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May 6, 2016 / 28 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish.’

Analysis: Sec. Kerry’s Holocaust Memorial Day Message Minimizes Jewish Loss

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day which opened with drowning the memory of the Jewish victims—undeniably the focal target of the Nazi state death industry—by mixing them with all the many other, PC approved victims. And so, Jewish survivors and children of survivors were told by the honorable Mr, Kerry that “On this day, we pause to reflect on the irredeemable loss of six million Jews and countless Poles, Roma, LGBT people, J Witnesses, and persons with disabilities brutally murdered by the Nazis because of who they were or what religion they practiced.”

And so, with one infuriating paragraph, Mr. Kerry eliminated the memory of the years 1933-1939, in which the Nazi propaganda machine concentrated on the Jews of Germany and the rest of Europe, dehumanized them and prepared the citizens of the future Nazi empire for the systematic removal, processing and methodical killing of the most productive, prosperous and moral national group on the planet.

Everyone else — Polish civilians, Gypsies, Homosexuals and the infirm — were mere footnotes in the global Nazi enterprise of the “final solution.” By opening his remarks on Holocaust Remembrance Day with deliberately discounting the Jewish loss as being part of the overall sadness of the human condition, Kerry is, in effect, acting as a Holocaust denier, even as he mourns the Holocaust.

The Nazi Holocaust was planned against the Jews, only the Jews, and saying otherwise suggests the Nazis were merely those bad people who caused a lot of pain. But that was not the case at all. The Holocaust was an experience in which humanity was divided, essentially, into two groups: those who actively hunted and gathered Jews, and those who stood by and let the hunt last for as long as they could.

The US government was aware of the anti-Jewish Nazi atrocities starting in 1933, when they began, when Jews with US citizenship started filing up in the Berlin embassy to report the beating, flogging, torture and murder of Jewish American citizens who had the misfortune to be in Germany in those satanic years. It was followed by US rejection of Jewish refugees seeking shelter on American shores, and was culminated by the US military actively prolonging the operations of the death camps by refusing to bomb the camps and the railroad tracks used to haul the last remaining members of our Jewish families.

“We draw strength from the heroic survivors who summoned the courage to share what they endured so others might draw from their wisdom and experience and who answered evil in the most powerful way possible – by living full lives, raising children and grandchildren, and advancing the ideals of equality and justice,” writes Kerry with some eloquence. This after having spent last summer bringing back into the fold of civilized nations the Islamic Republic, which is engaged in the most public and unabashed fashion in a state-sponsored effort to annihilate Jews. Kerry was indefatigable in his ceaseless work, spanning several years, to endow the Islamic Republic with the hundreds of billions of dollars it will require to complete its Jew-killing endeavor. Has the man no sense of shame at all?

Kerry concludes: “It is our solemn obligation to not only preach compassion, but practice it – and to do all we can to ensure that ‘never again’ is a promise not only made, but kept.”

For one thing, never again will John Kerry serve as Secretary of State; and never again will he come barreling through Jerusalem and Ramallah trying to win a Nobel prize for himself on the backs of Jewish homesteaders. Other than that, statements like Never Again should be relegated to when you wake up after the all-night binge and can’t find the Alka Seltzer.

David Israel

Jewish Academics And The Trashing Of Israel

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

As a college student in the 1960s, I was assigned the essay topic “Who is the Contemporary American Hero?”

In my essay I explained that since I couldn’t say whom society called a hero, I would describe my hero. I outlined an acquaintance of my parents who lost a job because he had stood up against immoral and unethical behavior demanded by his employer.

Since I hadn’t exactly answered the essay question, I assumed I’d get a less-than-stellar grade. I didn’t expect what happened: the teacher spent every moment of the next one-and-a-half hour class session ripping my essay, and me personally, to intellectual, moral, and ethical shreds in an amazing exhibit of intellectual corruption and bullying. (I dropped the class.)

Fifty years later, I stand by that essay and affirm the moral bankruptcy of American academia that was first demonstrated to me by that professor.

Israel is the whipping boy of the academic class. The BDS movement grows stronger on college and university campuses every year. Attacks on Jewish college students increase. Where are the complaints from the Jews within the university community?

That Jewish faculty members on college campuses are mostly liberal and secular comes as no surprise; those are major characteristics of the university, after all. Do they believe the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic canards that flow through the universities like water? Or are they too weak to stand up to them?

A young acquaintance obtained a Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a field that was influenced by Noam Chomsky. Although she began graduate school with strong pro-Israel leanings and disdain for Chomsky’s worldview, I watched as her need for professional success warped her into a Chomsky political look-alike.

During the bus bombings in Israel in the late 1990s, I asked a professor of the Holocaust why I never read anything from Holocaust professors comparing Nazi propaganda and the start of the Holocaust with the anti-Israel propaganda we were reading then. Her response: “That’s not my area of expertise.”

Whistle blowing is not a popular activity. Reporting a coworker for theft, or going above a boss to report unethical behavior, can have negative repercussions on a person’s career. Despite that, people in the private sector, with no tenure or other job protections, make moral judgments with great regularity. Many change jobs because they can’t buy into certain corporate behaviors. Others lose their jobs when they speak out.

In the private sector, paying a professional price for one’s beliefs and behaviors is expected. Shallow people don’t do it; truly successful ones – the people other people respect – do it when it is necessary.

Often, what happens once one person speaks out is that others start to speak as well. We saw this with the long list of women who reported sexual misconduct against them by former president Bill Clinton after the first woman spoke out.

Sheep are afraid to start anything, but once someone else begins they gain the courage to add their voices. When sheep see something that looks wrong but those who should speak up don’t, the sheep no longer trust their own judgment. They often abandon their opinions and accept the other side: after all, the people who are in a position to know have said nothing, so there must be nothing to say.

It’s easy to rationalize keeping one’s mouth shut: “It’s not my area of expertise,” “I like her personally and don’t want to make waves,” “I need the money,” etc.

In the 1968 movie “Counterpoint,” in which a USO orchestra is captured by the Nazis, a lovely female musician believes she will be saved if she becomes intimate with the Nazi commander. She debases herself and earns the scorn of her peers – and dies anyway. Kissing snakes doesn’t protect from snakebite.

Standing up against evil is not anyone’s area of expertise. It is not an activity to which most people aspire. But at some point, the best of us realize that whether it’s our area of expertise or not, we have to do what is right.

So, what about Jewish university professors?

For thirty or forty years, those who might have prevented the landslide against Israel have kept their wimpy little mouths closed. They’ve worried about their 403-Bs, their grant funding, their schedules, and their professional reputations. They’ve disdained the intelligence and morality of their coworkers, assuming the silence of others means they’ve bought into the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic rhetoric. They’ve hoped to blend into the woodwork.

But Hillel taught (Pirkei Avos 2:6), “In a place where there are no men, endeavor to be a man.”

Even when we might be criticized. Even when we might lose our professional reputations. Even when we might lose our jobs. The price may be high but the reward – self-respect – is far higher.

Because the alternative, as the beautiful musician in “Counterpoint” discovered, is to be fully aware of your self-debasement as you are destroyed by the very force to which you prostituted yourself.

Hanna Geshelin

Jewish Human Rights Watch Suing 3 Councils in High Court over BDS

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) has taken Swansea, Gwyneedd and Leicester councils to the High Court in London, alleging their boycott of Israeli goods is anti-Semitic and violates the 2010 Equality Act.

The group noted on their Facebook page: “We’re in the #‎HighCourt today and tomorrow about The Labour Party’s Leicester City Council & City and County of Swansea & Gwynedd Council’s #‎Antisemitic #‎Boycott motions. We’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear anything.”

Several local councils across the UK voted to boycott Israeli goods after 2009, when Israel refused to embrace the Hamas’ need to shoot rockets at its civilian population.

In 2010, Swansea council was seeking contracts with Veolia, a company connected to a project building a light railway in eastern Jerusalem. But then a motion was put before the council stating the project “not only contravenes UN demands but is in contravention of international law,” since the UN “has demanded that Israeli settlement activities and occupation should not be supported.”

Several council members called on the council to not do business with “any company in breach of international law or UN obligations or demands, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant legislation.” The motion was approved.

Andrew Sharland, an attorney for Leicester’s council, which in 2014 approved a similar boycott of Israeli goods, said the JHRW is trying to “stifle criticisms of Israel.”

“What this challenge really concerns is criticism of the State of Israel, and the claimant’s desire to suppress it,” he said.

Following the 2014 vote, JHRW issued a statement saying, “Leicester City Council has taken steps down an anti-Semitic path under the guise of helping community relations in Leicester. Frankly this amounts to a get-of-out-town order to Leicester Jews.”

In 2014, Gwynedd council also passed a motion calling for a trade embargo against Israel, condemning the “attacks by the Israeli state on the territory of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.” Just to make sure they did not come across as anti-Semites, Gwynedd council added, “It must be made clear that the proposal condemned the Israeli state and not the Jewish religion.”

The British government earlier this year issued guidelines for public authorities which say these boycotts are “inappropriate” without formal legal sanctions or embargoes by the national government. In fact, the Cabinet Office has said these boycotts “undermine good community relations, poison and polarize debate, weaken integration and fuel anti-Semitism.”

But Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party has been ridding itself of an industrial-size stash of anti-Semitic members in recent days, criticized the government’s warning against BDS as an “attack on local democracy.”

David Israel

Demographers Weigh In On Jewish Vote In 2016

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

America’s primary election season is inching closer to its conclusion: the Republican National Convention in Cleveland from July 18-21 and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25-28.

As of Tuesday morning, five candidates remained in the primary race: Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and Republicans Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), Ohio Governor John Kasich, and businessman Donald Trump.

When it comes to projecting the Jewish vote in 2016, understanding demographics might lend some semblance of sanity to an election that most observers would compare to a roller coaster ride.

While Jews represent just 2 percent of the American population, surveys indicate that more than 90 percent of Jews who are registered to vote make it to the polls, compared to 74 percent of all Americans.

Additionally, in 2013, 70 percent of U.S. Jews were living in New York, California, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, and Pennsylvania – states whose combined 167 electoral votes make up more than half of the 270 electoral votes a presidential candidate needs to win the election.

In 2013, the Pew Research Center’s “Portrait of Jewish Americans” survey showed that 70 percent of Jewish voters were Democrats, compared to 49 percent of the general American public. But the survey found that 57 percent of Orthodox Jews identify or lean Republican, while 36 percent identify or lean Democrat.

Other Jewish groups likely leaning Republican are what Cohen calls “ethnic Jews” – those who are more “culturally conservative,” including immigrant Russian-speaking Jews, who “see a conservative political philosophy as most opposed to the government that oppressed them for decades.”

While 21st century American Jews lean overwhelmingly Democrat, that wasn’t always the case.

“In the late 19th century, from roughly 1864 until roughly 1916, American Jews voted Republican in overwhelming numbers. We don’t have a lot of data to substantiate that…but what we do know allows us to make a judgment call,” said Dr. Steven Windmueller, a demographer from Hebrew Union College’s Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.

Dr. Ira Sheskin, a demographer at the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami, explained that “the nature of the parties does change over time” and that “back in the 1800s, Republicans and Democrats held different views than they do today.”

From 1916 onward, the Jewish vote went to the Democratic Party. By the time President George H. W. Bush ran for reelection in 1992, he received only 16 percent of the Jewish vote, Sheskin noted.

Jews continued voting predominantly Democratic through President Obama’s two campaigns. But while Obama garnered anywhere from 74 to 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008, depending on whose data is used, his Jewish support dropped to 69 percent in the 2012 election.

“Was that a reaction to some of [Obama’s] policies? His relationship with the government of Israel, or other issues? It’s difficult to say,” Windmueller told JNS, but we think there has been some small trending over the last 15 to 20 years toward voting for more Republicans on the part of some Jews who are maybe historically voting Democratic.”

This growth in Jewish Republican votes might be attributed to younger Jews who don’t affiliate with a party and who register as independents, although only 17 percent of Jews ages 18-29 identified as Republican in Pew’s 2013 survey. America’s growing Orthodox Jewish population and single-issue voters who focus exclusively on Israel and Middle East foreign policy are additional factors that may lead to more Jews voting Republican.

Sheskin, however, cautions against reading too much into the aforementioned factors when it comes to the Jewish vote. He said the uptick in Jewish Republican voting had already started after George H.W. Bush’s 1992 campaign.

Alina Dain Sharon

Brilliant Landscape Architect Roberto Burle Marx at the Jewish Museum

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Roberto Burle Marx (1909–1994) was one of the most influential landscape architects of the twentieth century, yet he is not a familiar figure outside of his native Brazil. He is best known for his iconic seaside pavements on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach, and for his abstract, geometric garden designs. But his work encompasses an enormous range of artistic forms and styles: Burle Marx was a painter and sculptor; a designer of textiles, jewelry, theater sets, and costumes; a ceramicist and stained-glass artist. He was an avid art collector, a talented baritone, a consummate cook, and a visionary self-taught botanist and ecologist. For him, all these endeavors were equally important, facets of one another.

Avenida Atlântica, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro / Source: http://burlemarx.com.br

Avenida Atlântica, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro / Source: http://burlemarx.com.br

Marx was born in São Paulo, the fourth son of Cecilia Burle, an upper class Brazilian Catholic woman whose family came from Pernambuco and France, and Wilhelm Marx, a German Jew, born in Stuttgart and raised in Trier. The family moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1913.

The artist embraced modernism in the early 1930s, as the movement was taking hold in Brazil. He revolutionized garden design by using abstraction and grand colorful sweeps of local vegetation, abolishing symmetry and rejecting imported flora and European models. He viewed the role of the landscape architect in ideal terms: to mitigate the loss of the primeval garden and repair the rift between humanity and nature.

Mineral roof garden, Banco Safra headquarters, São Paulo, designed by Roberto Burle Marx, 1983. / The Jewish Museum

Mineral roof garden, Banco Safra headquarters, São Paulo, designed by Roberto Burle Marx, 1983. / The Jewish Museum

Burle Marx’s art inhabits a rare space between the rational and the lyrical. Nature’s variability was for him a liberating force: in a sixty-year career he designed more than two thousand gardens worldwide, discovered close to fifty plant species, advocated passionately for the environment, and made paintings and objects of exuberant, rare beauty. The artist who called himself “the poet of his own life,” left the world a poetic legacy.

Victoria amazonica water lilies, garden of the Fazenda Vargem Grande, Clemente Gomes residence, Areias, designed by Roberto Burle Marx, 1979. © Burle Marx Landscape Studio, Rio de Janeiro. / The Jewish Museum

Victoria amazonica water lilies, garden of the Fazenda Vargem Grande, Clemente Gomes residence, Areias, designed by Roberto Burle Marx, 1979. © Burle Marx Landscape Studio, Rio de Janeiro. / The Jewish Museum

Burle Marx’s gardens are works of modern art, not only because they make use of flat planes, abstract shapes, and bold color, but because of the way they behave: they prompt awareness of oneself in relation to the built environment. Burle Marx was an early practitioner of a contemporary way of working: crossing genres fluidly, integrating art with political concerns such as ecology, and disregarding the traditional separation of fields of practice. It is therefore no surprise that artists of today find him a fruitful source of inspiration. In this Jewish Museum exhibition, seven artists with ties to Latin America, all born after 1950: Juan Araujo, Paloma Bosquê, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Luisa Lambri, Arto Lindsay, Nick Mauss, and Beatriz Milhazes — provide a sampling of his influence.

The exhibition Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist, will be at the Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Ave at 92nd St, May 6 – September 18, 2016.

Source: the Jewish Museum website

JNi.Media

Hillel International Publishes Guide to Perplexed Jewish College Students

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

The new Hillel International College Guide which has just been released, offers articles on every facet of Jewish life on campus, including highlighting innovative programs at Hillels around the US, as well as everybody’s favorite — the latest data on the “top 60 schools Jews choose.”

Out of the top 60 Jewish-friendly state schools, here are the top ten, courtesy of the Hillel Guide:

1. University of Florida, 33,720 undergraduates, out of whom 6,500 or 19% are Jewish.

2. Rutgers university, New Brunswick, 34,544 undergraduates, out of whom 6,400 or 19% are Jewish.

3. University of central Florida, 52,532 undergraduates, out of whom 6,000 or 11% are Jewish.

4. University of Maryland, college Park, 27,056 undergraduates, out of whom 5,800 or 21% are Jewish.

5. University of Michigan, 28,395 undergraduates, out of whom 4,500 or 16% are Jewish.

6. Indiana University, 36,419 undergraduates, out of whom 4,200 or 12% are Jewish.

7. University of Wisconsin, Madison, 31,289 undergraduates, out of whom 4,200 or 13% are Jewish.

8. CUNY, Brooklyn college, 14,115 undergraduates, out of whom 4,000 or 28% are Jewish.

9. Pennsylvania state University, University Park, 40,541 undergraduates, out of whom 4,000 or 10% are Jewish.

10. Queens College, 15,773 undergraduates, out of whom 4,000 or 25% are Jewish.

The guide offers information on every one of the state schools, and on its top Jewish choices for private universities (NYU, BU, YU, GWU and Cornell are the top five), including on their Jewish graduate students, Jewish courses, Jewish studies offerings, Jewish educators, Israel abroad programs, kosher options, and percentages of males and females in the Jewish student populations.

You may want to read Josh Marks’ item “Tel Aviv comes to you,” about the Israel Fellows program, which was started in 2003 by the Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with Hillel International. Marks interviews Raz Tidhar, a program emissary, one of 75 Israel Fellows sent by the agency to develop Israeli content for student activities at the Hillel-serving campuses throughout Montreal.

“These programs are meant to present Israel on campus as a country that is more than what we read in the newspapers and in the headlines,” explains Mason Hillel executive director Ross Diamond. “Often, Israel is portrayed as a black and white country that has one issue, which is the conflict, and our role on campus is to educate students and present Israel beyond the conflict, because it’s a country that’s rich with culture and is exciting to be a part of.”

Don’t miss Zachary Schaffer’s article on 70 Faces magazine, a project at Pittsburgh Hillel, discussing Hillel’s building diverse and inclusive Jewish communities; Gabrielle Magid’s piece on a program she founded at the University of Florida Hillel, Stronger Than Stigma, where Hillel staff address mental illness on campus; and Tyler Grasee’s report on his experience at Lawrence University in Wisconsin and Hillel’s work to include students from interfaith families and help them explore and develop their Jewish identities.

JNi.Media

San Diego State Jewish Students Face Disciplinary Action over Anti-BDS Flyer

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

A series of posters created and disseminated by the David Horowitz Freedom Center in April identified by name a number of prominent student and faculty Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists on the San Diego State University campus. DHFC, which says it “combats the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm this country as it attempts to defend itself in a time of terror,” described its targeted individuals as having “allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetrate BDS and Jew Hatred on this campus.”

anti-BDS poster 1

The posters contained the hashtag #StopTheJewHatredonCampus, which is the slogan of the DHFC campaign seeking to confront campus anti-Semitism agents and to refute the lies spread by pro-Palestinian individuals and groups, including claims that Israel is an apartheid state.

According to Jamie Ballard of the Daily Aztec, after a protest last week regarding President Elliot Hirshman’s failure to condemn the anti-BDS fliers on campus, students met with him Monday morning to discuss what will happen next.

Osama Alkhawaja and Rachel Beck, two of the students who met with Hirshman, said they were able to share their concerns with the administration, but were not “entirely satisfied, and feel the issue is far from over.”

“I feel absolutely betrayed by my university,” Beck told the Aztec. “I pay $30,000 to go here, and they haven’t defended me from these accusations that I am a terrorist.”

“The thing that I don’t understand is, why is it so hard for you to come out and make a statement saying that your students aren’t terrorists?” Alkhawaja said. “The university continues to defend free speech, but this is hate speech.”

According to Alkhawaja, the university said it is not willing to condemn the posters by saying that they are a form of hate speech or intimidation.

anti-BDS poster 2

Here is what the fliers say:

“There is an epidemic of Jew hatred on American campuses and at San Diego State University. This Jew hatred is incited by Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Students Association and assorted leftist groups, all of whom support the terrorist organizations Hamas and Fatah.”

The fliers then explain that both SJP and MSA are products of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that they “disseminate genocidal lies about Israel whose purpose is to weaken and destroy the world’s only Jewish state.”

The posters were delivered on five California campuses, including at UCLA and UC-Berkeley, where anti-Israel activists were able to push university administrators into calling them “hate speech.”

In an email sent to San Diego State’s entire student body on Tuesday, Hirshman criticized the posters but defended their creators’ right to free speech: “First, we recognize and fully support the rights of all parties to voice their positions on political issues, whether supportive or critical. We also understand that when parties adopt a specific political position they become responsible for their actions and these actions may produce criticism.”

Alkhawaja told the San Diego Union-Tribune: “I’m shocked, I just don’t get why it’s so difficult for him to condemn the posters, to call them what they were. What we got instead was a promise to continue our conversations.”

Horowitz has been invited by the SDSU College Republicans to speak on campus Thursday. It isn’t clear whether there are any protest planned against that appearance.

“One thing that’s sometimes leveled against us is that we stifle speech,” Alkhawaja said. “We’re just not going to go. Our issue wasn’t with someone holding an opinion. The issue here was that he singled out individuals in a very threatening manner.”

Come to think of it, it’s about time somebody did.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/san-diego-state-jewish-students-face-disciplinary-action-over-anti-bds-flyer/2016/05/03/

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