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July 27, 2016 / 21 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘conference’

The FBI Director’s Press Conference

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

FBI Director James Comey’s explanation of why his agency didn’t recommend the prosecution of Hillary Clinton in the scandal over her use of a private e-mail system for official business during her tenure as secretary of state raised more questions than it resolved.

Thus, after going through the nature of the FBI’s investigation, he concluded that “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

Yet this sorting of evidence, we are told by criminal lawyers, is usually the purview of a grand jury, which decides whether there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed. One of the unanswered questions in this entire episode is why U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara – who is known for his high profile prosecutions and who has jurisdiction over the Clinton e-mail issue since the possible offenses occurred at the Clinton home in Chappaqua, New York, which is within his federal area of responsibility – didn’t convene a grand jury.

And there would surely have been grist for his grand jury mill, since, as Mr. Comey noted, “There were thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to State…” That in itself sounds like she was withholding evidence.

Mr. Comey also said that “Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.”

“Know or should know” is classic legal language suggesting criminal responsibility.

Recklessness with government secrets? Consider what Mr. Comey said:

With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal email account extensively while outside the United States…. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal account.

Mr. Comey also said his investigators had found 110 e-mails that were classified information at the time they were sent or received. They also found, he said, an unspecified number of instances of top secret or secret information contained in 52 so-called e-mail chains

There was also destruction of e-mails by Clinton attorneys “in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.” But we have “reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct.”

But again, sorting out these kinds of issues is typically the job of a grand jury.

Complicating this even further is the private meeting just days before Mr. Comey spoke between Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Mr. Comey’s boss, and Bill Clinton, supposedly to talk about their grandchildren.

This is not to say that Mrs. Clinton is clearly guilty of violating the law. It is to say, though, that it’s hard to think of anyone else who would have received the pass she just did.

Editorial Board

PM Netanyahu Explains His Turkey Deal While Visiting in Rome

Monday, June 27th, 2016

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 27 June 2016), issued the following statement at his press conference in Rome:

“Israel has reached an agreement of strategic importance for the State of Israel, for security, for regional stability and for the Israeli economy. As Prime Minister of Israel, it is my responsibility to be concerned with its strategic interests, to take a broad and long-term view, based on an understanding of the international arena as well as of our security and economic needs, at present and in the future.

Last night and this morning, I spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Last night I spoke with US Vice President Joe Biden and have spoken just now with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Of course, they all welcomed the agreement. They think that it will greatly strengthen the State of Israel and its position in the region. Of course, the US says this based on that same strong and fundamental alliance that is a cornerstone of our international relations. But we know that we need to add centers of stability. The world and the Middle East are in turmoil and my policy is to create centers of stability in this unstable and stormy region.

We are doing so with our close neighbors, Arab countries. We are doing so with Greece and Cyprus. We are doing so with Russia. We are also doing so with Turkey. Of course, we are doing all of this in full coordination with our greatest ally, the United States. This is part of a clear strategy, to create centers of stability in the stormy Middle East. Now, Israel and Turkey are two major powers in the region and the break between us is not good for our vital interests and prevents us from cooperating in those instances, and there are more than a few, in which cooperation is warranted.

The first thing in this agreement is protection for IDF commanders and soldiers from criminal and civil claims, both those being prosecuted now and those that might be prosecuted in the future. As of now there are very many such claims and their scope is increasing; they could reach many millions of dollars and prevent the free movement of our soldiers, their freedom of activity – all of this is cancelled. The agreement will ensure that our soldiers and commanders will not be exposed to claims by Turkey. Moreover, the agreement also stipulates that the Turkish parliament will pass a law cancelling all of these processes in Turkey.

The second thing that this agreement gives is maintaining the maritime security blockade of the Gaza Strip. This is our supreme security interest; I was not prepared to compromise on it. This interest is vital to prevent the strengthening of Hamas and it remains as it has been. Of course, we are allowing ships to dock at Ashdod port and unload civilian and humanitarian cargoes there for the Gaza Strip. We have never prevented this, of course, and we are making it possible now.

The third thing that this agreement does, along with maintaining the security arrangement, is to allow for dealing with humanitarian issues in the Gaza Strip, subject to Israel’s security procedures and considerations. I would like to explain that beyond the humanitarian consideration, this is also an outstanding interest of Israel’s, especially in two areas – water and electricity. Water: When there is not enough water in Gaza, and Gaza is in the process of gradually drying up, the aquifers become polluted and when the aquifers become polluted, this is not limited to the Gaza side of the aquifer but also passes over to the aquifer on our side. Therefore, it is in Israel’s clear interest to deal with the water problem in the Gaza Strip. Electricity: When there is not enough electricity, various problems arise, including those having to do with sanitation, and when there are outbreaks, the outbreaks do not stop at the fences. This is both a humanitarian interest and an outstanding Israeli interest. Therefore, we are allowing these infrastructures to be dealt with. Just like other countries, from Norway to Arab states, so too will Turkey be able to help on this matter. Of course, we will hold discussions with Turkey on these issues.

An additional thing that the agreement gives is a commitment to prevent all terrorist or military activity against Israel from Turkish soil, including collecting funds for these purposes. This is an important – even primary – commitment that we have not had up until now.

In addition, we received a letter according to which the President of Turkey has instructed the relevant Turkish agencies to assist in every way in returning the prisoners and MIAs on a humanitarian basis. I understand the suffering of the families. I speak with them and I know what they are going through, and I would like to assure them: I promise you, members of the families, I promise you that we will not stop and we will not rest until we bring the boys back home. This is a personal, national and moral commitment. I think that the letter which accompanies the agreement gives us another tool to use in this holy work.

Also, this agreement requires Turkey to assist Israel in entering into all international organizations that Turkey is a member of. Now, we have already had one case before the signing which is very important from our point-of-view and it is based on goodwill, and this is Turkey dropping its opposition to Israel establishing a NATO office. Israel is now working to open an office with NATO; this has been a goal of ours for many years and it is being realized.

I would like to touch on an additional point, which I think is critical, and this is in the economic sphere. This agreement opens the way to cooperation on economic and energy matters, including the gas issue. Gas is so important and contains the possibility of strengthening the Israeli economy and state coffers with vast capital. But the gas issue is composed of several things: One, extracting it from the sea and we have dealt with this; I will not go into detail on this issue here. But the second thing is creating markets for the gas that we are extracting from the sea. I remind you that 60% of every shekel that comes out of the sea goes to the state treasury. These are vast sums but we need markets. Leviathan could supply both the Egyptian market that we intend to work with and also the Turkish market as well as the supply of gas through Turkey to Europe, and this is a strategic issue for the State of Israel. This could not have come sooner without this agreement and now we will work to advance it.

I updated the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, Russia and, of course, our American friends, on this development. We updated them on every aspect that we focused on in this agreement. This took a lot of time, including recently. But I would like to update you on something: There are two people here who worked very hard on this matter. I would like to thank Yaakov Nagal from the National Security Council, who did very loyal – and I must say quiet – work. I would also like to thank someone who, not for the first time, has aided the State of Israel, and he has done exceptional work, Yossi Ciechanover. Yossi did marvelous work dealing with the Palmer report in wake of the Marmara incident. He dealt with it, the results are known, one of the few cases in which Israel came out on top in a UN report, and this was greatly due to Yossi. Yossi worked diligently on this agreement and I want to offer him the heartfelt gratitude of the citizens of the State of Israel. Thank you to you both.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Vive La France-But their Conference?

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Since I was a kid I loved things that are French. I loved French fries, French toast, and I even took a year of French in high school. However, looking at it more carefully, I realized that the French fries I loved, but only with an ample amount of salt and ketchup, and I really enjoyed French toast only because of the maple syrup I’d put on it. Once I realized that I could finish high school in three years instead of four if I dropped French and took another English class instead – that’s what I did.

Now the French are hosting a so-called international conference on peace in the Middle East. It won’t deal with Syria or Iraq, nor will it address the chaos in Libya. Instead, it will deal with the least destructive and harmful conflict in the Middle East: the Arab-Israeli conflict. And the icing to that cake is that the sides aren’t invited, and that reminds me of some black holes in the history of France and the Jewish nation.

Of course I’m not referring to the three expulsions of the Jews from France, nor to the Dreyfus Affair that revealed a deep anti-Semitic streak in modern France, nor the 26% of French Jews killed during the Holocaust with French collusion. I’m not referring to the lesson taught to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion by French president Charles de Gaulle that there are no friends in international relations, only interests, a lesson de Gaulle practiced on Israel when he imposed an arms embargo on the area that affected mostly Israel, including not supplying arms that Israel had already payed for. All that may be in the background – but this proposed international conference reminds me by association of another peace conference the French attended: the Munich Conference of 1938.

In that conference France and Great Britain, in a selfish and less then intelligent attempt to appease Hitler, forced Czechoslovakia to surrender the mountainous area of Czechoslovakia that bordered Germany. Many ethnic Germans lived in that area, and for the conference a new territorial designation “Sudetenland” was invented, as if it were a distinct separate German area that had mistakenly been attached to Czechoslovakia. Once that area was stripped from Czechoslovakia, the country was left defenseless. All this – despite signed defense pacts that Czechoslovakia had with France and Britain. Once the Czechs were pushed back from their fortified defensible borders – Germany overran the rump Czech state within a matter of months, without French or British intervention, emphasizing that they had sold the Czechs for their own selfish purpose, a purpose not gained at all. When the German army later invaded France about 25% of all the weapons Germany had in its army came from former Czechoslovakia. The Czechs referred to this Munich betrayal as “About us, without us!”

So now the French government is possibly taking another turn at conference playing, about Israel without Israel. They also use an invented term – the Palestinian people – possibly in order to justify tearing part of the Jewish homeland from the Jewish nation.

What can possibly motivate France? Is it deeply-rooted anti-Semitism in French culture? Is it to appease the Muslim world, so that perhaps France will cease to be a target for Islamic terrorism? Is it to appease the Muslims who live in France? Is it part of a secret agreement with Iran: we the Iranians will do business with you, but only if you weaken Israel? Is it at the secret calling of some other country or countries who are hostile to Israel? Is it all of the above?

It’s hard to know. But one thing isn’t hard to know: any such conference will not bring the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict any closer. Israel has already done more than enough for the cause of peace: a temporary freeze of building Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. “settlement freeze”), has given the Arabs in the Land of Israel a measure of self-government that they never ever had and never even received from the Arab states, and Israel uprooted over 8,000 Jews from their homes in the Katif area (homes that were built were beforehand there was wasteland and sand) near Gaza, so that not one Israeli civilian or Israeli soldier is in the Gaza Strip anymore. In spite of all this the Arabs haven’t moved closer to peace: they haven’t turned all their resources to bettering the lives of their people, they haven’t resettled people stuck in refugee camps and they haven’t recognized the Jewish national right to self-determination nor educated their youth to live in peace with the Jewish state of Israel.

So what can the French conference achieve, besides adding on the participants all those calories of French toast and French fries?

Dovid Ben-Meir

France Plans Peace Conference But the US, Israel, and the PA Are reluctant to Join

Friday, May 13th, 2016

The US does not plan to support a renewed French plan to push on the Israeli-Arab peace negotiations in a conference of close to 20 foreign ministers in Paris on May 30. According to Israeli pundits, Washington is not eager to let France lead the peace process, despite the fact that the Obama Administration has officially given up on reviving it by the end of its term.

Stae Dept. spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau said on Wednesday that the US remains “concerned about the continued violence on the ground and we welcome all ideas on moving this forward,” but “on this specific conference, on the May 30 event, no decision’s been made on participation. … We still remain in consultation with the French and other international partners on it.”

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls plans to visit Israel and the PA ahead of the May 30 conference, but so far neither side has expressed enthusiasm.

David Israel

Thousands of Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbis Gather at NYC’s Largest Banquet

Sunday, November 8th, 2015
More than 5,200 rabbis and communal leaders from 86 countries are sitting down to schmooze over dinner at the Big Apple’s biggest banquet as the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries gets underway Sunday evening.
Not only is the event New York City’s largest sit-down dinner, it is also North America’s largest Jewish event. It is also one of the only opportunities during the year that one can grasp the magnitude of the global phenomenon of today’s Chabad  movement, and experience some of the spirit that is driving it.
 
As a courtesy to our readers, JewishPress.com is broadcasting the event live:
 
<script language=”javascript” type=”text/javascript” src=”http://embed.chabad.org/multimedia/mediaplayer/embedded/embed.js.asp?aid=221818&width=auto&height=auto></script><span style=”clear:both;” class=”lb” id=”lbdiv”>Visit <a href=”http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/default_cdo/aid/591213/jewish/Video.htm“>Jewish.TV</a> for more <a href=”http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/default_cdo/aid/591213/jewish/Video.htm“>Jewish videos</a>.</span>
The hearing-impaired and deaf Jewish community is participating in the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries this year via simultaneous translation of the evening’s speeches in American Sign Language., organizers told JewishPress.com.
Translations for the hearing-impaired are also being projected in the banquet hall at the converted South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, and on the Chabad.org webcast.
 
The annual group photo of every Chabad emissary from around the world has become a mainstay of the four-day-long conference that culminates in the long-awaited banquet. The tradition began with a few dozen rabbis in the early 1980s, but it has long since grown to become a logistical feat with not a few acrobatics involved. The photo eventually makes its way around the world to places that many readers may not even have heard of — and some of the new emissaries may not even have known existed, until they were assigned to their posts!
 
Another strong mainstay of the annual gathering is the traditional pilgrimage to the final resting place in Queens, New York, of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson zt’l and that of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe,Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson zt’l.
Visitors waited for hours in line, praying as they prepared to deliver their handwritten requests for blessings for themselves and their communities, beginning with their arrival last week.
At the banquet, Mumbai terror attack survivor Moshe Holtzberg, now age 9, was set to lead the crowd of thousands in the recitation of psalms.The world came to know little Moshe through grainy footage of his Indian nanny rushing him to safety during the terrorist attack that took his parent’s lives, and his cries for his mother during a memorial event held days later that pierced hearts everywhere.
Seven years later, Moshe now lives with his grandparents in Israel, and he has participated in events such as the international conference with confidence and aplomb, born to the environment and raised by Chabad emissaries, as were his parents before him.
Hana Levi Julian

Surreal: Israeli Police Raids Conference Against Anti-Democratic Administrative Detention

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

(JNi.media) Large police forces as well as a SWAT team on Thursday surrounded the community center at the village of Nof Ayalon near Modi’in, inside the 1949 armistice “green line.” The center was hosting a conference of right wing activists, rabbis and public figures, who gathered to debate the sharp rise in the issuing of administrative detention orders by the Israeli government. Police detained two (although there were reports of four) activists who have been expelled from Judea and Samaria attended the conference, although there presence there did not violate the orders against them.

Among the better known activists at the conference were Professor Hillel Weiss, Torah scholar and writer Rabbi Yoel Schwartz—a co-founder of the IDF Nahal Haredi battalion, former MK Michael Ben-Ari, Lehava leader Ben-Zion Gopstein, Noam Federman, Baruch Marzel, attorney Yitzhak Bam, and “hilltop youth” activist Meir Bartler.

Honenu legal aid society chairman Shmuel Medad, who attended the conference, wrote on his organization’s Facebook page, “The landlord is crazy (an Israeli expression meaning the government has lost it). It appears that even a conference against administrative decrees is not to the liking of the Israel Police. Unfortunately, the police receive instructions to act as if there are no restrictions on their force and no limitations on their resources.”

A senior police official confirmed to Maariv that forces were active in the village, and said, “The event was attended by young people who have recently accepted administrative orders. The orders include a prohibition on contacting other activists. These are activists who had violated the ban and met each other in this place. Troops arrived to carry out arrests following a breach of the order. Two activists have been arrested.”

Despite their claim to justification, police confiscated video cameras and erased records of their raid, saying the clips would expose clandestine members of the Jewish division of Shin Bet.

JNi.Media

Palestinians Rebuff Jewish Refugees’ Outreach

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

An offer to advocate for Palestinian refugee rights to cooperate with advocates for the rights of Jewish refugees was rejected at the Zochrot conference. 

The conference went ahead on the supposed site of an Arab village on the Tel Aviv university campus on 29 and 30 September, despite attempts to have it cancelled.  Levana Zamir, the president of the Association of Jews from Egypt in Israel, who made the offer to cooperate,  watched the conference develop into a nightmare – a sick and calculated blueprint for the annihilation of Israel. (One can only marvel at the irony that the bastion of anti-Zionism that is Tel Aviv university, whose staff and students so enthusiastically participated in the conference, should cooperate in their own destruction. )

The Zochrot conference website banner.

The Zochrot conference website banner.

Here is Levana’s report:

Levana Zamir

Levana Zamir

This international conference initiated by the Israeli NGO Zokhrot (meaning ‘we remember’),  titled “Realizing the Return of Palestinian Refugees” took place over two days in the Eretz Israel Museum in Ramat Aviv – located on the site of the former Arab village of  Sheikh Mouniss.

It was  a nightmare to me.  Janet Dallal, an Israeli friend from Iraq, was there with me. The other heads of organisations of Jews from Arab countries decided not to come and speak out – saying it would give the conference too much  publicity. Now I can say they were wrong.

The aim of this conference was not to argue whether the Palestinian refugees have a right of return, but the realization of it,  termed ‘decolonization’ by the conference including in parts of north Tel Aviv where small Arab villages were located before 1948.

The conference got off to a slow start, talking about doing justice to the dispossessed and stateless Palestinian refugees, and with a few good words from Leila Hilal, Director of the Middle East Task force of the New America Foundation – the main organisation financing this conference, beside other European organisations.

Leila Hilal said she was embarrassed to open the conference knowing that ‘the right of return’ issue was very delicate for most of Israelis: I liked her opening very much. But she continued saying it was about time to do justice to those politically-displaced refugees and put an end to their suffering. From time to time she talked of “compensation”.

Professor  Dan Rabinovitz of Tel Aviv University (where else?) gave his presentation, saying that the ‘right of return’ would be granted to refugees born in Palestine and are still alive – not to their descendants – i.e. 200, 000 refugees.  A  ‘right of return’ given by Israel to Jews only is discrimination, he said. He asked for recognition and for an apology. The Return would not always be to the original locations, but to alternatives.

After three more presentations about “reconciliation”, the Serbian refugee model, and the research findings of an Arab doctoral student from the UK on displaced Palestinians, it was easy for me at the Q&A to say my few words over the microphone and to ask my question.  I said:
“I came here to give you a hand, to ask you to continue your fight to get back your properties and compensation because I am myself a refugee, a Jewish refugee from Egypt. We were dispossessed of all our family properties, of our identity, then expelled. There are a million Jewish refugees like me from Arab lands – Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, etc.  So I propose to pool our efforts – Palestinian and Jewish refugees – to recover our properties, secure compensation, and not to accept the kizuz (cancelling out) proposed by Israel.

“My question to Leila Hilal was this: “as you represent the New America Foundation, dealing with refugees in the Middle East, would you agree to give us a hand, and deal with Jewish refugees too. Let’s do it together, hand in hand.”

Leila did not answer my question but asked the others to do so.  Prof. Dan Rabinovitz said that my request was absolutely right, but he was an expert on Palestinian refugees and dealt only with them. The doctoral student from the UK, Munir Nuseibah, said he would be ready to develop his research for both sides. But during the coffee break, when I asked him how he would like us to cooperate on his research, he said he could not cooperate. People around us heard his answer very clearly.

When Leila asked the Serbian expert to answer to another question about the success of the ‘right of return’ imposed on Serbia, she said that it was a very bad experience involving killing people, and it had to be stopped.

During the coffe break, the president and founder of Zokhrot, Eitan Bronstein (an Israeli), came to me and said he was ready to see how Zokhrot could cooperate with us to include the Jewish refugees in their themes and activities. At that moment I was really glad to be there, but Leila avoided me and disappeared. I will send her a short message.

Janet Dallal intervened during the afternoon sessions, reminding the audience (all of them leftists) of the existence of the second group of refugees, the Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, and the role of the Arab League in all this.

The second and last part of the conference became a nightmare.

During the whole next day, the lecturers demonstrated what the Return would be like, geographically – through animated short clips – and practically.

For example, in North Tel Aviv, on Ibn-Gvirol Street and the corner of Arlozorof – a sophisticated Tel-Avivian neighbourhood where an Arab village called Soumayel was located – the ‘Israeli occupiers’ would have the right to decide to leave their homes or stay and pay the ‘Palestinian refugee owner’ the ‘market value’ of their house. Then the ‘Palestinian Refugee owner’ would decide between recovering ‘his’ house or taking the money, with all that entailed. The Israeli ‘occupiers’ could not pass their homes on as inheritance to their descendants, etc. etc.

The Palestinian refugee who did not wish to Return, would get all their rights as Israeli citizens (Bituah Leumi national insurance rights, etc). in the paradise of One state for Two Peoples.  There was never any talk of “two separate nation-states”.

Everything is already settled for the Return to Arab villages too. The speakers planned, for example, how the ‘new’ Arab village of Ladjoun, on the edge of the flourishing kibbutz Meggido in the North,  will look, and under which conditions two Arab buildings still located inside the kibbutz would be incorporated into the village.

All this seemed to me sick and destructive, so the second day I did  not attend the conference but watched via the On-line conference link on the Zokhrot Facebook page.

The conference continued in this vein. Some lecturers even said, “Zionism is a crime” and nobody objected, except one lady who said: ” please respect others’ beliefs”. That was the only moment when I wished I had been there to say that today the word “Zionism” has no meaning any more – because the State of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. We are Am Israel, living in Medinat Israel.

To sum up, I cannot believe this is happening to us, that Israelis could side with our enemies so as to annihilate the State of Israel. This conference came one step closer towards this annihilation. I would like to say to all those who were there, that the creation of the State of Israel after 2,000 years was a miracle, and that the people of Israel on its own land is neither invincible, nor should it be taken for granted.

Visit Point of No Return.

Point of No Return

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