Posts Tagged ‘conference’
(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
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. )
Here is Levana’s report:
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
The British Academy is supporting a lecturer who has been strongly condemned for racism by British Prime Minister David Cameron and by the Foreign Office’s anti-discrimination division, reported UN Watch.
The Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group today urged the head of the British Academy, Lord Stern of Brentford, to immediately remove all support for the scheduled September 11 Canberra appearance by Richard Falk, a UN Human Rights Council official recently denounced by world leaders for suggesting that the Boston bombings were the fault of the U.S. and Israel.
Falk was condemned by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, and by the US, UK and Canadian governments, for blaming the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”
The Sept. 11 timing of the conference is doubly offensive because Falk was also condemned by the UN chief for spreading 9/11 conspiracy theories.
A copy of UN Watch’s letter was sent to Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, the UK’s envoy to the UN, and to the London anti-discrimination division, both of whom recently condemned Falk for racism.
UN Watch today also sent a similar protest letter to Gareth Evans, chancellor of the Australian National University, which is hosting the conference. Evans, a former Australian foreign minister, served on a 2004 UN panel that led to the creation of Falk’s Human Rights Council.
Following is the UN Watch letter sent today:
Lord Stern of Brentford President of the British Academy
Dear Lord Stern,
UN Watch is shocked that the British Academy, whose purpose is to support excellence in the humanities, is funding a September 11th platform for Mr. Richard Falk, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who was just condemned by your own government for racism, and who was denounced by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and world leaders for his vile comments blaming the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”
According to a website called Human Rights in Palestine, the Australian National University in Canberra will soon host a “groundbreaking conference” on Palestinian human rights, on September 11. Mr. Falk is listed as a keynote speaker at this event.
This highly problematic event prominently displays a large British Academy logo throughout the website.
Notwithstanding a barely legible footnote on one of the pages containing a disclaimer written in tiny, faded grey letters, the website clearly implies the endorsement and support of the British Academy on its “Home”, “Program”, “Speakers”, “Exhibition” and other pages.
We understand that this British Academy endorsement may be related to your 2009 grant of £29,836 to Dr. Victoria Mason — a convener of the Canberra conference whose avowed specialties include “Israeli State Terror” — in order to study “Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the West Bank.”
In that regard, please note that while the conference program claims to address human rights, Mr. Falk is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing who uses the language of human rights to absolve terrorists of culpability. He is the only UN expert in history to have been condemned for racism by Britain, or any other member state of the European Union.
We are sending a copy of this complaint letter to the attention of UK Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant — and to Ms. Philippa Thompson, Deputy Team Leader of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Team within the Human Rights & Democracy Department of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who recently examined and addressed Mr. Falk’s racism.
The UK Non-Discrimination Team determined that Falk’s recent writings are “resonant of the longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews (through the State of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world.”
As the British Academy, you may also wish to take note that:
1. British Prime Minister David Cameron “strongly condemned” Falk’s 2011 publication of an antisemitic cartoon, showing a dog wearing a Jewish head-covering urinating on a depiction of justice and devouring a bloody skeleton. Falk was also condemned by British MPs David Burrowes and Theresa Villiers.
2. The British Foreign Office last year condemned Falk for providing the cover endorsement of a book that asks whether “Hitler might have been right after all.” The UK Mission in Geneva protested to the UN human rights office, expressing London’s “serious concerns.” The book endorsed by Falk, “The Wandering Who,” also accuses “the Jews” of being “the only people who managed to maintain and sustain a racially orientated, expansionist and genocidal national identity that is not at all different from Nazi ethnic ideology.”
3. The British Mission to the United Nations condemned Mr. Falk’s April 19, 2013 remarks on the Boston bombing as “anti-Semitic,” highlighting it was the third time the British Government had to do so.
In addition we note:
• That Falk is so extreme in his support for the Hamas terrorist organization that even the Palestinian Authority—as revealed in a Wikleaks cable, and which Falk himself admits—has sought to remove him, on grounds that he is a “partisan of Hamas“;
• That Falk recently published an article attempting to downplay, reinterpret and justify the latest call by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to destroy Israel;
• That Falk accused Israel of planning a “Palestinian Holocaust,“prompting a bloc of dictatorships, including Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, to sucessfully nominate him as the UN Human Rights Council’s expert on Palestine; • That Falk is one of the world’s most high-profile supporters of the leading 9/11 conspiracy theorists, lending his name to those who accuse the U.S. government of orchestrating the destruction of the Twin Towers as a pretext to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;
• That Falk actively promotes the writings of David Ray Griffin, a disciple and close friend of Falk who has produced 12 books describing the World Trade Center attack as “an inside job”; • That Falk not only contributed the Foreword to Griffin’s 2004 “The New Pearl Harbor”—praising the author’s “patience,” “fortitude,” “courage,” and “intelligence”—but Griffin credits Falk for getting the book published, and also specially thanks Falk’s wife, Hilal Elver, someone who remains a member of Human Rights Watch’s Santa Barbara Committee, and who is also speaking at the upcoming Canberra conference;Jewish Press News Briefs
Speaking at a Spoke at a conference of Professors for a Strong Israel in Jerusalem Sunday, Transportation Deputy Minister MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud-Beiteinu) said the solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict lies in annexing Judea and Samaria and turning Israel into a Jewish state with a small Arab minority enjoying equal rights.
The conference debated an option of transforming the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan into a Palestinian state. “The Jordanian initiative is good, but there’s a problem with it—we don’t control it,” Hotovely said. “There may be a revolution there tomorrow or in a hundred years. We need an additional option which would be an active Israeli initiative: the vision of Greater Israel, with one correction – it would be without Gaza.”
“This is not an instantaneous plan, it’s a plan for a generation,” Hotovely added.
According to Hotovely, the plan of annexing the territories of Judea and Samaria, including its Arab population, which would enjoy equal rights and obligations, “is absolutely possible, with a few emphasized points: bolstering aliyah, which has been neglected in the last decade, and bringing over about a million and a half Jews who would cover the demographic problems. In addition, we must have control over Palestinian and Israeli Arab education, to prevent incitement and to implement the Basic Law of the Knesset.”
According to Hotovely, “It isn’t right that [late MK Rabbi Meir] Kahane is illegal, but Zoabi and Balad (Arab anti-Zionist party) are legal. When all is said and done, this is a national, not a bi-national state, with an Arab minority which would grow only by about 5% compared to its size today.”
Regarding the negotiations going on right now between Israel and the Palestinians, Hotovely said that Prime Minister Netanyahu had entered the negotiations with a heavy heart and under heavy American pressure.
“As prime minister, if he sees it as an Israeli interest, he must pursue it. We have the responsibility to present the alternatives, as in this conference today.”
MK Hotovely said the current political negotiation is different from previous ones in its quest for a Palestinian state within temporary borders. What will remain unresolved would be the fact that the Palestinians do not recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, there is no solution for the refugees and there is no arrangement regarding Jewish settlements.
“Nevertheless, it will result in a bona fide Palestinian state with a UN representation, which will harm Israel,” Hotovely said.Yori Yanover
By Naomi Vilko, MD
Many Jewish Americans are unaware not only of the sordid behavior of the Claims Conference (Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany); they are also unaware of its existence and mission. Established in 1951, the Claims Conference has the tasks of negotiating for compensation and restitution for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution and of distributing payments from the German government to individual Jewish Holocaust survivors and the social services agencies that serve them.
Shamefully, $57.3 million intended for survivors was stolen from the Claims Conference by 31 people – 11 of them employees – over 16 years. [For more information, please read Isi Leibler’s numerous articles covering the Claims Conference scandal on his blog.] Now, influential Jews including Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress and Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel have insisted upon an independent investigation into the Claims Conference fraud as well as a change in its leadership and governance. I am grateful to Rabbi Mark Golub of Shalom TV, Isi Leibler of The Jerusalem Post and staff writers from The Jewish Daily Forward and The Jewish Week who have been following the Claims Conference scandal and pressing for justice for the survivors. I hope that we can mobilize the Jewish community to quickly close this corrupt agency and transfer the funds to another agency who will distribute them in time to help those in need.
Many Holocaust survivors have not received compensation for their suffering and losses because for some of these aging victims, the process is simply too painful; others have not received compensation because the Claims Conference is at best, difficult and obstructionist, and at worst, corrupt. Claims Conference officials have also continued to expand the definition of “Jewish victim of Nazi persecution”. Today, it administers programs providing funds not just to those who survived ghettos, concentration camps, forced labor battalions and death marches, but to anyone who fled Nazi invasion, lived in hiding, or lived under curfew. As a Psychiatrist specializing in trauma, I am well aware that it is difficult to tease out the quantitative and qualitative differences between different traumatic experiences – but I am certain that those who survived concentration camps (the youngest of whom are in their 80s) should receive assistance immediately and without the frustration of dealing with the uncaring staff of the Claims Conference and its various agencies.
My mother and I have dealt with the issue of reparations since my father, a survivor of 5 concentration camps, death marches, Hungarian forced labor and a ghetto, died suddenly in 1962. My father was denied any compensation. As his widow and a survivor herself, my mother appealed, but the appeals were denied. Recently, I again contacted several Jewish agencies in a futile attempt to assist my now 92-year-old mother with paying for her home-care. I was astounded to learn that if she only needed assistance 20 hours/week, she would receive funds, but since she requires 24-hour assistance (which she pays for herself) she will receive nothing to defray the expense. We were advised that she could go on Medicaid and/or be sent to a nursing home.
Jewish social agencies are doing the best they can to help survivors, but they say that they have limited funds. After helping themselves to large salaries and allowing fraud to persist under their noses for over a decade, is it any surprise that the Claims Conference does not have enough funds for the survivors it “claims” to serve? Furthermore, while it is commendable in theory for the Claims Conference to work to expand eligibility for these funds, I must ask: if there is not enough money available to help the survivors who have already been identified, what is the result of such efforts beyond making the bread lines longer?
It is an outrage and an embarrassment that the Claims Conference has continued to operate without oversight, even after failing in its responsibility to adequately investigate and prosecute the fraud for so many years. We must shut down the Claims Conference and transfer the funds to an existing agency, such as the Jewish Federation or the World Jewish Congress that can quickly prioritize the way funds are distributed to survivors. We have an obligation to take care of those who have been tortured and enslaved because they are Jewish – before it’s too late.
There are many survivors who have no children to care for or advocate for them and who live isolated lives in apartments with no services and little human contact. My hope is that raising awareness of the additional psychological trauma survivors experience as a result of the reparations and compensation processes and, specifically, the New York based Claims Conference itself, may lead the Jewish people to take action. Let’s face it: The Jewish people have not adequately taken care of the survivors, who are now extremely elderly and dying. They are entitled to live the last years of their lives with dignity.Guest Author
Israel Academia Monitor, an organization devoted to monitoring anti-Israel academics, hosted a conference in Tel Aviv with the goal of drawing attention to the fact that anti-Israel academics exploit their positions of influence in order to promote an anti-Israel agenda.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon does not lie solely within universities abroad, but also exists within Israel. These professors utilize their position as a means to prove the justness of their cause while the fact that they are Israeli adds a sense of legitimacy. The danger is tremendous. As Cicero once wrote, “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.”
The first speaker to address the conference was Prof. Ofira Seliktar, who noted the orchestrated campaign to delegitimize Israel utilizing soft asymmetrical conflict.
“Soft components of this conflict are designed to delegitimize the target country and improve the image of the challenged group” as well as the “causes they represent,” Seliktar said.
The founders of the Neo-Marxist critical perspective, according to Seliktar, were the first to adopt soft asymmetrical conflict, which Edward Said in turn applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Michael Gross, another speaker at the conference, pointed to professor Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University, saying that Gordon has “a long track record of calling for boycotts of Israel” and has referred to “Israel as a so-called fascist Nazi apartheid-like state.”
In addition, other professors at Ben Gurion University behave similarly, including Oren Yiftachel, who devoted “most of his career to misrepresenting Israel as an apartheid regime;” Lev Grinberg, who is best known for “accusing Israel of committing symbolic genocide” when Israel killed the leader of Hamas and compared Hamas terrorists to the “Maccabee heroes”; and Eyal Nir, who teaches chemistry at BGU and “is not only anti-Israel but was in the media in the past year for openly calling for critics of the left to be murdered.”
Panel at Israel Academia Monitor Conference, Tel Aviv
In the concluding session of this conference, I participated and spoke about how soft asymmetrical conflict was applied at Ben-Gurion University, where anti-Israel activism was quite widespread as part of an orchestrated campaign to educate international students to view Israel negatively.
Examples of this included the social coordinator at the time, Noah Slor, organizing anti-Israel trips, professors teaching about Israel in an anti-Israel propagandist style; and instances of pro-Israel students, such as myself, facing intimidation for having the chutzpah to speak out against the anti-Israel activism that was taking place on campus.
For example, Professor Yiftachel was teaching international students that “Israel is in a colonial situation with the Palestinians,” “the whole Israeli state is what you call an ethnocracy,” “Ashkenazis colonize the Mizrahim,” “Israeli Arabs have ghetto citizenship,” “Israel is like Sudan in ethnocratic structure,” and that “Israel imposes Judaism on her Palestinian citizens.”
When I attempted in the past to write exposés on this, Yiftachel arranged to have me intimidated by the then head of the Middle Eastern Studies department, Dr. Avi Rubin, who threatened “possible ramifications” and the involvement of the university’s legal department. While every thing turned out fine for me in the end, due to Israel Academia Monitor providing me with legal representation, not all students who are outspokenly pro-Israel at BGU are this lucky.
Here’s a brief portion of my concluding remarks:
When you combine people like [Professor] Yiftachel… [and] a social coordinator who, by the way was the one who organized the demonstrations on the campus in favor of the Gaza Flotilla … it has an indoctrinating effect.
I emphasized that choosing to speak out against this intimidation wasn’t an easy decision. Nevertheless, what the international students are taught is important, for many of these students will return to their countries and may hold prominent positions within the government as experts on the Middle East.
[I]t is important to study the Middle East; but not in the way that it is currently being done. It needs to be done in a way that you actually learn; that you actually gain some insight, a marketplace of ideas,” I explained. “It shouldn’t be only one opinion. And oh, you can’t challenge it if you don’t have a Ph.D. That’s not how it works. Students also have academic freedom and my academic freedom should be respected just as much as anybody else.
Visit United with Israel.Rachel Avraham