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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ZOA’

Klinghoffer Jews: Proud, Terrorist-Humanizing and Meek

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Peter Gelb has generated a drama worthy of an important new opera about the American Jewish community. And here, in The Jewish Press, is an exclusive of the cast and the story line.

Gelb is the managing director of the Metropolitan Opera. It was Gelb’s decision to stage John Adams’ opera about the terrorist murder of a disabled, elderly American man, Leon Klinghoffer. The Arab terrorists shot Klinghoffer in the head and in the chest and had him and his wheelchair thrown overboard as evidence of their unyielding position to swap innocent lives for convicted terrorist Arab prisoners in Israeli jails.

Klinghoffer was selected for the sacrificial murder because he was a Jew. Not an Israeli, but a Jew.

John Adams, along with Alice Goodman (born a Reform Jew, now an anti-Semitic Anglican minister), who wrote the heinous librettos, in their own words, set out to “humanize” the terrorists. That is the goal of the opera.

For the past six months, a stalwart collection of grass roots activists, largely based in the New York City area, have been working to inform a critical mass of Americans that it was a grotesquely offensive decision to stage the Klinghoffer opera (falsely titled: the “Death of Klinghoffer” – he didn’t just die, just as Daniel Pearl did not just die – each was murdered because, as Jews, they were powerful propaganda tools).

Should a dramatist decide to write an opera about the sturm und drang on the streets of New York regarding the Klinghoffer opera, there would be three distinct types being cast.

PROUD KLINGHOFFER JEWS

The first type to be cast would be what we’ll call the Proud Klinghoffer Jews, PKJ. This is a new group of actors/activists on the scene. These are the ones who have been forged in the crucible created by years of passive Jewish leadership and streetwise but unwieldy passion. It has been unleashed by the staging of what many consider an inciteful (not insightful), anti-Semitic, philo-terrorist opera at a time of rising anti-Semitism and global terrorism. There would be starring roles amongst these singers.

One, certainly, would be Richard Allen, the fifty-something New York businessman who – completely against type – has emerged as the ultimate grass roots Jewish, effective pro-Israel activist. Allen is not a grandstander; he prefers to remain in the background, dishing out credit to his fellow activists the way most ringleaders dish out criticism. Instead of claiming credit, Allen gets the job done. The man is the ultimate terrier – he puts his teeth in the calves of organizations whose acts harm Israel, and does not let up until he has accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

Another player – probably a baritone would be cast – is Jeffrey Wiesenfeld. Wiesenfeld is a businessman but also a seasoned political operator, having worked in the D’Amato, Koch and Pataki administrations. More of an “insider” than Allen, Wiesenfeld sits on the board of the City University of New York (where he’s made waves of his own as a principled pro-Israel Jewish New Yorker). It is Wiesenfeld who is usually the master of ceremonies at the larger, more effective and unequivocally pro-Israel Jewish rallies in New York.

And a newcomer to the stage: Leonard J. Weiss. The ultimate White Knight who, very publicly, bolted from what had been his beloved Metropolitan Opera. Weiss, recognizing the stench of moral decay, chose to very publicly redirect the money he had been donating to the Met to assist in helping his new comrades create a public astringent, hoping to cleanse the rot.

And Weiss has led the way for other Jews to stand up against this desecration of art. Eugene Grant, a real estate developer, announced that he was suspending his $5 million gift to the Met.

Diaspora Interfaith Memorial Service for Our Boys

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

On this anniversary of the birth of the American Republic, it is fitting to bring attention to a memorial service held for Eyal Ifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel which took place in Philadelphia, in the Mikveh Israel Synagogue, the synagogue of an American Revolutionary hero, Haym Solomon.

On Tuesday evening, July 1, the day after the Jewish world learned that the three kidnapped Israeli boys had been murdered, Jews all over the world rushed to be together.

An organization of Israelis who now live in Philadelphia and a synagogue with both fiercely American and Israeli ties, immediately decided that Mikveh Israel would be the host of a gathering of local lovers of Israel to honor the memory of the three boys and to show their respect to the families of those slain teens.

Sharona Durry, the founder and head of Philly Israel, organized the event with the help of Mikveh Israel’s Rabbi Albert Gabbai.

Sharona Durry, the head of Philly Israel and organizer of the memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers held at Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia on July 1, 2014.

Sharona Durry, the head of Philly Israel and organizer of the memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers held at Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia on July 1, 2014.

Durry posted on the group’s Facebook page a message of sorrow and solidarity.

PhillyIsrael wishes to express our agony, our horror and our deepest regret that three innocent boys on their way home from school were murdered in a senseless act of terror. These boys were our boys. These families are our families. This loss is our loss.

Yaron Sideman, Israel’s Consul General for the mid-Atlantic region which includes Philadelphia, quickly agreed to speak at the event. The word went out and more than 250 people showed up to pay their respects and express solidarity.

In addition to words of comfort and strength by Rabbi Gabbai and Consul General Sideman, the executive director of the Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America, Steve Feldman, spoke, as did the president-elect of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Bud Newman.

Steve Feldman, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America was one of the speakers at the memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers held at Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia on July 1, 2014.

Steve Feldman, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America was one of the speakers at the memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers held at Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia on July 1, 2014.

The rector of Christ Church, Timothy Safford, read the traditional prayer read at funerals,Psalm 23, during the service. Mikveh Israel and Christ Church are on opposite ends of the same city block in the historic east side of Philadelphia, and the two religious institutions hold many events together.

During the memorial service, one woman was visibly emotional. Ayellet Yaron is from Philadelphia, not Israel, but after the service she explained her tears: “Every Jewish life is so important. We lost a part of our future. For over two weeks we’ve said tehillim and held rallies, hoping our boys would return. And now we know they won’t.”

Orly Gabbay leaned forward to say that she studied in a school just a few minutes from where the boys were taken, the Migdal Oz Seminary. One of the things she has found so frustrating is the way the western media focused on the boys hitchhiking, as if that somehow placed part of the blame on them.

Jump For Our Boys: Skydive for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Within Israel, and beyond, especially in Jewish and other pro-Israel communities, people have begun referring to the three teenagers, Naftali, Eyal and Gilad, who were kidnapped on June 12 as “Our Boys.” But as the level of anxiety continues to rise, one of the frustrations is that other than saying tehillim, there doesn’t seem to be many things people can do to help resolve the situation.

A few enterprising souls, however, have come up with a unique and creative way to both raise funds and awareness.

Tamara Gavrilov had been anxiously following what was happening with the search for the boys. She was particularly touched by hearing and reading about the public statements made by the mothers of the kidnapped boys.

To hear and read the desperate call of a mother, who wants nothing more than for her son to be safely returned into her arms, is incredibly heartbreaking. Her belief, that ‘[a]ny decent person would do anything they can to get them back,’ made me ashamedly aware that I have not contributed all I possibly could to help bring her son and his friends home.

Gavrilov lives in America and knows she cannot drop onto the streets of Judea and Samaria to physically search for the boys, nor does she know any public figures who she can convince to help. She also does not have experience organizing public rallies and protests, as others have done in several cities across the United States. But she realized that with every day that goes by there is a growing risk of losing the sense of urgency needed in advancing the campaign to #BringBackOurBoys.

Gavrilov is an avid skydiver, so it occurred to her that she could tap into that world and that activity to do her part in the effort.

So with the support of her local skydiving community (known as a “dropzone,” who knew?), Skydive Cross Keys, and working with the  Israel Forever Foundation, and in partnership with the Endowment for Middle East Truth, Roots NY and The Zionist Organization of America, she created a unique event: “Jump for Our Boys,” which is both a fundraiser and awareness raiser.

Jump For Our Boys will be held on Sunday, June 29, in Williamstown, New Jersey.

Jump For Our Boys will be held on Sunday, June 29, in Williamstown, New Jersey.

Jump for Our Boys” will be held on June 29, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at the SkyDive Cross Keys, 300 Dahlia Avenue, in Williamstown, New Jersey. People can register to jump (that is, jump out of an airplane, but with a parachute!) or, if that’s not for you, sponsorship of the jumpers is the way to go.

The registration page for Jump for Our Boys gives all the details.

A portion of the funds raised will be sent directly to purchase supplies badly needed for the troops who are searching for the kidnapped boys.

But another goal of the fundraiser is to raise awareness about the kidnapping. Gavrilov told The Jewish Press, “It’s shocking how many people, especially those outside of the Jewish community, still have not heard about the kidnapping!”

As further evidence of the importance of bringing attention to a broader audience, Gavrilov explained that when she spoke with people in her dropzone as recently as Sunday, June 23, not one person had heard about the kidnapping. “But when they did hear, they were happy to try and help out by hosting this fundraiser for us.”

Gavrilov was quick to note that “of course my deepest hope and desire is that the boys are back home before Sunday and that we can jump in celebration of their safe return.”

It is great to learn of the creative responses to the current situation at the center of the heart of the Jewish people.

The Jewish Press welcomes hearing about and sharing other efforts on behalf of the cause to #BringBackOurBoys!

Pro-Israel Groups Blast SJP for Racism and UCLA for Fecklessness

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Seven staunchly pro-Israel organizations told the California Board of Regents at a hearing on Thursday, May 15, that its failure to stand up to the thuggery and blatant racism of the UCLA Students for Justice in Palestine against pro-Israel students was a failure of leadership and of morality.

What was so egregious that these pro-Israel organizations were protesting?

JUDICIAL BOARD INVESTIGATE STUDENT COUNCIL MEMBERS WHO WENT ON ISRAEL TRIPS

The UCLA-SJP introduced an initiative which calls for a Judicial Board investigation of student council members who have taken trips to Israel sponsored by groups which the SJP deems to have “political agendas that marginalize multiple communities on campus.” The groups on SJP’s hit list are the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and Hasbara Fellowships.

As Dumisani Washington, the Pastor-leader of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, said in his remarks at the hearing Thursday morning, the SJP’s denunciation of pro-Israel groups for having a political agenda is not just hateful, it is hypocritical.

“One wonders exactly what SJP assumes itself to be, if not an organization with a ‘political agenda,’” Washington told the Regents.

STUDENTS MUST TAKE A PLEDGE NOT TO GO ON PRO-ISRAEL SPONSORED TRIPS TO ISRAEL

The second initiative promoted by the SJP to deprive pro-Israel students of a voice in campus discussions was its demand that candidates for student government positions sign a statement pledging that they will not go on any trip to Israel sponsored by the three Jewish organizations.

Washington boldly labeled SJP’s efforts reminiscent of the worst racism in American public life.

SJP’s wanton arrogance and blatant antisemitism in this manner is telling.  I am beyond appalled.  As an African-American, I could only imagine an anti-Black student group attempting to restrict my travel to Ghana or Senegal.  Such gall is reminiscent of the grotesque persecution my people suffered earlier in America’s history, when the US government restricted everything from which schools we could attend to which public restrooms we could use.

The SJP, as everyone knows who closely follows the way the Middle East is discussed on U.S. Campuses, is the most aggressively anti-Israel of any of the many anti-Israel organizations on campuses. The SJP’s antics include the mock eviction notices, “die-ins,” and promotions of virulently anti-Israel speakers and events.  In addition, the SJP, aided by lawyers happy to write intimidating letters to academic institutions, consistently claims that the behavior of its members is protected by free speech, whereas any criticism or objection to their activities is a violation of academic freedom and are constitutional violations.

Sadly, most school administrators and even some Jewish campus professionals are cowed by the lofty-sounding legalese. As a result, the views and sensibilities – and sometimes even the Constitutional rights – of pro-Israel students have been a casualty as administration after administration has caved to the outrageous positions and behaviors engaged in by SJP members.

BROOKLYN COLLEGE SJP THUGGERY

Perhaps the best example of SJP’s stranglehold over the better judgment people expect from university officials was a forum held at Brooklyn College last year. At that event, two promoters of the legal and economic warfare against Israel, the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel movement, were given free rein at an unbalanced forum which was co-sponsored and co-endorsed by the College’s Political Science Department.

Four pro-Israel Brooklyn College students who came to ask questions were ejected from the event on the say-so of the SJP event organizer, someone who was not even a student and had no affiliation at all with Brooklyn College. The leader claimed the four students were disruptive and disrespectful, and college administration and security personnel did his bidding despite being in the room and knowing full-well, as later proven in audio recordings, that the pro-Israel students were sitting quietly when they were ejected.

J Street Seeking a Seat at the Conference

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

In a move that will surprise nobody, for its effort to become a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, J Street has the backing of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The JCPA has long been clamoring to include J Street as part of its “big tent” approach to Jewish communal life. And no wonder, the two organizations are closely aligned on most issues, domestic and foreign.

What should also come as no surprise to anyone, those American pro-Israel organizations which see their major focus as global security, including Jewish communities worldwide generally and the Jewish state in particular, such as the Zionist Organization of America, are opposed to ushering in yet another organization into the 50 strong member group which they see as engaging in moral equivalency between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

The issue comes to a vote April 30. And members on both sides of the vote are busily lobbying people to make their voices heard by those who will be voting.

The Conference of Presidents includes most of the major Jewish organizations with which most people are familiar, but there are others who are members that would probably surprise most people.

For example, everyone expects such groups as the ZOA and the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League to be members, the same goes for the offices of the major branches of Judaism. But what Workman’s Circle (a blend of “workers’ rights” mit a bissel Yiddish?) Not to mention the Jewish Labor Committee(“The Jewish voice in the labor movement, and the voice of the labor movement in the Jewish community.”)  Then there’s the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society which is still very much involved in the needs of immigrants, but not too many of whom are Hebrews.

Other organizations such as CAMERA (which deals with media bias against Israel) and Hadassah and Americans for Peace Now and the Jewish Federations and the National Council of Young Israel all also have seats at the Conference of Presidents.

Early word was that the J Street leadership came in for heavy grilling by members, especially with respect to their support for and frequent partnering with organizations which advocate for various forms of economic and legal warfare against Israel, known as the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) movement.

An article in the Forward earlier this month revealed that J Street failed to garner the approval of a critical committee which would have smoothed the way to membership. That article explained that in order for J Street to gain admission there would have to be a 75 percent quorum present, and a two thirds vote.

According to the mission statement of the Conference of Presidents, at least one of the two primary issues on which the Conference focuses should signal a serious battle regarding the admission of J Street, the other one, only slightly less so: “The Conference is at the forefront mobilizing support to halt Iran’s nuclear program and to counter the global campaign to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people.”

J Street was an early and consistent opponent of sanctions against Iran and when it ultimately was flanked to the right by the U.S. administration, it only slowly and very begrudgingly accepted the need for sanctions. J Street was once again a major cheerleader against enacting legislation that would provide for the immediate resumption of sanctions should Iran fail to comply with the obligations the U.S. understood it to have undertaken in the agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1.

There also continues to be a matter of say one thing, do another, with respect to the BDS movement. Although J Street consistently publicly claims to oppose the use of BDS, the J Street U members have been amongst the biggest cheerleaders of divestment resolutions on U.S. campuses (with Cornell University being a notable exception.)

Pro-Israel Event on New Orleans Campus

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

With the help of many friends, on Sunday, March 30, that African American Christian Zionist college student the pro-Israel world has been marveling over for more than a year, Chloé Simone Valdary, pulled off another huge student-led pro-Israel event in New Orleans.

Chloé Simone Valdary, pres. and founder of Allies of Israel and creator of Declare Your Freedom

Chloé Simone Valdary, pres. and founder of Allies of Israel and creator of Declare Your Freedom

Declare Your Freedom 2.0 was held at Tulane University, with over 400 in attendance. Last year, Valdary organized the first DYF, and held it at her school, the University of New Orleans.

The purpose of DYF, Valdary told The Jewish Press, was “to continue to say without compunction or regret that we are Zionists, and also to celebrate Zionism – the civil rights movement of the Jewish people.”

Valdary is a dynamo, but she also had lots of help from fellow Zionists Maor Shapira, Becca Leifer and Nicki Etseckson, all three of whom are students at Tulane.

Simon Deng, human rights activist, former child slave in the Sudan, at DYF 2.0

Simon Deng, human rights activist, former child slave in the Sudan, at DYF 2.0

The four Zionist college students put together a program which included speakers such as Brooke Goldstein, director of The Lawfare Project; Sudanese human rights activist Simon Deng; Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Syrian American, founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy  and CAMERA on campus’s Samantha Rose Mandeles and Alan Mendoza, the executive director of the Henry Jackson Society.

The day-long event interspersed music and serious speakers. The music included a beautiful jazz rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah performed by Assaf Kehati. Other performers were Los Rakas, Pep Love, Zion I, Shi 360 and the Ori Naftaly Band.

As a victim of the true horrors of genocide in his native Sudan where he was a child slave, Deng spoke powerfully about the grotesque irony of people who claim to be human rights activists and focus their ire on Israel, yet completely ignore real genocide in places like the Sudan.

Jasser spoke about the need for reform in the Muslim world, while Mendoza also addressed the hypocrisy of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine who pay not attention to the complete deprivation of civil and human rights for so many in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Zach Stern of ZOA and Samantha Rose Mandeles of CAMERA at DYF 2.0

Zach Stern of ZOA and Samantha Rose Mandeles of CAMERA at DYF 2.0

 

CAMERA on Campus coordinator Samantha Rose Mandeles talked about the great work CAMERA does with pro-Israel students on campuses all across the country. In particular, Mandeles was full of praise for the DYF festival in carrying on the torch for freedom.

DYF 2.0 March 30, 2014

DYF 2.0 March 30, 2014

The student organizations which helped make DYF 2.0 happen were Allies of Israel (Valdary’s group), Tulane United for Israel and McNeese State’s Israel Alliance.

Declare Your Freedom 2.0, Tulane University, March 30, 2014

Declare Your Freedom 2.0, Tulane University, March 30, 2014

Sponsors of Declare Your Freedom 2.0 included CAMERA, the Zionist Organization of America, Standwithus, The Israel-American Council and the Leadership Institute.

The murals were created by Artists 4 Israel.

 

When Israel Supporters Use the Language of Delegitimization

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

When U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, said it was a “mistake” for Israel to demand recognition as the Jewish State, it shows how deeply the language of delegitimization has been adopted by even the most ardent of Israel supporters.

Another example of this was New Jersey Governor, and potential Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie. In front of a crowd of Jewish Republican fundraisers in Las Vegas, hosted by Sheldon Adelson, a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Christie said, “I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories and felt personally how extraordinary that was to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day.”

When challenged by the head of Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, Christie apologized, saying his remark was not meant as a statement of policy.

We increasing see well-intentioned, powerful and influential people, who have the close attention of the media, make misplaced statements that feed into the adoption of a viewpoint that Israel has no legitimate right to be where it is.

The misuse of language is an indicator not only of the general public’s views, it also displays how pro-Israel influential voices are chasing a narrative that is driven by the Palestinian side of the conflict.

One perfect example of terminology drift can be seen with the area once known as Judea and Samaria becoming “disputed territory,” then the West Bank, and now “illegally occupied Palestinian land.”

Any staunch Israeli, or dispassionate neutral, would argue that it is neither illegal, nor occupied, and certainly not Palestinian land, according to international law and binding resolutions going back as far as the League of Nations Mandate of 1922. All this has not stopped the flow of terminology becoming accepted language.

How did this state of affairs come about? Well, it boils down to two major factors;

1) A highly successful pro-Palestinian publicity campaign. 2) A dereliction of duty by consecutive Israeli governments and prime ministers. Some say the demonization and delegitimization of Israel began at the infamous 2001 UN Conference on Racism at Durban in South Africa which produced the hateful “Zionism is Racism” resolution, and gave birth to the accusations of an apartheid Israel.

However, the refusal to accept Jewish rights to an independent state was forcefully demonstrated back in 1947 when the Arab nations violently rejected UN Resolution 181 which called for recognition of a Jewish state. They unsuccessfully launched major wars against the nascent Jewish state which led them in anger, following yet another defeat in 1967, to gather in Khartoum and declare three “No’s” against Israel. No peace, no negotiations, no recognition. This was reconfirmed by the Arab League as recently as March 25, 2014, when Arab leaders again declared that they will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state. So much for the Arab Peace Initiative!

But, to go back in time, out of Egypt came Yasser Arafat to cloak himself in the mantle of Palestine. Initially, he saw himself as the spearhead of the Pan-Arabic aggression against Israel. As he said in a 1970 interview with Italian journalist Arianna Palazzi, “The question of borders doesn’t interest us. Our nation is the Arabic nation. The PLO is fighting Israel in the name of Pan-Arabism. What you call Jordan is nothing more than Palestine.”

This hatred of Israel coalesced into what is known as the Palestinian cause. By portraying Israel as a colonialist, powerful, aggressive, oppressive, racist, occupier of a poor, defenseless, weak, indigenous Palestinian people a picture is painted that, to the impressionable, inevitably leads to a negative opinion of an Israel accused of the worst examples of war crimes and human rights abuses, and a sympathy for the weak Palestinians. That is the perception today.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/when-israel-supporters-use-the-language-of-delegitimization/2014/04/02/

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