The III Polish-Israeli Foreign Policy Conference was held on November 29-30 in Warsaw, organized jointly by the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the Israeli Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR) The meeting consisted of three plenary sessions on November 29 and expert discussions on November 30, devoted to bilateral, transatlantic, energy issues and foreign policy of Russia.
The conference was opened by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, Piotr Gliński. He referred to the common history and memory shared by Poles and Jews. He stressed that - while caring for the past - Poland does not neglect ongoing cooperation in the field of security and the economy. In this context, he mentioned the forthcoming Polish term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and the anniversaries in the 2018: the 100th anniversary of Poland's independence and the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence.
Participants of the first plenary session presented the perception of threats to Israel and Poland, and also diagnosed the deterioration of global security as a result of actions of Russia, North Korea and the destabilization of the Middle East. Panelists pointed to the persistent threat posed by non-state actors, China's growing international presence, and the profound transformation of the Middle East.
The second plenary session was devoted to the role of science in diplomacy and in development of Polish-Israeli relations. Its participants emphasized the universality of science as a "language" that connects nations. Investments in science are necessary for the long-term development of the state, and cooperation in the field of innovation can support diplomacy.
The topic of the third plenary session was the situation in the Middle East and the reconfiguration of traditional alliances. The panelists drew attention to the growing identity of the interests between Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They underlined Russia's consolidation as a "game-changer" in relations in the region, as well as changes in U.S. policy after Donald Trump's election for president. They discussed the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and its regional repercussions e.g. in the civil war in Syria and Yemen. In the audience question session, attention was paid to the role of the European Union in the region, the situation of the Kurds and the prospect of de-radicalization.
Written by: Michał Wojnarowicz
Venue: Bristol Hotel, Krakowskie Przedmieście 42/44
9:30 – 9:40 Welcome:
- Sławomir Dębski, Director, Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM)
- Laurence Weinbaum, Director, Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR)
9:40 – 10:00 Keynote Speech:
- Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage
10:00 – 11:30 Session 1: International Security in a Turbulent World: Israeli and Polish Perspectives
- Moderator: Sławomir Dębski, Director, Polish Institute of International Affairs
- Tomasz Szatkowski, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of National Defense of Poland (tbc)
- Chuck Freilich, Former Deputy National Security Adviser of Israel; ICFR Board Member
- Marcin Piotrowski, Research Fellow, PISM
- Nir T. Boms, Research Fellow, Moshe Dayan Center, Tel Aviv University/ International Center for Counter Terrorism, IDC Herzliya; ICFR Board Member
11:30 – 12:00 Coffee Break
12:00 – 13:00 Conversation: Science and Diplomacy – Polish and Israeli Experience
- Moderator: Sebastian Płóciennik, Head of the Weimar Triangle Program, PISM
- Jadwiga Emilewicz, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Development of Poland
- Daniel Hershkowitz, Former Israeli Minister of Science and Technology; Former President of Bar-Ilan University
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch
14:00 – 15:30 Session 2: Reconfiguration of Alliances in the Middle East
- Moderator: Laurence Weinbaum, Director, Israel Council on Foreign Relations
- Patrycja Sasnal, Head of the Middle East and North Africa Project, PISM
- Shmuel Bar, Senior Research Fellow, Samuel Neaman Institute of National Policy Studies, Technion, Haifa
- Agnieszka Bryc, University of Toruń
- Jonathan Spyer, Director, Rubin Center (formerly GLORIA Center), IDC Herzliya
15:30 – 15:45 Concluding Remarks