U.S. Briefs 9-20-11

The latest news from the American Jewish community. 

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(Click photo to download. Caption: A poster at a New York subway station advocating the end of U.S. military aid to Israel.)

Posters Will Counter Ads Calling for End to U.S. Aid to Israel

The Israel-education organization StandWithUs said that it is placing 25 posters in 18 New York subway stations from Sept. 26-Oct. 23 to counter the same number of advertisements—in the same stations—that call for ending U.S. aid to Israel.

Posters opposing Israeli aid—sponsored by the Chicago-based Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine—include two men, one a Palestinian designer and another an Israeli social worker, alongside young children, accompanied by the text “Be on our side. We are the side of peace and justice.” The bottom of the ads read “End U.S. military aid to Israel.”

The campaign has the stated purpose to “encourage U.S. policies that promote peace, equality, and security for Israelis and Palestinians.” However, StandWithUS CEO Roz Rothstein explained that the ads “deceptively use idealistic rhetoric and distort facts for destructive reasons: to isolate and demonize Israel.”

“These extremist groups have done nothing constructive to promote peaceful coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians,” Rothstein said in a statement.

—JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: The recently elected U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-NY) with former New York City mayor Ed Koch. Credit: YouTube.)

Koch Hopes Obama ‘Gets the Message’ About Israel

After strongly supporting Republican Bob Turner’s successful campaign to replace Anthony Weiner in New York City’s Ninth Congressional District, former New York Mayor Ed Koch wrote he hopes Barack Obama “gets the message that’s been sent” about the president’s Israel policy.

In Sunday’s New York Daily News, Koch’s reflected in an op-ed about realizing Obama “was not as friendly to Israel as we thought he would be.”

“His special efforts to solicit support in the Muslim world seemed to me to indicate a change in the relationship with Israel that had existed since 1948, beginning with President Harry Truman and continuing to and including President George W. Bush,” Koch wrote, later describing Obama’s call for Israel to agree to pre-1967 lines with Palestinians as “the final straw.”

Koch recalled telling David Weprin, who lost out to Turner in the congressional race Sept. 13, “If you are elected, Obama is going to say, ‘ho hum, another Democrat,’ and it will have no impact. When Turner, a Republican, is elected in this district, which has the largest Jewish constituency in the country, he will sit up and take notice.”

—JointMedia News Service


J Street, Israel Project Ask Congress Not to Cut Aid to Palestinians

The Israel Project, a nonprofit educational organization, and J Street, a left-wing nonprofit advocacy group that says it is pro-Israel and pro-peace, have both issued public statements imploring Congress to keep funding the Palestinian Authority at the rate of $500 million per year.

In a letter on their website entitled “An Open Letter to the Jewish Community,” J Street wrote, “We must make clear to American politicians, particularly in Congress, that being pro-Israel does not require cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for approaching the UN. Such a move will hurt Israel’s interests by undermining moderate Palestinian leadership and de-funding productive security cooperation.”

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of The Israel Project, told Reuters, “We have made the case that the security cooperation, which is largely funded and supported by America, needs to continue if we want to see the progress ... in reducing terrorism continue.”

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


PLO Ambassador to U.S. Insists Future Palestinian State Should be Free of Jews

The PLO’s ambassador to the U.S., Maen Areikat, said that any future Palestinian state should be free of Jews, according to USA Today.

The newspaper reported that Areikat made the statements during a meeting with reporters on Sept. 13 in Washington. Areikat expressed his vision of a separation between Jews and Palestinians saying, “After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated ... We are trying to preserve the concept of a two-state solution ... and to make the Israelis understand there will be consequences for their actions.”

In response, former U.S. National Security Council official Elliott Abrams commented that such a move would be reminiscent of those adopted by the Germany’s Nazi regime.

“No civilized country would act this way,” Abrams told USA today.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Senate Candidate Sues Connecticut Town for Celebrating Israeli Independence

A Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Connecticut is suing her hometown of Greenwich over a decision to rent town hall facilities for an Israeli Independence Day celebration, among other Jewish-related matters.

Lee Whitnum, according to a press release, “filed a federal lawsuit against the Town of Greenwich and Peter Tesei, First Selectman for violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment for the multiple displays of the Star of David and holding the Bar Mitzvah of Aner Shofty on Town of Greenwich property.” Regarding the town’s Israeli Independence Day celebration May 15, she said “I do not believe the Town of Greenwich should be celebrating the trail-of-tears of the Christians and Muslims that were forced from the land to make way for emigrating Jews from the United States and Europe.”

Tesei responded that, “Nothing done on [May 15] was different from other ethnic or national celebrations at Town Hall and this lawsuit is baseless,” according to Greenwich Patch. The town, he said, has been holding the celebration for two decades.

—JointMedia News Service


Sholom Rubashkin, Jailed Meatpacking CEO, Denied a New Trial

Former kosher meatpacking executive Sholom Rubashkin, in the midst of a 27-year prison sentence, was denied a request for a new trial after a federal appeals court ruled his legal team didn’t prove that the original proceeding was biased, according to theDes Moines Register.

The newspaper reported that last Friday’s decision in St. Louis rejected Rubashkin’s claim that U.S. District Judge Linda Reade cooperated with prosecutors before an immigration raid of the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, and therefore should have recused herself from Rubashkin’s trial.

Rubashkin was convicted of 86 federal fraud charges after 389 illegal immigrants were arrested in the raid of his plant. Guy Cook, one of his lawyers, to the Register would now appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

—JointMedia News Service


Jewish Family Services Employee Directs Short Film on Delaware Governor

A short film on a day in the life of Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, directed by a Jewish Family Services employee, debuted last week in Wilmington, Del.

Director Brahmin Jackson, who spent time in a county juvenile detention center, said a media literary course taught at the facility by Jewish Family Services of Delaware was the key to turning around his life, according to a report in the Associated Press.

“Now I want to take my directing experience to bigger heights, maybe even all the way to Hollywood,” Jackson told the AP.

Markell told the AP that Jackson and his crew members “did a great job [on the film] and were very professional.”

—JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: House Speaker John Boehner Credit: U.S. Congress.)

House Speaker at JNF Conference: U.S. ‘Must Stand by Israel’s Side’

In his keynote address at the Jewish National Fund conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said the U.S. “must stand by Israel’s side, not just as a broker or observer, but as a strong ally and reliable partner,” theCommunity Press reported.

“This is a transformational time,” Boehner said, according to the newspaper. “What can not change is America’s commitment to Israel.”

—JointMedia News Service


New York Congressman Takes on Saudi Arabia’s Israel Boycott

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) told the Jerusalem Post that he has “serious questions about any future sale of arms to Saudi Arabia” as long as the country continues to boycott Israel.

The Bureau of Industry and Security of the US Department of Commerce lists nine separate examples of how Saudi Arabia boycotts Israel, nearly six years after its November 2005 promise to the Bush administration to abandon that practice in exchange for acceptance into the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

“My opposition to the boycott is unyielding, and I strongly believe that Saudi Arabia and the entire Arab League must end this practice immediately,” Crowley told the Post.

“Abandoning its boycott of Israel was a condition for US support for Saudi Arabia’s acceptance into the WTO—not merely a suggestion,” he added.

—JointMedia News Service


Louisville Hospital Executive Resigns

The chief executive officer of a Jewish hospital in Louisville, Ky., resigned last Friday amid an impending merger with two other area hospitals, the Courier Journal reported.

Marty Bonick, president and CEO of the Jewish Hospital Medical Campus, leaves as the hospital’s parent company is working on joining forces with University Hospital and Lexington, Ky.-based St. Joseph Healthcare system. Residents and community leaders have expressed concerns that the merger will reduce reproductive and end-of-life care at the hospitals, according to the newspaper.

Merger partners, however, say the move will improve healthcare throughout Kentucky, the newspaper said.

—JointMedia News Service


Bar Refaeli to Grace Cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, 26, will grace the cover of next year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar.

A long-term veteran of the exclusive circle of Sports Illustrated models, Refaeli was first photographed for the magazine's swimsuit edition in 2007. In 2009, she appeared on the issue’s cover.

The first Israeli model to be featured in the magazine, Refaeli has since enjoyed a successful modeling career, featuring in countless magazines and winning lucrative endorsement deals with fashion brands such as Escada and Rampage.

With her face on the cover of this year’s calendar, it is widely expected that Refaeli will be also be included in the pages of next year's swimsuit edition, to be published in early 2012. Sports Illustrated does not release the names of the models featured in the edition ahead of publication.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Clinton Urges Turkey to Defuse Tensions with Israel

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday and urged him to defuse tensions with Israel and find ways to repair ties between the two once close allies, U.S. officials said.

“She encouraged Turkey to keep the door open,” a senior U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity told reporters after Clinton met Davutoglu for nearly an hour. “This is not a time when we need more tension, more volatility in the region,” Clinton reportedly told Davutoglu.

Davutoglu said over the weekend that Turkey and Israel do not need help from the U.S. in mending their troubled diplomatic ties.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Posted on September 20, 2011 and filed under U.S..