The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Controversy continues to swirl around an invitation by a student group at Manhattan’s Ramaz High School to Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi to deliver a talk on the Middle East. Mr. Khalidi is a well-known critic of Israel and a former spokesman for the PLO. The school administration cancelled the invitation, whereupon a petition drive was mounted to rescind the cancellation. At this writing that effort has secured more than 200 student signatures.
There are those defenders of the invitation who maintain that it is entirely appropriate that Ramaz students be exposed to different perspectives on the Middle East. Yet not only is Mr. Khalidi a particularly inappropriate choice to explore that issue for high school students, it is disheartening that the educational program at Ramaz could have fostered such a determined outreach to someone of Mr. Khalidi’s ilk.
After all, Ramaz is a venerable Modern Orthodox educational institution whose mission statement contains the explicit commitment to “Ahavat Yisrael, and love and support for the State of Israel.”
Surely there are enough neutral scholars around – or even, Heaven forbid, some who might tilt toward the Israeli narrative – to meet that need. But Rashid Khalidi?
Mr. Khalidi has long denied any ties to the PLO, but Martin Kramer, writing on Commentary Magazine’s blog, noted that New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is just one of the many journalists who regularly linked Mr. Khalidi to Palestinian officialdom. In a June 9, 1982 dispatch from Beirut, for example, Mr. Friedman quoted Mr. Khalidi and described him as “a director of the Palestinian press agency Wafa.”
Similarly, Mr. Khalidi was interviewed in a 1979 Pacific Radio documentary “at the headquarters of the PLO in Beirut” and the documentary described him as “an official spokesperson for the Palestinian news service Wafa,” “PLO spokesperson,” “official spokesperson for the PLO,” and “the leading spokesperson for the PLO news agency, Wafa.”
In some respects this episode, being such a departure from what one would expect from an Orthodox school, brings to mind the recent disclosure by Ramaz that it permits female students to put on tefillin, something that leading Talmudic scholar Rabbi Hershel Schachter has decried in a formal teshuvah. (See “Who Speaks for Modern Orthodoxy?” editorial, Jan. 31 and “More on the Tefillin Controversy,” editorial, Feb. 14.)
To be sure, we do not suggest that Ramaz institutionally condoned the choice of Mr. Khalidi or that it has in any way diluted its devotion to Israel. But one has to wonder what there is in the lessons being taught that would lead many of its students to look with such a measure of dispassion and objectivity on the Palestinian counter-argument to Israel’s existence.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/ramaz-and-rashid-khalidi-2/2014/03/05/
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