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Where are the Arab states?

Recent news reports abound with talk of the relationship between the United States and Israel, Israel’s tensions with the Palestinian Authority, and diplomatic efforts among these parties to get the peace process back on track.

Noticeably absent from these headlines are Arab states that claim to be friends of the USA, notes an editorial in The Jewish Week:

“Saudi Arabia claims a special relationship with the United States; Egypt is the second biggest recipient of U.S. aid. Where is the active leadership of these countries in pressing the Palestinians to get back to serious negotiations, without poison-pill preconditions?”

The editorial notes that, without support from the Arab League, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to agree to any U.S.-proposed peace deliberations. But press reports predict the Arab League will reject the latest American call for resumed talks.

“Any real peace process requires clear, unequivocal and consistent buy-in from Arab and Islamic countries that, more often than not, have served as instigators of more conflict, not supporters of peacemaking efforts,” the Jewish Week concludes.

Yet, American diplomatic efforts seem to be concentrated on pressing Israel to make even more concessions before the Palestinians even sit down at the table. We may need to re-think that method of  “mediation.”

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Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 4:53 PM  | donnancys09

Jewish groups urge Ahmadinejad boycott

JTA:

Jewish groups are calling on U.N. member representatives to walk out in protest when Iran’s president speaks next week at the United Nations.

Mahmoud Ahmadenijad’s plans to address the U.N. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference on May 3 makes a mockery of the proceedings, Jewish groups said.

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Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 2:43 PM  | David Kuner

U.N. elects Iran to commision on women’s rights

It defies belief:

Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.”

Anne Bayefsky comments here. And a letter by women’s rights activists to members of the U.N. Economic And Social Council has this to say:

Iran’s discriminatory laws demonstrate that the Islamic Republic does not believe in gender equality:  women lack the ability to choose their husbands, have no independent right to education after marriage, no right to divorce, no right to child custody, have no protection from violent treatment in public spaces, are restricted by quotas for women’s admission at universities, and are arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for peacefully seeking change of such laws.

While the U.N. has made some appalling and inexcusable decisions in the past, this has to rank among the worst. More on Iran’s “commitment to women’s rights” here.

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Thursday, April 29th, 2010 at 2:30 PM  | David Kuner

U.N. elects Iran to commision on women's rights

It defies belief:

Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.”

Anne Bayefsky comments here. And a letter by women’s rights activists to members of the U.N. Economic And Social Council has this to say:

Iran’s discriminatory laws demonstrate that the Islamic Republic does not believe in gender equality:  women lack the ability to choose their husbands, have no independent right to education after marriage, no right to divorce, no right to child custody, have no protection from violent treatment in public spaces, are restricted by quotas for women’s admission at universities, and are arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for peacefully seeking change of such laws.

While the U.N. has made some appalling and inexcusable decisions in the past, this has to rank among the worst. More on Iran’s “commitment to women’s rights” here.

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Thursday, April 29th, 2010 at 2:30 PM  | David Kuner

Blast kills 4 in Gaza-Egypt tunnel

Palestinian police blamed Egyptian security forces for the death of four Palestinians after an explosion collapsed one of the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza.

An additional 10 people were wounded in the Wednesday incident, after Egyptian forces allegedly detonated a bomb in a tunnel in which seven smugglers were working, then spread toxic gas after the tunnel collapsed.

The tunnels, used for smuggling arms, fuel and other goods for the Hamas forces in Gaza, have been a subject of controversy for Egypt, which is also attempting to install a metal barrier at the Sinai Peninsula border to curb smuggling operations.

While the deaths and injuries are no cause for celebration, stopping the smuggling is a necessity. These tunnels give Hamas an edge in their continuing efforts to attack Israel from the south.

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Thursday, April 29th, 2010 at 1:15 PM  | donnancys09

Israeli ambassador attacked at U.K. university

Israeli deputy ambassador to the UK Talya Lador-Fresher was attacked at Manchester University by pro-Palestinian protesters. The ambassador was leaving the lecture hall after delivering a speech when the attack occurred. Security had managed to get the deputy ambassador safely into a police vehicle when the attackers surrounded the car, jumping on the hood and attempting to break the windshield.

What has been witnessed in the past couple of years on university campuses in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Europe, is an aggressive and coordinated attempt by some anti-Israel groups to completely shut down the lone voices that speak on behalf of Israel and peaceful coexistence. These groups use intimidation rather than open debate to spread their hatred for Jews and the Jewish state.

Universities must provide adequate security for representatives of Israel on their campuses. Students involved in trying to silence guest speakers at their university through intimidation and violence are essentially denying the freedom of speech. Although everyone should have a right to voice their opinion through dialogue and peaceful protest, these acts of aggression must not be tolerated.

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Thursday, April 29th, 2010 at 12:16 PM  | afarkas

Israel continues to help Haiti

Rescue and rebuilding efforts in Haiti have faded from the world headlines, but not for Israeli humanitarian workers who are there “for the long haul.”

Natan — the Israeli Coalition for International Humantarian Aid — is one of several Israeli groups working in post-earthquake Haiti. Its volunteers come for three-week stints, living as a group at the Park Hotel in Port-au-Prince but fanning out all over the devastated city on specific medical and educational missions.

“I felt impotent in Israel, sitting in front of my big-screen TV,” said Yehonatan Abraham, a 30-year-old medic from Beersheva. “I said to myself, I have to help them.”

Within 48 hours of the January earthquake, two El Al cargo jets, a Boeing 777 and a Boeing 747, touched down at Port-au-Prince’s international airport. They were filled with 250 doctors and nurses, food, water, tents, medical equipment and essential supplies.

Admiration for Israel ran so high that many Haitian parents whose children were born right after the quake gave them Israeli names, said Daniel Kedar, an Israeli businessman who’s lived in Haiti for many years. Kedar helped Amos Radian, Israel’s ambassador to the neighboring Dominican Republic, coordinate Israel’s rapid initial response.

The initial response was only the beginning. Natan, for example, has sent five groups to Haiti since the quake; 11 more are planned over the next year.

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Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 2:33 PM  | donnancys09

Netanyahu: I’ll meet with Mubarak next week

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be traveling to Egypt next week to meet with Egyptian President Mubarak. The two will talk of ways to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

While some elements within his own party have criticized him for it, Netanyahu defends his policy of trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and saysthat he has shown the world that he intends to protect Israel’s soveriegnty over Jerusalem. Netanyahu hopes that negotiations will start as early as next week and will cover all outstanding issues.

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Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 1:05 PM  | afarkas

Netanyahu: I'll meet with Mubarak next week

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be traveling to Egypt next week to meet with Egyptian President Mubarak. The two will talk of ways to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

While some elements within his own party have criticized him for it, Netanyahu defends his policy of trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and saysthat he has shown the world that he intends to protect Israel’s soveriegnty over Jerusalem. Netanyahu hopes that negotiations will start as early as next week and will cover all outstanding issues.

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Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 1:05 PM  | afarkas

Professors warn of threats to Jewish students on campus

Radical Muslim groups are spreading anti-Semitism on US university campuses.   Two professors from the University of California have warned about the dangers faced by Jewish students in light of the growing influence of Muslim groups on campus. Al-Awda, a pro Palestinian group, opposes Israel’s right to exist, supports foreign terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, organizes anti-Israel rallies, and invites virulently anti-Semitic speakers and features films against Israel at their events.

The fact that a radical Islamic agenda is being pushed on US universities without an uproar is frightening — particularly since Kenneth Marcus, former director of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the US State Department of Education, has quoted Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights as indicating that cases of harassment against Jewish students will not be pursued.

Whether or not this is true remains to be seen — and let us hope and pray we never have to find out. Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 at 2:07 PM  | afarkas
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Rabbi's Commentary
Seeking Prayers for Safety and Comfort in a Time of Crisis

The news from Israel continues to grieve me deeply. Yesterday 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza and scores were injured during Operation Protective Edge.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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