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|David Drimer||January 9th 2014|
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned actress Emma Thompson and three dozen other British actors, for seeking the boycotting of Israel’s celebrated Habima Theater troupe, which is to perform later this year in a six-week theatrical festival taking place at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Thompson and her colleagues cite spurious human rights concerns but hypocritically fail to call for a boycott of the National Theater of China, which is participating in the same festival. The ZOA has condemned Thompson and urged people to boycott her recently-released movie, Saving Mr. Banks.
In a letter to the British Guardian newspaper, Thompson and her colleagues accused Habima of having “a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory [sic] ... By inviting Habima, Shakespeare’s Globe is undermining the conscientious Israeli actors and playwrights who have refused to break international law ... by inviting Habima, the Globe is associating itself with policies of exclusion practised by the Israeli state and endorsed by its national theatre company ... We ask the Globe to withdraw the invitation so that the festival is not complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonisation of occupied land” (Nathan Burstein, ‘Oscar winner Emma Thompson calls for Israeli theater’s ban,’ Times of Israel, April 1, 2014).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We condemn Emma Thompson and her colleagues for their advocacy of boycotting Israel’s famed Habima Theater. Their call is in no way justified, or in any way less serious or worthy of condemnation, because Habima has refused to boycott a cultural center that opened in Ariel.
“Jews have a perfect right in law and morality to live and build homes and communities in Judea and Samaria, part of the territory earmarked for Jewish settlement at the 1920 San Remo Conference. Contrary to Thompson’s ignorant/malicious claim of illegality, the right of Jews to live and settle in these territories has never been extinguished by any subsequent, legally binding international agreement. Moreover, under the Oslo II agreement, it was specifically stated in Chapter 3, Article 17 that the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza would remain under Israeli jurisdiction, pending a final peace agreement. In other words, the PA itself has signed a legally binding agreement that explicitly accepts the existence of Jewish communities under Israeli control.
“Jewish growth in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem has a fundamental legitimacy and poses no obstacle to a true peace if Palestinians are ready for one, so the repeated, periodic international calls for a Jewish construction freeze, or the removal of Jewish communities, or the boycott and ostracism of anyone who fails to oppose their existence, would remain inappropriate even if the prospect of genuine peace negotiations with a truly peaceful Palestinian partner were possible.
“Why may not 300,000 Jews live among 2 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria while 1.2 million Arabs live among 6 million Jews in Israel? Emma Thompson and her colleagues are displaying ignorance and prejudice in working towards a world in which Jews are banned from and expelled from their religious, historical and legal homeland.
“These people claim to be concerned about justice and peace. But one never hears them criticize the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or their rejection of the 2000 Clinton peace plan, or their resort to a wave of terror. They never issue statements demanding that the PA end terror and incitement to hatred and murder against Israel – the demonization of Jews does not disturb these haters of the Jewish state and expose their own vicious bias, dressed up as concern for human rights.
“We also note the rank hypocrisy of Thompson and her ilk condemning Habima and seeking its boycott –– but having no problem with the National Theater of China participating in the same festival, even though China’s observance of human rights is, to put it mildly, abysmal. “Emma Thompson and these other actors are clearly people who, because they are celebrities, enjoy unmerited influence and ability to publicize their political views. This places an even greater responsibility on them to think carefully before speaking on political matters, which they have clearly failed. They deserve to be condemned and shunned by the Jewish, pro-Israeli community and all other people of goodwill. We urge everyone to boycott Emma Thompson’s current movie, Saving Mr. Banks.”
|Timothy P. White||January 3rd 2014|
The California State University denounces the resolution calling for an academic boycott of the higher education institutions in Israel, which was issued by the American Studies Association and has been supported by other organizations. Academic boycotts violate the basic tenets of higher education including academic freedom and scholarly dialog. Boycotts attempt to limit the unfettered creation, discovery and dissemination of knowledge vital to our tripartite mission of research, teaching and service. These characteristics are essential to preparing students with the analytical and critical thinking skills to lead in business, community, educational and civic organizations.”
Timothy P. White is Chancellor of California State University.
|Daniel Weiss||December 30th 2013|
Although Haverford College is not an institutional member of the American Studies Association, we write to express our opposition to their proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions because such an action is antithetical to the full expression of academic freedom. We fully support the statement issued by the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities in opposition to the boycott, which holds that “Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not themselves infringe upon academic freedom.” We also acknowledge that individual members of our community have the right to their own opinions, including the right to support the actions of the ASA.
Daniel Weiss is President of Haverford College. His letter is cosigned by Provost Kimberly Benston, Dean Martha Denney, Assistant Vice President for College Communications Chris Mills, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Dick Wynn, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Jess Lord, Chief Investment Officer Mike Casel, Chief Information Officer Joe Spadaro, and Chief of Staff Jesse Lytle.
|Eric Fingerhut||December 30th 2013|
On Sunday, December 29, The New York Times published an article regarding the “Open Hillel” vote, which took place three weeks ago at Swarthmore College. It is teased on the front page and appears on page 21 of the A-section; it is also available online. As you know, there have been many articles on this topic, and we expect more. Although this article has been in the works for weeks, the Times does little more than repeat claims made in other publications by a handful of students. Instead of seizing the opportunity to look deeply into this issue, the Times took the easy way and turned its story into a simplistic discussion of free speech on campus and conflict among millennial Jews and their elders.
This article couldn’t be more wrong.
I spoke to the reporter for nearly an hour. David Eden also spoke with her several times. As you can see, we both are briefly quoted in comparison to the few students who are showcased. Information was sent refuting the alleged Harvard incident, the Swarthmore vote (including that only seven out of a 14-member student board voted “unanimously”), and the alleged Binghamton College incident (which was noted).
This article took the position that Hillel “whose core mission is to keep the next generation of Jews in the fold, says that under its auspices one thing is not open to debate: Those who reject or repudiate Israel have no place.”
Hillel has never said any such thing, and the Times knows it.
First, Hillel’s “core mission,” clearly expressed on our website and repeated to the Times reporter several times, is to build an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. We are pursuing this mission vigorously every day. More importantly, our guidelines on Israel refer explicitly to rejecting partnerships with organizations and speakers that seek to harm or destroy Israel. Nowhere does Hillel declare that any Jewish student has “no place” at Hillel, nor would I or anyone associated with Hillel International say such a thing.
As we have said many times, Hillel welcomes all students, Jewish and non-Jewish, to discuss and debate topics that are sensitive on many topics, including Israel. We welcome students who have a diverse range of political views and who may be aligned with a broad range of political organizations to talk about a wide variety of issues. We are an open, accepting, educational, humanistic organization, and any suggestion to the contrary is false and a disservice to the student and professional leaders that make Hillel such a special place on 550 campuses across five continents.
The Times reported that a “nationwide online petition in support of the Swarthmore Hillel’s rejection of [the Hillel Israel] guidelines has gathered 1,200 signatures.” It was pointed out to the reporter that there are approximately 400,000 Jewish students on American college campuses, nearly 20 million college students overall, and that a thousand or so names, many from non-students or signed “anonymous,” was not a large number. That fact was ignored. When it was pointed out that there is no groundswell of support for “Open Hillel,” it was brushed aside and not included.
Where Hillel draws the line, and what we have said consistently, as reported in the Timesand elsewhere, is that “‘anti-Zionists’ will not be permitted to speak using the Hillel name or under the Hillel roof, under any circumstances.” The Times also noted our Israel guidelines that spell out that Hillel “will not host or work with speakers or groups that deny the right of Israel to exist; “delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel”; support boycotts, divestment or sanctions against Israel; or “foster an atmosphere of incivility.”
This is hardly a policy of censorship or free speech. As Alan M. Dershowitz said to theTimes: “I don’t think this is a free-speech issue. The people who want divestment and boycotts have plenty of opportunity to speak on campus. The question is a branding one. You can see why Hillel does not want its brand to be diluted.” In 2010, Hillel developed its Israel guidelines precisely because every responsible organization needs to establish certain rules. Ours, created with a wide group of stakeholders, are appropriate and we intend to maintain them.
I was quoted correctly in the Times saying, “If we’re an organization that is committed to building Jewish identity and lifelong connections to the Jewish world and to Israel, then we certainly have to draw lines.”
We have drawn that line. We are unwavering.
Hillel will continue to reach out to all college students who have questions about Israel. Some have deeply held disagreements with Israel’s policies and still consider themselves Zionists. Others mistake their deeply held disagreements with the policies of the Israeli government as anti-Zionism, while others are swept up in the anti-Zionism of friends or faculty, or simply in the passion of being young and on campus. With all students, our professional and student leaders will work heartily to provide knowledge and build trust. But there are some who are simply not interested in any such thing. We will still welcome them as students for Shabbat dinner and other events, but we cannot and will not let them guide our programming.
Hillel loves Eretz Israel because it is part of our Jewish identity. It is our job, together with other Jewish organizations and leaders, to encourage Jewish college students to embrace this love of Jewish life, learning and Israel as part of the character and self-identities they are building while in college. We will continue to take all necessary steps to support and promote this mission.
|Drew Faust||December 24th 2013|
Academic boycotts subvert the academic freedoms and values necessary to the free flow of ideas, which is the lifeblood of the worldwide community of scholars. The recent resolution of the American Studies Association proposing to boycott Israeli universities represents a direct threat to these ideals, ideals which universities and scholarly associations should be dedicated to defend.
Drew Faust is President of Harvard University.
|Rudy Fichtenbaum and Henry Reichman||December 11th 2013|
On December 4, the American Studies Association (ASA) announced that its National Council had voted unanimously in favor of endorsing an academic boycott of Israel. The council has submitted this resolution to a vote of the association’s membership, to be completed by December 15. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which opposes academic boycotts as violations of academic freedom, is disappointed by the council’s vote and urges ASA members to reject this resolution.
The AAUP, as an organization, neither supports nor opposes Israeli government or Palestinian policies, although many of our members certainly have strong beliefs on one side or the other. As the principal and oldest organization of American college and university faculty defending academic freedom, we understand that we do not have the organizational capacity to monitor academic freedom at institutions in other countries, nor are we in a position to pick and choose which countries we, as an organization, might judge. However, the AAUP does stand in opposition to academic boycotts as a matter of principle. Our position was fully enunciated in the 2005 report On Academic Boycotts. This report established the following principles:
- In view of the Association’s long-standing commitment to the free exchange of ideas, we oppose academic boycotts.
- On the same grounds, we recommend that other academic associations oppose academic boycotts. We urge that they seek alternative means, less inimical to the principle of academic freedom, to pursue their concerns.
- We especially oppose selective academic boycotts that entail an ideological litmus test. We understand that such selective boycotts may be intended to preserve academic exchange with those more open to the views of boycott proponents, but we cannot endorse the use of political or religious views as a test of eligibility for participation in the academic community.
- The Association recognizes the right of individual faculty members or groups of academics not to cooperate with other individual faculty members or academic institutions with whom or with which they disagree. We believe, however, that when such noncooperation takes the form of a systematic academic boycott, it threatens the principles of free expression and communication on which we collectively depend.
- Consistent with our long-standing principles and practice, we consider other forms of protest, such as the adoption of resolutions of condemnation by higher education groups intended to publicize documented threats to or violations of academic freedom at offending institutions, to be entirely appropriate.
- Recognizing the existence of shared concerns, higher education groups should collaborate as fully as possible with each other to advance the interests of the entire academic community in addressing academic freedom issues. Such collaboration might include joint statements to bring to the attention of the academic community and the public at large grave threats to academic freedom.
- The Association recognizes the right of faculty members to conduct economic strikes and to urge others to support their cause. We believe, however, that in each instance, those engaged in a strike at an academic institution should seek to minimize the impact of the strike on academic freedom.
- We understand that threats to or infringements of academic freedom may occasionally seem so dire as to require compromising basic precepts of academic freedom, but we resist the argument that extraordinary circumstances should be the basis for limiting our fundamental commitment to the free exchange of ideas and their free expression.
In light of these principles the AAUP recognizes the right of individual scholars to act in accordance with their own personal consciences. No scholar should be required to participate in any academic activity that violates his or her own principles. In addition, faculty members have the right to organize for or against economic boycotts, divestment, or other forms of sanction. However, an organized academic boycott is a different matter. In seeking to punish alleged violations of academic freedom elsewhere, such boycotts threaten the academic freedom of American scholars to engage the broadest variety of viewpoints.
We encourage ASA members to read and consider carefully the arguments developed in our 2005 report. We urge ASA and those of its members who oppose Israeli policies to find other means to register their opposition.
Rudy Fichtenbaum, President, AAUP
Henry Reichman, First Vice-President and Chair, Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, AAUP Read more ..
|Itamar Marcus||November 17th 2013|
I was pleased to see Edwin Black's articles on salaries to Palestinian terrorist prisoners paid by the PA using US and other Western funding (see Financing Mideast Flames with Terrorist Salaries, Page One November 17, 2013). Palestinian Media Watch first exposed this story in 2011, and has been updating it ever since – including the debates in parliaments around the world against continued funding. The entire history of the story and impact this is having around the world can be seen on our website here: http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=1005.
Itamar Marcus is the director of Palestinian Media Watch.
Edwin Black replies: Palestinian Media Watch has been at the forefront of exposing terrorist salaries. In my book, PMW is robustly and repeatedly credited for its work both in the chapter text and its footnotes.
|Dan Riffle||September 18th 2013|
A bill that would remove all penalties for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana by adults 21 and over and allow the District to license facilities to produce and sell marijuana has been introduced in the DC Council. The bill, introduced by Councilmember David Grosso, would also impose an excise tax on wholesale and retail sales of marijuana, earmarking revenue for substance-abuse prevention, research, education, and healthcare. An April poll showed more than 60% of DC voters would approve such a law. The District, which already has a medical marijuana program with cultivation centers and dispensaries producing and distributing marijuana to authorized medical users, would become the third jurisdiction in the country to make marijuana fully legal and provide for a tightly regulated system to control production and distribution. Voters in Washington and Colorado passed initiatives establishing similar laws in November 2012, and both states are scheduled to begin accepting license applications later this fall. Marijuana prohibition has been a disastrous public policy failure. The District has the highest marijuana possession arrest rate in the country, with black residents more than eight times as likely to be arrested than whites, even with similar levels of use. Despite spending millions of dollars to make thousands of arrests and ruin countless lives, marijuana is almost universally available. It’s time for a smarter approach. By taxing and regulating marijuana we can take the lucrative market out of the hands of criminals and drug cartels and put it in the hands of tax-paying, law-abiding businesses. More importantly, we can stop arresting adults simply for using a substance less harmful than alcohol and focus our law enforcement resources on violent crimes and real threats to public safety.”
|Danny Gonzalez||September 11th 2013|
The nation’s largest pro-troop grassroots group, Move America Forward, reacts to President Obama’s prepared remarks to the American public by questioning his leadership and the consistency of his strategy. September 10, President Obama reversed himself again when he asked Congress and the American people to wait on Russia before authorizing a military strike. This is a week after he asked Congress to authorize a military strike against Assad’s regime in Syria and claiming all diplomatic efforts had been exhausted. Confusing? We thought so too. It’s confusing, it’s muddled, and it’s contradictory and incoherent. In his short speech, the President presented conflicting arguments in favor and against taking action in Syria. It was not clear which was the right course. He then concluded that we would let Russia determine our policy based on their stated control over the Assad chemical weapons stockpile. The President said in his address that Assad’s regime poses no military threat to the United States, but he still claimed there is a national security interest for the United States in Syria when he clearly stated ‘Our ideals, principles, as well as our national security is at stake in Syria.’
“Either there is a threat or there isn’t. If there is no threat, then why are we risking American lives? If there is a threat, then why is President Obama relying on Russia instead of taking care of America’s security himself. He promised no troops on the ground, but what happens if Syria responds and attacks American interests? Is he then prepared to say that we won’t respond to a direct attack? The President delivered a stumbling address that left Americans as disinterested in taking military action now as ever. The President also recognized that Al Qaeda is in Syria and working against Assad. That remains to be a major concern to many Americans who don’t feel we should be helping the same terrorist organization that engineered the tragedy of 9/11. Yet on the eve of that anniversary, President Obama asked Americans to contemplate terrorist ascendency without an explanation as to why it helps us.
|David Brog||August 22nd 2013|
Events in Egypt this week highlight yet again the tragedy facing the Christians of the Middle East. Once again, Christians are being targeted for murder. Once again Christian schools, businesses and churches are being attacked. And once again, the world is largely silent. This is a modern pogrom. The silence must end. The United States must lead. We must make it clear to the Egyptian government, the Muslim Brotherhood and the world that we will not ignore this tragedy. An important first step must be the immediate passage of H.R. 301, which would ensure that a top administration official will be focused on this issue at all times.
David Brog is executive director of Christians United for Israel, the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States and one of the leading Christian grassroots movements in the world.
|Alyza Lewin||July 24th 2013|
The recent Court of Appeals decision permits the State Department to continue its misguided policy of denying to American citizens born in Jerusalem the right that Congress gave them in 2002 – to declare on their passports that they were born in Israel. Federal government agencies have recognized in official documents and statements to the media that Jerusalem is in Israel. The State Department’s passport policy remains an isolated holdout, denying what is universally acknowledged, to the detriment of a right that a duly enacted law gives to American citizens. The majority and concurring decisions acknowledge that the constitutional issue presented by this case is significant and calls for resolution by the Supreme Court. When the case was first on the Supreme Court’s docket in 2011, the Court, on its own, asked the parties to brief and argue the constitutional question. After the legal issues were fully briefed and argued orally, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals with the Chief Justice’s observation, after he summarized the historical arguments on both sides, “To say that Zivotofsky’s claim presents issues the Judiciary is competent to resolve is not to say that reaching a decision in this case is simple.” This difficult case is now almost one decade old. We initiated it less than one year after our client was born. We will continue to press his claim in the Supreme Court and trust that the Court will agree to hear and decide the important questions presented. We hope that before Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky’s Bar Mitzvah he will be able to bear a passport that recognizes his birthplace as “Israel.”
|David Langum||July 12th 2013|
In 2008 the publisher Random House self-censored for political reasons by refusing to publish Sherry Jones’s The Jewell of Medina, even though it had thoroughly vetted the manuscript and paid a substantial advance. The reason was political: the book might offend some in the Muslim community. Five years later it has committed the same offensive act by backing out of the publication of the latest cookbooks of Paula Deen, the Southern food maven.
A few weeks ago Paula Deen admitted in a deposition that thirty years ago she had used the infamous n-word. Immediately, the political correctness crowd denounced her. Business after business tossed red meat to this mob while it undulated in a frenzied dance, chanting “She used the n-word! She used the n-word!” The cable company that carried her cooking show dropped her, as did many retailers who carried her products or were her sponsors, such as Sears, J.C. Penny, Walgreen, Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot. It would seem that this constituted vastly disproportionate punishment for a one time use of the n-word thirty years ago. Yet it really did not touch upon the work of our foundation until late June when Random House determined to yank the publication of her latest cookbook, Paula Deen’s New Testament, scheduled for October 2013 as well as four additional books for which she was under contract. Her book was running very high in advance sales; indeed, it was the number one seller on the Amazon list of advance sales and continued so well after the n-word revelation. We cannot pretend that it was a fear of economic backlash that motivated Random House. It was simply a political decision to appease a particular mob and an act of cowardly self-censorship. This represents a threat to all literature, not merely cookbooks. Back in 2008 we imposed a boycott on Random House for consideration of their books for our prizes until The Jewel of Medina was published by a different publisher. Our action received a lot of notice, both of praise and criticism, but the only critique that made sense to us was that it might be unfair to authors whose books were already in the process of publication by Random House. So today we announce a two-year boycott on all imprints of Random House/Penguin for consideration for our prizes, but to take effect prospectively, on July 1, 2014, all books published prior to that date remaining eligible.
|Victoria Parker||June 5th 2013|
While those at the IRS are participating in line dancing, graffiti lessons, and 200-plus conferences in two years to the tune of $50 million on our hard-earned tax dollars..., yesterday, my 83 year old mother...who lives alone in a city far from me...drove herself down to the local IRS office in Tallahassee, Florida at 8:30 a.m. attempting to learn why she has not received her overdue income tax refund. She filed her income tax months ago and has heard nothing. Upon arriving at the IRS office at 8:30 a.m., there was a line out the door of people waiting...who had been there waiting since 7:30 a.m. She was told she could not come inside as only 6 people were allowed inside at a time because they only had 6 chairs inside. All others had to wait outside...no seats...standing in the Florida heat. All this while there was ONE...I repeat--ONE IRS representative behind the counter to help everyone in that long line. Well, my 83 year old mother waited for TWO long, hot, difficult hours...sometimes sitting on the floor because it is difficult for her to stand for any period of time...until she couldn't endure it any more. After two hours, she then gave up (unable to endure such a wait at her age), got in her car and drove home.
I would like those at the IRS to know that my 83-year-old mother, like many Americans today, struggles from month to month to care for herself on a fixed income. While you IRS employees are dancing and partying in fancy hotels, some months she cannot afford to pay her electric bill, buy her much-needed medications, or even go see a doctor when necessary because she cannot afford to pay the copay. If she has to pay the copay, then she cannot eat. She eats potatoes for days and days, and tells no one...suffering this in silence as she tries to remain independent. She counts on that IRS income tax refund to "catch up" on unpaid bills or necessities she has refused to allow herself throughout the year...she counts the days and hours for that refund to arrive...checking her mailbox anxiously every day. I assure you, she is not alone in this situation. How many Americans have lost their homes, are living in their cars or with relatives or under bridges...while these IRS employees and our government that supports them....dance and party wasting our tax dollars. I'm so disgusted I can barely write this. Heads should roll. This agency needs to be gutted and reformed immediately. In fact, the entire tax code needs reform and simplification.
I'm terrified that these are the same people who will now be placed in charge of our health care. What is going to happen to us? What can simple citizens do?
|Abraham H. Foxman||May 13th 2013|
New York City
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is expressing shock and outrage at the decision by the Newseum to proceed with honoring two members of the Hamas terrorist propaganda television operation Al-Aqsa TV as part of its ongoing memorial to journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2012. Despite vocal public criticism of the decision last week, Newseum officials have said they will go ahead with including the terrorist operatives in its annual ceremony honoring fallen journalists. ADL says the inclusion of Hussam Salama and Mahmoud Al-Kumi in the Newseum Journalists Memorial is "a dark day for an American institution devoted to free speech and the First Amendment." Salama and Al-Kumi were members of Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State. Salama and Al-Kumi were terrorist operatives working for a network that routinely promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence. These men were working for a propaganda outlet, not a legitimate news organization." ADL urges the Newseum to reconsider the decision and remove the names of Al-Kumi and Salama from the roster of the Journalists Memorial before they are officially added to the permanent memorial scheduled to be unveiled on Monday.
|Danny Gonzalez||April 27th 2013|
The Nation’s largest grassroots pro-troop organization Move America Forward has asked President Obama in an open letter to classify the terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a military combatant in order to allow interrogators more time to determine if he has links to Al-Qaeda or other organized terrorist groups. President Obama currently has the ability to interrupt the legal proceedings and allow investigators to interrogate Dzhokhar as an “Enemy Combatant”, which is now necessary because he has stopped cooperating with investigators immediately after being read his Miranda Rights. MAF spokesperson and Gold-Star Mother Debbie Lee, whose son was the first Navy SEAL to be killed in the war in Iraq, sent the letter to President Obama at the White House, stressing that the issue hits home for millions of American who have been affected by the War on Terror and atrocities committed by terrorists against American citizens. “My son Marc gave his life in Iraq to protect this country from men like Tsarnaev who wanted to kill Americans. President Obama, we must not pass up an opportunity to interrogate terrorist suspects in our custody to determine if they have links to Al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups. Tsarnaev could still have vital information that might save lives. If he has information, we must stop at nothing to get it. We owe that to every American who has lost a son or daughter in the War on Terror or a terrorist attack.” said Lee.
The agenda being promoted by the people in the streets would do nothing to remedy a broken system. It would do nothing to ensure that our immigration laws are enforced in the future and that newly amnestied illegal aliens are not replaced by a new wave of illegal immigrants. It would do nothing to repair our bloated legal immigration system that admits excessive numbers of people without regard to their likelihood of succeeding in the United States. The American people witnessed the spectacle of lawbreakers taking to the streets demanding amnesty and other rewards before. After similar marches in 2006 and 2007, the American people overwhelmingly rejected amnesty disguised as immigration reform. Americans continue to reject amnesty as an answer to illegal immigration. They recognize that with high levels of unemployment and more people dropping out of the labor force than jobs being created, amnesty and the admission of still more foreign workers would deliver a lethal blow to the middle class. They understand that with federal deficits exceeding a trillion dollars annually, legalizing millions of poorly-skilled illegal aliens would be fiscally irresponsible. Illegal aliens and their supporters are poised to make a lot of noise, but as we have seen in the past, the American people will make their voices heard as legislation makes its way through Congress.
|Joseph K. Grieboski||April 3rd 2013|
North Carolina's recent bill to establish an official state religion is in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution and the 14th Amendment. The bill filed by North Carolina's state legislature on Monday states that the United States Constitution does not restrict states from making laws respecting an establishment of religion and furthermore asserts that North Carolina's General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings that would restrict their ability to make laws concerning establishment of religion. Not only is North Carolina's declaration that states are exempt from rulings of the United States Constitution and federal courts directly contradictory to the Constitution, but their attempt to establish an official state religion specifically violates the 14th Amendment which says that states cannot 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' Religious freedom must be protected for all. To establish a state religion is to give unfair and unequal privilege to members of one faith under the law which is in violation of every American's Constitutional rights to equal protection and free exercise of religion.
|Abraham H. Foxman||March 22nd 2013|
New York City
We applaud the restoration of relations between Israel and Turkey, two of America’s most reliable allies in the region. The long friendship and mutual cooperation between Israel and Turkey has been beneficial for both countries and an important model for partnership between Muslim nations in the region and Israel. Full diplomatic relations at this time of increased regional instability will serve the interests of both and contribute to international efforts to address the many challenges ahead. We express our appreciation to those who have been working to make today’s development happen, including the direct facilitation of President Obama.
|Danny Gonzalez||March 6th 2013|
Move America Forward, the nation’s largest grassroots pro-troop organization has publicly called a sitting U.S. Congressman ‘shameful’ after Representative Jose E. Serrano (D-NY) praised the late Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez on the day his death was announced by the government of Venezuela. “Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless. R.I.P. Mr. President.” read, Rep. Serrano’s tweet, now famous on twitter. It is an outrage and shameful that a sitting U.S. Congressman would praise a foreign dictator like Hugo Chavez. Far from being a champion of freedom, Chavez was the chief progenitor of suffering and misery for millions of Venezuelans. Chavez was a dictator who tried to take over the country by force of a coup before he ever considered using the democratic process. As dictator, Chavez stole wealth from those who produced it, creating egalitarianism in Venezuela by reducing everyone to poverty and squandering the country’s oil resources. Chavez nationalized every sector of the economy, crushing private industry and driving out entrepreneurs. Most insulting of all, Chavez openly hated the United States and opposed any effort to spread freedom, democracy and free markets to Latin America. He was cozy with other anti-American dictators like Castro and Ahmadinejad. For Representative Serrano to praise a leader like Chavez is irresponsible and embarrassing to the citizens of New York he represents.” concluded Gonzalez.
The Times relentlessly criticized Bush on what it refers to as torture. Operating the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. And water boarding. Now water boarding may be unpleasant but no one dies or is injured. It's not torture. If it were then there should be criminal charges rising from the 25,000 U.S. servicemen and women who've been water boarded as part of their POW training. Since the 9/11 attacks, the New York Times has published about 200 articles, editorials and letters attacking Bush over torture. It's a different story regarding Obama and drone strikes that have killed thousands of suspected terrorists and civilians. Obama personally approves many drone strikes - including those that killed three Americans -- one a teenage boy. Hundreds of innocent civilians -- including women and children -- killed in drone strikes are considered collateral damage. In contrast to the 200 stories on Bush, the New York Times published less than a dozen on Obama. And some offered favorable coverage.
|William Gheen||February 28th 2013|
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC's spokesman is accusing the Obama administration of engaging in a form of threats by unlawfully releasing 10,000 illegal immigrants
from detention centers, threatening to facilitate a new mass influx of illegal aliens, while at the same time demanding more money and power and amnesty for illegals. The White House is making the spurious claim that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released the illegal immigrant prisoners without authorization from the President. This tactic is the same the White House used as a defense in the Fast and Furious gun walking scandal. The fact that US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham just emerged smiling from a closed door meeting with Obama
regarding immigration reform amnesty on the backdrop of these threats shows an agenda in motion. McCain and Graham are thumbing their noses at a new Reuters poll showing 70% of Republicans, and a majority of all Americans, want illegal immigrants deported instead of being allowed to stay in America. The Obama administration is telling Congress and the American public that if we do not give them more money, power, and amnesty for illegals that they will release more illegal immigrants upon our communities and signal more to enter the US through our undefended borders. Since his words and deeds will clearly lead to loss of American lives, property, jobs, and security, his administration is engaging in a form of terroristic threats. If Americans and Congress back down to these kinds of threats and abuses this time, they will get worse and more damaging in the future.
|Kumar Barve||February 24th 2013|
The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 (House Bill 226) was brought to the House floor for a vote yesterday, February 22. I am happy to report the bill passed by a vote of 86 to 48. With passage in the Senate as well, the Wind Energy Act promotes the development of a wind farm 10 to 30 miles off the coast of Ocean City. This legislation addresses the concern of cost to consumers by placing a cap of costs to individuals ($1.50 per month), as well as commerical and industrial customers (1.5%). Wind energy is a clean and sustainable energy alternative to coal and gas, that reduces greenhouse emissions. In addition, wind energy will boost Maryland's economy by creating jobs. The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 is a sensible step to develop new energy technologies while helping our state's economy.
|Abraham H. Foxman||January 25th 2013|
ADL is committed to reducing the prevalence of anti-Semitic and other hate speech on the Internet. With respect to the circumstances surrounding the French court order to Twitter demanding the identification of the person who posted anti-Semitic content on that service, we welcomed Twitter’s removal of the anti-Semitic content at issue last October. Prompt response by social media platforms to concerns over hate content is critical to reducing the prevalence of online hate. The important thing is that the content is no longer there to harass and intimidate victims, to incite potential violence against innocent people, and to suggest to uninformed readers that such repugnant views are acceptable. We encourage Twitter and other social media companies to continue to exercise their right and obligation to protect readers from harmful, hateful content. We also encourage them to recognize that the posters of such content hide behind the anonymity afforded to anti-Semitic and other hate-filled, harassing, intimidating and potentially violence-provoking posts and are emboldened to continue to use social media platforms to spread their ugly messages. Whether the French court order can or should be enforced in the United States gives rise to complicated issues of French legal interests versus American legal interests. While the law may be one tool in the fight against online hate, we believe that the best antidote to hate speech is counter-speech which exposes its deceitful, false content and promotes the values of respect and civility. While the purveyors of online hate are free to express their odious views, they should not hide behind the mask of anonymity afforded to them by the internet and the companies whose platforms they use.
Abraham H. Foxman is National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.
|Lenore Sturgis||January 21st 2013|
I take the position that Barnes and Noble has done more to kill quality bookselling in our country than any other company. Like many in the Bay Area and beyond, I witnessed what Barnes did to the independents that tried to survive. It ran them out of business with predatory locations and operations and predatory pricing. The company has been arrogant through and through. It snubbed local authors and never stocked the books I wanted to read. I no longer go in to the store nearest me. What better justice than to have this bad company disappear from the American landscape. Once it does, independents will slowly come back. The book business will be better without Barnes and Nobles.
|Deb Szora||January 17th 2013|
I think the Barnes and Noble Nook is destined to same doom as the stores that I have been reading about. My cousin has a book recently senht up to both Nook and Kindle. She just told me me this report: In the first two weeks of January, she sold 41 Kindles and only 3 Nook copies. Sounds like a few people received Nooks for Christmas, and then gave up. She also told me the Kindle production site is easy to use--and the Nook site is a nightmare.
|Trevor Liske||January 16th 2013|
On the issue of BN's survivability...consider this. I recently called my campus Barnes & Noble and asked if I could order a book...not a course book, but a regular well-known book. The store clerk, after checking, said, "It is our policy not to order any books unless they are required for courses." That would include Harry Potter and Gone With the Wind. At this point, I suggested to the clerk that it might be a means of delaying bankruptcy if B&N would actually order a book that was not on its book shelf--you know, act like a book store. He laughed and agreed. I rest my case. If B&N is too stupid to order Harry Potter, how long can you expect this company to remain in business?
|Tammy Morris||January 13th 2013|
Your coverage of the Barnes and Noble implosion as reported in your publication and elsewhere in the business and tech media is clearly spot on. I have witnessed the shelf space disappear in my own Barnes, particularly on Civil War books. These shelves--and others--formerly given to good books have been transformed into displays for teddy bears, calendars, and cutesy journals--none of which I go to a bookstore for. I have lived through the destruction of the independent bookstore world because of the bullying tactics of Barnes and Borders. As soon as Barnes and follows Borders into bankruptcy, I can only imagine that our nation will be left with no bookstores where one can browse and discovery literary works. Shame on Barnes for what they have done and what they are doing.
|Mort Zuckerman||January 7th 2013|
Over the weekend, President Barack Obama nominated former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to be his next Secretary of Defense in succession to Leon Panetta. Chuck Hagel’s record is one of being a frightening and dangerous apologist for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah, as well as for the Iranian terrorist regime, while being arguably one of the most vicious and hostile critics of Israel. The ZOA believes that appointing Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary would also serve to confirm the fears that many have that President Obama is no friend of Israel and is not serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear program.
In 2009, Hagel signed a letter urging President Obama to begin direct negotiations with Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist group committed in its Charter to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, a position President Obama has not taken up. In 2008, Hagel was “solely responsible” for blocking an Iran sanctions bill (Seth Colter Walls, ‘Dems Blame Senate GOP For Blocking Iran Sanctions Bill,’ Huffington Post, March 10, 2008). In a 2006 interview with former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller, Hagel said that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill (‘Hagel named to intelligence board,’ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 29, 2009). In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to formally call upon the European Union to designate as a terrorist organization Hizballah, which in 1983 murdered 242 U.S. marines in Beirut ('NJDC Criticizes Senators for Refusing to Call on EU to add Hezbollah to List of Terrorist Organizations,' National Jewish Democratic Council press release, August 7, 2006). In July 2006, at the outbreak of the Lebanon war, Hagel argued against giving Israel the time to break Hizballah, urging instead an immediate ceasefire (‘Key Republican breaks with Bush on Mideast,’ CNN.com, July 31, 2006). December 2005: Hagel was one of only 27 senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush urging him to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA) to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections. June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran's nuclear program at the G-8 summit and was one of only two senators in to vote against renewal of the Libya-Iran sanctions act. In November 2001: Hagel was one of only 11 senators who refused to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yasser Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel. In July 2001, Hagel was one of only two senators to vote against extending the original Iranian sanctions bill. October 2000: Hagel was one of only four senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.
|Abraham H. Foxman||January 4th 2013|
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has ongoing concerns about the pan-Arab satellite network Al Jazeera, which it says has “a troubling record” of providing a platform to all manner of virulent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic extremists and of serving as a propaganda tool against the State of Israel, particularly in its Arabic-language broadcasts. While it is true that Al Jazeera has toned down its anti-Israel propaganda in the network’s English broadcasts, the Arabic-language channel’s content “continues to be of great concern.” The League voices these concerns following the Qatar-based network’s acquisition of Current TV in a deal which will provide unprecedented access for the network’s English-language programming to a potential audience of millions of viewers in the United States. Al Jazeera, whose major broadcast focus is in the Arab world, has a troubling record and history that is very disturbing, particularly in its Arabic language broadcasts. It has exploited and exaggerated the Arab-Israel conflict in a heavy-handed and propagandistic manner, and always at the expense of Israel, while giving all manner of virulent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic extremists access to its airwaves. However, in its English version lately Al Jazeera has toned down its anti-Israel propaganda. Yet it continues to be of great concern. We will be watching and monitoring the broadcasts as they become available to a much wider audience in the United States.
West Bloomfield, MI
I recently read a headline: “SYRIA -Islamist Rebel Faction Captures Base in Aleppo”. It mentions, “Syrian warplanes blasted a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus”. My questions are: where are the Palestinian Arab refugees from, why are they “refugees” and who is supporting them?
The answers are: The Palestinian Arabs left their homes in 1947-1948 because The Arab National Committee in Jerusalem, on March 8, 1948 ordered women, children and the elderly to leave their homes: “Any opposition to this order...is an obstacle to the holy war...and will hamper the operations of the fighters in these districts” (Morris, Middle Eastern Studies, January 1986). “The invading Arab armies also occasionally ordered whole villages to depart, so as not to be in their way” see “The Birth Of The Palestinian Refugee Problem ” Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 592).
Had the Arabs accepted the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, not a single Palestinian Arab would have become a “refugee” and an independent Arab state would now exist beside Israel.
UNRWA the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees was established by United Nations (GA Resolution 302 December 8, 1949), to carry out direct relief and works programs for “Palestinian Refugees”. The Agency began operations on May 1, 1950. UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees - four generations of Palestine refugees. No other group, ever, has been especially selected for this perpetual hostage taking by their totalitarian leaders to be used as propaganda tools and fodder for hate and incitement against the West and Israel. Through 2011 UNRWA has doled out $4,119,000,000 (mostly US tax dollars) specifically to the Palestinian Arabs in the derelict UNRWA camps in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West bank. Of all the displaced people since 1947; India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Eastern Europe, Africa, the 800,000 Jews displaced from Arab lands – only the Palestinian Arabs remain “refugees” under UNRWA’s handouts.
Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R-IL), amendment to the State Department Authorization Bill for 2013 requires the Administration give a count for the number of refugees serviced by UNRWA who were actually alive at the time of Israel’s independence, and who qualify for the widely accepted definition of a refugee used in all other conflicts around the world. It is estimated that of the 5 million Palestinian Arabs receiving benefits from UNRWA, as few as 30,000 would meet the normative definition of a refugee used by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the amendment.
|Tracey Limmon-Fine||December 31st 2012|
The men and women of India should know that all those in America who have learned of the monstrous gang rape of the a young woman on a New Dehli bus mourn with the Indian nation. This is an unspeakable act. In an era of massacres at Newtown, and at movie theatres in the USA, it seems evil dwells everywhere--and must be confronted.
|Rev Dr. Joseph D'souza, Rev Dr G Samuel, and John Dayal||December 30th 2012|
The All India Council has stated that the Christian community hangs its head in grief and shame as India loses yet another Braveheart girl to sexual violence. It offers prayers for the family members of the victim who has passed away. It demands immediate punishment under law for those who carried out the crime. In recent years the nation has watched with horror the growing crimes against women and girls and the sad comment by the UN that India is one of the most unsafe countries in the world for women and girls. There is not a single day now in India where there is no report in the Indian newspapers of some sexual crime occurring against women. The rape of Dalit and tribal women is common place. Rape of girls within extended families is widely reported. Those who prey on minor girls roam free in the land. We have yet to see justice for countless victims of rape including those who were gang raped in Gujarat in the communal violence and those who were gang raped in Kandhamal in Orissa. For too long we have allowed a culture that targets our young girls under flimsy excuses of them following some outside culture, dress code and fashion. Any element of society that targets the way our women dress, appear and carry themselves should be condemned and brought under the law'. We cal upon the national government to immediately institute a national registry for all sexual offenders. Sexual offenders have a pattern and history and turn out to be habitual. We cal upon the Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister, Mr Kiran Reddy to take the lead and begin a registry for such sexual offenders and to immediately act on complaints filed by victims. This menace of violence against women will not end unless there is a complete change of mindset in the culture towards women. A culture that allows degradation of human beings will not be able to effectively fight this menace, said the All India Christian Council.
The writers represent the All India Christian Council, Rev Dr. Joseph D'souza president, Rev Dr G Samuel, vice president, and Dr. John Dayal, secretary general.
|Timothy Shane||December 24th 2012|
Seeing the Washington customer frustrated with Staples for flubbing their computer repair (see Staples Computer Tech Support Becomes Flop Squad--Leaves Customers Stranded and Stapled
, Action Line November 30, 2012), I was reminded of my own company's aggravation with this horrid company. Staples employs a now well-practiced trick to wear you down and reject your claim. Part One: delay responding to your complaint by weeks and then months. Part Two: after you get all intense, the company finally replies that your complaint is too old to act on. Now that is being Stapled.
|Carl Staunton||December 9th 2012|
I find it hard to believe that a Washington company with any savvy whatsoever could possibly trust Staples for computer or other tech support (see Staples Computer Tech Support Becomes Flop Squad--Leaves Customers Stranded and Stapled
, Action Line November 30, 2012). Staples should never be trusted for anything more complex than stocking file folders, pencils, and cartons of cheap too-thin paper. Its store people are confused. Its customer service is atrocious. I am amazed this company has not yet shuttered its doors out of sheer incompetence.
|Rolene Marks||December 6th 2012|
Please permit me a moment of your time to express our collective dismay and disappointment at your decision to cancel your scheduled performance for an IDF (Israel Defense Force) fundraiser. I understand it was with a “heavy heart” that you cancelled and that it was recommended by the UN because you are “a messenger of peace”. Herein lies my confusion. You have been the voice of a generation, you once sang with so much conviction That’s What Friends Are For and that Ebony and Ivory could live together in perfect harmony. You campaigned vociferously to make Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a national holiday in the US. He was one of the greatest supporters of Zionism and the rights of the Jewish people to call Israel home. You were a champion of the civil rights movement and used your voice effectively to help end the heinous system of Apartheid in South Africa, my country of origin. You proved with Ghandi-esque effect how peaceful protest could bring about great changes and you have proclaimed time and again that you are “against war, any war”.
Well Mr Wonder, we here in Israel are also against war. The fundraiser which you have pulled out of follows a month where once again, Israeli citizens faced a barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza based terrorists. This time, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were not spared. Hamas showed us their intentions without compunction for the civilians under threat. And once again the visuals of buses blown up permeated our psyche. The hideous twist of metal post explosion is all too familiar. Mr Wonder, we could do with a messenger of peace. Sadly you have fallen prey to the anti-Israel lobby who disguise their hatred with concern for human rights. Odious accusations of Apartheid are not only libelous and fiction but greatly insult and diminish the suffering of the real victims of Apartheid. The anti-Israel lobby bully and intimidate with their petitions and accusations but fall silent on Palestinian incitement against Jews. No Mr Wonder, you may not hear “I just called to say I love you” on Palestinian radio or see the video for “My Cherie Amour” on Palestinian television, instead your fans in Gaza may be treated to songs about how much they would love to slaughter the Jews or become a martyr for Jihad. Hardly Billboard 100 material!
Mr Wonder, I would implore you, as a messenger of ambassador of peace, the next time (should there be one) you are invited to perform at a Pro-Israel fundraiser, please remember that peace is not a solo effort but rather an ensemble that requires dialogue from both sides. Please use your considerable voice and celebrity to advocate for positive change.
Consider this Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
|Debra Schoen-Rein||December 5th 2012|
Your earlier writer had it right. The company that contracted with Staples for computer support (see Staples Computer Tech Support Becomes Flop Squad--Leaves Customers Stranded and Stapled
, Action Line November 30, 2012) must have been nuts. That would be like calling the Three Stooges for serious drama lessons. My company tried them on a printer and it was a nightmare of polite apologies and never-ending delays. I learned my lesson and I think the Washington company in question learned theirs.
|Wallace Santiago||December 4th 2012|
I could not help but laugh at the recent Action Line about the DC company that was dumb enough and naive enough to trust Staples with computer repair (see Staples Computer Tech Support Becomes Flop Squad--Leaves Customers Stranded and Stapled
, Action Line November 30, 2012). Of course he or she got stapled. Why would anyone expect reliability from this company. If they can't deliver their supplies correctly, why would they deliver service correctly to the same address. I blame the customer. You don't ask a barber to do brain surgery.
|Joe Grieboski||December 3rd 2012|
According to recent reports, over one hundred Ahmadiyya gravestones were vandalized early this morning in Lahore, located in Pakistan's Punjab province. In a press release issued by Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, 12 to 15 people, several who brandished weapons, beat the cemetery's night watchman before desecrating 120 graves at approximately 3:00 AM on Monday, 3 December. Twenty guests and family members of the cemetery caretaker and security guard were locked up during the attack. It has been reported by witnesses that the attackers said they were members of "a banned organization and the Taliban". As of Monday afternoon, no action has been taken by Pakistani police to bring those behind the violence to justice. Ahmadi Muslims represent approximately 0.2 percent of Pakistan's population, but they are not recognized as "Muslims" by Pakistani law. In 2010, Anti-Ahmadi militants carried out coordinated attacks on Ahmadi mosques, killing 93 people and injuring many more. The number of attacks on Ahmadis continues to steadily rise, and Ahmadis live in constant fear of being violated for their beliefs. The Institute on Religion and Public Policy condemns the continued persecution of Ahmadis and calls upon the government of Pakistan to take immediate action to bring the individuals behind the recent attacks to justice.
|Meir Indor||November 22nd 2012|
You can't argue with success. Hillary Clinton took the winning side with her assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood is becoming a central player in the region: “Egypt’s new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace.” She continued by expounding the American angle on the violence emanating from Gaza: “the United States will work [to] improve conditions for the people of Gaza.” Clinton ended the joint American-Egyptian production in Cairo with a promise that should worry Israel: “Now that there is a ceasefire (with the Islamic terrorist group Hamas), I am looking forward to working with the Foreign Minister and others to move this process.” This is to say: from now on the Muslim Brotherhood is to be involved in political developments in Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”), in the spirit of the Islamic Spring that the Americans helped bring to the region.
|Miguel Reyes||October 23rd 2012|
The truth is out showing I think conclusively that our president Barack Obama was more concerned with pretending that Libya was a success story to focus on the threat. What a fantasy. Our men in Benghazi were massacred. No one in Washington would respond to their cries in advance for sanity and help when everything went to flames. This is Obama's fault and I think voters will express themselves. I never thought I would vote for a Republican. But I will in November.
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