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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘CAMERA’

New Project to Revive Zionism as a Source of Pride in Diaspora Youth

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Since bursting on the national scene just two years ago, Chloé Simone Valdary has become a constant fixture in the pro-Israel world. First she created a pro-Israel group, Allies of Israel, on her University of New Orleans campus. Then she started writing about Israel and calling out the hypocrisy of the anti-Israel crowd. Soon thereafter Valdary became a much-in-demand motivational speaker and writer for many different pro-Israel organizations and websites. And she keeps expanding the areas in which she comes to the forefront of the pro-Israel youth movement in America.

This summer Valdary was an intern at one of the most successful and well-established pro-Israel organizations, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), in Boston.

During her stint with CAMERA, Valdary worked on many different projects, but she also created one of her own. It’s called “My Zionism.”

My Zionism” is a vehicle for reaching American youth and helping them to learn about Zionism:  “the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, and one of the world’s greatest civil rights causes of all time.”  The project went live on Wednesday, August 13.

Valdary spoke with The Jewish Press the night before the official launch of  “My Zionism.” We asked her about the goals of the project.

“The goal is to take back the term Zionism and really own it and begin to explain what it really is a liberation movement,” Valdary explained. She said that the short-term goal is to “take back the language and celebrate Zionism.”

One of the ways “My Zionism” works is through reintroducing the art and the poetry of the early phases of the Zionist movement. There have already been several generations of Diaspora Jews who are completely ignorant of the development of the movement. “My Zionism” intends to change that.

“The ‘My Zionism’ project is part of CAMERA’s overall campaign to instill in students the inspirational messages of Zionism. They need to know about our heroes and their incredible achievements,” Andrea Levin, CAMERA’s executive director told The Jewish Press. “Chloe Valdary, who authored this project, has been a brilliant addition to our team during this challenging summer.”

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TED Publishes Anti-Israel Lies in Interview With Arab Photographer

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Who doesn’t love TED?

For those who don’t know, TED is the phenomenally popular series of lectures that began as a one-off conference in 1984 showcasing the convergence of Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED now encompasses almost every conceivable category, so long as people In The Know deem it is, or will be, great.

TED is run by a non-profit foundation and is best known for the 18 minute talks given by the hundreds of presenters chosen by the TED staff. TED also hosts conferences, sells books, encourages independent “TEDx” events and takes on “TED Fellows.”

There is an in-depth interview with a Gazan female photojournalist chosen as a TED fellow in 2014. It was posted on the TED Blog on April 25, 2014. The now-26 year old Eman Mohammed spoke with Karen Eng, part of the TED writers team.

Much of what Mohammed discusses during the interview has to do with the wildly misogynistic culture of Middle Eastern men. Mohammed insists that the misogyny is not dictated by Islam, but is instead an oppressive cultural norm.

In Islam, you’re allowed to work, you’re allowed to be in the field. And men have to respect you because you’re a woman, regardless of what you do, as long as it doesn’t go against Islamic rules. You can’t be, say, an escort or something like that. That goes against modesty rules. But you can be anything else, if you want to. Photography doesn’t offend Islam in any way. So it was never an issue religiously speaking, but it was a huge issue culturally speaking.

Mohammed also discusses, naturally, her work. Her truly spectacular photographs have been used by such major players as Getty Images, The Washington Post, Le Monde, the Guardian, UNICEF and Save the Children.

On the TED blog, Mohammed was allowed to caption her own pictures. In those captions and during brief sections of the interview, Mohammed provided wildly inaccurate accounts of the activities, ethical standards, and operating procedures of the Israel Defense Forces.

In discussing how she was injured while photographing an incident during the Cast Lead Operation in Gaza in 2008, Mohammed attributed to the IDF a particularly heinous practice for which Palestinian Arab terrorists are notorious.

There had been an air strike on a police compound, and I was there afterwards. The thing about the Israeli military, when they start an air strike, they wait for civilians and medical teams to arrive, and then they strike again, so they can have biggest number of casualties.

Before the erection of the Security Fence, when homicide bombers were regularly terrorizing Israel, it happened that an initial bombing was followed by a second one, timed so that it would explode when rescue workers and onlookers had rushed in to help the wounded at the initial bombing site.

The IDF, in stark contrast, dropped over two and a half million leaflets throughout Gaza, and phoned and texted the residents there, warning them of impending attacks.

As the media watchdog organization CAMERA, which was the first to notice the problematic TED interview and wrote about it in an article published in its Hebrew publication, Presspectiva, continued,

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009, praising the “extraordinary measures” that Israel took in Cast Lead to avoid civilian casualties:

I am the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan. I served with NATO and the United Nations; commanded troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Macedonia; and participated in the Gulf War. I spent considerable time in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and worked on international terrorism for the UK Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee.

Mr. President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.

Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents.

The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy’s hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks.

Despite all of this, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes.

There is other misinformation provided as fact by Mohammed which the TED writer and/or editor failed to suggest were anything but fact. She discusses as fact, the highly disputed use of white phosphorous by Israel in the 2008-09 Cast Lead Operation, and the specific targeting of civilians and residential areas. Several of those points are addressed in the CAMERA article, which has been translated into English.

J Street Seeking a Seat at the Conference

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

In a move that will surprise nobody, for its effort to become a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, J Street has the backing of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The JCPA has long been clamoring to include J Street as part of its “big tent” approach to Jewish communal life. And no wonder, the two organizations are closely aligned on most issues, domestic and foreign.

What should also come as no surprise to anyone, those American pro-Israel organizations which see their major focus as global security, including Jewish communities worldwide generally and the Jewish state in particular, such as the Zionist Organization of America, are opposed to ushering in yet another organization into the 50 strong member group which they see as engaging in moral equivalency between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

The issue comes to a vote April 30. And members on both sides of the vote are busily lobbying people to make their voices heard by those who will be voting.

The Conference of Presidents includes most of the major Jewish organizations with which most people are familiar, but there are others who are members that would probably surprise most people.

For example, everyone expects such groups as the ZOA and the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League to be members, the same goes for the offices of the major branches of Judaism. But what Workman’s Circle (a blend of “workers’ rights” mit a bissel Yiddish?) Not to mention the Jewish Labor Committee(“The Jewish voice in the labor movement, and the voice of the labor movement in the Jewish community.”)  Then there’s the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society which is still very much involved in the needs of immigrants, but not too many of whom are Hebrews.

Other organizations such as CAMERA (which deals with media bias against Israel) and Hadassah and Americans for Peace Now and the Jewish Federations and the National Council of Young Israel all also have seats at the Conference of Presidents.

Early word was that the J Street leadership came in for heavy grilling by members, especially with respect to their support for and frequent partnering with organizations which advocate for various forms of economic and legal warfare against Israel, known as the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) movement.

An article in the Forward earlier this month revealed that J Street failed to garner the approval of a critical committee which would have smoothed the way to membership. That article explained that in order for J Street to gain admission there would have to be a 75 percent quorum present, and a two thirds vote.

According to the mission statement of the Conference of Presidents, at least one of the two primary issues on which the Conference focuses should signal a serious battle regarding the admission of J Street, the other one, only slightly less so: “The Conference is at the forefront mobilizing support to halt Iran’s nuclear program and to counter the global campaign to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people.”

J Street was an early and consistent opponent of sanctions against Iran and when it ultimately was flanked to the right by the U.S. administration, it only slowly and very begrudgingly accepted the need for sanctions. J Street was once again a major cheerleader against enacting legislation that would provide for the immediate resumption of sanctions should Iran fail to comply with the obligations the U.S. understood it to have undertaken in the agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1.

There also continues to be a matter of say one thing, do another, with respect to the BDS movement. Although J Street consistently publicly claims to oppose the use of BDS, the J Street U members have been amongst the biggest cheerleaders of divestment resolutions on U.S. campuses (with Cornell University being a notable exception.)

Pro-Israel Event on New Orleans Campus

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

With the help of many friends, on Sunday, March 30, that African American Christian Zionist college student the pro-Israel world has been marveling over for more than a year, Chloé Simone Valdary, pulled off another huge student-led pro-Israel event in New Orleans.

Chloé Simone Valdary, pres. and founder of Allies of Israel and creator of Declare Your Freedom

Chloé Simone Valdary, pres. and founder of Allies of Israel and creator of Declare Your Freedom

Declare Your Freedom 2.0 was held at Tulane University, with over 400 in attendance. Last year, Valdary organized the first DYF, and held it at her school, the University of New Orleans.

The purpose of DYF, Valdary told The Jewish Press, was “to continue to say without compunction or regret that we are Zionists, and also to celebrate Zionism – the civil rights movement of the Jewish people.”

Valdary is a dynamo, but she also had lots of help from fellow Zionists Maor Shapira, Becca Leifer and Nicki Etseckson, all three of whom are students at Tulane.

Simon Deng, human rights activist, former child slave in the Sudan, at DYF 2.0

Simon Deng, human rights activist, former child slave in the Sudan, at DYF 2.0

The four Zionist college students put together a program which included speakers such as Brooke Goldstein, director of The Lawfare Project; Sudanese human rights activist Simon Deng; Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Syrian American, founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy  and CAMERA on campus’s Samantha Rose Mandeles and Alan Mendoza, the executive director of the Henry Jackson Society.

The day-long event interspersed music and serious speakers. The music included a beautiful jazz rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah performed by Assaf Kehati. Other performers were Los Rakas, Pep Love, Zion I, Shi 360 and the Ori Naftaly Band.

As a victim of the true horrors of genocide in his native Sudan where he was a child slave, Deng spoke powerfully about the grotesque irony of people who claim to be human rights activists and focus their ire on Israel, yet completely ignore real genocide in places like the Sudan.

Jasser spoke about the need for reform in the Muslim world, while Mendoza also addressed the hypocrisy of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine who pay not attention to the complete deprivation of civil and human rights for so many in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Zach Stern of ZOA and Samantha Rose Mandeles of CAMERA at DYF 2.0

Zach Stern of ZOA and Samantha Rose Mandeles of CAMERA at DYF 2.0

 

CAMERA on Campus coordinator Samantha Rose Mandeles talked about the great work CAMERA does with pro-Israel students on campuses all across the country. In particular, Mandeles was full of praise for the DYF festival in carrying on the torch for freedom.

DYF 2.0 March 30, 2014

DYF 2.0 March 30, 2014

The student organizations which helped make DYF 2.0 happen were Allies of Israel (Valdary’s group), Tulane United for Israel and McNeese State’s Israel Alliance.

Declare Your Freedom 2.0, Tulane University, March 30, 2014

Declare Your Freedom 2.0, Tulane University, March 30, 2014

Sponsors of Declare Your Freedom 2.0 included CAMERA, the Zionist Organization of America, Standwithus, The Israel-American Council and the Leadership Institute.

The murals were created by Artists 4 Israel.

 

‘Future Leaders for Israel’ Hold Conferences on Campuses

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Sometimes you just have to let the students do it.

There have been increasing reports of the poisonous anti-Israel atmosphere on U.S. campuses over the past half dozen or more years. And with those reports there has been a growing number of pro-Israel organizations which have, some more successfully than others, pivoted to address that battlefield.

There have also been a few organizations which students themselves have begun, some with faculty or organizational support, in order to address the difficulties many pro-Israel students have encountered on their increasingly hostile campuses.

One of the student-initiated groups started out with the name Florida Loves Israel. It held its first conference three years ago and the response was so tremendous, not only within Florida, but beyond, that the organization had to change its name to Future Leaders for Israel. They kept the initials and the acronym, FLI, but the horizon expanded exponentially.

This spring the new FLI is hosting not one but two conferences just one week and 1100 miles apart.

FLI self-describes as a “student-founded, student-led and student-focused organization.” It acts as a bridge, bringing together pro-Israel students and the different organizations on different campuses, through conferences that appeals to different interests and attention spans.

FLI’s goal is to provide educational and engaging information, but also a social and positive experience. It creates conferences which include programming from lots of different pro-Israel organizations. In this way, organizations that may not otherwise work together do so, and the individual interested students get what amounts to a smorgasboard of pro-Israel programming. Not only that, but students from different campuses who share an interest in supporting Israel have a unique opportunity to join forces.

The funding comes from the different organizations which seek to participate in the FLI Conferences.

A rough sketch of how this works is the FLI leaders get together and figure out the general topics which should be included, then pro-Israel organizations are contacted and invited to lead some of those programs. The organizations which choose to participate become sponsors of the whole conference, and then the entire range of events and activities is opened up to interested students from different campuses who participate in the three day conference. The conference includes lots of exciting social and educational pro-Israel activities, along with peers from many different schools.

The Jewish Press spoke with Daniel Ackerman, one of the founders of FLI. He described how the concept began, how it developed, and what its leaders see as its future.

FLI’s first conference this year takes place at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. This conference begins Friday, March 28, and continues through Sunday, March 30.  The second conference is being held in Pittsburgh, and is a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. That one takes place from Friday, April 4 through Sunday, April 6.

Both conferences begin on Friday night. There will be Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Kabbalat Shabbat services. Kosher food will be an option at every meal, and during Shabbat there will be programming that does not violate Shabbat, for Shomer observant students.

FLI FLORIDA

The keynote speaker at FAU will be Yishai Fleisher, “Israel’s only English language broadcast-radio talk show host.” Fleisher was a guest at FLI’s first conference, and he was such a hit FLI brought him back for this year’s Florida conference.

During the Boca Raton conference there will be sessions on “Unpacking the Jewish Narrative: Who are the Jewish People,” and “How to Talk about Israel in a Way that Brings People Together,”  and “The Challenges and Rewards of Starting a Campus Organization.” There will also be sessions on “Campus AntiSemitism, Know Your Legal Rights,” and “What to Expect When You are Expecting (BDS).”

Abe Foxman to Retire Next Year as ADL’s National Director

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

On Monday, Feb. 10, the Anti-Defatmation League announced that its long-time national director Abraham H. Foxman will step down from his position on July 20, 2015.

“For almost five decades, ADL offered me the perfect vehicle to live a life of purpose both in standing up on behalf of the Jewish people to ensure that what happened during World War II would never happen again and in fighting bigotry and all forms of oppression,” Foxman said.

“My years at ADL, particularly the 27 spent as National Director, could not have been more rewarding. ADL continued its growth as a highly respected and influential organization both here in the United States and across the globe.  We have never lost sight of the fact that we are an organization whose first priority is to fight anti-Semitism and protect the Jewish people. I’m proud of all that we have accomplished.”

Foxman, a Holocaust survivor who was hidden as a child during the war, and who later immigrated to America with his parents, began his career with the ADL in 1965 after graduating from the City College of the City University of New York and New York University School of Law.

In 1987, Foxman was tapped as the ADL’s National Director. During his tenure, the ADL grew to include 30 regional offices in the U.S. as well as an office in Israel. The League celebrated its centennial year in 2013.

Foxman announced his retirement to members of the League’s National Executive Committee during its annual meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, and shortly thereafter in a letter to members of ADL’s National Commission.

The ADL has instituted a Succession Committee which will be conducting an extensive nationwide executive search for Foxman’s successor.

The ADL is one of the biggest and most powerful American Jewish organizations.  Its early mandate was fighting discrimination against Jews, but in later years it weighed in on matters pertaining to Israel, and also to other forms of perceived discrimination, including what it calls “Islamophobia.”

Charles Jacobs, another long-time leader of the American Jewish community, expressed his disappointment at the direction in which the ADL, under Foxman, traveled in recent years.

“When Abe Foxman began his career at the ADL, the greatest threats to the Jewish people were neo-Nazis and the unreconstructed Christian anti-Semites. But in more recent years, as Foxman himself would sometimes tell reporters, the greatest threat to the Jewish people is now Islamic anti-Semitism.  This, along with leftist anti-Zionism constitute ‘the new anti-Semitism.’  Tragically, Foxman failed to pivot to meet those threats both in terms of his personal energy as well as the vast resources of his organization,” Jacobs told The Jewish Press by telephone on Monday evening.

“When we started the Boston branch of CAMERA [the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America], we wanted the ADL to take the lead against anti-Israel bias in the media. He declined. Instead, Foxman led the ADL towards a politically correct universalism, using Jewish resources to address general liberal concerns, and waging campaigns against general human nastiness, like bullying, and misleading Jews about the situation we actually are in.

“Rather than leading the largest Jewish defense agency against the most daunting of our adversaries, Foxman frittered on the sidelines despite knowing exactly who and where the dangers lie,” Jacobs added.  “I hope the next national director does a better job,” he concluded.

Effective July 20, 2015, Foxman will become ADL Director Emeritus. He will serve on both the ADL National Commission and the ADL National Executive Committee in addition to serving in a part-time consultancy.

Hecklers Flee Israeli Speaker at U of Florida

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Anat Berko is a small-framed woman known for her ubiquitous yards long braid.  She is also one of the world’s leading counter terrorism experts who has sat in prison cells next to some of the most dangerous serial killers and attempted homicide bombers who ever lived.

A handful of anti-Israel University of Florida students chose the wrong speaker to interrupt.

Berko was at the Gainesville campus on Thursday, Oct. 10, as the guest of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

According to CAMERA fellow Avia Gridi, with approximately 7,000 Jewish students, the University of Florida has the single largest number of Jewish students at any university in the United States.

This is Gridi’s first year as a CAMERA fellow and the “More Hummus, Less Hamas” evening with Berko was her first event.

The Smarter Bomb is Berko’s second book about homicide bombers.  In it she tells the story of the women and children who are induced to attempt to become homicide bombers.  Berko knows the experience of those women well.  She spent decades inside Israeli prisons interviewing the women who failed to martyr themselves either because of a technical malfunction or because the authorities were able to disrupt the plans.

Berko gained the trust of dozens of such women in Israeli cells. Her particular interest in writing The Smarter Bomb was to uncover the motivation of the women and children to attempt to commmit such acts, especially the difference in motivations between women and men.

Having as your laboratory the prison cells of people who attempted to kill – they say “martyr” – themselves in order to murder Israeli men, women and children is not the choice of someone who is easily frightened.  But in addition to being a social scientist, Berko is also a Lieutenant Colonel (Res) in the Israel Defense Forces. That is also not a career choice for people who are easily intimidated. And Berko isn’t.

So eight minutes after Berko began speaking at Pugh Hall last Thursday night, when four students, who had arrived late, suddenly stood up, removed their outer shirts and began chanting accusations, Berko was having none of it.

“Hamas is not the Problem, the Israeli Occupation Is!” and “The IDF kills women and children!” were the slogans drawn on the students shirts, and chanted by the students.

“What is wrong with you?” Berko sharply addressed the four. “Sit down and listen to what I have to say and wait for the question and answer portion of this event to raise your issues!”

But the four students who later identified themselves as members of the seemingly ubiquitous, but certainly infamous, Students for Justice in Palestine were not interested in listening to Berko.  They came to make their own voices heard.

“She seemed disgusted by the display,” Gridi told The Jewish Press.

And then Berko really let them have it.

“You think the IDF kills children? You should go to Syria, where everyone knows they are murdering thousands of children with gas and other cruel weapons!  Go to Syria where there are actually thousands of real refugees. They need you to demonstrate in Syria, go!” Berko lectured the SJP hecklers.

And with that, the hecklers left the room and Berko continued her lecture. The people who came to hear about what could possibly motivate women and children (that’s the “smart bomb” Berko means) to want to kill themselves were able to hear from her first hand observations and watch video clips of many who attempted to be smart bombs.

And the four hecklers? They left the room with their tails between their legs, unable to grab the spotlight for their inane chants, unable to disrupt a carefully prepared evening of education which Gridi and CAMERA’s co-sponsors for the event, the ICC, MEMRI and the Gainesville Hillel put on.

“I’m used to sitting in jail cells with serial killers, did they think I would be intimidated by some American college students?” Berko said in a phone interview on Wednesday evening with The Jewish Press.

When asked about the Berko event, Gridi was both pleased and a bit nonplussed.

“The event went really well, although none of it went as expected.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israeli-speaker-at-u-of-florida-tells-off-sjp-hecklers-they-flee/2013/10/18/

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