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Posts Tagged ‘Standard’

NY Court: MTA Violated Pro-Israel Group’s 1st Amendment Rights in Rejecting Ad Campaign

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

A federal judge on Friday ruled that the New York City Metro Transit Authority’s (MTA) refusal to run a bus advertisement calling enemies of Israel “savages” violates the First Amendment rights of the plaintiff, the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

The ad – which the group sought to run on 318 city buses for four weeks, at a cost of about $25,000 – states: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Proposed bus ad by the American Freedom Defense Initiative

The American Freedom Defense Initiative, which is headed by blogger and critic of political Islam Pamela Geller, sued the MTA in September 2011 for rejecting the group’s sharply-worded advertisement. The MTA claimed the ad violated its advertising standard, which prohibited ads that “demean individuals or groups based on race, religion or other protected categories.” The MTA offered the group the opportunity to revise the ad, but it refused, and instead filed suit claiming that the MTA’s “no-demeaning” standard violated its First Amendment rights.

Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of the Federal District Court in Manhattan, stated that the ad was “not only protected speech — it is core political speech,” and ruled that the ad “is afforded the highest level of protection under the First Amendment.” He found that the no-demeaning standard had the effect of discriminating against advertisers based on the content of their intended message.

The judge granted a preliminary injunction barring the MTA from enforcing the standard, but said it would only take effect in 30 days, to permit the MTA to evaluate its legal options and consider alternatives to its current advertising standards.

The MTA said in a statement that it was “evaluating its existing advertising standards in light of the court’s ruling.”

An article on albawaba.com said that the case is “sparking much concern that Islamophobia in the United States is being allowed to grow and has found support in the judiciary.” Omar Makram Radwan, a Muslim-American and CUNY student, was quoted on Bikyamasr.com as saying:“This sort of hate speech is now being tolerated by judges and as Ramadan hits it is very unfortunate. People are angry.”

Radwan warned that if the ads going up “there will be widespread anger and protests against what to almost all common person is blatant hate speech against Muslims and Muslim-Americans.”

In response to the decision, Geller wrote on her blog, Atlas Shrugs: “Any war that targets innocent civilians is savage. Period. These ‘irate’ Muslims sanction jihad and Jew-hatred. That is what they are saying.

“I never see US Muslims marching against jihad. Or supporting Israel’s right to exist.” she continued, “Where are they? Instead, they issue threats if our ads go up. And, brother, are they going up.”

Monetizing Debt: A Historically Disastrous Policy

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

As European nations seek economic lifelines, the Germans have a financial history lesson for Europe, America and the rest of the world. It’s found in a revealing self-critical painting, “Eclipse of the Sun,” created by a 1920s Berlin artist, George Grosz, which hangs at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington.

Few understand better than the Germans how economic self-destruction can bring a nation and the world to the edge of abyss. The crushing debt imposed on them at the end of World War I led to unprecedented hyperinflation as they monetized their obligations, running their printing presses to create millions of worthless marks.

Middle-class Germans became destitute as their life savings could no longer buy so much as a loaf of bread, much less secure their retirement. So corrosive was this monetized debt that the marginal Nazi Party, initially dismissed as a group of anti-Semitic street thugs, was voted into office by 1932. That is why Grosz’s post-World War I painting remains so powerful almost a century later. His contorted caricatures capture the revealing self-loathing of an economic and political landscape that would ultimately lead to the rise of the Third Reich.

“Monetizing debt” may sound like economists’ jargon, but it is an economy’s ultimate poison pill when politicians print money to cover government deficits rather than engage in difficult policy decisions. Argentina, Thailand and Zimbabwe have all used this strategy, and it consistently led to chaos. In the America of 2012, far too few appreciate the perils to our citizenry from a national debt in excess of $15 trillion and more than $60 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Some, such as former presidential hopeful Ron Paul, have suggested we return to the Gold Standard, a proposal that would be a difficult strategy to even consider, given our limited gold reserves. A far more rational idea is for us to get off the Debt Standard, but Washington can’t seem to agree on any course of action.

Economic policy has become a captive of politics, particularly in the House of Representatives, where a two-year term guarantees distraction by a constant campaign for re-election.

There was a time when if you were a Democrat, it was a given that you favored significant deficits for “pump priming” and expanded social programs. If you were a Republican, you advocated for lower taxes and the forces of a free market to create jobs and power the economy. There was room for compromise and negotiation. Our current political environment has become so venomous that an ideological holy war is holding hostage a bipartisan resolution of the debt crisis. We have become incapable of governing through compromise.

There needs to be a dramatic and strategic response to this institutional paralysis. History has repeatedly taught us that otherwise rational people have turned to monetizing debt to achieve a political “quick fix” — an action the Federal Reserve has undertaken since 2008 by printing new currency to buy up bonds. Voters need to alert elected officials on both sides of the aisle that they will judge them on their ability to resolve this emergency.

Meanwhile, though the ongoing European debt crisis seems irrelevant to our own lives, were Europe’s economy to freeze, the results would be immediate and devastating here. Unlike the Germans who now practice budgetary austerity with the pursuit of a converted zealot, there is little in our collective experience that allows us to appreciate the depth of the danger.

History has taught that the collapse of strong nations has traditionally occurred from strategic failures within. It’s a powerful lesson that our founders tried to instill in future generations when Patrick Henry offered, “I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.” Consider it a warning that our nation is in danger from a runaway debt that has the power to eclipse the sun.
Originally published by Newsday and the Gatestone Institute  http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org 

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Considering a Run for Congress

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has filed the paperwork required to run for Congress in New Jersey’s re-designed 9th District, according to a report in the New Jersey Jewish Standard.

Boteach sent a letter of intent to the Bergen County Republican Organization informing it that he is considering running. He said that he has not made a final decision to run for the seat, adding that a major factor will be how much financial backing he can elicit. He said he will have a final decision by April.

He told the Standard that he is considering entering the race because he wants to “bring Jewish values into the political discourse,” and focus on “values-oriented issues,” like divorce.

Boteach is a syndicated columnist, has written several books, and recently starred in his own reality television show.

Mainstream Double Standards Against Israel

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

The use of double standards against Israel has permeated large parts of the world’s mainstream. One finds it at the United Nations, among governments, in major media, academic institutions, NGOs, liberal churches and trade unions.

The definition of a double standard is rather simple. The Cambridge Dictionaries Online put it succinctly: “A rule or standard of good behavior which unfairly some people are expected to follow or achieve, but others are not.”

That the use of double standards against Jews was at the heart of anti-Semitism throughout the centuries has often been recognized.

Natan Sharansky, seeking to discern when anti-Semitism drives anti-Israel rhetoric and acts, invented the “3D test” – Demonization, Double Standards, Delegitimization. The definition of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, an EU affiliate, suggests that manifestations of anti-Semitism targeting Israel include applying double standards by requiring behavior of it that is not expected of any other democratic country.

Double standards can be broken down into seven categories, some of which overlap. A major category consists of one-sided declarations or biased reporting. The third Durban Conference in New York was a recent example of the frequent use of double standards against Israel in the UN environment.

One additional example: the targeted killing of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. was praised by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin in 2004 by Israel was condemned by then-Secretary General Kofi Annan. The European Commission, along with the British and French governments, among many others, reacted with similar duplicity.

A second category is conscious self-censorship or omission of essential information that would render a balanced view. After the lynching of two Israeli reserve soldiers in Ramallah in 2000, Ricardo Christiano of Italian state TV Rai wrote a letter to the Palestinians stating it was another Italian station that had broadcast the pictures. He stressed that he would never have made them public.

A third category is disproportionality. Media and many human rights NGOs look at Israel through a magnifying glass and have repeatedly ignored major crimes in Muslim states.

Yet another category is interference in internal Israeli affairs. Liberal Party leader Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister of the U.K., has said the interests of the Israeli people are not being met by its government. One should ask him to show when he has said something similar about the Tunisian government, the Egyptian government, and too many others to recount here.

A fifth category would be that of discriminatory acts. Dore Gold relates that in 1997, when he was Israel’s ambassador at the United Nations, the Arab states succeeded in convening an emergency special session of the General Assembly to address Israel’s building of condominiums on the Har Homa hill. Gold learned there had been no such emergency sessions called when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan or Czechoslovakia, when Vietnam invaded Cambodia, and when Turkey invaded Cyprus.

A sixth category is the application of double standards in international law.

A seventh type of double standards one can call humanitarian racism. It attributes intrinsically reduced responsibility to non-white people. The less some people are held responsible for their acts, the more they are considered to be demented, unintelligent or even animals.

The writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali told me that in the Netherlands she was taught that racism is only manifest among white people. She recalled, “My family in Somalia, however, educated me as a racist and told me that we Muslims were very superior to the Christian Kenyans. My mother thinks they are half monkeys.”

Humanitarian racists tend to hold Israel responsible for whatever it does to defend itself against terrorism. Palestinian responsibility for suicide bombings, missile attacks and the glorification of murderers of civilians is downplayed at best.

Many individuals and organizations apply double standards toward Israel. One can carefully choose a few such anti-Semites to be monitored. Most people are cowards. Many enjoy free anti-Semitic lunches, yet once it becomes clear that someone will have to pay for the meal, the number of diners will likely begin to drop.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/mainstream-double-standards-against-israel/2011/10/12/

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