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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘General Assembly’

Abbas Endorses Dershowitz’s Settlement Freeze Offer – Someone Should Tell the Settlers

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Meeting Monday evening with about 10 Jewish leaders, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas endorsed Prof. Alan Dershowitz’s formula for returning to talks with Israel, participants said.

Abbas also told Jewish leaders that his U.N. speech would show greater sensitivity to Jewish and Israeli concerns.

All top Jewish organizational leaders declined to participate in the Abbas meeting, reportedly at the request of the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has discouraged Jewish meetings with Abbas until he gives up demanding a settlement freeze as a precondition for returning to talks.

Well, we needn’t worry about that any longer.

Both Abbas and his senior negotiator, Saeb Erekat, reacted with keen interest to a proposal that Dershowitz first made in January – that Abbas agree to resume negotiations as long as Israel freezes settlements once the talks start.

No Jewish leader at the Monday meeting proposed a freeze on Arab construction in the PA, to coincide with freezing Jewish construction.

Abbas signed a copy of the proposal, and Dershowitz said he would make the case again to Israel that it should agree to its terms.

Think of it as a holiday gift for the half million or so settlers in Judea and Samaria, who would be given, once again, the opportunity to live in more intimate quarters as their families keep growing.

The last time Israel suspended settlement building for 10 months, in 2010, it took Abbas nine months to return to talks, and he left as soon as the freeze was over.

Under Dershowitz’s formula, Abbas would be obliged to be at the table as soon as the freeze began.

Timing is everything.

The meeting was under the auspices of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. The center was established by Slim Fast Foods former Chairman S. Daniel Abraham and the late Utah Congressman Wayne Owens.

Perhaps those crammed quarters in the frozen settlements won’t seem as crammed if they all consumed more Slim Fast…

Among those who did attend the meeting, besides Big Idea Man Dershowitz, were CMEP director Robert Wexler—who is a top Jewish surrogate for President Obama, and Peter Joseph, who heads the Israel Policy Forum.

On July 13 the Israel Policy Forum sent a letter signed by 41 prominent American Jewish leaders and philanthropists that urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to adopt the Levy commission’s findings, which legalized the vast majority of Jewish outposts east of the “green line.”

Turns out Dershowitz was the right-winger in that room…

Dershowitz told Haaretz that the PA president promised to make “a positive statement” about the connection between Israel and the Jewish people during his Thursday address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Participants described Abbas as emphasizing what he said was the urgent need to return to talks with Israel because of protests and fighting roiling the Arab world and because of increased tensions with Iran. He asked his Jewish interlocutors why Israel was demanding that he recognize Israel as a Jewish state when he had repeatedly recognized its legitimacy.

He was told that insensitivity to Jewish claims helped fuel the demand, and was reminded that last year in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he noted only Muslim and Christian claims.

Abbas told the group to watch for his speech to the General Assembly, scheduled for Thursday at noon, saying that he would also note Jewish claims.

The office of the Palestinian representative in Washington would only confirm that the meeting with the Jewish leaders took place and that aspects of what was discussed would be featured in Abbas’ speech.

Among the Jewish leaders who declined to attend, representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee either did not return requests for comment or declined comment.

The Israeli Embassy did not return a request for comment.

According to Haaretz, Abbas has assured President Obama’s Administration that he would not press for a General Assembly vote on the Palestinian request for non-state recognition before the upcoming November 6 presidential elections.
The JTA’s Ron Kampeas contributed to this report.

A Hitler Wannabe Visits New York

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Autumn is here and with it the annual trip that makes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad positively giddy. The Iranian President gets to leave the country whose citizens he mowed down in the streets to seize power and travel to New York to show the Jews they have no power. Lecturing each year from the rostrum of the United Nations is Ahmadinejad’s equivalent of popping Viagra, a yearly demonstration of his own virility amid utter Jewish impotence.

For all Ahmadinejad’s protestations of a Zionist world conspiracy and how we Jews control everything, he is well aware of just how weak we Jews are and he loves to rub it in our faces. Like clockwork he is here in late September each year to call for the destruction of the Jewish State right smack in the heart of Jew York, a city that has more Jews in it than any other on earth. He accomplishes the unique feat of calling for a new holocaust while simultaneously denying the original ever took place. And do you know what the Jews do about it? Nothing.

OK, not quite. There is a protest or two featuring a few hundred brave souls with a megaphone and I plan to join them. But Jewish economic power cannot stop the perfidious Warwick hotel from hosting Ahmadinejad and his retinue. The billionaire Jewish mayor of New York cannot stop him from landing in his city and touring its landmarks. And the 2.5 million Jews of New York cannot stop his motorcade from moving about the city like he owns the place. How helpless must a people be to watch someone calling for their extermination in a city where they are so entrenched and numerous.

I often wish that we Jews could produce a leader with the courage of Martin Luther King. When King’s people – our fellow Americans whose only crime was to be born with a darker shade of skin – were treated like garbage in the South, King shut the place down. He boycotted their buses, staged sit-ins at their cafes, sent freedom riders to coopt their transportation routes, took over their highways with long marches, and even sent fearless children into the fangs of dangerous canines, all while being pushed back by fire hoses operating at maximum strength. He ended up forfeiting his life so that his people could be treated with dignity and equality.

Contrast that with near inaction of 2.5 million Jews in the greater New York metropolitan area who this year, on the holy day of Yom Kippur itself, will bear witness to the spectacle of a man calling for the genocide of all our Jewish brothers in Israel. Amid his call for the annihilation of the Jewish state, we Jews don’t shut down the streets where he travels, don’t impede the buses that pass in front of his hotel, and don’t call for an economic boycott of the hotels with the chutzpa to host a mass murderer. No, we go about our business, content to allow an aspiring Hitler invade this town while he separately desecrates the memory of six million martyrs who have already paid with their lives for the earlier Hitler that the world similarly did not take seriously.

And still some people believe that the Jews control the banks, the media, and Hollywood. It turns out they control nothing at all.

Even as we witness an Israeli Prime Minister having to humiliate himself by pleading for a meeting with the American president, Obama has no fear snubbing Netanyahu, so confident is he of there being no price to pay from Jewish voters. I have even heard more than a few pro-Israel activists say that Bibi needlessly pokes his finger in Obama’s eye, which is a strange allegation to make against the leader of a nation who had one third its number gassed just 70 years ago. Surely one can forgive that leader for pushing hard to insist on American red lines for the Iranian nuclear program.

Lest we forget, it was not the Israeli Embassy that was taken over by Khomeini’s hoodlums in 1979 and it was not Israeli diplomats who were held hostage for 444 days. No, it was the United States of America, the country that Iran hates above all others that experienced the wrath of Iran’s mullahs. And it is the United States which is the foremost target of an Iranian nuclear program that speeds to the production of a bomb that is squarely aimed at a nation that stands for the freedom and liberty that Iran so fanatically hates.

Netanyahu: I will go to the UN and Break the Silence on Iran’s Terror Regime

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to speak at the U.N. General Assembly next month in order to speak “the truth about Iran’s regime of terror,” which he said “constitutes the greatest threat to world peace.”

Netanyahu said his decision was in response to the Non-Aligned movement summit held in Iran.

“Today in Tehran the representatives of 120 countries heard a blood libel against the State of Israel and were silent,” Netanyahu said. “This silence must be stopped.”

The General Assembly will convene at the end of September. In order to speak Netanyahu will have to fly to New York immediately after the end of Yom Kippur.

Iranian Parliament Acting to Curb Ahmadinejad’s Power

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may no longer be as popular with Iran’s powers that be as he used to be.

Mehr, the semi-official Iranian news agency, is reporting that the Majlis, Iran’s parliament, has approved a proposal calling for the removal of the President from the general assembly of representatives of shareholders of major companies affiliated with the Oil Ministry, including the National Iranian Oil Company.

Of the 195 MPs present for the Majlis session on Wednesday, 131 lawmakers voted in favor of the proposal, one voted against it, and 7 abstained.

According to the new law, Iran’s Oil Minister will replace the President as the Chairman of the General Assembly, who is accountable for the performance of the National Iranian Oil Company.

Supporters of the new ratification say it will help facilitate access to the Chairman of the General Assembly.

Meanwhile, Tehran Times reports that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will appear before the parliament to answer questions on March 14.

The decision to summon president to the Majlis was made on February 7 after MPs were not convinced by the answers provided by the president’s representatives at a meeting held to discuss the reasons behind irregularities by the administration.

The President is expected to answer questions about the administration’s failure to fully disburse the funds allocated for the Tehran Metro, the failure to meet economic growth target of 8 percent set for the Iranian calendar year of 1389 (ended on March 20, 2011), poor implementation of the subsidy reform plan; the president’s alleged resistance to accept the Supreme Leader’s decree to reinstate the intelligence minister; the president’s remarks about the status of the Majlis; the failure to implement the law to establish the Sports and Youth Ministry and nominate the minister at the appointed time; the dismissal of the former foreign minister while on a diplomatic mission in Senegal; the administration’s poor performance in regard to cultural plans, and the president’s support for the promotion of the Iranian school of thought instead of the Islamic school of thought and his support for the deviant current.

In recent parliamentary elections in Iran, supporters of the Ayatollah Ali Khameini did better than supporters of Ahmadinejad. Both sides are radical and messianic, and both seek to develop nuclear weapons.

The UNESCO Fiasco

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

With surprising swiftness, almost immediately after UNESCO granted full membership to the Palestinian Authority on Monday, the United States announced it was cutting off all funding to the UN’s major cultural agency.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the vote triggered a longstanding congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is negotiated. While the legal requirements are significant, it would be a mistake to focus on the imperatives of the various laws rather than the political context and overall need for political solutions. There will not always be legal requirements to drive the decisions that have to be made in America’s interests.

The Palestinians have turned to the UN and some of its agencies in an attempted end-run around negotiations with Israel by securing approval of statehood. The U.S. and several Western countries strenuously oppose the Palestinian gambit, arguing that peace can only come from a negotiated settlement from which a Palestinian state would emerge.

But despite the fact that the rules objectively applied would deter the Palestinians’ various applications, they have a pocket majority of Third World countries willing to do their bidding in confronting the United States and Israel.

Aside from following the mandates of American law, it is critical that the U.S. put teeth into its opposition to the Palestinians at the UN as a political matter even when the law is not all that clear. This is not only a matter of Israel’s national interest but also of America’s standing in the world.

Public Law 103-236, Title IV, bars U.S. contributions to “any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.”

It was to this law that Ms. Nuland was referring in her announcement of the funding cutoff. It would seem to be a compelling point. But there is also the matter of the pending Palestinian application for recognition by the UN Security Council. President Obama has announced he will invoke U.S. veto power to defeat the effort.

The PA, however, has said if it fails in its Security Council effort it will seek recognition in the General Assembly, where the U.S. has no veto power. Indeed, the same configuration of votes that emerged at UNESCO will obtain at the General Assembly.

At that point, another law would seem to come into play. Public Law 101-246, Title IV provides: “No funds authorized to be appropriated by this act or any other act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.”

Is General Assembly action regarding Palestinian statehood “UN action?” According to the UN Charter, it is the Security Council, not the General Assembly, that accords recognition and membership status. Only a convoluted and purely subjective application of the Charter would permit General Assembly action on Palestinian statehood.

And then there is the issue of America’s treaty obligations to the UN. The U.S. contributions to UNESCO are largely voluntary, so the U.S. is not bound by treaty to provide the suspended funds to UNESCO. On the other hand, it could be argued that U.S. contributions to the UN is governed by treaty and cannot be limited by American law.

These are things that will doubtless occupy lawyers should the PA effort proceed. But as noted, the more important concern is how the U.S. should proceed politically in the face of this challenge to its place in the world. The Palestinians and their supporters in UNESCO knew exactly the gauntlet they were throwing down in America’s direction.

Olmert Bids Adieu To U.S. Jews, Says ‘Peace Within Reach’

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

JERUSALEM – In a normal year, an address by the Israeli prime minster would be treated as the centerpiece of a gathering of American Jews, especially one being held in Jerusalem. But the context of Ehud Olmert’s appearance at the opening plenary of the United Jewish Communities General Assembly on Sunday was anything but normal.

Olmert, who will leave office after his successor is elected Feb. 10, is stepping down in disgrace.

The subject of intense scrutiny over his financial dealings during his term in office, he announced his resignation this summer after American businessman and philanthropist Morris Talansky agreed to testify in a case involving allegations that Olmert accepted bribes from foreign donors and mishandled nonprofit money.

So on Sunday night, an Israeli prime minister forced to resign over money received from a wealthy American donor was delivering a farewell address of sorts to thousands of wealthy American donors.

For his part, Olmert treated the speech to more than 3,000 lay leaders and professional staff of the North American Jewish federation system as if it was a typical goodbye.

“Although this is, most likely, my last appearance before this distinguished crowd as prime minister of Israel, this is by no means a goodbye,” Olmert said. “I am certain we will continue to meet and discuss all the important issues that affect Israel’s future, that affect our joint future, the future of the Jews across the world and the future of us here in the State of Israel.”

Olmert went on to say that the world cannot allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and that he would continue to push for peace with the Palestinians and Syria in his remaining days as prime minister.

“Peace with our neighbors we leave to our children,” he said. “It is within reach.”

Though Olmert appeared committed to leaving on a positive note, he clearly was not at his best Sunday.

The departing prime minister mistakenly referred to the yearly General Assembly as “the biannual General Assembly meeting.” Olmert also flubbed the G.A.’s tag line, “One People, One Destiny,” saying, “This year the G.A. is focused on the young generation of the Jewish people under the title ‘One People, One Destination.’ I cannot imagine a more important issue confronting our people at this time.”

And he committed something of a nonprofit faux pas, offering up what seemed to be veiled endorsements for two top federation system officials who reportedly are planning to run for office with Olmert’s Kadima Party: Ze’ev Bielski, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and World Zionist Organization executive, and Nachman Shai, the head of UJC operations in Israel.

In his opening remarks, Olmert thanked several officials at UJC and its overseas partners, the Jewish Agency and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, before singling out Bielski and Shai for added praise. Shai is leaving the UJC after the General Assembly, and it has been reported that Bielski is not far behind.

Olmert, who according to several sources received a cool reception from top federation donors at a banquet before his speech, led off the assembly, but the candidates vying to succeed him were scheduled to speak later in the conference. Defense Minister Ehud Barak of the Labor Party spoke at a plenary Monday, and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Kadima were scheduled to speak Wednesday. Livni was to be the last of the three to speak on the G.A.’s final day.

Following his remarks, Olmert received respectful applause.

“One of the great things about democracy is that leaders come and go, or their terms end or they get voted out of office, so it is not unusual for a political leader to speak to a Jewish audience or any audience as a lame duck on their way out,” said William Daroff, the director of the UJC’s Washington office. “It is part of the dynamic. You want to walk with people as they are building up their careers and you want to walk with them as they flourish or as they don’t flourish.”

Steve Morrison, a delegate who made the trip from Madison, Wis., agreed.

“This will be the last time he speaks to a G.A. as a prime minister, so it is an historic moment,” Morrison said. “He won’t be the PM when we meet next time in Jerusalem in five years. He is the prime minister of Israel, so you give him respect.

“I remember when I was one of these young people here in attendance tonight, I was able to be in an audience to hear Lyndon Johnson speak, who I detested. It was the end of his presidency and he announced he wouldn’t seek office. But even in my young 20s, and I disagreed with him, he was still the president.”

(JTA)

Olmert Bids Adieu To U.S. Jews, Says ‘Peace Within Reach’

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008


JERUSALEM – In a normal year, an address by the Israeli prime minster would be treated as the centerpiece of a gathering of American Jews, especially one being held in Jerusalem. But the context of Ehud Olmert’s appearance at the opening plenary of the United Jewish Communities General Assembly on Sunday was anything but normal.


Olmert, who will leave office after his successor is elected Feb. 10, is stepping down in disgrace.


The subject of intense scrutiny over his financial dealings during his term in office, he announced his resignation this summer after American businessman and philanthropist Morris Talansky agreed to testify in a case involving allegations that Olmert accepted bribes from foreign donors and mishandled nonprofit money.


So on Sunday night, an Israeli prime minister forced to resign over money received from a wealthy American donor was delivering a farewell address of sorts to thousands of wealthy American donors.


For his part, Olmert treated the speech to more than 3,000 lay leaders and professional staff of the North American Jewish federation system as if it was a typical goodbye.


“Although this is, most likely, my last appearance before this distinguished crowd as prime minister of Israel, this is by no means a goodbye,” Olmert said. “I am certain we will continue to meet and discuss all the important issues that affect Israel’s future, that affect our joint future, the future of the Jews across the world and the future of us here in the State of Israel.”


Olmert went on to say that the world cannot allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and that he would continue to push for peace with the Palestinians and Syria in his remaining days as prime minister.


“Peace with our neighbors we leave to our children,” he said. “It is within reach.”


Though Olmert appeared committed to leaving on a positive note, he clearly was not at his best Sunday.


The departing prime minister mistakenly referred to the yearly General Assembly as “the biannual General Assembly meeting.” Olmert also flubbed the G.A.’s tag line, “One People, One Destiny,” saying, “This year the G.A. is focused on the young generation of the Jewish people under the title ‘One People, One Destination.’ I cannot imagine a more important issue confronting our people at this time.”


And he committed something of a nonprofit faux pas, offering up what seemed to be veiled endorsements for two top federation system officials who reportedly are planning to run for office with Olmert’s Kadima Party: Ze’ev Bielski, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and World Zionist Organization executive, and Nachman Shai, the head of UJC operations in Israel.

In his opening remarks, Olmert thanked several officials at UJC and its overseas partners, the Jewish Agency and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, before singling out Bielski and Shai for added praise. Shai is leaving the UJC after the General Assembly, and it has been reported that Bielski is not far behind.


Olmert, who according to several sources received a cool reception from top federation donors at a banquet before his speech, led off the assembly, but the candidates vying to succeed him were scheduled to speak later in the conference. Defense Minister Ehud Barak of the Labor Party spoke at a plenary Monday, and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Kadima were scheduled to speak Wednesday. Livni was to be the last of the three to speak on the G.A.’s final day.


Following his remarks, Olmert received respectful applause.


“One of the great things about democracy is that leaders come and go, or their terms end or they get voted out of office, so it is not unusual for a political leader to speak to a Jewish audience or any audience as a lame duck on their way out,” said William Daroff, the director of the UJC’s Washington office. “It is part of the dynamic. You want to walk with people as they are building up their careers and you want to walk with them as they flourish or as they don’t flourish.”


Steve Morrison, a delegate who made the trip from Madison, Wis., agreed.


“This will be the last time he speaks to a G.A. as a prime minister, so it is an historic moment,” Morrison said. “He won’t be the PM when we meet next time in Jerusalem in five years. He is the prime minister of Israel, so you give him respect.


“I remember when I was one of these young people here in attendance tonight, I was able to be in an audience to hear Lyndon Johnson speak, who I detested. It was the end of his presidency and he announced he wouldn’t seek office. But even in my young 20s, and I disagreed with him, he was still the president.”

(JTA)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/olmert-bids-adieu-to-u-s-jews-says-peace-within-reach/2008/11/19/

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