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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘campaign’

BDS Tries to Keep Israel’s SodaStream Out of Super Bowl

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

As cheerleaders shake their pom poms, top-dollar players hone their victory dances, and marketers prepare to rake in the dough raised through advertising and sales, Super Bowl XLVII will not just showcase a rivalry between this year’s best winningest football teams, but stands to highlight a burgeoning campaign against Israeli life in the biblical heartland.

SodaStream, an Israeli maker of home soda machines, aims to place its first advertisements in the US during the upcoming Super Bowl, according to an article by the Associated Press.  Aiming to make it big in the United States, SodaStream – the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of home beverage coronation systems – seems to be a natural choice for Americans who want easy convenience, lower costs, and an effortless way to take part in protecting the environment by reducing the number of plastic bottles produced to hold their drinks.  The company is willing to stake a lot of money on that possibility – $3.5 million, the amount it takes to purchase just 30 seconds of advertising time during the Super Bowl.

And while simple consumerism might assure SodaStream a steady stream of sales, pro-Palestinian activists are working to ensure that SodaStream fizzles out.

Soda Stream is produced in Mishor Adumim, according to the AP, an industrial zone adjacent to Maale Adumim, a Jewish community in the Judean desert which has gained notoriety recently for its proximity to Israel’s latest building project, E-1.

“The new SodaStream publicity blitz has given the US boycott, divestment, sanctions movement a marvelous opportunity to bring our campaigns targeting settlement products to a new, unprecedented level of visibility and success,” said Anna Baltzer, an organizer of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation in the AP report.

Though Israeli products enjoy success in the US and Europe, the massive international campaign encouraging governments, companies, and private citizens to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel has enjoyed limited success, winning an EU case stopping products made in Judea and Samaria from enjoying the same duty free status as products made in other parts of Israel, and convincing the United Kingdom to ban a SodaStream TV ad on the pretense that it disparaged other soda manufacturers.

For his part, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum says he’s “got to laugh” thinking he’s a target of pro-Palestinian activists, telling the AP that his company provides jobs and economic benefits to many Palestinians workers.

Help Save the Stanton St. Shul!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The Stanton Street Shul on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, at 180 Stanton Street, is a historic, intimate, and vibrant Orthodox congregation serving the diverse Jewish population of Lower Manhattan. It attracts and welcomes Jews of all religious, educational, and cultural backgrounds. Today, it is one of the few tenement shuls still left of the 700 Lower East Side congregations that were recorded in 1918 as serving the Jews of Lower Manhattan.

It was my own spiritual home, along with my family, for six years. Believe me when I tell you it’s a warm and wonderful place.

I just received their SOS email: the roof is leaking and time is running out, is, basically, what they wrote. Here’s the rest:

If you’ve noticed the leaky roof at Shul, you know that the Shul building is in dire need of repairs, a pre-existing need that was exacerbated by Hurricane Sandy. Now you can help by supporting the Stanton St. Shul in an exciting, crowd-sourced fundraising campaign by Lucky Ant to raise $10,000 for our building’s much-needed repairs, including a now leaking roof.

THE CATCH: if the Shul doesn’t reach its $10,000 goal by Dec. 19th, it gets NOTHING. With 15 days left in the campaign we have already passed the $3,000 mark, so we are making progress but still have a long way to go to reach our goal. That’s why letting YOU, friends and new potential donors, know and spread the word is critical. This will ALSO help the Shul meet its 2012 matching fundraising goals for the prestigious Heritage challenge grant the Shul was awarded. The Lucky Ant campaign will be the first building block in raising $30,000 toward that matching grant received from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

The desperately needed money will go to fixing the roof. While the Shul has a laundry list of needed repairs, Hurricane Sandy exacerbated the already-severe water damage to the building and forced the Synagogue’s fundraising efforts to get aggressive.

Lucky Ant works by helping small businesses and not-for-profits get the funding they need from their local communities. In exchange for funding, donors are offered “thank you” gifts from the Shul, including special misheberach (be blessed) prayers, Stanton St. Shul notecards, LES tours, theater tickets, and more. Donors also have the option of taking a tax-donations for charitable gifts, a standard benefit this time of year.

Remember, if we don’t reach our $10,000 goal by December 19th, we get nothing.That’s where you come in! Please tell your friends, families, and broad social networks about our campaign, explain why the shul is important to you, why these funds are so urgently needed, and please consider making a donation of your own, of any amount. Make your donation through Lucky Ant today by clicking here.

And in case any of the above links don’t work, here’s the URL one last time: http://www.luckyant.com/nyc/lower-east-side/index.html
Folks, if you were looking for a worthy cause for your mitzvah gelt this Chanukah — I heartily recommend the Stanton. And go join them on a Shabbat night or morning. Their Friday night Carlebach Kabalat Shabbat are fabulous.

No Room for Moderate Palestinians

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Today there is almost no room for moderates among the Palestinians.

Any Palestinian who dares to talk about compromise and peace with Israel, or even meet with Israelis, is immediately denounced as a “traitor” and “defeatist.”

Take, for example, the most recent case of Munib al-Masri, a wealthy Palestinian businessman from Nablus (Shchem), the largest city in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -Ed.].

Known as the “Palestinian Rothschild,” al-Masri has drawn strong condemnations from many Palestinians for hosting Israeli businessman Rami Levy at his home.

Even Palestinian journalists have joined the campaign against al-Masri. Some 70 journalists signed a petition calling on the Palestinian media to stop calling calling al-Masri’s palace by its name, “The House of Palestine.”

Inspired by Andrea Palladio, the most influential individual in the history of Western architecture, The “House of Palestine” is the most expensive palace in the West Bank.

It was in this palace that al-Masri met with Levy and Palestinian, Arab, Islamic, U.N. and E.U. representatives to find ways to “break the stalemate” in the Middle East peace process.

The main purpose of the gathering was to “create an Arab-Islamic-Jewish alliance to impact decision-makers by launching an initiative to break the stalemate,” according to a statement issued by al-Masri.

Palestinians representing various political groups have since condemned al-Masri for promoting “normalization” with Israel by inviting an Israeli businessman to the meeting in his palace.

The widespread condemnations forced al-Masri to issue a “clarification” in which he reassured Palestinians that he was “totally opposed to any economic relations with Israeli businessmen as long as Israel continued to occupy the 1967 territories.”

The “clarification” is yet another sign of how moderate Palestinians succumb to threats and calls for boycott.

A few days later, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas underwent the same experience.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV station, Abbas stated that he did not want to return to his birthplace of Safed [in northern Israel], triggering an unprecedented wave of denunciations from many Palestinians who accused him of relinquishing the Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” to their former villages inside Israel.

Like al-Masri, Abbas later reassured Palestinians that he remained “committed to the right of return” and that he would never compromise on the rights of the refugees.

Obviously, the Palestinians have been radicalized to a point where they are not ready to hear about any concessions to Israel or tolerate the presence of an Israeli businessman in a Palestinian city. This radicalization is the direct result of decades of anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination in the Palestinian territories — a campaign that has been spearheaded, ironically, by the “moderate” Palestinian Authority leadership that is publicly talking about making peace with Israel.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Likud Anglo Candidate Suspends Campaign in Solidarity with IDF and Southern Residents

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Likud Knesset Candidate Daniel Tauber declared a suspension of campaign activities in solidarity with the residents of the South and the IDF.

Tauber also said he would request that the Likud delay the date of primaries, currently scheduled for November 25th, saying that, “Campaigns should not be brought to fever pitch as our soldiers are risking their lives fighting our enemies and residents of the South are forced to hide in fear.”

In a letter to supporters, Tauber called for the elimination of “Hamas and any other terrorist group operating within the Land of Israel or on our borders” arguing that, “As long as terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah continue to operate with impunity millions of our citizens will be under threat and Israel will be constraining geopolitically.”

On Thursday evening, Tauber instructed his campaign volunteers to stop contacting Likud members until Sunday evening, when the situation could be reviewed and the campaign could determine how to proceed in an appropriate manner.

Tauber ended his letter with the prayer “that justice is meted out to Hamas and all the enemies of the Jewish people.”

Tauber is also executive-director of Likud Anglos and has in the past urged Likud Members of Knesset and Minister not to be restrained in pursuing terrorists out of fear of international pressure.

Australian Jewish Students Launch ‘Code Red’ Campaign in Support of Israel

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) has launched an online campaign to support the one million residents of southern Israel currently living under rocket fire. The campaign asks people around the world to send in photographs wearing red clothing to match the Tzeva Adom (‘Code Red’) warnings that citizens receive when a rocket is about to fall in their area. The Campaign was the joint initiative of AUJS students and Leora Golomb, The Jewish Agency for Israel National Shaliach to AUJS.

The campaign, which was launched on Tuesday, November 13, has already received strong support – with photos coming in from Australia and around the world including the US, Canada and Israel, along with thank you messages from Israelis. Jewish organizations such as the Zionist Federation of Australia have also replaced their logos on Facebookwith a red version in support.

The Jewish Agency sends young shlichim (Israel Fellows to Hillel) to work with university students on over 70 campuses across the United States. In addition, shlichim in Uruguay and Australia work with university students.

Leora Golomb, The Jewish Agency for Israel National Shaliach to AUJS said: “As a formerstudent at Ben Gurion University, who lived for three years in Beer Sheva, I explained to the students how difficult it was for the residents of the South. I felt that we needed to do something, no matter how small to show our support and solidarity The students agreed and immediately began working on the campaign.”

AUJS Campaign coordinator Dean Sherr said the sudden escalation in attacks on Israel had motivated supporters around the world to action: “AUJS’s intention for this campaign was to send a strong, unified message of support to the one million southern Israelis currently living under a barrage of rocket attacks. That message has been overwhelmingly taken up, with photos coming in from around the world – showing that people truly do care.”

The Campaign That Never Ends

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

As the dust settles and the fog lifts from this tumultuous year of political campaigning, we are left to wonder how our country will evolve. Will the economy bounce back? Will our schools make progress? And how about U.S. relations with Israel? Will they grow weaker or stronger? Will the administration support an Israeli strike on Iran?

No one truly knows. Perhaps this explains the gripping fascination we had with the just-concluded campaign. The intensity of emotions was palpable. The explosive passion for one candidate or the other inundated the streets of our country. Tens of millions were glued to the presidential debates and media coverage of the campaign drew an impressive number of viewers, listeners and readers.

The question, of course, is why? Why were the boisterous noises of this election campaign so dominating? Why were we magnetized by the daily polls, the gaffes and the statistics? Why did we so often give in to our relentless urge to report about the political news of the day on Facebook, Twitter and other social arenas?

Some observers say it was the appeal to vote and make a difference that drew our attention so fiercely. Others say we were lured by the appearance and personality of the candidates, by the characteristics they exuded and which we strongly empathized with or profoundly desired –integrity, intelligence, charisma, etc.

I suggest an alternative take on this phenomenon: It was our yearning for leadership that drew us to the candidates and their respective parties. And understandably so; after all, our generation has repeatedly suffered from leaders – in politics, in sports, in culture and in many other realms of our lives – who fell so low shortly after climbing so high.

Thus, as we followed the candidates’ every move, as we listened to their every promise, as we acted on their every call, we hoped and prayed that authentic leadership could be restored, that people of merit would once again become leaders of spirit.

But our search for this leader ought not to focus solely on the outside. For this optimal leader exists deep within the chambers of our souls. And day after day he hankers to emerge and fulfill his high calling and noble potential to live a life of divine meaning, a life empowered by our heritage and traditions, a life bolstered by deeds of goodness and kindness.

“Behold, the days are coming,” the prophet Amos proclaimed, “when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of God” (Amos 8:11).

It is the word of God, emanating from our inner quintessential leader, that we must seek out and realize.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of Great Britain, tells the story of how as a young student of philosophy at Cambridge University he traveled the world to visit great leaders. When he met with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe asked him about the condition of Jewish students at Cambridge, and what he was doing to help them.

“In the situation I currently find myself,” Rabbi Sacks began to respond, whereupon the Rebbe interrupted him and said: “No one finds themselves in a situation. You put yourself in a situation, and if you put yourself in that situation, you can put yourself in another situation!”

Obviously there are times when we find ourselves in situations that are beyond our control. But at almost every given moment we are presented with the opportunity of putting ourselves in a situation of leadership wherein we are called on to heed the voice of our inner leader and become agents of light to the world around us.

The 2012 presidential campaign is now over. Whether its outcome is good or bad for our country, time will tell.

But there exists a campaign, beyond the limits of time and space, that will never end. The candidate in this campaign may not be glamorous or flamboyant, but he is ambitious and determined to unleash his unique potential and actualize his God-given skills and talents. This candidate is campaigning for a life term. He refuses to rest or resign. He begs us, each and every day, to give him a chance, to allow him to act, to let him speak, to permit him to be. He passionately yearns for your attention, and more important, for your support.

The Conservatives’ Obama Delusion

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

For most of the past two years, if not the past four, many conservatives and Republicans assumed that Barack Obama could not be reelected. A poor economy, an unpopular liberal agenda shoved down the throat of the country, and a largely uninspiring presidential leadership style combined to create a widespread belief on the right that the 2012 election would be a lay-up for them.

We now know what some of us suspected for a long time: Republicans drastically underestimated the president’s appeal as a historic figure.

The postmortem on the Republican failure to defeat the president will go on until 2016, but the finger pointing within the party will largely miss the point. The big problem was not Romney’s moderation (likely to be the right wing’s favorite theory); the influence of the Tea Party (the standard liberal interpretation); the failure to do outreach to Hispanics (though Republicans need to address this problem); Romney’s inability to run against ObamaCare; the GOP standard-bearer’s decision not to talk more about himself and letting the Democrats define him; the decision not to hammer Obama more over the Benghazi fiasco or even Hurricane Sandy.

The main obstacle to a Republican victory was that the party was seeking to defeat the first African-American president – one aided by a supportive mainstream media and buttressed by the power of incumbency and what turned out to be a tremendously efficient campaign organization.

Contrary to the delusion that Obama was a loser waiting to be knocked off, beating him was always going to be a long shot. Most conservatives were prepared to acknowledge that the majority of Americans were still pleased with the idea of righting some historic wrongs by electing an African-American in 2008. But they failed to understand that even though Obama’s administration was not widely viewed as a great success, at least half the country was not prepared to toss him out of office after only one term.

As an incumbent, Obama was able to claim credit concerning things for which he did not deserve many plaudits, like the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the response to the hurricane in the last days before the election. He also could count on the unfailing support of much of the media even when he was embarrassed by events, such as the Benghazi attack.

These were strengths that many Republicans continually discounted or disregarded entirely.

The close nature of the loss at a time when the national economy is still stagnant will naturally cause many on the right to speculate on what Romney and his campaign could have done differently. They will be right when they point out he should have fought back immediately against the slurs on his character that were the focus of much of the Obama campaign’s early efforts.

Maybe a perfect GOP effort could have gotten that extra one percent of the vote that would have turned a few close states and elected Romney. That’s something that will torment conservatives as ObamaCare is implemented and Obama continues to govern from the left.

But even his sternest critics must admit that Romney ran a creditable campaign and was able to use the debates to make the race closer and even take a lead in some polls in the last month. They must also acknowledge that the conservative assumption that the electorate in 2012 would be very different than it was in 2008 was wrong.

The good news for the GOP is that contrary to those who will claim a permanent Democratic majority, the circumstances of 2012 won’t be repeated in four years. Obama will be gone in 2016 and anyone who thinks that Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo or even Hillary Clinton will have an easy time against the deep Republican bench that is ready to run next time misunderstands the nature of American politics.

The bottom line is that Barack Obama won the 2012 election far more than the Republicans lost it. Obama may be a remarkably unsuccessful president (he’s the first to win re-election by a smaller margin) but he was never the patsy most conservatives imagined.

Conservatives spent the two years since their 2010 midterm victory operating under a serious delusion about the president’s political strengths. That’s a terrible indictment of their political acumen, but it won’t affect their chances in four years when Obama is no longer on the ballot.

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo – for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility. And fewer people voted. At the time of this writing (election day), with almost all the votes counted, President Obama has won fewer votes than John McCain won in 2008, and more than ten million off his own 2008 total.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.

That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate. The notion of the “Reagan Democrat” is one cliché that should be permanently retired.

Ronald Reagan himself could not win an election in today’s America.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff. Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote; so too those who anticipate “free” health care, who expect the government to pay their mortgages, who look for the government to give them jobs. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

Imagine two restaurants side by side. One sells its customers fine cuisine at a reasonable price, and the other offers a free buffet, all-you-can-eat as long as supplies last. Few – including me – could resist the attraction of the free food. Now imagine that the second restaurant stays in business because the first restaurant is forced to provide it with the food for the free buffet, and we have the current economy, until, at least, the first restaurant decides to go out of business. (Then, the government takes over the provision of free food to its patrons.)

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation (by the amoral Obama team) of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which “47% of the people” start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money – “free stuff” – from the government. Almost half of the population has no skin in the game – they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese. They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense. In the end, that 47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.

It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds. People do vote their pocketbooks. In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

That suggests the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that, as Winston Churchill stated so tartly, “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Voters – a clear majority – are easily swayed by emotion and raw populism. Said another way, too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads. That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record. He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich. Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to “fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending. How could Obama get away with such rants to squealing sign-wavers? See Churchill, above.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-decline-and-fall-of-the-american-empire/2012/11/11/

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