’s hard to imagine, perhaps, growing up in Canada or the United States, that that would be something that would be codified in recent time. But it has been. So this is a kind of a profound shift.

Ms. Cohanim: It’s truly profound, Jan, and I’ll tell you something. In our office at the State Department, what we know is that in the Middle East, anti-Semitism was institutionalized. So to your point, we found anti-Semitic, the most horrible and vile content in children’s curricula in schools. There’s also anti-Semitic content in the media in the Middle East, and then in mosques, sermons often. So that’s how the anti-Semitism is actually institutionalized in these societies.

And so on the good news front, we have seen recently an announcement from Saudi Arabia that they have removed a significant amount of their anti-Semitic material from their school curricula and also their anti-Israel material. So our expectation is that there will be a huge domino effect from that. We’ve also been in touch with Qatar, and their government is also tremendously interested in revising textbooks.

And in Morocco, right before the signing of the Abraham Accords, there was an announcement made that not only—I really don’t know if the Moroccans actually even had anti-Semitic material in their curricula—but the announcement was made that they were now going to include Judeo-Moroccan heritage in their curriculum. And so Jan, that is when you look into the future, and you hope to end the cycle of violence, you hope to end the indoctrination of innocent children in hatred, the first step, obviously, is to remove the hate.

But then the next step, really, in trying to create a better world is to teach philo-Semitism. It is to teach the long contribution of Jews in the Middle East. If I may share a little bit about myself, I was born in Iran, myself, and my family and I fled with the 1979 Islamic Revolution that took place and we found refuge in the United States. And I’m so blessed for that.

The reason I share it in this conversation is that over 800,000 Jews who are indigenous to the Middle East—these are some of the most ancient communities in the world—were forced to flee, starting with the creation of the State of Israel until this day because governments began to enact anti-Semitic laws and there were pogroms and other events that took place.

And so what we’re seeing now with the Abraham Accords is almost like a reconciliation of history. Now, I don’t know if we’re going to see necessarily the same countries have Jewish communities again, but what’s incredible to watch is that there are new Jewish communities being built and new synagogues being built. And so again, I’m very hopeful for a brighter future for this region.

Mr. Jekielek: And I’ve heard that there is work being done on one of these accords with Saudi, which you mentioned moments ago. Of course, I think that’s the one that many people would find most remarkable if that is achieved. Do you know anything about that? Its progress, its future?

Ms. Cohanim: I am just tremendously, again, I’m very hopeful about the leadership of Saudi Arabia. I can tell you personally that we have partnered very closely in our office and myself with Saudi Arabia’s Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa, who is the head of the Muslim World League, which is the largest Muslim faith-based organization in the world.

And Sheikh Dr. Al-Issa has been a tremendous proponent of peaceful coexistence of interfaith understanding, such that this year he took the first delegation of Muslim faith leaders to visit Auschwitz. This was a truly historic occasion. And we are always so grateful to Sheikh Al-Issa for his leadership and for everything that he does, truly, to create an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence between all peoples.

Mr. Jekielek: That’s amazing to hear, frankly, and I also understand in this memorandum of understanding, you do mention that this isn’t just about combating anti-Semitism. It’s about combating Islamophobia as well.

Ms. Cohanim: Correct, Jan. Look, nobody benefits from any hatred in this world. We really must eradicate all hatred, all extremism. And so that’s something that the US State Department is clearly dedicated to and as well Association Mimouna. So that is another challenge for everyone to confront.

And I would tell you that, just speaking about Sheikh Al-Issa that I just mentioned, the Sheikh has worked very hard to kind of spread the message that in fact, oftentimes, it’s actually radical Islamist extremism and extremists who in their work, when they are brainwashing children to extremism, to acts of terrorism, when they present a picture of Islam and Muslims to the world that is, to his belief, completely inaccurate depiction of what Islam is, they are, in fact, causing Islamophobia because what are Westerners to believe?

Often Westerners don’t know the difference between radicals, moderates, and they don’t know how to distinguish between these very, very different groups. It’s often, again, Westerners often don’t understand that the extremists are a very small minority of Muslim populations.

When it is the extremists who take the front page of newspapers and who take up all the airspace, they are in fact causing this reaction from the West. So a leader like Sheikh Al-Issa is working every day to make sure that the world understands that the radical Islamist extremists speak for no one but themselves.

Mr. Jekielek: Another thing that really caught my eye with respect to these efforts to combat anti-Semitism from this administration was this executive order. I think it’s just about a year ago, maybe a bit longer, that it came out. And so this was interesting because it also basically codified or it basically took on very clear guidelines of what anti-Semitism is and what it isn’t. And I have always found that to be very important.

Ms. Cohanim: Indeed, Jan. So President Trump issued the executive order combating anti-Semitism exactly right. It’s almost a year now, a little bit over a year, December of 2019. And he announced it in the White House at the annual Hanukkah party celebration. I was honored to be there for the announcement and really to experience the joy in the room at this step that the president took.

And the reason why this is so important to the American Jewish community is that the executive order, in essence, for the first time in the history of the United States, afforded Title VI protection to Jewish people. So, whereas other minorities in the US have been able to receive Title VI protection previously, the American Jews never had. So that’s one of the groundbreaking effects of the executive order.

But the other reason why people like Alan Dershowitz said that it was a game changer is that for the first time what it does is it gives American Jewish students legal recourse if they are in fact facing anti-Semitism on American universities. And that has become a horrible trend, Jan, where we are seeing, in fact, Jewish students targeted because they identify with the historic homeland of the Jewish people, right, and that’s the Jewish state of Israel.

And so when they are being targeted, now they have legal recourse that they never had before. And I would tell you that if you go on an American college campus at a time of things like Israel Apartheid Week, you would not believe the hate and vitriol that is being thrown at our students. And so the executive order, again, for the first time really gives the American Jewish college students legal recourse that they’ve never had before. It also adopts the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as the guiding definition for the executive agencies who will be enforcing the executive order.

Mr. Jekielek: Ellie, this is actually a pretty interesting point and I think an important point. There’s a lot of criticism of the policies in the State of Israel, especially when it concerns the Palestinian people. And that arguably has sometimes gone into the realm of anti-Semitism, but at other times does not and how do people grapple with that? How do you grapple with that?

Ms. Cohanim: Jan, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, working definition, of anti-Semitism has been accepted as the gold standard of the definition. And underneath it, there are over, there are about 20 examples of when speech or actions have crossed the line into anti-Semitism.

I will tell you that advocating for countries to adopt the IHRA definition has been one of our office’s key priorities because, Jan, we don’t want there to be such a gray area of trying to understand, again, when somebody has crossed the line into anti-Semitism. It should be defined. There’s no way to tackle a problem until you’ve defined it. And so that’s what the IHRA definition does, it defines it.

What you find with the IHRA definition is that clearly the State of Israel’s policies, government, you name it, can be criticized, just like any other country’s government or policies can be criticized. Some of the examples, though, that reveal when speech or has crossed the line into hate speech is the notion that, let’s say, the Jewish state doesn’t have a right to exist, that the Jewish people are the only people in the world who have no right to sovereignty in their ancient homeland, or comparing Israeli policy or Benjamin Netanyahu or the Israeli army to the Nazis, to the SS [Schutzstaffel].

And while to your ears and my ears, these kinds of comparisons sound so wild and ridiculous, you just have to look at social media and you have to see what’s going on to understand that, sadly, Israel is constantly compared to the Nazis. While the Jews, of course, were the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, that truth and irony do not have any bearing on the haters.

So that’s why the IHRA definition is indeed very helpful. And I always recommend that people look it up. It’s Google-able and you can really help understand the fight against anti-Semitism and what it entails. Jan, if I may say also about our administration’s policy, specifically, is that our administration was the first to say that anti-Zionism is indeed anti-Semitism.

And again, it’s the notion that when people talk about Israel, they talk about Israel’s very right to exist. Now, again, when I hear people criticize America, nobody says, “Well, does America have a right to exist?” You can name a country, Turkey, we don’t like Turkey’s policy today. Does Turkey have the right to exist?

That’s not a conversation that takes place truly to any other country, other than the Jewish state of Israel. And so that’s why our administration put forth the policy that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

From that notion came a lot of the steps that we took, including bolstering and strengthening the Jewish State of Israel, including the confronting the threat of Iran, which is the number one state sponsor of anti-Semitism in the world, and including staying side by side with Jewish communities all over the world and demanding security protection, demanding that Hezbollah get designated by governments as a terrorist organization in its entirety and so on. A lot of our steps in preventing anti-Semitism came from the understanding that anti-Zionism is indeed anti-Semitism.

Mr. Jekielek: A lot of the focus, at least in parts of the human rights community that I’m familiar with, is on, for example, the suffering of the Palestinian people, which clearly is real. I guess the argument is well, it’s Israeli policy that’s responsible for that.

Ms. Cohanim: Jan, I’ll tell you something. The issue of Israel and the Palestinians, it’s very complicated. I think the first thing that your audience needs to understand is that there’s a lot of history here and there’s a lot of nuance. What I would comment on specifically is that a lot of what people will read in newspapers is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be presented as a conflict over land or a conflict over borders.

But what we know to be true is that this is an ancient region, and there’s a religious element to it, [and] there are a lot of nationalistic elements to it. There’s a lot of nuance in what’s going on. For example, what you know is that Judaism is the first monotheistic religion. Judaism came first. Following thousands of years later, you have the rise of Christianity, and then thousands of years later, you have the rise of Islam. So that’s the history of the region.

And you have to understand that from the very beginnings, their conflict was created because there is the religious notion of which religion is the true religion? Which God is the true God? And who has the right to the land? So these are issues that, again, are so complicated, so deep, that I think that the facile way of looking at the region and trying to pretend that these deep issues don’t exist never lends itself to actual peacemaking.

So part of what any real peace in the Middle East requires is indeed the desire for a peaceful coexistence, the desire for the faiths to live side by side. And that would require that the Palestinian leadership really accept Israel as a Jewish state in the region that is here to stay.

When I mentioned earlier that the Middle East is a new region in 2020, it’s because with the Abraham Accords, what we know is that the Gulf Arab States have clearly signaled they understand that Israel is here to stay, as has Egypt, as has Jordan, as has any moderate and normal country in the region.

So now what we see in 2020 is a clear delineation of those countries that understand that the way forward is moderation, it’s acceptance of the existence of Israel, and is building bridges between their people and the people of Israel, and moving forward. So that’s one option. The other option is rejection, continued terrorism, and continued calls for violence.

I think what the Israelis always hope for is that the Palestinian leadership will truly accept a desire for peace, for acceptance between both sides, and for a desire to move forward for the betterment of both of their children and grandchildren.

Mr. Jekielek: I imagine or I hope that around the world, people hope for this kind of resolution as well. What’s really interesting to me is that when the idea of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was broached, it was met with a lot of resistance. It was supposed to be moved for a very long time. That decision was deferred for a great many years. This administration did it. What is the impact of that? Why was that important in your mind?

Ms. Cohanim: Jan, that’s a great question. … The U.S. move of America’s embassy to Jerusalem, I think, was in some ways the first step towards the peace that we are seeing in the region, and I’ll explain why. When you hear President Trump’s telling of the story of when he started to think about moving the embassy and the word started to get out, he was getting phone calls from world leaders, and everybody was telling him that this was going to cause World War III. In essence, this is what—world leaders were calling him, and he said, when he tells the story, that he stopped answering the phone at some point.

What we saw in contrast to all of those predictions, and the entire foreign policy chattering class and the foreign policy wisdom, was that the United States indeed recognized Jerusalem as the ancient capital of Israel, and moved the American embassy to Jerusalem accordingly. What we saw after that was actually a complete lack of reaction on the so-called Arab street. There was just no reaction.

So I think that the embassy move really proved to the world that the population of Arab countries since the Arab Spring understand that this notion that Israel is going to get scapegoated and that all the problems within their own societies is because of Israel and the Jews, that’s just not holding water any longer with the Arab street.

In fact, the Arab street has other interests which are their own lives. They want their own prosperity, they want their own better world. The president’s move was so historic in a sense that it also showed that we’re in a new paradigm.

Mr. Jekielek: Ellie, another policy position of your office has been that the whole BDS movement, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, against Israel is actually an antisemitic movement. Can you actually explain that for the benefit of our viewership because I’m not sure that it’s necessarily obvious that it’s that way.

Ms. Cohanim: Indeed. I would say even just the very name of this movement, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, what they aim to do really is to single out the Jewish state of Israel among all countries. Whatever legitimate grievances anyone might have against Israel, Israel, again, is targeted in that way of having an entire movement that’s dedicated to try to cause it economic pain, but also, more importantly, to try to isolate Israel.

And then there’s the comparison made to apartheid South Africa. I’ll tell you something, Jan: I have heard the victims of apartheid come and address Jewish audiences. You know what they’ve said to us time and again? That is a complete insult to the experience that they went through as Africans in apartheid South Africa, where indeed there were laws on the books discriminating against them, and where there was indeed an apartheid system, and indeed they were third class citizens, and there was tremendous abuses going on.

So now, anyone who visits Israel today, you can see it on the streets, it’s right there in front of your face, you see Jews, Muslims, Christians walking down the streets together, sitting side by side on buses. Israeli Arabs have full Israeli citizenship. They have full voting rights, they have full access to government benefits. All of these things are right there in evidence when anyone visits Israel and sees it for themselves.

The other thing I’ll tell you is, I did some graduate work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem myself, and I saw with my eyes that there is a huge percentage of the students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that are Israeli Arabs. In fact, I think I’ve heard that the student rate is becoming almost to the point where the Israeli Arab population is the number one population of students at an Israeli university like Hebrew University.

That’s what’s going on in Israel, and so to try to smear that democracy with this label of “apartheid” and to call for BDS against Israel, it’s just a travesty of justice, and the United States cannot stand for that. So our administration has said that indeed, the BDS movement and nonprofit organizations that engage in BDS are anti-Semitic. In fact, Secretary Pompeo on his last visit to Israel, his historic trip where he visited the Golan, announced at the time that he has asked our office to review organizations for any BDS-related activity and we are in the midst of that review right now.

Mr. Jekielek: What is the reaction of the American Jewish community to all of this activity?

Ms. Cohanim: I’ll tell you, Jan, the American Jewry is divided along political lines like any other population in the United States. I think that those people who understand the value in the U.S.-Israel relationship have been very supportive of these efforts, and I think that a lot of people in the American Jewish world do understand that targeting the Jewish state of Israel is not right, it does not reflect American values, and so again, they’ve been very supportive of our efforts.

There’s always going to be a small, I would say, far-left fringe that is not supportive, Jan. And you know what? The beauty of living in the United States of America and living under democracy is having the freedom to express your opinions, whatever they might be.

Mr. Jekielek: Let’s talk a little bit about the realities. I’m based in New York and in D.C. largely. From what I know, even talking to my orthodox family, so to speak, that lives in Crown Heights, my brother-in-law is a Chabad or Lubavitcher, basically, there has been an increase, from what I understand, in anti-Semitism in New York City. How is that happening? Why is this happening? I know it’s not exactly your area. You’re focused on foreign policy, but I know you’ve written about it before.

Ms. Cohanim: Jan, so in terms of New York, when we came to the United States, we landed and we went to New York, and I’ve grown up in New York. It’s a place that’s near and dear to my heart. …

New York holds the largest Jewish population center of all the United States. When I was growing up, there was always this comfort that we had as Jews, where you see so many visible Jews, Orthodox Jews: men who are wearing the black hats or yarmulke, women who are wearing very modest clothes, people wearing the necklaces of Magen David. Visibly Jewish Jews.

It was something that was part of the New York landscape since forever and such that even Woody Allen movies always featured these visibly Jewish Jews of New York, and that was part of the New York landscape.

Certainly, there were incidents of anti-Semitism here and there, there always have been in every society. What we’ve seen over the last three years is indeed an increase to the point where there have been violent physical attacks and even murderous attacks in the New York area.

You had, last December, where there was the vicious attack on a synagogue, Hanukkah celebration in the home of a rabbi, where the perpetrator entered the home with a machete and the rabbi actually just passed away recently. Prior to that, there was the supermarket attack where members of the Black Hebrews group entered a supermarket and murdered six people. These attacks are unprecedented, and the New York Jewish community is feeling truly vulnerable right now.

Jan, I wrote an opinion piece recently in Newsweek where I wrote about this, because I simply wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are some people who would have you believe that the only threats of anti-Semitism in the United States emanates from white supremacists. While we cannot belittle the threat that white supremacists pose and in fact, they do pose a very strong threat because the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting attack was undertaken by a white supremacist, as was the Poway synagogue attack. Those were the two deadliest attacks in the United States, anti-Semitic attacks, I should say.

So that threat is real but at the same time, there is a threat that is emanating from non-white supremacists. In the case of New York, those two deadly attacks that I just mentioned were perpetrated by African Americans. So what I think is not helpful to understanding anti-Semitism is to try to label it as a white issue, a black issue, or to try to politicize it as radical right-wing white supremacist. It’s the radical left-wing, … it’s the radical Islamist.

Certainly, those are the points of hate that are coming at Jews but let’s not get politicized. Let’s not get distracted by where on the political spectrum does the hater comes from and therefore, I’m going to use the issue of anti-Semitism as a political football. When people do that, all they are doing is really leaving the Jews vulnerable to further attacks. Anti-Semitism is a sacred subject, and it should not be politicized.

Mr. Jekielek: What do you mean by that exactly, that it’s a sacred subject? That’s interesting.

Ms. Cohanim: Jan, what I mean by that is that the hatred of Jews is considered the oldest hatred, it’s an ancient hatred. It has plagued the Jewish people wherever we have gone. I would say also that the Jews have often been the canary in a coal mine, in the sense that the hate that starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.

In history, when you look at places, for example, at the Spanish Inquisition in 1492, the king of Spain has since then, in recent times, said that he thinks that the Spanish Inquisition was the turning point for Spain in history where they went down ever since. You can say the same thing about what took place in Europe with the Holocaust. The European continent was devastated as a result of the Holocaust and the events which led to World War II.

Now, imagine if those two societies, instead of allowing the hatred of Jews to continue to grow and then eventually, to eat up their entire societies and destroy them, if they had put a stop to it in the first place. So this is the responsibility of all good people and all people of conscience when you see the hatred coming at Jews. Not only is it the right thing to do in order to protect the local Jewish population, but it’s also the right thing to do for your own society because it never ends well for anyone.

Mr. Jekielek: Ellie, this executive order on combating anti-Semitism, the work done around the Abraham Accords to broker them, and other State Department policy related to anti-Semitism, how do you expect that to hold up under the incoming Biden administration?

Ms. Cohanim: I would hope that the Biden administration takes all the advances that were made under the Trump administration and moves forward with them. Again, the Middle East is a new region. There’s so much hope and optimism. We’re seeing a tremendous amount of people to people friendship, activity, a lot of business activity taking place between the Gulf Arab states and between Israel. So there is only room for growth, for peace, really, in that region, and I hope the Biden administration will continue on that effort and really build their legacy in that way.

In terms of the fight against anti-Semitism, I would say that it is just very critical that people avoid politicizing the issue of anti-Semitism. We all know that unfortunately, there are anti-Semites on every end of the political spectrum. Let’s not politicize the issue, let’s just fight it, let’s make sure that we’re promoting peaceful coexistence, let’s make sure that we’re promoting interfaith relationship dialog, and let’s really try to work hard to leave the world a better place for all of our children and grandchildren.

Mr. Jekielek: Any final thoughts before we finish up?

Ms. Cohanim: Yes, Jan. When you’re working on combating anti-Semitism, there is unfortunately a lot of dark and so I really do try to focus on the light as well. When I speak to Jewish audiences, I always tell them that we should not feel alone, that Jews should not feel alone in this fight. I have met so many, many people in my position, people of good faith and goodwill.

I know that the Jewish people do indeed have partners. We have many, many allies with us. Whether it is people from the moderate Muslim world, whether it’s evangelical Christians and Christians all over the world, whether it’s just people of goodwill, and so I know that we indeed have a lot of allies in this fight, and I believe strongly that the world is going to be a better place for our children and grandchildren because ultimately, the truth always wins.

Mr. Jekielek: Ellie Cohanim, such a pleasure to have you on.

Ms. Cohanim: Thank you, Jan. Thank you for having me.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

American Thought Leaders is an Epoch Times show available on YouTubeFacebook, and The Epoch Times website. It airs on Verizon Fios TV and Frontier Fios on NTD America (Channel 158).
Follow Jan on Twitter: @JanJekielek