web analytics
April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Muslim Countries Seek to Restrict Free Speech Globally

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Freedom of speech in Europe and North America is increasingly under threat because of a growing confusion among Western leaders over how to define “human rights.” The problem is being compounded by politically correct Western governments, which seek to enforce multicultural compliance with Islamic Sharia law as a way to appease Muslim lobby groups.

These and other political and societal “drifts” were catapulted to center stage by a well-organized and highly articulate group of free-speech activists who attended the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM), a major international conference on human rights — this year held in Warsaw, Poland from September 24 to October 5 — and sponsored annually by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

In recent years, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings and the OSCE have been the focus of an intense lobbying campaign by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim countries that are aggressively pressuring Western countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam.

In August 1990, the Muslim member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation officially adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, an alternative document to the 1948 United Nations’ document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Cairo Declaration states that people have “freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with Islamic Sharia law.”

The Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE), in a written submission to the Human Dimensions Implementation Meetings’ Working Session on Fundamental Freedoms, pointed out that today the term “human rights” has two incompatible meanings. In the non-Muslim world, “human rights” refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms that all people — men and women — are guaranteed individual rights.

By contrast, in the Muslim world, “human rights” are defined according to the Cairo Declaration, which holds that men and women are not equal and that it is the duty of men and women to follow the will of Allah. Dignity is granted only to those who submit to Allah’s will. The Cairo Declaration divides all human beings into two separate legal persons within its defined categories, namely men and women, believers and non-believers. Any rights or freedoms are binding commandments from Allah as delivered through Mohammed, the Muslim prophet.

The BPE asked the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to clarify which definition of human rights is being referred to during discussions at the Conference. The statement says:

When BPE discusses the plight of young girls and women with respect to forced marriages, violence, and/or FGM [female genital mutilation], BPE always refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whereas the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation refer exclusively to the Cairo Declaration, which has ramifications on the status of the girl or woman. OSCE participating states that are also member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation thus refer to a different set of human rights at the HDIM. It follows that within the Human Dimension of the OSCE there are two diametrically opposed sets of human rights.

The International Civil Liberties Alliance, in a written statement to the Human Dimensions Implementation Meetings’ Working Session on Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief, said:

Since the Organization of Islamic Cooperation created the Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, commonly known as the Cairo Declaration, we have witnessed a distortion of the concepts of human rights and religious freedom. This declaration has created a new and secondary standard in human rights based on Sharia Law, which is entirely incompatible with OSCE’s human rights standards, inspired as they were by the declaration of 1948.

The International Civil Liberties Alliance statement continues:

Sharia law is a system of religious and political regulations destructive of all the principles promoted through the OSCE, i.e. democracy, human rights, freedom of religion and belief, etc. Sharia Law has been defined by the European Court of Human Rights on February 2003, as “incompatible with democratic principles…”

The International Civil Liberties Alliance concludes:

Therefore, OSCE’s commitments and works done by its various departments are devoid of sense if all the partners, state-members, NGOs or other contributors are not using the same definition of Human Rights. A definition is required that clearly rejects any interpretation originating in the Cairo Declaration.

In a report entitled, “The Battle Has Begun,” Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese advocate for free speech, summarized her impressions of the Human Dimension’s 2012 conference:

This is one of the important observations we made: The tide has shifted. The freedom lovers are no longer on the defensive; the opposite is true. The OIC side was isolated; the Counterjihad received many supportive thumbs-up gestures. We made new allies.

She also wrote, however:

Lastly, I was more than surprised to see a member of MPAC [Muslim Public Affairs Council, a Los Angeles-based lobbying group] take the floor on behalf of the U.S. delegation. Since when has MPAC represented the U.S. government? And with diplomatic status! This is wrong and an outrage. We ask our friends in the U.S. House of Representatives to weigh in.

She was referring to Salam al-Marayati, a radical Muslim whom the Obama Administration named as its official representative to the OSCE’s premier conference on human rights. Al-Marayati is the controversial founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Noam Chomsky Visits Gaza

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Professor Noam Chomsky, a Jewish professor of linguistics known for staunch pro-Palestinian rhetoric, visited Gaza on Thursday.

Chomsky was denied entry to Israel two years ago, and delivered a lecture intended to be given at Birzeit University in Palestinian-controlled area in Samaria from a location in Jordan.

The Gaza visit included attendance at a conference at the Islamic University.  AFP reported that Palestinian television broadcast comments he made, including his statement – a quote of a member of Gaza’s legislative council and head of the university administration, that “The Palestinian people have a right to live peacefully and in freedom.”

‘Setting Limits’

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

“Isn’t it ironic that kids whose parents fail to set and enforce limits feel unloved and angry? Although they tend to test and protest, we have learned over and over again that limits are what kids really want. Invariably, when we talk with out-of-control teenagers or adults who were juvenile delinquents and lucky enough to survive, we ask them, ‘If you could go back to when you were a child, what would you change?’ Most of them say something like, ‘I wish my parents had reeled me in when I was a kid. Why didn’t they make me behave?’

“A counselor we know sat down with a teenager we know who led a pretty rough life. She had been promiscuous… and was in trouble with the law. She went on to describe how she had smoked pot and guzzled beer with her dad as a ten-year old. When the counselor asked her what she thought about it, her eyes lit up with rage and she said, ‘I hate him!’ Surprised, the counselor said, ‘You had so much freedom. Why do you hate your father?’ Even more surprised, the teen responded, ‘I hate him ‘cause he let me do anything I wanted. He never made me behave. Look at me now!’

“If you want your children to have internal controls and inner freedom, you must first provide them with external controls. A child who is given boundaries, and choices within those boundaries, is actually freer to be creative, inventive, active, and insightful. How you expose your kids to the life around them – how you encourage them to use their creativity within limits, by using yours – is key to developing their personal identity and freedom. Setting limits does not discourage inventiveness. The world is full of limits within which we must all live. Give your children a gift. Teach them how to be creative within these limits.” (Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood, by Jim Fay & Charles Fay)

“In the beginning of G-d’s creating…G-d saw that the light was good…And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

“…And the earth brought forth vegetation… And G-d saw that it was good… And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

“…Let there be luminaries in the firmament of the heaven… And G-d saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

“…Let the waters teem with living creatures, and fowl that fly… And G-d saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

“…Let the earth bring forth living creatures…And G-d saw that it was good…Let us make man…And G-d saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.”

The Medrash in Bereishis Rabba (9:6) discusses the difference between what the Torah deems “good” (throughout the six days of creation) and what the Torah deems “very good” (after the creation of man). The Medrash offers a few explanations: “Very good” refers to sleep, because when one sleeps a little he is able to toil exceedingly in Torah study. “Good” refers to when things are going well; “very good” refers to affliction. “Good” refers to the Garden of Eden; “very good” refers to purgatory. “Good” refers to the Angel of Life; “very good” refers to the Angel of Death.”

This Medrash is unquestionably enigmatic and perplexing. How can all of the pleasantries of life be referred to as “good” while all of the dreaded facets of life be referred to as “very good”?

The idea that this Medrash is espousing contains the basis for the implosion and unraveling of Western Society that we are privy to. When a society does not know how to set limits and “Just Say No” then it is doomed to disaster and destruction. The mighty empire of Rome, which ruled the ancient world for centuries, eventually succumbed not so much to external forces as it did to internal hedonism. The insatiable drive for narcissistic gratification and indulgence destroyed the fabric of its society until it was no longer able to maintain itself. The surrounding invading forces were simply the final blow to an already decrepit society.

Dutch Government Planning Ban on Kosher Slaughtering

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

The Dutch government is drafting a decree that would give it veto power over anyone who wants to practice ritual slaughter, or sh’chitah, in the Netherlands.

The draft decree, which was signed by Dutch Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker, was drawn up by the government to end two years of uncertainty about the future of the practice in the Netherlands. The Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad published the contents of the draft decree on Friday.

“If veterinarians are put in charge of shechita, then before long it would basically stop shechitah in the Netherlands,” Amsterdam Chief Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag told JTA.

The decree formulated by Bleker is based largely on a contract his office signed in June with representatives of the Jewish and Muslim communities.

The contract constituted the Dutch government’s compromise on regulating ritual slaughter. The Dutch lower house passed a total ban last year, but it was scrapped by the Senate out of consideration for freedom of worship. The ban was on all slaughter of conscious animals – a requirement of both Jewish and Muslim law.

The contract said animals that are still conscious after 40 seconds of the cutting of their throats would be stunned, which would prohibit their consumption by kosher or halal consumers.

The contract introduced regulations such as to the size of the knife to be used and where the animal’s neck would be cut, but did not require that a veterinarian would oversee the procedure.

Earlier this week, Ralbag wrote to Bleker to ask that the minister wait until Nov. 1 before issuing any final decree. Bleker, a member of a caretaker government, is expected to be replaced in the coming weeks.

Ralbag said he needed more time to formulate his concerns about the draft. He has not received the minister’s answer to his request, he said.

Ralbag had said the contract, signed by the Organization of the Jewish Communities in the Netherlands, was “flawed,” and warned it could ultimately eliminate the practice of kosher slaughtering. He added, however, that it did not contradict Jewish Halacha.

Last month, Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said the contract was a “model” for ensuring religious freedom in Europe.

Israeli Students Rally in Support of America at US Embassy

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

A small group of Israelis, many university students, gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on Monday evening in a show of support and friendship with America.

The rally, organized by the pro-Israel student movement, Im Tirzu, came in response to the recent attacks on U.S. embassies across the Middle East.

The attacks first began in Cairo when the American embassy was stormed two weeks ago, and then in Benghazi, when a U.S. consulate was penetrated by armed jihadists who killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and three other U.S. employees.

Im Tirzu director Ronen Shoval explained that he and his team organized the rally in order to show that in Israel “we are behind America.”

“Israel and the United States share many important values including those of freedom and liberty,” Ronen told Tazpit News Agency. “It is crucial that we show America that there is one country in the Middle East that will always stand with her no matter what.”

Anti-U.S. demonstrations have also taken place in Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Afghanistan and elsewhere from North Africa to south-east Asia, apparently fanned by a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that had been made in California. German and British embassies have also been attacked. In Sudan, the German embassy was set on fire and significantly damaged.

At the Tel Aviv rally, a passing American visitor, Tani Zarelli, of Washington State, stood with the Israeli demonstrators and was clearly moved by the enthusiastic support.

“This means a lot to us,” Zarelli told the crowd, which chanted ‘freedom,’ ‘democracy’ and ‘liberty’ while waving Israeli and American flags. Several Israelis even attempted to sing The Star Spangled Banner.

“University students have come all over Israel to be here at the U.S. Embassy today to show their pride in the special friendship between the United States and Israel. No matter who attacks the values of freedom that define Western society, America can always count on Israel to her friend,” concluded Shoval.

What Leftists Mean: Support the Savage

Friday, September 28th, 2012

As a looney lefitist in the NY vandalizes approved ads in the subway, under the guise of  “freedom of expression” (while not allowing others to freely express themselves), her message is very clear.

She sides with the savages.  She finds it offensive that Jihad is considered “savage.”  Savages are those who murder in the name of Jihad; those that murdered the U.S. Ambassador to Libya are savages, those that attacked the World Trade Center are savages, those that stab to death Israeli infants and blow up buses are savages.  That’s Jihad.

See the Jihad Supporter here:

CNN and MSNBC Pundit Mona Eltahawy is a supporter of Savage Jihad.  Her billboard could be easily summed up as follows:

Make sure you know which side you’re on.

Combat Boots

Friday, September 21st, 2012

They called the colt Unbridled Song.

His father’s name was Unbridled, his mother’s Trolley Song. The colt loved to run, with an energy and spirit that stretched into an endless melody of wind and pounding hooves and the freedom of the open track. They hoped he would become a champion.

As a two and three year old, Unbridled Song won many of the races in his age class division. Those with a keen eye for thoroughbreds – and even those without – looked down at the racetrack at the spunky colt and said, “Now that one is going to be one to watch…”

The spring season of his third year brought with it hopes for the Kentucky Derby. The Derby is the race for three year olds, perhaps even the race of a thoroughbred’s whole career. In Mandysland Farm, excitement was high. Their colt, Unbridled Song, was registered to start in the Derby. They had a good crack at it.

A few weeks before the Derby, Unbridled Song won a prestigious race. In doing so, he also cracked his left hoof. The injury would heal, but the colt would need to wear a cast-like bar shoe to protect the leg while it healed. The question was on everyone’s minds. Would the gray colt compete in the Derby, or would he be scratched?

James Ryerson, the colt’s trainer, decided to go ahead with the Derby plans. Despite his injury, Unbridled Song was the favorite to win.

The crowd cheered as the tall gray colt came to the post on Derby Day. This was one to watch…

And they were off!

Barely two minutes later, it was all over. Unbridled Song had started strong but had soon weakened, finishing a disappointing fifth.

A picture in the news showed James Ryerson standing at the colt’s head, a friendly arm draped over his long neck. “He had a hard race there,” the reporters quoted him as saying, “and he did the best he could. He ran the best race that he could have run with that leg. Look at this boot he’s wearing. It’s like wearing combat boots. Can you imagine running a marathon wearing combat boots? He did the best race he could, and we’re proud of him.”

The reporter questioned the trainer as to his decision to take the colt to the post in this condition.

“Yeah, we could’ve pulled him out of it,” Ryerson responded affably. “We could’ve kept him in the pasture til it was totally healed. But, you know… the Derby is the Derby. Yeah, we could’ve kept him in the barn, but… what would we have been saving him for…?”

I have a medical condition that makes it hard for me to get up and do things. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed, or even to wake up at all. The weakness and the darkness and the apathy… they take their toll on the mind as well… sometimes I don’t even want to have the strength.

Rosh Hashanah is hard. Yom Kippur is hard. It’s hard to stand in shul all day. It’s hard to daven all day. And you know what? I don’t even want to. I feel those days coming with a kind of dread… the thought of feeling sick, exhausted, and miserable… I will not have any satisfaction at all from davening. It’s not something I can do.

And yet, whenever I think of that long, cold, early morning walk to shul, I think of Unbridled Song.

We could keep him in the barn… but what would we be keeping him for…?

I could stay in bed and conserve my strength, but what would I be conserving it for?

I could sleep late and save my energy… but what would I be saving it for?

Sometimes I tell myself that this is it, this is the time to throw myself into tefilla and beg for mercy. But sometimes I’m beyond that. There are times when I don’t care about mercy and tefilla, and all I care about is my aching body and tired mind. But then I say…

Shulamis, this is it.

These days… they are it.

What else can you say when Almighty God, King of the universe, descends to visit us in our humble earthly dwellings? “Call Him when He is close.”. He is close, right here, right now. Do I even have the choice, the option, to ignore? The mighty awe of these days screams through the blast of the shofar. Forget forgiveness. Forget judgment. Forget mercy.

We Have A Lot To Learn From The Soviet Jewry Movement

Friday, September 21st, 2012

The greatest Jewish success story in a quarter century has become unknown to many in less than a generation.

On Dec. 6, 1987, when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in Washington, more than a quarter-million American Jews – Democrats and Republicans, observant and secular, and individuals representing the entire spectrum of Israeli politics – gathered on the National Mall with a single unified message as old as the Exodus story: “Let our people go!”

“Our people” were the Jews of the Soviet Union who were being discriminated against, deprived of their freedom of expression and religion, and prevented from emigrating. After the Six-Day War, brave Soviet Jews began to risk their careers, loved ones and lives to protest the denial of these freedoms and to advocate for their basic right to immigrate to Israel.

Refuseniks – Soviet Jews who had been denied an exit visa – cried out for help from other Jews. Israeli and American Jewish activists responded, saying “Hineni – Here I am.”

The gathering on that cold December morning 25 years ago was the culminating event of a generation-long struggle by American Jews to win the freedom of their Soviet brethren. Commonly known as the Soviet Jewry movement, it was led by activists who came from every corner of the Jewish community. Their stories and impact continue to resonate with us as Jews and Americans.

The movement’s real engine was at the grass-roots level across America. In the mid-1960s, college students, housewives, dentists, rabbis and teachers orchestrated letter-writing campaigns, local rallies, b’nei mitzvah twinning programs and more. And they persisted in their activism on behalf of Soviet Jews for decades. American Jews from major cities traveled to the Soviet Union with books, messages of support and hidden religious articles.

What was the net result? More than 1 million Soviet Jews became Israeli citizens. Jews from the former Soviet Union transformed intellectual fields in Israel from physics to economics to engineering and the medical sciences – and were recognized with Nobel Prizes no fewer than five times.

Former Soviet Jews have changed the way we work and live through various high-tech innovations. Google, co-founded by Moscow-born Sergey Brin, who immigrated to the United States, might not have been created without the Soviet Jewry movement.

In stark contrast to the lack of political clout and cunning among American Jews during the Holocaust era, this generation of Soviet Jewry activists, reared in the struggle for civil rights for minorities in America, took a universal message of inherent rights and freedom from kitchen tables and university squares to the White House. They confronted political leaders with a moral imperative based on many of the fundamental values, such as religious liberty, that were the foundation of America itself.

In his award-winning book When They Come for Us We’ll Be Gone, author Gal Beckerman notes that the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which tied U.S.-Soviet trade to the basic right of emigration, marked the first time that a fight against the human rights abuses within another sovereign country was directly incorporated into American foreign policy.

In fact, members of the Reagan administration credit activists of the Soviet Jewry movement for personalizing the philosophical differences between the countries, revealing contradictions that served to weaken the foundations of the Soviet Union itself. Within four years of the Freedom Sunday March, the Soviet Union was no more.

And yet this success story has not been integrated into our contemporary Jewish narrative or our understanding of American history. Few under the age of 30 know it ever happened.

We formed Freedom 25 to rectify this incomprehensible situation. Our coalition of more than a dozen nonprofits and Jewish organizations is committed to help refocus Americans generally and North American Jewry specifically on this history and its lessons.

Leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Sunday March, we will be creating a “virtual march” featuring online events, petitions and educational programming. Our goal is for 1 million people online to celebrate this defining moment in Jewish and human rights history. We also will work collaboratively throughout 2013 to ensure that the movement and its vital legacy become part of classroom curricula and, more important, join the stories we tell our children and grandchildren with pride.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/we-have-a-lot-to-learn-from-the-soviet-jewry-movement/2012/09/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: