NOTE: Aaron Klein will host a live call-in show this Sunday on 77-WABC in New York from 7-9 p.m. E.S.T.
A Jewish organization at the University of Pennsylvania that will host an event by J Street, a controversial lobby group accused of working against Israel, conceded it does not know J Street’s program even though the event will take place in its facilities.
“I don’t yet know the program, only who the main speaker is,” Jeremy Brochin, director of Penn Hillel, told this reporter.
Hillel promotes itself as the largest Jewish campus organization in the world and is known as the center of mainstream Jewish life on campuses across the U.S.
Howard Alpert, another director of Penn’s Hillel group, saidearlier he agreed to rent space to J Street on the condition the group “does not advocate actions that will materially harm Israel or its representatives such as boycotts, sanctions or judicial action; and that they present their views with civility.”
Hillel’s Brochin, however, said his group did not yet receive J Street’s full program schedule.
After he realized he was going to be quoted, Brochin changed his statement and said he “just doesn’t know who is introducing [J Street Executive Director] Jeremy Ben-Ami.”
However, this column also obtained an e-mail Brochin sent to an Israeli reporter earlier this week about the J Street event at his group’s facilities next week, in which he writes: “I frankly do not know what the program is.”
J Street’s event will be broadcast live from the university to 24 U.S. college campuses and other venues as part of an initiative to make the group better known locally.
The event host committee includes a professor who accused Israel of ethnic cleansing, a supporter of a recent UN report charging Israel with war crimes and a host of personalities involved with a “Fast for Gaza” initiative that demands Israel negotiate with the Hamas terrorist organization.
Netanyahu Meets PA Halfway On Jerusalem
Under intense American pressure, Israel has silently agreed to allow the Palestinian Authority to open official institutions in eastern sections of Jerusalem, a senior official in PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s office told this column.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office did not deny the report. When asked whether Netanyahu agreed to allow PA institutions in Jerusalem, Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev told this column, “The prime minister’s position on Jerusalem is clear. Jerusalem will remain the united capital of Israel.”
Separately, an official from Netanyahu’s office confirmed that in recent meetings, President Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, pressed Netanyahu to freeze Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem as a confidence-building measure to begin direct talks with PA President Abbas. U.S. National Security Adviser Jim Jones also pushed for a construction freeze, even imploring Netanyahu to quietly impose the freeze without making any public announcements.
Abbas had publicly stated he would not commence direct negotiations with Israel unless a Jewish construction freeze was imposed in eastern Jerusalem.
The Netanyahu official said the prime minister rejected any construction freeze in eastern Jerusalem, but did acquiesce to a U.S. request to allow the PA to open institutions in Jerusalem.
Iran Training Hamas In Gaza
Iranian Revolutionary Guard units are actively working to train Hamas gunmen in the Gaza Strip, a senior Egyptian intelligence official told this reporter.
The official also said Egypt is concerned that neighboring Gaza could become a major center of al-Qaeda activity in the region.
The Egyptian official said those factors were central in his country’s decision to build a steel wall under the Egypt-Gaza border as part of efforts to isolate Hamas and stem weapons smuggling into Gaza.
The official also said Egypt has information that Hamas and the Iranian-backed Hizbullah group for the first time formed a joint operations room from which the two groups exchange knowledge, coordinate efforts and work on obtaining weapons.
The Egyptian intelligence official said recent information as well as interrogations of arrested suspects in Egypt indicate that Iranian-backed groups are working with al-Qaeda in the Gaza Strip even though the two groups have different points of view and conflicting religious ideologies. The official pointed to similar cooperation in Yemen, where he said Iranian agents and al-Qaeda have been working against the Yemeni government.
Ex-Obama Czar To Speak At Major Forum
Van Jones, President Obama’s controversial former “green jobs” czar, is slated to address a major environmental forum next week alongside speakers from such major corporations as Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo, Intel, Best Buy and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
Jones resigned in September after it emerged that he founded a communist revolutionary organization and signed a statement that accused the Bush administration of possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Jones also called for “resistance” against the U.S. government.
Jones is one of 22 speakers at next Thursday’s State of Green Business Forumin San Francisco. The day-long event, sponsored by the environmental activist website GreenBiz.com, focuses on corporate environmental trends, carbon management and “green” business initiatives.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “The Late Great State of Israel.” Follow Klein on Twitter under the name “AaronKleinWND.”