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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘pressure’

UC Berkeley Responds to Pressure, Suspends Anti-Semitic Course

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Responding to pressure from dozens of Jewish and education advocacy organizations who over the past few weeks have expressed their objections to a blatantly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic course titled, “Palestine: A settler Colonial Analysis,” that was being offered by UC Berkeley, the school announced it would suspend the course because it was not adequately vetted to ensure that it met Berkeley’s academic standards.

In a letter to Tammi Rossman Benjamin, director of AMCHA Initiative, who coordinated the protest effort, an assistant to UC Berkeley’s Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, wrote:

“It has been determined that the facilitator for the course in question did not comply with policies and procedures that govern the normal academic review and approval of proposed courses for the Decal program. As a result, the proposed course did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards before it was opened for enrollment to students. For that reason, approval for the course has been suspended pending completion of the mandated review and approval process. It should also be noted that the Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science is very concerned about the offering of any course, even a student-run course, which espouses a single political viewpoint and/or appears to offer a forum for political organizing rather than an opportunity for the kind of open academic inquiry that Berkeley is known for.”

The September 13 letter from 43 Jewish, civil rights and education advocacy organizations to Chancellor Dirks said, among other things: “We believe that this course violates the Regents Policy on Course Content, which specifically prohibits using the classroom ‘as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest’ or for ‘political indoctrination.’ Furthermore, it appears that compliance with the Regents Policy is not even a requirement of the present procedure for vetting DeCal courses, allowing for the unbridled misuse of the classroom by politically motivated instructors. This state of affairs requires rectification.”

The letter suggested that the offending course’s objectives, reading materials and guest speakers were politically motivated, and met the US government’s criteria for anti-Semitism, in an effort to “indoctrinate students to hate the Jewish state and take action to eliminate it.”

The course learning objectives made it clear that a key goal of the class was to encourage students to accept unquestioningly the false and defamatory idea that Israel is an illegitimate settler colonial state, the letter argued, noting that “by the end of the course students are required to have ‘researched, formulated, and presented decolonial alternatives to the current situation,’ which, in the context of the other course objectives, means that a significant part of the course will be devoted to thinking about ways to ‘decolonize’ — that is, eliminate — Israel.”

The letter pointed out that Both guest speakers listed in the course syllabus, Keith Feldman and Hatem Bazian, have publicly supported an academic boycott of Israel, and Bazian, who is also the course’s faculty sponsor, “is himself a well-known leader of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement as well as campaigns to eliminate the Jewish state.”

“This is a great day for students at Berkeley,” wrote Benjamin in an email message Tuesday night, adding that “our classrooms should never be used to spew hate or push political propaganda aimed at indoctrinating students.”

Benjamin said she and the rest of the groups involved in the protest effort “applaud UC Berkeley’s Chancellor Dirks and his staff for their swift and appropriate response regarding this course,” cautioning that “there is still work to be done to ensure that all new courses at UC Berkeley are adequately reviewed for compliance with university policies prohibiting misuse of the classroom for political indoctrination.”

JNi.Media

Liberman Cites International Pressure over Arab Squaterville in Area C

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday sat with schoolchildren in the Jewish community of Susiya in south Mt. Hebron, next door to which a squatter Arab community has emerged recently, in an obvious attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over Area C of Judea and Samaria. Liberman told the children the encroachment by the residents of Yata Village to the lands near Susiya was not an accident, but a planned effort to physically separate the new community of Susiya and the historic synagogue on the nearby archeological site.

Susiya is a legitimate archaeological site in the southern Judean Mountains that bears the archaeological remains of a 5th century CE enormous synagogue, one of the largest and most magnificent ever discovered, which was turned into a mosque by the Arab invaders in the 8th century.

“Are you familiar with the archeological site of Susiya?” Liberman asked, and continued, “One day all kinds of illegal buildings started popping there, supported by foreign countries. And why did they pop there? On purpose, to divide between the community of Susiya and the historic Susiya.”

Liberman revealed that he had been under “pressure from all over the world” not to apply the demolition order handed out more than once by the Supreme Court. “The European Union, the US — they all discovered Susiya. Suddenly the United Nations Security Council is also interested in Susiya.” He promised the children he would obey the law and carry out the demolitions. “The free world is preaching especially for this to be a country of laws, and we must honor our judiciary system,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the demolitions of illegal Arab construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, violate the recommendations of the so-called Middle East Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, on the way forward in the peace process.

Liberman attacked the Europeans and the Americans who demand that Israel ignore the Supreme Court ruling to demolish Susiya, but to enforce the same court’s ruling on demolishing the Jewish Amona community in northern Samaria. “We are a country of laws,” he said, and we will honor ourselves and our laws, regarding Amona, E1 (the area connecting Jerusalema nd Ma’ale Adumim), and Susiya,” he clarified.

Liberman called on the residents of Amona to embrace the compromise being offered by the government, and moved to the promised homes to be built near their community. “I say to the residents of Amona, there’s a ruling of the high court and we will obey it. If anyone is delusing themselves that we won’t, it’s not going to happen. Whatever the court permits we will do. That’s why we offered many alternatives, and I hope we’ll find one the Amona residents will also accept.”

David Israel

US Journalist Arrested as Turkey Continues to Harass Reporters

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

A U.S. journalist has been detained, allegedly for trying to enter Turkey illegally from Syria, according to a report posted on the Hurriyet Daily News website.

The report by the official Anadolu News Agency quoted southern Hatay province governor Ercan Topaca on August 7, and said journalist Snell Lindsteyler was arrested in the Altinozu district, near the Syrian border.

“A U.S. journalist was captured while she was trying to cross the border illegally; she was taken to court and remanded. The trial phase is ongoing. For now, we do not know if she is a spy or not,” Topaca said.

Although Topaca said the journalist has a residence permit to live in Turkey, he claimed she was taken into custody because she had crossed into Syria illegally from Turkey and then tried to re-enter the country, also illegally. He also claimed that U.S. helicopters were seen flying over the border, allegedly to pick up the journalist before she was detained.

Dozens of journalists have been detained since last month’s failed coup; others have had their passports seized, effectively holding them hostage in Turkey.

National Turkish Police officials reportedly told a member of the Turkish Parliament last week that the passports of a number of journalists were cancelled as a “preventive measure” following the attempted coup.

The issue came up when the passport of a Turkish-Armenian journalist was seized upon his arrival in Turkey on August 6, as was the passport of Armenian journalist Hayko Bagdat, when he arrived in Turkey the same evening.

On Augusst 8, “security concerns” also led to unexplained closures at the entrances and exits at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, according to a brief report on Turkey’s Daily Sabah news website.

No further details were provided, and the report has since disappeared from the site.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Netanyahu: World Must Pressure PA President to Condemn Terror Attack, Stop Incitement

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement condemning the murder of a 13-year-old Israeli girl by a Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist in Kiryat Arba on Thursday morning, calling on the Palestinian Authorty leadership, and the world, to unequivocally join in the condemnation. The terrorist broke into the Ariel family’s home and stabbed the daughter, Hallel, to death in her bed.

“The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing,” Netanyahu said. “The entire nation deeply identifies with the family’s pain and declares to the murderers: You will not break us. We will continue to take strong and determined action against terrorism everywhere and at all times.”

Seventeen-year-old Mohammed Tarayra from the nearby Arab village of Bani Na’im breached the security fence of Kiryat Arba’s Harsina neighborhood Thursday morning and stabbed Hallel Yaffa Ariel to death as she slept in her bed. A security volunteer responding to the incident was also wounded by the terrorist, and is now in moderate condition.

Tarayra was killed at the scene.

Netanyahu held a security consultation with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman after the attack, and ordered to cordon off the Bani Na’im village, revoke work permits for members of his clan, and to begin the procedure of getting official approval to demolish the terrorist’s family home.

“I expect the Palestinian leadership to clearly and unequivocally condemn this vicious murder and take immediate action to stop the incitement,” Netanyahu added.

Netanyahu also called upon the world at-large to speak out against the attack, saying: “The entire world needs to condemn this murder just as it condemned the terrorist attacks in Orlando and Brussels.”

“Enlightened nations must join in this demand. They must pressure the one who heads the network of incitement that leads to the murder of children in their beds and not the State of Israel, which is working to protect its children and its citizens,” he added, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Netanyahu frequently accuse of inciting violence against Jews.

Ofir Gendelman, the Israeli prime minister’s official spokesperson to the Arab media, expressed outrage over the Palestinian Authority’s response to the attack, tweeting: “Official PA media outlets call the Palestinian terrorist who murdered 13 y/o Hallel Ariel in her bed ‘a martyr.’”

Yael Kabilio, Hallel’s aunt, expressed deep despair over the family’s loss and called upon Netanyahu to take direct action.

“Today the most wonderful girl in the world was murdered. We are in deep mourning, feeling great sorrow,” she said. “I have many things to say to the prime minister. He should come to his senses. The home front is on fire today. Today it’s our house, tomorrow it’s another. Take matters into your own hands and come to your senses.”

The victim was a cousin of MK Uri Ariel, Israel’s minister of agriculture and rural development, who tweeted: “Arab terror has struck our family, but the response must be national. Deterring terrorists, redoubling building and planting in Judea and Samaria, and applying Israeli sovereignty to Area C,” referring to territory in Judea and Samaria that the Oslo Accords assign to Israeli civilian and military control.

MK Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the Labor party, shared in the Ariel family’s loss, saying: “my heart breaks looking at the photo of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, smiling an innocent and calm smile.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Despite Pressure, Ethics Committee Votes to Keep MKs Off Temple Mount

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Ethics Committee on Tuesday voted to uphold its decision from seven months ago, banning Knesset Members from entering the Temple Mount compound. In its November 2015 decision the committee said it had been told by senior Israel Police officials that visits by MKs to the holy site in eastern Jerusalem would significantly deteriorate the security situation throughout the country.

The Ethics Committee stated that, until further notice, visiting the Temple Mount, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, may be considered an ethics violation that carries sanctions. It cited the ethics rule that MKs are supposed to act for the good of the country.

The Ethics Committee said it discussed the matter again on Tuesday following pleas by committee member MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) and Jewish MKs. Jerusalem District Police Commander Major-General Yoram Halevy briefed the committee and said that for the time being Police position on the ban remains unchanged.

The committee said it was further informed that in light of the relatively calm situation, Israel Police is considering allowing Arab MKs to visit the Temple Mount towards the end of the month of Ramadan, and allowing Jewish lawmakers to visit the site as well after the Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

“In light of what the committee has heard, it has reached a majority decision to uphold its previous decision for the time being,” the Ethics Committee said in statement, adding that it would change the decision should the security forces decide that MKs may be allowed to visit the Temple Mount once again.

David Israel

Does It Bother You when your Kid Comes Home Feeling like Junk?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The talk of the town is how direct Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein was when talking at the Agudah convention about the effect our educational system is having on our children. For a long time now, I’ve been having an issue with trying to recognize where the Torah/Truth is in the way we live as frum Yidden.

If an outsider first learned the Torah and then did a study on how observant Jews live their lives, he/she would have many questions. There are numerous things that we do that not only don’t fit with Torah values but they are anti Torah values. We have systems set in place that make most of us live beyond our means. We are fiercely protecting an educational system that goes against everything we actually believe in. We put a huge amount of unneeded pressure on ourselves that literally dictates how we live our lives.

What is sad is that we all know it, we all think about it and it bothers us all. What is sadder is that it is a BIG deal when a Rabbi gets up and actually expresses what we are all thinking. What a strange thing, a phenomenon, that there exists a society that puts so much value on being truthful and emesdik, but at the same time has this vested interest in not only not expressing or talking about an entire educational system that is flawed at its roots, but even protecting it and making our own children suffer through it. It becomes this huge deal when Rabbi Wallerstein actually says something about it. We have to question our sanity and values around this.

What are we protecting? What are we so scared of? Who are we nervous about not impressing?

Let me ask you a question. You don’t need to raise your hand, but raise your hand if you really deep down knew what Rabbi Wallerstein was talking about. Raise your hand if these issues have been bothering you all along. Raise your hand if you are worried about your own children’s love for Torah and Yiddishkeit. Raise your hand if you think that our educational system is not giving you any fuzzy comfortable feeling that they will help your children stay on the derech. Raise your hand if you feel like you make your children do things that are absolutely ridiculous in the name of being part of our educational system. Raise your hand if this is not the system you would come up with if you were asked to develop a system from scratch. Raise your hand if you feel bad sending your children off to school. Raise your hand if you hate seeing how much homework your kids come home with and how many tests they have.

How would you do if you had a job that went from early in the morning to late in the afternoon or night and then came home only to continue working for a few more hours, knowing all along that you really won’t be paid anything extra for the work you’re doing? How long can you keep that up for? How long would we be able to keep up a real love for Yiddishkeit and learning when all it means is memorizing material long enough to regurgitate it on a piece of paper in the form of a test? We know every one of our children is different. How much does it bother you that they are all judged only by the grades they get no matter how hard or how little they try (depending on their IQ or memory).

How much does it bother you when your kid comes home feeling like junk and overwhelmed every day? Does it hurt to see your kid growing up with practically no time to actually be a kid? How natural is it for our kids to be sitting at desks for hours and hours on end learning? How well would you do with that? How many of the school rules do you really agree with in terms of tznius way beyond the letter of the law? From the way the parents dress, we know the answer to that. And I’m not talking about parents dressing un-tzniusdik. I’m talking about the parents who are dressed tzniusdik – but of course the day they left school they changed the way they dress to what was tznius and comfortable and something they actually felt good in and made sense to them.

Bezalel Perlman

Roger Waters Open Letter Calls on Musicians to Boycott Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

British rocker Roger Waters published an open letter calling on fellow musicians to join a boycott of Israel.

“I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel,” Waters wrote in the letter dated Aug. 18. The letter was previously drafted in July.

The former Pink Floyd front man said he was inspired to release the letter after British violinist Nigel Kennedy at a recent promenade concert at the Albert Hall in London called Israel an apartheid state. The BBC said it would remove his remarks in rebroadcasts of the concert.

Waters, who has been active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement for at least seven years, referred to the boycott of apartheid South Africa, saying that first a trickle of artists refused to play there, leading to a “flood.”

He singled out Stevie Wonder’s canceling of a performance for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces as a recent success story. Wonder quit his participation in the December fundraiser at the last minute under pressure from many corners.

“Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights,” Waters wrote.

Waters recently came under fire for using at in his concerts a huge inflated balloon in the shape of a wild boar with a prominently visible Star of David, as well as a hammer and sickle, crosses and a dollar sign, among other symbols. It is a gimmick he has used for several years.

JTA

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