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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘New York’

US Congressman Johnson Apologizes for Calling Jews ‘Termites,’ Not Other Remarks

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson apologized “multiple times late Monday” after the Washington Free Beacon reported in detail on his vicious comments likening Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to “termites” during a speech to a pro-Palestinian Authority group.

Johnson is a Democratic “superdelegate” who said Israeli Jews steal land from their Arab neighbors in the Palestinian Authority. He was clearly pandering to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation prior to the start of the Democratic National Convention.

“There has been a steady [stream], almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up and you fall in on yourself, there has been settlement activity that has marched forward with impunity and at an ever-increasing rate to the point where it has become alarming,” he said.

A member of the House Armed Services Committee, Johnson has been a supporter of Hillary Clinton throughout the primary season. But he encountered a virtual tidal wave of outrage over his words flooded the media from the Jewish community and elsewhere.

Both the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) tore into the lawmaker as well, evoking an apology via Twitter, with Johnson citing a “poor choice of words.”

In response, Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted back:

Two other users also commented: “So Jewish settlements which take up less than 2% of WB are major obstacle?” and “2% is irrelevant argument. This is the Heartland of Israel, not a bargaining chip for deal making.”

Further on, Johnson tweeted a link to his website showing his “full apology.”

We must work to promote policies that support a two-state solution and encourage trust between both sides,” said Congressman Johnson. The congressman regrets his comments. He did not intend to insult or speak derogatorily of Israelis or the Jewish people. When using the metaphor of termites, the Congressman was referring to the corrosive process, not the people. “Poor choice of words – I meant no offense. The point is settlement activity has slowly and deliberately undermined Palestinian land claims.

The reference to “termites” touched a raw nerve for Jewish voters who remember their history of World War II, and how the European Jewish population was dehumanized by early Nazi references to “vermin.”

One Jewish voter suggested in a blistering response to Johnson’s remarks that perhaps the lawmaker has forgotten history — or is this another way to echo Adolf Hitler’s sentiments?” Sara Z. told JewishPress.com in an exclusive interview, “It seems like nothing changes. In the era of ‘Black Lives Matter’ it seems that once again, the Jews are the world’s scapegoats, the disposable ones. Do we never learn from history?”

Hana Levi Julian

Global Forum on Anti-Semitism This Year in Buenos Aires

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

For the first time, the Global Forum on Anti-Semitism (GFCA) traditionally held biennally in Jerusalem is taking place this weekend (July 16-18) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The conference this year is organized by the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition (HILC) subsidiary of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Latin American Jewish Congress, the regional chapter of the World Jewish Congress.

Anti-Semitism is rising around the world, and this year’s conference is focused on creating an action plan to respond to the attacks on an international level.

On Monday forum participants are slated to attend a ceremony marking the 22nd anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. The attack was suspected to have been perpetrated by Iran via its Lebanon-based terror proxy Hezbollah. In that attack 85 people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured.

“The first GFCA in Latin America presents a unique opportunity to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism in Latin America and develop an action plan that would complement the one drafted at the last GFCA in Jerusalem in June 2015,” the HILC said in a statement.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent experts to the conference to participate in a panel discussion on best practices in tackling cyberhate – the spread of anti-Semitism online.

ADL resources which have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese are being presented during a session on identifying and opposing cyberhate and community safety online.

“With the advent of various social media platforms, and the volume of pernicious content, no continent is immune to the growing phenomenon of online hate,” warned Jonathan Vick, ADL Assistant Director for Cyberhate Response.

Hana Levi Julian

US, Israel Group to Launch Jerusalem, Manhattan ‘Techotels’

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Reuven Kahane and a group of investors from Silicon Alley and its Israeli counterpart Silicon Wadi are negotiating the purchase of a Jerusalem and a Manhattan Hotel to be transformed and merged into “Techotels,” to brand and serve as an innovation lab for the latest gadgets and innovations geared to the hotel and entertainment industries.

Eli Pollack of Pollack Real Estate Consultants of Jerusalem, Bunim Klein & Sruli Schechter of NYB equities & Ryan Magner are advising on the estimated $325 million transactions.

In addition to the latest technologies and tech-sponsored conferences, the Techotels will seek to become the central hub for hi-tech entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and executives in NY, Israel and the Bay Area, where they expect to purchase a third hotel within the year.

The four-year-old Jerusalem hotel, located minutes from the Old City, will keep its world-famous brand, while the Park Avenue South hotel in the heart of Silicon Alley will be renamed. The hotels will include guest friendly apps, smart keys, Robotic concierge, sensor screen check in Tesla car services, full service video conference rooms and always free, super fast Wi-Fi.

David Israel

UPDATE: Swiss Air Force Escorts El Al Plane Following Bomb Threat

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

The Swiss Air Force scrambled fighter planes to escort an El Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv around their borders following a bomb threat against the flight.

The Swiss F-18 planes escorted the El Al flight along the French-Swiss border, according to Swiss media.

Israel radio said that German fighter planes were scrambled too.

It is unclear what the fighter planes would actually do if there was a bomb on board.

The flight is continuing on to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport without a problem. It’s expected to land between 12:32 PM to 12:40 PM Israel time. Update: The plane has landed safely at around 12:43 PM.

El Al released a statement that an anonymous threat was received, and the plane is continuing to Ben-Gurion airport as planned.

According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry after conferring with El Al, US airport authorities received an anonymous threat of a bomb in the kitchen of the El Al plane. The American authorities informed the Swiss authorities as the plane was then over their airspace. The Swiss then scrambled their fighters.

The El Al crew checked and did not find any bombs on board in the kitchen or elsewhere.

Update: The plane has landed safely at Ben-Gurion Airport at around 12:43 PM.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Anti-Semitic Brooklyn Teens Attack Jewish Driver in Midwood

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

New York City police are investigating an anti-Semitic attack against a woman as she driving down a main street in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon, the New York Daily News reported.

The woman, 38, was wearing a traditional Jewish hair covering and driving with two children in her minivan on Nostrand Avenue near the corner of Avenue J.

The incident, which took place in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, began when two teens started yelling a litany of obscenities with the word “Jew” at the end, said police from the 63rd precinct. The entire string of profanity was not clear, the woman said.

One of the teens hurled a rock at the vehicle, which broke the rear window on the driver’s side. Miraculously the two children were not physically injured.

The incident is under investigation by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Trump Giving Israel a Bad Name with ‘Profiling’ Comment

Monday, June 20th, 2016

“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, using Israel as an example for a place where this method is flourishing and yielding results. “You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully. And you know, I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense,” he said.

Sadly, as Israel is being drawn with increasing frequency into the US presidential elections, with the Democrats using the Israeli-Arab conflict as a battle field between the Sanders and Clinton proxies, bits of prejudice and misinformation about the life and politics of the Jewish State are coming to the fore and, more often than not, spreading more ignorance than knowledge about it.

Donald Trump’s cartoon depiction of Israel’s security forces’ strategies is a case in point. A few years ago, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected on a promise to do away with police racial profiling, because it perpetuated decades of abuse when African-Americans and Latinos would be routinely stopped and frisked by police. But predictive profiling, which takes into account multiple elements in an individual’s manner and appearance, is a crucial component of law enforcement work, and it’s much more complex than just skin color and religion.

Not according to the BBC, which informed its listeners on Sunday: “Profiling uses ethnicity, race and religion to determine whether a person has or is likely to commit crimes.”

And, sadly, this is probably what Trump meant when he shared with Face the Nation what he had taken from Israel’s security strategies. In a sense, Trump’s and the BBC’s notions of profiling come down to the store detective who spots a black person coming in and sticks to them expecting that they are more likely than others to shoplift.

If Israel’s security forces had used this yardstick in their approach to predictive profiling it would have choked not just its international airports, but traffic on the streets in many cities, too. If all you need to be in order to trigger security response is dark-skinned or Muslim, three-quarters of Israelis would spend their days and nights in police stations.

Chris Weller, who last year reported in Business Insider about his experience as a foreign, non-Jewish traveler at Ben Gurion airport, noted that “no flight leaving Ben Gurion has ever been hijacked, and the airline servicing Israel, El Al, hasn’t seen an attack in more than 30 years.” And yet, dozens of El Al and other flights leave Ben Gurion every day, and passenger traffic is brisk and efficient.

Israel employs, on the streets of its cities as well as in its airports, an intelligence driven system that relies on good communication, alert operatives, and multi-layered screening. Daniel Wagner, co-author of the book “Global Risk Agility and Decision Making,” cites Raphael Ron, a former director of security at Ben Gurion for 5 years, who said the passenger-oriented security system there is focused on the “human factor,” and is “based on the assumption that terrorist attacks are carried out by people who can be found and have been stopped through the use of this simple but effective security methodology.”

Unlike all US airports, departing passengers in Ben Gurion are not asked to take off their shoes during physical screening processes. Instead, passengers are interviewed by trained agents before they get to the check-in counter. So that the area in front of the check-in is not conceded to potential terrorists, as was the case recently in the Brussels airport attack. The interviews last one or two minutes for the most part, so that the line of passengers is moving quickly, and when the agents (they work in pairs) do suspect someone, based on factors such as vocabulary, general behavior, dress, age, race, religion and destination—they may be detained and questioned for as long as it takes.

But the scrutiny at Ben Gurion begins well ahead of the passenger’s arrival at the terminal itself. Every vehicle first passes through a security checkpoint where armed agents examine it, have a brief exchange with the driver, and assess their risk level. Meanwhile, the vehicle is gauged by a weight sensor, and an undercarriage scan. Then, outside and inside the terminal building agents are always mingling with the crowd pouring in, aided by hidden surveillance cameras that are monitored around the clock. Suspicious people would be challenged without waiting for them to reach a counter or a metal detector. An agent would approach them and strike a conversation to assess their mental state and risk level.

All of that well coordinated system relies on a broader intelligence infrastructure that uses informants, social network scrutiny and surveillance — traditional police methods which Israel’s security forces have been using and improving over the past decade and a half both in green line Israel and in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Chris Weller offered an excellent example for the way Israel combines computer technology with the human factor, to create a smooth, reliable, fast and effective communication system regarding predictive profiling. “I learned that before any passenger ever gives up his luggage to the fine folks at Ben Gurion International, an employee places a neon yellow sticker on the back of your passport. On it is a 10-digit number. The first number, ranging from one to six, indicates your perceived threat level to whomever else you’re passed along. I got a five.”

And so, with a simple bar-coded sticker, the first agent who meets the passenger communicates his impressions to the next agent down the line without having to exchange one word or even a gesture. Leftwing writer Lia Tarachansky complained a few years ago about the same system:

“So I enter the line … My Israeli-Palestinian roommate tells me he’ll wait while I answer the security lady’s questions. She sees I speak Hebrew, she asks if I packed my own bags and she gives me a ‘1’ as expected. I’m white and I’m an Israeli, therefore I’m probably a Zionist. High from excitement and privilege I ask if my friend can come with me to the check-in. She says of course and asks for his ID. Her face changes.

“Where it says the Jewish birth date the line in his ID is blank. i.e. not Jewish. i.e. Palestinian.

– you know this man?

– yes

– how?

– he’s my roommate

– where?

– Jaffa

– wait here.

“She looks at his last name. It’s Christian, i.e. Arab. She disappears with our passports. The roommate looks at me and we both know what’s going to happen. When she comes back her smile is gone. She tears the ‘1’ off my bags and angrily puts on a ‘3’ as though to say ‘you didn’t tell me you have an Arab friend!’ Her face says ‘don’t you see you’re [expletive] it all up for us?!’”

Tarachansky described in her vivid style just how unhappy she was with the Israeli security system, but the fact is that even in her anti-Israeli narrative one can see that no one was hurt in the encounter she described, no one was manhandled, no one even missed their flight. But the system quickly spotted and responded to the potential threat, and the response was to replace a passport sticker. This hostile depiction of the Israeli method is, in fact, a song of praise to a rational, sophisticated and effective security system.

One wonders whether Donald Trump, or the media, understand the full depth of this system when he describes Israel’s success in police work and security as “profiling.”

JNi.Media

Dr. Irving I. Moskowitz, 88

Friday, June 17th, 2016

The Jewish philanthropist, Dr. Irving I. Moskowitz, has passed away at the age of 88.

Dr. Moskowitz was born in New York, in 1928, but grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the 9th child in a family of 13 children.

After becoming a doctor, he moved to California and began getting involved in managing and buying hospitals, eventually expanding into Bingo clubs. He was last living in Miami, Florida.

In 1968, he founded the Moskowitz Foundation which helps people in need, in the US and all over the world.

Dr. Moskowitz is best known for his generous philanthropy to Israel, often working with Israeli organizations such as Elad and Ateret Cohanim in their work to restore Jewish life in eastern Jerusalem. He also helped establish the Beit El Yeshiva and Arutz-7, and of course the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism which bears his name.

Due to his extensive philanthropic work in building Israel, he has been compared to Montefiore and Rothschild.

Besides eastern Jerusalem, Moskowitz also helped buy land in Gush Ezion, Gush Katif and the Ramat HaGolan.

Dr. Irving Moskowitz is survived by his wife Cherna, 8 children, 42 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

He will be buried on Monday on the Mount of Olives.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/obituaries/irving-i-moskowitz-88/2016/06/17/

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