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May 4, 2016 / 26 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’

Guard our Freedom: Beware the Biometric Law

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Editor’s note:  The first phase of Israel’s “biometric” law, which would ultimately require citizens to register the fingerprints and a blood sample with the state, will begin today, January 1st, with a pilot project offering citizens to voluntarily register. This article, by Likud Knesset candidate Moshe Feiglin appeared earlier last year, but we thought it was especially relevant now.

Cutting edge technology is a double-edged sword. Under the mantle of progress, and with increasing ease, we are losing greater and greater slices of our freedom. Opponents of the proposed Biometric Law say they worry about how secure a database housing the biometric information of all of Israel’s citizens will be. That fear was recently confirmed when a Saudi Arabian hacker succeeded in breaking into supposedly secure Israeli websites. If the Foreign Ministry’s database was broken into, if the Israeli credit card base was broken into, it is safe to assume that the biometric database will also be compromised. 

The possibility of breaking into the database is simply too strong of a temptation for powerful interest groups and tycoons, who are sure to find a way to get to this data. The same is true for the crazy idea to computerize the elections. If there is a stage in the vote counting process during which a candidate or his representative cannot physically check the voter slip—it is exactly at that stage that the election will be compromised. There is no way around the fact that when election results are transferred in electronic files, election fraud becomes a simple task. In America, the idea of digital voting has become so controversial that it is no longer a political debate, but a legal issue.

But my opposition to the Biometric Law is a lot deeper than that.

Many years before the invention of computers and the unraveling of the genetic code, an argument developed in the United States around the question of identity cards. America’s founding fathers did all they could do ensure that the American Constitution would protect individual liberties at any price.

For the American founding fathers, liberty superseded all other values. They engraved it on their flag and fought for it. It is liberty that gave them the most important thing of all: a goal and sense of national purpose that fueled the creation of the American nation. The founding fathers understood how easy it is to slide down a slippery slope in which liberty slips away step by step, without anyone noticing.

Distrust of governmental authority is a value that the founding fathers engraved through every line of the constitution and American culture. It is for this reason that the simple question of requiring citizens to carry identity cards became a judicial matter in the United States. Americans said, “No way am I going to let the state treat me as a number on its list, and require me to identify according to this number. My identity is exactly that—my identity, and it does not belong to anyone else.” For the Israeli citizen, this sounds absurd, for we grew up in a culture far removed this type of liberty consciousness.

Does all of this seem irrelevant? Let us do a little test, so that you can see how easy it is to lose your liberty:

If Biometric Law proponent Kadimah MK Meir Sheetrit pushed through a law requiring every one of you to go to a certified tattoo center, and ink in a number on your shoulder—would you agree to that? Of course not. Even thinking about this brings up horrifying memories.

But what if the tattoo centers used invisible ink—would you agree then? In that case, I think many people would agree. The law is the law, right?

If they were to tattoo you with invisible ink and offer you some perks in return—cutting lines, property tax breaks, and more—would you agree? In my opinion, more than 50 percent would agree to that, and maybe even more.

Now for the final question. If instead of ink they use a biometric technique which marks you without touching you, and on top of that, they will give you the perks previously mentioned—are you willing? The overwhelming majority of people would agree to that.

Now look at how, with amazing ease, they have shut off all of our warning lights and closed our eyes. The master of the house has chiseled our ear into the doorpost like a Biblical slave…and, just like that, we’ve made a soft landing into a life of servitude.

People can lose their liberty without feeling a thing. So guard it with the greatest vigilance and do not give anyone your biometric information.

Moshe Feiglin

Everything’s Coming Up Jihad

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

June has been a banner month for Muslim lawsuits against the NYPD. First “Muslim Advocates” filed a lawsuit against the NYPD on behalf of some New Jersey Muslims attending mosques that the NYPD had assessed as a potential terrorism risk. The Muslim Advocates, like every other Muslim “civil rights” group, has a history of covering up and defending terrorism.

The media is full of sympathetic interviews with Muslims, who are baffled as to why the NYPD might be surveiling mosques and Imams. Farhoud Khera, the head of Muslim Advocates, complains, “There was explicit reference to the fact that they weren’t targeting Syrian Jews or Iranian Jews or Egyptian Christians, but really, the focus was on Muslims.”

The extensive Coptic Christian and Persian Jewish terrorism sprees aside, the goal here is to get the NYPD to play the same “Three Blind Monkeys” game that Federal law enforcement has taken up. And the only answer is the TSAization of the NYPD, as the last remaining counterterrorism force will prove that it isn’t singling out Muslims, by surveiling Methodist churches and Chassidic synagogues for signs of terrorist sympathies.

Less notable, but in some ways more significant, Farhan Doe, a Muslim rejected by the NYPD because he said gays should be imprisoned, has sued the police for rejecting him because of his views. Farhan Doe isn’t alone in believing that, but unlike non-Muslim applicants, he comes out of a cultural and religious background in which imprisoning people because they offend your morals is the duty of law enforcement.

Farhan’s (predictably, Jewish) lawyer says that his client has the right to believe whatever he pleases, and he has a point. But the question is with enough Farhans in the political, judicial and enforcement arms, how long will the rest of us have that right?

Tolerating people who will not tolerate you is fine, so long as they draw the line between ideas and action. The NYPD isn’t surveilling New Jersey mosques because there are some bigots in blue who dislike immigrants, as the Associated Press, the American Civil Liberties Union and the whole lawyer-media complex would like you to believe. It’s doing it because New York City’s biggest serial killers and aspiring serial killers are Muslims who kill in the name of their ideas.

Their biggest idea is that Allah had sent Mohammed to make Islam “victorious over all religions, even though the infidels may resist” (Koran 61:9). And when the infidels resist, that’s when you kill their soldiers, sue their police officers, and blow up a few buildings. Then you complain to the media that the infidels are persecuting you by spying on the mosques where the “Big Idea” is declaimed to the faithful and refusing to allow you to join the police force just because you think that Islamic law supersedes American law.

The Clash of Civilizations is all-encompassing. It doesn’t just cover the big thing, like ramming planes into skyscrapers, but also the little things. Police forces don’t enforce law, as much as social harmony. The Nineties were a grand experiment in changing troubled neighborhoods by improving their quality through selective enforcement on quality of life offenses. The NYPD’s successes were credited to that experiment. But who decides what social harmony and the social good are?

For Mayor Bloomberg, it’s banning large sodas. For Farhan Doe, it’s banning homosexuals. When there is no limit to government infringement on rights, then the law is a collection of bugbears and control mechanisms. Islamic law on covering up women got its start when one of Mohammed’s companions spotted one of Mo’s wives at night and was able to tell her apart due to her height. This somehow made for a convincing case for compelling every woman to be covered up head to toe.

It’s senseless, but so is fighting obesity by banning people from buying large sodas. When the obsession of a few men is turned into law, then the result is equally contemptuous of the individual as a rotting sack of vile habits which he has to be forced to abandon by the majority of the law. Once you abandon the rights of the individual to the fiat of activists, judges and politicians– then laws can be made by anyone who wants them badly enough. The same process of judicial activism, hysteria, violent attacks, and pressure groups that created gay marriage can one day lock up the happy couples. It’s only a matter of who is making the laws.

Daniel Greenfield

Why Do Some Jewish Groups Have A Problem With Legal Protection For Jewish Students?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Imagine if the NAACP had responded with skepticism to the passage of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and urged African Americans to exercise their civil rights cautiously under this law. Title VI was landmark legislation when it was passed in 1964 to remedy racial and ethnic discrimination in programs receiving federal funding.

In fact, the NAACP fought for Title VI’s passage and has vigorously sought to enforce it to uphold the right of African Americans to be free from discrimination.

Jewish students are facing their own serious problems of harassment and discrimination at schools receiving federal funding. After a six-year campaign by the Zionist Organization of America, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, finally clarified in October 2010 that Jewish students finally would be afforded the same protection from harassment and discrimination under Title VI that other minorities have enjoyed for close to 50 years.

Yet instead of embracing the new legal protection, some in the Jewish community have been strangely critical of it.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs describes itself as “the representative voice of the organized American Jewish community” in the Jewish community relations field. Its national member agencies include the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and more than 100 Jewish community relations councils throughout the country. A year after the policy clarification from the Office for Civil Rights, the JCPA proposed a resolution regarding Title VI. Instead of praising the new policy and committing to a nationwide campaign to educate Jewish students and university officials about students’ right to be protected from anti-Semitic harassment and discrimination under Title VI, the JCPA resolution tried to impose unreasonably harsh standards on when Jewish students should use the law to rectify a hostile anti-Semitic school environment – stricter even than the standards that the Office for Civil Rights applies.

Critics of the new Title VI policy have paid little attention to the fact that the policy has already shown its value.

University of California President Mark Yudof recently issued a public statement in which he condemned anti-Semitic harassment on the UC campuses.

Last month, Rutgers University President Richard McCormick issued a statement publicly condemning a student paper, The Medium, for falsely claiming that an article mocking the Holocaust had been written by a vocal Jewish, pro-Israel student.

McCormick said that “no individual student should be subject to such a vicious, provocative, and hurtful piece, regardless of whether First Amendment protections apply to such expression.”

Significantly, McCormick had failed to condemn previous anti-Semitic incidents on campus. It is likely that OCR’s Title VI policy, which recommends that university leaders label certain incidents as anti-Semitic, played a role in the decisions of both McCormick and Yudof to speak out. Surely also at play was the fact that there are Title VI investigations pending against their schools.

The David Project recently issued a report about rethinking Israel advocacy on campus. Curiously, the report cautions that “legitimate efforts to combat campus anti-Semitism could be complicated by overly aggressive complaints” under Title VI. But what are “legitimate efforts”? And what does the David Project mean by “overly aggressive”? Only weeks after the Office for Civil Rights issued its new Title VI policy, the ZOA was able to use it effectively without even filing a complaint with the OCR. We contacted officials at a Maine high school where there was longstanding anti-Semitic harassment and informed them of their Title VI obligations. The school acted on nearly all our recommendations and rectified the situation.

Would the David Project consider our actions legitimate or overly aggressive? What if school officials had refused to fix the problems? Would a Title VI complaint then have been legitimate?

It is difficult to understand why members of the Jewish community are skeptical of a critical new legal tool under Title VI or why they are sending a cautious message about using it.

We should be fully supportive of Jewish students and holding schools accountable when they don’t respond to campus anti-Semitism.

It’s time for us to stop being “shah-still” frightened Jews of the previous generation and start strongly speaking out on behalf of our Jewish brethren when necessary.

Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Susan B. Tuchman is the director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice.

Morton A. Klein

Title: Exodus and Emancipation

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Title: Exodus and Emancipation

Author: Dr. Kenneth Chelst

Publisher: Urim Publications

 

 

   Each year, at the Pesach Seder, we enumerate the kindnesses that Hashem bestowed upon our ancestors. Has there ever been a population of slaves that was redeemed in so glorious a way – their oppressors punished, their physical exertion remunerated, their system of beliefs revealed Divinely, their nationhood established in the land they were promised centuries before? For all that we proclaim “Dayenu” at the Seder, we must wonder nevertheless whether it would have sufficed to have been granted less. Would we have been able to serve as a light unto the nations, leading the battle against slavery and oppression throughout the ages, had we not been prepared for the privileges and obligations that come with freedom?

 

   Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Chelst’s book, Exodus and Emancipation reviews the slave experience in Egypt, from the selling of Joseph into bondage to the triumphant entry of the Israelites into the Promised Land. He offers a deft analysis of relevant Biblical and Midrashic texts that he enhances by discussing an array of commentaries, ranging from the classical exegesis cited in Mikraot G’dolot to the writings of such modern scholars as Thomas Mann.

 

   The author then applies the lessons gleaned from the Biblical narrative to the history of the Atlantic slave trade, from its inception in the second half of the 15th century to the struggle for Civil Rights that continues to this very day.

 

   Chelst examines the institution of slavery, distinguishing between political and personal enslavement as well as between a society with slaves and a “slave society.” He demonstrates the role played by physical abuse and humiliation in the subjugation of a people – whether in Egypt or in Dixie.

 

   Chelst also addresses the importance of faith in uniting even a subjugated people and inspiring them to rise above the misery of day-to-day existence. He deals with the emotional and psychological needs of emancipated slaves – their need for retribution, for remuneration, for a single, shared ideal, and for strong leadership – and points out how these needs were met for the Bnei Yisrael when they were redeemed from Egypt by God’s strong hand and outstretched arm.

 

   Indeed, the lyrics of “Dayenu” catalogue these needs and remind us how very blessed we are to have had them met. It is this blessing that gives us the strength to go on as a people, that gives us the compassion to care for others who have suffered in a comparable way.

 

   Exodus and Emancipation is a scholarly book, replete with tables, illustrations, and primary source material. It is, nevertheless, written in a style that is accessible even to those who lack Dr. Chelst’s erudition. It is a book that will be a welcome addition to any private Judaic library, but it is not one that should remain on a shelf. Rather, this book belongs at the Shabbat table – especially when the weekly parasha deals with the issues that Chelst discusses – at the Pesach Seder, and anywhere that people gather to exchange ideas and opinions.

Pessie Busel Novick

Title: Exodus and Emancipation

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Title: Exodus and Emancipation


Author: Dr. Kenneth Chelst


Publisher: Urim Publications


 


 


   Each year, at the Pesach Seder, we enumerate the kindnesses that Hashem bestowed upon our ancestors. Has there ever been a population of slaves that was redeemed in so glorious a way – their oppressors punished, their physical exertion remunerated, their system of beliefs revealed Divinely, their nationhood established in the land they were promised centuries before? For all that we proclaim “Dayenu” at the Seder, we must wonder nevertheless whether it would have sufficed to have been granted less. Would we have been able to serve as a light unto the nations, leading the battle against slavery and oppression throughout the ages, had we not been prepared for the privileges and obligations that come with freedom?

 

   Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Chelst’s book, Exodus and Emancipation reviews the slave experience in Egypt, from the selling of Joseph into bondage to the triumphant entry of the Israelites into the Promised Land. He offers a deft analysis of relevant Biblical and Midrashic texts that he enhances by discussing an array of commentaries, ranging from the classical exegesis cited in Mikraot G’dolot to the writings of such modern scholars as Thomas Mann.

 

   The author then applies the lessons gleaned from the Biblical narrative to the history of the Atlantic slave trade, from its inception in the second half of the 15th century to the struggle for Civil Rights that continues to this very day.

 

   Chelst examines the institution of slavery, distinguishing between political and personal enslavement as well as between a society with slaves and a “slave society.” He demonstrates the role played by physical abuse and humiliation in the subjugation of a people – whether in Egypt or in Dixie.

 

   Chelst also addresses the importance of faith in uniting even a subjugated people and inspiring them to rise above the misery of day-to-day existence. He deals with the emotional and psychological needs of emancipated slaves – their need for retribution, for remuneration, for a single, shared ideal, and for strong leadership – and points out how these needs were met for the Bnei Yisrael when they were redeemed from Egypt by God’s strong hand and outstretched arm.

 

   Indeed, the lyrics of “Dayenu” catalogue these needs and remind us how very blessed we are to have had them met. It is this blessing that gives us the strength to go on as a people, that gives us the compassion to care for others who have suffered in a comparable way.

 

   Exodus and Emancipation is a scholarly book, replete with tables, illustrations, and primary source material. It is, nevertheless, written in a style that is accessible even to those who lack Dr. Chelst’s erudition. It is a book that will be a welcome addition to any private Judaic library, but it is not one that should remain on a shelf. Rather, this book belongs at the Shabbat table – especially when the weekly parasha deals with the issues that Chelst discusses – at the Pesach Seder, and anywhere that people gather to exchange ideas and opinions.

Pessie Busel Novick

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-exodus-and-emancipation-2/2010/03/10/

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