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July 5, 2015 / 18 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ZOA’

World Zionist Congress Elections: Time is Running Out

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Have you voted yet in the World Zionist Congress elections? Did you know there is an election happening now, and it ends on April 30?

Okay; step back. What is the World Zionist Congress, why is there an election for it now, and who is running? And then, don’t forget to vote.

WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS

The WZC was founded by Theodore Herzl in 1897. His idea was to create a legislative body of informed and interested Jewish organizations to make determinations for the Jewish people with the hope of helping to re-establish the Jewish State.

Now that there is, once again, a Jewish State, the WZC meets every five years to discuss and debate issues vital to the Jewish people, such as Jewish identity, security, civil society in Israel, anti-Semitism, and the Jewish State enterprise.

In addition to general policy discussions, the WZC exerts substantial control over significant assets owned by the three major Jewish institutions. It is in this way that parties with a strong voice in the WZC are able to have some control over how the substantial funds of these organizations are spent.

The Jewish National Fund, which controls approximately 13 percent of Israel’s land is one branch over which the WZC has influence.

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), which is currently headed by Natan Scharansky, is also under the purview of the WZC. JAFI deals with immigration to Israel and absorption of new olim, and influences education about Zionism.

The third institution over which the WZC has some level of control is the World Zionist Organization. The WZC helps the WZO decide how to allocate funds and assists in the formulation of WZO policies.

PARTIES RUNNING

The WZC has a total of 500 members. The majority – 190 members – comes from Israel. The United States is entitled to 145 WZC members and the remainder of the diaspora is permitted 165 representatives.

There are currently 11 parties running slates for the WZC in the U.S.

Those parties run the spectrum, from those who believe Israel was given by God and every inch of the biblical homeland belongs to the Jewish people, to those who support the immediate creation of a Palestinian State regardless of the harm to the current Jewish State.

It is essential that anyone voting reads the platform and looks at the slate of individuals running for each slate. Some of the party names do not necessarily correspond with the true nature of the parties.

WHO CAN VOTE AND HOW?

In order to vote in the U.S. elections for the WZC, you first have to register. If you are 18 years old, live in the United States and accept what is called the “Jerusalem Program,” chances are you are entitled to vote in the U.S. WZC election, which is run by the American Zionist Movement.

The Jerusalem Program encapsulates the belief that Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, that Zionism led to the (re)establishment of Israel, which is understood to be a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure state and is the expression of the common responsibilities of the Jewish people for its continuity and future. Zionism assumes the centrality of the State of Israel and of Jerusalem, its capital.

According to the Jerusalem Program, Zionism asserts that Israel is rooted in the vision of the prophets, and that it strives for peace and to contribute to the betterment of the world. Zionism seeks to foster Jewish spiritual and cultural values and nourishes mutual Jewish responsibility, where the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation are defended, and where everyone strives to erase all forms of anti-Semitism. “Finally, settling the country is an expression of practical Zionism.”

ZOA: Anti-Zionists Should Not Be Allowed in World Zionist Congress

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

The Zionist Organization of America has filed a formal objection with the World Zionist Organization against a coalition of what ZOA calls anti-Zionist organizations running a slate to have an increased presence in the World Zionist Congress.

ZOA points out that the World Zionist Organization’s Constitution does not permit members to be organizations that discriminate against Jewish and Israeli businesses, or against other Jews. In addition to violating the WZO’s own constitution, boycotts of Jewish or Israeli businesses also violate New York State Human Rights Law.

If that is the case, then the organizations which named their slate “Hatikvah,” Partners for a Progressive Israel, Ameinu, Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim Dror, should be booted.

But there’s a catch, one that the anti-Zionists hope is a permanent life raft. The same organizations ZOA is calling to have tossed from the WZC’s fall 2015 election have all belonged to the WZO for years.

The organizations seeking to join the World Zionist Congress reads like a Who’s Who of the Jewish organizations who love to hate Zionism, and who claim to criticize Israel first, last and only, “out of love” for the Jewish State. Love like that kills.

The groups joining together in a united front include: Partners for a Progressive Israel (formerly MeretzUSA), Ameinu, Habonim Dror North America, and Hashomer Hatzair. The groups share various essentials, according to ZOA, including New York office space, various directors and ideology.

The PPI brazenly supports consumer boycotts against such Israeli companies as Ahava, SodaStream and a list of others.

While Ameinu calls itself an “American Zionist organization” and insists it opposes boycotts of Israeli products, the ZOA points out that Ameinu began a special unit in its organization which lobbies the American and European governments to impose severe financial and travel restrictions on Israel’s Finance Minister and other Israeli leaders.

Yet another objection ZOA raises to the HaTikvah slate is what ZOA describes as close involvement between PPI, Ameinu and the J Street organization. J Street has long hosted and supported many of the leading Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel groups and individuals. Despite claims of not being BDS advocates, their history and associations make clear the opposite is true.

The ZOA wants both the American Zionist Movement and the World Zionist Organization to expel PPI and Ameinu from membership, and to prevent HaTikvah from running for the World Zionist Congress. ZOA is currently a member of the AZM and the WZC, and so believes it has standing to bring this claim.

Should ZOA fail in its bid to bar the ani-Zionist slate from running, ZOA wants, at a minimum, for that group of organizations to be prevented from using the name HaTikvah. The basis for that move is that such a name, which of course evokes the Israeli national anthem, is confusing and will mislead uninformed voters who think the slate actually stands for what the words to the Israeli anthem mean, the essence of which is for Jews to be able to live freely in their ancient land.

As pointed out in ZOA’s  formal complaint filed first with the American Zionist Movement, and then with the Central Election Board, Ameinu’s  longtime director Leonard Fein called the words of the anthem HaTikvah “an insult” in a 2000 speech.

Judge Abraham Gafni of the American Zionist Movement rejected ZOA’s complaint. Gafni said that PPI, Ameinu and the HaTikvah slate were all entitled to participate in the 2015 World Zionist Congress election because they ran before and won at least one seat in the 2006 and 2010 World Zionist Congress elections.

The ZOA, however, said that fact should be irrelevant for several reasons. First of all, the BDS movement had barely gotten off the ground in 2010, and certainly in 2006. Furthermore, Ameinu’s new council seeking severe sanctions on Israeli leaders only began very recently.

Ex-Senior Justice Official Asks Homeland Security to Ban Abbas from US

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

A former Department of Justice director who was behind the decision to bar Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States in 1987 has asked Homeland to Security to keep Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas out of the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which bars entry into the U.S. of aliens who incite terrorist activity or endorse or espouse terrorist activity.

New York Attorney Neal M. Sher, former Director of the Office of Special Investigations in the Justice Department, wrote Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week to bar Abbas on behalf of 140 victims and family members of the terror attack on Fort Hood, Texas five years ago this month.

“My clients know painfully well the deadly consequences of such incitements and endorsements” as those who radicalized the Fort Hood murderer, Nidal Hasan, Sher wrote.

The attorney reminded Homeland Security that as a Justice Dept. official, he “was responsible for the 1987 decision to bar entry to the U.S. of Kurt Waldheim, then the President of Austria,” based on Waldheim’s assistance or participation in Nazi persecutions.

Sher detailed the “abundance of publicly available evidence” showing that “Abbas (1) personally incited terrorist activity and (2) used his position of prominence to endorse terror activity.”

The Zionist Organization of American (ZOA) issued a statement endorsing and supporting Sher’s letter.

Congress has determined that some individuals should not be allowed entry into the United States for reasons that can be found in section 212, codified as Title 8 of the U.S. Code, section 1182, which states:

Terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds (TRIG), exclude persons who have participated in various kinds of activity, including activity that is generally illegal and/or violent. The grounds for inadmissibility include, but are not limited to, individuals who:

•Incited terrorist activity with intent to cause serious bodily harm or death;

•Are representatives or current members of a terrorist organization;

•Endorsed or espoused terrorist activity;

Sher detailed evidence that “ranking officials of the PA and Fatah, over whom Abbas has control and for whom he must be held responsible, have engaged in a widespread, deliberate campaign to incite and endorse terrorism.”

He noted:

Abbas publicly glorified  the perpetrator of the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick – an American – declaring the perpetrator a ‘martyr’ and in doing so endorsed a clear act of terror….

Abbas publicly urged ‘that Palestinian Arabs’ prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount ‘by all means necessary,’ an unambiguous call for violence….

A close adviser to Abbas proclaimed on the PA’s official Facebook page that the convicted terrorist who, in October, rammed his car into a light-rail station in Jerusalem, killing a three-month old American infant and wounding several other U.S. citizens and Israelis, “was a ‘martyr’ and worthy of honor….

After additional incidents where vehicles were used as weapons of terror, official PA outlets incited Palestinians to show their anger by ‘running over Israelis.’

Similarly, in a clear-cut example of incitement to and endorsement of terrorism, the PA Facebook page posted ugly depictions of the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and murdered in June of this year. One of the victims was an American. The kidnappers and murdered were praised, honored and glorified, leaving no doubt that their conduct should be emulated.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) issued a statement endorsing and supporting Sher’s letter.

ZOA president Morton A. Klein stated, “It is time for our country to send the clear  message to Mahmoud Abbas that, under U.S. law, he is not eligible to enter the U.S. when he, his partners and subordinates regularly incite a terror campaign against Jews in Israel.

Klein pointed out several examples, several of which have been noted by  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in criticism of Abbas:

Abbas’ PA regularly holds parades and ceremonies glorifying deceased terrorists, and names streets, schools and sports teams in their honor.

Large posters of these terrorists are on display in PA schools, universities and public places, honoring these murderers instead of condemning them.

The PA pays pensions to suicide bombers and Jew-killing terrorists. The greater the number of Jews murdered, the higher the pension.

And rather than distance itself as much as possible from Hamas, Abbas’ PA embraced this U.S.-designated terrorist group, whose charter calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel.

Kerry last week said the barbaric murders of four Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue was ‘an act of pure terror,’ and Klein noted he condemned it as ‘a pure result of incitement, of calls for days of rage.

“The ongoing incitement by Abbas and others surely led to the savage, horrific murders,” Klein said. “Mahmoud Abbas is not a leader who is trying to calm tensions and encourage peace with the Jewish State of Israel.  He is leading a campaign of incitement and terrorism against Jews.  The U.S. should make it clear that based on his irresponsible and unacceptable conduct, which is ongoing and well-documented, he is ineligible under U.S. law to enter our country.”

 

Huge Increase Reported in Anti-Israel Activity on US Campuses

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

The Anti-Defamation League issued an important report on Monday, Oct. 27, finding a dramatic increase in anti-Israel activity, compared to last year. The ADL attributes the increase to the aftermath of the 50-day Gaza war this past summer.

According to the ADL, this fall semester there have already been 75 anti-Israel events reported on U.S. college campuses. In the same period last year, there were only 35 such events.

The problem is even more alarming than the ADL’s report suggests.

It is certain there are more incidents that are either never reported or at least not reported to whatever source the ADL used for its calculations. The “full report” on the ADL website does not explain how the information was gathered or what definitions were used to determine whether certain activity would be included.

When contacted for her reaction to the ADL report, Susan Tuchman, the head of the Zionist Organization of America’s Center for Law and Justice explained that while the numbers mentioned in the ADL press release may not sound enormous, just yesterday she received “phone calls from three different students on three different campuses” with problems serious enough for them to raise with a lawyer.

Tuchman made an even more important point, as well.

 Most Jewish college students are fortunately having a positive experience on their campuses. But the ZOA is contacted so frequently by students feeling threatened and harassed on their campuses, that it’s a mistake for any of us to minimize the problem of campus anti-Semitism. What’s particularly troubling is that Jewish students are facing problems on campuses with large Jewish populations, where one would think these problems wouldn’t exist.

And the real takeaway from the ADL report, and from the ever-growing cache of reported incidents is that the wider Jewish community needs to pay attention to the problem.

Tuchman puts her finger on the problem:

If there’s a single Jewish student on any college campus in this country who feels afraid to be openly Jewish and to say that he or she loves and supports Israel, then that’s something all of us need to speak out against and demand that college administrators address. Some administrators are responding appropriately, but many aren’t.

And while this past summer’s conflict undoubtedly provided new content for the anti-Israel activities, it is not as if the anti-Israel organizations and individuals needed an excuse.

William Jacobson, clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School and founder and publisher of the excellent blog covering legal matters, especially anti-Israel activity on campuses, Legal Insurrection, made the point:

“It is no real surprise that anti-Israel groups are trying to leverage the summer’s fighting in Gaza to their advantage on campus.

“But that is just the latest excuse for what has been a long-running campus propaganda war against Israel. If it was not Gaza it would have been something else. There are groups always looking for an excuse to attack Israel on campus,” Jacobson explained.

The ADL report catalogues the myriad forms of anti-Israel activities on campuses, and those are alarming.

No longer content to simply protest or leaflet pro-Israel events, there is now a panoply of methods used to intimidate pro-Israel students on campuses.

METHODS OF CAMPUS ANTI-ISRAEL ACTIVITIES

Those campus anti-Israel activities include mock “Apartheid Walls” intended to represent Israel’s passive security barrier as a weapon of racism; mock checkpoints in which anti-Israel thugs act out the role of Israeli security forces intimidating, harassing and aggressively demanding identification from hapless and often helpless students who are forced into playing the role of meek and innocent Palestinian Arabs, and fake “die-ins.”

Sears and Amazon Remove ‘Swastika Ring’ from Websites

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Sears and Amazon have yanked a “Swastika” ring” from their websites after a wave or angry protests on social media.

Sears apologized, explaining that the ring was a “third-party marketplace item that has since been removed for violating our guidelines.”

Amazon promoted the ring as “gothic jewelry item” that in “features a Swastika ring that’s made of .925 Thai silver.” It added that the ring is “not for Neo Nazi or any Nazi implication” and “these jewelry items are going to make you look beautiful at your next dinner date.”

Is Amazon trying to say that the past is dead, along with 6 million Jews, and that the swastika no longer can be associated with Nazism?

All that was missing was brass knuckles and an SS band in bright red and white.

Zionist Organization of American (ZOA) president Morton Klein wrote to Sears, “We were appalled to learn that swastika rings are available for purchase on the Sears website. Shockingly, these rings – identified as ‘men’s fashion punk rock style jewelry’ – were described on the Sears website as ‘jewelry items.’

“Sears should not have been selling these offensive rings in the first place, nor should it be facilitating their sale now. Doing so legitimizes an anti-Semitic symbol of hate, violence, death and murder, and shamefully tries to turn it into some kind of a fashion statement.

It is nothing of the sort… The swastika was appropriated by the Nazis and was made the official emblem of the Nazi party in Germany. Adolph Hitler said the swastika symbolized the victory of the Aryan man. The swastika is the symbol of the Nazi’s anti-Semitic agenda, which included the deliberate and systematic annihilation of the Jewish people.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/diaspora-interfaith-memorial-service-for-our-boys/2014/07/05/

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