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The Jewish Press » » discrimination
May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

First-Ever Dissent Written by US Supreme Court Justice Over Refusal to Hear Jewish Prisoner’s Case

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito filed an unusual dissent Monday when the Court declined to hear the case of a Jewish prisoner refused the right to study Torah with two fellow inmates.

In a hand-written petition to the Court, Israel Ben-Levi had asked the justices to review the decisions of a federal district judge and an affirmation by the U.S. Court of Appeals, according to The Washington Post.

The Supreme Court generally does not explain its decisions to decline hearing a case — thousands are declined each year. There has never before been a written dissent. On Monday alone, 550 cases were declined by the Court, according to The Miami Herald.

But somehow, the case of Ben-Levi v. Brown touched Justice Alito.

“The court’s refusal to grant review in this case does not signify approval of the decision below,” the judge wrote. “But the court’s indifference to this discriminatory infringement of religious liberty is disappointing.”

Although there was no quorum of 10 to meet the minimum requirements for a minyan, Ben-Levi contended that a smaller group would be better than nothing.

The justice agreed and said the prison policy treated Jewish groups differently than Christian or Muslim groups. “The courts below should have considered whether the policy imposed a substantial burden on Ben-Levi’s ability to exercise his religious beliefs, as he understands them,” Alito wrote. “Ben-Levi believes that relaxing the minyan requirement promotes his faith more than sacrificing group Torah study altogether.”

Prior to 2004, Ben-Levi was known as Danny Lee Loren, his birth name. At present he is being held in Green Correctional Institution, a minimum-security facility 80 miles east of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Both of the lower courts had upheld the decision by the prison to deny his request in 2012 to hold a “Jewish Bible Study” group at Hoke Correctional Institution in North Carolina, where he was being held at the time.

Ben-Levi wrote to the Supreme Court, “It seems that all other faith groups are allowed to meet, yet the Jewish inmates are discriminated against. I feel the religious rights of the Jewish inmates are being violated on a regular basis.”

Prison officials contended the claim was invalid because there was no quorum of 10 Jewish adults to establish a minyan. There was also no outside rabbi to supervise the study group, although the policy has since been revised to include “approved” inmates to lead study groups as well.

“Concerns have been raised in the past of inmates engaging in gang activity under guise of being members of the same religious faith group engaging in religious practices,” North Carolina Assistant Attorney-General Kimberly D. Grande told the Supreme Court in a brief.

Jewish law (Halakha) only requires a quorum of 10 men for certain prayer services; it does not require a quorum of 10 in order to study the Torah, and in fact such study is conducted in pairs or small groups in rabbinical institutions.

Hana Levi Julian

Ariel University Wins BDS Case, Receives Compensation Payment From Spain

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Ariel University has received a payment of nearly $100,000 (NIS 430,000) from the government of Spain.

The payment is a compensation award by the Spanish government, paid to end a discrimination lawsuit forced on both parties by the BDS movement.

Six years ago, the Spanish government caved in to pressure from the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement and refused to allow students from the university – based in Samaria – to participate in an international contest.

The competition to design “green” buildings that were environmentally friendly was to be open to students from universities around the world. The students from Ariel University designed “Abraham’s Tent” – a design that attracted great interest, and brought them into the finals.

The anti-Israel BDS boycott movement got to work making sure the students would not be allowed to take part in the competition, however, because they study in Samaria.

Upon their arrival in Spain for the finals, however, the students were stopped. They were informed by the Spanish Construction Ministry which funded the competition that they had been barred from the contest.

Ariel University petitioned the decision in Spain via a local attorney, and sued the Spanish government for compensation. The university also demanded the students be allowed to return to the competition.

As mentioned above, that was six years ago.

After a legal struggle, the Spanish government was forced to admit it had discriminated against the students and the university. It offered to settle the case for NIS 430,000; the payment was transferred recently to the university.

“The decision to compensate the university and to declare the barring of the students from the competition as ‘null and void’ is the required, ethical and legal response to this attempt to boycott Israel,” Ariel University President Yigal Cohen-Orgad told the Hebrew-language newspaper Yediot Acharonot.

“It proves that it’s possible to succeed in foiling these efforts,” he added.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Weighs Suing EU Over Settlement Product Labeling

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

(JNi.media) The Israeli government is considering filing a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization against the European Union, in response to the latter’s decision to mark Israeli products originating in the settlements at retail chains in Europe. A senior Israeli official told Ha’aretz that the push for a suit comes from Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan and Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked. The move is opposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Economy.

Shaked and Erdan met recently to coordinate the promotion of their move in the cabinet. According to Ha’aretz, the two agreed on hiring a major international legal firm specializing in international trade to make a recommendation regarding the feasibility of a WTO suit and the chances of success.

According to Ha’aretz, senior officials in the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of the Economy say that chances for the success of such a move against the EU are very low and may cause more harm than good. They argue the move could cause a counter-mobilization of Arab countries against Israel at the WTO, and to end up with a decision making the products from the settlements illegal according to international law, which would mean they must be seized, not only labeled. A Foreign Ministry official said the move was one of those things that you “know how to get into, but not how to get out.”

International law professors Avi Bell of Bar Ilan University and Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University have written a position paper urging the filing of a lawsuit against the EU, and met with Shaked and Arden. Both have argued that one of the main principles of the WTO is no discrimination between member countries. Bell and Kontorovich say the EU decided to select products from the settlements for labeling, but isn’t labeling products from other conflict areas in the world where there is an occupation or a territorial dispute, such as the Moroccan Sahara products or products from the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that cosmetics company Ahava has manages to get around the labeling for the time being, arguing that although its main factory is located at Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem in Judea, most of the raw materials come from the parts of the Dead Sea that are within 1949 Israel; also, it argues that not all its products are manufactured in that main factory.

JNi.Media

Henri’s in Tel Aviv Fined $890 a Month for Closing on Shabbat

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

(JNi.media) Israeli Facebook user Maayan Cohen Adiv on Tuesday posted that a food shop in Tel Aviv is being fined for keeping closed on Shabbat. “Yesterday I took my family for the first time to the Sarona Complex. Since we’d been there before, we first ate dinner in a different place, because finding something kosher in Sarona is like finding a needle in a haystack,” she wrote.

“During our tour through Sarona Market,” Maayan continued, “we suddenly ran into Henri’s store, one of the few in the entire complex that’s adorned by a kosher certificate. I was very surprised, and raised my voice while passing by the store owner who was serving customers, telling him he is ‘a righteous man in Sodom.’

“The owner smiled, said thank you, but then he mumbled something about a fine which I didn’t really comprehend… I came closer, and a conversation started whereby I was led to understand that since he is kosher, and isn’t open on Friday nights and Shabbat, he is fined close to $900 a month (!!!) because he refuses to stay open on ‘Shishi-Shabbat.’ I waited for him to start laughing, but it didn’t happen… Instead, he said, with a choked throat, that he’s considering closing down next month.

“I was left with my mouth hanging open.

“Should a man be punished for choosing to rest on his nation’s and his religion’s day of rest? Should they hurt his income and wage a real war of attrition against him? Only because he chose to honor the Shabbat? Seriously?” she asked.

The Sarona Market complex, at 3 Kalman Magen St., not far from the Azrieli Towers in downtown Tel Aviv, was established as the “heartbeat of Israeli culinary art.” The complex has 91 shops, stalls and restaurants of every genre, and it claims to be Israel’s largest indoor culinary market, and is very proud to be operating seven days a week. Constructed by Gindi Holdings on the grounds of a former German Templer colony, Sarona Market boasts being “an innovative, contemporary urban market that combines the old world with the new.”

Without the old world’s part concerning keeping Shabbat, apparently. Unfortunately, there is no way for a business to both receive an Orthodox kosher certificate and also operate on Shabbat. And so it appears that by not permitting a food shop to close on Shabbat, the Sarona Market is, in effect, prohibiting kosher certification to its businesses.

TV reporter Sivan Rahav-Meir, who was forwarded the above post, contacted Rami Bar Lev, CEO and owner of Henry’s, who told her: “When we came to sign a contract we were told we would work on Shabbat. I signed, but I expressed my verbal reservations. I believed we would get by down the road. I later found out that my concessionaire, like me, is traditional, and does not want to open on Shabbat. Now the management is angry with us, saying ‘this is not our vision, our vision is a place that’s open seven days a week.’ There are only a few, isolated, pre-approved businesses that close on Shabbat.”

“They started to charge us a fine of $890, which they take out of our bank account, every month we’re closed on Shabbat. I beg them to give us, too, an exception, but they refuse, saying again and again: it is not the vision of the place,” Bar Lev said.

He stressed that “I don’t want to be a hero, not for the religious nor the secular, that’s not my purpose, but this situation seems crazy. What was I asking for?”

A Sharona complex spokesperson said in response: “The place works seven days a week and the tenant has committed to that and did not receive approval for an exception. He is in breach of contract.”

JNi.Media

Muslim Player’s Prayerful Gesture of Thanks Punished by NFL

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Capricious discrimination can be found even on an American football field these days, apparently.

A Muslim football player was penalized Monday night for offering a quick prayerful gesture of thanks after scoring a touchdown for his team in Kansas City.

NFL defensive back Husain Abdullah, who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, had intercepted a pass thrown by Tom Brady of New England, and returned it to the end zone for a touchdown, bringing his team to victory.

Right after scoring, Abdullah kneeled briefly and touched his head to the turf in a manner that imitated Muslim worship.

Referees who were officiating at the game punished the player with a 15-yard penalty for the move, calling it “unsportsmanlike conduct.”

Rachel Levy

Arab Airline Denies Claims of Discrimination against Israelis

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

An airline owned by the United Arab Emirates said it “emphatically refutes” claims that it excludes Israel from its official travel-route map and refuses to transport Israelis.

In a statement, Etihad Airways wrote that it carried more than 1,000 passengers traveling with Israeli passports last year, refuting assertions made in the New York Post newspaper.

“In fact, we do not discriminate in any way and welcome passengers of all faiths and religions carrying valid documentation,” the statement said.

Etihad said its maps “do not identify countries by name” and that its website lists Israel “as one of more than 150 country options for passenger documentation when booking flights.”

According to the Post, Etihad is the sole airline that provides service between Abu Dhabi and U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and Washington.

JTA

American Studies Association Endorses BDS (Poster)

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

We reported on the American Studies Association debates on boycotting Israel. They are now recommending an academic boycott.

From the ASA:

(1) Whereas the American Studies Association is committed to the pursuit of social justice, to the struggle against all forms of racism, including antisemitism, discrimination, and xenophobia, and to solidarity with aggrieved peoples in the United States and in the world;

(2) Whereas the United States plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which has had documented devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians;

(3) Whereas there is no effective or substantive academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation, and Israeli institutions of higher learning are a party to Israeli state policies that violate human rights and negatively impact the working conditions of Palestinian scholars and students;

(4) Whereas the American Studies Association is cognizant of Israeli scholars and students who are critical of Israeli state policies and who support the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement under conditions of isolation and threat of sanction;

(5) Whereas the American Studies Association is dedicated to the right of students and scholars to pursue education and research without undue state interference, repression, and military violence, and in keeping with the spirit of its previous statements supports the right of students and scholars to intellectual freedom and to political dissent as citizens and scholars;

(6) It is resolved that (a) the American Studies Association (ASA) endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It is also resolved that (b) the ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

You truly need to be an academic to be so stupid as to endorse this.

1) The ASA clearly doesn’t believe in “social justice” for Israeli Jews.

2) Besides the obvious falsehoods that are taken as a given, if they say that the US is complicit in all these supposed crimes, chouldn’t US academic institutions be boycotted as well?

3) Really? No “effective or substantive academic freedom” under the PA? So all the graduates of Palestinian Arab universities are being taught Israeli propaganda? Or are they simply no graduates because of that onerous “occupation?”

4) Really??? Criticism of professors who want to see Israel disappear is against academic freedom???

5) Exactly how free are students in Palestinian universities to espouse pro-Israel positions? How many pro-Israel professors are there? Where are the published papers and articles that support the existence of Israel as a Jewish state? How much intellectual freedom really exists in the very universities the ASA pretends so much to care about?

a) Is there any logical or causal relationship – at all – between the earlier clauses and the resolution?

But the second part is simply classic. It seems to be an override clause – if any Israeli academic supports BDS, then they are allowed to act with no restrictions.

In other words, the ASA doesn’t just endorse BDS. They are against academic freedom for any Israelis who oppose BDS!  Their position is the only valid position in academia – and this is in the name of academic freedom!

The mind boggles.

In case your eyes glazed over trying to find the tiniest amount of logic in this nonsensical resolution, I have taken the liberty to synopsize it for you:

asa

Visit Elder of Ziyon.

Elder of Ziyon

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