Thursday, January 22, 2015
ZOA Praises Sen. Menendez For Courageous Fight For Iran Sanctions & Forthright Criticism of Pres. Obama's Anti-Sanctions Policy
NEW YORK, he Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for his courageous, forthright and principled stand in favor of legislation to reimpose tough economic sanctions on Iran if it fails to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. The ZOA has also praised Senator Menendez for specifically criticizing President Barack Obama's policy of appeasing Iran and fighting tooth and nail to prevent Congress from merely legislating for re-imposition of previously existing sanctions in the event of Iran refusing to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.-- T
Following President Obama's statement in his annual State of the Union address, in which he vowed that he would veto any Iran sanctions legislation while negotiations are in progress, Senator Menendez
said during a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "The more I hear from the administration in its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran."
Senator Menendez also rightly observed, "Over the past 18 months, we have been moving closer to their positions on all key elements -- on the Arak reactor, on Fordow, on enrichment, and on Iran's disclosure of the military dimensions of its nuclear program ... Iran deceived the international community and violated UN Security Council resolutions to arrive within weeks of achieving nuclear break-out capacity. Iran came to the table only after the cumulative impact of years of sanctions began to affect the regime's economic and political stability. For us to give up the leverage of sanctions -- which would take years to re-impose -- we need a deal that truly reverses their nuclear program, rather than just buying a little time. This is why I'm concerned about more than break-out time. I'm concerned that the agreement won't provide a clear picture of the military dimensions of Iran's program -- so that we know just how close Iran is to being able to make a nuclear weapon and I'm concerned that - instead of dismantling and closing Arak and Fordow - the Arak reactor will be converted, and Fordow -- a facility built under a mountain -- will be re-purposed."
"After 18 months of stalling, Iran needs to know that there will be consequences for failure -- and that consequence will be additional sanctions ... In November, Iran violated the interim agreement by feeding uranium gas into its IR-5 centrifuge at the Natanz research facility ... In December, the UN Panel of Experts that monitors sanctions compliance said in a report that Iran has been illicitly trying to buy technology for the Arak research reactor, which - as originally designed -would produce plutonium for a bomb and has been referred to by experts as a bomb making factory because of the quantity of plutonium output."
"Under the interim agreement, Iran agreed to make no further advances in the construction at Arak. Iran's position is that any purchases alone would not contravene the agreement, only new construction. If you believe that I have a reactor to sell you. And -- just last week --- Iranian President Rouhani announced that construction had begun on two new nuclear reactors at Bushehr. While not a technical violation of the JPOA - the announcement is clearly intended to leverage further gains in the negotiations." ('Senator Menendez Opening Remarks at Hearing on Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Status of Talks and the Role of Congress,"' January 21, 2015).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, "We praise Senator Menendez for his courageous, forthright, and principled stand in favor of legislation to reimpose tough sanctions on Iran if it fails to agree to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. The U.S. Congress has met with stiff opposition from President Obama on this score and Senator Menendez's stance is therefore all the more timely and important, for all the reasons he stated.
"We already know that Iran has already enriched enough uranium for almost two nuclear bombs. Iranian President Rouhani has also just announced that Iran will build two new reactors.
"The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 , which Senator Menendez and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) co-sponsored, which would re-impose sanctions waived against Iran by the deeply flawed Geneva Interim Agreement if negotiations fail to produce an agreement by , deserves wall-to-wall support on Capitol Hill and we praise Senator Menendez for strongly making the case."
Washington, DC (January 22, 2015) - Today, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), the only national grassroots Republican Jewish organization, responded to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's opposition to enhanced Iran sanctions.
The RJC is concerned about recent comments by Secretary Clinton that were reported in the Jerusalem Post, disagreeing with efforts in Congress to impose enhanced sanctions on Iran for continuing to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Speaking at a conference in Winnipeg, Canada, Clinton ignored the fact that Iran continues to negotiate in bad faith and instead said enhanced sanctions would "guarantee that diplomacy fails." Clinton went further, asking, "why do we want to be the catalyst for the collapse of negotiations," overlooking the fact that Iran continues to spin centrifuges in pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:
"For four years Hillary Clinton proved to the world that her foreign policy judgment and skills are clearly lacking. Now, former Secretary Clinton fails to realize that after exhaustive negotiations with Iran, rewarding them with more time is a catalyst to empower and embolden the Iranian regime further. Giving Iran more time puts our national security and our Middle Eastern allies' security - especially Israel's - at risk. As Senator Menendez has said, the talking points from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seem to have come directly from Tehran. Congress should pass enhanced sanctions, showing Iran that we are serious about stopping their nuclear weapons program."
After Paris, we choose to wear our yellow star Being an Orthodox Jew in the Diaspora – that is, being openly and defiantly different – is not easy. Avital Chizhik
It begins with an innocent weekend trip to Moscow, to visit my fiance’s family.
I ask him if he will hide his yarmulke and he says no, he will not apologize for who he is, he will wear his skullcap wherever we are – in Charles de Gaulle on our layover on the way, in Moscow, and in Schiphol on the way back.
My heart drops, and I nod. Decades of Soviet paranoia flash before me. Europe, after all, is not what it was – it’s not the Europe of 1938, but it’s not the Europe of 1998, either.
“Can you ask him to wear a cap at least?” my mother asks me in Russian the Shabbat before, eyeing me carefully.
The debate over whether to wear obvious Jewish signs abroad is a common and heated one in the Orthodox community. Does one choose one’s ideals and principles? Or does one err on the side of safety? After all, it takes just one lunatic.
I shake my head slowly. “I can’t ask him that. It’s a real principle of his. He will not hide it.”
The table is silent. My parents, Soviet Jewish emigrants, and I, their daughter, who inherited every one of their traumas, exchange looks and switch to a new conversation topic.
Being an Orthodox Jew in the Diaspora – that is, being openly and defiantly different – is not easy.
It means every day, everywhere, one declares one’s difference by dressing differently.
As a journalist living in and writing about my Orthodox community, I have been preoccupied for years by this question of outside and inside, external perceptions, how they shape our identity, and how they affect our most important decisions.
And being raised in the New York area, but on a healthy diet of Soviet nightmares, taught me to obsessively avoid being obviously Jewish or Orthodox when stepping outside our community.
Tribalism terrified me. I spent hours scouring department stores for dresses and blouses that looked effortless, skirts not an inch too long, always a pair of heels. I wanted to be perceived as a young career woman who simply chose to dress conservatively.
“Dress British, think Yiddish,” I would tell myself. I was secretly proud of my light eyes and “goyish nose,” which my grandparents would often praise me for.
My relatives beamed at me, “You’d never think she’s Jewish.” When one aunt once disagreed, announcing that I looked like a zhidovka and there was no escaping it, I left the table to cry.
Fast-forward some years, and at age 23, a month ago, I married a rabbi.
There is no more hiding my own difference. Standing next to my husband, I am learning to be proud of who I am, to embrace it. Slowly, I am learning the simple ability to be different. As we walk home together from synagogue here in Manhattan – he in his yarmulke, me in my married woman’s wig or hat – I am constantly reminded that we are different.
But recent events have hit me with the uncomfortable realization that to be different is no longer a sweet schoolroom lesson in U.S. pride in diversity, the kind of posters displayed in kindergarten, of children of all colors. To be different, even in 2015, can bear a heavy price.
By being different, we are branded. If something happens, we become more than different – “we become a target,” I think in Russian.
These days, I quietly marvel over how merely stepping outside has become an act of courage in my mind. When I step into my Upper East Side gym in a modest skirt and headscarf, I swallow the lump in my throat and force myself to ignore the stares. Everywhere – a hotel bar, a corporate office – I try to muster the ability to walk proudly, insist on being who I am, to be unafraid of being The Jew.
After all, isn’t the experience of a writer, an independent opinion, the essentially Jewish experience? Being that inevitable Other, foreigner? Whether one is a woman in a man’s world, a religious person in a secular world, or an independent-thinking journalist in a homogenous society, one bears the brunt of being different.
This is the inescapable condition of the Diaspora Jew. And the Orthodox may feel it more potently: How many secular colleagues and relatives laugh nervously at the way we dress, the way we name our children, the way we choose these consuming lifestyles? “Do you have to be Jewish in everything you do?” Because we show our difference on our sleeves. We choose to wear our yellow stars.
These days, here in New York, we are privileged; the life of the Orthodox Jew engaging in the modern world has never been easier or freer. Yet in a kosher restaurant, a dinner with a Knesset member and several Jewish businessmen – sleek, well-dressed, as polished as gentiles – the discussion turns to the Diaspora Jewish condition today, the way we still see everything as still fragile.
“Are you any different from the Jew in Paris?” one of the businessmen suddenly shouts, his hands flying. “In London? What makes you think you’re any different?” He gestures around the room - chandeliers glisten, bankers and their wives dine around us, waiters scuttle, some people look up startled. “How do you know, ah? How do you know you’re any different?”
We raise our voices in turn, demanding, growing in fervor: “This is America, for heaven’s sake! What are you saying, exactly?”
An endless argument in our shtetl.
As our phones buzz with news from France, we shake our heads here in the free Diaspora but continue going about our daily lives, this sort of illusory fairytale for Jews: to our own Hyper Cacher supermarkets, haggling with the butcher, rushing home to knead challah dough, to set our tables and prepare our candlesticks. “That’s just France,” we think to ourselves. “That’s what you get for being a Jew and still living there.”
And on the Sabbath here in New York, we sit in our dining rooms, passing the kale and the brisket, in our diamonds and furs, hushing: No, no, this will never happen to us, no.
But that looming sense of apprehension remains, uncomfortably so - the sense of inescapable difference, and one wonders if it’s self-perpetuated or if it comes from outside.
I had been confident that things were finally different for my generation, that one could live life as a Jew openly anywhere, and soon enough we could go on colorful expeditions anywhere we wanted.
And now I wonder, as I stand before my silver candlesticks, if I am fated to whisper the same prayers, with the same fears, that my great-great-grandmothers surely whispered in front of their own candlesticks? Perhaps they ushered in the Sabbath with the same secret thoughts? “When will they come for us, too?” These are the thoughts I think but am too afraid to voice at those Sabbath tables. And I know I am not alone in these thoughts. I know we all think them and then, in unison, push them away with a defiant shove.
A terrible secret part of me wonders what music they may or may not play when they make films 50 years later, as they stage our Sabbath-table conversations. Will it be an Itzhak Perlman violin, or Chopin with an Adrian Brody in the leading role?
And the script they’ll write for us, what kind of humor will the young screenwriter include? Jokes that will no doubt be ironic, foreboding, that the cinematic versions of us will crack about some harmless madmen? Surely the audience will laugh nervously as they watch these clueless Jews on screen, insisting that they themselves would never be so blind?
The chairs around the table shift. Booklets are passed around for the Grace After Meals, and as the room hushes for prayer, I’m still hushing those violins in my mind. I scold myself for falling prey to the neuroses and victimhood narratives I’ve inherited, which somehow my college courses did not fully erase: Not here, not now, not in such a civilized world, I declare. And anyway, if things get too uncomfortable, we can always move to Israel. It’s Israel that makes everything different now.
In the wake of Paris, I step outside onto Lexington Avenue, and these tiny nagging fears come with me. They live in the yellow star inside my coat.
An anti-Semitic Facebook page called Jewish Ritual Murder is still up and growing one year after Facebook drew intense criticism for claiming the page did not violate its community standards.
The page was originally flagged by CAMERA”s media analyst Dexter Van Zile, in February 2014. It depicts an assortment of conspiracy theories about Jews, including accusations that Jews use the blood of Christians for their religious rituals.
At the time, Van Zile lambasted Facebook for refusing to remove the page. However, he also expressed a small measure of optimism that the social media giant would come to its senses in a matter of time.
“Will the page eventually be removed? Probably. But why doesn’t Facebook delete this stuff when first apprised of its presence on their website?” Van Zile wrote last February. “Why should it take any more than one complaint for Facebook to do the right thing?”
As pressure increased, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement calling on Facebook to remove the page. In August, Facebook informed those who complained thatthe page had been removed.
Within 24 hours, however, the page was up again, and Facebook announced that “We revised our decision,” and “found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”
When the page was first restored, it had 662 members. The number is up to 799 today, with posts as recent as September 2014. Posts from the past year include links to download anti-Semitic literature.
Facebook, however, remains firm in its stance that the page falls with its community standards. As recently as this week, an HonestReporting reader filed a report against the group and received the following response:
According to HonestReporting Managing Editor Simon Plosker, the ongoing presence of anti-Semitism on Facebook demonstrates the need to keep pushing the site to take definitive action.
“Facebook needs to understand that they can’t allow anti-Semitism and still claim to pursue a “safe and welcoming environment,’” Plosker said. “Facebook cannot simply sweep the issue under the rug, even as the page grows and infects more people.”
This morning’s terrorist on the Tel Aviv bus didn’t end up a martyr, didn’t go to paradise and he didn’t get his 72 virgins.
Instead he got this video of himself publicized all over the Internet.
On a Hamas forum, Hamas supporters are talking about getting the video deleted from the Internet because it embarrasses their “hero”.
ياريت الاخ اللي نزل الفيديو للبطل يحذفه
على الاقل احتراما لهذا البطل
But if that’s what it takes to convince one more Muslim to NOT become a terrorist, that would be a good thing.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE OF INJURED TERRORIST SCREECHING IN PAIN:
New York – An ex New York City police officer says he was attacked with anti-Semitic slurs and vandalism of his personal belongings by other officers at the World Trade Center police command, forcing him to resign.
According to NY Daily News (http://nydn.us/1CcSmGa ) David Attali, 31, says other officers filled his locker with hateful messages, called him “dirty Jew,” would greet him with “Heil Hitler,” sent him text messages with racial slurs and a photo of Adolf Hitler.
Attali, who was an officer for six years, is suing the city and the five officers who he says were involved, along with four supervisors for refusing his transfer request.
Attali first reported the harassment in May 2014 to the NYPD Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, showing them pictures of his locker covered with advertisements for pork, a newspaper reading “Hail Hitler” and a swastika carved into a sticker. When he was not transferred, he quit in August.
Attali also says he has copies of text messages and recorded audio.
Months after he left, Attali was told that EEO confirmed vandalism of his locker, but the verbal harassment claims were denied by the other officers.
Attali said the harassment may have started because he got Saturdays off to observe the Sabbath. He currently works as a driver for a water-meter inspection company.
Information taken from NY Daily News
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Robert Menendez just took off the gloves in what is becoming an extraordinary fight over Iran sanctions between a leading Democratic senator and a president of the same party.
Menendez, the New Jersey senator who is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,morning — hours after Obama’s State of the Union speech — told two top Obama administration officials that what they’re saying “sounds like talking points straight from Tehran.”
That barb and others seemed all the sharper because exchanges between Republicans and Democrats on the committee and by the two witnesses, Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen, were otherwise polite and friendly.
Menendez has chafed for over a year at Obama administration pushback against efforts he is leading with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to pass sanctions that would go into effect should Iran walk away from talks with major powers over its nuclear capabilities.
The Senate Democrats, in the leadership last year, managed to quash the Menendez-Kirk initiative. Now that the Republicans are in the Senate majority, it’s back on, and Menendez says he’s ready to push ahead. The Kirk-Menendez bill, although it has yet to formally appear, is strongly backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
President Obama, in one of his two most important foreign policy pronouncements in the State of the Union speech said he would veto new sanctions.,
Obama, in resisting new sanctions now, has the backing of some top Senate Democrats, including Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calid.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and two Republicans: Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
So it’s not clear that Kirk-Menendez has the 67 votes needed to override Obama’s veto. Additionally, the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) repeatedly made it clear duringhearing that he was not as interested in new sanctions as he was in his proposal to subject any final deal to an up or down congressional vote. Blinken suggested that such a proposal, passed as congressional legislation, would not violate the agreement governing the talks with Iran; previously, the Obama administration had resisted such a condition.
Menendez’ outburst principally had to do with administration claims that new sanctions would violate the agreement governing the talks. He says they would not, and accused Blinken and Cohen – and by extension Obama – of virtually holding Congress in contempt.
“Why is it possible that Iran will treat its parliament better than the administration” treats Congress, he said, referring to the likelihood that the Iranian government would have to approve a deal, although no such mechanism is in place yet in Congress. He also said Iran “does not believe” the Obama administration will show a credible use of force if talks fail.
Menendez’ rage has been building up; last week, the New York Times reported that at a closed meeting between Democratic senators and Obama, Menendez took offense at Obama’s claim that some senators were getting pressure from donors on the Iran issue.