Category Archives: Cutting Edge News

The New York Times Plays Devil’s Advocate to God’s Messenger

Edge of Media Manipulation
The New York Times Plays Devil’s Advocate to God’s Messenger
By: Juda Engelmayer

Who is Greg Smith, and why do we care? He was an employee who quit Goldman Sachs in a public way and posted it in a New York Times op-ed. The better question is why should we care? After all, Goldman Sachs probably has had staff quit before for a whole host of reasons, from better opportunities to being disillusioned, to just not meeting the expectations or needs. Gee, I have had some really good people quit the firm where I work, and quit on me for that matter. Some wrote letters too.  It’s not news; it’s life.

Work is just that, work. Some love it, some hate it, and some find it a calling; others just work because they need to pay the bills. I work because I enjoy what I do, but also because I get bored doing nothing; and I can certainly use the money. So what is Greg Smith’s deal that so many are now paying attention?

He quit one of the biggest financial institutions and lambasted it in perhaps the single most influential media venue still in print. Yet, it’s not news. Goldman has some 30,000 people working for it, and what are the odds that Greg Smith was not the only employee to walk out that door this same week? It begs the question as to why the New York Times printed it in the first place.

(Read More)

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR

Leave a comment

Filed under Career and choices, Crisis Management, Cutting Edge News, New York City, News and Views, Obama, Politics

The Souls in the Land are the Only Reasons for the Land

Juda Engelmayer March 8th 2012
Salim Joubran
Salim Joubran

It was May 7, 2004, when Salim Joubran was given a position on Israel’s Supreme Court. The day that he became the first permanent member of the Court from the Israeli Arab community should have been the day the world realized that Israel was in fact a democracy like none other in its region. Justice Joubran knew that as well, and he also knew what Israel was why it was formed and how he managed to rise through its ranks as a Christian and not a Jew.

It would seem odd, or possibly some act of defiance, when the New York Times carried a story about Justice Joubran earlier this week, presumably refusing to sing the Israel national anthem because the words “Nefesh Yehudi homiyah,” which means “A Jewish soul still yearns,” do not apply to him.

The anthem was not new to him when he became a lawyer, nor when he became a Supreme Court judge. It may indeed be an uncomfortable concept to sing, let alone believe by one who is not Jewish. It highlights the delicate tightrope Israel walks in its pursuit of peace and prosperity through the promotion of democratic statehood.

For Jews, living in Israel ironically removes Jewish identity from the everyday life of the average Jew. Unlike most places, where for many, Jewish identity is worn on our sleeves so to speak; on our heads actually for some, but also with the often uncomfortable vacation requests at work, among the other unique aspects of Jewish life. In Israel, Jewish holidays are the State holidays and no one really feels out of place donning a skullcap. With Judaism all around, maybe the overtly Jewish words should, or maybe other ubiquitous Jewish symbolisms should be removed to make those not of one of the 12 Tribes feel as comfortable.

There is a movement among a growing group of secular Israelis, Jewish ones mostly, to eliminate the Jewishness from the State itself. The fights between the ultra orthodox and those less so have been growing to the point where they have made the front pages of some of the world’s most antagonistic-to-Israel media venues. These differences only enhance the calls by the secular Israelis, as they see the belligerence of the right toward Zionism, secularism and modernity growing, and an unyielding intransigence when it comes to economic or social contributions beyond their own communities.

In the efforts to highlight the extremist nature of Israel, as they print their political opposition to such issues as Judean and Samarian expansion and retaining defensible borders, leftist media take the truly offensive nature of the assaults on women and secular Jews by these pockets of Hareidim and promote them as the mainstream occurrences of the Jewish state.

That serves Israel’s detractors as it equates the Jewish state with the radicalized Islamic countries that purport to see her smothered. The fact is that when relatively small extremist activity perpetuated by Jews occurs it is often promoted to a grander degree and with more international disdain than the malignant fanaticism that everyday Arab men, women and children face each day in many of the countries that challenge Israel’s existence. Those nations often get a free pass from criticism, as Israel is held to a different standard. Yet, I digress into a whole other topic altogether.

Jewish identity is so prevalent in Israel through its population and character that the argument is made asserting Jewish identification markers built into its government and national themes, like the Hatikvah are not needed.

The debate rocks between Israel’s left and right. While some want to make it harder for non Jews and non-believing Jews to participate, some on the left urge making Israel more inclusive; essentially, making it nothing more than the United States on the Mediterranean.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence ensures “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” The irony, however, is that this issue was sparked over an Arab judge from Haifa who has a permanent seat on The Jewish state’s highest court. Some would argue that he has been treated as Israel declared it would. The judge, for his part, just stood quietly while others made the issue of his choice.

These are difficult considerations and the resulting answers are not clear, nor do they follow conventional logic. To be a true democracy, Israel would needs to cede its Jewish identity, but to do so, would make it impossible for Israel to remain a Jewish homeland, safe from future persecution and expulsion. As history keeps repeating, majority populations will at some point turn on its Jewish citizens.

Jews have been pushed in every location on earth, and treated as pariahs throughout history. They have been jailed, tortured, forced to renounce their religion and beliefs or just killed for being Jews. Yet, they endured as a people and have outlived their ancient enemies, and are poised to face their new ones, whoever they are.

Born from the Levant where the G-d Abram had worshiped offered to make him a great nation if he left his home and family, the Jewish religion and the specific land are unequivocally tied to one another. This makes the Jewish yearning for Israel not just a slogan, but a compulsion as strong as the belief in G-d itself. It is the main reason why when Theodore Herzl were searching for a land the Jews could emigrate to, escaping the Russian pogroms in 1905, the Seventh Zionist Congress rejected the Uganda Program, believing that only in Israel could Jews truly be free.

Israel is, therefore an anomaly and needs to be treated as one. It is not as any other country, because it is not merely about acreage and capricious borders, but an ancient calling said to be made by the G-d of the oldest monotheistic religion in the world.

Fanatical Hareidim aside, for secular Jews to feel that the religious nature of the country is too cumbersome, for non Jews to feel that the Hatikvah is too Jewish, or for both to want to make Israel a secular sanctuary, the only answer has to be no.

One can be irreligious in Israel and still be its prime minister. One can be an Arab in Israel and be a Supreme Court judge, weighing in on the most important matters affecting the internal working of the country. Yet, if the Judaism is taken out of Israel, Jews may as well be in Florida and not suffer, struggle, fight, and not remember those who died creating, defending and living in the land where Jews are destined to call home.

Israel devoid of the Soul of the Jew is nothing more than soil and sand, and certainly not worth the blood, sweat and tears of the countless who have poured all three into its building; creating the hope for the Jews and an oasis in the gloom of the Middle East.

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR

 

Leave a comment

Filed under anti-Semitism, Choices, Crisis Management, Cutting Edge News, Israel, Juda Engelmayer, Judasim

Syria Slaughters, Hamas Terrorizes: Public Relations Firms Advance their Cause

Asam Al-Assad in VogueIn recent days, we have seen an intensification of the Syrian regime’s attacks on its own people. If reports are correct, more than 5,000 Syrian civilians have been slaughtered on President Bashar al-Assad’s command since the effort to bring the so-called Arab spring to Syria began late last spring. The dead include hundreds of women and children, people who just wanted freedom from a tyrannical regime. Supply lines have been cut; medical supplies are running out, and the United Nations admits that it can neither provide a reliable accounting of the number of dead, nor stop the killing.

This regime is the extension of one begun in 1970, when Hafez al-Assad seized power and which was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Syrian, including one of the most gruesome massacres in Middle East history, the destruction of the Sunni rebel stronghold of Hama, in which between 10,000 and 20,000 people were killed by government forces. Bashir al-Assad has ruled since his father’s death on 2000 and has been able to maintain his stranglehold on Syria’s people largely because of world indifference, lack of commercial resources, and because of its proximity to Israel.

Read the rest in The Cutting Edge News

 

Leave a comment

Filed under anti-Semitism, BDS, Creative Writing, Crisis Management, Cutting Edge News, Israel, News and Views, War against Israel

BDS Movement at University of Pennsylvania only Invite Media who Shill for Them

Juda Engelmayer February 5th 2012

Cutting Edge News Contributor

Israel Topics - BDS_Israel

A Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) effort organized by students at the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania actively uninvited a reporter of the local newspaper, the Exponent, from attending their forum. Last week, the Jewish Exponent published an article reporting that organizers of the National BDS Conference had barred the paper from covering the weekend conference, but the organizer denied the claim.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Matt Berkman, a BDS conference organizer and graduate student at Penn, argued that a writer for the Exponent had published biased articles against the BDS effort to “bring an end to Israel’s system of oppression, segregation and dispossession,” through calls for boycotts and divestment of Israel and Israeli products. Due to the alleged biased reporting, the Penn BDS group ininvited the reporter. They did say that another Jewish Exponent reporter, whose coverage he felt had been fairer, may be able to attend.

Lisa Hostein, the paper’s executive editor, wrote in an article, “It is ironic that a group that purports to be interested in open dialogue, is operating under the cover of free speech and insists it is not anti-Semitic is barring the only Jewish news outlet in town from covering the conference.”

Berkman had emailed the reporter in question saying that organizers were “disinviting” him, because they felt his earlier article titled “BDS Reveals its Real Agenda,” was biased.

Hostein felt the alternate invite was “totally disingenuous,” citing that Berkman knew the other reporter was out of town, but that “nobody has the right to tell a news outlet who should or should not cover an event.”

Berkman told the JTA that “They [The Exponent] have not proposed an alternative, and if they do we will discuss it.”

As an observation; for a movement that claims it is fair and balanced in covering the situation in the Middle East and Israel, and therefore promotes its cause as just, it would seem that choosing to remove a journalist for not agreeing is as controlling and unjust as it purports Israel to be. From a purely public relations perspective, it shows the BDS movement, in particular the one lead by the students at Penn, to be disingenuous at the very least.

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR and a contributor to the Cutting Edge News.

1 Comment

Filed under BDS, Creative Writing, Crisis Management, Cutting Edge News, Israel, Juda Engelmayer

Cheap and Kosher for an Influential Group of Voters

By: Juda Engelmayer

Jewish Topics - Kosher Senior Meals

Did it matter to Floridian voters that Republican candidate Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, may have cut funding for kosher meals in nursing homes?  Whether or not it mattered was less important than the importance put upon the Jewish vote by House Speaker Newt Gingrich.  Their vote seemed to be of such great significance to him, he needed to find a polarizing issue to throw at his opponent.

This begs the question, is the Jewish community so gullible that wider domestic issues and looming foreign matters are less important than whether kosher meals are funded by the public for seniors?

Putting the facts into perspective, the bulk of the Jewish seniors whom Mr. Gingrich was targeting with his robo-call this week are registered Democrats and had little say in the Republican primary.  He knew that however, as does any candidate who does the right research before allocating precious time and limited resources in a presidential race. So why do it at all?

Clearly the impression the media and many Jewish pundits and advocates have successfully made on the public and the list of candidates, including the President himself, is that the Jewish vote and the Jewish opinion will matter enough to impact the election results. Ignored is the historic fact that the “Jewish community” largely votes Democrat no matter what the issue du Jour may be. When Jews lean to the right, it is generally over issues such as tougher policies in the Middle East, not kosher meals in a senior center.

The point that Mr. Gingrich was evidently trying to make was that those who want to focus on Mitt Romney should know that Romney’s agenda is more in tune to what Jewish Democrats pay attention to and not what right-leaning Conservatives want to talk about. Betting that the media would give that “cheap-shot” of a campaign call the attention it didn’t deserve, Mr. Gingrich was painting his opponent as a lesser Republican than he. That’s the argument that Mr. Gingrich is hoping to win with – that he is the true Conservative. The former Speaker knew well when that call went out that the state would fall to Mr. Romney, but used it for national attention on his candidacy.

He used the Jewish people as a tool for his efforts. He used the hype that the Jewish vote is so critical that the mere mention of kosher food would stir his coverage. He was right, but it does Jewish citizens no good to be placed in the light of such an evidently pandering campaign promotion.

The national Jewish community as a whole stands for so many great ideas, from major philanthropic works and promotion of caring human services to, yes, the pillars of financial success in this country. There are Jews on both the right and the left side of politics. George Soros supports President Obama and Sheldon Adelson supports Mr. Gingrich. Both men are philanthropic and both express support for Israel – yet with different views on Israel policy.

When the Jewish label is used for a campaign pitch, as it was in Florida this week, it not only cheapens the value of the true Jewish contribution to the country, but borders on leveling an old anti-Semitic charge: frugality.

One of the oldest stereotypes of Jews is that they are cheap, despite the fact that Jews have been and remain some of the biggest charitable donors around the world and that political candidates often seek and generate campaign funds through Jewish channels and supporters.

There are still places in this country where the stereotype resonates, and when Mr. Gingrich makes what became a national issue, out of whether Jewish senior citizens want kosher meals subsidized by the government or not-only lends credence to this myth. The reality of Mr. Romney’s decision on the 2003 legislative vote in Massachusetts is much less significant than the fact that it was raised this week in the first place.

Mr. Gigrich’s campaign robo-call also invoked the unthinkable: the Holocaust. The recording claimed that, “Holocaust survivors, for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher.”

So, not only are Jews so consumed with cheap meals, but the heart strings were tugged as the memory of the Holocaust was raised to coincide with the United Nation’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. The memory of the worst human catastrophe to befall the Jewish people was used as a contemptible campaign plug- aimed at a group who were not even likely to vote in this primary, as well as in a race he knew he was not going to win.

Is that the way the collective Jewish community wants to be called on for public service? Are the social, human, legal, governmental and financial contributions made by Jews to the country and to individual political parties, since the forming of the union, so marginal that the community can be easily trivialized and its populations be taken in vain as it was?

On matters that deal with foreign policies, fiscal issues (here in the US), and social matters that come before legislatures and judiciary branches, Jewish opinions and activism have impacted much of what the United States stands for – to the world and to their fellow Americans. To be remanded to shameful actions that make Jews seem almost clownish, should bring the community together on this issue – no matter what side of the aisle one chooses to stand.

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner at HeraldPR, a full service public relations firm.  This article appeared in the Jewish Star

Leave a comment

Filed under anti-Semitism, Cutting Edge News, Food Coop, Food Pantries, Freedom of Religion, Juda Engelmayer, News and Views, Obama, Religion, Uncategorized

Israeli Arab in Custody for Serial Killing Spree across the Midwest

When Elias Abuelazam was questioned by Michigan police in July for a traffic violation and for allegedly providing alcohol to minor, there was no indication then that they had a possible serial killer in their hands. As authorities were investigating 18 stabbings that resulted in five deaths in three states since May, Abuelazam, who resides in Flint, Michigan, became the prime suspect following an anonymous tip referring to the suspect as “Elijah.” (Read More)

Leave a comment

Filed under Cutting Edge News

Libya Positioned to Buy Major Stake in BP

After the BP Spill

Arab Topics - Muammar Qaddafi

Just as the news for British Petroleum was getting brighter, with stocks soaring 6 percent higher after the temporary cap fell into place and sealed the leak into the Gulf of Mexico, news sources reported on a possible deal between the oil giant and the Libyan government that could end up in Libya’s owning a considerable stake in the oil company.   (More)

Leave a comment

Filed under Alternative Energy, Cutting Edge News, Israel