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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘American Jewry’

Remembering Jackie Robinson’s Fight Against Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Moviegoers heading to see the new film “42” will see the story of how Jackie Robinson displayed legendary courage, class and talent in the face of immense pressure and racial hatred as he broke down baseball’s color barrier.

Less well known is Robinson’s commitment to fighting all bigotry, including prejudice emanating from his own community.

It was 1962, a decade and a half after Robinson first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers and just a few years after he retired. Day after day, an angry crowd marched outside Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater protesting against its Jewish owner, Frank Schiffman, and his plan to open a low-cost restaurant with prices that potentially would threaten the business of a more expensive black-owned eatery.

The demonstrators carried anti-Semitic posters and hurled racial epithets, reportedly denouncing Schiffman as a Shylock who wanted to extract a pound of flesh from the black community.

Schiffman turned to several black leaders for help, but despite the increasingly hostile acts of anti-Semitism that were taking place, they all remained silent – except for Robinson.

“I was ashamed to see community leaders who were afraid to speak out when blacks were guilty of anti-Semitism,” Robinson wrote in his 1972 autobiography, I Never Had It Made. “How could we stand against anti-black prejudice if we were willing to practice or condone a similar intolerance?”

Never one to back down from a cause he believed in, Robinson used his syndicated newspaper column to condemn the protesters’ blatant use of anti-Semitism and compared their actions to events that had occurred in Nazi Germany, drawing the ire of many black nationalists in the process.

The nationalists, who had adopted a separatist agenda, retaliated by protesting in front of a nearby Chock Full O’ Nuts coffee shop – Robinson had worked for the chain after his 1957 retirement from baseball– and outside a dinner honoring Robinson’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In turn, several mainstream black leaders, including Roy Wilkins, the longtime leader of the NAACP, quickly came to the defense of Robinson and Schiffman.

“In their fight for equal opportunity, Negroes cannot use the slimy tools of anti-Semitism or indulge in racism, the very tactics against which we cry out,” Wilkins wrote in a telegram to Robinson. “We join you in your straight statement that this is a matter of principle from which there can be no retreat.”

Other leaders, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Philadelphia Tribune publisher Dr. E. Washington Rhodes, also offered their support, according to Robinson.

Major League Baseball’s first black player also managed to pry a condemnation of anti-Semitism from Lewis Micheaux, the owner of Harlem’s National Memorial African Book Store, though Micheaux had sympathized with the marchers and denounced Robinson’s initial criticisms.

Soon after, the protests ceased.

Some Jewish communal officials have noted that Robinson’s strong stance during the 1962 Apollo incident stood in stark contrast to the silence from black leaders during the 1995 protests outside Freddy’s Fashion Mart on 125th Street.

For months, large crowds gathered in front of the Harlem store to protest the efforts of its Jewish owner, Fred Harari, to expand into an adjacent storefront that was occupied by a black-owned business.

The condemnations came only after one protester, Roland Smith Jr., shot and killed seven store employees before burning down the building and taking his own life.

Robinson was always quick to criticize anti-Semitism in the black community, according to Stephen Norwood, a professor at the University of Oklahoma who co-wrote a scholarly article on Robinson’s relationship with Jews.

In a 1997 interview timed to the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s integration of baseball, Norwood pointed out that Robinson was the first to condemn and call for the removal of a Congress of Racial Equality official in 1966 after the official shouted at a group of Jews, “Hitler made a mistake when he didn’t kill enough of you.”

While raising funds for the NAACP and bail money for imprisoned civil-rights marchers, Norwood said, Robinson witnessed the valuable contributions that Jews were making to the black community’s struggle. When Robinson took part in the legendary march on Washington and stood by King in Birmingham, Ala., he saw that some Jews also were placing their bodies on the line for civil-rights causes.

Protesting the ‘Evil Decree’? Why Not a Counter Rally?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

I don’t know who is behind this rally. But it is quite clear that those who are sponsoring it do not have any warm or fuzzy feelings for the State of Israel. Yet on this day… when literally millions of Jews in Israel are celebrating the birth of their modern State, it has been announced via Matzav that a rally will take place this coming Sunday in New York City to say Tehillim about the ‘terrible’ gezeirah (decree) being enacted by the Israeli government. From Matzav:

Matzav.com has learned that feverish )arrangements are being made for an atzeres tefillah to be held this coming Sunday, April 21, on New York City in light of the gezeiros being enacted by the government in Israel, specifically the implementation of a draft that would remove bochurim from their yeshivos and place them in the Israel Defense Forces. With the threat of the mandatory draft hanging over the yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel, and the budget cuts that have slashed funding to mekomos haTorah, the Olam Hatorah in the Holy Land is facing daunting weeks and months ahead

“The gathering will not be a protest against the Israeli government,” an event organizer told Matzav.com, “but rather purely a tefillah gathering, for thousands of Yidden to beseech Hashem for mercy at this most trying time. It will not be a political event.”

A kol koreh signed by leading rabbonim and roshei yeshiva encouraging attendance at the atzeres tefillah is currently being compiled and will be released as early as later today.

The gathering, to be held in downtown Manhattan, will feature the recital of Tehillim, divrei hisorerus, and kabbolas ohl Malchus Shomayim. The exact time of the event has not been released, though it is expected to be some time in the early afternoon.

I have to marvel at the way this is being characterized by the organizers. They say it will not be a protest against the Israeli government while practically in the same breath they speak about gezierot ( …as in ‘evil’ gezeirot. In their circles when one uses that term, they do not mean it as a compliment.)

Although I have expressed disappointment and opposition to the way this is being handled by rabbinic leaders in Israel and even here, I understand their angst. And their desire to be spared this ordeal. Their emphasis on prayer to God to relieve them of this ‘burden’ is therefore understandable too.

Even though I understand it, I do not support it. Far from it. In my view doing this in the middle of Manhattan in broad daylight is still a loud and terrible statement to be making to the world. The world will not understand that they are not protesting Israel no matter how they parse it in statements like the above announcement in Matzav. They can say all day long that they are not protesting Israel. The fact that they will be out there in the middle of Manhattan talking about “gezeirot” says otherwise.

Had they done so indoors in private setting it would be one thing. People can pray for whatever they want in private. Doing so in public does not add to their prayers. It instead speaks to their opposition to the State – protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Actions like this speak louder than any explanation. And how will news of this feel to those IDF soldiers who risk their lives daily?

I don’t know who the signatories to this kol korei will be. But I would urge prominent rabbanim of any stripe not to sign it. I doubt that God will see any greater value of this prayer rally being done in public over being done in private. The only value it will have is to bring publicity to them. In my view very negative publicity.

Can it really be the case that rabbinic leaders think God will listen better to them if they do so in public? And how will it be seen by the New York City public that will be forced to be inconvenienced by the almost certain traffic jams this rally will cause? Is unnecessarily inconveniencing the public – and making them angry at us – the way to God’s “heart”?

If the streets are going to be blocked off for this prayer rally anyway, I would love to see a counter rally in close proximity held by members of mizrachi where there will also be Kabbolas Ol Malchus Shamyim. But the Divrei Hisorerus and Tehilim will be said for the safety of IDF soldiers instead.

There should be nothing negative said against the other rally. There should be no bashing of the other side at all. Just a pro Israel rally for the troops and a lot of flag waving… Israeli flags, of course.

This would speak volumes to our brothers and sisters in arms across the ocean risking their lives daily to fight our enemies while protecting our country. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of those attending the other rally would come over and join? That would be a Kiddush HaShem in my view. Frankly I think God might better appreciate those prayers than the other ones.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Making Lemonade out of a Cardozo Lemon

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Although I actually voted for him (…against Ford. I voted against him – for Reagan the second time) one of the worst Presidents of my lifetime has to be Jimmy Carter. Some of the damage he did to this country during his four year tenure is still being felt. Not the least of which is his impact on the rise of Islamism and the terror associated with it. I blame him for the fall of the Shah and the rise of the current Iran. It is not all that hard to draw a line between Iran’s export of terrorism to the world and the events of 9/11.

In fact world peace is currently being threatened by the Iran created during Carter’s tenure. They are led by a fanatic Islamist Cleric (Khameni) and his puppet, Ahmadinejad… no prize himself! There is little doubt among the civilized (and even not so civilized) nations of the world about Ahmadinijad’s rush to create nuclear weapons… and his promise to annihilate the Jewish people while wiping Israel off the map.

That was not Carter’s only problem. He presided over one of America’s most inflationary periods in modern times. It was double digit! Gas prices began to sky-rocket. There were gas shortages and long lines at the pump. The government even started talking about rationing gas! I do not recall much of anything that was positive about the Carter Presidency… except for one thing. More about that later.

Since he left office his anti Israel rhetoric has increased. If I am not mistaken it was Carter that first called Israel an Apartheid state. It was in the title of one of his books, “Peace, Not Apartheid.” Israel’s enemies have clearly adopted this description of Israel and use it every chance they get.

I don’t know if Carter is just badly misguided or just a good old fashioned anti Semite. My guess is that he is just badly misguided. But his rhetoric sounds as bad as if he were an anti Semite. His ‘blame Israel first’ mentality is right out of the anti-Israel playbook. Since he left office I have not heard him ever say anything positive about the Jewish state. The Arabs could not have a better spokesman for their cause than Jimmy Carter if they tried.

What makes this insidious is that he never says anything directly anti-Semitic. He tries to come off as someone seeking peace in the Middle East. That he blames Israel entirely for the lack of progress clearly shows his bias. Even if I were to concede that Israel shares some blame here it is clear that Palestinians share some blame too. In my view – most of it. But for Carter – it’s all Israel’s fault.

Which brings me to the latest controversy about him. Today, Wednesday, April 10, 2013, The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution will have [by the time this is published at the JewishPress.com] honor Jimmy Carter with its International Advocate for Peace Award.

This organization is some sort of official student project of Y.U.’s Cardozo Law School. And they are getting considerable and deserved flak for it. Yeshiva University President Richard Joel has distanced the school from this event saying that:

President Carter’s presence at Cardozo in no way represents a university position on his views, nor does it indicate the slightest change in our steadfastly pro-Israel stance.

That said, Carter did one thing in during his tenure as President that no other President before or after has done. He secured a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, up to that point the largest most militant anti-Israel country in the Arab world. Without Egypt – no Arab country could go to war with Israel. That happened over 30 years ago. And with all the turmoil now going on in the Arab world, that peace treaty still exists. As do embassies and ambassadors in both countries.

Any supporter of Israel must concede this, no matter how much they hate Carter for the evil he has done since.

I will never forget that moment in 1979. Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat actually looked like good friends at that moment in time – all saying very nice things about each other. Begin put on his kipa and recited Tehilim on the occasion… and praised Carter as a ‘fighter for peace!’

He was. He spent endless hours getting those two leaders together at Camp David. He went to Israel to speak to Israeli Knesset. The first time any President had done so. He was relentless in his pursuit for peace and spared no effort to get that done – in ways like no other President has – before or since.

What a glorious day that was. The world had so much hope for the future then. It seemed like peace between the Arabs and Israel would finally happen. And it was to Carter that credit for this was due.

But as we all know by now peace is as allusive there as ever. Carter has gone from being a hero to being one of the vilest American critics of Israel in my lifetime.

I am sure that this award is for what Carter did then. Had he been given that award then, I would have applauded it. He deserved it then. But now after over 30 years of continuous venomous attacks against Israel since that glorious day… Carter has forfeited his claim to be a peace-maker in that region. Although he may believe in some warped way that this is exactly what he is trying to do!

There has been an attempt by Cardozo alumni to stop this event from taking place. But I agree with Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has been one of Carter’s strongest critics. He said that he can’t imagine a worse person being honored for conflict resolution but thinks the event should go on as planned. From the Algemiener (and see also the JewishPress.com interview with Dershowitz):

“Carter during his presidency sat idly by while 2 million Cambodians were killed by Pol Pot. He has been bought and paid for by Saudi Extremists. His Carter Center stopped investigating human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia when he received payment from important and wealthy Saudi businessmen,” Dershowitz said. “He has used the word apartheid to describe Israel but he never used the word in reference to Saudi Arabia which practices gender apartheid, religious apartheid, sexual preference apartheid

Dershowitz thinks that Carter’s presence on campus this week should be used as a positive. Students should attend the ceremony “and in a dignified and respectful way show contempt for Jimmy Carter,” he said. “Students should know who they’re honoring. The response to bad speech is good speech. You don’t cancel the event you use it as an educational opportunity to teach people about the evil things that Jimmy Carter has done.”

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Ha’aretz Depicts Anti-Israel Groups as Representing America Jewry

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The uber-left Jew-hating Israeli newspaper Haaretz’s headline today reads: “U.S. Jewish groups call on synagogue to cancel anti-Muslim speaker.”

Wow, Haaretz implies that the anti-Israel groups and boycott-Israel groups “Jewish Voice for Peace,” “Jews for Racial and Economic Justice,” and “Jews Say No!” represent “US Jewish groups.” No, they represent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel groups.

These are vicious anti-Jewish groups bent on destroying the tiny Jewish state. The libel and lies by anti-Jewish Haaretz continue as they label me “anti-Muslim.” Haaretz is defaming and libeling those who expose Islamic Jew-hatred as “anti-Muslim.” Anti-Muslim — as if opposing jihad and the most brutal ideology on the face of the earth, the sharia, is “anti-Muslim.” Obviously Haaretz believes that all Muslims support sharia and jihad, or else they would not use that smear. Yet their assumption is in direct contradiction to the idea that most Muslims are “moderate.”

I am not anti-Muslim or anti-anyone, and this label smears my work in defense of the freedom of speech and equality of rights for all as a campaign against a group of people.

But what do you expect from the newspaper that endorses stone-throwing by “Palestinian” jihadists?

Visit Atlas Shrugs.

The Second American Letter to Netanyahu

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Recently, a group of American Jews, including Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ); Rabbi David Ellenson, President of the URJ’s Hebrew Union College and Jewish Institute of Religion; Rabbi Eric Yoffie, previous URJ head; and Rabbi David Saperstein of the URJ’s Religious Action Center, signed a letter to Israel’s PM Netanyahu. Joining them were several prominent Jewish philanthropists, academics and liberal politicians.

The letter lauds President Obama’s ‘leadership’ for helping to bring about Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara affair, which I and others believe to be a disastrous mistake.

And — almost incredibly, given the recent history of Israeli withdrawals and concessions answered only by war, terrorism and further demands — the letter has the chutzpah to call for Israel to make “painful territorial sacrifices for the sake of peace.”

This point of view may have made sense thirty years ago, but the world, as they say, has moved on, with the rise of Hamas and its violent takeover of Gaza, the second Intifada, the 2006 Lebanon war and consequent re-arming of Hizballah, the abrogation of the Oslo accords by the PLO, the ascent of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Iranian nuclear program, the civil war in Syria … need I go on?

As always, the letter fallaciously conflates actual peace with the signing of a ‘peace’ agreement between Israel and the PLO and concomitant  concessions and withdrawals by Israel.

The endorsement of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish denomination in America, placed on this piece of obsequious stupidity is not surprising, considering that Rabbi Jacobs was an activist in the phony ‘pro-Israel’ group J Street as well as the New Israel Fund before being selected to head the URJ. Yet again the liberal Jewish establishment demonstrates that support for President Obama trumps concern for Israel’s survival.

The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), a conservative advocacy group which supports U.S. political candidates and policies favorable to Israel, put it remarkably well in its own letter to Netanyahu, which I reproduce here:

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:

We know you don’t need our advice on how to handle the peace process – but given the decision by a group of self-described American Jewish leaders to call for you to make “painful territorial sacrifices,” we felt it appropriate to convey our own thoughts on the matter.

Be assured that they don’t speak for us or for a majority of Americans. We not only question the wisdom of their advice, we question their standing to issue such an admonition to a democratically-elected prime minister whose job is not to assuage the political longings of 100 American Jews, but to represent – and ensure the security of – the Israeli people.

Indeed, it’s puzzling to us why a small group of American Jews believes it appropriate to demand “painful territorial sacrifices” of Israelis, when those issuing the demand will not experience the pain, or be compelled to sacrifice anything, should their advice prove foolish – as it has so many times in the past. We affirm the words of Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who recently asked an American Jewish audience to “respect the decisions made by the world’s most resilient democracy.”

The “American Jewish leaders” who deign to advise you today are largely the same leaders who rarely, if ever, demand “painful sacrifices” of Palestinian leaders – or even demand that they come to the negotiating table, which they have refused to do in any meaningful way since 2008. From the safety of America, in the past they have recommended trusting Yasser Arafat, dividing Jerusalem, surrendering the Golan Heights to Syria, and withdrawing from territory that today is controlled by Iranian-backed terrorist groups.

Before rushing to issue new recommendations, we suggest that these oracles of bad advice might pause to reflect on the wisdom of the recommendations they’ve already made.

We, too, have strong opinions on the peace process – but one thing we never presume to do is instruct our friends in Israel on the level of danger to which they should expose themselves.

We trust, of course, that you are under no misapprehensions about any of this. But we felt it important that you heard from a mainstream voice in addition to the predictable calls from a certain cast of American activists for more Israeli concessions.

Sincerely,

William Kristol
Rachel Abrams
Gary Bauer
Noah Pollak
Michael Goldfarb

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Dewey Stone: Unsung Hero of Israeli Independence

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

When most people think of the refugee ship “Exodus,” the Paul Newman movie and Leon Uris novel on which it was based come to mind. But not many people know that one of the heroes behind the real-life Exodus was American businessman Dewey D. Stone.

Stone’s role in purchasing ships and weapons—under the nose of the FBI—and helping to orchestrate the founding of Israel is the subject of a new documentary, “The Dewey Stone Connection: From Exodus to Independence.”

The film is the result of a five-year effort headed up by Walter M. Newman, who grew up a few blocks from Stone’s house.

Newman – a retired official with the Environmental Protection Agency who helped supervise the Boston Harbor cleanup – was researching the founding of Israel and noticed that Stone’s name “kept popping up,” he said in a phone interview in January shortly after the film’s first public showing and a month before his death at age 76.

Newman scoured the records at the American Jewish Historical Society office in Boston, where Stone’s papers are archived. “There were so many things, so many wonderful things,” he said. “It was an eye-opening experience.”

Stone was swept up in the cause of the Palestinian Jews after hearing a speech in 1940 by Chaim Weizmann, the head of the World Zionist Organization and later the first president of Israel. A renowned chemist, Weizmann was in Boston drumming up support for a research university in a future Jewish state.

After his talk, Weizmann invited Stone and a few others back to his hotel room, where they chatted until the wee hours of the morning. The next day, Stone drove Weizmann to Harvard, where he was giving another speech. On the way, they stopped in front of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – the very model of the university Weizmann sought to build.

After the war, as the full extent of the Holocaust became apparent, Stone worked behind the scenes on both military and diplomatic efforts to forge a Jewish state.

Suspecting the FBI was tapping his phone, Stone made calls from his sister’s house to procure ships and surplus U.S. weapons. In the documentary, nephew Ted Teplow, of Cambridge, Mass., recalls being up in his bedroom doing homework and overhearing his uncle on the phone. “We were all told not to talk about it,” Teplow, now 84, said in a phone interview.

Unlike in the 1960 movie, the real Exodus, carrying Holocaust survivors from France to Palestine in 1947, was rammed by a British destroyer just a few miles off the coast of Palestine, then under British control. Its 4,500 passengers were sent to a displaced-persons camp in Germany, the very nation that had persecuted them. Eventually, the majority of passengers settled in Israel. Meanwhile, worldwide outrage over the refugees’ plight helped bolster the push to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

Stone also played an important role in that push. His brother Judge Harry K. Stone had become acquainted with Anastasio Somoza when the Nicaraguan dictator was in Boston for surgery in the 1930s. At the time, the Stone family owned Converse Rubber Co., maker of raincoats and shoes (and later, most famously, Chuck Taylor sneakers).

The brothers thought it would be good publicity for the company to host a reception for Somoza. Somoza, who had been miffed that the U.S. government had ignored his presence, was delighted by the attention and became close friends with Judge Stone, naming him honorary consul. That relationship paid off a decade later when Dewey and Harry Stone enlisted the Somoza regime to rally Latin American support that proved crucial for UN approval of the partition plan.

But just a few months before Israel was to declare independence, the State Department persuaded President Truman to reject its recognition. Truman went so far as to shut the White House doors to Zionists. Weizmann, who was waiting anxiously in New York, expressed his frustration to Stone in a meeting on March 12, 1948. That night a visibly shaken Stone returned to Boston, where he was honored at a B’nai B’rith dinner along with Frank Goldman, the national head of the organization.

Hearing about Weizmann’s predicament, Goldman said he might have a solution. He had just attended a Kansas City B’nai B’rith event recognizing Eddie Jacobson, who had been Truman’s partner in a clothing store business. Why not see if Jacobson would intervene with his old pal, Goldman suggested.

Passover, Peace, And Palestine: An Arab-Style Seder In 1920s Long Island

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Passover at Irma Lindheim’s Long Island home in the 1920s was not your standard Jewish holiday experience.

There was plenty of matzah ball soup and brisket, to be sure. But the dining room was occupied by a makeshift tent, the Passover table was replaced by a pile of sheepskin rugs, and the Lindheim children were dressed in Arab garb. For Mrs. Lindheim – the national president of Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization, from 1926 to 1928 – Passover was an opportunity to make a dramatic statement about what she perceived as the common heritage of Arabs and Jews and her hopes for peace in Palestine.

The path that led to Irma Lindheim’s unique Passover Seders began during a trip to the Holy Land shortly after World War I. A visit to a Bedouin encampment near the Syrian border deeply impressed her. The sheik received her “so courteously,” the wives of his harem were so attractive, his children were so charming, the ample food was “so delicious in taste and aroma,” that Mrs. Lindheim had to wonder, as she put it, “Under what possible circumstances could such people and I possibly be enemies?”

In Mrs. Lindheim’s eyes, the Arabs of Palestine closely resembled the Jews of biblical times – so surely they should all be able to get along. She marveled at the fact that her host “pulled off my boots himself, and laved my feet with cool water, [just] as Abraham had done with the three strangers,” as recounted in Genesis 18:1-4.

“The customs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were customs of the present-day Bedouin,” she wrote. “When Abraham sat before his tent in the heat of the day…he did no differently than a Bedouin sheikh we encountered, resting before his tent in the Plains of the Huleh.”

As her personal contribution to the cause of Arab-Jewish amity, Mrs. Lindheim decided to radically revise her own Passover Seders. Her children “would wear the robes of the desert Bedouin and would eat their meal in a tent… to commemorate not only the flight of their forebears from slavery to freedom, but also bonds with the Arab people who lived now exactly as their forefathers lived then.”

On their first such Passover, “young Norvin [her eldest son] stood, tall and darkly handsome in his Bedouin robes,” to recite the story of the exodus before a group that included Sir Wyndham Deeds, first secretary of the British government in Mandatory Palestine, and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, the foremost American Jewish leader of that era. Wise was a renowned orator, and “his beautiful great voice boomed out” as the hosts and their guests all joined in reading sections of the Haggadah. Lindheim’s youngest son, Stephen, who was named after Wise, recited the Four Questions.

“To the children, to ourselves, and to our many guests,” she later recalled, “the Seder [was] at once an unforgettable experience in itself and, in its way, a family landmark.”

But Mrs. Lindheim was not content with symbolic gestures such as her unorthodox Passover Seders. She and the Hadassah organization undertook a series of projects in Mandatory Palestine aimed at improving Arab-Jewish ties, including providing free health care to Arab communities, establishing the U.S. Jewish leadership’s only Committee for the Study of Arab-Jewish Relations, and building the first Jewish-Arab playground in Jerusalem.

Generously funded by Mrs. Lindheim’s aunt, Bertha Guggenheimer, the Zion Hill playground opened near the Zion Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City in 1926, complete with supervisors trained by the American Playground Association.

Sadly, it did not last long.

In the late summer of 1929, Arab residents of Hebron and Jerusalem carried out widespread anti-Jewish violence. Since the Zion Hill playground was situated in a predominantly Arab neighborhood, the supervisors, fearing for the children’s safety, quickly shut down the facility. Two months later, when they returned to the site to reopen it, they were horrified to find local Arab children painting slogans such as “Down with the Jews” and “Down with the Balfour Declaration” on the equipment and walls.

Although one of the goals of the playground had been to promote good relations with the local Arab residents, chief supervisor Rachel Schwarz found that “amongst the Arab neighbors are many who took an active part in recent riots and are very active at present in the [anti-Jewish] boycott.”

Is Soros Pumping Money into ‘A Jewish Voice for Peace’?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I’ve written ad nauseum that the most energetic and effective anti-Zionists are Jews, not Arabs or Muslims. A perfect example is the group called “A Jewish Voice for Peace” (JVP), based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but with chapters all over the country, mostly on college campuses.

JVP has been growing by leaps and bounds, with their 2011 form 990 (a tax form which all non-profits are required to make publicly available) showing an income from contributions and grants of $871,250. This is very big money for an organization whose membership appears to be mostly students and young people, and there is reason to believe that they have recently started to receive much more. Unfortunately non-profits that don’t give money to political candidates are not required to disclose the identity of their donors.

This week, during the annual AIPAC meeting in Washington DC, JVP has purchased 100 advertising signs in DC Metro stations, working with the very professional “Avaaz” group (more about them later), to “challenge [AIPAC's] influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.” Here’s an example:

JVP-Aavaz ad in DC Metro

Ads like these cost between $400-$950 per ad for 4 weeks, depending on “timing and market.” So let’s say (very conservatively) that they are paying $250 per ad for two weeks. Their 100 ads cost them at least $25,000, probably twice that.

JVP likes media attention, and one of its favorite tactics is to disrupt pro-Israel speakers and events. Both the advertising and the disruption appear to be intended at least as much to attract attention — and recruits — to their organization as they are to change public opinion about their issues (promoting boycott-divestment-sanctions, portraying Israel as an apartheid state and human-rights violator, etc.).

Here is something else that I noticed on JVP’s form 990, which supports the idea that it is focused on growth. It has only one paid officer, Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson, who is listed as receiving total compensation of less than $75,000. But they also list $355,090 in “other salaries and wages.” Who are the additional employees? What do they do? It’s not the janitorial staff of JVP’s small Oakland office.

My guess is that they are organizers stationed on college campuses and other places where young Jews can be found. Although the organization wants to give the impression that it is an all-volunteer, ‘grassroots’ group, it seems that it is actually a disciplined professional operation that is rapidly growing. Their grants and contributions have increased by an average of more than $100,000 a year (with the exception of 2008, a bad year for all nonprofits).

Someone is pumping JVP up, and I think we can get a clue about who from the partnership with Avaaz. Avaaz is not (yet) big in the U.S., so you may not have heard of it. But let me quote from NGO Monitor’s analysis:

Avaaz was co-founded in 2007 by “Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org.” The former received grants totaling $290,000 from the Soros Open Society Institute in 2008. The latter received a $1.46 million grant from George Soros in 2004. Res Publica describes Avaaz.org as its “primary current project.”

According to a 2007 ABC News report on Avaaz.org’s call for the firing of Paul Wolfowitz as president of the World Bank, Avaaz.org is a “global advocacy group funded by philanthropist and financier George Soros, MoveOn.org and the labor group SEIU.”

According to the 2009 Form 990 (page 87) filed by the Open Society Foundations, OSF gave $600,000 to Avaaz.org via New York-based Res Publica; $300,000 for “general support to Avaaz.org” and $300,000 for “Avaaz.org’s work on climate change.”

A check into OSF 990s for 2010 or 2011 show no grants for Avaaz nor Res Publica. According to its 2011 990, Avaaz.org’s total revenue for that year was $7,519,028. Avaaz.org claims it is “wholly member-funded.” Avaaz does not publish a detailed list of donors on its website or 990 forms, and therefore this claim cannot be verified independently.

Avaaz.org is active in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. Its 2011 campaign “Palestine: the time is now,” was aimed at pressuring the UK, France, and Germany to support a Palestinian bid for recognition. The petition and accompanying video titled “Middle East Peace – The Real Story” promotes the Palestinian narrative. In 2007 Avaaz.org launched a petition calling to “End the Siege of Gaza: Ceasefire Now” demanding an end to the “blockade and growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza” and “ensure the free flow of supplies by land, sea or air.”

Soros also funds J Street, the phony “pro-Israel” lobby, although J Street’s director, Jeremy Ben Ami lied in an attempt to keep it secret.

Avaaz, with its huge budget, is as slick as it gets (here is a discussion of how it managed a fake grassroots Internet campaign for Palestinian recognition). My guess is that Soros is getting behind JVP as well, and with the same objective: to create a ‘popular’ Jewish anti-Zionist movement.

Soros, in other words, is pitching a whole line of anti-Israel merchandise to Jews. Are you a progressive who wants to distance himself from Israel along with your left-wing friends, while still remaining a member of your (liberal) synagogue? Buy some J Street! But suppose you want to see Israel replaced by an Arab state and don’t care who knows it — if you are suffering from stage-4 Oslo Syndrome — then JVP is for you.

There is a reason why so much of the heavy artillery of anti-Zionism is turned on the American Jewish community. True or false, it is seen as the key to American support for Israel.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/is-soros-pumping-money-into-a-jewish-voice-for-peace/2013/03/11/

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