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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘vote’

Analysis: Merkel’s Party Losing Badly as Social Democrats, Anti-Immigrant AfD Win Berlin State Vote

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The Social Democrats (SPD) have won roughly 33 of the 149 seats in Berlin’s state assembly, and will continue to lead a coalition government, although it appears that their former partner, the local chapter of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), may no longer be useful, having finished with 17.5% of the vote, its worst showing since 1990. Going into the election, incumbent mayor Michael Müller led a grand coalition of his SPD and the CDU. Meanwhile, Berlin voters have welcomed the anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany (AfD), giving them 12.9% of the vote and representation in the tenth regional assembly out of Germany’s 16.

The AfD, founded in 2013 as a middle class, conservative party, has adopted last spring a platform based on opposition to Islam, including a call for banning Islamic symbols such as burkhas, minarets and the call to prayer, under the slogan, “Islam is not a part of Germany.” The party is also opposed to gay marriages and denies the role of industry and technology in causing global warming. And it supports reinstating the draft in Germany.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung wrote on Sunday that the AfD gains in a major city like Berlin prove that the party “doesn’t just benefit from discontent in rural areas but can establish itself … in a city of millions that is known for its open lifestyle.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the AfD, who score as high as 15% in national polls, took 20.8% of the vote and finished ahead of the Christian Democrats in the state election in the northeast region of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania two weeks ago.

Incidentally, according to an ARD exit poll, only 32% of Berlin voters said they were afraid of refugees, while 55% said they saw refugees as enriching life in Germany.

The SPD is expected to form a new regional coalition government with the Left and the Greens, who suffered a 2.5% drop to 15.1%.

Mayor Müller warned on Saturday night that a strong AfD showing would be “seen throughout the world as a sign of the resurgence of the right and of Nazis in Germany.” Well, what do you know…

And so, as Germany is stepping once again into a period of economic and political uncertainty and the EU is still licking its wounds following the UK’s departure, the reader is encouraged to avoid reading history books, because they’ll only upset you.


Vote On September 13 In The NYS Primary Elections!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

It is imperative for Brooklyn readers not only to vote in the upcoming primary elections but to get family, friends, and neighbors to do so as well. As we noted a couple of weeks ago, most of the individuals we’ve endorsed are being challenged by candidates politically beholden to Councilman Charles Barron, who is notorious for making grossly anti-Semitic comments and who has been condemned by no fewer than 12 independent communal groups.

We cannot stand by and allow his influence to grow. A small turnout is expected this coming Tuesday, September 13. Therefore, your votes could very well make the difference.

The candidates listed below are capable, bright, personable, and enthusiastic –and have shown they work well with the Jewish community and the many other ethnic and religious communities that comprise or will comprise their districts.


New York State Senate

Roxanne Persaud for the New York State Senate in the 19th Senatorial District, Brooklyn.


New York State Assembly

Pam Harris for the New York State Assembly 46th Assembly District, Brooklyn. 

Darlene Mealy for the New York State Assembly 55th Assembly District, Brooklyn.

Tremaine Wright for New York State Assembly 56th Assembly District, Brooklyn.

Jamie Williams for New York State Assembly 59th Assembly District, Brooklyn.

Alice Cancel for New York State Assembly 65th Assembly District, Manhattan. 


State Committeeman/Committeewoman/District Leader

Mark Treyger for State Committeeman/District Leader 46th Assembly District, Brooklyn.

Dilia Scach for State Committeewoman/District Leader 46th Assembly District, Brooklyn.

Charles Ragusa for State Committeeman/District Leader 47th Assembly District, Brooklyn.

Linda Minucci for State Committeewoman/District Leader 50th Assembly District, Brooklyn.

Darlene Mealy for State Committeewoman/District Leader 55th Assembly District, Brooklyn.

Olanike Alabi for State Committeewoman/District Leader 57th Assembly District, Brooklyn.

Sue Ann Partnow for State Committeewoman/District Leader 59th Assembly District, Brooklyn..


Civil Court Judge

Rachel (Ruchie) E. Freier for civil court in the 5th Municipal District in Brooklyn.

Connie M. Melendez for Kings County Civil Court, countywide in Brooklyn.

Editorial Board

Rightwing Pundit: A Vote for Donald Trump Is a Vote for Israel’s Enemies

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Louis René Beres, the son of Austrian Jewish refugees, a professor of Political Science at Purdue University, and a long time advocate of rightwing Jewish and Israeli causes, is afraid of a Donald Trump presidency. Writing in US News & World Report (Israel Wouldn’t Survive Trump), Beres defies the “conventional wisdom” that sees presidential candidate Donald Trump as better for Israel than Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton. For starters, the PoliSci professor is aghast at Trump’s lack of intellectual discipline, citing his August 15 foreign policy speech from which one could conclude that he would enthusiastically be willing to “work with” Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, and which couldn’t be a good thing for Israel.

Beres warns that “Trump’s proposals would go so far as to put Israel’s physical survival at a tangibly greater risk,” seeing as the candidate is prepared to collaborate with Hezbollah and support Russian military cooperation with Iran. “How else ought anyone interpret Trump’s stunningly naive call for combating the Islamic State group at all costs?” Beres asks, calling Trump’s ideas “a seemingly random patchwork of ready-made phrases.”

Beres has no illusions about a Hillary Clinton presidency when it comes to Israel’s interests, but he is deeply concerned by the Republican candidate’s foreign policy being little more than an “endless litany of barren clichés, emotional arguments and thoroughly empty witticisms.” Or as he puts it politely: “Donald Trump is manifestly and incontestably imperfect.”

Talk about the art of the understatement…

“For Israel,” Beres suggests, judging by Trump’s “enthusiastic words of support for Jerusalem’s chief enemies,” the conclusion must be that “a Trump presidency could be irremediably catastrophic.” This is because “crafting a nation’s foreign policy is never a job for narrowly educated political operatives,” as it “calls for a deep and genuine appreciation of strategic interdependencies and also of assorted and corresponding legal obligations” — which Trump, apparently, does not bring to the table.

“The ultimate irony of Trump’s disjointed preferences” regarding US foreign policy and his perceived threat of radical Islam—as opposed to all the other, bigger threats out there, Beres asserts, “is that they would actually work on behalf of the Islamic State group, while at the same time strengthening America’s most formidable enemies.” Indeed, when it comes to foreign policy, Beres says the only voters who should support a Trump presidency are Americans who “prefer Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah to Israel and America.”


Hamas: Vote for Us or Burn in Hell

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

It is election season in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians are preparing to cast their votes in the local and municipal elections, scheduled to take place on October 8. The upcoming elections will be different from the last one, held in 2012 only in the West Bank, when Hamas boycotted the vote, allowing the rival Fatah faction to claim victory.

This time Hamas has decided to join the political fray — a move that caught Fatah and its leaders, including Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, by surprise.

Hamas’s decision to participate in the local and municipal elections has further aggravated tensions with Abbas’s Fatah faction, which continues to suffer from deep internal divisions and rivalries.

In the past few weeks, Hamas and Fatah have been accusing each other of cracking down on each other’s supporters in the Gaza Strip and West Bank in a bid to affect the results of the election.

According to Hamas, the Palestinian Authority security forces have in recent weeks arrested scores of the Islamist movement’s supporters in the West Bank. Hamas claims that the crackdown intensified after its decision to participate in the election. Hamas also claims that some of its detained supporters have been tortured, prompting some of them to go on hunger strikes in Palestinian prisons.

Samira Halaykeh, a Hamas representative in the West Bank, said that the crackdown was an “extension” of the campaign of arrests that the PA has been waging against the Islamist movement for several years now. She predicted that the latest crackdown would actually serve as a boomerang, strengthening Hamas.

“The Palestinian Authority and its security forces must guarantee security and safety for all Palestinians so that they can practice their legitimate right to run and vote in the election,” she added. “The Palestinian Authority needs to avoid any form of intimidation and political and intellectual repression against the voters.”

Another senior Hamas representative in the West Bank, Bassem Al-Za’areer, condemned the arrests of Hamas supporters by the Palestinian Authority as “politically-motivated.” He too alleged that the crackdown was aimed at undermining Hamas’s chances of winning the election. The crackdown, he added, reflects the “state of desperation and panic” of the PA following Hamas’s decision to participate in the vote. The Palestinian Authority fears a “fair and decent competition,” he explained.

The Palestinian Authority’s crackdown on Hamas on the eve of the election has even riled some senior Fatah officials, such as Husam Khader of the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank.

“Political arrests solidify the dictatorship of the ruling [Fatah] party,” Khader charged. “The Palestinian Authority is searching for any excuse to call off the election because it fears democracy more than it fears Israel.” According to Khader, Abbas decided to hold the local and municipal elections because his advisors convinced him that Hamas would boycott the vote. The top Fatah official predicted that internecine fighting in Fatah would play into the hands of Hamas in the upcoming election. This is precisely what happened in the 2006 parliamentary elections, when divisions within Fatah facilitated Hamas’s victory.

Similarly, Fatah maintains that Hamas has been waging a campaign of intimidation and detention against Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip — also in order to disrupt the upcoming election and undermine Fatah’s performance at the ballot boxes.

In the past two weeks, several Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip were rounded up by Hamas security forces, which have also banned Fatah from carrying out public election campaigns or holding rallies. Last week, as part of this crackdown, a Hamas court sentenced a former Palestinian Authority “general” to seven years in prison for “collaboration” with the PA security forces in the West Bank. Another three Fatah activists were sentenced to five years for the same crime.

In an effort to quell tensions between Hamas and Fatah, the Palestinian Central Election Commission decided to ask the two parties to sign a “Code of Conduct” document that requires all candidates and parties to avoid smear campaigns, slander, and fomenting sectarian or racist strife. The document also requires all those participating in the election to refrain from “exploiting religious or sectarian or tribal sentiments” in their campaign and also to avoid any form of intimidation, such as declaring one another traitors, apostates and infidels.

Although Fatah and Hamas have pledged to honor the terms of the “Code of Conduct,” known in Arabic as mithak sharaf, the two sides, which are not famous for honoring agreements, seem resolved to resort to all available methods to persuade voters to vote for each one of them.

For now, the two sides have taken to social media to present their electoral platforms and wage a smear campaign against each other.

Local elections are supposed to be about who can provide the people with the best municipal services and improve their living conditions. As such, one would expect candidates to run on a platform that promises new schools, roads, parks, sports centers and other municipal services. But in the case of the Palestinians, local and municipal elections seem to have assumed a new meaning and role. In fact, the upcoming election seems to be anything but a vote for a mayor or a member of a municipal or village council.

Hamas, whose leaders seem to be enthusiastic and optimistic about the upcoming vote, has seized the opportunity to wage a massive election campaign on Facebook and Twitter to promote its extremist ideology through intimidation and by accusing its rivals of infidelity, blasphemy and profanity. Hamas’s message to the Palestinian voters: Vote for us or else you will be considered infidels and you will end up in hell.

The first sign of Hamas’s frightening platform emerged when one of its top muftis, Yunis Al-Astal, issued a fatwa (Islamic religious decree) banning Palestinians from voting for any other party other than Hamas. “Any person, male or female, who votes for a party other than Hamas will be considered an infidel and apostate and his or her repentance will not be accepted even if they fasted or prayed or performed the hajj [pilgrimage] to Mecca,” the mufti ruled.

The Hamas fatwa sparked a wave of anger from many Palestinians, who were quick to accuse the Islamist movement and its leaders of waging a campaign of intimidation and terror against voters.

“This is the policy of the Muslim Brotherhood [of which Hamas is an offshoot],” commented Hisham Sawalhi, a Palestinian from the West Bank. “Those who support Muslim Brotherhood are believers, while those who oppose them are infidels.”

A Hamas-affiliated cartoonist from the Gaza Strip, Baha Yasin, published a cartoon that carries the same message as the fatwa. “A Palestinian Muslim does not vote for secular infidels,” he captioned a cartoon that depicts supporters of Fatah as unbelievers who smoke nargilas and cigarettes. The caption accompanying the cartoon also denounces the Fatah supporters for “insulting Allah” and Islam.

Rajai Al-Halabi, who is in charge of the “women’s portfolio” in Hamas, also stirred up controversy when she appeared on Al-Jazeera to declare that Islam surfaced for the first time in the Gaza Strip with the creation of Hamas.

Her declaration, which came in the context of Hamas’s election campaign, drew strong condemnations and sarcastic remarks from many Palestinians. “This means that all those who died before the establishment of Hamas were infidels, commented Hamzeh Abu Ajaleh, a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip. “In any case, my grandfather did not consume alcohol and my grandmother used to cover her head,” he wrote in reaction to the statement by the senior Hamas official.

“Hamas has launched its unofficial election campaign by issuing deeds of forgiveness and taking us back to the Middle Ages,” said Palestinian political analyst Mahmoud Sabri.

“They have turned mosques into podiums for political, and not religious, lecturing. Any citizen who does not vote for Hamas will be closer to entering hell and will be asked by Allah on Doomsday why he or she did not vote for the right people. Hamas wants us to believe that if we do not support them, then we are against Islam and that we are participating in the war against our religion.”

Some Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said this week that Hamas has formed a special team to manage its propaganda campaign in preparation for the local and municipal elections. This team has begun operating on two fronts: first, a public campaign to market Hamas’s “achievements” since its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007; and second, one to wage a campaign of defamation against its rivals in Fatah, depicting them as traitors and Israeli agents and infidels and enemies of Allah and Islam.

“A vote for Hamas is a vote for the resistance and a vote in support of Allah and Islam,” reads one of Hamas’s election banners. Other banners posted on social media highlight the fact that most of the Fatah representatives are not faithful Muslims and do not pray or practice any of the other pillars of Islam.

This Hamas tactic has worked in the past. In the previous parliamentary election, Hamas used the same propaganda to brainwash and scare Palestinian voters. Hamas has also resorted to the same rhetoric in campaigns during elections for university student councils and various professional unions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Some Palestinians, particularly Fatah loyalists, fear that Hamas will once again manage to persuade Palestinian voters to cast their ballots in favor of the Islamist movement by exploiting Islam to intimidate them.

However, there is no ignoring that there are other reasons why Palestinians may nevertheless prefer to vote for Hamas and not Fatah. Nearly two months before the election, tensions in Fatah seem to be on the rise. Many Fatah representatives are threatening to run in the election as independent candidates or as representatives of their clans. This already happened in the 2006 parliamentary election and resulted in Fatah’s defeat to Hamas. And this is why some Fatah officials already have second thoughts about the election and some of them have even openly called on the Palestinian Authority leadership to consider delaying them until further notice.

Last week, Mahmoud Abbas reportedly expelled four “rebellious” senior Fatah officials from the faction. The move came amid growing tensions among Fatah’s top brass over the upcoming election.

For Hamas, the upcoming election is an opportunity to consolidate its power and extend its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. Hamas also views the local and municipal elections as a test for future parliamentary and even presidential elections. Without question, a Hamas victory in the upcoming elections would have an impact on any future elections and would send a message to the world that the Palestinian Authority is weak and has lost much of its credibility and standing among Palestinians. By calling the election and allowing Hamas to participate, Abbas is digging his own grave. Not to mention that he will be presiding over the burial of any so-called peace process with Israel.


Khaled Abu Toameh

Donald J. Trump Wins Republication Nomination for President

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Some state delegates wore hats shaped like yellow wedges of cheese (Wisconsin), some of the hats were green and shaped like little trees.

But it was the dignified, albeit exultant red, white and blue state delegates from Donald J. Trump’s home State of New York who put the vote count over the top, and sealed his party’s nomination for president of the United States of America.

Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., led the state’s delegates in announcing they had the privilege of putting his father “it is my honor to be able to throw Donald Trump over the top with 89 delegate votes” from the Empire State. Surrounded by his siblings, the younger Trump added in a happy shout, “Congratulations Dad, we love you!”

At the end of the vote, Trump had won 1725 votes; by comparison, opponents Texas Senator Ted Cruz had garnered 484, Ohio Governor John Kasich had 125, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio had 234.

The magic number needed to win the nomination was 1237. Alaska’s head of delegation came to the microphone after the roll call, saying it was contesting its delegate vote count and demanding a review.

House Speaker and Republican National Convention chairman Paul Ryan gravely acknowledged the demand; he also immediately agreed to hold the review, saying the delegation should meet with vote officials alongside the convention in order to address the issue.

Within minutes, however, it became clear the night was going to belong to Donald Trump despite the best efforts of Ted Cruz to up-end that eventuality.

Still to be heard from are the Trump children and the candidate himself, as well as the various other speakers who will talk about why they think the citizens of the United States should vote for Donald J. Trump.

Hana Levi Julian

Knesset Committee Approves Flag Burning Bill for Final Vote

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Monday approved for a second and third reading in the plenum an amendment proposed by MK Nava Boker (Likud) to Israel’s Flag, Emblem and Anthem Law, which seeks to increase the punishment for dishonoring the national flag or emblem. The bill equates the punishment for dishonoring the national symbols with the punishment for doing the same to the symbols of countries friendly to Israel.

Currently the law sets the punishment for dishonoring the Israeli national flag and symbols at up to a year in prison or a fine of up to 300 Israeli liras (pounds). The lira was replaced by the shekel as Israel’s legal tender back in 1980, which shows how long it has been since any legislator was last troubled by the dishonoring of the national flag.

However, dishonoring the flag of a friendly country will put you in prison for up to three years, and the alternative financial penalty is $15,000, so the bill seeks to extend the sentence and fine to those same levels.

Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) complained about the fact that “we belittle ourselves. Anyone whose national flag is burned will be offended. When we are insulted the result is a conviction for a year, and when someone from abroad is upset it’s three years? Do the police keep records of the number of convictions given for such an offense? The national emblems are a source of national pride in every country. It is not a political matter. An American whose flag is burned is offended.”

“Freedom of expression does not mean you are allowed everything. Even religious emblems deserve elementary respect. A person who arrives at a synagogue or a mosque cannot do whatever he wishes. Even at a concert you don’t stand up and laugh. There is no need to exaggerate, but it’s illogical that there are no sanctions against those who burn flags,” Amsalem added.

MK Abdullah Abu Maaruf (Joint Arab List) asked to lower the punishment from three years in prison as the bill states, to a day, and remove the financial penalty. His request was rejected.

David Israel

Brexit Vote

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Last week’s stunning UK vote to leave the European Union is having a ripple effect across the globe. The Brits themselves are beginning to contemplate the resultant strains on their economy – at least for the short run – not the least of which will be the inevitable loss of foreign trade markets and workers’ easy access to European job markets.

They probably know that President Obama’s unfortunate crack prior to the vote – he said they will have to go to “the back of the queue” with respect to trade relations with the U.S. if thy chose to leave the EU – was likely a harbinger of what they can expect from other world leaders.

Indeed, mindful of a possible charge that he was mixing in the affairs of another country, the president said he was only reacting  to the claims of Brexit supporters that Britain would always be able to negotiate a new, separate deal with the U.S.

Mr. Obama said, rather harshly:

They are voicing an opinion about what the United States is going to do. I figured you might want to hear from the president of the United Sates what I think the United States is going to do.And on that matter, for example, I think it’s fair to say that maybe some point down the line there may be a UK-U.S. trade agreement, but it’s not  going to happen any time soon because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done.

There will also necessarily be changes in Britain’s military defenses, inasmuch as a member of a politically integrated Europe requires a very different defense posture than does an outsider nation. And the 27 remaining members of the EU reportedly are already contemplating their own new strategies necessitated by the UK withdrawal.

As for the U.S., the world’s sole superpower with security interests across the globe, there is an obvious concern about any change in alignments. Indeed, a front-page story in The New York Times on Sunday posed this question in its opening paragraphs:

Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union is already threatening to unravel a democratic bloc of nations that has coexisted peacefully together for decades. But it is also generating uncertainty about an even bigger issue: Is the post-1945 order imposed on the world by the United States and its allies unraveling, too?Britain’s choice to retreat into what some critics of the vote suggest is a “Little England” status is just one among many loosely linked developments suggesting the potential for a reordering of power, economic relationship, borders and ideologies around the globe.

In a broader sense, the Brexit vote has cast doubt on what had seemed for decades to be an inexorable march toward world government. Political scientists have long noted that the nation-state, comprised of individuals with similar beliefs and culture, was a relatively recent development, and human history was mostly characterized by local towns, villages, and, of course, arbitrarily bounded empires. Many had suggested that the advent of the European Union marked the beginning of the end of the nation-state as the world’s political organizational model.

But what seems even more fascinating to some is the parallel between the Brexit campaign and the current American presidential showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. According to another front-page New York Times story on Sunday,

For Hillary Clinton, Britain’s emotionally charged uprising against the European Union is the sort of populist victory over establishment politics that she fears in the coming presidential election.Mrs. Clinton shares more with the defeated “remain” campaign than just their common slogan, “Stronger Together.” Her fundamental argument, much akin to Prime Minister David Cameron’s against British withdrawal from the European Union, is that Americans should value stability and incremental change over the risks of chaos if Donald J. Trump wins the presidency.

The article went on to report on the “populist” issues in both campaigns. Embedded in the Brexit effort was dissatisfaction with several hot button issues such as over the top mass immigration, open borders, migrant criminality, conflicts with the Muslim community,  loss of control of political independence to EU decision-makers, loss of jobs for British citizens, loss of trading opportunities, and outsourced manufacturing. If these sound familiar, it is because they track much of what constitutes the thrust of the Trump campaign.

Editorial Board

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/brexit-vote/2016/06/29/

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