Israel Advocacy Initiatives and Updates
UN Vote Grants "Non-Member Observer Status" to Palestinians
Exactly 65 years after passing the Partition Plan for Palestine, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member state with observer status. 138 countries voted in favor, 9 against, and 41 abstained. The 9 countries that voted against the upgrade were; Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, U.S., Panama, The Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru, and Micronesia. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the resolution "unfortunate and counterproductive," explaining that "only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two people, with a sovereign, viable, independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel."
Of particular concern for Israel is the access this increased status may grant to the Palestinians in the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice. It is feared that the Palestinians will make use of these courts as weapons against Israel to bring formal war crimes charges against specific Israeli leaders.
It remains an unfortunate fact that the Palestinian Authority has an "automatic majority" in the General Assembly and almost always gains the support of the multitude of non-democratic and non-Western states across the globe. While some may see this vote as "a seal of approval for [Palestine's] birth" as the New York Times indicated, it must be seen in the context of a biased UN General Assembly. This is the same body that routinely appoints countries like Iran and Libya to positions of authority so there should be no mystery or surprise about this most recent vote. There should also be little credence given to it, except that it is yet another reflection of the prejudice against Israel that exists in this formerly august body.
Hamas Rocket Attacks
We are closely following the Cease Fire that is tentatively holding, following weeks of Hamas rocket attacks and Israel's "Operation Pillar of Defense." Hamas and Islamic Jihad had fired over 800 rockets and mortars at the civilians of southern and central Israel, killing six innocent Israelis, wounding hundreds and terrorizing thousands of others. For the first time, Iranian made long range missiles reached the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from Gaza. Click HERE to watch video of attacks.
Ministry Backgrounder, IDF Blog, U.S. / U.N. Response, U.S. House & Senate Joint Resolutions & Statements, Haaretz Breaking News, Israeli Troop Movements
Jewish Exponent; CNN; CBS; Washington Post
Jewish Federation Talking Points & Sample Op Ed on Hamas and Gaza:
Talking Points, Sample Op-Ed/Letter to Editor
Read Statements from Congress
Thank Your Representatives and Senators for their Support
Fifteen leaders of U.S. churches and other faith-based organizations have asked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel. The letter decried what it called "a troubling and consistent pattern of disregard by the government of Israel for U.S. policies that support a just and lasting peace."
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs rejected the call to reevaluate foreign aid to Israel. "U.S. aid to Israel is not 'unconditional,' as the letter claims. It reflects the shared values of America and Israel and furthers our shared goals for peace and security and is vital to advance the security of both peoples," said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow.
The Rabbinical Assembly, the international umbrella organization of Conservative rabbis, called for a reevaluation of the interfaith partnerships between the assembly and the denominations represented in the letter. Since the letter was submitted, more national Jewish organizations have been wrestling with their ongoing interfaith relationships. Much like the concern over divestment attempts, every effort is made to avoid pulling out of relationships completely. However, an interfaith meeting scheduled for late October has been a point of contention and just this week a number of Jewish organizations have decided to pull out of this meeting on principal. In a letter, the American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Union for Reform Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism announced they would not attend the meeting. The Anti-Defamation League had announced earlier that it would not attend the meeting.
Many Jewish community organizations have acknowledged that the problem is often with the leaders of these religious organizations who take actions like this without the full backing of their constituents. According to one Presbyterian group, the letter, signed in their name "... contradicts and diminishes carefully worded [church] policy."
There has been a commitment on the part of many local arms of these national organizations to continue the positive local interactions that happen on a regular basis as a part of very successful interfaith efforts all over the country. The best course of action, according to many local activists, is to engage with your Christian friends, keep involved in interfaith programming, and let them know what their leaders are doing in their name.
Impasse Over US Aid to Israel - Washington Post
Controversy Over Leadership - Presbyterians for Middle East Peace
Divestment Bid Defeated at Presbyterian Assembly
By a razor-thin margin, the largest Presbyterian group in the United States rejected a proposal Thursday to divest from three companies that do business with Israel. The Presbyterian General Assembly voted 333-331, with two abstentions, to reject the divestment plan. A second vote instead affirmed a policy of investment in support of peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Morsi Wins Egyptian Election:
Brotherhood Put to the Test
Mohammed Morsi, 60, an American-trained engineer won Egypt's first contested presidential election and becomes Egypt's fifth president - the first from outside the military. But his victory, 16 months after the military took over on the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, is an ambiguous milestone in Egypt's promised transition to democracy with questions remaining about his party, the Mulsim Brotherhood, and the future constitution.
Penn BDS Aftermath
From February 3 - 6, a national conference of BDS supporters (Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) gathered on the campus of the University of Pensylvania. This conference assembled academics and professional activists with a primary purpose of continuing an international deligitimization campaign against Israel. (See Community Statement Opposing BDS)
The Need to Respond to BDS
People often ask, why even respond to BDS. Some say that since BDS attempts to get colleges and universities to divest from Israel don't work and since they don't have many actual followers on campus, why bother. Some even say that Israel supporters give them too much attention with any response at all. But as has been said many times, the appropriate respnse to BDS is a balancing act between making a strong statment and not shedding too much light on them. It is not about refusing to shine light on them at all. That would be a mistake and here is why. ( Read more ... )
No BDS Upside
In a February 6 guest column in the Daily Pennsylvanian, Prof. Ian Lustick asks "Who Benefits from BDS?" In his attempt to see the event with rose colored glasses, Lustick's spin ignores most of the facts and reveals a great deal about what the challenges of BDS conferences really are. First and foremost, Lustick ignores that for thee days, Israel was blamed, insulted, smeared and delegitimized. If that is a win for the Jewish community, Lustick would be hard-pressed to show how.. (Read more ... )
Israel Education & Advocacy Resource Providers
An Excellent Way to Respond to Boycott Campaigns is to Support Israel Through Buying Israeli Products
When you buy goods made and grown in Israel, not only are you getting quality items but you are also supporting a loyal and important American ally. This Buy Israel initiative is adapted from a ZOA program in place since 2009.
Click HERE for more information about Buy Israel items and locations.
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