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New York Times Horribly Wrong on the Deaf

July 28th 2011
This is in response to Monica Davey’s NY Times article, “Among Twists in Budget Woes, Tensions Over Teaching the Deaf” of July 26, 2011. Comments are no longer accepted :( We deserve full recognition of American Sign Language (ASL) we hand to Deaf lives. What bugs me more is when editors/reporters state how we are “whining” which is an ongoing misleading judgment of us Deaf people. It just breaks my heart when our views are being misrepresented as we try to share our experiences for you to understand how critical it is when Deaf children do not acquire a language so that they could learn about the world.
 
Mainly through ASL, Deaf children get information about the world. Deaf children have the opportunity to grow up bilingual. Do not allow our Deaf children fall short of the education they deserve just because the hearing professionals think it is more important to speak. We the Deaf people are the very people who end up being the most affected by parental decisions influenced by hearing professionals. We understand how budget shortfalls are forcing difficult decisions in every state BUT legislators and critics or should I say cronies still do not get it. Deaf people and parents have actually LIVED through the experiences of the educational and medical systems. We know exactly what it takes to raise Deaf children. Why can’t every Tom, Dick, and Harry understand us who have our own language and identity as individuals in our own distinct culture? ASL is a real, visual “spoken” language on a par with any other languages. An interesting contrast was brought up between the belief that exposure of ASL to a hearing baby will aid them in language development, whereas a Deaf baby at times must show the inability to learn a spoken language before they are taught ASL. This notion was originated due to the idea that sign language hinders the development of a spoken language in Deaf children! (Mayberry, 2008)
 
Attempts to wipe away ASL demonstrate an assault as genocide treaties made clear “…that obliterating a group's culture is a form of genocide." That, we cannot allow such put-down of one's Deaf life. The extreme focus on the medical aspect of fixing the hearing/ears, rather than being focused on language development, has created this situation. An intervention is very much needed to resolve the unrest behind the promotion of cultural destruction that is sure to bring back the slippery slope of eugenics. We. Do. Not. Accept. This. Mistreatment. If that's considered whining, so be it.

PEPCO to be Fined Millions

July 24th 2011

As the public might remember, during the recent session of the General Assembly (which ended in April), we passed legislation which significantly increased oversight of electric utilities, particularly PEPCO. I think all will be pleased to know that the "People's Counsel" has recommended that the Public Service Commission fine PEPCO between $10 to $14 million dollars. This is only a start, but finally perhaps, PEPCO will realize that we are serious in our effort to have secure, reliable electic power. I also want to emphasize that PEPCO will not be able to pass the cost of the fines to electric consumers.They must be absorbed by the shareholders. The provisions of our legislation include:

    * $25K per violation per day on penalties
    * Increased penalties for safety violations
    * The utilities are prohibited from passing on the costs of penalties to the ratepayers
    * The bill is an emergency bill so it takes effect as soon as the governor signs it into law

Kumar P. Barve is the Demoratic Majority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates, representing central Montgomery County, Maryland.


In Wake of Brutal Ketzky Murder, Seeking Incentives for More Surveillance Cameras

July 21st 2011

I am truly devastated by the tragedy that occurred this July 11, 2011. According to law enforcement officials, 8 year old Leiby Kletzky was abducted and murdered at the hands of Levi Aron. On July 18, 2011, I attended Leiby’s Shiva to pay my respects to his family. I again want to give my sincerest condolences to the Kletzky family and the Borough Park community. I know it is hard to lose any family member; but when it is under horrific circumstances such as this one, it is especially difficult. I too, along with Senator Savino and Assemblyman Hikind represent the Borough Park community. It is one of the safest areas in my district. I will do all that I can to assist the family in their time of need. In an effort to deter any future tragedies, I plan to support the Savino/Hikind legislation to provide economic incentives to our business owners to install surveillance cameras. I also believe it would be helpful to law enforcement if we had a uniform system to address missing persons such as the Lori Ann’s law introduced by Senator Valesky and Assemblyman Reilly (S.659/A.3526). I call on the Governor and Senator Skelos to pass these bills at the next special legislative session. Additionally, I call on the District Attorney to conduct a thorough investigation and prosecute this case to the full extent of the law. Rest assured, I will do all that I can to help the family receive closure and to deter any re-occurrences of such a horrific crime.

Senator Kevin S. Parker represents a large Hassidic Jewish population in his district, and is the Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, former Majority Whip and Chair of the Democratic Task Force on New Americans.


Enormous Defeat for Gaza Flotilla Agitators

July 10th 2011

The Greek government was not the only country that helped stop the provocative flotilla to Gaza (see Greece Stands Up to Illegal Gaza Flotilla--Arrests American Captain, Page One, July 2, 2011). Other nations joined the effort--Cyprus, Russia, and even Turkey. This must be an enormous defeat for the Gaza flotilla agitators. After trying to label Israel a pariah state, it appears diplomatic action and international cooperation won the day and validated Israel's position. The Gaza blockade is legal and has been observed by both Egypt and Israel. Even Egypt which allows humanitarian crossings maintains a blockade on suspect materials and persons. All this completely negates the protester storyline. Plus, it became obvious to all, that anyone who genuinely wanted to bring aid into Gaza could simply dock it in Egypt or Israel and proper inspection would pass it through.


Greece was Thoughtful and Correct in Stopping Illegal Flotilla

July 3rd 2011

I have written to George A. Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece, with the following letter (see Greece Stands Up to Illegal Gaza Flotilla--Arrests American Captain, Page One, July 2, 2011). Dear Mr. Prime Minister: We are writing to express our sincere appreciation for the action taken by Greece to prevent the ships involved in the Gaza flotilla from leaving Greek ports. Your willingness to act in such a responsible manner serves as an example for the entire international community. As you well know, the Gaza flotilla was not intended to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. It is a provocative effort by anti-Israel activists to bring their skewed view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to international attention by publicly challenging Israeli forces who are defending Israeli territorial waters. Greece’s actions to stop these ships from using Greek ports as a launching point will help prevent the public confrontation with Israeli naval authorities these activists are seeking. We know a great deal of thought and consideration went into your decision and we thank you for this important effort.

Abraham H. Foxman is National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.


Gaza Flotilla Organizers Admit on al-Jazeera Their Mission is Not About Humanitarian Aid

July 3rd 2011

I just heard an activist for Gaza Flotilla 2 repeatedly declare on al-Jazeera TV that their action was not about humanitarian aid. Rather, she emphatically stated it was about delegitimization and confrontation. She actually stated the flotilla organizers were opposed to what she called "a cycle of humanitarian aid." So Athens has clearly stopped a provocative and illegal flotilla to Gaza (see Greece Stands Up to Illegal Gaza Flotilla--Arrests American Captain, Page One, July 2, 2011). Now the media needs to stop calling this naval provocation a "humanitarian mission." This is about disobeying lawful commands by Cypriot, Greek, and Israeli naval vessels--commands which the agitators cannot pick and choose from and decide which to obey and which to disobey. If the EU, the Quartet, Greece, Cyprus, Washington, Moscow, and even the United Nations oppose the flotilla, maybe this exercise is exactly what it seems: a naval encounter designed to provoke and international incident.


Gaza Flotilla Stoppage by Greece a Stand for International Law

July 3rd 2011

Basically, the world must now take a stand against illegal border pentrations. Or there will be no borders. The Athens government has done that by stopping the illegal flotilla to Gaza (see Greece Stands Up to Illegal Gaza Flotilla--Arrests American Captain, Page One, July 2, 2011). Last time, the Gaza flotilla from Turkey resulted in an international incident of immense proportions. Gaza is under legally permissible naval blockade because of its daily rocket attacks against civilians and its government's declared desire to mass murder Israeli civilians. America's blockade against Cuba was legal. The international community's blockade against Iranian weapons shipments is legal. Israel is also acting legally. Just imagine what would happen if 1000 Mexican nationals and their sympathizers decided to storm the border at Texas or California to overturn the Treaty of Hidalgo that ceded that land to the United States. Imagine what would happen if 1000 Canadians decided to storm the U.S. Northwest border to reclaim the territory agreed as being transferred to Oregon. Imagine what would happen if 1000 Hispanics decided they have a right to work in Arizona and stormed the border there--which is something actually done almost every day. What if 1000 Armenians stormed the Turkish border to proclaim a state. Greece has shown the way and now others must follow its example. When Gaza recognizes Israel the way Egypt and Jordan have, the borders will be established for all to respect. Until then, international law and treaties will need to be respected.


Greece Shows Gumption in Defying Hamas-Bound Flotilla

July 2nd 2011
Hooray for the Greece government for showing real gumption at a time when its economic house is in disorder and its streets are aflame with austerity rioters (see Greece Stands Up to Illegal Gaza Flotilla--Arrests American Captain, Page One, July 2, 2011). I refer to the decision by Athens to arrest the captain of the American ship participating in the second Hamas-bound flotilla, and block other ships in this patently illegal exercise designed to link to an international terrorist group. Clearly, the Greek government does not need another international headache at this moment. That is all the more reason to take notice that the rule of law still reigns in Greece.

Proud My Country Greece Stood Up to Gaza Flotilla

July 2nd 2011
I am proud that my adopted country Greece stood fast against the latest Gaza flotilla (see Greece Stands Up to Illegal Gaza Flotilla--Arrests American Captain, Page One, July 2, 2011). With all the black eyes Greece is taking now over the budget crisis and bloody riots, this is a shining moment to show that Greece can stand tall in the face of pressure by the flotilla provocateurs.

Greece Should Ignore Gaza Flotilla Pressure

July 2nd 2011
All Greeks should push back on the Internet war now being launched against our nation by the organizers of the Second Gaza Flotilla (see Greece Stands Up to Illegal Gaza Flotilla--Arrests American Captain, Page One, July 2, 2011). Hamas is a dangerous terrorist organization that throws its political oppoinents off of rooftops, throws acid at young women who look the wrong way, and supports international terrorism. This includes shooting continuous rockets against school children in Israel. If the flotilla organizers really want to help the Gaza residents, why not deliver their cargo to Egypt which has an open border crossing, or Israel which brings in tons of supplies regularly? Answer: they do not want to help--they want to provoke. To pressure Greece now when the country is struggling to recover from its bailout problems is unconscionable.

A Disagreement on Immigration Reform

June 28th 2011

After reading Armstrong Williams’s June 23rd 2011 article “In Immigration Reform, It’s The Consumer that Matters” I must offer a correction. There is no “edge” to hiring illegals. Companies that hire illegals are held in court to be liable to pay for the cheap labor from individuals who have rights and are represented by the lawyers from NCLR, MALDEF, LULAC, or ACLU, while groups like the Brown Berets de Aztlan, Barrios Unidos, and M.E.Ch.A., network to defend the illegals’ unlawful presence. Ilegals who are material witnesses in court cases are offered Permanent Residence Under Color of Law (PRUCOL) status where they have every right except to vote or apply for citizenship.

How is PRUCOL determined? If you have been able to escape capture as an illegal alien and has been able to give birth to a US citizen; become so debilitated that you can collect SSI or for other health reasons; or had somehow illegally obtained a job and gotten laid off or fired and have benefits coming to you; or you are in the process of filing complaints to obtain such taxpayer-funded benefits.

Each PRUCOL criterion is handled by a different federal and / or state agency. So if you are an alien who has been here for more than twenty years, or have been granted a stay of deportation by the courts, or are not being deported because you have U.S. citizen children, or you are just not going to be deported (a Salvadoran or a Cuban for example) you can go on with this sometimes for the rest of your natural life. So, yes they can, and they do complain if they are cheated on their paycheck, protest unhealthy working conditions, or reject wages beneath the minimum federal wage level. If they do complain, they can be placed in PRUCOL, immediately detained, and not sent back to their countries of origin, at cost to every honest hardworking US citizen. And so this keeps them coming here to work as “slave labor.” Give me a break! Read more ..


Israel Failed to Jail First Flotilla

June 27th 2011

I am one of those who completely agree that Israel messed up when it failed to jail the first Gaza flotilla team. I regret the loss of life on all sides. But the ones Israel took into custody were the cause. They should have been prosecuted for what they did. That is why the second flotilla can sail with impugnity. Because Israel messed up. Hopefully, it will be wiser the next time around--which will be any day now. What would the US do if that flotilla was headed our way.


Send Gaza Flotilla Activists to Jail--Israel Erred Last Time

June 26th 2011
For sure, sending Gaza flotilla agitators to an Israeli jail would be the best idea. By now, it must be obvious to everyone that Israel erred the last time in simply coddling and releasing those who had entered combat with her own naval officers. Long terms behind bars are called for--whether the agitators are Turkey or American.

Imprison Flotilla Participants in Israel First and Then Prosecute in the USA

June 26th 2011
I agree with the notion that Gaza flotilla participants who are obviously coordinating with a known teroriorst entity--that is, Hamas, should be prosecuted. But not just in America. The Israeli government should go beyond simple detention and deportation. They should arrest, try, convict, and imprison all those involved, from the ringleaders to the passengers to the deck hands. Monetary penalties to recoup the naval and military expense should be added. The second Gaza flotilla, like the first, is an obvious naval provocation. The crossing with Egypt has been open for some weeks. Israel has expanded all international deliveries. So what is left but but what the flotilla organizers profess: violate Israeli sovereign rights to protect itself and create an international incident. After the provocateurs are released from Israeli prisons--then and only then should they prosecuted once more in their home locations. Then the next wave may think twice about such antics.

Washington Warns Flotilla Against Arrest

June 24th 2011
On June 21 I wrote to Attorney General Holder urging the Obama Administration to warn the Gaza flotilla participants "that they are placing themselves in jeopardy of breaching federal criminal law." Today's  warning from the State Department does just that. Since the participants have made clear that they are moving forward, the question now is whether the government will follow through and investigate and prosecute.

Reflecting on Yale University's Decision to Close YIISA

June 20th 2011

Recently, Yale University officials informed us of their precipitous decision to close YIISA, the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism. It became evident that YIISA and Yale University have different visions and approaches to the study of antisemitism. YIISA, like Yale, believes in the necessity to publish in top tier journals. YIISA scholars, its graduate and post-doctorate research fellows, esteemed senior visiting professors, and scholars associated with YIISA have done so at a high caliber and with success.YIISA, however, is committed to critical engaged scholarship with a broader approach to the complex, and at times controversial context of contemporary global antisemitism.It is this mission that my colleagues at YIISA so eloquently and with a sense of integrity engaged. This was reflected, for example, in the conference, “Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity”. Held in August 2010 it was the largest academic conference on the study of antisemitism ever.This illustrated not only the relevance of YIISA, but the concern, if not alarm, that scholars of antisemitism have for the contemporary global condition. It also marked the launching of the International Association for the Study of Antisemitism (IASA) a professional association, of which I was elected by peers to be its first President.
 
We believe that the role of a true scholar and intellectual is to shed light where there is darkness. It is a responsibility of scholars to understand the implications of antisemitism on society, nationally as well as internationally. YIISA has been successful in this regard since our formation in 2006. YIISA was the first research center based at a North American University dedicated to the study of antisemitism, and will continue to be a trailblazer in the field. I wish to express appreciation for the role Yale students and professors played in the development of YIISA. I am especially grateful for the community of scholars from across the United States and from around the world that contributed to YIISA. I look forward to continuing to work with these scholars. I also look forward to work with academics that will be associated with the new Yale Program on Antisemitism, to be constituted, especially with my esteemed colleague Maurie Samuels. We are all colleagues on a subject matter with profound implications. I would also like to thank members of the YIISA Board of Trustees for their efforts and for their continued commitment to further our mandate. I am also grateful for the thousands of people that attend our events and support our work. We are in conversation with several academic institutions that understand the importance of our mission. They have expressed interest in YIISA becoming part of their academic community. It is also my hope, given the importance and timeliness of the subject, that several research centers, dedicated to the study of antisemitism, especially the contemporary global context, will open at universities across the United States.

Charles Asher Small is Executive director and founder of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism.


Yale Bowed to Foreign Donations in Cutting YIISA

June 19th 2011

Yale University has shown itself to be cowardly in cutting out its distinguished Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA). This university has now figured out that foreign donations are now more important than promoting American values of tolerance and religious freedom. For shame, Yale. I would have thought that an institution as entrenched as Yale would have shown more independence and the gumption needed to promote freedoms.


If Yale Cannot Stand Against Religious Hatred, It Facilitates It

June 15th 2011

Yale should not be bending to the forces of religious hatred. Like others, I am ashamed the university has done away with the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA). These are times when men are returning to the bad old ways. Regretfully, Yale cannot stand up to that trend and in doing so facilitates it.


Recent Yale Action Rivalled by University of Wisconsin Press

June 13th 2011

I can understand why Yale is being excoriated for putting down anti-Semitic studies at its [Yale] Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism. It is just another sign of the decaying quality of universities just when we need them most. But let us not forget the great minds at the University of Wisconsin Press who publish books without even so much as a staff fact-check. That revelation still sends me. In any event, it now seems crystal clear that there is need for reform at our campuses--not just in the Midwest, but in the Ivy League as well.


Yale Should Show the Way on anti-Semitism After Dark Eugenic Past

June 11th 2011

Yale now joins the ranks of other college campuses which have proven they do not stand for tolerance at a time when intolerance is on the rise. I refer to its decision to terminate its anti-Semitic study program [Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism]. Yale and the other Ivy League schools should be leading the way after establishing a dark record of eugenic intolerance that led to the death and destruction of so many Hispanic communities in the early part of the twentieth century. See Edwin Black's work, War Against the Weak for the scoop on just murderous this science was and Yale's role. I guess some things never change, especially when donations can make a difference.


Ashamed to be a Yale Alum after University Axes Anti-Semitism Program

June 11th 2011

Speaking as an alumnus who remembers my days at Yale as among my best, I am ashamed of the University’s action discontinuing the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA), which I only learned at The Cutting Edge News. Axing this program just as anti-Semitic agitation is on the rise across the country is a dire mistake which to me only suggests money was speaking louder than values. If an institution as respected and fiercely independent as Yale can succumb to money talk, than all of academia takes a hit. I call on my alma mater to change its decision.


Wrong to End Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism

June 10th 2011

Yale University’s decision to shut down the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA) at the end of July is deeply dismaying given the persistence of anti-Jewish hatred in the United States and around the world. Whatever purported issues and problems arose regarding the Yale Initiative, what was required was a concerted effort to work out the problems rather than preemptively ending the program. At a time when anti-Semitism continues to be virulent and anti-Israel parties treat any effort to address issues relating to anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism as illegitimate, Yale’s decision is particularly unfortunate.  The Yale Center was organized in a serious way and, under the leadership of its director, Professor Charles Small, produced significant programs and research in its short history. f there were problems that the university raised, they needed to be dealt with and resolved. The decision to close the Center was a bad one on its own terms, but it is even worse because it leaves the impression that the anti-Jewish forces in the world achieved a significant victory.

Abraham H. Foxman is National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.


Egypt's "Arab Spring" Shifting Power from Monster to Mob

June 5th 2011
The so-called Arab Spring seems not a wave of democracy but rather an wave of Arab Street actions in which the power is shifted from one monster to a group of new monsters. Egypt gang raped a CBS-reporter in the Tahrir Square and the ruling military junta that saved the day imprisoned a blogger for a mildly critical comment. This same junta per your coverage enforced "virginity checks" on protesters. Also in Egypt, the Copts continue to be threatened and mistreated. Soon, the Muslim Brotherhood will take half the seats in Parliament, and control many more through front candidates. Why does the leadership in Canada and the United States fail to see what is really happening. Instead, billion-dollar loans are being forgiven, and all sorts of other aid is on the way. So the monster of Egypt, Mubarak, is now to be replaced with a another monster--the mob.

Australia's Place in the Universe Assured

May 30th 2011
As a Monash University alum, I can say that I and every Australian is proud that a student here, 22-year old Amelia Fraser-McKelvie, helped locate the great missing matter in the universe (see Australian Student Astronomer Finds Universe's Missing Mass, Page One, May 29, 2011). I think Australia's place in the universe is now assured.

Once Again Science is Slapped Awake

May 30th 2011
Once again, science is slapped awake--this time by a Monash University astronomy student no less, who just happened to discover a large chunk of the missing matter in the universe that had baffled and eluded so many experts before him (see Australian Student Astronomer Finds Universe's Missing Mass, Page One, May 29, 2011). The greatest minds thought the world was flat, but they soon discovered they were wrong. Until the mid-20th Century, no one understood the existence of tectonic plates that move entire continents. To me this is a re-affirmation that our ignorance is far greater than our grasp, and sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can find an entire universe of reality.

Why Not Support the One Existing Democracy in the Middle East

May 26th 2011
It is certainly a glaring example of our hypocrisy that we are moving billions of our tax dollars and battalions of our precious men and women under arms to "promote democracies in the Middle East." But the one flourishing democracy--Israel--Mr. Obama wants to shrink, pressure, and threaten by financing its opposition along the extremists in Egypt. Say what? We have not been able to speak with a clear policy since the Arab uprisings began. We bomb Libya and we baby Bahrain. No wonder we are not respected and ineffectual. The Obama Administration should stand with our one true ally in the Mideast--Israel.

Obama Directly Undermines Israel Security by Calling for pre-1967 Borders

May 21st 2011

Israel is the United States’ strongest friend and ally. By calling for a return to the pre-1967 borders, President Obama has directly undermined her. Rather than stand by Israel against consistent unprovoked aggression by longtime supporters of terrorism, President Obama is rewarding those who threaten Israel’s very right to exist. This is not only ridiculous, but dangerous. There is strong disapproval in Congress for the President’s new posture towards Israel, and I will introduce a resolution next week affirming Israel’s right to maintain its territorial integrity. Now, more than ever, the security interests of the United States and Israel are linked.  Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is a clear and present danger to both of our nations.   We cannot distance ourselves from our Israeli friends.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is introducing a Congressional Resolution disapproving of President Obama’s new policy towards Israel.


Nuclear Energy Must Now be Deemed Hazardous at Any Level

May 19th 2011
The tragic and continuing saga of Japan's nuclear crisis is only the latest nuclear shock in the wake of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and many other lesser known catastrophes. It must now be enormously clear to all right thinking individuals that nuclear power cannot be made safe, because of the prodigious threat it poses. Atomic energy must now be considered hazardous at any level. What a disastrous way to boil water.

Pakistan Surely Knew about bin Laden Lair

May 9th 2011
We are not dumb. Pakistani intelligence surely knew about bin Laden's lair. If a bunch of guys in Virginia at our intel centers figured it out, how come the guys next door and down the street did not. Throw some more billions at Pakistan. As many have said, Pakistan is the most troubled country in the world, and we see it here in action. Problem is, we are tied at the hip.

New Palestinian Government has Rejected the Basic International Standards for Peace with Israel

May 4th 2011

Today’s signing of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement confirms that the Palestinian Authority has chosen unity with a terrorist organization over peace with Israel. This new Palestinian government has rejected the basic international standards set forth by the Quartet, including the rejection of violence and recognition of Israel’s right to exist. This agreement comes just days after Hamas condemned the U.S. operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, a vile terrorist whom Hamas mourned as a “holy warrior.” Israel cannot be expected to move forward without a partner that shares its same commitment to peace. Just days after news of the reconciliation broke, I visited the Israeli community whose children’s school bus was just recently targeted by a Hamas rocket. Pursuant to U.S. law, American aid to the P.A. must cease now that these terrorists are part of its government.

Ted Deutch is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 19th Congressional District, and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.


Open Letter to Mahmoud Abbas: Your Actions Threaten U.S. Assistance

May 2nd 2011

We write an open letter to Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian National Authority:

We have serious concerns about your intentions to seek recognition of an independent Palestinian state at the United Nations and the pursuit of a unity government with Hamas, which has not recognized the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist. We urge you to end these actions and return to direct negotiations with Israel, which will provide the only path to a viable and durable two-state agreement. The 1993 Oslo Accords were explicitly understood to be part of an ongoing, negotiated peace process. In fact, a letter from the Palestinian leadership stated that the PLO “commits itself to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.” That understanding enabled Israel to turn over governance of significant aspects of Palestinian society to an elected Palestinian government.

Since that time, the U.S. Congress has been a strong partner in your government’s efforts to build the institutions that will someday govern an independent Palestinian state. The U.S. government has provided billions of dollars as well as technical assistance and training to increase security, promote economic growth and fiscal independence, strengthen public institutions, and meet humanitarian needs.

U.S. aid is predicated on the premise that your government has demonstrated a firm commitment to pursuing efforts to establish a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace with Israel. As you know, U.S. law also requires a commitment to countering terrorism, confiscating weapons, and dismantling terrorist infrastructure. In addition, it prohibits aid to Hamas, Hamas-controlled areas, and any power-sharing government that includes Hamas, until Hamas publicly acknowledges the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist and commits to a two-state solution. Your current courses of action undermine the purposes and threaten the provision of United States assistance and support.

We have been strong supporters of aid to the Palestinian Authority in the hopes of ensuring prosperity, stability, and peace for the Palestinian people and all people in the region. However, our ability to support current and future aid would be severely threatened if you abandon direct negotiations with Israel and continue with your current efforts.

Kay Granger chairs, and Nita Lowey is the ranking member of, the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Committee on Appropriations of the U.S. House of Representatives. Read more ..


Bin Laden Killing Apparently Was Subject to Sharia

May 2nd 2011
All Americans should celebrate the killing of Asama Bin Laden, but apparently it seems this killing was done according to Sharia with a rush to dispose of the mass murderer's body within 24 hours, ritual washing and all the rest. If it is not a religious war, why did we employ religious doctrine and compliance as part of our operating procedure?

Fatah Power-sharing Agreement with Hamas Puts US Funding At Risk

April 28th 2011

In response to reports that the Fatah party has reached a tentative power-sharing agreement with Hamas, as the highest ranking Democrat on the House foreign aid subcommittee, I am releasing the following statement:

"Unless Hamas accepts the Quartet Principles, which include renouncing violence and recognizing Israel, the formation of a unity government with Fatah will be a deathblow to the peace process. For decades, the United States has provided assistance to the Palestinian Authority to build government institutions, strengthen security forces, and promote economic development. This aid is predicated on the PA’s commitment to pursuing efforts to establish peace with Israel. A unity government with Hamas would put U.S. assistance and support at risk, based on restrictions I authored as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. I strongly urge the leadership of the Palestinian Authority to reconsider forming a unity government with Hamas and to instead return to negotiations with Israel, which are the only hope for a peaceful, stable, and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey is the former Chair and current Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, which writes the annual U.S. foreign aid bill. She represents parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties in New York.


The Peace of Easter Should be a Lesson for All Religions

April 25th 2011
Coming out of the cathedral after high mass this Easter I was filled with the spirit of peace fully within for myself and for all humanity. It made me wonder if all religions emerge from their houses of worship with the same uplifting internal spirtual to create peace on earth. It would be a gift if that could occur.

American Jewish Committee Picks an Odd Time to Oppose Efforts to Reduce anti-Jewish Campus Hate

April 25th 2011
I think the American Jewish Committee has picked an odd time to oppose efforts by right-thinking people to reduce anti-Jewish campus hatred behavior. Passover should be a time of celebration of freedom for the Jewish peoples and their return to Israel, their homeland, and the resulting democracy that they gave to the world. It should not be a time to wonder if their own organizations are offering aide and comfort to those would see that process reversed. Passover was hardly the right time for such an action.

Obama Betrays Pledge to Recognize Armenian Genocide by Turks

April 24th 2011

On the eve of Easter and the April 24th National Day of Prayer for the victims of the Armenian Genocide, President Barack Obama again betrayed his pledge to properly condemn and commemorate this crime against humanity. Despite his repeated, detailed, and unambiguous pledges to recognize the Armenian Genocide, the President offered only euphemisms and evasive terminology to describe the murder of over 1.5 million men women and children - effectively keeping in place the gag rule imposed by the Turkish government on the open and honest discussion of this crime. In refusing, under foreign pressure from Turkey, to his honor his pledge, he again fell far short of his own view, as voiced during his campaign, that America deserves a President who uses the term "genocide" to convey the full factual, moral, legal, and contemporary political meaning of this crime against all humanity.

President Obama's disgraceful capitulation to Turkey’s threats, his complicity in Turkey's denials, and his Administration’s active opposition to Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide represent the very opposite of the principled and honest change he promised to bring to our country’s response to this crime. Instead of standing up for the truth, and standing by the extensive U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide, President Obama is today, under threat from an increasingly unfriendly foreign power, standing in the way of the broad-based American civil society consensus for a truthful and just resolution of this crime.

For a President who ran for office on the platform of ‘change’ and ‘honesty’, his record on this score – including, notably, his deeply offensive reference today to ‘contested history,’ has been shameful. He has, in addition to betraying his own words and compromising America’s moral standing, gravely disappointed Armenians here in the United States, in Armenia, and around the world who had looked to him as an example of courage, conviction, and conscience.

Kenneth Hachikian is chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America.


Abdulwahab’s Extreme Views and Farasat Latif

April 24th 2011

Your article entitled Neutrality Will Not Shield Sweden from Terrorism (see Security, January 10,2011), by Walid Phares quoted me as saying: "Farasat Latif, the secretary of the Luton mosque to which Abdulwahab belonged, said, “Despite Abdulwahab’s extreme views, nothing pointed to the fact that he was going to do something stupid.” While not rock-solid evidence of a plot in the making, Abdulwahab’s “extreme views” were at least an indication that he was a potential danger to others. Contradicting his statement above, Latif added, “Soon Abdulwahab began making extremist statements focusing on suicide bombings.”

As for the second statement; "Soon Abdulwahab began making extremist statements focusing on suicide bombings”, I never said such a thing. Abdulwahab's main focus was on the Muslim leaders, and the Muslim scholars. His brief episode with our mosque lasted no longer than 3 weeks in the summer of 2007 during which time he never espoused violence. Although at the time, we were criticized for not reporting him, would we now, in light of the upheaval in the Middle East, be expected to report someone who called for the overthrow of a Muslim leader.

Farasat Latif is Secretary of the Islamic Centre, Luton.


Nelson and Stern Statement Helps Afflict Jewish Campus Experience

April 23rd 2011
I applaud the comments of Kenneth L. Marcus in his analysis of the over-reaching protective proclamation by Cary Nelson and Kenneth Stern in aide and service of campus hate speech against Jews (see The Wrong Statement on Campus Anti-Semitism, Opinion April 22, 2011). Why a Jewish organization, the American Jewish Committee, would take pains on the Jewish holiday of Passover to help the further affliction the Jewish experience is baffling. People should think about that before donating. Not all speech is protected and some is downright dangerous, some purely illegal. Hate speech is real. Sexual harassment is real. Bullying is real. Threats are real. A balance must struck between free speech and harm, just as there is a balance between free religion and harm. The threat goes way beyond the "fire in the theater" analogy. If displaying a noose on the locker of an African-American fireman creates a hostile environment--and there are many more examples, than surely, we can understand how Jews would be entitled to the same level of peace on campus.

Pepco Broke my Computers With Outages

April 22nd 2011
I work in Rockville, Maryland and the historic outages that Pepco inflicted on the DC area were so numerous, so prolonged, and so punishing when the on-off on-off nightmare sequences began, that I lost two new computers. No one will pay me for these. It cost me thousands. The new legislation will help millions of companies and residents--but it is not tough enough. Pepco needs to not only pay penalties to the state, they need to pay claims by individuals and businesses.

Pepco Must be Made Responsible for Electricity Outages

April 21st 2011

I am very pleased to report that the Maryland Electricity Service Quality and Reliability Act has passed the General Assembly and is going to Governor O’Malley for his signature. Our goal is to ensure that electric power companies provide their customers with high levels of service quality and reliability in a cost effective manner.  The amended bill requires the Public Service Commission to establish certain standards relating to downed wire response, service interruption, vegetation management, customer communication, and periodic equipment inspections. Each company will be held accountable if it fails to deliver reliable service. The penalties assessed for failing to meet these standards are considerable.  Provisions include: $25K per violation per day on penalties, increased penalties for safety violations, and the utilities are prohibited from passing on the costs of penalties to the ratepayers. The bill is an emergency bill so it takes effect as soon as the governor signs it into law. When I first asked the Public Service Commission to investigate Pepco’s power outages after the 2010 snow disasters and testified at its first hearing on the problems in March 2010, I certainly did not expect the outages to continue this long or Pepco to be so unresponsive. When we introduced this comprehensive legislation, many delegates, who have other utilities, had no idea of the extent of our outages and the safety, health, and economic problems that resulted. I give special thanks to the Prime Sponsor of this bill Delegate Brian Feldman, Delegate Brian McHale (floor leader) the entire Montgomery County Delegation, Governor O’Malley, and Councilmember Roger Berliner.

Kumar Barve is the Democratic Majority Leader in the Maryland House of Delegates.



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