U.S. – European Consultations on the Middle East

The U.S./Middle East Project has convened an annual U.S.-European consultation on the Middle East, bringing together representatives of the U.S. Department of State and other governmental departments and agencies dealing with the Middle East with their European counterparts to discuss U.S. and European policy in the region.

These consultations, designed to improve understanding and coordination between U.S. and European policymakers, have taken place in Paris, London, Berlin, Rome and Washington D.C., in each case hosted and co-sponsored by the respective foreign ministries.

General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

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Does America really ‘share values’ with today’s Israel?

In the late sixties or early seventies, when I served as the executive head of the Synagogue Council of America, the coordinating body for certain social action and interreligious activities of the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform national rabbinical and congregational organizations in the United States, I had a private conversation—one of many—with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who was considered the leader of modern Orthodoxy in the United States, if not the world.

Rabbi Soloveitchik had just completed a high-level seminar attended by a select group of rabbis and Christian ministers. I asked him if he would agree to lead another such a seminar on the Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel and the concept of “kedushat haaretz” (the holiness of the land), and how these are to be differentiated from concepts such as “blut und boden” (blood and land) at the heart of German fascism and other totalitarian regimes.

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