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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

Adelson Gives $500,000 to Shmuley Boteach Super PAC

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Billionaire philanthropist Sheldon Adelson and his wife have donated $500,000 to an independent super PAC that endorses Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s congressional run for the 9th Congressional District in northern New Jersey.

The casino mogul and his wife, Miriam, each gave $250,000 to the Patriot Prosperity Political Action Committee, which is supporting Boteach’s candidacy against the incumbent – Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited “people close to the Adelsons and the PAC.”

The Adelsons previously gave $10,000 directly to Boteach’s campaign. Sheldon Adelson and Boteach are personal friends, and Boteach recently wrote an article in The Jewish Press harshly condemning the “below-the-belt attack” by David Harris, President of the National Jewish Democratic Council, who accused Adelson of personally approving prostitution in his casinos.

In a statement to The Jewish Press Boteach said,”I treasure the Adelsons’ support. They have been dear friends for a long time and were among the earliest backers of my campaign. Not only are they heroes in the Jewish community for their mega-philanthropy, but they are among the most generous and sophisticated political donors in the country.

“Their decision to support my campaign – and, apparently, to help fund a group that will be backing my campaign – proves that there’s a passionate need in American politics for a values-based candidacy. This donation is a game changer.”

The donation is only the most recent contribution the Adelson’s have made to Republican candidates this election season. They have contributed $10 million toward Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign, and contributed $10 million to Newt Gingrich during the Republican primaries.

The Adelson’s have been active philanthropists in a variety of Jewish causes, giving close to $100 million to Birthright Israel, $25 million donation to Yad Vashem, as well as donations to the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and the Zionist Organization of America, among other groups.

Boteach’s platform includes support for school vouchers and making marital counseling tax deductible in an effort to lower the divorce rate. He has criticized his opponent for signing a letter with 53 other Congressmen which condemned Israel for “collective punishment” against Palestinians in the Gaza blockade.

JTA content was used in this report.

Jewish Press Staff

US Jewish Peace Group Calling Romney Racist over Palestinian Culture Comment

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

In an entirely predictable effort to use the word “Jewish” to attack those who support the Jewish State, the organization Jewish Voice for Peace invited other haters of Israel to sign a letter to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, lambasting him for his “racist” and “ignorant” statements about Arab Palestinians.

In one of the more hotly debated statements Romney made on his trip to Israel last month, he attributed the vast disparity in economic health between that of the robust Israeli one and the dismal one of the Palestinian Authority to, in part, a difference in culture.

Given that the two societies live in the same climate, with the same geologic infirmities, is it a wonder that someone might think to look to culture to explain the vast difference between the two?  Of course, the naming of children’s sports teams, streets and town squares after people who blow themselves up in order to murder as many Jews as possible is surely an indicator of cultural inclination.

But the JVP folks insist that the reason for the disparity in economic health between the two societies is the “Occupation.”

Rabbi Joseph Berman of Temple B’Nai Israel in Revere, Massachusetts, is the Boston chair of JVP and sits on its rabbinic council.  Rabbi Berman delivered the JVP petition to Romney’s national headquarters in Boston, on Monday, August 6, 2012.  The petition “demands” Romney apologize to the “Palestinian people” for his “cultural differences” statement regarding the Arab Palestinian people.

Your statements in Jerusalem regarding the growth of the Palestinian and Israeli economies were inaccurate and misleading. Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian land makes it impossible for the Palestinian economy to succeed, not “cultural differences.” Your comments were not a reflection of the values Jews, Americans, and our allies hold dear. We call on you to apologize to the Palestinian people for your willful lack of understanding of the facts on the ground and the racist assumptions behind them.

Given what they describe as Romney’s racism, JVP claims that this election season “is a unique moment to raise the issue of the Occupation in the presidential election. We all know the Occupation is what’s holding back the Palestinian economy.”

Is it?  Back in 2002 the pre-eminent Middle East historian Efraim Karsh slew that sacred cow. Karsh explained that, actually, the very best thing that ever happened to the economy, the overall health, the educational levels and the standard of living for the Arab Palestinians was precisely what JVP and others claim is the reason for their misery: the so-called “Occupation.”

Following the 1967 war, when Israel became responsible for the Arabs living in the disputed territories, their life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 years in 2000; their infant mortality rate plunged from 60 out of 1000 to just 15 in 2000; during the 1970’s the economy in the territories and Gaza was the fourth fastest growing in the world, illiteracy rates plummeted to just 14 percent, the lowest of all Arabs in the surrounding Arab countries.  In 1967, when Israel first gained control over the territories, there was not a single institution of higher learning, by the beginning of the 1970’s there were seven.

The JVP petition claims that Arabs are under-paid in the territories, but, in fact, Arabs living in Israel and the territories have among the highest standard of living of any Arabs anywhere in the world.

But Jewish Voice for Peace echoes the outrage of Palestinian Authority spokesman Saeb Erekat’s response to Romney’s cultures claim. They are insisting that rather than Arab intransigence and a culture that glorifies murder and terrorism, it is the mere statement of a US presidential candidate that has destroyed the chances for negotiations that JVP, at least, claims would lead to the creation of the holy grail of progressive Jewish politics – the creation of a Palestinian State.

Professor of Medieval history Richard Landes, writing in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, August 6, shored up Karsh’s exposure of the “Occupation” as Middle East bogeyman (“Richard Landes: Romney Is Right on Culture and the Wealth of Nations“).  While Karsh wrote about the benefits brought to the Arabs by their exposure to, and entwining with, the Israeli economy and technological progress, post-“Occupation,” Landes struck hard on aspects of Arab culture that practically ensure stagnation.

Arab culture, says Landes, views intellectual curiosity and exuberant innovation as subversive.  He writes that Arab culture  “emphasizes rote learning and unquestioning respect for those in authority,” and public criticism of authority invites “sharp retaliation.”

Landes brings the argument full circle.  In the speech he gave in which he discussed the impact of culture on both the Israeli and the Arab economies, Romney cited historian David Landes, Richard’s father. The son pointed out, in his Journal op-ed, that “Blaming others for one’s own failures prolongs failure. Even though his own government daily chooses a culture of death, not life, Mr. Erekat wants to blame Israel for Palestine’s woes; no admission here that he and his colleagues might have some role in the suffering of their own people.”

If blaming others is at least a root cause of the dismal Arab economy, and if JVP and their fellow travelers encourage that culture of blame, then perhaps it is also the culture of those such as Rabbi Joseph Berman and his comrades at JVP which must bear at least some of the blame for the cycle of Arab failure.

More Good Works by our Brothers and Sisters at the Jewish Voice for Peace:

JVP supports Presbyterian Divestment

JVP is very proud to have been part of the broad coalition supporting Presbyterian efforts to boycott settlement products and divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation since 2004. We are especially proud of the members of our youth branch — Young, Jewish, and Proud (YJP) — and of our Rabbinical Council who were in Pittsburgh this year at the General Assembly meeting in support of the resolutions.

TIAA-CREF: Divest from the occupation

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) has endorsed the TIAA-CREF campaign and is urging all groups working on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in the US, especially on university campuses, to endorse the campaign and join it, whenever possible, to amplify its reach and impact across the US. 

Campus Divestment

On April 28, 2010, students at the University of California at Berkeley failed by just one vote to overturn the veto of the original student council vote of 16 to 4 to divest from companies that specifically profit from the occupation, but they helped launch a new phase of the movement for justice.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Rubin Reports: Extra! Extra! World Agrees on How to Solve Syrian Civil War!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
http://rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/
“The early bird might catch the worm but the early cat catches the bird.”
–Me
Here it is at last. The perfect case study of the “international community’s” diplomacy on the Middle East, as quoted from a Wall Street Journal article describing efforts to resolve the Syria conflict. And the article has the perfect headline, too!
World Powers Reach Syria Compromise
So the problem is solved, right?
“‎An international meeting in Geneva on Saturday on Syria’s crisis agreed, with support from Russia, to support a political transition. However, officials at the meeting said any chance for a political transition to succeed rests on the willingness of the Syrian regime to cooperate.”

That’s right! The powers have agreed to a transition to a new government which will go into effect as soon as the current dictatorship agrees to be overthrown and its rulers flee for their lives and watch their supporters probably be massacred. Perhaps the world will then install a new Islamist government in Syria, forcing it down the throats of the real democratic opposition, which will be dedicated to spreading revolution and striking against Western interests.

Isn’t diplomacy wonderful?

Next week: The world solves the Israel-Palestinian conflict!

Barry Rubin

FBI Arrested Peter Madoff

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Peter Madoff, the younger brother of jailed Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff, has been taken into custody by the FBI.

Peter Madoff, 66, surrendered himself Friday morning at his lawyer’s office in midtown Manhattan ahead of an expected guilty plea to criminal charges related to the Ponzi scheme, according to the Wall Street Journal.

He is the eighth person to plead guilty to criminal charges in the government’s investigation into the collapse of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities since December 2008. Numerous Jewish foundations and individuals had invested with the firm. Among the victims were Hadassah, the American Jewish Congress and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

The former chief compliance officer is expected to plead guilty to falsifying the records of an investment adviser, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, make false filings and commit other crimes. He has agreed to serve 10-year-prison term and forfeit all of his assets, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence in a North Carolina federal prison for crimes associated with the Ponzi scheme.

Earlier this week former Madoff money manager J. Ezra Merkin agreed to turn over $405 million to duped investors in the scheme. That was the first settlement resulting from a government action against Merkin.

JTA

Romney Gaining Momentum As Obama Struggles

Monday, June 11th, 2012

A week of setbacks for President Obama has the GOP excited about Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s chances to emerge victorious in November.

Last Tuesday, Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker survived a recall election, which was seen by many political observers as a referendum on the parties’ differing fiscal visions for dealing with the ongoing economic issues facing the United States. Initiated by opponents of Walker’s plan to curb collective bargaining rights for state employees, his victory was interpreted as a sign that voters were opposed to investment in government as a means to stimulate economic growth, which Obama supports.

More importantly, the Wisconsin recall election seemed to energize Republicans who have offered Romney lukewarm support at best. The New York Times, in a story today titled “GOP Mood Toward Romney’s Fall Prospects Brighten,” reported that consensus is building that Romney has a real shot at victory, quoting Republicans that had supported Romney’s opponents during the Republican primaries and conservatives that had previously been critical of him. The value of this growing consensus is found not merely in its moral victory but also in more vibrant fundraising and activism.

According to the New York Times piece, Romney and the Republican party already yielded more money in May than Obama and the Democratic Party ($76 million vs. $60 million), a significant achievement considering that Obama’s fundraising for the 2008 presidential campaign broke previous records for presidential campaigns, and is said to have revolutionized presidential fundraising.

Making matters worse for Obama, he made an uncharacteristic misstep last Friday by stating in a press conference that “the private sector is doing fine.” Known for its media savvy and disciplined message, the Obama administration spent the rest of Friday and the weekend focused on damage control, but Romney and the GOP had already seized on the comment as proof that Obama is out of touch with regular Americans and out of solutions for the American economy.

Last week also saw increasing pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the Justice Department’s botched ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting. Appearing before the House Oversight Committee by subpoena, Holder was accused of dragging his feet in providing information about which high-level Obama administration officials knew about the botched sting, which resulted in the death of a US border agent. As of this writing, the Committee is set to vote on holding Holder in contempt of Congress.

At the same time, the Obama administration is dealing with accusations that the White House had in recent weeks leaked highly classified information on the targeting of Al Qaeda militants by drones and the cyber-weapon Stuxnet. Republican lawmakers are claiming that the White House risked exposing intelligence operations for the purpose of political gain. Obama has strenuously denied the accusation, and Attorney General Holder has opened criminal investigations into the leaks.

Enthusiasm is also waning among people that only four years ago were die-hard Obama supporters. “Obama Girl,” AKA Amber Lee Ettinger, who became famous for her YouTube video “Crush on Obama,” told the Daily Caller on Friday that she is “not as excited as I was the last time,” and refused to offer Obama a public endorsement.

Of course, all of this negative publicity comes against the backdrop of economic numbers that suggest slowing economic recovery and job growth.

Recent polls are also bearing out Romney’s growing momentum. Rasmussen’s most recent poll has Romney leading Obama by one percentage point (46% – 45%), and a Gallup tracking poll from the first week of June shows the same results. Though this may seem like an early, insignificant lead, when viewed in light of the past month, there is a clear trend in favor of Romney. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll from May 20 had Obama leading Romney 47%-43%; thus, a five point swing has occurred over 3 weeks.

Gallup also polled Jewish voters, and found that as of June 5, Obama was supported by 64% of Jewish voters, while Romney received the support of 29%. Although he holds a 35% point lead over Romney, it is worth noting that in the 2008 Presidential election Obama received 78% of the Jewish vote.

Solomon Burke

Rubin Reports: Bush and Obama Together At Last – In Misunderstanding the Middle East

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/bush-and-obama-together-at-last-in.html

In one of his first statements since leaving office, former President George W. Bush remarked on Middle East developments in an article, “The Arab Spring and American Ideals,” in the Wall Street Journal, May 18. The former president reflects certain American misconceptions about the Middle East that are starting to blow up big-time in the region.

Bush writes: “We do not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. We only get to choose what side we are on.”

While one should not overestimate U.S. influence, one should also not underestimate it. Consider:

–In the Gaza Strip, by supporting the inclusion of Hamas in elections for which it was not qualified to run (since it had not accepted the Oslo accords), Bush’s own administration ensured that there would be a radical Islamist revolution in the Gaza Strip. This weakened the already dim prospects for any Israel-Palestinian peace process, has already brought one war, and will certainly bring others.

–In Lebanon, by refusing to give strong support to the moderate forces, the last two presidents ensured that the “freedom revolution” in that country would end in an Iran-Syria-Hizballah takeover.

–In Egypt, by taking the side not only of a total overthrow of the regime and even openly and unilaterally supporting the possibility of a Muslim Brotherhood government, the Obama Administration did help ensure that the fundamental transformation of Egypt began with the inevitable end of an anti-freedom Islamist regime.

–In Iran, by ignoring the upsurge of protest following the stolen election, the Obama Administration ensured that a “freedom revolution” didn’t get started there.

–In Syria, by refusing for all practical purposes to help the rebels, the U.S. government ensured that the “freedom revolution” would be defeated. Equally bad, by giving disproportionate help to the Islamists, the administration made it far more likely that if the rebellion succeeded it wouldn’t be a “freedom revolution.”

–And finally, in Libya, the United States and its European allies determined pretty much everything, overthrowing Muammar Qadhafi and determining who would rule the country.

Thus, a simple claim by Bush, which is also about the closest he and his successor would agree on any issue, is easily and can be demonstrably proven false. One hallmark of those favoring “neoconservative” positions is their lack of knowledge about the actual Middle East.

But that’s not all. The most important point of all is this one: “We only get to choose what side we are on.” The underlying assumption here is that there are two sides: evil dictatorship and noble democracy advocates.

In fact, there are three sides:

–Dictatorships of various levels of repressiveness, some of which are friendly and some that are sworn enemies of the United States.

–Moderate democracy advocates who want freedom in the Western sense of the word.

–Revolutionary Islamists who want a new, and anti-American, dictatorship run by themselves.

During the Cold War, American policymakers were very much aware of this three-part distinction (the third being Communists, in that case). They didn’t always choose correctly but they tried to evaluate each situation seriously. Sometimes they chose the dictators; sometimes they chose the democrats; and sometimes they even helped nudge the dictators (usually military juntas and especially in Latin America) into returning to the barracks and letting democracy resume.

No such careful process goes on now. In fact, the Obama Administration has repeatedly done the opposite of what a proper policy would be.

Bush also reflects Obama in using the be-on-the-right-side-of-history argument, a fatal flaw in a president of the United States who should be making choices based on U.S. interests.

Here is Bush’s argument annotated by me:

“The idea that Arab peoples are somehow content with oppression has been discredited forever.”

Again, the question, sadly, is not necessarily dispensing with oppression altogether but which kind of oppression we’re talking about. They are either willing, or can be forced, into getting rid of the old Arab nationalist oppression and then substituting Islamist oppression for it. Bush argues as if they are going to jump out of the frying pan with no danger of ending up in the fire.

He speaks critically about policymakers who “argue [that America] should be content with supporting the flawed leaders they know in the name of stability.”

Barry Rubin

Boys, ADHD And Reading

Friday, May 4th, 2012

When I was a young boy, America’s elite schools and universities were almost entirely reserved for males. That seems incredible now, in an era when headlines suggest that boys are largely unfit for the classroom. In particular, they can’t read.

– Thomas Spence, Wall Street Journal

In all my years of teaching kriyah and English reading, I have encountered more boys than girls who struggle with the skill. We are even subconsciously programmed to think of reading as a female endeavor. Picture a reader in a comfy chair, thinking, “Wow, what a great book! I can’t wait to share this with my friends.” Was the reader you imagined male or female? Chances are, you envisioned a female reader. The idea that the majority of readers are female is consistent with reading scores around the nation.

According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) in 2001, fourth-grade girls in all of the 30-plus participating countries scored higher in reading literacy than fourth-grade boys by a statistically significant amount. In addition, According to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test.

Accounting for the Reading Gap

Why is there such a large gap between girls and boys when it comes to reading? There are several theories that explain why boys test below girls their own age when it comes to reading:

Girls begin school with a larger vocabulary. Studies have shown that on a normal day, girls use 30% more words than boys their age. Simply because girls speak more, they are more comfortable with language. Then, when it comes to reading, they are more likely to synthesize new words into their everyday speech. This in turn will make their future reading more proficient.

The subject matter is tailored towards women. Because many teachers are female, and because mothers are often the ones helping children pick out their books, the subject matter of the reading tends to appeal to female audiences. Most boys would like to read about characters who are similar to them, but are often presented with books that have characters they cannot identify with.

Boys’ brains might be wired for non-fiction. While girls are great at comprehending narrative texts and expository style, studies have shown that boys prefer informational texts and newspapers. Teachers often devalue these non-fiction texts – prompting boys to feel they are not “reading” when they pick up a newspaper. This only discourages them from reading in the future.

Girls enter school with better fine motor skills. Biologically, girls often gain fine motor skills essential for writing at an earlier age than boys. While the girls quickly figure out how to write, the boys struggle with the same tasks. This struggle with writing can often lead boys to feel they are “not good” at reading or writing and therefore they will not even attempt to try.

An often undiscussed issue in this area is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We all know reading takes concentration – without it you can’t get to the end of a sentence. What many people don’t realize is that while ADHD is a common behavioral disorder affecting 8-10% of school age children, boys are three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with the disorder.

Of course, only a tiny fraction of boys have ADHD, but this fraction is significantly larger than the fraction of girls who do. This can also account for the differences in proficiency in boys and girls’ reading scores. Therefore, if you notice that your son is unable to focus, is easily distracted, and often fidgets, consider getting him tested for ADHD. His lack of reading skills could be attributed to a surmountable learning disability.

The most important thing to be aware of when parenting or teaching children with ADHD is that they are not “acting out.” Rather, it is difficult for these children to control their behavior without either medication or behavioral modification. Only a psychiatrist can prescribe medicine, but as an educator (or a parent) there are plenty of behavioral modifications you can implement in order to help a child become more attentive when reading or performing another activity that requires concentration.

Encourage fidgeting: Though this sounds counter-intuitive, children with ADHD benefit from distractions. In reality, it is not that they cannot focus – instead they focus on everything. So, give them a pencil to tap or a kush ball to squeeze while they are reading. Remember these are students who are designed to focus on more than one thing at a time. Providing them with the second activity, in addition to reading, will keep them from looking for what else they could be doing.

Rifka Schonfeld

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/boys-adhd-and-reading/2012/05/04/

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