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June 29, 2016 / 23 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘J Street’

Those Poor, Confused Palestinians

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Those poor, confused Palestinians!

A new poll shows that most Palestinian Arabs say the Palestinian Authority (which rules over them) is to blame for their troubles, and not Israel (which stopped occupying them more than twenty years ago).

For some reason, the Palestinians refuse to toe the party line that New York Times reporters and American Jewish radicals keep feeding them.

Those reporters and radicals seem to have swallowed the myth that the Palestinians are still “occupied” by Israel, and that the Israeli “occupation” is the source of all their problems.

But those poor, confused Palestinians look around and don’t see any Israeli soldiers and therefore refuse to go along with everyone else and pretend the Israelis are still there.

The new poll was conducted by the Palestinian organization AWRAD among 1,200 Palestinian Arabs in late April. It has a margin of error of three percent.

Residents of Judea/Samaria were asked: “How do you view the overall situation in the West Bank since the appointment of the Hamdallah government in 2013?” That’s Rami Hamdallah, who became prime minister of the Palestinian Authority under chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Some 44 percent responded that things have “worsened.” So they were asked a follow-up question: “If worsened, who do you believe is responsible?”

The possible answers were “Israel,” “the Palestinian Authority,” “Hamas,” “International donors,” or “Don’t know.”

Now, if these Palestinians had been paying close attention to what their American supporters were telling them, they would have known that the “correct” answer is Israel.

Diaa Haddid, the Times’s new correspondent in Jerusalem, and Thomas Friedman, its longtime foreign affairs columnist, are constantly claiming that Israel is “occupying the Palestinians” and that Israel is responsible for whatever goes wrong in the territories.

J Street and the S. Daniel Abraham Center push the same line. And just last week, a group of American novelists, led by Michael Chabon, an outspoken Jewish critic of Israel, toured parts of Judea/Samaria in preparation for their forthcoming book on the “50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation” – you know, the occupation that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ended in 1995.

These American advocates of Palestinian statehood don’t seem to know that the Israelis withdrew in 1995 from the cities where 98 percent of the Palestinians live. But the Palestinians know it because they actually live there, and they know the Israelis are gone. They know there are no Israelis left in Ramallah. Or Bethlehem. Or Nablus (Shechem). The list goes on and on.

And because the Palestinians know they are occupied by the Palestinian Authority, most of them find it impossible to rail (to the pollster) against Israel’s nonexistent occupation.

Only 28 percent of the poll’s respondents answered that Israel is mostly to blame for their troubles. Fully 59 percent said the PA is to blame. (Five percent blamed the donors; 7 percent had no opinion.)

Oops!

Those politically incorrect poll results were particularly inconvenient for the Chabon-led gang of traveling novelists. Just last week, Chabon, a self-appointed “expert” on the situation after returning from a few days in the territories, was telling anyone who would listen about that awful Israeli “occupation” which he imagines he saw.

“The occupation [is] the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life,” he announced.

AWRAD, the aforementioned pollsters responsible for the survey, should be receiving an angry letter from Chabon’s publicist any day now. After all, if AWRAD keeps asking Palestinians simple, logical questions, there is a real danger the respondents might continue telling the truth about the Palestinian Authority occupation regime. And if they do that, sales of Chabon’s “Israeli occupation” book are likely to be meager indeed.

Michael Chabon might even be compelled to return to writing fiction – although some might say he never stopped.

Stephen M. Flatow

Biden Attacks ‘Overwhelmingly’ Frustrating Israel Hours after Bus Bombing

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden attacked time and again the Netanyahu government which he said causes the White House “overwhelming frustration,” in a speech at the leftwing J Street organization’s annual gala dinner on Monday. “The present course Israel’s on is not one that’s likely to secure its existence as a Jewish, democratic state— and we have to make sure that happens,” Biden said.

Biden recalled his recent meetings with both Netanyahu and PA Chairman Abbas, concluding that “there is at the moment no political will that I observed among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward with serious negotiations. The trust that is necessary to take risks for peace is fractured on both sides.”

According to Politico, the tone and direction of that Biden reference and his overall speech “seemed to rule out the chances of a final year peace push from the Obama administration.” Perhaps.

Biden acknowledged the attack on a Jerusalem bus by Arab terrorists that took place on the same day he was sharing his frustrations regarding the Netanyahu government’s lack of willingness to pursue the two-state solution. Biden condemned the bombing, saying it had been done by “misguided cowards.” He offered prayers to the injured and their families. Which is probably more realistic at this point than anything else the administration could do to promote its goals in the region. That should be frustrating indeed.

Biden began his speech with praise for another guest of honor, young, first-term MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Camp – Labor), who reminded him, he said, of the time he had run for the Senate at the age of 29. “May your views once again begin to have a majority opinion in the Knesset,” Biden said.

Not likely. In fact, if Labor ever wants to be a contender in Israeli coalition politics, it’ll have to move to the center—as the majority of its members have been advocating—which could mean the dropping of needless indulgences like Shaffir.

Towards the end, Biden said, “We are Israel’s maybe not-only friend, but only absolutely certain friend.” That statement will be tested in November, after the elections, when the US Administration will have to decide whether or not to veto a UN Security Council resolution unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state.

JNi.Media

Pro-Israel Bona Fides at Issue in Lawsuit Between Jewish School and Parents

Friday, February 26th, 2016

North Carolina is currently the site of one of the saddest public chapters of Jews and Jewish institutions turning on each other.

A family left a Jewish day school because the school is not pro-Israel and instead harbors wildly anti-Israel administrators and teachers. In turn, the school insists it is pro-Israel and that the parents, who departed before the school year began, should have paid the full year’s tuition for their two children, as they were required under the contract they signed.

The school is suing the parents for breach of contract.

The parents, confident that they were justified, turned to the media to draw attention to what they see as a shanda: a Jewish school employing anti-Israel agitators. The school in turn has enlisted the other Jewish communal organizations in the area, as well as parents and parents of alumni, to publicly defend the school and criticize the defecting family.

Ugly does not begin to cover it.

The Lerner School (until very recently the Sandra E. Lerner Jewish Community Day School) brought its breach of contract claim against Dr. Guy and Sloan Rachmuth in North Carolina state district court, located in Durham.

Much has already been written about this battle, including at FrontPage and, more recently at JNS.

The motivating factor which led the Rathmuchs to withdraw their children from the school before the start of term in 2014 was their realization that the school is not, as they had been promised, pro-Israel.

Local Jewish communal leaders responded by claiming that from their personal experience, that claim is false, almost laughably so. But this is no laughing matter.

One of the strongest voices in this chorus of Lerner School support comes from Rabbi Larry Bach of Judea Reform Congregation, which is located on the same campus as the Lerner School. Bach explained that it has an “ongoing partnership with Lerner, which includes “sharing space and resources.”

On Feb. 17, Rabbi Bach wrote a letter to his Judea Reform congregants in support of the Lerner School position. That letter has been distributed beyond the congregation, as testament to the Lerner School’s pro-Israel bona fides. He wrote that he was “incredulous at the charges leveled against the school,” and that “nothing that I’ve seen of the school comports with the story being told by its detractors.”

He also wrote:

My brief experience is nothing compared to the connections many of you have. Judea Reform members are proud parents and former parents, founders, teachers and administrators, and benefactors. We at JRC are proud of our ongoing partnership with Lerner, which manifests in sharing space and resources, and in other ways, big and  small. I look forward to a deepening relationship with Lerner, both personally and between our two institutions, in the years ahead.

Just a reminder: the Rachmuths serious disagreement with the Lerner School was that it was not supportive of Israel, and that instead its position towards Israel, as evidenced by its hiring of anti-Israel faculty and members its own administration, made it an environment in which their children could not be educated. The basis of the family’s counterclaim against the school is for “unfair and deceptive trade practices,” based on promises made by the school specifically about its pro-Israel positions.

So it is relevant to consider what goes on in the Jewish congregation next door, which has a “partnership” with Lerner, including “sharing space and resources, and in other ways, big and small,” specifically regarding Israel.

A quick scan of the temple’s speakers and presentations brings one up short. The Judea Reform website reveals a particular orientation regarding Israel, but it isn’t close to what either Lerner is claiming or what the Rachmuths were allegedly promised by its school partner. In fact, every topic that has anything to do with Israel is one-sided against the Jewish State.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Will Bernie Give Israel Heartburn?

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Fairly late into this primary season, the now Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders posted a section on his campaign website about his Jewishness and his views on the Israel-Arab conflict. But that website does not reveal that Sanders’ Middle East advisers include a vitriolic critic of Israel and an organization whose driving goal for the Arab-Israel conflict is to immediately create a Palestinian State and Israel’s security be damned.

Sanders forthrightly considers himself Jewish, although he is not religious and he is married to a Catholic woman, whose children he considers his own. Much of Sanders’ father’s family was murdered in the Holocaust.

According to a partially animated video on Sanders’ website, the Arab-Israel conflict is not about ideology, it is about land.

Sanders states he is firmly in favor of a two state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, he believes that both the Israeli and the Palestinian people want to live together in peace, and that “Israel has a right to exist in security,” and at the same time the “Palestinians should have a land of their own.”

Sanders was an early supporter of the Nuclear Iran Deal, calling it a “victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling and could keep the United States from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East.”

Sanders distinguishes between Hamas’ tactics and the Palestinians, and has supported U.S. legislation that provides aid for Palestinians. Similarly, Bernie distinguishes between Israel and its government. Although he is supportive of the State of Israel, he is “not a great fan” of the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his tactics to address issues in the Middle East region.

Sanders has condemned “— and sees as a barrier to peace — the terrorist actions of Hamas, including their practice of firing rockets into houses and urban centers.” He has also called Israel’s attacks on Palestinians “reprehensible,” particularly in the context of “Israel being the occupying power in the conflict.”

In what was clearly a deeply uncomfortable moment for Sanders, a reporter asserted that he had “dual citizenship with Israel.” Sanders emphatically stated that although he visited Israel several times, he was only a citizen of the U.S.

Sanders spent some time in the 1960s on a socialist kibbutz in northern Israel with his first wife. According to the New York Times, Sanders lived at Kibbutz Sha’ar Ha’amakim, a Hashomer Hatzair youth movement kibbutz, established in pre-state Israel in 1935. The kibbutz “saw the Soviet Union as a model, and often flew the red flag at outdoor events.”

SANDERS’ PROBLEMATIC MIDDLE EAST ADVISORS

Sanders’ website certainly aims to give the impression that the presidential candidate evenly supports the rights of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis, a recent report in the Washington Free Beacon revealed a troubling fact.

When asked who are Sanders’ advisors on the Middle East, the answer was Arabist James Zogby, the faux pro-Israel organization J Street, and former assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence J. Korb, a strong proponent of the Nuclear Iran Deal.

J Street consistently favors candidates and positions which denigrate Israel, and its primary goal for the Middle East is the immediate creation of a Palestinian State.

Zogby is the president of the Arab American Institute, who just days ago posted a column on Washington Watch, entitled “Silencing Critics of Israel.” The First line of that piece reads:

Israel doesn’t accept criticism. In fact, whether from friend or foe, even mild criticism is viewed as an existential threat prompting Israeli officials to unleash a torrent of abuse in an effort to silence and/or punish critics. And given new initiatives being rolled out in Israel and here is the US, by Congress and some state legislatures, this effort to silence critics is endangering free speech and the search for peace.

Later in this column, Zogby actually attacks the Obama administration for bending over backwards to appease Jews, by adopting what he considers an aggressively broad definition of anti-Semitism, which he charges amounts to an assault on free speech and will deny people the right “to peacefully organize and act to affect change in Israel’s policies in the occupied Palestinian lands.”

Zogby then slams Israelis for whining about a “double standard” against Israel, when, he claims, they attempt to create a world in which it is only “Israel which would be singled out as the only country that cannot be criticized.”

Sounds like Sanders might give Israel heartburn.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Here’s an Easy Way to Find Out if Your Congress Member is Actually Pro-Israel

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Last spring and summer, many pro-Israel Americans were shocked to find out that their own congressional representatives, despite claiming to be pro-Israel, pledged to support the Nuclear Iran Deal.

We know how that went – nearly all Democrats in Congress either readily agreed to abandon their commitment to global – and especially Israel’s – security, or succumbed to enormous pressure and ultimately caved, claiming the Nuclear Iran Deal, while not perfect, was worthy of their support.

Many members of Congress — unable to say with a straight face that the Iran deal was actually “good” — twisted themselves into pretzels trying to justify a position supporting the agreement. Given the high priority assigned to the Iran Deal by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry as emblematic of their political legacies, the pressure to fall in line on this vote must have been staggering.

But now there is another chance for elected federal officials to demonstrate their pro-Israel bona fides, one with much lower stakes for the administration, although that won’t stop it from lobbying against the proposed measure.

In this case it would be hard to understand how a legislator who claims to be pro-Israel could justify any position other than support for the bill introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), on Monday, Feb. 1. That is, unless one is comfortable with being cast as hostile to Israeli Jews and more favorably disposed to Palestinian Arabs.

PROPOSED BILL TO UNDO THE U.S. ANTI-ISRAEL LABELING LAW

The proposed measure, S.2474, was introduced to override this Administration’s latest stealth anti-Israel move: a promise to start strictly enforcing a nearly 20 year administrative agency regulation — never enforced until now, and with good reason — that bans the use of the word “Israel” to denote the source of origin for products produced in the disputed territories: Judea and Samaria (as those areas are called by those interested in  historical accuracy).

The areas are referred to, and the labeling permitted, as the “West Bank” and “Gaza” by those so hell-bent on enforcing a Two State Solution they are willing to overlook the fact that there is not as yet any state of Palestine, nor is the West Bank any more real a “country of origin” notation for the area in dispute than is Israel.

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

Cotton’s bill would amend the underlying statute to incorporate what the 1997 regulation allowed, that is, the designation for “West Bank” and “Gaza,” but it would also permit the designation of “Israel” for items produced in Jewish communities in those areas. What it accomplishes, is throwing out a regulation – something decided upon by administrative agencies, not elected officials – and instead incorporates the myriad regulations into comprehensive, and more balanced, legislation.

The bill was referred on Monday to the Senate Finance Committee.

BUT WHERE ARE THE CO-SPONSORS?

So far, only a pitifully small number of U.S. senators care enough about Israel to attach their names to this legislation which is merely an effort to prevent the U.S. from enforcing a boycott against Israeli goods, and every one who has stood up for Israel so far is a Republican.

As of Thursday, Feb. 4, three co-sponsors have joined on to the bill, in addition to Cotton, who is the original sponsor. Those three are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO).

People have been claiming for some time that the Democratic party has abandoned Israel. So far, at least with respect to S.2474, that’s true, although it’s also true that not many Republicans have as yet signed on either.

Unless legislators hear from their constituents, they may think this issue is unimportant. Israel certainly does not think so. Neither should pro-Israel Americans.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

J Street U Pres Urges Jews to Fight the ‘Occupation’ via Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Yes, it’s now gotten to the point where the Muslim student president of the self-described “pro-Israel” J Street U is given the forum of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency to tell Jews to be better pro-Israel advocates by fighting Israel’s “Occupation.”

J Street U gave this University of Maryland student a megaphone which she’s using to attack Israel, and now she’s being given a “Jewish” media outlet to amplify her anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian Arab message.

Amna Farooqi, the J Street U president, seized upon another editorial from another leader of a Jewish organization brought to you by the JTA, David Bernstein of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs.

Bernstein, in turn, was warning Jewish Americans that in order to defeat the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement, Jews should start developing partnerships with various social justice groups “on the mainstream left.”

Bernstein wrote that the BDS movement is teaming up with other “social justice” organizations to together fight against Israel, and so he urged pro-Israel folks to ape this coalition building and thereby fight this “intersectionality” of “other oppressed groups” making alliances with anti-Israel groups.

Farooqi added the next step, which is that the best thing pro-Israel groups can do to defeat this intersectionality dilemma would be to join up with other groups opposing…what, other anti-Israel groups? Nope. Maybe pro-Israel groups should join together with organizations fighting against ISIS? Nope. How about suggesting pro-Israel groups create a coalition with organizations fighting for human rights for persecuted Christians in the Middle East? Nope.

Farooqi suggests the coalition pro-Israel groups should join are those progressives who are attacking Israel for engaging in the “Occupation” of Palestinian Arab land. No joke.

She is serious when she writes that demonstrating a commitment to social injustice:

doesn’t just mean joining in battles against injustice here in the United States. Many progressive movements see Israel’s occupation as related to the same injustices they are fighting in their own communities. We must take their concerns seriously. Peacefully ending Israel’s occupation is a legitimate and important social justice issue — and the pro-Israel community should treat it as such.

Farooqi has been taught that she is an appropriate representative of a self-described Jewish pro-Israel group, despite her being a Muslim whose sole Israel agenda item is her firm commitment to defeating the so-called “Occupation.” LINK

Perhaps Farooqi is not aware that there are serious Jewish and other pro-Israel supporters who understand that there is no Occupation of a people, the Palestinian Arabs, who never had a claim to the land they now insist is theirs and which was acquired by Israel during a defensive war and at a time when there was no sovereign and had not been one since the end of the Ottoman Empire.

But no matter, Farooqi’s hubris is as outsized as that of the leadership of the parent organization J Street. She, like they, believe that progressives have a monopoly on social justice which is theirs to define.

Farooqi acknowledges that there are some from her team who have failed to “acknowledge” that there are “nuances” to the Arab-Israeli conflict. She finds that “frustrating.” And then she launches into an unqualified statement of fact, i.e. her own opinion: “no reasonable, honest person can deny that Palestinians deserve civil rights and self-determination, which they have been deprived of for almost 50 years.” She believes it, so it’s a fact.

Here is just a little more of her finger-wagging:

As long as the institutional pro-Israel community ignores the occupation and treats its effects on Palestinians and Israelis as insignificant or marginal, it will continue to alienate progressives. The pro-Israel community has to do more to oppose the occupation and advocate for a two-state solution that guarantees security, liberty and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians if it wants to be part of progressive alliances.

Maybe the pro-Israel community prefers to be focused on asserting and protecting the “civil rights and self-determination,” let alone the security, of the Jewish State more than it cares to cater to the self-absorbed and inherently anti-Israel divisions of the “progressive alliances.” And really, does anyone in the pro-Israel world need to be lectured by Farooqi about security or liberty for Israel or Palestinian Arabs?

And what is to be made of the editorial running in the JTA, the source of virtually all non-local news for virtually every Federation-funded and other Jewish media outlet in the U.S.?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

White House Invites Arab MK Who Blames ‘Occupation’ for Terror

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

President Barack Obama is introducing anti-Zionist values into the White House. After J Street and “Breaking the Silence,” next in line is Knesset Arab Knesset Member Ayman Odeh, who blames Israel for Arab terror.

One week after Knesset Member Michael Oren was falsely quoted as saying that the president is bringing “radical Muslim values” into 1600 Pennsylvania, it turns out that he definitely is opening its doors to the Arab MK who thinks that Muslim terror against Jews is the fault of the “occupation.”

Even more absurd is that Odeh is a Christian, but that has not stopped him from embracing his fellow Muslim MKs who call the Israeli government “Nazi” and openly campaign for the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

MK Odeh said on Israel radio two months ago:

I always blame the occupation for being guilty. I cannot tell the nation how to struggle, where and at which target to throw the rock.

Odeh is the chairman of the Joint Arab List, and told Yediot Acharonot that he will talk to senior White House and State Dept. officials on “issues that matter to Israel’s Arab Citizens [and] are hardly represented in the international conversation.”

He also will meet with the Palestinian Authority ambassador to the United Nations and will give interviews to all of the “correct” media outlets, such as The New York Times, the Nation, Huffington Post and the Washington Post. There is no indication that he will meet with President Obama.

Odeh also will speak with Jewish leaders, all of them from the Reform movement that decries the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria and for which President Obama has rolled out the red carpet.

The Obama administration will describe Odeh as the leader of Israeli Arabs, but the truth is that he is not.

The JewishPress.com reported here last month:

A special survey conducted for Channel 2… reveals…54% of Israeli Arab respondents believe that the Arab MKs do not represent them, 25% say that Arab MKs represent them fairly well, and only a minority of 16% say that they represent them ‘very much.’

However, most of these surveyed criticized comments by Nazareth’s Arab Mayor Ali Salem that Odeh and his cohorts have been “ruining” the city by inciting violence and demonstrating in the city against Israel.

Salem said in October:

Every Saturday we get our 20 thousand guests—Jews, tourists and Israelis from across the country. This Saturday we barely reached 1,000 people from out of town.

For three days we had complete quiet. No politicians arrived and they didn’t riot or strike or demonstrate…. Businessmen I spoke to today were pleased, not because no one visited them for a month, but because they manage to rebuild the ruins they (the politicians) left us in the city.

On the eve of Odeh’s departure to Washington, he told Yediot:

Less than a month after Netanyahu’s visit to the US and his half-apology, I go so that I may tell the hard truth about him and the government in Israel, which rose to power through racist incitement against Arab citizens.”

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/white-house-invites-arab-mk-who-blames-occupation-for-terror/2015/12/01/

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