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June 28, 2016 / 22 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Capitol Hill’

Israel Slams Claim of Spying on U.S.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed a report by U.S.-based Newsweek magazine claiming Israel has been “spying” on America.

The foreign minister told listeners on Israel’s Voice of Israel government radio Wednesday morning, “First of all, these are malicious accusations. . . I would not agree to any spying on the United States, not in any form, directly or indirectly.”

Israeli Embassy spokesperson Aaron Sagui also flatly denied the charges, telling Newsweek, “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period. We condemn the fact that such outrageous, false allegations are being directed against Israel.”

The report, published Tuesday by Newsweek, quoted anonymous senior intelligence officials in the United States, and Congressional staffers.

Written by journalist Jeff Stein, the report began with the question, “Whatever happened to honor among thieves? When the National Security Agency was caught eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, it was considered a rude way to treat a friend. Now U.S. intelligence officials are saying – albeit very quietly, behind closed doors on Capitol Hill – that our Israeli “friends” have gone too far with their spying operations here.”

Stein wrote the espionage had allegedly been revealed in recent visa waiver briefings, saying the spying came under cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts. The alleged primary target: “America’s industrial and technical secrets,” according to his report.

Last month a senior House aide also noted the U.S. intelligence community is concerned that adding Israel to the visa waiver program would make it easier for Israeli spies to enter the country, the CQ Roll Call news site reported.

Counter intelligence agents, wrote Stein, had called Israel’s “espionage activities in America… unrivaled and unseemly,” and said they went “far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan.” Unnamed Congressional staffers referred to testimony at the briefings as “very sobering … alarming … even terrifying … damaging.”

Of course, wrote Stein, the United States spies on Israel as well. He quoted a former top CIA operative who told him that Israel was “the last place you wanted to go on vacation” because of ‘heavy-handed Israeli surveillance.’

Israel’s foreign minister, however, said Wednesday morning that he heard no complaints about “spying” during a meeting with members of Congress on a visit to the United States last month. Mr. Liberman told listeners he believes the charges are the work of saboteurs trying to scotch relations between the two countries.

The U.S. visa waiver program enables travelers to the United States to enter the country without first having to obtain a visa. According to a statement by the Department of Homeland Security quoted by Newsweek, requirements for entry to the program include “enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States, timely reporting of lost and stolen passports, and the maintenance of high counter-terrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards.”

Israelis face a high rate of visa refusal by the U.S. due to the problem of young people entering the country and then staying past the expiration date of tourist visas in order to work illegally.

Another obstacle to Israel’s acceptance to the program is the U.S. government’s perception of alleged discrimination against Arab Americans in Israeli security protocols.

Hana Levi Julian

Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews Goes To Washington

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008


         On March 13 representatives of The Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews addressed the Helsinki Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe regarding the importance and aims of its institution.

 

        Congressman Alcee Hastings of Florida, chairman of the Helsinki Commission, said that during a recent trip to Poland he had, “met the director of the museum and been introduced to the extraordinary vision of this extraordinary museum.”

 

         Mr. Hastings showed an appreciation for the need of the museum and asked poignant questions that were answered by the witnesses for the museum.

 

        Representing the museum at the hearing held at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill were: Under-Secretary of State at the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Ms. Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka; Ewa Wierzynska, deputy director of the museum, responsible for museum contacts with the Jewish community in the U.S. as well as museum promotion; and Mr. Sigmund Rolat, the chairman of the board of directors of the Museum’s North American Council.

 

         Each witness gave a five-minute address detailing the vision, mission, physical attributes of the proposed museum as well as the importance of such an institution to exist in Poland.

 

         Material that was submitted for the record at the hearing included plans of the building as well as the exhibits and how the budget will be used to build a unique museum using the latest technology to deliver the museum’s message to its visitors.

 

         The goal of the museum is to highlight the 1,000 years of Polish Jewish history, not just the six years of the Holocaust. “When A Jew conjures up an image of the old shtetl it invariably takes place in Poland but when he thinks of Polish -Jewish relations he thinks of the Shoah and anti-Semitism,” one participant in the hearing said. “Actually both are true; the goal of the museum is to show both sides.”

 

         But the target audience of the museum is not just Jews who come to visit Poland but, hopefully, a visit of the museum will become part of the curriculum of the school system in Poland. The goal is to educate young Poles about the Jewish heritage that had existed in Poland.

 

 


Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Museum’s North American Council, Mr. Sigmund Rolat, speaking at the hearing on Capitol Hill with Ewa Wierzynska and Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka behind him.

 

 

         Co-Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, stated, “With a large number of Polish Americans and Jewish Americans of Polish origin, I believe that our country is also a stakeholder in the success of this endeavor This museum will serve as a living educational center that will contribute to combating anti-Semitism, bigotry and intolerance in all its forms.”

 

        Congressman Christopher H. Smith of N.J. said that he has been following the development of the museum project for several years now. He explained that it was because of the obvious importance of the museum that he introduced HR3320, which authorizes five million dollars in support for the museum. The bill has already passed in the House of Representatives and is up for consideration in the Senate.

 

         “Our contribution of five million dollars will be more then just a symbol of American commitment to religious freedom and it’s fight against anti-Semitism It will be a reminder of the historical ties that bind Polish Jews in the U.S. to their roots. I, for one, look forward to visiting the museum when it is completed and supporting what has been called a “restitution of Memory.”

 

         After the hearing was officially over there was a very friendly informal reception in the Capitol building, in which professional and personal ties were further cemented.  

Shmuel Ben Eliezer

Lieberman Gave A Thousand Dollars To Whom?

Wednesday, February 26th, 2003
When five-term Alabama congressman Earl Hilliard, widely considered one of Israel’s most implacable foes on Capitol Hill, was defeated in a Democratic primary last June, the news was greeted with unconcealed glee by pro-Israel organizations and activists across the country – many of whom had worked hard to unseat him.Observers on both sides agreed that one of the principle reasons for Hilliard’s loss at the hands of challenger Artur Davis was the unprecedented level of financial aid that flowed into Davis’s campaign coffers from out-of-state pro-Israel Jews. (Indeed, after the primary a bitter Hilliard warned of a “future with a great deal of conflict between African Americans and Jews in this country” and even hinted that there would be “retribution” for his defeat.)

There was, however, at least one Jew – a prominent Jew at that, and one who comes advertised as both “observant” and staunchly pro-Israel – who gave his money not to Artur Davis, but to the anti-Israel Hilliard, in the form of a $1,000 check. That Jew was Joe Lieberman, friend of Pat Buchanan, admirer of Louis Farrakhan, joking buddy of Al Sharpton, and, now we know, supporter of Earl Hilliard.

News of Lieberman’s gift to Hilliard surfaced last May 9 in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call but was generally ignored by other news outlets. “On a single day, March 27, Lieberman’s Responsibility, Opportunity, Community PAC cut 22 separate checks to members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, as well as Hispanic House candidates,” reported Roll Call’s Paul Kane.

Gearing up for a possible presidential run, Lieberman, wrote Kane, was “trying to maintain the inroads he made [as a vice-presidential candidate in 2000] to the more progressive wing of the party….Reps. Earl Hilliard and Jesse Jackson Jr., for instance, hold strikingly different views than Lieberman on U.S. support for Israel. Both recipients of $1,000 checks from Lieberman in March, Hilliard and Jackson voted last week against a nonbinding resolution
supporting Israel in its battle with Palestinian suicide bombers, a resolution that Lieberman sponsored in the Senate.”

The story pretty much died on arrival, but it’s been revived in the Jan. 27 issue of The Weekly Standard, courtesy of Stephen F. Hayes, a staff writer at the magazine, who fleshes out some of the detail missing from the Roll Call piece.

“Last spring,” writes Hayes, “as he waited for Al Gore to decide whether to make another bid for the White House, Lieberman telephoned Eddie Bernice Johnson, then head of the Congressional Black Caucus, to ask which caucus members he might support with his PAC. She gave him a list of CBC members thought to be most vulnerable, and Lieberman contributed to almost 20 of them. Among his contributions was a $1,000 check to the reelection effort of Rep. Earl Hilliard of Alabama.

“Hilliard had a long record of hostility to Israel. He refused to sign a resolution in support of Israel’s war on terrorism, and sponsored a bill, after September 11, that would have lifted
sanctions on states that sponsor terrorism. Columnist Cynthia Tucker called Hilliard “a loose cannon, a dimwit, and perhaps a crook’ who ‘gained a reputation for trying to persuade his colleagues to vote against pro-Israeli initiatives.”….”

Hayes points out that Lieberman’s aides say the check was cut in late March, before Hilliard’s primary campaign degenerated into a nasty fight over Mideast policy. But Lieberman’s critics, writes Hayes, “say the Hilliard contribution is one example of just how far Lieberman is willing to go to win support among black politicians and voters.”

The latter criticism, of course, extends to Lieberman’s positioning on a whole host of issues and policies, and so next week the Monitor will take a further look at the man whose rather astonishing ideological dexterity suggests he must play a mean game of that old party favorite, Twister. Hmmm…Senator Twister. The Monitor likes that.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com  
Jason Maoz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-monitor-81/2003/02/26/

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