Today at 9:30 am, Former Israel Foreign Minister Schlomo Ben-Ami will be speaking about his work to encourage a Gaza ceasefire and then how to trigger moves in a positive direction for Israelis and Palestinians. He’ll be at the New America Foundation today in Washington, DC, and yours truly will be moderating the meeting. It will be available digitally on the web later today or tomorrow.
Then tonight, I’m off to Brussels for ‘The Brussels Forum‘. It looks like a great conference — and one of my favorites, David Ignatius, will be there among many other notables. I plan to be the sane counterpoint to what appears to be a Cold War-hugging panel on Cuba.
Here’s the set-up:
Cuba After Castro
The Hon. Mario Diaz-Balart, U.S. Congressman (R-FL)
The Hon. Albio Sires, U.S. Congressman (D-NJ)
The Hon. Alexandr Vondra, Deputy Prime Minister, Czech Republic
Andres Ortega, Columnist, El Pais
Chair: Mr. Craig Kennedy, President, German Marshall Fund
I know Diaz-Balart, and I believe that he should be recusing himself from discussions of US-Cuba policy because of a profound family and friends bias that keeps him from seeing the national interest. Sires is on the panel as a Dem — but not as a balance to Diaz-Balart. Republican Jeff Flake from Arizona would be a far more reasonable alternative to either of the Diaz-Balart brothers — and he’s in the same party.
The only point of difference on Cuba will be the impressive Andres Ortega. But I will be there — and I imagine that of all of them — I’ve been to Havana and met with the Cuban political elites more recently. We’ll have to see how the panel analyzes a many decades old failed policy of isolation.
Apologies to my many friends in Brussels who wanted me to speak for a group of overseas Dems and overseas TWN readers. I had cancelled my trip and then recommitted just a day or so ago.
— Steve Clemons