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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘leaders’

Jews Outraged As Canadian Greens Endorse BDS Against Leader’s Recommendation

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Canadian Jewish groups are furious at the Canadian Green Party for passing a resolution supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel over the weekend. The party’s national convention in Ottawa adopted a policy resolution declaring support for the use of BDS targeted at the sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the “ongoing occupation … until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in [Judea and Samaria], and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state.”

The resolution passed over the objection of Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who said she prefers to endorse “action that can work,” and told a workshop meeting about the policy: “I would rather not, as leader, be leading a party that has endorsed BDS.”

“This is a perfectly legitimate movement,” May continued, “There is nothing illegal about it, and within the Charter of Rights of Freedoms. So, I am uncomfortable with the demonization of this movement. But there is for me, no question that there’s a better way to put pressure on Israel, bearing in mind the history of Israel; the fact that it’s, I think, a tactic that won’t work.”

“We need a two-state solution, and the way things are going there will be no Palestine for a two-state solution,” May said. “So it comes to the point where, what’s our best method going forward? And I think tactics like BDS, that make the people and the state of Israel think that they are under assault, and that they have lost allies and friends around the world, is not going to succeed.”

Paul Estrin, who is Jewish and a former President of the Green Party, wrote on Facebook before the vote that “a vote for BDS is a vote by those who seek the delegitimization of Israel, and ultimately seek to have it, and its population, wiped off the map.” Estrin was forced to step down as party president in 2014 over his pro-Israel views.

Another policy resolution that called on the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund of Canada, passed committee by a comfortable margin, only to be modified later by the party leadership, which removed the J word from it altogether, and turned it into a call on the CRA “to revoke the charitable status of or to refrain from conferring charitable status upon any organization that is complicit in the violation of Canadian or international human rights law.”

Canadian Jewish organizations reacted swiftly and harshly to the pro-BDS resolution. Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, issued a statement saying, “With the Green Party’s support for unfairly singling out the world’s only Jewish state for contempt, it has firmly entrenched itself beyond the fringe of mainstream Canadian politics. Greens have chosen to embrace the policy position of shills for 9/11 conspiracy theories and terror apologists rather than side with the democratic and environmentally-friendly State of Israel. This clearly reflects how out of touch the Green Party has become with Canadian culture and values and it has made itself less relevant after its convention this weekend by voting for the politics of division and demonization.”

“All Canadians should be very concerned by these developments,” Mostyn added. “A political party with representation in Parliament chose to adopt an anti-Semitic policy, contrary to a recent resolution in Parliament condemning BDS as discriminatory. B’nai Brith will continue to expose the bigotry that festers within Green Party ranks.”

The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, issued a statement saying, “We condemn the Green Party’s decision to endorse this outrageous resolution. The BDS movement, which seeks to censor and blacklist Israelis, is fundamentally discriminatory and utterly at odds with Canadian values.” The statement continued: “Green Party leader Elizabeth May was right to oppose this toxic initiative as well as the disturbing assault on JNF, in keeping with her longstanding rejection of BDS.”


Emes Ve-Emunah: The Spiritual Leaders of the Future

Monday, July 25th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s blog, Emes Ve-Emunah}

It seems that I am not the only one that has predicted the future of Orthodoxy lies in the Charedi world. Based on data he saw, Rutgers Professor Emeritus, Dr. Chaim Waxman made the same prediction recently. It was made during a presentation at the Center for Kehillah Development (CKD). He claimed that studies now show that the rate of growth in Orthodoxy now exceeds the dropout rate. “Increasingly, Orthodox Jews are choosing to remain Orthodox” says Professor Waxman.

Not that any of this surprises me. I never believed that the dropout rate outpaced the growth rate – if only by virtue of the exponentially higher birth rate in the Orthodox world than in the rest of world Jewry. And as you go up o the ‘Charedi’ ladder so too does the birth rate. From Yeshiva World News (YWN):

(Professor Waxman’s) research indicates that Chassidishe Jew have 12 times as many children as the non-Orthodox, and even the Modern Orthodox have 4 times the number of children as the non-Orthodox.

This is not an insignificant difference to say the least. The implications of which are profound. It will surely change the way Jews will be seen by the rest of the world. We will go from being seen as liberal humanists seeking social justice as our primary role in society to being seen more like Evangelical Christians that focus more on the fundamental precepts of the bible.

Not making judgments here. Just observations. As a Modern Orthodox Jew I will however say that the two are not mutually exclusive. One can and should focus on what the bible says – which includes pursuing social justice… Or as Rav Ahron Soloviechik put it, ‘the building up of the world’.

This exponential growth of Orthodoxy will obviously effect the way Israel operates. Once the Orthodox demographic exceeds the non Orthodox demographic, Halacha will become more of a factor in governance. The repercussions of which are unclear. For example, how will a Charedi Prime Minister – (should it happen) deal with populating an army?

My focus here, however, will be how it will affect those of us living here.

While the reproductive rate of Modern Orthodox Jews outpaces that of the non Orthodox world, the Charedi reproductive rate seems to be four times greater than that. I therefore do not see any other scenario. Charedim will rule the Orthodox World. They will produce the religious leaders of the future who will serve all of us. Which is why the CKD was formed. To provide those leaders. Which is troubling. On the one hand I am very glad to see an affirmation of my beliefs by virtue of Orthodoxy’s growth. On the other hand I am dismayed at the kind of leadership this may provide. From YWN:

According to Rabbi Leib Kelemen, founder of the CKD, this sudden growth in Orthodoxy requires urgent action… (T)he responsible strategy would be to help the biggest talmidei chochomim get the background and skills they need to assume communal leadership. “We have giants in Torah who have tremendous maalos and beautiful middos,” Rabbi Kelemen said, “and many would be excited to take responsibility for the Klal.” This is precisely the mission CKD has accepted – in Rabbi Kelemen’s words: “To give chashuve avreichim the time and training they need to become quality leaders.”

Rabbi Keleman said nothing about defining Orthodoxy in the full dimension of all of its Hashkafos. The impression I get is that Modern Orthodox rabbis need not apply. Recruits will be coming entirely out of the Charedi world – whose Hashkafos increasingly reject secular education in their curricula – placing little if any value on it. And they denigrate the general culture which they say should be avoided as much as possible! This Hashkafa is the opposite of Modern Orthodoxy. Which places a high value on secular education. And looks favorably on those aspects of the general culture that do not contradict Halacha.

Will the fact that Charedim will by far be the largest segment of the Orthodox population… and the fact that Charedim are far more likely to go into all manner rabbinic positions mean that Modern Orthodoxy will not have a voice? Not that this suggests that Modern Orthodoxy will die. It just asks how it will be looked at by the future leadership. Will it be marginalized? Or even tolerated?

I should add that the non Orthodox will not be ignored. Outreach will still exist and will probably increase. There is no legitimate Orthodox Hashkafa that rejects any Jew – not matter how far they are removed from Torah. But their outreach will focus on a Charedi Hashkafa as the most legitimate form of Judaism and will likely discourage a Modern Orhtodox outlook.

So I go back to my original prediction. The Orthodoxy of the future will consist mostly of what I call Moderate Charedim. These are the Jews that accept the Charedi doctrine with respect to secular studies and the general culture, but have nonetheless utilized the former to enable them to earn decent incomes for their families – and participate in the culture albeit from a position of guilt. Their lifestyle will therefore not differ significantly from the right wing Modern Orthodox Jewry. They will do the same things but will see them from a different perspective. Hopefully the leaders that come out of the Charedi world will at least appreciate that fact and learn to be more tolerant of a Modern Orthodox Hashkafa since their own people involve themselves with it.

What about the extreme right and extreme left? What about the secular Jew? They will still be around. But in my view they will not be a significant influence on the overall Jewish population of the future. I believe the dominant moderate Orthodox culture of the future – and the real world will combine to impose its will and prevent extremism from taking root… all while the secular Jew will increasingly reject their Judaism altogether if we don’t succeed in reaching out to them.

Harry Maryles

Turkish Chief Rabbi, Muslim, Christian Leaders Condemn Coup

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

The head of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate, Mehmet Gormez, Orthodox Christian Patriarch Bartholomew I and Hakham Bashi (Chief Rabbi) Ishak Haleva on Saturday issued a joint declaration condemning the coup.

“From wherever and whomever it comes, terror and violence cannot be displayed as a legitimate thing and it cannot be supported,” their statement said, adding that “those who have faith within them cannot approve any killing, as murdering a human being is no different than murdering the whole humanity.”

“We hope terror will be wiped out from Turkey and the world,” the statement concluded. “May God protect our country and all humanity.”

Rabbi Haleva was the deputy to Rabbi David Asseo for seven years and became the new Hakham Bashi after his death in 2002. As a 7-year-old, he came with his father to Istanbul from Edirne, near Turkey’s western border with Bulgaria and Greece, to study in a Jewish school. As a teenager he studied in a yeshiva in Israel to become a rabbi. According to his acquaintances, Haleva was a prankster in his youth, and he still maintains a humorous, informal manner, peppering his words with folksy Hebrew and Turkish sayings.

David Israel

Korach: Rejecting Israel’s Leaders

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

We’ve seen Israel complain over and over, but never before have they tried to undermine and dispose of their leaders. Join us as we make sense of Korach’s shocking complaints, this week on the Parsha Experiment.

This video is from Rabbi David Block and Immanuel Shalev.


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Rabbi David Fohrman

Hundreds of Jewish Leaders in First-Ever Jewish Agency Board of Governors Meetings in Paris

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world will gather in Paris next week as the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel convenes in that city for the first time ever, in an unprecedented expression of solidarity with the French Jewish community.

French Minister of State for Relations with Parliament Jean-Marie Le Guen, Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, and Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Gallant will address the gathering, as will Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, President of the CRIF (the umbrella of French Jewish communal organizations) Roger Cukierman, President of the Consistoire (the organization responsible for French Jewish religious affairs) Joël Mergui, and other leaders of the local Jewish community.

During the course of the three-day event (next Sunday through Tuesday), the Jewish Agency Board of Governors will join the Paris Jewish community at a special event at the Great Synagogue of Paris (La Victoire) bidding farewell to community members who will be making Aliyah this summer. Participants will also interact with French Jewish youth, receive a security briefing from the Jewish communal security service (SPCJ), and learn about the most pressing issues facing the community.

The event will end with the European finals of the 2016 International Bible Competition for Adults, hosted jointly by The Jewish Agency, the Government of Israel, and the World Zionist Organization.

Sharansky said in a statement: “This gathering of hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world is the single greatest expression of the Jewish people’s solidarity with French Jewry. The Jewish Agency will continue to assist any French Jew who wishes to make his or her home in Israel while simultaneously doing everything in our power to ensure that Jewish life in France grows even stronger and more secure.”

France is home to the second-largest Jewish community in the world outside Israel, and Aliyah from France has topped the charts in recent years, with some 33,000 French Jews immigrating to Israel over the past decade, including 7,800 just last year. The Jewish Agency for Israel has increased significantly its presence in France, in order to handle the influx of French Jewish immigrants and has expanded specialized opportunities for French Jewish young people to experience life in Israel through the Masa Israel Journey and Onward Israel.

Among the unique Jewish Agency programs offered to the French Jewish community are Bac Bleu Blanc, a weeklong Israel experience program for French Jewish teens; Zayit, a Jewish identity curriculum taught in French Jewish schools; and a range of informational seminars and Aliyah opportunity fairs custom-designed for specific demographic groups within French Jewry. The Jewish Agency also helps French Jewish communal institutions provide for their security through the organization’s Emergency Assistance Fund for Jewish Communities, established in the wake of the Toulouse terror attack in 2012.


Netanyahu Praises ‘Meticulous Intelligence, Precise IDF Operational Abilities’

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the Shin Bet and IDF’s “meticulous intelligence and precise operational abilities” Thursday that made it possible to eliminate three top Hamas military commanders overnight Wednesday.

“The Shin Bet and IDF work shoulder-to-shoulder during Operation Protective Edge, as they do throughout the year, and this is an important element in Israel’s security,” the prime minister said.

The operation will continue until the goal of “restoring quiet for a prolongued period, along with a significant blow to the terrorist infrastructure,” is achieved, Netanyahu told reporters.

On behalf of the entire nation — and in his own name — Netanyahu he said he wanted to thank the director of the Israel Security Agency (ISA / Shin Bet), Yoram Cohen, and Israel’s intelligence services.

Hana Levi Julian

Guardian’s Cartoon of Powerful Jews Manipulating Western Leaders

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Last November we posted about a political cartoon at the Guardian by Steve Bell depicting British foreign minister William Hague and Tony Blair as puppets being controlled by Binyamin Netanyahu, in the context of expressions of support by these leaders during the war in Gaza.  Bell’s image evoked the canard of powerful Jews controlling western politicians for their own nefarious purposes and was hauntingly similar to more explicitly antisemitic cartoons routinely found in Arab and Islamist world.

The Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, addressed the row a couple of weeks later, and actually rebuked Bell for ‘unintentionally’ using the visual language of antisemitic stereotypes.

While such cartoons often have more of an immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes about Jews than lengthy essays, the damage done by such toxic ideas regarding ‘Jewish control’, in any form, should be taken seriously.  The Guardian narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, in news reports and commentaries, often includes passages with the unmistakable  suggestion that Israel (and the pro-Israeli lobby) wields enormous power over ineffectual Western leaders – a theme present in a report by Harriet Sherwood and Julian Borger titled ‘Iran nuclear programme deal in danger of unravelling’, Nov. 11.  The story centered on nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) which ultimately unraveled largely due to concerns that the agreement would have eased sanctions on Iran without requiring that it cease enriching uranium.

The report by Sherwood and Borger included the following:

In a bid to contain the danger, the lead US negotiator, Wendy Sherman, flew straight from the talks in Geneva to Israel to reassure Binyamin Netanyahu’s government that the intended deal would not harm his country’s national interests.

The hastily arranged trip represented an acknowledgement of Netanyahu’s power to block a deal through his influence in the US Congress and in Europe. Egged on by the Israelis, the US Senate is poised to pass new sanctions that threaten to derail the talks before they get to their planned next round in 10 days’ time.

More immediately, Netanyahu demonstrated over the weekend that he could sway the Geneva talks from the inside through his relationship with Paris.

These passages of course strongly suggest that US congressional leaders take their marching orders from Jerusalem and that the French government’s position was not motivated by what it saw as its own national interests but, rather, as a result of the influence of the Israeli prime minister.

However, the deal was fatally flawed, according to many experts, due in part because it would have fallen short of the requirements in six resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council over the years which called on Iran to suspend ALL uranium enrichment – resolutions passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, rendering them binding under international law.

As Adam Chandler observed in an essay published at Tablet about the superficial analysis by Sherwood and Borger:

[Their argument] smacks of that paranoid, evergreen charge that all wars and international campaigns are waged on behalf of Israel, a claim that devolves from Israel into “the Jews” as it goes through portal after conspiratorial portal.

You don’t even need to believe that antisemitism is at play to nonetheless be contemptuous of the extraordinary myopia displayed in the Guardian report.  As Walter Russell Mead observed recently about the broader intellectual dynamic which unites antisemitism with anti-Zionism:

Weak minds…are easily seduced by attractive but empty generalizations. The comment attributed to August Bebel that anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools can be extended to many other kinds of cheap and superficial errors that people make. The baffled, frustrated and the bewildered seek a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world.

Guardian “journalists” may fancy themselves sophisticated, erudite and worldly, but their frequent ‘Zionist root cause’ explanations betray both their ideological bias and the extraordinarily facile nature of their reasoning.

Visit CIFWatch.

Adam Levick

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