web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’

White House Puts New Lipstick on Old Pig a/k/a Unity Government

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

An anonymous senior White House official allegedly told the left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the U.S. would cooperated with a Palestinian Unity Government, despite the participation of the terrorist group Hamas.

The way the Unity Government is being promoted, it will be run by “technocrats” and not by representatives of Hamas or Fatah. How anyone appointed by the two parties will not be members of those two parties is difficult to understand, but that is the confection being promoted by those involved, and it is eagerly being ingested by the Americans and others – including 28 European Union foreign ministers – interested in moving forward “peace talks” which also have little grounding in reality.

The Unity Government is allegedly going to be put in place next week.

The United States has consistently asserted that it will not work with Hamas because Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel, won’t commit to nonviolence and won’t abide by previous Israeli-Palestinian Arab agreements.

Mahmoud Abbas, the acting leader of the Fatah party and of the Palestinian Authority, also, at least in Arabic, does not recognize Israel, applauds violence and honors murderers of Israelis and has never honored the commitments made by his party during the Oslo period, or any other period. But because Abbas often makes statements in English that the west is able to pretend means Abbas supports the necessary principles, the U.S. views him as a moderate, worthy partner for peace negotiations.

Now Hamas is being given a strategy for making acceptable its unalterable hostility towards the Jewish state by claiming its members are not officially part of the new Unity government.

An anonymous senior White House official told Haaretz that the U.S. will work with the new government as long as it abides by the conditions, even if it has Hamas’ support. A meeting of 28 European Union foreign ministers last week took a similar position.

“We want a Palestinian government that upholds those principles,” the White House official told Haaretz. “In terms of how they build this government, we are not able to orchestrate that for the Palestinians. We are not going to be able to engineer every member of this government.”

While the news was treated as a surprise by some, just a few months ago Middle East adviser to the White House Philip Gordon told American Jewish leaders that the new Palestinian Authority unity government deal between the Fatah faction and Hamas terrorists “isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

Gordon discussed the issue with members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations at a special briefing, at which he suggested the U.S. will take a “wait and see” posture.

Israel’s position remains that it will not negotiate with any government backed by Hamas.

 

The Vote Heard ‘Round the World

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

To the chagrin of supporters who confidently predicted otherwise, J Street failed to receive the votes it needed for admission into the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. So now, they have a new spin.

Had J Street won the vote, of course, its supporters would have claimed the vote was a victory for a “wider range of views on Israel” and, of course, democracy. But having failed in their efforts, supporters have responded with unbecoming condemnation of that same democratic process. The Conference of Presidents followed its by-laws which require a new applicant to receive the support of two-thirds of the members present, with at least three-quarters of the total membership in attendance.

“An analysis of the vote,” argues the Forward, “indicates that J Street enjoyed the support of liberal groups, Reform and Conservative organizations and several major players, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The majority voting against it were right-wing and Orthodox organizations, as well as smaller groups with no clear ideological leaning.”

The Conference has 49 voting members, of which 17 supported the admission of J Street, 3 abstained, 22 voted against, and the others didn’t care to attend. To claim that the majority of the members, 34 organizations, are right-wing, Orthodox, or have no clear ideology, is untrue and ridiculous.

In this case, perhaps more than most, the vote represented the consensus of the American Jewish community, which regards J Street and its policies to lie beyond the pale. Even the Anti-Defamation League President Abraham Foxman, in announcing that he would vote in favor, said he did so, not because the ADL supports J Street’s views, but to define American Jewish advocacy more broadly.

Nonetheless, Reform leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs has responded to the vote by announcing that the Union of Reform Judaism may consider dropping out of the Conference of Presidents entirely. Similarly, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, has claimed the vote was unrepresentative, and called on the Conference of Presidents to examine their structure – claiming that J Street would have won the popular vote of the organizations’ memberships.

It is interesting to note, the Reform and Conservative movements each have 4 votes in the Conference: Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American (Reform) Rabbis, Women of Reform Judaism and ARZA, Association of Reform Zionists of America, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Rabbinical Assemly (of Conservative Rabbis), Women’s League for Conservative Judaism and Mercaz, the Zionist Organization of the Conservative Movement. They constituted almost half of the positive votes that J Street received, and they claim the system was unfair; it was, in their favor, and they still lost the vote.

In addition, the Conference by-laws were last updated under the committee chairmanship of Rabbi Joel Meyers, then, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism. This reminds me of the kid in the school-yard who makes the rules, in his favor, but when he loses the game, claims it was unfair.

In making these declarations, Rabbis Jacobs and Schonfeld presume to speak for the aggregate membership of the Reform and Conservative synagogues nationwide. Is the majority of the membership of AIPAC not comprised of Reform or Conservative Jews? Needless to say, they don’t support J Street. Many Reform and Conservative Jews that I have spoken to in the last few weeks have told me, that they believe that J Street is not healthy for Israel. I wonder what the individual members of these movements really think.

Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements like to say that they represent the majority of American Jews. The recent findings of the Pew report debunk that myth. Today, unfortunately, the “Jews of no religion” are the fastest-growing Jewish group; they care little, if anything, about Judaism or Israel. How many families in these movements joined congregations because membership (and Hebrew school) were prerequisites for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and not because they endorse the positions or policies advocated by the Rabbis?

Mainstream American Jewish Groups Reject J Street

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

In a rebuke to the relatively young but very well (and oddly so) financed group J Street, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations decisively rejected the group’s bid for membership.

J Street has only been in existence since 2008, but it shot out of the starting block with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank and the backing of a wide array of well-connected American (mostly) Jews (mostly) who were itching to establish a new standard for the American Jewish community’s attitude towards Israel.

J Street’s backers are the ones who bridle at the idea that American Jews should feel a strong inclination to support and respect the Jewish State’s assessments of the level of threat it can survive with. They also chafe at the notion that those whose jobs and whose lives are put most at risk as the result of Israel’s security compromises are the ones who are entrusted with making the decisions about how and where and, especially, when, those compromises will be made, if at all.

But J Street’s star rose along with President Barack Obama’s election to office. The first year of its existence, J Street was already invited into the pantheons of American political and media power.

With the kind of cachet that adheres to those close to positions of wealth and power – for it is, as always, wealth and power that gives prestige, even if the wealth and power belongs to those who claim to disdain such “conservative” markers of strength, J Street’s coffers were well-stocked and its dance card was always filled.

But on Wednesday, April 30 – the day after, by the way, the latest effort to impose a “solution” on parties whose elemental problems are far from solved – the royal court of mainstream American Jewish organizations shut the door firmly in J Street’s face.

The Conference has 50 members, only 42 of whom voted. And while the vote was supposed to be confidential, over the past few days several organizations made public statements about their positions.

Few were surprised when the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the parent body of the Jewish Community Relations Councils, came out declaring it was going to vote in favor of including J Street.

Fewer still were surprised that the staunchly pro-Israel Zionist Organization of America came out strongly against admitting J Street to the Conference of Presidents.

But some were surprised that the Anti-Defamation League announced it planned to vote in favor of inclusion, and perhaps not everyone could have predicted that the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism movement voted to welcome into the inner circle a group which had long fought hard against economic sanctions to deter the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The final vote was a resounding one against including the group that (usually) refers with the tagline “pro-Israel, pro-peace.”

According to the bylaws of the Conference of Presidents, J Street needed a full 2/3s membership vote in its favor. It didn’t even get a simple majority. In the end, only 17 members of the Conference voted in favor of including J Street, 22 voted against it, and three voting members abstained.

Members of the Conference told the Jerusalem Post “what J Street is doing is exploiting the situation to get visibility.”

In other words, hubris – which is what propelled J Street out of the starting gate is also what slammed the door shut in its face.

 

US Reform Jews Following Same Path as in 1940s

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom haShoah. Although I agree with those who say that preservation of the historical record is a necessary part of preventing its repetition, I am very uncomfortable with its use to produce an emotional catharsis, which often stands in the way of facing the real threats against the Jewish people today. The same people who cry over the dead Jews of the 1940s often have no problem taking anti-Zionist positions today — or supporting politicians like Barack Obama, whose policies are inimical to the continued existence of the Jewish state, and therefore the Jewish people.

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) as seems not to have noticed Yom haShoah this year — at least, I can’t find anything on its website. Individual congregations, like the one in our town, are holding commemorative events. Possibly they have decided to deemphasize the observance.

But the URJ’s drift in the direction of anti-Zionist politics hasn’t stopped. Under the leadership of its President Rabbi Richard ‘Rick’ Jacobs, we find the URJ supporting the phony ‘pro-Israel’ organization J Street in its bid to join the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. J Street — which called for a cease-fire on the first day of Operation Cast Lead in 2009, which supported an anti-Israel resolution in the UN Security council (which the US vetoed), which consistently opposed sanctions on Iran, which supported the conclusions of the Goldstone Report (later repudiated by its author) that accused the IDF of war crimes in Gaza and introduced Goldstone to members of Congress, which has invited viciously anti-Zionist and pro-BDS speakers like Mustafa Barghouti, Rebecca Vilkomerson and James Zogby to its annual conferences, but which refused to allow liberal Zionist Alan Dershowitz to speak — is anything but pro-Israel. It is, however, very pro-Obama.

It is ironic, then that the liberal wing of the Jewish establishment in the US is following the same path as it did in the 1940s, when, out of loyalty to a liberal president and his party, it worked against the true interests of the Jewish people. The danger is not as immediate today as it was in the dark days of WWII, although the Iranian nuclear project, which is being facilitated by the policy of the Obama Administration, could very quickly change this.

I am therefore taking this occasion to republish the following, which I wrote several years ago. It is even more timely today.

—————————————————————

The failure of the liberal Jewish establishment, then and now

by Vic Rosenthal, 8/7/2011

400 mostly Orthodox rabbis march to the White House on October 6, 1943. Roosevelt avoided meeting with them.

It’s well-known that the Roosevelt Administration did little to help European Jews during the Holocaust. Unfortunately, part of the blame falls on American Jewry, which was sharply divided about how to respond — a fact which caused good men in the government to hesitate, while it gave antisemites an excuse to resist taking action.

The NY Times has published a piece by Isabel Kershner that may bring more attention to the shameful stupidity of the Jewish establishment during that period:

The Bergson group formed in 1940 when about 10 young Jews from Palestine and Europe came to the United States to open a fund-raising and propaganda operation for the Irgun, the right-wing Zionist militia. The group was organized by Hillel Kook, a charismatic Irgun leader who adopted the pseudonym Peter H. Bergson. [Samuel] Merlin was his right-hand man.

J Street Seeking a Seat at the Conference

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

In a move that will surprise nobody, for its effort to become a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, J Street has the backing of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The JCPA has long been clamoring to include J Street as part of its “big tent” approach to Jewish communal life. And no wonder, the two organizations are closely aligned on most issues, domestic and foreign.

What should also come as no surprise to anyone, those American pro-Israel organizations which see their major focus as global security, including Jewish communities worldwide generally and the Jewish state in particular, such as the Zionist Organization of America, are opposed to ushering in yet another organization into the 50 strong member group which they see as engaging in moral equivalency between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

The issue comes to a vote April 30. And members on both sides of the vote are busily lobbying people to make their voices heard by those who will be voting.

The Conference of Presidents includes most of the major Jewish organizations with which most people are familiar, but there are others who are members that would probably surprise most people.

For example, everyone expects such groups as the ZOA and the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League to be members, the same goes for the offices of the major branches of Judaism. But what Workman’s Circle (a blend of “workers’ rights” mit a bissel Yiddish?) Not to mention the Jewish Labor Committee(“The Jewish voice in the labor movement, and the voice of the labor movement in the Jewish community.”)  Then there’s the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society which is still very much involved in the needs of immigrants, but not too many of whom are Hebrews.

Other organizations such as CAMERA (which deals with media bias against Israel) and Hadassah and Americans for Peace Now and the Jewish Federations and the National Council of Young Israel all also have seats at the Conference of Presidents.

Early word was that the J Street leadership came in for heavy grilling by members, especially with respect to their support for and frequent partnering with organizations which advocate for various forms of economic and legal warfare against Israel, known as the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) movement.

An article in the Forward earlier this month revealed that J Street failed to garner the approval of a critical committee which would have smoothed the way to membership. That article explained that in order for J Street to gain admission there would have to be a 75 percent quorum present, and a two thirds vote.

According to the mission statement of the Conference of Presidents, at least one of the two primary issues on which the Conference focuses should signal a serious battle regarding the admission of J Street, the other one, only slightly less so: “The Conference is at the forefront mobilizing support to halt Iran’s nuclear program and to counter the global campaign to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people.”

J Street was an early and consistent opponent of sanctions against Iran and when it ultimately was flanked to the right by the U.S. administration, it only slowly and very begrudgingly accepted the need for sanctions. J Street was once again a major cheerleader against enacting legislation that would provide for the immediate resumption of sanctions should Iran fail to comply with the obligations the U.S. understood it to have undertaken in the agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1.

There also continues to be a matter of say one thing, do another, with respect to the BDS movement. Although J Street consistently publicly claims to oppose the use of BDS, the J Street U members have been amongst the biggest cheerleaders of divestment resolutions on U.S. campuses (with Cornell University being a notable exception.)

Netanyahu Calls Boycotters ‘Anti-Semites’

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Anyone who wants to boycott Israel is an anti-Semite, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday night in comments to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem.

“In the past anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses, and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state, and by the way, only the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. “I think that it is important that the boycotters be exposed for what they are, they are classical anti-Semites in modern garb.”

His hard-hitting statements came  in the wake of recent disinvestment of Israeli firms and an outright warning by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel faces boycotts if it does not come to terms with most of the Arab world’s demands. The Obama administration supports nearly all of the Arab conditions for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority as a new Arab country on land where hundreds of thousands of Jews would be expelled from their homes.

The time has come to “delegitimize the delegitimizers,” the Prime Minister asserted.

The Boycott Israel movement has hit some snags lately, with entertainers such as Neil Young refusing to cancel a scheduled gig, actress Scarlett Johansson sticking to her guns as a paid ambassador for the SodaStream company that has a factory at a location in Judea and Samaria, and more than 200 universities disavowing the academic boycott approved by the American Studies Association.

Netanyahu said in his remarks that Israel’s successful high-tech industry is one of the country’s most effective weapons to fight the Boycott Israel movement.

Previous efforts to boycott all Israeli products failed after the supporters realized they would have to do without patented and generic drugs produced by Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals and without computers that use chips produced by Intel’s giant facility in Israel.

Israel Eyeing More Control of Temple Mount, Bennett Says

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Israel may try to assume more control over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett and told leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in the capital on Monday.

He said his office has taken steps to exercise greater Israeli sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem, Haaretz reported.

Among the steps, he said, is providing better services to the Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem.

In addressing the issue of the Temple Mount, Bennett reportedly said, “Unfortunately, the Temple Mount today doesn’t allow for the full exercise of freedom of religion, and there is discrimination against Jews there. But we have to be very careful when dealing with the Temple Mount because of the huge sensitivity of the site.”

The Temple Mount is under the control of the Islamic Wakf.

Bennett’s speech came a day after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a group of visiting Israeli students that he would not be willing to share sovereignty over the Temple Mount but would allow Jews to worship at the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites.

On Sunday, lawmakers in Jordan threatened to shut down the country’s embassy in Tel Aviv and expel Israel’s ambassador to Amman if Israeli lawmakers drafted a law to end the Wakf’s authority over Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem, calling it a breach of the Jordan-Israel peace treaty.

A Knesset plenum debate on “the loss of Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount” is scheduled for Tuesday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel-eyeing-more-control-of-temple-mount-bennett-says/2014/02/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: