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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘conference’

Democrat Senator-Elect Simcha Felder Will Caucus with Republicans

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Brooklyn Democratic State Senator-elect Simcha Felder has decided to caucus with the GOP, placing doubt over the Democrats’ ability to control the Senate, the NY Daily News reported.

Felder, who represent a new, mostly Orthodox Jewish district, announced the switch following a Tuesday meeting with Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos.

Felder said that by joining the Republicans, who are in the majority until the new Senate goes into session next year, he will be able “to serve the people who elected me, and advance a legislative agenda that best meets their needs.” These include economic development, jobs and tax relief.

His move leaves Senate Democrats with a 32-31 majority come January. Two races have not been decided yet, and the Democrats are leading in both.

If the Republicans take either of those seats, they will have the majority, thanks to Felder’s defection. And that would be without factoring in breakaway senate Democrats who formed their own conference and have worked closely with the Republican majority the last two years.

The Independent Democratic Caucus, comprised of four Senators who worked with the Republicans this session, are yet to announce whose wagon they’d be riding come January.

Senator Skelos was delighted to welcome Felder to his ranks. “Senator-elect Felder will be a valuable member of our conference as we work to address the concerns raised by his community and continue to move this state forward,” the Republican Boss from Nassau County said.

According to the Daily News, Senate Democrats still expect Felder to return to his roots once their party wins the two disputed seats.

“The voters sent a clear message on election night that they want the Senate led by a Democratic majority,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy. “We are confident that when the Senate convenes in January, there will be a Democratic majority and we look forward to working with Gov. Cuomo to achieve the progressive agenda he has laid out.”

In that case, it could mark the final demise of the NY State GOP, with both houses and the governor’s office residing in Democratic hands, as well as both U.S. Senate seats and a majority of the House delegation.

Chabad Emissaries Gathered in New York

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Some 4,000 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and communal leaders from more than 75 countries gathered in New York for their 29th international conference.

Many of the rabbis attending the conference over the weekend brought relief supplies and funds from their communities around the world to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, and volunteered their time for relief efforts.

Highlights of the conference included a visit to the gravesite of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson; a group picture in front of the Chabad-Lubavitch worldwide headquarters in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn; and the annual banquet featuring an international roll call.

Conference workshops included topics such as helping people through the global economic crisis; expanding the horizons of college campus outreach; and multi-sensory approaches to Jewish education.

Israelis and Iranians Held Talks on Dismantling their Nuclear Weapons

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Despite the verbal confrontation between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program, Israeli and Iranian officials participated this week in secret talks in Brussels, Belgium, on dismantling both countries’ arsenals of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, Julian Borger reported in the Guardian.

Participants included Jeremy Issacharoff, the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director for Strategic Affairs. The chief Iranian representative is Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The meetings are moderated by Finnish diplomat Jaakko Laajava, whom the UN secretary general appointed to organize the planned conference in Helsinki.

The talks, conducted in a seminar format, were held under the auspices of the EU. A media blackout was imposed on the discussions and participants have pledged not to publicize even the fact that the talks are being held, much less anything about their content.

In sharp contrast with the saber rattling of both sides’ leaders, Mark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation expert from the International Institute for Strategic Studies and former state department official, told the Guardian that “there were no fireworks and no denunciations” at the conference.

Conference Sessions Suggest New Fundraising Model, Praise Israel-Diaspora Cooperation

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Delegates to the Jewish People Policy Institute conference proposed a new model for Jewish communal fundraising and stressed the importance of cooperation between Israel and Diaspora Jewish communities.

At a conference session on how the global Jewish community spends its funds, former CBS executive and Fox News founder Mark Pearlman suggested that the community shift in part from focusing on umbrella Federation funding, and instead emphasize funding based on causes — though he noted the importance of Federations to American Jewish communal life.

He also said that Jewish communities should develop better online fundraising, and set up an organization that can monitor fundraising groups and direct donors to specific causes.

“It’s not about auditing,” he said. “We need to continue to support the federated system but we need to promote a marketplace like this to get funding to solve causes.”

The conference, taking place Tuesday and Wednesday in Jerusalem, is called “The Conference on the Future of the Jewish People” and brings together more than 120 Jewish leaders and experts from around the world. The Institute is a think tank focused on developing policy for the Jewish world.

Israeli President Shimon Peres also addressed the delegates on Tuesday.

Aside from the Jewish communal budget, the conference’s sessions dealt with Israeli and Jewish identity and geopolitics.

Tuesday’s keynote speaker, French Jewish public intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy, praised increased unity between Israel and Diaspora Jewish communities, as compared to Israel’s early days as a state.

In earlier years, “there was the feeling in French Jewry that Israel was a reality that had to be accepted but that it would probably create more problems than it would solve,” he said. “This whole debate seems over. Today it seems the Diaspora and Israel are like the two pillars of the Jewish world and one cannot work without the other.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, JPPI’s parent organization, also appeared at the conference on Tuesday.

Former Mossad Chief’s Health Improving in Belarus

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan’s condition is improving after contracting an infection following a liver transplant in Belarus.

Dagan is still being kept sedated and on a respirator, and is being kept in isolation to minimize his chances of additional infections.

US, German and Swedish hospitals refused to operate on Dagan, according to Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, who gave a press conference on Tuesday.  “No one wanted to conduct this operation on a former head of the Mossad,” Lukashenko said.  Israeli officials decried Lukashenko’s conference as an attempt to get publicity for Belarus.

Young New York Jews Gear Up for Aliyah Conference

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

In an effort to nudge New York Jewish students and young professionals considering aliyah to take the plunge, Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel will be hosting a special conference at the UJA-Federation of new York in Manhattan on October 21.

The event will feature workshops on getting jobs and higher education in Israel, serving in the army, and other topics, and will include an Israel Fair where job hunters and potential job employers from Israel can meet.  A special workshop will also be included for medical doctors.

A special webinar emphasizing Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Go North program will also highlight the benefits of living in Israel’s Galil and Golan regions.

Two free tickts to Israel will be raffled off, and a Tweetup on Twitter can be followed at #thinkIsrael.

Anti-Israel, Pro-Hamas Muslim Leader Is US Delegate to Warsaw Human Rights Conference

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

For two weeks every year, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe holds what it refers to as the world’s largest human rights and democracy conference, called the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting.  Organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, this year’s meeting is taking place in Warsaw, and it began last week.  Special attention is focused this year on freedom of religion and belief, the rights of Roma (formerly called gypsies) women and the rights of national minorities in OSCE countries.

The head of the U.S. delegation to the conference this year is Ambassador Avis Bohlen, a retired foreign service officer whose career included serving as Ambassador to Bulgaria from 1996 – 1999.

There are three public members of the U.S. delegation.  Nida Gelazis, of the Woodrow Wilson Center, is a scholar of  international human rights, international law and citizenship policies and protection of national minorities.

Dr. Ethel Brooks, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, is the second representative of the U.S.  at the conference. Brooks has published many articles on her research areas which include child labor in third world countries, globalization and political economies.

The third public member chosen to attend the human rights conference as a representative of the U.S. is Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

While two out of three of the U.S. representatives are scholars whose fields suggest expertise in human rights and democratization, and are entirely consistent with the themes of the OSCE and, specifically, human rights and democracy, Al-Marayati’s appointment raises serious questions.

Counter-terrorism expert Steve Emerson told The Jewish Press that

Al-Marayati’s appointment is not just scandalous but also does incalculable damage to our values as a nation whose core principles categorically reject the legitimization of a racist supporter of terrorism, and an incendiary proponent of paranoid conspiracies that provides the motivation for radical Muslims to carry out terrorism.

Al-Marayati is not a scholar.  His only graduate degree is in business and his undergraduate degree is in science.  He has been involved with MPAC since its founding in 1986.  Without any scholarly article to his credit, his expertise is in matters concerning the role of Islam and Muslims in America and elsewhere.

In fact, Al-Marayati is better known, at least to members of the American Jewish community, for his defense of those who are on the scrutiny end of the human rights examining lens.  Perhaps his most infamous statement was during a radio interview immediately following the attacks by Muslim terrorists against the United States on September 11, 2001.

On that day, as the buildings were still smoldering, Al-Marayati told radio interviewer Warren Olney on KCEW-FM’s “Which Way, LA?” in response to questions about who might be behind the terrorist attacks,

If we’re going to look at suspects, we should look to groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on this list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies.

While Al-Marayati is generally more in control about publicly expressing his views regarding Israel and comporting himself in an even-keeled manner when with civic and political leaders, there have been many other instances in which his support for Muslims seems to override his concern for the human rights and safety of others.

For example, at a 2005 conference held by the Islamic Society of North America, Al-Marayati told his fellow Muslims not to respond to requests from the FBI to work with them, saying, “we reject any efforts, notion, suggestion that Muslims should start spying on one another.”

Even as he publicly engages in many interfaith efforts, Al-Marayati continues to sow the seeds of division between religious groups.  In 2009 he spoke at a J Street conference, telling the audience of  ”Palestine Now At Any Price” liberals that the absence of a Palestinian State was the major cause for Muslim unrest in Pakistan, and that it was “the central issue critical to the hearts and minds of all 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.”

Al-Marayati spoke before the OSCE conference on Tuesday, October 1, about the situation of Muslims as a religious minority in America.  He quoted President Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech, in which he said, “‘it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit – for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear,’” and called for “governments to ‘stop targeting Muslims through legislation or policy, and instead enshrine the ground of religion or belief as a prohibited ground of discrimination in all realms.”

When asked to comment about Al-Marayati’s appointment to represent the United States at a global human rights and democracy conference, Steve Emerson, one of the premier counter-terrorism experts, and someone who has conducted extensive research into Al-Marayati’s background, told The Jewish Press,

For this administration to appoint to an august human rights organization Salam Al-Marayati, who has openly supported Hizbollah, claimed that the FBI has illegally incited Muslims on terrorism charges because of FBI sanctioned policies of “racial profiling,” has defended as innocent the most notorious members of Hamas who were found guilty of laundering millions of dollars to a terrorist group, and someone who has complained of ‘having the Holocaust shoved down [his] throat,’ is an outrage.

Emerson suggested  that the appointment of Al-Marayati as a representative of the U.S. at one of the world’s largest human rights conference,

cries out for a congressional investigation of the larger and more heinous scandal of the unprecedented degree to which the Obama administration has embraced and collaborated with radical Muslim groups in the U.S. whose lineage derives directly from the world wide totalitarian Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The conference concludes at the end of this week.

Ambassador Bohlen did not respond to a request for comment by the Jewish Press.

Poll: Israeli Arabs Believe Jewish Refugees Deserve Attention

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A new poll released at an international conference on Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries shows that a great proportion of Arab Israelis (54%) than Jewish Israelis (48%) believe issues pertaining to Jewish refugees from Arab countries deserve as much attention as those pertaining to Arab refugees from Israel’s war of independence.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told attendees, “The Arab world has neglected Arab refugees for decades and has used them as a battering ram against Israel, while Israel, which was just born as a nation-state, has absorbed and resettled the Jewish refugees from Arab countries and turned them into productive citizens.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/poll-israeli-arabs-believe-jewish-refugees-deserve-attention/2012/09/10/

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