MK Anat Berko. (Miriam Alster/Flash90) (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Anat Berko

Iran is the “Shiite version of the Islamic State and the chief sponsor and perpetrator of terror and chaos in the Middle East,” declared a leading Israeli lawmaker in Europe. 

By: United with Israel Staff

Members of Knesset (MK) Anat Berko and Yoel Hasson and the senior diplomatic advisor to the Knesset, Shai Cohen, attended the 17th Winter Meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA), which took place in Vienna last week.

Berko, a professional criminologist who has focused on Palestinian terrorism and female suicide bombers, lent her expertise to the meeting.

As a newly initiated member of the OSCA PA’s Committee on Countering Terrorism, Berko warned that Iran is the “Shiite version of ISIS [Islamic State terror group] and the chief sponsor and perpetrator of terror and chaos in the Middle East.”

The committee stressed Israel`s importance in the fight against global Jihad and the need for a practical approach to the fight against terror.

This marked the first time Israel participated as a full member of the organization’s Committee on Countering Terrorism, after having been an observer in the past, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Berko was invited last month by a letter “acknowledging [her] keen interest and valuable expertise in the field of countering terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization that leads to terrorism.” She refused to participate unless Israel became a full member of the committee.

The Israeli delegation held meetings with delegates from the US, Azerbaijan, Canada, Austria, Russia, Morocco and other countries.

Some 240 parliamentarians from 53 countries participated in the Winter Meeting, which took place at the Hofburg Congress Centre in Vienna.

During two days of meetings, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly conducted high-level discussions on global migration, terrorism, gender issues, arms control, “fake news,” climate change, and the crisis in and around Ukraine.

‘The Europeans Need Israel’s Experience’

Parliamentarians noted the importance of developing innovative, effective and co-operative counter-terrorism measures that fully uphold human rights.

Members also stressed that migration from the Middle East to Europe poses a challenge that requires coordinated efforts to both address its root causes, including the resolution of conflicts, and to combat the human trafficking that transports migrants to the continent.

“I had the privilege of being Israel’s representative and the head of the delegation to the committee,” Berko said, according to the Post. “It is clear to the Europeans that they need our experience… We see how Europe understands that Israel is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to dealing with and fighting terror.”

She also said that the Europeans are “starting to be well aware of the danger Iran poses to the West… It looks like the winds of change are blowing in their attitude toward Israel.”

She further expressed hope that this “wind of change” will be felt “in votes in the UN and its Security Council. After all, the information we provide them on terrorism and security is significant for them and comes from past and present experience in our country.”

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