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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘connection’

Southern Poverty Law Center Joining Pro-Hamas, Hezbollah, Groups in Blasting ‘Haters’ – Mostly Jews

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

The Southern Poverty Law Center was once an icon for Jewish values of racial tolerance and equality.  It played a key role in the American civil rights movement.

The Center’s views have now been stretched so far that, in the name of tolerance and equality, the SPLC is partnering with, on the one hand, a Muslim group whose followers revere and support Hamas and Hezbollah, and a far-left think tank whose writers were spewing accusations of dual loyalty and other anti-Semitic canards just a few months ago.

On Wednesday evening, August 15,  SPLC joined with the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Center for American Progress to present a teleconference call they publicized as addressing “The Real World Impact of Hate Rhetoric in America.” It was clear, however, from the participants and the language in the announcement that the hate-meter is all and only about measuring alleged anti-Muslim rhetoric, and will not take a baby step near anything so mundane as anti-Semitism.

Wajahat Ali, “an attorney and expert on the $40 million dollar Islamophobia industry in the US,” is a co-author of  “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,”   Ali represented CAP on the conference call.  He explained that the Network is comprised of a small group of funders who support the experts who create the information, which is then transmitted to grass roots organizations, fed to the mainstream media, and then is inserted into the talking points of leading conservative politicians.

A quick peek at Fear, Inc.’s five supreme evil villains reveals four of the five are Jews, and the fifth works closely with Jews and Jewish organizations.  Those five are Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Policy; David Yerushalmi (Orthodox Jew) at the Society of Americans for National Existence; Daniel Pipes at the Middle East Forum; Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Stop Islamization of America; and Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

During the teleconference Wajahat included David Horowitz (yes, another Jew) of the Horowitz Freedom Center in his list of the Network experts.  Horowitz was not surprised that the SPLC was joining with MPAC and CAP to criticize people like him.

“The SPLC is the most prominent and active leftwing smear site in America,” Horowitz told The Jewish Press.   He explained that, “like much of the left it has joined the Muslim Brotherhood and its front groups in attacking patriotic Americans who oppose the Islamist oppression of women, gays and other religions and promote jihad against the United States.”

The Center for American Progress has been embroiled in a hate speech controversy of its own, one that was not discussed during the Hate Rhetoric teleconference.

Last spring CAP was hit with repeated charges of anti-Semitism over the use by some of its leadership of such terms as “Israel-Firsters” to describe politicians and others who allegedly put Israel’s interests above those of the United States. Several of the organization’s members left as a result of the controversy.

The third group anchoring the teleconference on “Hate Rhetoric” is one whose leader – and the one co-anchoring the call -  blamed Israel for the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2011.  It is a group allegedly born from the seed of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Muslim Public Affairs Council president Salam al-Marayati is an expert on hate rhetoric, having long engaged in directing his own version towards Jews and the Jewish State.  But he is tone deaf to certain kinds of hate speech – minimizing and even lauding the terrorist acts of Hezbollah which he claims constitute legitimate resistance.

So why is a nice group like the Southern Poverty Law Center joining forces to talk about Hate Rhetoric with two extreme purveyers of, well, Hate Rhetoric?

Steve Emerson is one of the “architects” of the Islamophobic Network, according to CAP.  Emerson told The Jewish Press, “that now the SPLC has scurrilously jumped on the ‘Islamophobia industry’ like MPAC and CAP in promoting a totally fabricated conspiracy that alleges a group of ten individuals (yours truly included) colluded for a decade to hypnotize 300 million Americans to be suspicious of Muslims.”

In fact, according to Emerson, “the reality is MPAC, SPLC, CAP and also the ADL and ACLU are the true conspiratorialists in promoting the myth of Islamophobia, a term created by radical Islamic groups, together with their handlers like CAP, the SPLC  and the ADL, to silence any criticism of radical Islam.”

A group of national religious leaders joined together in a letter they made public, called on the SPLC leadership to withdraw from the teleconference: “To treat MPAC as a legitimate organization, much less a valued partner of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is an extraordinary rejection of Jewish Americans and of moderate Muslim Americans. ” 

My Interview with Marvin Hamlisch

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

As the lights dimmed on Broadway for 60 seconds last night in memory of Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died on Monday, I took a moment to reflect on the moment in 1976 when I interviewed Hamlisch – only 31 years old, but already famous – for The Jewish Press. At the time I was an 18-year-old Brooklyn College student unused to celebrity; Hamlisch, just 13 years my senior, had by then tucked away Oscars for his scores for The Sting and The Way We Were, not to mention a Golden Globe and a Tony for composing the songs in the Broadway musical A Chorus Line.

Our interview, though, was less about music than about the Jewishness which was, he said, the cornerstone of his life. To my surprise, he spoke a good deal about his Jewish identity. And other things, too: his religious faith; his feelings about marriage (he was still single at the time); his juggling of a very busy schedule to be home for Passover; and his deep feelings about Jewish music.

“I can empathize with the sadness in Jewish music…the listlessness that is familiar to every European Jew,” he told me. “I’m a little more sentimental than Americans because I’ve grown up on the melancholy of European music.”

While not a shomer Shabbos, Hamlisch had an unflagging belief in G-d. “When I win my awards, my first response is thank G-d…I know that He is responsible for leading me down the path of success.” He added, “There is a higher being who controls the world and I try to express my beliefs by going to shul on Shabbos whenever possible.”

His open religious sensibility was matched by a proud Jewishness. “I have never hid it from anyone,” he said. “In fact, I’ve candidly announced it on nation-wide television. People…never discouraged me from proclaiming my Jewish identity to them.”

Committed to Zionism as well, Hamlisch once raised $120,000 for Israeli bonds in a single evening.

When he described his inspiration to compose, I sensed a connection – if perhaps an indirect one – to the dynamics of ancient Jewish tradition.

“A composer is a mirror of the society,” Hamlisch said, “because he tries to get a feeling of the times and relate [to] it musically….I prefer…to write when I’m with the masses and a part of them,” he said – for instance, on New York buses or subways during rush hours. “This is the only way to compose, for it enables me to relate to what’s in everyone else’s mind.” In response, I suggested that music emanating from a connection “with the masses” dated back to Moshe: after all, the words “az yashir Moshe u’bnai yisroel” imply that Moshe could sing only when he was one with his people. Hamlisch didn’t disagree.

At one point, I asked him what he wanted from a wife. He laughed. “If I were ever to get married under the wildest conditions, with a Towering Inferno,” he said, referring to a film popular at the time, “I would marry a girl in my mother’s image.” His mother, Lilly, had in fact come by during the interview, to – what else? – cook some food for her son. She heard his answer and chuckled.

Later, Hamlisch sat down at the piano and played some original variations on “Hava Nagilah,” which he described as “a little rock, a little Jewish.” It was a playful performance I don’t think he ever repeated publicly; that he tossed off these impromptu variations just for me, a teenaged interviewer, a fellow Jew, is something I’ll never forget.

Hamlisch was a virtuoso performer and a prize-winning composer. But at his death he left behind another gift: a proud Jew, he was a source of pride to all Jews, just as he was the pride of the music, theater and movie worlds for nearly five decades. I’m very glad I met him.

Yesh Din v’Yesh Dayan

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The first time I recall hearing about Niso Shacham was at Kfar Maimom when, with as much vulgarity as you can imagine, he gave orders to his policemen to use excessive violence against the unarmed civilians protesting against the evil order to expel all the Jews from Gush Katif.

Seven years later, almost to the day, Niso Shacham has been given leave from the police due to the investigation against him.

Perhaps it should have been obvious to those above him that someone who could speak so disgustingly, so sexually violent, that he may also be personally acting out against others in the same manner as he was speaking and telling his subordinates to act. Who else knew about him should also be investigated.

According to the reports, Shacham had possibly been harassing and assaulting policewomen under his command, including “illicit relations” – it not clear to me if that means consensual or not, but since they were under his command, that’s already a problem.

Furthermore, another of his subordinates was allegedly involved in covering up the complaints.

Since Gush Katif, we’ve been hearing ‘Yesh Din v’Yesh Dayan’, as one official after another, connected to the Expulsion has been taken down for some illegal or immoral act or another.

Here at the Muqata we pointed something out a long time ago.

It’s no accident that these people are all getting caught doing dirty deeds or not acting in a manner befitting their position.

The fact that they had no moral problem kicking out thousands of Jews from their homes already told us they had no morals. What we’re just seeing now is them getting caught in other areas which doesn’t happen to involve Settlers.

Yesh Din v’Yesh Dayan – there is Judgement and there is a Judge, but it’s their own fault.

Self Defense

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Jewish Settlers practicing the self-defense martial arts sport Krav Maga at the Jewish outpost of Ramat Migron.

A summer camp for young women was held this week in Ramat Migron, for the next generation of women in Judea and Samaria.

The three day camp included self-defense classes, painting buildings and lectures.

One of the twenty camp participants was quoted in Maariv as saying “We saw how the connection to the land of Israel connects us all.” Another camper stated that “one who comes here is looking to sacrifice for the land of Israel.”

Fleisher on ShalomTV: ‘Let’s Not Live in Fear, Let’s Live in Reality.’

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Yishai Fleisher, managing editor of JewishPress.com, appeared on L’Chaim, a show that has been running on ShalomTV for years. The segment appears on their new live channel, as well as on-demand.

Fleisher spoke with Rabbi Mark Golub about the fear preventing a strong, united Jewish future. He described the challenges the Jewish people face today and split them into three categories – delegitimization, division, and most importantly, fear. “Fear is everywhere,” he said. “[People] go silent when I talk about fear because they realize how much fear they live with…we need to be proud.” Fleisher wants to eliminate the fear, and in doing so, bring Jews home. He touched on many subjects during the interview ranging from the reasons behind the fear in the U.S. and the problems in the Middle East that induce it.

First, many American Jews fear that their own relationship with America will suffer if they move to Israel, or even develop a stronger connection with it than their own country. He revealed his desire to connect the American Jew with the Israeli Jew. Citing the Atlantic Ocean as one of the deepest physical boundaries between the two cultures, he said that he wants to make that border feel smaller. American Jews push their connection to Israel aside, due to a fear that choosing Israel makes them appear disloyal to the country they have lived in for years. “We’re culturally American, we watch Seinfeld, but the Jew always feels that at the end of the day, this is not his home,” he said. Fleisher’s determination is the reason he continues to appear on television and speak at college campuses and other communities throughout America. ”We have to put Israel first,” he said. “…We have to get together to build the Jewish state.”

Further, there is a duality among American Jews. They not only fear the Arab nation, but feel conflicted about how the Israelis treat them due to the negative media coverage. Fleisher pointed out that most American Jews are liberal. They’re liberal because they believe in the “intrinsic value of every human being.” He doesn’t sugarcoat it. There is a clear understanding that some liberties need to be abrogated in order for Jews to protect themselves. But what many American Jews don’t understand is that there is a mitzvah in place that sanctions such self-defense. It’s written in the Talmud that when someone intends to harm you, you have a responsibility to fight back. Jews want to live as a righteous community, but in order to do so they must survive first. It’s immoral for Israel to allow rockets to be amassed by people who will use them, Fleisher explained. “We are only 60 some odd years after the Holocaust,” he said. “It’s not a joke. Let’s not live in fear, let’s live in reality.”

Fleisher was born to Russian parents in Haifa, where he lived until age 8. His family moved to America for economic reasons. Although he went to Jewish schools, he craved more of a connection to Israel and couldn’t stay away for long. He skipped his senior year and at 17, went back to Israel to study in Yeshiva and serve in the army as a paratrooper. After an injury, Fleisher returned to America to study at Yeshiva University and obtain a post-graduate degree at Cardozo Law School. There, he met his wife Malkah. The two moved to Israel to get married and establish their home. In the interview, Fleisher didn’t deny that there’s an atmosphere of tension in Israel and that they have to be vigilant, but living in Israel and raising a family there is something he never questions.

Fleisher emphasized that at the end of the day Israel is the homeland of the Jews. Residents can be critical of the nation’s politics and of the current state of warfare, but they should do it without fear and argue about it in their own nation. There are many enticing countries out there, Fleisher said, but Israel needs to be number one.

Watch the interview with Yishai below:

UPDATE: Terror Attack Kills 7 Israeli Tourists In Bulgaria

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

As news of the passing of Torah sage and leader of Lithuanian Jewry Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv cast a pale of sorrow over Israel, breaking news of a suicide bombing attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria sent shock waves across the country.

Seven Israelis were reported killed and 30 injured when an explosion blew up an Israeli tourist bus and caught two adjacent buses on fire at the Burgas airport on Wednesday, also the 18th anniversary of the Iran-sponsored attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Reports state that among the injured are at least 2 pregnant women and an 11 year old child.  Six of the deceased were pronounced dead at the scene, and one died in hospital. At least two of the 27 injured are reported to be in serious condition.

The explosion occurred while the bus was still in the terminal, after the group arrived in country at 4:45pm.. Burgas, located on the Black Sea Coast, is a popular tourist spot for Israelis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement in which he charged Iran with conducting the attack and warned the regime that Israel would respond forcefully.

“All the signs lead to Iran. Only in the past few months we have seen Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other places,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.

“This is an Iranian terror campaign that is spreading throughout the world,” Netanyahu said. “Israel will react powerfully against Iranian terror,”

Despite fierce political mudslinging in the wake of the angry withdrawal of the Kadima party from the coalition because of rancor over Haredi service in the IDF, politicians across the spectrum united to condemn the murders.  Opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich said “there is no doubt that instability in the region is spawned by Iran aiming expressly for Israelis and Jews throughout the world,” expressed her condolences to the families of the terror victims, and expressed her confidence in Israeli security forces.

ZAKA and Magen David Adom rescue services have already begun making their way to Bulgaria and will attempt to evacuate some of the wounded for treatment in Israel.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called for an immediate meeting at the Foreign Ministry’s situation room.  The Israeli embassy in Bulgaria is investigating the explosion.  Initial reports indicated that a suicide bomber boarded the bus and detonated himself.  Follow-up reports suggested that a bomb may have been planted in the luggage compartment of the bus and detonated by remote control.

In January, Israel requested additional security for citizens traveling in the country after a suspicious package was found on a bus carrying Israeli tourists from Turkey to Bulgaria.

Israel has also expressed concern that Hizbullah would target Israelis overseas in connection with the assassination of Hizbullah commander Imag Mughniyeh, which Hizbullah suspects was conducted by the Mossad.

In the meantime, Hizbullah has denied any connection to the attack.  No organization has claimed responsibility.

Channel 1 quoted Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov as calling the explosion a terrorist attack.

The #1 Thing You Should Know About Real Estate Investing in Israel

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

If you buy a property as an investment, there are two ways you can profit – either you sell it for more than you paid, and/or you collect rent. Let’s look at each of these and see why they often don’t work out:

Selling for a profit

If you buy a property for an investment, hoping to sell years down the line at a profit, remember, that it’s not always easy to sell an apartment. Though people talk about the dearth of housing in Israel, there are “For Sale” signs all over, even in Jerusalem. The best way to ensure a quick sale of property is to sell it at a low price, often at a loss. But even if you don’t need the money and can afford to hold onto the property, remember you have the “friction” of buying and selling in the form of taxes, lawyers’ fees, real estate agents, assessors, mortgage costs, and more.

Collecting rent

In some parts of Israel, rental income represents 2% of the value of the property. So if you’re looking at a rental apartment to provide cash flow, you haven’t found the best return. Moreover, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have renters for 12 months a year. If you presume that, on average, you’ll only be full 10 or 11 months a year, account for the fact that your income would be around 8% lower than if you were full all year round. And if you can’t rent the property out at all, then your money is tied up in a non-performing asset.

So if you are considering investing in real estate in Israel, the #1 thing that you need to know is that buying physical real estate could be a bad investment. That’s why for real estate investing, I prefer using REITs (real estate investment trusts), which trade on a stock exchange, pay dividends, are easy to buy and sell with low cost, and can be bought in the form of a mutual fund.

There are many reasons to buy property in Israel, not only financial. Some Zionists want to solidify their connection to Israel, or hope to one day retire there. Before you buy real estate (or any investment vehicle), make sure you understand your motivation and the pros and cons.

If you want to know about practical investing in Israel, sign up for my company’s investment newsletter and get a free investment ebook as a gift.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/the-1-thing-you-should-know-about-real-estate-investing-in-israel/2012/06/17/

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