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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘evidence’

Gloria Steinem, Women Under Siege, Documenting Sex Crimes in Syria in Real Time

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

“Imagine what it would mean to track rape in conflict in real time – we’re doing it in Syria,” declares the new website Women Under Siege.

“Our mission is to show the world that each woman raped has been illegally brutalized against her will. We aim to show that this woman, wherever she is, matters. As part of this, we’re trying something new: telling individual stories from Syria as they happen.”

The website is calling on women and men from Syria and those working with Syrian refugees to provide reports of sexualized violence as the crisis there continues to unfold.

A Women’s Media Center initiative, Women Under Siege is documenting and advocating against sexualized violence in conflict. Spearheaded by Gloria Steinem, this initiative explores historical evidence that sexualized violence occurred in wars from the Holocaust to the present day. In the belief that understanding what happened in the past might have helped us to prevent or to prepare for the mass sexual assaults of other conflicts, from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Women Under Siege is working to heighten public consciousness of causes and prevention.

“We are relying on you to help us discover whether rape and sexual assault are widespread—such evidence can be used to aid the international community in grasping the urgency of what is happening in Syria, and can provide the base for potential future prosecutions,” declare the website operator. “Our goal is to make these atrocities visible, and to gather evidence so that one day justice may be served.”

The website has partnered with a Harvard-based doctor and an epidemiologist from Columbia University, as well as multiple Syrian activists.

In an article titled “The cartography of suffering: Women Under Siege maps sexualized violence in Syria,” published on the new website, Lauren Wolfe and Catherine M. Mullaly write:

When we hear about conflicts in foreign countries and imagine terrible acts, our thoughts don’t turn immediately to rape. We think of bombings and refugees and government suppression. If we think of sexualized violence at all, we may imagine a faceless, powerless woman, one unfortunate person who will eventually become a statistic—400,000 raped in Rwanda, 100,000 in Guatemala. When we hear about conflicts, we don’t imagine these stories. Or we consider them to simply be part of a larger horror.

But at Women Under Siege, our mission is to show the world that each woman raped is a person who has been illegally brutalized against her will, that she is part of a family and a community that may now be shredded. We aim to show that this woman, wherever she is, matters.

As part of this mission, we’re trying something new: telling egregiously underreported stories from Syria as they happen, with as much accuracy as possible. The blurred suffering of women who have been sexually violated in the raging but opaque Syrian conflict is now being made visible on our site, WomenUnderSiegeSyria.crowdmap.com.

Users can submit reports to the website anonymously or with one’s personal information, which will not be stored on any server or posted online.

Reviewing The Koren Ethiopian Haggada Journey to Freedom

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

It’s a humbling experience to live in Israel, among Jews whose genes date back to Bayit Rishon. It’s equally humbling to study the historical overview that is the Koren Ethiopian Haggada Journey to Freedom: Celebrating Ethiopian Jewish History, Traditions & Customs. Looking at life untouched by Talmudic exegesis is a trip into the collective Jewish past, an historic breakthrough.

Rav Rachamim Goshen discussed this new publication with me. A man of Ethiopian heritage who teaches in the Ahavat Yisrael/Rappaport school for girls in Bet Shemesh, he appreciates, among other cultural realities presented in the book, Koren’s accurate representation of Ethiopian prayer leaders – called Kessim. “Ethiopian women and many males only answer ‘Amen’ to the prayers chanted by the Kessim,” he and the Koren haggada agree.

We were impressed with the Hebrew-English haggada’s photographic evidence of the lives led by Ethiopian Jews. The pottery, the unembellished homes, school, and synagogues, the gaunt Jews in modest clothing and head coverings guiding equally emaciated farm animals portray dedication to Torah values despite harsh political and topographical conditions. Colorful paintings by children and artisans complement the photos with a sense of gaiety. Amharic documents spread across several pages give global Jewry a peek into the literacy and literature of Jews cut off from centuries of contact with the wider Jewish world. Ethiopia’s Jews were surprised to learn of Ashkenaz, Occidental, and other Jewish groups in the late 18th century. Surrounded by forcible Christian missionaries and conversions, Ethiopia’s surviving Jewish communities had believed themselves to be the only remnants of Judaism worldwide.

Editor Rabbi Menachem Waldman provided a general mention of his decades-worth of rescue efforts for the sake of Ethiopia’s Jews in the forward. He stands off to the side, so to speak, letting Ethiopian Jewry’s story tell itself. Page 53’s black and white rendering of The Vision of Abba Baruch appears beneath a photo of the priest’s face; the prophetic 1935/5695 announcement described the future rescue of Ethiopian Jews. Rare photos show the arduous, sometimes fatal journey through the Sudan to freedom, as well as initial interactions with modern technology. Hold the haggada a distance from your eyes that will likely fill with tears. The artwork, the faces filled with fear, awe, and naiveté alert readers to the miracle of Jewish Ethiopia’s isolated survival over centuries.

The cover photo of Ethiopian Jewish women preparing Passover matzot is an apt metaphor for the Pesach experience. As I watched a man who has saved many lives on his own initiative – my friend Rabbi Ephraim Kestenbaum, of kosher oat matza fame – reading this publication, my soul resonated with his words, “Everyone must read this haggada. I want one.”

The Koren Ethiopian Haggada Journey to Freedom: Celebrating Ethiopian Jewish History, Traditions & Customs belongs on seder tables around the Jewish world.

US Court Rejects Rabbi Milton Balkany’s Appeal from Prison

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Rabbi Milton Balkany’s claim that jurors should have been allowed to consider if he was entrapped, saying “Balkany failed to present any evidence that the government ‘induced’ him to commit the crimes charged,” Bloomberg reports.

The NY Post reports Balkany, 65, is currently serving four years in a federal prison in Miami for trying to shake down billionaire Steve Cohen’s hedge fund with allegations of inside trading, as a means of raising $4 million in donations to the Bais Yaakov girls school.

The ruling says “As the government notes, the evidence with respect to the extortion, wire fraud and blackmail counts established that it was Balkany who made the first unsolicited call to SAC (Capital Advisers), claiming that he had damaging information that Cohen had engaged in insider trading which he urgently wanted to share.”

The ruling continues: “As the government notes, the evidence with respect to the extortion, wire fraud and blackmail counts established that it was Balkany who made the first unsolicited call to SAC (Capital Advisers), claiming that he had damaging information that Cohen had engaged in insider trading which he urgently wanted to share.”

Bloomberg reports that the unsigned decision by Judges Amalya Kearse, John Walker Jr. and Gerard Lynch also shot down Balkany’s argument that he was convicted of making a false statement through a “perjury trap” set by the feds, noting that “Balkany was under no obligation to speak to the federal investigator to whom he lied.”

US Spy Drones Monitoring Syria

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

The US is flying its spy drones over Syria to monitor the government’s crackdown on its opponents, according to NBC News, which cited unnamed US defense officials as saying “a good number” of the unmanned military and intelligence planes were operating in Syrian skies.

Those officials told NBC correspondent Jim Miklaszewski that the drones are not collecting information to be used in future military intervention. “Rather, the Obama administration hopes to use the overhead visual evidence and intercepts of Syrian government and military communications in an effort to make the case for a widespread international response.”

French Court Confirms Palestinian Father Lied in Notorious Intifada Shooting

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

A French Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled in favor of  Dr. Yehuda David of Tel Hashomer Hospital, who had been found guilty of slander by a lower court, in a case involving a Palestinian man who claimed he was injured by the IDF  during the second Intifada.

The Palestinian man, Jamal al-Dura, and his 12-year-old son Muhammad, became the symbol of the Intifada, when they were caught in a fire exchange in the Netzarim Junction in the Gaza strip. The boy was killed in the incident, and the Palestinians accused Israel for his death, while Israeli officials insisted he was hit by Palestinian fire (However, there has never been evidence that the boy was killed at all, and the whole event may have been staged).

Television station France 2 showed footage of al-Dura and his father seeking cover while ostensibly caught in the crossfire between Palestinian gunmen and IDF soldiers. The France 2 coverage suggested the two had been targeted by the IDF. Muhammad al-Dura was hailed as a martyr throughout the Arab world. The accuracy of the France 2 report was widely debated in the years that followed.

But as the child’s father was relaying his story to the media, showing the scars he said he had sustained from Israeli fire, Dr. Yehuda David of Tel Hashomer Hospital revealed that the scars were, in reality, the result of surgery the father had undergone years before, after being attacked by Hamas activists suspecting him of working for Israel.

The father, Jamal al-Dura, decided to sue Dr. David in French court which last year ruled against the doctor simply because he revealed patient information from al-Dura’s medical records without his authorization. He was ordered to compensate al-Dura with €13,000, but appealed the ruling at a higher French Court.

“It couldn’t have turned out better,” David told Ynet News after the ruling against him had been overturned. “It means that I spoke the truth, and the father just lied.”

“We managed to deconstruct their false statements. All the scientific evidence that we collected for the past 12 years proves that the incident was staged and fake. They made up the father’s injury, and the IDF troops never shot the boy.”

David has been raising funds on a Facebook page, to fight what he calls the “Palestinian’s false anti-Israel propaganda,” and said that Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon has joined the effort.

Iran Supplying Weapons to Quell Syrian Unrest

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

British Prime Minister David Cameron has accused Iran of providing weapons for Syria’s suppression of the 10-month long civil unrest.

”There is now growing evidence that Iran is providing a huge amount of support,” Cameron disclosed to the House of Commons. ”There have been interceptions of some shipments by Turkey which are particularly interesting,” he continued. ”People should also know that Hizbollah is an organization standing up and supporting this wretched tyrant who is killing so many of his own people.”

Mubarak Appears in Court, Lawyer Argues Against Death Penalty

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was wheeled into court on a stretcher Tuesday morning for what Egypt is calling the “trial of the century,” as his defense lawyer challenged the prosecution’s call to impose the death penalty on the former dictator.

“There is no evidence to prove that Mubarak gave orders to open fire on the protesters,” lawyer Farid al-Deeb said.

Mubarak and his two sons are accused of ordering security forces to kill protesters during the 18-day revolt that overthrew his reign, and of exploiting their power to illegally amass a fortune.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mubarak-appears-in-court-lawyer-argues-against-death-penalty/2012/01/17/

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