Write On for Israel Blog

Catholics reject religion

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So I don't know if anyone has heard about this (or for that manner still reads this blog), but recently Melkite Catholic Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros proved himself as an anti-Zionist and an anti-Semite by going out of his way to allow for specific judgments to be passed against Jews, standards that he does not even hold his own church to.  This either implies that he thinks we're cooler than he is, or that he really is just another anti-Semite, my money is on the second one.  He recently commented at a Vatican Synod on the Middle East, that scripture does not give Jews the right to "occupy" the land of Israel and "oppress" the Palestinians.  For me at least, it's not the argument here that's a problem.  If people want to say that neither the Koran nor the Torah are legitimate proof, then that's okay since it's not like they were written by people who were actually there.  No, the problem lies in the fact that a Catholic Archbishop says scripture doesn't count, I start to feel like he's got some more political reasons behind what he's saying.  For if he doesn't believe in scripture, he probably should get a new job.

The Israeli Attack on the Freedom Flotilla

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On the following website, there are multiple cartoons that have been created as a result of the Gaza flotilla affair. This cartoon portrays and Israeli soldier as the devil with blood on his hands and an evil grin. This cartoon really annoys me because once again the Jews are portrayed as devils who love killing non-Jews. It has happened before in history, like with the Blood Libels and the Holocaust, and unfortunately it continues even today. I know that this cartoon is coming from a biased source, but at the same time, I think that the cartoonist does not have all the facts surrounding the affair. The cartoon's subtitle states that Jews have been killing innocent people for all of time, yet only now are people noticing. I think that the opposite is true for this statement. Jews have been killed or oppressed or persecuted for all of time, yet the only mention of the Jewish people and Israel in the media is when they have done something wrong. Personally, I feel that Israel is usually portrayed in a negative light, and these cartoons are another example of that.

Posted by Ilana Lupovitch

Antisemetic high schoolers

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So we hear about antizionism in California universities all the time.  We hear about apartheid walls, Islamic terrorists speaking out against Israel, and Israelis who are now pro-palestinian after they got out of the military.  We here about hecklers at UC Irvine, and student legislators supporting the BDS movement.  These incidents though are less isolated than many of s may think.  We've heard so much about activism on both sides on college campuses, but many ofus never seem to realize what needs to be done on high school campuses too.  Yes, kids our own age have been affected by the antizionist and antisemitic propaganda.  Some of the propaganda has permeated so much into the heads of certain students they they do not even realize the damage of what they are doing anymore.  Recently, at a California high school, seven seniors were caught playing a game that they so joyfully named "Beat the Jew".  The article explains the rest.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37515803/ns/us_news/

Posted by Arik Mendelevitz

Hamas Rejects Mavi Marmara's Humanitarian Aid

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If you are on this site, you most likely know what happened this week with the flotilla incident. What astounds me is that Israel still delivered the aid, but once it was delivered Hamas rejected it. I find this to be completely ridiculous. Their is no logical reason to deny aid, do I believe Hamas deserves it? The answer is no. Do I believe the Palestinians deserve it? Of course, they are human beings. Earlier this week, my friend texted me that he and a few friends heard of a Palestinian protest downtown in front of the consulate, and wanted to know if I wanted to go with them. Of course I did. When we got there, we could hear chants of "Free Palestine" from blocks away. We were scared, as we approached there was a huge amount of them...and six of us. We decided to go around the block to protest them from across the street on the other side, as soon as we got out our "gear" (there were 6 of us, 4 flags and 2 signs) the cops were all over. They told us we couldn't go by there, we couldn't counter protest, and if we got any where near there that it would be extremely dangerous. They said if we got any closer, "someone was going to end up in jail". I was so upset. We went back home, and luckily StandWithUs told me about the rally on thursday in front of the Turkish consulate (which is two buildings away from the Israeli one). Anyways, as opposed to the flag burnings and swastikas at the Palestinian rally, we sang songs of peace, demanded the release of Gilad Shalit, and chanted "Free Gaza...from Hamas". I am glad to be on the side I am on, the one who doesn't burn flags, instead igniting the flame of peace.

Posted by Evan Gewirtz

International Reaction to Israel in flotilla incident

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http://online.wsj.com/video/beating-up-on-israel/3B5E0D4B-C996-4555-B880-FE22C3A1927D.html?KEYWORDS=Israel

Israel has had a rough week. After the world became aware of its intervention on the flotilla heading towards Gaza, many international figures did not hesitate to make absurd and uneducated negative comments about Israel. To the uninformed eye it seems as though Israel is denying the Gazans the humanitarian aid they need, but in reality Israel is practicing a major principle that every nation abides by: the right to protect itself against danger threats. It is known that Israel has put an effective blockade on Gaza, sending in the food, clothing, and other items, but halting weapons or any other materials than can be converted into weapons. Israel allows in all the necessary and harmless supplies but checks to ensure that all the material going in or out does not contain hidden weapons. We can see that this blockade and process is working: Hamas, who is the main threat in Gaza, attacks on Israel have dramatically decreased. So why are these international figures bashing Israel for protecting itself? A Wall Street Journal opinion writer says it perfectly: in short, they are making such a ruckus about this attack because it is easy to. It is painless to simply blame Israel for this attack; after all, Israelis soldiers did make contact with the 6th boat in the fleet and violence did break out. But comparing this incident with bigger global issues, like the threat of nuclear weapons in Iran or the entire Israel-Arab peace process, the flotilla event is miniscule. Why is it that the other nations of the world rip Israel to shreds on this small event, when there are more immediate threats at hand? It is extremely difficult to come out with a statement on a global issue because the nation making it has to actually explain the reasoning behind the statement. In the flotilla case, the nations do not have to, so they make their ridiculous statements. It is a sad world we live in where we focus on the nitty-gritty instead of the big picture.

Below is an interesting and maybe-inspiring video my teacher showed me of the courage one Jewish teenager had to face a rowdy Palestinian rally in LA:

   

Posted by Aliza Jaffe

Peace Talks

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A website I found in on the internet is one that immediately upset me the minute I found it. This website shows a variety of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel cartoons. Most of these cartoons portray the unsuccessful peace talks between Arabs and Israelis. All of these cartoons show the betrayal that the Arabs feel from Israel. I was really offended by these cartoons especially because I know that Israel is not betraying the Arabs. After all, the Israelis are the ones offering at least some land while the Arabs reject every proposal. I’ve had enough with the blaming and the pointing of fingers. It’s so aggravating to look at these cartoons and know that people look at these everyday and actually agree with the message being sent.

In one cartoon, an Israeli and Arab are speaking to each other. The Israeli’s back is towards us and we can see him holding a knife behind his back while an innocent and kind Palestinian is speaking to the Israeli with a smile on his face. First of all, the Palestinians are very unwilling to sit down with the Israelis in the first place. Second of all, the Palestinians don’t always keep their word, and third of all, Israel really does want peace. The Arabs are rejecting our ideas and our peace talks. It just upsets me that I have to look at a cartoon like this and know that there are so many other cartoons like that out on the internet for the whole world to see.  

LeeTal Gabel

Cartoon

 

 


 

Internet Struggles- The New Frontier of World Conflicts

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This news story depicts an interesting side of the Turkish-Israeli conflict that we have experienced for the past few days. I find it relevant to Write On fellows because we have become so accustomed to using the Internet as a resource and have discussed the implications of online material. But now, this material has become materiel. As government forces attempt to override the security measures of one another’s websites, we witness the horror of propaganda and the future possibilities that may arise for it on the national website stage. I ask myself what we, Write On for Israel Fellows, can do to fight against this attack and come to a standstill. For one, we are unable to fight the online manipulation that has or will become widespread if not contained. Only later in life can we aspire to make a difference on that scale with more in depth training. However, I believe that we have a responsibility to speak out on this issue in particular- the search for sources. I cannot argue that any source is without bias, but I urge people to look for more concrete media around them, to examine the facts from both sides, and to be aware of the constant struggle that has now come to affect the Internet’s reliability. Only if we can maintain a safe flow of information can we begin to educate the community as to what should be done as a result of current events.

Posted by Jordan Shapiro

US, Israel hope ship raid won't hurt peace talks

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http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article60941.ece

Unfortunately, the flotilla situation in Israel may be a deterrent to peace talks with the Palestinians.  Israel looks like an aggressor because she tried to defend herself and it is truly unfortunate.  It makes me think how Israel is always viewed with a double standard.  People say, "they had no right to do what they did because the ships were on international water".  Ha.  I highly doubt that these people would criticize America for doing exactly the same thing.  I would ask, "When should they have attacked?"  It is sometimes difficult to determine between a country's defending itself and its being aggressive.  I believe that Israel was simply trying to protect herself, and so, I do not think that this should have a bearing on peace talks.  However, it inevitably will be problematic for the peace process, but I sincerely hope that this event will be put in Israel's past and peace will ensue.  One can only hope for such an outcome.

Posted by Matthew Miller

UN Discusses Peace Talks

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http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/gapal1163.doc.htm

This link connects you to a press release from the United Nations about a recent development in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.  On May 25, the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon reiterated his support for peace talks, and discussing the importance of Jerusalem to both the Israelis and the Palestinians.  That same day, the International Meeting on Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process opened in Istanbul .  Unfortunately, the meeting was organized by the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, who made the theme of the meeting “Ending the occupation and establishing the Palestinian State .”  While, at first, I was pleased to see this press release because it discussed finally achieving peace for Israel , I was shocked and angry after reading a little further into the press release.  The meeting was completely one-sided and not fair, as it was organized by a group that, in its name, shows its complete bias.  Although this meeting was organized in order to create peace in the Middle East , allowing a group that is completely subjective makes the meeting useless.  The meeting claimed that one of its goals was to find ways to include third party mediation, but how is third party mediation going to be possible when the group seeking it is so pro-Palestinian?  I am appalled that anyone would think such talks would be progressive, and I believe that Israel should not have to comply with the demands of any peace talks unless at a meeting that was organized by a truly neutral force.

Posted by Talia Shalen

The Case for Israel Needs to Step It Up

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I came across many articles about the Gaza Flotilla on the Jerusalem Post website. With a better understanding of the events and varying opinions about them, I felt a strong reaction to the article "Obama wants credible flotilla probe." (http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=177216) The article explains that the White House is pushing for a "credible, impartial and transparent" investigation about the raid of the flotilla. As much as I agree that an investigation in necessary, I'm worried that this investigation will lead to something similar to the Goldstone report. Obama may be hoping to discover the truth about the situation. But I wouldn't be surprised if the final resolution was that Israel may have been legally correct but still should have found a different way to handle the situation without conflict--therefore leaving the world with the anti-Israel impression, despite the supporting information from the investigation that would prove Israel's innocence. Like I've said before, Israel is held to a much higher, impossible standard than the rest of the world. Another JPost article (http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=177310) posed the question, "Would NATO forces permit convoys of unchecked 'humanitarian aid' to be transferred to Taliban strongholds?" The fact is that Israel's involvement in this event makes all of its questions of morality and legality even harder to answer to the overall anti-Israel media and population. The Israeli government understands this, and the country should have been more prepared to present its case about the flotilla raid. Israel was entitled by international law to deny entry to a flotilla of boats seeking to breach a military embargo against an Iranian-backed terrorist entity which proudly boasts of its determination to destroy it. The Islamists on the boat violently attacked IDF soldiers, yelling Islamic battlecries and their eagerness to martyr themselves in order to kill Jews. But, of course, this information was not presented in the media. The Islamists were portrayed as Ghadi-like idealistic pacifists. Interviews with IDF soldiers about the events started to emerge and enabled Israeli journalists to begin defending Israel's case. But this was only after most countries had already condemned Israel, as the world media provided offensive stories about alleged Israel atrocities. Israel faces a significantly harder struggle toward presenting her case, and we need to increase our defenses so that the anti-Israel media won't slant our country's morality or rights.

Posted by Lucy Marshall

Not Israel's top priority

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Regarding current efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, I found an opinion article that highlights the effect that these efforts are having on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. The article is from Real Clear World and is written by Haim Malka, the Deputy Middle East Program Director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His main point in the article is that while the U.S. continues to push for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, it is overlooking the fact that Israel is also preoccupied with many other issues, including the threat from Iran and Israel ’s overall national security. Malka states that if U.S.-Israel relations were to depend on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, peace talks would be even less likely and the U.S.-Israel relationship would suffer as a result. I believe Malka brings up a significant issue that cannot be overlooked in this conflict. The U.S. is Israel ’s greatest ally but its determination to insist on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is doing more harm than good. We need to understand that even though the Palestinian conflict is a major issue, Israel must have its priorities and the situation with Iran is definitely a top priority. In addition, while the Palestinian situation is not favorable in the least, Malka points out that the threat from it is largely contained. Therefore, I do not believe Israel should focus on peace talks at this time mainly because it must first see how the Iran threat is going to play out. We must also understand that even though the U.S. has put a strong emphasis on these peace talks, our country may be neglecting the various conflicts that Israel is facing. Lastly, even at the best of times, these “peace talks” have not been fruitful. Why would their outcome be any different this time around?

http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2010/05/25/us-israeli_relations_the_moment_of_truth_98975.html

Posted by Alex Rokni

What Ever Happened to Logic?

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It is unfortunately stated too often that the media is very bias against the Israelis. What is even more unfortunate, is that this statement is almost always true. I think one of the biggest problems in the world today, is the fact that an increasing amount of people are no longer able to think for themselves. The events which took place just a few days ago, and the world's reaction are just another example of this unfortunate problem. Naturally, when a news station (such as CNN) calls the developments in Israel a "Israeli Massacre," its viewers are bound to think accordingly. But people need to do their own research and see the real facts of the situation. First of all, Israel was not trying in any way to deprive the people in Gaza of humanitarian aid. Israel sends over 15,000 tons (in comparison to the 10,000 tons on the Turkish flotilla) to Gaza every week. Furthermore, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said earlier this week, "If the ships reach Gaza it is a victory; if they are intercepted, it will be a victory too." So you mean to tell me that this ship wasn't controlled by people who were ready for a fight with the IDF? The following video: http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=676&fld_id=676&doc_id=2337 shows the people on the boat chanting "Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!" Khaibar was the last Jewish village defeated in 628 by Muhammad, which marked the end of a Jewish presence in Arabia. This is a chant which is often heard at extremist rallies, calling for death to all Jews at the hands of Muslims. Basically, and I do mean "basic"ally, the situation this past week was not one provoked or even wanted by the IDF or the Israeli government. News channels and even our U.S. government needs to do more research in order to place the blame justly on a group of people. In this case, the IDF was not to blame.

Posted by Jason Silberman

Yet Another Crisis

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I have included a video clip of Hillary Clinton condemning Israel for its attack of the Turkish flotilla bound for Gaza and carrying humanitarian aid. This crisis troubles me deeply--in large part because it gives the world another reason to despise Israel. Prior to the crisis, Turkey was one of Israel's only allies in the Middle East. There was a great deal of trade between the two nations and Turkey allowed Israel to practice military flying drills over its land. However, all of the people killed during Israel's raid of the vessel were Turkish. This has greatly wounded Turkish-Israeli relations. In addition, Clinton's statement is a clear continuance of the current friction between the US and Israel. While a strong argument can be made that Israel acted out of self-defense and was clearly provoked into attacking, logical arguments in the past have been easily disregarded by the rest of the world. With even America condemning Israel and Turkey protesting Israel's "lawlessness," I worry that Israel is steadily losing the few allies it has left.

http://www.cnn.com/video/

Posted by Ariel Goodman

We're not Pirates

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This memorial day was pretty hard on Israel. On Monday, Israel was greeted by a ship trying to cross a blockade to enter Gaza and bring aid. On this ship was supplies and activists chanting and jeering hostile and tense words towards the IDF. Feeling provoked and at danger, Israeli soldiers raided the ship, and many were injured. The aftermath of this bloody day leaves Israel in another heap of trouble. What was an act of self defense has been percieved by many as a Pirate Attack. What must be shown to the public thoug is that this was an act of self defense and national security, not an attack of pillaging.

Posted by Sam Israel

YAHOO for Yahoo!

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We, as the people/activists of Israel, have a problem. And that problem is that our enemy is becoming smarter. Before, we could bet that attacks on Israel, media or physical, would be a half put together not really thought out plan put together by a bunch of crazy extremists. A pipe bomb or a well placed photo in a newspaper-nothing that a majority of people are going to care about. But now our enemy is smarter. A couple days ago IDF soldiers raided a flotilla boat. Advertised as one of the “key events” on Yahoo!, along with Celine Dion’s new pregnancy with twins, was “IDF raids the ‘Freedom Flotilla’” in the fine print/summary of the event it read “10 peace activists were killed in an attempt to get supplies to the barricaded Gaza Strip.” The article went on to talk about the Israeli blockade’s in Gaza and the west bank and how the “peaceful activists” just wanted to get food and medical supplies to families that needed aid in Gaza. By the end of the article Israel was not only an inhumane apartheid state but a civilian murdering psychopath run by peace hating politicians. However this article left out a few key facts. It turns out that “peaceful activists” on the flotilla revved themselves up before departure chanting, “The army of Mohammed will return!” The activists also beat and threw soldiers of the boat when they first tried to get on board. There are videos on youtube (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYjkLUcbJWo) however commenting has already been stopped so look it up fast before the video is taken down. But why did I need to practically need to “dig” to find all this information, and why is it only on Jewish websites where as on one of the largest websites the articles make Israel out to be the “big bad wolf”? This goes back to my main point. The enemy is getting smarter. They know that if they look like the beaten down underdog the media will lap it up and the majority of idiots out there will view the Palestinians as the good guy. The public is stupid and will go to Yahoo for their celebrity gossip and their hard news. They will take the first voice they hear and deem it right. In this case, the first voice made Israel look really bad. Israel needs activists here in America to make sure that the public is getting the right information. In Israel they need to make sure that the first news out there supports Israel’s actions. Politicians of long ago learned to dig up dirt and make their opponents look bad, this practice is still used in American politics today. So if the practice can be applied to leaders of countries how about the countries themselves. It is time to play dirty. It is time to play smart. It is the time to take advantage of Yahoo!

Posted by Becca Israel

Rahm Emanuel in Israel

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Recently, Rahm Emanuel was in Israel with his family to celebrate his son's bar mitzvah at the Western Wall. A right wing activist, Itamar Ben Gvir, made sure he was there to show his opposition. Gvir thought Emanuel should not be allowed at the Western Wall because he wants to give it to the Palestinians. He screamed "anti-Semite" and "hater of Israel." How will these actions help tensions between the United States and Israel? The reality is they won't. I understand that not everyone likes Obama's views on the Middle East, even I am not happy with all of them, but screaming "hater of Israel" will not help. There were several better ways he could have expressed his views. He could have organized a peaceful (silent) protest or he could have welcomed him back to Israel with signs. This kind of behavior shows that American government officials are not welcome or wanted in Israel. We need America's support and we should do everything we can to make sure government officials feel comfortable in Israel.

Posted by David Pachefsky

Advancements at Michigan

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I think that what the pro Israel group on campus at the University of Michigan is extremely exciting. They understand the concept of expanding their audience. Instead of focusing solely on speaking to the Jewish and Palestinian communities on campus, they have chosen to speak to other communities, in particular the growing Chinese population on campus. By discussing the similarities between the Chinese and the Jewish people, there was more room for understanding between the two communities. Although only 80 attended the lecture given by Professor Rapheal Israeli, it shows that the Jewish community on campus is making an effort to reach out to others. As I apply to schools, it makes the decisions much easier when the Jewish community doesn't keep to itself, rather it expands to become part of the larger community within the university.

Posted by Ilana Lupovitch

Hope at U of I

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Please take a look at the following link:  http://www.dailyillini.com/news/campus/2010/04/20/students-embrace-israeli-culture

Here I think we can see hope for campuses.  While the event described may not be overly political, it is still a step in the right direction.  I know during our discussions on Israel apartheid week we had talked about doing something similar, and here we have it.  A promotion of Israeli culture.  So in the midst of BDS groups, claims of apartheid, and claims of genocide, there is still a bit of hope out there for when we go to college.

Posted by Arik Mendelevitz

UC Berkeley Potential Divestment

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http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2010-04-23/article/35097?headline

This article disusses a bill that suggests divestment that has been on the floor of the student senate at UC Berkeley.  While reading this article, I was proud and disgusted at the same time. I saw that the president of the student senate vetoed this terrible suggestion to divest funds from companies such as General Electric and United Technologies because they provide weapons for the Israeli army, and this pleased me because I realized that there are people in power who are not anti-Israel. Also, I saw that many of those who criticized the bill showed up to protest the bill, and they were willing to show their pro-Israel feelings in order to prevent such a harmful bill from being passed.  At the same time, I was disgusted that such a racist bill was being debated. I cannot believe that enough people supported the bill to allow it to get so far within the student senate. Everyone should keep their ears open for information regarding this bill at UC Berkeley.

Posted by Talia Shalen

Problems as McGill

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http://www.shalomlife.com/eng/11462/Montreal_Radio_Host_Suspended_for_anti-Israel_Libel/ 

There are Anti-Israel problems all over the world. Unfortunately, even in the land of the free and the home of the brave, that is, Canada. ON CKUT, McGill's campus radio station, an anti-Israel comment was made. In fact, the comment was more than just a comment, for it was labeled as libel, and the person who said it was forced to recant his statement. I would like to raise an issue that does not have a simple solution/answer. How does a government or a radio station balance the freedom of free speech and the principle of not tolerating hateful or ignorant speech. It seems to be that Canada, in general, values eliminating hateful speech more than the principle of freedom of speech. This does not seem to be case, in general, in America.

Posted by Matthew Miller

Intimidation 101 at Columbia

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http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2010/04/18/intimidation-101 

This article can be best described as frustrating. As a high school student looking into Columbia University, I would expect a certain degree of objectivity in the Ivy League school. With all of the reputations surrounding the institution as one of the top schools in the country and a hotbed of debate concerning Israel, I guess it is not too surprising to hear about a confrontation. However, the most riveting part of this account is the cruel reminder that professors carry with them biases, just like anyone else. I think that, as American students, we are lured into a false sense of security on college campuses and can’t imagine a professor who would be so actively involved in a classroom setting against Israel. This is where we can learn from the article. When evaluating colleges, one must recognize that most will have pro-Israel and anti-Israel biases throughout the faculty. The only thing that one can do is prepare. I think that this is the value of our Write On for Israel program and that, in a way, we should all expect to encounter the same on our college campuses over the next six years (give or take). Rather than complaining, we should view this article as a warning and a call to action. We cannot let that call be unanswered. Jordy Shapiro

Posted by Aliza Goodman

More Divestment!

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http://www.rutgersdivest.org/ 

This article is a classic example of the divestment in Israel that is being campaigned on university campuses all over America. Rutgers University is just one of them. Their claims of Israel's apartheid, racism, and denial of human rights are completely incorrect. There is no evidence or support in the article at all-just accusatory assumptions. The problem is that people who don't know much about Israel will believe this article completely. Israel is compared to the apartheid in South Africa in the article, which is obviously a false statement. It is scary to think of the consequences in Israel if all American universities pursued and succeeded in divestment of Israel. What else could it lead to? In addition to even more Palestinian support in American youth, the rest of the country would recognize the divestment as credible and correct. We have to stop the spreading of this harmful action against Israel before it becomes too popular!

Posted by Lucy Marshall

Support in Strange Places

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At other universities Israel Apartheid week was held. At Loyola Israel Apartheid Week fizzled almost from the very beginning. After reviewing the flyers outlining the events for the week, Hillel quickly created a flyer responding to the inaccurate information depicted on the “wall” that had been set up in the middle of campus. and organized its distribution beginning on Monday morning. MESA (Middle East Student Association) had a quote on the wall supposedly said by Nelson Mandela, was a total fabrication, and the MESA students had to send an apology to the Dean of Students, publicly list the fabrication on their Facebook page, and hand out a written apology to anyone who approached the wall. On Monday night, Hillel students attended the first lecture of Palestine Week. Only 15 people were present in the entire auditorium set up for 200. The five Hillel students in attendance confronted all the inaccuracies of the speaker. By Wednesday, no more significant activity occurred around the “wall,” and by Thursday when Hillel began its final preparation for our Israel Independence Day Celebration, it was clear that the Hillel’s voice had been heard. Judging by comments received from Jewish and non-Jewish students, Israel Apartheid Week was not received well by the university community, in general. This means that even though Loyola has a Palestinian group it is not very popular among students. Also since there are obviously Muslim students at Loyola, it seems they felt that IAW was not as much of a problem as the small MESA group. It seems that even though Loyola is catholic school, that it is a place where Jews are supported and can be safe.

Posted by Becca Israel

IAEA To Focus on Israel

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will focus its next board meeting on Israel's nuclear program. This is ridiculous. Israel has pledged to not be the first country in the middle east to use nuclear weapons. Israeli politicians have said this since 1963. As the U.S. calls for another round of sanctions against Iran, many Arab and Muslim states have petitioned the United Nations run IAEA to focus on Israel's "dangerous" nuclear arsenal. Almost anyone reading this blog knows the potential dangers of a nuclear weapon belonging to Iran. Now that the world is starting to know these dangers, as well as coming to the realization that Iran is attempting to produce a nuclear weapon, the IAEA redirects its attention. Israel has had nuclear weapons for decades, and even in the most dire situations has never used them. In addition to this, Israel has never threatened to obliterate another nation, as Iran does today. What strikes me is that many arab countries fear and Iranian nuclear bomb. If the world truly wants to rid its self of potential nuclear disasters, it shouldnt be focusing on Israel.

Published by Evan Gewirtz

Staying Strong in College

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In a few months, I will be applying college. Truthfully, it’s a scary thought. I’m not really sure what to expect. I am putting so much effort into finding information about each school, and yet I still cannot grasp the idea of what college is going to be about. Part of this process is finding a school with a great Jewish life. I’ve gone to a Jewish school all my life and many say that I live in a “Sheltered” environment. As I look at each college, I wonder whether that college will have the right Jewish environment for me. When I looked at the article below, I found that I became increasingly happy and saddened at the same time. On one hand, I was very happy to read about Jews on campus standing up for their religion. I think it’s great that these Jewish students can rise up against the anti-Israel and anti-Zionist movements and students on campus. On the other hand, I am saddened by the fact that these Jews need to write letters and complain about how the Jews are not protected from anti-Semitism like they should be. So, for me, this article has become good and bad. I will always hate the fact that Jews need to and must fight the anti-Semitism on college campuses, but at the same time, I will always be thankful that it is possible for all of us to find our voices and stay strong.

http://forward.com/articles/127270/

Posted by Leetal Gabel

Jewish, Muslim students clash at UWM

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At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Jewish students held a celebration for Yom Haatzmaut. Some Muslim students came to protest at the event. Anti-Israel statements were written on the UWM plaza along with a swastika that somebody drew. One student at the Yom Haatzmaut celebration was punched by a Muslim student. This should have never happened in the first place. I understand people have different views and opinions, but they should never be expressed by violent acts.

Posted by David Pachefsky

Students embrace Israeli culture

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http://www.dailyillini.com/news/campus/2010/04/20/students-embrace-israeli-culture

This article from the Daily Illini summarizes the Hillel's efforts to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day. Each year, the University of Illinois’ Hillel hosts a week-long celebration in honor of this holiday and holds events such as Israeli Quad Day. Students gather in the quad to celebrate Israeli culture and its contributions to the world. They can taste Israeli food and get a sense of the rich and interesting culture that Israel has. There was even an idea to hold camel rides on the quad but it was rejected by the university. I believe this type of celebration is one of the best ways to attract both Jews and non-Jews and it also doesn’t make Israel supporters seem like radicals. Even though it may not seem like students will be impacted by event, just getting students to take the time out of their day to taste an Israeli food will leave them with a positive feeling towards Israel. It may not be creating Israel advocates, but it is definitely creating an overall sense of happiness and peace when it comes to Israel. This type of event has been mentioned many times at seminars and I believe this celebration of Israeli culture at the University of Illinois is a prime example of how it can be used to effectively cast a positive aura over Israel.

Posted by Alex Rokni

Tune in for “The Truth”

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McGill University’s radio station made the correct decision to suspend one of its radio hosts. Host of the Palestinian radio show “Under the Olive Tree,” Tariq Jeeroburkhan, broadcasted a false claim against Israel in late January, and upon his refusal to take back his words, was suspended for two months. Jeeroburkhan acted immaturely as he did not follow the script that was prepared to retract his previous false accusations. He did not follow up any of the claims he had made in the January show, and treated the situation too casually. Jeeroburkhan simply referred listeners to the Press TV website (an anti-Semitic broadcast), rather than apologizing. Jeeroburkhan not only avoided admitting his libel, but also reinforced his idea by using the derogatory word “atrocities.” I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction to Jeeroburkhan’s broadcast-- subscribers and supporters demanded that the article’s sources be checked for their credibility. I find it reassuring that there was enough of a pro-Israel support to make the station take action for the unreliable reporting. As we know quite well, many anti-Israel claims are overlooked and ignored. However, this false accusation of Israel abusing and interrogating prisoners in an Iraqi prison did not go unnoticed. This occurrence once again highlights the importance of credibility.

Posted by Miriam Mosbacher

Campus (Un) Pleasantries

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http://xpress.sfsu.edu/archives/news/014892.html

This article describes the unfortunate situation at San Fransisco State where Jewish students celebrated Israel's 62nd birthday while, across the street, the pro-Palestinian group on campus protested in white masks and performed a "dead-in." According to the article, past events such as Yom Ha'Atzmaut have led to violence between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups; supposedly the only reason why this did not happen this year is because the pro-Israel group was not present--it was only moderate Jewish students from Hillel who frequented the event.

The fact that April 20 marks such a decidedly different day for pro-Israel and pro-Palestinians is upsetting. To anyone pro-Israel, Yom Ha'Atzmaut is a happy day, where we are reminded of our independence and cherish the land for which we fought so hard some 62 years ago. But for pro-Palestinians, April 20 is a "day of disaster" and a cause for total lament. This makes me wonder...even if the Palestinians and Israelis eventually do come to a peaceful settlement, will those groups' American supporters ever reconcile their differences?

It almost seems that Americans are so ingrained in the conflict that our opinions are beyond the realm of change and compromise. During one of our seminars, we read an article that stated that the views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are more extreme on American college campuses than they are in Israel, itself. The thought of a group of college students eating falafel and listening to Israeli music while across the street their fellow students are having a dead-in and screaming about Israeli atrocities is saddening. I just don't know if Americans would be able to set aside their views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, even if those two peoples do finally work out a peaceful agreement.

Posted by Ariel Goodman

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, don't call it a chicken

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That was the first sentence used by Ethan Tobias in his article "No Apartheid Here". This article was published in the Brown Daily Herald after the university "celebrated" its Israel Apartheid Week. Durring that Week, a wall was built on the quad to protest against Israel's activities. But on April 16, Tobias published an op-ed in response to the makeshift wall. What he said brought something that I never thought of onto the table of discussion. Tobias said that no matter what opinion one has on how Israel treats the Palestinains. Most Israelis and Palestinians believe themselves to be a separate nation. Each nation has separate ideals, separate religions, and most importantly, separate governments. Due to these facts, it can be determined that these are two different nations. And a nation can't have an aparthied on another nation.

http://www.browndailyherald.com/ethan-tobias-12-no-apartheid-here-1.2226451

Posted by Sam Israel

Aftermath of UCIrvine situation with Michael Oren

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http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/article/2010/03/18/1011203/irvine-jews-speak-out

A few seminars back, we were informed of the disrespectful interruptions made by anti-Israel students during Michael Oren's speech at UCI in February. These eleven students who intentionally disrupted the presentation and were escorted out of the building, arrested, and were facing academic penalties of suspension or dismissal from the school. On March 4, the UCI student government passed a piece of legislation condemning the actions taken against the students who spoke out against Oren, saying that the interruptions were considered free speech, which is a right of the students that the school strongly protects. In response to the legislation passed, members of the Jewish community on campus went to the student government meeting and made public comments about how by passing this piece of legislation, the student government was not listening to their voices. In addition, the Jewish students formed their own resolution which included students freedom of speech but indirectly defined this freedom of speech as respectful freedom of speech. I am proud of the reaction that the Jewish community at UCI had on the legislation that the student government passed. They did not disregard it, deem it not important, but rather, they took two actions to convey their reactions to it. What's most important is that they didn't just simply criticize the legislation; the students made their own piece of legislation to help solve the problem.

Posted by Aliza Jaffe

Appreciating Freedom

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As I was approaching the Washington D.C. convention center about amonth ago, I was extremely excited to go and attend the AIPAC Policy Conference. As we got closer, it seemed as though the only people in D.C. that day were attendees of the conference. I was so excited! As the convention center was only across the street, I saw protestors. These protestors bothered me to my core, yes I expected them, but hearing about something and seeing them are two totally different things. I was not bothered by the Westboro Church and their signs which are to grotesque to mention here, what I was most upset about were the protestors with signs protraying so called Israeli injustices. "Code Pink" as they are called, were out not only with signs and complaints about Israeli policy, but also about American and British policies. As you walked in and out of the convention center they would yell at you with their megaphone and hold up signsmaking everyone walk in almost single file. Do these people realize that if they were under the control of the PA or Hamas, they could be jailed or even in prison for holding a rally like this? If they were in Ramallah or Rafah, they would not even think to hold protests against Mahmoud Abbas or Ismail Haniyah, they would most likely be never seen again in society. On top of this, with over half the senate and congress in attendance, as well as leaders from around the world, somehow these protestors got in during Prime Minister netanyahu's speech and screamed at him. She was immediatly taken down, but again, this just made me think of how this person probably would never even think about what the reprecussions would be if she went and protested a speaker in the muslim world. The only time someone from our group interacted with them was when they asked someone with a sign, "When am I getting my free gaza?". Besides this, the conference was incredible, with speakers such as Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton, Bibi Netanyahu, Richard Kemp, and the Pastor DeeDee Coleman. If anyone does not know who the last two speakers are, I very highly reccomend that you go to http://www.aipac.org/PC2010/ and watch their speeches, for non-jews to say what they said was truly inspiring and incredible.

Posted by Evan Gewirtz

Forced Peace

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The United States government has no issues dictating the terms of any peace agreement that Israel may have, then turn around, and claim a great victory in the direction of peace, never considering how devastating its terms may be. For example, it was when the United States government demanded that Israel stop all settlement activity in the West Bank (claiming that it would promote peace) that peace negotiations actually stopped, and have, since then, been an issue to any type of peace negotiation. Additionally, the United States, if it had its way, would have Israel give up land that is critical to its national security, such as land, upon which its has a radar located, allowing its air force to respond to any air threat quickly enough. It almost feels like peace is being forced, as to prove success in the Middle East.

Posted by Shane Selig

The Peaceful Palestinian Approach

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Many of us Zionists have donated money to have trees planted in Israel, have toiled in the dirt ourselves, and have seen others contribute time and effort to enhance Israel’s greenery.

However, this particular tree planting ceremony is different. This photograph illustrates Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, planting a tree in the West Bank. Trees symbolize the Palestinian’s intentions to settle the land permanently. This is one of a new wave of nonviolent actions that the Palestinans are taking against Israel. Although I am thankful that these approaches will not harm anyone physically, I worry that they will cause a whole new set of problems.

This photograph is extremely concerning. Over the course of Israel’s history, Palestinians have used many obscenely violent methods to threaten Israel. Now, they are trying other methods to respond to Israeli policies. The nonviolent approach has included Israeli product boycotts, rallies, and planting trees. To evoke empowering emotions, the nonviolence campaign has even invited speakers such as Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and Martin Luther King III. Let’s hope these speakers are not as moving as their predecessors.

Will the nonviolent approach affect Israel? Or will it go unnoticed by Israel’s politicians? Will the Palestinians’ message get across?

Boycotts have been instituted before against Israel as non-violent protest. In 1922, the Fifth Palestine Arab Congress instructed Arabs to boycott Jewish businesses in Palestine. In 1945, a boycott targeted the Israeli automobile industry and was rather effective. Boycotts have been directed at hurting Israel’s economy.

The current tree-planting and the speaker campaign are intended to influence Israel’s policies while arousing Palestinian patriotism. Will either work out? Either way, both are potentially threatening, and for now, troubling. Nonetheless, I am thankful that the actions are currently of nonviolence.

Posted by Miriam Mosbacher

Divestment Campaigns-The Last Blow?

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This political cartoon is very relevant to the recent happenings with US-Israel relations. As we learned at our last seminar, some colleges have proposed anti-investment from Israel. The image shows a man, representing "The Lobby" holding together a large wall that's containing water. There are three cracks in the wall-labeled Walt Mersheimer, Jimmy Carter, and the Divestment Campaigns. Since the man only has two arms, one crack is left without someone to plug it's leaking holes. A little birdie in the corner is saying "The truth will out..." After some thought and understanding that the cartoon was drawn by an Arab illustrator, I think that the water behind the cracking wall is supposed to represent the "truth" behind these three issues. It seems to me that the cartoonist wants to show that soon, the lobby and the politicians won't be able to "lie" or be corrupt in the regard to the three cracks in the wall. It's as if the lobby has been trying to "plug" the truth and the effect of it. The cartoon also suggests that the divestment campaigns will be the last blow needed to finally break down US-Israel relations.

We can learn a lot from this cartoon, and the most important is the fact that Israel and her issues are always doubted as correct. Since people have developed such an anti-Israel attitude, it is like an instinct for some to suspect politicians to be lying, cheating, or hiding important information. Now, I'm not saying that Israel's perfect, but I do think that it's unfair for a nation to be put up to so much judgment in comparison to others. That's anti-Semitic. And in the end, through all of Israel's political problems, negotiations, and media, that anti-Semitism will always be our most prevalent challenge. Since divestment campaigns are apparent on college campuses, it's our job to fight them and the Antisemitism that is driving the campaigns.

Posted by Lucy Marshall

Thomas Friedman's Let Down

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/opinion/14friedman.html 

Last month, following the announcement of a building project in Ramat Shlomo, Thomas Friedman wrote an article strongly condemning Israel for the approval of the construction of 1,600 housing units in Arab East Jerusalem. I have to say that I expected more from Friedman than what he gave. No doubt about it, the timing of the housing announcement was unquestionably an insult to the Obama administration, and Biden was certainly justified to be upset. However, Ramat Shlomo, as I am sure Friedman understands, is not a settlement, but a core part of Jewish Jerusalem, and building there should not in anyway impede the peace process. The houses were not built in “Arab East Jerusalem,” they were built in a clearly Jewish neighborhood that under any peace deal would end up as part of Israel. To assert that Israelis building in Jewish East Jerusalem is a sign that Israel is uninterested in working for peace is ludicrous. It blows my mind that, of all people, Thomas Friedman would make this link, and it infuriates me that now the PA can use this excuse to skimp out of peace talks once again since it has a bogus reason accredited by a reasonable person.

Posted by Adam Schneider

Apartments in East Jerusalem

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I’m going to be quite honest and say I am confused on this whole dilemma. First off, East Jerusalem does belong to Israel and the Israeli government can say they want to build apartments buildings whenever and wherever they want as much as the Illinois government can say they can build an office building next summer. It’s that simple, Israel owns the land therefore they can choose what they want to do with the land. However, if the subject was as black and white as it seems it wouldn’t have made the front page of every major newspaper across the globe. It was the timing that blew this dilemma out of proportion. I agree that the timing was definitely bad timing, but the video says it was a coincidence. It could possibly be a coincidence, but the reasons given for the coincidence did not show both sides of the story. They showed a Palestinian official and they showed the Jerusalem deputy. But not once did they show a pro-Israel Israeli presenting their side. To me it just seemed like the Palestinian showed his side, but we didn’t get to see Netanyahu’s side or an Israeli official’s side. Although the facts might be right, the opinions given in this piece are clearly anti-Israel and cannot be accepted as the truth. I agree the timing was definitely not a coincidence, but I think Israel is trying to make a point that this is our land and they just want to make East Jerusalem flourish like the rest of Jerusalem. The same action reminds me of how when the Jews started pouring into Israel and the Arabs hated it, the Jews built hospitals and school systems and made a gross, desolate land flourish. To me this is the same and even though it was bad timing it was out of the good will of Israel to make their land flourish.

Posted by Ari Bressman

Where the 'Funny' Stops and the 'Conflict' Steps In

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http://www.toonpool.com/cartoons/US%20VP%20Biden%20visit%20Israel_76621#img9 

The posted cartoon portrays a U.S.-made Israeli construction vehicle clenching Vice President Joe Biden in its crane. I found the depiction to be comical at first, but recognized that it might be portraying some resentful undertones. This joke comes from a concern that I think many Americans have for their country, which was only strengthened by the interactions between Biden and Israel last month, in which the vice president’s visit was overshadowed by settlement negotiation. I would like to emphasize the fact that the tractor in the cartoon states, “Made in USA.” In this case, it seems as if Israel is actively taking advantage of her friendship with the United States and repays our country with only humiliation. Even though this may extend outside the simple, comical scope of this cartoon, I think we have a responsibility to examine the more serious implications of such a negative sentiment. With the AIPAC policy conference in Washington D.C. only a month ago, pro-Israel Americans have to consider the following questions. How is our relationship with Israel changing/deteriorating/strengthening? How can we remind the U.S. that Israel is necessarily the best friend that it has in the Middle East? And is this cartoon accurate in describing what most Americans think about Israel. I recognize that the average reader of a comic does not always look for these messages, but it is still interesting to take a step back and examine where the “funny” stops and the “conflict” steps in. Jordan Shapiro

Posted by Aliza Goodman

Next year in Jerusalem

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Most Jews, whether religious or marginally affiliated, partake in some form of a Passover seder. Near the end of the seder everybody sings "Next year in Jerusalem." The comic that I posted references the seder that was held at the White House, a lame attempt at demonstrating solidarity with the Jewish people. The Obama administration should instead demonstrate his loyalty to the Jewish people via actions and not empty acts. The most intriguing point of this cartoon was that it was both humorous and very truthful at the same time. The cartoon notes the incongruence between participating in a seder and Obama's views on Jerusalem. The seder recongizes the importance and Jewish notion of Jerusalem. Whereas, Obama seeks to internationalize the heart of the Jewish homeland. Netanyahu in his speech to the Jerusalem Conference a month ago stated unequivocally that Jerusalem is not a settlement, but rather the capital of the Jewish state. I have a few words to President Obama: Leave Jerusalem alone. It is Jewish, was Jewish, and will remain Jewish and undivided forever.

Posted by Aaron Miller

US VP Biden visits Israel

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I dislike this cartoon because it seems to say that Israel had deliberately attacked Biden, when in fact the statement was made at the wrong time. By placing Biden in direct connection with the bull dozer, it is taken to be understood that Biden was the problem and because of his arrival in Israel, the Netanyahu decided to build these new settlements. One interesting drawing in the cartoon is that the bull dozer says that it was made in the United States, which shows that the United States in some way supports the creation of the new settlements. I took it to mean that although the United States doesn't support the building of the new settlements, they still support the State of Israel and the decisions its government makes. Also, the United States will continue to send aid to Israel. Finally, I think that the bull dozer shows that although the relationship between the United States and Israel is now on a rough patch, the two countries will eventually return to their past relationship, in which the two countries were allies. Another interesting point that I found in the cartoon is that the artist didn't include Netanyahu in the cartoon, only Israel. The aggressor in the drawing is the entire Jewish country, and not just the government.

Posted by Ilana Lupovitch

Refusing to Turn Around and Face the Truth

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When I first learned about the current “situation” concerning Vice President Joe Biden, I was not really sure what to think. While I am happy that the Vice President would like to support Israel at all times, I am appalled that America believe building in our own capital is preventing peace. That is why I like the cartoon posted below. It portrays a sad situation, but at the same time, I find it truthful. While Biden stands at his podium trying to confront the issue, behind him stands a man who is very ready to wipe Israel off the map. The sad part is that Biden, as well as Obama, cannot see this. Biden believes that “knocking off settlement building in the West Bank” will create peace, but Biden is wrong. Iran and the other Arabs want to literally get rid of Israel completely, not just in the West Bank. For some reason Machmud Dinejad is still hiding behind Biden and the more unfortunate fact, is that Biden is refusing to turn around and look at what is staring him straight in the face. We will never get anywhere if we cannot see face to face, and this cartoon clearly depicts that at the moment, Biden is not seeing what he should be.

http://blog.cagle.com/2010/03/10/biden-visits-israel/

Posted by Leetal Gabel

Internal and External Conflicts

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/25/AR2010032502153.html

It seems that Netanyahu is really having a tough time as Prime Minister.  Not only does he have to deal with foreign policy, which includes negotiating with the sometimes-difficult-to-negotiate-with Obama, and it does not seem that their is much agreement between the parties.  Obama wants a complete freeze on settlements, but Netanyahu would never see to such a thing.  I think that part of the struggle is that Netanyahu truly feels the pull of the Zionist dream, which includes a settlement of the land, whereas Obama cannot feel this same pull.

In addition, Netanyahu has to deal with internal issues as well. In order to "alleviate the tensions with the United States", there is talk of bringing Kadima into his coalition.  Again, the different idealogies of the two groups make this merge difficult.  However, the article says that Netanyahu probably realizes that even if he believes something 100%, he might have to forgo this belief if it is a roadblock to peace.  This can get really tough, especially when the leader has very strong beliefs.  However, a good leader balances his ideologies with his desire for peace. Time will only tell if Netanyahu and Obama's decisions lead to peace.

Posted by Matthew Miller

Difficult Relationships: The Internal and External Difficulties

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/25/AR2010032502153.html

It seems that Netanyahu is really having a tough time as Prime Minister.  Not only does he have to deal with foreign policy, which includes negotiating with the sometimes-difficult-to-negotiate-with Obama, and it does not seem that their is much agreement between the parties.  Obama wants a complete freeze on settlements, but Netanyahu would never see to such a thing.  I think that part of the struggle is that Netanyahu truly feels the pull of the Zionist dream, which includes a settlement of the land, whereas Obama cannot feel this same pull.  

In addition, Netanyahu has to deal with internal issues as well. In order to "alleviate the tensions with the United States", there is talk of bringing Kadima into his coalition.  Again, the different idealogies of the two groups make this merge difficult.  However, the article says that Netanyahu probably realizes that even if he believes something 100%, he might have to forgo this belief if it is a roadblock to peace.  This can get really tough, especially when the leader has very strong beliefs.  However, a good leader balances his ideologies with his desire for peace.  Time will only tell if Netanyahu and Obama's decisions lead to peace. 

Posted by Matthew Miller

New York Times Op-Ed

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/opinion/17dowd.html?scp=2&sq=Joe%20Biden&st=Search 

Talk about an extreme point of view. After reading this op-ed, I feel misled. This piece seems to be discussing the reactions of the Biden/Netanyahu event, but it eventually switches to attacking Israel on multiple levels. On the subject of the Biden/Netanyahu event: I know that Israel had promised America that it would cease expanding in the West Bank, and because of that it was a hard blow to America and its “Israel champion” Joe Biden who was in Israel at the time. This op-ed has made a clear point that what Israel decided to do was the worst of worst things that could ever happen. But take a step back. Was Israel pulling out its machinery and beginning to build the complexes? No. What was announced on “St. Patrick’s Day, of all days” was merely just that: an announcement. No walk, just talk. On the op-ed’s attack on Israel: I don’t understand why everything Israel is in the media for gets connected to negativities that are unrelated to the topic at hand. For example, why does this columnist have to add small tidbits of what Netanyahu says about Emanuel and Axelrod? It does not fit here. Although this columnist did specifically state her point of view, she was not consistent in giving relevant information in strengthening her point.

Posted by Aliza Jaffe

Netanyahu cancels trip to U.S nuclear summit

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Netanyahu canceled his trip to Washington DC where he was scheduled to participate in a nuclear security summit. He canceled because he felt that a group of Muslim states would pressure Israel to sign the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Instead, Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor would represent Israel. I applaud Netanyahu for canceling his trip. This administration is tough on Israel and they need to do what's in their best interest as a state and as a nation. Hundreds of Republicans approve Netanyahu's action because Israel is America's strongest ally in the Middle East. The daughter of Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney, blasted Obama for his negative treatment of Netanyahu. Until the Obama administration can find a way to show their support of Israel and make Israel's security and safety a priority, Natanyhu will most likely remain in Israel and we will be no closer to a resolution.

Posted by David Pachefsky

Obama's Israel policies

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http://www.allrightmagazine.com/political-cartoons/daletoon-of-the-day-a-star-burns-out-3316/#more-3316

This political cartoon made a very strong impression with me because it illustrates how I have felt about the Obama administration’s policies on

Israel since the 2008 election.  I have never believed that Obama fully supported Israel , and his policies often worried me.  However, many of my fellow Jews wholeheartedly supported Obama, claiming that he was good for Israel .  This political cartoon that I found illustrates how the policies in the white house regarding Israel have certainly shifted since Obama’s election.  The political cartoon depicts Hilary Clinton celebrating “Palestinian Day of Rage” which includes burning an Israeli flag.  Hilary Clinton is telling Biden that she and Obama are shocked that he refuses to participate in this “Palestinian Day of Rage.”  Biden, on the other hand, is shocked that so many American Jews voted for Obama.  This implies that the American Jews should have known what Obama stood for, before naively voting for him.  Now, American Jews may be feeling a sense of buyers’ remorse, having voted for a man who claimed to be good for Israel but is not nearly as pro-Israel as past presidents have been.  Supporting Israel is one of the most important things an American Jew can do, and we must choose our political representatives carefully to ensure that our support for Israel is being represented in Washington .  I think that this cartoon should be a wake up call to American Jews, as we all must see the realities of how Obama’s policies affect Israel.

Cutting Away at Peace

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http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/settlement-freeze-cartoon.jpg 

This cartoon is disturbing on a number of different levels. It features a dove--the classically Jewish symbol of peace from the time of Noach in the Torah--being hacked to pieces as more settlements are built. An evil-looking, stereotypical Jewish man with a long nose is wielding scissors with a Jewish star and cutting settlements into the bird. It appears that the dove is made of paper, which implies the fragility of Israeli-Paelestinian relations, and how easily those relations can be slashed and made worse.

While on the one hand this cartoon makes me feel upset and defensive, it has also forced me to examine my stance on this issue even closer. The use of the Jewish symbol for peace was extremely clever--the artist forces his Jewish audience to examine values that stem from religiosity as well as Zionism. Ultimately, my view on Israeli settlement construction has not changed--for I believe Israel has the right to build anywhere in Jerusalem, but should ultimately place a strong freeze over West Bank construction. What worries me about this cartoon is that I believe it has the power to change the minds of other people. In some ways, the fact that it is one of few cartoons that does not depict direct violence, weaponry, bloodshed, or grotesque images is what gives it strength. Most people claim to seek peace, or at least the ideal of peace, in some form or another, and the destruction of a time-honored peace symbol--the dove--speaks volumes. Other political cartoons depicting settlement construction have not affected me as much as this one, which to me shows the complexity of the issue and the ways it can change a person's opinion when examined through a different lens.

Posted by Ariel Goodman

Israelis Degrading Israel? Give Me a Break.

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http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1155257.html Many people have been calling last month's incident between Israel and Joe Biden a "disgrace." Others, as in the article posted above, say that Israel only degraded itself after what took place. I have to respectfully disagree with these opinions. What took place was not a political gaffe, or an untimely coincidence. In my opinion, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Israeli government knew exactly what they were doing when they called for the approval of 1600 new homes in East Jerusalem. As stated by Netanyahu, why isn't Obama visiting Israel? If America is such a good ally to Israel, why hasn't Obama come to Israel almost a year and a half (and counting) after he was elected? Last time I looked at the approval rating for Obama in Israel, the approval percentages were around 6-9%. With ratings so low, and tensions increasing, why does it surprise people that Israel would use its sovereign power to continue building settlements? I agree that this action taken by Israel doesn't improve relations with the Palestinians or America, but at least Israel is taking initiative and showing the United States that the Israeli government is not a lapdog; they are willing to flex their muscle when they believe it is needed. Whether the settlement expansion was a result of a pro-settlement presence in Israel's bureaucracy, the political style of Ehud Barak, or just a simple coincidence, what took place a month ago cannot be changed. Israel cannot go back in time and reverse what they have done. America must accept that Israel is no longer going to wait for America's support in their campaign for peace. If the United States is truly "hurt" by the actions of the Israeli government, then maybe they should improve their relationship with Israel. As a start, America might want to send Mr. President on a trip to Israel.

Posted by Jason Silberman 

How Obama created the Biden incident

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/18/AR2010031802747.html?referrer=emailarticle&sid=ST2010031802797

The article I posted is an Op-Ed from The Washington Post. The headline is “How Obama created the Biden incident.” When I first saw this headline, I was eager to see how the writer, Charles Krauthammer, would be supporting this claim and as I began to read the article, it became obvious that the writer is an avid Israel advocate. The article begins by summarizing what has been deemed the Biden incident and explains that Netanyahu’s offense was unintentional and that he had apologized sufficiently – Clinton ’s message was unnecessary and her questioning of Israel ’s seriousness about peace was uncalled for. Krauthammer explains that Obama sees himself as “the historic redeemer” who has set out to “heal the breach between the post-imperial West and the Muslim world.” Krauthammer also states that Obama sees Israel as the one thing standing in his way of being this so called redeemer. But the fact is that Israel , from the start of its existence, has always tried to facilitate peace with its neighbors and it is merely the refusal by the Palestinians to accept these proposals which is the reason peace has not been achieved. Israel needs the help of its strongest ally, the United States , in order to ever have any chance of resolving these issues and Obama has not, in my opinion, given sufficient support to Israel . Krauthammer gives many examples of Israel ’s proposed peace talks to counter Clinton ’s questioning. I was very glad to see these facts, considering this idea of Israel ’s struggle to achieve peace is one we have come across many times in our reading and seminars. He also mentions that Obama hasn’t really done much to facilitate American support of Israel , as Obama promised he would, which is something I strongly agree with. I really enjoyed this article and I believe it presents a very interesting viewpoint on the current state of US-Israel relations and Obama’s role in them so far.

Posted by Alex Rokni

Dear Governments of the World: Grow Up

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http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131438.html 

This is yet another article about the settlement freeze. In this one Israel has agreed politically to freeze the settlement near Jerusalem. However the settlers refuse to cooperate. In my opinion this entire debate is silly. The only reason that the Palestinian people would not want that area developed is so that it will be easier to develop their way when they want “their land” back. Israel has every right to build homes in their country and America who is thousands of miles away has no place to freeze the building of homes in Israel. That is like Uzbekistan saying that Chicago can’t build more homes in the surrounding area. If you are thinking “that’s ridiculous” that’s the point. The entire debate and issue is dumb. Though it may sound childish to say that, the issue is childish. If everyone could behave like adults then maybe this debate will be put away and a lot of other issues will be put aside to take care of the main issue, achieving peace. Because whatever America thinks it is doing to help, is really doing nothing but put oil on an open flame. On the note of acting childish our president, Mr. Obama, acted childish at the recent AIPAC conference. Like Israel and the Palestinians have George Mitchell to go between them, and little boys and girls have friends go between each other on the playground, Mr. Obama had Hilary Clinton deliver his message to the members of AIPAC. It’s time to send a message to the collected members of governments around the world: “Grow Up.” The days of arguing over who can color on which part of the blackboard are over, its time to have a grown up discussion to solve grown up problems. Because time out is a lot different now.

Published by Becca Israel

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