Category Archives: 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.

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The End of Days in Palestine

Palestine the Book, by Jonathan Bloomfield

What would we do if we lived in a flood plain with no egress at all, or along a hurricane evacuation zone that just prolonged the inevitable without taking you out of the path? It is probably something few really consider until the storm is bearing down on them and reality is about hit hard. Living in the New York metropolitan area, having experienced hurricanes, nor’easters and blizzards that destroyed property, wiped out beaches, killed people and devastated lives and families, many of us can imagine the sense of urgency when an emergency is near.

Most recently, last April and May we watched the 24 hour news channels as large regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi were hit by the largest storms since the early 1900s, and the Morganza Spillway was intentionally opened, destroying nearly 5000 square miles of inhabited land to spare total destruction of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, on the heels of the 2005 hurricane that nearly wiped out the whole Gulf region. What if the people who lived there or were visiting the area then had no way to escape?

The prospect is frightening and for just about all of us, unimaginable. Now imagine the threat is not a tidal wave, rushing floodwaters, a violent tornado or some other natural disaster, and something that can wipe out life as we know it for years to come, destroying not just property, but everyone and everything in its wake. Imagine the threat is a nuclear explosion, the mushroom cloud in the distance, the flash of light and the torrent effect of the ripple that tears through everything in its path, leaving death and darkness then nothingness.

This is a fear that we face living in a nuclear world, but one that we here in the United States feel is either so remote or could hit elsewhere, but not in my backyard. However, in Israel, the fear is real. With the entire country being just 8,019 square miles; extending about 200 mi north to south and just 70 miles east to west; with its narrowest point being only 12 miles across, there is nowhere to go to outrun a nuclear attack, nowhere to hide and nothing to do but watch the end of the world take hold.

A recently released short film captures the gripping moments of Israel’s hypothetical destruction. Israeli filmmaker Ronen Barany, who has a knack for creating bizarre short films, just released a five-minute film on Youtube called, The Last Day, or Yom Ha’Acharon. It is made in the style of an amateur video shot on the future date of February 23, 2013, just about one year from now. The home video is the remnant of a flash drive recovered by a United Nations reconnaissance team after an Iranian first strike with nuclear warheads.

It was taken by a couple desperately trying to flee Jerusalem as missiles are seen flying overhead. They are driving on “Highway 1” and capture on camera explosions from conventional warheads along the way, while listening to an emergency radio broadcast advising that there is no more contact with Haifa or the southern regions in what appears to be a concerted surprise attack on Israel. All the while you can hear the couple’s exasperated a voice speaking to one another in Hebrew wondering what is happening, where is Israel’s army and expressing concern that they cannot raise their parents by telephone. The announcer reports that the communications network across the country is failing.

A flash of light appears and the radio goes dead. The couple stops the car to help stranded drivers and runs to the aid of a young boy who stared at the flash and is blinded. As the camera pans the distance they see a huge pillar of smoke begin to expand and more people appear wounded alongside the road. A man recites “Shemah Yisroel”, the Jewish prayer recited by one who senses death is near – “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one,” as Israeli war planes rush overhead and more explosions seem to level a mountain up ahead. Suddenly an almost dull sound begins to rumble and the sky lights up in shades of orange and yellow with black clouds rising from the ground.

All you hear is the explosion and a large ripple drawing near, then the image appears to become pixilated; then blackness and nothing at all. The film ends.

This is hard to watch and seems as real as if it had happened, and the fear sent a shiver down my back. In Mr. Barany’s film, Israel is presumably attacked by its neighbors, and destroyed in a final act of aggression by Iran. The people had nowhere to run, but watched as the end of days consumed them.

As the war of words heats up between Iran and the west and as Israel grapples with just what to do, artists such as Ronen Barany are not alone capturing the fears of the people. A new author, Jonathan Bloomfield, published a book last summer aptly named Palestine. That book depicts a very similar scene of Tel Aviv residents escaping the city as conventional weapons destroy buildings, bridges and roadways.

The threat of an Iranian nuclear launch has been eliminated by a per-emptive Israeli strike using Saudi airspace with permission. What remains is the threat of localized nuclear detonations from Iranian bombs that were smuggled into Israeli cities. That chilling tale ends with Israel’s ultimate victory, and is told in an almost Tom Clancy-like manner where Israeli agents find the plot and the bombs before the timer finishes its count-down.

These are both works of fantasy, and the hope is that it remains as such, even as the genuine possibility exists and is a very real threat for Israel. Some say these are scare tactics to get people worked up enough to force leaders into some unknown action. Others, however, believe it is an imminent reality and must be dealt with. Yet there are those who just chalk these up to entertainment and have no real meaning at all.

As the Republican primaries rage on, and candidates try to emphasize just how much each supports Israel and Jewish communities, Israel’s safety and very existence is a common theme. While stumping in Florida this week, Newt Gingrich sent out a robo-call to Jews accusing Mitt Romney of going cheap on kosher meals for seniors in Massachusetts, and it raised enough concern to make it onto the daily news reports. Just imagine what the threat of Israel’s annihilation can do.

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR This article was reprinted from The Cutting Edge News

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Iron clad isn’t necessarily rock solid: How Israel fares to America

January 26, 2012
By Juda Engelmayer

Our iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.” — President Barack Obama

This 19 word sentence contained within the 6992 word State of the Union address, President Barack Obama practically singled out Israel as if to highlight to his Jewish supporters and detractors alike, that he is the best friend the Jews have had. Other nations, or nation’s capitals were mentioned as allies, but only Israel was assured such an “Iron-clad commitment”.

For all the accolades and loud cheers in the House Chamber, however, the words that the President chose were quite careful and maybe even telling. Unlike Europe and Asia, which he called America’s “oldest alliances,” and the “Americas”, with which he said our ties “are deeper,” America, he said, is committed to Israel’s security. We accept that and know it, and have seen the “closest military cooperation between” Israel and the United States in history take shape in the iron-clad Iron Dome mobile missile defense system that the U.S. has helped build in Israel.

The President’s security and military assurances might imply a harsh acceptance of the present and future. Is it easier to arm a nation and prepare it for a battle than it is to resolve the root cause of the threat in the first place? Not to make a perfect comparison, , but when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani saw some of New York City’s more dangerous neighborhoods, he did not put guns in the hands of the decent people living there, but eliminated the dangers, locked up the criminals and took the streets back. The same strategies are being deployed in cities like Newark, Compton and others across the country, where law enforcement and public leaders seek to eradicate crime and eliminate the root causes of the danger.

Of course crime is not the same as ideology, and the issues that affect dangerous cities and those that drive the forces in the Middle East are not the same, but the essence of the argument is no different. Sure Israel needs better weaponry for the time being, as she needs to have a strong deterrent for her enemies, but wouldn’t the prudent course be to help clean up the neighborhood rather than, or in the case, along with, arming the decent people who are stuck in the middle. Israel is indeed in the middle of a world of nations seeking to destroy it.

The right thing to do is for the President to call the issues as they are and boldly condemn those who would seek to harm Israel. He should pound the point of the unyielding cries within the “governments” of Hamas and Hezbollah to destroy Israel. He should decry the hypocritical comments by people like Maen Areikat, the PLO “Ambassador” to the United States who said Jews would not be allowed in the Palestinian State, while Palestinians demand access to all of Israel. He should acknowledge that the divide separating Jews and Moslems in the Middle East is not about land, but about a true and deep seeded belief among many in positions of influence that the G-d of Islam wants his adherents to stamp out the Jews and erase all traces of Israel. Only then can we begin to discuss the terms of any “peace,” and try to find land agreements that would keep the distance sufficiently

Instead, this President and his administration have chosen to ignore the true cause of the problems in the region; the ideological hatred that will not be negotiated away. In his third State of the Union the President declared that “a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli,” but left out the inconvenient truth that the fundamental Islamists are winning the hearts and minds of the people and miring those lands deeper into trends of intolerance, violence and hatred. Liberty is not coming; tyranny is rising, and that will not bode well for Israel or the United States.

On May 19th, 2011, President Obama said that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines.” This sentiment is nothing new; those words have been spoken by many before – Jews and Israelis alike.. However, it seemed to have belied what many thought the President had learned to appreciate – the need for defensible borders. Four month later, when he stood before the U.N. General Assembly on September 21, he said,

Let us be honest with ourselves:  Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses.  Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them.  Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, look out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map.  The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile and persecution, and fresh memories of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they are.  Those are facts.  They cannot be denied.

Then in November, the administration was so harsh with Israel over building in Jerusalem and the West Bank, it was as if the President’s words to the U.N. – only two months prior- were delivered to placate Jews after the May 19th debacle.

As soon as the pressure was off, he went back to the old routine of chastising the Jews and making moral equivalences to the plights of the two peoples living alongside each other. One people are the startup nation who built a burgeoning society that has contributed so much knowledge and value to the world, and the other is a people hell-bent seeing the former destroyed.

The President, in his speech, devoted most of his attention to the economy, jobs, taxes and government reform and he spent very little time on foreign affairs. That’s actually a good thing. Yet, in that small allotment of time, he gave Israel a shout-out and emphasized how the U.S. cares for her security. For his supporters, they will say that proves what a friend he is, but a real friend cares enough to help make sure that the use of the war machines are the very last resort.

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

This article was written for the Jewish Star

Source:
www.opednews.com

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Israel’s Challenges ahead as 2012 is already filling up its plate

2012 has thus far brought a lot of activity to Israel that could be indicative of the year it is expected to have.  The growing internal strife that has become very public between the religious right and most others to the left of them is threatening the foundation of Israel’s society.  In addition to the social difficulties it poses, the squeeze of the widening financial burden on those who produce income and those who rely on the State for services is taking its toll on the patience of the general society.

Adam Kaufman, of Adam B. Kaufman & Associates, PLLC and longtime Woodmere resident said, “What’s been happening between the religious and secular communities is disheartening.  Israel and Jews have enough people wishing harm without us wanting to harm one another.  Sadly, at times we can be our own worst enemies.” To Mr. Kaufman’s point, the internal conflict would be enough to keep such a small society busy.  Yet, that could be viewed as a minor bump in the road when looking at it in the context of the world it exists in.

Read the whole article at The Jewish Star

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

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Can Jack Lew do for Obama what AmeriCorps did for Clinton?

When the son of an Israeli Irgun member, left the White House to run for mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel left a void not quite filled by his replacement Bill Daley. In many respects Daley was not able to fill the shoes for the President. He could not get the respect of those he needed on the Hill and even within the Administration to be an effective advocate for Mr. Obama. So when Daley seemingly abruptly resigned this week, there was no hesitation before New Yorker and perennial Washington insider Jack Lew, an Orthodox Jew, was called on to step in.

Lew makes for an interesting choice for Mr. Obama, as he is one who has the respect of both sides. He comes with impressive credentials stemming from his days working for Democratic Congressman Joe Moakley and the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill. More recently, he was an executive at Citicorp where he ran a group that made alternative investments, such as hedge funds, credit swaps and other creative financial mechanisms that people such as the President say has hurt the economy.

Read More at Yahoo Contributor Network or the Jewish Star

Juda Engelmayer is an executive with the NY PR agency, 5W Public Relations and a contributor to the Cutting Edge News. This article was adapted from the Jewish Star

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Obama – Good for Israel, Even for those who don’t think he is

By Juda Engelmayer

For anyone who may have not been paying attention lately, President Barack Obama has been making greater attempts to demonstrate just how dedicated he is to Israel and therefore, for Jews in America.  The debate rages on as to whether Obama has been the best or the worst president for Jews as far as Israel is concerned, and in this election year we can be assured of one certainty; both sides will make the claim that benefits their own candidate for the White House, but what is the true and what is hyperbole?

To best answer the question, first we need to separate how good Obama is for the Jews versus how good he might be for Israel.  The two need to be divided, as without Israel Jews have little else to set themselves apart as Americans and voters as any religious group or any national group within our union. (read more in the Jewish Star)

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Cain’s exit: The kishke of the ‘9-9-9’ candidate

When he first began talking about his 9-9-9 plan, immediately the thought of kishke and hot dogs came to mind. Here was a man who built his career on, and amassed his wealth in the food industry.
What could be better for the Jewish community than to support a businessman who not only openly touts Israel, but also knows good food?

Presidential Candidate Herman Cain was a solid option for Jewish voters for many reasons. The first being, he is a stated friend of the Jewish community and of Israel. Although coming late to the Israel game, once Cain entered politics he realized the importance of understanding the landscape of the Middle East and Israel’s predicament.

He found a deep spirited belief in Israel – likely emanating from good sense and his Southern Baptist religious beliefs. Prior to his joining the Republican debate series Cain might have in passing felt that Israel was being sold short by the Obama administration, but after his August visit to the Holy Land, he took it up as cause.

Read more in the Five Towns Jewish Star

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Gilad Shalit is Home and that’s all that Matters…

Israel did something very difficult this week.  It struck a deal with the terror organization Hamas to free over 1000 of its terrorists for one of Israel’s citizens and soldiers – Gilad Shalit.  Many people are debating the wisdom and strategy of this move, as it lends both credence and victory to the terrorists.  Yet, Israel’s sacrifice for one man is not new and should make a very clear statement to the world at large sitting in judgement of Israel ever day; Israel values life and it values the sanctity of humanity.  Hamas does not, the terrorists do not.  Shalit is perhaps the first prisoner kept alive by the Palestinian terrorists, whereas Israel has exchanged many healthy people for the dead remains of its own in the past.

Israel is not weak  – she is compassionate.  Don’t let this incident allow you see it any other way.

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The Failing Of Humanity When An Israeli Is Killed

(From MediaReallyMatters.com)

A horrific crime occurred in Cheshire, Conn., in 2007.  A family—Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley—were butchered and burned, while Dr. William A. Petit, Jr, was beaten to within an inch of his life. The crime was committed in the comfort and safety of the Petits’ homes by two ruthless men who allegedly set out only to rob the house, not commit murder. There are few things more tragic than seeing families being massacred senselessly, and we rightfully cry out, voice shock and outrage, and demand a full measure of justice for the people who committed the crime.

Petit family

The report of this murder went viral. Just about every media outlet rightfully picked it up and offered insight and indignation. The two killers, even though they claimed not to have intended to commit murder, were demonized in the media as crazed killers. Protests were mounted calling for a return of capital punishment. The New York Times itself offered considerable space to this tragedy, which it called “a brutal invasion” and a “gruesome” crime. That is what it was and remains to this day. The second of the murderers will be tried soon. The other was already tried, convicted and sentenced to death. When the New York Times reported on the first sentence, it referred to “horrific attacks” and explained why the second killer deserved the same fate.

Perhaps, then, I misunderstood what happened last weekend in Itamar, Israel. The same New York Times that rightfully called the murders in Cheshire horrific seemed to take a more balanced approach to the death by bludgeoning of a family of five asleep in their homes Friday night.

The Arab terrorists involved in the Itamar tragedy conducted a brutal home invasion, including horrific attacks on an entire family and left behind a gruesome scene, perhaps equally if not far more brutal-looking than that in Cheshire. Yet the Times simply stated that the “assailants” “stabbed five members of the family to death in their beds.”

The Fogels – Udi, 36, and Ruth, 35, Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, a baby girl of 3 months—were stabbed, had their throats slit and were left to die in pools of their own blood for their 12-year-old daughter to come home and find.

What would alarm the world from Connecticut received passing concern when from Israel. Life is not equal, and the treatment of the criminals is not, either. The message is that when you kill a Jew in Israel, especially a Jew living in a West Bank settlement, it is okay. The New York Times called the murderer a “Palestinian attacker,” as if he pushed someone and stole a wallet. The ruthless killers in Cheshire allegedly did not go to that home with intent to kill, yet they were portrayed as brutal murderers in the Times and everywhere else. Whoever carried out the attacks on the Fogels had murder in mind from the start—including the murder of a 3-month-old infant—yet he (or they) is portrayed by the beacon of journalistic balance as a “Palestinian attacker” making a political statement.

The weak coverage and the lack of outrage over such brutality underlie a deeper concern, yet to keep harping on the point of bias and politics is pointless; the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens said it well enough. The issue we must look at is the cheapening of blood when it comes to political or religious debate. Does frustration over land warrant brutal murder? If the same Palestinian attacker committed a home invasion murder in the United States feeling that the home belonged to him, would we just brush it off as ideological debate? This was a very personal crime committed by someone who either has killed before or will kill again; someone who is dangerous and ruthless, and who does not value life, and is likely known as such by those familiar with him. He killed a family as they slept, and slit the throat of an infant; slaughtered like animals and the New York Times chalks it up to a protest.

Where’s the humanity? Where is the justice? Where is the outrage? It certainly exists for the killers.

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38 Nobel Laureates Call for Rejection of Anti-Israel Boycott and Divestment Initiatives

A group of 38 Nobel laureates signed a letter opposing the push by the art, research and academic boycott movement Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS).

Their statement, organized by Nobel Laureates, Roger Kornberg, Stanford University, and Steven Weinberg, University of Texas at Austin, was signed on October 28, 2010. In an initiative supported by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) the Nobel winners are encouraging students and faculty of institutions across the world to “promote and provide opportunities for civil academic discourse where parties can engage in the search for resolution to conflicts and problems.” (Read More)

As posted on The Cutting Edge News

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