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June 24, 2016 / 18 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘americans’

Only in America

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Once again this great nation of ours lives up to its credo.

To some it may be of small consequence that 14 year-old Edon Pinchot won the hearts of Americans last Monday night as he sang a rendition of David Guetta’s “Titanium” on the television show, “America’s Got Talent” (See Edon’s performance below). But I would disagree. It demonstrates something about America.

He not only got a standing ovation from the audience, he was showered with praise by the 3 judges who are not reticent to ridicule bad performances. Of the 12 contestants competing in these quarter-finals, only four are selected to go to the next level. The 3 judges predicted Edon to be one of those four. And they were right. Edon has moved on to the next level of competition.

What is unusual about Edon is that he is an Orthodox Jew. He is a recent graduate of Chicago’s Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School located in Skokie. I know his grandparents. His grandfather and I served together on the board of directors at HTC. They are a wonderful and committed Torah family.

What is even more unusual is that Edon wore a rather nice sized Kipa on his head. It took courage for this young boy to perform in front of a live audience knowing that millions of viewers were watching him on TV. But it took serious commitment to his Judaism to keep a Kipa on his head in a business known for vanity and conformity to the whims of popular culture. Had he removed his Kipa for this performance, it would have been understandable. But he chose to wear it proudly in public. He deserves a lot of credit for that.

Credit goes to the American people too for taking him into their hearts. Americans didn’t see a Kipa – even though it was very obviously upon his head. They saw a talented young boy singing his heart out. And they loved it.

I often say that anti Semitism in this country is practically nonexistent. Except for isolated pockets of extremism like the Neo Nazis, the KKK… or Palestinian-influenced anti-Zionism that occasionally morphs into the anti Semitism popping up in some universities – one would be hard pressed to see it on any real scale.

Among examples of our acceptance that I have pointed to are: Evangelical Christians, the Gore/Lieberman candidacy, and various news stories about how average Americans see their fellow Jewish citizens as equals and have defend them agains anti Semitic attacks. And now once again we have yet another cross-section of Americans that have done the same.

This – despite all the bad behavior some of us are guilty of. I think John McCain was right. When asked by a reporter a few years ago about whether Jack Abramoff’s behavior would negatively color the views Americans had of the Jewish people, he answered that the American people are smart enough to know that one person does not represent the whole. I think that’s right. Makes me proud to be an American.

Happy Birthday America!

Harry Maryles

A Look Back: 2011-2012 in Campus Israel Advocacy

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

UN vote reactions. BDS efforts. Anti-Israel Conferences. Gilad Shalit’s release. Social media advocacy. Failed and successful collaborations.

It’s been an eventful year on campus, and through it all, Israel Campus Beat has been reporting on the Israel-on-campus reality. Here’s a look at the 2011-2012 academic year through the keen eyes of ICB.

In the Beginning

The year began with the debate over Palestinian statehood at the UN General Assembly (GA) in September. In preparation for the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) bid for statehood at the GA, Hillel’s Center for Israel Engagement led an initiative, Tents for Israel, to educate students about Israel and enable them to ask questions about Israel in a secure space.

Even prior to Hillel’s initiative, however, the Israel on Campus Coalition and partners launched the Real Partners. Real Peace (RPRP) campaign in July to prepare students on campus to deal with questions about the Palestinian statehood bid. The RPRP campaign promoted the need for direct negotiations between responsible partners to end the conflict by encouraging students to write op-eds on campus, circulate petitions, and undertake other efforts to raise awareness in the campus community. At the launch, students gathered from across the nation, sharing ideas for effective campus advocacy, and used ideas from their discussions not only for the RPRP campaign but also for larger Israel advocacy efforts. To help spread the campaign and keep students connected, RPRP relied heavily on social networking, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media Advocacy

Social media was a major tool for Hasbara Fellowships, who created the “Friend Request Pending” campaign (as part of RPRP). Using Facebook as their theme, Hasbara created a YouTube video to spread the message that Israel wants to become “friends” with Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and others, but the friendship requests are rejected.

Activists on other campuses, such as Brandeis University, have also used video to promote pro-Israel messages. Other students attended the David Project’s Video Production Seminar back in November to learn more about promoting Israel through video; one video, created by a David Project video intern, has been viewed more than 20,000 times.

Social media is quickly becoming a top tool for Israel advocacy. When IDF soldier Gilad Shalit’s release (after more than five years in captivity) was announced in October, Israel supporters turned to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to spread the good news and share their support. Campus Israel groups use Facebook and Twitter to keep students informed of upcoming meetings and events on campus. Students are taking advantage of the technology of the 21st century and using it for Israel advocacy.

Reaching Out

As important as social media is, it does not replace the fundamental need for building relationships. In the past year, pro-Israel students have sought to establish relationships with pro-Palestinian student groups, though the efforts are fraught with challenges. Early in the school year, ICB reported on a coalition between Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Noles for Israel (NFI) at Florida State University (FSU). Such efforts are so rare that they can seem too good to be true, and in this case, it was. A mere month after the start of this new, hopeful coalition, FSU’s SJP invited Norman Finkelstein, a notoriously anti-Israel speaker, to campus and the partnership ended bitterly.

A successful partnership, however, blossomed this year at a different Florida university. At the University of Miami, an MZ-Grinspoon Intern started a new pro-Israel organization on campus, the I-Team, that includes Jewish, Palestinian and Christian members who work together harmoniously.

Countering anti-Israel Sentiment

In response to a conference at the University of Pennsylvania that sought to advance the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort, Israel supporters galvanized to offer a broad range of activities designed to counter the anti-Israel activity. Student activists from all over traveled to Penn to engage students in discussions about Israel. With Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz as the keynote speaker and over 800 students attending Friday night dinners devoted to discussing the conflict, the effort succeeded in creating a positive view of Israel on campus and yielded an Ivy League joint leadership statement condemning the BDS movement.

Later in the year, Dershowitz shared his views with ICB about the Harvard University student conference in March, entitled “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution.” Student activists and the professionals who support them have learned a lot from the encounters with anti-Israel activity on and off the campus over the past year. But the most prominent lessons to be learned may be the importance of building and maintaining coalitions and partnerships with diverse groups.

Elianna Mintz, Israel Campus Beat

Reuters Poll: Majority of Americans Back Strike Against Iran, Even if Gas Prices Were to Rise

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

A recent poll by Reuters/Ipsos revealed that a majority of Americans would support US military action against Iran if there were evidence that it is pursuing nuclear weapons.

The poll, conducted from March 8-11, reported that 56% of respondents would support US military action, while 39% opposed.

In response to the question of whether they would back US military action if it meant an increase in gasoline prices, a majority -53%- still expressed support for military action, while 42% said they would not.

The poll also found that 62 % of Americans surveyed would support Israel undertaking a military strike against Tehran.

The Obama administration has said that higher gasoline prices are one likely result of a military attack on Iran, and has urged the international community – and particularly Israel – to give sanctions more time.

Unsurprisingly, the poll also revealed that Republicans were more supportive of military action than Democrats – whereas 70% of Republicans would back military force, only 46% percent of Democrats agreed.

The poll was conducted among 1,084 adults across the United States, and has a margin of error of 3.1%.

Solomon Burke

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/reuters-poll-majority-of-americans-back-strike-against-iran-even-if-gas-prices-were-to-rise/2012/03/14/

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