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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘ADL’

Jewish Stars of ‘Star Trek’ Shill for VW

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The German automaker Volkswagen has recruited the two Jewish stars of the original “Star Trek” series to plug its new e-Golf electric car in the United States in another attempt to rid itself of its stigma of having helped the Hitler regime.

Many Jews boycott Volkswagen and other industries that cooperated with the Nazis.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy apparently were tapped because the “Vulcan salute and the Volkswagen logo have so much in common,” the auto industry publication Auto Evolution reported.

That salute, as any Jewish Trekkie worth his salt will know, is similar to a Jewish blessing sign – two hands forming the Hebrew letter Shin — that frequently appears on Jewish gravestones.

Volkswagen donated more than a million dollars to an international youth center at Auschwitz last year, and in 2011 gave $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League.

Neither Snow nor Rain (Unless it’s a Rain of Hamas Rockets)

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds – nothing except the FAA, Gazan rockets, and perhaps some antisemitism.

It’s nearly a month after the FAA banned flights to Israel, and then rescinded that ban 36 hours later, but for some, postal delivery from the US to Israel is still problematic.

The problem began after the FAA banned flights to Ben Gurion Airport, at which point some US Postal Service offices began turning down mail to be delivered to Israel. This was supposedly cancelled 36 hours later, when the FAA rescinded its ban, though apparently not all the post offices got the memo in some states.

The ADL received complaints from people in Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey who haven’t been able to send mail to Israel, and were turned away by the Post Office.

David Partenheimer, a USPS spokesperson apologized for the the error of not accepting mail to be delivered to Israel. He added that that there was no authorized decision to not accept packages, according to a JPost report, and the USPS continued to deliver mail via other cargo carriers who were flying to Israel.

The ADL wrote to the Postmaster general asking it to provide better clarification to the local post offices, that the order to stop accepting mail was a temporary suspension, and not a permanent policy change.

Does Anti-Semitism Threaten American Jews?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

In a recent issue of Time magazine, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, former president of the Union for Reform Judaism, writes that anti-Semitism is “not a threat to American Jews.” He could not be more wrong.

Let us start with the obvious. Any threat to world Jewry is a threat to American Jews.

According to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) important new study, there are now one billion adult anti-Semites in the world. As Rabbi Yoffie acknowledges, this is fully a quarter of the world’s adult population. Can American Jewry shrug this off?

One can quibble with the ADL’s methodology, but it is not far-fetched. ADL considers a person to be anti-Semitic if they give a positive response to six out of 11 survey questions like these: “Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars,” “People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave,” and “Jews have too much control over the United States government.”

Consider the magnitude of this finding. In 2012, according to the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, there were 686 reported incidents of physical violence, direct threats, and major acts of vandalism against Jews and Jewish institutions worldwide. This is bad enough on its own, representing an increase of approximately 30 percent over the prior year.

Worse, these figures understate the problem. According to the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency, 64 percent of European Jews who have experienced physical violence or threats do not report even the most serious incident. If this holds true for Jews elsewhere, the actual incident rate is approximately three times higher than reported, reaching 2,000 serious incidents annually.

But it gets worse. Even the adjusted figures suggest that Jews and Jewish institutions are enduring only one serious anti-Semitic incident per 500,000 anti-Semites annually. This means that in any given year, the overwhelming majority of anti-Semites are not acting on their aversions. Their reasons may be lack of opportunity, want of courage, fear of consequence, or adherence to convention. Economists call this “pent-up demand.”

As the post-Holocaust taboo against anti-Semitism erodes, the ramifications are troubling. Suppose that one in ten thousand anti-Semites should physically harm or threaten Jews or Jewish institutions in a given year. Under this scenario, serious anti-Semitic incidents would increase to 100,000 per year, even if anti-Semitic attitudes remain constant. In other words, things can get much worse.

Should Americans worry? In Western Europe, one in four Europeans harbors anti-Semitic attitudes. One recent survey indicates that roughly the same percentage (26 percent) of European Jews has been harassed for being Jewish within the last year. Perhaps the worst anti-Semitic incidents will be limited to the Middle East and Europe. But was the Nazi Holocaust no threat to American Jews merely because it remained off American shores? If there is any such thing as Jewish peoplehood, then security threats to any are threats to all.

Now consider the dangers to Israel. In the Middle East and North Africa, nearly three quarters of the adult population holds anti-Semitic attitudes. This can only fuel continuing threats to Israel. Can American Jews feel secure as long as Israel remains under continuing danger? Given Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel remains under the steady risk of catastrophe. No Jewish American could feel secure about this.

Now consider what Rabbi Yoffie probably meant to say. His point is that Americans do not face a direct threat of severe anti-Semitism. He is right that American Jews are not under siege. But he is wrong to minimize the threat that does exist. According to the ADL, only nine percent of Americans hold anti-Semitic attitudes. This sounds good, but it translates to 21,000,000 people. It means that there are far more anti-Semites than Jews in America. This may be one reason why the Federal Bureau of Investigation regularly reports that anti-Jewish hate crimes exceed hate crimes against any other religious group. On some university campuses, Jewish students have recently been spit at and called “dirty Jews” and worse. The problem is greater for those students who are known to support Israel on campuses where anti-Israel activism runs high.

Anti-democratic Effort to Bar Pro-Israel Voices in UCLA Govt Fails

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

An effort to invalidate the votes of presumably anti-divestment voting students at UCLA who had traveled to Israel on trips sponsored by pro-Israel organizations was defeated on Wednesday, May 21.

That effort was one of two promoted by the aggressively anti-Israel organization Students for Justice in Palestine. The other SJP initiative was to ask students wishing to serve in the UCLA student government to sign a pledge that they would not go on such pro-Israel sponsored trips to Israel.

The decision Wednesday rejecting SJP’s effort was issued by the UCLA judicial board. The judicial board was considering a Complaint brought by SJP which claimed that the pro-Israel groups had, essentially, “bought” the students anti-divestment vote by bringing the students to Israel.

The two students whose experiences were under investigation, Sunny Singh and Lauren Rogers, visited Israel on trips sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, respectively, according to the Jewish Journal.

The vote by the undergraduate Judicial Board was 4 – 0, with two abstentions. The vote meant that taking such trips did not constitute a conflict of interest for members of student government. In other words, members of the student government who had been on trips to Israel sponsored by pro-Israel organizations were not required to abstain from voting on matters pertaining to the Middle East, or be barred from participating in student government altogether.

Representatives from local ADL and AJC branches which sponsored the trips to Israel on which Singh and Rogers went were called to present evidence and undergo cross-examination. Both maintained, apparently credibly, that the trips were not a quid pro quo for pro-Israel votes on relevant matters that came before the UCLA student government.

A written opinion will be issued by the judicial board on June 4.

This vote constitutes the latest in a series of stinging defeats for SJP. That organization, heady from a series of successful bullying tactics, hit the wall once Jewish and other pro-Israel students began standing up to the organization’s bullying, over-the-top tactics.

Pro-Israel students at Brooklyn College, Northeastern University, Cornell University and New York University, to name just a few, have defeated anti-Israel efforts by the SJP over the past year.

Unfortunately, the judicial board vote rejecting SJP’s complaint came too late to save Singh’s run for the UCLA student government presidency. It is Singh’s opinion that, although his platform was about increasing mental health resources and efficiency of student government, the SJP’s harping on the issue of Israel helped lead to his defeat by a candidate who took the SJP pledge not to travel to Israel on trips sponsored by pro-Israel groups.

The SJP initiatives were also supported by the radical pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace.

Suffolk University Defends Honoring Foxman as Commencement Speaker

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Suffolk University has rejected protests from some student groups and has affirmed its selection of Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman as the law school’s commencement speaker.

Foxman, who will step down from his position in July 2015, also will receive an honorary degree at the May 17 graduation ceremony of the private university located in downtown Boston.

More than 800 people signed an online petition criticizing Foxman for his opposition of U.S. congressional recognition of the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians on the eve of World War I as genocide. The petition, initiated by the law school’s chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild, states that comments by Foxman on the genocide may make families of students of Armenian descent feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.

The petition also cites Foxman’s published comments about racial profiling of Muslims for purposes of national security, and his opposition of the construction of a Muslim Community Center near the site of the former World Trade Center.

In 2007, after coming under fire for not acknowledging the Armenian massacre as genocide, the national ADL organization changed its position, though some in the Armenian community said its language was ambiguous and did not go far enough.

Foxman later wrote, “ADL has never denied the tragic and painful events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians, and we have referred to those massacres and atrocities as genocide.”

Nonetheless, the issue continues to dog the outspoken leader and cause controversy for the ADL, especially in the Boston area, home to a large Armenian community.

In a statement issued to the Boston Globe, Suffolk University President James McCarthy’s administration praised Foxman for contributions to the organization for nearly 50 years. The statement said the administration has examined the concerns raised by students but that “Foxman’s body of work is well deserving of recognition. . . It is our hope that Mr. Foxman’s personal story as a Holocaust survivor and attorney who has dedicated his life to public service will inspire our graduates as they embark on their professional careers.”

Suffolk has nearly 9,000 full- and part-time students, with 1,500 law students.

Matthew Smith, a member of the school’s Jewish Law Students Association, told JTA he is disappointed “that a small group” has “attempted to create a controversy” over the commencement speaker,” and that he is proud that the university is standing by Foxman.

In an email, Smith, a third-year graduating law student wrote that many members of the Jewish community are alarmed by some of the rhetoric attacking Foxman. “Some supporters of the petition have attacked Foxman for his support of Israel and … inappropriately referenced Foxman’s Jewish heritage,” he wrote. He added: “It is difficult to listen to a student inaccurately label a Holocaust survivor and civil rights leader as a “racist.”

Sammy Nabulsi, president of the Student Bar Association at Suffolk acknowledged that Foxman has done good work in fighting discrimination. But he told the Boston Globe that Foxman’s selection is stirring division among the graduating class.

Nabulsi, who is Muslim-American, told the Globe he is speaking out on behalf of the student body as a whole. “My concern is there’s a very dangerous conversation happening among the graduating class,” he said. He suggested that Foxman would make a more appropriate guest speaker on campus and not a recipient of an honorary degree.

ADL Audit: Rise in Anti-Semitic Assaults but Less Overall Cases

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States decreased by 19 percent in 2013, but physical assaults against Jews nearly doubled, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

In its Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, the ADL reported that there 751 incidents in 41 states and Washington, D.C. — one of the lowest numbers since 1979, when the ADL began collecting data. The number of incidents has been steadily declining for the past decade.

The audit includes assault, vandalism and harassment targeting Jews and Jewish property and institutions reported to ADL’s 27 regional offices and the police.

Despite the overall decline, the audit found a “significant” increase in “violent anti-Semitic assaults” — 31 assaults compared to 17 in 2012, although no assault was life threatening or required hospitalization.

“The high number of violent in-your-face assaults is a sobering reminder that, despite the overall decline in anti-Semitic incidents, there is still a subset of Americans who are deeply infected with anti-Semitism and who feel emboldened enough to act out their bigotry,” said ADL’s national director Abraham Foxman.

“In the last decade we have witnessed a significant and encouraging decline in the number and intensity of anti-Semitic acts in America,” he said in a statement. “The falling number of incidents targeting Jews is another indication of just how far we have come in finding full acceptance in society, and it is a reflection of how much progress our country has made in shunning bigotry and hatred.”

The audit attributed the declining number of anti-Semitic incidents to “a relatively quiet year for anti-Israel activity in the public sphere.”

Despite the overall decrease of incidents, the ADL reported increases in several states, including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio and Texas. The states with the highest number of incidents were those with the largest Jewish populations: New York, California, New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The ADL does not count critiques of Israel or Zionism as anti-Semitic incidents, unless such criticism invokes “classic anti-Jewish stereotypes or inappropriate Nazi imagery and/or analogies,” the organization said in a news release. It does, however, count “public expressions of anti-Israel sentiments that demonize Jews or create an atmosphere of fear or intimidation for U.S. Jews.”

Obama on Foxman: ‘Abe Is Irreplaceable’

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

President Obama praised Abraham Foxman as “irreplaceable” after the Anti-Defamation League announced the planned retirement of its longtime leader.

“For decades, Abe Foxman has been a tireless voice against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all of its forms, always calling us to reject hatred and embrace our common humanity,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House on Tuesday.

The ADL announced Monday that Foxman would retire as its national director in July 2015. Foxman has led the ADL for 27 years.

“Michelle and I wish him well as he prepares to leave the leadership of the Anti-Defamation League — an organization that he built, and led with such passion and persistence,” Obama said in his statement. “Abe is irreplaceable, but the causes that he has dedicated his life to will continue to inspire people in the United States, Israel, and around the world.”

After he steps down, Foxman will serve as a part-time consultant to ADL and sit on the organization’s national commission and national executive committee, the organization said.

Founded in 1913, the ADL fights against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and on behalf of civil rights.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-on-foxman-abe-is-irreplaceable/2014/02/12/

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