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July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘American Jews’

Obama’s Jewish Support Sinks to 50 Percent

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Jewish voters’ support for President Barack Obama has sunk from 61 percent in January to only 50 percent in March, according to a new Gallup poll.

The gap between approval of the president by Jews and by the national average has narrowed to only 8 percentage points for the first three months and 4 points for the last month.

The emerging deal with Iran and President Obama’s attacks and affronts to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are the reasons for the drop in support among Jews.

Among Orthodox Jews, defined as those who attend synagogue at least once a week, the approval rating is only 34 percent.  Support among Jews who do not have a college degree was only 39 percent compared with 62 percent among those with a higher education degree.

Jewish women approve of President Obama by 11 percentage points more than men over the past 15 months, while the national average is only 6 percent points between women and men.

The question is whether President Obama’s drooping popularity among Jews will be translated into support for a Republican presidential candidate at the polls.

If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate, Jewish support for her is expected to rise sharply.

Republicans should not jump for joy too soon, author Josh Zeitz told Politico.

“As was the case then, today, most American Jews cast their votes as concerned American liberals and moderates, not as foreign proxies for the Israeli government,” he said.

Zeitz added:

But that doesn’t stop the GOP from hoping.

There’s always a place for tradition. Every year during Passover, Jews open the door in expectation of the Prophet Elijah, who will someday herald the coming of the Messiah. And every four years, the pundits await the great Jewish embrace of the Republican Party.

As it was said then, so it is said now: Next year in New Hampshire.

J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami Appoints Himself New American Jewish Rep

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

J Street is apparently indulging itself in a deliberate attempt to twist both the intent and words of Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks on his upcoming trip to Washington next month.

The group’s director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, writes with a Left wing bent that has in the past positioned him as one who sometimes walks the thin line separating support for the State of Israel from that for the border-free, terrorist-riddled entity endorsed as “Palestine” by the United Nations General Assembly.

And in a display ad appropriately bearing turquoise blue and black (like a bruise on the landscape) on its logo, J Street runs with the slogan, “The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.” A graver misnomer could not be.

“Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that when he comes to Washington next month, he’ll be speaking “not just as the prime minister of Israel but as a representatiave of the entire Jewish people.” I don’t know about you, but he doesn’t speak for me. Help us let his Ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, know: as an American, as a Jew – Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t speak for you.” the ad reads.

It then goes on to claim: “In the coming Israeli election, less than a quarter of Israelis will vote for him. More than half the Israeli public disapproves of his performance.

“And, here in the United States, where Jews overwhelmingly support diplomacy with Iran, the Prime Minister is deeply out of step with our community politically. “Make clear that no one person – even the Prime Minister of Israel – speaks for us all by signing our petition today.”

A link to J Street’s petition is embedded in the web campaign ad, which is also found in a “P.S.” that reminds, “Ambassador Dermer needs to hear from us.” and urges the reader to recruit “friends and family” to visit “DoesNotSpeakFor.me.”

Pretty slick. But the problem is, the statistics are really off. And Netanyahu never claimed to speak for every Jew. He said he is “representing” all Jews when he stands up to fight against the existential threat to Israel posed by anti-Semitism and Iranian nuclear technology development.

This writer wonders why Ben-Ami is picking a fight with Israel’s prime minister. In fact, it seems that over the past six weeks, everyone is picking a fight with Israel’s prime minister, and doing so with really cool, sophisticated slogans alongside. Sure looks like a well-funded fancy American-style ad campaign to me. American Jewish leaders organized to lobby Israel’s political leadership over Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress?

American Jewish heavy hitters coming out with weighty, well-thought-out statements offering sage advice to the prime minister on various ways to back out of his commitment to the Speaker of the House?

Vice President Joe Biden and a panel of top Democratic lawmakers notifying media about their plans not to attend Netanyahu’s speech to Congress?

A boycott on meetings with Netanyahu when he arrives in Washington by the White House, the State Department and all the rest of the U.S. top leadership, casually brushed off by President Barack Obama as “protocol” since the Israeli elections follow two weeks later?

Leaks to international media about meetings at the Munich Security Conference between Israeli opposition leader, Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog and a host of top leaders – including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and European Union foreign policy chief Federico Mogherini among them?

Not to mention frequent references by the U.S. president to his differences with Netanyahu on the “Iran issue” and most recently – yesterday, in fact – an outright plea not to “sour” a deal with Iran on its nuclear development activities under discussion between Tehran, the U.S. and world powers.

Jewish Agency Planning for Massive Aliyah of 120,000 French Jews

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The Jewish Agency is making plans to settle 120,000 Jews — one in every five French Jews — over the next four years.

The project sounds fanciful if one looks at recent history, but radical Islamic terror and country-wide anti-Semitism have cast a shadow of the Nazi era over Jews in France.

The Jewish People Policy Institute, the Jewish Agency’s think tank, is drawing up plans for opening up job opportunities to attract French Jews, who enjoy a relatively high standard of living.

The number of Jews from France who moved to Israel last year was 7,000, a small number by itself but a dramatic jump from previous years. Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky has said he anticipates 15,000 Jews from France to make Aliyah by 2016, but the Agency’s think tank has bigger plans.

If history repeats itself, the project for mass Aliyah will create lots of work for Jewish Agency , inflate its budget and bring in only a trickle of results.

Aliyah from Western countries never has been very impressive except in the hey-day of Israel’s victory over Arab enemies in the Six-Day War in 1967.

Since the 1970s, the only really impressive Aliyah has been from what was the Soviet Union, from where more than 1,000,000 Jews — and 300,000 people who were not Jews according to Jewish law — moved to Israel.

But Jews have a tradition of enjoying a good life in the Diaspora, hanging on until they are expelled or often trying to flee after it is too late.

Fear and loathing have not yet sent shivers down the spines of American Jews, most of whom consider Israel a place for hapless Jews who cannot survive elsewhere. The “Golden Medina” has been a tough nut for Aliyah ever since the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

On a trip to Baltimore in 1951, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion told rags to-riches millionaire Jacob Blaustein of expectations of the Aliyah of thousands of Jews every month, to which Blaustein retorted, “American is our home.”

Just think if one in every five American Jews were to make Aliyah. The economy would boom. The so-called “demographic problem” of an Arab and Bedouin population dominating Jews would disappear.

If even 10 percent of 1 million American Jews were to settle in Judea and Samaria, there would be no question about its place in Israel.

But Americans do not face the imminent threat that has caused French Jews to panic and fear.

The Jewish Agency plans are not a pipe dream.

“I was in Netanya this past Shabbat, and everyone is talking about the Aliyah of Jews from France,” French expatriate Yisca Maimon told The Jewish Press Sunday.

She explained:

They are afraid to go to the supermarket and to synagogue and get killed. The Aliyah movement starts with one friend, and then another friend, and everyone influences one another. Jews in France are very close to one another. People are afraid of Islamic terror because there is absolutely no security there. Yes, there are attacks in synagogues and supermarkets in Israel, but here we have the IDF. We are in our own home.

Jews in France feel they cannot stay there anymore. They know they have to leave. There are nearly 8 million Muslims in France, and their presence is increasingly overwhelming. Everyone is afraid.

There is another reason for Jews to flee France, if they want their children to remain Jews. The assimilation rate is nearly 70 percent, which raises the question of which Jews will move to Israel.

Haredi rabbis who are not raving Zionists — except for the fact that they live in Israel — already have objected to mass Aliyah because of problems of Jewish law.

They say they are afraid of more secular Jews but  in truth they also are afraid of the growing national religious community in Israel, which in the past two decades has become very influential in the IDF, professional fields and now in the Knesset thought the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, which has opened up its doors to secular Jews who also are strong nationalists.

The Jewish Agency will have to deal with the problem of “Who Is a Jew” when the time comes. It also will have to streamline the absorption process to allow professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, to practice in Israel without some of the obstacles that have no logic but simply exist from the earlier days of the modern State when old-line Israelis expected everyone to be like them.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday, “We must prepare to absorb large-scale immigration to Israel. To this end we are working to remove the impediments to [recognizing] diplomas and professional degrees in Israel. At the same time we will prepare an emergency plan to cancel bureaucracy so as to enable massive construction to absorb the immigrants, just as we did previously to absorb the major immigration from the Soviet Union.”

If the Jewish Agency can succeed, it might even begin to attract more Americans, not enough to make baseball the Israel National Pastime but enough to at least make hamburgers as popular as falafel.

 

Alan Gross Credits Jewish Efforts for His Release From Cuba [video]

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Newly released from prison in Cuba, Alan Gross thanked his wife, his lawyer, the Jewish community, President Obama and numerous others in helping secure his freedom.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, Gross opened his statement with a Hanukkah greeting and a thank you to the president.

“Chag sameach,” he said. “What a blessing to be a citizen of the United States of America. Thank you President Obama for everything you have done today.”

He credited the advocacy by his wife of 44 years, Judy Gross, and his lawyer, Scott Gilbert, for getting him out of prison. He also thanked the Jewish community.

“To the Washington Jewish community, Ron Halber in particular and his staff at the Jewish Community Relations Council, all of the executive directors, staff and volunteers of participating JCRCs, federations, synagogues, schools, and other Jewish, Christian and Muslim organizations nationwide, God bless you and thank you,” Gross said. “It was crucial to my survival knowing that I was not forgotten. Your prayers and actions have been comforting, reassuring, and sustaining.”

In a deal that American officials said was technically separate from Gross’ release, the United States and Cuba agreed to exchange the three remaining incarcerated members of the “Cuban Five,” a Florida-based spy ring, for an American spy held in Cuba for 20 years and whose identity remains a secret.

It came, too, as the United States and Cuba agreed to re-establish full diplomatic ties that were severed in early 1961.

Gross, a Jewish-American who had been in detention in Cuba for five years of a 15-year term for crimes against the state, originally went to the island nation to do contract work for the U.S. government and help connect Cuban Jews to the outside world.

He suffered health problems during his imprisonment, and in his statement referenced his significant weight loss and the loss of some teeth.

“Ultimately, the decision to arrange for and secure my release was made in the Oval Office. To President Obama and the NSC staff, thank you,” Gross said. “A judicious lesson that I have learned from this experience is that freedom is not free.”

Gross expressed fondness for the Cuban people, saying they were not responsible for his ordeal and that he is pained “to see them treated so unjustly as one consequence of two governments’ mutually belligerent policies.”

He hailed Obama’s announcement that Havana and Washington now would resume diplomatic relations.

Clinton Plays Up ‘Two-State Solution’ for the Liberal Jewish Vote

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Hillary Clinton went overboard claiming in a speech Saturday at the Saban Forum how much the Obama administration supports Israel and that there is nothing “personal” in differences between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.

Saban, an Israeli-born millionaire, has said that he is willing to give “as much as needed” to make sure Clinton will be the next president of the United States. She has not said one way or the other if she will run, but she acts and talks like a candidate in the last week of an election campaign.

The former First Lady and Secretary of State is the same woman who said “F—the Jews” when her Oslo Accords hubby Bill was in the White House, where he was about as faithful to Hillary as he was to Israel.

“The relationship between the United States and Israel is solid, and will remain solid, and will be part of our foreign policy and our domestic concerns, our values, ideals, forever,” Clinton said at the 11th annual Saban Forum.

Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party, is scheduled to speak at the Saban Forum Saturday night. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has to cancel his speech because he is sitting Shiva for his mother, who died on Thursday.

It was only two years ago that Hillary Clinton used the Saban Forum as a stage to accuse Israel of a “lack of generosity” and a “lack of empathy” towards Palestinian Authority Arabs.

With two eyes on the 2016 presidential election, she said Saturday night, she pushed negotiations for the “two-state solution.” Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas already has said several times negotiations, as he calls them, were finished long ago because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not accepted his demand that Israel accept his demands at the table or under the dictate of the United Nations.

Netanyahu has said there is nothing to talk about since Abbas won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Until the Netanyahu government collapsed this week and he decided to call for new elections, even the center-left leaders had said the “two-state” solution is nothing but theoretical.

But the American liberal Jewish community, the bulk of American Jews who still realize they are Jewish, are very happy with Israel being the country they dream as a Jewish state that exists to make them feel comfortable as Americans.

They don’t want to hear international criticism of Israel, and if their president says “settlers” are “illegitimate and illegal,” then those settlers should do as Washington says and live in Tel Aviv.

“Now I’m well aware of everything going on and the increasing tensions in the region, in Israel, in the West Bank to say nothing of the continuing aggressive behavior from Hamas coming out of Gaza,” Clinton said. “But the absence of negotiations leaves a vacuum that gets filled by problems, bad actors, threats, other kinds of behavior that are not good for Israel and not good for the Palestinians.

“There is a necessary imperative to continue to try to achieve a resolution between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Clinton is “aware of everything going on”?

Is she aware that the Palestinian Authority has educated an entire generation of Arabs to hate Israel, to hate Jews and to become “martyrs?”

Is she aware that official Palestinian Authority documents show a map of Israel with the word “Palestine” scrawled over it from, Lebanon to Egypt and from Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea?

She is not aware of it because she, and John Kerry, and the entire American liberal Jewish establishment do not want to be aware of it.

They love to hear talk about a “two-state solution” because it makes them feel good that all of those Jews living in Israel won’t upset their breakfast by doing anything that might endanger American security, such as building homes for Jews smack dab next to Arabs in eastern Jerusalem.

Clinton knows that the right-wing Jews are not going to support her. She doesn’t need to sell herself for the votes of the liberal Jewish community, but she wants their money.

 

Knesset Synagogue Bars Reform and Conservative Jews from ‘Mixed Prayer’

Friday, November 28th, 2014

American rabbinical students from the Conservative movement studying in Israel were prevented from holding afternoon prayers with men and women together in the Knesset synagogue, JTA reported.

Haaretz reported that the decision was handed down by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and the students were offered alternative place to pray. Reform and Reconstructionist students also were in the group at the Knesset, where the synagogue is designated as Orthodox.

“A lot of the students were very upset and shocked,” said Rabbi Joel Levy, director of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, who submitted the request on behalf of the students, told Haaretz. “You’d think that the Knesset would be a place of ingathering of the Jewish people, but actually we learned that it has boundaries that don’t include liberal Jews. Paradoxically, this decision served as an appropriate end to our conversation about religion and state in Israel.”

(One wonders if they are equally as upset and shocked that no Jews are allowed to pray on Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.)

So here we go again. The Knesset implicitly a place that is not for the “ingathering of the Jewish people” because the synagogue is Orthodox.

Not only that, but “liberal Jews” are not allowed.

The minute they throw around the term “egalitarian prayers,” Orthodoxy has three strikes against it.

Once Judaism is defined by secular values, it becomes a monopoly of the liberals, who are tolerant of everyone who accepts them and then close the doors on anyone who challenges their power.

Power is what the argument is all about. It is the same issue that is behind the Women of the Wall movement, which gathered hundreds of thousands of supporters in the United States but which in practice cannot come up with more than a few dozen people –perhaps 100 on a sunny day – to demonstrate,  whoops – pray,  at the Western Wall once a month.

So here comes the Masoriti movement to the Knesset, where it wants their students to have a real spiritual experience and pray – men and women together – in the legislature’s synagogue.

When the Orthodox Jews set the rules, it is called a monopoly.

When the “liberals” set the rules, it is called democracy.

It would be interesting to know if the students at the Knesset have an afternoon prayer service every day, or is it only when they visit the Knesset?

And if they do, why cannot they respect the sanctity of the lace where there is a minyan of Jews every day, three times a day, instead of grabbing headlines for their “egalitarian” agenda that they think is “modern” and superior?

Okay. We gave them their headlines, just like we did with the Women of the Wall.

I wish the students an enjoyable visit in Israel but ask, “Why is it that Orthodox Jews make up such large numbers of those who move to Israel?”

Do the Reform and Conservative Jews visit Israel and go “home” because there is no mixed seating in the Knesset synagogue?

Netanyahu Tells US Jews Abbas Changing Status Quo on Temple Mount [video]

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told North American Jews Tuesday that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is changing to status quo on the Temple Mount by trying to bar Jews from visiting the holy site.

Speaking at the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in Maryland, the Prime Minister thumped two themes – the Iranian nuclear threat and Palestinian Authority incitement.

After the usual platitudes for support from American and Canadian Jews and gratitude for ”standing up for Israel” – which is far from true – he said that the world’s most important challenge is “the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

“Iran is openly committed to Israel’s destruction,” he said. “And even as Iran negotiates a nuclear deal with the leading powers in the international community, its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, brazenly calls for Israel’s annihilation. These are not my words, these are his words: Israel’s annihilation….

“These aren’t mere words; they’re not just statements thrown out in the air, which is harmful enough. The regime in Iran’s wild rhetoric is also backed by murderous action…. “Iran’s savagery abroad is also matched by its brutality at home. The ayatollah regime executes political opponents, religious and ethnic minorities, gays, feminists and journalists. And executions have increased, not decreased, under the supposedly moderate Rouhani regime.

“This is how Iran acts without nuclear weapons; now imagine how Iran will act if a deal is made that leaves it as a threshold nuclear power.”

The problem for Israel is that Iran is a lot closer to Jerusalem than it is to Washington, and liberal Americans, especially Jews, often feel that what happens in Tehran can’t affect them. They apparently were not around during Pearl Harbor.

Netanyahu tried to bring things closer to home by declaring, “The Islamic State of Iran is not a partner of America. It’s an enemy of America. And it should be treated as an enemy – by keeping tough sanctions on the regime; by making clear that the international community is determined to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from breaking out or sneaking out to get the bomb.”

Israel has the same problem when it comes to explaining to Jews, who often are more concerned with working for their home-grown organizations than working on behalf of Israel, that the “two-state solution” is a fantasy and a camouflage for incitement aimed at promoting an all-out Arab civilian attack on Israel.

“These attacks have been accompanied by a systemic campaign of incitement, including libels about Israel trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount and even wild allegations that we are planning to destroy Muslim holy sites,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.

“Status quo” is a magical phrase for Americans who don’t understand that using the term is like saying “negotiations.” Everyone understand it differently

Israel goes by Webster’s and considers negotiations to be talks for a give-and-take compromise. The Palestinian Authority understands the word as synonym for “ultimatum.”

The same is true for the phrase ”status quo on the Temple Mount”

“Last week, I spoke to King Abdullah of Jordan, and I reiterated Israel’s commitment to maintain the religious status quo on the Temple Mount,” explained Netanyahu.

“But I regret to say that the Palestinian Authority, which should also be working to calm tensions, has joined Hamas and other radical Islamists in fanning the flames.

“President Abbas himself called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount. He used the words: ‘by any means possible.’

“See, this – the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, where Jews have visited peacefully for years – President Abbas says we should not set foot there. That’s changing the status quo.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-tells-us-jews-abbas-changing-status-quo-on-temple-mount-video/2014/11/12/

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