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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘groups’

Taking Israeli Measures, France ‘Roots Out’ Foreign Supporters of Incitement Groups

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Israel is sending information to the French government, which is discussing an initiative to prevent foreign financing of bodies that harm the security of French citizens.

The discussion came in the wake of the attack last week by two Da’esh terrorists on a church in Normandy. The terrorists slaughtered an 84-year-old Catholic priest on the altar of his own church as he was celebrating Mass, forcing a fellow priest to video the ordeal.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, meanwhile wrote in a lengthy article in the Journal du Dimanche (the Sunday Journal), that France has throughout its history and geography maintained “very strong” ties with Islam, the “second-largest” religion in the country.

“Millions of French Muslims live here without necessarily identifying themselves as an Arab-Muslim culture,” he noted, adding that because of this specific French connection, plus the country’s centuries-old connection to Christianity and its long Jewish presence that it has been targed by Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists.

“A terrible poison is spreading,” he warned. “Many Muslims in France are taken hostage by the fundamentalism Salafism, the Muslim Brotherhood who use their worship as a banner, a weapon against others.”

“We were all shocked by the vicious terrorist attack in France last week. I have heard about a French government discussion on preventing the foreign financing of bodies that harm the security of French citizens,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in opening remarks at the start of the Israeli cabinet meeting Sunday.

“This sounds familiar to us. We are also disturbed by such donations to organizations that deny the State of Israel’s right to exist,” he said.

Some two dozen leftist organizations in Israel have been found to receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments. All of them have actively worked to either tear down the government or to incite the population against government policies.

“I have requested a preliminary inquiry,” Netanyahu said. “In this inquiry we found support from European countries — including France — for several organizations that engage in incitement, call for a boycott of Israel and do not recognize the State of Israel’s right to exist,” he said. (ed: italics added for emphasis)

“We will complete the inquiry and submit the findings to the French government. We will discuss this with them because terror is terror everywhere and incitement is incitement which, apparently, encompasses the world, governments must be as united as possible in dealing with them.”

Hana Levi Julian

67 Deaths In Eight Months: Groups Battle Surge in Substance Abuse in Orthodox Community

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Shocked by the number of untimely deaths of young people in the Jewish community, Rabbi Zvi Gluck, the director of Amudim, which deals in crisis intervention, decided several months ago to start keeping count of the number of deaths due to addiction, abuse and mental illness among young Orthodox Jews. When I first spoke to him two weeks ago, the figure was 65 fatalities since Rosh Hashana. Just one week later that number had jumped to 67.

Amudim reported the statistics as 21 suicides, 41 drug overdoses and 5 alcohol related deaths in member of the Orthodox Jewish community, ages 35 and under, in the tri-state area

When he first founded Amudim two years ago, there were those who berated Gluck for speaking out about the crises that were decimating our young people in droves; he was making a chilul Hashem by raising these issues in a public forum, they told him. Others simply didn’t believe him. Today Gluck finds that armed with hard numbers, his detractors are far less vocal.

A group of boys after a team-building activity run by Amudim.

A group of boys after a team-building activity run by Amudim.

“It is no longer possible to make believe that certain things that are killing our kids are not happening,” said Gluck. “Whether it is victims of sexual abuse, whether it is suffering from addiction, or it is mental illness, these are issues that we must confront.”

The fact that these issues exist within the Jewish community is, unfortunately, not new. What is novel is that faced with incontrovertible evidence of their existence, the Jewish community is finally starting to discuss these problems and trying to find ways to solve them, simply because they are so widespread.

“I don’t know any family that doesn’t know someone, either in their immediate family, their extended family or a neighbor, that has suffered from one of these things,” said Gluck.

The number of organizations addressing these crises within the Jewish community continues to grow. Far from duplicating each other’s efforts, these many agencies are addressing the full spectrum of the issues, from awareness to prevention, to referrals to treatment services to rehabilitation and beyond, all across the globe. A recent crowd-funding campaign spearheaded by the Brooklyn based Our Place brought 18 organizations together in a one day effort to raise money for those facing extreme difficulties. 4,203 people collectively raised $2,553,429 for various agencies including yeshivos, drop in centers, rehabilitation programs and summer camps.

Ruchama Clapman is the founder and executive director of MASK, which has been providing a wide array of services to those dealing with difficult issues for almost 20 years. In addition to running a “hope” line providing referrals to therapists, agencies, counselors and inpatient and outpatient rehab and mental health clinics, MASK has also run parent support groups and in-school programs. The goal for all of these efforts is the same: fostering emotional wellness in our children.

“The message that we have learned over the years is that parents need to realize that prevention is the key,” said Clapman. “Issues start early on and are compounded daily in pain, suffering and shame.”

MASK has case managed over 16,000 families and 24,000 in community programs since its inception and Clapman said that the issues often stem from trauma that may have occurred earlier on.

“A child who is bullied in sixth grade can experience pain so great that it can create issues later,” said Clapman. “You may not necessarily see it when they are younger, but peace of mind is difficult for trauma victims and they inevitably act up later to escape their pain.”

The importance of focusing on elementary school-aged children who have low self esteem, ADHD or learning disabilities or have experienced something traumatic, be it bullying or death of a loved one, cannot be overstated, according to Clapman.

“Common forms of acting out are the addictions, all of them, such as drugs and alcohol, internet addiction, pornography, criminal behavior, and relationships,” said Clapman “Over time many of these young adults are rejected, whether for behavioral reasons or for being academically underproductive and they are left to the street, which just reinforces these behaviors and exposes them to additional dangers.”

Parenting has become increasingly difficult, noted Clapman, and well-raised children from even prominent families can inadvertently be exposed to unprecedented threats, forever altering the course of their lives. In many cases, parents are often the last to find out that their children are facing serious problems.

“As parents, we do the best we can but times are changing,” said Clapman. “The message to everyone is that we are not immune. Nobody is immune in today’s society.”

Yitzchok Weinreb knows that lesson all too well. His son Gershon struggled for years to cope with the trauma of a difficult divorce and turned to drugs at a young age. He died last year of a drug overdose at the age of 26.

“We have to get the word out there,” said Weinreb. “We are losing them a lot and not just to drugs. We need to wake up and smell the coffee before it is someone in your own family and realize that this is a major problem among Jews.”

Having been molested as a child, Weinreb fully understands the difficulties that face anyone who has experienced trauma.

“I live with this day in and day out,” observed Weinreb. “This happened to me from age 11 to 15. I am 52 and I still go to bed every night and wake up every morning with it.”

Because of his own experiences, Weinreb finds that many abuse victims relate well to him, though he fully acknowledges that the road to recovery is long and bumpy.

“I tell people that I have gone through what they have gone through,” said Weinreb. “There is light at the end of the tunnel and they can get through it. It may be very hard, but suicide is not the way to solve anything. With help from the right people, even those who have experienced terrible trauma can still enjoy a full life.

Sandy Eller

36 Advocacy Groups Demand Action at UC Irvine after Anti-Semitic Protest

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

In light of the pervasive anti-Semitism allowed to fester at the University of California Irvine (UCI), 36 Jewish and civil rights groups today demanded UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman immediately implement the recently passed Regents Statement of Principles Against Intolerance.

“Jewish students report that UCI administrators have consistently turned a blind eye to acts of anti-Semitism that would have been promptly and vigorously condemned were they directed against any other racial, ethnic or gender minority,” the groups wrote to Gillman.

In the letter, organized by AMCHA Initiative, the groups demand Gillman publicly disclose how he plans to combat the rampant anti-Semitism on his campus.  Specifically, they ask him to answer the following:

“How do you plan to implement the Regents statement in addressing the alarming problem of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism that has created an intolerable campus climate for Jewish students at UC Irvine? Specifically, what rules, policies and procedures will you invoke or enact, and what educational initiatives will you establish, to ensure that anti-Jewish bigotry will be treated as promptly and vigorously as all other racial, ethnic or gender bigotry, and to guarantee the safety and well-being of Jewish students, and all students, at UC Irvine?”

In March, the UC Regents unanimously approved a policy to address the growing anti-Semitism plaguing many of UC’s 10 campuses.  The policy acknowledges that anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism are no less discriminatory than racism, homophobia or sexism, and calls on UC chancellors to address them just as they would any other act of discrimination.

“Recent events on your campus demonstrate the critical importance of promptly and comprehensively implementing the Regents statement at UC Irvine,” wrote the groups to Gillman.

Incidents include a massive disruption of a recent Hillel movie screening and a speech, by Neturei Karta’s Yisroel Dovid Weiss.  During the disruption event attendees were held hostage for nearly an hour by aggressive protestors and eventually had to be safely escorted out by police.  According to witnesses and university officials, protesters shouted threatening and violent profanities and attempted to push their way inside the room. The week before, during Anti-Zionism Week 2016, Weiss, invited to speak by the Muslim Student Union (MSU) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), spewed classic anti-Semitic tropes accusing Jews of mendacity, criminality and controlling the government. UC Irvine has played host to a number of anti-Semitic events over the past decade including the disruption of a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren where multiple student protesters were arrested and prosecuted.

In March, AMCHA released an empirical study reporting widespread anti-Semitism in 2015 among the top 100 schools for Jewish students. The study found that the presence of anti-Zionist groups like SJP and MSU increased the likelihood of anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. campuses. In fact, 57% of schools with one or more active anti-Zionist student groups had one or more incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm, whereas only 8% of schools with no active anti-Zionist student groups had such incidents.

A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.

David Israel

US Must Rein in its Friends that Support Terror Groups

Monday, May 9th, 2016

US President Barack Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last month rightly warned that the danger of a terrorist group obtaining and using a nuclear weapon “is one of the greatest threats to global security” and hence the related material must be fully safeguarded.

This threat is really too serious to be overlooked. According to knowledgeable sources, roughly 2,000 tons of nuclear materials are held at military and civilian facilities around the world today. In the United States, 98% of highly enriched uranium are lying in military stockpiles. Clearly, such materials must be safeguarded against falling into the hands of terror groups.

Al-Qaida has long sought nuclear materials. Another terror outfit, Islamic State, has used chemical weapons, including mustard gas, in Syria and Iraq. Recently, the Belgian police reportedly discovered that the Islamic State conducted surveillance on the home of an officer at a Belgian nuclear site which held large stocks of highly enriched uranium. Given the ideology of these terror groups, one could well imagine the fate of the world if they were able to lay their hands on the nuclear materials!

It is questionable if any major world power is sufficiently committed to stopping terrorists from grabbing the dangerous nuclear materials. Russia was neither present at the Washington summit nor has it ever said if and how it proposes to prevent terror groups from obtaining nukes. Communist China is being friendly to certain terror groups that are ideologically too close to al Qaeda not to attempt grabbing nukes in future. Beijing recently intervened to stop Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar from being put on the UN list of proscribed terrorists. Azhar is the leader of the JeM associated with the Taliban that had been banned in 2001. The JeM and Masood Azhar are allegedly responsible for the Pathankot attack ( January 2, 2016) and continuing terror activities in India.

As for the United States, the United Kingdom and France, they are befriending Saudi Arabia, its Gulf allies and Iran that have backed different terror groups ideologically as well as materially. It is well documented that Riyadh has been one of the chief sources of all Sunni jihadist groups — ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front. However, Washington provides military and intelligence support to the kingdom for its regional security. The Obama administration has sold the Saudis military equipment worth $90 billion over the last seven years. Recently, the US administration has moved closer to the fanatical Khomeini regime in Tehran. It seems determined to implement its nuclear accord with Iran and remove all the nuclear sanctions hitherto slapped on Tehran.

If the United States really wishes to foil the terror groups’ nuclear ambitions or designs, it must rein in at once all its friendly but fanatically sectarian states, particularly, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two main forces behind most of the terror groups in the world today. Saudi Arabia’s very existence in its present fanatical Wahhabi form or Iran’s in the Khomeninst one depends upon the spread of certain distorted versions of Islam under their leadership in the world. This means the continued Saudi and Iranian support, overt and covert, to terror groups against the United States (and other democracies). And in the process, chances of the terror groups being able to grab nukes or the materials thereof cannot be ruled out.

During a presidential debate in February, Ted Cruz aptly said that the United States should “hold our friends to account, that friends do not fund jihadists that are seeking to murder us.” Much earlier, Henry Kissinger has rightly suggested the key to anti-terrorism strategy would be to “destroy its safe havens” everywhere. Washington must apply this principle universally to checkmate the terror groups from grabbing the dangerous materials.

Jagdish N. Singh

What the Syria Crisis Tells Us about the Israel Lobby

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Barely minutes after the news broke earlier this month that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was planning a major effort on Capitol Hill to garner support for the Obama administration’s plan for a limited military operation against the Syrian regime, the conspiracy theorists were having a field day.

As always, it’s instructive to note how the notion that American foreign policy is a prisoner of organizations like AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobbying group in America, is an idée fixe on both the far left and the extreme right. Juan Cole, a left-wing academic with a strong online following, grabbed the opportunity to argue that AIPAC, in advocating for what he described as “attacking Syria,” is out of touch with the opinions of most American Jews, who are not evil neoconservatives but solid progressives. The anti-Zionist Jewish blogger M.J. Rosenberg ranted about how “AIPAC and its cutouts are the only lobbying forces supporting the administration’s plans for war.”

Not to be outdone, Rod Dreher of The American Conservative, a magazine founded by Pat Buchanan, wrote that in supporting military action, AIPAC was endangering the lives of Syrian Christians, whom he believes are better off under the Assad regime.

Such concern for the plight of Christian minorities in the Middle East is touching, but also a tad disingenuous, as The American Conservative has never shown much sympathy for the fate of those Christian communities, from Nigeria to Pakistan, who suffer from Islamist atrocities. When you bring Israel into the equation, however, the magazine suddenly finds its voice.

The combined message here is clear: Syria is Iraq Redux, another “endless war” America is being pushed into by a shadowy Jewish cabal.

Critics of these conspiracy theories have rightly pointed out the anti-Semitic pedigree on display here. The idea that Jews are powerful enough to manipulate their governments from behind the scenes is a staple of modern anti-Semitism. Still, let’s for a moment take the Israel Lobby thesis on its own merits. Is the charge that the “Lobby” is the real authority when it comes to U.S. foreign policy empirically verifiable?

The answer to that question is a resounding no. In fact, what the latest developments on Syria demonstrate is that rather than the “Lobby” running the administration, it is the administration that runs the “Lobby.”

AIPAC, along with mainstream Jewish advocacy organizations, had been largely silent on the atrocities taking place in Syria. In that sense, they were no different from the other influential groups and individuals who were either undecided on the issue of a limited military operation or firmly opposed to it. It’s no secret that Obama always faced a rough ride in Congress, especially as some of his traditional supporters, like the MoveOn.org PAC, actively opposed any intervention in Syria.

Similarly, the Jewish left is uncomfortable with the prospect of taking on the Assad regime; J Street, a group that once ludicrously claimed to be Obama’s “blocking back” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issue, has deserted the president over Syria.

Rather than pushing for war, then, AIPAC and similar groups were drafted in at the last minute to boost support for a president who was looking dangerously isolated. The irony of an administration that includes Chuck Hagel, the defense secretary who famously bemoaned AIPAC’s influence, running to groups like AIPAC to secure backing shouldn’t be lost on anyone. Even so, away from the political point scoring, what this shows is that the influence of pro-Israel groups is something this administration values. Equally – and this is key – these groups will wield that influence when the administration requests that they do so.

Importantly, this is not the first time the administration has turned to the “Lobby” for support on Middle East-related matters. Part of the reason Secretary of State John Kerry was able to galvanize support and publicity for his efforts to renew the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was that he turned to American Jews, whose principal organizations dutifully trumpeted his message. The fact that Kerry’s diplomacy has yielded few results isn’t really his fault, nor is it the fault of American Jews. The stasis on the Israeli-Palestinian front is the consequence, as it always has been, of rejectionism among the Palestinians, whose leaders remain distinctly queasy about doing anything that might smack of accepting Israel’s legitimacy.

Any worry about all of this on the part of American Jewish organizations should relate not to accusations of outsize influence but to association with failure. So far Israel has little to show for its decision, under pressure from the Americans, to release Palestinian terrorists ahead of the talks; meanwhile, the Syrian intervention proposal is mired in confusion because of widespread concern that an American-led operation will be too little, too late.

If the Obama administration can be confident of anything, it is that its American Jewish partners will never go so far as to openly criticize the president. Far from being the war-crazed cabal depicted in the imaginations of conspiracy theorists, the “Israel Lobby” is in reality an oasis of calm reliability for a president who may just be on the cusp of his biggest foreign policy failure.

Ben Cohen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/what-the-syria-crisis-tells-us-about-the-israel-lobby/2013/09/25/

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