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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn’

Muslim Kid Helps Cops Catch Man who Attacked Orthodox Jewish woman [video]

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Ahmed Khalifa, 17, a Muslim Midwood high school student, helped police capture a homeless man who viciously smacked the face of an Orthodox Jewish woman who was reading a book on a Coney Island-bound Q train near the Newkirk Ave. station around 7:50 PM Tuesday, the NY Daily News reported.

Khalifa, who works at the public library near Grand Army Plaza, chased the attacker, Rayvon Jones, 31, after the assault. “It was a very hard slap, I almost could feel the slap,” Khalifa told the Daily News. “He was 6-foot-6, and a very big, big guy.”

Khalifa said he was riding the Q home after working a shift, listening to music on his headphones. He suddenly saw the homeless man hit the woman. The smack broke the victim’s glasses, she dropped to the floor and became momentarily unconscious. She was taken to hospital with a cut lip and bruising. When she came to, she cried, “Why would he do this to me? Why would he do this to me?”

The attacker fled the train at Newkirk, and Khalifa yelled at the conductor to call for help. Then he took off after the man. He eventually lost him, and enlisted the help of an Orthodox man, who invited him into his car and the two of them tracked down the attacker. “We found him at the bus stop and called the Shomrim,” Khalifa told the Daily News.

A large number of Shomrim safety patrol members arrived to pick up the man, who was trying to escape on a bus. He became violent and screamed, “I’m going to kill all of you! I’m going to kill all of you!” Police eventually arrived and arrested him. Inside the police car, the homeless man kicked the doors hard enough so they wouldn’t open, the Daily News reported. He was charged with assault.

David Israel

Brooklyn College Needs To Shed Its Image As A Hotbed Of Anti-Zionism

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

What is it about Brooklyn College that makes it such a hotbed of anti-Zionism and flashpoint in the political war against Israel?

The college is part of City University of New York system and has a large number of Jews and Muslims, but so do other schools. We don’t seem to hear nearly as much about the activities of Students for Justice in Palestine and other groups devoted to the destruction of Israel at other public or private colleges as we do at Brooklyn. In the New York area it particularly stands out.

Per the conservative Los Angeles-based David Horowitz Freedom Center, which tracks campus anti-Israel activity, Brooklyn College is one of the top 10 schools in the nation for anti-Israel activity, alongside such peers as San Diego State, University of California at Irvine, Vassar College, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

According to the center’s website stopthejewhatredoncampus.org, Brooklyn College “is home to one of the most active and extreme SJP chapters in the nation. Brooklyn College SJP has posted articles and videos online defending terrorism, including an advertisement titled ‘The Third Intifada; on its Facebook page.” Antics have included a “die-in” to dramatize Palestinian victims, trampling on Israeli flags, and mock-up military checkpoints to illustrated West Bank life for Arabs.

According to Amcha Initiative, last year more than 300 incidents of anti-Semitism occurred at 109 schools in 28 states. “SJP and other anti-Zionist student groups are a major source of anti-Semitic rhetoric and behavior at many schools,” the organization states on its website.

We are losing the battle of social media that allows today’s youth to be educated with lies and deception. Israel and Jewish organizations are trying to provide Jewish students with balanced information, including free Birthright Israel trips. But they must do more to show Israel’s efforts at making peace, its contributions to the world, and the stubbornness of the Palestinians in resisting productive talks.

Several high-profile Israel-bashing events, some coordinated with faculty, have been held at Brooklyn College. Four Jewish students fought a long battle for justice after they were thrown out of an SJP event in February 2013 simply for holding pro-Israel fact sheets they had yet to distribute. It took over a year and the assistance of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law before then-college president Karen Gould apologized to the students, acknowledging that a college official violated the students’ civil rights by ejecting them.

(The college then added insult to injury by telling the press, incorrectly, that the students had been disruptive.)

But things haven’t improved much in the interim. In February of this year, a group of rowdy protestors stormed into a faculty council meeting and started chanting anti-Zionist nonsense at the professors. The meeting had to be adjourned.

This is not to say students shouldn’t be free to voice criticism of Israel under their First Amendment rights. No country is perfect, and people are entitled to opinions even if they are misinformed or biased.

But, increasingly, anti-Zionist protestors all over North America have tried to silence and intimidate the other side, disrupting events, shouting down speakers, targeting students in their dorms with “eviction notices,” and striving to make it difficult to express support for Israel (which, last time I checked, is also protected by the Constitution.)

A survey by the Cohen Center at Brandeis University found one quarter of North American Jewish students “describe hostility toward Israel on campus by their peers as a ‘fairly’ or ‘very big’ problem.” The Zionist Organization of America and the Brandeis Center for Human Rights have been advising Jewish students on their rights and how to protect them from infringement.

This atmosphere of bias and intimidation is especially poignant at a time when colleges are increasingly concerned with trigger warnings, safe spaces, and open bathrooms to ensure that no one’s feelings are hurt, and that counseling is available if they are.

Aren’t Israel supporters entitled to the same protection and concern?

There may be no easy answer as to why Brooklyn College has become such a battleground. Maybe the situation just builds on itself. Fortunately, the college has a top-notch Hillel organization with ample facilities just off campus for pro-Israel students to safely and comfortably hold their events. There is no shortage of pro-Israel organizations and activities run by proud and tough Jews, including a sizable share of Israelis, who aren’t going anywhere and aren’t about to hide their blue and white flags for anyone.

Hillel director Nadya Drucker and her staff and board work closely with the administration to share concerns. Hopefully the college’s new president, Michelle J. Anderson, understands the need for open dialogue and exchange of ideas, without intimidation, between students.

But bad decisions, like siding with anti-Israel forces over Israel supporters, can have a lasting negative impact, suggesting to SJP and others that they have free reign and friends in high places.

In keeping with what should be the college’s role as an academic haven for thousands of Jewish students and other Israel supporters, the administration must disabuse Israel haters of that notion. Just as it is crucial to stand firm against terrorists, we must do the same with their supporters.

Eli Verschleiser

R’ Ben Zion Shenker, z’l, The Monarch of Jewish Music Passes

Monday, November 21st, 2016

The Modzitzer shteibel on Coney Island Avenue was silent on Sunday morning; Reb Ben Zion Shenker, z’l, didn’t wake up for the Shacharis morning service.

The monarch of Jewish music, R’ Ben Zion Shenkar was the treasure of the Modzitz Chassidus, the composer of more than a thousand songs known and loved and sung by Jews every Sabbath for decades.

Born in 1925 to parents who immigrated to the United States from a town near Lublin to settle in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, R’ Ben Zion began his career as a teenager in 1941. It began when the young teen was humming Chasidische niggunim written in a book. He was noticed by the Modzitzer Rebbe, the Imrei Shaul, who immediately hired him to be his musical secretary and transcriber.

“Eishes Chayil,” sung by three generations of men to their brides, was first brought to the world by R’ Ben Zion Shenkar in 1953. A little over a decade later, “Yasis Alayich” became the song of choice to grace every Jewish wedding in the world.

Just a few months ago, 92-year-old Reb Ben Zion Shenker released another album. Who knew it would be his last gift to our world?

Hana Levi Julian

Brooklynites to Protest Vandalizing of Jewish Beastie Boy’s Brooklyn Park

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

A Brooklyn Heights playground named after late hip hop group Beastie Boys’ star Adam Yauch was vandalized with swastikas and the words “Go Trump!” on Friday. Yauch, who was Jewish, died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 47.

Tweeted photos show the swastika and slogan that were spray-painted on the playground equipment. Parents reported the vandalism to Democratic State Senator Daniel Squadron on Friday, and his staff notified the Parks Department and police, according to a Squadron spokesman, who said that Parks Dept. employees scrubbed the equipment on Friday night.

Two police officers were stationed in the park on the night between Thursday and Friday, but, apparently, were not aware of the vandalism.

Adam Nathaniel Yauch (1964 – 2012) was an American rapper, musician, film director, and human rights activist. He was best known as a founding member of the Beastie Boys. He was also known by his stage name, MCA, and the pseudonym Nathanial Hörnblowér. His father had been raised a Catholic and his mother was Jewish. Yauch was a practicing Buddhist.

State Senator Squadron sent out an email inviting New Yorkers and the media to join him on Sunday at the Adam Yauch park on State Street (between Columbia & Willow Place), at 11:30 AM, “to stand against hate in our backyard, our city, and our country.”

Squadron will be joined by Beastie Boys member Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Councilmembers Stephen Levin and Brad Lander, elected officials, community and faith leaders.


Senator Boxer Wants to Abolish Electoral College

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca) who is retiring in January 2017 has introduced he last bill, and it’s a big one. Boxer’s legislation, submitted on Tuesday, will abolish the Electoral College, leaving the choice of a president up to the popular vote.

“In my lifetime, I have seen two elections where the winner of the general election did not win the popular vote,” Boxer said in a statement. “When all the ballots are counted, Hillary Clinton will have won the popular vote by a margin that could exceed 2 million votes, and she is on track to have received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama.”

“The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately,” Boxer insisted, stressing that “every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts.”

Boxer’s bill requires an amendment to the US Constitution (number 28), and three-fourths of the states would be needed to ratify the bill within seven years — should its pass in Congress.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Sophie (née Silvershein) and Ira Levy, Barbara Boxer has been the junior Senator from California since 1993. In October 2002, Boxer voted against the joint resolution to authorize the use of military force by the Bush Administration in Iraq. In June 2005, Senators Boxer and Russ Feingold (D-WI) cosponsored Senate Resolution 171 calling for a timeframe for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

President Elect Donald Trump is the fifth person to win the presidency while losing the popular vote. The most recent was George W. Bush in 2000. The other three times all took place in the 19th century. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 63 percent of Americans would get rid of the electoral college.

“In 2012, Donald Trump tweeted, ‘The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy,'” Boxer said in her statement. “I couldn’t agree more. One person, one vote!”


An Anti-Israel Food Coop Grows In Brooklyn

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

When Brooklyn’s Park Slope Food Coop (PSFC) was founded in 1973, it had a worthy mission: to make healthy and affordable food available to everyone who wanted it.

But PSFC appears to have lost its way. In April, it suspended four loyal, long-time members for a whole year – three of them members from the Coop’s inception. The reason? Allegedly, the four disrupted a meeting. But in reality, they were singled out from among hundreds of Coop members who vociferously objected to a hateful and bigoted anti-Israel presentation at a Coop meeting aimed at getting the Coop to boycott an Israeli company called SodaStream.

This wasn’t the first time an anti-Israel boycott was proposed at the Coop; the membership had already considered and soundly rejected one in 2012. But the Israel-bashers were persistent, this time displaying inflammatory anti-Israel photos at a Coop general meeting. The photos weren’t verified, they had no context, and the boycott proponents did not even establish their connection to SodaStream.

Members at the meeting reported that not only was Israel viciously attacked; Jews were, too, with outrageous and incendiary comments like “Jews are aggressive toward black children.”

The four suspended PSFC members were no doubt passionate and vocal in their objection to this anti-Israel boycott effort, and they had good reason to be: A boycott of Israeli products such as SodaStream would violate New York State law and could subject the Coop to liability.

New York’s Human Rights Law prohibits boycotts based on national origin, among several other protected categories. The law doesn’t require evidence of a formal boycott campaign; it’s enough if there’s a pattern of conduct that commercially disadvantages members of a protected class –which describes the anti-Israel vendetta at the Coop.

Boycotts that protest unlawful discriminatory practices do not violate the Human Rights Law, but that exception couldn’t possibly apply to a boycott targeting SodaStream, a company that exemplifies fairness and peaceful Jewish-Arab coexistence.

When the SodaStream factory was located near Maale Adumim – an area in Judea under Israeli control as per the 1993 Oslo Accords that likely would be included as part of Israel in any future peace deal – approximately 500 Palestinians worked at the factory alongside Israeli Jews, receiving equal pay and treatment. The factory even had a mosque for Muslim employees.

The Coop was targeting SodaStream for one reason only: It’s an Israeli company and the boycott promoters are hostile to Israel, which is precisely what the law is aimed at addressing.

Recently, New York State made its prohibitions against anti-Israel boycotts even stronger. Last June, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order to prevent state agencies and authorities from engaging in or promoting “any investment activity that would further the harmful and discriminatory Palestinian-backed Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in New York State.”

The Coop isn’t a state entity but it does receive both state and federal benefits. In addition to the federal money it receives from the food stamps that some customers use, the Coop has been authorized by the state to operate as a non-profit tax-exempt organization. The Coop thus doesn’t have to pay taxes derived from the revenue it collects. Given these benefits, it is difficult to believe that New York State would indulge a Coop decision to target and discriminate against Israeli companies, including SodaStream.

These kinds of liability concerns prompted the GreenStar Food Coop in Ithaca to reject a boycott of Israeli products. GreenStar’s legal counsel wisely concluded that the boycott could render GreenStar liable under the Human Rights Law.

The four members’ vehement rejection of PSFC’s anti-Israel boycott efforts made sense for a second reason: Targeting and boycotting the one Jewish state in the world – and the only thriving democracy in the Middle East – flies in the face of the Coop’s own Mission Statement.

PSFC purports to be committed to “oppose discrimination in any form,” to “make the Coop welcoming and accessible to all,” and to “lead by example” and educate about such topics as “cooperation and the environment.”

The four members, together with hundreds of others who also opposed a boycott of the environmentally friendly SodaStream, strongly reacted because they believed the Coop should stay out of a complicated political situation and remain an accessible place for everyone.

The absolute injustice of the Coop’s suspension of its four loyal members led the Zionist Organization of America to intervene and urge the Coop to reinstate the members immediately and stop promoting discriminatory and potentially illegal practices targeting Israel.

But the Coop has disgracefully stayed silent, keeping in place the harsh punishment, which is directed against not only the four members but also all the members of their respective households who have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Everyone in the community – especially our public officials – should be calling on the Park Slope Food Coop to stop indulging a group of Israel-bashers who seem obsessed with singling out and discriminating against Israel, in violation of public policy. Instead, the Coop should stick to its mission to make healthy and affordable food available to everyone who wants it.

Susan B. Tuchman and Morton A. Klein

America Prepares to Vote in Brooklyn, NY

Monday, November 7th, 2016

America is gearing up to vote for a new president on Tuesday, and already by Monday polling stations were in place, ready for the expected flood of voters that candidates are hoping will come to cast their ballots.

In the Midwood section of Brooklyn, polling places are squirreled away, cheek-and-jowl, in every corner of the neighborhood.

On a leafy dead-end street, the Board of Elections has managed to tuck in a polling place in the basement of a residential building on East 17th Street and Avenue I, next to a tony housing project where a security manager in an outside booth eyes unfamiliar people.

Brooklyn Public Library polling place for 2016 US presidential election, on East 16th Street between Aves I and J in Midwood section of Brooklyn, New York.

Brooklyn Public Library.

A second polling place for neighbors to cast their ballots is located barely a block away in the Brooklyn Public Library on East 16th Street between Avenues I and J.

Election booths have been set up in many libraries, public schools and even one in a church, said a local source who requested anonymity.

New York photographer DS Levi is among those tracking down the local action on Election Day for JewishPress.com.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/america-prepares-to-vote-in-brooklyn-ny/2016/11/07/

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