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January 25, 2015 / 5 Shevat, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Abraham Cooper’

Human Rights NGO Denounces Abbas for Incendiary Incitement

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

One of the leading pro-Israel non-governmental organizations is denouncing acting Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas for his incendiary incitement against the Jewish people’s rights to their own religious sites. That NGO is urging the U.S., the EU and interfaith leaders to join it in the denunciation before Abbas’s false claims lead to further violence.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced what it called Mahmoud Abbas’s “assault on the religious freedom of the Jewish people” for stating that Jews visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount are desecrating the Al Aqsa Mosque.

“Mr. Abbas sounds no different than Hamas when he labels Jews visiting the Temple Mount—Judaism’s holiest site—a ‘desecration’ and calls upon Muslims to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque against a non-existent threat,” charged Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate Dean of the major international Jewish human rights group.

The NGO asserts that the action of the PA’s acting leader is consistent with Palestinian leadership’s efforts to deny the Jewish people’s historic connection to the Holy Land.

One example they gave was the PA’s effort to rebrand Rachel’s Tomb, which is  the burial place of the matriarch of the Jewish nation, as a mosque. Another example the SWC offered is the repeated attempts of the Palestinian Arabs to torch Joseph’s Tomb, located near Nablus, and having made it virtually impossible for Jews to worship there safely. A third example is the repeated denial by Palestinian Arab leaders that King Solomon’s Temple stood atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The leadership of the SWC castigated the PA leadership both for trying to disassociate the Jewish connection to the Holy Land and for fomenting hatred amongst their people against the Jews by pretending that Jews are trying to destroy what the Muslims have been taught are their own religious sites.

The SWC explained Abbas’s “outrageous campaign”is a relatively new phenomenon. Historically,”Muslims often revered and protected Jewish Holy sites.” They cited a pamphlet published by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem between 1924 through 1953, “A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” an English language guide to the Temple Mount.

That pamphlet states on its opening page, referring to the Temple Mount: “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to the universal belief, on which [quoting Hebrew scripture] ‘David built there an alter unto the Lord.’”

The SWC leaders said:

We live in a time when Muslims, Christians and Jews are beheaded by a so-called Islamic State, when Christians have been ethnically cleansed from historic communities in Iraq and threatened throughout the Middle East. Israel is the only country where the religious rights of all faiths are protected and respected. Indeed, people of all faiths—including Muslims– are welcome to visit the Western Wall; Jews should be equally welcomed to visit the Temple Mount.

The SWC called on U.S. President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and other political and religious leaders to “tell President Abbas to stop the canards,” and to finally acknowledge that the Temple Mount is, indisputably, Holy to the Jewish people. Unless Abbas is confronted by those international leaders, the SWC warned, “Abbas’s lies will surely incite to violence.”

 

Pro-Israel NGO Calls on US to Reject UN Gaza Commission

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

The leading officials of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to reject the United Nation’s Human Rights Council’s “independent” Commission on Gaza.

Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, Dean and Associate Dean of the SWC took the unusual step of sending a letter to Kerry and Holder because, they wrote, the Commission’s Chair, William Schabas, has already outed himself as biased against Israel.

Schabes publicly stated that the UN should not be prosecuting the president of Sudan, but it should prosecute then-Israeli President Shimon Peres. He also said that his first choice for person to put in the dock at the International Criminal Court to be tried for war crimes is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

In addition to Schabas being unfit to head the Commission, Hier and Cooper also pointed out that the Commission itself is fatally flawed: “The text of the [UNHRC] resolution unequivocally affirms that, in the Council’s view, Israel has been judged guilty and only Israel’s actions in defending its citizens from relentless rocket attacks are to be investigated.”

There is no inclination to look into any violations of human rights or commission of war crimes on the part of Hamas.

“There is little doubt that the Commission’s statements will in fact be incorporated in various legal proceedings and entities in an attempt to vilify isolate and even prosecute Israeli leaders. Of course, the unrelenting terrorist crimes of Hamas are not part of the mandate of this commission,” the NGO’s letter asserts.

B ut the appointment of Schabas Was beyond the pale. In 2009, Schabas made clear that as far as he was concerned, any wrong done by Hamas was understandable and forgivable.

“Maybe Hamas didn’t behave properly… but it doesn’t challenge in any significant way the conclusion that Israel violated International Law,” Schabas wrote.

It is the strongly held position of the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the U.S.  must denounce the biased Commission and Commissioner and make public that it will not accept any of the Commission’s findings.

“To do otherwise and to wait for Professor Schabas and his commission to conclude its investigation would only validate his appointment and set a dangerous precedent for future judicial biases, which would mock and weaken the global efforts against terrorism and the right of democracies to defend themselves against naked aggressions by non-state actors,” Hier and Cooper concluded.

US decision to work with PA-Hamas Government Victory for Terrorism

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights organization, expressed its shock and deep disappointment that the Obama Administration declared it will work with the new hybrid PA-Hamas government.

“The mirage of technocrats in charge of the economy cannot disguise the reality that terrorists remain in charge of the rockets. Today, no one in the Middle East believes this is anything but a victory for Hamas, a terrorist organization that has consistently shown through words and deadly actions that it has not backed away from its founding charter seeking the Jewish State’s destruction,” said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, dean and founder and associate dean of the human rights NGO.

“There is no fig leaf large enough to cover Hamas’ blood-drenched legacy. No Israeli leader, left, right, or center, would ever agree to a Palestinian State as its immediate neighbor that includes lackeys of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, who have lobbed thousands of rockets at Israeli population centers and unleashed suicide bombers murdering and maiming innocent men women and children in Israel,” they added.

“We applaud US Secretary of State John Kerry’s tenacity in trying to bring Israeli and Palestinians closer to peace. Unfortunately, the decision to defacto legitimize an unrepentant Hamas empowers not the peacemakers but the bomb throwers,” Hier and Cooper added.

“The table for peace in the Middle East will be set when the US and the European Union hold President Abbas’ PA accountable for the billions in aid they received, foreswear violence and introduce a curriculum of peace instead of one that demonizes and delegitimizes its Jewish neighbors,” they concluded.

Wiesenthal Center: European Leaders Must Act Following Belgian Attack

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

A gunman walked into the Jewish Museum of Belgium on Saturday, May 24. He opened fire and shot four people. Three died almost immediately; a fourth died later, at the hospital. The police arrested one man in connection with the shooting, and a second is being sought.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemns the murderous terrorist attack today at the Jewish Museum in Brussels that left four innocents dead and a community in shock,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate Dean of the leading Jewish human rights NGO, who will be addressing an international Conference on Anti-Semitism starting this Sunday at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

“While Belgian authorities have raised the terror alert to level 4 ( highest), the fact is that a terrorist—who shot—to kill—all too accurately, remains on the loose, leaving a shocked Jewish community deeply shaken,” Cooper said.

“At this point, it is not known if the terrorist is tied to an organized group, or like the Toulouse French Jewish School murders or the Passover Eve attack on the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City, carried out by a lone-wolf who may have honed his skills in the Middle East or online. Either way, this clinical, cold-blooded attack takes place against the backdrop of a massive spike in anti-Semitic attitudes and acts across much of Europe.”

“Of course we expect Belgian authorities to take all necessary measures to protect Jewish lives and Jewish Life in their nation but is all time for them and all the European leaders to also take measures to reverse the extreme anti-Israel and anti-Jewish attitudes held by as many as 150 million European citizens,” Rabbi Cooper concluded.

Rabbi Cooper spoke tonight with Joel Rubinfeld, who heads up the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism and asked him to express condolences to the victims’ families and the Jewish community on behalf of the 400,000 members of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Approximately 40,000 Jews live in Belgium, about half of whom live in or near Brussels.

California School District Cancels Lesson on Holocaust Denial

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Students at a school in California who were given an assignment to compare propaganda with actual evidence on the Holocaust have instead been told to abandon the project.

The order came following a firestorm of criticism and at least one death threat aimed at Southern California’s Rialto Unified School District, which assigned the homework.

According to a report published in The Daily Bulletin newspaper, the project was assigned in April to 2,000 13-and-14 year old eighth grade students, as follows:

Shen tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence. For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.  Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”

It had first been reviewed by a committee of eighth grade teachers, and sent to middle school sites in February for comment prior to distribution to the students. No objections were raised at the time, according to the spokesperson.

But the district found itself under siege on Monday, with the switchboard lines ringing off the hook.

At least one person called police repeatedly threatening death to a district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri and the interim school superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam. The incident is under investigation.

But also among the critics was Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, who slammed the assignment as inappropriate.

Rabbi Cooper told FoxNews.com on Monday, “Whatever the motivation, it ends up elevating hate and history to the same level… We should train our kids to have critical thinking, but the problem here is the teacher confused teaching critical thinking with common sense, because common sense dictates you don’t comingle propaganda with common truth.”

The rabbi advised the district to instead assign students to research the issue of Holocaust denial and meet with local survivors of the Nazis.

The school district responded in a statement saying the interim superintendent will speak with its educational services department to “assure that any reference to the Holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken from any current or future argumentative research assignments. The Holocaust is and should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed,” the statement continues. “We believe in the words of George Santayana, ‘Those who cannot learn from history are bound to repeat it.”

The Los Angeles office of the Anti-Defamation League said it was satisfied with the district’s actions by Monday. “It is ADL’s general position that an exercise asking students to question whether the Holocaust happened has no academic value; it only gives legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust denial,” Associate Regional Director Matthew Friedman was quoted as saying, after having spoken with the interim superintendent on Friday.

“ADL does not have any evidence that the assignment was given as part of a larger, insidious, agenda,” a blog post quoting Friedman continues. “Rather, the district seems to have given the assignment with an intent, although misguided, to meet Common Core standards relating to critical learning skills.”

In a number of European countries today — including Germany — Holocaust denial is a criminal offense for which one can be sentenced to prison. The Nazis exterminated six million Jews out of a total of some 11 million victims murdered between 1933 and 1945, in the Holocaust that took place prior to and during World War II. Some two-thirds of European Jewry was wiped out in the slaughter, which ended with the defeat of Nazi Germany by the U.S., UK and their Allies.

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.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/nearly-half-the-dutch-believe-israel-trying-to-exterminate-arabs/2014/02/14/

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