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August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Simon Wiesenthal Center’

PI-INOs (Pro-Israel In Name Only) Continue to Give Cover to Obama

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama held two meetings with American Jews last week. They were the best of meetings, they were the worst of meetings. In reverse order.

The worst part of the worst meeting – from the perspective of Americans who care about regional stability in the Middle East and the continued existence of the Jewish State – was an offer made by J Street-esque Jews who promised to “do the leg work” for Obama if he decides to remove the “veto protection of Israel” at the United Nations, as reported in the Algemeiner.

At the first meeting, the Jewish organization heads represented the concerns of pro-Israel Americans regarding this administration’s recent actions, particularly regarding steps to allow Iran to come out from under the yoke of international sanctions regarding its nuclear program.

Participants in this meeting included representatives from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the World Jewish Congress, The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, AIPAC, B’nai Brith, the ADL, the Jewish Federations, representatives of the three major streams of Judaism, and partisan and leftist groups such as the National Jewish Democratic Council, the Israel Policy Forum, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, J Street and the National Council of Jewish Women, according to the JTA.

At the second meeting, the one with those who claim to be pro-Israel when it suits them, but who are first, last and always pro-Democratic party policies (we’ll call them PI-INOs: Pro-Israel In Name Only), encouraged Obama in his belief that he “is a member of the tribe” because they, like he, understand his far-leftist orientation to be really a form of Social Justice Judaism.

Those present at this meeting included major Jewish Democratic party donors and fundraisers, including ones associated with AIPAC and J Street. They included the Israeli-American Haim Saban, who is believed to be, unlike others present, at least somewhat critical of Obama’s Middle East policies.

But a theme, originally laid out in a lengthy, glowing New York Times magazine about J Street when it was first launched, was played out again at this second meeting. This theme is, at least for those most closely associated with J Street, they serve as Obama’s “blocking back” for American Jews, presenting his adverse position on matters typically of great concern to American Jews, softening up the crowd, and taking the initial body slams.

Obama was encouraged, according to sources present at the meeting who shared what transpired with the Algemeiner, to “take steps against Israel and remain steadfast in his approach to Iran negotiations.” A “J Streeter” went so far as to have “pushed Obama to remove the veto protection of Israel at the UN in the event that a Security Council resolution called for the creation of a Palestinian State.”

This “J Streeter” reportedly said “if you decide to go against Israel at the UN, ‘let us know first, and we’ll do the legwork for you in the community.” The conversation described at least that participant as actively pushing the president to work against Israel’s concerns on the world stage.

Another participant at this second meeting reportedly encouraged Obama to continue with his negotiations with Iran and remain firm against Congress’s efforts to intervene.

The president later changed course on the Congressional initiative known as the Corker bill, fueling speculation that it actually ended up being a net positive for the administration’s efforts. There are conflicting views that the administration caved because it recognized a tidal wave was going to wash over them anyway, but careful analysts such as former U.S. Naval intelligence officer J.E. Dyer suggest that is too optimistic a view.

Wiesenthal Center Urges US to Reconsider PA Funding After ICC Move

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

A day after the Palestinians failed to gain the support of the UN Security Council to set a date for Israeli withdrawal and Palestinian Statehood, the Palestinian Authority is pursuing another path to gain recognition as a state without negotiating with the Jewish state by seeking to make itself a party to the International Criminal Court.

“Once again President Abbas has signaled the world that he refuses to do any of the heavy lifting of a true peace builder,” said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, Dean and Founder and Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO. “Court Israel, not the ICC to get a Palestinian State,” they added.

“Further, Mr. Abbas and his cronies, in the Palestinian Authority as well as Hamas and its leadership are in for a surprise,” the Rabbis said, adding, “While they pursue phony charges of war crimes against Israel, they themselves will have to wait behind a long line of thousands of bereaved families whose lives were destroyed by Palestinian terrorists as well as face charges of incitement to genocide.”

“The Wiesenthal Center urges the appropriate U.S. Committees in the Senate and House to convene hearings as soon as possible to discuss the impact on U.S. funding of the PA in light of Abbas’ move,” Hier and Cooper concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

Nazi Hunter Declares Eichmann Aide Alois Brunner Dead

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

One of the world’s top Nazi hunters has declared that Alois Brunner, a fugitive long sought for his leading role in the Holocaust, is likely dead.

Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, told the Sunday Express magazine in an article published Sunday that the Wiesenthal Center had received a tip in 2010 from a former German intelligence officer that Brunner, a key lieutenant to Adolf Eichmann, had died and was buried in Damascus, Syria.

Zuroff said that the Syrian civil war has made it impossible to verify the death but, given that Brunner would have turned 102 this year and the reliability of the intelligence source, the Wiesenthal Center had concluded that Brunner was most likely dead and thus removed him from this year’s list of wanted fugitives.

Zuroff confirmed the information in an email to JTA.

The Wiesenthal Center did not announce either its receipt of the 2010 tip or its decision to remove Brunner from the list. Zuroff told The New York Times that the issue never came up until the Sunday Express inquired.

Eichmann, the architect of the “Final Solution,” described Brunner as his “best man,” according to the Express. Zuroff told the Times that Brunner supervised the deportation to death camps of 47,000 Jews from Austria, 44,000 from Greece, 23,500 from France and 14,000 from Slovakia.

After World War II, Brunner evaded capture by the Allies, who mistakenly tried and hanged a fellow officer for his crimes, and made his way to Syria. He was tried and sentenced to death by France in absentia. In Syria, he reportedly lived in Damascus and advised Syrian dictator Hafez Assad — some believe on torture methods, according to the BBC.

In a 1985 interview with the West German newsweekly Bunte, Brunner said that his only regret from the war was that he did not kill more Jews. He also reportedly said in the interview that he had rented a room from a Jewish family in Egypt and that they were “quite nice people, really.”

 

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.

Pro-‘Palestine’ Students at Temple U Blame Victim for Altercation

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

A pro-Israel Jewish student was assaulted by a pro-‘Palestine’ student during Temple Fest at Temple University in Philadelphia yesterday, Aug. 20. Except that, according to the pro-‘Palestine’ students, the Jewish student harassed and provoked them.

Temple Fest is the event held for new Temple students to become acquainted with the school’s wide diversity of activities and organizations on campus. The myriad organizations set up tables at which literature is distributed and at which members of the organizations describe to new students why they should be interested in becoming members.

Daniel Vessal, a new CAMERA on Campus fellow, claimed that after he attempted to speak to a group of students at the Students for Justice in Palestine table, he was verbally and then physically assaulted. He said he was punched in the face by one of the students at the SJP table, and that others seated there yelled anti-Semitic taunts such as “kike” and “Zionist pig.”

SJP STATEMENT

The SJP’s long, rambling, and at times incoherent statement described what happened as an “unfortunate incident.” It claimed that Vessal is a “former student” (he is a current student) and said that the student who struck Vessal is “not a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.”

Although it states “Temple SJP condones this act of physical violence,” it appears from the context that the SJP meant to write, at least, the opposite.

SJP took the position that Vessal was the one who was not interested in “constructive debate,” claiming he “objected to SJP’s very existence and constitutional right to free speech and assembly.” It is their contention that Vessal was harassing them, saying that the SJP “support terrorism and other racist anti-Palestinian statements.”

It also claimed that SJP relies on civil disobedience and nonviolent protest and “does not infringe on the civil rights of other people, including those who disagree with SJP’s beliefs.” There are many who would take issue with that statement, including the four pro-Israel students who were summarily ejected from a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions lecture at Brooklyn College, based on false claims by an SJP leader who lied about their being disruptive and rude.

According to Temple ’14 SJP student Samantha Pinto, who claimed to be an eyewitness, “this guy wanted to start trouble and insult us. He was calling all Palestinians terrorists and calling us stupid.”

Pinto continued: “I heard him say Israel is not occupying Palestine, but that Palestinians are occupying Gaza. I started laughing at the sheer absurdity because Palestinians are indigenous to Gaza and also unable to leave because of the inhumane siege Israel has maintained since 2007.

“I heard him say ‘You’re sitting here laughing like idiots!’ He aggressively moved closer to me as he said this. It was then that “B,” who is not an SJP member, slapped Vessal. His sunglasses fell to the ground, but he did not,” Pinto said.

Finally, the SJP statement denies vehemently that any anti-Semitic slurs were used. As support for their contention that SJP members did not use such verbal assaults, the group pointed out that SJP has collaborated with Jewish Voice for Peace (a virulently anti-Israel organization), and that there are Jewish members of SJP.

The student who allegedly “slapped” Vessal, said he was “sorry” for what he did,” and admitted he lost his temper, but claimed he did it because Vessal “kept saying ‘you’re protesting for terrorists,  your whole table is pro-terrorist information.”

Temple University officials state the matter is under investigation.

“There were upwards of several hundred people” at Temple Fest on Wednesday,” Ray Betzner, Temple’s Associate Vice President for Executive Communications told The Jewish Press on Thursday.

A Frank Discussion With The UN Secretary-General

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Last week two delegations, one from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the other from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, sat down for a 90-minute meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon in his office for an open and frank discussion about the latest war in Gaza ignited by Hamas.

Anyone who has met Mr.Ban knows he is a person with deep respect for Jewish values. A former foreign minister of a country (South Korea) with neighbors like North Korea, Communist China, and Russia, he reiterated to the 11 Jewish leaders in the room – including Malcolm Hoenlein, Abraham Foxman, and leaders from Bnai Brith and Hadassah – that “I understand very well Israel’s security concerns.”

The secretary-general and his team took notes as we outlined the Jewish world’s deep concerns:

  • The audacity of the UN Human Rights Council in appointing a commission to investigate the Israeli incursion into Gaza without ever mentioning the name Hamas, which is the only reason Israel had to (re)act in Gaza.

Legal experts we consulted listed at least 19 violations of international law by Hamas, including crimes against humanity victimizing both Israelis and Palestinians.

We have no doubt the current commission will attempt to outdo the outrages of the original Goldstone Report, an investigation so fatally flawed that it was later disowned by Judge Goldstone himself.

Heading the new legal lynching is a Canadian jurist who previously urged that former president Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu be put on trial.

  • Why, we asked the secretary-general, wasn’t the Human Rights Council investigating the underground terror tunnels whose sole purpose was to kidnap Israelis and launch a mega-terrorist strike on Rosh Hashanah?
  • How is it, we asked, that UNRWA, the UN agency mandated to help Palestinian “refugees,” would allow its facilities to house Hamas rockets and then return them to the terror group when word got out? Why didn’t any of the thousands of UNRWA employees who know exactly from where Hamas is firing rockets inform the secretary-general that Hamas was violating international law by situating its launchers in heavily populated neighborhoods, sometimes just a few meters from UN facilities, in order to attack Israeli civilians?

We didn’t accept the secretary-general’s explanation that UNRWA is not there to make political statements; after all, during the fighting UNRWA officials repeatedly gave interviews to the international media criticizing Israel’s actions.

We suggested to Mr. Ban that he himself had crossed a line with his rush to judgment in characterizing Israel’s attack on a UN school as “criminal,” when it wasn’t at all clear who was responsible for the attack.

  • Why, we wanted to know, does he insist that 75 percent of the Palestinian casualties in Gaza were civilian, when Israel has provided the names and ages of 900 Hamas terrorists killed in the conflict?
  • And why does he criticize Israel for “disproportionality” when it is confronted with Hamas’s strategy of weaving its military and terror infrastructure in heavily populated civilian areas with many mosques and hospitals?

We pointed out that if these new “rules” had been in place at the end of World War II, Winston Churchill and the president of the United States would have been the leaders put on trial at Nuremberg.

  • The secretary-general was also asked how it was that UNICEF, an organization devoted to protecting children – and one heavily supported by Jewish philanthropy for 50 years – condemned Israel for targeting children when in fact the opposite was true.
  • We raised the issue with Mr. Ban of the toxic attacks on Jews in Europe, Australia, and the Americas and urged him to take all necessary measures to ensure that the next UN General Assembly, which meets during the High Holy Days, doesn’t turn into another hate-fest against Jews.
  • Finally, we told the secretary-general that if the rights of democratic countries to respond to naked aggression against their citizens are further curtailed, the only winners of future wars will be the terrorists.

Overall, the Jewish leaders were quite disappointed with many of the points the secretary-general offered in response.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-frank-discussion-with-the-un-secretary-general/2014/08/20/

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