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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘silence’

Our Anti-Semitism Ambassador’s Curious Silence Over Attacks On Jewish Holy Sites

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

When Jewish holy sites in Europe or South America are desecrated, the U.S. government’s special envoy for combating Anti-Semitism issues angry denunciations, calls urgent meetings, and sometimes even flies to the country in question to meet with the authorities.

But for some reason, he does not seem to exhibit the same sense of urgency in his response to Palestinian desecrations of Jewish holy sites.

The envoy is Ira N. Forman, formerly executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council and Jewish Outreach Director for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

I admire Ambassador Forman’s energy in challenging attacks on Jewish cemeteries and synagogues in Hungary and Argentina. I just wish he would show the same level of interest when Palestinians are involved.

Last week, arsonists – police suspect Palestinian terrorists – set fire to the Tomb of Avshalom and the Tomb of Yehoshafat. They are located at the Mount of Olives, in the eastern part of Jerusalem. The attack caused extensive damage. I have not heard any response from Forman to these latest outrages.

Throughout this past year there have been numerous Palestinian attacks on Jewish holy sites.

They have thrown bombs at the Tomb of Rachel, near PA-controlled Bethlehem.

They have assaulted Jews who were on their way to recite prayers at the tombs of Itamar and Elazar, in the PA town of Awarta.

They have tore down the mezuzah from the Cave of the Patriarchs, in Hebron.

They have thrown rocks and firebombs at Jews trying to pray at the Tomb of Joseph, in PA-controlled Nablus (Shechem).

They have thrown rocks from the Temple Mount at Jews visiting the Western Wall below.

Does anybody remember the elderly Jewish woman who was struck in the head by one of those rocks, on June 28? Or has she already been forgotten?

David Weinberg, writing in the Jerusalem Post in 2011, reported that the PA “has allowed villagers to encroach upon the important synagogue remains in Eshtemoa in the southern Mount Hebron area” and is permitting Palestinian real estate developers “to build practically atop” the ancient Naaran synagogue, in PA-controlled Tulul Abu el Alayiq.

That evokes painful memories of the Jordanians bulldozing hundreds of ancient Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives between 1949 and 1967 and building roads on top of them.

Ambassador Forman’s report on anti-Semitism around the world each year is included in the State Department’s annual country-by-country report on “International Religious Freedom.” The most recent report contains some scattered references to Palestinian attacks on Jewish worshippers or religious sites. But they tend to be couched in ambiguous or rationalizing language.

For example, the Palestinian attackers are characterized as “protesters” and “Muslim worshippers,” and their assaults are described as “clashes.” When Forman writes about Palestinians attacking Jews at the Tomb of Joseph, he says they “reportedly” threw rocks, seemingly going out of his way to inject an element of doubt.

Forman’s report also includes this incredible passage: “Palestinian youths reportedly committed arson and vandalism against the Mount of Olives cemetery, the Pitchei Olam Synagogue, and Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank. Because religion and ethnicity are often closely linked, it was difficult to categorize many incidents as being solely based on religious identity.”

What differences does it make if the Palestinian attacks are motivated partly by “ethnicity” and partly by “religious identity”? Does Forman really think the attackers sit around, discussing the fine points of such distinctions? Why won’t the ambassador simply acknowledge that Palestinians who attack Jewish worshippers and Jewish religious sites hate Jews?

Equally troubling is Forman’s failure to acknowledge the connection between these attacks and the Palestinian Authority’s constant incitement to hatred and violence against Jews. It’s as if the Palestinians who burn down Jewish holy sites or stone Jewish worshippers are operating in some kind of a vacuum, insulated from the rest of Palestinian society. But they’re not. They’re surrounded, every day, by the incitement to anti-Semitism that saturates the official PA newspapers, television, radio, and schools.

I don’t want to speculate as to the motives behind Forman’s reluctance to confront Palestinian anti-Semitism. I simply want to plead with him: in your final few months in office, Mr. Ambassador, you will compile one last report on anti-Semitism around the world (covering the year 2016). Please: tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about Palestinian anti-Semitism.

Stephen M. Flatow

Amos Oz: Israelis Abroad Feel Better Because of ‘Breaking the Silence’

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Author Amos Oz said that one of the things that allow Israelis to feel good about themselves outside Israel are organizations such as Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, and Peace Now. According to Oz, those who throw rocks at Breaking the Silence are the heirs of those who threw rocks at the prophets of Israel in biblical times. Oz spoke at an unofficial Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, ceremony that awarded a prize to Breaking the Silence.

When University President Prof. Rivka Carmi decided in June to cancel giving the Berelson Yitzhak Rabin Award for increasing the understanding between Jews and Arabs award to the controversial group, the general consensus in Israel was that Breaking the Silence had lost its legitimacy and credibility because it transformed from being invested in airing and fixing irregularities committed by the IDF to becoming yet another force attacking Israel in the foreign media. It also no longer provided the IDF with the evidence it collected, relying strictly on anonymous testimonies.

According to NGO Monitor, Breaking the Silence receives around $1 million annually in donations from Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Trocaire (Ireland), Dan Church Aid (Denmark), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Christian Aid (UK), Switzerland, France, CCFD (France), Medico International (Germany), Misereor (Germany), AECID (Spain), EU, ICCO (Netherlands), Norway, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Open Society Institute, and the New Israel Fund.

The group’s literature and videos have been cited numerous times by groups and individuals supporting the BDS movement and perpetrating on-campus anti-Israeli activities in Europe and the US.

A group of university lecturer on Monday gave Breaking the Silence its own crowd-funded award of roughly $5,000, in a ceremony that was conducted under heavy security in a school auditorium. A group of students who protested the award, citing a 500-name petition signed by their peers, were asked to leave. Amos Oz, the keynote speaker, said, “I ask myself why such organizations raise such hostility in so many people,” and mused that “people want to feel good, and Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem don’t let them feel good.”

Oz then compared these groups with other historical groups who were called traitors only to turn up as humanity’s guides. “Even Herzl, who said ‘If you will it, it would not be a fairytale,’ was called a traitor,” Oz said, declaring: “When I’m called a traitor, I pick it off the floor and wear it on my lapel with honor.”

One of the students protesting outside the award ceremony said, “There’s a huge difference between criticism and slandering and delegitimizing Israel around the world.” He told Walla that to give an award to Breaking the Silence is “an illogical act of madness.”

JNi.Media

B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, to Collaborate with Anti-Israel NGO Sabeel

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Sabeel Colorado, a branch of the pro-BDS NGO Sabeel, is currently promoting its 2017 “Fact-Finding Trip” in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The trip “Highlights” will include meeting with the Israeli NGOs B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Machsom Watch, and Women in Black, NGO Monitor reported Friday. The Sabeel Colorado chapter has been conducting trips to Israel since 2011, and since 2014 have met with Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Machsom Watch, Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, Alternative Information Center, Women in Black, and Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Sabeel was founded in 1989 and is directed by Naim Ateek, former Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. It is based in Jerusalem and registered as a non-profit in Israel, receiving a significant portion of its funding from Christian aid societies in Europe. Its donors include Diakonia (Sweden), Kierk an Actie (the Netherlands), The Central Mennonite Committee (Canada), The Presbyterian Church in USA, The United Church of Christ, and FOSNA chapters in North America, UK, and Norway.

The following is an assessment of the case against Sabeel as a rabid anti-Israel and anti-Jewish organization

Sabeel is active in anti-Israel political campaigns and a leader of church divestment campaigns. It promotes the Kairos Palestine document, which denies the Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel. Sabeel director Naim Ateek has allegedly stated, “If the Jewish people had a right to a homeland it should be in Germany, not Palestine.” The Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), has attacked Christian Zionism as “a prime example of the misuse of the Bible to promote violence, racism and injustice,” based on “mistaken premises” that are “not authentic to the Bible.”

According to their website and Facebook page, Sabeel Colorado supports the BDS campaigns and publishes anti-Israel content. Mark Braverman, a member of FOSNA’s advisory board and frequent speaker at Sabeel events, has a record of making antisemitic statements, including saying that Zionism has hijacked and is killing Judaism; Christianity is more mature than Judaism; Advocating supercessionism and calling Jewish Theology a disaster; suggesting it is not Christian to support Israel; and accusing Jews of being isolationist and paranoid.

Sabeel claims that Palestinians represent a modern-day version of Jesus’ suffering, using “liberation theology,” supercessionist rhetoric and the concept of deicide to demonize Israel. Sabeel spokespeople, particularly founder Ateek, disparage Judaism as “tribal,” “primitive,” and “exclusionary,” while contrasting this to Christianity’s “universalism” and “inclusiveness.” Ateek has also used deicide imagery against Israel and referred to Jesus as a “Palestinian.”

JNi.Media

Day 3: Arab Peacemakers Still Imprisoned by Palestinian Authority; Human Rights Groups Silent

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Efrat Local Council head Oded Revivi says he’s concerned about the fate of four Palestinian Authority Arabs who were arrested and taken into custody on Thursday for the “crime” of visiting their Jewish neighbor’s sukkah.

The Arab visitors paid a visit on Wednesday to the Sukkah of Peace, an annual celebration of the Jewish Festival of Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles – in Gush Etzion, Judea, hosted by Revivi.

“Three days have passed and our visitors from Wadi Nies are still being held,” Revivi told JewishPress.com on Saturday night. “They have not been released from the Palestinian Authority prison.

“It’s not clear to us where they are or what their condition is. It bothers me to see that humanitarian organizations, human rights groups are not making any outcry about this situation.

“I’m also puzzled by the indifference of the Israeli media to the plight of these four Arabs, who simply expressed their desire for peaceful co-existence and good relations with their neighbors, and chanted slogans of peace.”

The celebration in the Sukkah of Peace attracted more than a hundred guests on Wednesday, and was an opportunity for Arab leaders from nearby Bethlehem and Hebron to mingle with senior IDF and Israeli Police officials, as well as others in the area.

Revivi told JewishPress.com he is trying to intervene on behalf of his Arab guests, but “the fact that human rights groups and Israeli media have taken no interest in this is very disturbing,” he said.

Hana Levi Julian

Arab Team Sued Over Fans’ Booing Shimon Peres’ Minute of Silence [video]

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Nir Reshef, an attorney for the Israeli soccer association, has decided not to overlook the behavior of some of the fans of Arab soccer team Maccabi Ahi Nazareth F.C. who booed during the minute of silence in memory of Israel’s 9th president, Shimon Peres, and sue their team, Israeli’s sports Channel 5 reported.

The game was a derby between the Arab team and its neighbor from the nearby Jewish Nazareth Illit.

The charge will likely be fan misconduct, an item that was added to the association’s rule book in 2007, when fans of Beitar Jerusalem booed during a minute of silence in memory of the late Yitzhak Rabin.

The Jerusalem team was punished at the time with two games that were played in an empty stadium, without fans, by a court of three judges, one of whom ruled against punishing the team arguing the fans had exercised their right to free speech. The team appealed to the Supreme Court which sided with the lower panel’s minority vote and revoked the punishment. As a result, the national soccer association amended its rules to include a prohibition on fan misconduct.

This time, when Maccabi Ahi Nazareth F.C. appeals to the high court, arguing for its fans’ right to free speech, as well as the fact that it cannot be assigned vicarious liability for fan behavior, the league can point to the rule book as a binding document.

Soccer association officials have told Channel 5 that “Ahi Nazareth must be punished severely,” pointing out that this most recent behavior took place during the week of the late president’s death, while the Jerusalem incident took place 12 years after Rabin’s murder.

David Israel

Ben Gurion U Donors to Stop Contributions over Canceled Prize to Breaking the Silence

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Donors who have given funds to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva have announced their intent to stop their donations in response to a decision by University President Professor Rivka Carmi to cancel a prize that was going to be awarded to Breaking the Silence, an organization that disseminates in Israel and abroad dubious testimonies by IDF veterans about “atrocities” they committed against Arabs.

According to Carmi, the organization is “not within the national consensus, and giving it the prize is liable to be interpreted as an appearance of political bias.”

Prof. Carmi is a pediatrician, and apparently knows well how to deal firmly with rotten children.

In a letter publicized by Israel Radio Tuesday morning, one of the donors, a Swiss resident, says Carmi’s decision is shameful and that he prefers to donate his money to democratic institutions.

Another donor reportedly demanded his family’s money back, saying that if Breaking the Silence is considered beyond the pale, so is his family’s donation.

Ben Gurion University responded with a statement saying these are donors who have long since stopped donating to the institution, and that the demand to return the money is not legal and brings shame on the families of said donors.

Prof. Carmi’s decision to cancel the $5,000 Berelson Prize awarded by BGU’s Middle East Studies Department, followed an announcement a month ago by department chairman Prof. Haggai Ram, who said, “We believe that advancing Jewish-Arab relations requires confronting the public with the truth of the occupation – which may not be pleasant to hear, but constitutes a fundamental condition for reconciliation between the two peoples.”

Meanwhile, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has just received $400 million from the estate of Dr. Howard and Lottie Marcus of San Diego, Ca. Lottie Marcus died last December at age 99, Howard in 2014 at age 104. The donation is the largest sum ever received by an Israeli university and may be the largest donation ever made to any Israeli institution.

And just so everybody would go away happy from this episode, the anti-Zionist New Israel Fund decided to award $20,000 to Breaking the Silence to compensate them for the lost award money from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

JNi.Media

Ben-Gurion University Sponsoring ‘Breaking the Silence’ Event (Updated)

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Note to the reader: The following story was sent to us today by our friends at Im Tirtzu. Later in the day we received an irate email from Ehud Zion-Waldoks who does Media Relations for BGU. To stay fair to everyone, we posted his email at the end of the story.

Ben-Gurion University (BGU) will sponsor a conference titled, “Breaking the Silence through the Ages and Now…” in late May. Publicized as an official event of BGU, the event is in clear violation of the Council for Higher Education of Israel’s decision to prohibit any attempt to politicize academia, says the Im Tirtzu rightwing organization, noting that the vast majority of the conference participants are political activists affiliated with the radical, anti-Zionist Left.

Meirav, a student in BGU’s Department of Politics and Government, noted that one of the professors in her department had sent an invitation to the students to attend the conference. “It saddens me to see how time after time the University can sink to a point where it voices explicit support for a radical organization that acts against IDF soldiers,” Meirav said.

Amichai, an archeology student at BGU was also furious after hearing about the event: “It pains and deeply troubles me that BGU, specifically the Department of Jewish History, chose to organize an event in ‘honor’ of ‘Breaking the Silence,’ an organization that supports and fuels the boycotts against the State of Israel and IDF soldiers. Just last year the University’s president, Rivka Carmi, said that she wants to fight against the boycott movement and feels sorry for the University’s professors who have suffered from it. But now she is giving a platform to a radical organization. We are not ready to have this event and will fight it. It is a disgrace that our university is providing them with a platform to spread their lies about Israel.”

In a letter sent by Im Tirtzu CEO, Matan Peleg, to the University’s administration, he demanded that the event be cancelled. “Ben-Gurion University’s sponsorship of this event constitutes as the support of a publicly funded institution for an anti-Zionist political organization that deals with defaming the State of Israel and IDF soldiers in Israel and in the world, backed by foreign government funding.”

In the letter, which he also sent to the Education Minister and to the Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, Peleg stated that “by standing together with the foreign agent organization ‘Breaking the Silence,’ the University forms a common front with those who bolster the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, thus legitimizing the industry of lies against Israel.”

Peleg emphasized that “the list of participants in the conference speaks for itself – two leading members of ‘Breaking the Silence’ (Yuli Novak and Nadav Weiman) will be speaking alongside various radical Left lecturers and activists who have signed petitions supporting those refusing to serve in the IDF and petitions calling for international pressure to be exerted on Israel. On top of this, the University’s rector will be providing the opening address.

“David Ben-Gurion is turning over in his grave. The University that was named after him has transformed into a blatant supporter of ‘Breaking the Silence,’ and in turn strengthens not only the phenomenon of internal delegitimization backed by foreign funding, but also the worldwide boycott movement against Israel.”

 


 

The conference is an academic one organized by the Department of Jewish History entitled “Whistleblowing Through the Ages and Today”. The full program can be found here: http://in.bgu.ac.il/Pages/events/Breaking-Silence.aspx

The conference will address historical and current aspects of whistle blowing. Several of the leading researchers in Israel will take part in the conference which will discuss various aspects of the phenomenon: literature, history, philosophy, and art.

The conference will be comprised of three sessions: “Ancient Times and the Middle Ages (Socrates and Galileo)

In Modern Times in France (Zola and Sartre), Germany (Thomas Mann), the United States (the Jewish minority and McCarthyism), and Israel (Natan Alterman and Yishayahu Leibowitz).

An additional lecture will be devoted to Eugène Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros.

All of the academics who will be speaking are leading researchers and the topic of the conference is central to their research.

An additional session on the topic of the current Israeli discourse will feature representatives of various viewpoints alongside academics, among these representatives will be Yair Sheleg and Dror Eydar.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a pluralistic academic institution, which promotes and enables an open and diverse dialogue and does not seek to espouse a particular political viewpoint.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ben-gurion-university-sponsoring-breaking-the-silence-event/2016/05/18/

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