web analytics
May 29, 2016 / 21 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

UN: Ban Ki-moon Did Not Mean to Retract Statement on Anti-Israel Bias

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry attempted to clarify Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s seemingly conflicting statements regarding anti-Israel bias at the world body, stating that Ban did not retract his original statement confirming the existence of that bias.

On Aug. 16, Ban told university students at the UN headquarters in Jerusalem, “Unfortunately, because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias and sometimes even discrimination.”

But when later pressed by reporters in New York about his statements regarding UN discrimination against Israel, Ban answered, “No, I don’t think there is discrimination against Israel at the United Nations. The Israeli government in fact, you know, raised this issue that [there is] some bias against Israel.”

In an interview on Israel Radio on Sunday, however, Serry said that Ban meant what he originally said.

“I’ve been in touch with the Secretary-General’s office in New York, and I can assure you that what he said there in New York was not meant as a retraction,” Serry said on Israel Radio.

“[Ban] has said, unfortunately, because of the conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism, and suffered from lies and sometimes even discrimination,” Serry added. “This is what I know he has been saying here, and I know this is what he stands for.”

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomed Serry’s clarification of Ban’s comments.

“We are pleased that Mr. Serry has reiterated the Secretary-General’s belief that Israel is not treated fairly, and does indeed suffer from ‘lies’ and ‘discrimination’ in the world body,” AJC Executive Director David Harris said in a statement.

JNS News Service

Leaked Quebec Plan would Ban Kippot on Public Workers

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

A plan by Quebec’s government to ban “religious symbols,” including the kippa, among public sector workers has elicited worry from religious minorities in the Canadian province.

The bill would seek to ban public employees from wearing large Christian crosses or religious headwear such as that worn by Sikhs, Muslims and Jews while at work.

Richard Marceau, a former politician who now advises the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, wrote responded to the plan in a critical article in the Huffington Post, where he wrote, “How could one believe that a kippah-wearing Jewish librarian is… trying to impose his religion on society?”

The details of the proposed law were leaked to Journal de Montrèal last week, but the Parti Quebecois, which heads the provincial government, has refused to confirm them or answer questions related to the issue.

JTA

Madrid Jewish Community Denies Rabbi’s Anti-Gay Statements

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

The Jewish community of Madrid denied the authenticity of quotes attributed to its chief rabbi in which he reportedly called gays “deviants” who need “re-educating.”

The interview was “distorted,” Ziva Freidkes, a spokeswoman for the Madrid Jewish community, told JTA on Wednesday, referring to the interview of Rabbi Moshe Bendahan published last week on Religion Digital, a Spanish-language news website.

Freidkes said Bendahan never made the negative references to gays and that the interview was “inaccurate and took things out of context.”

The rabbi was quoted as saying, “Homosexuality is a deviation from nature. It’s an anti-natural tendency and a sin. Contemplating allowing, consenting to what is known as ‘gay marriages,’ would be a monstrosity.”

In a statement published Tuesday on Religion Digital, the community said, “For a very long time now, we have been supporting the gay community’s fight against discrimination.”

Religion Digital, one of the country’s major news portals on religion, released its own statement on Tuesday reaffirming the veracity of the quotes. The journalist who interviewed Bendahan, Antonio Aradillas, was described as having “undeniable prestige and decades of experience in covering religious affairs.”

JTA

Saudi Arabia Airline’s ‘No Israelis Allowed’ Policy Violates Law

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Saudi Arabia Airline refuses to issue tickets in New York for Israelis, even if they are only stopping off in Saudi Arabia for a connecting flight, a policy that contradicts federal law.

The airline’s website asks travelers for their citizenship but does not have an option available for “Israel” although it does have options for other countries, even Antarctica, The New York Post reported.

Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio was quick to jump on the report, and one of his staff called the airline, saying he was an Israeli trying to fly from JFK to India. The airline agent said he could not fly with Saudi Arabia Airlines.

United States law states, “[An] air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person in air transportation to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or ancestry.”

“No city in the world has closer ties to Israel than we do, and yet Israeli citizens are being discriminated against right here at JFK. It’s not only illegal; it’s an affront to who we are,” said Blasio.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Are Haredi Orgs Being Singled Out in Israel?

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

I can’t think of too many things more disgustingly discriminatory than a government agency singling out a group for special scrutiny. The Internal Revenue Service has been found to be doing exactly that. Conservative political groups like the Tea Party that have applied for tax exempt status have had one stumbling block after another thrown at them while filing all the forms and dealing with all that red tape in trying to get that exemption.

Organizations with names like “Patriot” in them were flagged for extra review by by over-zealous agents. It remains to be seen how high up the flagpole of responsibility this goes. Lois Lerner, the IRS official who inadvertently exposed this activity pleaded the 5th amendment when she testified before congress yesterday.

This is one of those rare situations that unites people on both sides of the political aisle. Both conservatives and liberals in congress were outraged and both have condemned this practice at the IRS. The President was no less outraged and he too condemned it and promised to get to the bottom of it. One thing is certain. There is a lot we don’t yet know. But this is the stuff of totalitarianism… of the type found in the former Soviet Union. Truly scary stuff for the United States of America.

Which brings me to an article at YWN. It appears that Israeli government is doing the same thing. They are not targeting political opponents. They are instead targeting Haredi businesses and Yeshivos to see if they are complying with the law.

I have no problem with an over-all goal of making sure that businesses comply with the law. Assuming the laws are just and fair, they ought to be complied with. And there is nothing wrong with a government agency seeing to it that they are – as long as that kind of scrutiny is evenly applied to all businesses. But when a single group is targeted, it smacks of an agenda to harass that community. The title of the document leaked to the media makes it clear that only Haredim will be targeted. It is entitled:

“Directives- Initiated activity in the Haredi community – May 2013″

Can’t get much clearer than that.

I hope this is just an over-zealous Economic Affairs Ministry agent and not the over arching policy of the Ministry itself. If it is she ought to be fired immediately and replaced with someone who is not biased against Haredim… or anyone else. One thing is certain. Just like the U.S. is holding congressional hearings on this in order to get to the bottom of their scandal – so too must Israel have a thorough investigation of the matter so that Israel too can get to their scandal.

What kind of country is America going to be? What kind of country is Israel going to be? Will they be democratic and fair? Or will they become more like dictatorships that target people and groups they don’t like?

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Harry Maryles

School Fires Unmarried Pregnant Teacher: The Whole Story

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

An Israeli “national religious” girls high school (“ulpana“) fired a teacher who was pregnant…and single.

This headline has been floating around the web yesterday, especially in light that the teacher sued the school in court for damages, specifically for having broken the law which prevents women from being fired if they are pregnant.

When an ulpana expects their teachers to be more than educators, but also role models for their students, did the school do the right thing even though they broke the law?

I could almost understand the ulpana’s point of view until I looked around and found that our story above is missing some important details (courtesy of The Marker):

1. The teacher is religious, and observes a religious lifestyle in school and outside of it. 2. The teacher was 41 years old and single. 3. Not finding a husband by her age of 41, the teacher decided to undergo artificial impregnation so she could have a child and she would raise the child as a single parent. The Ulpana claimed they fired the teacher not because she was pregnant, but because she was not observing a religious lifestyle (i.e., had she been married and pregnant, they wouldn’t have fired her). The plaintiff’s lawyer stated that the Ulpana should have taken into account her unique situation of being a single, religious teacher who wanted to have a child before she would be biologically unable to.

The court ruling stated an important point:

The court does not make light of the defendant’s right to determine their school policy, but the right of the defendant is less than than the right of plaintiff, and doesn’t justify terminating the plaintiff’s employment while violating her right to parenthood. The court awarded 180,000 NIS in damages to the teacher, which is a rather expensive lesson in democracy and “freedom of employment” to the Ulpana. In my opinion, if the ulpana truly wanted to act as a role model for their students, they should not have fired their teacher.

Visit the Muqata.

Jameel@Muqata

What Kerry Doesn’t Know About Democracy and Islam

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

In practically his first outing as secretary of state abroad, John Kerry made some remarkable statements in a meeting with young Germans.

The main thing being widely quoted is his statement, “In America, you have a right to be stupid if you want to be… And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that’s a virtue. I think that’s something worth fighting for.”

Of course, there’s a right to be stupid in America! Indeed, just this week it’s been expanded into having a right to be simultaneously stupid and secretary of defense!

To be fair, Kerry’s statement was in the context of defending, albeit not very well, freedom of speech in America. (Kerry was obviously referencing President Barack Obama’s U.N. speech in his own talking points.) How Kerry defends it is what’s scary and dysfunctional.

He was basically saying: Yeah, we know that all these dumb people who don’t agree with us are wrong but we let them talk anyway because it works out okay in the end since nobody listens to them anyway. While he used the words “virtue” and “worth fighting for” those sentiments seem to be clumped onto the end for form’s sake. Kerry certainly doesn’t say–or understand–that people have rights and government has limits. Instead, he talks as if the ruling elite tolerates such fools because it’s so nice.

That is remarkably different from a more traditional defense of American liberty like: We have seen how in a free market place of ideas the best standpoints generally triumph, people are happier, and prosperity ensues. Or, we believe that people are endowed with rights by their creator and no one can or should take them away.

Now that standpoint is really “something worth fighting for” and Americans in the institution now run by Chuck Hagel have been doing so for a couple of centuries. No American goes into battle to defend the right to be stupid.

Oh, wait! Kerry apparently does think so since, as he put it, showing his superior grasp of the English language: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

So, you have the right to be stupid but watch out because if you are you might end up in the armed forces fighting to defend the right to be stupid!

In contrast to a proper approach, Kerry makes the American system sound like letting the deranged walk the streets as homeless people, babbling incoherently but doing little harm. Sure, let them cling to their guns and religion while we smart people make all the decisions. He’s merely turning around a traditional left-wing critique of democracy that comes from Herbert Marcuse or Noam Chomsky, of “repressive tolerance.”

And that seems to be what Kerry and Obama really believe. Ironically, they are the modern-day equivalent of what used to be called right-wing reactionaries ruling a patriarchal society that consists of aristocrats and peasants.

Another feature of Kerry’s performance was displaying the Obama Administration propensity for apologizing. The question Kerry was answering came from a young German Muslim who merely asked him about his views on Islam. There was no criticism of the United States. It was an invitation to go into a riff about America as a great, tolerant place not to cringe and insist that outside of stupid people the United States America isn’t horribly “Islamophobic.”

Implied in Kerry’s response was the video that supposedly inspired the Benghazi attack. As you know, this claim is either discredited or, in the words of Kerry’s predecessor, supposedly doesn’t matter. On the verge of his visit to the Middle East, repeating the false notes of the new Obama era national anthem—America the Guilty—is not a good idea.

Kerry added that he’s reading a book entitled No God but God by Reza Aslan, which he gushingly praises and accepts as his source on Islam. There are, of course, many books on Islam and Kerry is free to read whatever he wants. Yet the choice of this particular one is also revealing.

Barry Rubin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/what-kerry-doesnt-know-about-democracy-and-islam/2013/03/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: