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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Schumer’

Pro-Israel Jewish Democrats Oppose Keith Ellison’s DNC Bid

Friday, November 18th, 2016

By Rafael Medoff

A growing number of pro-Israel activists and Jewish community figures are expressing concern that Minnesota’s U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison will turn the Democratic Party away from Israel if he is elected party chairman.

The election of Ellison “would bode badly for Jews,” longtime Democratic consultant Dr. Hank Sheinkopf told JNS.org. “His positions on Israel fit the pattern, noted by recent research, of identified liberal anti-Israel bias and the movement of Democrats away from Israel.”

Defending Farrakhan

Ellison’s controversial statements and actions date back to the 1990s, when he served as a local spokesman in Minnesota for Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam movement. Ellison raised eyebrows when he publicly claimed in 1995 that Farrakhan “is not an anti-Semite.”

Since his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, Ellison has emerged as one of the most vocal congressional supporters of the Palestinian cause. He has organized letters urging more U.S. pressure on Israel, voted against funding Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, and spoken at fundraising events for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a hardline anti-Israel group. While visiting Hebron this past summer, Ellison tweeted a photograph of a placard accusing Israel of “apartheid.”

Rabbi Menachem Genack of Englewood, New Jersey, a prominent Jewish supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, said he would be “disappointed” if Ellison is chosen as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) because that would “accelerate the process” of pulling the Democratic Party away from its traditional pro-Israel positions. Genack told JNS.org that he will be speaking to his colleagues in the party to explain his “concerns about Ellison’s views on Israel.”

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat who represents a heavily Jewish district in Brooklyn, strongly criticized the decision by New York’s U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer to endorse Ellison. In an interview with JNS.org, Hikind, asked, “Does Senator Schumer actually believe that there is literally not a single other person in the Democratic Party, anywhere in the country, who would be a better choice than Ellison? Why is Schumer in such a rush to support a candidate who is so unfriendly to Israel?”

Hikind said Ellison “is the most radical candidate imaginable, someone who represents the extreme left wing of the party, which is why he’s being promoted by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and J Street—in other words, Ellison is being backed by all the wrong people if you care about Israel.” The assemblyman noted that Ellison has occasionally claimed to be a friend of Israel, “but if Israel has to depend on support from the Ellisons of the world, it would be in serious trouble.”

Possible defections

Some pro-Israel activists recall, with dismay, Ellison’s efforts to unseat a pro-Israel New Jersey congressman, Steve Rothman, in 2012. Dr. Ben Chouake, president of NORPAC, a Jewish political action committee in northern New Jersey, said it was “extremely unusual” for Ellison to target Rothman, “since Rothman was a fellow Democrat, in a district halfway across the country—what could motivate him to go to such great lengths?” Ellison spoke at mosques in New Jersey, urging Arab-Americans to vote against Rothman.

Chouake told JNS.org he fears that if Ellison is elected chair of the DNC, “one of his priorities will be to pull the party away from Israel.” Ellison represents “the fringe of the Democratic Party, not the center, and would it make even harder for the party to have broad appeal.”

The rise of Ellison could drive Jews out of the Democratic Party, according to Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a private wealth manager who worked in the administrations of New York City Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, and New York Governor George Pataki, a Republican. “There are many longtime Jewish Democrats who are on the fence about whether to stay in a party that has been tilting away from Israel—and if Ellison is elected, I believe a good percentage of them will leave the party,” Wiesenfeld told JNS.org.

Wiesenfeld criticized Schumer’s endorsement of Ellison as “a crass political calculation—he sees the party succumbing to the far left, and he wants to go with the flow so he can retain his position.” He said that “Schumer’s phone should be ringing off the hook with calls from members of the Jewish community, asking ‘What happened to your promise to be a ‘shomer’ (guardian) of Israel?”
Ellison’s office did not return a request for comment from JNS.org.

The only other declared candidate so far for the chairmanship of the DNC is former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. A date for the election has not yet been set. According to party rules, it must take place prior to March 31, 2017. To win, a candidate needs the votes of a majority of the 447 members of the DNC. About one-fourth of the members are the chairs or vice chairs, of state branches of the Democratic Party.

JNS News Service

Obama Vetoes Bill Letting 9/11 Families Sue Saudi Arabia

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

President Obama on Friday vetoed the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” which was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate, helping families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia. The bill enables the families to sue the Kingdom should it be shown to be legally liable, having supported the attack. Out of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists, 15 were Saudi nationals.

Obama released a statement Friday, saying he bears “deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, who have suffered grievously. I also have a deep appreciation of these families’ desire to pursue justice and am strongly committed to assisting them in their efforts.”

However, the president explained, the 9/11 bill is sure to “invite consequential decisions to be made based upon incomplete information and risk having different courts reaching different conclusions about the culpability of individual foreign governments and their role in terrorist activities directed against the United States — which is neither an effective nor a coordinated way for us to respond to indications that a foreign government might have been behind a terrorist attack.”

Yes, he actually used that as his argument: it’s going to cause a mess in the courts system.

A group named 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism released a statement Friday saying it is “outraged and dismayed” over the president’s veto, arguing that his reasoning is “unconvincing and unsupportable.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she supports the bill. Her spokesman said in a statement that “Clinton continues to support the efforts by Senator Schumer and his colleagues in Congress to secure the ability of 9/11 families and other victims of terror to hold accountable those responsible. She would sign this legislation if it came to her desk.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Obama’s veto was “shameful,” adding in a statement: “That President Obama would deny the parents, spouses and children of those we lost on that horrific day the chance to close this painful chapter in their lives is a disgrace.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) said earlier last week that he believes ” the votes are there for the override.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), who co-sponsored the bill, is on the record as promising to help override a veto.

This is the 12th veto by President Obama in his eight years in the White House, and none of his first 11 have been overturned. His predecessor, President GW Bush, used his veto power 12 times and was overturned four times. Out of President Bill Clinton’s 36 vetoes, two were overridden; President GHW Bush had 29 vetoes (in one term) and lost only one.

JNi.Media

Hillary’s Muslim Adviser Huma Abedin Leaving Anthony Weiner

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Huma Abedin, longtime confidante and top campaign official of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is leaving her husband, former Congressman (D-NY) Anthony Weiner over his latest scandal involving explicit text messages.

Abedin released a statement saying, “After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.”

Abedin’s move came after a report in the NY Post Sunday showing inappropriate images Weiner sent a woman with his little son in the picture.

Weiner’s political career ended after he had sent explicit messages to a woman in 2011. The new messages were sent on July 31, 2015. The accompanying text suggests he included his son in the picture on purpose.

A protégé of then Congressman and now Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Weiner was elected to the New York City Council in 1991, defeating fellow Democrat Adele Cohen in the primaries by 195 votes after sending out leaflets (in Crown Heights) accusing her of ties to Mayor David Dinkins and political gadfly Jessie Jackson. In 1998 Weiner ran for Congress in Chuck Schumer’s 9th congressional district (Brooklyn), when his mentor was running for the US Senate.

Weiner was vehemently pro-Israel in Congress. In 2006 he tried to bar entry by the Palestinian Authority delegation to the United Nations, declaring they “should start packing their little Palestinian terrorist bags.” He accused Human Rights Watch, The New York Times, and Amnesty International of anti-Israel Biases. In 2007, Weiner and fellow NY Congressman Jerry Nadler fought a $20-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, saying they wouldn’t give “sophisticated weapons to a country that … has not done enough to stop terrorism,” seeing as 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were Saudis. Weiner stood outside the Saudi consulate in DC, saying, “We need to send a crystal clear message to the Saudi Arabian government that their tacit approval of terrorism can’t go unpunished.” Weiner and other Congress members later criticized President Obama’s plan to sell more than $60 billion in advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia. Weiner said: “Saudi Arabia is not deserving of our aid, and by arming them with advanced American weaponry we are sending the wrong message.” He accused Saudi Arabia of having a “history of financing terrorism” and teaching “hatred of Christians and Jews.”

Despite all of the above, however, in 2010 Weiner married Huma Mahmood Abedin, a Muslim of Indian and Pakistani descent who was raised and educated in Saudi Arabia. Abedin had been a long-time personal aide to Hillary Clinton, and the wedding ceremony was officiated by former President Bill Clinton.

Abedin, 40, serves as vice chairwoman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, having served as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff when the latter was Secretary of State. In 2008 Abedin was traveling chief of staff for Clinton’s presidential campaign.

A profile in Nirali (Hillary’s Handler: Huma Abedin) relates that Abeedin, who was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, into a “very traditional family” with a Pakistani mother and an Indian father, moved at age 2 with her family to Saudi Arabia where her father started an institute devoted to religious understanding and her mother helped create a private women’s college. What the profile does not mention are the repeated allegations that Abedin’s mother and brother have been members or, at least, sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the fact that Abedin’s 16 formative years growing up in Saudi Arabia are largely an unknown.

Vanity Fair pointed out in January (Is Huma Abedin Hillary Clinton’s Secret Weapon or Her Next Big Problem?) that the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, founded by Abedin’s late father, became the family business and was supported by the Saudi government. “Huma was an assistant editor there between 1996 and 2008. Her brother, Hassan, 45, is a book-review editor at the Journal and was a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. … Huma’s sister, Heba, 26, is an assistant editor at the Journal.”

The contents of the Journal are consistent with Muslim tradition, including all the wonderful things it offers women. One 1996 article Abedin edited, headlined “Women’s Rights Are Islamic Rights,” states that single mothers, working mothers and gay couples with children are not really families. The same article says that an immodest dress “directly translates into unwanted results of sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility and indirectly promote violence against women” — the old “she was asking for it” argument.

In June 2012, five conservative congress members wrote to the State Department warning that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the highest levels of government, specifically citing Abedin: “Huma Abedin has three family members—her late father, her mother and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations,” they wrote. But Senator John McCain denounced the letter saying it was an “unwarranted and unfounded attack” on Abedin. “I know Huma to be an intelligent, upstanding, hard-working, and loyal servant of our country and our government,” McCain vouched for Clinton’s closest aide.

How close? Vogue cited Clinton adviser Mandy Grunwald who said, “I’m not sure Hillary could walk out the door without Huma. She’s a little like Radar on *M*A*S*H. If the air-conditioning is too cold, Huma is there with the shawl. She’s always thinking three steps ahead of Hillary.”

The Clinton’s attorney of many years, Bob Barnett, said “Huma does make the trains run on time.”

Actress Mary Steenburgen, Hillary’s close friend, said, “I don’t know if it’s a chicken-or-the-egg thing—Hillary affecting Huma or the other way around—but together they work.”

JNi.Media

Sen. Schumer: Democrats Are on the Cusp of a Golden Era

Friday, July 29th, 2016

New York Democratic Senator and one of Israel’s greatest friends on the Hill Chuck Schumer says he is getting ready to assume the mantle of Senate majority leader Come January 2017, because, he told Politico Thursday night, “We’re going to have a Democratic generation. [President Obama] helped create it. But it’s just where America’s moving demographically, ideologically and in every way. We’ll have a mandate to get something done.”

“The American people are yearning for action and I do believe that our Republican colleagues, if they lose this election by quite a bit and I think they will … our mainstream Republicans are going to say they cannot let the tea party run the show,” Schumer said.

Several Democrats shared similar predictions with Politico. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, slated to chair the Finance Committee should the Democrats win the Senate, said, “In the first six months of 2017, we are really going to deliver on some key issues that are going to show what governing is all about. It would be legislative malpractice to not have a major roads and bridges and ports and infrastructure effort early in 2017.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) wants Schumer to change the restrictive filibuster rules that cost her a signature energy bill back in 2014. “We need to change the rules of the Senate to keep one person from dragging things out and to keep having every vote require 60,” she said.

The November 8 election will see 34 of the 100 Senate seats up for a vote, with Democrats running 10 seats while Republicans have 24 seats in the running. However, only 9 Democratic seats are in contention, having already secured California (both candidate are Democrats). The Republicans took control of the Senate in 2014 and have a majority of 54-46 seats.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Schumer have had to deal with getting Florida Rep. Alan Grayson to drop out of the senate race, following allegations by his ex-wife Lolita Grayson that she had called the police on her husband multiple times for domestic abuse over a 20-year period. Grayson denied the accusations.

David Israel

Tim Kaine’s Decision to Boycott Netanyahu’s Speech Could Hurt Hillary

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

When Hillary Clinton’s choice for VP, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, joined the Democrats who avoided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 2015 speech to a joint session of Congress, he announced: “There is no reason to schedule this speech before Israeli voters go to the polls on March 17 and choose their own leadership.” Revealing that he had labored to delay the Netanyahu appearance, Kaine said, “I am disappointed that, as of now, the speech has not been postponed. For this reason, I will not attend the speech.”

Before Kaine made his announcement, only three other senators had planned to boycott the speech: the two anti-Netanyahu Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Pat Leahy, and Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz. All the other Democratic senators were reluctant to commit either way, and told the press they were thinking about it. Even the biggest Democratic opponent of the Iran deal, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, did not forcefully call on his fellow Democrats to show—not willing to upset an already irate President Obama. Most Democratic legislators who said they’d avoid the speech came from blue states and blue districts. But when Kaine, whose state of Virginia until 2008 voted Republican for president, gave permission to Democrats from red states to boycott Netanyahu when he declared he was skipping the speech.

The Forward on Friday wrote that Kaine “Will be the Jewiest Vice President” under Hillary Clinton, describing him as “a friend to the Jewish community for about as long as he’s been in public service.” But when one reads the reasons why Kaine is so “Jewey” according to the Forward, one realizes Kaine would be a bonanza to leftwing Israeli Jews, very much like the folks who are currently in the White House.

Kaine supports a two-state solution, argues the Forward; also, he is a religious Catholic (so he knows all about the auto-da-fé); during his time as the governor of Virginia, Sabra built the world’s largest hummus factory outside Richmond, and hummus is Jewish, isn’t it, ask anyone from Cairo to Ramallah to Damascus; and Kaine hosted several Passover seders and played matchmaker to Conservative Rabbi Jack Moline’s daughter.

So, in considering Kaine’s pros and cons regarding Israel, you have his support for a nuclear deal with Iran, and his support for a Palestinian State, while on the plus side you have lots of hummus.

JNi.Media

14 Senate Democrats Call for Extending Sanctions on Iran

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Tower Magazine website}

Fourteen Democratic senators introduced legislation last week calling for an extension of existing sanctions on Iran, which are set to expire at the end of this year.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) are leading the push for renewing the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which aims to prevent foreign investment in Iran’s energy sector. Both voiced their opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran after it was announced.

“After extensive consultations with my colleagues in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle, it is clear that we need to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act before the end of the year,” said Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Doing so is vital if the United States wants to retain a credible deterrent of snap back sanctions.”

Cardin and Schumer called on their colleagues in both chambers to quickly advance the legislation when Congress reconvenes in September.

“It is essential that Congress keep Iran’s feet to the fire to make sure they do not violate the [nuclear deal]. This bill would provide the sanction authority that helps us do just that,” said Schumer, chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

On Friday, many of the same Democratic Senators who originally supported the nuclear deal wrote a letter criticizing the agreement’s inspection procedures and calling for the International Atomic Energy Agency to release more information from its inspections.

Despite international criticism, including from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles. The Islamic Republic reportedly launched a ballistic missile using North Korean technology on the night of July 11-12, the ninth such test it carried out since reaching a nuclear deal with global powers last year.

Tower Magazine

‘Woman in Gold’ Helen Mirren Testifies for Holocaust Art Restitution Bill

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

British actress Helen Mirren testified in Congress Tuesday in support of a bill to make restitution easier for American heirs of Holocaust era victims, The Art Newspaper reported. Mirren starred in the 2015 British drama “Woman in Gold,” about Austrian-born Jewish American Maria Altmann’s court fight to recover her family’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” by Gustav Klimt (her late aunt modeled for the picture), which had been stolen by the Nazis.

Mirren told two Senate judiciary subcommittees in a joint hearing on the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act that “the very act of Nazi expropriation was not only unjust but it was inhumane.” She added, “Greed, cruelty, self-interest and domination will always be with us, it’s an easy option. Justice is so much more difficult, so much more complex. But we all dream of justice. We are incapable of changing the past, but fortunately we have the ability to make change today.”

“Restitution is so much more, much more than … reclaiming a material good,” Mirren said. “It gives Jewish people and other victims of the Nazi terror the opportunity to reclaim their history, their culture, their memories and, most importantly, their families.”

The legislation is sponsored by Republican senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Other supporters of the bipartisan bill included president of the World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder, and senators Al Franken (D, Minnesota), Chuck Grassley, (R, Iowa) and Orrin Hatch, (R, Utah).

Lauder, who purchased the Klimt painting after Altmann had sued the Austrian government to give it back, and won, told the Senators, “What makes this particular crime even more despicable is that this art theft, probably the greatest in history, was continued by governments, museums and many knowing collectors in the decades following the war.”

Today the Klimt painting is part of the permanent collection of the Neue Galerie, a museum of German and Austrian art Lauder co-founded in New York.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/woman-in-gold-helen-mirren-testifies-for-holocaust-art-restitution-bill/2016/06/09/

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