Posted by Susan Freudenheim
Following up on our interview with R. Hakan Tekin, Turkey’s consul general in Los Angeles, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called to let us know that last week he’d called the Turkish consul with the sole purpose of letting him know that the Wiesenthal Center would be issuing a travel advisory with regards to Turkey in the wake of the Flotilla Conference. This is the text of the Wiesenthal advisory:
SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER ISSUES TRAVEL ADVISORY TO TURKEY
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is issuing a travel advisory urging its 400,000 constituent families and the Jewish community to defer any non-essential travel to Turkey.
For 500 years, Jews have found a safe haven in Turkey, but the unprecedented campaign of escalating rhetoric demonizing the people of Israel emanating from official circles and elements of the media has created an unprecedented toxic environment which has spread fear among Turkish Jews and raises profound concerns for their safety and the safety of any Jew visiting the country,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Center.
“We will review our advisory in three months or when events warrant,” Cooper concluded.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center previously issued travel warnings to France and Belgium in 2003 following a spate of anti-Jewish hate crimes and in 2009 to Dubai after an Israeli athlete was barred from a tennis tournament.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).
For more information, please contact the Center’s Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.
6.23.10 at 2:39 pm | The Simon Wiesenthal Center is issuing a travel. . .
6.17.10 at 6:49 pm | One day every month, from sunrise to sunset,. . .
6.14.10 at 3:18 pm | Criticizing the Western media’s pushing of a. . .
6.10.10 at 2:07 pm | A mass email, circulating, infuriating and. . .
6.8.10 at 3:02 pm | Within a hand full of days after the. . .
6.8.10 at 1:10 pm | Some people know about books. Some know about. . .
6.4.10 at 2:43 pm | (1)
June 17, 2010 | 6:49 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
One day every month, from sunrise to sunset, members of Ta’anit Tzedek—Jewish Fast for Gaza, a self described “ad-hoc” initiative of over 100 rabbis and other faith leaders from all over the U.S., go on a political diet. They fast, refraining from eating or drinking anything except water, to raise awareness about Israel’s blockade of Gaza, a blockade they consider unjust.
“As Jews and people of conscience, we can no longer stand idly by Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” says a message on fastforgaza.net, the group’s website.
Local rabbinical supporters of Jewish Fast for Gaza include Rabbi Leonard Beerman of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles and Rabbi Steven Jacobs, rabbi emeritus of Temple Kol Tikvah in the San Fernando Valley.
The group fasts on the third Thursday of each month, and so the group’s members fasted today on Thursday, June 17. The first fast took place almost one year ago, on July 16, 2009.
Following the Israeli navy’s recent deadly raid of the Mavi Marmara, Rabbi Brant Rosen, the Illinois-based project coordinator at Jewish Fast for Gaza, criticized Israel’s handling of the flotilla and the country’s maritime blockade of Gaza.
We “call upon the government of Israel to turn away from the policies of occupation, siege and indifference to international law,” Rosen wrote in a blog post on the group’s site.
According to the website, the Jewish Fast for Gaza operates with four main goals in mind:
1. To call for a lifting of the blockade that prevents the entry of civilian goods and services into Gaza;
2. To provide humanitarian and developmental aid to the people of Gaza;
3. To call upon Israel, the US, and the international community to engage in negotiations without pre-conditions with all relevant Palestinian parties - including Hamas - in order to end the blockade;
4. To encourage the American government to vigorously engage both Israelis and Palestinians toward a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict.
The group’s next fast is scheduled for July 15, 2010.
June 14, 2010 | 3:18 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
Criticizing the Western media’s pushing of a narrative that depicts the Palestinians as victims in the conflict with Israel, David Kupelian, managing editor of WorldNetDaily, said “The whole Palestinian cause is a piece of street theater.”
Kupelian made his view known during a Sunday, June 13 discussion panel on “Open Season on Israel: What Role Has the Media Played in Exacerbating the Middle East Conflict?”
The politically right-leaning WorldNetDaily, the independent online newspaper that Kupelian edits, features opinion articles by former “Walker, Texas Ranger” television and martial arts star Chuck Norris and Jerusalem-based reporting by Aaron Klein, author of “Schmoozing With Terrorists,” in which Klein interviews alleged terrorists.
Sunday’s panel on Israel, part of the American Freedom Alliance’s (AFA) international conference “Is the (Real) News Dead?” also featured journalist Joel Mowbray; Dutch writer Leon De Winter and UC Irvine instructor Roberta Seid. Seid also works as the education and research director for StandWithUs, a staunchly pro-Israel organization.
Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, moderated the panel. Rothstein spoke on what she viewed as the irresponsibility of American media’s reporting of tragic deaths back in 2001, that of an American-Israeli teenager and his friend by the hands of Palestinian militants. The AFA conference organizers also played little-seen news footage of the events leading up to the recent and deadly Gaza-bound flotilla, with crowds in Turkey gathering at the docks and seeing the ships off.
200 people attended the two-day conference, which was held at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. Approximately 50 people sat in the audience during the session with Kupelian.
Other sessions on Sunday included “The Collapse of the Major Dailies – Did They Have it Coming?” and “Who are the New Media Moguls? (Who Will Control the News?).
June 10, 2010 | 2:07 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
A mass email, circulating, infuriating and misleading, says a luxury cruise ship of the British-American owned Princess line cancelled a scheduled stop on June 2 at Ashdot, a port in Israel, in protest of the Israeli navy’s deadly raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla, which occurred only days earlier.
The email says, “Princess is now bowing to pressure and boycotting Israel” and asks recipients to “please pass this on to all Jewish Americans in order to let them know that there are alternatives to Princess.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) posted a statement on their website, however, saying, “this rumor is false.” According to the ADL, “security reasons” prevented the cruise from docking in Ashdod and the same ship “stopped at Haifa as scheduled.”
Princess Cruise lines is a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, whose CEO is Mickey Arison, an Israeli-American.
June 8, 2010 | 3:02 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
By Daryl Temkin, Ph.D
Within a hand full of days after the international anti-Israel media blitz, the Los Angeles pro-Israel community got the word out to hundreds of synagogues, churches, Jewish organizations and political leaders to come to the steps of the Israel Consulate and show support for Israel.
The rally featured a line up of speaker’s who are the staunch “fighters” for Israel’s truth and existential presence. This last decade has seen countless concentrated attempts to defame and destroy Israel’s name and right for self preservation. Even Israel’s long time supportive friends have been weakening and in some cases have joined the opposition. Recent polls show that only 34% of Democrats and their elected representative are willing to actively support Israel.
Because the Jews are a shrinking group, the Israel rally organizers encouraged wide participation of the Evangelical Christians who are the new backbone for Israel support. Some non-traditional Jews have felt uncomfortable with the Christian support for Israel due to select political issues and Christian theology. However, organizations like Peace Now have been clearly and virulently against this body of Christian support.
The rally was a grand success except for one surprising and perhaps even shocking glitch.
Within the extensive line up of Los Angeles’ most supportive personalities for Israel, someone among the rally organizers decided it would be a “smart” idea to place David Pines, the Peace Now director address the crowd.
In the name of unity, the Jews and Christians of Los Angeles were expected to be polite and listen to the organization which leads the anti-Evangelical protest and has done the most outlandish efforts to feed anti-Israel hate to the international media, defame Israel and the IDF, supports the cause to teach Israeli teenagers to dodge the IDF draft and not serve beyond the 1949 lines, have diligently worked to defame and discredit the 600,000 Israelis living in post 1967 Israeli borders and are responsible for promoting anti-Israel and anti-settler propaganda which has likely inspired deadly attacks upon many Israeli lives. In addition, Peace Now was caught red handed being financed by anti-Israel foreign governments and they have been alleged to reveal Israeli military strategies, yet alone their support for those who disrupt the IDF soldiers who are tasked with maintaining checkpoints to defend the citizens of Israel.
This rally was to stand in support of Israel and its right to blockade Gaza form receiving weapons to kill Israelis in the name of humanitarian aid.
However, David Pines couldn’t say anything like, “This is a time of unity. I and Peace Now stand with the IDF and the brave soldiers who risked their lives to protect Israeli citizens from those who are bent on destroying us and delegitimizing our right to exist!”
Peace Now stands for the opposite and this rally was not about the opposite.
Peace Now says Israel has no right to blockade Gaza? Peace Now does not support the IDF that stopped the flotilla. Peace Now does not support the IDF’s right to prevent missiles and contraband from arriving at the Gaza shores?
All that this rally was about is counter to Peace Now’s agenda. Furthermore, in the last months, the government of Israel has been dealing with declaring Peace Now an illegal and fraudulent organization. Yet, someone from the Federation felt that they should be honored with speaking at this rally? Perhaps in the name of Jewish unity Neturi Karta and Jews for Jesus should also be honored with speeches?
The boos and jeers of virtually the entire rally audience did not even awaken the rally MC to limit Peach Now director’s speaking time. While all other speakers were pressured to condense their words, Peace Now droned on to condemn Israel’s occupation and use of force.
This decision was an embarrassment to the rally organizers, to our pro-Israel community and to the many Christian guests who have been only ridiculed and disparaged by Peace Now messaging.
The crowds’ negative response to David Pines represented the disrespect and lack of awareness that the rally organizer who insisted that Peace Now be honored displayed to the attendees and to the rally’s subject matter.
This was a most absurd decision which requires an explanation and an apology. An apology is due to our Christian supporters as well as to the
pro-Israel supporters. This was an inappropriate time to glorify and honor the Peace Now platform which has been experienced by most of the
rally attendees as a stab in the heart to Israel and its soldiers. Recovering from the harm and bad taste left by that decision will require an additional community effort which will hopefully not be neglected or avoided.
Daryl Temkin, Ph.D.,is Founder of the Israel Institute for Alternative Energy Advancement and Innovations Consulting
Thanks for your comments. The rally was a demonstration of support for Israel from ALL L.A communities: Jews, Christians, Latinos, Afro- Americans, Asians, Republicans and Democrats, Orthodox conservatives and reform, members of LGBT, representatives from L.A, Beverly Hills to Long beach and even Minnesota, and yes, from the political right and left. We, the consulate and the Jewish federation, (although here I’m writing on behalf of the consulate and I’m sure Jay and Andrew have their own say) looked at the pro-Israel Zionist camp and invited all to be part of the rally. We are proud all accepted the invitation, from the Governor to the last participant. It may be comfortable to be in the company of people who think just like you, but in this case we had to exclude many participants- and in order not to inflame a fire I will not start mentioning them out but I’m sure you can see what differences exist between the different representatives at the rally. Yesterday we shared and transmitted one common thing- support and love for Israel, and put aside for two hours our opinions on other issues. The fact that an organization that has criticism on some policies of an Israeli government/s finds it appropriate to be part of a pro-Israeli demonstration sends a strong statement of unity in times when it is necessary. Do we really want to push out of the pro-Israeli camp a group that many of it’s members do MILUIM no less- and in some cases more- than other groups represented? who will draw the line who is in? who will we be left with? and who will be the bridge when we try to outreach to critics of Israel from the left who do not care for Israel but might be persuaded?
Last but not least, Peace Now advocates for a two state solution for about thirty years. The last four Israeli P.M -Barak, Sharon, Olmert and Netanyahu. endorsed the two state solution with different emphasises. The Israeli public will speak in our democratic elections -and in between- and we here in the U.S. will express our most vocal support for Israel.
Thanks again for your comments which is evident are coming out of true love and support for Israel.
Gil Artzyeli is Deputy Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles
June 8, 2010 | 1:10 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
By Suzanne Davidson
Some people know about books. Some know about film. I know about rallies. Specifically pro Israel rallies. I put on hundreds of them from July 2001 to December 2006. And I’ve gone to my fair share of them.
I know about specifications with signs and polls and the number of people you need to have before you have to order port-a-potties. I’ve heard all the complaining about how I need to have bigger signs, more colorful signs, different flags, more beverages etc. The list goes on and on.
I also know that you have to know your audience; your participants-your fellow Jews and their mind set BEFORE you have speakers who will rattle their cages.
That, I am afraid, is what happened when the Israeli Consulate (in conjunction with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles) put on a very big and special rally on Sunday, June 6, 2010.
There were many, many speakers. Perhaps too many. The event was scheduled from 2-3pm but lasted till 4pm. There was Governor Schwarzenegger and Jon Voight. There were so many councilmen and women; I thought this was an election year. Oh yeah, this is an election year. There were even two female governors!
There were plenty of Rabbis of all persuasions; Rabbi Hier of the Museum of Tolerance, one from Sinai Temple, a female Rabbi from another Temple, many, many men of the clergy from other faiths, and of course Rabbi Cunin of Chabad of Westwood. I also want to point out a very special moment when Judea Pearl (father of the late Daniel Pearl) spoke. Heavy and broken hearts were felt as he spoke.
Everyone said many special things and reminded us all why we were there. In the last ten years we have witnessed the beheading of Daniel Pearl, the murder of over 1200 Israeli civilians-women and children and grandparents- by explosives on buses, in pizzarias and ice cream parlors. The gunning down of yeshiva boys in Jerusalem. The hostage taking of Israeli soldiers leaving only Gilad Shalit alive but still held in captivity. The smuggling of weapons in underground tunnels and the shelling of Sederot for the last five years. The exodus of an entire community from Gush Katif. The killing and torture of a Jewish boy in a basement in Paris. And now the unmitigated gall of the Hamas/Arab PR machine, accusing Israel of aggression when she is within her legal right to protect herself. This promotes rabid anti-Semitism worldwide. This is deadly propaganda that is now being bought by the media and by too many people too ignorant, biased and lazy to do their homework about Israel’s history.
So it came as a bit of a shock when a speaker was introduced by one of the Federation people, after Judea Pearl spoke. The new speaker was the President of Americans for Peace Now. As he began his speech the audience started murmuring their discontent. This was the guy who backed the Oslo Accords. This was the guy who thought if we just sit down with Hamas and Arafat and give away land…and release murdering prisoners …that things will go well and we will have peace. This is Neville Chamberlain reincarnated.
The crowd started yelling. I mean real shouting…and rage. There were 3000 people there, many of whom were Persian Jews. These people know about totalitarianism and dictators and killers. They were yelling and the women were yelling…everyone kept saying “get him off”, “get him off.” I looked at Rabbi Cunin, the only one sitting down near the podium and I saw him look around. When he realized what was happening he got very excited and emotional and stood up. One of the Federation people went over and put his arms around the Rabbi to calm him down. But Rabbi Cunin would have none of it. He pushed the man’s arms off him and starting yelling at him to take this speaker off.
The yelling at the speaker went on and on. The head of the Federation took the microphone for a minute and said “we are not like the other side (meaning Hamas)…we tolerate different opinions.” He was quickly shouted down and ignored. And now the words “traitor” were being hurled at the podium. As a friend of mine who works at The Federation said…”the choice of having this guy speak was absurd.”
There is definitely a huge disconnect between the Federation and the rest of us. For all the reasons I just mentioned above, we who were at the rally are not going to tolerate any more peace now ideology which is only going to get us, and I mean Jews all over the word, killed. These people live in a fantasy land of feelings. They don’t know how to “THINK”. They have not done their homework and they don’t study Torah. There is no peace without strength in this world as we know it. Every time we give in to the Palestinians they view us as weak and they have no fear of us. Yes I said fear. They don’t have to like us. They just need to know we are not going to roll over anymore. The Federation needs to wake up and come out of their tower before the enemies are at their gate.
June 8, 2010 | 11:15 am
Posted by JewishJournal.com
Sunday, June 6: A large crowd of demonstrators closed down Wilshire Boulevard in front of the Israeli Consulate in mid-city Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon to show support for Israel and listen to dozens of speeches by city, state and Jewish leaders. Organizers of the rally estimated a turnout of approximately 3,000 people.
Video by Melanie Reynard
June 7, 2010 | 2:58 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas resigned today, after saying during an interview at the White House Jewish Heritage Celebration on May 27 that the Jews “should get the hell out of Palestine” since the Palestinians “are occupied.”
The video of the interview, posted on RabbiLIVE.com and YouTube, was widely seen. In the same chat with Thomas, the interviewer—Rabbi David F. Nesenoff of RabbiLIVE.com—asked Thomas where the Jews living in Israel (or Palestine) should go if they were to leave.
They should “go home,” Thomas said, to “Poland, Germany…and America and everywhere else.”
Her remarks promoted Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to say that her statement “shows off her bigotry.” Hier expressed his views on Thomas at a pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles on June 6, which was held to counter international condemnation of Israel in the wake of the flotilla crisis.
On Thomas’ resignation, Hier, during a phone interview today, said, “It was the only thing to do, whether she was resigned or pushed out – whatever it is, it’s great to see her go and I hope that she spends her time now that she’s out of it, thinking about the consequences of the bigotry she expressed.”
Thomas will turn 90-years-old this August and her resignation comes despite her apology on June 4, when she said her previous statements “do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”
Following Thomas’ departure from her position, a statement released by the White House Correspondents Associations says, though “We do not police the speech of our members or colleagues…the incident does revive the issue of whether it is appropriate for an opinion columnist to have a front row seat in the WH briefing room.”
Below, watch the video of Thomas making the controversial statement during the May 27 interview.