web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘pro-israel’

Podhoretz Storms Off 92nd Street Y Stage in Spat with J Street

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

See Shushed and Booed, Podhoretz Walks Out on 92 St. Y Panel for a better informed version of this story.

Commentary editor John Podhoretz stormed off the New York’s 92nd Street Y Stage Monday night in the middle of spat with J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami but denied reports that he said “students at Swarthmore College deserve to be spat upon.”

Jewish Daily Forward Jane Eisner, who moderated a panel discussion on the term “pro-Israel,” wrote in her account of the incident that Podhoretz “lost it when a member of the audience asked about the American Studies Association’s announcement Monday that it would boycott Israeli academic institutions over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.”

Ben-Ami agreed that the ASA vote was “hypocritical” but then launched into a tirade against Israeli government policies, which he said “make it difficult for some Americans to believe Israel really does want peace with the Palestinians.” Podhoretz angrily replied, Eisner tried to calm tempers, and he then stalked off stage.

The Commentary editor wrote following the incident that he had a “bad night,” and he clarified his remark on spitting. Referring to the Hillel group at Swarthmore College, he wrote, “What I said was that if you advocate anti-Zionism, you are calling for the destruction of the homeland of my family. You are free to do so, and I am free to revile you and spit upon you.”

“This bit of hysterical rhetoric was not my finest verbal improvisation,” Podhoretz added, but he emphasized that he did not say anyone should be spat on. “Given that an organization cannot be spat upon, the flourish here, though admittedly stupid and in bad taste, was clearly and entirely rhetorical. Aside from that, I wouldn’t change a word of what I said, though.”

World-Renowned Pianist Evgeny Kissin to Get Israeli Citizenship

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

The Interior Ministry will grant Evgeny Kissin, one of the world’s leading classical pianists and an enthusiastic Jewish supporter of Israel, Israeli citizenship event though he does not live in the country, the Jewish Agency said Thursday

Kissin, 42, told Jewish Agency Chairman Sharansky a year ago that he was interested in acquiring Israeli citizenship in order to enable him to “fight for Israel not only as a Jew, but also as an Israeli” although he is not permanently based in Israel. Sharansky passed on the request to the government.

“There are other Jewish musicians who reach Kissin’s level of musical talent, but it isn’t every day that so acclaimed a musician joins the fight for Israel so openly and so uncompromisingly,” said Sharansky.

Upon receiving an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University in 2010, Kissin said, “Wherever we Jews live, our thoughts, hopes, and prayers are always with Israel and with our ancient and holy capital, Jerusalem. We Jews have every reason to be proud of the State of Israel.”

He will arrive in Israel this weekend in order to receive the citizenship and will perform in a one-time benefit concert at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center.

Kissin was born in Moscow and began playing and improvising on the piano at the age of two. At the age of six, he enrolled in the Gnessin State Musical College, and he had his international debut at the age of 12 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Kissin has been called “one of the great pianists of our time” and has been presented with two Grammy Awards and Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music.

New Berlin Jewish Student Center Fights Anti-Israel Trend

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Berlin’s first Jewish student house opened its doors on Sunday for pro-Israel lectures and activities in response to anti-Israel tendencies commonly found on Berlin’s campuses and for cultural and leisure activities for Jewish students in the German capital.

Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, who is behind the effort and serves as a Jewish community rabbi in Berlin, stated during the ceremony, “As Berlin has become a magnet for Jewish students from throughout the world in recent years, it’s time to have a regular home for Jewish students in the city.”

Approximately 150 members of the local Jewish community attended the ceremony, along with senior German government officials. Among them were Jewish philosopher Professor Micha Brumlik, the vice president of the German Bundestag, Petra Pa, and other members of the Bundestag.

The three-story Jewish Student House will also be used as a meeting place for 5,000 male and female Jewish students at Berlin’s three universities and other academic institutions in the city. it is intended to serve as a deterrent to the current 50 percent rate of intermarriage among German Jews.

Rebbitzen Chaya Greenberg, who will be managing the student house alongside the students, said during the ceremony, “We don’t consider you, the students, as guests but as family, and this is not just simply a building, but a family home for all Jewish students.”

The new house will be run by Chabad on Campus and  the KSpace organization, operated by students.

StandWithUs Responds to Anti-Israel Ad on NC Buses

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

The pro-Israel education group StandWithUs on Aug. 17 launched a one-year campaign that will feature pro-Israel advertisements on the interior of 98 buses in Chapel Hill, NC. The campaign counters an anti-Israel ad placed on Chapel Hill buses by the Church of Reconciliation. The church’s ad campaign, which also ran for one year, will finish at the end of August.

The Church of Reconciliation’s ad stated “Build peace with justice and equality. End U.S. military aid to Israel.” The ad “confuses and deceives the public,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs.

“The ad’s words suggest that the U.S. should stop financial assistance to Israel, implying that only Israel is to blame for a lack of peace,” Rothstein said in a statement. “The message is deceptive, and uses velvet-gloved rhetoric to try to influence unsuspecting commuters who may not know the facts.”

The StandWithUs ad, launched in partnership with NC Triangle Voice For Israel, shows Israeli and Palestinian boys with their arms intertwined, along with the text, “Imagine Peace… in a Middle East where Israel and her neighbors share technology and resources to create a future of peace and prosperity for generations to come. The possibilities are endless.”

In July, StandWithUs responded to anti-Israel advertising by placing pro-Israel ads in San Francisco’s Muni bus system and pro-Israel billboards in Montana. Next month, the group will take out ads in Seattle.

Kahneman Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

Friday, August 9th, 2013

President Obama awarded Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton psychologist known for his application of psychology to economic analysis, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The White House release Thursday naming Kahneman and other recipients notes that the Princeton University scholar, who shared the Nobel Price for Economics in 2002, escaped Nazi Europe and served in the Israeli army.

Among the 16 people receiving the award this year are Gloria Steinem, the feminist pioneer, and the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who was for decades a pro-Israel leader in Congress.

The awards will be presented later this year.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, established by President John Kennedy in 1963, is with the Congressional Gold Medal the highest civilian honor in the United States.

Congressmen Once Again Try to Force US Embassy Move to Jerusalem

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Pro-Israeli Congressmen have introduced another bill to force the government to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something that the government has no intention of doing it so long as the Palestinian Authority claims part of the capital.

The new Congressional bill has no chance of bearing fruit but is good political hay for the folks in the home districts of the sponsors, Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona and Doug Lamborn of Colorado, and Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California.

A Congressional law passed in 1995 requires the embassy to be located in Jerusalem but has a nifty six-month renewable waiver for the president to postpone the action for “national security” reason,” which is exactly what every president has done for more nearly two decades.

IRS Punished Conservative Non-Profits, Perhaps Also Pro-Israel Groups

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

For more than a year the U.S. Congress has been investigating whether the Internal Revenue Service was inappropriately treating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, or burdening such groups with requests and demands which are impermissible, as many had claimed.

Friday, May 10, the IRS person in charge of the division dealing with non-profits, Lois Lerner, apologized for actions taken by the agency which were based on political affiliation.

“That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review,” Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

“The IRS would like to apologize for that,” she added.

How did the IRS do this?  By singling out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, Lerner admitted.

The Ways and Means Committee has been seeking information on precisely this activity and “the IRS repeatedly denied they were targeting conservative grassroots organizations,” said committee chair Dave Camp (R-MI) in response to the revelation.  He announced  that the committee will soon hold hearings on this now-admitted practice by the IRS.

Camp stated in a press release issued just after the admission of wrongdoing by the IRS, “The IRS absolutely must be non-partisan in its enforcement of our tax laws. The admission by the agency that it targeted American taxpayers based on politics is both shocking and disappointing. The Committee on Ways and Means will thoroughly investigate this matter and will soon hold a hearing to get to the bottom of this situation.  We will hold the IRS accountable for its actions.”

PRO-ISRAEL GROUP SUED IRS CLAIMING TARGETING PRACTICE

While they are at it, the committee might want to ask the IRS whether their list of targets extended beyond political party discrimination. There is evidence the IRS also targeted pro-Israel groups whose positions were potentially inconsistent with the administration’s.

For example, in 2010, the passionately pro-Israel organization Z STREET filed a lawsuit against the IRS, claiming it had been told by an IRS agent that because the organization was “connected to Israel,” its application for tax-exempt status would receive additional scrutiny.  This admission was made in response to a query about the lengthy reveiw of Z STREET’s tax exempt status application.

In addition, the IRS agent told a Z STREET representative that the applications of some of those Israel-related organizations have been assigned to “a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”

Z STREET’s lawsuit claims the IRS activity constitutes viewpoint discrimination and a violation of its constitutionally protected right of free speech.  The organization is seeking, among other things, complete disclosure to the public regarding the origin, development, approval, substance and application of the IRS policy to treat pro-Israel organizations differently than it does other organizations. (disclosure: this reporter was the founder and president of Z STREET when the litigation was filed.)

At least one purely religious Jewish organization, one not focused on Israel, was the recipient of bizarre and highly inappropriate questions about Israel.  Those questions also came from the same non-profit division of the IRS at issue for inappropriately targeting politically conservative groups. The IRS required that Jewish organization to state “whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel,” and also demanded the organization “[d]escribe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel.”

For years the IRS has denied it took any such inappropriate actions and has done its best to prevent Z STREET from pursuing its claim of viewpoint discrimination. The IRS even took the position that because Israel is a country “where terrorism happens,” the service was justified in taking additional time to determine whether Z STREET was involved with funding terrorism.  Z STREET is a purely educational organization that has never funded anything, either in Israel or anywhere else.

Coincidentally, after two and a half years of non-movement, the very first hearing in Z STREET v IRS was recently scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday, July 2, in the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia.

Representatives of several tea party groups rejected the apology offered by the IRS, and insist that steps be taken to prevent such blatant discrimination in the future.

Does the BBC’s New Editor’s Jewishness Matter?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Lisa O’Carroll’s April 16 story in the Guardian reports on the appointment of James Harding (former Times editor) as the BBC’s new director of news and current affairs.

O’Carroll’s report includes the following passages:

Some of the Times’s anti-BBC leader columns may also come back to haunt Harding in his new job. In 2010, when hostilities between Murdoch and the BBC were at their height over the News Corporation’s bid to take over BSkyB, Harding ran an editorial accusing the corporation’s then director general Mark Thompson of “seeking to gain commercial advantages in league with News Corp’s rivals”.

Harding, who is Jewish, will also have to leave behind the pro-Israeli line of the Times. In a debate at the Jewish Community Centre For London in 2011, Harding said ”I am pro-Israel” and that in reporting on the Middle East, “I haven’t found it too hard” because “the Times has been pro-Israel for a long time”. However, he also stressed the need for balanced news reporting and said he was also in favour of a Palestinian state.

The Editor’s Code of Practice (published by the Press Complaints Commission, the ‘independent’ regulatory body in the UK) which all editors and publishers in the UK are required to abide by, contains the following warning in their section on ‘discrimination’:

Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Whilst O’Carroll’s contention that Harding will have to leave his “pro-Israeli line” behind now that he’s been appointed news director of the BBC is quite interesting in the context of the Beeb’s coverage of Israel and the Middle East, two particular questions come to mind:

Does O’Carroll’s decision to note that Harding is Jewish in the particular passage cited indicate she has already concluded that his religious affiliation is relevant in that it explains his ‘pro-Israeli’ views?

If that is not what O’Carroll is suggesting, in what other way, per the language in the PCC Editor’s Code, is Harding’s religion relevant to a story about his new position at the BBC?

Visit CifWatch.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/does-the-bbcs-new-editors-jewishness-matter/2013/04/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: