Introduction to JLC 2021: Our Mission and Our Moment
The Jewish people face big challenges ahead. A new government in America. Another election in Israel. Building on the Abraham Accords and confronting the Iranian threat. The future of Jewish education. The post-COVID economy. The state of faith in America, Israel, and the West. Such moments require great leaders, new thinking, and enduring ideas. JLC Co-chair Eric Cohen welcomes you to the inaugural online conference on “Jews, Israel, and the Future of America.”
The Meaning of American Leadership: Reflections from the 70th Secretary of State
Sec. Mike Pompeo, Roger Hertog
Michael Pompeo in the only public servant in American history to have served both as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and as the secretary of state. While serving as America’s chief diplomat, he confronted threats posed by China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran, and played a crucial role in strengthening American alliances in the Middle East, all while putting religious freedom and human rights at the center of American foreign policy. In this conversation with Jewish Leadership Conference co-chair Roger Hertog, Secretary Pompeo discusses the influence of his religious faith, the future of America’s confrontation with the Chinese Communist Party, and the U.S.-Israel relationship.
How Great Nations Depend on Great Families
The societies of America, and the West more broadly, face a crisis of perpetuation, where younger generations no longer believe in the founding promise of our common life, know very much about our common history, or feel responsible for stewarding a precious civilizational inheritance. The family is the social institution that inaugurates children into a shared tradition. In this preview of Yoram Hazony’s forthcoming book about conservatism, the distinguished Israeli author joins Jonathan Silver of Mosaic to analyze what a family is, how it works, and how strong families are necessary to sustain healthy societies and great nations.
The Post-COVID Economy: East, West, and Israel
Dan Senor, Michael Eisenberg, Amiad Cohen
The coronavirus pandemic touched every nation on the face of the planet in 2020 and 2021. As schools and businesses closed, the global economy slowed dramatically and government spending increased to backstop national economies. At the same time, radically new work conditions and consumer needs accelerated changes in the way businesses buy and sell. Israeli investor and entrepreneur Michael Eisenberg joins the author and Elliott Management executive Dan Senor, along with the CEO of the Tikvah Fund in Israel, Amiad Cohen, to discuss the future of the post-coronavirus economy.
Herzl Prize Ceremony and Address: Farewell to the “Little Jew”?
Ruth Wisse, introduced and awarded by Mem D. Bernstein
One of the key founders of Jewish Studies in the North American academy, Ruth Wisse has taught generations of students at McGill and Harvard Universities, and for the last decade, at the Tikvah Fund. Her achievements as a scholar of literature and East European Jewish civilization capture the whole of the modern Jewish mind, in all its richness and depth. But she is more than a teacher and a scholar. Ruth Wisse has also bravely stood up for the Jews and the Jewish state in the arena of public debate. For her career as a writer, teacher, and courageous defender of Israel against its enemies, Ruth Wisse is this year’s Herzl Prize laureate. After a moving introduction from her long-time colleague and the chair of the Avi Chai Foundation, Mem Bernstein, Ruth Wisse delivers her Herzl Prize address, focusing on what she’s learned about Jewish politics and Jewish power from Theodor Herzl.
The Significance of the Abraham Accords: An Insider’s View
Amb. David Friedman, Martin Kramer
In August 2020, the president of the United States announced that the United Arab Emirates had decided to normalize relations with Israel. In the months that followed, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco followed suit. Together, the so-called Abraham Accords represent the most significant change in the politics of the Middle East in decades. How did they come about? To answer this question, the historian Martin Kramer interviews David Friedman, America’s former ambassador to Israel and one of the architects of the Accords.
Can Jews and Christians Renew American Institutions?
Eric Cohen, Robert Nicholson, Yuval Levin
The future of America depends on the strengthening of its core institutions—its families and communities, its schools, churches, and synagogues. What role do Jews and Christians have to play in this effort of American renewal, both for the sake of the continuity of their own religious communities, but also for the sake of the larger society? Eric Cohen, the co-chair of the Jewish Leadership Conference and executive director of the Tikvah Fund, is joined by the president of the Philos Project, Robert Nicholson, in a conversation moderated by Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, to think practically and hopefully about the challenges that traditional religious communities face, and what steps they can take to strengthen the institutions upon which American confidence depends.
“What’s a Jewish Parent to Do?”: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, and America’s Universities
John Podhoretz, Jonathan Silver
Generations of American Jews have thought of the university as a golden ticket into the American middle class, an entrée to the American dream. We expect quite a lot from these institutions: they are centers of research, learning, and acculturation, and they continue to offer a credential that allows for graduates to enter into the middle class. But all of this comes at a cost—especially for Americans who do not have cynical ideas about the promise of the United States, and for religious students who are formed by traditional morality. For Jews, the costs also include rising anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Join Commentary editor John Podhoretz in conversation with the editor of Mosaic, Jonathan Silver, to think through the dilemmas of the modern university, and how Jewish families can see reason about the tradeoffs of the campus.
The Future of American Conservatism
Victor Davis Hanson, Matthew Continetti
The intellectual debates on the political right are as heated as they’ve ever been in the history of American conservatism. Different views of the purpose of government, the role of the market economy, strategic deployments of the American military abroad, and immigration are all contested within the larger conservative movement. What did the Trump administration reveal about the state of conservatism in the United States? What are the animating policy goals of political conservatism, and how do they relate to the electoral politics of the Republican party? The prolific author and historian Victor Davis Hanson joins the American Enterprise Institute scholar Matthew Continetti to discuss the future of domestic policy, foreign policy, and the politics of the American right.
The Culture Wars: Comparing the U.S. and Israel
Gadi Taub, Peter Berkowitz, Aylana Meisel
America is a continent-wide democracy of some 330 million citizens, hailing from every nation on the planet. By contrast, Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, with some nine million citizens tucked into the Eastern Mediterranean. Despite the differences in political circumstances, populations, and cultural traditions, somehow it seems that intellectuals, academics, journalists, and other carriers of advanced opinion in both countries share more with each other in their attitudes toward the economy, the government, national histories, and hot-button cultural questions than they do with their fellow citizens. In a new book, the Israeli historian, author, and political commentator Gadi Taub analyzes how this came to be, and what it means for politics and public debate in Israel. To discuss how the culture wars stand in the United States, he is joined by the Hoover Institution senior fellow and former State Department official Peter Berkowitz. Aylana Meisel, the Tikvah Fund director of strategic initiatives, moderates the discussion.
The Israeli Elections and the Future of Israeli Conservatism
Ran Baratz, Yaakov Katz, Alex Traiman
As Israelis set out to vote for the fourth time in two years, two of the country’s sharpest political analysts look at its politics and the public trends that matter most to the citizens of the Jewish state. Prime Minister Netantyahu is the central fact of Israel’s political system, and the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, Yaakov Katz, and the founding editor of Mida, Ran Baratz, are joined by the JNS managing editor Alex Traiman to analyze the factors that will determine Israel’s next government.
The Iran Threat: What is America’s Strategy?
Senator Tom Cotton, Hon. Elliott Abrams, Jonathan Silver
Iran presents the most dangerous threat to the state of Israel, America’s Arab allies, and to the politics of the Middle East. Building on the Trump administration’s maximum-pressure campaign, sanctions pressure, and Israel’s extensive intelligence gathering, what course of actions should the United States now take to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, its terror financing, and its proxy warfare in Iraq, Syria, and throughout the region? Join the Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow and former State Department special envoy for Iran, Elliott Abrams, along with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, for a discussion of America’s strategy to counter the Iran threat.
The Hebrew Bible and the American Soul
Leon Kass, Ben Shapiro, Jonathan Silver
From the time of the Puritans fleeing religious oppression in the Old World to the time of the African slaves fleeing oppression in the American South, the American march for freedom has always stepped to the beat of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. The movement from servitude, across an uncertain wilderness, to a condition of liberty under the law, was to the American mind not some ancient text but a mission to be undertaken in each generation.
But do Americans still see themselves that way? Does the cultural richness of the book of Exodus still have the power to shape the American imagination as it once did? And what enduring insights can be gleaned from the Hebrew Bible to rekindle and recover moral confidence in America’s promise? Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver speaks with Leon Kass, author of a new commentary on Exodus, Founding God’s Nation, and with Ben Shapiro, editor emeritus of the Daily Wire and host of the Ben Shapiro Show to discuss the significance of the Hebrew Bible and the role it can play in the revitalization of American public life.
The Great Powers Collide: Major World Threats and How to Face Them
General Jack Keane, Roger Hertog
Before he retired from active duty, four-star general Jack Keane served as the vice-chief of staff of the United States Army. In 2007, he was one of the chief architects of the surge strategy that restored order to war-torn Iraq. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2020. In this conversation, General Keane sits down with the Jewish Leadership Conference co-hair Roger Hertog to discuss the Middle East, Israel, and the strategic threat to the United States posed by China, bringing into one angle of vision the military, energy, commercial, and political considerations that bear on American foreign policy and grand strategy.
Does American Jewry Have a Strategy?
Anti-Semitism has risen dramatically in America over the past several years. But American Jewry’s problems are not only external. American Jews face enormous internal challenges too, including below-replacement birthrates, unsustainably high rates of intermarriage, and a shallow and attenuated relationship with Jewish texts, the Hebrew language, and religious ideas. Can U.S. Jewish communities rise to answer these challenges, and what will it take for a Jewish rebound in the United States? In this brief lecture, the prolific columnist and author Caroline Glick analyzes the dilemmas that Jewish Americans have before them and asks if American Jewry has a strategy to confront its troubles.
The Israeli Miracle and the Universal Significance of Jewish Jerusalem
Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik
The great religions, Christianity and Islam, along with the great political and intellectual movements of modernity, from liberalism to democracy to modern science, all share an aspiration to speak equally to every person on earth. They understand themselves as universal. But Judaism is different. God’s covenantal relationship with the Jewish people was born in His love for Abraham and his descendants, whom He delivered from Egypt and made into a nation in the wilderness of Sinai. Judaism is thus particular, not universal, and its particularity is bound up with a national home in the Land of Israel, and its ancestral capital, Jerusalem. But in its very particularity, the Jewish people also have a universal significance that inspires other nations, and women and men of other faiths. The rabbi of Shearith Israel—America’s oldest continuously active Jewish congregation—Meir Soloveichik, asks why so many non-Jews around the world are so profoundly moved by Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem, and the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy there, while exploring the universal significance of Jewish Jerusalem.
A Political and Economic Renaissance for Israel
Shlomi Fogel, Rotem Sella
Rotem Sella—one of Israel’s most prominent public intellectuals and publisher of Tikvah’s own Shibboleth book series—sits down with Israeli and international business leader, Shlomi Fogel. Mr. Fogel has long been one of the most successful entrepreneurs and influential figures in Israel, and he is now working on building commercial ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. In the interview, they explore the enormous challenges and opportunities Israel faces in the era after COVID how building on the Abraham Accords, the rapidly expanding business ties between Israel and the UAE can become a catalyst for warmer relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other countries in the region.
Israel and the Hague: The Nation-State and International Human Rights Discourse
Irwin Cotler, Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Aylana Meisel
In Hebrew: The Trouble with Israeli Teacher’s Unions
Shmuel Abuav, Ricky Maman, and Naveh Dromi
Thanks and Adjourn