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May 31, 2016 / 23 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘conference’

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.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

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.”

Malkah Fleisher

New Report: Environment in Judea and Samaria in Danger

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

A new environmental report compiled by “Green Now” in conjunction with the Association of Cities in Judea and Samaria was presented for the first time at a conference which took place at the end of last month. The conference, held in Ariel and a first of its kind, focused on environmental issues in Judea and Samaria.

The Conference was held following a report published by Dr. Nitzan Levy, the Managing Director of environmental issues at the Association of Cities in the Judea region. The report described the current environmental situation in the Judea and Samaria region. The primary findings are that the environment is in danger, and therefore harm is caused to the quality of life of the residents living in these areas. Despite the significant conclusion that damage is being caused to both the Jewish and Arab populations residing in these areas, and despite the importance of protecting the environment, many environmental organizations chose not to attend the conference and even banned it because the conference was held in Ariel. The conference was attended by members of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, researchers and experts. During the conference solutions were proposed to deal with waste-waters, air pollution, and the prevention of illegal water drilling by Palestinians.

Water spring in Samaria./ Avishai Zorzinsky, Tazpit News Agency.

Water spring in Samaria / Avishai Zorzinsky, Tazpit News Agency

One of the main chapters in the report related to water usage in Judea and Samaria. The author, Prof. Chaim Gvirtsman, noted that the State of Israel supplies more water to the Palestinians than it had initially agreed to in the Oslo Accords. As ascribed by the accords, a Joint Water Committee was established. However, as a result of political motives, many issues were not addressed properly by the committee, causing considerable damage to the environment. 33% of water consumed by the Palestinians is lost due to lack of proper maintenance of their pipes. Furthermore, the Palestinians continue to steal water by illegal drilling and by using “Mekorot” (Israel’s water Company) pipes. They do not purify their waste-waters, as it can be re-used for agricultural irrigation. The report determined that Israel on its part has fulfilled all its obligations regarding the water issues, including the consideration for Palestinian “future needs.”

The Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan pointed out that in addition to the diversion of Israel’s waters in Judea and Samaria, the State of Israel continues to supply water and electricity to Gaza, and in effect, Israeli citizens are subsidizing the Palestinians’ water and electricity expenses.

“Green Now” and the Association of Cities in Judea and Samaria called on the Palestinians to cooperate on all environmental issues. A summary of the report stated: “The main conclusion from this articles collection, which in many ways creates a report of the state of the environment in Judea and Samaria, is the urgent need for a solid trans-boundary environmental management.”

Ofer Inbar, Director of “Green Now” told Tazpit News Agency: “Green Now recognizes that the water usage is a fundamental strategic issue and therefore will work, as part of its various activities, to safeguard the water resources of the State of Israel and to ensure that the Palestinians fulfill their obligation to protect the environment which we all share. The environment knows no boundaries, and the considerable damage caused in Judea and Samaria may affect all residents of the State of Israel.”

Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency

Young Entrepreneurs from India, Brazil, and El Salvador Experience Israel for First Time

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Jerusalem – An international group of young entrepreneurs had a first-hand glimpse into Israel’s social activism and entrepreneurial ventures in a unique project last week.

Hailing from India, El Salvador, New Zealand, Brazil, and South Africa, the participants, ranging from their early 20s to 30s, with a background in entrepreneurial work, were part of an international conference called S.E.E. Israel (Social Entrepreneur Exchange).Organized by Jerusalem’s Hebrew University students as part of a StandWithUs public diplomacy training program, the conference connected the international visitors with young Israeli social innovators, enterprises and organizations.

The four-day conference featured lectures and meetings with experts on a variety of topics including informal education and solutions to universal problems facing civil societies as well as how to strengthen society’s weaker sectors. The participants also experienced on-site tours of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and even participated in a social activist project during their stay.

For Jithin C. Nedumala, 25, of Bangalore, India, and founder of Make A Difference (MAD), the largest youth volunteer network for Indian orphans and underprivileged children, the visit to Israel was an eye-opening experience.

“Being here, I understand Israel and Israelis as people much better. In India, our perception of Israel comes from the media and we always hear about the conflict, especially the flotilla incident. Israel is always presented as an oppressor from this perspective,” Nedumala told Tazpit News Agency.

“The first time I heard about the entrepreneurial side of Israel was when I read the book, Start-Up Nation, which got me interested in Israel in a different way,” Nedumala explained.

“I’m amazed by how informal everything is—you don’t feel any hierarchy and people generally let others be. Israelis even refer to the Prime Minister by his nickname—Bibi. In India, society is much more strict and formal,” Nedumala concluded.

Jithin was not the only participant who discovered another side to Israel. Polyana de Oliveira of San Paulo, Brazil did not anticipate the diversity of the country. “There are so many different types of people here from all backgrounds,” she said.

The 26-year-old Oliveira is bringing back to Brazil “a lot of ideas” for her own tourist destination company that she has launched for English speakers in Brazil, called My Destination. “I learned so much about social models during the conference and the fact that we all have similar issues and problems– and that there are creative ways to solve them.”

In addition, the international participants had the opportunity to directly interact with Israelis at the Jerusalem market, Mahane Yehuda which has over 250 vendors selling fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, fish, spices, wines and other goods. They joined Israeli volunteers from the organization, Gveret Im Salim, or Lady with Baskets, which was founded two years ago to help elderly citizens shop in the open market. Distinguished by yellow shirts, the volunteers, who network on Facebook, walk around every Thursday offering to carry heavy bags of goods of elderly people stocking up for the weekend Sabbath. In exchange for the help, the elderly shoppers, many of whom have come to depend on the extra help, share stories of their past with the younger helpers.

It was a chance for the international group of the S.E.E. Israel program to learn more about the Jerusalem lifestyle and converse with elderly Israeli locals who told them stories of growing up in the city.

Rodrigo Aguilar of El Salvador even had the chance to practice a little Hebrew at that the market, which he learned during the visit. “I felt almost Israeli, saying Shalom, Todah (thank you) and Yalla (hurry up),” he said with a smile.

Aguilar, 21, a university student in El Salvador, who has volunteered for A Roof For My Country, an NGO that builds basic homes for the impoverished, explained that he came to Israel to “to see how it really is here.”

“The coverage that Israel receives in my country is usually negative, so I have always done my own research into the conflict and Israel which was why I wasn’t too surprised by what I’ve experienced culturally throughout the trip.”

And Tatyana Kurbatoff, 31, from New Zealand, found the conference especially inspiring. “You can see that the early pioneer spirit is still alive in the entrepreneurial outlook among the Israelis we have met. This was a great opportunity for us to meet, share and learn about the value of social innovation against the fascinating cultural landscape of Israel.”

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Egyptian President Morsi to Visit Iran

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

The Israeli site NRG reports that Muslim Brotherhood’s Egyptian President Morsi will be making a visit to Iran at the end of the month.

This is the first time an Egyptian president will be visiting Iran in more than 30 years, since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Morsi will be participating in a conference in the Iranian capital.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Panetta: Iran Diplomacy Window Still Open, Israel Won’t Strike

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at the Pentagon news conference on Tuesday that he doesn’t believe that Israel has made a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear sites, adding that international sanctions are increasing pressure on Iran to make concessions, the Pentagon has announced.

Negotiations with Iran have stalled, with the latter still refusing to give the global powers access to all its nuclear facilities. Led by the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the global powers are looking signs of movement from Iran on the access issue, before starting a new round of high-level talks.

“From our point of view, the window is still open to try to work toward a diplomatic solution,” Panetta said.

Israeli officials have been saying time is running out on its ability to bomb Iran’s facilities before they begin to produce nuclear weapons. Defense Minister Barak has said that Iran is approaching within months a “zone of immunity.”

The Fordo enrichment facility, located deep under a mountain near the holy city of Qom, will be difficult to destroy with the weapons.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said at the press conference that, based on his review of Israel’s military arsenal, an Israeli strike “could delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities.”

Israel’s arsenal includes non-stealth F-16 and F-15 fighter jets and an unspecified number of large, deep-penetrating GBU-28, 5,000-pound bunker-buster bombs.

Early this week, Netanyahu said that the Iranian threat “dwarfs” all others. On the same day, Israel’s Home Front Command announced it was testing a nationwide text-messaging system to alert the public to incoming missiles.

According to an Aug. 12 Dialog Institute poll, 46 percent of Israelis now oppose a strike on Iran without U.S. support, down from 58 percent in March. An August 10 Ma’ariv poll found that 35 percent of Israelis believe that Israel should attack Iran alone if necessary, compared with 19 percent in a July 20 poll.

Jacob Edelist

Jacques Rogge: Impartial to a Fault

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

This picture of IOC president Jacques Rogge—who refused to permit the minute of silence in commemoration of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian thugs in Munich—was published by Forbes in November of 2011. The caption below reads:

President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge pauses during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. Rogge on Tuesday expressed concern over “obstacles” facing Palestinian athletes, and in veiled criticism of Israel said athletes should be granted free movement regardless of politics.

They also shouldn’t be murdered in their dorms at the Olympic village, if at all possible.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/jacques-rogge-impartial-to-a-fault/2012/08/08/

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