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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Oren’

Convictions Upheld of Muslim Students Who Harrassed Oren at Irvine

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

On February 8, 2010, Muslim students interrupted a speech being given at the University of California at Irvine by Michael Oren who was then the Israeli ambassador to the United States. The students didn’t just shout out their message once. They repeatedly derailed the talk Oren was trying to give so that what was supposed to have been a one hour speech ended up being only twelve minutes long.

The students shouted ugly abuse at the Israeli ambassador, accusing him of being an accomplice to genocide and propagating murder.

The situation was so extreme that criminal charges were brought against eleven students, who became known as the “Irvine 11.”

Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, who was in the courtroom when the verdict was read, said the students’ behavior amounted to censorship and “thuggery.”

“In a civilized society,” he said, “we cannot allow lawful assemblies to be shut down by a small group of people using the heckler’s veto.”

When the verdict was entered by the jury, on September 23, 2011, 10 of the students were sentenced to three years of probation, 56 hours of community service and fines. Each was convicted of one misdemeanor count of conspiring to disrupt Oren’s Feb. 8, 2010, speech and a second count for disrupting it. The charges against the 11th student were dropped, pending his completing a term of community service.

The response from the community was swift and harsh, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Absolutely unbelievable,” Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, said of the verdict. “I believe the heart of America has died today.

“This is clearly an indication that Muslims are permanent foreigners, at least in Orange County.”

The students and their supporters claimed the students free speech “rights” were violated. Apparently the irony was lost on them that the charges were brought against them for refusing to allow an invited guest to speak.

In a ruling dated last Wednesday but delivered Monday, March 3 to attorneys, a California appellate court panel ruled Ali Mohammad Sayeed, Mohamed Mohy-Eldeeen Abdelgany, Khalid Akari, Aslam Abbasi Akhtar, Joseph Tamim Haider, Taher Herzallah, Shaheen Nassar, Mohammad Anas Qureashi, Osama Shabaik and Asaad Traina were convicted Sept. 23, 2011, because the intent of the law they broke was clear. (Hakim Nasreddine Kebir accepted a plea deal from the court and had charges against him dismissed in exchange for performing 40 hours of community service.)

The judges said the defendants’ intent was proven by the exchange amongst them of email messages, as each student stood, in turn, to shout out and interfere with Oren’s speech.

An attorney for the students, Jacqueline Goodman, said she planned to appeal this ruling to the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Santa Ana, according to a local blog.

When the convictions were first announced following the trial, a Muslim advocate claimed the decision to bring charges against the students would immortalize them.

“When history books are written and this case comes to its final conclusion … the Irvine 11 will stand alongside other civil rights heroes,” said Ameena Qazi, deputy executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles.

Some content for this article was provided by JTA.

House Bill to Slap Financial Penalties on anti-Israel Boycotts

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

This week the “Protect Academic Freedom Act” was introduced into the U.S. Congress. If passed, the legislation will block universities from receiving federal funds if they engage in the boycott of Israeli academic institutions or scholars.

The Bipartisan Protect Academic Freedom Act (H.R. 4009) was introduced on Tuesday, Feb. 4, by Reps. Peter Roskum (R-IL) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL). The measure would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965.

The congressmen said the bill was introduced in order “to address the growing threat of unjustified boycotts against the Jewish State of Israel,” according to a statement they released on Thursday.

By introducing the proposed legislation, Roskam and Lipinski seek “to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund bigoted attacks against Israel that undermine the fundamental principles of academic freedom.”

The much-maligned boycott resolution passed by the American Studies Association in December, 2013, was specifically mentioned as an impetus for the bill. The ASA was the second academic association to pass boycott measures in 2013.  It is anticipated that many more academic associations may consider similar measures this year.

On the floor of the House, Roskam described the ASA boycott as a “shameful thing” which was “clearly an act of anti-Semitism” on the part of those voting in favor of the boycott.

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren is quoted in the statement released by the congressional co-sponsors announcing the proposed legislation.

“The Protect Academic Freedom Act represents the first legislation that defends Israel against discriminatory boycotts which impede rather than advance the peace process and that seek to deny Israelis the right to free speech on American campuses,” said former Ambassador Michael Oren.

“As a citizen of Israel and its former ambassador to the United States, as well as an historian and visiting professor on leading American campuses, I strongly support this courageous initiative. It can be the turning point in the struggle against the delegitimization of the Jewish State,” was Oren’s strong endorsement of the bill.

“This bipartisan legislation seeks to preserve academic freedom and combat bigotry by shielding Israel from unjust boycotts. It is ludicrous for critics to go after our democratic friend and ally Israel when they should be focusing on the evils perpetrated by repressive, authoritarian regimes like Iran and North Korea,” said Congressman Roskam, the Chief Deputy Whip and co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus.

Roskam explained that academics are protected by the First Amendment to have and to express their views against Israel, “but the American taxpayer doesn’t have to participate in it, the American taxpayer doesn’t have to be complicit in it, and the American taxpayer doesn’t have to take any part in it.”

“As a former university professor, I appreciate the value of academic exchanges involving universities and individuals, particularly between strong international allies with robust academic programs like the United States and Israel. Scholarship and research should be about the pursuit of knowledge, and universities have been and always should be a community where different opinions and ideas are encouraged and nourished,” said Congressman Dan Lipinski.

HOW THE BILL WOULD WORK IN PRACTICE

The language in the proposed bill states that any institution of higher education shall not be eligible for federal funds if the Secretary of Education “determines that such institution is participating in a boycott of  Israeli academic institutions or scholars.”

The way to determine whether a university is participating in a boycott – which is not necessarily obvious as, for example, the ASA is not a part of a specific university – is “if the institutions or any significant part of the institution, or any organization significantly funded by the institution adopts a policy or resolution, issues a statement, or otherwise formally establishes the restriction of discourse, cooperation, exchange, or any other involvement with academic institutions or scholars on the basis of the connection of such institutions or such scholars to the State of Israel.”

Former Ambassador for Israel Again Ambassador for a Smaller Israel

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Have you seen the cartoon of a man holding a gun to his own head, with the caption, “Stop or I’ll shoot!”?  If so, you know where this column is going.

Recently retired Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren left his post after what must have seemed to him like four and a half very long years.

Now that Oren is no longer representing what the media he must love incessantly refers to as the hawkish Binyamin Netanyahu, the newly former ambassador is no longer diplomatically bound to have his mouth buttoned shut.

And with the new Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. firmly ensconced and actually comfortable with the positions of Israeli Prime Minister Netanayahu, Oren is once again speaking out of the side of his mouth connected to his inner Disengager.

Oren told an audience at Georgetown University in February of 2009, that he was amongst a minority of Israelis and was an outlier at the foundation where he then hung his hat: “I am one of the last remaining unilateralists.”

It was Oren’s belief in 2009, as it appears to remain so today, that in order for Israel to remain a Jewish state it would have to withdraw from the disputed territories popularly known as the West Bank.

What he said then was that in order for Israel to remain a Jewish State it had to maintain a Jewish majority and that in order for that to happen it would have to “redraw its borders and withdraw from its settlements in the West Bank.” (What Oren actually said was that Israel would have to withdraw its borders and withdraw from its settlements, but that only makes sense if what he meant to say was that the borders would have to be redrawn, not withdrawn.)

This past Saturday, Jan. 11, the day former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died, a eulogy for Sharon penned by Michael Oren appeared on the CNN website.

The eulogy is relatively short, only 802 words, but Oren managed to get in some beautiful oratory. It opens with: “Written on every page of Israel’s history, in ink and in blood, is the name Ariel Sharon.” Oren is a masterful writer, a lovely speaker and appears to be a very decent man.

But.

Oren also managed to weave in to his presentatio of Sharon’s legacy the message that the former ambassador is still clinging to his earlier view that in order to save itself, tiny Israel must constrict still further.

Along the way Oren revealed that where he saw Sharon acting to protect Israel’s security, Oren saw those acts then and described those actions now as ones taken without considerations about peace. But when Sharon pulled out the Israelis he himself had placed in communities in Gaza, Oren described Sharon as “pivoting toward peace.”

Oren is still clinging to the idea that the further concentrated Jews are in a land called Israel, the more secure they will be.

Indeed, Oren concludes his ode to Sharon on CNN by using the public platform to promote his own view of a Smaller Israel.

He uses the opportunity to first compare secretary of state John Kerry to the (good) Sharon, the Sharon “pivoting toward peace.” Oren points to Kerry’s current efforts “to pursue a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” and says that Israelis are asking “what happens if the peace process fails?”

It is unclear how many Israelis are actually wandering through the streets asking that question. Most reliable polls show there are very few Israelis (let alone Palestinian or any other kinds of Arabs) who have for a single moment thought that this time the U.S. peace pipe would ignite a change in attitudes by the parties directly involved.  Nonetheless, that is how Oren wrote his opening for sharing his personal view, this one unfettered by diplomatic blinks and nods. Should this current peace process break down Israel should…..make itself smaller!  Why wait for the Palestinian Arabs to have to give up anything like, oh, incitement against Israel or educating their children to believe Jews slaughter Arabs for the fun of it?

New Envoy to US, Ron Dermer, Has Big Demands for Perks

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Many Israeli officials are known to think a lot of themselves, but Ron Dermer, Israel’s next ambassador to the United States, takes the cake.

He has demanded to start working before an agreed date and has come up with unprecedented demands for housing and staff, according to the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot newspaper.

Dermer wants to assume his duties on the first of September even though outgoing Ambassador Michael Oren will remain in office until the end of next month.

Dermer also reportedly has demanded to bring his own personal staff from Israel although an ambassador does not have that privilege and has to work with the diplomatic staff that is in place. He also wants an alternative to the official ambassador’s residence, claiming that his family with five children needs bigger quarters.

Mother of New Ambassador Dermer: He’s a Red-Blooded American

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Ron Dermer, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s choice to succeed American-born Michael Oren as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, moved to Israel 16 years ago but his mother Yaffa told the Miami Herald, “ I think he’ll do a wonderful job because he’s a red-blooded American.”

Yaffa Dermer, a resident of Florida but born and raised in Israel, quickly added that her son “loves” Israel.

Her son wears a kippa and is modern Orthodox.

He also is a good son, his mother says. “He told me he’s going to visit me a lot.”

 

 

Netanyahu Names American Immigrant Ron Dermer Ambassador to US

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday he is appointing American-born Ron Dermer as Israel’s next Ambassador to the United States, the second American in a row to represent Jerusalem in Washington.

Dermer, who will replace Michael Oren, has served as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s senior adviser for the past four years and served as the economic attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington from 2005 to 2008.

He was born in Florida, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and holds a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford.

Dermer immigrated to Israel in 1997. He once wrote in the now defunct New York Sun that he “left America because I wanted to help another nation I love defend the freedoms that Americans have long taken for granted.”

Dermer has a background of political activism in the Republican party, having worked with the GOP in the 1994 mid-term elections before going to Oxford. While studying there, he shuttled to Israel to work on behalf of Natan Sharansky and his Yisrael B’Aliyah party.

His appointment gives Prime Minister Netanyahu a close ear in Washington, where Dermer is familiar with back channels, noted JTA’s Ben Sales last year, when Dermer’s name was being floated for the ambassadorial post.

“Netanyahu likes him, respects him and listens to him,” Netanyahu’s former national security adviser Uzi Arad told the JTA. “I often asked for his advice. In many ways he was a guy to listen to. When it came to knowledge and being cultured and erudite and intellectually inclined, that’s him.”

“He understands how Americans view Israelis and how Israelis view Americans,” Mitchell Barak, an Israeli pollster who met Dermer as an adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told Sales. “He knows how to work [in Washington] and has personal relations.”

Dermer’s views are strongly nationalist and indicate that Netanyahu is finished with any more “good will” concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

Dermer castigated The New York Times in 2011 with an open letter that attacked its news coverage and its Op-Ed page.

Times columnists “consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace,” Dermer wrote in the letter, which was published in The Jerusalem Post. “It would seem as if the surest way to get an op-ed published in The New York Times these days, no matter how obscure the writer or the viewpoint, is to attack Israel.”

Dermer wrote in 2003 that Israel would be giving up its sovereignty if it were to agree to the Bush “Roadmap” plan.

“It is one thing for Israel to take into consideration what America says,” he wrote. “In fact, Israel’s national interest demands that it do so. But it is quite another to cede to a third party, no matter how friendly, the right to determine Israel’s future.”

Dermer co-authored with Sharansky “The Case for Democracy,” a book that reportedly was a major influence on President George W. Bush..

Israeli Ambassador to US Leaving

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, announced that he is leaving his post this fall.

“Israel and the United States have always enjoyed a special relationship and, throughout these years of challenge, I was privileged to take part in forging even firmer bonds,” Oren said in a statement sent to the media and posted on his Facebook page.

Oren, a native of New Jersey who made aliyah as a young man, was named ambassador in 2009. He rebutted many reports of a strained relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In interviews, Oren has stressed improvements in the defense relationship between the two countries during the two leaders’ tenure, while acknowledging differences in some areas, particularly regarding the intensity of pressure on Iran to make its nuclear program more transparent.

In recent weeks, rumors have circulated that Oren will be replaced by Ron Dermer, formerly a top aide to Netanyahu.

Iran Blinks First, But Could Still Produce Nuclear Weapon in 2013

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is limiting his country’s nuclear program to fit Israel’s demands, at least for the time being, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to senior U.S., European and Israeli officials, Khamenei’s decision was designed to avoid a crisis during Iran’s election year.

Khamenei wants the June vote to produce a new leader closer to his positions than President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and to avoid the kind of unrest that marked Iran’s 2009 elections.

According to the Journal, Khamenei is “placing the Obama administration and its allies in a delicate strategic position, possibly constraining their response to Iran’s nuclear program.”

Iran’s nuclear program was supposed to hit its point of no return in 2013, enriching a sufficient amount of uranium to enable it to produce a nuclear weapon. In such a case, Israel and its allies were mulling the possibility and the timing of using military force.

A senior U.S. official working on Iran reported that “based on the latest IAEA report, Iran appears to be limiting its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium by converting a significant portion of it to oxide. But that could change at any moment.”

The officials still expect Khamenei’s moves to be a delay, rather than a change of policy. Iran’s actions still appear to be in line with accelerating the pace towards creating weapons-grade fuel. They point out the IAEA’s report that Iran has installed thousands of new centrifuges at the Fordow underground military facility in Qom,. The site is a huge, fortified bunker, possibly immune to U.S. or Israeli air strikes.

With the new centrifuges, Iran is capable of tripling the pace of enriching uranium. If Khamenei decides to step over Israel’s red line sometime this year, Iran could move rapidly to produce the weapons-grade fuel for a bomb.

“There is a good point to be made that Iran has accepted 250 kilograms as the red line, but they are doing this very cleverly,” said Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Iran’s moves would “enable Iran to cross the red line clandestinely in a matter of weeks,” he said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-blinks-first-but-could-still-produce-nuclear-weapon-in-2013/2013/04/02/

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