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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

Bomb Threat at Jewish Community Centers (JCC) in London and America’s East Coast Cities

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Jewish community centers in a widespread number of American states were evacuated due to bomb threats on Monday morning, while across the ocean, the same phenomenon was taking place in London, England as well.

Jewish schools across the United Kingdom were placed on alert after bomb threats were called into metro London Jewish schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent on Monday morning. The schools were “warned” that explosive devices had been planted on the premises. Thorough searches were conducted at all three sites and other schools were placed on precautionary lock-downs until the “all clear” was received.

Bomb threats were also called in to a few non-Jewish schools as well, according to the British Jewish Chronicle news site.

“Police were alerted at around 10:30am hrs on Monday, 9 January, to phone calls made to schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent in which bomb threats were made. Police officers attended the schools. All three incidents were stood down a short time later. An investigation into the threat will be conducted,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in the United States, bomb threats were called into Jewish Community Centers (JCC)s in Delaware, Tenafly, New Jersey; Miami Beach and Jacksonville, Florida; in Rockville, Maryland; in West Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina.

In Delaware, police were called to search the Siegel Jewish Community Center north of Wilmington on Monday, after a bomb threat was called into the facility at around 11:45 am. The caller reportedly said there was a bomb inside the complex, according to Seth J. Katzen, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, who spoke with Delaware Online, The News Journal.

The building was alerted, Katzen said, and everyone was evacuated from the four facilities at the site, including the JCC, the Jewish Federation of Delaware, the Albert Einstein Academy (K-5) and Jewish Family Services of Delaware. Although police arrived quickly, they told Katzen it would be “a few hours” before they could declare an “all clear.”

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the Jewish Community Center on Palisades in Tenafly sent out a text to its membership warning it had received a bomb threat shortly after 12 noon. As a precaution, officials evacuated the building, which contains a preschool, a senior center and an adult daycare facility for people with disabilities. Parents of preschoolers were asked to pick up their children and all JCC programs were canceled for the day. The “all clear” was received a short time later from the bomb squad that swept the building.

About 450 students and 70 teachers and staff members were evacuated from the Alper JCC School at SW 112th Avenue in southwest Miami-Dade as a precaution at around 11 am, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said. A second Miami-Dade Jewish Community Center was also evacuated, according to CBS Miami, which reported the threat was called in to the main operator line of the facility.

Miami Beach police also were called to the Jewish Community Center on Pine Tree, where only a handful of people were in the building at the time. A thorough search that included K-9 units turned up nothing and the “all-clear” was given. In addition, the Jewish Community Alliance building in Jacksonville, Florida was also evacuated in response to a bomb threat as well. Both were called in at around 10:45 am. Both were given the “all clear” within an hour or two, after sweeps of the buildings turned up nothing.

A woman called a bomb threat into the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville, Maryland, according to CBS News. Officials immediately evacuated the building, Executive Director Michael Feinstein said.

In West Nashville, Tennessee, metro police responded to a report at about 10:30 am of a bomb threat at the Gordon Jewish Community Center, in the 800 block on Percy Warner Boulevard. Officials quickly evacuated the 80 people who were in the building, which functions as a childcare center during the week, according to The Tennessean, part of the USA Today network. Special Agent Michael P. Knight of the Nashville field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told media the ATF is standing by to provide “technical assistance” as needed.

In South Carolina, the Columbia Fire Department and the Richland County bomb squad were also called in just before 11:30 am Monday to scan the Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center on Flora Drive in Columbia, WBTV reported. After a thorough scan of the building, nothing was found and the “all clear” was given.

This is a developing story.

Hana Levi Julian

American Legislator Predicts Rosy Israeli Future During Trump Era

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Ardently pro-Israel American politician Alan D. Clemmons, Republican Representative in the South Carolina House of Representatives, was in Israel last week.  He was there with a number of Texas state legislators whom he is helping draft and work on passing anti-BDS legislation, just as he did in South Carolina.

Clemmons took time out of his trip to meet in Gush Etzion with American and Israeli leaders to discuss work he and others are currently doing to support the state of Israel and to find areas of future collaborations.

Clemmons was brought to Gush Etzion by the Yes! Israel Project for an event at the home of Project leader Ruth Jaffe Lieberman.

In addition to his recent work promoting anti-BDS legislation in state legislatures throughout the United States, the South Carolina legislator was instrumental in crafting the intensely pro-Israel plank for the Republican party’s platform last summer. Clemmons had tried to get similar language included in the 2012 platform but had not been successful.

The language of the plank which Clemmons helped to craft compares Israel’s vision to that of America’s, rejects dictating terms of any peace agreement by those not living in the region and calls for the termination of funding for any entity which attempts to do so. Clemmons introduced the language and shepherded it through the subcommittee and then the full committee. When the language was formally approved, the members present rose to give it a standing ovation.

Clemmons also introduced legislation into the South Carolina legislature to allow its states drivers to purchase special license plates emblazoned with the message: “South Carolina Stands With Israel,” and which contains entwined flags of South Carolina and Israel. That legislation was enacted in 2011.

Although not a member of President-Elect Trump’s transition team, Clemmons is well-connected and spoke plainly to those present about the rosy future he sees for Israel during the Trump administration.

The last many years of living under the thumb of the State Department mentality which treated peaceful Israelis and recalcitrant Arabs as equally culpable was over. During the Trump administration, Israel’s view about itself and its own sovereignty will be what sets the agenda.

Also present at the gathering was Caroline Glick, author, journalist and analyst. Glick also spoke expansively and enthusiastically about the incoming Trump administration.

The president-elect is an iconoclast, according to Glick, and she means that in the best possible way. Boldly tearing up old, dysfunctional plans and replacing them with exciting, untried new ones is a mark of leadership Glick respects, nowhere more so than with Trump’s Israel outlook. Glick elaborated on what she told the group in an article she published the next day.

Clemmons  also gave a pep talk about the importance of American, Israeli, and European Jews to “stand up and speak up!”

Clemmons told Avi Abelow of Yes! Israel that Jews need to “speak words of truth to push back on the lies of the world.” He continued: “There is a lie of ‘Occupation’ being taught in universities across the nation, and across the world.”  It is Clemmons’ hope that Jews will “push back on those lies of occupation and replace them with the truth regarding Israel.” He concluded: “Israel is not an occupier of anyone’s land other than the land that God gave to Israel, as eternally hers.”

Abelow understood that Clemmons was saying to Jews that Christian supporters of Israel are eager and waiting for Jews to stand up for Israel so that, together, they can extinguish the malevolent efforts against the Jewish State.

Other important olim present at the event included Nadia Matar of Women in Green along with several board members, the media personality and activist Josh Hasten, and Marc Zell, co-chair of Republicans Overseas Israel.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Trump Names Anti-BDS Governor ‘Nikki’ Haley as US Envoy to UN

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump has named South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to become the next American Ambassador to the United Nations.

“Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country,” said Trump in a news release announcing the appointment. “She is also a proven dealmaker and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage.”

Haley, 44, is known in Israel for her opposition to the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and her pro-Israel positions. Last year, she signed into law the first state-wide bill in the United States to block BDS activity in South Carolina.

Haley, born Nimrata Randhawa in a Sikh household to Indian immigrants, today identifies as a Christian and is the first female, “non-white” cabinet-level official appointed to the incoming Trump administration. She is in her second term as the first minority and female governor of South Carolina, and is married with two teenagers. Her appointment must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The governor is the youngest to serve in the United States and a rising star in the Republican party. Haley also heavily criticized Trump during his candidacy, a fact that appeared to be irrelevant when the president-elect considered the governor for the post.

Hana Levi Julian

Obama Declares State of Emergency as ‘Matthew’ Approaches Florida

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

US President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency Thursday in Florida, in anticipation of the damage likely to be created by the rapidly approaching Hurricane Matthew.

The move effectively authorized release of funds and coordination of disaster relief efforts via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

There is a large Jewish community in Florida, as well as in Georgia and South Carolina as well.

The storm has already cost the lives of 113 people, including 108 in Haiti alone.

Below is a photo of the storm as seen from the International Space Station three days ago, on Oct. 3, 2016.

Hurricane Matthew, from the International Space Station on Oct. 3, 2016.

Hurricane Matthew, from the International Space Station on Oct. 3, 2016.

Both agencies will be needed to deal with effects of the storm during and after Hurricane Matthew makes landfall.

Matthew was still designated a Category Four hurricane on Thursday afternoon — the second-most severe storm on the scale — and was packing winds of approximately 140 miles per hour (220 kilometers per hour).

More than two million people were urged by authorities to leave their homes in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as Matthew approaches. It’s the largest mandatory evacuation seen in the United States, spanning three states so far, since 2012, when Hurricane Sandy devastated the Eastern Seaboard.

Hana Levi Julian

Florida Awaits Hurricane Matthew, Deadliest Storm Since 2004

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

The deadliest hurricane since 2004 was expected to strike the eastern Florida coast by Thursday night, prompting the state’s governor to plead with residents to “evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”

Matthew is a Category 4 hurricane, just one level short of the deadliest storm possible, and considered to be the strongest in decades.

The island nation of Haiti this week lost 98 lives to Matthew; four other people died in the Dominican Republic when the hurricane hit that nation’s coast.

In Florida, a state of emergency has already been declared and some two million residents have been urged by Florida Governor Rick Scott to evacuate their homes in anticipation of damage from the storm. Winds could reach up to 145 miles per hour at landfall.

The Florida governor activated 2,500 members of the National Guard to help keep order as people prepare for the storm. Nearly 1600 flights have already been cancelled. Gas stations are emptying, and grocery store shelves are just about bare. Trains and cruise ships in south Florida are suspending service.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned in a bulletin, “extremely dangerous Hurricane Matthew heading for Florida.” The site has updated advisories on the latest status of the storm, and its current location.

According to The Weather Channel, Matthew is expected to be the strongest Florida East Coast strike since Hurricane Andrew, and likely to also bring similar destruction to the Georgia coast and to the coast of South Carolina, with dangerous, life-threatening storm surge and flooding rains expected.

“The eyewall may deliver the strongest, most destructive winds anyone in parts of the northeast and east-central Florida coast has seen in their lifetime,” according to the site. “The last, and only Category 4 hurricane to make landfall anywhere in northeast Florida or the Georgia coast was an 1898 hurricane south of St. Simons Island, Georgia.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott warned residents in a media briefing on Thursday: “Do not surf. Do not go on the beach. This will kill you… There is no reason not to leave… Millions will lose power, possibly for a long period of time. My goal is to make sure everyone is prepared. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Obama $38 Billion MOU Designed to Shackle Congress, Fight Not Over

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Late Wednesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement regarding the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the US, saying: “In a short while, in Washington DC, a historic agreement will be signed between the United States and Israel. This agreement will ensure an unprecedented level of security assistance to Israel over the coming decade. This is the largest military assistance package that the United States has ever given to any country.”

A few lines down, Netanyahu wrote: “I would like to thank President Obama and his administration for this historic agreement,” and, “I also thank our many, many friends in the American Congress and among the American people for their great support, which crosses party lines and embraces the length and breadth of the United States.”

There, in the cross-section between the President and Congress, is where the drama over the US aid package to Israel will be taking place in the coming months. It also explains why the PM has embraced a deal that is, clearly, a step back in terms of Israel’s ambitions for US military aid.

According to Ha’aretz, citing senior defense ministry officials, as recently as last July US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and then Defense Minster Moshe Ya’alon have reached an agreement in principle on a $45 billion aid package over ten years. Why is Israel now willing to settle for $7 billion less? Ha’aretz, typically, blames the cut on Netanyahu’s refusal to toe the line on the Iran nuclear deal, and his insolent battle against the President in Congress over it. But that doesn’t explain why Sec. Carter was offering the larger amount months after Netanyahu’s March 3, 2015 speech in Congress.

Like all deals, the $38 billion MOU must still be confirmed in the Senate, first by the Appropriations Committee and then by the full Senate. One key member of the committee is Senator Lindsey Graham (R – SC), who earlier this week told the Washington Post: “The Israeli prime minister told me the administration is refusing to sign the MOU until I agree to change my appropriation markup back to $3.1 billion. I said, ‘Tell the administration to go [expletive] themselves.’”

The 10-year aid package reaching its conclusion in 2017 was set at “only” $31 billion, but, in addition, Congress has been awarding Israel additional funds: $729 million in 2014 to help with the acquisition gaps caused by the Gaza War, as well as to help the development of the Iron Dome system. In 2015 Congress gave Israel $620 million in addition to the aid package, and this year the estimates are around $600 million. So that the aid Israel currently receives from the US is pretty close to the MOU’s $38 Billion. Israel will only benefit from an additional $100 million annually. For a country boasting a $300 billion annual GDP, this is the definition of chump change.

Why, then, did Netanyahu agree to an MOU that compels Israel to pay back whatever amount Congress adds in military aid, which would include an attempt by, say, Senator Lindsey Graham, to tack on an extra $7 billion to the proposed package?

“I’m offended that the administration would try to take over the appropriations process. If they don’t like what I’m doing, they can veto the bill,” Graham told the Post. “We can’t have the executive branch dictating what the legislative branch will do for a decade based on an agreement we are not a party to.”

The MOU awards the Israeli missile defense development effort $500 million per year, more than the $487 million Congress gave it in 2016, but less than the Senate appropriations bill for 2017, which gives Israel $600 million. By the way, Obama asked for only $145.8 million in the budget. So, should the MOU go through the Senate, Israel would lose $600 million right off the bat. And Israel signed a letter, as part of the MOU, that any amount tacked on to the aid package in later years, Israel would be obligated to give back.

A White House official said this is better for Israel, since “the fact that under our offer Israel can count on the administration’s commitment to provide a substantial level of missiledefense assistance for a 10-year period is substantively different from the missile- defense support it has received in previous years.” There’s some truth to it — rather than go lobbying every year for that money, Israel is guaranteed a moderately lower sum, it’s already in the bank.

“You know the White House pressured them into writing that letter,” Graham said. “It is a level of antagonism against Israel that I can’t understand.”

Graham is irate because the MOU was a White House attempt to neutralize the Republican Congress’s ability to forge an independent relationship with the Jewish State. They can continue to invite Bibi to talk to them against the next president, if they so wish, but they can’t give him a penny. Vindictive? Probably. But also understandable. This President spent much of his two terms in office fighting Congress over foreign policy. He’d like to leave his successor a cleaner slate, at least when it comes to dealing with Israel.

The MOU is also better for the Pentagon, which, together with the White House, can keep all the money going to Israel inside one, manageable package. Should the need arise for additional funds, Israel would have to go to the President, not Congress, and when Israel asks for something, Israel also has to give something. Also, in six years, according to the MOU, Israel will lose the right to spend any of the aid package on its own military industrial complex — all the money must stay in the US. Of course, by then Israeli manufacturers would follow Elbit and Rafael and forge partnerships with US corporations, but the jobs in Israel would be lost.

“I’m not pleased with a provision in the MOU which prohibits Israel from using American defense assistance on Israeli defense suppliers,” Senator Graham wrote on his website. “Israel’s homegrown defense technology is some of the best in the world.” He added, “Under our old agreement Israel was allowed to develop cutting-edge military technology and was required to share this technology with the United States. I’m proud to say that many of these advancements helped protect the lives of American service members in uniform. I do not believe this new provision will serve the interests of the United States or Israel. I do fear it will be Americans wearing the uniform of our nation who will pay the price for this short-sighted change in policy.”

So, it’s obvious why the MOU represents a good deal for the Administration. But why was Netanyahu “duped” into signing the MOU? There are two possible explanations, and they both have to do with the coming lame duck session of Congress. Since last summer, there have been persistent rumors in Jerusalem and Washington that, once the November 8 election is over, the Obama Administration would spend its last breath on squeezing a 2-state deal out of Israel. To do that, the rumors went, Obama would join the majority in the UN Security Council to pass resolutions that push Israel against the wall. It would be ugly, it would be painful, there would be no support for the move from either the Democrats nor the Republicans, but it won’t matter. It would be a move that can’t be stopped by Congress, and Israel would, at last, bow to the pressure.

Did Netanyahu sign the MOU in return for an Obama promise to leave him alone between Nov. 9 and January 17? Perhaps. Of course, the above nightmare scenario is not something we would expect from any US president, except for the fact that President Obama has been so capricious and unpredictable about his bizarre “Arab Spring” campaign, that if anyone would dream up something like that it would be him.

The other point has to do with the conversation Netanyahu had with Senator Graham earlier this week, in which, we understand, Graham did most of the talking, and only part of it was taken up by expletives. The Senator from South Carolina, with Bibi’s blessing, can bury the MOU. He has at his disposal several parliamentary means of delaying it until after the start of the new year. It won’t be simple, and there are members on the Democratic side of the Appropriations Committee who are decidedly not friendly to Israel (Senator Patrick Leahy, Dem – Vt comes to mind) who would attack Graham viciously. But if Graham can drag this deal long enough, he could get it tossed and rewritten by the next Administration.

JNi.Media

Jewish, Muslim High School Students Marked for Death in Duncan, South Carolina

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Jewish and Muslim high school students at the James T. Byrnes High School in Duncan, South Carolina were marked for death in online threats reported Friday evening by a student at Byrnes, one of the largest high schools in the state, with some 2,300 students.

An investigation by the sheriff’s office is under way but no arrests have yet been in made following the threats, which included pics of a person in a gas mask, and a knife with a handle marked with a swastika.

Security personnel are sweeping Byrnes High School and maintaining a close watch over the site over the holiday weekend (it’s Labor Day weekend in the United States).

Spartanburg School District 5 said in a news release the school would be attacked Tuesday, so extra officers will be there when students return to the building.

Superintendent Scott Turner said in a statement quoted by CBS News and WSPA, “I want to ensure our parents and community that we are taking these threats extremely seriously, and are doing everything possible to make sure our campuses are secure. We are working with law enforcement to ensure the individual who made these threats is found. As always in District Five, the safety of our students and staff is our first priority.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-muslim-high-school-students-marked-for-death-in-duncan-south-carolina/2016/09/05/

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