Noteworthy events, speeches, and articles posted here.
Everyone alive is aware of the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Mass protests against police brutality against African Americans took place all across the U.S., and some of those protests turned into violence, mass destruction and looting of many businesses. Those protests and some looting has continued for weeks and has now traveled to many places outside of the U.S. including England, Denmark and France. But right away there are those who took the opportunity to take advantage of this national tragedy and – as seems inevitable – BLAME THE JEWS. It happened in the U.S. with some trying to blame the police brutality on a program in which U.S. police departments receive special trainings from Israeli soldiers. Those trainings are in counter terrorism, not run of the mill policing – so it clearly had nothing to do with the death of George Floyd. Nevertheless, the calumny against Israel, like the protests, traveled through the ether and has become a theme of some international protests. One such protest turned antisemitic took place in Paris. “French anti-racism protesters shouted antisemitic slogans including ‘dirty Jews’ and waved placards reading ‘Israel, laboratory of police violence’ at a rally in Paris’s Place de la République on Saturday.”
As noted in our Home Page, the next big issue confronting Israel, and being mishcharacterized to bludgeon Israel by her opponents, is SOVEREIGNTY – known by the uninitiated and the haters as annexation. Victor Rosenthal does a masterful job of clarifying this issue in The Manufactured Outrage over “Annexation.” Here’s a taste of what should be known to all:
Those who are so up in arms about the proposal also like to say that “Israel plans to annex the West Bank.” The correct formulation is that Israel proposes to extend its civil law to certain parts of Judea and Samaria where Jewish communities exist, and to most of the Jordan Valley, with the exception of Jericho, with its large Arab population. It’s important to note that almost no Arabs live in the areas in question. Those that do will be offered full Israeli citizenship, just like the Arabs of Jerusalem – or Haifa, or Yafo.
The Jordan Valley has always been considered an area that must be under Israeli control
in any permanent establishment of borders, because it is essential to Israel’s defense. No “two-state solution” that did not recognize this would ever be accepted by Israel. And neither would one which included the ethnic cleansing of Jews and the destruction of their communities in Judea and Samaria.***
Several very good articles have been written about the crushing failure of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (CoP) to live up to its mission. One great one is Daniel Greenfield’s The Hias-ization of American Jews .
Here’s our take: The CoP claims in its bylaws that its membership “is available to those national Jewish organizations whose primary purpose is to serve the interests of the American Jewish community and whose activities are consistent with the goals and objectives of the Conference,”
and must “have significant focus of programmatic and policy activities related to Conference of Presidents issues, i.e. strengthening the US-Israel relationship and protecting and enhancing the security and dignity of Jews abroad. e. be a Jewish organization which maintains a commitment to the continuity of the Jewish people.”
HIAS, which primarily serves the Muslim refugee community – most of whom come from virulently antisemitic countries – and whose only current relationship to Israel is in fighting the democratically elected Jewish State’s government over illegal immigrants’ “rights,” does not meet the definition of membership in the CoP. And yet, only 8 of the 53 member organizations had the courage to vote against the former HIAS leader to become the chair of the CoP.
Here’s the kind of thing that a true CoP, or some confederation of truly pro-Israel organizations, should focus on. Stephen Flatow’s op-ed in JNS makes exactly the right kind of point. Read The Silence of the Jews. That’s the kind of full-throated advocacy and policy-pushing we want from pro-Israel leaders.
Last week an event occurred that will be remembered as a key moment in the disintegration of organized American Jewish support for Israel and American Jewish organizational life itself.
Last Friday, the leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations announced that the Conference’s nominating committee had selected Dianne Lob, the former president of HIAS to run unopposed for the position of chairman of the Conference’s Executive Board. Her election is scheduled to take place on April 28.
The Conference of Presidents – an umbrella group that comprises 53 Jewish American organizations – is widely viewed as the most important Jewish organization in the United States.
Why is Lob’s selection important? On the face of things, it was unremarkable. People who have known Lob for decades describe her as a garden variety New York Jewish liberal whose views on Israel are in keeping with the views of the vast majority of American Jews.
Members of the Conference of President, for their part, claim not to know her at all. click on the linked headline above to read the whole sad story. Z STREET will add info on what steps you can take to act on this.
UPDATE: The Conference approved Lob as chair-elect for a year, in other words, just delaying her nevertheless-assured position. Only eight of the 53 member organizations voted against the nomination, although a bare scant majority voted in favor. So, does that mean she should be chair of this organization of “major Jewish American organizations”? And if so, does that mean there should be a different organization of truly, staunchly pro-Israel organizations? Much more to come on this.
Jews with children/grandchildren going to Jewish summer camps – make sure to specifically ask camp administrators about this issue, and tell them that you will be monitoring for this (and do it!) and if it happens, you want a full refund. Get their acknowledgement and agreement in writing. And pass this on! Make sure to read the article linked above, from Legal Insurrection.
Received in an email from a reputable source:
The H.I.A.S. Of Old Is No Longer Jewish – Today’s HIAS Harms Jews
HIAS is no longer a Jewish organization that assists Jews and should not be supported by the Jewish Federation or the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council). It actively takes positions which harm the Jewish community. What is appalling is the complicity of our Jewish charitable organizations, such as the Jewish Federation and the JCRC, who have joined HIAS in risking here in America the same anti-Semitism that pervades Europe. Ironically, that European anti-Semitism, fueled by open immigration policies from those of like-mind to HIAS, is driving a wave of European Jews to immigrate to Israel with no assistance at all from HIAS.The Jewish Community Should Withdraw Affiliation or Support for HIAS
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society that was dedicated to the resettlement of Jewish refugees in times of need no longer exists. In 2014 the organization officially decided to drop “Hebrew” from its name and adopt “HIAS” as its official title. Retaining the previous acronym serves as a reminder of who they once were. According to its CEO, Mark Hetfield, “…the word ‘Hebrew” is exclusionary and outdated,…” HIAS has since drastically redirected its mission to the global resettlement of refugees who are not Jews.
HIAS is listed as a partner organization of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, still with the name “Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society,” and as a constituent organization of the JCRC.
COPIA calls on these organizations to take a fresh look at HIAS as it really exists today. The Federation and JCRC should examine HIAS’s qualifications to be labeled a Jewish organization or a Jewish immigration organization, despite the fact that HIAS ignores Jewish refugees, tolerates anti-Semitism, and obfuscates the dangers to the Jewish Community inherent in the admission of huge numbers of refugees from Arab/Moslem countries.HIAS Works With Anti-Israel and Anti- Semitic Leaders, Including Linda Sarsour
Mark Hetfield, CEO of HIAS, joined with anti-Israel groups, including J Street, The New Israel Fund, If Not Now, and other pro-BDS activists, to sign a letter supporting Palestinian-Brooklynite LINDA SARSOUR, infamous now for herpraise for Louis Farrakhan as well as of terrorists. Hetfield pledged to work with Sarsour despite her anti-Semitic statements, such as:
- “Nothing is creepier than Zionism”;
- “feminism and Zionism simply don’t go together”
- Jews and Israel supporters should be excluded from the Women’s rights movement;
- The intifada has been “invaluable on many fronts.”HIAS Does Not Defend the Jewish Community Against Anti-Semitism – It Lays The Foundation For Its Growth
The extremely high percentage of anti-Semitism among Middle Eastern immigrants is documented by the ADL Global 100 – An Index of Anti-Semitism. It is estimated to be somewhere between 70% and 90%. HIAS demands the entry of 100,000 Syrian immigrants to the US who, through natural increase and chain migration, will easily become 1 million in a very short period of time. Yet HIAS seems totally uninterested in the anti-Semitism of the immigrants it champions or its eventual impact on the American Jewish community. The lesson it should have learned from over a million refugees from the Middle East making life dangerous and frequently unbearable for Jews in Western Europe is ignored.HIAS Does Not Come to the Aid of Jewish Refugees
In a recent email (2/27/18) HIAS declares that it is “leading the Jewish response to the refugee crisis.” Why isn’t it leading the response to the Jewish refugee crisis? Anti-Semitism is back with a fury in Western Europe. Many Jews, fearing for their lives and the futures of their children, are seeking safety by emigrating to Israel; many more are contemplating such a move. It is scandalous that HIAS has no interest in helping these Jewish refugees who are fleeing Malmo, Sweden or the violence of North African Muslims in Paris. After all, there is no money in it for HIAS.HIAS’s Cares For Its Government Subsidy, Not the Jewish Community
For those seeking to understand why HIAS no longer serves the interests of the Jewish Community, HIAS receives substantial Federal funding based on the number of refugees admitted into the US. That explains why HIAS works so feverishly to demand that the US admit 100,000 Syrians to the US, despite the dangers of terrorism from inadequately vetted refugees and the certain increase in anti-Semitism that will accompany their admission.
We ask the Jewish Federation and the JCRC, organizations that have always shown their willingness to help those in need, to present to the Jewish community alternate plans—some already in place and active—to aid Syrian refugees but without laying the foundation for serious harm to the Jewish community in the process. Examples of such alternate aid include medical and humanitarian aid (already provided by Israel) and the JCDR (Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief), led by the Federation.
Please write the Federation and the JCRC and ask them to consider whether the new HIAS is defending Jewish interests or its own narrow financial and organizational interests, thereby putting at risk the entire Jewish Community’s future. You can contact the Federation by email or by using the contact form on its web site. The Executive Director of the JCRC, Ron Halber, can be reached at email@example.com
Coalition of Pro-Israel Advocates (COPIA)
Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art (COPMA)
And now there is
More On HIAS, A No-Longer-Jewish Organization Filling Its Coffers Through Indifference to Anti-Semitism
In response to COPIA’s last email about HIAS, “The H.I.A.S of Old is No longer Jewish — Today’s HIAS Harms Jews,” additional articles and data have come to our attention which corroborate our exposé on HIAS. We’ve been asked to forward them on to our readers.
In our last email we noted that Mark Hetfield, the CEO of HIAS, signed his name to a letter that supported LINDA SARSOUR, a Palestinian American leader of the 2017 Women’s March. Sarsour had been shown to be a notorious anti-Semite and Israel hater, and Hetfield joined in her defense. Sarsour is a supporter of Louis Farrakhan. Does she deserve Hetfield’s defense?
Daniel Greenfield in an article in Frontpage Magazine titled “HIAS Boss Mark Hetfield Signs Pro-Sarsour Statement With Anti-Israel Activist Groups” writes:
“Is this the moment when Mark Hetfield and HIAS officially joined the anti-Israel lobby?
Mark Hetfield had already hijacked HIAS and transformed it from a Jewish organization to a radical left-wing group concerned entirely with Muslim migration. Hetfield’s HIAS had already attacked Israel and collaborated with the anti-Israel group, J Street.
But signing a statement in support of Linda Sarsour, an Islamic anti-Semitic activist who celebrated throwing stones at Jews, is Mark Hetfield’s official coming out party. The immediate trigger for this was having Sarsour head a New School panel accusing Jews of exploiting anti-Semitism. That’s quite a show for a woman who is quite comfortable with Louie Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
Mark Hetfield joins a list of who’s who in the anti-Israel lobby including Jeremy Ben Ami of J Street, a few activists from If Not Now, an anti-Israel hate group that specializes in harassing Jewish organizations, a bunch of Bend the Arc people, including Stosh Cotler, its Soros-partnering, Israel-protesting boss.
Sharon Brous of IKAR andAyelet Cohen of the New Israel Fund are on board. As is Eve Ensler, who is on the board of JVP, an anti-Israel hate group with links to a speaker who accused Jews of drinking blood.
Also there are Naomi Klein and Tony Kushner, who said, “I have a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened.”
Previously, Mark Hetfield had avoided getting his hands dirty. Now he no longer seems to care.
HIAS is now part of the anti-Israel lobby. And should be treated that way. It’s just another of the left’s hate groups waging war on Jews and Israel.”
In our last email we noted that HIAS does not help beleaguered Jews in countries of Western Europe where anti-Semitism is rampant among the Muslim refugees. Some have argued that “HIAS Should Return to Its Roots.”
The Syrian refugees that HIAS is campaigning so feverishly to bring to this country are exceedingly anti-Semitic, and there is substantial evidence that this hatred of Jews and Israel will not fade away in their new homes. See Tablet Magazine, “Do Jews Defend Their Values By Helping Anti-Semites Immigrate To America?”
Also the Jerusalem Post, “German Study: Over 50% Of Muslim Refugees Hold Antisemitic Views” and Precision Newswire, “AJC Berlin Publishes Study on Anti-Semitism Among Refugees.”
There is a selfish reason why HIAS dropped the word Hebrew from its name and now supports non-Jewish refugees the world over. HIAS makes a huge amount of money supporting the importation of Syrian refugees to the US. Capital Research Center in “Refugee Resettlement: The Lucrative Business of Serving Immigrants” provides statistics showing the degree to which HIAS benefits financially from the numbers of refugees it brings to the US.
These sources should be of great concern to members of the Jewish Community who don’t want to pass on to their children and grandchildren a society with dramatic increases in anti-Semitism. 100,000 Syrian refugees (the number advocated by HIAS) today will, in a few short generations, grow to be 1,000,000 descendants of those refugees. We would be naive to think that our acts of compassion and mercy today will be rewarded by assimilation and changed attitudes. Experience has shown exactly the opposite in Europe, where Jews are today being driven out by Muslim refugees. What kind of legacy will we be leaving to Jewish children who years from now will sit in their classrooms and listen to the types of propaganda and outright lies about Jews that flow freely in Muslim society today. We at COPIA hope that you will read and explore these links. If you come across any others that you deem informative, please let us know.Coalition of Pro-Israel Advocates (COPIA)
Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art (COPMA)
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 Excerpt from Daily State Department Press Briefing, which focused on PA acting leader Mahmoud Abbas and the US position on the “Middle East Peace Process.” Heather Nauert is the State Department Press Spokesperson. This exchange took place about midway through the day’s briefing, and informs us that the official position of the US State Dept. is that the US should continue to play a major role in the “peace process,” rejecting what Abbas and his supporters assert, which is that the US is no longer a fair player because it “favors” Israel.
MS NAUERT: Yeah. Hi, sir. How are you? Go right ahead. Hi.
QUESTION: In his speech today before the Security Council, the Palestinian president called for an international conference as a substitute for the U.S. role in the peace process. Do you have any comment?
MS NAUERT: So the President has made it a priority, as has Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner, to try to bring Middle East peace. This is something that they have not backed away from. As you may know, Mr. Greenblatt and Mr. Kushner were up at the United Nations earlier today to hear what Mahmoud Abbas had to say in front of the UN Security Council.
I’d like to just note that he kept his remarks constructive, and that was something that we certainly noticed. We hope the Palestinians will come to the negotiating table. We are not backing away from peace. That is something that is important to this administration. And I think their presence just reaffirms that we are willing to listen to both sides, to the Palestinians and the Israelis, and we’re willing to commit to hearing all sides.
QUESTION: But you do not support the international conference as a frame for this, do you?
MS NAUERT: Look, if at some point we believe that other countries could be helpful to the peace process, we would certainly be willing to bring them in. Is the time right for that right now? I’m not sure we’ve decided that, but that is something that could certainly happen in the future. Okay?
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: A follow-up on that?
MS NAUERT: Okay. Yeah, go ahead. Hi, sir.
QUESTION: Over the —
MS NAUERT: No, the gentleman right behind you.
QUESTION: Yeah, thank you very much.
MS NAUERT: Yeah.
QUESTION: But how can you maintain both things at the same time, that you have a special relationship with Israel and you want to be the mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, to have —
MS NAUERT: Well, we’ve covered this numerous times before. This administration looks back at the many – numerous decades of inability to bring peace to the Middle East. So the administration is determined that it wants to look at things perhaps a little differently. And that may confound some people —
QUESTION: But —
MS NAUERT: Let me finish. And that may confound some people, and that’s fine. But the administration is still saying that we are willing to sit down and have peace talks, and both sides are going to have to give a little, and that’s something that they’ve not – we’ve not backed away from in terms of our standpoint.
QUESTION: I’m not saying that you’re unique in this respect.
MS NAUERT: Yeah.
QUESTION: Multiple administrations have said we have a special relationship with Israel and we’re going to be the mediator, and it hasn’t worked out well. So aren’t you actually sort of doing the same thing that past administrations have?
MS NAUERT: No, I think the administration is handling this – handling this differently. And there are a lot of examples that I could think of that —
That concluded the discussion about the Middle East.
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s Remarks at the UN Security Council
AS DELIVERED [emphases added]
Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, for being with us today, as well as to Mr. Mladenov for his briefing.
We are meeting today in a forum that is very familiar to all of us. This session on the Middle East has been taking place each month for many, many years. Its focus has been almost entirely on issues facing Israelis and Palestinians. And we have heard many of the same arguments and ideas over and over again. We have already heard them again this morning.
It is as if saying the same things repeatedly, without actually doing the hard work and making the necessary compromises, will achieve anything.
Beginning last year, we have tried to broaden the discussion, and we have had some success in doing so. I thank my colleagues who have participated in those broader discussions.
One reason we did that is our well-founded belief that the United Nations spends an altogether disproportionate amount of time on Israeli-Palestinian issues. It’s not that those issues are unimportant. They are certainly very important. The problem is that the UN has proven itself time and again to be a grossly biased organization when it comes to Israel.
As such, the UN’s disproportionate focus has actually made the problem more difficult to solve, by elevating the tensions and the grievances between the two parties.
Another reason we have attempted to shift the discussion is that the vast scope of the challenges facing the region dwarf the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As we meet here today, the Middle East is plagued by many truly horrendous problems.
In Yemen, there is one of the worst humanitarian disasters on earth, with millions of people facing starvation. Meanwhile, militia groups fire Iranian rockets from Yemen into neighboring countries. In Syria, the Assad regime is using chemical weapons to gas its own people. This war has taken the lives of over half a million Syrians.
Millions more have been pushed into neighboring Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon as refugees, causing major hardships in those countries.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah terrorists exert ever-more control, illegally building up a stockpile of offensive weapons, inviting a dangerous escalation that could devastate regional security.
ISIS is engaged in an inhumane level of cruelty in much of the region. They’ve been dealt severe setbacks in Iraq and Syria, but they are not completely yet destroyed, and they still pose serious threats.
Egypt faces repeated terrorist attacks.
And of course, there is the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iran that initiates and encourages most of the troubles I just outlined.
These immense security and humanitarian challenges throughout the region should occupy more of our attention, rather than having us sit here month after month and use the most democratic country in the Middle East as a scapegoat for the region’s problems.
But here we go again.
I do not mean to suggest that there is no suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides have suffered greatly. So many innocent Israelis have been killed or injured by suicide bombings, stabbings, and other sickening terrorist attacks. Israel has been forced to live under constant security threats like virtually no other country in the world. It should not have to live that way.
And yet, Israel has overcome those burdens. It is a thriving country, with a vibrant economy that contributes much to the world in the name of technology, science, and the arts.
It is the Palestinian people who are suffering more. The Palestinians in Gaza live under Hamas terrorist oppression. I can’t even call it a governing authority, as Hamas provides so little in the way of what one would normally think as government services.
The people of Gaza live in truly awful conditions, while their Hamas rulers put their resources into building terror tunnels and rockets. The Palestinians in the West Bank also suffer greatly. Too many have died, and too much potential has been lost in this conflict.
We are joined here today by Palestinian Authority President Abbas. I’m sorry he declined to stay in the chamber to hear the remarks of others. Even though he has left the room, I will address the balance of my remarks to him.
President Abbas, when the new American administration came into the office last January, we did so against the fresh backdrop of the passage of Security Council Resolution 2334.
In the waning days of the previous American administration, the United States made a serious error in allowing that resolution to pass. Resolution 2334 was wrong on many levels. I am not going to get into the substance now.
But beyond the substance, perhaps its biggest flaw was that it encouraged the false notion that Israel can be pushed into a deal that undermines its vital interests, damaging the prospects for peace by increasing mistrust between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
In the last year, the United States has worked to repair that damage. At the UN, I have opposed the bias against Israel, as any ally should do.
But that does not mean I or our administration is against the Palestinian people. Just the opposite is true. We recognize the suffering of the Palestinian people, as I have recognized here today.
I sit here today offering the outstretched hand of the United States to the Palestinian people in the cause of peace. We are fully prepared to look to a future of prosperity and co-existence. We welcome you as the leader of the Palestinian people here today.
But I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.
The Palestinian leadership has a choice to make between two different paths. There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people.
Or, there is the path of negotiation and compromise. History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan, including the transfer of territory. That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it.
The United States knows the Palestinian leadership was very unhappy with the decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem. You don’t have to like that decision. You don’t have to praise it. You don’t even have to accept it. But know this: that decision will not change.
So once again, you must choose between two paths. You can choose to denounce the United States, reject the U.S. role in peace talks, and pursue punitive measures against Israel in international forums like the UN. I assure you that path will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward the achievement of their aspirations.
Or, you can choose to put aside your anger about the location of our embassy, and move forward with us toward a negotiated compromise that holds great potential for improving the lives of the Palestinian people.
Putting forward old talking points and entrenched and undeveloped concepts achieves nothing. That approach has been tried many times, and has always failed. After so many decades, we welcome new thinking.
As I mentioned in this meeting last month, the United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership.
Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.