Israel Brief July 21, 2013: Gilad Shalit accompanied children’s aliyah flight from New York

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Gilad Shalit accompanying aliyah flight from N.Y.

Source: JTA, 7-21-13

A chartered aliyah flight bearing 106 children and accompanied by former captive soldier Gilad Shalit left New York for Israel….READ MORE

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Full Text September 20, 2011: Gov. Rick Perry’s Speech at Israel-Palestine Press Conference in New York City (Transcript)

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Gov. Perry’s Remarks at Israel-Palestine Press Conference in New York City

Source: RickPerry.org, 9-20-11

Thank you. Let me begin by thanking Dr. Solomon Frager and Aron Hirtz for helping us organize this press conference today.

I am joined today by a diverse group of Jewish leaders from here and abroad who share my concern that the United Nations could take action this week to legitimize the Palestinian gambit to establish statehood in violation of the spirit of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

We are indignant that certain Middle Eastern leaders have discarded the principle of direct negotiations between the sovereign nation of Israel and the Palestinian leadership, and we are equally indignant that the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy of appeasement has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith.

Simply put, we would not be here today at the precipice of such a dangerous move if the Obama Policy in the Middle East wasn’t naïve, arrogant, misguided and dangerous.

It must be said, first, that Israel is our oldest and strongest democratic ally in the Middle East and has been for more than 60 years. The Obama Policy of moral equivalency, which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a dangerous insult.

There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction. America should not be ambivalent between the terrorist tactics of Hamas and the security tactics of the legitimate and free state of Israel. By proposing ‘indirect talks” through the U.S. rather than between Palestinian leaders and Israel, this administration encouraged the Palestinians to shun direct talks.

Second, it was wrong for this Administration to suggest the 1967 borders should be the starting point for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.  When you consider this suggestion was made on the eve of the Israeli Prime Minister’s visit, we see in this American Administration a willingness to isolate a close ally and to do so in a manner that is insulting and naïve.

Third, by injecting the issue of 1967 borders in addition to a construction freeze in East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements, the Obama Administration has put Israel in a position of weakness and taken away their flexibility to offer concessions as part of the negotiation process.

Indeed, bolstered by the Obama Administration’s policies and apologists at the U.N., the Palestinians are exploiting the instability in the Middle East hoping to achieve their objective without concessions or direct negotiations with Israel.

The reason is simple: if they perceive they can get what they want from the U.N. without making any concessions why should they negotiate with Israel?

While the administration is right to finally agree to fight the Arab resolution at the U.N., it bears repeating that we wouldn’t be here today if they had stuck to some basic principles concerning Palestinian statehood:

First, Palestinian leaders must publicly affirm Israel’s right to exist, and to exist as a Jewish state;

Second, President Abbas must persuade all factions including Hamas to renounce acts of terrorism and release kidnapped Israeli Gilad Shalit, and;

Third, Palestinian statehood must be established only through direct negotiations between the Palestinian leadership and the nation of Israel.

By not insisting on these principles, the Obama Administration has appeased the Arab Street at the expense of our own national security interests. They have sowed instability that threatens the prospects of peace.

Israel’s security is critical to America’s security. We must not forget it was Israel that took out the nuclear capabilities of Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007. In both instances, their actions made the free world safer.

Today, the greatest threat to the security of Israel and, by extension, a threat to America, is the Iranian government developing a nuclear arsenal. One thing is clear: we must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Economic sanctions must be tightened and increased and all options must remain on the table to stop a brutally repressive regime from acquiring a nuclear capability.

To date, we have fumbled our greatest opportunity for regime change. As average Iranian citizens were marching on Tehran in the Green Revolution in 2009, America was wasting precious time on a naïve policy of outreach to both the Iranian and Syrian governments.

Who knows what the leadership of Iran would look like today if America had done everything in its power to provide diplomatic and moral support to encourage the growing movement of dissidents who sought freedom.

Our actions in recent years have destabilized the Middle East. We have been complacent in encouraging revolt against hostile governments in Iran and Syria and we have been slow to recognize the risks posed by the new regime in Egypt and the increasingly strained relationship between Israel and Turkey.

It is vitally important for America to preserve alliances with moderate Muslim regimes and Muslim leaders who seek to preserve peace and stability in the region. But today, neither adversaries nor allies alike, know where America stands.

Our muddle of a foreign policy has created greater uncertainty in the midst of the “Arab Spring.” And our policy of isolating and undermining Israel has only encouraged our adversaries in their aggression.

With the end-run on Palestinian statehood imminent before the U.N., America must act swiftly.

First, every nation within the U.N. must know America stands with Israel and the Oslo accord principle of direct negotiations without equivocation.

Second, America must make it clear that a declaration of Palestinian Statehood in violation of the spirit of the Oslo accords could jeopardize our funding of U.N. operations.

Third, the Palestinians must know their gambit comes with consequences in particular that America will have to reconsider the $4 billion in assistance we have provided to the Palestinians over the last 17 years.

Fourth, we should close the PLO office in Washington if the U.N. grants the standing of a Palestinian state.

And fifth, we must signal to the world, including nations like Turkey and Egypt whom we have considered allies in recent years, that we won’t tolerate aggression against Israel.

Israel is our friend and ally. I have traveled there several times, and met with its leaders. It is not a perfect nation, but its existence is critical to America’s security in the world.

It is time to change our policy of appeasement toward the Palestinians to strengthen our ties to the nation of Israel, and in the process establish a robust American position in the Middle East characterized by a new firmness and a new resolve.

If America does not head off the aggression of forces hostile to Israel we will only embolden them.

That would be a tragic mistake.

Israel Political Brief September 20, 2011: Gov. Rick Perry Joins New York Israeli Rally

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Rick Perry Joins Israeli Rally

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 9-20-11

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is joining a New York rally with a leader of the Likud party’s strongly nationalist flank Tuesday.

The Texas governor will hold a press conference in New York on Tuesday (today) with Knesset Member Danny Danon, who supports bringing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria under Israeli sovereignty. Danon is expected to ask Perry to back the move as a response to the Palestinian Authority’s bypassing direct talks with Israel and going to the United Nations for unilateral recognition.

Perry’s high-profile appearance comes one week after the Republican party upset in a long-time Democratic Congressional district in New York, where a special election was held for the seat vacated by Jewish Democrat Anthony Weiner. rick perryThe district is heavily populated by orthodox Jews, but the vote against a Jewish observant Democrat and for a Republican Catholic sent a clear warning to President Barack Obama and his party that he cannot count on the “Jewish vote.”
Perry wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Friday that President Obama is to blame for the Palestinian Authority’s latest tactic to avoid negotiating with Israel over a future PA state.
He argued that constant pressure for Israeli concessions, along with President Obama’s attempts to “engage” Syria and Iran, encouraged PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to reject compromise.
The rally urges Jews to “join our community and stand with Governor Rick Perry against the UN vote for Palestinian statehood.” He also will address the Veterans of Foreign Wars 112th National Conference. War, and I’m not against Jews. I am very much for Jews. No, not too much, because Israel is a pain in the ass.”

via israelnn.com

Political Brief September 14, 2011: Republican Bob Turner wins Weiner’s former Congressional seat over Jewish Democrat David Weprin

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Republican wins Weiner’s former seat

Source: JTA, 9-13-11

In a blow to Democrats, a Republican candidate captured the heavily Jewish New York City congressional district previously represented by Rep. Anthony Weiner.

The Republican candidate, Bob Turner, beat his Democratic opponent, New York State Assemblyman David Weprin, in Tuesday’s special election. The Associated Press called the race for Turner shortly after midnight, with the Republican leading Weprin by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent and more than three-fifths of precincts reporting.

The race was closely watched as a measure of attitudes toward President Obama, with the Jewish vote a particular focus of attention. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, urged voters to support Turner in order to send a message of dissatisfaction to President Obama over his policies toward Israel.

Weprin, an Orthodox Jew, initially led in pre-election polls. But Turner, a retired television executive who was a creator of “The Jerry Springer Show,” pulled ahead during the past month.

Turner’s victory came despite the Democrats’ strong advantage in voter registration in the middle-class Brooklyn and Queens district, which is 57 percent Democratic and only 19 percent Republican. Observers, however, have noted that the district votes more conservative than the registration numbers seem to suggest.

The Republican’s tenure in Congress, however, could be short-lived. New York state is losing two congressional seats due to decennial reapportionment, and many expect that the seat, which has been vacant since Weiner’s scandal-induced resignation, will be eliminated.

New York’s 9th Congressional District has the fourth-largest Jewish population of any congressional district, with some 173,000 Jews, according to a 2009 report from the Mandell L. Berman Institute-North American Jewish Data Bank. Jerry Skurnik, a partner at the political consulting firm Prime New York, told The New York Times that about a third of the district’s active voters are Jewish.

However, the district’s Jewish demographics are somewhat atypical, with sizable concentrations of Orthodox Jews and Russian Jews, who tend to lean more conservative in their voting behavior than Jews in general.

During the race Weprin tried to distance himself from the president, highlighting his criticisms of the president’s policies toward Israel.

According to a September poll from the Siena Research Institute, 54 percent of the district’s likely Jewish voters said they had an unfavorable view of the president, with only 42 percent viewing him favorably — figures that almost exactly matched the views of the district’s likely voters overall.

The Siena poll, conducted Sept. 6-8, showed Weprin trailing Turner by six percentage points but leading among Jews by an equal margin.

While the Israel issue has garnered much of the media attention, in the Siena poll only 16 percent of the district’s Jewish voters said that a candidate’s Israel stance would be the most important factor in determining their vote. That is roughly half the proportion (30 percent) who identified the candidate’s position on the economic recovery as their key issue and slightly fewer than the proportion (20 percent) who chose Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs as the top issue.

Full Text September 14, 2011: Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks Statement on Republican Win New York’s 9th Congressional District Special Election

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RJC: Jewish Defections Hurt Obama, Democrats in Queens Race

Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks made the following statement on the results of the special election in New York’s 9th congressional district:

“We congratulate Bob Turner on his historic victory.

This Republican win in an overwhelmingly Democrat district is a significant indicator of the problem that President Obama has in the Jewish community. While party leaders scramble to deny and try to stem the erosion of Jewish support for Democrats, the real issue is this President’s policies on Israel, on jobs, and on the economy. Jewish voters are coming to see that Republicans offer real solutions to our economic crisis, are resolute friends of Israel, and represent a way forward to a better future.

Bob Turner’s win tonight has huge implications for 2012 races in states with large Jewish communities, such as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

The RJC took a proactive approach in this race, reaching out to Jewish voters in the district, and we will be a leading voice driving the debate in the Jewish community nationally through 2012 as well.”

Poltical Brief September 13, 2011: Upset, Jewish Vote Speaks — Republican Bob Turner Wins New York’s 9th Congressional District Seat in Special Election over Democrat David I. Weprin — Referendum & Rebuke on President Obama & Israel Policies in Democratic District

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Damon Winter/The New York Times

Bob Turner, center, spoke to supporters in Queens on Tuesday.

ELECTIONS: REPUBLICAN WINS NEW YORK’S CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 9 IN SPECIAL ELECTION

G.O.P. Gains House Seat Vacated by Weiner, AP Reports: A little-known Republican businessman from Queens, channeling voter discontent with President Obama into an upset victory, on Tuesday won election to Congress from the heavily Democratic district in New York City last represented by Anthony D. Weiner, according to The Associated Press.
The Republican, Bob Turner, a retired cable television executive, defeated Assemblyman David I. Weprin, the scion of a prominent Democratic family in Queens, in a nationally watched special election.

With 84 percent of the precincts counted early Wednesday, Mr. Turner was leading Mr. Weprin by 54 percent to 46 percent, according to The Associated Press.

Turner recently polled 6 points higher than Democrat opponent David Weprin, who is actually Jewish, and narrowed Weprin’s lead among Jewish voters by 15 points. The Turner campaign sent out 5,000 letters to registered voters in Israel, asking them to register for the ballots and place them in time.

“We congratulate Bob Turner on his historic victory.
This Republican win in an overwhelmingly Democrat district is a significant indicator of the problem that President Obama has in the Jewish community. While party leaders scramble to deny and try to stem the erosion of Jewish support for Democrats, the real issue is this President’s policies on Israel, on jobs, and on the economy. Jewish voters are coming to see that Republicans offer real solutions to our economic crisis, are resolute friends of Israel, and represent a way forward to a better future.
Bob Turner’s win tonight has huge implications for 2012 races in states with large Jewish communities, such as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The RJC took a proactive approach in this race, reaching out to Jewish voters in the district, and we will be a leading voice driving the debate in the Jewish community nationally through 2012 as well.” — Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks statement on the results of the special election in New York’s 9th congressional district — RJC: Jewish Defections Hurt Obama, Democrats in Queens Race

“His [President Barack Obama] hostility should concern Jews, Christians, and other supporters of Israel. Many believe the president has conveyed by his actions and demands on that state that he is willing to throw it under the bus and end the special relationship which has existed between the U.S. and Israel beginning with Harry Truman and continuing through the administration of George W. Bush….
While President Obama has made demands upon Israel that affect its security, no comparable demand — indeed, no demands — have been made upon the Palestinian Authority before entering the peace talks….
On the other hand, the election of Bob Turner in a normally safe Democratic district running against President Obama’s position on Israel and against his own party’s positions on the three entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would send a message to his own party leadership, as well as to President Obama.” — Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch

“No matter who wins in the special election in New York’s 9th congressional district on Tuesday. This race highlights the serious problems that President Obama has in the Jewish community because of his policies regarding Israel. Without question, Obama’s policies are causing significant numbers of Jewish voters to re-examine their loyalty to the Democratic Party.” — Matt Brooks RJC executive director

    • G.O.P. Gains House Seat Vacated by Weiner: Bob Turner, a little-known Republican businessman from Queens, beat Assemblyman David I. Weprin in an upset victory seen as a message to Washington…. – NYT, 9-13-11
    • GOP Takes Anthony Weiner’s Seat in Congress: Republican Bob Turner, a retired media executive, bested Democrat Assemblyman David Weprin. With about 70 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, Turner had 53 percent of the vote to Weprin’s 47 percent when the Associated Press called the race…. – ABC News, 9-13-11
    • Republican wins Weiner’s former seat: In a blow to Democrats, a Republican candidate captured the heavily Jewish New York City congressional district previously represented by Rep. Anthony Weiner.
      The race was closely watched as a measure of attitudes toward President Obama, with the Jewish vote a particular focus of attention. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, urged voters to support the Republican, Bob Turner, in order to send a message of dissatisfaction to President Obama over his policies toward Israel…. – JTA, 9-13-11
    • Why Obama Is Losing the Jewish Vote He doesn’t have a ‘messaging’ problem. He has a record of bad policies and anti-Israel rhetoric: New York’s special congressional election on Tuesday was the first electoral outcome directly affected by President Obama’s Israel policy. Democrats were forced to expend enormous resources to try to defend this safe Democratic district, covering Queens and Brooklyn, that Anthony Weiner won last year by a comfortable margin.
      A Public Policy Poll taken days before the election found a plurality of voters saying that Israel was “very important” in determining their votes. Among those voters, Republican candidate Robert Turner was winning by a 71-22 margin. Only 22% of Jewish voters approved of President Obama’s handling of Israel. Ed Koch, the Democrat and former New York mayor, endorsed Mr. Turner because he said he wanted to send a message to the president about his anti-Israel policies.
      This is a preview of what President Obama might face in his re-election campaign with a demographic group that voted overwhelmingly for him in 2008. And it could affect the electoral map, given the battleground states—such as Florida and Pennsylvania—with significant Jewish populations. In another ominous barometer for the Obama campaign, its Jewish fund-raising has deeply eroded: One poll by McLaughlin & Associates found that of Jewish donors who donated to Mr. Obama in 2008, only 64% have already donated or plan to donate to his re-election campaign…. – WSJ, 9-13-11
    • Koch Played Key Role in GOP Victory: The Republican victory in New York’s solid blue 9th Congressional District seat in Tuesday’s special election came largely with the help of an influential Democrat: former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
      Koch was arguably the one single factor in helping the GOP win the battle to succeed disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner in the U.S. House.
      The thrice-elected former mayor, who remains a powerful force in New York and national politics, had backed Obama strongly in the 2008 election.
      A self-describer “liberal with reason,” former Congressman Koch holds a hawkish view on U.S. foreign policy and national security matters.
      In 2004, he cited the war on terror to cross party lines and back George Bush over John Kerry for the presidency. Koch campaigned for Bush’s re-election in Florida and Ohio.
      In the special election, the 86-year-old Koch urged fellow New Yorkers, and disaffected Democrats like himself, to send a message to President Obama that they give him a thumbs down for his domestic and foreign policies.
      Koch, a staunch supporter of Israel, has been dismayed with Obama’s lukewarm support for Israel.
      The former mayor’s message appeared to resonate in the congressional district that straddles the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn and is home to many Jews, including many Orthodox ones. Newsmax, 9-13-11
    • Republican Bob Turner wins special election in New York: Democrats suffered a stunning blow Tuesday as voters in New York’s 9th Congressional District handed the seat to Republican Bob Turner, reversing a nearly 90-year tradition of electing Democrats to represent the district. … – LAT, 9-13-11
    • Republican Bob Turner wins New York special election: Businessman Bob Turner (R) defeated state Assemblyman David Weprin (D) in the special election for the House seat held by former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D)…. – WaPo, 9-13-11
    • A referendum on Obama and Israel: Bob Turner vs. David Weprin is really about: In deciding between Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin, the 9th’s large percentage of Jewish voters may provide an important clue about what a part of President Obama’s base in 2008 will do in next year’s presidential contest…. – New York Daily News, 9-13-11
    • Republican wins Democratic New York House seat: Republican Bob Turner won the race to succeed Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th congressional district. By Paul Kane, With his outcome of his own reelection effort 14 difficult months away, President Obama suffered a sharp rebuke…. – WaPo, 9-13-11
    • GOP Wins in Race to Replace Weiner: AP Democrats suffered a setback Tuesday in a congressional election in New York City, where a district they have held for nearly a century elected a Republican who framed his candidacy as a rebuke to President Barack Obama. … – WSJ, 9-13-11
    • Republican wins in New York Democratic stronghold: Republicans won an upset victory in a Democratic stronghold in New York Tuesday in a special US House of Representatives election for the seat vacated by former Representative Anthony Weiner, who resigned after a Twitter sex scandal…. – Reuters, 9-13-11
    • GOP wins in NY House race, seen as Obama rebuke: Republicans have scored an upset victory in a House race that started as a contest to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner after he resigned in a sexting scandal but became a referendum on President Barack Obama…. – Forbes, 9-13-11

“The idea is telling Obama, we’re not just in your pocket because we’re Democrats and we’re ticking off Democrat all the way down the list. We are holding you responsible for your policies, and we’re telling you we don’t want them…. If Obama looks at his always historically blue district … if he gets this message from this Democrat district, this can affect his policies–again, both on fiscal and Israel — in the next year.” — Ruth Lieberman, a veteran political consultant

  • NY-9 Could Affect White House Israeli Policy: This afternoon, Ruth Lieberman, a veteran political consultant who has been helping Republican Bob Turner in his special election race to win former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat in New York, spoke with Townhall about the dynamics between Turner and the Jewish vote in this race and broader implications for 2012. The district shows 1/3 registered Jewish voters, but of last year’s participation in the election, a large percentage were Jewish voters, according to Lieberman.
    The conversation with Lieberman revealed voters in the very blue district seem interested on two issues: jobs and Israel. Turner’s message to constituents has been that if they’re not happy with the Obama economy or with the administration’s stance on Israel, Turner is their man. Turner also picked up major Jewish Democrat endorsements along the way — local Assemblyman Dov Hikind (who has been campaigning with Turner) and former New York Mayor Ed Koch. Lieberman emphasized that these two Democrat politicians are telling voters to cross over and that this isn’t about party, but a referendum on Obama and jobs and Israel…. – Townhall, 9-13-11
  • Is Israel Policy an Election Problem for Obama?: President Barack Obama’s weakened standing with voters has helped put a safe Democratic House seat at risk of tipping to the GOP in a special election Tuesday in New York City…. – WSJ, 9-13-11
  • Shocker: White House Spox Says NY-9 Special Is Not A Referendum On Obama’: It is worth reiterating that PPP found 54% of those polled said they disapproved of Obama’s policy on Israel, but voters were split on whether Israel matters in the NY-9 election…. – New York Daily News, 9-12-11
  • Polling Israel in NY-9: Republican Bob Turner’s unusual lead in last night’s PPP poll among Jewish and pro-Israel voters in Anthony Weiner’s old district has drawn its share of attention, but a reader points out that it may be a bit of a local anomaly. … – Politico, 9-12-11
  • GOP Jewish group yokes NY-9 results to Obama: The Republican Jewish Coalition, which sent mailers to 30,000 Jewish homes in NY-9 in advance of the special congressional election this week, is trying to pre-frame the results as negative for President Obama, regardless of whether Democrat David Weprin wins or loses.
    Weprin is locked in a tight race against neophyte politician and Republican Bob Turner, in a heavily Jewish district where Obama’s approval numbers are now underwater…. – Politico, 9-9-11
  • Gaming the Catholic vote: In a brief interlude into NY-9, which appears poised to go for the Republican Bob Turner tonight and will be sifted-over for national implications, veteran New York strategist Hank Sheinkopf said one takeaway for the Democrats next year is the Catholic vote…. – Politico, 9-13-11
  • Boehner on N.Y. special election: Republicans don’t have ‘any right to think we can win”: But if businessman Bob Turner (R) does prevail at the polls, Boehner said, the message will be a clear one: Voters are unhappy with President Obama’s leadership on the economy…. – WaPo, 9-13-11
  • NY special election a measure of Obama’s strength: Democrat David Weprin faced an unusually tight race against Republican Bob Turner in a special election Tuesday in New York’s heavily Democratic 9th Congressional District, where voters unhappy with President Barack Obama could elect a Republican for the first time.
    The contest to replace disgraced Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner has become too close to call, with public opinion polling showing a slight edge for Turner, a retired media executive with no previous political experience…. – AP, 9-13-11
  • Outside groups spend $1.65 million on House races in Nevada, New York: In Nevada, Kate Marshall (about $748000 reported) has out-raised Republican Mark Amodei (about $659000), while in New York David Weprin (about $684000) has more than doubled the campaign cash of his opponent Bob Turner (about $323000)…. – iWatch News, 9-13-11
  • 6 NY Assembly seats up for grabs in NYC, upstate: The race getting the most attention is the special election in New York City’s 9th Congressional District, where Democrat David Weprin faces Republican Bob Turner in the contest to succeed replace disgraced Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner…. – Houston Chronicle, 9-13-11
  • Former Mayor Ed Koch Supports Bob Turner YouTube, 9-12-11
  • Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D) Endorses Bob Turner (R) for US Congress in NY-9 YouTube, 9-9-11

Josh Haner/The New York Times

Assemblyman David I. Weprin had hoped to keep the Ninth Congressional District seat in Democratic hands, but failed.

Israel Political Brief July 26, 2011: Weiner’s Exit Sets Off a Race to Be Israel’s Better Friend

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Source: NYT, 7-26-11

Ty Cacek/The New York Times

Assemblyman David I. Weprin, center, is a Democrat running against Bob Turner for the House seat Anthony D. Weiner gave up.

 

Assemblyman David I. Weprin, the Democratic candidate to replace former Representative Anthony D. Weiner in a special election on Sept. 13, is a Modern Orthodox Jew who keeps kosher, observes the Sabbath and has been to Israel at least eight times. So it comes as a surprise that, at this early stage of the short campaign, New York’s Ninth Congressional District finds itself talking about an unlikely subject — whether Mr. Weprin, who is unabashedly pro-Israel, is the best pro-Israel advocate.

Uli Seit for The New York Times

Former Mayor Edward I. Koch, in jacket, with Mr. Turner, a Republican, whom Mr. Koch endorsed for Congress on Monday.

Just as a May special election in a conservative district of western New York turned into an unexpected referendum on the Republican Party’s proposals about Medicare, the coming special election in a heavily Jewish district of Brooklyn and Queens is, at least for that district, emerging as a potential referendum on President Obama’s proposals about the Middle East.

“It will be a one-upsmanship on who is more pro-Israel,” said Chris Malone, an associate professor of political science at Pace University.

On Monday, former Mayor Edward I. Koch, a Democrat, endorsed the Republican candidate in the race, Bob Turner, a retired cable television executive, at a press conference at which he stood next to an Israeli flag. Mr. Koch has acknowledged that Mr. Weprin is a strong supporter of Israel, but argued that the election of Mr. Turner would serve as a rebuke to Mr. Obama for saying that Israel’s pre-1967 border should be the basis for a peace agreement.

Both Mr. Weprin, 55, and Mr. Turner, 70, have criticized the president’s position on Israel, and both promote their support for Israel on their campaign Web sites.

But Mr. Koch said that although he and Mr. Weprin had similar political ideals, he had concluded that Mr. Weprin could not be “an effective messenger” to Mr. Obama.

“I said to him that it’s not a personal matter, but I want you to understand that it’s an issue that’s bigger than you and that’s bigger than me,” Mr. Koch said. “The president is not likely to be offended or feel threatened by David Weprin, Democrat from Queens, saying something critical of him.”….READ MORE

Over 30000 Participate in Largest New York’s Celebrate Israel Parade

30,000 march in N.Y.’s Israel parade

Source: JTA, 6-5-11

Marchers representing the Jewish Agency for Israel were among the 30,000 people who marched in the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City on June 5, 2011. (Jewish Agency for Israel)
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Marchers representing the Jewish Agency for Israel were among the 30,000 people who marched in the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City on June 5, 2011. (Jewish Agency for Israel)

(JTA) — An estimated 30,000 people marched up New York’s Fifth Avenue in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade amid a sea of blue-and-white flags.

Tens of thousands lined the streets to view the parade.

The marchers were led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg accompanied by Israel’s minister of information and Diaspora, Yuli Edelstein; Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren; and Israel’s consul general in New York, Ido Aharoni.

Elected officials and politicians from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were in attendance, as were congressmen who made the trip from Washington.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), one of the most ardent supporters of Israel in Congress and usually a reliable appearance at the annual parade, skipped the festivities — apparently laying low amid a scandal over a lewd photo that was sent last week from his Twitter account.

The Israel parade, which started in 1964, is held to mark the founding of the State of Israel. It is regarded as the world’s largest celebration of Israel Independence Day; the event was formerly called the Salute to Israel Parade.

Marching for Israel in NY

American friends: Some 30,000 people take over Fifth Avenue in show of support for Israel

Source: YNet News, 6-5-11

Some 30,000 people gathered in New York City Sunday to show their support for the State of Israel, taking part in the 48th traditional march for the Jewish State.

Israeli flags were ubiquitous while Jewish and Israeli artists and comedians performed on stages across the city.

As part of the celebrations, the thousands of revelers marched through Fifth Avenue. The march was opened by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was accompanied by Israel’s Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s US Ambassador Michael Oren, and Israel’s Consul General in New York Ido Aharoni.

Mayor Bloomberg and Minister Edelstein (Photo: Dan Brohawn)

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo also marched in support of Israel and was joined by numerous politicians, including elected officials

from the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Congress members from Washington were also in attendance.

Central Park mini-marathon

Minister Edelstein said that seeing tens of thousands of Americans marching in support of Israel was moving and important at this time, with the Jewish State facing increasing de-legitimization attempts. The State of Israel marks the fulfillment of the Jewish People’s “legitimate right” for the Land of Israel, he said.

Some 160 delegations of Jewish communities, synagogue representatives and community groups took part in the march. For the first time, the representatives of Israeli leftist organizations also joined the event, including members of Peace Now and the New Israel Fund who held up signs promoting freedom and democracy in Israel.

Marching in the streets (Photo: Dan Brohawn)

A very small group of radical Left protestors as well as haredim objecting to Israel’s existence were also on hand.

The marchers enjoyed the music of New York’s Fire Department band, the New York City Police band, and 14 other musical ensembles marching along Fifth Avenue. Dozens of artists and comedians performed on 23 stages, with the traditional march preceded by a mini-marathon in Central Park with some 5,400 participants taking part.

Mideast tensions colour NY Celebrate Israel Parade, with thousands marching up Fifth Avenue

Source: AP, 6-5-11

New York’s Fifth Avenue was awash in the blue and white of the Israeli flag for Sunday’s Celebrate Israel Parade, whose mood reflected rising tensions in the Mideast this year.

“We’ve always been saying, we’re ready to negotiate,” said Yuli Yoel Edelstein, Israel’s minister of information and diaspora, and grand marshal of this year’s march. “But the Palestinians have a unilateral approach; this is not the way you reach statehood.”

The thousands of marchers who stepped off at 57th Street late Sunday morning included New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, followed later by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and U.S. Sens. Kristen Gillibrand and Charles Schumer.

Notably absent was U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who has attended in past years. The Democratic congressman has had a rough week while struggling to explain how a photo of a man’s crotch in boxer briefs had been posted to his Twitter account and sent to a 21-year-old female college student in Seattle.

“I’m a very good friend of Congressman Weiner’s and I think he’s making his own decisions,” Gillibrand said during the parade.

Organizers say the annual parade, which started in 1964, is the largest in the world celebrating the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.

In recent months, the “Arab Spring” uprisings and the formation of a Palestinian unity government that includes the militant Islamic group Hamas have complicated hopes of renewed peace talks. The Palestinians have refused to return to the bargaining table for months because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has rejected their demand to halt all settlement construction on lands they claim for a future state. Syria’s frontier with the Israeli-held Golan Heights, reportedly killing 20 people. Scores more were wounded in the second outbreak of deadly violence in the border area in less than a month….

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Sarah Palin sports Star of David during N.Y. visit

Source: JTA, 6-2-11

Sarah Palin visited New York tourist spots sporting a large Star of David around her neck.

Palin, who visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on Wednesday with her daughter Piper, told WNBC-TV that she was wearing the Star of David in honor of Jerusalem Day, which marks the city’s reunification under Israeli sovereignty during the Six-Day War in June 1967.

Observers have suggested that she wore the necklace in order to drum up support among Jewish New Yorkers for a possible 2012 bid for president.

Palin, who ran unsuccessfully for vice president as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, visited Washington, Maryland and Pennsylvania this week before arriving in New York.

The former Alaska governor caused a stir in March when she wore a Star of David around her neck during a brief visit to Israel, including to the Western Wall and a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

New York Jews sail ‘True Freedom Flotilla’ for Gilad Shalit

New York’s Jewish community marks four years since the abduction of the Israeli soldier by Gaza militants.

Source: Haaretz, 6-24-10

New York’s Jewish community was set to mark four years since the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Gaza militants with what they call the “True Freedom Flotilla.”

Poster of Gilad Shalit in Bucharest An Israeli living in Romania writing a message calling for the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit on a billboard in Bucharest on June 23, 2010
Photo by: Reuters

The name chosen for the event echoes the name of a recent 8-ship flotilla that sailed from Turkey toward Gaza to break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory, which was named the Freedom Flotilla.

The flotilla was to encircle the Statue of Liberty and then sail to United Nations building.

The two-hour event was to involve seven vessels: The Queen of Hearts which can hold up to 600 passengers, another smaller boat and five privately owned yachts.

The flotilla was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group of American Jewish organizations. Israel’s mission to the UN has also joined the initiative, as did Israel’s Consulate General in New York.

Boats were scheduled to move north on the East River at 12:00 noon New York time on Thursday, June 24th from Houston Street and West Side Highway. The flotilla can be viewed from the East River Esplanade. Entrance to the Esplanade is on the east side of First Avenue at 34th, 35th or 37th Streets.

“For four years, Hamas has denied Gilad Shalit the most basic rights, including visits by international organizations,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN said on Thursday, adding that this was both illegal and immoral.

Joel Lion, the Spokesperson and Consul for Media Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, has put together a package full of clothing and food which was to be handed to a Red Cross representative to be brought to Shalit though the organization’s international channels.

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