Yeshiva U law school to honor Jimmy Carter
(JNS.org) Alumni and pro-Israel supporters of Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law have launched a campaign to prevent the university from awarding former President Jimmy Carter with the school’s “International Advocate for Peace Award.” The award is being presented by the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. In reaction to the award, a group of leading alumni and pro-Israel supporters calling itself “The Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni” has established a website, shameoncardozo.com, which accuses Jimmy Carter of “anti-Israel bigotry” and urges Cardozo alumni to contact the dean of Cardozo and the president of Yeshiva University to express their outrage.
President Carter has been criticized by many in the Jewish community for his 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Many leading Jewish scholars, including former top Mideast diplomat Dennis Ross, Emory University professor and Middle East historian Kenneth Stein, and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, have pointed out inaccuracies in Carter’s book. “I can’t imagine a worse candidate for any kind of a human rights award,” Dershowitz told the Washington Free Beacon on Monday. “He has more blood on his hands than practically any other president.”
Yeshiva University and Cardozo Law School have defended their choice, telling the Jewish Press in a statement that they plan to honor Carter for his “lifetime of work, from the historic Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt, to monitoring some 90 elections around the world and supporting fledgling democracies to resolve conflicts without violence.”
Global antisemitism up by 30% in 2012
(JNS.org) On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, a new study revealed that global antisemitism was up by 30% in 2012, Israel Hayom reported. The study, conducted by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, said that in the past year there was “an alarming rise in the number of terrorist attacks and attempted attacks against Jewish targets, and an escalation in violent incidents against Jews worldwide.” The study reported 686 antisemitic incidents in 2012, compared to 526 incidents in 2011. The largest rise in attacks occurred in Europe, specifically in France, Greece, Hungary and Ukraine. However, the U.S., Canada and Australia also saw a rise in attacks. Many groups involved in attacks against Jews were associated with far-right parties or radical Islamist groups, both of which are growing in Europe. “This situation in some countries in Europe — mostly Greece and Hungary — has gotten so perilous that Jews are afraid to walk down the street,” Aryeh Zuckerman, a consultant with the Kantor Center, told Israel Hayom.
Turkish leaders make new demands of Israel
(JNS.org) Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu outlined further demands on Israel before Turkey would normalize relations with the country during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday. “All of the embargoes [on Gaza] should be lifted once and for all,” Davutoglu said, the Wall Street Journal reported. The United Nations, in the 2010 Palmer report, has ruled that the Gaza naval blockade is legal under international law. Last month, during President Obama’s trip to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for Israel’s actions during the 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident, which left eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish-American dead after those militants attacked Israeli soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara. U.S. officials are concerned that Turkey, by calling for increased demands on Israel, will delay or stall normalization between the two countries. Since coming to power in 2003, Erdogan and his conservative Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) have increasingly been critical of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians and have established closer relations with the terror group Hamas.
Expanding women’s rights at the Western Wall
(JNS.org) A compromise agreement has reportedly been reached to allow women to say the Kaddish mourners’ prayer at the Western Wall, although they will still be barred from wearing traditionally male external religious symbols such as prayer shawls.
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz said he had agreed to the proposal, presented by MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky, in which police would not arrest women for saying Kaddish. Announcing the compromise agreement on Thursday, Lavie said, “Today it was proved that the path of dialogue is that which leads to change.” Women of the Wall chairwoman Anat Hoffman responded defiantly, however, saying she would continue to wear a prayer shawl at the wall next week despite the law, and would encourage other members of the organization to do the same. “I won’t tell a Jewish woman not to wear a tallit [prayer shawl]. Furthermore, on the upcoming Rosh Hodesh I will also encourage the wearing of the tallit,” Hoffman told Israel Hayom.
Roger Waters event canceled at 92nd St. Y
(JNS.org) A planned event with Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters, a vocal critic of Israel, at New York City’s 92nd Street Y has been canceled following opposition efforts from the pro-Israel community. The 92nd Street Y, which was scheduled to host “A Conversation With Roger Waters” later this month, wrote an email stating, “We heard from Roger Waters that he is unable to appear at the event scheduled for April 30.”
Waters accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and “international crimes” in a November 2012 address at the United Nations, and last fall was also at the forefront of efforts to boycott an Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
On Wednesday, the watchdog group JCCWatch.org issued a “Jewish Community Alert” email that asked supporters to voice their opposition to the Roger Waters event. Besides contacting the 92nd Street Y, JCCWatch.org asked supporters to contact leaders of the UJA-Federation of New York, which provides funding for the Y. “It’s absolutely outrageous that Jewish community funds are going to help Roger Waters spread his antisemitic message,” Richard Allen of JCCWatch.org said in the email. David P. Steinmann, a Manhattan resident who lives around the corner from the Y, wrote in an email letter to UJA-Federation CEO John S. Ruskay, UJA-Federation President Jerry W. Levin, and 92nd Street Y Executive Director Sol Adler, “Roger Waters is an Israel-hater with a public antisemitic message.” Waters “has worked to persuade other artists to boycott performing in Israel, has led the efforts to boycott the Israel Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall and persuaded Stevie Wonder to cancel a benefit performance for Friends of the IDF — the very Israelis who risk their lives every day to preserve the Jewish state of Israel,” Steinmann wrote.
Israel investment gives oil giant Shell cold feet
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Just days after Israel joined the exclusive club of natural-gas producing nations, one industry giant
appears less than pleased. Israel’s Tamar offshore gas field, situated 50 miles west of Haifa, started production after four years of exploration and drilling by the Jewish state, the Israeli government announced last Saturday. Israel has an additional gas field, Leviathan, about 80 miles from Haifa’s coast. Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest multinational oil companies worldwide, is mulling whether to sell its $7 billion share of the Australian energy company Woodside after Woodside purchased a large share of the Leviathan natural gas field’s reserves, just off the Israeli coastline. The Anglo-Dutch oil giant fears that direct or indirect investment in Israel could strain its relations with Arab nations, with whom it has some of its most lucrative investments.
France designates Hezbollah a terror organization
(JNS.org) Last week, at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that the French government supports adding the armed wing of Hezbollah to the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations.
The designation by the French government could play a pivotal role in persuading the rest of the European Union to blacklist Hezbollah. Dr. Magnus Norell, adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Senior Policy Advisor at the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) in Brussels, recently told JNS.org that the EU looks to France for guidance on Lebanese affairs. “The French are well aware of the role Hezbollah plays in Lebanon… [French designation] would have wide repercussions in the EU as a whole,” Norell said. “On matters concerning the Levant, the EU tends to defer to France.”
Iran opens uranium mines, milling plant
(JNS.org) Iran, following a lack of progress in nuclear talks last week with the six world powers, has opened two news uranium mills and a milling plant, Reuters reported, citing the Iranian state news agency IRNA. The new Saghand 1 and 2 mines and the Shahid Rezaeinejad yellowcake plant, which became operational on National Nuclear Technology Day in Iran, give the Islamic Republic “greater self-sufficiency in making the raw materials for enrichment to nuclear fuel and, potentially, for warhead-grade material,” according to Reuters.
In a speech at Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization on Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Western countries have “tried their utmost to prevent Iran from going nuclear, but Iran has gone nuclear. This nuclear technology and power and science have been institutionalized… All the stages are in our control and every day that we go forward a new horizon opens up before the Iranian nation.”
Hagel to visit Israel later this month
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is set to visit Israel later this month for the first time since taking office, Army Radio reported. Hagel, who was confirmed in a historically close 58-41 vote by the Senate and during the confirmation process came under fire for both his record and statements on Israel, will reportedly arrive in Israel on April 21. Hagel discussed the planned visit with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, during a recent telephone call. The nuclear program of Iran is expected to be the focus of the talks Hagel will hold with Israeli officials during his visit. In his confirmation hearing before the Senate on Jan. 31, Hagel mistakenly expressed support for a U.S. policy of “containment” in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.