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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’

I Stand By My critique of ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt

Monday, May 30th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Candidly Speaking from Jerusalem}

Jonathan Greenblatt’s response to my criticism of his embrace of J Street, alleging that I distorted his message, is disingenuous and reaffirms my assessment.

Invoking clichés “that there are steps Israel can take to ensure the viability of a two-state solution” are ill-becoming the head of a major Jewish organization whose contact with Israel has been minimal. It only serves to encourage U.S. President Barack Obama and the heads of other governments to intensify pressure against us. Greenblatt is surely aware that there is a consensus in Israel supporting immediate separation from the Palestinians, but also a recognition that further unilateral concessions in the absence of a genuine peace partner would endanger our security.

Greenblatt explicitly condemned Jews who deny the rights of “marginalized Palestinians” and fail to recognize the legitimacy of “the Palestinian narrative.” When he condemned “those who place blame on one side instead of putting forward solutions that acknowledge the role and responsibility of both sides”, he provided grist for the propaganda mills of those applying moral equivalence to Israelis and the Palestinians sanctifying terrorism and bent on our destruction. Greenblatt now reiterates (as I initially stated) that in his address to J Street, he also made remarks supporting Israel and condemning anti-Semitism. So what?

Jewish communists, the antecedents of J Street, also described themselves as “pro-peace” and defended Soviet anti-Semitism while portraying themselves as “pro-Jewish.” Likewise, J Street claims to be “pro-Israel” despite raising funds to support anti-Israeli congressional candidates, lobbying the Obama administration to exert further pressure on Israel, accepting generous funding from George Soros to support the government’s appeasement of Iran, and constantly condemning the security policies of the Israeli government.

Greenblatt cannot refute this. Does he really believe that Jews whose principal objective is to undermine and demonize Israel and encourage foreign intervention should still be considered members of the mainstream of the Jewish community and included in the big tent? Would the ADL seek to address and engage in dialogue with Jews promoting racism or homophobia?

The ADL national director goes further. He endorses the Black Lives Matter movement despite its open hostility to Israel. He also laments that the viciously anti-Israeli fringe group If Not Now is denied “safe space” for discourse and has informed them that the ADL “shares your commitment to change.”

Likewise, Greenblatt claims that the J Street group he addressed comprised “deeply thoughtful college students whose commitment to Israel is genuine and whose passion on the issue is impressive.” His objective is to maintain “a true sense of community and inclusion” with them.

Setting aside the legitimacy provided to J Street when endorsed by the head of a major Jewish body, one would have expected Greenblatt to spell out realities to these youngsters rather than praising them and engaging in kumbaya. He should surely have admonished them and explained why it is utterly immoral for Diaspora Jews to publicly campaign against security-related policies with life-and-death implications endorsed by the vast majority of Israelis.

Furthermore, as head of the organization whose principal mandate is to combat anti-Semitism, Greenblatt should have focused his address on emphasizing how despicable it was for students to demonize Israel while their Jewish student peers at many campuses were subjected to unprecedented waves of anti-Israeli incitement and anti-Semitism.

Instead, Greenblatt nonsensically justifies his position, stating that “disagreement and dissent are not Jewish ideas — they are Jewish ideals.” In other words, Jews who defame Israel and canvas foreign governments to intensify pressure on the Jewish state should be welcomed.

He goes one step further and says, “Whether Leibler likes it or not, these are the future leaders in our community and country.” Well, like any committed Jew, I certainly would not “like it.” And if Greenblatt endorses people sharing the views of J Street heading our community, the ADL Board would be well advised to have a serious chat with him.

With the current surge of violent global anti-Semitism which has already impacted on Jewish students at many American campuses, there is an urgent need for a powerful Jewish body dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism.

The ADL’s task is not to provide advice to Israel on security issues. Nor should it purport to speak on behalf of the Jewish community on broad social issues concerning which Jews share different opinions. It should concentrate more on Islamic terrorism rather than highlighting so-called Islamophobia, which poses far less of a problem than anti-Semitism. While it should broadly condemn all forms of discrimination, its principal role today must be to concentrate on its primary mandate, which is to combat anti-Semitism.

 

Isi Leibler

Ipsos Survey: One Third of American Students Support Boycotting Israel

Monday, May 30th, 2016

One third of American students believe boycotting Israel is justified and constitutes a legitimate means of applying political pressure on the Jewish State, according to a yet to be released Ipsos survey, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported. Ipsos is one of the world’s leading market research firms for hire, managed and controlled by research professionals, offering comprehensive global research programs in 87 countries.

The original Channel 2 story mistakenly assigned those statistics to the US population at large. It was later corrected.

The survey, which will be officially released in advance of an International conference on the struggle against BDS to open on Tuesday, polled a sample of 1,100 American students. It suggests that 33% find a boycott against Israel to be justified. A similar survey conducted in the UK found that 40% of the students there agree that boycotting Israel is legitimate.

The good news is that a 62% majority of US respondents believe that the BDS movement is a form of modern anti-Semitism. About 50% of Briton students also condemn the BDS as being anti-Semitic.

The anti-BDS international conference, titled, “Building Bridges and Fighting Boycotts,” is organized by Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon, in collaboration with the World Jewish Congress, Keren Hayesod, the American Center for Law and Justice, the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America, Israel Bonds, StandWithUs, B’nai B’rith International, Hillel, and CAMERA. More than 1,500 are expected to participate, including students, representatives of anti-BDS organizations, Jewish American organizations, and opinion makers.

JNi.Media

Why Are American Jews Funding a Rachel Corrie Memorial Program?

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Never put it past Jews in the Diaspora to shoot themselves (or at least their own people) in the foot, or worse. Now we learn that Jews are giving money, through a Jewish organization, to help fund an educational initiative to honor the “great humanitarian activist” Rachel Corrie.

Several years ago a brouhaha was raised about the Jewish Communal Fund, which is wholly-owned by the Jewish Federation of New York, because it was revealed to be distributing money to anti-Israel groups such as the New Israel Fund and Jewish Voice for Peace.

The response from the Federation was first that it is not connected to the Jewish Communal Fund, they are separate entities. But The UJA Federation is the “sole owning member” of the JCF, the JCF is a wholly-owned subsidiary. The claim by the Federation is like saying Pepsico and Frito-Lay are separate entities. They are, but Frito-Lay is wholly-owned by Pepsico.

And put aside the question why people who want to contribute to anti-Israel groups choose to do it through the Jewish Communal Fund. That one we can’t fathom, though frankly we can’t fathom why anyone with any seichel wants to give to JVP or NIF anyway.

But for 2015, the most recent year for which funding information is available, there is an interesting – shocking, actually – entry in the Jewish Communal Fund’s list of beneficiaries. This was brought to light in a recent interview with Richard Allen, founder of the Jewish communal watchdog JCCWatch.org. Allen expressed continuing dismay that Jewish donor dollars are going to support anti-Israel causes.

Allen revealed that of the many dozens and dozens of JCF donor recipients, the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund stands out amongst all the Jewish centers and Jewish Federations. The PCRF sticks out even on a list which still features Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization both the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center condemn as anti-Semitic, and the New Israel Fund, which supports programs that promote the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement.

Of course, the trigger-ready defense to the charge of a Jewish organization passing donations to such organizations is that the donations are donor-advised. In other words, they claim, it is not the Federation or even the JCF which is choosing to enrich these anti-Israel groups.

Yes, that’s true. The donors do designate where they want the money to go. However, for the benefit donors receive of being able to take an immediate tax deduction once depositing their money with the JCF – and why else would donors use the Fund rather than directly making the contributions themselves – they, according to the Internal Revenue Service rules, immediately forfeit any control over where that money goes. Donor-advised? Yes. Donor-controlled? No.

Now comes the second step, which is that the JCF has an over-arching restriction on where the donations can go.

That restriction is spelled out in a two-pronged test in the Grantmaking guidelines of UJA-Federation’s wholly-owned Jewish Communal Fund. It says, under the heading “Impact on the Jewish Community“:

The Jewish Communal Fund is committed to supporting causes that promote the security of the Jewish community here and abroad. Consequently, as part of the grant review process, the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Communal Fund retains the right to deny any grant request where the purposes and actives of the recommended charitable organization are deemed to be adverse to the interests of the Jewish community.

Can even donor-advised giving to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund satisfy this requirement — that it “promotes the security of the Jewish community here and abroad” and that it could not be “deemed to be adverse to the interests of the Jewish community?”

And then go one step further. For the year in which the record reflects that the UJA’s JCF distributed money to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, one of PCRF’s main projects that year was dedicated to honor the memory of someone even the furthest left of Jews would not claim as promoting the security of the Jewish community.

That project is the Rachel Corrie Gaza Education Initiative.

For those who don’t remember, Rachel Corrie was a member of the International Solidarity Movement. Corrie went to Gaza to volunteer with other misguided ISM westerners as human shields. She chose to enter a war zone and refuse to leave in an effort to protect buildings targeted by the Israel Defense Forces for harboring terrorist weaponry and entrances to terror tunnels. Corrie was virulently anti-Israel and was enamored of the Hamas terrorist organization. She was killed in a tragic accident while acting as a human shield in Gaza, attempting to interfere with IDF demolition bulldozers in a war zone.

The Rachel Corrie Gaza Education Initiative was described on the PCRF site this way:

In honor of the great humanitarian activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed in Gaza while trying to protect the homes of refugees in Rafah, the PCRF is launching an education initiative to help provide special tutoring and education for children in Gaza who have been severely impacted by the recent siege on the Strip. Your support for this initiative will ensure that these children get the education they need to continue to try to build a future in Gaza, and to honor Rachel, who valued education at the highest level.

Could promoting a program that celebrates Rachel Corrie as a “great humanitarian activist” be “deemed adverse to the interests of the Jewish community?” And, at the very least, is there any way to argue that it is the right thing for any Jewish organization to do or to facilitate?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Vassar Hosts Prof. Who Charges Israel With ‘Weaponized Epigenetics’

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

The tuition at Vassar College exceeds $63,000 per year. That includes room and board and “activities fees.”

And parents are shelling out this money for a school which just last week hosted an academic from another American so-called institution of higher learning, to tell Vassar’s undergraduates that Israel is not merely guilty of the usual false claims made against it, but of committing certain practices that would even impress ISIS members for the pain and cruelty inflicted.

The story about an “academic” lecture hosted by more than a half dozen departments at Vassar College comes to us from the well-respected site Legal Insurrection.

Vassar’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace coordinated the talk by Rutger University associate professor Jasbir Puar on Thursday, Feb. 3. Puar’s talk was titled “Inhumanist BioPolitics: How Palestine Matters.”

Puar is in Rutgers’ department of Women’s and Gender Studies. The vast majority of Puar’s research and academic work has been in the field known as “Queer Studies.”  However, in 2013 – 14 Puar was a Fellow at Cornell, working on her third (still as yet unpublished) book, “Inhumanist Occupation: Sex, Affect and Palestine/Israel.” This last literary effort appears to have been the source of the “information” provided by Puar in her talk last week

According to this lecturer, Israel engages in “biopolitical tactics,” employing “weaponized epigenetics.” The Jewish State, Puar claims, is guilty of “maiming” and of “stunting” Palestinian Arabs. In fact, Puar portrays Israel as so nefarious, it even refuses to kill its targets, preferring to engage in “will not let die.”

Israelis engage in these nefarious practices, according to Puar, in order to “render impotent any future resistance.”

Although the talk was apparently well-received by the audience, a perusal of a transcript of Puar’s talk is virtually incomprehensible. It is, however, clearly viciously anti-Israel. That must have been enough for the Vassar students.

Here’s an example of what assaulted their ears:

This lecture theorizes oscillating relations between disciplinary, pre-emptive, and increasingly prehensive forms of power that shape human and non-human materialities in Palestine. Calculation, computing, informational technologies, surveillance, and militarization are all facets of prehensive control. Further, the saturation of spatial and temporal stratum in Palestine demonstrates the use of technologies of measure to manufacture a “remote control” occupation, one that produces a different version of Israeli “home invasions” through the maiming and stunting of population. If Gaza, for example, is indeed the world’s largest “open air prison” and an experimental lab for Israeli military apparatuses, infrastructural chaos, and metric manipulation, what kinds of fantasies (about power, about bodies, about resistance, about politics) are driving this project?

Puar’s talk was sponsored by the following Vassar departments: American Studies, Africana Studies, English, International Studies, Jewish Studies, Political Science, Religion and Women’s Studies.

Really? Is vilifying Israel in dramatic and grotesque ways the only precondition for featured speakers at most American universities now?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Washington Leftist Troops to Protest Netanyahu Wherever He Goes

Monday, November 9th, 2015

A whopping 38 organizations are planning to picket Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, starting today (Monday).

One particularly thorny stop on the Prime Minister’s itinerary will be his appearance at the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) on Tuesday, where he will be interviewed by its president Neera Tanden.

The child of Indian immigrants from Massachusetts, Tanden worked for the 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign and served as domestic policy director for President Barack Obama’s second presidential campaign.

The usual suspects – American Muslims for Palestine, the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Code Pink, Jewish Voice for Peace, RootsAction and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation – served up petitions with 26,300 signatures, demanding that CAP cancel the event.

These groups essentially argued that there’s no way a progressive would even dream of having a dialogue on Palestine except with Palestinians.

On the day of Tuesday’s event, expect to find “Netanyahu is #NotProgressive” pickets outside the Center for American Progress, 1333 H St. NW, Washington DC, care of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

But before that event takes place, there’s the minor issue of the first meeting between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel since their spring and summer fisticuffs over the Iran nuclear deal.

Starting at 9 a.m. today (EST), there will be ample pickets outside the White House, sponsored by the ANSWER coalition. Organizers will demand three relatively modest things: Stop all US aid to Israel;

send Netanyahu to the International Criminal Court for War Crimes; and, naturally, self-determination and liberation for the Palestinian people.

Later, from 5-8 p.m., there will be a “No US Tax Dollars for Israel” rally outside the National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington DC, where the American Enterprise Institute will honor Netanyahu.

The rally, endorsed by those 38 anti-Israel NGOs, will feature Max Blumenthal, Phyllis Bennis, Dr. Osama Abuirshaid and the Rev. Graylan Hagler, all known Israel haters.

It’s going to be a full couple of days for anti-Israelis in Washington DC. The temperatures should stay around 55-60 degrees, with afternoon and evening showers both days.

Bring an umbrella.

JNi.Media

Physical Attacks Taking Place in Israel, Verbal Ones in Westchester, NY

Friday, October 16th, 2015

It is hard to understand why American institutions, especially ones in heavily Jewish areas, would feel it incumbent upon themselves to host virulently anti-Israel speakers, especially at this time when brutal, random, terrifying attacks against innocent Jews are taking place in Israel on a daily basis.

But that’s what Greenburgh, N.Y. (in Westchester County) elected officials have chosen to do.

Gideon Levy, one of the best-known anti-Israel journalists (at Haaretz, of course) and an Arab Palestinian promoter of the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement, Suhail Khalilieh, are scheduled to speak at the Greenburgh Town Hall on Monday evening, Oct. 19.

A prime sponsor of this event is the group Jewish Voice for Peace, a “Jewish” organization that uses its religion to stab its homeland at every opportunity. JVP is one of the main proponents of the BDS Movement and admits it does not care whether Israel continues to exist or not.

Levy has been described by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) as being

known in Israel as an acrimonious, anti-Israel ideologue and activist, recently arrested for spitting and cursing at IDF soldiers, who often invents his own facts to support his radical agenda. His fan base consists primarily of fellow Israel haters and activists, while mainstream Israelis and journalists dismiss him as a dishonest propagandist.

Paul Feiner, the town supervisor, and his colleagues rejected the advice of the township police to cancel the event. Feiner’s excuse was that “there are First Amendment issues” should the town refuse to host the event because they have never rejected anyone before. Issues? Yes. Do they command the officials to allow the event to go forward? No.

Asserting time or place and other restrictions on who gets to be hosted at local taxpayers’ expense are reasonable restrictions which can be placed at any time, especially if the local police recommended against holding the event.

In addition, as several of the organizers, including New York attorney Lauri B. Regan pointed out, free speech is not the same thing as hate speech. And, as critics of the event have pointed out, New York State passed resolutions condemning BDS and a human rights law that makes it illegal to promote such boycotts.

Still, Feiner and the other officials chose to allow the anti-Israel event to go forward.

PRO-ISRAEL RESPONSE

The response to the decision to have the event go forward is a call for area residents to come out at 5:30 p.m. on Monday evening and express their love for Israel in a Stand in Solidarity with Israel rally outside of the Town Hall.

The Jewish Rapid Response Coalition is spearheading this pro-Israel effort. This is the stalwart group of grassroots pro-Israel activists who pulled together the massive Times Square Stop Iran Rally this summer, which drew thousands of Americans to come out and express their support for Israel and disdain for those who seek to harm her.

At a time when so many American supporters of Israel are feeling impotent to stop the brutal wave of violence directed against their brothers and sisters in Israel, here is something they can do to show where they stand. Looking the other way should not be an option.

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Obama Now Ready to Meet with Netanyahu

Friday, September 11th, 2015

President Barack Obama’s victory in the battle with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Republicans over the nuclear deal with Iran has given him his security blanket for a face-to-face meeting.

President Obama told rabbis in his annual pre-Rosh HaShanah phone call that he plans to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu next month, when the U.N. General Assembly convenes after a summer recess.

Obama said:

Our consultations have already begun with Israeli military and intelligence officials.

My hope is to have a long discussion with Mr. Netanyahu about these issues when he comes to the United Nations during the General Assembly of the United Nations, or immediately after that.

Obama avoided the Prime Minister earlier this year when he addressed Congress, two weeks before Israel’s general elections, which he said precluded a meeting that could be exploited for political purposes.

Now that Netanyahu, if not the United States itself, appears to be the loser in the fight over the nuclear agreement, Obama has not problem meeting him, if no other reason than to gloat.

However, Arab American leader James Zogby wrote an interesting analysis last week in The Huffington Post that shows that although Prime Minister Netanyahu lost the fight to reject the Ian deal, he actually was the winner in the long-term, particularly concerning the Palestinian Authority.

President Obama told the rabbis:

Israel’s long-term security does depend on somehow resolving the Palestinian issue. We’re going to have to work on these issues, and they’re going to be messy and challenging in the years to come.” There’s going to have to be some soul searching in Israel and the American Jewish community because they’re tough questions.

Zogby explained that President Obama will be careful before he pushes his luck with Jewish Democratic Congressmen who supported the P5+1 agreement with Iran.

He wrote:

By throwing what amounted to a political and diplomatic tantrum, the Israeli side succeeded in making itself the center of attention for the Administration and Congress. In the last few months, there were more meetings held, more hours spent, and more effort expended on reassuring Israel and its supporters of America’s ‘unbreakable, unshakable’ commitment, than in any period in our history….

Senators and members of Congress will also now be inclined to make clear their support for Israel. Many Democrats who announced their intention to support the president made sure that their statements declared undying support for Israel. The myth that ‘AIPAC will beat you if you don’t toe the line’ continues to hold strong, and so it can be expected that many members, despite their resentment of AIPAC and Netanyahu’s pressure, will spend excessive time and energy between now and next November playing “make up” by proving their support for Israel.

However, Zogby said that in the longer-term, “The emergence and rapid growth of liberal pro-Israel Jewish groups like J Street and Americans for Peace Now, or non-Zionist Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, or the expansion of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement on college campuses are all evidence “of a shift in American policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

He can credit President Obama with having successful weakened the influence of AIPAC by bolstering the prestige of the left-wing groups, but he doesn’t realize that they have gone so far out in left field that they are leaving “mainstream Jewish” support out of the ball park.

Even if they nevertheless one day are viewed as representing American Jews, probably by including 3-4 million people who simply call themselves Jews, it will be too late because the Palestinian Authority by then will have succeeded in making demands that prove that a new Arab country within Israel’s present borders would mean the end of Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-now-ready-to-meet-with-netanyahu/2015/09/11/

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