U.S. Jewish communal briefs: January 4, 2017

COP supports Congressional resolutions denouncing U.N. Security Council action on Israel

NEW YORK (Press Release) – Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, expressed strong support for the resolutions being introduced in both Houses of Congress that denounce the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) Resolution 2334 and urge it to be repealed or altered significantly.  This resolution condemns Israel’s settlement building and ultimately hinders the peace process by promoting an imposed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead of supporting direct, bilateral and unconditional negotiations. Additionally, the resolution offers approval and support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions efforts, ignores the 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and declares all of East Jerusalem to be Palestinian territory including Judaism’s holiest sites.

The Senate Resolution led by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KT) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) was introduced Wednesday, Jan 4.. A companion House Resolution that is co-sponsored by Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) will be voted on Thursday.

“We applaud Congress’s efforts to denounce this one-sided, anti-Israel resolution that will only push the prospects of peace further from realization. A strong message from the leaders and members of the United States Congress will show the world that the American people stand with Israel and support direct negotiations as the only path to true peace.  President Abbas’ refusal to accept and recognize a Jewish State with which he must sit and work out all the problems, is, and has been, the major obstacle to peace. We remain committed to the search for a just and lasting peace which has been made more complicated and distant by the Security Council’s action.”

“We hope that these resolutions and the strong expression of the members of Congress will discourage any further actions resulting from both the Paris Conference and the Quartet. While the U.S. has provided us and others repeated assurances that they will not allow any further resolutions on the Arab/Israeli conflict at the UN Security Council, there are other avenues including a statement by the head of the Security Council, which would require unanimous support. The UN Security Council has done enough harm to the prospects of peace, any further action will only cause further damage.”

“We welcome the fact that key Republican and Democratic leaders in both Houses have endorsed the legislation. It again demonstrates that support for Israel is strongly bipartisan and will remain so in the new Congress.”

ADL denounces anti-Semitic vandalism at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
CINCINNATI, Ohio  (Press Release)–The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Wednesday, January 4,  strongly condemned the vandalism at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati (HUC-JIR), which reportedly included a large white swastika painted on a school sign.

According to reports, the swastika vandalism struck HUC-JIR on January 3.

“We condemn in the strongest terms this crude and bigoted attack on Reform Judaism’s leading seminary for training rabbis, cantors, and educators,” said Anita Gray, ADL Ohio/Kentucky/Allegheny Regional Director. “This act of anti-Semitic vandalism is despicable and must be recognized as an attack on the entire community.

“This troubling incident is an attack not just on HUC-JIR but on the fabric of pluralism and religious freedom in the country,” Gray added. “We have been gratified to see the swift and serious response by the Cincinnati Police Department and Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley as well as the outpouring of support shown for HUC-JIR and the community.”

ADL has established a new reporting mechanism where the public can report any anti-Semitic, racist or bigoted incidents, and encouraged social media users to promote the hashtag #ExposeHate. The League continues to monitor the proliferation of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism across the country.

American Jewish Committee calls for immediate implementation of Kotel agreement

NEW YORK (Press Release)—The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is calling on Israeli leaders to implement without further delay the government-approved agreement on pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall (Kotel). The latest obstacle to implementation is legislation sponsored by the Shas political party that would ban and penalize non-Orthodox prayer at the Kotel area.

“The Shas bill essentially declares the Kotel compromise to be dead. It would be a tragedy for the Jewish people if the Knesset adopts it,” said Steven Bayme, AJC Director of Contemporary Jewish Life. “Jews of differing religious persuasions need to find ways to cooperate for the greater collective good of the Jewish people. Ignoring that spirit of social contract over Judaism’s holiest site signals intolerance and contempt for non-Orthodox expressions of Judaism, and poisons relations between Jews.”

Under the agreement announced in January 2016, and approved by the Cabinet in a 15-5 vote, the egalitarian section at the wall near Robinson’s Arch would be expanded and placed under the authority of a pluralist committee. The plan called for solidifying haredi Orthodox control over the site’s traditional Orthodox section.

AMCHA Initiative founder to lecture in Carlsbad on BDS on campus

CARLSBAD, California (SDJW) — Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the national AMCHA Initiative, will lecture at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan 8 on the topic “BDS and Campus Anti-Semitism” at the Carlsbad Library, 1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad.

Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz, was a nominee of the Jewish Federation of North America in 2011 as Jewish “Hero of the Year.”

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