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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘embassy’

Freedom of Religion Denied

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

You know your city might be out to stop your Synagogue when one of its most powerful officials testifies that its creation might bother the Libyan embassy that is your neighbor. But that was the testimony of City Engineer Ken Albert at a recent hearing where he said that our Synagogue may not have enough “landscape buffering” to protect the Libyans next door.

Landscape buffering.

And here I was more concerned about Kaddafi owning the house next door to me and possibly stockpiling arms as he reportedly did with embassies all over the world and God forbid harming my family. And what did the city do protect us? Nothing. Zero. Gornisht.

Over thirty years they even forced me, and the rest of Englewood’s residents, to subsidize Kaddafi’s murderous regime by refusing to challenge his tax exemption. But as soon as we apply for a Synagogue, the city Engineer, whose full salary remains undisclosed despite it being paid from the public purse, is concerned that we might interfere with the rights of the Libyans. It has suddenly taken on great importance that our Libyan neighbors – who pay no taxes – be protected by requiring planting of evergreens capable of growing to 106 feet within one year, 25 feet from the property line. It seems that landscape buffering has now been added to our national policy of cooperation and trust building between our two nations! Perhaps they are trying to play out “and they shall turn their swords into plowshares….”

Our hearings before Englewood’s Board of Adjustment have been farcical. Harry Reidler is a member of the board who is also an active Democratic Council member in Bergen County. He has repeatedly brought up my Congressional candidacy (Republican) in the hearings, although they were never germane to the application. His hostility has been glaring and undisguised.

In the last thirteen years our Synagogue has hosted thousands of people of every denomination, religion, color and creed, including Mayors of our City, Governors, Senators, and world-renowned personalities. For many, especially secular Jews and non-Jews, it is their first introduction to the beauty of Judaism and the peace and serenity of the Sabbath. But that did not stop Reidler from a bizarre insinuation in the last hearing, by some strange comparison, that our Synagogue might be something of a scam. This loathsome and slanderous suggestion, bordering on the anti-Semitic, was, mercifully, quickly objected to by the chair but only on the grounds that it was off topic. That Reidler seems to have made up his mind about our application before it was heard and does not even evince a pretense of objectivity is evident from the hearing’s transcripts, which are all part of the public record. Another board member, Elliot Fuld, seems only slightly behind Reidler in animus and opposition.

Hearings that are supposed to be fair and objective have instead been characterized by deep hostility, making a mockery of Englewood justice. Albert, for example, did not even reveal, as he should have been required to at the beginning of his testimony, that about eight years ago, after he and the city tried to strong-arm me by appropriating part of our property for a traffic light and offered us $1000 in compensation (in Englewood, when your home is assessed for tax purposes it is Versailles, but for condemnations it suddenly becomes a trailer park), I sued the city with Albert as its main witness. They paid me a settlement and Albert’s plan was revised. They did not take the land. Surely a lawsuit in which Albert played a central role should have been mentioned by him as part of full disclosure.

Nor is the board beyond intimidation in order to try and get us to back down and withdraw our application. Ken Albert is supposed to be simply the City Engineer, however well compensated. But in our hearings he suddenly decided to play the role of City code enforcer, suggesting to the board that because we have employees (he mentioned four, there are actually fewer) we are in violation of city statutes. (Interestingly, the last City code enforcer, Peter Abballe, with whom I clashed over the Kaddafi home next door to me, was arrested by the FBI in a sting operation and pleaded guilty to taking bribes). Those present at the hearing began to imagine a frightening scenario of a city doing random spot checks for inconsequential violations on the part of citizens that run afoul of city elders.

Ax Wielding Jew Attacks Tel Aviv US Embassy Staff

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

A security guard, was attacked by an ax wielding mentally unstable Jew from Bat Yam in front of the U.S. embassy on HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv. Police is on its way.

Embassy guards returned fire at the attacker in response, hitting him and later arresting him.

A group of about 100 Arabs, calling itself the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, a radical group headed by Sheikh Raed Salah, was demonstrating in front of the embassy this morning.

Embassy spokesperson Luba Samri told reporters that “a suspect came to the US embassy at 11:00 am (4 AM eastern) with a knife and an axe and attacked a security guard.” She said the guard was injured in the leg, and his fellow officers opened fire.

 

CORRECTION: The original report was that it was an Arab attacker, and that is not the case.

Do They Stay or Do They Go?

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Conflicting reports on IDF radio. Egyptian sources claim entire Israeli diplomatic staff returning home to Israel. Reuters says that the embassy staff are remaining and the embassy remains open as usual.

Romney Sweeps Ex-Pat Vote in Israel, ‘I Vote Israel’ Delivers 20-25% of All Overseas Ballots

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

In the last week of October, I Vote Israel has reported that it sent some 80 thousand ballots, weighing 500 lbs., to the U.S. embassy in Tel-Aviv (which should, naturally, be moving to Jerusalem by the end of January, if candidate Mitt Romney makes good on a promise made traditionally by every presidential candidate in the past few decades).

According to the I Vote campaign National Director Elie Pieprz, those represent close to a quarter of all the overseas ballots filled out by U.S. citizens around the planet. We are one involved tribe, aren’t we.

So, here’s some information regarding those ballots, filled out mostly in the offices of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel:

First, how crucial were those ballots? Well, to paraphrase the well known adage, some folks are more crucial than others. The most crucial were Ohio ex-pats, who sent in 3500 ballots. Pennsylvanians, whose state is baby-bluish, leaning Democrat, also sent in 3500 ballots. And Floridians (who presumably came to Israel for a change of climate?) sent 7500 ballots.

Obviously, besides the presidential choice, each ballot also offered individuals to vote for the Senator from their state and the congressperson from their district.

The Shaviv Strategy and Campaign service conducted an exit poll among the ex-pats (no one asked us, in faraway Netanya, incidentally), so here goes:

With a sample of 1,572 voters, and a margin of error of around 2.5%:

Warm-up question: What was the most important issue for you in these elections? Taxation 0.9%; Healthcare 2.7%; Jobs and the economy 11.2%; Iran 11.2%; Israel-centered issues like the Palestinians and the status of Jerusalem 61.3%; other 10%.

In the overall congressional vote: Republicans 62%, Democrats 28.2%.

Very similar results in the Senate vote: Republicans 63%, Democrats 27.8%.

Finally, for the Chief Executive: Republican Mitt Romney 85.0%, Incumbent Democrat Barack Obama 14.3%. Daffy Duck and other write-ins 0.6%.

Islamists Target US Embassy in Indonesia

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

The U.S. Embassy and other sites connected with the U.S. were allegedly the target of terrorist attacks that were thwarted by the arrest of 11 suspected terrorists in Indonesia over the weekend.

The U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Jakarta, the U.S. Consulate in Surabaya, the local office of a U.S. mining company, as well as a plaza near the Australian Embassy and the headquarters of a special police force in Central Java were apparently the targets.

Indonesian national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Suhardi Alius told the Associated Press that the suspected terrorists were arrested in raids in four provinces.

“From evidence found at the scene, we believe that this group was well prepared for serious terror attacks,” Alius told the AP.

Bombs, explosive materials, a manual for making bombs, ammunition and a gas cylinder filled with highly explosive material was discovered in the raids.  Also seized were videos and images of attacks on Muslims in different parts of the world.

The suspects belonged to a new group called the Harakah Sunni for Indonesian Society, or HASMI.

According to the group’s website, HASMI was created in 2005, and seeks a strict interpretation of Islam, “since all innovation is misguidance.”

It is unclear whether the targeting of U.S. diplomatic posts is a new trend in Islamic terrorist activity, following the murderous assault by what U.S. officials now admit was a well-planned terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.

Mitt Romney For President

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

It should come as no surprise to readers that The Jewish Press endorses Governor Mitt Romney in the November 6 presidential election. We’ve regularly expressed serious concerns about Barack Obama’s views on the Middle East in general and the Arab-Israeli situation in particular from the onset of his 2008 presidential campaign through his four years in the White House.

We recognize that there are those who can and do point to several pro-Israel actions President Obama has taken as being indicative of fundamental support for the Jewish state on his part. Indeed, some of those actions are unprecedented. However, we believe it is clear that Mr. Obama came into office determined to significantly alter downward the decades-long special relationship between the U.S. and Israel – as we discuss below, he indicated as much – but that he was forced to put his intentions on hold following serious pushback from Jewish leaders and Democratic Party allies.

We fear that once he is freed from reelection concerns, the president in a second term will resume the tough talk to Israel and the disturbing policies of his earlier months in office that, if implemented, would result in a truncated and weakened Israel and an empowered Muslim world.

On the other hand, from everything we have heard from Mr. Romney it appears he not only believes in the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel but is intent on enhancing it.

Of course, separate and apart from the issue of Israel there should be a healthy skepticism when it comes to most of President Obama’s claims of accomplishment.

On the domestic front, the economy remains listless, the unemployment rate is a national disgrace, and the national debt is spiraling out of control.

Mr. Obama’s recent dissembling over the Benghazi disaster is only the latest in a series of foreign policy mishaps that taken together only serve to increase our unease. He claims to have referred to the incident as a “terror attack” in a speech the next day. The transcript does indeed show that he used the phrase, but in context he appeared to be making a broad generalization rather than specifically affixing the terror appellation to Benghazi.

Moreover, for days afterward his vice president, UN ambassador and several other administration spokesmen maintained either that they still didn’t know whether the attack was the work of terrorists or that it was a spontaneous, violent reaction to an anti-Muhammad video – the latter a notion that has now been discredited. In running as fast as they could from using the word “terrorism,” they claimed to have been relying on the intelligence information that was available at the time. What intelligence, then, was the president – assuming he really was, as he claims, referring to Benghazi – relying on the day after the attack?

Also contributing to our dismay with the administration were the unprecedented threats to the Supreme Court over Obamacare, the open violation of our immigration laws respecting the deportation of illegal aliens, and the leaking of classified information to burnish the president’s foreign policy credentials.

Getting back to Israel, despite the above-mentioned positive actions taken by Mr. Obama – which have included supporting Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system; backing Israel during the controversies over the Goldstone Report and the Gaza flotilla fiasco; and opposing the Palestinians’ efforts at the UN for a unilateral declaration of statehood – we believe our skepticism is well-founded. Mr. Obama has set forth his fundamental beliefs regarding the Middle East in both word and action and they are decidedly not pro-Israel by any calculation.

During the 2008 campaign we were disturbed by Mr. Obama’s close ties to the virulently anti-Israel and anti-U.S. Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whose church the Obamas attended for years. The claim by the president that he was conveniently absent whenever Rev. Wright gave his notorious sermons is hard to take seriously. After all, Rev. Wright officiated at his wedding and other family events and indeed mentored him.

Mr. Obama’s close association in his formative years with several anti-Israel leftists rang some alarm bells. Also ringing bells was his comment during the 2008 campaign that “There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel.”

R. Shmuley and Rwandan FM Discuss Holocaust Denial and Israel

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

On Friday, “America’s Rabbi” Shmuley Boteach hosted a press conference with Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo for a discussion of holocaust and genocide denial and its peril to human rights worldwide. The discussion came on the morning following a vote to include Rwanda on the UN Security Council for 2013-2014.

The meeting touched on how much Rwanda has progressed economically, agriculturally, and technologically, as well as on women’s rights in the 18 years since the 1994 ethnic cleansing of the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda.

The two ethnic groups are actually very similar – they speak the same language, inhabit the same areas and follow the same traditions. But the Tutsis are often taller and thinner than the Hutus. When the Belgian colonists arrived in 1916, they considered the Tutsis to be superior to the Hutus. The Tutsis enjoyed better jobs and educational opportunities than the Hutus.

Resentment among the Hutus built up, and when Belgium granted Rwanda independence in 1962, the Hutus took their place. Over subsequent decades, the Tutsis were portrayed as the scapegoats for every crisis. The decades of officially promoted hatred ended up in the mass genocide that started in 1993.

The meeting between Boteach and the foreign minister revealed how holocaust and genocide denial have become a political tool over the years and how the newly-voted seat on the Security Council will help the Rwanda enter into a positive new phase in its history.

The two also stressed the deep-rooted connection between the Rwandans and the Jewish people, given their tragic histories and their commitment to “a hopeful future absent of hate or recrimination.”

Mushikiwabo stated that when Rabbi Shmuley had met with President Kagame and her in New York a few weeks ago, Shmuley had spoken passionately of the importance of solidifying a closer relationship between Rwanda and Israel by having Rwanda open a permanent embassy in Israel. Mushikiwabo noted that Kagame had turned to her on the spot and said how much he agreed with Rabbi Shmuley about the establishment of an embassy. He asked the Foreign Minister to work on its creation as soon as possible. Mushikiwabo thanked Rabbi Shmuley for the role he played, saying Rwanda now plans to open an embassy in Israel within the next six months.

Rabbi Shmuley said, “As someone who is deeply committed to the connection between the Rwandan and Jewish people, I was so grateful to hear from my friend, Foreign Minister Mushikiwabo, that she and President Kagame have now taken the decision to open an embassy in Israel. Having witnessed firsthand this summer the pain and the rebirth of the Rwandan people, I was incredibly inspired by their warmth and their ability to come together as a unit in times of hardship, much in the way that the Jewish people have done for centuries.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/r-shmuley-and-rwandan-fm-discuss-holocaust-denial-and-israel/2012/10/21/

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