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July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘protest’

Analysis: Jerusalem Chief Rabbi’s ‘Protest Prayer’ May Be Just What Reform Campaign Needed

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

On Tuesday morning, Jerusalem Chief Rabbi, the Rishon Lezion Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar conducted a heartfelt prayer with a few dozen supporters in the remote area of the Western Wall known as the “Israelite Section,” which had been designated by the Israeli government for the mixed prayer services of Reform and Conservative visitors.

The chief rabbi’s followers erected an improvised mehitza-divider to separate men and women, in defiance of the government program. After the morning service, Rabbi Amar spoke tearfully, saying “there’s no such thing as the Reform Kotel, there’s only the Holy Kotel.”

“No one can revoke this holiness,” Rabbi Amar continued, “not the government, not the court, you can’t, it’s a hekdesh-sanctuary, it’s the Temple Mount. Not the goyim, not the UN, no power can revoke it. We stand guard and declare that our entire purpose is for the sake of God’s honor, only God’s honor, and the Shechina-emanation of God, and the people of Israel and the Land of Israel.”

Rabbi Amar’s prayer service reflected a perception on the part of many Haredi leaders that the Reform and Conservative movements are making inroads in Israel through the Supreme Court and certain government officials, and are threatening the classic status quo, whereby secular Israelis did not go to shul, but the shul they didn’t go to was Orthodox. Most Israelis are not interested in these American imports, but the fact that the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem went out of his way to condemn Reform access to the Kotel probably gave those two-minute movements a new lease on life.

For the record, the idea for the mixed prayer area by the Kotel came from an Orthodox Jewish politician, then Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), who in 2013 announced the creation of a new prayer area, south of the Mugrabim Gate and north of Robinson’s Arch, an area of 4,844 sq. ft., which is a non-contiguous extension of the Kotel Plaza. It was Bennett’s attempt at solving a 28-year long dispute between the Women of the Wall, a group of largely non-Orthodox Jewish women who have been praying in the Kotel’s women’s section on the first of each Jewish month as well as on select holidays, singing and donning talit and tefillin—all acts which have been provoking ultra-Orthodox Jews since the early 1990s.

While a broad section of ultra-Orthodox public figures attacked the Bennett solution, going as far as to dub it “tzelem ba’heikhal” or a statue in God’s temple, the Women of the Wall group also rejected the minister’s peaceful solution, accusing Bennett of aligning himself with the “extremist” views of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the government-appointed Kotel Rabbi, and of Israel’s chief rabbis (of course, when one accuses the mainstream religious and political leadership of extremism, it would be difficult for her to claim the center).

The WOW also called the special fenced wooden platform Bennett provided for mixed prayers a “sundeck overlooking the Western Wall,” which, come to think of it, could be the name for a bangup real estate bonanza. And the Reform movement over in the US, where they dominate Jewish life, at least on paper, with some two million members (in largely Orthodox Israel they may be noisy but their numbers are puny), announced that the Kotel must be open and accessible to all the Jews and men and women must be treated equally there. In other words, why can’t you all be more Reform, like the rest of us.

The fact is that the Bennett solution, while acquiescing that Israelis who are Reform and Conservative have the right to use a state-owned and funded religious facility, resolves the conflict in a peaceful way, which is not something the Reform and Conservative movements want. Since the platform has been erected, it has been standing empty, first because very few Reform and Conservative Israelis have the time or inclination to regularly fight Jerusalem traffic to go pray at the Kotel when most of them hardly ever pray in their own synagogues during the week; and second because without the opportunity to provoke the Orthodox, what’s the point of schlepping all the way to Jerusalem?

Now, the pushback from the Jerusalem Chief Rabbi has revived the non-Orthodox, whose fundraising and membership largely depends on being the victims of Orthodox “repression.” And so, once again, spokespersons for both movements have condemned the aging rabbi, whose salary is provided by the taxpayers, and who attacks the principles of equality, freedom and the American way.

Perhaps the good chief rabbi of Jerusalem should have taken a hint from the fact that he and his followers were the only ones praying on the Reform “sundeck,” because no one else ever prays there on any given day, and even the Baha’i movement in Israel represents a bigger threat to Orthodox Judaism at the Kotel than do the Reform and Conservative.

The best cure for the WOW phenomenon is probably to let them have their way until they get bored with it. The most recent new month celebration of the WOW, a week ago, attracted fewer than 90 women, and the only coverage it received was a provocation by its CEO, who showed local cops at the end of the service that she had “smuggled” a Torah scroll into the women’s section. Otherwise even she couldn’t get arrested by a largely disinterested police, and couldn’t get covered by the media which is inundated with much bigger stories.

JNi.Media

36 Advocacy Groups Demand Action at UC Irvine after Anti-Semitic Protest

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

In light of the pervasive anti-Semitism allowed to fester at the University of California Irvine (UCI), 36 Jewish and civil rights groups today demanded UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman immediately implement the recently passed Regents Statement of Principles Against Intolerance.

“Jewish students report that UCI administrators have consistently turned a blind eye to acts of anti-Semitism that would have been promptly and vigorously condemned were they directed against any other racial, ethnic or gender minority,” the groups wrote to Gillman.

In the letter, organized by AMCHA Initiative, the groups demand Gillman publicly disclose how he plans to combat the rampant anti-Semitism on his campus.  Specifically, they ask him to answer the following:

“How do you plan to implement the Regents statement in addressing the alarming problem of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism that has created an intolerable campus climate for Jewish students at UC Irvine? Specifically, what rules, policies and procedures will you invoke or enact, and what educational initiatives will you establish, to ensure that anti-Jewish bigotry will be treated as promptly and vigorously as all other racial, ethnic or gender bigotry, and to guarantee the safety and well-being of Jewish students, and all students, at UC Irvine?”

In March, the UC Regents unanimously approved a policy to address the growing anti-Semitism plaguing many of UC’s 10 campuses.  The policy acknowledges that anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism are no less discriminatory than racism, homophobia or sexism, and calls on UC chancellors to address them just as they would any other act of discrimination.

“Recent events on your campus demonstrate the critical importance of promptly and comprehensively implementing the Regents statement at UC Irvine,” wrote the groups to Gillman.

Incidents include a massive disruption of a recent Hillel movie screening and a speech, by Neturei Karta’s Yisroel Dovid Weiss.  During the disruption event attendees were held hostage for nearly an hour by aggressive protestors and eventually had to be safely escorted out by police.  According to witnesses and university officials, protesters shouted threatening and violent profanities and attempted to push their way inside the room. The week before, during Anti-Zionism Week 2016, Weiss, invited to speak by the Muslim Student Union (MSU) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), spewed classic anti-Semitic tropes accusing Jews of mendacity, criminality and controlling the government. UC Irvine has played host to a number of anti-Semitic events over the past decade including the disruption of a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren where multiple student protesters were arrested and prosecuted.

In March, AMCHA released an empirical study reporting widespread anti-Semitism in 2015 among the top 100 schools for Jewish students. The study found that the presence of anti-Zionist groups like SJP and MSU increased the likelihood of anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. campuses. In fact, 57% of schools with one or more active anti-Zionist student groups had one or more incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm, whereas only 8% of schools with no active anti-Zionist student groups had such incidents.

A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.

David Israel

Lebanese LGBT Activists Protest Anti-Homosexual Law

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Perhaps it’s a sign that Lebanon has become safer and more Western-oriented: a group of about 50 LGBT activists from the Lebanon-based Helem association, for the first time in four years staged a sit-in outside the Hbeish police station in Beirut, where the “morality police” hold transgressors of article 534 in the penal code which criminalizes relations that are “against nature,” Naharnet reported. The protesters demanded that the law be revoked, and that four transgender women be released. They carried signs saying, “Homosexuality is not a disease,” “Sex is not illegal — your law is archaic,” and “Repeal 534.”

The punishment in Lebanon for “crimes against nature” is up to one year in prison.

An event that was scheduled to follow the demonstration, organized by Proud Lebanon, was canceled due to pressure from Christian religious authorities.

Helem leader Genwa Samhat told AFP that the sit-in, which took place two days before the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, “calls for the abolition of this section of law dating from the (1920-1943) French mandate in Lebanon.” She added: “Most people arrested under this law aren’t detained in the act but in the street because of their appearance.” Also, she said, people “continue to be fired if their boss finds out they’re gay. They’re made to say they quit voluntarily for fear of being outed.”

According to Naharnet, Lebanese police are known to raid nightclubs serving homosexual patrons, and homosexuality is a frequent subject of ridicule on television.

In 2012 dozens demonstrated outside a Beirut court to protest the use of an anal “test” for suspected gay men. According to Samhat, “these tests continue, despite the justice ministry asking police to stop the practice. This is humiliating.” Also, she noted that “arrested people are still screened for AIDS, while this should be voluntary. There is a preconceived idea that all homosexuals have AIDS.”

Just to compare, the Boston Globe recently wrote that Tel Aviv, only 130 miles south of Beirut, is the gayest city on earth. “Tel Aviv is, for lack of a better description, super gay,” the paper’s Christopher Muther told his readers, adding, “The long-standing rule of thumb is that 10 percent of the population is gay, give or take. The estimate by officials in Tel Aviv is 25 percent of its population is gay.”

JNi.Media

Big ‘Nakba’ Protest in TAU this Sunday, Watch this Space for Updates

Friday, May 13th, 2016

This Sunday, May 15, at 11:00 AM, at Tel-Aviv University’s Antin Square, the annual Nakba (Catastrophe) commemoration ceremony will be held by the TAU Arab/Radical-Left students. Our friends at Im Tirtzu will be holding a “Nakba Charta” (Nakba Nonsense) counter protest and will update our website during and after the protest.

Nakba Day is commemorated on May 15, Israel’s declaration of independence day in 1948. The Jewish State, which follows the Jewish calendar for its “bank holidays,” celebrated the day on the 5th of Iyar (although this year, out of respect for Shabbat, we celebrated it on Thursday, Iyar 4). For the Arabs, it is an annual day of commemoration of the first day when their bad move at the UN Nov. 1947 partition vote blew in their faces, resulting in their succession of losses in their attempt to destroy the Jewish state—although they keep on trying.

It should be noted that as long as Israelis were determined to hold on to their right to settle anywhere in the Land of Israel, commemoration of the Nakba was being practiced by very few Arab citizens of Israel. The memories of 1948 were largely personal and communal, without a driving political component. But in the wake of the 1991 Madrid Conference, the first time Israel acquiesced to the concept of “Palestinian independence,” the observance of the Nakba has grown stronger and often violent. The Oslo Accords, which signaled that Israel was ready to capitulate on the fate of the liberated regions of Gaza, Judea, Samaria and the Golan, helped turn the Nakba craze into a regular day of confrontation between Arab Israeli youths and police, reminding many Israelis of the Arab pogroms of the 1920s and ’30s.

On Nakba Day 2011, egged on by the “Arab Spring,” Arabs from Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria marched towards the 1949 armistice (green line) borders, to mark their continued rejection of the right of the Jewish State to exist. At least twelve Arabs were killed and hundreds were wounded when the IDF blocked the zombie-fashion advance on the border fences by thousands of Syrian protesters who tried to forcibly enter the Golan Heights. Arabs also threw stones at Israeli soldiers guarding checkpoints in eastern Jerusalem, and the soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas in response.

A 2011 law empowers the Israeli finance minister to cut or reduce government funding to any NGO that organizes Nakba commemoration events.

David Israel

Ben-Gurion U Arab Students Protest ‘Occupation’ on Memorial Day Eve

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

On Tuesday, the eve of Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), Arab students at Ben-Gurion University protested against the “occupation,” Walla reported. The group, which belongs to the student faction of the Balad political party organized a protest against the “occupation,” where they held PLO flags, as well as signs protesting Israel’s security policies.

In response, Zionist students organized a counter protest where they waved Israeli flags and held a moment of silence in memory of the fallen Israeli soldiers.

Main Memorial Day service at BGU

Main Memorial Day service at BGU

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg, who was visiting the movement’s BGU branch at the time, said “the timing of this protest was intended to hurt the bereaved families and the citizens of Israel who are mourning for their loved ones. This shameful event is hypocrisy of the highest degree.”

Peleg added: “It is a shame and a disgrace that Arab and radical Left students at Ben-Gurion University chose ‘by chance’ to protest on the eve of Yom Hazikaron. It is only thanks to the self-sacrifice of IDF soldiers that these protesters are free to demonstrate. Such actions are highly detrimental to the majority of the Arab sector that strive to integrate into Israeli society and want to be a part of it.”

BGU has a special department dedicated to the support and promotion of Arab students, who mostly come from the Bedouin communities around Be’er Sheva. The department offers courses to help Arab students comply with academic requirements, as well as financial assistance programs targeting Arab students.

David Israel

Samaria Jews Protest Being Skipped Over by Airshow on Independence Day [video]

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Municipal Council, has sent a letter of protest to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) over the fact that his region, Samaria, is being regularly ignored by the celebrated Air Force flyover airshow that seems to reach many other parts of Israel. Year in and year out, the track for the flight of every type of new and old aircraft in the air force’s arsenal, reaches Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and several additional cities in northern and southern Israel, but never Samaria (or Judea, incidentally). The flight also skips many of the “periphery” towns in Israel.

“I would like to reveal to you the frustration of many Israeli citizens because of this airshow. Unfortunately, for dozens of years the path of the flyover airshow has not been altered, and not all the citizens of Israel get a chance to enjoy it. This despite the fact that it is a national flyover, paid for by all of our taxes, and, more important, bears a national meaning for all of us,” wrote Dagan.

“If our sons are good enough to lead fighting units, if our communities are strong enough to stand up to terrorism, then it could be assumed that we, too, deserve to enjoy the national symbols of the celebration of Independence Day,” Dagan concluded.

JNi.Media

Anti-Zionist Mob Invades Brooklyn Museum to Protest Nuance and Humanism

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

On Saturday, a Brooklyn Museum exhibition of 11 photographers about the lives of Israelis and Arabs on either side of the “green line” was hijacked by a large group of local leftists, including several Arabs, to protest the museum’s chummy relationship with the real estate industry and to somehow push Arab refugees and displaced NYC tenants into the same metaphorical sack.

The exhibition, “This Place,” at the Brooklyn Museum, explores the complexity of Israel and Judea and Samaria, “as place and metaphor,” through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers, none of whom are Israeli or PA Arab. The organizers have all but admitted that while they could have their pick out of hordes of Israeli photographers eager to participate, not one PA Arab photographer agreed to join the project, and so, it appears, the Israelis didn’t get to show their stuff either.

“The exhibition challenges viewers to go beyond the polarizing narratives and familiar images of the region found in mainstream media,” goes the Brooklyn Museum presentation. “The result is a deeply humanistic and nuanced examination that reminds us of the place of art, not as an illustration of conflict, but as a platform for raising questions and engaging viewers in a conversation.”

Settlement / Photograph by Nick Waplington at Brooklyn Museum

Settlement / Photograph by Nick Waplington at Brooklyn Museum

Can’t have that, right? And so, as Rebecca McCarthy reported in Hyperallergenic, a group calling itself the Decolonial Cultural Front and Movement to Protect the People, on Saturday crowded the exhibition space (which is a great way to make fewer than 100 people look like a Bernie Sanders-size crowd), led by one Amin Husain, a part-time lecturer at the New School, an Arab-American lawyer, artist and activist with a BA in Philosophy and Political Science, and a JD from Indiana University Law School – Bloomington. Husain, says his bio, practiced law for 5 years before leaving law for art, and is now an editor of Tidal Occupy Theory magazine and producer of Tidal on the Waves show on WBAI Radio.

Amin Husain enlisted his group of several dozen leftists to stage a protest “in response to displacement — both in Brooklyn and Palestine.”

The protesters say the exhibition is backed by funders who also support the Israeli military (which is code for Jews), and other pro-occupation elements in Israeli society, particularly those that preference Jewish identity over those of the country’s other cultural and ethnic groups. Can’t have that.

The group also targeted the museum’s role in gentrification and displacement of people of color in Brooklyn. And protested the fact that the museum stands on Native American land. The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape people, who mostly lived in New Jersey, also used to hunt in the forests of Flatbush Avenue. Bridge and Tunnel folks.

Isn’t it fascinating that the left recognizes the right of Native Americans to lands they were displaced from two centuries ago, but is deaf to the plight of the Jews who have returned to lands from which they had been displaced two millennia ago? One woman, standing in front of a banner that read “Decolonize This Place,” cried out: “We stand with our comrades to amass indigenous resurgence and fight for decolonization.” But wasn’t the Zionist endeavor, in essence, the decolonization and liberation from centuries of Arab and Ottoman occupation?

When white people decolonize their oppressors, does it count as liberation, or does it automatically constitute an occupation?

Jamila — Prepared to receive their released relatives outside, Ofra Prison Office of Social Affairs, eastern Jerusalem / Photograph by Wendy Ewald at Brooklyn Museum

Jamila — Prepared to receive their released relatives outside, Ofra Prison Office of Social Affairs, eastern Jerusalem / Photograph by Wendy Ewald at Brooklyn Museum

The protesters also expressed their concerns with the “artwashing” with nice photographs what Israel is doing to the Arabs. The term is reminiscent of “pinkwashing,” which is what the gay left is accusing gays who praise Israel’s stellar record in the treatment of LGBT people. Sure, they’re nice to their homos, but that don’t mean they don’t drink the blood of Arab children, now, does it? Never mind that the life expectancy of an openly gay person in Arab society is until dinnertime.

The group also came prepared with stickers bearing the Arab names of locations covered in the photographs, which shouldn’t have been difficult to Google, and they posted those stickers over the labels for each photograph, because only one culture matters when it comes to Israel, the culture that invaded the area back in the seventh century.

Amin Husain used the “human microphone” shtick, the most annoying gimmick ever, to declare that “the days in which art and artists are instrumentalized to normalize oppression, displacement and dispossession of any people are over. We are watching you.”

Mob censorship is the most effective tool of repression, which enables relatively small groups to temporarily dictate to others what is proper and improper for them to do, say, or experience. It works with every kind of mob, on the left, with well-organized pro-Palestinian students drowning out Israeli speakers on campus; with Donald Trump supporters who drown out the opposition, including poor Senator Ted Cruz who couldn’t put in a word edgewise in such an encounter; in talkbacks, in Facebook conversations. We are in the era of the activist mob, and our civilization is a lot like the ocean that keeps absorbing billions of tons of poisonous human refuse, until, at some point, it will surely die.

Now, there’s a tortured analogy we could support.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/anti-zionist-mob-invades-brooklyn-museum-to-protest-nuance-and-humanism/2016/05/10/

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