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With the Nov. 8 Presidential election just months away, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump are pulling out all the stops to win over as many key demographic groups as they can. Outside the official channels, a group of grass roots Trump supporters are seeking to make their own impact on the election and promise not to remain silent when it comes to Israel’s security and future.
As a minority group that has faced down centuries of anti-Semitism, the Jewish people have long stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other long-suffering and persecuted minority groups such as African-Americans. This was evident during the Civil Rights Movement when Jewish leaders stood against segregation in the south. That allegiance continues today with Jewish figures speaking out against inequality that many African-Americans face. Yet, some affiliated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement are seeking to blend their struggles in America with the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel movement, which threatens to drive a wedge between the two groups.
As a young boy growing up in Ashdod, Israel, Alon Day got his first go-kart at age 9. By 15, he was racing them. Less than a decade later, Day has become the first Israeli professional race car driver on the NASCAR circuit. He made history by competing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 13.
The far left U.S. Green Party marked a significant milestone in the current campaign cycle when CNN broadcast a town hall debate with its presidential candidate, Jill Stein, and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka. It was a chance for the largely obscure party to build upon the momentum generated by Sen. Bernie Sanders's bid for the Democratic Party nomination with a progressive platform untainted, as Stein and Baraka emphasized again and again, by the paw prints of corporate lobbyists, special interest groups and dubious foreign governments. But behind their seemingly honest facade lies a deeper message of far left views that not only seeks to transform America, but provides cover for brutal dictatorships and destroying Israel, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
For most students, the dog days of August are one final chance for summer traditions such as hitting the beach or visiting national parks with their family before heading back to campus. For dozens of pro-Israel college students, however, learning about ways to combat increasing campus anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism was their focus during summer’s final weeks.
In early August Israeli media reported that the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has launched outreach to an estimated 300,000 eligible American voters living in Israel. The Trump campaign is working with the Israel branch of Republicans Overseas, an organization that works to reach American citizens abroad who can vote via absentee ballot. JNS.org asks, could votes by Americans in Israel affect the presidential election’s outcome?
Love him or hate him, Donald Trump’s once unthinkable ascension became a reality earlier this month, following a largely drama-free roll call vote on the Republican National Convention floor. Trump’s nomination is just one example of a current trend toward political personalization, a process in which the influence of individual leaders in the political process has increased, as the centrality of the political group declines, writes JNS contributor Prof. Gideon Rahat.
Tammi Rossman Benjamin - a faculty member at University of California and the director of AMCHA initiative, a non-profit that combats anti-Semitism on college campuses across the U.S. - examines the situation of free speech for Jewish students on college campuses, citing a new report by the AMCHA initiative that the suppression of Jewish students’ freedom of speech and assembly by members of SJP or other anti-Zionist student groups had approximately doubled.
On July 18 Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed publicly told a group affiliated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement that his city would continue to allow the Atlanta Police Department (APD) to be trained by the Israel Police in spite of the group’s demands to cease the training relationship due to their treatment of the Palestinians. The decision by Mayor Reed comes amid nationwide protests and counter protests over police treatment of minority groups. Despite this heated environment, both criminal justice experts and organizers behind the U.S. police exchange programs with Israel agree that BLM claims are unsubstantiated and that it is vital to maintain these types of cooperation as police face growing threats from terrorism.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s newly announced running mate, is being touted by his supporters as a moderate Democrat with considerable domestic and foreign policy credentials from his experience serving on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees as well as formerly heading the Democratic National Committee. Kaine’s critics in pro-Israel circles, meanwhile, point to his outspoken support for the Iran nuclear deal, his decision to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 2015 speech to Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat, and the support the senator has received from the controversial left-wing lobby group J Street. JNS.org provides an overview of Kaine’s record on election issues that are prioritized by Jewish and pro-Israel voters.
The Jewish community’s polarization in reaction to the selection of Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s running mate illustrates the political chasm that divides American Jewry. Predictably, the J Street lobby, which had shilled for President Barack Obama’s Iran deal, sprang into support mode. Kaine was a whip for the deal’s successful passage. In contrast, the Republican Jewish Coalition criticized Kaine for both his role in the Iran agreement and for being one of a handful of senators who boycotted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. Jews concerned about the Iran deal’s implications for the survival of their Israeli brethren already had a reason to oppose Clinton, and her choice of Kaine will not help. Whether this will overcome the strong predisposition of the Jewish community to vote for the Democratic ticket—no matter who is on it—remains to be seen, writes columnist Abraham H. Miller.
Israel’s parliament this week took action in response to an Arab Knesset member’s public support of a terrorist who murdered an American-Jewish peace activist. But if you read the account by New York Times correspondent Isabel Kershner, you wouldn’t know anything about the terrorist or his victim—all you would learn is that Israel’s rulers are suppressing dissent and might be infected by “budding fascism.” It’s as if Kershner and her editors are living in some kind of alternative universe in which Israel is always guilty, Arab extremists are always innocent, and the 141 Americans who have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists simply don’t exist, writes columnist Stephen M. Flatow.
Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer told JNS.org. Last month, Kremer became the first Israeli citizen to sign with an MLB team. The right-handed pitcher was selected by Los Angeles in the 2016 draft and subsequently joined the Dodgers’ Ogden Raptors minor league affiliate in Utah. “I was raised in the Jewish tradition and we speak Hebrew at home,” said Kremer, who grew up in Tel Aviv. “Everything will stay the same [while I’m playing professional baseball], but it is difficult, especially when we get meals catered here. But I try not to eat pork….The values and morals of a Jewish person were instilled in me, and that’s the way I live my life.”
A new technology endorsed by the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America (JCCA) could play a key role in preventing future attacks such as the 2014 shootings at the JCC of Greater Kansas City and the Village Shalom geriatric center. Earlier this year, JCCA announced FST Biometrics, an Israeli developer of In Motion Identification (IMID) technology, as its preferred identity management vendor. Brian Soileau, JCCA’s manager of corporate partnerships, told JNS.org that he immediately found favor in the IMID solution, which uses biometric identification technology—including facial recognition and body behavior analytics—to allow JCC staffers and members to move freely into and through facilities, while restricting access to unauthorized visitors.
On July 11, the History Channel reaffirmed its commitment to accuracy and truth by revising its “Albert Einstein: Fact or Fiction?” webpage to replace erroneous wording tending to negatively portray Israel: “Though he (Albert Einstein) was very sympathetic to Israel, he was never an ardent Zionist—he believed in ‘friendly and fruitful’ cooperation between Jews and Arabs.” There were two problems here: the erroneous characterization of Einstein’s attitude toward Zionism, and the erroneous implication that Zionism and Israel from the outset did not believe in cooperation between Arabs and Jews. The History Channel’s revised wording reads, “Einstein was, however, very sympathetic to Israel. In 1947 he expressed his belief in Zionism as well as the importance of ‘friendly and fruitful’ cooperation between Jews and Arabs.” The case for revision was made to the network by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), writes CAMERA research analyst Myron Kaplan.
The omission of Palestinian statehood from this year’s Republican Party platform is neither a radical change nor a departure from immutable U.S. policy, as some critics are claiming. In fact, both parties’ platforms have repeatedly changed positions on Israel-related issues over the years, in keeping with the preference of the presidential nominee or the changing mood among their rank and file, writes historian Rafael Medoff.
After a selection process that more closely resembled a reality television show than the usual political appointments, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that his choice for vice president is Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who beat out flashier contenders such as former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. For the pro-Israel community, Pence is viewed as a strong advocate for the Jewish state who can bolster Trump’s sometimes shaky relationship with Jewish leaders. Pence, an evangelical Christian, has noted that his strong support for Israel is rooted in his faith. “Let me say emphatically, like the overwhelming majority of my constituents, my Christian faith compels me to cherish the state of Israel,” Pence said in an address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2009, while he was serving in Congress.