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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘conference’

A Call to Action: Shut Down the Claims Conference

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

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

Monitoring Professors Who Hate and Attack their Country

Monday, May 6th, 2013

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

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 concluded:

 

[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

Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria Conference

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

The Women in Green movement has now begun the preparations for the third conference for the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Following  the success of the first two conferences, the movement expects large numbers of participants to come from all over Israel.

The third conference will be held in about two weeks (Tuesday, January 1, 2013) in the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, with the participation of prominent personalities: government ministers, Members of Knesset, rabbis, academics, and other public figures.

The conference is being organized and produced by Women in Green and co-sponsored by Just Peace For Israel and the Jewish Press.com.

Lectures will be in Hebrew with simultaneous translation into English.

 

The conference organizers, Women in Green leaders Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, say that the upcoming conference will focus on providing answers to questions that have arisen regarding the call for the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

Among the speakers at the conference, Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein will relate to the international consequences of the application of sovereignty; coalition chairman MK Zeev Elkin will speak on the natural transition from the content of the Edmond Levy report to the application of sovereignty; MK Yariv Levin will talk about the question of legislation in the Knesset; Moshe Feiglin, Chairman, Jewish Leadership in the Likud, will offer guidelines on the way to turn declarations into actual political action; Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, Knesset candidate on the Habayit Hayehudi list, will address the moral aspect of the application of sovereignty over the Promised Land of Eretz Israel.

Katsover and Matar further speaking of the contents of the upcoming conference: “Israel Prize laureate Geula Cohen will deliver greetings to those attending the conference, and will remind all of us that the skies did not fall when she herself passed the Jerusalem and Golan Heights Law in the Knesset, nor will the skies fall when Israel will apply its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Edmond Levy committee member Adv. Alan Baker will present the main points of the Edmond Levy report.”

As regards the Edmond Levy report, Katsover and Matar mention the importance of the Israeli public assimilating its conclusions: “The leftward-biased Talia Sasson report gained recognition and legitimacy, while the report of Justice Edmond Levi is attacked for its presumed rightward bias. The Edmond Levy report must take its proper place in the public-governmental discourse, and action must be taken in accordance with it. Consequently, Adv. Baker’s words are of central importance in the approaching conference.”

Dr. Mordechai Kedar will speak on the expected response to this step from the direction of the Arabs, and a special panel will discuss the question that concerns many among the Israeli public, namely, the status of the Arabs after the application of sovereignty. Caroline Glick, senior editor at the Jerusalem Post and Latma editor, Prof. Aryeh Eldad, Adv. Elyakim Haetzni, and Dr. Martin Sherman will participate in the panel, which will be moderated by Eran Bar-Tal, economics editor at Maariv.

In the artistic part of the conference, Karni Eldad will provide musical accompaniment, and the Latma team will present a video skit produced especially for the conference.

On the importance of the application of sovereignty, Katsover and Matar say: “The reality in which  territory in Eretz Israel remains without clear political status leaves options open in the eyes of the Arabs, and also for the Europeans, the Americans, and the rest of the world. New plans for how to get rid of the heart of the Promised Land pop up all the time. Forty-five years after the fact, action must be taken, to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and to put a stop to the humiliating buying and selling of the heart of our homeland.”

The two estimate that the storm that the application of sovereignty will arouse in the world will be much smaller than the hurricane expected by those apprehensive of the move. “Upon the application of sovereignty, after the protests by the world’s hypocrites, the situation will return to normal. The Arabs, of course, will go through the motions of ‘non-acceptance,’ but deep in their hearts they know that Israeli rule is the best for them, economically, medically, educationally, etc.”

Regarding the venue chosen for the conference, the Bible Lands Museum, after the two preceding conferences had been held in Hebron, Katsover and Matar state that the choice was not by chance: “This is an unequivocal statement: Eretz Israel belongs to the people of Israel according to the Bible.”

Katsover and Matar tell of the great interest concerning the event and the many questions directed to them, mainly questions of feasibility and practical questions about the application of sovereignty. For them, this is a most necessary and logical step: “While, a decade and a half ago, talk about the Oslo Accords and a Palestinian state as an Israeli diplomatic goal was accepted, we now can see the sharp turnabout that has occurred among the Israeli public. This is evident both in the results of the recent primaries, and in the current polls in advance of the coming election. The people in Israel has sobered up from the illusions of the left, and chooses to return to Eretz Israel and to nationalism. When this is the discourse that is on the rise, there is also a growing understanding among the people that only actual possession of and sovereignty over the entire land will bring security, and at the end of the day, also peace from strength.”

 For more information:

Yehudit Katsover – 050-7161818, Nadia Matar – 050-5500834

The Movement for Israel’s Tomorrow (Women in Green)

Jewish Press Staff

Ceasefire Press Conference in Progress

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman are currently conducting a press conference announcing the initiation of a ceasefire starting at 9pm.

They have announced that they will not be taking questions following the conference.

Malkah Fleisher

Egyptian President Morsi to Hold Press Conference

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Reports that the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt is called for Egpyitan President Muhammed Morsi to sever all ties with Israel as a result of the Israeli operation against Gazan terror.  Morsi’s office to hold press conference within the hour. (Ehud Yaari, Channel 2 TV)

Jewish Press News Briefs

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.

Yori Yanover

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.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/chabad-emissaries-gathered-in-new-york/2012/11/13/

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