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August 25, 2016 / 21 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Committee’

Knesset Committee Wants Less War on Cannabis, More War on Alcohol

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), Chair of the Knesstet Committee to Combat Drug and Alcohol Abuse, was highly critical this week of the new campaign of the Israel Anti-Drug Authority. She suggested the campaign was “based on false information, outdated, archaic, irrelevant, and most important — disappointing.” She added: “After all this time that we’ve been sitting here, exposed to the real danger of youth addiction, I for one am disappointed.”

It should be noted that MK Zandberg is a known supporter of the legalization of cannabis, and in 2013 submitted a bill decriminalizing personal use of Marijuana. She has been a supporter of the fight of medical cannabis patients against the Health Ministry, and was a guest speaker at a 2013 rally for legalization at Rabin Square. She said in a television interview that she smokes cannabis and views this as “normative behavior.”

Acting Director General of the Authority, Eitan Gorni, told the committee that “we think cannabis is dangerous. After a long time during which we haven’t dealt with cannabis, and in light of the great outcry and the attempt to say that cannabis is not dangerous it was decided to launch a broad advertising campaign. In light of the numerous attempts on the part of the side that supports Marijuana to deliver messages, we believe there should be counter messages, which is why we launched the campaign.”

One 15-second radio ad in the new campaign features a mother who says her daughter was destroyed by using Marijuana, followed by an anchor saying there’s no such thing as light drugs.

Meanwhile, the committee was informed that the Israel Anti-Drug Authority CEO, Yair Geller, has resigned last May, about a year and a half after being suspended for his role in the bribery scandal involving Yisrael Beiteinu, and eight months after police recommended his indictment for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. During his 17 months of suspension, Geller grossed close to $208,000 in salary and bonuses, according to media reports.

Eitan Eckstein, director of a rehab center, also warned the committee against taking cannabis use lightly. “Go to the beaches and see for yourselves what joints are doing to people. Most of the girls started with grass and it led them to prostitution. On the eve of summer vacation it’s a time to invest a lot in telling parents to set limits, and that if they suspect something untoward they should seek advice.”

Chair Zandberg suggested that “alcohol is much more dangerous, which is why I’m disappointed that you invest in a campaign against a future [cannabis] legislation [instead of fighting youth alcohol use].”

MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) told the committee, “When I was working with youths I had a much tougher time with alcohol than with cannabis.” Turning to the You have to the Israel Anti-Drug Authority officials, she added, “You must understand that you can’t keep devoting your budgets to cannabis. I get the feeling that all you’re campaigning against is cannabis.”

David Israel

Heated Debate at Education Committee Emergency Session on Pro-BDS Israeli Academics

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

A stormy emergency session was held Wednesday at the Knesset Education, Culture, and Sports Committee, following a report released by the rightwing Im Tirtzu movement that revealed the involvement of 20 Israeli academics in the proposed resolution of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) to join the boycott against Israel. The debate revolved around academic politicization and the support given by university faculty members to boycotts against Israel.

The emergency session was called by MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu), who said that “Israel cannot support and budget lecturers who call for a boycott against Israel. The boycott movement is an anti-Semitic movement, and they (the lecturers) cannot hide behind freedom of expression.”

Forer announced his plan to introduce legislation that would allow the State to prevent an institution of higher learning from receiving funds that amount to the salary of a lecturer who calls for a boycott against Israel.

Professor Zvi Ziegler, who heads an inter-university forum to combat the academic boycott, said that “the number of lecturers who support an academic boycott against Israel is so small and marginal – damaging but marginal – that it would not be worth it to deal with them. The damage they cause is a lot less severe than the damage that would be caused to Israel’s reputation as an enlightened and advanced country if we fight them.”

Matan Peleg, director of Im Tirtzu, told the committee that “this phenomenon must be stopped for the sake of the future of Israeli academia.”

MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) said: “Could it be that the Arab Members of Knesset are doing the same thing as professors in the State of Israel – receive money and call to boycott the country? I ask myself, who learned from whom?”

MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp) said that while he supports a two-state solution, “the academic boycott hurts the chances of a shared existence.”

MK Mordhay Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) urged the Council for Higher Education of Israel “to discuss this unacceptable phenomenon, so that there will be respectful rather than inciting academic freedom.”

MK Yoseph Yonah (Zionist Camp), himself a university professor, stressed that while he is against boycotts and the BDS movement, “a democracy’s strength lies in its ability to accept criticism.” He further argued that any initiative aimed at restricting academic freedom would cause much more damage.

MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp) said, “This debate is not between Jews and Arabs, or for or against BDS, because most of us are against BDS. We must check to see who is breaking the law and who isn’t.”

MK Manuel Trajtenberg (Zionist Camp) said Israel should fight the BDS movement “while preserving the values of democracy.” He noted that among the thousands of university faculty members in Israel, there are between three and ten lecturers who support the boycott, “and I am revolted by their actions and denounce them.”

MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) said, “This is an example of academic freedom under attack. Those who create politicization in the academia are the members of Im Tirtzu, with their amateurish report. We are sick and tired of this system of muzzling and restricting every democratic value in the country. Leave us alone. As for BDS, it is a non-violent protest that succeeded in South Africa, and it is legitimate to operate in this manner here as well.”

MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu), who serves as deputy chairperson of the Education Committee, chaired the meeting in place of Committee Chairman Yakov Margi (Shas), who did not attend in protest of the comments allegedly made by Channel 10 News Chairman Rami Sadan against his party and its leader, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.

JNi.Media

Bernie Sanders’s Platform Committee Choices

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders created a stir by announcing his five choices to sit on the Democratic National Convention Platform Committee, which will draft policy positions the party’s candidates for office on various levels are expected to embrace this November.

Sen. Sanders’s slate includes three longtime champions of the Palestinian cause: James Zogby, Prof. Cornel West, and Rep. Keith Ellison, one of two Muslim members of Congress. The other two Sanders picks are environmental activist Bill McKibben and Native American activist Deborah Parker.

(There are fifteen members of the platform committee. Hillary Clinton was given six slots to fill and she chose mainstream liberal Democrats; the remaining four positions will be decided by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the national convention chair.)

Sen. Sanders himself has in significant part embraced the Palestinian narrative and declared that he wants the U.S. to be more “even-handed” in the Middle East. He has strongly criticized Israel’s settlement policy and characterized Israel’s responses to Palestinian terrorism as “disproportionate.”

So it is clear that a President Sanders would actively seek to substantially alter the strong – and largely unique – decades-long relationship between Israel and the United States. And his platform committee choices seem calculated to ensure that the relationship is placed under a spotlight at the convention – perhaps in the form of a floor fight – even if, as expected, he will not be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Indeed, we still recall the brouhaha that erupted at the 2012 Democratic National Convention when it became known that several key pro-Israel platform passages were not carried over from prior platforms. One of those passages – support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – was eventually restored to the platform, but only after an embarrassed chairman ignored three voice votes that indicated a robust number of delegates were in fact not prepared to do so.

Sen. Sanders will almost certainly not be the Democratic presidential nominee. But the fact that younger Democrats overwhelmingly favor his radical positions to those of Hillary Clinton is a troubling sign for Americans who support a strong U.S. presence in the world and a close U.S.-Israel alliance.

Editorial Board

Communist MK at Committee on the Status of Women: ‘Our Society Lives in Fear’

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

“Israeli society lives in fear, and that is awful,” MK Dov Khenin, whose Communist party is part of the Joint Arab List, told the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality on Monday, adding, “Unfortunately, there are those who build their politics on fear. There are different aspects to the Israeli women’s sense of lack of personal security – physical, sectorial, economic, and social. One of our most important challenges is dealing with this fear and creating a society in which people will feel safer.”

The committee discussed possible courses of action in light of a recent study that showed Israelis in general have a low sense of personal security. The study, conducted by the Knesset’s Research and Information Center, examined various aspects of Israelis’ sense of personal security, ranging from how safe they feel in public spaces to how they rate their employment, health and economic security. The study, commissioned by the Committee on the Status of Women, surveyed a representative sample of 1,028 Israeli adults, more than half of them women.

According to the study, 59% of women and 54% of men said they worried about damaging behavior by state agencies that would negatively affect their personal security. Among Arab women the figure rose to 74%, compared to 59% of Jewish women born in Israel, 51% of ultra-Orthodox women and 49% of female immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

“The national-security discourse allows generals to exclude us from the debate and from many budgets, and only when we realize that cultural and economic security is just as important, the budgets will change accordingly, and the generals will discover that they have a lot to learn,” Committee head MK Touma-Sliman (Joint Arab List) stated.

MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Camp-Labor) said that in Israel the family is not perceived as an “anchor of personal security,” and argued that the Knesset does not address the issue sufficiently. “The study found that there are 27 different types of families in Israel, and when we see that the family is the second most influential factor when it comes to personal security, then it is obvious that we have to deal with this issue and see how we can view the Israeli family in a different way.”

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) addressed Sunday’s assault on an Arab supermarket employee in central Tel Aviv by a group of Border Guard police who refused to identify themselves, and mentioned that the victim’s father is not sure about filing a police complaint. “The study includes data about the fear of turning to the police, which is the body that is supposed to offer solutions to the lack of personal security,” Lavie lamented. “I’m not sure what happened there, but it certainly must be examined, even without a complaint by the father.”

The study indeed showed that, overall, 20% of women and 24% of men said they wouldn’t feel safe calling the police.

MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) said she is very concerned about the fact that more than 20% of Israeli women are afraid to turn to the police. “Last week, the committee chairwoman and I met in Ireland with the local police commissioner, who told us that in the past some 80% of the population did not trust the police, but they managed to turn the situation around. Having 10% of women being afraid is problematic, but let’s start by trying to reach that number and return to examine the situation on a yearly basis.”

Chairwoman Touma-Sliman said the debate was aimed at “trying to figure out how we move forward from here, after being shocked by the study’s findings, which should terrify every man and women who cares about the sense of personal security of all Israeli citizens. This is merely the beginning of the path towards introducing a different discourse to the political arena and towards a conscious change of the concept of security.”

JNi.Media

Sanders Picks Pro-Palestinian Zogby for Democratic Platform Committee

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Sen. Bernie Sanders has picked James Zogby, a long-time pro-Palestinian activist, and Cornel West, a liberal—and very entertaining—racial justice activist, to be among his representatives on the Democratic party’s platform committee. This may be a signal that Sanders intends to pursue a radical policy on both the Israeli-Arab conflict and on African-American issues at the convention and beyond.

Sanders will have a great deal of influence on the Democratic Party platform this year, which is a considerable honor regardless of how much use anyone has for party platforms once the November vote is over.

According to the AP, the two Democratic candidates and the DNC have agreed on a new division of the 15-member platform committee, with Clinton picking six members, Sanders five, and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz four.

James Zogby is the founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, DC organization serving as a political and policy research arm of the Arab-American community. He is Managing Director of the Zogby polling service.

David Israel

Netanyahu: European Position on Hamas, PA Unity is ‘Strange’

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed European Union support for the Palestinian Authority unity deal between Fatah and the Hamas terror organization on Monday.

Netanyahu pointed out the bizarre inconsistency between the European position on the PA reconciliation deal that is allegedly to result in a unity government between the Fatah and Hamas terror faction – and its clear condemnation of the recent deadly terror attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

He told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday he finds it “strange that European governments who strongly condemn the shooting attacks in Brussels, at the same time speak kindly of the unity agreement with Hamas, a terrorist organization that carries out and praises such attacks.”

The prime minister pointed out that the attack which took the lives of four people little more than a week ago was a sign that radical Islamic terrorism is “rearing its head in Europe.”

Leftist Meretz leader MK Zehava Gal-On, however, claimed “The unity between Hamas and Fatah is essential.” She contended the deal would transform PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas “into the president of all Palestinians . . . on the condition that the new government will recognize the State of Israel, recognize previous agreements and stop violence and terrorism.”

Since the Hamas charter is entirely based on its vow to erase the State of Israel and banish every Israeli Jew from the Land through violent “resistance,” it is not clear why Gal-On should believe unity with Hamas would facilitate peace.

Rachel Levy

Radical, Democratic Changes to Egypt’s Constitution, MBs Out

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The technical committee has been assigned the task of “amending” Egypt’s 2012 Muslim-Brothers inspired constitution is almost finished, Al Ahram reported. The committee is headed by Interim President Adly Mansour’s legal advisor, Ali Awad.

In a press conference Sunday, Awad told the press that the committee will finish its work Monday, and the new draft constitution will be announced Wednesday. Al Ahram quotes the basic instruction given the authors of the new document: “Fundamental changes must be introduced to 2012 Islamist-backed constitution.”

By fundamental, they mean no Muslim Brothers in politics, ever again.

“The 2012 constitution was drafted under the former regime of the Muslim Brotherhood to grant Islamists an upper hand and a final say in Egypt’s political future, and this must be changed now,” Ahram quotes a committee source. “When the people revolted 30 June, their main goals were not confined to removing Mohamed Morsi from power, but also changing the fundamental pillars of the religious tyranny the Muslim Brotherhood regime tried its best to impose on Egypt.”

The source revealed that the new constitution must impose a ban on political parties based on religious foundations.

The source explained that “the anticipated ban gained momentum after the committee received requests and proposals from more than 400 political, economic and social institutions, pressing hard for the necessity of safeguarding Egypt against Islamist factions trying to change the civil nature of the country into a religious oligarchy.”

Except that – surprise, surprise, despite the anti-Brotherhood sentiment common to the new masters of Egypt, the source says the new constitution “will keep Article 2 of 2012’s Islamist-backed constitution — which states that Islamic Sharia is the main source of legislation — in place.”

This, according to committee chairman Ali Awad, is done “in order to stress the Islamic identity of Egypt.”

According to the source, most political institutions have recommended that “if it is necessary to keep the Islamic Sharia article in place as a nod to Islamists like El-Nour, it is by no means necessary to maintain the 2012 constitution’s separate article (Article 219) that delivers an interpretation of Islamic Sharia.”

Article 219 of the 2012 constitution states: “The principles of Islamic Sharia include its generally-accepted interpretations, its fundamental and jurisprudential rules, and its widely considered sources as stated by the schools of Sunna and Gamaa.”

Not any more. They’re also going to scrap the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament, that was created in 1980 by late President Anwar El-Sadat to befriend his Islamist foes. They shot him anyway. The MB exploited its majority in the council in 2012 to “Brotherhoodise national press institutions and the state-owned Radio and Television Union (known as Maspero) and gain legislative powers to Islamise society.”

Sources are saying there will be radical changes of articles aimed at regulating the performance of the High Constitutional Court and media institutions. “We aim to reinforce the independence of these institutions and not to face any more intimidation by ruling regimes,” the source said. He also indicated that, “The electoral system is also expected to see a complete overhaul in order not to cause any discrimination against independents or come in favor of party-based candidates.”

And another noteworthy change: Article 232 of the 2012 constitution, imposing a ban on leading officials of Mubarak’s defunct ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), will be annulled.

So, it appears the Egyptians are quite capable of taking care of their legal affairs without nasty interventions from their patron wannabes in Washington. Perhaps it would be best for the U.S. to shut up for a couple of weeks and not meddle?

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/radical-democratic-changes-to-egypts-constitution-mbs-out/2013/08/19/

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