web analytics
October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

Gambling Chicago Reform Rabbi Loses Pulpit

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Back in 2011, Reform Rabbi Michael Sternfield, spiritual leader of Chicago’s Sinai congregation, was charged with trespassing and identity deception at an Indiana casino, after scoring a video poker royal flush and $10,000 jackpot, the Chicago Tribune reports. But soon after the bells started ringing and the lights flashing, it turned out that Sternfield was a persona non grata at the casino.

In fact, six years earlier, Sternfield himself had asked to be banished from the casino because of a longtime but secret gambling problem.

According to the Tribune, the incident—prominent rabbi kicked out of casino—coupled with Sternfield’s denial after leaders of his Chicago Sinai Congregation asked about it, resulted in said leaders insisting that he resign quietly a month ago, without the benefit of explaining himself to the congregation.

Apparently, his explanation came in the form of a good bye letter saying it was “time to retire.”

“The bottom line is my heart wasn’t in it any more,” Sternfield told the Tribune back in August, adding that he has begun to question the value of organized religion in recent years.

On the eve of the high holiday? seriously?

Temple President Michael Mannis said Sternfield’s resignation was a big loss for Chicago Sinai, but refused to discuss this “confidential matter,” says the Tribune. But rank and file folks would not buy any of it.

Back in August, the same Michael Mannis told the Tribune: “The method of saying farewell is being decided. We’ll have a way to accomplish that. We’d like to work together to make it meaningful for all.”

Departure is such a crapshoot, isn’t it?

“No one retires right before the High Holy Days,” Rick Fizdale, 74, told the Tribune, “I found that excuse absurd.” Then he added with the hint of a threat: “We feel slightly less of a gravitational pull toward the synagogue because he’s not there.”

Do you really dump your rabbi—of 20 years—because he’s had a relapse? Public life is nasty, brutish and short over at the Reform rabbinate…

Sternfield’s life of service has been colorful, to say the least. In 1993, Sternfield confessed to a brief affair with a younger rabbi while serving at a prominent synagogue in San Diego. he told the LA Times: “I am here to confess to the worst sin I ever committed in my life. This, for me, is Yom Kippur.”

The Central Conference of American Rabbis temporarily suspended Sternfield from working in the U.S., so in 1994 he was hired by a Reform congregation in Durban, South Africa. And there, in Durban, is where he picked up the gambling habit, he told the Tribune.

The Tribune also reports that Sternfield was a champion of interfaith weddings, and—possibly as a result—the Sinai congregation in Chicago grew from 200 to 900 members under his leadership. No idea how many of them are Jewish. They also moved from the Hyde Park neighborhood to a new spot on the Near North Side. And Sinai was a pioneer of Sunday worship services, catering to such celebrities as the late Sears, Roebuck president Julius Rosenwald and former Illinois Gov. Henry Horner.

The synagogue website lists David Levinsky, an Associate Rabbi, as the current spiritual leader. He has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University, and used to work as the director of the Interfaith Program at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

The torch has been passed.

Cancer Imagery and Jew Hatred

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Rowhani’s comment about Israel being a ‘sore’ (whether or not he added that it should be removed) expresses a popular meme in the Muslim world. The idea is expressed explicitly in the Hamas covenant, and it often appears in PLO media. Palestinian Journalist Khalid Amayreh published an article in 2010 on an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website in which he called  Jews “an abomination, a cancer upon the world.” Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday called Israel a “cancerous gland” which must be “excised,” echoing Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Other Iranian officials also use this language on a regular basis.

rowhaniqudsday

The idea persists, despite the fact that — by any objective standard — the behavior of Israel is anything but expansionist and invasive. Although Israel ‘grew’ at the expense of the Arab nations in 1967, it has eagerly abandoned most of the territory conquered in the name of ‘peace’, even when that goal proved illusory. It would probably have given it all up if the Arabs had been more focused on strategic advantage than honor and vengeance.

Since 1948, the Arabs (and from 1979, the Iranian regime) have persisted in trying to ‘cure’ the Jewish ‘cancer’, sometimes by war, sometimes by diplomacy and often by both at once. The Arabs seem to have learned by successive humiliations (which only deepen their hatred) that direct means will not be successful. Now they have adopted a multi-pronged strategy of military pressure combined with delegitimization to reduce Western support for Israel, along with diplomatic offensives at the UN and with the US to obtain a solid territorial base. Once this is achieved, they expect to finish the job in another regional war.

The Arabs in particular have never been terribly original. First they borrowed the anti-Jewish ideology of the Nazis, exemplified by Palestinian Arab leader al-Husseini’s relationship with Hitler and the Nazi scientists and war criminals who found sanctuary in Egypt, Iraq and Syria after the war.

The rest of the world was understandably repelled by Nazi ideology, but in the late 1960′s Yasser Arafat was instructed by the KGB to present his gang as a movement of national liberation for a distinct ‘Palestinian people’, and Zionism as a form of imperialism. The international Left followed the KGB’s lead, and this marked the beginning of the Left’s fanatic anti-Zionism.

In 2001, a new element was added with the development of the Durban Strategy by anti-Israel NGOs. Gerald Steinberg explained it thus in 2005:

The Durban conference crystallized the strategy of delegitimizing Israel as “an apartheid regime” through international isolation based on the South African model. This plan is driven by UN-based groups as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which exploit the funds, slogans and rhetoric of the human rights movement.

On this basis a series of political battles have been fought in the UN and in the media. These include the myth of the Jenin “massacre,” the separation barrier, the academic boycott, and, currently, the church-based anti-Israel divestment campaign.

Each of these fronts reflected the Durban strategy of labeling Israel as the new South Africa.

Since then the campaign has expanded greatly, despite the complete absence of parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

It’s important to understand — and the cancer imagery makes this clear — that despite the various guises that the Arab-Muslim-Palestinian cause affects, there is one basic element that underlies it: an extreme hatred of the Jewish people and the desire for another genocide against it.

Jewish Doctor Acquitted but Hasn’t Left UAE

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

South African newspapers have been reporting for some days that Prof. Cyril Karabus, 77, whose involuntary detention by the people who run the United Arab Emirates has been going on now for seven months in defiance of basic principles of due process, has been clearedacquittedfound not guiltyfreed to go home and so on. The spokesperson for South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation broadcast a tweet a week ago exulting (after the earlier intervention of the department’s minister) that “He is free!”

However, South Africa’s Eyewitness News website reports that:

CAPE TOWN – Prosecutors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have told Professor Cyril Karabus’ legal team they intend appealing the decision to find him not guilty of manslaughter. Last week, an Abu Dhabi court found the elderly professor not guilty of manslaughter and forgery. A medical committee cleared the paediatric oncologist of all blame for the death of a young cancer patient he treated there more than a decade ago. The latest development means Karabus will remain in the UAE indefinitely

We have not yet seen any reports originating in the UAE that confirm this, but we will keep looking. And if there is anyone out there still thinking the man’s own government is willing to do what ought to be done, think again:

“Professor Cyril Karabus has no choice but to submit to the UAE’s legal process, the dept of international relations said on Thursday, after it emerged that he will not be allowed to come back to South Africa yet.” [SAPA]

We have posted numerous times here about the Kafkaesque ordeal that this distinguished medico has suffered at the hands of the authorities in the UAE. For a quick overview, we suggest these: “21-Mar-13: Is Prof Karabus finally being released and going home?“; and “29-Jan-13: UAE “Justice” officials fiddle: The scandalous treatment of Prof. Karabus goes on and on“.

May we suggest again that anyone planning to travel to or through Dubai should carefully review what we posted here yesterday? (See “27-Mar-13: Final call for Australian travelers to London with Qantas“). And for the record, the advice is not meant only for Australians.

This outrageous affair is barely known outside South Africa. It’s time to change that.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Why Israel is NOT an Apartheid State

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

As we speak, anti-Israel activists across the globe are gearing up for or hosting Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) events on various college campuses, with the goal of delegitimizing the State of Israel.  As an anti-Israel student group at American University announced, “The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.”  While anti-Israel student groups like the Students for Justice in Palestine frequently make such statements, it is critical to remember that such assertions are nothing more than slander designed to harm Israel.

Many of the young anti-Israel activists who claim that Israel is an apartheid state don’t understand what the definition of apartheid truly is.  According to Merriam Webster’s English dictionary, apartheid is “racial segregation: specifically, a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa.”

According to a report published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on the subject, among the policies that were implemented in apartheid South Africa were legal prohibitions on sexual relations between different races; forced physical separations between races, in restaurants, neighborhoods, swimming pools, public transport, etc.; restricting members of the black community to unskilled labor in urban areas; forbidding blacks from voting; educational restrictions for blacks, etc.

Benjamin Pogrund is a former deputy editor of the South African Rand Daily who reported on apartheid for 26 years and was an anti-apartheid activist himself.  After his newspaper was shut down because its owners were under pressure by the apartheid government, he made Aliyah to Israel.  Pogrund, as someone who is familiar with both South African apartheid and Israel, claimed that these conditions listed above do not exist in Israel.   He asserted in the Guardian that “Arabs have the vote, which in itself makes them fundamentally different from South Africa’s black population under apartheid. And even the current rightwing government says that it wants to overcome Arab disadvantage and promises action to upgrade education and housing and increase job opportunities.”

Upon witnessing how both Arabs and Jews worked and were treated in Israeli hospitals, in another instance, Pogrund claimed, “What I saw in the Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital was inconceivable in South Africa where I spent most of my life, growing up then and working as a journalist who specialized in apartheid.”   Yet the existence of Arab voting rights, government initiatives to decrease the gap between Jews and Arabs, and coexistence in hospitals are not the only aspects of Israeli society that prove that Israel is not an apartheid state. Incitement to racism is a criminal offense in Israel, as is discrimination based on race or religion, implying that the Israeli legal system fundamentally rejects apartheid ideology.

In fact, Israel is a liberal democracy, where the Arab minority actively participates in the political process.   Arabs like Major General Hussain Fares, Major General Yosef Mishlav, and Lieutenant Colonel Amos Yarkoni have served prominently in the IDF, while Arabs such as Ali Yahya, Walid Mansour, and Reda Mansour served as Israeli Ambassadors.  Salim Joubran sits on the Israeli Supreme Court, while Nawwaf Massalha and Raleb Majadele were members of the Israeli Cabinet.   Arabs have also served as university professors, heads of hospital departments, management level positions in various businesses, and in senior level positions in the Israeli Police.  Indeed, Israeli Arabs have reached positions that blacks in apartheid South Africa could only dream of. Thus, Israel is the polar opposite of being an apartheid state.

Visit United with Israel.

South Africa’s African National Congress Endorses Israel Boycott, Handing BDS Movement a Victory

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, voted to make boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israel part of its official policy.

In a resolution passed Thursday night, at the tail end of its conference this week, the ANC proclaimed it was “unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel.” The conference called on “all South Africans to support the programs and campaigns of the Palestinian civil society which seek to put pressure on Israel to engage with the Palestinian people to reach a just solution.”

In a second resolution on protests in Israel focused on illegal African immigrants, the ANC said it “abhors the recent Israeli state-sponsored xenophobic attacks and deportation of Africans and requests that this matter should be escalated to the African Union.”

The ANC said it would set up a steering committee to implement the resolutions.

This marks the first time a boycott Israel resolution has been brought up at an ANC conference. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of BDS South Africa, which pushed hard for the resolution, hailed the vote as a major victory.

“This reaffirmation by the ANC’s National Conference, its highest decision-making body, is by far the most authoritative endorsement of the boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel campaign,” he said. “The ANC has now taken its international conference resolutions and officially made it the policy of the ANC. We look forward to working with the ANC and specifically the conference steering committee to expedite its implementation.”

The conference ignored a call for evenhandedness on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by several prominent religious leaders in a front-page open letter in the country’s largest newspaper, the Sunday Times. The umbrella body of the country’s Jewish community, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, issued a similar call and requested that a letter on the matter be read at the conference; the request was ignored.

The pro-BDS vote “was not unexpected,” Mary Kluk, national chairwoman of the Board of Deputies, told JTA. She said she had not yet seen the official text of the resolutions. “We will be engaging with the president early next year and will discuss it then.”

She said a meeting with President Jacob Zuma had been confirmed. “It would be premature to comment further,” she said.

South African officials have been adopting an increasingly harsh line toward Israel in recent months. A deputy minister of international relations, Ebrahim Ebrahim, has called on South Africans not to visit Israel, and South African Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies promoted a ban on goods from Jewish Judea and Samaria. Deputy President and current ANC Chairwoman Baleka Mbete also expressed support for the BDS campaign against Israel at a recent international conference in South Africa.

Source: Stevie Wonder to Cancel Friends of IDF Gig

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Stevie Wonder is set to pull out of a performance at a fundraiser for the Israel Defense Forces,  a source told JTA.

Wonder’s representatives will claim that he did not know the nature of the group, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and that he believes such a performance would be incongruent with his status as a U.N. “Messenger of Peace,” according to a source who has read email exchanges between Wonder’s representatives and organizers of the event.

Wonder was scheduled to headline the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces annual gala in Los Angeles on Dec. 6. The event raises millions of dollars annually to support the Israeli military.

An official of Friends of the IDF, reached at its Los Angeles office, had no comment. Wonder’s agent at Creative Artists Agency did not return a request for comment.

The spokesman for the U.N. Secretary General also had no comment on the matter.

The United Nations does not impose restrictions on its goodwill representatives. Wonder most recently performed at a U.N. concert commemoratiing its 67th anniversary. Elie Wiesel, the Nobele Peace Laureate and Holocaust memoirist who is also a staunch defender of Israel is also a U.N. Messenger of Peace.

Wonder had come under intense social media pressure to pull out of the event. An online petition calling on him to cancel his performance had garnered more than 3,600 signatures.

The petition was launched more than a day ago on the change.org website.

“You were arrested in 1985 protesting South African Apartheid, now we ask you: please remember that apartheid is apartheid, whether it comes from White Afrikaaner settlers of South Africa or from Jewish Israelis in Israel,” the petition reads. “Desmond Tutu has recognized that Israel’s Apartheid is worse than South Africa’s — will you stand with us against apartheid and cancel your performance at the IDF fundraiser.”

A second petition, launched by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, calls on Wonder to “(p)lease continue your legacy of speaking out for the oppressed. Please be a ‘full-time lover’ of justice by standing on the right side of history and canceling your performance for the Israeli army.”

Wonder performed at a 1998 gala honoring Israel’s 50th anniversary.

UC Irvine Students Vote for ‘Israel Divestment’ But Have No Investments to Divest

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Late last night, November 13, there was a unanimous vote at a California school for divestment from certain companies that do business with Israel.  Unanimous, 16 -0.

There are, however, several points militating against an uptick in alarm.

For one thing, the school at which this took place was the University of California at Irvine.  Yes, the school that allowed students to repeatedly disrupt Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, in 2010.  Eleven of those hooligans were charged and convicted of conspiracy and disrupting a public meeting.  Those convictions were obtained despite the efforts of many UCIrvine faculty members, including a large number of  Jewish Studies department faculty.

But more importantly, the vote was taken by the UC Irvine Student Government, which, in all likelihood, does not have any investments in the targeted companies, or any other companies, for that matter.

The student government also called on the UC Irvine administration to divest from the named companies, but a student group’s call on its university to take the students’ investment advice is not exactly like money in (or, in this case, out of) the bank.

While the vote was really the equivalent of a small group of children shouting at those acting in loco parentis to take its investment advice, last night’s effort by anti-Israel student leadership at UCI is noteworthy for a small shift in tactic.

Although the Resolution repeatedly compared Israeli activity to Apartheid South Africa, the student government Resolution only sought divestment from those companies it deemed to provide support for the Security Fence, the demolition of “Palestinian” homes, and the building or maintenance of  the “illegal Israeli settlements” on “occupied Palestinian territory.”  In the past, calls for divestment from Israel typically called for divestment from any company doing business in Israel, which was the South Africa Apartheid divestment model.

The nitty gritty details, that is, that it was a student group that voted to divest its own (non-existent) financial holdings from certain companies – and was not the vote by a university to divest its holdings from companies doing business in Israel – was completely lost on most other media reporting on the vote.  Professional Israel haters such as Ali Abunimeh and Noam Chomsky were quick to add their support, as were Muslim Student Associations and other anti-Israel groups across the country.  To see the misguided glee, check on twitter #IrvineDivest.

The Resolution, which was introduced by Sabreen Shalabi, and seconded by Shadi Jafari, follows:

 

Item Number: 16 Legislation Number (B: Bill, R: Resolution): R48-15
Synopsis: Divestment from Companies that Profit from Apartheid
Date of Presentation: November 13, 2012
 Divestment from Companies that Profit from ApartheidWHEREAS, it is UC Irvine’s duty to maintain the values of “respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, and empathy” which includes the promotion of human rights, equality, and dignity for all people without distinction;WHEREAS, it is the mission of the UCI Foundation to “ensure the appropriate use of all funds” in order to uphold the values of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment appreciation, and empathy;WHEREAS, students have a legacy of standing against oppression and injustice at UC Irvine and across the U.S.;WHEREAS, the role of student activists in exposing South Africa’s apartheid system and  supporting equality, freedom, and dignity sets an example for us to follow as students of global conscience;WHEREAS, as the example of South Africa shows, it is imperative for students to stand unequivocally against all forms of racism and bigotry globally and on campus, including but not limited to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, patriarchy, and Israel’s system of apartheid;WHEREAS, the occupied Palestinian Territory is controlled militarily by the Israeli government;WHEREAS, certain companies have promoted and been complicit in these ongoing human rights violations systematically committed by the Israeli government, which have been documented by human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International, Addameer, B’tselem, Adalah, Badil, and the Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolitions;WHEREAS, according to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), “the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law”;WHEREAS, according to the same ICJ decision, the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem is also illegal by international law;

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/uc-irvine-students-vote-for-israel-divestment-but-have-no-investments-to-divest/2012/11/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: