tv Beyond the Headlines ABC July 30, 2017 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT
>> now, from abc7, "beyond the headlines with cheryl jennings." >> thanks so much for joining us. the new trump administration brings hope to many people and frustration and fear to others, so we reached out to three local professional diplomats whose countries are in the headlines right now. we wanted to learn how we can begin building bridges as friends and neighbors. so i sat down with the consuls general from russia, israel, and mexico, all based in san francisco to get their perspective. >> last year, we issued 20,000 visas to americans living in this part of the world, in this part of the united states... >> the honorable sergey petrov is consul general of the russian federation in san francisco. he and the other consuls general are professional diplomats whose duties include overseeing the processing of legal documents, such as passports, here and around the world. but their primary mission is to build good relations between their countries and the united states.
>> we should bring together our businesses, our artists, our actors, our scientists, our students. that's important. >> it's a challenging time for diplomats. the u.s. justice department recently indicted two russian intelligence agents and two hackers accused of stealing private information from millions of americans after hacking into yahoo! accounts. >> it would be pure speculation. these people are innocent people now. they're innocent now until they are proven guilty in the court of law. >> also, some consulate employees were among three dozen russians nationwide who were suddenly expelled at the end of 2016. the obama administration said it was in retaliation for russian efforts to interfere with the u.s. presidential election through cyber attacks. >> it's not the policy of russia to meddle with affairs of any country in the world.
>> and with all the turmoil swirling around the consulate after the expulsions, consul petrov invited the media in for a chat and champagne. >> another, i think, important thing is to always remain human. even when we have some very tough challenges in our professional life, we try to remain human. >> i am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength. >> we have not seen anything like this in many years. >> since january, more than 100 jewish community centers and schools have been targeted with bomb threats, including some right here in the bay area. the honorable dr. andy david is consul general of israel to the pacific northwest, based in san francisco. he offers this advice. >> well, it's okay to be mad, and it's okay to be angry, and it's okay to be sad. but then if you want to do something about it, if you want to be constructive, then you need to look beyond your anger, and try to maybe use that anger
and channel into a positive direction. >> he says there are different ways to build bridges of understanding. >> for people to do cultural events together. business, international trade, education -- there's so many areas in which we can collaborate. >> a key area of conflict continues between israel and the palestinian authority and the debate over statehood for palestinians. i've been to israel and i visited palestinian friends, and i've made friends on both sides. and i've seen the situation in palestine behind the wall. it's -- it's very sad. >> you're right. it's very sad. it makes a lot of israelis sad, but the only reason why we built it was violence and terrorism. we hope that we'll be able to reach a moment where there is security and we can advance peace and those barriers can come down. >> president trump has already met with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. palestinian authority president mahmoud abbas is also invited to the white house.
>> i'm very hopeful, and this is what i'm looking forward to. i'm looking forward to having leadership that will pursue peace, will pursue understanding, and people who will support them. >> we are going to build the wall! it will be a real wall! >> the honorable gemi josé gonzález lópez is consul general of the mexican consulate in san francisco. >> we should be working to have the most creative, important, innovative border in the world. it will be a region of economic growth, a region where human rights can be respected, a region where everyone can feel safe. >> what kinds of feedback are you getting from people in your country and from people here? >> well, on that, let me tell that both presidents agreed not to talk publicly about those matters anymore because it's something that their positions are very clear and they have opposite positions on that.
>> he believes now is the time to build bridges, not walls. >> this is a moment, it's an opportunity to show that together we are better. together we are more competitive. together we have better creativity... >> and you're invited to visit the different countries to learn more as citizen diplomats. >> you are going to have a great experience in food, in music, in art, traveling. >> building bridges. that's a wonderful, wonderful expression, and we should build bridges and cross these bridges. go and visit and do things together across those bridges. >> coming up next, you'll hear why the consul general of russia in san francisco says the u.s. and russia should join forces in fighting cyber crime. >> cyber crime is a big challenge for all of us. the problem is to protect, to make us safe, about hacking, no matter where it comes from. >> we'll be right back.
>> welcome back. we reached out to professional diplomats in the bay area for their advice on building bridges of friendship, especially when the political climate is so challenging. the honorable sergey petrov, consul general of the russian federation in san francisco shares his thoughts. >> all together, i spend probably half of my adult life working in the united states, in north america, if you combine united states and canada. this part of the world has become a part of my life -- a big part of my life -- and it gives me a big advantage. i can compare because i can compare what's happening in my home country, what's happening here, and how we could be working together. and that's, i think, very important, working together. >> your facebook page says that president putin talked with
president trump by phone and congratulated him on his win. will there be a meeting between them soon, do you think? >> i hope so. the sooner, the better. but you understand that for the leaders of two major countries in the world to meet, it's not meeting to have a cup of tea. it's a meeting with serious discussions, with probably some agreements, documents to sign, so it takes some time to prepare. i would like to add that cyber crime is a big challenge for all of us. it's not a problem of my country or your country. and if we speak about my country, sites of my president or of my ministry is attacked daily. hundreds of thousands of times. so it's a big problem, and we don't know... >> it's very hard to track.
>> ...who is the source of these hacks. russia has been very active lately bilaterally with the united states, as well as internationally, suggesting that we should have rules, that we should have some agreements that would help us to fight cyber crime. >> russian policy is not to meddle with affairs of any country in the world, be it small or large. same is true about the united states. my president publicly, repeatedly, has been saying during the campaign that we would respect any choice americans will make when they choose their leader. we will respect and we will work with them, with him or her to build on our relations. to add something to that,
it looks ridiculous in another way that using your legal terms, russia was accused, indicted, found guilty, punished... >> with the sanctions. >> and now you're talking about investigation. in my understanding, it should be vice versa. you investigate first, and then you present evidence, and then you accuse, indict, find guilty, punish. this country is very proud of the legal system it has. and i think it should be like that. it didn't happen like that, and it's very unfortunate. the bay area, san francisco, has always been one of the beacons of tolerance in the world.
i think that with all the civil action that is happening, we should continue to be peaceful. we should present our views. we should not press these views on anybody. that's important. we should be tolerant to another point of view, to listen to your counterpart, to try to understand them. that's the basis of diplomacy, and that's how we try to work. the legacy of the many years of the cold war, it separated our societies. and we were on different sides of a big wall. it doesn't exist, this wall now. so we should improve our dealing together. we should bring together our businesses, our artists, our actors, our scientists, our
students. that's important. we try to find these connections, try to develop them, and to present them and try for these connections to be useful for both of our nations. building bridges, that's a wonderful, wonderful expression, and we should build bridges and cross these bridges. go and visit and do things together across these bridges. >> our thanks to consul petrov for his thoughts and advice. coming up next, you're going to hear from the consul general of israel, dr. andy david and whether practice of tikkun olam is a global example of building bridges of friendship. >> "repair the world," working in places like africa, like latin american, like asia. so wherever there's a need, if it's agriculture, food security public health, gender issues, small to medium enterprises just
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>> my next guest is dr. andy david, the honorable consul general of israel to the pacific northwest and a long-time friend and colleague. we've worked together raising awareness about a lot of issues. how important is it for the american president to have a good relationship with the prime minister of israel? >> well, i think it's very important for both countries. we are friends, we are allies, and it's their duty to be in a friendly relationship and good
relationship because we need to get a lot of things done. >> it's been a struggle over the past few years. >> well, there have been ups and downs, a lot of agreements, and a few disagreements, but that's the nature of things. >> you talked about the importance of the relationship between america and israel. israel's relationship with russia, with mexico, with the arab countries... can you talk about that? >> of course. so, for the first time in over a few decades, we have russian war jets flying over the middle east in syria. we had to quickly build a mechanism. we call it a de-conflicting mechanism, or the escalation mechanism with the russians, meaning open channels of communication, fast, urgent communication possible. so we won't have a situation in which there is a clash in the air between israeli and russian fighter pilots or fighter jets, and i think we were successful
in doing that. we look at what's happening in syria. we're not happy with what's happening there. it's a tragedy. we're trying to do our part. we've opened a field hospital in the north part of israel, where syrian sick, injured, can come and get treated. thousands were treated there. just recently, our government announced that they will accept orphans from syria. >> i saw a posting on your facebook page about it, something like at least 100 orphans. >> yes. exactly. so we're trying to our modest part in that, but i think there is more hope today in the region for a better future between us and our arab neighbors than there used to be 5 or 10 years ago. we've tried our best to build our relationship with every country, but in the last few years, maybe decade or so, countries started to look at israel as an asset because of
our technology, because of our know-how, because of our good practices, both in technology but also in some social issues. the way we fight human trafficking, the way we try to deal with issues of gender equality, and other issues, as well. we're trying to do as much as we can. we bring artists, we bring dance groups, we bring musicians just to expose them to the public. it's not political. it's just coming from the heart, hoping to touch somebody else's heart. there's so many israelis who are engaged in what we call tikkun olam -- "repair the world" -- working in places like africa, like latin america, like asia. so, wherever there is a need, if it's agriculture, food security, public health, gender issues, small and medium enterprises, just helping people to create their livelihood in areas where it's much more difficult. hundreds of people are engaged in that. thousands of people are benefiting from that every year.
even with the palestinian authority, our neighbors, where most of the time, their news is so negative... just last year, we have over 160 palestinians coming to israel to be trained in agriculture, in public health, on issues of gender equality. this continues all the time. people have an important role, to raise their voice and to make small efforts, to support collaborations and not to support boycotts and divisiveness. so as much as people can support those things, and if somebody wants more details, they can always contact the consulate and we'll be able to refer them to some organizations. >> where would you like to see the world if you had the power to wave your magic wand? >> well, i'm a professional optimist. >> [ laughs ] >> so i am a believer in human spirit, i'm a believer in leadership. an when i say leadership, it means that i'm sure that there
always will be, in the future, sometime, will be somebody who would want peace more than he looks into the past and divisive issues. we've had that in our region. we've had that experience, and we have moved forward with some of our neighbors. i'm very hopeful, and this is where i'm looking forward -- i'm looking forward to having leadership that will pursue peace, will pursue understanding, and people who will support them. >> that's a good goal. >> thank you. >> dr. david, thank you so much. >> thank you, cheryl. thank you. >> our thanks to consul david for his thoughts and his advice. when we come back, a new vision for the border between the united states and mexico from the consul general of mexico in san francisco. >> it will be a region of economic growth, a region where human rights can be respected, a region where everyone can feel safe. >> we'll be right back.
political turmoil in this country. my next guest is the consul general of mexico in san francisco, the honorable gemi josé gonzález lópez. >> for me, this is a dream job. my dad and my mom, they were public servants, so i grew up in a family that was very focused on that. >> you are facing some challenges. your job as a consul general is a little bit different than some of the other diplomats i've talked to. can you talk a little bit about that? >> of course. yes. in the mexican consulate, i always say that my job is like a roller coaster of feelings because some days, you can be in one of the most important precincts in my jurisdiction. for example, in san quentin, with guys that are facing the death penalty or something like that, and maybe in the afternoon, you are in a business meeting with venture capital industry to try to take them to mexico to invest in our start-ups. and every day is like that,
so you go from one mood to another one in a very quick -- it's very fast, so you have to learn to manage that in your personal life. and you also have to deal with ice -- immigration and customs. >> of course. that's a very important part of our job. >> mexico's relationship with other countries is very, very important, and you're coming in as a new diplomat here with a brand-new president who's talking very much about immigration and deportation and building a wall. so what are you thoughts on all of that? >> well, we prefer bridges. in my part as a mexican consul, i am doing that between san francisco and mexico. >> because there is so much tension right now with the new administration on both sides. people who are pro-administration, people who are against it. and so what we want to do is find -- how can we get people beyond their anger to become good neighbors and friends?
what can we do as citizens, diplomats? with that as the underlying theme, how important is your relationship with the united states? >> well, of course it's our most important international relationship in many ways. not only trade -- that is very important -- but we are part of north america, and we feel very proud of being part of north america and being part of also the american society. we're very, very integrated. i mean, you can see that, for example... people eat more guacamole because of things like the super bowl. so that's something that is fantastic. you're celebrating your great sports game with mexican food. i do believe that in the minds of many mexicans, all the mexicans that are living here, they have both countries inside
them. >> one of the things that you've heard, and i've heard too, is people are just so angry. it doesn't matter which side you're on. they're just angry, and they can't get past that. so how do we help people calm down? >> yeah, i will say that we have to look forward. i will say that we have to understand, be very measured, be very mature, and understand that these issues have nothing to do with the american people. these issues have nothing to do with the american goods. these issues have nothing to do with the american companies. quite the opposite. this is a moment where we have to be closer. this is a moment, an opportunity to show that together, we are better, that together we are more competitive, that together we have better creativity. so let's not be angry. let's be measured, let's be
mature, and let's look at the positive side of all this. our thanks to all of our international friends, the consuls general of mexico, israel, and russia for taking their time to share their thoughts on building bridges of friendship. we invite you to become citizen diplomats, create your own events, small or large in your community, and please share those ideas and images with us on our social media sites. just go to our website, abc7news.com/community. we're also on facebook, @abc&communityaffairs, as well as @cheryljenningsabc7, and please follow me on twitter, @cherylabc7. thanks so much for joining us. have a great week. we'll see you next time.
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