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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘David Steinmann’

JCPA: ‘We’re The Voice of American Jews,’ But Many Beg to Differ

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

As we conclude the somber observance of Tish B’Av, the time when so many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people are recalled, it is perhaps not irrelevant that U.S. secretary of state John Kerry has returned to the Middle East.

Official reports claim Kerry has no plans to visit Israel, but, as Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu reported in The Jewish Press, Kerry met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas while in Jordan.  It turns out he is also meeting with various Arab leaders who, according to al Jazeera, Kerry believes “are essential to his push to get Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks.”  That’s right.  Arab leaders to push – who? Who else, but Israel, to restart the “peace talks.”

Yes, although the entire Middle East is in turmoil, Egypt has just gone through a second revolution, nearly a100,000 have died in Syria’s ongoing civil war, one into which Lebanon is increasingly being drawn, Turkey is nearing the boiling point, Iraq continues to unravel and Iran is approaching nuclear weapons capability, leave it to a group of professional Jewish professionals to sashay into D.C. and tell the relevant congressional committees that now is the time for Kerry to kickstart the Arab-Israeli “peace talks.”  And that’s what happened, just before Kerry left for the Middle East.

The Jewish group making the possibly worst-timed suggestion ever is the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).

According to its website, the JCPA has a tripartite mission: first, “to safeguard the rights of Jews here and around the world”; second, “to dedicate ourselves to the safety and security of the state of Israel”; and third, “to protect, preserve and promote a just American society, one that is democratic and pluralistic, one that furthers harmonious interreligious, inter ethnic [sic] interracial and other intergroup relations.”

From their mission, you might think that the safety and security of Jews and the Jewish state would be the primary focus of JCPA’s activities.  But you might be wrong, as a quick look at their website makes clear.  The JCPA’s focus is on liberal domestic issues. Israel and Judaism play a minor role.

JCPA CLAIMS TO REPRESENT THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY

Nonetheless, the JCPA can prioritize as it wishes and make whatever suggestions it wants to members of congress.  But when the JCPA leaps over its goal to be something and starts proclaiming it is something, that is when people begin to bristle.

You see, on the JCPA Facebook page, and on its Twitter homepage, it states, with no qualifiers, that “the JCPA is the representative voice of the organized Jewish community.”

That’s news to a whole lot of American Jews who shared their response with The Jewish Press.

Because when the JCPA decided to meet with the House and the Senate foreign relations committees, asserting that the American Jewish community wants Kerry to focus on restarting the peace talks, that claim may have been heard as if it had far more weight than warranted.

Let’s put aside for the moment that when the JCPA went to congress to make its claims, it was double-dating with the American Task Force on Palestine.  That’s something they do a lot.  Again, whatever JCPA does is its own business.

But The Jewish Press asked a broad geographical cross-section of American Jews who are knowledgeable about the Middle East in general and Israel in particular, whether, as the JCPA asserts, it is the “representative voice of the organized Jewish community,” and if it spoke representing them when it went to congress urging the restart of the “peace talks” at this time.

In a word, no.

People in California, Chicago, Florida, Washington, D.C., and New York were asked to comment.  Rabbis, architects, businesspeople, financial wizards, intelligence analysts, and Jewish communal leaders were asked to comment.  They all said no, the JCPA does not represent them.

“They don’t represent me,” said Jeff Ballabon, the president of a New York consulting firm and the founder of the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem, a consortium of two dozen national pro-Israel groups.

“Israel has stated very clearly: there are to be no preconditions for starting the peace talks, so I have to wonder, why are these groups putting pressure on Israel?  I don’t see how any American Jew who cares about Israel’s safety and security would be pushing this now,” Ballabon said.

YU’s Law School to Honor Jimmy Carter for ‘Conflict Resolution’

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law is scheduled to present former U.S. president Jimmy Carter with the “International Advocate for Peace” Award this Wednesday, April 10.

Since leaving the presidency, former president Carter has been present in many places around the globe where  tremendous conflict has taken – and continues to take – place. With respect to the conflicts foremost in the minds of pro-Israel Jews and other Zionists, the role Carter has played has been wildly unpopular.

The award is being presented by the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. The law school administration has insisted – through a statement issued by a public relations firm – it was a choice made by the students. Sources have suggested the opposite is the case.

In what appeared to be an effort to distance themselves from the award and the event, at least to those complaining, some concerned individuals were told “on good assurance” that neither Cardozo’s Dean Diller nor YU’s President Joel would be present at the award ceremony, and that they were completely uninvolved.

As a letter obtained by The Jewish Press that was sent by Dean Diller to certain “high roller” alumni inviting them to the event made clear, however, Diller plans to be front and center at the event.

“Today, I am particularly pleased and honored to invite you,” wrote Dean Diller, “to a very special afternoon with President Jimmy Carter on April 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm.”  Diller closed the letter by telling the big givers he hoped they would “plan to join me in welcoming the 39th President of the United States to the law school.”

The Jewish Press sent repeated queries to find out why and how Cardozo, of all law schools – it is the only one connected to an officially Jewish institution – chose to honor Jimmy Carter.

The Cardozo statement explained that Jimmy Carter was being honored specifically for his “lifetime of work, from the historic Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt, to monitoring some 90 elections around the world and supporting fledgling democracies to resolve conflicts without violence.”

When he found out about the award, Cardozo alumnus Gary Emmanuel decided to act.  He gathered other alumni and concerned individuals to form the group “The Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni.”  When they looked at Carter’s “lifetime of work,” they saw something very different from what was expressed in Cardozo’s official statement.  The CCCA also created a website, Shame On Cardozo for Honoring Jimmy Carter, on which Carter is described as having a history of “anti-Israel bigotry”:

He is responsible for helping to mainstream the antisemitic notion that Israel is an apartheid state with his provocatively titled book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”, the publication of which prompted mass resignations from the Carter Center. He has met numerous times with leaders of the terror group Hamas whitewashing their genocidal goals and undermining US efforts to isolate Hamas. And Carter’s record of slandering Israel is so voluminous that both CAMERA and Alan Dershowitz have written books refuting his lies.

The Shame on Cardozo website links to a litany of Carter’s anti-Israel activities, including his stating on national television in 2006 that Hamas had observed an 18-month truce – not true – and in 2007 using a faked Nelson Mandela letter to “prove” Israel is an Apartheid state.

Perhaps most troublesome is that just over a year ago Jimmy Carter said in an interview with Time magazine that he didn’t think it was such a big deal if Iran gets a nuclear weapon.  Here’s the full quote, with no characterizations:

Well, of course, the religious leaders of Iran have sworn on their word of honor that they’re not going to manufacture nuclear weapons. If they are lying, then I don’t see that as a major catastrophe because they’ll only have one or two military weapons. Israel probably has 300 or so.

In the four days since Carter’s Cardozo award became public, on April 4, emails and Twitter blasts have been ricocheting around the Internet.  Most have been highly critical of the pending honor.  In addition, alumni and others interested have sent letters of protest to Richard Joel, the President of Yeshiva University, and to Matthew Diller, the Dean of Cardozo School of Law.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/yus-law-school-to-honor-jimmy-carter-for-conflict-resolution/2013/04/08/

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