JNS BRIEFS 4-3-12

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U.S.

Click photo to download. Caption: The anti-Israel "Land Day" protest in Times Square March 30 drew less than 30 participants. Credit: Maxine Dovere.Times Square ‘Land Day’ protest falls short of expectations

NEW YORK—The turnout for an anti-Israel “Land Day” demonstration in New York City’s Times Square March 30 was “under 30,” according to an informal estimate New York Police Department officers gave JointMedia News Service on scene.

The larger crowd anticipated by organizers did not appear for the rally, which was held to support Arab claims to Israel. Sarah Wellington, recently involved in the failed attempt to cause Brooklyn’s Park Slope Food Co-op to boycott Israeli goods, led the demonstrators gathered at 47th Street in Manhattan.

Wellington brought several large black bags of signs, instructing protestors to “try to layer” rather than demonstrating in a straight line. She said “I can’t speak to you” in response to questions from JointMedia News Service.

A kafiyah-wrapped leader led the protestors with calls of “Intifada, Intifada.”

Click photo to download. Caption: Czech Republic native Libor Von Schonau gives a salute at the anti-Israel "Land Day" protest in Times Square March 30. Credit: Maxine Dovere.Czech Republic native Libor Von Schonau conjured up classic anti-Semitic stereotypes by saying, “Israel outsourced the occupation.”

“They are controlling Athens and the European Union because Israel is one of the biggest creditors of Greece,” he said.

Also falling short of expectations March 30 was the “Global March on Jerusalem,” which gathered a few thousand marchers in Israel’s neighboring countries after organizers aimed for two million participants.

“We see that once again an attempt to bypass direct [peace] negotiations [with Israel] in favor of publicity stunts and agitation has failed,” the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said in a statement.

—JointMedia News Service 

Click photo to download. Caption: State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland. Credit: State Department.

U.S. refuses to call Jerusalem Israel’s capital 

Every country is entitled to choose its own capital, the Israeli foreign ministry said in response to a U.S. refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A recent U.S. State Department press release said that Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Kathleen Stephens will visit the Middle East, specifically to “Algeria, Qatar, Jordan, Jerusalem, and Israel,” thus identifying Jerusalem and Israel as separate entities.

The wording was eventually changed to “Jerusalem and Tel Aviv,” but when pressed for a clarification on Jerusalem’s status, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the issue will “be resolved through negotiations” and that the U.S. will not “prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem.” 

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Credit: Walter Burns.New Jersey governor visits Israel on his first official overseas trip

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made Israel his first official overseas trip this week, Israel Hayom reported, meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a visit that may boost the rising Republican star’s foreign policy credentials ahead of November’s presidential election.

Christie, 49, is mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2012 and a possible presidential candidate in 2016. He has brushed aside repeated appeals from top Republican donors about entering this year’s presidential race.

Israel is a popular stop for American politicians on the rise seeking to bolster their international credibility. Speaking to reporters after visiting the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Christie downplayed any political significance of his trip.

“Anything I do fuels speculation for a future bid,” Christie said, wearing a skullcap with his name embroidered on it. “I am here because this is a place of enormous significance in the world.”

—JointMedia News Service 

Washington Jewish Week owners win bankruptcy auction for Baltimore Jewish Times

Route 95 Publications, LLC, which owns the Washington Jewish Week, submitted the winning bid of $1.26 million for Alter Communications, publisher of the Baltimore Jewish Times and Style Magazine.

Louis Mayberg of Route 95 said Monday that the 93-year-old Jewish Times would maintain its identity as a local newspaper with “Baltimore-based reporters covering Baltimore-based issues,” the Baltimore Sun reported.

In April 2010, Alter filed for bankruptcy amid a $1.2 million lawsuit filed by its former printer, H.G. Roebuck & Son, Inc. Two years later, Roebuck’s bid of $905,000 at Monday’s bankruptcy auction came in third behind Route 95 and Baltimore Community Publishing, LLC ($1.25 million).

“This turned out to be, as far as I’m concerned, a very successful bidding and ending for the drama we’ve been through,” said Ronnie Buerger, co-publisher of the Jewish Times, according to the Baltimore Sun. 

—JointMedia News Service

Northeastern University professors compare Israelis to Nazis

A video released Monday by Americans for Peace and Tolerance/On Campus (APT/OC) shows how professors at Northeastern University in Boston are using the Holocaust as a vehicle to equate Israel’s actions with those of the Nazis.

The video, which can be found at www.hijackingholocaust.com, documents the statements of guest speakers invited to Northeastern by professors holding the Stotsky Professorship in Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies, which was established specifically to study the genocide of European Jewry.  

Alice Rothchild, an activist with Jewish Voice for Peace in Boston and a frequent critic of Israel, says in a guest lecture that out of the catastrophe of the Holocaust, the Jewish people created “another catastrophe.”

“Much like the child of abusive parents, Israelis are capable of committing their own abuses in the name of security and in defense of their own sense of victimhood,” she says.

The Holocaust Awareness Committee at Northeastern in 2010 screened the film “Defamation,” which contends that anti-Semitism is a media creation. Norman Finkelstein, author of “The Holocaust Industry,” says in the film that the Holocaust is “a pretext and excuse to humiliate, degrade, and torture the Palestinians.”

—JointMedia News Service 

Pentagon plans to request additional defense funds for Israel

In order to secure more funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system, the U.S. “intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a recent statement.

Israel’s current Iron Dome system benefited from some $200 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. The Iron Dome was able to intercept 80 percent of the 300 rockets and mortars fired into southern Israel by Palestinians earlier this month. “I look forward to working together to identify the additional resources necessary to help defend our Israeli friends,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) said in a statement.

—JointMedia News Service

NYC group rejects boycott of Israeli goods 

The Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn, NY, has rejected a motion to hold a referendum on banning products imported from Israel, with 1,005 voting against and 653 in favor of the proposal.

A group known as Park Slope Food Co-op Members for Israeli Boycott Divestment Sanctions first proposed to boycott Israeli products in protest of the government’s policies toward the Palestinians and to “help send a message to Israel that it must honor international law and human rights,” according to reports.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had called the idea “ill conceived” and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer denounced the proposed boycott as “an anti-Semitic crusade.” 

—JointMedia News Service 

Moderate Muslim’s appointment to religious freedom commission angers CAIR

Click photo to download. Caption: Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. Credit: Courtesy Zuhdi Jasser.Dr. Zuhdi Jasser—head of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), an organization that seeks to fight radical Islamic ideology—on Monday was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the appointment was “farcical” and distributed a petition “calling on community members and people of conscience” to protest the move. Additionally, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) called the appointment “an affront to all Muslims.”

In an interview with JointMedia News Service last November, Jasser said, “operationally, Islam is not peaceful.” He said “the silent majority of Muslims who believe that Islam is peaceful, that Sharia is a personal decision which should not be part of government, can’t sit back and be in denial.”

—JointMedia News Service

ISRAEL

Palestinian TV: Moses, a Muslim, led a Muslim exodus from Egypt

In advance of Passover, the Palestinian media is distorting the history of the Jewish people’s liberation.

A recent Palestinian Authority TV broadcast featured a university lecturer who detailed how Moses, a Muslim, brought “the Muslims of the Children of Israel out of Egypt,” Palestinian Media Watch reported.

The lecturer also refers to the Israeli conquest of the land of Israel as the “first Palestinian liberation... of Palestine.”

—JointMedia News Service

PLO gives award to controversial journalist Helen Thomas

Caption: Journalist Helen Thomas with President Barack Obama on August 4, 2009, her 89th birthday. Thomas shares a birthday with the president. In 2010, she said Jews should Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine.” Credit: White House/Pete Souza. A representative of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas awarded former veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas a journalism prize, according to a statement issued Monday by the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s office in Washington.

The 91-year-old reporter, who had covered the White House since the presidency of John F. Kennedy, was forced to resign from her position two years ago after controversial comments she made about Jews and Israel.

The PLO decided to recognize Thomas for her longtime journalism career “during which she defended the Palestinian position every step of the way.”

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi bestowed the prize upon Thomas at the home of Maen Rashid Ereikat, president of the PLO Commission General in the U.S.

Thomas caused a storm in 2010, when she said in an interview that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland, Germany, America “and everywhere else.”

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Palestinian ‘Land Day’ protest turns violent, continues pattern of harassment at Hebrew U

Despite avowed plans for a non-violent Land Day protest March 30, Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israel soldiers during recent altercations near the Kalandia checkpoint north of Jerusalem, reported Israel National News.

Israeli soldiers had to respond with rubber bullets and tear gas, as well as machines releasing a foul smell and high frequency sound waves. Land Day rallies are held to support Arab claims to Israel.

On the same day, Arab men threw Molotov cocktails at a bus near Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. Arab harassment of Jewish Hebrew U students is far from a new development, according to reports. Female students at the school’s Mount Scopus campus have complained that Arabs regularly commit various sexual offenses against them.

“This is an unsafe place,” one female student told Israel National News last month. “You can't go out in the evening after 6:00 p.m., when it is dark. They come here and they know that they can harass Jewish women. They would not harass Arab women because they fear blood vengeance and the like.”

—JointMedia News Service

Netanya seder terrorist attack remembered 10 years later 

On March 27, 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 30 people at a Passover seder in a Netanya beach hotel. Survivors and bereaved family members recently gathered to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the gruesome attack. Of those killed, the oldest was Chanah Rogan, 90, and the youngest was Sivan Vider, 20.

“You want to die. You don’t want to live,” said Corinne Hamami—whose husband and hotel manager, Amiram Hamami, was killed—regarding how she felt after the attack. Hamami was left alone with six children. Despite the attack, the Park Hotel of Netanya has continued holding a seder every year since, and intends to hold one this year as well.

—JointMedia News Service

Former PA official among Palestinian violent actors on ‘Land Day’

Seventeen demonstrators were arrested in the Jerusalem area on “Land Day” March 30 for throwing stones at Israel police forces near the Damascus gate of the Old City, reported Israel Hayom. Among the perpetrators was Fatah member and former Palestinian Authority Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdel Qader.

About 2,000 Israeli Arabs demonstrated in northern Israel, with other protests taking place near the Rachel Passage, not far from Bethlehem, in Bil’in and in Nabi Salah. Other Land Day supporters marched in Jordan and Lebanon. In Jaffa, demonstrators accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government of trying to “Judaize” cities with mixed populations.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon called the annual Land Day protest “political terrorism.”

—JointMedia News Service

Another PA song denies Jewish state

Palestinian Authority television recently aired yet another song that denies the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, Palestinian Media Watch reported. The lyrics of song deliberately referred to Israeli cities as Palestine:

“Oh bird, take me to [my] homeland, color my eyelids with the soil of Palestine

Send greetings to Acre and to the Upper Galilee, to Bir Zeit, Haifa, Tira and Ayn Ghazal To Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza and Jabalya … Oh bird, take me to [my] homeland, color my eyelids with the soil of Palestine.”

Many of the city names referenced in the song are actually the Arabic names of Hebrew villages. For example, Ayn Ghazal is actually Moshav Ofer.

—JointMedia News Service 

Click photo to download. Caption: Shaul Mofaz. Credit: Sgt. Andy Dunaway, U.S. Air Force.Shaul Mofaz tops incumbent Livni in Kadima primary

MK Shaul Mofaz unseated MK Tzipi Livni as head of Kadima party in a landslide primary, garnering nearly 62 percent of the vote. 

Mofaz, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Knesset and former ID Chief of the General Staff, on March 27 called on Livni, the defeated incumbent, to stand with the Kadima party. “You belong with us,” he said, according to the Israel National News. Mofaz has said that with a victory over Livni, he would run against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud party in the next national election. 

—JointMedia News Service

Shin Bet: Palestinian ‘Red Cross’ workers part of Hamas terror squad

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Israel Defense Forces recently arrested 13 Palestinians on suspicion of being behind a shooting attack on an IDF force in Ramallah on Jan. 20, the security service said in a statement Monday.

There were no casualties during the shooting attack at the Am'ari refugee camp in Ramallah, but some damage was caused to a military vehicle.

Among those arrested were some employees of the Red Crescent, the Palestinian Red Cross, in Ramallah, one of whom also served as a goalie in the Palestinian Olympic soccer team. The 13 suspects revealed in their interrogations that they took part in extensive activities against IDF forces guarding the security fence.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

WORLD

Click photo to download. Caption: A map of Azerbaijan. Credit: CIA World Factbook.Reports: U.S. leaks information alleging that Israel will use Azerbaijan air space near Iran

The U.S administration leaked information alleging that Azerbaijan has given Israel access to airfields within its borders, according to reports. The White House denied that it leaked the information, and Azerbaijan’s defense ministry denied any air space agreement with Israel. 

Since Azerbaijan lies on the border of Iran, such an agreement with Israel could give the Jewish state leverage by placing its forces closer to Iran and the Islamic republic’s looming nuclear threat. Meanwhile, recent U.S. statements have aimed to discourage Israel from an attack on Iran. “We’re now watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we’re not happy about it,” a U.S. source told Foreign Policy magazine.

Former U.S. Diplomat John Bolton told Fox News that the reported leak “is part of the administration’s campaign against an Israeli attack.”

“Clearly, this is an administration-orchestrated leak,” Bolton said. “It’s just unprecedented to reveal this kind of information about one of your own allies.”

However, Ephraim Kam—a former officer in the research division of the IDF’s Military Intelligence branch—told the Times of Israel that the premise of an Israel-Azerbaijan air space deal “doesn’t make any sense.”

“[Azerbaijan] is a relatively new country and I don’t see how it could possibly be in their interest to grant any assistance to Israel in an attack on Iran,” Kam said.

—JointMedia News Service

‘Iranian terror cell planning attacks on Jewish, Israeli targets in Turkey’ 

Intelligence agencies are searching for members of Unit 400, a secret Iranian special-ops division of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, which has been ordered to attack Jewish, Israeli and Western targets in Turkey, Sky News reported on Sunday.

Intelligence sources told Sky News that in recent months Unit 400 has been developing “a standing operating procedure for carrying out an attack in Turkey against Western targets as well as Israeli and Jewish [ones].” The source added that intelligence assessments have shown “these procedures are in a very advanced stage, and that the intention is to act on the plans very soon.”

The sources also told Sky News that in the wake of growing threats of possible military action against Iran’s nuclear program, Unit 400 has been instructed to carry out “more frequent and more daring terror attacks around the world as a demonstration of ‘Iran’s asymmetric power.’”

—JointMedia News Service

Argentina to try ex-president over Jewish center attack probe

An Argentine judge on Friday ordered the country’s former President Carlo Menem to stand trial for obstruction of justice in the investigation of the 1994 bombing of Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded some 300 others, Israel Hayom reported.

Prosecutors have alleged that Tehran planned and financed the bombing, which was carried out by Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. However, they now suspect that during the Menem administration Argentine intelligence services and security forces helped to cover up evidence tying local accomplices to the attackers.

In 2009, Menem, who is now 81, was charged with concealing and tampering with evidence, but he was never tried. At the time of the bombing, Menem was serving his first term as president; he currently serves in Argentina’s senate for the Rioja province. If found guilty, he could be dismissed from his post, but his fellow senators would have to impeach him before he can be sentenced to prison.

—JointMedia News Service

Muslim Brotherhood names presidential nominee

Contrary to an earlier pledge to stay out of the presidential race, the Muslim Brotherhood has selected a candidate for the presidency in Egypt. Khayrat el-Shater, the Brotherhood’s chief strategist and financier, will represent the party in the race, the Associated Press reported. 

The Brotherhood, which holds half the seats in the parliament, has shied away from contesting the presidential seat for fear of a backlash from western countries. Due to the Brotherhood’s success in the parliamentary vote, its presidential nominee will be considered a leader in the race. Analysts say a Brotherhood victory could lead to the rise of fundamentalism in Egypt, and by consequence, difficult relations with western countries and Israel. 

—JointMedia News Service

Toulouse killer’s father vows to sue France

The father of Toulouse school shooter Mohammad Merah vowed to sue the French government for killing his son. 

Merah, who murdered a rabbi and three Jewish children, was killed in a siege on his apartment. “If I were the father of such a monster, I would shut my mouth in shame,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe responded to Merah’s father, according to ABC News.

Since the shooting, the Otzar HaTorah Jewish school in Toulouse has received anti-Semitic emails calling for “the murder of Jews or drawing a tenuous link with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” BBC reported. A 12-year-old Jewish boy was also punched in the back of the head and called a “dirty Jew” in Paris.

—JointMedia News Service

Frankfurt elects first Jewish mayor since Holocaust

The city of Frankfurt, Germany, has elected its first Jewish mayor since the Holocaust. Social Democrat Peter Feldmann, 53, defeated his Christian Democratic Union opponent by 15 points.

Feldmann’s Jewish faith was “was not a topic” in the election, he told the Jerusalem Post. “I did not cite it is as a theme. The voters know I am Jewish. Period!”

Instead, Feldmann said his campaign focused on fighting against “elderly and children’s poverty” and working to improve the housing crisis in Frankfurt. Feldmann is, however, a strong supporter of Israel and diplomatic relations between Frankfurt and Tel Aviv (which is Frankfurt’s partner city). The new mayor has also spent time living on a kibbutz.

—JointMedia News Service

French Islamist terrorist group was aiming for Jewish magistrate

French police began a crackdown on Islamic extremism in the country, detaining 19 people in a March 30 raid. According to the Associated Press, a French official says those arrested were planning to kidnap a Jewish magistrate.

President Nicolas Sarkozy assured the public last week that more raids are to come. Sarkozy’s actions come in the wake of a recent terrorist attack, in which Mohammed Merah shot and killed three children and one father outside of a Jewish school.

“It’s in connection with a form of Islamist radicalism,” Sarkozy said on Europe-1 radio. “There will be other operations that will continue and that will allow us to expel from our national territory a certain number of people who have no reason to be here.”

Those arrested are said to be members of the banned Islamist group Forsane Alizza, and are being charged for association with a terrorist enterprise.

—JointMedia News Service

Posted on April 2, 2012 and filed under Briefs, Israel, U.S., World.