Consul General Sideman Addresses ZOA

Israeli Consul General Yaron Sideman shows the plush doll that encourages violence against Israelis.

Yaron Sideman shows plush doll that encourages violence against Israelis.

— by Richard Chaitt

Israeli Consul General Yaron Sideman spoke at The Zionist Organization of America – Greater Philadelphia District’s quarterly meeting Temple Adath Israel in Merion, PA. During his talk, he held up a toy. It was a plush terrorist doll (complete with rock to throw) that the Palestinian Authority wants their young children to play with. He contrasted this to a plush dreidel that Jewish children use.

_DSC8169Mort Klein detailed a number of anti-Israel activities worldwide. Steve Feldman and the local ZOA leadership discussed fighting media bias, helping to inform elected officials and politicians, monitoring school curriculum, reaching out to the uninformed and other needs. As pro-Israel advocates, we should be motivated to actively address these problems.

Mort Klein and Yaron Seidman both took questions after they spoke.

Photos by Richard Chaitt.

ZOA Demands Expulsion of Temple U. Student Who Made Anti-Semitic Violent Attack On Jewish Student

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has written to Temple University President, Neil D. Theobald, condemning the vile anti-Semitic attack on a Temple University Jewish student by a member of or sympathizer with the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group devoted to Israel’s elimination, and calling for SJP at Temple University to be investigated to determine if an immediate suspension of the group is appropriate and for the specific SJP student to be expelled.

Alumni Circle by Pjennings424

Alumni Circle by Pjennings424

Yesterday, Daniel Vessal, a Camera on Campus fellow and a member of the Jewish fraternity  AEPi, was punched in the face by a violent an SJP member at “Templefest,” which is organized for students on campus to gain new information about campus clubs a week before the start of classes. Vessal says that he saw the SJP table on one of the university’s main walkways and went up peacefully to engage in discussion, saying, “When Hamas stops sending the rockets, that’s when there can be peace. That’s when we can start.” This one girl sitting at the end of the table was just laughing and laughing at me … As she was laughing at me, people at the table were calling me a “baby killer.” I said when she stops then maybe we could have a genuinely peaceful conversation. And then this kid [one of the four or five people at the SJP table] just rocks me in the face as hard as he can. My glasses flew off. After a two-second blur I had no clue what had happened. I couldn’t believe the kid actually hit me. When the police came over and were filing the report the kids at the table were screaming, “You Zionist pig, you racist, that’s what you get.”

Vessal’s story has been corroborated by two witnesses, Josh Josephs and Alex Winokur, who added that they heard SJPmembers call Vessal a ‘kike,’ ‘stupid Jew,’ and ‘Zionist’ while he lay on the ground. The police did not detain the assailant and campus police disagreed with the head of student activities on campus that the SJP table needed to be closed. SJP claims the assailant is not a SJP member, merely an acquaintance” of SJP.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein has written to Temple University President, saying, “Some recent developments on our campuses are simply horrifying, not least this unprovoked physical attack on a Jewish student.

“We see that Israel’s enemies are not content merely to slander her and tell the most outrageous lies about the Jewish state while apologizing for and sanitizing the unreformed, rejectionist Palestinian Arab movement, but are willing to assault Jews and use disgusting anti-Semitic language. Such groups have no place on our university campuses.

“Those who participate in such action need to be held accountable; not sent home by police, as was the case here. This is not appropriate disciplinary action; this is indulgence and appeasement of violent, lawless people.

“I respectfully call upon the University to immediately mount an investigation into SJP’s activities on campus to see if it appropriate to suspend it as a student group in light of their actions. It is also necessary to ascertain why campus police did not arrest the assailant and hold him in custody, but instead sent him home unpunished. If Mr. Vessal’s assailant is a Temple University student, whether or not a member ofSJP, he should be expelled.

“Should it emerge that the assailant is not a Temple University student, the University should use the full weight of the law to prosecute him for assault.”

Senators Menendez, Kirk Receive ZOA’s Defender of Zion Award


Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Photo: Richard Chaitt.

— by Richard Chaitt

About 100 congresspersons and legislative staffers participated in the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)’s Annual Advocacy Mission to Washington, D.C. last week.

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) received the ZOA’s Defender of Zion Award.

ZOA’s national president, Morton A. Klein, said that Menendez “has done tremendous work in the field of security since 9/11, has given extraordinary speeches about Israel and has been leading with the introduction of the Nuclear Free Iran Act of 2013.”

Menendez said that he was “honored to receive this award”:

I have had an unwavering view that it is in the national interest of the United States to have a strong relationship with the state of Israel, an island of democracy. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I reject any call for boycotts, divestment or any statement that Israel risks becoming an apartheid state.

More after the jump.
ZOA’s board member, Jim Pollack, said that “Senator Kirk doesn’t just co-sponsor pro-Israel legislation, he initiates and he authors it. There is no better friend in Washington, D.C. than this gentleman.”

Kirk said to the audience, “When you’re told to ‘temporize’ what you’re doing in support of Israel, or to ‘back off,’ don’t. Defend the State of Israel and do exactly what you believe in.”


Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). Photo: Richard Chaitt.

Klein said that the delegates “were thrilled to spend a day in their lives to fight for Israel, for strong U.S.-Israel relations, and to educate Members of Congress about the truth about the on-going Arab war against Israel, which seeks Israel’s destruction, not any sort of negotiated settlement.”

Hundreds of activists from 23 states across the country urged the congresspersons to:

  • oppose further U.S. aid to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) (currently more than $600 million per annum) until it fulfills its signed agreements under Oslo to:
    • arrest and imprison terrorists; dismantle and outlaw terrorist groups;
    • end the incitement to hatred and murder within the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps;
    • end the PA alliance with Hamas; and
    • recognize Israel as a Jewish state;

  • impose new, tough sanctions on Iran in the event that it violates the Geneva Interim Agreement with the U.S. and Europe (P5+1) and fails to agree to ending its nuclear weapons program, given that the Iranian regime has called for the destruction of Israel, America and the defeat of the West; and
  • support and understand the legal, historical, religious and political right of Jews to live in Judea/Samaria and to oppose the canard, based on a willful and politicized distortion and intentional misinterpretation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, that Israel’s presence there is unlawful and a war crime.

Hell Appearantly Has Frozen Over

Will surprises ever cease. Not only are we having a “white Passover” thanks to a freak snow shower on the eve of Chag Aviv, but we are hearing praise for President Barack Obama from unexpected quarters.

Jonathan Tobin is known to our community as the executive editor of Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent from 1998 to 2008. Since then he has been the senior online editor the non-Conservative monthly magazine Commentary. He has never been a fan of the Democrats, but Obama’s visit to Israel last week seems to have impressed him:

But one thing has undoubtedly changed in the aftermath of the presidential visit to Israel: Barack Obama’s image as an antagonist of the Jewish state. In terms of his attitude toward Israel, in the past three days Obama has altered his status in that regard from being the second coming of Jimmy Carter to that of another Bill Clinton. That won’t exempt him from criticism, nor does it mean that he will have even a remote chance of succeeding in moving the region toward peace. But it does mean that many of his Jewish and Democratic defenders have been to some extent vindicated and his critics chastened, if not silenced.

Similarly, ZOA President (and Lower Merion resident) Mort Klein has villified Obama for his Cairo speech but now seems genuinely pleased with Obama’s latest trip to the Middle-East:

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) today praised several important, positive statements made by President Barack Obama’s during his visit to Israel. In speeches delivered in Israel, President Obama testified to the millennia-old Jewish religious and historical bond with the land of Israel; the success of Zionism in transforming the Jewish people into a genuinely free people in their own land; called for Hizballah to be labeled by all as a terrorist organization; called for the Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish state and for Arab nations to normalize relations with Israel; and affirmed America as Israel’s strongest ally and greatest friend.

More after the jump.
Finally, conservative PJ Media’s Ron Radosh wrote:

[T]o continue to act as if [President Obama] is an enemy of Israel is both counter-productive and tactically wrong, and will only alienate from both Israelis and American Jews those conservatives who continue to act in such a manner. If Obama makes a wrong move, then call him on it. But encourage him to – as a friend of Israel – do what has to be done to secure the future of the Jewish state.

Celebrating 100 Years of Giving & Contribution Oct. 12-18

— by Racheli Goldblatt

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, will mark a century of partnership with Israel with its Centennial Convention in Jerusalem. Two thousand Hadassah members arriving in Israel will celebrate Hadassah’s centennial participating in symposia, visits to Hadassah projects, a festive parade through Jerusalem, performances and gala events culminating with the dedication of the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower, a 19-story state-of-the-art medical facility, and the presentation of Hadassah’s highest award, the Henrietta Szold Prize, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to Hadassah National President Marcie Natan, presentation of the award to the Prime Minister symbolizes 100-years of partnership between the women of Hadassah and Israel, a connection. “We’re marking 100 years and committing ourselves to the next 100,” said Natan.

Hadassah grew last year by 10 percent and now has 330,000 members, active in Jewish life and dedicated donors to the work of Hadassah. The organization that brought modern health care and education to Israel continues to support advances in these fields and to serve as advocates for Israel in all 50 American states and around the world. Hadassah volunteers include major donors and grass-roots activists. Several hundred of the participants belong to the group called “Keepers of the Gate” who have committed to make an annual contribution of $1000 or more.

Celebration details after the jump.

As part of the centennial celebrations a series of events will be held in honor of the donors and their families. The activities will include:

  • lectures by opinion makers and policymakers, personalized dedication ceremonies for donors in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower at the Hadassah Medical Center at Ein Kerem; the opening of the Hadassah Heritage Center in the new Tower;
  • a ceremony to recognize Hadassah’s continued long-time support of Youth Aliyah;
  • its partnership with the Jewish National Fund and the launch of a stamp by the Israel Postal Service to honor Hadassah’s 100-year commitment to the State of Israel;
  • a parade of the organization’s volunteers from Israel and abroad through the streets of Jerusalem,
    as well as gala evenings to celebrate the organization’s century of work.

Heritage Center: On October 13 the launch of the Hadassah Heritage Center will take place in the lobby entrance to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital adjacent to the “Chagall windows.” The Heritage Center is an interactive museum utilizing advanced technology that will feature the organization’s century of achievement.

Stamp and First Day Cover: To honor the organization’s achievements and its centennial celebrations the Israel Postal Service in partnership with the Hadassah will dedicate a stamp that features symbols of Hadassah’s activities in Israel which together will form a Magen David on a blue background with emblem of Hadassah and of the Hadassah Medical Center in the upper right-hand corner.

Dedications for Hadassah Donors at the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower at Hadassah Ein Kerem: Special ceremonies will be held to honor the Schwartz and Davidson families.

Conference — Three Day Symposium: As part of the Centennial celebration Hadassah delegates will attend discussions of major strategic issues related to Israel and Israeli society from expert speakers from the fields of academia, government and the media.

Youth Aliyah/JNF: A festive day of educational activities will recognize Hadassah’s commitment to education and immigration absorption. It will be held at the Hadassah Neurim Youth Village in partnership with the Jewish National Fund.

Gala Events: Two gala events will mark the Dedication of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower (October 16) and 100 Years of Hadassah (October 18) at Binyenei Ha’uma. President Shimon Peres will address guests at the Tower Dedication and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend the latter which will include the presentation of the Henrietta Szold Prize to the Prime Minister.

Hadassah

Hadassah was founded on March 3, 1912 in New York by a group of women headed by Henrietta Szold, to advance efforts toward practical Zionist initiatives to foster and improve health and education conditions for women and children of Palestine. In 1912 two nurses are sent to set up a small public-health and welfare station in Jerusalem to provide maternity care and treat trachoma, then rampant in the Middle East. In 1918, a delegation of 45 doctors, nurses and maintenance established hospitals in Safed, Jaffa and Tiberius in addition to renewal of the hospital in Jerusalem. In 1920, Henrietta Szold arrived in Israel to aid the group and remained in the country until her death in 1945. Hadassah nurse, Bertha Landsman, in 1921 establishes the first toddlers’ health station that was to become known as “Tipat Chalav”. The same year also saw the opening of the Hadassah Hospital in Tel Aviv. In 1939 the Mount Scopus Hadassah University Hospital was inaugurated. At that time Hadassah also focused its efforts on Youth Aliyah (immigration) as one of its central goals and served as the chief financial support of such efforts. On April 13, 1948 a convoy of doctors, nurses and staff headed to Mount Scopus was attacked by Arab terrorists and in the slaughter that followed the attack all 78 members of the convoy were killed. 1949 Hadassah saw the opening of the Ramat Hadassah Youth Village which focused on absorption of children who had survived the holocaust and children of Yemenite olim (immigrants). The Hadassah Hospital University Center at in Ein Kerem was opened in 1960. In 1970 the organization established the Hadassah College to meet the significant need of skilled manpower to the technological, industrial, scientific and economic sectors in Israel. In 1975, following the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, the Medical Center at Mt. Scopus was re-opened. In 1983, “Hadassah International,” the international arm of Hadassah, was founded. In the same year Hadassah-Israel, a group of Hadassah women who had immigrated from the United States to Israel, was founded as the organization’s local Israeli branch.

The 330,000 members of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of American continue their legacy in Israel to this day. Hadassah continues to lead in the field of education with the operation of three youth villages (“Meir Shfeya”, “Hadassah Neurim”, and “Ramat Hadassah Szold”) for youth at risk and with the Hadassah College in Jerusalem; and in the field of health and medical care and research, it’s three world renowned medical facilities. Current research at Hadassah Medical Organization is cutting edge, including that related to stem cells and medical technology, and is a key aspect of Israel’s leading role in medical research. With the dedication of Hadassah’s Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower at the Centennial Celebrations, the Hadassah women look forward to their 2nd Century continuing the Hadassah legacy of uniting advanced educational and medical technologies with the spirit of healing.

No Process, No Pressure

— Leonard Getz, Co-President, Zionist Organization of America, Greater Philadelphia District

Thanks to a twisted,  yet inevitable turn of events, Israel for the moment is enjoying a reprieve  from the pressure to “make peace”, Prime Minister Netanyahu‘s pleadings to a  disinterested Abbas notwithstanding.  We have President Obama to  thank for this. By unilaterally raising the ante making Israeli construction  in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem the issue, Obama has made it impossible  for Israel to offer  anything less, and for the Arabs to refuse anything other than a complete and  continuous building halt. Realizing his mistake, Obama has backed off, and  paradoxically enough, Israel is enjoying for the moment a semblance of peace  from the pressures to make dangerous and unilateral concessions that will  surely undermine their security and right to live anywhere in the land of  Israel.

As I write this Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) the first Jewish representative from Arizona fights for her recovery from a gunshot wound to her head and we pray for her speedy  recovery. Back in 2006, she wrote a piece for the Jewish Federation of Southern  Arizona upon her return from visiting Israel. She wrote  

“I got to see firsthand the  sacrifices that Israelis make in the name of security because of the dangerous  state of affairs there…I will always be a strong supporter of Israel. Until  the Palestinian leadership and other hostile regimes are willing to accept  Israel’s right to exist, it will be impossible to achieve  peace.”

 Speaking of the Bush  Administration she also said,

“The failure of the current administration to  continue the peace process has been a loss to America and Israel. That is why  we need a new direction in Washington.”

Like most American, and  particularly Jewish politicians whose observations are correct and whose  hearts are in the right place, their conclusions are usually  wrong.  When  they say “new direction” what they mean is putting different people in charge  who will inevitably go in the same aimless direction that every administration  and, frankly, every Israeli government as gone. What we need is someone with  Star Trek initiative, to boldly go where no “peace process’ has gone  before.

Where should that be? The  dismantling of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency of Palestinian  Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

For over 60 years the United  States has helped feed a myth that people who are born in a particular country  are refugees instead of citizens of that country, and helped fund a United  Nations agency run by  terrorists. Former UNWRA  general counsel  James G Lindsay said, UNWRA  encourages Palestinians to fight long-lost wars, discourages movement toward  peace and employees thousands of Hamas  terrorists.

If the United States is  serious about peace, it should work towards the withering of UNWRA and let  Israel be.