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June 28, 2016 / 22 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘platform’

Bernie Sanders’s Platform Committee Choices

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders created a stir by announcing his five choices to sit on the Democratic National Convention Platform Committee, which will draft policy positions the party’s candidates for office on various levels are expected to embrace this November.

Sen. Sanders’s slate includes three longtime champions of the Palestinian cause: James Zogby, Prof. Cornel West, and Rep. Keith Ellison, one of two Muslim members of Congress. The other two Sanders picks are environmental activist Bill McKibben and Native American activist Deborah Parker.

(There are fifteen members of the platform committee. Hillary Clinton was given six slots to fill and she chose mainstream liberal Democrats; the remaining four positions will be decided by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the national convention chair.)

Sen. Sanders himself has in significant part embraced the Palestinian narrative and declared that he wants the U.S. to be more “even-handed” in the Middle East. He has strongly criticized Israel’s settlement policy and characterized Israel’s responses to Palestinian terrorism as “disproportionate.”

So it is clear that a President Sanders would actively seek to substantially alter the strong – and largely unique – decades-long relationship between Israel and the United States. And his platform committee choices seem calculated to ensure that the relationship is placed under a spotlight at the convention – perhaps in the form of a floor fight – even if, as expected, he will not be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Indeed, we still recall the brouhaha that erupted at the 2012 Democratic National Convention when it became known that several key pro-Israel platform passages were not carried over from prior platforms. One of those passages – support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – was eventually restored to the platform, but only after an embarrassed chairman ignored three voice votes that indicated a robust number of delegates were in fact not prepared to do so.

Sen. Sanders will almost certainly not be the Democratic presidential nominee. But the fact that younger Democrats overwhelmingly favor his radical positions to those of Hillary Clinton is a troubling sign for Americans who support a strong U.S. presence in the world and a close U.S.-Israel alliance.

Editorial Board

Sanders Picks Pro-Palestinian Zogby for Democratic Platform Committee

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Sen. Bernie Sanders has picked James Zogby, a long-time pro-Palestinian activist, and Cornel West, a liberal—and very entertaining—racial justice activist, to be among his representatives on the Democratic party’s platform committee. This may be a signal that Sanders intends to pursue a radical policy on both the Israeli-Arab conflict and on African-American issues at the convention and beyond.

Sanders will have a great deal of influence on the Democratic Party platform this year, which is a considerable honor regardless of how much use anyone has for party platforms once the November vote is over.

According to the AP, the two Democratic candidates and the DNC have agreed on a new division of the 15-member platform committee, with Clinton picking six members, Sanders five, and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz four.

James Zogby is the founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, DC organization serving as a political and policy research arm of the Arab-American community. He is Managing Director of the Zogby polling service.

David Israel

FIFA to Rebuild Hamas Rocket Launching Site

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Jerome Valcke, the secretary-general of FIFA (the International governing body of Soccer) has pledged to rebuild the Gaza soccer stadium that was destroyed by Israel in Operation Pillars of Defence.

On the FIFA site they write,

“We see it our mandate to rebuild football infrastructure which has been destroyed. We will also rebuild the stadium in Gaza, which has been destroyed. Football brings people together and we will support any re-construction necessary when football infrastructure is destroyed through disasters.”

The IDF targeted the Gaza soccer stadium on November 19, 2012, as its field constituted a dual-purpose platform, the first was obviously soccer, while the second use was as a launching pad for long-range rockets that hit Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion (while aiming for Jerusalem).

Hamas uses civilian areas for weapons and terror staging grounds, as well as “human shields” as a matter of policy.

The IDF said it wonders if FIFA is aware that the stadium was used as a rocket launching site.

There’s no word at this time if FIFA plans to also rebuild the launch infrastructure for the Fajr-5 rockets when it rebuilds the rest of the stadium.

Jewish Press News Briefs

On the Guardian’s Opinion Section: Hamas Propoganda

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

IDF strikes on Nov. 18 knocked out the Hamas television stations Al Aqsa and Al Quds in Gaza, but Hamas leaders were likely not too concerned, and knew they could always count on Plan B: Propagandizing at the Guardian.

In fact, later that same day, Nov. 18, a ‘Comment is Free’ essay by the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, Musa Abumarzuq, was published – one out of several members of the Islamist terror group who has been published by the paper which aspires to be the ‘world’s leading liberal voice.’

Other than Abumarzuq, who published a previous essay at CiF in 2011, the list includes Hamas ‘Prime Minister’ Ismail Haniyeh, their head of international relations Osama Hamdan, and their ‘advisor‘, Azzam Tamimi.

Abumarzuq’s piece, ‘We in the Gaza Strip will not die in silence,’ is full of unserious, vitriolic claims befitting a group whose founding charter cites the antisemitic forgery ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ as “proof” that Jews indeed are trying to take over the world.

However, Abumarzuq also advances a narrative of Israeli villainy which had already found fertile ground within the Guardian coven of “journalists” and commentators.  Echoing the “analysis” of  Harriet SherwoodSimon TisdallAhdaf Soueif, and Jonathan Freedland, on the “real reasons” for Israeli operation ‘Pillar of Defense,’ the Hamas apparatchik writes the following:

“With the approach of the Israeli elections, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, wanted to trade with the blood of the Palestinians, especially after his alliance with the ultra-extremist Avigdor Lieberman failed to boost his popularity in the polls as he’d expected. This is not the first time the Israelis have launched a war for electoral gain. Shimon Peres did it to Lebanon in 1996 and the Olmert-Livni-Barak alliance did it to Gaza in 2008.”

Interestingly,  Abumarzuq’s rhetoric is restrained compared to Ahdaf Soueif (a frequent CiF contributor) who, in her piece, literally accused Israeli leaders of murdering Palestinian children for political gain.

Turning to the issue of supreme concern to the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, “human rights”, Abumarzuq complains thus:

“The human rights that Europe claims to defend all over the world are denied to the Palestinian people.”

Which freedoms are cruelly denied to Palestinians, per Abumarzuq?

“The right of people to resist occupation and confront aggression is guaranteed to all peoples; but if Palestinians seek to exercise this right it immediately becomes terrorism and for this they must be persecuted.”

Yes, of course. The Palestinians’ ‘universal’ right of “resistance”, murdering civilians with impunity, is stymied by their cruel Jewish oppressors.

Abumarzuq then adds the following:

“The Israeli military attacks on Gaza did not stop after the last Gaza war. Since 2009, 271 Palestinians have been killed, compared to three Israeli deaths.”

The numbers he cites about Israeli deaths are incorrect.

There have been 3 Israeli deaths since Nov. 14, when operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ began, but the Israeli death toll from Gaza terror attacks since 2009 is 13, not 3.

While you can contact the Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, at readers@guardian.co.uk, to request that Abumarzuq’s lie be corrected, perhaps you should consider asking Mr. Elliott a more pertinent question:

How does he reconcile the ‘progressive’ politics he and the paper he works for evidently aspire to with their decision to continue providing a platform to violent religious extremists who represent ultra right-wing values on issues such as democracy, freedom of the press, the rights of women, gays, and religious minorities?

Though I don’t expect anything resembling an honest answer from Elliott, he and his colleagues need to be confronted with the mounting evidence of their supreme moral hypocrisy.

Visit CifWatch.com.

Adam Levick

Choosing an Accessible Vehicle

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Having mobility issues can be challenging in many ways, from obtaining a proper wheelchair to navigating your environment. One of the biggest challenges is getting from origin to destination. Whether you have your own vehicle or need to rely on public transportation, you need to do research on what is the most appropriate accommodation.

Many major cities now have public transportation that is handicapped accessible, from city buses to taxis. However, most people find it very difficult to get around relying on this. The only practical alternative is to purchase a specially accommodated vehicle.

When shopping for mobility options, don’t be overwhelmed! There is a wide variety of options available.

The requirements these vehicles must meet will vary depending on an individual’s needs. Someone who can drive themselves, or who has the ability to transfer out of their wheelchair into a regular car seat will need a very different vehicle than someone who will always be a passenger and must remain in their wheelchair at all times.

It’s important that you consider your needs, or the needs of the person you’re caring for, not only today, but for the service life of the new vehicle, five or even seven years down the road. Can the person transfer from a wheelchair to a vehicle seat now, but might not be able to in the future? Can you afford to buy one vehicle that’s appropriate now and another one in a few years when that person’s needs have changed?

There’s no such thing as, “one size fits all”. Usually, when people shop for a new car, 99% of the population will comfortably fit into just about every vehicle offered. But the needs of wheelchair and scooter users are much more specific and extremely diverse. Because of the complexity of the choices available and the relatively high cost of these vehicles, families should do their homework carefully to find the right balance between features and price.

A good mobility dealer will serve as your personal mobility expert. It’s their role and responsibility to find the best mobility option to fit your needs, your lifestyle, and your budget. In order to do this, you’ll need to meet with your local mobility dealer in person to find the best available option to fit your family and the wheelchair user. You can either stop by the local dealership or they can schedule a time to visit you at your home.

If you do a search online, you will find a multitude of dealers who can be contacted online and in person. If you visit a local dealer, you can see, touch, and try out the vehicles. And they provide full support after the sale, which is an important service that the online dealers do not offer.

There are many considerations to take into account when deciding which type of vehicle to buy:

Size of wheelchair and wheelchair user – if the wheelchair itself is very large this determines the minimum size of vehicle needed.

Parking availability – Is there a driveway available or only on-street parking? Do you go to school/doctor appointments where parking is limited?

Size of family – Do you have a lot of other family members that also need to fit in the vehicle?

Seating – If an adult is the wheelchair user, would they be driving or be able to sit up front in the regular car seat next to the driver? If it is a child, you will need to put them in the back of the vehicle. There are a variety of vehicles available. Some are adapted with a special lift or ramp for bringing the person into the vehicle in their wheelchair. Others have regular car seats that swing out, enabling someone to transfer or be transferred from their wheelchair to a regular seat.

Minivans-

According to Dan Bussani of Bussani Mobility Team, there are a few different brands of minivans that are available already converted for handicapped access. The main difference between them is the size of the vehicle.

Conversion companies take the basic minivan from the manufacturer and adapt them for wheelchair or scooter accessibility to meet an individual’s daily transportation needs. Approximately 12-15,000 units are done a year.

Elisheva Stein

Jerusalem of Politics

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

It’s election season, so Republicans can’t be blamed for expressing outrage when the political platform at last week’s Democratic National Convention removed support for Jerusalem being the capital of Israel.

Nevertheless, all the political fodder seemed disingenuous. Just a week before, nobody even noticed when the GOP’s own platform dropped its prior call for Jerusalem being Israel’s united capital – by removing the word “undivided.”

For many, support for a political party is eternal, like loyalty to a sports team. So Democrats faithfully recite talking points about President Obama being a great friend of Israel, Republicans pretend the Iraq war was a good idea, and Mets fans continue to watch Jason Bay.

On the surface, it’s good that the biggest immediate challenge to Israel’s status in Jerusalem is a few omitted words in a political platform.

But daunting threats are on the horizon, which will require Jerusalem’s supporters in the United States to do much more than play politics. A principled stance that holds everyone accountable, regardless of party affiliation, will be essential.

It may sound like a cliché, but it’s still true: For 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish world. The city was desolate for two millennia, but Jews everywhere prayed, hoped and dreamed to return there. Jerusalem is where the British banned the blowing of the shofar at the Western Wall; where the Jewish Quarter fell in 1948, as Jews were expelled and banned from the Old City for 19 years; where, in what was one of the most dramatic days in modern history, the dreams of Jewish sovereignty over our most treasured places were suddenly realized in June 1967; and where, less than a decade ago, routine bombs on buses, in cafes and in the streets left the center square virtually empty once again.

The dangers of the shofar being banned at the Western Wall, of Jews again losing access to the Old City, or of renewed mass murder in Jerusalem’s streets are real, not mere paranoia.

The world has decided that for the sake of peace, Jerusalem will be divided. But in fact, while it might be possible for Israel to cede sovereignty over outlying Arab neighborhoods added to the city’s municipal boundaries in 1967, the idea of dividing the Old City is delusional at best. Yet due to the egregious concessions offered by Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert at the end of their failed prime ministerial tenures – concessions that were soundly rejected by Israelis – the international community assumes the delusional to be inevitable.

This is why both Republican and Democrat support for united Jerusalem has steadily eroded, as reflected in both of their party platforms. Fixing the platforms and having a celebratory l’chaim is not the answer. The platforms are the sounding of an alarm, conveying that something must be done to shift the pendulum back in Jerusalem’s favor.

It’s long past time to return to substance and explain why Jerusalem must remain united. Anybody who has spent time in Jerusalem knows it would be absurd for Jews to expect to enter the State of Palestine at Jaffa Gate, safely walk or drive in Palestine from there to the Western Wall, and then return to the state of Israel in western Jerusalem. Yet this is just what all the so-called peace plans call for – even though polls show that Jerusalem’s Arab residents prefer Israeli control over united Jerusalem to a divided city that could be an even worse place to live than Belfast or Sarajevo.

Those of us who oppose partition of Jerusalem are often derided as opponents of peace. But none other than Yitzhak Rabin, just months before he was murdered by Yigal Amir, understood that dividing Jerusalem was not a path to peace. Leaving no doubt, Rabin emphasized, “if they told us that peace is the price of giving up on a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, my reply would be ‘let’s do without peace.’ ”

When a few weeks after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration indicated it would pressure Israel to accept the division of Jerusalem, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon angrily proclaimed, “Do not try to placate the Arabs at our expense. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia.”

Joseph Schick

The Democrats’ Jerusalem Problem

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

We probably will never know for sure whether President Obama was involved or even aware of the decision not to carry over a reference to Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel in the Democratic Party’s 2008 platform to its 2012 platform.

Frankly, we cannot conceive that a shift on such a hot button issue would have taken place without clearance from someone close to the president if not the president himself. To be sure, after a torrent of criticism the Democrats, in a bizarre televised procedure, restored the reference – ostensibly, at least according to party officials, at the president’s personal direction in order to align the platform with his own view on Jerusalem.

In the end, all the episode served to do was raise some real concerns about the Democratic Party and Mr. Obama.

Anyone who viewed the video of the restoration vote has to know that, notwithstanding the chairman’s transparently phony ruling, not only did the voice vote fail to muster a required two-thirds majority required by the convention rules, it sounded like there wasn’t even a simple majority.

This is but the latest indication that the party of Harry Truman, who ordered U.S. recognition of Israel in 1948, is no longer hospitable to our community’s core concern for Israel. Indeed, the strained voice vote seemed to confirm sentiments that led to the elimination of Jerusalem from the 2012 platform in the first place.

But even the amended platform should cause great concern, particularly as it cannot now be claimed that President Obama is unaware of its contents. Jerusalem was hardly the only Middle East reference deleted, though it was the only one restored. Thus, the 2008 reference to Hamas as a terrorist organization that deserves isolation is gone. Also missing is the 2008 reference to U.S. support for Israel’s retention of Jewish population centers in the West Bank. Similarly vanished is the reference to Palestinian refugees having no right of return to Israel, only to a Palestinian state.

Plainly, a second term for Mr. Obama would mean some very real problems for Israel in terms of the American approach to Hamas as a legitimate political force, the future of Jewish settlements, and a Palestinian right of return.

And one can expect problems with regard to Jerusalem as well, notwithstanding the platform flip-flop. If Mr. Obama has all along believed in an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, why hasn’t U.S. policy reflected this?

Editorial Board

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-democrats-jerusalem-problem/2012/09/12/

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