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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘street’

Do Women’s Rights Matter to J Street?

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

J Street’s controversial response to the sexual harassment of one of its staff members raises questions as to whether its attitude toward women’s rights is compromised by its political goals.

After J Street learned, in 2014, that one of its staff members had been sexually harassed, it terminated its relationship with the harasser, Israeli journalist and Palestinian state advocate, Ari Shavit. But J Street has now admitted that it never said a word about Shavit’s behavior to the other Jewish groups that have been organizing Shavit’s speeches around the country.

J Street’s two-year silence on the abuse of an American Jewish woman was wrong. J Street’s silence about the abuse of Palestinian women is wrong, too, and both situations may well be related.

J Street’s central mission has been to bring about creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel. One of the reasons many Israelis are skeptical about that proposal is that “Palestine” would be a brutal totalitarian state. Israelis understand that brutal totalitarian states often invade neighboring countries.

If Israelis believed a Palestinian state would be a tolerant, pluralistic, democratic state, where the rights of minorities and women were protected, creating such a state would seem a lot less threatening to Israel.

So, yes, Palestinian women’s rights matter. They matter because it’s a question of justice and equality. And they matter because the issue reveals a lot about what kind of neighbor a Palestinian state would be.

Yet, just as J Street refused for two years to speak out about the mistreatment of a Jewish woman on its staff, it has refused to speak out about the mistreatment of Palestinian women by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Two years ago, the Washington Post reported the number of “honor killings” of Palestinian women had more than doubled over the previous year. Those are killings in which men murder female relatives whom they suspect of violating Islamic fundamentalist morals, such as premarital relations, dressing “provocatively,” or being seen in the company of an unauthorized boyfriend. The Post noted that even when the Palestinian Authority imprisons such killers, “pardons and suspended sentences are common.”

I looked on J Street’s website, which has issued more than 600 press releases dating back to 2008, to see if it issued a release concerning the Post‘s expose of Palestinian honor killings. Nothing there.

Amnesty International’s latest report on human rights around the world has this to say about women under the Palestinian Authority regime: “Women and girls continued to face discrimination in law and in practice, and were inadequately protected against sexual and other violence, including so-called ‘honor’ killings. At least 18 women and girls were reported to be victims of such killings during the year.”

I don’t see anything about the Amnesty International report on J Street’s website.

Earlier this year, a female member of the Palestinian parliament, Najat Abu Baker, hid in the parliament building for 17 days after the PA police sought to arrest her for criticizing PA President Mahmoud Abbas. According to The New York Times, Ms. Abu Baker’s “crime” was that she “said Mr. Abbas should resign and suggested that there would be money to pay educators if ministers were not so corrupt.”

I couldn’t find anything on the J Street website about that either.

Just two months ago, the Jordanian website Albawaba (The Loop) reported that some names of female candidates were being concealed in listings for the Palestinian Authority’s planned local elections. They were “listed only as ‘sister of’ or ‘the wife of,'” according to the report. Local Palestinian women’s groups protested. J Street was silent.

J Street’s website does have a section called “Women’s Leadership Forum.” It talks about mobilizing women to promote the J Street goal of creating a Palestinian state. It calls for increasing “women’s inclusion in peacemaking and negotiations,” because it believes women will “bring fresh thinking and new ideas” that can help advance J Street’s goals.

In other words, J Street is interested in women when they might be useful for promoting Palestinian statehood. But its leaders seem a lot less interested in women who are not politically useful. Speaking out against Shavit two years ago–when his book made him one of the most prominent advocates of Palestinian statehood in the Jewish world–would have harmed the Palestinian statehood campaign. Likewise, speaking out against the Palestinian Authority’s abuse of women could raise doubts about the nature and viability of a Palestinian state. Could that explain J Street’s troubling silence in both situations?

Stephen M. Flatow

J Street Recruiting Obama’s Jack Lew to Rob Regavim of Non-Profit Status

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The leftwing, anti-Netanyahu group J Street is pushing this month a petition titled, “Ask the Treasury to review the tax-deductibility of donations to groups aiding settlement expansion and Palestinian dispossession.” The umbrella cast by the petition appears to be broad, but the real target, as disclosed in an email sent out this week by Meretz MK Michal Rozin, is Regavim, a movement dedicated to enforcing the rule of law regarding illegal Arab construction everywhere.

In another email Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, sent his members in early September, he announced that he was pressuring the Obama Administration to revoke the US tax-exempt status of the Israeli NGO Regavim in response to their supposed activity against the two-state solution. Regavim has been very effective recently in forcing the Israeli authorities to apply Supreme Court rulings on demolishing illegal Arab construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria. Borrowing a page from the play book of Peace Now, which has been documenting every minute construction in Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, Regavim has become a pesky companion to every Arab attempt to defy the law, especially in cases where the courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court, have ruled in favor of demolition. As a result, the Netanyahu government and its law enforcement agencies can no longer ignore these rulings and permit illegal Arab construction to flourish.

One of the most outstanding recent focal points of the Regavim efforts has been their campaign against a squatter camp outside the Jewish community of Susiya in Judea, which the US and the EU insist must stay put despite the fact that its existence violates every signed agreement between Israel and the PA.

Ben-Ami wrote his followers that he was shocked to discover that the “settler movements” aiming to destroy Susiya are partially funded by donations from the US — including Regavim which has systematically mapped out the Susiya shacks and lean-tos, pointing Israeli police at the precise location of structures that violate the law. Ben-Ami sees this well-organized campaign to enforce the law as a threat to a future Palestinian State, which, he believes, must some day be handed the entire area.

As MK Rozin told J Street members in her email: “In 2016, they have already demolished more Palestinian homes than in all of last year. … This process is led in part by influential right-wing NGOs (like the group Regavim), which have been systematically mapping out strategically located Palestinian villages — like Susya — and lobbying the Israeli government to demolish them. Their goal is simple — to destroy the dream of the two-state solution.”

By “lobbying to demolish,” MK Rozin, who is entrusted with the rule of law in Israel, is referring to Regavim’s relentless efforts to push government agencies to enforce court rulings. Alas, that obedience to the law in Israel appears to be an affront to US foreign policy, which Rozin would like to thwart by taking away their American tax exempt status. “Incredibly, Regavim and their fellow settler groups often benefit from tax-free contributions coming from the USA — even while they actively oppose the two-state solution, undermining key US and Israeli interests,” Rozin wrote, adding, “That’s why J Street has called on the US Treasury Department to review whether the activities of Regavim should make them ineligible to receive tax-free contributions.”

Now, as promised by Ben-Ami in his email, J Street is making Regavim the target of Obama’s Jewish Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew. In a three-paragraph appeal to Lew, next to the petition described above, J Street is directly challenging the Secretary of the Treasury to take away the tax exemptions of pro-Zionist NGOs whom, they say, obstruct US policy regarding the two-state solution.

The J Street spiel is reasonable on its face: “While the US has consistently opposed illegal settlement expansion, it has allowed Americans to make tax-deductible contributions to groups actively engaged in dispossessing Palestinians of their land and aiding the spread of settlements,” which is why “we’re calling on the Treasury Department to review whether tax-deductible treatment for donations to such groups meet the relevant requirements — and, if not, to cut off the flow of tax-deductible US dollars.”

But the above statement, like all political hackwork, is bereft of specifics and context, lumping together real and imagined targets. The most crucial omission is the fact that Regavim’s official mission has nothing to do with Jewish settlements or with the two-state solution. Instead, as their website states, “The mission of Regavim is to ensure responsible, legal, accountable and environmentally friendly use of Israel’s national lands and the return of the rule of law to all areas and aspects of the land and its preservation.” As such, they are just as effective regarding illegal Bedouin and other Arab construction inside 1967-border Israel as they are about Area C of Judea and Samaria.

The reason Regavim is being attacked by name is because they are not a Zionist movement of slogans and demonstrations (their rallies so far have been pitifully under-attended). They are a Zionist movement dedicated to upholding the law, and as such they beat the opposition at its own game.

Which is why it is highly unlikely that Secretary Lew would devote any time in the next three months to going after Regavim’s tax exempt status — but someone inside the IRS might. Stay tuned.

JNi.Media

Leftwing J Street Going After Pro-Israel Regavim’s US Tax-Exempt Status

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of leftwing, anti-Netanyahu group J Street, sent an email to his group’s supporters announcing that he is pressuring the Obama Administration to revoke the US tax-exempt status of the Israeli (and pro-Israel) NGO Regavim in response to their supposed activity against the two-state solution.

The urgent need to harm Regavim’s US donations resulted from the effective work the group has done in forcing the Israeli authorities to apply Supreme Court rulings on demolishing illegal Arab construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria. One of the recent focal points of the Regavim efforts has been the squatter camp outside the Jewish community of Susiya, which the US and the EU insist must stay put despite the fact that its existence violates every signed agreement between Israel and the PA.

Ben-Ami wrote his followers that he was shocked to discover that the “settler movements” aiming to destroy Susiya are partially funded by donations from the US — including Regavim which has systematically mapped out the Susiya shacks and lean-tos, pointing Israeli police at the precise location of structures that violate the law. Ben-Ami sees this well-organized campaign to enforce the law as a threat to a future Palestinian State, which, he believes, must some day be handed the entire area.

Ben-Ami attributes to his organization’s work behind the scenes with the US State Dept. the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman have responded to international pressure and postponed the evacuation of the illegal Arab squatters until November 15.

The president of J Street shared in his email how enraged he is by the fact that groups that work against “the future of the State of Israel” and in direct defiance of US foreign policy and “perhaps” even US law, enjoy a tax-exempt status in the US, which is why J Street will continue to pressure the US government to revoke Regavim’s special status.

Should Ben-Ami be interested in learning what happened the last time the IRS has taken on a pro-Israel group, he should Google “Z Street,” a feisty organization headed by Jewish Press Online reporter Lori Lowenthal Marcus. As Lowenthal Marcus and others have reported over the past seven or so years, the IRS was “slow-rolling” discovery in lawsuits about how it slow-rolled applications by conservative non-profits in general and Z Street in particular.

In 2009, Z Street filed for 501(c)(3) status and was caught in the net of IRS targeting for groups that opposed Administration policy.

An IRS agent confirmed on the phone that Z Street’s application had been sent for special screening for groups connected with Israel. Z Street sued the IRS in 2010 for political discrimination that violated the First Amendment, and IRS Exempt Organizations Determinations Group manager Jon Waddell actually said in a December 2010 sworn declaration in federal court that the IRS flagged Z Street because “Israel is one of many Middle Eastern countries that have a ‘higher risk of terrorism.’”

“That’s hilarious,” wrote the Wall Street Journal last August, “since Z Street supports a country targeted by terrorism. But it also is untrue, which the Administration apparently knew before Mr. Waddell gave his statement to the court. In an October 25, 2010 internal IRS memo on the Z Street case produced in discovery, the IRS acknowledged that when Z Street’s application was being scrutinized Israel wasn’t on the list of terrorist countries, and that an agent may have been using an outdated list.”

If Jeremy Ben-Ami believes the Obama Administration is prepared to go after the tax-exempt status of yet another Zionist group — he should probably check with someone in the State Dept. Perhaps President Hillary Clinton would be inclined to alienate her Jewish voters and Israel by using the IRS for political purposes. It’s quite clear President Donald Trump won’t.

As to the self-congratulations of Ben-Ami on how he and J Street got the US and the EU to condemn Israel’s legal activities in Susiya — it stands to reason they knew all about it on their own. Why, the EU has been building illegal structures in Area C (which Regavim has successfully gotten demolished) without any help from J Street.

JNi.Media

The City on Ben Yehuda Street

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Someone painted one of those 3D perspective images at the top of Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.

It looks like a tourist decided to take a break on the top of one of the buildings in the miniature city.

Photo of the Day

Shiloh Musings: “Racism:” Two Way Street

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

A few days ago, I got a lot of flack on facebook for describing the TSA officers who treated me badly:

  • one pushed me instead of speaking clearly
  • the other was verbally abusive, not allowing me eye-contact with my valuables, as she gave me a “pat-down”

Both of the women were black and heavy. If they had been described as blondes, asians or red-heads and petite nobody would have cared. But there were some really nasty comments against me, just because I didn’t leave them as vague “stick-figures.”

Whenever there’s an “incident” in which a white shoots a black, those descriptions are accepted:

Still images from video show Alton Sterling as he is shot dead by police during an incident captured on the mobile phone camera of shop owner Abdullah Muflahi in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Video taken July 5, 2016. Abdullah Muflahi/Handout via REUTERS

Still images from video show Alton Sterling as he is shot dead by police during an incident captured on the mobile phone camera of shop owner Abdullah Muflahi in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Video taken July 5, 2016. Abdullah Muflahi

The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the fatal police shooting of a black man in Louisiana’s capital, the state’s governor said on Thursday, as two deadly encounters between law enforcement and black men triggered protests in the United States.
The probe comes as community leaders in Baton Rouge urged authorities to conduct a full-scale criminal probe of two white police officers over the slaying of Alton Sterling, 37, on Tuesday. (Reuters)


Of course, and I’m not denying it, the police look awful and most probably made a very bad call. But don’t forget that the victim, also, made a mistake, a fatal one. These short of shootings happen quite often when people want to take out their “papers,”and the police mistakenly think they are pulling out a weapon. So the best thing is to just stand with hands raised and tell the authorities where to find identification/license etc.

But calling me a racist for giving a physical description of the TSA officers who treated me badly/incorrectly  is so much like those who insist that those who don’t support Obama are racist or those who don’t support Hillary are anti-women/sexist. Looking at Obama’s or Hillary’s experience, character, platform etc and making a decision based on that and not their color, sex, and so on, is racist/sexist. There’s no moral superiority in saying:

“It’s time for a woman president. We are behind the times,” (Newsday)

If that’s the main theme, than it’s totally sexist.

Batya Medad

Kerry, Biden Slated to Speak at J Street Gala

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry are both slated to speak Monday at the J Street 2016 National Gala.

The event is scheduled to take place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Sanders Fires J Street Spawned Simone Zimmerman

Friday, April 15th, 2016

On Thursday, only two days after she had been hired, the Bernie Sanders campaign dropped its national Jewish outreach coordinator Simone Zimmerman, after her “vulgar” Facebook attacks on Prime Minister Netanyahu and on Israel had been exposed. (See Jordana Brown’s An Open Letter to Simone Zimmerman on this website).

A spokesperson for the Sanders campaign sent out an e-mail saying “she has been suspended while we investigate the matter.”

On Wednesday, The Washington Free Beacon discovered and published a Facebook post where Zimmerman described Netanyahu as “arrogant, deceptive, cynical” and “manipulative.” She used expletives and claimed the PM “sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people this summer.”

Former ADL president Abe Foxman, World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder and many others in the American Jewish establishment called for her firing. Lauder called on Sanders “to clarify his own positions and whether this hire reflects his views on Israel. Does he support the positions Ms. Zimmerman espouses? If not, he should make that clear by terminating her immediately as one of his closest advisers. If Senator Sanders maintains her as his adviser, it will confirm that his views on Israel match hers.”

Zimmerman, who came up in J Street and similar anti-Israel groups, is closely associated with the Israeli anti-Zionist left.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sanders-fires-j-street-spawned-simone-zimmerman/2016/04/15/

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