Israel critic Noam Chomsky attends conference in Gaza
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Noam Chomsky, a Jewish professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a consistent critic of U.S. and Israeli policies, visited the Gaza Strip on Oct. 18 and attended a conference at the Islamic University. Chomsky, 83, known for his pro-Palestinian views, has consistently called on Israel to end its naval blockade of Gaza. According to French news agency AFP, Chomsky was quoted by Jamal al-Khudari, a member of Gaza’s legislative council and head of the university’s administrative board, as saying “The Palestinian people have a right to live peacefully and in freedom.” AFP reported that Palestinian television broadcast comments by Chomsky. The aging professor, who lived on a kibbutz in Israel in the 1950s, has been an outspoken critic of the way the Jewish state was established in 1948.
‘Anti-Israel’ prof. removed from Northeastern U faculty list
(JNS.org) A Northeastern University professor has been removed from the online faculty list of the school’s Jewish Studies Department following the release of a video by Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) revealing the anti-Israel measures he took in the classroom. Prof. Denis Sullivan — whose name was previously listed as a Jewish Studies faculty member on the department’s webpage, and is now no longer on that page — remains the head of the Boston-based school’s Middle East Center, according to APT President Charles Jacobs.
Students who take Sullivan’s classes “tell me all the time about the incredible bias that he has, and Denis Sullivan will disagree with them and give them a bad grade because of it,” Jason Pressburg, former director of Israel Programs at Northeastern Hillel, said on the APT video. The APT video is available to view on YouTube at http://is.gd/zloVSV.
U.S philanthropist joins with Hadassah to fight heart disease
(JNS.org) Irene Pollin – founder and chairman of Sister to Sister and widow of the late professional sports team owner Abe Pollin — has donated $10 million to Hadassah Medical Organization to establish the Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Institute in Jerusalem, intended to help women combat heart disease. Pollin’s granddaughter presented the donation Oct. 18 at Hadassah’s centennial commemoration ceremony. “Since founding Sister to Sister in Washington, D.C., I have longed to find a place outside of the United States to establish a heart disease prevention program geared toward women…Given Hadassah’s 100 years of experience helping women of all backgrounds take better care of themselves, I could not think of a better way to reach out to our sisters across the globe,” Pollin said.
Israeli cardboard bike could aid developing nations
(JNS.org) An Israel inventor has created a bicycle made nearly entirely out of cardboard, as well as a new model of “green” transportation production that could allow poor nations to get bicycles for free. The bicycle created by cycler and entrepreneur Izhar Gafni, 50, is made out of cardboard but is treated with a secret organic concoction that makes it water and fire proof, and is then coated with lacquer paint. The device will have no metal parts, and even the breaks, wheels and pedal will be made from green materials. “This is a real game-changer. It changes … the way products are manufactured and shipped, it causes factories to be built everywhere instead of moving production to cheaper labor markets, everything that we have known in the production world can change,” said Nimrod Elmish, Gafni’s business partner, according to Reuters.
The cardboard bikes would be produced on automated production lines that would be supplemented primarily by pensioners and the disabled. “Because you get a lot of government grants, it brings down the production costs to zero, so the bicycles can be given away for free,” Elmish said.
Arab Lawyers Union honors terrorist
(JNS.org) The Palestine Committee of the Arab Lawyers Union recently bestowed its “highest honor” on female suicide bomber Hanadi Jaradat, who killed 21 Israelis in a 2003 attack on Maxim’s restaurant in Haifa, Palestinian Media Watch reported. Jaradat, who worked as a lawyer, also injured 51 Israelis in her bombing of Maxim’s. The lawyers union “created the ‘Martyr Hanadi Jaradat plaque of honor’” for her, according to an Oct 14 report in the Palestinian daily publication Al-Ayyam. A delegation “conveyed to the family of Martyr Jaradat the good wishes of the head of the Union, Mr. Omar Al-Zayn… and also emphasized the pride of the Arab Lawyers Union for what their daughter had done in defense of Palestine and the nation.”
Russian Jews prefer Romney
(JNS.org) Polling by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) has shown that Russian Jews in major U.S. cities are overwhelmingly Republican and support Mitt Romney in November’s election.
According to research by Sam Kliger, AJC’s director of Russian Jewish Community Affairs, in the New York area 47 percent of Russian-speaking Jews who responded to his survey plan to vote for Romney, compared with 12 percent for Obama. This trend seems to hold true primarily for older Russian Jews, with younger voters much more divided between the two candidates. “Older Russians—the ones who remember Soviet times — tend to be more conservative,” and react to slogans and terms like “redistribution,” that are “the same as one used in the [former] Soviet Union,” State Sen. David Storobin, a New York Republican from Brooklyn, told the New York Jewish Week. In terms of foreign policy, Russian Jews “perceive Republicans as tougher on terrorism and more supportive of Israel,” said Roman Shmulenson, executive director of the Council of Jewish Émigré Organizations.
Letter causes Jewish groups to opt out of dialogue with Christians
(JNS.org) Seven Jewish groups have pulled out of an annual interfaith dialogue meeting due to the recent letter from 15 Protestant leaders asking Congress to investigate U.S. military aid to Israel without making the same request for Palestinian aid. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — which had been the first Jewish group to remove itself from the annual Christian-Jewish Roundtable, scheduled for Oct. 22-23 — the American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai B’rith International (BBI), Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), Rabbinical Assembly (RA), Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) left the roundtable and asked instead “for a meeting with the senior leadership of our agencies and the senior leadership of the Christian institutions that joined the letter to Congress and have participated in the Roundtable in the past.”
“While we remain committed to continuing our dialogue and our collaboration on the many issues of common concern, the [Protestant leaders’] letter [to Congress] represents an escalation in activity that the Jewish participants feel precludes a business-as-usual approach,” the Jewish groups wrote in a letter to Christian roundtable participants.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the JCPA, said in a statement Wednesday that the Oct. 5 Protestant letter to Congress went “a step too far.”
“The participation of these leaders in yet another one-sided anti-Israel campaign cannot be viewed apart from the vicious anti-Zionism that has gone virtually unchecked in several of these [Protestant] denominations,” Gutow said.
Brooklyn café charges Orthodox customers to sit at bar
(JNS.org) The River Café in Brooklyn charges Jews with Orthodox clothing or hairstyles a $25 minimum to sit at the bar, a fee that does not apply to other customers, two employees of the establishment told the New York Post.
An instruction manual given to café hosts says “if two religious Jews come in, we call ahead to the maître d’ and say, ‘Is there space for two at the water bar?’ — in which case a
minimum of $25 will be enforced that is just for Jews wearing yarmulkes or any sort of religious hat,” one employee said. The waterfront café is not kosher but is often a site where Brooklyn Jews meet on dates, according to the Post. The employees — one current, one former — told the newspaper that the maître d’ informs the head waiter through a code when customers wearing a kippah or other form of Jewish garb express interest in sitting at the bar.
Uncertainty over report that U.S. agrees to direct talks with Iran
(JNS.org) The U.S. and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, the New York Times reported Saturday, Oct. 20, citing Obama administration officials. The White House denied the report. “It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement issued by the White House.
Israeli officials were initially surprised by the report and voiced concerns over the Iranians using negotiations as a ploy to further enhance its nuclear program.
“We hope that this [report] is unsubstantiated,’” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Army Radio. “I want to believe the denial issued by the White House; they have a lot of experience. The negotiations with Iran did not begin yesterday, and not the day before. There are 10 years of cumulative experience and the Iranians have deceived the Security Council and the P5+1 time and time again.” The Obama administration in the past has been open to the idea of direct talks with Iran. However, so far the offers have been rebuked. Many analysts believe that hardliners within the Iranian government would be unwilling to sit down with a country they have long demonized as the “Great Satan.”
Though recent sanctions have hit the Iranians hard—its currency has plummeted over 40 percent in the last couple of weeks — a new nonpartisan study by the Congressional
Research Service (CRS) has shown that sanctions are hurting the Iranian economy but not accomplishing their “core strategic objective” of stopping Iran’s path toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. “There is a consensus that U.S. and U.N. sanctions have not, to date, accomplished their core strategic objective of compelling Iran to verifiably limit its nuclear development to purely peaceful purposes,” the study said. Iran is “building up its conventional military and missile capabilities, in large part with indigenous skills” and ignoring UN requirements that it cease selling weapons abroad, especially to Syria’s Assad regime, CRS said.