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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Abraham Cooper’

UPDATED: Norway’s YMCA Boycotts Israel, Jewish NGO Objects

Friday, March 14th, 2014

PLEASE SEE UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE (GOOD NEWS)

Late last month the Norwegian branch of the YMCA, the Young Men’s Christian Association, aligned itself with the economic warfare movement known as the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against the only Jewish State, Israel. This salvo goes beyond the Peter Beinart version of BDS, and calls for an economic boycott of all goods and services from all of Israel, including the areas within the 1949 Armistice Line.

The Norwegian branch of the YMCA, which in Norwegian is abbreviated, “KFUK-KFUM,” is one of the largest and oldest youth groups in that country.

The KFUK-KFUM announced on its Facebook page that it “encourages broad economic boycott of goods and services from Israel and Israeli settlements to pressure the Israeli government to follow up on U.N. resolutions and end the illegal occupation of Palestine.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to KFUK-KFUM’s boycott by dashing off a letter to the Secretary General of the Geneva-based World Alliance of YMCAs, urging the parent body to denounce the Norwegian branch’s action.

“This proposed boycott of the only democratic state in the Middle East is totally opposite of the principles expressed in the World Alliance of YMCA’s Mission Statement of “fostering dialogue and partnership between people of different faiths and ideologies and recognizing the cultural identities of people,” wrote the Weisenthal Center’s associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper.

Ironically, as the SWC noted, the boycott action targets all citizens of Israel, Jews, Christians and Muslims. Cooper pointed out that the activities endorsed by the BDS movement “don’t improve the life of a single Palestinian.” Instead, its “sole goal is to demonize and isolate the lone democracy in the Middle East, the Jewish State of Israel.”

Cooper’s letter called the Norwegian YMCA’s boycott action an “unjust, one-sided, anti-peace policy.”

“It is outrageous that any branch of a respected organization which prides itself on inclusion and tolerance would embrace the anti-Semitic poison of the radical anti-Israel BDS campaign,” he noted.

UPDATE MARCH 14, 2014: We received news from a European reader that the Oslo chapter of Norway’s YMCA – the largest chapter in the country – is not a part of the Norwegian YMCA boycott. This chapter stated on its website that it neither “stands behind or support the campaign,” and that it was “not informed of the campaign before it was launched.”

Nearly Half the Dutch Believe Israel Trying to Exterminate Arabs

Friday, February 14th, 2014

In response to an alarming finding from a study conducted last year by the University of Bielefeld, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has sent a letter to the deputy prime minister of the Netherlands, calling on him to take immediate steps to counter the spike in ugly anti-Semitism and anti-Israel attitudes amongst the Dutch.

That study revealed that nearly 39 percent of Dutch citizens hold extreme, inflammatory ideas about Israel.  Among other appalling views, this large cohort of Dutch believe that “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians,” Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper reminded Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Frans Asscher.

In other words, about five million Dutch believe that Israel is engaged in a genocide against the Palestinian Arabs.

Cooper discussed the disturbing results of the Bielefeld study with Asscher when Cooper visited the Netherlands last April, shortly after the results of the study were made public. He also discussed the issue with various parliamentarians when he visited the Hague last month.

But although Asscher publicly called the issue “worrisome” and “unacceptable,” according to the SWC, no action has yet been taken, and that in itself is unacceptable.

“An important first step should be a government-ordered study to trace how such an utterly false and insidious image of Israel was created,” Cooper wrote to Asscher in a letter he released on Thursday, Feb. 13.

“Those who conceive and promote an unjustified extreme criminal view of others should be exposed and held accountable in the Court of Public Opinion,” added Cooper.

“We know too well from the 1930s in Germany what can happen when the delegitimization and demonization of a people goes unchallenged.”

Austrian-born Israeli scholar Manfred Gerstenfeld has written a great deal on the subject of contemporary European anti-Semitism.

Gerstenfeld pointed out in an article last year that an earlier study of European hostility towards Israel, one carried out for the European Union and carried out by Eus Gallup Europe as a flash survey of the EU’s Opinion Polls had an equally astounding finding.

That Eurobarometer revealed that most European countries believe Israel is the biggest threat to world peace. The only European country at that time in which fewer than half of all citizens believed Israel constitutes a threat to global peace was Italy, for whom a mere 52 percent did not feel that way.

According to that Eurobarometer, which was published in 2003, a whopping 74 percent of the Dutch believe that Israel constitutes a threat to world peace. That’s more than believe North Korea constituted such a threat (70 percent), or that Iran was such a threat (64 percent), or that Russia was such a threat (a mere 25 percent). The United States was considered a threat to world peace by 64 percent of those living in the Netherlands.

Cooper told the Dutch politician he will be sending Gerstenfeld’s book “Demonizing Israel and the Jews,” which analyzes the results of various studies dealing with European anti-Semitism.  The lack of an aggressive response to understand and correct the misconceptions will have dire consequences.

The rabbi also offered the SWC’s help in undertaking a study that “would focus on how this climate was created and what can be done to remedy this unacceptable situation. I believe it would spark a necessary national discussion among Dutch leaders and citizens.”

Church’s New Study Guide is Textbook Example of Israel Hatred

Friday, February 7th, 2014

It is a standard, if stale, practice for Israel critics to portray themselves as bravely daring to “break the silence” with their public criticism of Israel. It is a passive form of aggressive manipulation, and it continues, because it seems to work.

One of the practitioners of this pretend courage is the Presbyterian Church (USA). A current manifestation of that role playing by the PCUSA is an ugly attack on Israel, masquerading as a “study guide,” called Zionism Unsettled.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has long been regarded as a church hostile to Israel as a Jewish State. It typically dresses up that hostility as loving concern for the Arab population within Israel and in the disputed territories.

PAST DIVESTMENT VOTES

In 2004, the church voted to approach corporations that “aiding Israel’s occupation of the West Bank,” and asking them to reconsider business with the Jewish state. This position was repeatedly reaffirmed in subsequent votes.

In July of 2012, the PCUSA brought to a vote another resolution targeting Israel. That divestment resolution was directed at companies which “sell military equipment to the Israeli military in the West Bank” was defeated by only two votes 331 – 333 – with two abstentions.

FINANCIAL AND OTHER SUPPORT FOR MESSIANIC CHURCHES

The PCUSA has exhibited its hostility to Judaism in other ways in recent years as well. For a time it directly funded efforts by “Jews for Jesus” to hoodwink, proselytize and convert Jews to Christianity.

For example, in 2004, the Philadelphia area Presbytery poured more than $250,000 into launching a church masquerading as a synagogue. The church was set up in a church at the Plymouth Meeting Mall, and the congregation was named Avodat Yisrael.

An exposé in the Wall Street Journal that fall revealed the congregation leader, Rev. Andrew Sparks, publicly and falsely claimed he was a rabbi. By 2005 the Presbytery chose to discontinue funding what they had called its “new church development.” Nevertheless, the congregation continued as a messianic church, under the name “Messiah Now Ministries,” with Rev. Sparks as its leader.

PCUSA’S LATEST UNSETTLING ATTACK

The PCUSA’s latest attack, its “teaching guide,” made available through its online store, is a doozy.

This new guide, Zionism Unsettled, has accomplished one neat feat thus far, however. It has united Jewish and Christian supporters of Israel in their immediate and unequivocal denunciations.

Zionism Unsettled is a 74 page booklet and comes with accompanying DVD which PCUSA says is a “how-to guide for class leaders with focused discussion prompts.” It is being marketed as an “ideal resource for multi-week exploratory educational programs in churches, synagogues, mosques and all classroom settings, faith-based or secular.”

Ah yes. Surely they are trying to use this booklet to explain, as they claim, “what steps can be taken to bring peace, reconciliation and justice to the homeland that Palestinians and Israelis share?”

But one of the quotes from a church leader makes clear exactly what the PCUSA is trying to do by promoting this booklet.

Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, remarks “The urgency of the Palestinian plight in the face of Israeli intransigence indicates that intentional, concrete and sustained public action is necessary to respond credibly to the crisis. Zionism Unsettled is a welcome study guide. It will prove an effective vehicle for helping to mobilize public opinion so that both attitudes and policies can be transformed in the face of an imperious and exploitative ideology.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center knows exactly what the PCUSA is up to with its latest anti-Israel effort.

“This outrageous screed is the theological twin of the infamous 1975 UN ‘Zionism is Racism’ resolution,” charged Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the SWC.

‘Quenelle’ Salute at Toulouse School Where Jews Were Killed

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Amid a public debate in France over an allegedly anti-Semitic gesture, French media have reproduced a photo of a man performing it outside the Toulouse school where four Jews were murdered.

The photo, which was published Monday on the website of the France 3 broadcaster, shows a man wearing a shirt featuring a portrait of Yasser Arafat in front of the Ohr Torah school.

The man, whose face was digitally obscured, is holding his left palm outstretched over his right shoulder – a gesture known as quenelle, which was invented by the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’balla M’balla.

Jewish groups say that Dieudonne, who has multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews, designed the quenelle to emulate the Nazi salute without violating France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols to cause offense.

The picture taken outside Ohr Torah is not dated but was taken after the Muslim extremist Mohammed Merah last year killed three children and a rabbi. The institution changed its name since from Otzar HaTorah.

The photo was published a day after photos surfaced of NBA star Tony Parker, who was born in Belgium and is French by nationality, performing the salute earlier this year standing next to Dieudonne backstage at a theater in France. Photos of the salute were published in the French media.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center reportedly has called on Parker, who plays point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, to apologize for performing the salute.

“As a leading sports figure on both sides of the Atlantic, Parker has a special moral obligation to disassociate himself from a gesture that the government of France has identified as anti-Semitic,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center.

Reports of the Parker salute came a day after soccer player Nicolas Anelka, a French national playing for Britain’s West Bromwich Albion soccer team, was roundly condemned for performing the salute during a match on Saturday.

Anelka defended himself on Sunday, saying that he saw a photo of President Obama performing the quenelle with rapper Jay Z and singer Beyonce. They were, in fact, performing a hip hop move in which the hand brushes off the shoulder.

Britain’s Football Association has launched an investigation of the Anelka incident.

France’s interior minister, Manuel Valls, declared that his ministry would look into banning all public performances by Dieudonne, the inventor of the quenelle.

Dieudonne has been convicted several times for inciting racial hatred against Jews in films, shows and articles.

Jewish Center: NBA Stars Must Say No to Birthday Game for Dictator

Friday, December 27th, 2013

The Simon Wiesenthal Center wants National Basketball Association players to just say no to Kim Jung Un.  The SWC is urging NBA players to refuse to travel to North Korea to play at Dennis Rodman’s invitation, at what really will just be a big birthday celebration for the fascist dictator Kim Jung Un. The event will be held on January 8 in Pyongyang. It is being called (no joke) “The Bang in Pyongyang.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and long-time activist for human rights in North Korea, issued a statement calling on ex-NBAers to do the right thing.

Paddy Power, the Irish online betting company which had originally agreed to sponsor the NBA Birthday Bash for the North Korean dictator announced that it had pulled out. Paddy Power decided not to support the event, due to “changed circumstances.”  What changed circumstances?  North Korea has been a brutal dictatorship run by megalomaniacal tyrants for quite a long time.

The North Korean government’s latest horror: arresting and executing Kim Jung Un’s uncle, and then bragging about the dirty deed proved to be too much even for Paddy Power.

As word came that the Irish company withdrew its sponsorship of Rodman’s Bang in Pyongyang, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading human rights NGO, urged all former NBA stars to stay away from North Korea.

“Everyone, it seems – except Dennis Rodman – understands that this is not a game  to promote peace, but an undeserved birthday gift to a murderous tyrant who heads a regime with the worst human rights record on the planet,” charged Rabbi Cooper.

“Playing a basketball game in Pyongyang before a handful of cronies of the youthful dictator gives Kim Jong Un an undeserved birthday present that enables Kim to change the narrative for the international media.  It shifts the focus of attention away from his execution of his uncle, on North Korea’s brutal gulag, and his nuclear missile threats against his neighbors.”

“There may yet be a time and place for basketball diplomacy in North Korea, but now is neither the time and Kim’s birthday party isn’t the place for such a gesture. We hope ex-NBAers will do the right thing”‘ Cooper concluded.

Jewish Leaders: ‘US Should Say Attack on Israel is Attack on US’

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Outraged by Iranian officials threats that any western acts of war against Syria “will result in the imminent destruction of the Zionist regime of Israel,” on Thursday, August 29, the leadership of the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the Obama Administration “to declare that an attack on Israel will be treated as an attack against the US, and to ratchet up Washington’s efforts to thwart Tehran’s headlong rush to nuclearization.”

Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, the dean and associate dean of the SWC, confidently acknowledged that Israel is very capable of defending itself.  Nonetheless, they wanted the U.S. administration to make it clear that Israel, which is not involved in the ongoing civil war of destruction in Syria, must not be threatened by the world’s bullies without the U.S. reminding those bullies who stands with Israel.

“The specter of Israeli citizens lining up for gas masks on the eve of the Jewish New Year is proof enough that Jerusalem has to take all threats, including those from Damascus and its chief ally and partner in the brutal civil war, Iran, very seriously,” the Jewish leaders poignantly noted.

Horrified by the more than 1,300 deaths in the Syrian civil war, the SWC last week urged the U.S. administration to hew to its own stated ‘red line’ and “destroy or remove all WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles in Syria.”

The rabbis at the Wiesenthal Center were referring to the threat against Israel uttered by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Chief General Mohammad Ali Jafari.

4 Major American Jewish Orgs Rebuke Cardozo Over Carter Award

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Wednesday afternoon, April 10, a journal from Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of law will be presenting former President Jimmy Carter with an award, honoring him for his “human rights record.”  The Jewish Press has covered developments concerning this award and responses to it, extensively.

In addition to the many alumni and concerned individuals who spoke out against the Carter Cardozo Award, four of the largest American Jewish organizations have weighed in over the last 24 hours, all expressing their disgust 0ver the decision of a Jewish-affiliated school to give kavod (honor) to someone like Jimmy Carter.

On Tuesday, April 9, two organizations called on Cardozo to rescind the Carter honor. The Zionist Organization of America issued a statement, describing Carter as having a “repellant, decades-long record as an Israel-basher and promoter of Israel’s most vicious enemies, including Hamas.”

The National Council of Young Israel also issued a statement calling on Cardozo to rescind the invitation to Carter.  Farley Weiss, the president of the NCYI, wrote, “Mr. Carter’s well-known animus and bias towards the State of Israel has earned him widespread condemnation from Jews and non-Jews alike, and he certainly does not deserve to have any honor bestowed upon by him by an entity that has ties to the Jewish community and the Jewish State.”

On Wednesday, April 10, the day of the award ceremony, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League each publicly criticized Yeshiva University’s law school for choosing to honor and provide a platform to someone with such a well-documented anti-Israel history.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, said the Cardozo law students had not exercised “due diligence” before choosing Jimmy Carter as an honoree.

“Had they done so,’ he told the Algemeiner, “they would have discovered that Mr Carter has never resolved his conflict with the Jewish state. His serial bias against Israel is well-documented. That alone should have led tomorrow’s lawyers, whatever their ethnicity or religion, to conclude  that President Carter should not receive such an honor.”

The ADL’s Foxman slammed the students, saying, “The students were wrong – they are entitled to be wrong and inappropriate and we are entitled to say that honoring former President Carter is wrong, especially for  a Jewish institution…and indeed for any institution.”

In response to Cardozo’s refusal to revoke the award and ceremony for Jimmy Carter, the Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni issued the following statement:

It is shameful that President Richard Joel of Yeshiva University and Dean Matthew Diller of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School are not prepared to take a moral stand and rescind the invite to honor Jimmy Carter made by the Cardozo Journal for Conflict Resolution. By providing moral cover for those who would eradicate Israel and who despise America for her democratic values President Carter has caused irreparable harm to Israelis, Jews across the world and democracies across the globe. Cardozo has now provided a similar fig-leaf to President Carter and that is a terrible shame.

Jimmy Carter has an ignominious history of anti-Israel bigotry. He is responsible for helping to mainstream the antisemitic notion that Israel is an apartheid state with his provocatively titled book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”, the publication of which prompted mass resignations from the Carter Center. He has met numerous times with leaders of the terror group Hamas, whitewashing their genocidal goals and undermining US efforts to isolate Hamas. And Carter’s record of slandering Israel is so voluminous that both CAMERA and Alan Dershowitz have written books refuting his lies.

It is disingenuous of the Cardozo administration to justify its decision to allow the event to go ahead in the name of “academic freedom”.  If a student journal at Cardozo were to invite David Duke to bestow an honor upon him, rest assured that Cardozo administration would not have remained aloof on the matter. By honoring Carter at a bedrock of the American Jewish community, Cardozo administration not only betrays the values of honesty, integrity and truth but it betrays its community of supporters who rightfully view Jimmy Carter as anathema to the aspirations of the Jewish people and the survival of the State of Israel.

Rabbi Cooper Gives ‘Em Hell in Berlin

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

On Thursday, during a visit to Berlin, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles called German publisher Jakob Augstein an anti-Semite. This after the SWC had included comments made by Augstein in its list of the top 10 anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slurs of 2012, the Spiegel reported.

“Based on his behavior and his words since the release of the list, we can say, yes, we are dealing with an anti-Semite,” Cooper reiterated, explaining that the list was focused on anti-Semitic slurs, not necessarily on the individual.

In Berlin, Rabbi Cooper criticized a column written by Augstein for Spiegel Online on the issue of ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, Jews.

Augstein has witten:

“Israel is threatened by Islamic fundamentalists in its neighborhood. But the Jews also have their fundamentalists, the ultra-orthodox Haredim. They are not a small splinter group. They make up 10% of the Israeli population. They are cut from the same cloth as their Islamic fundamentalist opponents. They follow the law of revenge.”

Cooper said at a Thursday’s forum in Berlin that he wants to know from Augstein how many suicide attacks have been carried out by Haredi Jews within and outside of Israel. Because of their appearance, he said, Haredi Jews were some of the first victims of the Nazi regime. Recently, he said, they have been killed in France and attacked on the streets of Berlin.

Here are the rest of the quotes provided by the SWC in its “2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs” (PDF):

“With backing from the US, where the president must secure the support of Jewish lobby groups, and in Germany, where coping with history, in the meantime, has a military component, the Netanyahu government keeps the world on a leash with an ever-swelling war chant.”

“Israel’s nuclear power is a danger to the already fragile peace of the world. This statement has triggered an outcry. Because it’s true. And because it was made by a German, Guenter Grass, author and Nobel Prize winner. That is the key point. One must, therefore, thank him for taking it upon himself to speak for us all.”

“The fire burns in Libya, Sudan, Yemen, in countries which are among the poorest on earth. But those who set the fires live elsewhere. Furious young people burn the American, and recently, the German flag. They, too, are victims, just like the dead at Benghazi and Sanaa. Whom does this all this violence benefit? Always the insane and unscrupulous. And this time it’s the U.S. Republicans and Israeli government.”

“Gaza is a place out of the end of times….1.7 million people live there on 360 sq. kilometers. Israel incubates its own opponents there.”

It may be debatable whether all the above statements are outright anti-Semitic or simply critical, and, indeed, several public individuals have come out in protest of the SWC’s inclusion of Augstein in a list that features Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and the Iranian regime.

“The choice of Jakob Augstein for ninth place on the list of the 10 worst anti-Semites is a serious intellectual and strategic error made by the Simon Wiesenthal Center,” wrote the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Not only has a critical journalist been placed in a group into which he doesn’t belong, the nine other people and groups who have justifiably been pilloried can now exculpate themselves by pointing to such arbitrariness.”

Rabbi Cooper, for his part, said Augstein has had the opportunity to reflect on his statements and to apologize to his German readers and to the Jewish people, which he has not done.

Augstein has rejected the accusations, and the Central Council of Jews in Germany criticized Augstein’s statements, even though the council’s president Dieter Graumann has said that Augstein does not belong on the list, and Council Vice President Salomon Korn said about Augstein: “I never had the impression that what he wrote was anti-Semitic.”

Perhaps the honorable Graumann and Korn could provide that much needed data concerning Haredi suicide bombers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rabbi-cooper-gives-em-hell-in-berlin/2013/02/03/

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