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Foxman: Carter’s apology insincere

Former president Jimmy Carter’s anti-Israel bias is showing again. During a recent conference on U.S.-Arab relations in Atlanta, Carter said in a speech that the U.S. government has “yielded excessively” to Israel.

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, says Carter’s comments indicate that he was not sincere in a 2009 apology to the Jewish community. Carter countered by issuing a statement that he has “never stigmatized” Israel either now or during his presidency.

In December 2009, Carter published an open letter to the Jewish community in which he offered an al Het – a request for forgiveness – to the Jewish community for “any words or deeds of mine” that may have stigmatized Israel.

Among other things, Carter has consistently referred to the Jewish nation an “apartheid” state. In June he asserted, “Tragically, the international community too often ignores the cries for help and the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than like human beings.”

Foxman says while he was encouraged by Carter’s 2009 apology, he believes Carter’s attitude toward Israel is the same as ever. “Nothing has changed. None of his views have been recalibrated,” Foxman told the Georga Democrat. “He hasn’t really changed his views and I don’t understand what this Al Het letter was all about.”

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Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 7:14 AM  | rjones

Israel allows shoes, clothing for Gaza

Despite continued violence in Gaza, and continued devotion by Hamas to the destruction of Israel, the Jewish state is again showing its humanity by allowing 10 truckloads of shoes and clothing into the area beginning Thursday, according to The Washington Post.

The gesture will likely not satisfy Palestinians, or the United Nations, which has been pressuring Israel to end an almost three-year blockade of Gaza. Israel recently allowed shipment of construction materials for 150 UN-funded homes, but continues to ban materials such as chemicals, cement and steel, which could be used to fuel terrorism.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon continues to call for Israel to open the borders and agree to a lopsided prisoner exchange with Palestinians — while mounting little effort to stop violence from Hamas.

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Monday, March 29th, 2010 at 1:06 PM  | David Kuner

Plans for historic sacrifice on Temple Mount scrapped again

As it has in years past, this year the Temple Mount Institute in Jerusalem filed suit for the right to sacrifice a sheep on the Temple Mount prior to Passover, as commanded in the Torah. According to Arutz Sheva, the suit asked Israel’s Supreme Court to allow the sacrifice under the nation’s own freedom of worship laws.

Previous attempts to restore this rite were blocked because of concerns for public safety, and this year was no exception. The concerns were well-founded; Muslims did, indeed, riot over the dedication of the rebuilt Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City. The suit’s plaintiffs cried foul over the barring of Jews and Christians from Temple Mount following those riots.

In the past, “educational demonstrations” of the Paschal sacrifice have been conducted by the Temple Institute in lieu of the scriptural ceremony. Aside from the public safety concerns, approval of the ceremony would be significant for those looking forward to the rebuilding of the Temple – and those adamantly opposed to it.

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Monday, March 29th, 2010 at 10:24 AM  | donnancys09

AIPAC sets the record straight

Earlier this week, a forged document attributed to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee joined the criticism of Israel’s plans for new housing units. But AIPAC quickly set the record straight, with a warm reception for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a tepid welcome to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

According to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, the forged document was distributed outside the Washington Convention Center on Monday. On AIPAC letterhead, the statement trumpeted: “AIPAC Calls on the Israeli Government to Immediately Defuse Tensions with United States; Urges Israel to Freeze All Settlements.”

At least two major news organizations reported the statement before AIPAC spokesman Josh Block was able to respond.

The audience cheered loudly when AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr stated (with Mrs. Clinton waiting offstage), “Jerusalem is not a settlement.”

When the Secretary of State spoke, “The crowd was still and quiet,” said Milbank (who, to be fair, went on to say that Clinton “deserved better” because of her past record of advocacy for Israel).

Last Tuesday, PM Netanyahu received what the Washington Independent called “thunderous applause” when he repeated the defense of building in Jerusalem.

“All these neighborhoods are within five minutes of the Knesset,” Netanyahu said. “They are an inextricable part of modern Jerusalem. Everyone knows these neighborhoods will be part … of a final peace settlement.”

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Friday, March 26th, 2010 at 2:24 PM  | donnancys09

Arab ministers agree to “Jerusalem fund”

Arab foreign ministers have agreed to launch a $500m fund raising campaign to support Palestinians living in Jerusalem. The Arab leaders came to the agreement during a meeting in Libya.

The request to establish a plan to support the Jerusalem Fund was submitted by both Syria and the Palestinians. The fund was established in 2001 at Saudi Arabia’s request following the Second Intifada.

Hoping to hinder Israel’s building plan in East Jerusalem, the ministers met in the Libyan city of Sirte prior to an Arab League summit gathering March 26-28.

“Yes, they have agreed,” Amr Moussa, the Arab League’s secretary general, told reporters when asked if the fund had been approved.

A call for final ratification will come when the decision is submitted to Arab leaders when they gather on Saturday and Sunday.

A written statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah spokesman Nir Hefez said,  “Israeli construction policy in Jerusalem has remained the same for 42 years and isn’t changing,” indicating Israeli cabinet ministers would not be deterred in their efforts.

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Friday, March 26th, 2010 at 1:17 PM  | rjones

Arab ministers agree to "Jerusalem fund"

Arab foreign ministers have agreed to launch a $500m fund raising campaign to support Palestinians living in Jerusalem. The Arab leaders came to the agreement during a meeting in Libya.

The request to establish a plan to support the Jerusalem Fund was submitted by both Syria and the Palestinians. The fund was established in 2001 at Saudi Arabia’s request following the Second Intifada.

Hoping to hinder Israel’s building plan in East Jerusalem, the ministers met in the Libyan city of Sirte prior to an Arab League summit gathering March 26-28.

“Yes, they have agreed,” Amr Moussa, the Arab League’s secretary general, told reporters when asked if the fund had been approved.

A call for final ratification will come when the decision is submitted to Arab leaders when they gather on Saturday and Sunday.

A written statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah spokesman Nir Hefez said,  “Israeli construction policy in Jerusalem has remained the same for 42 years and isn’t changing,” indicating Israeli cabinet ministers would not be deterred in their efforts.

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Friday, March 26th, 2010 at 1:17 PM  | rjones

Media twist facts on general’s Middle East comments

For military commanders, dealing with media spin can be as challenging as dealing with enemies on the battlefield. Such is the case for U.S. General David Petraeus, who recently squashed reports about alleged comments on military operations in the Middle East.

The American Spectator reports that Petraeus (head of the U.S. Central Command) denied specifically asking that the West Bank and Gaza be shifted from the European Command.  The general allegedly said the move would allow the U.S. military to “be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region’s most troublesome conflict.”

That report, which summarized the general’s position that “America’s relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America’s soldiers,” came from an author TAS called “an advocate of talks with terrorist groups.” The report was picked up by other commentators who claimed U.S. support of Israel undermines America’s security interests.

Petraeus also said a quote attributed to him from testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee was taken out of context from a Central Command report to the committee:

There’s a 56-page document that we submitted that has a statement in it that describes various factors that influence the strategic context in which we operate and among those we listed the Mideast peace process,” he said. “We noted in there that there was a perception at times that America sides with Israel and so forth … But I think people inferred from what that said and then repeated it a couple of times and bloggers picked it up and spun it. And I think that has been unhelpful, frankly.

One might say Gen. Petraeus was quite “diplomatic” in his comments…

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Friday, March 26th, 2010 at 9:13 AM  | donnancys09

Passover’s a holy festival, but the holiness includes the Israeli “national sport” — cleaning

Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.

– Exodus 12:17-20

Many committed Christians know that Passover marks the Jews’ deliverance from bondage in Egypt, and may even know that it’s celebrated with a seder, a family meal that includes the recitation of the Haggadah, the traditional Jewish text that teaches the story of the Jews’ redemption from slavery and formation into the nation of Israel. If you’ve ever been to one, you might have enjoyed the liturgy and discussion or tasted traditional dishes like matzo ball soup, brisket or tzimmes, a sweet carrot dish.

You may even know that observant Jews refrain from eating food that has any sort of yeast in it, known as chametz. (Ashkenazi Jews–those of European origin–also avoid kitniyot, a category of food that includes items that were frequently mixed with grains, such as corn and legumes.)

What you may not realize is that, in keeping with the biblical instruction that “no yeast is to be found in your house,” observant Jews spent the weeks before Passover ridding their homes of all leavened food — and that doesn’t just mean making sure you eat the rest of the pasta, but it also means cleaning underneath the sofas and bookshelves to find the errant Cheerios the 3-year-old dropped.

For the Orthodoxly observant, “Passover cleaning” includes switching kitchenware to special sets of pots and pants and dishes that are used only during Passover and stored safely away during the rest of…

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Thursday, March 25th, 2010 at 12:14 PM  | Stand For Israel

Passover's a holy festival, but the holiness includes the Israeli "national sport" — cleaning

Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.

– Exodus 12:17-20

Many committed Christians know that Passover marks the Jews’ deliverance from bondage in Egypt, and may even know that it’s celebrated with a seder, a family meal that includes the recitation of the Haggadah, the traditional Jewish text that teaches the story of the Jews’ redemption from slavery and formation into the nation of Israel. If you’ve ever been to one, you might have enjoyed the liturgy and discussion or tasted traditional dishes like matzo ball soup, brisket or tzimmes, a sweet carrot dish.

You may even know that observant Jews refrain from eating food that has any sort of yeast in it, known as chametz. (Ashkenazi Jews–those of European origin–also avoid kitniyot, a category of food that includes items that were frequently mixed with grains, such as corn and legumes.)

What you may not realize is that, in keeping with the biblical instruction that “no yeast is to be found in your house,” observant Jews spent the weeks before Passover ridding their homes of all leavened food — and that doesn’t just mean making sure you eat the rest of the pasta, but it also means cleaning underneath the sofas and bookshelves to find the errant Cheerios the 3-year-old dropped.

For the Orthodoxly observant, “Passover cleaning” includes switching kitchenware to special sets of pots and pants and dishes that are used only during Passover and stored safely away during the rest of…

Read More »    Comments (0) »

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 at 12:14 PM  | Stand For Israel

Bibi: Jews ‘were building Jerusalem 3,000 year ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “confidently rebuffed” pressure to stop a planned building project in northern Jerusalem in a speech to AIPAC on Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal (subscriber only), and then set out on a series of meetings in Washington, hoping to ease the worst spate of tensions between the U.S. and Israel in decades.

Even Netanyahu’s critics in Israel concede that there are few politicians as gifted as gifted as he at defending the Jewish state in English — and his skills were on display this week in his remarks, in which he said:

  • Iran’s bid to develop nuclear weapons is first and foremost a threat to Israel, but it is also a grave threat to the region and to the world. Israel expects the international community to act swiftly and decisively to thwart this danger. “But,” he said, “we will always reserve the right to self-defense.”
  • “The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 year ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital….Today, nearly a quarter of a million Jews, almost half the city’s Jewish population, live in neighborhoods that are just beyond the 1949 armistice lines….They are an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem. Everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement. Therefore, building in them in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.”
  • “While we cherish our homeland, we also recognize that Palestinians live there as well. We don’t want to govern them. We don’t want to rule them. We want them as neighbors, living in security, dignity and peace. Yet Israel is unjustly accused of not wanting peace with the Palestinians. Nothing could be further from the truth….From day one, we called on the Palestinian Authority to begin peace negotiations without delay. I make that same call today. President Abbas, come and negotiate peace.”
  • “Leaders who truly want peace should sit down face-to-face. Of course, the United States can help the parties solve their problems but it cannot solve the problems for the parties. Peace cannot…
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Thursday, March 25th, 2010 at 9:57 AM  | Stand For Israel

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State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
Rejoicing in God’s Word

The festive Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah ends and begins the annual cycle of Torah readings in synagogue. It is God’s Word that offers comfort and hope to Jews and Christians alike, reminding us of His permanent presence in our constantly changing world.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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