Schumer Speaks at AIPAC Policy Conference

On Tuesday, March 28, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to the podium at the AIPAC Policy Conference. In a heartfelt address peppered with personal anecdotes, he spoke to the strength of the bond between the United States and Israel. He discussed the recent rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States. He also characterized the campaign to delegitimize Israel — waged by movements like BDS (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions) and by the United Nations — as a “cloaked” form of anti-Semitism. Finally, he called for unified support for Israel across the American political spectrum, and pledged, “[A]s long as HaShem breathes air into my lungs, I will fight to make Israel a safer, more secure, more prosperous nation.”

The transcript of Sen. Schumer’s speech, as provided on the AIPAC Policy Conference website, appears below. [Read more…]

U.N. Israel Apartheid Report Condemned

Israeli flag at U.N. Photo: AP,

Israeli flag at U.N. Photo: AP,

The Jewish Labor Committee condemns the United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia’s report that asserts that “Israel has established an apartheid regime.” It is not surprising that the Commission, comprised entirely of 18 Arab states, most of which do not recognize Israel, would issue a report that appears to be the first time that “apartheid” has been used in document with the United Nations stamp to criticize Israel. [Read more…]

Earth to Ban Ki-moon: Israel Offered to End “Occupation” at Camp David

Reprinted courtesy of Yaakov (Dry Bones) Kirschen

Reprinted courtesy of Yaakov (Dry Bones) Kirschen

Ban Ki-moon is a curious kind of messenger.

He writes in The New York Times, “No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution.” [Read more…]

UN-Supported Schools Preach “Armed Struggle” against Israel

— by Dave Bedein

Inside the UNRWA classroom, produced on location in the UNRWA refugee camps, represents the first time that the Center for Near East Policy Research crews gained direct access to teachers, principals and pupils in the UNRWA classrooms in Nablus, Jerusalem and Gaza.

In this film, UNRWA teachers and students speak openly about what they are taught in UNRWA schools — to devote their lives to the “Right of Return” to villages lost in 1948 (within the Green Line — not in the West Bank and Gaza) through the “armed struggle.”

Links:

U.N. Adopts 9 Resolutions on Israel, 0 on Syria

— UN Watch

GENEVA, Dec. 18 – The U.N. General Assembly today adopted nine resolutions on Palestinian rights and the Golan, sharply criticizing Israel yet making no mention of Sunday’s massacre of Palestinians by Syrian warplanes firing missiles into a mosque in a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus. Nor did the texts mention the tens of thousands of Palestinians who continue to flee the camp.

More after the jump.
By the end of this week, the current 2012 UNGA session will have adopted 22 country-specific resolutions on Israel – and only four on the rest of the world combined, one each for Syria, Iran, North Korea and Burma, noted UN Watch.

Today’s resolutions criticized Israel for “the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people,” and focused on “the extremely difficult socioeconomic conditions being faced by the Palestine refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

One resolution condemned Israel for holding on to the Golan Heights, demanding Israel hand the land and its people to Syria.

“It’s astonishing,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “At a time when the Syrian regime is massacring its own people, how can the U.N. call for more people to be subject to Assad’s rule? The timing of today’s text is morally galling and logically absurd.”

“What is also outrageous is that these resolutions claim to care about Palestinians, yet the U.N. proves itself completely oblivious to the actual suffering on the ground, happening right now: Palestinians slaughtered, maimed and expelled by Assad’s forces.”

“Today’s farce at the General Assembly underscores a simple fact: the U.N.’s automatic majority has no interest in truly helping Palestinians, nor in protecting anyone’s human rights; the goal of these ritual, one-sided condemnations remains the scapegoating of Israel,” said Neuer.

“The U.N.’s disproportionate assault against the Jewish state undermines the credibility of what is supposed to be an impartial and respected international body, and exposes the sores of politicisation and selectivity that eat away at its founding mission, eroding the U.N. Charter promise of equal treatment to all nations large and small,” Neuer added.

“With more than 40,000 killed in Syria, and millions of Syrian refugees suffering now in the cold of winter, it ought to shock the conscience of mankind that the U.N. will devoting more than 80 percent of this session’s resolutions to Israel, and just one, on Thursday, to Syria.”

Diary of Global Networking in Action

— by Hannah Lee

As Part 4 of a sporadic series on Creating Community, I write about an effort that spans the Atlantic Ocean and connects us with Eretz Yisrael.

In May, a friend, Ari, contacted me to find an organization that could use three dental chairs and two x-ray machines, donated by a dentist who was retiring from his practice in New York.  (We’re foodie buddies and he knows about my networking instincts.)  His father, Bob Schwell, coordinates donations for Yad Sarah in New York (while shuttling between Israel and the United States) and these items were deemed not suitable for shipping to Israel.  By the end of the day, I was able to identify two organizations interested in the equipment: Columbia’s dental school which runs a clinic in New York and Partners in Health which would like to send them to Haiti.  

More after the jump.
However, neither one of them was able to mobilize in time for the date when the shipping container would be packed in the warehouse in Newark.  Meanwhile, my inquiries led to a phone call from a young dentist who was starting up her own practice and wanted the equipment.  Fine, but my stipulation was that she give a donation to Yad Sarah.

In early June, Bob went to Newark to supervise the packing of the shipping container and they set aside the dental equipment.  I asked him what does it take to start a chapter in Philly?  He said that the major issue is finding local storage.  The heavy items — hospital beds, etc. — that require professionals are picked up by Moishe’s Movers (which volunteers the time of its employees who are all veterans of the Israeli Army) and brought to the shipper’s warehouse in Newark.  The smaller, portable items are the things that need local storage until the next date for packing a shipping container.

So, I made contact with the coordinators of the local Bikur Cholim and they will accept the items Yad Sarah cannot send to Israel, such as manual wheelchairs.   Mati Sved, whose family owns a warehouse in Philly, agreed to house items, as long as they fit on a 40″ x 48″ pallet for transport to the upstairs storage floor.  I was making steady progress!  

Early this month, Bob reported that he’d spoken with someone at Moishe’s Movers but that individual was not interested in picking up from Philly.  However, this was not the boss!  Undeterred, I asked if we could separate the project in two: portable items that can be transported by volunteers and heavy items like hospital beds that require professional movers.  Then I got official permission from the American headquarters in New York and on July 11th, I announced the launching of a local chapter for Yad Sarah.  

I posted a notice on the LowerMerionShuls community list-serve (subject of Part 1 of this “Creating Community” series and now with 1,414 members) and I’ve gotten offers already.  Alas, they’re not items I can send overseas, so I’m busy finding other beneficiaries for them.  Still, it’s a good way to build community networks.  The next step is to line up volunteer drivers and additional storage space.

Founded in 1976 by Uri Lupolianski, now the mayor of Jerusalem, Yad Sarah offers a wide range of medical and legal services in Israel.  A recent survey by the Dahaf Institute found that every second family in Israel has been helped by one of Yad Sarah’s services.  In 2004, The United Nations granted Yad Sarah advisory status to its Economic and Social Council.  In 2011, Yad Sarah served 420,000 people, lent out 270,000 pieces of medical equipment from its 104 sites, staffed by over 6,000 volunteers.   For more information about Yad Sarah Philly, contact me at hannah@barzel.org.