Herman Cain to Iran: ‘If you mess with Israel you’re messing with the USA’


Source: LAT, 7-19-11


Herman Cain loves deep dish pizza, but he may love Israel more. How do I know? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t go to war with a man who stole a  pepperoni slice; but if he were president and if a country, even one with a huge army like Iran’s, caused problems with an ally like Israel, there’d be trouble.

“If you mess with Israel you’re messing with the United States of America,” the Georgia businessman laid out plainly in his “Cain Doctrine.”

“Option A is, ‘Folks, we are not going to allow you to attack Israel,’ ” the GOP presidential hopeful told the Washington Times.

“If they call my bluff, they already know — they will know — what Option B is,” Cain said….READ MORE

Christian Zionists unite in D.C. to express support for Israel


Source: Haaretz, 7-19-11

Prime Minister Netanyahu, speaking via satellite, and news commentator Glenn Beck encourage audience to think of themselves and Jews, Israelis, as one and the same.

CUFI Summit 2011

Over 5000 Christians, mainly Evangelicals, gathered this week at the Convention Center in Washington for the annual conference of the organization CUFI, Christians United For Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Christian Zionist conference via satellite, telling them, “When you support Israel, you don’t have to choose between your interests and your values; you get both.”

cufi - Natasha Mozgovaya - July 20 2011 Christians United For Israel conference, July 19, 2011.
Photo by: Natasha Mozgovaya

The prime minister encouraged the conference attendees to not only think of Israel as an ally of the Unites States, but as indistinguishable from it. “Our enemies think that we are you, and that you are us,” added Netanyahu. “And you know something? They are absolutely right.”

Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren compared the participants’ support of Israel to British military officer Orde Wingate’s training of Jewish paramilitary units before the establishment of the State of Israel. “We thank you for carrying out this vision,” Oren told the CUFI conference participants.

News commentator Glenn Beck worked the audience into a frenzy, decrying the historical persecution of Jews, insisting that Israel cannot cede control over territories it controls, and calling upon the conference attendees to declare that they, too, are Jewish.

“Jews have been chased out of every corner of this planet,” said Beck. “Enough is enough.” Beck said that new states can be established, but not at the expense of other states, and that Israel is historically the ‘Land of the Jews’, implying that Israel should not relinquish control over the West Bank in order to create a State of Palestine.

Beck repeated a refrain that Netanyahu had introduced earlier, appealing to audience members to self-identify as Israelis and Jews themselves. He exhorted, “When we see Israelis not as part of us, but as us, we can move to the next level as human beings,” adding, “Let us declare ‘I am a Jew,’ they cannot kill all of us”.

The conference attendees learned that Pastor John Hagee, the founder of CUFI, would be joining Beck for his planned rally in Jerusalem in August.

Hagee told the audience, many of whom were waving both Israeli and American flags, “We gathered here with one message: Israel today, Israel tomorrow, and Israel forever.” He added, “President Obama is no friend of Israel”.

“The truth is not what you think that it is – it’s what the Bible says”, Hagee proclaimed. “There are two ways to live your life – the Torah way and the wrong way.”

“If the US Administration forces Israel to divide Jerusalem – God will turn his back to the United States of America. The G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is watching America,” Hagee continued. “Mister President, go tell Russia and the Chinese what to do.”

“Iran will soon become nuclear. Our President is waiting for Iran to extend a friendly hand, and it’s not going to happen,” Hagee added. “Mister Ahmadinejad, don’t threaten Israel. What you do to the Jewish people, history proves, will be done to you.”

We’ve Got It Backward: Israel Education Should Come First, Then Advocacy



The evidence is growing that we may be fighting the wrong battle in the struggle to support Israel these days.

The situation is grim, if not alarming: Jerusalem is increasingly on the defensive diplomatically, faced with a United Nations vote for a Palestinian state in September, and a range of outside efforts aimed at undermining the legitimacy of the Jewish State, from boycotts to flotillas. What’s more, there is concern that the circle-the-wagon response in Jerusalem to these threats can lead to more problems; witness the recent passage of anti-boycott resolution in the Knesset that has been widely criticized as undemocratic, even among mainstream Jewish organizations.

True, Israel advocacy groups are proliferating, offering programs, websites and curriculum, many of them first-rate in presenting Jerusalem’s case and countering critics. But at the same time the number of Americans who care about the Jewish State in a more than superficial way is decreasing.

Polls continue to indicate that Americans favor Israel over the Palestinians by wide margins. But the findings also suggest that most Americans would not be willing to have the U.S. involved with either side in the event of a Mideast war. Other surveys find increasing indifference on the topic.

There is a growing recognition among some American Jewish leaders that Israel advocacy is not enough because it provides answers to questions that most people aren’t asking. We need a fresh and creative approach.

First, let me be clear. I am a believer in Israel advocacy and have seen its positive impact, particularly through Write On For Israel, the program sponsored by The Jewish Week with funding from the Avi Chai Foundation. Now in its ninth year, it continues to provide a select group of high school juniors and seniors with the Mideast facts and moral confidence to be effective supporters of Israel on campus. The program has a proven track record of success as our graduates have taken on leadership roles as freshmen and sophomores at colleges around the country.

But the foundation for effective advocacy is education, and there is far too little Modern Israel education in our community. Even top day schools spend far more time focusing on ancient Jewish history than on the complex Mideast events of the 20th century that frame the current conflict.

Could it be that because of our long history as a people, the curriculum never quite makes it to modern times?…READ MORE

Israel Defense Forces’ Navy Intercepts, Boards French Flotilla Yacht Bound for Gaza


The Israeli boarding came “after all diplomatic channels had been exhausted”

On Tuesday, July 18, IDF soldiers boarded a French yacht heading to the Gaza Strip, in order to ensure it did not break Gaza’s maritime security blockade.

The yacht – the MV Dignite/Al Karama – was intercepted by Israel before being towed to shore in what is being described as an “uneventful takeover”.

The Israeli boarding of the vessel by IDF navy soldiers came after “after all diplomatic channels had been exhausted and continuous calls to the vessel had been ignored,”  according to a military statement. The yacht’s16 passengers were offered food, drink and medical exams.

Prior to intercepting the yacht, four Israeli military boats flanked the vessel and warned its crew not to attempt to breach the sea blockade off Gaza.

The yacht left the Greek island of Kastellorizo on Saturday evening after Athens imposed a ban on the departure of any ships involved in the flotilla. Early on Tuesday, activists on board tweeted via @BateauGazaFr that they were still determined to reach Gaza.

Israel insists the Gaza blockade is both legal and vital in ensuring that the terrorist organization, Hamas, does not gain access to incoming funds and/or weapons that would be used to attack Israel.

Israeli navy takes over Gaza-bound ship


Source: AP, 7-19-11

Israeli naval commandos on Tuesday seized control of a French ship attempting to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, reporting no resistance during the takeover in international waters.

The navy boarded the ship after the pro-Palestinian activists on board ignored calls to change course.

The military had warned it would stop any attempt to break the sea blockade of Gaza, which Israel imposed four years ago in what it says is a measure to prevent arms smuggling to Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group.

It said the vessel, the Dignity al-Karama, would be taken to a southern Israeli port, Ashdod. The international passengers are likely to face deportation….READ MORE

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn visitng Israel this week with JUF


Source: Jewish United Fund, 7-19-11

Gov. Quinn

State of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn arrives in Israel today for a week of meetings with a number of high-ranking Israeli officials along with briefings from experts on a range of issues of interest to the people of Illinois, including hi-tech development, energy, environmentalism, education, security, and disaster preparedness. Early stops include visits to the “Solutions” facility maintained in Israel by Motorola, one of the largest Illinois-based companies, and the offices of Better Place, a battery-operated car innovator.

On Thursday the Governor will participate in a ceremony at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba at which officials of Ben Gurion University and the University of Illinois at Chicago will sign a formal Agreement on Academic Cooperation to establish a wide-ranging relationship. The agreement will promote faculty exchange, student exchange, joint research projects, and other academic activities of joint interest.  The agreement grows out of and greatly expands joint efforts in which the two universities have already been involved in the field of Public Health.  Rivka Carmi, President of Ben Gurion University, will preside over the ceremony, and the University of Illinois at Chicago will be represented by the Dean of the School of Public Health, Paul Brandt-Rauf.

On Sunday Quinn will join Dr. Uzi Landau, Minister of National Infrastructures, in signing a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a “Sister Lakes” relationship between Israel’s Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) and Lake Michigan. The latter entity borders the state of Illinois and is the fresh water source for Chicago and its surroundings. The agreement references joint concerns regarding water purification, invasive fish species, and other issues.

Quinn will visit sites along the Kinneret itself, on a tour led by key figures in Israel’s Oceanographic & Limnological Research.

The Governor’s Educational visit to Israel is organized by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and made possible by a generous donor. The visit is part of a JUF initiative that for years has brought influential non-Jewish leaders to Israel. Joining him on the visit are Illinois State Senators Jeffrey Schoenberg and Ira Silverstein, along with Skip Schrayer, Chairman of the Jewish United Fund, Michael Kotzin, Executive Vice President of the Jewish United Fund, and several Illinois business leaders.

Israel’s Boycott Bill and the U.S.-Israel Alliance


Source: The Atlantic, 7-19-11

Is Israel’s step away from free speech also a step away from its most important ally?

koplow july19 p.jpg

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a Likud party meeting in Jerusalem / Reuters

The vote last week by the Israeli Knesset to pass the “boycott bill,” which subjects anyone calling for a boycott of Israel or the settlements to lawsuits and severe penalties, was intended, according to its sponsor, Likud member Zeev Elkin, to make it easier to fight back against those seeking to delegitimize Israel and to ensure Israel’s accepted place in the global community. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Wednesday that the ban on calls for a boycott is not a violation of democratic principles and does not tarnish Israel’s reputation. He called the condemnations of Israel over the law unfair “attacks on a democracy’s attempt to draw a line between what is acceptable and what is not.” Netanyahu and the law’s supporters may indeed believe that banning Israeli citizens from calling for boycotts will strengthen Israel’s standing in the world by eliminating what they see as a potential fifth column of enemies within, but the unfortunate reality is that this law will have the exact opposite effect of that which Elkin intended. By enacting a law with such anti-democratic overtones, and that explicitly embraces the settlements as equivalent with Israel proper, Israel is putting its global status in peril by endangering its crucial support from the United States….READ MORE

Simcha Katz: OU president slams US Jewish groups over anti-boycott law


Source: Jerusalem Post, 7-19-11

Orthodox Union head urges US Jews, who don’t pay Israel taxes or serve IDF, to keep from criticizing Israeli policy.

OU President Simcha Katz
Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem

The president of the Orthodox Union on Monday slammed the US Jewish groups who recently chastised Israel over the anti-boycott law.

“We live in the United States, we haven’t served in the army, we don’t pay taxes [in Israel], so it would be inappropriate for us to publicly, in some fashion, criticize Israel on what they do to protect themselves,” said Simcha Katz.

Anti-boycott bill becomes law after passing Knesset
Palestinians to step up settlement boycott efforts

The new law, which passed in the Knesset last Monday, enables citizens to file civil suits against people or organizations that call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions or regions under Israeli control, and prevents the government from doing business with companies that initiate or comply with such boycotts.

American Jewish groups ranging from J-Street to Zionists of America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the ADL, Americans for Peace Now and the New Israel Fund all spoke out against the law.

“On a personal level,” Katz noted, “I fully agree with the anti-boycott legislation. It was based on US legislation, which has criminal components to it. This doesn’t have criminal components to it; essentially, it’s a financial potential component.

“I was reading that Telrad, one of the companies in Israel, was selling products to the Palestinians – but part of the deal was that they couldn’t buy from Judea and Samaria. I find that outrageous,” said Katz.

“On a personal level, I’m fully in support of that particular law. Generally we support the Israeli government per se. The OU hasn’t taken a position, and generally we are supportive of what the Israeli government in power does,” he reiterated.

The OU was notably silent on last year’s conversion bill controversy as well, a topic Katz said his movement was not an expert in, so there was no point in getting involved.

“Look, we’re into tachles, to accomplishing things, we do things in the field – that’s what we’re interested in. So we want to be very supportive of the Israeli government, [and] meanwhile we’re involved in a lot of activities.

Press releases are not what we’re interested in.”…READ MORE

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