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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

San Francisco Bus Ad Defends BDS

Monday, August 15th, 2016

The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC) has launched a new ad on buses in San Francisco with the slogan “Boycott Israel Until Palestinians Have Equal Rights.” The ad is not clear as to which Palestinians are bereft of those equal rights: are they the ones being repressed by Hamas that steals their charity funds, diverting them to luxury homes for Hamas bigwigs and to terror tunnels aimed at kidnapping and murdering Israeli civilians? Are they the ones struggling to make it under an incompetent, corrupt PLO-run Palestinian Authority, that hasn’t run a national election in almost ten years? Or are they Israeli Arabs, with a representation in the Knesset that matches their 20% of the population, democratic freedoms and access to higher education? Or is it too much to ask a bus ad for specifics?

The ambiguous bus ad will run for four weeks, according to a SeaMAC press release. The ad includes the slogan “Stop Anti-Boycott Legislation” and features a list of historic boycotts, including the Boston Tea Party, segregated buses in Montgomery in 1956, and South Africa’s apartheid regime.

“Advocates for Israel’s apartheid are trying to persuade state and national legislatures to outlaw the right to boycott against social injustice in Israel,” said Edward Mast, volunteer board member of SeaMAC. Of course, Israel does not have an apartheid system — the Arab member of the Supreme Court would never approve of it, nor would the thousands of Arab students in Israel’s universities, thousands of Arab doctors and lawyers, and Israeli Arabs from all walks of life who participate in a free Israeli society. It’s not a problem-free society, but compared to the neighborhood it is pretty impressive.

Mast, however, sees attempts to seek legal means of stopping his campaign of lies as an “attack on free speech … one more example of demanding special treatment for the State of Israel.”

SeaMAC ran the slogan “Boycott Israel Until Palestinians Have Equal Rights” on buses in Washington, D.C. and three other cities in 2015, but the same ad was taken off a billboard in Chicago. in early 2016. SeaMAC has also been blocked from running anti-Israel bus ads in Seattle, Washington.

David Israel

New Fund to Support Pro-Israel Activists

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

The Kadima Fund, a bottom-up online resource center for grass roots pro-Israel initiatives, has just been launched, and it’s been a long time coming.

When the entirely one-sided, anti-Israel play “My Name is Rachel Corrie” came to Seattle in the spring of 2007, there was no formal group to respond to the lies told about the Jewish state in the play.

A number of local pro-Israel residents protested about the falsehoods in the play, but the theater company turned a deaf ear. That was the catalyst for an idea that took root in the mind of Nevet Basker, an Israeli-born Seattle resident, to create the brand-new Kadima Fund.

“A group slowly came together, tried various approaches, and eventually created a fact sheet about Israel and the truth about what happened with Rachel Corrie,” Basker told the JewishPress.com

That group of volunteers had to cobble together the data, create a schedule so people would be at each performance handing out the additional information, “providing context,” to all of those who went to see the Rachel Corrie play. This loose-knit group also created a website as a repository for the information they gathered, so that others who wanted to do something if the play came to their towns and cities did not have to re-invent the wheel.

That experience, nearly a decade ago, has now given birth to the Kadima Fund.

“There are many more people who care about Israel than those who hate Israel. But the haters, though few in numbers, have passion on their side. Anti-Israel advocates ignore and reject plain truth and decency, engaging instead in biased, discriminatory, and slanderous campaigns. They are indifferent to the destructive effect their efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel have on the institutions and communities they target,” said Basker, the Kadima Fund’s executive director.

And, it is, finally, true that there are many excellent organizations across the United States whose goal is to help create and foster a pro-Israel voice across the country.” But still, the reality is that most of those organizations trip over each other in certain cities and on certain campuses, while the vast majority of communities and campuses remain unserved. It is in those places – the interstices – that the Kadima Fund can be a god-send.

The Kadima Fund will help individuals and small groups promote a positive image for Israel and counter hateful anti-Israel propaganda. It will enables activists to connect with and support each other.

How?

The Kadima Fund will offer advice, materials, contacts, professional resources, financial assistance, and other support to pro-Israel Activists in local, grassroots Initiatives. Basker describes the project as an “incubator” or perhaps imagine it as an ‘angel fund,” but one that provides more than just money. It will offer advice, materials, contacts, professional resources and other support, including financial assistance, to pro-Israel activists in local, grassroots initiatives.

Examples of what it will be able to help individuals or small groups to do is counter hateful anti-Israel propaganda, including boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts and the broader campaign to delegitimize Israel. It also supports proactive Initiatives that promote a positive image for Israel, including showcasing Israeli culture, people, innovations, and accomplishments.

It will also, in turn, create a vast network of “best practices” for responding to the negative and promoting the positive information about Israel, the former of which seems ubiquitous, while the latter is hard to find and harder to share.

Basker said she’s been talking about the idea behind the Kadima Fund for years, but was never able to interest any of the already-existing organizations to take on the concept. She said she was frustrated, because she knew to a certainty that there was need for such a project. In the meantime, Basker has been educating about Israel. She created and runs BroaderView, an online Israel Resource Center, and speaks, writes and acts as advisor on policies about modern-day Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

ZIM Chicago Unloads in Seattle

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

The ZIM ship Chicago unloaded in the Port of Seattle without problems, despite 70 BDS supporters showing up on site to protest, picket and #BlockTheBoat.

Workers ignored the protesters who tried to harass them, and police were on hand to keep the foul-mouthed BDS thugs under control. One protester was arrested.

#BDSFail

H/T Mike Report

Jewish Press News Briefs

BDS Agitators Fail in ‘Rachel Corrie Country’

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

It’s been a rough day for Palestinian supporters: Yet another unversity-based divestment attempt failed dismally at the University of Washington at the same time as an Israeli court was set to rule on the latest appeal in the decade-long legal saga of local girl Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old activist who was crushed by an IDF bulldozer in 2003 when she made the mistake of standing in front of it.

Corrie, a member of the radical, terror-supporting International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was killed while serving as a human shield in a closed military area in the Gaza Strip, near the border with Egypt.  She refused to comply with IDF instructions to vacate the area, and was then crushed to death by a military bulldozer in Gaza  because the soldier driving the bulldozer could not see her from where he was seated, high up in the cab.

For the past eleven years, her parents have pursued a lawsuit in Israel’s courts to have her death declared a murder, something Israeli courts have repeatedly refused to do. Today (Wednesday) the Supreme Court will rule on the family’s  appeal of a lower court ruling absolving the IDF of culpability for the incident.

IN 2011 a lower court ruled the IDF was not negligent, nor was it responsible for Corrie’s death. Moreover, the court ruled the IDF had fully and credibly investigated the circumstances surrounding the incident. By entering a closed military zone, and attempting to block the work of military bulldozers, Corrie was responsible for her own death, the court ruled.

BDS keeps on kicking, despite rejections

Sources on campus described the UW boycott issue as one of the most heated campus debates in recent memory, with furious comments both for and against the resolution in the university’s Slog news website. “Intentional or not, BDS [movement] singles out Jews for treatment that no one else gets, even countries that behave far worse. You don’t think it would be practical to aim against Syria (hmm, when was the last time Israel gassed its own citizens?)?” responded one writer.

Ironically, the University of Washington is located not far from Rachel Corrie’s hometown of Olympia, Wash.

Following the UW campaign, The Jewish Press has learned that students at the University of South Florida are also pressuring the school’s foundation to divest from companies linked to Israeli companies based in Judea and Samaria. Students this month presented a petition with 10,000 signatures to the school’s foundation urging the school to divest from corporations such as Motorola, HP and Caterpillar.

Boycott supporters have not indicated whether-or-not they will stop using cellphone, computer and internet technologies, all of which were developed in Israel, to protest the “brutal oppression” of the world’s only “apartheid” victims with the right to vote, run for office and full access to Israel’s Supreme Court.

Hana Levi Julian

Black-Hat Black Rapper Ties the Knot in Double Wedding

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

A former black hip-hop rapper has completed, along with his wife, the conversion as Orthodox Jews and married – along with another black couple who converted- under the chupah in Seattle. The ceremony took place in March but has not been widely reported until now.

“D-Black” used to rap about the violence, gang activity and drugs of his African-American ’hood and now he is Nissim Black, who attends a Sephardi synagogue in Seattle and writes songs that he describes as rap/urban alternative that “speak a message of hope and inspiration.”

The shift in his musical message will be on full display with his new album, Nissim, due for release July 16.

The changes in his personal life were underscored earlier this year, when the 26-year-old musician was one of two grooms in a double Jewish wedding ceremony that became a community-wide project.

The story starts in 2008. Newlywed with an infant girl and then called Damian Black, he found himself at a crossroad after a friend was shot and killed at a nightclub where Black had been performing. Soon after, he lost his day job working with autistic children.

“I had a ton of questions and no answers,” Black recalls. There were questions about “religion, about God, about Christianity, about why aren’t Christians Jewish if Jesus was Jewish.”

Black began researching religion, reading about the Torah and begging his wife, Jamie, to study with him.

“We almost got a divorce,” he says. “We didn’t see eye to eye.”

But, the more she read, the more she, too, found herself attracted to Judaism, ultimately taking the Hebrew name Adina. “If this is something that can give me answers, I wanted it,” she says, adding that she felt like Judaism, unlike Christianity, welcomed questions. “It’s like a breath of fresh air.”

Adina began urging her younger sister  and best friend Sheree to study with them. Nissim and Sheree together pulled in Bradley Brown, Black’s close friend since kindergarten, fellow musician and Sheree’s future husband. They, too, have taken Hebrew names, Chana and Yosef.

By 2010, the two couples — each with two young children — had moved to an Orthodox enclave in Seattle’s Seward Park and were studying for conversion at Sephardic Bikur Cholim Congregation. Their conversions were finalized with visits to the mikveh, ritual bath, on Feb. 27. As is traditional with a conversion at the congregation involving someone already married, a Jewish wedding ceremony was next.

That’s when the four of them came under the wing of congregant Beth Balkany, who was determined to make the couples Jewish wedding celebrations they wouldn’t forget.

Under Balkany’s direction the double wedding became a community project. Through the local bridal “gemach,” a lending resource, she found gowns that required just hems for each of the women. Nissim and Yosef provided a playlist for the DJ. A couple getting married the previous day donated their flowers. The caterer donated his time,  and the photographer did the same.

Someone contributed money for a videographer; someone else makeup for the brides.

Balkany pulled off a sit-down dinner for 170 people, and Rabbi Simon Benzaquen officiated at the two separate ceremonies, with his wife, Cecilia, walking each bride down the aisle.

The guests came not only from their congregation, but also from Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath, the Seattle Kollel and Ezra Bessaroth, Seattle’s other Sephardic synagogue.

“We had no idea that it was going to be as big and as fabulous as it was,” Adina says.

Her sister Chana added, “The love you felt in the room – it was just amazing.”

JTA

Savaged for Daring to Name Savagery: Pamela Geller Attacked by Critics of Free Speech

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Pamela Geller, conservative commentator and blogger provocateur, is the executive director of the American Freeedom Defense Initiative.  AFDI created and paid for an ad campaign to run in several urban transit systems, in response to anti-Israel ads that ran in the same spaces.

The AFDI ads contain a paraphrase from the philosopher Ayn Rand: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.”  It concludes with: “Support Israel.  Defeat Jihad.”

The ads are already running on the sides of San Francisco buses, they began running today, September 24th, in New York City, and they were scheduled to begin appearing in the Washington, D.C. metro system.  However, the DC system balked, citing the violent rioting by Muslims allegedly inflamed by a YouTube video which presents an unflattering view of Mohammad, so Geller initiated an emergency court action at the end of last week to enforce her First Amendment rights.

Because there is so much misinformation both about Geller and her ad, The Jewish Press asked her to explain what her ad means, why it is scheduled to run this week, what the responses to it have been and, most importantly, why she continues to express her views so publicly, when she is repeatedly condemned by virtually the entire spectrum of mainstream media and even by other Jewish and pro-Israel groups.

First, let’s get the chronology and the geography straight.

2010, Seattle

In late 2010, in Seattle, Washington, anti-Israel groups sought to run advertisements on the side of municipal buses reading: “Israeli War Crimes: Your tax dollars at work. Stop30billion-Seattle.org.”  Just before the anti-Israel ads were about to go up, the county executive crafted a new policy banning all non-commercial advertisements.  The new policy enabled the municipality to reject not only the anti-Israel ad, but also two counter-ads that had been submitted, one of which was one proposed by Geller, the other one offered by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

September, 2011, New York

Last September, another series of anti-Israel ads went up in various transit systems including the one in New York City.  This ad shows two smiling dads – one Israeli, one “Palestinian,” with their young daughters.  The ad copy: “Be on our side.  We’re on the side of peace and Justice.  End U.S. military aid to Israel.” In other words, American tax dollars is being used to support Israeli militancy and injustice.  These ads ran in 18 NYC subway stops for a month, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

That same month, Geller’s organization, AFDI, submitted the anti-Jihad ad.  The MTA refused to run it, claiming the ad violated its advertising standards because it “demeans[s] an individual or group of individuals.”  AFDI claimed that rejection violated the U.S. Constitution. On September 227, 2011, AFDI, Pamela Geller, and AFDI’s  associate director, Robert Spencer, filed suit against the MTA claiming that the transit agency’s no-demeaning standard constitutes “viewpoint discrimination” and is unconstitutional and therefore the MTA’s rejection of AFDI’s ad unlawfully restricted their free speech.

September 2012, New York

On July 20, 2012, Judge Englemayer, the federal district court judge in New York before whom the matter was heard, ruled that the MTA’s  prohibition on “demeaning” language is unconstitutional and the ad must run.  Significantly, the court ruled that

the AFDI Ad is not only protected speech—it is core political speech. The Ad expresses AFDI’s pro-Israel perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, and implicitly calls for a pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy with regard to that conflict. The AFDI Ad is, further, a form of response to political ads on the same subject that have appeared in the same space.   As such, the AFDI Ad is afforded the highest level of protection under the First Amendment.

While AFDI was the victor in the case, Judge Engelmayer threw more than a few crumbs to the ad’s opponents.

For example, there was a fundamental disagreement over the use of the term “savage” – Geller claims it refers only to those committing acts of barbarism against innocent victims in the name of Islam.  Judge Englemayer, however, held that a reasonable person could conclude the term referred simply to Muslims.

What’s more, the judge practically wrote a recipe for the MTA to follow for rewriting its advertising policy so that a ban on an ad like AFDI’s could, in the future be upheld by a court.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Seattle LGBT to Visiting Israeli Homosexuals: Gay Aveck!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

In the solidarity business, life can be unpredictable. Take, for instance, the story of the LGBT commission representing the gay community in the city government of Seattle, which this month canceled a Friday reception at City Hall for a visiting delegation of Israeli gay leaders.

The Seattle Times reported that the commission had initially planned to host the meeting, which was requested by the six-member Israeli delegation. The same delegation was also visiting San Francisco and Los Angeles, exchanging “ideas on advancing gay rights.” The Israelis had been made to feel welcome in SF and LA, but in Seattle – not so much.

There was a raucous meeting of gay officials on the Thursday prior to the scheduled visit in Seattle, and a tiny but very loud group were making the case that Israel was “pinkwashing” its horrible treatment of the Palestinians by showing the world how fabulous it is on gay rights.

This is the most creative argument I’ve heard in a while, making the absurd case that the more tolerant and accepting Israel is of its gay citizens, the more vicious it is to others. Remember, it came from the folks who gave us the idea of the “homophobe,” which suggests that if you object to homosexuality it’s because, deep inside, you are homosexual yourself, and the more you object, the deeper your suppressed deviation goes.

The “pinkwashing” concept was likely the brainchild of transsexual, Seattle University law professor Dean Spade, who dubbed the gay delegation’s visit “apartheid and occupation” wrapped in the rainbow flag.

As a result of the very loud objection of very few participants, the commission, which is an important player in the political life of the city of Seattle, canceled the next day’s meeting with the Israelis, because it wasn’t ready to deal with “such complex topics.”

And other scheduled meetings of the Israeli delegation, in Tacoma and in Olympia, were cancelled or pushed off as well.

Members of the delegation told the Times they were shocked. They issued a statement saying: “We expected from the Seattle LGBTQ Commission a strong declaration of its intent to support all LGBTQ activists, regardless of their color, sex or national origin. Sadly, it appears that the commission, representing a minority that continues to face discrimination, also practices that same discrimination.”

There was one righteous voice in the bunch, Wider Bridge, a California-based gay Jewish organization which was promoting the delegation’s visit, and stuck by it. Its representatives told the Times: “The truth is that Israel is a good place to be LGBT, and it is so because there are countless people within Israel doing amazing, courageous work every day … saving lives, including the lives of young LGBTQ Palestinians who often have nowhere else to turn.”

This was backed up by Avner Dafni, executive director of Israeli Gay Youth (IGY), who stated: “In the Palestinian territories, a youth who goes to a gay party can be killed by his own family. Israeli LGBT organizations are often the only places gay or lesbian Palestinians can turn to.”

And gay Jewish activist Robert Wilkes wrote: “Israeli gays or lesbians in Israel are protected from discrimination by law and by the high moral standards of the culture and society. In some respects, Israel is more accommodating to gays and lesbians than we are. For example, the gay partner of a deceased Israeli soldier gets the same benefits as a widow, unlike partners of servicemen and women in the U.S.”

But Stefanie Fox, Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, wrote: “Many of us actively support LGBTQ friends and relatives in Israel and their struggle to live a life free of discrimination, but advances for Jews have not affected Palestinians living under occupation, including those who are LGBTQ, who suffer from discrimination, persecution, restriction, and daily threats of violence from Israel.”

And don’t you go confusing us with the facts, young man…

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/seattle-lgbt-to-visiting-israeli-homosexuals-gay-aveck/2012/03/27/

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