Re: “Is the WZC a Sham Election?”
“Is the World Zionist Congress a Sham Election?” asked your editorial article (January 31, 2020). Sadly, it was exactly this attitude that led to progressive Jewish groups winning over 60% of the seats in the 2010 election, and allocating significant percentage of their budget to groups that oppose authentic Jewish values.
Take a look at the published slates of the other parties running in the WZC election and you will see that they are taking this election very seriously. They recognize that millions of dollars are at stake. They are investing large sums of money into fighting for its seats, because they understand the power and influence that it has. Issues such as Jewish identity, civil marriage in Israel, control of the Kotel, funding of religious schools, and development of towns beyond the ‘Green Line” are all decided by the WZO. Appointments that they make to the leadership of major Jewish organizations – the KKL, the Jewish Agency and others–will determine the direction of international Jewish policy for generations to come.
The founder of the Shas Party, Maran HaRav Ovadya Yosef zt”l, worked all his life to restore the Crown of the Torah and the Glory of our Sephardic Heritage to its rightful place among the leaders of the Jewish people. He understood the importance of the World Zionist Organization and its influence over many aspects of Jewish life in Israel and in the Diaspora. He encouraged the establishment of the World Union of Jewish Communities, to unite Sephardic communities around the world, and “Shas Olami” as the International Sephardic Zionist Organization, to represent all Sephardim in the United States in this important election.
Adult Jews of all backgrounds across America are being invited to declare their membership of the Jewish people by registering to vote for just $7.50 ($5 for those under 25). Perhaps this is the Half Shekel of our generation? Who would not want to stand up and be counted as a member of the Jewish people? Let us reach out to our unaffiliated friends and encourage them to register and vote, to show that we care about them and want them to have their say in the future of the Jewish people too.
The call of the hour from Shas Olami and other Torah-true slates is to register as many voters as possible in the next 4 weeks and ensure that all Jews are represented in this important election. Let us not make the mistake of ignoring this election and surrendering our influence. Let the Sephardic voice be heard. Let Orthodox votes count. Let’s not lose the election through apathy and cynicism.
Rabbi Natan Sasson,
Leader of Shas Olami
Rabbi of Keter Torah Synagogue,
West Bloomfield, MI
The West’s Selective Amnesia
In 1972, Arafat orchestrated the butchering of Israeli athletes at Munich, as the inaugural event to announce the formation of the bloody PLO which has waged war against Israel ever since. If the cowardly and ignorant West, enabled by the selective amnesia of mainstream media, would have put consistent pressure on these Arabs to negotiate and accept the many fair peace offers, they would have been celebrating their statehood, instead of their continued war on the Jewish state of Israel. Some unsolicited advice to all if I may-read up on the facts, before you next speak.
“Palestinian leaders have rejected numerous U.S. and Israeli offers for statehood in exchange for peace with the Jewish state—in 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis Conference. The 2008 offer would have given the Palestinians a state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem and 93% of the West Bank with land swaps to make up the difference. “For the first time, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has admitted that he rejected “out of hand” an Israeli offer for a PA state on nearly 95% of Judea and Samaria. In 2008, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered to agree to the creation of an independent PA state including all of Gaza, nearly all of Judea/Samaria, and parts of Israel and the PA state would have its capital in eastern Jerusalem.”
In 2017, ”the Director of the independent monitoring group, UN Watch, testified and presented a new report showing 40 alarming new cases of UNRWA school teachers in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria whose Facebook pages incite to Jihadist terrorism and antisemitism, including by posting Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler.” UNRWA’s textbooks demonize Jews, show maps with all of Israel gone, replaced by “Palestine”, and incite children to kill Zionists for martyrdom.
These so called “Palestinian” Arabs are victims of their own making. If the West and all those “progressives” out there really wanted to help them, you would demand they sit down and sweat out negotiations with Israel. They have never made even one counter offer, openly state they will never accept a Jewish state, yet somehow the world continues to blame Israel for their lacks.
When lose your moral compass, you can no longer identify a true victim from a true oppressor. Israel is the victim of these Arabs’ continued terrorism and the West’s false, myopic, relentless obsession with blaming the Jewish state while never demanding any accountability of Arab refusals. The world has truly become the inmates running the asylums. Where we go from here sounds more and more like hell on earth for all of us.
‘No Hate in Our State’
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced significant additional measures aimed at protecting religious buildings and houses of worship across the state. The announcement, made at the ‘No Hate In Our State’ – 2020 Security Grant Conference, included an additional $25 million in state grant funding. This funding is intended to help organizations and communities vulnerable to hate crimes to protect themselves. This is part of a broader effort to strike back against hate crimes, including proposed legislation to categorize hate crimes as domestic terrorism and punish it accordingly. Governor Cuomo has also called for increased funding to the New York Police Hate Crimes Task Force, as well as expanded education efforts designed to protect our children from the influence of hate.
Although anti-Semitic hate, in particular, played a central role in Governor Cuomo’s remarks, these new measures are intended to be inclusive and interfaith, as well as, protect New Yorkers across racial, ethnic, and religious lines. For over one hundred years, the American Jewish Congress has operated under the belief that, in order for any minority group to be protected, all must be protected. We were proud to attend the conference, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with Gov. Cuomo on his crucial initiative and salute his effort to ensure that the kind of violence inflicted on Jews in such places as Poway, Pittsburgh, Jersey City, and Monsey does not happen again.
Jack Rosen, President – American Jewish Congress
Munr Kazmir, Vice-President – American Jewish Congres
Ben Chouake, Secretary –American Jewish Congress