(Clicking the photo will enlarge it.)
Yes, Abdullah II. He's the absolute ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.Who else was there?
A select group - the king's selection, it seems - of leaders of the most important Jewish organizations in the United States. How or why these particular Jewish leaders were invited is a little mysterious but from what we understand, they all hold positions of prominence in US Jewish public affairs. Still, neither their names nor the names of whom they represent are in the published record. Nor are the views they expressed, assuming they expressed any at all. We recognize some of them from the photo. But others are unknown to us and the published photo - not of the highest quality - released by the Jordanian govvernment doesn't help.Which breakfast?
A formal one, or maybe it was just coffee and cookies, in a New York City hotel dining room on September 22, 2019, in the week that the UN General Assembly got its year underway. The king often speaks in the US General Assembly's opening session and did this year too. The official report from the king's Royal Court says the breakfast meeting included discussion around the table covering efforts "to reach political solutions to regional crises" and "to fight terrorism within a holistic approach".Holistic? An odd word in the context. We know from years of following their somewhat opaque reports about terror that the Hashemite Kingdom is the only country fighting terrorism that claims to do it holistically.
The word means "dealing with or treating the whole of something or someone and not just a part" (Cambridge English Dictionary). If they deal with terror by attacking all of it, but at the very same time keep Ahlam Tamimi, a confessed murderer, an FBI Most Wanted Terrorist and a celebrity savage whom they have allowed to become a national celebrity, safe and secure in Amman where she can do daily, irrepairable harm, does that make it holistic? It's hard to tell.
The Jordanian government's news release identifies only some of those breakfasting. The king of course, along with Jordan's long-surviving foreign minister Ayman Safadi. Also "Adviser to His Majesty for Communication and Coordination" Bisher Khasawneh, Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sima Bahous and Jordan’s Ambassador in Washington Dina Kawar. (To her shame, Ms Kawar with whom we have been unfailingly polite and reasonable blocks us on Twitter.)
As we said, none of the Jews are named. Nor are the organizations they represent.
The Jordanians have no interest in dealing with the Jewish content of the breakfast. And even now, days later, the Jews themselves are silent. We're making enquiries. But so far we're getting zero co-operation. Given who we are and the unique circumstances, that hurts us deeply. We asked an official at one of the Jewish groups that attended (no names) for help in identifying who took part. We got this email from him yesterday:
I was unable to attend the meeting, which I know was off the record, so I can’t make any comment on it.Can't make any comment? Off the record? Really? Because that's what the Jordanians wanted? Anyone can see the Jordanians have placed it on the record themselves; on their record, along with the photo. Is he open to the thought that his fellow leaders have been used?
Who did and who did not report this high-level event?
First, King Abdullah's personal website [here] gave it prominence along with this commentary (which differs slightly from the text provided by the Royal Heshemite Court):
The King meets representatives of international and American Jewish organizations in New York | 23 September 2019Essentially identical reports, accompanied by the same group photo, were re-published by
His Majesty King Abdullah II met in New York on Sunday with representatives of international and American Jewish organizations on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
His Majesty stressed that the two-state solution is the only way to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis, which leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the lines of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and live in peace and security alongside Israel.
His Majesty pointed to the role of international and American Jewish organizations in supporting efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace in the region.
The crises of the region, the search for political solutions, as well as the war on terrorism efforts were reviewed in a holistic approach.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Affairs, His Majesty the King's Advisor for Communication and Coordination, the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations and the Jordanian Ambassador in Washington.
- Jordan's Royal Hashemite Court [here and archived here and here in case it disappears]
- Petra, the official Jordan government newsagency - in Arabic and in English
- A Jordanian commercial site: RoyaNewsTV. (They're the media organization that has taken a leading role in promoting Ahlam Tamimi, confessed bomber of the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria, as a Jordanian national hero: see "24-Nov-18: How Jordan's mainstream media showcase a couple of role-model jihadist murderers [Video]")
- Jordan's Al Ra'i, a government-owned daily Jordanian newspaper, the Arabic-language sibling of the English-language Jordan Times which also blocks us on Twitter
- Urdoni, a Jordanian site
- Akherkhabr Today, an Arabic-language news consolidation site
- Maqar, a Jordanian site
- Al Malaz News, a Jordanian site
- Al Bosala (Compass) News, a Jordanian site
- Khaberni, a Jordanian site
- Sabaq News, a Saudi site
So while not a single Western media organization has given it attention, it's certainly all over the Jordanian news. So much for 'off the record'. More significantly, there's no reporting at all, as far as we can tell, by any of the Jewish organizations. (If we're wrong, we welcome corrections.)
It's obvious this September 22, 2019 gathering held considerably more significance for the Jordanians than it did for the Jewish attendees. On that basis, and deeply bothered by what's just happened, we're left to ask:
- why some of the most influential US Jewish leaders in the US would want to get involved in a PR exercise like this without trying to get their own views heard by a wider audience;
- why the mattter of justice for the murdered Jewish victims, three of them Jewish Americans, all of them females, one of them our fifteen year old daughter, somehow doesn't rise to the level of being worth speaking out about or appearing on their agenda papers;
- why these careful and thoughtful people imagined there was something in this for them and those they represent. If they did, what was it, ladies and gentlemen?
- did they omit any mention of the Tamimi extradition so as to avoid offending their host? Or out of fear of spoiling the congenial breakfast mood? Or missing out on an invitation to next year's royal get-together? Or do they simply know nothing about the Jordan extradition issue and the ongoing Tamimi scandal? Can someone tell them about our efforts and those of the US Department of Justice, to see Malki's killer finally brought to justice? Because if they don't know, that's simply incredible.
As bereaved parents of a murdered Jewish child with US citizenship who are determined to see long-delayed justice done, we're perfectly aware of how few US Jews appear to be bothered by it. And of course how few know anything about it all, thanks to a certain disgraceful media understanding (don't report on Jordan harboring the killer) that's never discussed.
And not for the first time. Did you know another breakfast meeting hosted by the Jordanian king for Jewish US leaders exactly a year ago similarly got publicized only by the Jordanians and almost no one else? (The only exception, we think, is Haaretz which published an interesting Amir Tibon report.)
Here's how the Jordanian royal court reported that 2018 gathering on Twitter:
جلالة الملك عبدالله الثاني يلتقي، بحضور جلالة الملكة رانيا العبدالله، ممثلين من منظمات يهودية دولية وأمريكية #الأردن— RHC (@RHCJO) September 21, 2018
His Majesty King Abdullah II accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah meets with representatives of international and #US Jewish organisations#Jordan pic.twitter.com/NEPN17CciO
That's about all we want to say about Jewish leadership for now.
A happy new year and good wishes to all.