This is the first of an ongoing series of columns from The State of Israel's diplomatic representative to the region.
By AMBASSADOR MARCO SERMONETA
For almost a year now I have served as the Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest. It has been a privilege getting to know the people and places in the region, and I have made it a goal to connect with communities, businesses, and entrepreneurs located here.
As Oregon and Israel work to build relationships between public and private sectors in the fields of sustainability and climate tech, I see opportunities for increased exchange as we determine the most effective methods of doing so. Recently, the consulate partnered with the Technology Association of Oregon for the Climate Curious Cleantech Symposium. We highlighted Israeli climate tech innovation and the ways in which we can strengthen ties between Oregon’s and Israel’s Cleantech innovators and investors.
Supporting and collaborating with the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland continues to be a priority for the consulate. In light of increasing cases of antisemitism in our region and around the United States, Israel aims to reaffirm its solidarity with and support of the Jewish diaspora, as we work together to bolster their wellbeing and security. It is also crucial that we continue to strengthen the ties between Israel and diaspora Jewish communities, which, as demonstrated in the recently published Portland Jewish Community Study, are of utmost importance. With this in mind, we can look forward to more partnerships on cultural, academic, and entrepreneurial efforts in the near future.
Reaffirming the strong bipartisan relationship between the United States and Israel, I also aim to expand ties with elected officials and political leaders. Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum during my visit to Portland, and I look forward to future meetings with other representatives at the local and federal levels. Such meetings help us to identify areas in which Israel and Oregon can work together on shared goals and projects.
One of the key topics that I discussed with Attorney General Rosenblum and that I will continue to advocate for is the adoption of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism by the state of Oregon. By defining antisemitism, this practical, non-legally binding tool allows us combat antisemitism together, as it can be implemented in various fields, including education, civil society and law enforcement.
2023 is a significant year for Israel and its partners around the world. In April we marked 75 years since regaining our independence, coinciding with 75 years of U.S.-Israel relations. It was an honor to be able to celebrate this milestone with communities and leaders throughout the Pacific Northwest.
As I wrap up my first year representing Israel in the PNW, I am proud of the partnerships that have been fostered during previous years in the areas of innovation and technology, sustainability, academics and culture. I am looking forward to continuing these relationships and building more through open dialogue, and I invite you all to be part of this endeavor.
Sincerely, Ambassador Marco Sermoneta
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