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U.S. congressman to head Jewish lawmakers™ group
« on: January 10, 2006, 08:32:33 PM »

U.S. congressman to head Jewish lawmakers` group
Jewish Telegraph Agency
January 10, 2006

The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians selected Rep. Gary Ackerman (D.-N.Y.) as its president.

The group this week unanimously elected Ackerman, a 12-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, at the end of a four-day conference in Israel that brought together more than 60 Jewish lawmakers from around the world. Participants also visited the Jerusalem hospital where Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is being treated after suffering a major stroke.

`I am deeply honored by the confidence of my fellow Jewish parliamentarians from around the world and I look forward to building on the great work done by this founding conference in Jerusalem,` Ackerman said.

A dozen vice presidents were also chosen.

The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) is a project supported by the Knesset, the World Jewish Congress, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israel Forum. Its goal is to bring together Jewish legislators and parliamentarians from around the world.

In January, the ICJP will host a three-day Forum in Jerusalem. This will be an important step in its mission to achieve an ongoing, permanent, broad and in-depth engagement with the Jewish people, Israel and the world and to ensure that our Jewish voice is heard globally on matters ranging from human rights to global poverty to the future of the State of Israel.

The agenda for the Forum scheduled for Jerusalem on January 8-10 will include broad and diverse participation, speakers, seminars, reference materials and consultations. Topics will focus on electronic anti-Semitism and legislative solutions; interfaith dialogue and the role of parliamentarians; and support for the developing world, particularly Africa.


The desire to establish the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) arose from a series of successful bi-annual meetings, held in Israel since 1988, of Jewish government ministers and members of parliaments from around the world. These conferences established a global network of relationships among Jewish officials and parliamentarians and enabled greater knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing Jewish parliamentarians and communities in Israel and the Diaspora.

These earlier sessions were organized and supported by the Knesset, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the World Jewish Congress.

The growth from an initial 20 participants in 1988 to over 80 in 2002 reflects the interest in engaging in a global dialogue on the future of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

At its January 2005 meeting in Jerusalem, the ICJP Steering Committee adopted a number of resolutions that follow this Background. They appointed Ruth Kaplan - former Chief of Staff to four Speakers of the Knesset and an ICJP veteran - as ICJP Coordinator.

In early February, meetings were held in Washington, DC, with U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Norm Coleman, Dianne Feinstein, Frank Lautenberg, Joseph Lieberman and Carl Levin, and with Members of Congress Gary Ackerman, Howard Berman, Susan Davis, Eliot Engel, Barney Frank, Tom Lantos, Nita Lowey, Jerrold Nadler, Jan Schakowsky, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Allyson Schwartz, and Henry Waxman.


    Mission Statement

    The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians seeks:

    To promote an ongoing dialogue and a sense of fraternity among Jewish legislators and ministers;

    To uphold the principles of democracy, further the cause of human rights and promote the rule of law;

    To combat racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, terrorism and Holocaust denial by all means available to parliamentarians and ministers;

    To support Israel, conduct dialogue on political issues between Jewish parliamentarians and the political leadership in Israel, and contribute toward the creation of enduring peace in the Middle East;

    To ensure the welfare, both material and spiritual, of Jews and Jewish communities worldwide.

    To create international cooperation on projects relevant to ICJP members.


    Membership shall be open to:

    1. Jewish members of national parliaments and of the European Parliament, cabinet or deputy ministers who currently hold office;

    2. A permanent delegation of ten percent of the Knesset who will participate in the activities of the Council.

    Where a country has no Jewish representation in its parliament, former Jewish parliamentarians may be considered by the Executive for membership, ad personam. Membership will also be open to outstanding former parliamentarians who can inspire present-day leaders as determined by the Executive.

    To participate, Members must accept the mission of the organization as set out above.

    Operating Structure

    The ICJP meeting in January will include a presentation by the Steering Committee for the Council to determine a structure and operating guidelines for going forward. It is likely to include the following:

    The organization shall be called the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians.

    There will be an Assembly, Executive Committee, Committees, and a Secretariat.

    The headquarters of the organization will be in Jerusalem.

    The Assembly will meet once a year.

    The organization will be registered as a legal entity in Israel.

    A Steering Committee will administer the affairs of the organization until the first meeting of the Assembly, when the Executive Committee will be elected.


    Effective June 26, 2005

    Lord Janner of Braunstone, Q.C. House of Lords, United Kingdom, Chair

    Representative Gary Ackerman, House of Representatives, United States MK Colette Avital, Knesset, Israel

    Senator Roger Bismouth, Senate, Tunisia

    Representative Benjamin Cardin, House of Representatives, United States

    Senator Norm Coleman, Senate, United States

    MK Yuli Edelstein, Knesset, Israel

    MP Matyas Erosi, Magyar Orszaggyules, Hungary

    MP Alexander Feldman, Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine

    MP Aida Faingezicht de Fishman, Parliament, Costa-Rica

    Representative Barney Frank, House of Representatives, United States

    Senator Jerry Grafstein, Senate, Canada

    MP Tony Leon, National Assembly, South Africa

    Representative Jerrold Nadler, House of Representatives, United States

    MP Anita Neville, House of Commons, Canada

    MP Rudy Salles, Assemble Nationale, France

    MP Petter Shellisch, The State Duma, Russia

    MK Yuri Shtern, Knesset, Israel

    MK Avshalom Vilan, Knesset, Israel

    Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz, House of Representatives, United States

    Representative Henry Waxman, House of Representatives, United States

    MEP Olga Zeiben, The European Parliament, Belgium
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