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Ken Marcus Confirmed Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Civil Rights

June 7th 2018

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) congratulates LDB President & General Counsel Kenneth L. Marcus on the occasion of his confirmation by the U.S. Senate to the position of Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Civil Rights.

This is a momentous occasion not just in the fight against anti-Semitism, but against all forms of prejudice and hate. In his past work in the Office of Civil Rights, and through the founding of the Louis D. Brandeis Center, Kenneth has continuously demonstrated his abilities as both a leader and a charismatic force in the fight against bigotry. The Louis D. Brandeis Center, under Kenneth's leadership, has become a premier civil rights agency with an impact in Washington, D.C., around the country, and across the world. The Louis D. Brandeis Center's efforts in addressing bias incidents at numerous universities, educating policymakers about campus anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice, sharing of best practices with university leaders, and pursuit of landmark public interest advocacy litigation have all been a testament to the importance the organization plays in the fight for civil rights. I cannot imagine anyone better qualified than Kenneth for this position.
 
Marcus was formerly Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights during the Administration of President George W. Bush. He has also served in other senior positions in the U.S. government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is the author of The Definition of Anti-Semitism (Oxford University Press 2015) and Jewish Identity and Civil Rights in America (Cambridge University Press 2010).


Dismiss Geraldo Rivera

April 5th 2018

The management of FOX NEWS needs to dismiss Geraldo Rivera for his remarks on THE FIVE last week when he clearly stated his regret for not supporting the 2nd. Intifada where over 2,000 innocent Jews were brutally murdered and over 10,000 injured and permanently maimed for the simple crime of being Jews. This  kind of regret is something we would expect to hear from Louis Farrakhan and the determined Jew-haters of Hamas and Hezbollah not from a commentator on FOX NEWS. By making such an irresponsible remark Mr. Rivera demonstrated he could not possibly have performed anything in the way of journalistic due diligence about the real cause of this unjustified violence which, of course, is the undiminished wish of the Arab Palestinians to destroy the world's only Jewish Nation State. Wishing that he had done more to condone pure evil places Mr. Rivera squarely in the Temple of Disappointment and shows that the moral high-ground upon which he sought to place himself cannot even be measured in mere millimeters. For a long time on FOX NEWS Mr. Rivera has been like a naught in arithmetic, he has had a place but no value. Now, with his morally bankrupt remark he should no longer have that place.


The California Free Speech on Campus Act Will Protect All

April 4th 2018

Over the past year, there has been a sharp spike in acts of hatred and intolerance targeting African Americans, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ community members, immigrants, women and individuals who hold divergent ideological and political views. Our research and monitoring indicate that this is most problematic on college campuses, where we find that one group’s freedom of expression is being used to denigrate, harass, intimidate and shut down the expression of another group, depriving students of their rights and undermining the very mission of a university. AMCHA has been working with universities across the country to encourage the adoption of equitable responses to exclusionary behavior and the implementation of initiatives that educate students about First Amendment rights and encourage tolerance and respect for the expression of a wide range of views. While our organization focuses primarily on protecting Jewish students from intolerant behavior that is anti-Semitic, we believe the entire campus benefits when all students are ensured equal protection from exclusionary behavior. In California, the Free Speech on Campus Act will go a long way toward that goal of restoring civility and respect on UC, CSU and California Community College campuses, and upholding the pillars of higher education that will benefit our state and our nation for years to come.


Lebanon At an Economic Turning Point if Iran Does Not Interfere

March 17th 2018

The Lebanese Information Center (LIC) in Washington has been closely following the latest diplomatic developments in Lebanon and the region, particularly those linked to the maritime border dispute with Israel. LIC President Dr. Joseph Gebeily just returned from a trip to Lebanon, where he discussed this issue and its potential diplomatic resolution with government representatives, political figures, and leading security force commanders. This critical period could be a turning point for Lebanon economically and politically, but it is vital that all parties proceed with levelheadedness. The LIC reaffirms its position that all parties must respect Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, which are to be defended by the sole authority of the Lebanese state. Lebanon has a right to develop its resources and begin oil and gas exploration within its demarcated maritime borders and in accordance with international laws and conventions. As the nature of Lebanon's border dispute shifts to a resource-focused one, it is crucial that UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701, which mandate disarming Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, are fully implemented.

The LIC stressed these positions during a range of recent meetings with U.S. officials in Washington, at the State Department, the Department of Defense, and with White House-National Security Staff as well as with relevant congressional committees. The LIC deeply appreciates the U.S. administration's continued support to Lebanon, through military, security, and economic assistance that has amounted to several billion dollars in recent years. We welcome Secretary Tillerson’s positions during his latest visit to Lebanon and appreciate Assistant Secretary Satterfield’s tireless efforts to mediate between Lebanon and Israel over drilling rights.

At the same time, we strongly condemn the hostile stances expressed by Iran's proxies in Lebanon against the United States. These proxies prioritize Iran's ambitions, not Lebanon’s wellbeing and economic future. They are primarily concerned with furthering Iran’s political agenda in Lebanon and the region, at the expense of Lebanon's core interests and U.S. mediation efforts.

In addition to its appeals to U.S. officials and other friends of Lebanon, the LIC calls on Lebanese officials to:
1- Extend the Government of Lebanon's control to all Lebanese territory, both land and sea;
2- Commit to the disbanding and disarming of all militias;
3- Employ all diplomatic and political means to engage the international community in helping Lebanon resolve territorial disputes with neighboring countries; and
4- Cooperate with the U.S.'s mediation efforts and take full advantage its expertise and willingness to play this role.


The Fight of Our Lives is About Defeating the Ideological War Against the West

February 21st 2018

I am inviting all to join ZOA West Coast for two screenings of the hard-hitting documentary film, The Fight of Our Lives is About Defeating the Ideological War Against the West. It will be followed by a Q&A with director/producer Gloria Z. Greenfield. In this penetrating film, a cast of world-renowned scholars and analysts traces the emergence of internal and external forces which threaten the core values of Western civilization through their penetration into Western academia, politics and society. 


MEF Asks for Public's Help Collecting Examples of Tech Censorship

February 20th 2018
The Middle East Forum (MEF) is extremely concerned by the growing level of censorship by tech companies against those whom Silicon Valley finds politically unpalatable. Examples we have recently come across even include the suppression of anti-Islamist information published by moderate Muslim activists. We have previously written about Google's work with the NYT, Guardian and Wikipedia to automate censorship of "offensive" content. YouTube and Google are now following Twitter's practice of "shadow-banning" – hiding or down-ranking content that tech companies find politically unpalatable. And many of you will have come across examples of Facebook deleting posts or suspending accounts. Has this issue affected you or someone you know? MEF is looking for your help. We are collecting instances of censorship by tech companies – especially when it relates to anti-Islamist content. Any examples and information you can send us are extremely useful. If you have screenshots or other evidence, that is best; but we are also happy to hear anecdotal evidence. Please note: if the information that was censored actually incited violence, then we are not interested. Instead, we want to see examples of unreasonable censorship. Also please note that we may make public any examples as part of an eventual report. Help us document this disturbing trend.

Trump Chose Courage at the UN over Jerusalem

December 24th 2017

At the UN General Assembly on Dec. 21, President Trump courageously had the US stand with Israel against virtually the entire world. President Trump chose to stand with Israel and to chastise America’s other allies for their hypocrisy. He did more than that; he said that actions have consequences and that America would financially penalize those nations who opposed the US recognition of Israel’s capital and the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem. The US media did not focus on the fact that a record 65 states abstained from voting in favor of the resolution. Instead the media highlighted that our European allies voted against the US, without pointing out how these nations have become hostages to their growing Muslim populations and threats of terrorism.

Jewish critics of President Trump love to heap praise on Ambassador Nikki Haley as if her clear voice in support of Israel at the UN reflected anything other than the policies of the president of the US. Ambassador Haley is President Trump’s representative; she is not a free agent. It is Trump’s policies she expounded when she said at the UN:

“America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN. And this vote will be remembered.”

American Jewish communal organizations were quick to denounce the UN vote; but they could not bring themselves to praise President Trump for his courageous stand. By their partisan actions, they forfeit their right to speak for the communal interests of American Jews. Their failure makes it crucially important that we coalesce in grassroots organizations to speak out. Over the opposition of the rest of the world, President Trump Chose the Jews. Thank you, Mr. President.


Rubin Center Set to Close Soon if Unfunded

November 29th 2017

Throughout his year-and-half battle with cancer, Prof. Barry Rubin, founder of Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center—today the Rubin Center—continued to write and analyze events in the region and across the globe. When he could no longer type, he dictated. Even from his hospital bed, while hooked up to an IV dispensing chemo, he struggled to get the words out, publishing his final article just two weeks before his untimely death.
In his final days, he was very much occupied with the future of the Rubin (GLORIA) Center. It was his dream that the center would continue on the path he had set.

“My approach,” he once remarked, “…is to ignore the Western scholarly literature and to examine the facts on the ground.” He stressed that events “should be approached as objectively as possible with an honest attempt to be accurate, to produce evidence proving one’s assertions, and to follow where the facts lead.”

For nearly two decades, the Rubin Center’s exclusive frontline reporting has brought you breaking stories, analysis, and research. Rubin researchers have reported from areas inaccessible to most researchers and journalists, often risking their lives to bring you the most accurate and up-to-date analysis.

The Rubin Center has been completely self-funded, receiving no financial assistance from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya. As a non-profit organization, the center has always operated on a very modest budget-- investing its time and money in frontline reporting and research. Prof. Rubin also believed in encouraging talented young scholars and invested a great deal in helping those who were unrecognized develop and grow. The Rubin Fellowship program was founded in 2014 in his memory. Our first Rubin Fellow, Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, is now a renowned expert sought out by government officials and whose work has been published in major media outlets.

The Rubin Center has been completely self-funded, receiving no financial assistance from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya. As a non-profit organization, the center has always operated on a very modest budget-- investing its time and money in frontline reporting and research. Prof. Rubin also believed in encouraging talented young scholars and invested a great deal in helping those who were unrecognized develop and grow. The Rubin Fellowship program was founded in 2014 in his memory. Our first Rubin Fellow, Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, is now a renowned expert sought out by government officials and whose work has been published in major media outlets.

Many more promising young researchers have joined the Rubin Center since, including Dr. Seth J. Frantzman, Dave McAvoy, Sarit Zehavi, Neri Zilber, and Aynur Bashirova. In our final conversations with Prof. Rubin, he urged us to continue the research. If you value our work, please make a tax-deductible contribution today. In doing so, you would be supporting groundbreaking research, promising young scholars, and Barry Rubin’s legacy. If we do not receive funding, the Rubin Center will be closing its doors at the end of December 2017.

This is the link
http://www.rubincenter.org/donate-now/?utm_source=activetrail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Nov%202017%20funding%20appeal:%20Rubin%20Center%20Facing%20Closure:%20Final%20Plea%20for%20Support


Lebanese Info Center Welcomes Return of PM Hariri, Urges Efforts Against Iran’s Overreach

November 26th 2017

The Lebanese Information Center in Washington, DC welcomes the return of Lebanon’s resigned Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Beirut, while stressing the need to continue focusing on the paramount threat posed to Lebanon and the broader region by Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah. LIC President Dr. Joseph Gebeily was in Lebanon during Hariri’s surprise resignation and held a series of meetings with government officials, military leaders, politicians, United Nations representatives, and other key stakeholders, accompanied by the head of the LIC’s Office of UN Relations Dr. Melanie Raffoul. They discussed the political state of play in light of Hariri stepping down, the security situation in Lebanon and the region, and the issue of Syrian refugees.

Throughout these meetings, it was clear that the existential threats to Lebanon’s politics and security remain unresolved: Hezbollah’s dominance and Iran’s overreach in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East. Hariri was appointed premier as part of a 2016 arrangement that also led to General Michel Aoun’s election as president and stipulated Lebanon’s neutrality towards regional conflicts. This arrangement ultimately failed because of Hezbollah’s repeated violations of Lebanon’s “disassociation” policy.

On the security front, these actions include Hezbollah’s ongoing military interventions in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq; its efforts to sideline the Lebanese army in the fight against terrorist groups along Lebanon’s eastern border; and its negotiated deal with the Islamic State group (ISIS/ISIL) that chiefly served Hezbollah’s own agenda and that of its patron Iran -- not Lebanon’s interests. These nefarious activities threaten Lebanon’s security and its people.

Hezbollah is also damaging Lebanon’s political standing in an increasingly volatile Middle East. It continues to viciously slam Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies, resulting in a direct backlash against the livelihoods and economic interests of Lebanese citizens in the Gulf. Cabinet ministers allied to Hezbollah have visited Damascus without the Lebanese government’s approval, as part of Hezbollah’s attempt to forcefully open official relations with the Syrian regime.

Unfortunately, it is clear that Lebanon’s year-old government has been unable to confront Hezbollah. The cabinet has not reined in Hezbollah’s violations of the “disassociation” policy, including its dangerous regional interventions and its movement of fighters and equipment across borders. State security forces are unable to adequately monitor Hezbollah’s military movements in southern Lebanon, or prevent any acts of aggression that may spark a new war with Israel.

In recent weeks, policymakers and observers have suggested that Hariri’s resignation would exacerbate regional tensions and ultimately destabilize Lebanon. The LIC stresses that, despite recent developments, it is still Hezbollah that poses the preeminent threat to Lebanon’s security and prosperity. The LIC recognizes PM Hariri’s return to office last week as an important step towards reasserting the state’s legitimate monopoly on policy-making, particularly in decisions of peace and war. We hope Lebanon’s factions will seize this opportunity. The LIC also urges all friends of Lebanon, particularly the United States, to focus their efforts on confronting Iran’s expansionism. With tens of thousands of militiamen deployed across multiple countries, alliances with the region’s most brutal regimes, and a radical, violent Islamist ideology, Iran and its proxies remain the main menace to regional stability and must therefore be a policy priority for the US government.


CJV Condemns "Witch Hunt" Against Minister Hotovely

November 24th 2017

The Coalition for Jewish Values today strongly backed the remarks of Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely regarding the misperceptions many American Jews have about Israel and the nature of the Arab-Israel conflict. In an interview with i24 news discussing Princeton Hillel's abrupt withdrawal of an invitation to her to speak on campus, Hotovely said American Jews are living "convenient lives" while "not understanding the complexity of the region."

"What she said is uncontroversial. The typical Israeli is both more involved in Judaism and Jewish tradition, and faces daily challenges unknown to American Jews. Israelis must worry about incoming rockets and the terrorist who may be on the bus or in the shopping mall."

"Words of truth are often difficult to accept," said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, CJV East Coast Regional Vice President and Rabbi of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, NJ. "She held up a mirror to much of American Jewry, and some of their self-appointed leaders do not like what they see. Instead of attacking the messenger, they should do some soul-searching, and bring their followers to the love and support of Israel that should be natural for every Jew." Rabbi Pruzansky added that Minister Hotovely spoke previously to his congregation, was well received, and "I'd be delighted to have her again."

In her remarks, Minister Hotovely also said that Israel "is the home of all Jews from all streams. Everyone is welcome to come here to influence Israeli politics... sharing this beautiful, amazing place that is called Israel."

Rabbi Lerner concluded, "she spoke the truth about the unfortunate situation with American Jewish college youth, the controversy regarding the Western Wall, and the rift between marginally-affiliated American Jews and Israel. This is much ado about nothing; liberal Jewish leaders should address what she said rather than call for a witch hunt to silence her."

The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), the largest rabbinic public policy organization in America, articulates and advocates for public policy positions based upon traditional Jewish thought.


Kurds are In Danger

October 21st 2017

The Jewish Policy Center views with great alarm the efforts of the Iraqi government and its Iranian-supported militias to take territory from America’s Kurdish allies in the northern part of Iraq. The Kurds have been the most loyal partners of the United States military – eschewing radicalism, preventing an ISIS takeover of Kirkuk, and rescuing thousands of Yazidi civilians from certain death in the mountains of Sinjar. Kurdish forces fought ISIS valiantly when Iraqi regular forces proved unequal to the mission. The United States has done an excellent job of restoring the ability of the Iraqi army to take the fight to ISIS. However, fighting along with the forces of the Government of Iraq are forces loyal to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Those Iranian-sponsored militias, largely the result of the American withdrawal of fighting forces in 2012, are intent of providing an avenue for the expansion of Iranian influence and military capability through the territory of Iraq, across Syria and through Lebanon. The Jewish Policy Center urges President Trump to use what influence the United States has with the Government of Baghdad to end the military campaign against the Kurds and enter into a political dialogue that offers the only real hope of a peaceful Iraq for the future


EMET Strongly Endorses Bolton Plan to Withdraw from the Iran Deal

October 2nd 2017
Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) joined with 45 National Security Experts to urge President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and follow the Bolton withdrawal plan.  Two EMET staff members, President Sarah Stern and General Counsel Adam Turner, were among the 45 signatories to the letter, all of whom are experts in national security, and many of whom have held senior positions in nuclear weapons, arms control, nonproliferation and intelligence fields. 
 
The 45 National Security Experts letter, sent to President Trump on September 21, urges him to withdraw the United States from the deeply flawed JCPOA using a comprehensive plan drafted by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.  The 45 signatories firmly endorse Ambassador Bolton’s plan to implement this approach by withdrawing from the JCPOA in coordination with America’s allies.  The signers believe the Bolton plan is the best way to reverse the damage done by the reckless concessions that Obama officials made to Iran to negotiate the JCPOA and to prevent the Iranian nuclear program from spinning out of control, as we have recently seen North Korea’s nuclear effort has. 
 
EMET further strongly believes that the JCPOA as negotiated is not in the United States’ national interest, and that it has also been flagrantly violated numerous times by the Islamist Iranian regime.  Contrary to some claims, the Obama Administration’s deal does not prevent a nuclear Iran.  As President Obama himself has admitted, the JCPOA, even if scrupulously followed, would only delay – and not prevent – the development of an Iranian nuclear bomb.  Further, even assuming that the 159 page document and the two secret side deals that make up the JCPOA are the entirety of the deal, it is still clear that Iran has materially breached the terms of the deal by producing excess heavy water and selling it for profit, shipping arms throughout the Middle East, and currently operating more advanced nuclear centrifuges than it is permitted under the JCPOA, among other violations.  The fact that the Iranians have barred the international inspectors from visiting military cites, where the Iranians would actually conduct their nuclear development, and that the inspectors are afraid to insist upon inspections, makes this deal especially dangerous.
 
Iran has used the vast amounts of money it received through the deal to accelerate its aggression and support of terrorism throughout the Middle East.  The total amount of money that Iran received is not known, but it is certain that the leading state sponsor of terrorism has received: 1) for the original six month negotiations with Iran, $4.2 billion in frozen funds; 2) for the first extension, $2.8 billion; 3) for the second extension, $4.9 billion; 4) for the final JCPOA, approximately $150 billion in frozen funds; 5) for the hostages ransomed on the same day as the JCPOA, $1.7 billion; and 6) the suspension of international sanctions, which could provide Iran with another $700 billion over the next ten years.  Right now, this money has been funneled to the Assad regime of Syria, the Islamist Shia militias of Iraq, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and even the Sunni Islamist terror group Hamas.  As a result, in just the Syrian hostilities alone, half a million innocent people have been slaughtered, including women and children and the elderly, and in some cases, chemical weapons have been utilized to slaughter those innocents.
 
To sweep all of the facts under the rug, and to claim that the Islamic regime is not in breach of the JCPOA, and that the Iran deal is in the U.S. national interest, would make the U.S. leadership look unprincipled, foolish, weak and cowardly. The Iran leadership’s outspoken arrogance that the international community cannot inspect its military sites, despite language to the contrary in the deal itself, is particularly dangerous. If Iran is allowed to continue to flaunt its defiance to the world, this will inevitably encourage nations to follow its dangerous example, and it will eventually lead the U.S. to either war, or surrender to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  As the leader of an organization devoted to promoting the truth, I cannot, in good conscience, abandon the truth about Iran and the Iran deal. EMET firmly supports the letter and plan put forward by Amb. Bolton and the other national security experts. Now is the time for the U.S. to stand up for the ‘emet’, before it is too late.” 

Deeply Concerned About the Non-renewal of Longtime UM Professor Melissa Landa

September 26th 2017

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is deeply concerned about the non-renewal of longtime University of Maryland (UM) professor and SPME member Melissa Landa. Currently, her contract is being investigated by the school's Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct as an incident of retaliation and "religious, political, or national origin discrimination."

The contract non-renewal came after Landa filed a complaint in February with the grievance board challenging Francine Hultgren and John O'Flahavan's decision to remove her from the language arts instruction team in May 2016, according to a recent report by UM's the Diamondback.

Landa has been on the faculty for a decade, most recently as an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (TLPL) and received her PhD from the University of Maryland as an advisee of John O’Flahavan.

The tables started to turn on Landa when she began to actively fight BDS and anti-Semitism in early 2016. She increased her pro-Israel activism in the U.S., heading the Oberlin Chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness , which protested anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks by a professor, Joy Karega.

It was during that same time that Landa began feeling an increase of antagonism from her superiors. Landa said O’Flahavan pulled out of their joint conference presentation they had been working together for months. Also, days after she informed O’Flahavan of her partnership with Levinsky College of Education in Tel Aviv, he removed Landa from the TLPL Language Arts team.

Landa has been praised for her academic work as recently as May 2017, one month before her firing when she won the College of Education Exceptional Scholarship Award. Moreover, she has created a respectable teaching environment causing her former students to protest her firing.  

SPME calls on the administration of the University of Maryland to stand by the pledge it made after the murder of second Lt. Richard Collins III on campus last May to, "come together as a campus community to reaffirm our core values of diversity, inclusion, respect and civil discourse." We demand that the university honor this pledge and that a full and complete investigation, personally overseen by UMD President Wallace Loh, be undertaken by the university, in order to determine the extent to which anti-Semitism and/or anti-Israel bias played a role in Professor Landa's termination.


The Airline Protectionists Protest Too Much, Methinks

September 18th 2017

For nearly three years, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines (Big Three) have mounted a historically expensive political campaign urging the US Government to abandon longstanding bipartisan Open Skies policy. They claim they have an ironclad legal case supported by uncontestable and overwhelming facts that irrefutably show Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways (Gulf Carriers) and their governments have breached the US-United Arab Emirates and US-Qatar Open Skies agreements. Accordingly, they argue, the US Government should take the unprecedented step of tearing-up those Open Skies agreements, abandoning its 25-year-old one-size-fits-all international aviation policy and replacing those agreements with competition-limiting ones tailored solely to the UAE and Qatar that pander to the profit-maximizing whims of the Big Three.

Increasingly, Trump Administration officials and industry observers have quite appropriately noted the gaping disconnect between the confident claims of the Big Three and their cowardice to stand behind them. Specifically, if the Big Three are as confident in their alleged unfair competition case as they tout, why are they so afraid to put it to the test by filing an International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act (IATFCPA) complaint? For over 40 years, the Big Three and their corporate predecessor airlines confidently relied on this Congressionally approved process for evaluating and addressing international aviation-related competitive concerns. Yet that proven statutory process is suddenly no longer sufficient or appropriate.
 
What is IATFCPA and why does it fit the Big Three’s Gulf Carrier allegations hand-in-glove? The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has an excellent summary on its website – http://btcnews.co/2fp5uFO. According to DOT, in enacting IATFCPA, Congress authorized it to “take action in response to anti-competitive, discriminatory, predatory or unjustifiable activities by a foreign government or foreign airlines against a U.S. airline.” Congress intended that any action deemed warranted after a thorough fact-based evaluation be expeditiously undertaken. According to DOT, “the Department has up to 180 days from the date that the complaint is filed to take action to resolve the issues raised, dismiss the complaint, or resolve it through diplomatic.”
 
So, why have the Big Three wasted nearly three years – nearly 30 months more than an IATFCPA complaint would have taken from start to finish – and tens of millions of shareholder dollars on a hugely unsuccessful political campaign when the well-established IATFCPA complaint process was available to them?
 
There is a tipping point where one objects so much it cries out that there is a mortal weakness in their position and they lose any semblance of credibility to argue the point. That is the precise position the Big Three find themselves in today. The clumsy, totally unconvincing and embarrassingly false explanations by the Big Three for their failure to file an IATFCPA complaint would have prompted Hamlet to observe, “the protectionists protest too much, methinks!”
 
How has the Big Three tried to explain away its failure to file an IATFCPA complaint?
 
First, in an impertinent slap at both Congress and DOT they dismissively branded the four-decade-old, Congressionally-approved IATFCPA process as nothing more than a “ridiculous acronym.”  A statutory process Congress enacted in 1974 to protect US airlines from unfair international competitive practices, and one that has consistently delivered as Congress intended due to the expertise and professionalism of DOT, is nothing more than a “ridiculous acronym?”  Up to now, the Big Three and their corporate predecessor airlines never seemed to think so as they consistently relied on IATFCPA.   
 
Second, according to the Big Three in an anti-IATFCPA propaganda paper, an IATFCPA case would be “quite possibly lengthy.” There are two explanations: either Fair Skies - the Big Three’s public relations arm on this issue - does not have internet access and therefore has not read the DOT IATFCPA complaint overview page noted above which makes clear there is a 6-month statutory clock or it is a knowingly false argument. Perhaps it is a case of new math but, I think, 6 months is shorter than the nearly 36 months the Big Three’s failed political campaign has taken thus far. The argument IATFCPA would take too long is embarrassing and takes disingenuousness to soaring heights.
 
Finally, the Big Three makes the tortured and false argument that Open Skies and IATFCPA are completely separate. In other words, since 1992 when our first Open Skies agreement was signed, IATFCPA became a legal nullity. The Big Three clearly didn’t think so as recently as 2013 when they relied on IATFCPA to address discriminatory user charges at Italian airports. The US signed an Open Skies agreement with Italy in 1998, and that Open Skies relationship continues under the US-EU agreement signed in 2007. Enforcing Open Skies rights and the IATFCPA process are not mutually exclusive as the Big Three feebly claim, and the pathway those airlines chose to take in the recent Italian airport discriminatory fee matter convincingly shows that is so.
 
So what is the explanation? As I have written before, the answer is that the Big Three have IATFCPA-phobia – an acute fear of having the experts at DOT undertake a rigorous, apolitical and fact-based evaluation of the legal merits of their allegations. DOT’s professional staff would not be fooled by political sound bites and hollow advocacy. Delta’s headquarters knows and fears that. That is why it has unleashed Fair Skies to falsely attack and disparage the IATFCPA process to attempt to explain away the reality that Delta and its oligopoly partners American and United have long known they do not have a legal case so they have mounted a political campaign instead of filing an IATFCPA complaint.
 
It is time for the Trump Administration to tell the Big Three to either have the confidence and courage to file an IATFCPA complaint or to stop beating their protectionist war drum and instead focus on investing their record-setting profits in improving their product so they can compete more effectively.

Brian Mitchell is founder of the Business Travel Coalition and OpenSkies.travel.


Jordan's Shameful Record on the Temple Mount

August 3rd 2017
Jordan's foreign minister blames the "occupation" for the Temple Mount terror, and threatens even more dangerous crises. As recently as the mid-20th century, when Arabs last controlled parts of Jerusalem, they exhibited no respect for the Holy City.

In 1948, when Jordan took control of the eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City, it divided the city for the first time in its 3,000-year history. Under the 1949 armistice agreement with Israel, Jordan pledged to allow free access to all holy places but failed to honor that commitment. From 1948 until the Six-Day War in 1967, the part of Jerusalem controlled by the Jordanians again became an isolated and underdeveloped provincial town, and its religious sites the target of religious intolerance. The Old City was rendered void of Jews. Jewish sites such as the Mount of Olives were desecrated. Jordan destroyed more than 50 synagogues, and erased evidence of a Jewish presence. In addition, all Jews were forced out of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City adjacent to the Western Wall, an area where Jews had lived for generations. For 19 years, Jews and Christians residing in Israel (and even Israeli Muslims) were barred from their holy places, despite Jordan's pledge to allow free access. Jews, for example, were unable to pray at the Western Wall; Christian Arabs living in Israel were denied access to churches and other religious sites in the Old City and nearby Bethlehem, also under Jordanian control. During Jordan's reign over eastern Jerusalem, its restrictive laws on Christian institutions led to a dramatic decline in the holy city's Christian population by more than half - from 25,000 to 11,000 - a pattern that characterized Christian Arabs in other Arab countries throughout the Middle East where religious freedom is not honored. It is worth noting that after Jordan annexed the West Bank in the 1950s, it too failed to make Jerusalem - a city that Arabs now claim as 'the third most holy site of Islam' - its capital.

It was only after the Six-Day War that the Jewish Quarter was rebuilt and free access to holy places was reestablished for all religions.


Open Letter to Donald Trump on Open Skies

July 25th 2017

US Open Skies agreements with the UAE and Qatar have delivered huge benefits to US consumers, aerospace manufacturers, the travel and tourism industry and the economy writ large. The two agreements have yielded vast increases in connectivity between the US and destinations that US airlines don't serve and have enabled cargo carriers to establish global networks over which flow billions of dollars of exported US products.

Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines (Big Three) are seeking to undermine these agreements and are demanding that your Administration protect them from competition. Importantly, the Big Three have used their considerable newfound financial and political clout from industry consolidation to bully Members of Congress into supporting them by petitioning you.

However, the Big Three do not speak for other US airlines or the many other Open Skies stakeholders including organizations that annually purchase billions of dollars of airline seats. Destinations that the Gulf Carriers serve from the US over their Middle East hubs to points in Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Middle East itself provide business travelers with more efficient and higher quality alternatives to connecting on Big Three alliance partners at Frankfort, Paris or London. Given the competitive stranglehold the Big Three have over the transatlantic market, Gulf Carrier growth is not just welcomed, but critically important.

The Big Three, with their antitrust immunized alliance partners, are demanding that the Administration protect their enormous transatlantic profits from this sorely needed indirect Gulf Carrier competition. However, if the US caves to the Big Three’s demands it would set a horrible precedent for other countries to follow were they to seek protection for their airlines from competition by US carriers. Open Skies agreements between countries around the world could easily unravel and the benefits to consumers, communities, cargo/shippers and the travel/tourism industry disappear.

Mr. President, for 25 years America’s pro-competition, pro-consumer, pro-growth Open Skies policy has proven itself to be the Made-in-America Gold Standard for international bilateral trade agreements. Open Skies is a policy that serves the best interest of our country, and one that should not be jettisoned because the self-pleading Big Three prefer to seek government protection rather than the more difficult work of improving their products and services and competing in the marketplace.

Kevin Mitchell is Founder of the Business Travel Coalition; OpenSkies.travel.


Jordanian Parliament Should Retract Praise for Arab Terrorists Who Murdered Two Israelis on Temple Mount

July 19th 2017

The ZOA is appalled by, and calls upon the Jordanian parliament to retract its praise for the Arab terrorists who murdered two Druze Israeli policemen on Friday on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.  Jordanian Parliament Speaker Atef Tarawneh’s praise of the Arab terrorists/murderers as “martyrs who sowed and watered the pure land” and as “young Palestinians who are still fighting in the name of the nation” etc. incites still more unbridled terror, and instigates the repeated use of holy religious sites to hide terrorists’ weapons and as places to perpetrate terror.  ZOA also calls upon the Jordanian Speaker Tarawneh to retract his false, offensive claim that Israeli “occupation” of Jerusalem and the “West Bank” (Judea/Samaria) are “lighting the fire of revenge” among young Arabs and justified the killing. 

The Jordanian parliament’s and its speaker’s actions and statements violate the 1994 Treaty of Peace Between The State of Israel And The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (the “Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty”).  The Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty requires the parties to not incite or instigate terror, and recognized that the international boundary between Jordan and Israel is the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers, and the Dead Sea, etc. – thereby confirming that Israel is not an occupier of any other nation’s land.

It is also absurd for Jordanians to call Israelis “occupiers” – when Jordan was created out of, “occupied,” territory and continues to be situated on 78% of the territory designated for Jewish settlement and the Jewish homeland under binding international law (i.e., the League of Nations Mandate and San Remo resolution). 

The Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty also requires Jordan: “to refrain from . . . instigating, inciting, assisting or participating in acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, subversion or violence against the other Party [Israel].”  (Article 4.3.2) ... “to refrain from . . . joining or in any way assisting, promoting or co-operating with any coalition, organisation or alliance with a military or security character with a third party, the objectives or activities of which include launching aggression or other acts of military hostility against the other Party, in contravention of the provisions of the present Treaty.”  (Article 4.4.1) ... “to recognise and . . . respect each other’s [Israel’s] right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries.” (Article 2.2) ... “to act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.” (Article 9)

When ISIS killed 10 people and wounded 34 people in an attack in Jordan this past December, Jordanian officials condemned the attack as a “cowardly terrorist attack.”  There is no difference between a Palestinian Arab terrorist attack against innocent Jewish civilians and Israeli Druze policemen and ISIS terrorist attacks against innocent Jordanians. As President Trump stated during his Speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh on May 21, 2017, our nations must unite to drive out and “vanquish the forces of terrorism . . . That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.” 


Ebony Magazine Delinquent on Writer Payments

July 8th 2017
The Authors Guild supports the fundamental principle that authors, like any other workers, have a right to be paid for their work. While it’s becoming increasingly common for publications to ask contributors to write for free—a practice we don’t condone—at least it’s the author’s decision to do so, where, for instance, they believe that the exposure will compensate for the lack of pay. But recently we’ve been seeing prestigious publications hiring writers under contracts where they agree to pay them within a fixed amount of time, but then not paying up. That’s just what’s been happening to Ebony magazine contributors recently, and we’ve heard of incidents of similar treatment by other publications. We cannot tolerate this kind of blatant violation of freelance contract terms, and we must ensure that it stops. Dozens of writers have taken to social media in recent weeks to protest Ebony’s poor payment practices. The National Writers Union (“NWU”) has estimated that there may be as many as 50 freelancers owed more than $200,000. After the hashtags #EbonyOwes and #EbonyStillOwes began trending, and the NWU applied pressure, the magazine promised in a June 3 statement that it would have the issue resolved within 30 days. But as of today, some writers still haven’t been paid. The NWU is representing freelance journalists owed money by Ebony, and we are supporting their efforts. We’d like to collect more information about both the extent of Ebony’s failure to pay and the extent of this practice at other publications. If you’re a journalist who’s been the victim of late or non-payment by Ebony or another publication in the last several years, please send us a message containing the name of the publication and a brief account of the circumstances using the contact button below or via email to staff@authorsguild.org. Let us know whether we can share the information with the NWU and if you would like us to keep your name confidential.

Japanese Elite Praise Hitler -- Again

June 30th 2017

“Once again we are witness to a member of the Japanese elite invoking praise for Hitler and Nazi policies. This time from a Central Bank official. An outrage. While we note his apology Yutaka Harada, a member of the board of the Bank of Japan had praised Hitler's economic policies as ‘appropriate’ and ‘wonderful’. Really? Did this economic ‘expert’ factor in the billions in assets that Hitler built his policies on systematic theft and terror that included stripping of billions of assets from German and Austrian Jews in the 1930s prior to WWII? Or the terror he threatened to unleash on any German who dared oppose his policies? This is not the first time that members of Japan’s elite publicly expressed their admiration for some elements of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Each of these incidents creates deep unease among Japan’s neighbors and friends. Beyond apologies, it is clear that it is not only high school students but leaders of 21st century Japan who should be learning about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. The Wiesenthal Center calls on the Bank of Japan to present our Japanese language exhibition on the Holocaust, Courage to Remember, to its entire staff.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO.


Mr. President--Stop the Terror Payments

May 17th 2017

To the President of the United States, the Honorable Mr. Donald Trump

Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned families of terror victims in Israel, welcome your upcoming visit to Israel. We are, however, concerned about your plans to facilitate direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) prior to any declaration by the latter to halt payments to murderous terrorists. As is widely documented, the PA pays large sums of money to convicted terrorists who have murdered innocent Israelis, among them our loved ones. In the past year alone the PA has paid some 250 million USD to terrorists, which is nothing short of incitement that motivates Palestinian youth to murder Israelis. As the size of the payments are made in accordance with the severity of the crime, terrorists are motivated to commit extreme acts of cruelty and barbarity. This immoral policy must stop immediately before any talks can commence.

We still recall how in 2013, under heavy pressure from the previous US administration, Israel released dozens of terrorists from prison as part of a deal aimed at advancing peace talks.  The PA, led by Abu Mazen, awarded those murderers with large “prison release grants” - blood payments for their acts of terror. We hope and pray that history will not repeat itself. In light of this, we hereby extend a request to meet with you in order to share with you our views and stories. We are the voice of the terror victims and bereaved families in Israel, and unfortunately, our number and pain are great. With your current mission to the Middle East and your desire to meet with all sides of the conflict, we call upon you to meet with us as well, the victims of decades-long Palestinian terror and violence that has claimed so many lives. We have followed the recent elections in the United States with great interest, and believe that your victory heralds an opportunity for change. This change, however, must also affect the Palestinians. Before there can be any dialogue, the Palestinians must demonstrate good faith and show that they are truly willing to change their ways by stopping incitement and halting all payments to terrorists who murdered Israelis, only for being Jews.

We pray that you will be blessed with success in your efforts to bring a just and lasting peace to the Land of Israel, and to the Middle East as a whole, during your time in office.

We, the bereaved families of terror victims in Israel, who have tragically lost our loved ones, innocent Israelis, young and old, from all walks of life, know best the meaning of violence and terror, and wish to secure a better and safer future for our children and for the children of all peoples around us. 

We hope that we can meet with you to discuss this further. 

Yours truly, 

The Undersigned Families


This letter is signed by the following people whose loved ones were murdered in terrorist attacks:

1) Lea and Yossi Zur, parents of Asaf

2) Hagit and Yossi Mendelevich, parents of Yuval

3) Ronit Harush, sister of Daniel 

4) Zipi and Moni Harush, parents of Daniel 

5) Ron Kehrmann, father of Tal 

6) Dror Kehrman, brother of Tal 

7) Nava and Moti Lachem, parents of Eliyahu 

8) Chaya Rond, Mother of Erez 

9) Doron Menchel, Father of Daniel 

10) Zeev Rap, Father of Helena 

11) Ilana Romano, widow of Yosef Romano, member of Israel delegation to Munich Olympics 

12) Anki Shpitzer, widow of Andrei, member of Israel delegation to Munich Olympics 

13) Gila Molcho, sister of Ian Fienberg 

14) Pnina Kachlon, mother of Ronen  

15) Shvuel Schivscurder, son of Mordechai and Zirel and brother of Avraham, Chemda & Raya killed in Sbaro restaurant in Jerusalem

16) Amichai Ariel, Father of Halel 

17) Dov Kalmanovich, was badly wounded in a terror attack

18) Shula and Zamir Oved, parents of Be’eri 

19) Chayim Katav, brother of Meital 

20) Eliyahu Katav, father of Meital 

21) Devora and Eli David, sister of Moti and aunt of Tom 

22) Menucha Kurman, daughter of Yehudit and Eliezer 

23) Devora Gonen, mother of Danni 

24) Chayim Yosef and Ruti Luver, Sister of Dani Gonen

25) Netanel and Hani Kanias, sister of Dani Gonen

26) Ika Atia, father of Inbar 

27) Avi Bromberg, Nephew of Avraham Bromberg 

28) Roni and Dani Lerner, parents of Baruch 

29) Miri Firstenberg, Daughter of Ephrayim and Chana, and sister of Chaim 

30) Anat Zer Cohen, Sister of Gilad Zer 

31) Esther Firsteter, Mother of Smadar 

32) Avishai Firsteter, brother of Smadar 

33) Almakaies Shimon, father of Keren  and grandfather of Liran and Noya 

34) Chaim Didovsky, widower of Rina 

35) Dina and Omer Kit, parents of Ophir 

36) Edna and Danni Bahat, parents of Ziki 

37) Leah and Chaim Lichterman, parents of Gideon 

38) Zvika Shachak, father of Bat-Chen 

39) Ofra Arieli, Widow of Moti Hershko 

40) Hadas Mizrachi, widow of Baruch 

41) Sara Pekizgi, Daughter of Devora and Michael Krim

42) Yaakov Gavrieli, father of Yifat 

43) Avner Weiss, father of Inbal  and brother of Yanai 

44) Miriyam Arami, mother of Netanel 

45) Sherri Mandel, mother of Kobi 

46) Yaron Friedman, brother of Guy 

47) Oded Karmani, brother of Ronen Levy 

48) Yeremi Kurman, brother of Yehudit and Eliezer 

49) Zohar Buchris, brother of Hadar 

50) Dalia Bublil Ochan, sister of David Dedi 

51) Meirav Vender Osher, daughter of Avi Osher 

52) Yechiel Shmuel, brother of Erez 

53) Tali Getenue, daughter of Sara Sharon 

54) Yaniv Eliyahu, son of Yossi Eliyahu 

55) Nati Smadar, son of Chaim 

56) Shay Odser, son of Mordechai  and nephew of Shlomo 

57) Sharona Shitrit, sister of Mordechai, Aharon and Yocheved 

58) Ayelet and Oren Tamam, brother of Moshe Tamam 

59) Ortal Tamam, nephew of Moshe 

60) Adva Biton mother of Adel 

61) Rina and Eliezer Rozenfeld, parents of Malachi

62) Natalie Yesayev, widow of Aharon 

63) Eyal Gelman, brother of Eliav

64) Simona Yakobovich, mother of Binyamin Zvi

65) Adel Bennet, widow of Rabbi Aharon

66) Yosef and Miryam Gal, parents in law of Rabbi Aharon Bennet

67) Ruth Chasno, widow of Asher

68) Sigal Tzabari Elyakim, sister in law of Dalia (Sigal brother Rami was badly wounded)

69) Orly Grego, mother of Mazi

70) Orna Amrani, sister of Shaltiel Akiva

71) Shay Odser, Son of Moti and nephew of Shlomo

72) Sapir Hazut, Daughter of Daniel Hazut

73) Sharona Shitrit, relative of Fani, Yocheved, Aharon and Moti 

74) Lea Federing, daughter of Moris Edri

75) Palmach Zeevi, son of Minister Rechavam Zeevi

76) Fahad Kenaan, son of Mufid Kenaan

77) Yael Maman, sister of Kochava Shriki

78) Elyada Borovski, brother of Evyatar Borovski

79) Elichay Ben Yishay, lost his sister, brother in law and three nephews in Itamar

80) Iris Yifrach, mother of Eyal Yifrach

81) Yagil Henekin, brother of Rabbi Eitam and brother in law of Naama

82) Taama Yakobson, sister of Rabbi Eitam Henekin

83) Benzi Ben Shoham, brother of Limor

84) Zvia Becker, daughter of Moshe

85) Yaakov Shemesh, brother of Gad and brother in law of Zipi

86) Zion Svery, lost his son Doron, daughter Sharon and son in law Yaniv

87) Sara Yagen, mother of Lea-Liat

88) Zafrira Adorian, widow of Eli

89) Yona Hos Rotenstein, sister of Nahum Hos

90) Hemdat Malka, sister of Avia Malka

91) Rabbi Uri Sherki, father of Shalom Yochai

92) Dikla Malka, Sister of Netanel Arami

93) Inbal Akkrin, Sister of Netanel Arami

94) Sara Tchiya Bigel, sister of Netanel Litman and daughter of Rabbi Yaakob Litman

95) Noa Litman, widow of Rabbi Yaakov Litman

96) Meirav and Asher Hagag, parents of Shir Hagag

97) Natalie Shmuel, daughter of Avraham Asher Chasno

98) Leah Sigbecker, daughter of Avraham Asher Chasno

99) Zadika Ben Daviv, daughter of Avraham Asher Chasno

100) Elchanan and Mazal Meydad, daughter and son in law of Avraham Asher Chasno

101) Eldad Chasno, son of Avraham Asher Chasno

102) Chayim and Dina Simons, parents of Hadas Mizrachi wounded in terror attack and parents in law of Baruch Mizrachi

103) Sara Don, widow of Rabbi Yaakov Don


Trump's Attack on Syria Justified by Barbarism

April 7th 2017

This week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad again used chemical weapons to brutally massacre innocent Syrian men, women, and children. There is absolutely no place in human society for chemical weapons, and those who would use these barbaric tools must be held accountable. President Trump's missile strike was a measured response to deter further use of chemical weapons by Assad and the Syrian regime.  However, this strike will not solve the Syrian crisis nor provide humanitarian assistance to millions of Syrians so desperately in need. President Trump must now present to the American people and Armed Forces a comprehensive, long-term strategy for ending the Syrian crisis, providing stability to the region, removing Assad, and holding him accountable for his crimes.”


BTC Applauds U.S. DOJ Action On Proposed Alaska Airways – Virgin America Transaction

December 7th 2016

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) applauded the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in filing a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed merger of Alaska Airways (“Alaska”) and Virgin America (Virgin”). Preserving competition and the incentive to contest new markets is paramount in a domestic industry where four airlines control some eighty percent of seats – down from eleven airlines in recent years.

DOJ offered a proposed settlement wherein Alaska would need to discontinue its codeshare arrangement with American Airlines (“American”) on routes where Virgin competes directly with American and also where Alaska would likely initiate new service in competition with American post merger. DOJ would allow continued codesharing on routes that could offer some consumer benefits, e.g., to destinations one of the airlines would not likely serve on its own in the near term. 

Likewise, DOJ advised that any sale or lease of gates or slots by Alaska that were acquired by Virgin as part of the settlement of DOJ’s lawsuit challenging the 2013 merger of American and US Airways would require DOJ pre-approval. This would ensure that American does not regain control of those assets. Airports where those assets are housed are Dallas Love Field Airport, Washington Reagan National Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Virgin America and Alaska Airways are both innovative, quality airlines that provide the competitive rivalry necessary to discipline prices for consumers and keep pressure on airlines to improve customer service levels on many routes Start-up airline entry is very difficult today and remedies for the many competition and consumer problems are few. As such, the preservation of existing competition is critically important."


Praise for Bipartisan Anti-Semitism Awareness Act

December 6th 2016

Today, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) praised the bipartisan legislation to fight anti-Semitism on college campuses around the country. The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Casey (D-PA), and passed unanimously, will provide the Department of Education (DOE) the necessary statutory tools to examine anti-Semitic incidents in the most broadest and effective way possible. Additionally, it was very encouraging to see the companion bill  introduced by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL). The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act will mirror the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism definition of anti-Semitism which includes the critical language where anti-Israel conduct crosses the line into anti-Semitism. As such, the new Act enhances the Department of Education’s (DOE) ability to identify, investigate, and punish all forms of anti-Semitism, including anti-Zionism and anti-Israel harassment.
 
When asked about the Act, Senator Casey listed the following examples of anti-Semitism in his explanation of the bill:

    • Calling for, aiding or justifying the killing or harming of Jews

    • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust

    • Demonizing Israel by blaming it for all interreligious or political tensions

    • Judge Israel by a double standard that one would not apply to any other democratic nation

Further, the Act also recognizes that according to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 both the Department of Justice and the Department of Education have properly concluded that it “prohibits discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and members of other religious groups when the discrimination is based on the group’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics or when the discrimination is based on actual or perceived citizenship or residence in a country whose residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious identity.”

I commend Senators Scott and Casey, and Representatives Roskam and Deutch, for understanding the growing threat of anti-Semitism and introducing these two complementary pieces of legislation as they will help ensure that our faculty and students can continue to support Israel without hesitation on their campuses.


Effort for Peoria War Memorials

November 29th 2016

Peoria County has two War Memorials: a Soldiers and Sailors monument, commemorating the Civil War, and a War Memorial dedicated to World Wars I & II (with approximately 1,000 engraved granite brick pavers surrounding it).  We are in the process of building our third War Memorial (named our Final Salute) dedicated to all conflicts involving the U.S. Military after World War II.  We have raised the money and 'broke ground' on the monument, itself.  We are still raising money to pay for the statues, the concept of which is a soldier evocative of each era (Korea, Vietnam, and the War on Terror) will be in the center of the greenery at the courthouse, returning to their bunker...appropriate called "Soldiers on Patrol".  There is some question as to how, or even if, we can put a sandbag wall at the back of the memorial - we would like to, but concrete is too susceptible to decay - and we want this monument to last.  We have the funds raised for two of the statues, still raising capital for the third.

We are selling engraved granite bricks to help with raising the money. Any dollars left over after the monument is completed will go into a special, dedicated fund for the maintenance of the monument. Those making a donation (not buying a brick) will be listed on a plaque at the site of the monument (turned so it does not take away from the engraved names of those who died in service on the walls of the monument.  Different amounts apply, the minimum is $1,000.  The area available is much less than the WWI&II monument; therefore the number of pavers is considerably reduced.  Cost for a paver is $150 for a 4x8" (3 lines, 21 characters/spaces per line) and $500 for a 12x12" (9 lines, 21 characters/spaces per line).  All engravings must be appropriate - no advertisements.  Many who do not have anyone particular they wish to honor have specified something such as "Honor and Gratitude" and their name.

A certificate, suitable for framing, will be created immediately and sent to the purchaser for review and authorization.  The certificate will have a light background of the planned memorial with, on the left, the exact phrasing for the brick as specified.  On the right the names of the contributor/s.  We have found families like to send a certificate, (brick purchased amongst family members with all names listed [up to nine]) and send the certificate to a Veteran (perhaps in a nursing home in Florida).  The Veteran receives the gift, can hang on a wall.  Upon the finalization of the brick, a postcard is sent to the buyer (1) with a photo of the memorial on the back of the card, with an 'x' marking the approximate location of the engraved brick.

This has been a labor of love for our large committee.  Our hope is the memorial will be completed in 2017.


Pleased with the Possibility of Mattis

November 28th 2016
We are pleased with the array of highly qualified candidates that President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering for Secretary of Defense. The Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) - an organization dedicated to a robust U.S. national security posture and a strong U.S.-Israel security relationship - does not and will not endorse any candidate for this or any other government position. However, we feel compelled to convey that characterizations of one candidate, General James N. Mattis, USMC (ret.), as anti-Israel are ill-founded and unfair.
 
The criticism revolves around extemporaneous remarks General Mattis made at the Aspen Institute in July 2013 on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. They were made shortly following his retirement after a very distinguished four-decade-long career in the U.S. military, with his last position as Commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), where his area of responsibility covered much of the Middle East and Central Asia (excluding Israel).
 
We understand and share many of the objections to his remarks, including that he seemed to blame mostly Israel for the impasse, despite the critical challenges it faces in lacking a stable, moderate Palestinian partner that genuinely seeks a durable peace with the Jewish state. Some American Jews and even Israelis make the same mistake. In any case, he has not repeated those remarks.
 
On the larger U.S. military and strategic issues related to the Middle East, which a Secretary of Defense will have to address early on, General Mattis has notably and indisputably distinguished himself in advocating for a more robust U.S. military posture to counter, contain and deter Iran, even at the peril of his military career, and its importance to American security and the restoration of America's position in the Middle East - views JINSA has strongly propounded. Along similar lines, he has stressed the need to stand by our longstanding regional friends.
 
General Mattis' outlook on these issues aligns perfectly with Israel's, which considers an aggressive Iran its greatest strategic threat, and a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat. Israel also seeks a strong U.S. presence in the Middle East. General Mattis has noted this alignment of views with Israel, and correctly explained the synchronization of Israeli and Arab outlooks on these subjects. This should be heartening to the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that a strong State of Israel is necessary for its own sake and important for a strong America.
 
JINSA's experiences with General Mattis have been very positive, including many private discussions in the last few years on the Middle East. We recently consulted several notable Israelis and Americans in the civic and military spheres who also have interacted with him and they share our confidence in his support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.
 
Were General Mattis to become Secretary of Defense, and work more closely with Israel in that position, an opportunity he lacked at CENTCOM, we believe he will become an even closer friend of the State of Israel.

The ADL Has Changed - It Is No Longer The Adl We Came To Trust And Support

November 27th 2016

There was a time when the Anti-Defamation League or ADL, under the leadership of Abe Foxman, tried to remain apoltical and stand for the fight against anti-Semitism across the political spectrum. Under the new leadership of Jonathan Greenblatt that is no longer true. Who is Jonathan Greenblatt? Prior to taking over the leadership of the ADL in 2015, Greenblatt held a position in the White House as Special Assistant to Barack Obama and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. At the same time, he worked for the billionaire, George Soros, at the Aspen Institute, a self-styled social justice organization. Much has been written about George Soros and his hate war against Israel, but it can be concisely summarized as follows:
 

"But perhaps the archetype of Israel-hating is billionaire, George Soros. Mr. Soros spends millions of his own money each year to support anti-Israel organizations and pressures the American government to support the supposed “victims” of Israel."


Before his stint with the Obama administration and with the Soros funded Aspen Institute, Greenblatt was an aide in the Clinton White House, and in 1992, he worked on Bill Clinton's first Presidential campaign. All of which would not matter if Greenblatt was capable of avoiding partisanship and steering the ADL on a straight and narrow, non-partisan course. But that's not what he is doing, and if allowed to stay in this position, he will destroy the ADL as we have come to know it. 

Two issues illustrate the partisanship Greenblatt has adopted for the ADL's agenda.

First, a movement arose this year in many states to pass legislation that would have barred government contracts with groups supporting BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel. It is important to understand that these laws did not prevent the anti-Israel and usually anti-Semitic BDS campaigners from exercising their First Amendment rights and continuing their campaigns to attack Israel. BDS activities themselves were not banned or criminalized. But the proposed laws restricted state government agencies from indirectly supporting BDS groups by preventing government agencies from bestowing government contracts upon them. There was nothing wrong with such legislation, yet the ADL publicly opposed it. Many former ADL supporters were stunned by the ADL's perfidy in acting to help those attacking Israel. This article in Frontpage magazine illustrates Greenblatt's protection of the BDS movement and other left wing groups that attack Israel, such as J Street.

Second, a most recent example of Greenblatt's partisan transformation of ADL is its praise of Representative Keith Ellison, a leading candidate to chair the Democratic National Committee. Ellison, a Muslim congressman from Minnesota, has a long history of anti-Israel advocacy. He has labeled Israel a proponent of Apartheid, blamed Israel for causing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, defended the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case involving the funneling of funds to Hamas, and voted against the bill to provide $225 million in funding for Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system. But perhaps most egregious is Ellison's 9 year association with Louis Farrakhan and his notoriously anti-Semitic Nation of Islam organization. Ellison in the past wrote under the names "Keith E. Hakim, in which he spoke respectfully of Farrakhan and defended the NOI's national spokesman and Farrakhan's right-hand man, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, notorious for his anti-white, anti-Jewish, and anti-gay opinions. Elsewhere, Ellison used other pseudonyms, including Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison Muhammad." Ellison appeared on stage with Khalid Abdul Muhammad at a rally in which Muhammad proclaimed "If words were swords, the chests of Jews, gays and whites would be pierced." Two years earlier Muhammad "described Jews as 'hook-nosed, bagel-eatin', lox-eatin' impostors...." http://www.meforum.org/2756/keith-ellison-stealth-jihad

You can read the ADL's statement of support for Ellison here , and you can read criticism of the ADL's position and Ellison's anti-Israel past in this Algemeiner article and this article from Tablet Magazine.

Although it has only been a short period of time since Greenblatt took over at the ADL, another change in leadership is needed to avoid the destruction of the reputation it earned over many years.


Lebanese in America Comment on Election of Michel Aoun

November 3rd 2016

Members of the Lebanese diaspora, particularly those who have made the United States their home, have always expressed their aspirations to see their motherland secure, free, sovereign, and independent, particularly in light of the internal challenges and external dangers it faces.

In the wake of Lebanon’s election of Michel Aoun as its new president on Monday, the Lebanese Information Center in Washington, D.C., in its quest to uphold Lebanon’s status in the international community, states the following:

·         First: We congratulate the Lebanese people on the election of a president after nearly two and a half years and 45 failed parliamentary sessions. This achievement should be a source of pride for Lebanon’s citizens, already weathering volatile developments in a region ruled by dictatorship, despotism, and extremism.

·         Second: This presidential election constitutes for Lebanon an opportunity to return to its tradition of proper democratic practices. For the last quarter century, foreign powers - chiefly Syria, through its military and political occupation of Lebanon - have dictated how state institutions function and who is at their helm.

·         Third: After 29 months of a presidential vacuum prolonged by the deliberate disabling of the constitutional process, we cannot but call on the Lebanese Parliament to amend Article 49 of the Constitution, to prevent the imposition of a two-thirds quorum for its electoral sessions and thereby avoid any further wrongful interpretations of the constitution by ill-intentioned politicians. Laws and constitutions are meant to mobilize governments and legitimate authorities, not block the democratic process. The intentional boycott of presidential elections by members of parliament constituted unacceptable behavior that warrants the impeachment of responsible MPs.

·         Fourth: The election of a Christian head of state in the Middle East is a clear translation of Lebanon’s ideals of true partnership and power-sharing among its various religious communities. The presidency is the highest post for Christians in Lebanon, and its filling after months of vacuum gives them hope for real representation in parliament and other government institutions in the future.

·         Fifth: With the start of a new presidential term in Lebanon, we look to the president to maintain good relations with Lebanon’s global allies, and particularly the United States. We expect him to respect Lebanon’s international commitments and obligations, especially the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701, for the sake of a free and sovereign Lebanon.

·         Sixth: We emphasize to the new president the importance of Lebanon's success in its fight against terrorism, building on the tremendous success of Lebanese armed and security forces in defeating extremist militias threatening Lebanon’s security, both from the Syrian borders and from within Lebanon.

·         Seventh: Similarly, Lebanon’s new president cannot ignore the danger posed by internal militias, Lebanese and others, chiefly among them radical Shiite movement Hezbollah. Hezbollah has intentionally developed into a state-above-the-state, hijacking national decision-making processes, threatening peace, security and stability among Lebanese communities, and executing Iran’s foreign agenda at the expense of the Lebanese people.

·         Eighth: The rampant corruption within the government is a rising menace, destroying the Lebanese citizen’s faith in national institutions. We call on the new president and future government to eradicate this plague, in order to build a truly functioning state in the service of its citizens.

·         Ninth: The Lebanese Information Center in the US remains committed to work through its organization, bolstered by its grassroots support and longstanding relationships with the US government, to build a free, sovereign and democratic Lebanon, for the good of the Lebanese people and in the interests of the United States of America.


Disturbed by the Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Vote by UNESCO Diminishing any Jewish and Christian Connection to Jerusalem

October 13th 2016

The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) is disturbed by the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic resolution passed by UNESCO declaring that the Jewish people have no connection to the Old City of Jerusalem. On Thursday, October 13, 2016, the 200 session of the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) met in Paris, France. Where they voted on Item 25 of the provisional agenda under “Occupied Palestine” that disregards the historical and validated Jewish and Christian ties to the Old City of Jerusalem. There were 24 countries that voted in favor of the resolution while 6 voted against and 26 abstained.
 
The resolution refused to refer to the Temple Mount as anything but the Islamic names “Al-Aqsa Mosque” and “Haram al-Sharif.” Further more, it went on to establish that the site is sacred only to Muslims and fails to mention the sacred and historical background of the Temple Mount to the Jewish people. UNESCO is supposed to be an organization that exists to promote international understanding through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity, but sadly this action portrays a different picture – one of cultural hatred toward the Jewish people and an effort to delegitimize the Jewish State of Israel.
 
“No forum or body in the world can say that there is no connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel and to Jerusalem. A body that does so is imply humiliating itself” said Israeli President Reuven Rivilin in response to the vote. There have been a myriad of historical, factual, and archaeological connections between the Jews and Christians and Jerusalem. There is a deep-rooted historical and religious connection of Jews and Christians to Jerusalem that cannot be denied. For over 2,000 years, the Jewish people have been sustained in their belief of a return to Jerusalem, our holiest city. The return to a united, rebuilt Jerusalem has been part of the prayers that we say three times a day. For many years the Palestinian Authority and its cohorts in the international community have tried to erase our history and our historic, religious and cultural ties to Jerusalem. It is absurd to believe that international body is strong enough to eradicate the irrevocable connection of the Jewish people to their holiest city.”


StandWithUs Mourns the Loss of Shimon Peres, Former Prime Minister and President of Israel

September 29th 2016

Shimon Peres was a symbol of the reborn Jewish state and strode the world stage representing the hopes and dreams of everyday Israelis and Jews around the world. A kibbutznik, he became the personal right-hand man of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion.  He is the last of Israel's “founding fathers” whose seventy years of public service to Israel included Member of Knesset, Minister of Defense, Foreign Minister, Prime Minister and President.  Driven by his vision of peace he was a primary architect of the ill-fated Oslo Peace Process - ultimately rejected by Yasser Arafat in 2000 with tragic consequences for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples - for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Even when ending conflict seemed distant, Peres never lost hope and launched a multitude of efforts aimed at building peace between Arabs and Jews. As President, he became Israel's elder statesman. He used his office to promote high tech innovation to be used for the advancement of humanity around the world, often with humor and charm. He was equally at home with world leaders and common citizens alike - from kings, presidents, generals and popes to shopkeepers, workers, and green IDF recruits. Shimon Peres had spoken of his praise for the work of StandWithUs in reaching out to people around the world about Israel. His unremitting commitment to Israel and the Jewish people will be his enduring memorial.  May his memory be a blessing. 


Shimon Peres Mourned by Millions

September 28th 2016

I join millions of people in Israel, the United States, and around the world in mourning the loss of former Israeli Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres. As one of Israel's founding fathers, President Peres played an integral role in firmly cementing the Jewish state as a beacon of democracy in the region and America's closest ally. President Peres was one of the most admired peacemakers of our time. Throughout tumultuous periods in Israel, including wars, assassinations, and political upheaval, President Peres remained committed to the goal of peace between Israel and all her neighbors.  He worked tirelessly to resolve the complicated differences between Israelis and Palestinians, never giving up on the vision of two states for two peoples. Part of his indelible and everlasting legacy instructs each of us to never give up on peace.  As we mourn the loss of this extraordinary leader and world-renowned statesman, let us redouble our commitment to the many causes to which he devoted his life.  President Peres' memory is a blessing and an inspiration to all.

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-Rockland/Westchester) is Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee


An Open Letter to Macmillan Publishers About Your Slanderous Book World Regional Geography

August 23rd 2016

An Open Letter to Macmillan Publishers:

Regarding the slanders and gross inaccuracies concerning Israel’s history in your textbook “World Regional Geography” that shows your editors and writers are clearly uninformed and obviously biased. We see:

“Israel’s excellent technical and educational infrastructure, its diverse and prospering economy, and the large aid contributions (public and private) it receives from the United States and elsewhere, have made it one of the region’s wealthiest, most technologically advanced and militarily powerful countries.
The Palestinian people, by contrast, are severely impoverished and undereducated after years of conflict, inadequate government and meager living […] often in refugee camps. Through a series of events over the past 60 years, Palestinians have lost most of the lands on which they used to live.”

Why are the Palestinian Arabs "impoverished and undereducated”?
It is because their Arab leadership has used them as pawns to further their aims of destroying Israel with their use of Jew hatred rhetoric in their mosques, schools and media? Is it because their entire educational system has always been directed toward the destruction of Israel rather than positive, creative pursuits?

Why do the Palestinian Arabs have “inadequate government and meager living” despite the billions of dollars given to them by the EU and U.S.? It is because their Arab leadership has used the funds to enrich themselves and purposely contain their people in squalor to create a class that hates their “oppressors” – Israeli’s and Jews.

Why haven’t the Arabs taken advantage of “Israel’s excellent technical and educational infrastructure, its diverse and prospering economy” to enhance their society? It’s because they prefer overwhelming Jew hatred force fed by their leaders and their dream of destroying Israel to improving their people’s lives.

Where are your comments on the Arab child abuse that creates child murderers to murder Jewish families, that indoctrinates them every minute of every day to hate Jews, that maintains “refugee camps” (better Arab retention/indoctrination camps) supported by our tax dollars thru UNRWA.
Do you mention Arab children’s summer camps that indoctrinate, teach and train how to murder Jews?

While I’m at it – where is your mention of the 800,000 Jewish refugees driven out of Arab lands after 1948 and absorbed by Israel?
Why haven’t the Arab “refugees” been accepted by the Arab countries?
It’s because the Arab leadership’s purpose of using them as pawns to further their aims of destroying Israel.

Finally - your distortions without facts include “Palestinians have lost most of the lands on which they used to live.”.
Exactly what “lands” have they lost? They lived in the Palestine Mandate, refused the U.N. partition plan and went to war.


Best at His Worst, Black at His Best

August 9th 2016

Okay. I read all the many articles, critiques, and rejoinders regarding Mr. Black's excellent survey of victimization of Black people (see Nazi Policy and Black Victims--Before, During, and After the Holocaust--from Africa to Berlin to North Carolina), and also Martin Barillas informative report (see Award-winning Historian Innovates Global Conference Call to Answer Reader Questions). I learned an extraordinary amount from Mr. Black's clear and shocking continuity. Clearly, Prof. Best is trying to colour Mr. Black's intent, guessing at his intentions and beliefs. That is not acceptable. Even more unacceptable is the fact that Prof. Best did not even make an effort to join the global conference and ask a question-- or answer one. He therefore insulted all those who could have gained from this event. On the other hand, we see Mr. Black doing something that I see as a first. He actually offered to answer any questions from anywhere in the world. I have read three of Mr. Black's books and I am happy to see this research will yield another.

It seems this is Prof. Best at his worst and Mr. Black at his best.


Jeremy Best Seems Off Base in His Ivory Tower

August 8th 2016

I just read the article the article by Martin Barillas (see Award-winning Historian Innovates Global Conference Call to Answer Reader Questions) on the conference call in response to a critique in History Network News. Sorry I missed the call and chance to ask Edwin Black some questions. Having looked at Jeremy Best's theoretical interpretation of Edwin Black's turning point article about Nazi theories and actions that affected Africans and African-Americans, and the original essay (see Nazi Policy and Black Victims--Before, During, and After the Holocaust--from Africa to Berlin to North Carolina), and having followed the back and forth a bit, I think Best seems pretty off-base. Black's work covers much more than the African genocide and extends into the late twentieth century eugenics and sterilization covered by his book War Against the Weak. The continuity is stunning. Black seems right in his comments about safe Ivory Tower quibbles by Best. Best should probably remain in his Ivory Tower as suggested. It takes guts to expose some of these atrocities.


A Challenge to the Hungarian National Railroad

May 30th 2016

In June 2006, a highly regarded historian of the Holocaust of the Jews of Greater Hungary, amidst a flurry of activity concerning the lawsuit against the SNCF (French National Railroad) and albeit short-lived, victory in a French court, asked me if we could then embark on a suit against the MAV (Hungarian National Railroad) for its role in the murder of the Jews of Greater Hungary, complicity in murder, aiding and abetting attempted murder and  as it turned out a long time later, the spoliation of the Jews. I approached the Floersheimer Chair in Constitutional Law (Prof. Richard Weisberg) at Cardozo University, who had won great things for survivors and their heirs, from  France, in the matter of spoliation of Jewish assets in banks there during the Holocaust. 

The rest is history. Suit was filed for the first time in 2010 with other colleagues (Pavich Law Group) in the Chicago district court  for the first time in 2010. A class action suit against the railroad, an instrumentality of the Hungarian government in the names of survivors, and second and third generations the world over. Suit enjoyed small disappointments and small victories. Of course, it had to be adapted to American law—within the framework of a role in genocide, to overcome the FSIA (Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act), a stress on financial loss, spoliation.

Of course, MAV was none too pleased. MAV contended that it had the right to bring this case to justice in its own court system. We contended that all survivors who had ever filed anything in Hungary in the way of claims were dissatisfied, displeased and felt to be been brushed over like an annoying hair in the eye, with requests for documents that obviously weren’t available (death certificates from Auschwitz? Birth certificates from cities and villages no longer Hungary (and speaking a variety of some 6 other languages at least), marriage records; a slew of insurmountable barriers especially for those then residing outside of Trianon Hungary. All stated to us, producing in many cases, documentary proof of refusal, that they were exhausted from having to “exhaust” local remedies such as the MAV wished, and to no avail. They cited the suit in Hungary in the first score of 2000, against the OTP bank and the Nemzeti bank, which went as far as the Supreme Court, and was rejected all the way through. They cited Hungarian “justice” as concerned war crimes trials.

Appeals began in 2012. And here we are, 2016, almost June, and we were told  late 2015 that all courts in the US had sided with the Hungarian pleas and we were to try in Hungary first, and perhaps if we were not satisfied, we could come back to Chicago. Needless to say, we ve lost some third of the survivors on the way, and it’s still a long road ahead.

There is no class action in the Hungarian judicial system. We filed a test case with an attorney in Budapest, on Feb. 19 for a claimant from Brooklyn, a survivor, with an excellent memory and an airtight case. Mentioned in the brief are the 153 survivors who were still with us at the time of the filing. To date, all we've heard is a request  for further (exorbitant) fees. The survivors aren t getting any younger. Neither actually are any of us. We re exhausted too. All of us. I was hopeful—I said the MAV would do anything to keep away from the American judicial system.

So MAV, prove me right!

See original Hungarian documents as presented to the court on Feb 19, 2016, with English translation


Christian Festivity in Pakistan turned into Tragedy

March 28th 2016

As the masses gathered with their loved ones to celebrate the festivity of Easter and others to celebrate a holiday at the Gulshan Iqbal Park Lahore, where a large number of Christian community members were celebrating Easter Sunday a suicide bomber ripped through the laughter of the innocent children killing over 72 and injuring over 350. "There was blood and bodies everywhere, it was devastating, I almost fainted" said John Masih a young man who was at the park with his family. Army was deployed at the crime scene, according to the reports the situation in the all the hospitals in Lahore is tragic due to the shortage of the beds in the hospitals, the injured were treated on the floors. Mary John a mother of 3 in tears was searching for her children after the blast, " my whole world has ended, the children insisted to come to the park to enjoy themselves, now I cannot find them, I have lost everything." A family of 7 members were in Lahore from Sanghar, lost their lives in the incident. 8 teenagers from Youhanabad are also among the deceased, the religious leaders have condemned the brutality and visited the injured at the Services hospital and Jinnah hospital.

"A large number of people, majority of them women and children, were present in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore when the suicide bomber blew himself up. Mostly women and children are killed and injured in the blast, Experts say nearly 20kg of explosives were used in the blast. There were 4 attackers, 3 ran away and 1 exploded himself. " Said Lahore Police Chief Dr. Haider Ashraf. The police chief said there was an unusual rush of the people in the park due to the weekend and Easter. He said a large number of Christian community celebrating the holy day were present in the park. "Most of the dead and injured are women and children," said Mustansar Feroz, the police superintendent for the area in which the park is located. Police officials said they had recovered the body of the suicide bomber. He seems to be between 25 and 30 years old, he said. The civil society responded and rushed to the hospitals to donate blood for the injured, they vowed to stand united against extremism.

Life For All Pakistan has condemned the brutality and issued a statement, “Religious intolerance, sectarian violence and blatant terrorism is destroying the very core of our social fabric. In a plural Islamic Society, which is what we must aspire and strive to become, there is no place for intolerance, violence and appeasement of extremist groups who are trying to make our nation hostage to their obscurantist ideology. Make no mistake, the Pakistan Military is fighting a decisive battle to crush them. We know their days are numbered and Pakistan's better days are ahead of us. We have to show resolve in fighting and crushing these extremists and bringing back peace and stability to our beloved country.


Business Travel Coalition Opposes Overriding Veto of Travel Tax

January 4th 2016

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) strongly cautions Maryland lawmakers not to play politics with the state’s travel economy by overriding Governor Hogan’s veto of SB190, a new sales tax on the service fees charged by local travel agents, tour operators, and event planners. This new tax would be passed on to corporate, university and government travel departments along with significant new costs for legal obligations and accounting complexities, compliance requirements and audits. SB190 is a new tax on the services provided by local small businesses. Travel and meeting managers, including state government travel offices and state universities, are under great pressure to watch every penny of travel spend. All of these administrative costs would be on top of the new tax and would be translated into higher transaction fees from the travel agency to the travel department. As such, a double incentive would have been created to choose a less expensive destination than Maryland, if possible. If not possible, there would be less money to spend in Baltimore or Annapolis on restaurants, entertainment and other destination services adversely impacting jobs and economic activity. Not only would this bill result in downward pressure on demand for lodging properties of all sizes, it would do harm to Maryland’s 1,100 travel agencies most of which are small businesses whose owners are endeavoring to scratch out a living for themselves and their employees. BTC expects legislators will understand very well the incentive new taxes and administrative costs would provide organizations to reconsider the great state of Maryland as a business travel destination. Therefore, BTC strongly encourages lawmakers to vote against any veto override.


20 Combat Officers of Israel Defense Forces Urge An End of Funding to New Israel Fund and Others that Harm the IDF

December 21st 2015

The following open letter, written by 20 combat officers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was delivered to over 100 major donors to The New Israel Fund, including Alisa Doctoroff, The Jewish Communal Fund, Rabbi Gordon Tucker & Temple Israel of White Plains, The Jim Joseph Foundation & others. It is an appeal for American Jews to stop funding organizations that harm the Israel Defense Forces. The letter follows:

Dear Rabbi Gordon Tucker & The Leadership of Temple Israel of White Plains,

In recent years, you have donated significantly to numerous Israeli organizations and associations. The goal that you sought to achieve with your donation was to support Zionism and support organizations working for human rights and against anti-democratic activities. You support organizations that you believe work towards creating a better, saner, more democratic, and more moral Israel. The reason why you donate funds is not in doubt, nor has it ever been. However, the funds you donate are not being used to serve the purpose for which you donated them. We also know that you donate to the New Israel Fund and we wholeheartedly believe that you love the New Israel Fund, support its activities, and want to strengthen it. We won’t argue the point. However, there is one thing we ask, and, as active-duty and reserve soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, we feel it is our right to ask.

Please demand that the New Israel Fund cease and desist from supporting organizations that defame us IDF soldiers, in Israel and around the world.  These include organizations such as Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Yesh Din, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, and Machsom Watch.

Please demand that the New Israel Fund cease and desist from supporting organizations which protect terrorists who have attacked and stabbed Israelis, even in the current wave of terror which has been plaguing Israel for over a year. These organizations, which are supported by the New Israel Fund, include: B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, Ta’ayush, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-IL), and Rabbis for Human Rights. Just this week, Israel’s Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya'alon, forbade the entrance of Breaking the Silence to all IDF bases. This is an extraordinary move expressing how deeply Israeli society perceives that is has been hurt by this organization. Israel’s Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, announced that he forbade the entrance of Breaking the Silence to all Israeli schools. Those same organizations are delegitimization organizations. Their purpose is solely to defame the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces and the State of Israel around the world. The activities of Breaking the Silence are extremely anti-Israeli and are perceived as such by the majority of Israeli society.

The organization works in various ways against Israel: They lie both within Israel and around the world, claiming that many IDF soldiers are “war criminals.” Several of these organizations deal with promoting lawsuits against IDF soldiers and officers in Israel and around the world. They hold events at the United Nations and participate in conventions held by the European Union, where they falsely present the State of Israel as an apartheid state, a state that practices ethnic cleansing, and other horrifying lies. In interviews to the international media they claim that the soldiers of the IDF are war criminals, that the State of Israel is a war criminal. They defend terrorists in court, even those who were caught in the act, and file petitions for their release and against revoking their Israeli citizenship. These organizations take legal action to prevent the destruction of terrorists’ houses by the state, and defame the state of Israel in every arena possible.

Their actions, the things they say and write against the State of Israel and IDF soldiers in the foreign press feeds anti-Israel and anti-Zionist campaigns, and even terror organizations such as Hamas quote from things Breaking the Silence say during Hamas actions against the State of Israel on the international stage.

The worst of it is not that you support and fund these organizations, but that so do European countries and Palestinian foundations. Palestinians fund their actions.  The question is whether you, dear donor, knew of this activity. Does it reflect your values and do you agree that this is the use for the money which you donate to these organizations?

Dear lover of Israel – don’t let these Foreign Agent organizations, funded by foreign governments, tear away at Israeli democracy. Don’t let them tamper with the State of Israel.

With regards,

Sergeant Bar Shalev, Judea and Samaria Division; Air Force Officer Daniel Salame,; Staff Sergeant Ori Moskovich, Unit 926; Sergeant Major Matan Milles, 3 Squadron, The Navy; Staff Sergeant Chaim Prince, Engineering Corps; Staff Sergeant Aviad Harush, Unit 7002; Staff Sergeant Ilana Valdman, The Home Front Command; First Sergeant Hanani Ladel, Regiment 188; Staff Sergeant Almog Qashty, The Military Police; ​Sergeant Major Ze'ev Lev, Unit 7012;Staff Sergeant Eli Baraz, Regional Brigade Binyamin; Staff Sergeant Matan Haratz, Unit 710; Sergeant Major Lev Liberman, Central Command; Sergeant Major Matan Arad, Supply Unit 91; Staff Sergeant Naama Carmel, Intelligence; Lieutenant Ofir Levine, Engineering Corps; Staff Sergeant Tzur Ofir, Unit 9135; Staff Sergeant Ariel Iskov, Unit 868; Staff Sergeant Uria Peled, Air Defence Forces; Sergeant Major Nadav Simantov, Unit 43.


Sad Over Divided Response to Iran Deal

August 4th 2015

I sadly reflect over the last few days in the midst of our community’s divided response to the Iran deal crisis. When we view ourselves today in the light of our history as portrayed in the scriptures, how as a community can we American Jews be less shamed than American Jewry should have been over their poor and divided response to the Holocaust? As Golda might have opined – “don’t be so modest; we’re not so great.” I have examined the American Jewish response to the Holocaust for many years, sometimes to the point of obsession. We recall the New York Times burial of Holocaust news when the Ochs-Sulzbergers published anything at all on the subject. We recall the strife between Rabbi Stephen Wise and the Bergson Group, with the former working mightily to distance the White House from the “infamous” march of the rabbis to save the small remnant of Jews still alive in Europe. We recall the false analyses of the War Department to suppress any thought of bombing Auschwitz rail lines. For those who excused our collective behavior by arguing the tenor of the times, the unprecedented nature of the crisis and so forth – what do they say today, armed with that history, about a regime that seeks endless weaponry including nuclear capability and whose “Shema” is “Death to Israel?” How can it be that there is a land governed by would-be exterminators of the Jewish people and Jews in the US actually have “differences of opinion” on a deal which lays the path for Iran better than it did for the strengthening and arming of Nazi Germany? We delude ourselves that somehow our “Talmudic debating history” encourages such division on the question of self-preservation? Where is there another people on this earth who would react in the divided manner that we do? 

We have leaders who make platitudinous pronouncements about “pluralism,” diversity of opinion and the like – because Jewish liberalism gives them overwhelming faith in one political party and president to remedy this crisis. I am ashamed of organizations who are there for everyone else – but unlike everyone else, are not there for their co-ethnics. I am ashamed that our umbrella organizations, and indeed many of our federations, including our beloved UJA here in New York must be mindful of this “pluralism” and difference of opinion lest they tear this “united community” asunder. We should not be proud – we should be shamed for our warped view that reciprocity in uni-directional. We should be ashamed for NOT remembering, for NOT recalling our recent history and for the inability to understand and internalize “Death to Israel.”


StandWithUs Assails Iran Nuke Deal

July 15th 2015
While StandWithUs welcomes international efforts to end Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy, the details emerging about the agreement reached yesterday, July 14, 2015, between the P5+1 and Iran raise serious concerns. It appears the deal will not prevent Iran`s regime from developing nuclear weapons, moderate its aggressive policies, or persuade it to stop sponsoring terrorism. Rather it only delays its pursuit of nuclear weapons and allows it to continue promoting violence and instability around the world. We hope that Congress, which has 60 days to review the agreement after it is submitted by the administration, will ensure that the deal protects the U.S. and our allies, and prevents nuclear proliferation in the region. This should not be a partisan issue. The stakes are too high and this will impact too many people in the international community.  Here we have the world`s main sponsor of international terrorism, a fundamentalist regime that believes in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, that calls for the elimination of neighboring states, abuses its own people, and leads chants of "death to America." All Americans should work together to prevent this regime from gaining more destructive ability. The choice is not between this agreement or war. It is between an agreement that will prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and one that will not. We hope that both parties in Congress work together to ensure that the only deal America agrees to is one that will rein in Iran and keep it from getting nuclear weapons not just in the short term, but in the long term. In the not too distant past, liberal democracies failed to stop a fascist, racist, anti-Semitic regime. We cannot afford to repeat that mistake. We will do all we can to alert the public and encourage Congress to hold fast to the terms the United States and the world needs to prevent a nuclear-armed regime in Iran.

Stop the Bomb Coalition Deplores Iran Nuke Deal

July 14th 2015

The European coalition STOP THE BOMB sharply criticizes the announced agreement of the UN Security Council members and Germany with the Iranian regime. With what is known until now, this agreement leaves nearly the whole nuclear infrastructure of the nuclear and missiles programs intact. It does not prevent the Iranian bomb, but rather institutionalizes its necessary components. A nuclear arms race with the Arab states has already started. The aggressive regional expansion of the Iranian regime has been ignored in the talks just as the annihilation threats against Israel which have been repeated several times amid the negotiations. STOP THE BOMB regards the planned removal of sanctions as especially disturbing. Reinstating sanctions in case of Iranian violations of the agreement will prove unworkable. It took 10 years to establish the anyway insufficient sanctions architecture, which was met by harsh resistance. The Iranian regime exactly knows that there will not be a rapid reinstatement once the sanctions are removed. Billions of dollars currently blocked will soon be unfrozen as a result of this deal and at the anti-Semitic regime’s disposal. This will enable the regime to sponsor its terror proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah in unprecedented ways. The terror against the Iranian population will not decrease, but increase. Already now more people have been executed under allegedly "moderate" President Rouhani than under his predecessor Ahmadinejad.



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