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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘anti-zionist’

Sharansky Supporting Rabbi Avi Weiss vs. Rabbinate, RCA

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky has released the following statement regarding the debate surrounding Rabbi Avi Weiss:

“Rabbi Avi Weiss is a prominent leader of the Modern Orthodox Jewish world. By his teachings and his personal example, he has inspired and raised generations of Jews in the spirit of kol yisra’el arevim zeh la-zeh (the principle that all Jews are responsible for one another) and with a deep commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

“Rabbi Weiss’s commitment and integrity are beyond reproach, which is why I find the ongoing discussion about his Rabbinic credentials absurd.

“As Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency, I would like to state clearly that our shlichim (emissaries) will continue to honor Rabbi Weiss’s certifications and recommendations, as we have been proud to do up until now.”

Rabbi Weiss complained recently that the Israeli Chief rabbinate and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) were in cahoots to disqualify “Liberal Orthodox” rabbis by the Rabbinate refusing to honor their recommendation of their congregants as proper Jews.

As we wrote here earlier, this created a situation in which the largely anti-Zionist Rabbinate, comprised of wall-to-wall Haredim, was collaborating with the RCA, catering mostly to Orthodox Jews who are comfortable staying in New Jersey – to block Zionist Orthodox American Jews from making aliyah.

Hopefully, this madness will be corrected now, possibly with some additional help from Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett, who dropped the ball this year on electing a National Religious Chief Rabbi.

Academic Group Hosts BDS, Bars Pro-Israel Groups at Panel on Israel

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The pro-Israel campus groups Hillel International and the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) have been denied the right to present a discussion on Israel at the Jan. 9-12 Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in Chicago, JNS.org has learned.

MLA’s convention includes a roundtable discussion that will feature supporters but no opponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The discussion – titled “Academic Boycotts: A Conversation about Israel and Palestine “– is seen as a possible precursor to an MLA academic boycott of Israel, which would mirror recent boycotts by the American Studies Association and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

The MLA convention will consider a resolution that condemns Israel for alleged “arbitrary denials of entry to Gaza and the West Bank by U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.”

Hillel and the ICC asked the 30,000-member MLA for the chance to present what they called an “open discussion featuring MLA members regarding academic freedom in Israel, its territories, and Gaza,” but MLA said the deadline to book a meeting at the convention had passed.

“The MLA convention has procedures for its members to organize sessions, and that deadline was 1 April [2013],” MLA Executive Director Rosemary G. Feal, the MLA’s executive director, wrote in an email to ICC Executive Director Jacob Baime. “We do not rent space at our convention for nonmembers to hold discussions.”

The existing MLA session’s speakers will include BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti; University of Texas professor Barbara Jane Harlow, who has stated her support for the ASA boycott of Israel; University of Southern California professor of English David Lloyd, a well-known BDS activist; and Wesleyan University professor Richard Ohmann, who signed a 2009 letter that described Israeli treatment of Palestinians as “one of the most massive, ethnocidal atrocities of modern times.” University of Texas professor Samer M. Ali, who publicly defended the ASA boycott, organized the roundtable.

“We believe the members of the MLA deserve to hear a far more diverse set of perspectives on the issue of academic freedom in Israel and nearby countries. The MLA members, as academics, certainly can appreciate the value of multiple perspectives on what is a very controversial issue,” ICC’s Baime said.

ICC and Hillel said they are now considering organizing a “balancing panel” discussion at a nearby location during the MLA convention. The panel would feature MLA members who oppose the anti-Israel resolution being considered at the convention.

Ali, the organizer of the convention’s roundtable on BDS, told The Chronicle of Higher Education that the roundtable assumes that Israel violates the rights of Palestinians, and that the debate will center on what to do about it.

“If people want to come and debate occupation, I think it will be a waste of their time, because that’s not what the roundtable is about,” Ali said.

American Studies Association Votes to Boycott Israeli Universities

Monday, December 16th, 2013

A one-third turnout of American Studies Association (ASA) members have voted to endorse its national council’s call for a boycott of Israeli universities, the ASA announced Monday, a day after the deadline for voting.

There were 3,853 eligible voters, but votes were cast by only 1,252 members, two-thirds of whom approved the boycott, according to the ASA announcement. The resolution applies to ASA as an organization and targets institutions but is not binding on individual members.

The membership-wide canvas was unprecedented and was undertaken in part at the behest of boycott opponents, who said at a session during the ASA annual conference in Washington last month that the matter was too sensitive to leave up to the 20-member national council, which unanimously endorsed the boycott.

ASA describes itself as “devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.”

Mass. Transit Authority To Restore Ads Critical of Israel

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it was restoring dozens of ads critical of Israel to its transit system that had been taken down following public complaints.

The transit system said the 80 ads would be put back in the Greater Boston area and that there had been a “miscommunication” with its advertising contractor Titan, according to the Boston Globe. The ads, which went up on Oct. 21, were removed several days later by Titan following the complaints.

“There was a breakdown in our established procedures for handling complaints about specific ads,” according to a transit authority spokesperson.

The ads are comprised of four maps that show what is called “Palestinian loss of land – 1946-2010.” A message alongside the maps reads “4.7 million Palestinians are Classified by the UN as Refugees.” Connecticut resident Henry Clifford, chairman of the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, paid for the $40,000 campaign.

‘Judaism Rejects Zionism’

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

On a beautiful Sunday morning in May, I was driving south on the West Side Highway in New York City, heading towards the Israel Day Parade. As my car made it’s way along the mighty Hudson river, I marvelled on how awesome this city is. I saw myriads of buff joggers, happy barbecues taking place on well-tended Riverside park lawns, and of course, the imposing, surreal, gigantic skyscrapers that adorn this world-capital metropolis.

I travel often to New York to promote a stronger connection between North American Jews and Israel, and to encourage Aliyah, and every time I go I am struck by the thought: How is the Aliyah idea going to compete? This place just has too much of a magnetic pull and Jews have everything here – financial success, the best of world culture, freedom to worship, and all in relative safety, in the shadow of this great city.

While I was pondering this, I saw an airplane flying low over the Hudson River, at first thinking it was a WWII relic. But then I realized it was one of those propeller planes that tow a sign for people to read at the beach. I could make out the first letter was a “J” and so I guessed it was Christian advertising promoting you-know-who. “New York is still a non-Jewish town, and Jews will never feel fully comfortable here” I thought. But as the plane got closer, the sign said something else, something very Jewishy indeed.

It read: “Judaism rejects Zionism and the State of Israel -NK, USA.”

Yup, Neturei Karta rented a plane and flew an anti-Zionist sign from the Rockaways all the way up past Manhattan – all in an effort to push back against the Israel Day Parade. Now I felt totally dejected, because I realized how doubly hard it will be to detach Jews from New York. Not only is the city tantalizing, but there is a conscious effort being made to disconnect Jews from Israel.

You may argue that Neturei Karta is an extremist group and is unrepresentative of American Jewry, and that is true. But they are not the only ones mounting a distance-yourself-from-Israel campaign. On both ends of the Jewish political spectrum there are movements which seek to disengage Jews from Israel.

For some in the Progressive movement it has been in vogue to see Israel as immoral, repressive, racist, as an apartheid state, and even equivalent to the Nazi regime. In a recent article featured on Tikkun Magazine’s website, reprinted from Haaretz, the writer asserts:

“The practice of denying the Palestinians their basic civil rights in the occupied territories under the army’s colonial regime – exemplified by the scandalous policy of administrative detentions and the disappearing of people in Israeli prisons for years because of their opposition to repression and humiliation – is frighteningly similar to the persecution practiced by the dark regimes of the 20th century against their opponents.”

These Progressives may believe they are helping Israel through their criticism, but the real effect is that Jews who come in contact with them are distanced from Israel. Israel is decidedly not their country because it does not meet their progressive Jewish moral standards, or in other words: their Judaism rejects Zionism. “Forget it man, Israel is a mess,” says the liberal-minded Jewish student on campus.

The ultra-Orthodox Chariedim may come from the polar opposite world view, but they too have a Jewish moral reason to get some distance from Israel: Israel is not religious enough, not Torah enough. According to this doctrine Israel was built as a secular State by those antagonistic to Judaism and today is still run by those antagonistic to Judaism. The coercive secularism of Zionism is at the root of the real Israel, and the advent of Yair Lapid only prove that nothing has changed.

Hamodia, the self-described, “Daily Newspaper of Torah Jewry,” had this as the opening line of a recent article: “Secular politicians in Israel — not all of them, but those who are leading the campaign for an ‘equal sharing of the defense burden’ — want to deal the chareidim a crushing defeat.”

How ironic. Both of these Jewish groups could see Israel in a totally different light if they only chose to.

French-Speaking Belgian Students Join the Boycott Israel Fad

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

The Federation of French-speaking Students in Belgium (FEF), a body boasting some 120,000 students in the country, has almost unanimously called for “a freezing of relations with Israeli universities.”

The move was initiated by the University of  Louvain (UCL), according to Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir.

The  2012 the General Assembly of the Louvain students last December voted for a motion requiring that their university take a “clear and progressive” stance by supporting “a freezing of relations between the UCL and Israeli academic establishments until they publicly recognize and denounce the violations of various international law conventions committed by Israel.”

The FEF decision, which was inspired by the UCL students motion, stresses “the “gestures already made by their institution in favor of Palestinian universities” .

The boycott motion was approved by 85 percent of those able to vote, and only six percent voted against the motion, while nine percent abstained.

The universities that are  members of the federation, have agreements with Israeli universities, such as Tel Aviv and the Technion, that FEF president David Méndez Yépe charges “are preferred partners of the arms manufacturer Elbit. They conduct research on the development of drones responsible for causing damage and destruction in Palestine, and their programs are used by the Israeli army.”

PA Daily’s ‘Welcome Obama’ Op-Ed: Hitler Greater than Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

The official Palestinian Authority daily ran an article two days before President Barack Obama touched down in Israel with a “welcome” diatribe that exonerates Muslims of any guilt for the 9/11 attacks, accuses pro-Zionists of being responsible, and implies that Hitler was greater than former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Under the headline “Had Hitler won, Nazism would be an honor,” the op-ed tells readers that “internal American action” was responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

The article was in the Monday edition of the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida  and was translated and published online by the Palestinian Media Watch, which has been a prime source for Congressmen trying to get it through to the American government that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority speak differently in Arabic than they do in English.

“Our history is replete with lies… [including] the lie about Al-Qaeda and the September 11 events, which asserted that Muslim terrorists committed it, and that it was not an internal American action by the Freemasons,” the states the op-ed by Hassan Ouda Abu Zaher.

“Had Hitler won, Nazism would be an honor that people would be competing to belong to, and not a disgrace punishable by law.”

“Churchill and Roosevelt were alcoholics, and in their youth were questioned more than once about brawls they started in bars, while Hitler hated alcohol and was not addicted to it. He used to go to sleep early and wake up early, and was very organized. These facts have been turned upside down as well, and Satan has been dressed with angels’ wings.”

The Real Purpose of Boycotts

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Is the purpose of the calls for boycotts against Israel and its citizens a concern for the human rights or welfare of Palestinians, or actually a call ultimately to eliminate the state of Israel? If there were a real concern for the human rights of Palestinians, why are there not calls for a free Palestinian press, or for the release of journalists from Palestinian prisons, or for an end to the corruption in the Palestinian leadership?

Instead, these calls for boycott look suspiciously like a racist response to the existence of a Jewish state — as if most of its citizens were wearing a yellow Star-of-David in Nazi-like fashion, and deserved to be punished or eliminated. Even Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, well-known critics of Israel and pro-Palestinian activists, have characterized the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel as “hypocritical,” and run by individuals who falsely claim to represent the Palestinian people.

Whether the calls for boycott are the product of leftist anti-nationalist posturing, antisemitism, or simple ignorance, is a matter of judgment. In their disingenuous nature they are simplistic responses to complex, unresolved problems that ignore the distinctions between diverse kinds of activities and issues, such as the different territories and populations, or how “appropriately” to defend oneself in the face of continued aggression. If the advocates for boycott do wish for peace, what they are proposing is actually counterproductive: they create an atmosphere in which calls for boycott have been, and are, an obstacle to the start of negotiations between the parties, and in which adversarial positions only become hardened even further as threats are seen to increase. There seems to be a cognitive dissonance, an inability among the boycotters, to distinguish between facts and the spun perception of them; or perhaps there is an indifference to facts, or perhaps there is a reluctance to place any facts at all in the context of the real, ongoing relationship between the disputing parties.

Boycotts of Jews and Jewish interests by Arab groups go back almost a hundred years, and have become more prominent with the declaration in December, 1945, of the newly formed Arab League Council of 23 countries. The declaration stated that, “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” Hypocrisy was present from the start. The Arab states were less interested in helping Palestinian Arabs than in preventing Jewish products from entering their own countries and competing with them.

This boycott, administered by the Central Boycott Office in Damascus, attempted to isolate Israel economically as well as diplomatically, and did administer some temporary harm to the economy of Israel after the state was established in 1948. In addition to the Arab states, some non-Arab businesses, among them Pepsi, McDonald’s and most Japanese car companies, abided by the boycott, but it was more honored in the breach than in the observance.

Since the 1980s a number of Arab states, starting with Egypt, and with the exception of Syria, have abandoned the boycott, wholly or in part, unable to ignore the new world of globalization, international trade, and binding international trade agreements, particularly that of the World Trade Organization. As a result, Arab countries, both through legal channels and clandestinely through third parties, have been trading with Israeli companies in a considerable fashion, including in irrigation, security systems, and high-tech components, and have accepted Israeli investment.

The boycott is still technically in force by Arab countries, though often bypassed, ineffective and negligible. Its intended impact is now less in economic affairs than in becoming a major polemical weapon in the hands of those non-Arabs who are critical of, or want to condemn, Israel — purportedly because of their opposition of Israeli settlements and their unwillingness to believe that, to the adversaries of Israel, it is regarded as one big settlement.

People can understand the politically motivated logic of Arabs, inside Israel as well as outside, calling for a ban on products made in Israeli settlements, including Ahava Dead Sea health products, Beigel and Beigel pretzels, Super Drink soft drinks, Oppenheimer chocolates, fruits, vegetables, computers, and many other products. It is an illustration of democracy in Israel — and revealing about those who do not wish Israel well — that a major advocate of the boycott is Ahmad Tibi, the Arab-Israeli deputy speaker of the Knesset.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/the-real-purpose-of-boycotts/2012/06/06/

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