Volume 3, Number 139
 
"There's a Jewish story everywhere"
 

Today's Postings:

Friday-Saturday, June 19-20, 2009

{Click on a link to jump to the corresponding story. Or, you may scroll leisurely through our report}



INTERNATIONAL

Obama and Netanyahu may rue arousing sleeping dogs ... by Ira Sharkansky in Jerusalem
It is best for politicians to let sleeping dogs lie. And when the dogs begin to stir, it is wise to avoid provoking them, even by looking them directly in the eye.READ MORE

Root of the Arab-Israeli conflict and why it matters ... by Shoshana Bryen in Washington, D.C.
Prime Minister Netanyahu exposed the Emperor(s). President Obama's vision of two states living side by side in peace and security is no different from President Clinton's vision, which was also President Bush's vision.
READ MORE

Stand With Us urges 'buy Israel' campaign to counter Palestinian boycott of Trader Joe's, Whole Foods ... by Gary Rotto in San Diego
My friend was very excited when Trader Joe’s opened their newest location not from her in Scripps Ranch.  It’s exciting to have a store nearby that has high quality products at reasonable prices.  And one that carries challahs and kosher meat and chicken!
READ MORE

Arabs have three strategies for Israel's elimination ... by Barry Rubin in Herzliya, Israel
There are now no less than three main plans for wiping Israel off the map.READ MORE



Capitol report: News of Jewish interest & Jewish legislators READ MORE
The purposes of this column READ MORE
State Department Middle East briefings READ MORE
--Phillip Crowley on Jimmy Carter's Gaza Trip READ MORE
--Hillary Clinton and Avigdor Lieberman READ MORE
--George Mitchell briefs State Department reporters READ MORE
Feinstein, other Democrats, seek U.S. support for arms trade treaty READ MORE
Cardin, Hastings welcome State Dept. human trafficking report READ MORE
Boxer: global warming report shows need for corrective actions READ MORE
Kohl probes rising costs of wireless text messaging READ MORE
Feingold suggests Holder backsliding on wire taps READ MORE
Lieberman urges increased federal benefits for domestic partners READ MORE
Schumer: allow property tax deductions on federal income tax READ MORE
Sanders: health care bill must 'wring out' profiteering READ MORE


Jewish-interest news from home and around the world

ZOA says poll shows Israelis favor Bibi's settlement policies READ MORE
ACLU says anti-terrorism laws unfairly target Mulim charities READ MORE
IRC says refugee Iraqis being consigned to poverty in U.S. READ MORE
Mossad chief predicts Iran can launch n-missile by 2014 READ MORE
New York group says documents prove that Pius XII helped Jews READ MORE
Two indicted on charges of rigging bigs at tax lien auctions READ MORE

The Jews Down Under.... A roundup of Australian Jewish news by Garry Fabian READ MORE
Jewish schools receive $13 million funding READ MORE
Time to celebrate volunteers READ MORE
Adelaide loses another Rabbi READ MORE
Multi-Faith programs receives government support READ MORE




ARTS

Live and Become: a five-star movie, for sure ... by Karen Primack in Silver Spring, Maryland
Live and Become is Radu Mihaileanu’s bittersweet drama about a young Ethiopian boy in a Sudanese refugee camp who is Christian but passes for a Jew in the 1984 Israeli airlift.READ MORE

Student poet ponders meaning of being proud to be Jewish ... by Esther Yavitch in San Diego, a third place winner in Jews for Judaism writing contest
READ MORE

Now forgotten, Simon Barere was one of best pianists ever ... by David Amos in San Diego
Former San Diego resident and retired artists’ manager Jacques Leiser heard a concert fifty eight years ago in New York’s Carnegie Hall, played by the legendary pianist Simon Barere, who was considered one of the greatest pianists of the Twentieth Century. READ MORE


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JUDAISM
Bible in Pop Culture
A Living Soul, Genesis 1:30 SEE IMAGE

LIFE STYLES
Zlotnik's life path is something to meditate about ... by Sara Appel-Lennon in San Diego
“If,” the poem by Rudyard Kipling begins "If you can keep your head when all about you and losing theirs and blaming it on you.” How can we keep our head when the economy is turbulent, world news is negative, and worries whirl in our mind like dreidels? According to Jeff Zlotnik, executive director of The Meditation Initiative, we can calm our mind by meditating. READ MORE

JEWISH MISCELLANY:
A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

Torah portion of the week from G-dcast VIEW VIDEO

Soille first graders imitate the works of great artists READ MORE
Mini-Melton grads, others, eligible for Israel study tour next March READ MORE
UJF endorses 'Baby boomer' survey READ MORE
Levy will lead Beth Sholom services this month READ MORE
Workshops this weekend will help adults teach children Jewish ethics READ MORE
Jewish License Plate VIEW IMAGE
Jewish Cyber-referral READ MORE VIEW VIDEO
Free seminar planned for older adults on changing residences READ MORE
Boxer schedules seminar on obtaining federal grants READ MORE

JEWISH HISTORY

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History
May 15, 1953, Southwestern Jewish Press

Cradle READ MORE
Personals READ MORE
Feeling Old? READ MORE
Confirmation Ceremony At Temple Beth Israel Includes Record Group READ MORE
Beth Israel Pre - Confirmation Sabbath READ MORE

PHOTO GALLERY

Headshots in Column 1 are, top row: Ira Sharkansky, Shoshana Bryen, Gary Rotto, Barry Rubin, Gary Fabian. Row 2: Phillip Crowley, Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, Avigdor Lieberman, George Mitchell. Row 3: Bibi Netanyahu, Barack Obama, Pope Pius XII; Row 4: Karen Primack, David Amos, Sara Appel-Lennon


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INSIDERS SDJW/ STAFF BOX

We had to combine the Wednesday-Thursday edition because of interrelated hardware and software problems that kept us on the phone with technical support centers in the Philippines, India and the United States. Happy to be with you back on line.


DEDICATIONS
Each day's issue may be dedicated by readers—or by the publisher—in other people's honor or memory. Past dedications may be found at the bottom of the index for the "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" page.


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LETTER FROM JERUSALEM

Obama and Netanyahu may rue arousing sleeping dogs

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM—It is best for politicians to let sleeping dogs lie. And when the dogs begin to stir, it is wise to avoid provoking them, even by looking them directly in the eye.

In other words, there are problems likely to be trouble for all who meddle. Some fester without solution, at least while current alignments continue to hold sway.

The Greeks wrote their tragedies about individuals who felt they could rise far above the norm. Sadly for us, there appear to be tragedies waiting in the careers of Barack Obama and Benyamin Netanyahu. Both are affected by greater than normal self confidence, bolstered by recent political success. Both are stirring the sleeping dog of problems that have been insoluble. Adding to the mess that is likely is their roles as adversaries, seemingly destined for collision with one another along with other players who will work to frustrate their efforts.

The field of direct confrontation between Obama and Netanyahu is the elusive process of negotiations between Israel and Palestine. George W. Bush wisely let it fester with a minimum of personal involvement after Bill Clinton's heroic efforts produced intifada al-Aqsa. Now Obama has promised intense personal involvement and led off with a speech detailing his key demands of Israelis, Palestinians, and other Arabs. He is sure that his list will unlock the tangles that have foiled other peacemakers for more than 60 years. If that is not a sufficient definition of his hubris, he reaches further with aspirations for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

On the Israeli side, Ehud Olmert wisely played the game of negotiating without results . But Netanyahu, like Obama, felt it necessary to strike at the heart of the matter by challenging conventional lip service. He proclaimed what is widely felt but should be kept quiet: that the goal of a Palestinian state is not credible. Moreover, he raised another sleeping dog when he announced that he would not curtail settlements.

Two groups of questions beg answers:

Are there likely to be adverse consequences from letting the sleeping dog lie? Or can Israel prosper without solving the conflict between Israel and Palestine? And is it likely that a frontal assault on the issue will improve the lives of Palestinians?

And why the special concern shown for Israel and Palestine among leaders of the United States and Europe, while other problems seem to be producing even greater misery? Examples abound in the violence and poverty of Africa, and may be found in the less attractive areas of Asia, Latin America, and the United States.

In response to the first group of questions, it appears that Israel has done well in its more than sixty years as a state, despite not being able to define all its borders or not having the formal recognition of its capital or its existence by numerous governments. It is the most successful of the one hundred or so countries born after World War II in its maintenance of democracy, its economic development, and its public services. Its security forces have dealt successfully with challenges no

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less severe than those of other countries, without damaging freedoms of expression and politics. Palestinians, especially those of Gaza, have not done well. However, their own leadership and that of other Arab countries appear to be largely responsible due to their constant prodding for revenge, and refusing to absorb those who have held on to their refugee status since 1948.

Surely some of the people reading this will accuse me of not taking responsibility for Israel's contribution to Palestinian misery. My response is that Israel has tried to be accommodating, most recently in 2000, and Palestinians have spurned decent offers. More important than trying further to persuade Palestinians to reduce their non-negotiable demands is the priority of defending ourselves against the madness of Palestinian extremists.

The second question, why the special concern, is easier to answer. It reflects the weight of Muslim countries in international politics, and their self-serving ritual of emphasizing Israel's affront in order to excuse their shabby treatment of Palestinians and their own citizens.

I fear that the frontal assault on this issue, both by Barack Obama and Benyamin Netanyahu, will do more harm than good. It is not clear who deserves the greater condemnation: Obama for provoking the dog from its sleep, or Netanyahu for provoking Obama with his unnecessary declarations about settlements and a Palestinian state. Netanyahu has added to the provocation by proclaiming extreme conditions for a Palestinian state. Israeli commentators have compared the state he would accept to Andorra. The chorus of nay saying from Palestinians and Arab rulers was predictable. It was also inevitable that with even a slight bend toward the Americans Netanyahu would provoke the right wing in his own government. Israel's sleeping dogs have started to bark and may bite. Netanyahu's previous term as prime minister ended when his allies abandoned him as not sufficiently kosher.

Hopefully the response of Arab governments to Netanyahu is no more than lip service. Hopefully Obama will recognize it as such, and not respond with increased pressure on Netanyahu.

The peace process involving Israel and Palestine was safely asleep. The damage that came to violent Gazans earlier this year may have deepened the sleep. Past efforts to achieve peace proved the depth of the problem. Obama and Netanyahu will not help themselves by brazen attempts to deal with it, and they may hurt the rest of us in the process.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University. His email: msira@mscc.huji.ac.il


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THE VIEW FROM JINSA

Root of the Arab-Israeli conflict and why it matters

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D. C.—"If the advantages of peace are so evident, we must ask ourselves why peace remains so remote, even as our hand remains outstretched to peace. Why has this conflict continued for more than sixty years? In order to bring an end to the conflict, we must give an honest and forthright answer to the question: What is the root of the conflict?"

Prime Minister Netanyahu exposed the Emperor(s). President Obama's vision of two states living side by side in peace and security is no different from President Clinton's vision, which was also President Bush's vision.

President Clinton tried the incremental approach and feted the Palestinian leadership even as Arafat talked and conducted terrorism against Israel at the same time. President Bush was the first president to declare support for a Palestinian State and provided arms and training for a Palestinian security force, but refused to meet Arafat and kept Abu Mazen at arms length as the Palestinians talked and conducted terrorism against Israel at the same time. President Obama immediately squeezed Israel for concessions and went back to feting Abu Mazen - of whom, Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl wrote:

Abbas rejects the notion that he should make any comparable concession - such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state... Instead, he says, he will remain passive. 'I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements...Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.' In the Obama administration, so far, it's easy being Palestinian.

So Abu Mazen is in no hurry. Why? Because even if the state includes Gaza, even if it is allowed to make treaties and even if it is allowed to arm itself (none of which is likely or prudent) it should occur to someone, somewhere that a

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divided rump state wedged in between Jordan and Israel simply does not meet Palestinian aspirations. Palestinian aspirations as currently expressed by both Fatah and Hamas include all of the territory that is Israel and all of the territory that is Jordan as well.

An Israeli-Palestinian-only negotiation is doomed, as Netanyahu explained, "The simple truth is that the root of the conflict was, and remains, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own, in their historic homeland. In 1947, when the United Nations proposed the partition plan of a Jewish state and an Arab state, the entire Arab world rejected the resolution. The Jewish community, by contrast, welcomed it by dancing and rejoicing. The Arabs rejected any Jewish state, in any borders."

The Arab states (minus Egypt and Jordan) have remained stuck in 1947, encouraging the Palestinians to do likewise - miring them in poverty, radicalism and despair and making them easy prey for the vultures who feed on them while they kill Jews. It is time for the Arab world (led by Egypt and Jordan) to enter the 21st Century - or at least the last half of the 20th - and accept Israel as the legitimate expression of Jewish nationalism.

When the Palestinians can't hide behind recalcitrant but uninvolved Arab states, they will at last find themselves under pressure to accept the legitimacy of Israel as well. Only then will it be possible to end the conflict - which is why it matters.

Bryen is special projects director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. (JINSA). Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.


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THE JEWISH GROTTO

Stand With Us urges 'buy Israel' campaign to counter Palestinian boycott of Trader Joe's, Whole Foods

By Gary Rotto

SAN DIEGO—My friend was very excited when Trader Joe’s opened their newest location not from her in Scripps Ranch.  It’s exciting to have a store nearby that has high quality products at reasonable prices.  And one that carries challahs and kosher meat and chicken!

The Trader Joe’s website states, “Our shelves are stocked full of delicious foods and beverages from the basics like milk, bread and butter to more exotic fare like imported cheeses, organic produce and hand-tossed pizza from Italy. We taste every product before we decide to sell it, and we guarantee you’ll like it.” 

Fresh foods, organic products, unusual items are found in the typical Trader Joe’s.  And the periodic Fearless Flyer points out special buys and new products.  The store is a bit eclectic and the products are very diverse.  A call to the public relations department of Trader Joe’s was not returned by this publication’s deadline, but I did speak with a local Trader Joe’s manager off the record.  He stated that Trader Joe’s simply wants to provide high quality products from many different countries, products that its customers want to buy.  Its merchandising makes no political statements – intended or unintended.  And it believes in carrying a diversity of products from many countries of origin on its shelves.

Which is the problem for an organization called the Palestine BDS National Committee.  (BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment

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and Sanctions.)  The group doesn’t like the fact that Trader Joe’s and other stores carry Israeli products.  And
the group has called for “Kickoff Actions to Deshelve Israeli Products” as part of World Refugee Day on Saturday. 

On June 8th, a group wearing “Boycott Israel/Free Palestine” shirts deshelved a Pittsburgh area Trader Joe’s of Israeli products and handed out anti-Israel flyers.  A video has been posted on YouTube targeting Israeli Couscous sold at Whole Foods.  So it is unclear which chain will be targeted. 

“These guys are sending out a generic call and we are responding with a call to support Israeli products,” stated Roz Rothstein, CEO of Stand with Us and one of the organization’s founders.  Stand With Us was founded in 2001 in response to misinformation distributed about the intifada and has 12 offices around the world including one in Southern California.  “It’s just sad.  It’s so one sided,” added Rothstein about the planning boycott. 

“They neglect to tell people about Hamas, the overall struggle for peace (including the Israelis).” 

Not unlike other Pro-Palestinian activist groups, the Palestine BDS National Committee chooses rhetoric echoing the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.  What’s troublesome is that terms like apartheid stick if you don’t challenge it even if does come from an extremist,” noted Rothstein.

It is unclear if there will be a local action against stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods this Saturday.  But prevent this “Rage Against Couscous” and support Israeli products at your local store this weekend.  Be sure to ask for the manager and thank him or her for “stocking a diversity of products and not succumbing to political threats and thuggery.”

Rotto is a freelance writer based in San Diego. He may be reached at rottog@sandiegojewishworld.com



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Capitol report: News of Jewish interest & Jewish legislators

Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer (California), Benjamin Cardin (Maryland), Russ Feingold (Wisconsin), Dianne Feinstein (California), Herb Kohl (Wisconsin), Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey), Carl Levin (Michigan), Charles Schumer (New York), Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania) and Ron Wyden (Oregon), and Independent Senators Joe Lieberman (Connecticut), and Bernard Sanders (Vermont).

Democratic Congress Members Gary Ackerman (New York); John H. Adler (New Jersey); Shelley Berkley (Nevada); Howard Berman (California); Steve Cohen (Tennessee); Susan Davis (California); Eliot Engel (New York); Bob Filner (California); Barney Frank (Massachusetts); Gabrielle Giffords (Arizona); Alan Grayson (Florida); Jane Harman (California); Paul Hodes (New Hampshire); Steve Israel (New York); Steve Kagen (Wisconsin); Ronald Klein (Florida); Sander Levin (Michigan); Nita Lowey (New York); Jerry Nadler (New York); Jared Polis (Colorado); Steve Rothman (New Jersey); Jan Schakowsky (Illinois); Adam Schiff (California); Allyson Schwartz (Pennsylvania); Brad Sherman (California); Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Florida); Henry Waxman (California); Anthony Weiner (New York); Robert Wexler (Florida); John Yarmuth (Kentucky) and Republican Congress Member Eric Cantor.

We extend our thankst to Wikipedia, the free on-line encyclopaedia, for its extensive collection of photos of puic officials, mostly drawn from public sources. —Donald H. Harrison, editor


U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
MIDDLE EAST BRIEFINGS


WASHINGTON, D.C. --Following are transcripts from U.S. state Department briefings on the Middle East, placed in reverse chronological order so the most recent is first:


Crowley, left, and Jimmy Carter


Phillip Crowley on Jimmy Carter's Gaza Trip

Assistant Secretary of State Phillip J. Crowley, at 1:43 p.m. Thursday, on former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's visit to Gaza:

QUESTION: Okay. And I have another question about Middle East. The ex-President Carter met with Hamas officials yesterday. Do you have any comment? Is it helpful or is it –

MR. CROWLEY: President Carter, a distinguished American, is a private citizen, and the meetings were private.

QUESTION: Do you know of any threat to former President Carter’s life? There were some reports in the Israeli press about a possible assassination attempt.

MR. CROWLEY: He – there were some reports, but we’re gratified that he left safely.

QUESTION: But is it something helpful or is it the opposite? It is really something that affect the U.S. position on Hamas?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think – I mean, we’re not going to characterize the meetings of President Carter and those he talked to. As – again, as George Mitchell said yesterday that there is an opportunity for Hamas to join a formal negotiating process if they choose. But to do so, obviously, they have to meet the democratic principles that have been laid out by the Quartet.

QUESTION: Sorry. Just to go back, you said that you saw the reports of a potential assassination attempt on President – former President Carter. Are those reports credible?

MR. CROWLEY: Pardon me?

QUESTION: Are those reports credible? I mean, is that --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I’m not in a position – I’m not going to characterize them. We were aware of some reports and I’m sure we took appropriate security steps. But obviously, President Carter was there for a few hours and returned safely.

QUESTION: Just to close the loop on that, the report said that Hamas ordered the attack.

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I’m not in a position to characterize them. You asked a fair question, which was, were we aware of reports, and the answer is yes.

QUESTION: P.J. --

QUESTION: Media reports that you’re talking about, right, that’s what you’re --

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not – to the extent was there information of a potential threat? There was.

QUESTION: Was the State Department involved in his security?

MR. CROWLEY: That’s a fair question. I’ll take that question.

QUESTION: P.J., the previous administration was quite outspoken about its opposition to President Carter meeting Hamas and others. In fact, former Secretary Rice said that she – that David Welch, when he was the then-Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs, had counseled President Carter not to meet with these people. Did this Administration do this – have any contact with President Carter beforehand?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, President Carter is a distinguished American. He is a global citizen. He is a strong advocate for peace around the world. He has dedicated his post-presidency to conflict resolution. But the meetings were his own.

QUESTION: Generally, the Administration, no matter who it is, has consultations and meetings with members of Congress, former distinguished ex-presidents – or two of them I can think of –who are active now internationally. Are you saying that there was no contact between this Department or the Administration and former President Carter before he went to –

MR. CROWLEY: I – if I’m not mistaken in some press coverage I heard, I read of his visit that he said he would file a report.

QUESTION: No, no, no, prior to.

MR. CROWLEY: No, I don’t know if there were any contacts with him.

QUESTION: Then is it possible to find out? And then if there was contact, which I suspect there probably was, if the Administration took a position on whether he should meet these --

MR. CROWLEY: Without commenting on the specific issue, it’s not unusual when presidents travel around the world. They can check in. I don’t know if he did in this particular case. I’ll – we’ll ask the question.

QUESTION: And can you find out if the Administration took a position on whether he should or should not meet with members of Hamas because --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again – but President Carter, as a private citizen, can meet with whoever he chooses.

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. CROWLEY: That said, as Senator Mitchell said yesterday, we would welcome the participation of any party that will meet the requirements for a democratic dialogue as set forth by the Quartet. So President Carter can meet with whoever he chooses. Our focus is, as George Mitchell said yesterday, on trying to get to a negotiating process. And we’re willing to negotiate with anyone who meets the conditions that are laid out by the Quartet and --

QUESTION: P.J., that’s not – that’s – but that’s not my question. I understand what your position is. That was the position of the previous administration as well.

MR. CROWLEY: I understand that.

QUESTION: But the previous administration had a big problem with Carter running around and meeting these people. They also had a big problem when Nancy Pelosi went to Damascus to meet with Assad. So what’s – what is this Administration’s – I think it’s a legitimate question.

MR. CROWLEY: Then. Now. Then. Now. Well, put it this way --

QUESTION: So you’re – so what you’re implying is that this Administration does not have a problem in the same way that the Bush Administration did with people running around conducting freelance diplomacy.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I am not aware that any specific concerns have been addressed about President Carter’s recent travel.




Clinton, left, and Lieberman, right

Hillary Clinton and Avigdor Lieberman

Joint press conference of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in the Treaty Room of the U.S. State Department on Wednesday, June 17:

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Lieberman to the State Department today for his first official visit to Washington in his new role. Minister Lieberman’s visit gave me the opportunity to reaffirm the United States deep, unshakable friendship and bond with Israel. Our commitment to Israel’s security is and will remain a cornerstone of our foreign policy, and I was pleased to have this chance to express that personally to the foreign minister. The United States has no greater ally in the Middle East and no greater friend than Israel.

Because our countries are close friends, we spoke honestly and openly about a range of issues. And we are looking forward to continuing that dialogue in the U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue, which has provided a useful forum for discussion of shared concerns and challenges over recent years. We exchanged views on the Middle East, including Iran, and reiterated the need for Iran’s leaders to comply with obligations to the United Nations Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency to suspend enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. And we look forward to Iran’s response to our offers of engagement.

And of course, we also focused on efforts to bring about a comprehensive peace between Israel and her neighbors in the region. Israel’s right to exist in peace and security is undeniable and non-negotiable. Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and security in two states that will entail both parties fulfilling their obligations under the Roadmap.

Building on the Arab Peace Initiative, Arab states must do their part to support the Palestinian people as they develop the institutions that will sustain their state. And they must recognize Israel’s legitimacy and, in doing so, choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

The United States will never do anything to undermine Israel’s security, and the United States also supports a viable Palestinian state. We do not believe that these two objectives are incompatible. In fact, we believe they are both critical elements of a comprehensive and secure peace.

Minister Lieberman, I hope that you enjoy your first visit to the United States as your country’s foreign minister, and I look forward to continuing our conversation and working with you more on these issues in the future.

FOREIGN MINISTER LIEBERMAN: Madame Secretary, at the outset, I would like to say to you how much the people and the Government of Israel appreciate your consistent support of Israel. We value your friendship greatly. We remember the many contributions you have made personally, even before you became a United States senator from New York. We thank you, Your Excellency, for your longstanding commitment to Israel and to strengthening the American-Israeli special relationship and friendship.

I think that we have had a good discussion today covering a broad spectrum of regional and global issues. We also covered a wide range of important bilateral topics. Madame Secretary, I thank you for your very kind hospitality today, and I look forward to our future friendly dialogue, both in Washington and in Jerusalem. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: Our first question goes to Lachlan Carmichael.

QUESTION: Yes, Minister --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Here comes the microphone, Lachlan.

QUESTION: Minister Lieberman, first, Ambassador Oren, the new ambassador to Washington, is talking about some interesting proposals on settlements. Could you elaborate on what they might be? And then for Secretary Clinton, does that mean there is some wiggle room to your statement that there should be no such settlement activity?

And finally, for both of you, did you discuss previous President George Bush’s letters, private letters to the Israeli Government? Is that issue over with?

FOREIGN MINISTER LIEBERMAN: Thank you. It’s a long question. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s actually three questions.

FOREIGN MINISTER LIEBERMAN: Three questions, yeah. First of all, we really don’t have any intention to change the demographic balance in Judea and Samaria. But we think that, you know, as – in every place around the world, baby are born (inaudible), people get married, some pass away. And we cannot accept – we cannot accept this vision about absolutely completely freezing call for our settlements. I think that we must keep the natural growth. Prime minister spoke about this in his speech. I think that this position, it’s – this view, this approach, it’s very clear.

And also, we had some understandings with the previous administration and we tried to keep this direction. And we are, of course, ready for immediately direct talks with the Palestinians.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as President Obama, Senator Mitchell and I have said, we want to see a stop to the settlements. We think that is an important and essential part of pursuing the efforts leading to a comprehensive peace agreement and the creation of a Palestinian state next to a Israeli-Jewish state that is secure in its borders and future. We believe that this process which Senator Mitchell is quarterbacking for us has just begun. There are a number of critical concerns, many of which overlap in their impact and significance, that will be explored in the coming weeks as Senator Mitchell engages more deeply into the specifics as to where the Israelis and the Palestinians are willing to go together.

I think that the whole issue that you’ve raised is one that we’ve expressed our opinion on. And in looking at the history of the Bush Administration, there were no informal or oral enforceable agreements. That has been verified by the official record of the Administration and by the personnel in the positions of responsibility. Our former ambassador Dan Kurtzer has written an op-ed that appeared in the last few days that lays out our position on that.

MR. KELLY: Our next question, Israeli television, Channel 2.

QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, I’m interested to know, how do you envision any progress, any chance for achievement of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track when the Israeli prime minister and the foreign minister have put so many conditions on the existing of a Palestinian state, conditions that are all – all-out refused by their Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians? And when you hear that the Israeli – current Israeli Government refuses totally to talk about your demand of freezing the settlement activity, how do you envision a progress on that track?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think if one looks at Israeli history, there have been prime ministers going back to the beginning of Israelis’ statehood that have staked out positions which have changed over time. I personally have known such prime ministers from Labor, Likud and Kadima, who started in one place, but in the process of evaluating what was in the best interests of Israel, and that has to be the primary obligation of any leader of Israel: What is in the best interests of my people and the future of my state?

And these prime ministers have moved to positions that they never would have thought they could have advocated before they started looking hard and thinking hard about what the future should be. But that’s what negotiations are for.

QUESTION: Do you hold out that Netanyahu and Lieberman will follow through (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I leave that to them to decide. I’m just reflecting on history and on people who have been in these positions over the last 30, 40 years. And there has been an evolution in thought. And I thought Prime Minister Netanyahu, in recognizing the aspirations of the Palestinians for a state of their own in his speech on Sunday night, said something that many people were waiting to hear him say.

MR. KELLY: Next question, Charlie Wolfson from CBS News.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, on Iran, and also for the foreign minister. The Iranians have protested U.S. actions through the Swiss ambassador today. Could you bring us up to date on those protests? And there have also been criticisms or reports of criticisms about U.S. interference in Iranian affairs because of the call to Twitter, if you could comment on that.

And for the foreign minister, does the outcome of the Iranian election change Israel’s position in any way, and were your discussions today – did they touch on that, and any actions you asked the Administration to do?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s four questions for the foreign minister. (Laughter.) We have very creative reporters on both sides here. (Laughter.)

The United States believes passionately and strongly in the basic principle of free expression. We believe that it is a fundamental human right for people to be able to communicate, to express their opinions, to take positions. And this is a view that goes back to the founding of our country, and we stand firmly behind it.

And therefore, we promote the right of free expression. And it is the case that one of the means of expression, the use of Twitter, is a very important one not only to the Iranian people, but now increasingly to people around the world, and most particularly young people. I wouldn’t know a Twitter from a tweeter – (laughter) – but apparently, it is very important. And I think keeping that line of communications open and enabling people to share information, particularly at a time when there was not many other sources of information, is an important expression of the right to speak out and to be able to organize that we value.

FOREIGN MINISTER LIEBERMAN: Thank you. As somebody said before you, we support evolution, not a revolution, and we never interfered in any internal affairs of the different countries. And what it’s important for us, not the personal creation, but the creation of policy. And what we saw during this elections, it was only one point that every candidates were united: its achieving, quote, nuclear capability; and maybe the other point, the hatred to Israel. What it’s important for us, it’s real – not the domestic problems of Iran, but their policy. And we hope that they will change their policy.

MR. KELLY: Last question for Channel One, Israel Television.

QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, given the latest unrest in Iran and the very brutal way the regime there is moving to quash these protests, does the Administration still believe there is room to engage diplomatically with Iran? And are you concerned that such engagement might embolden actually Ahmadinejad and his regime?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that the people of Iran deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. The outcome of any election should reflect the will of the people. And it is for the Iranians to determine how they resolve this internal protest concerning the outcome of the recent election. But it is a fundamental value that the United States holds with respect to free and fair and credible elections.

With regard to engagement, obviously we intend to pursue engagement because we think it’s in the interests of the United States and the world community to discuss with the Iranian Government important matters such as the one Minister Lieberman raised concerning their intentions for their nuclear program, their support of terrorism, their interference with the affairs of their neighbors and other states.

So yes, we think there is much to talk about. And I would think it’s a useful exercise to look back on history and to see where countries, most particularly my own, have engaged in ongoing diplomatic discussions with countries whose regimes we’ve disapproved of, that we rejected. We never stopped negotiating with the former Soviet Union. They invaded countries. They promoted unrest. But we knew we had an opportunity to learn more, to discuss fully, and perhaps to reach better understandings than we might have in the absence of such engagement, so we pursued it.

We are doing this out of what we view as our interest and the interests of friends and allies such as Israel. So now we are obviously waiting to see the outcome of the internal Iranian processes, but our intent is to pursue whatever opportunities might exist in the future with Iran to discuss these matters.

Thank you all.




Mitchell

George Mitchell briefs State Department reporters

Briefing on Tuesday, June 16, by George Mitchell, U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, at the State Department, (Introduced by Phillip Crowley)

MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon. We have been trying steadily to work our way through the ranks of the envoys here at the Department of State. And we are very pleased this afternoon, I think coming up on your fifth month on the job, that we thought it was a good time to have George Mitchell, our senior envoy for – our Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, to come by and kind of give you a sense of where he thinks things are currently and the way forward. Senator.

MR. MITCHELL: Thank you, P.J. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll make a brief statement and then I’ll be pleased to try to respond to your questions.

The President and the Secretary of State have made U.S. policy clear: The only viable resolution to this conflict is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states. We believe that’s the best way to guarantee Israel’s long-term security. We believe it’s in the security interest of the United States and of the entire region. The President, the Secretary, and the entire Administration are working vigorously toward a future where Israelis and Palestinians live side by side in peace and security, and where Israel has normal relations with its neighbors.

I have made four trips to the region, including several visits to Israel and to over a dozen Arab countries. Our focus right now is to create the context for the resumption and early conclusion of meaningful negotiations. To help achieve this, we’re asking all parties to take meaningful steps. Israelis and Palestinians have a responsibility to meet their obligations under the Roadmap, to which they committed in 2003. It’s not just their responsibility. We believe it’s in their interests as well.

For the Israelis, that means a stop to settlements and other actions. For the Palestinians, that means continuing their efforts to take responsibility for security and to end incitement. We’re also asking the Arab countries to take meaningful steps toward peace and normalization. We’re now engaged in serious and intensive discussions with our Israeli, Palestinian, and our traditional regional partners to support this effort. These are not disputes among adversaries. They are discussions with allies, with all of whom we share the common objective of peace.

We recognize the challenges that lie ahead, and we know that we’re asking all parties to take steps that are difficult for them. We’re encouraged by the progress we’re making in these discussions, although hard work remains. But we intend to bring these discussions to a very early conclusion.

It’s in the interests of all who seek to promote peace – Americans, Europeans, Arabs, Israelis, and others – to support this effort through tangible steps. We all share an obligation to help create the conditions for the prompt resumption and the early conclusion of negotiations.

That completes my statement, and now I’ll be pleased to try to respond to any questions.

MR. CROWLEY: Since this is George’s first time in our briefing room, why don’t you introduce yourselves personally and your outlet so he’ll have a sense of you.

MR. MITCHELL: (Laughter.) I thought you were going to make the choices here. (Laughter.)

MR. CROWLEY: I can do that, if you wish.

QUESTION: Sylvie --

MR. MITCHELL: You’re right. I don’t know who’s who, so maybe you might, but go ahead. You’re first.

QUESTION: Sylvie Lanteaume from AFP. The Israeli press says that you agreed to consider national – natural growth of settlements within their boundaries. Is it true?

MR. MITCHELL: I don’t believe in conducting negotiations through the media, but I will --

QUESTION: But it’s already – it’s already out. (Laughter.)

MR. MITCHELL: But I will say that the story is highly inaccurate.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: A follow-up on the same issue. The issue that – Fadi Mansour with Al Jazeera – Fadi Mansour with Al Jazeera channel.

MR. MITCHELL: Yeah.

QUESTION: The issue that was brought up by the media is practically saying some of these settlement activities are done by private sector. So the Israeli Government has no power over them to stop these activities, and it’s up to the courts or the law to decide on this matter. And that’s why the media is reporting that this is going to be part of a deal between yourself and Mr. Netanyahu that’s supposed to be reached in Paris next week.

MR. MITCHELL: No.

QUESTION: Do you see that as a legitimate demand by the Israeli Government to consider these activities?

MR. MITCHELL: Our position is clear. In 2003, Israel agreed to the Roadmap. It calls for a stop to settlements. We believe there should be a stop to settlements.

QUESTION: Senator Mitchell, Elise Labott with CNN. I was wondering if you could tell us – you just traveled for the first time in your new capacity to Syria.

MR. MITCHELL: Yes.

QUESTION: Could you tell us about your discussions and whether you see a meaningful opportunity for the Israeli-Syrian track? And what steps specifically is Syria prepared to take? Are they prepared to stop the flow of arms to Hezbollah, for instance?

MR. MITCHELL: Right. The President’s objective from the beginning has been a comprehensive peace in the region. As I have stated repeatedly, publicly and privately, that means peace between Israel and the Palestinians, between Israel and Syria, and between Israel and Lebanon, and the full normalization of relations between Israel and all of its neighbors.

My visit to Syria was a part of our effort to move toward the President’s objective. And we had serious, productive discussions that will continue as we seek to begin progress on all of the tracks that I’ve described, including Israel and Syria.

QUESTION: Can you just expand on that a little bit? I mean, do you think that, you know, that that track is ripe? Do you see the potential for quick progress on that? And do you see Syria is seriously committed to taking the steps that you need it to take?

MR. MITCHELL: We’re pursuing that approach as vigorously as possible, and we hope very much that we’ll be able to make progress in moving toward all tracks in the near future.

QUESTION: Senator --

QUESTION: Sorry.

QUESTION: -- you’ve now said twice that there should be a stop to settlements.

MR. MITCHELL: Right.

QUESTION: But you didn’t say the phrase “natural growth.”

MR. MITCHELL: Right.

QUESTION: And I just want to confirm that that is – it’s still what the Administration is asking for, a stop to settlements --

MR. MITCHELL: Yes.

QUESTION: -- including natural growth. And secondly, can you give us just a definition of what the United States considers natural growth? What does that phrase mean in your mind?

MR. MITCHELL: There’s been no change in our policy. And there have been – there have been discussions on every aspect of the issue.

QUESTION: Well, what does natural growth mean? I mean, can you just use it in --

MR. MITCHELL: I’m constantly asked by editors, you know, please give a plain explanation of what natural growth is.

QUESTION: If it’s for your editor. (Laughter.)

MR. MITCHELL: Well, of course, one of the issues is that there is no universally used and accepted definition. The most common definition is by the number of births, but there are many variations of that. I’ve had numerous discussions with many Israeli and other officials, and there are almost as many definitions as there are people speaking. But I think the most commonly used measure is the number of births.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) that number, please?

MR. MITCHELL: Yes. Yeah.

QUESTION: There seems to be a lot of focus on the talk about settlements, settlements.

MR. MITCHELL: Yeah.

QUESTION: But it seems like (inaudible) of the world, and many people and many governments are forgetting that the real issue is the withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied land according to UN Resolutions 242, 338, that this is an issue that, as a country, Israel cannot annex the lands of other countries to it by force. So why are you not triggering the talk about implementing the UN resolutions as much as the United States talks about the need to implement these resolutions on other countries? Why not Israel also?

MR. MITCHELL: We’ve discussed the full range of issues. And our hope, of course, as I’ve stated previously, is that the parties will resume meaningful negotiation on all issues as soon as possible in an effort to reach a rapid conclusion on all issues.

Yes, I’ll come back to you. Go ahead. Did you --

QUESTION: When you say the most common definition is births, are you saying –

MR. MITCHELL: The one that – the most commonly used in conversations with me.

QUESTION: I see. So when the U.S. say no natural growth –

MR. MITCHELL: Right.

QUESTION: -- is that what it’s saying is the definition?

MR. MITCHELL: We’re engaged in discussions on a wide range of issues. And different people have different interpretations of different phrases. And we listen to all points of view. We listen to every aspect of every discussion, and we’re trying to reach an agreement and understanding that helps us move the process forward. And I think I wouldn’t want to get beyond that.

QUESTION: Lachlan Carmichael from AFP. Does the Obama Administration endorse Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MR. MITCHELL: The prime minister stated a number of objectives that Israel is seeking in the negotiations. The Palestinians have in the past, and no doubt will continue, to state their objectives. Our effort is to begin meaningful

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negotiations in which those objectives will be part of the discussion, and ultimately to reach an agreement satisfactory to both sides.

So our view is that it’s best to get into negotiations. That’s what negotiations are about. Different parties have different objectives in the negotiations. The important thing about the prime minister’s speech is that he set forth his – included in his objective a Palestinian state. So there now is a common objective, which was not the case until that speech was made. And the President rightly noted and welcomed that comment, because now we have both sides moving toward the same objective with different points of view on how best to get there. And what we want is to get into a negotiation on that.

QUESTION: So you’re not asking Abbas right now to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MR. MITCHELL: What we are saying – the prime minister made very clear that is not a precondition, that’s something

that he would require for an ultimate agreement. So our objective is not to try to prejudge every issue before there’s even been a first meeting of the parties. I’ve never heard of a negotiation that succeeded through – in that fashion. What you want to do is to get the parties moving toward a common objective and to start talking about their differences in a way that will enable us to reach an early resolution in a manner that’s ultimately acceptable to both.

QUESTION: Senator Mitchell, Nadia Bilbassy with MBC Television Middle East Broadcasting Center. President Carter just met with Ismail Haniya, in which he clearly said that Hamas is willing to accept a state on the ‘67 border, and I believe this is not the first time they articulated this. I think Khaled Meshaal mentioned it before. Why not engage Hamas in a dialogue to make it part of the solution as opposed to be a part of the problem?

MR. MITCHELL: Right. We’ve made our position clear in that regard. We welcome the participation of any party that will meet the requirements for a democratic dialogue. They’ve been set forth in the Quartet requirements. So we welcome the participation of any relevant party who is prepared to engage in democratic dialogue in accordance with those requirements.

QUESTION: Can I follow on that, sir?

MR. MITCHELL: Yes, go ahead.

QUESTION: We understand that you would welcome the participation – James Rosen with Fox News, excuse me. We understand that you would welcome the participation of all groups that would meet the requirements –

MR. MITCHELL: Right.

MR. MITCHELL: It means that it won’t be open-ended and that it won’t continue on an indefinite basis. But it would be unwise and unrealistic for me here now to try to set absolute and specific deadlines. We have a sense of urgency about this. We want to get going. We want to get this process moving, and we want to bring it to a conclusion. And I think that’s as far as I should go now.

QUESTION: -- that you’ve set forth. But the obvious fact on the ground is that Hamas is unwilling to meet those requirements and exercises control over a significant percentage, perhaps the majority, of the Palestinian population. So perhaps you could explain for us how you propose to arrange negotiations and a swift resolution with the Palestinians when one of the key parties is unwilling to meet the requirements you’ve set forth. How do you get around that block?

MR. MITCHELL: Well, in every negotiation in which I’ve been involved, parties have taken seemingly irreconcilable positions at the outset. If you accept the premise of the question, which is that because they’ve said it now that will always be the case, then, of course, you can never reach agreement on anything. So our objective is to get a process going to encourage parties to take steps necessary to move that process forward. That doesn’t just include Israelis and the Palestinian Authority and all the Arab states. Hamas should consider whether it is prepared to take steps that would enable it to participate in the process by meeting these requirements.

QUESTION: But aren’t you held hostage and the process held hostage, as long as they do not?

MR. MITCHELL: No.

QUESTION: How come?

MR. MITCHELL: No.

QUESTION: How can you move forward without them?

MR. MITCHELL: We will move forward, and we welcome the participation of those who are willing to participate.

QUESTION: How? How are you going to move forward with --

MR. MITCHELL: We will have a meeting in a room in which those who are interested in proceeding in a democratic fashion will begin the dialogue. That’s how we’ll do it. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Libby Leist with NBC. You mentioned several times that you want to see an early conclusion --

MR. MITCHELL: Yes.

QUESTION: -- to the negotiations. Could you define that a little bit more? And when are you going to start looking for each side to take the steps? Can you give us some sense of the sequencing here?

MR. MITCHELL: Well, I don’t want to set a deadline for an end to a process that we haven’t been able to get to begin. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: But you did mention three times that you wanted to see an early conclusion. So what does that mean? What is an early conclusion?

QUESTION: And the sequencing?

MR. MITCHELL: What?

QUESTION: The sequencing. I mean, many say the Israelis have to take the first step.

MR. MITCHELL: Yeah.

QUESTION: The Israelis will say the other side has to take the first step. So what are you looking for?

MR. MITCHELL: I believe there has to be assurance on all sides that steps will be reciprocal. And we’ll proceed in a manner that best ensures that result because that’s the – in my judgment, that’s the best way, and really the only way, to get parties to take meaningful steps.

QUESTION: Sir, as Libby said, you’ve mentioned a very early conclusion, and you’re known to be an optimist. But the prime minister has talked about Jerusalem. You just take that as his position, again, leaving room for a divided Jerusalem in the solution, if the Palestinians stick to their position?

MR. MITCHELL: Look, without reference to a particular issue, I categorically reject the notion that because there is a disagreement between the parties on one or more positions, that there can never be an agreement. If you accept that argument, then no dispute would ever be resolved.

So I’m not commenting on any specific issue, but you have to begin with the premise that the parties will see that their overall self-interest, their long-term security, and the needs of their people will best be met by reaching an agreement that permits a fair and satisfactory resolution to the conflict, and that in the process there will be compromises that have to be made, but they will be justified by the ultimate goal of peace, security, and prosperity.

QUESTION: Sorry. Do those compromises go beyond the parties to the outside? In other words, could there be some compromise made by the United States on the settlements issue?

MR. MITCHELL: Our position is very clear. I’ve stated it.

QUESTION: Well, actually, it’s not. (Laughter.)

MR. MITCHELL: I’ve stated it with absolute clarity. I’m happy to restate it again.

QUESTION: But (inaudible) positions are very clear, though.

MR. MITCHELL: Yes.

MR. MITCHELL: What?

QUESTION: But everyone’s saying that their positions are very clear. I mean, I guess what he is asking – is the United States a party to these negotiations because it may have to provide some security guarantees? I mean, President – Prime Minister Netanyahu is saying his position on Jerusalem, his position on the right of refugees is clear and, you know, unwavering. What about the United States?

MR. MITCHELL: Right. I understand what you’re saying, and we’ll take that into – (laughter). Thank you for that clarification. (Laughter.)

Go ahead. You better speak up, though.

QUESTION: Joe Macaron with Kuwait News Agency. I just want to give you – to re-clarify your answer. You said a few minutes ago about the Hamas, you said they should accept the democratic dialogue. You didn’t mention the Quartet. Do you think Hamas is like (inaudible) change of position, or what do you mean by a democratic dialogue?

MR. MITCHELL: I said the democratic principles which are the Quartet principles.

QUESTION: And my second question is Prime Minister Netanyahu talking about demilitarized Palestinian state, and President Obama said Palestinians are (inaudible) for a viable state. So do you think there’s another point of disagreement on this?

MR. MITCHELL: The United States will not take any action which undermines Israel’s security. The Palestinians are entitled to a viable, geographically contiguous state that provides independence and dignity for their people. We do not regard those two objectives as irreconcilable. They will be part of the discussion and the dialogue. Each situation is unique to the parties and the circumstances, and we’ll address ourself to that in an effort to achieve both objectives, which, as I said, are not irreconcilable.

QUESTION: So, Senator, (inaudible) --

MR. MITCHELL: Just a minute. Right here.

QUESTION: Yes. Joyce Karam with Al Hayat newspaper. I just want to clarify on what you said on the final status issues. Are you saying that Jerusalem, the issue of refugees, borders, these are all final status issues to be discussed during the negotiations? I mean, is that the U.S. position?

MR. MITCHELL: Those are set forth in the prior commitments of the parties.

Yes. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Sue Pleming with Reuters. Are you convinced after these four trips that you’ve made that they’re any – that both sides are any closer at all to starting serious negotiations? You’ve used the word “prompt,” “early conclusion,” lots of happy adjectives, but --

QUESTION: But what is your gut feel on this – I mean, you’re a very experienced negotiator – in terms of when these negotiations, really full-blown negotiations, can start? And at what level would they be, and would Obama be involved? Five questions. (Laughter.)

MR. MITCHELL: President Obama’s election, his speech in Cairo, his early commitment to resolution of this conflict, and what I think is the total personal effort of the Secretary of State and the President have made a dramatic difference in attitudes in the region. In addition, the threat from Iran creates a circumstance unique in the region’s history in establishing the possibility of a common interest between nations who, for so long, have been in an adversarial position.

And finally, I’ve said many times, and I repeat: The people of Israel have a state, they want security, and we believe they should have it. The Palestinian people don’t have a state. They want one, and we believe they should have that. We do not believe the two are mutually exclusive. Indeed, as we’ve made clear beyond any doubt through repeated statements made by the President, the Secretary of State, and myself, we believe it is in the interests of both sides that the needs of both be accommodated.

And specifically, in the interests of the Palestinian people to obtain a state, the security of the people of Israel must be central. To the people of Israel, in order to gain security, the needs of the Palestinian state must be central. We think that yes, it is possible. I assure you I would not have taken this position if I did not believe that there is a realistic chance of reaching those objectives. And I say that without for a moment trying to overlook the serious challenges, the difficulty, the level of mistrust and hostility, the many potential problems that exists, many of which have been the subject of questions here today.

But in terms of will, of determination, of perseverance, we have it, we’re going to deploy it, and we’re going to use all of the tools at our disposal to move forward toward that objective.

Go ahead here.

QUESTION: Yeah. Hi, Kirit Radia with ABC News. Could you tell us whether the Obama Administration would find it useful to hold some sort of international conference like they – like the Bush Administration did in Annapolis? And would you tell us whether you think that anything that was accomplished in Annapolis still has any bearings on what’s going on now?

MR. MITCHELL: We want to build on the best of the past, to the extent that’s possible and to the extents that it helps us move forward. And when the time comes that – if and when we believe that a conference is – will be helpful in moving toward the ultimate objective, as has occurred repeatedly in the past, why then, we’ll make an announcement.

MR. CROWLEY: We have time for two more questions.

MR. MITCHELL: Well, go ahead and then here.

QUESTION: Nina Donaghy, Fox News. Can you tell me in your assessment what are the realistic prospects of Hamas and Fatah coming together to form a unity government at this point?

MR. MITCHELL: That’s a matter which is being led by the Egyptians. We encourage and support their efforts, provided that any government, whoever participates, and all of its members and ministers, are in full compliance with the Quartet requirements.

QUESTION: Bill Varner with Bloomberg News. Do you have any initial reaction to the extent to which the events in Iran, perhaps future questions about the future credibility of whatever government takes place or questions about, you know, unrest there might have an impact on your efforts and the positions of the Middle East (inaudible)?

MR. MITCHELL: I think it’s too early to make any definitive assessment. We’ve all lived through turbulent periods of history, I think I more than most of you. You may be close. (Laughter.) And events have rarely occurred in the manner that I thought most logical or reasonable under the circumstances. So I’m reluctant to try to be too specific in predicting future events when we’re right in the perhaps early stages of very far-reaching and as yet unpredictable events.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll take one more from Samir and then we’ll wrap it.

QUESTION: Yes, Samir Nader with Radio Sawa.

MR. MITCHELL: Speak up, speak up.

QUESTION: Samir Nader with Radio Sawa. Mr. Solana of the EU, he stated a few days ago that the U.S. will announce its vision for peace in the Middle East before the end of July. Is this true?

QUESTION: And if so, will you do it now? (Laughter.)

MR. MITCHELL: Is this before the end of July? (Laughter.) As I said earlier, we’re going to move as promptly as possible. And in my opening remarks, I said that we hope to conclude the discussions in which we’re now engaged very soon. To me, it’s a matter of weeks, not many months, so he may well be right. But we’re going to see how well we can proceed. And what I’ll do is I’ll – he’s a good friend, so I’ll call him when we’re ready and he can announce that, and then you can have the results then. (Laughter.)

Thank you all very much, a pleasure to see you.

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release) – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and seven of her Senate colleagues are urging Secretary of State Clinton to be a strong proponent of an international Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the interstate transfer of conventional weapons.

The second session of the UN Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on the Arms Trade Treaty is scheduled to convene at the United Nations next month. The Working Group is tasked with creating international regulations on the export, import and international transfer of arms to help prevents the flow of weapons to world conflict zones.

Over the past two decades, the largely unregulated trade of arms has fueled violent conflicts, facilitated human rights violations, armed insurgent groups and undermined efforts towards sustainable development.

The Arms Trade Treaty process has already gained the support of more than 140 governments at the United Nations.

The seven other senators who have signed on to the legislation include: Democratic Senators Daniel Akaka of Hawaii; Richard Durbin of Illinois; Russ Feingold of Wisconsin; Tom Harkin of Iowa; Patrick Leahy of Vermont; Carl Levin of Michigan and Jack Reed of Rhode Island.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)—U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (Democrat, Maryland, at left), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (Democrat, Florida, at right) hailed the State Department’s release today of the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report as a critical tool in monitoring and raising awareness about modern-day slavery.

The 2009 report -- the 7th annual survey of its kind -- is expanded to include 175 countries this year, 26 of which have enacted new anti-trafficking laws.

Speaking at the State Department alongside Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for the report’s public release, Chairman Cardin spoke about the need for international cooperation to hold traffickers accountable for their actions. He has made anti-trafficking a key priority of the Commission’s work.

“Our goal is simple: We want to end the trafficking that unfortunately has taken root in every part of the world. We know that trafficking is connected to organized crime and part of a systemic international problem. We know those who are trafficked are victims and need to be treated with respect as victims. This report provides an objective yardstick that we will use when we meet with leaders from other countries to engage them in this fight,” said Chairman Cardin. “I am proud of the leadership the United States has taken in combating this problem, but we know that we can do better. Now it’s time for us to follow through and work with all countries to expand counter-trafficking laws, increase prosecutions, and, in fact, end this modern-day slavery.”

Co-Chairman Hastings was once a migrant agricultural worker in South Florida and has held hearings on combating trafficking.

“Decades ago, I witnessed first-hand the potential for exploitation in such labor conditions. Many agricultural laborers still encounter practices as insidious as I had seen in my youth, which rob them of their basic human rights. Unfortunately, these circumstances thrive throughout the world. We would be at a serious loss in challenging exploitation were it not for the important monitoring efforts of the Trafficking in Persons Report each year,” Co-Chairman Hastings said.

“Women and children are the primary victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking," said Helsinki Commission Ranking Minority Member Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), who wrote the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which mandated the annual report that was released today. "This year's report highlights how the current world economic situation has led to increased trafficking around the world, including in participating States of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. When we meet in July as part of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, I hope to work with like-minded parliamentarians to once again underscore the importance of enhancing the tools for the prosecution of traffickers and increasing support for those preyed upon by traffickers in these difficult economic times.”

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.


Boxer: global warming report
shows need for corrective actions

WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release) - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, on Tuesday made the following remarks regarding "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States," a comprehensive scientific report on current and pending impacts of global climate change in the United States, released today by the Obama Administration.

Senator Boxer said: "This report underscores what the world's scientists have been telling us for years - that unchecked global warming is already threatening our health, our environment and our economy in every region of our nation. The findings released today add urgency to the growing momentum in Congress for legislation that cuts global warming pollution, creates millions of clean energy jobs and whole new industries, and breaks our dependence on foreign oil."

Preceding provided by Senator Boxer


Kohl probes rising costs of
wireless text messaging


WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release) - U.S. Senator Herb Kohl examined on Tuesday the state of competition in the cell phone industry and the causes of rising text message prices during a Congressional hearing in the Senate Judiciary Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights subcommittee. This hearing followed a sharp increase in the price of text messaging and examined whether this is evidence of lack of competition in a market which has become more concentrated. Four national carriers control over 90% of the cell phone market. AT&T and Verizon combine to have a market share of 60%, and consumers’ choices have become more limited following multiple mergers. American consumers now pay more for wireless phone service than most other developed nations, an average of $506 per year in 2007.

The use of text messaging has drastically increased. In 2008, more than one trillion text messages were sent, an increase of more than 250% from the year before. As the popularity of text messages has grown, so has the price charged on a per message basis. From 2006 to 2008, the price of sending and receiving a text message among the four largest cell phone carriers increased by 100%, from 10 to 20 cents per message. The four companies increased their text messaging prices in two steps, first from 10 to 15 cents, and then from 15 to 20 cents, within weeks or even days of each other. The lockstep price increases occurred despite the fact that the cost to the phone companies to carry text messages is minimal, estimated to be less than a penny per message, and has not increased.

“These sharp price increases raise concerns. Are these price increases the result of a lack of competition in a highly concentrated market? Will consumers continue to see similar price increases for this and many other wireless services that they have come to increasingly depend on, such as internet connections and basic voice service? The concentrated nature of today’s cell phone market should make us wary of other challenges to competition in this industry,” Kohl said. “For example, smaller competitors raise serious questions about practices that prevent them from being able to fairly compete. These range from exclusive deals that deny competitors access to the most in-demand cell phones, to limitations on the ability of new competitors to roam on other providers’ networks, to difficulties in obtaining needed spectrum. It is imperative that we work to remove undue barriers to competition to ensure consumers the best rates and services.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) - Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing on Department of Justice Oversight. Under questioning from Senator Russ Feingold, Holder declined to call the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program “illegal” despite previous instances where both he, and then-Senator Obama, labeled it as such. Following the hearing, Senator Feingold issued the following statement:

“I was disappointed by Attorney General Holder’s unwillingness to repeat what both he and President Obama had stated in the past – that President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was illegal. For an administration that has repeatedly stated its intention to restore the rule of law, this episode was a step backward. While the Attorney General restated his belief that the program was inconsistent with the FISA statute, his testimony today, and the administration’s delay in withdrawing the Bush Administration’s legal justifications for the program, are troubling.”

Holder’s response to Feingold’s questioning was markedly different than past comments Holder has made on the issue. As Senator Feingold mentioned, Holder referred to the program in the June 2008 speech to the American Constitution Society as an “act in direct defiance of federal law.” And as Senator Feingold mentioned, President Obama labeled the program as “illegal” back when he was a Senator (Woodrow Wilson Center on Terrorism, August 1, 2007).

Preceding provided by Senator Feingold


Lieberman urges increased federal benefits for domestic partners

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (Independent, Connecticut) on Wednesday released the following statement regarding President Obama’s announcement that benefits will now be extended to same-sex partners of federal employees:

“President Obama’s instruction that agencies provide same-sex partners the benefits that married spouses already receive is a significant step towards improving fairness and equality in the federal workplace, but there is still a need for legislation on this subject,” Lieberman said. “The bipartisan Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which I have introduced with Senator Susan Collins, Republican-Maine., and which the President endorsed, would extend the presidential order to include all federal employees and all benefits that are currently available to married spouses of federal employees. This is not only a matter of fairness, but would also help the federal government attract, recruit and retain the most qualified workers, at a time when the number of federal employees eligible to retire is steadily increasing. Congress must take the next step to ensure that all partners of federal employees are treated equally under the law by passing S. 1102.”

Preceding provided by Senator Lieberman


Schumer: allow property tax deductions on federal income tax

WASHINTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer on Thursday announced legislation that will allow all homeowners to deduct the full amount of their property taxes from their federal tax bill, generating huge savings for Upstate New York homeowners.

“Across the state (New York) and across the country middle class families are up to their necks in property taxes, and all homeowners, no matter how they file their taxes, deserve relief,” said Schumer. “This legislation is particularly important at a time of financial uncertainty - it will free up money that can be saved or spent on our families, and give people everywhere a little bit more breathing room.”

Prior to 2008, only taxpayers who itemized — about 30 percent of taxpayers nationally -- could claim a deduction for state and local income taxes and local property taxes. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 included a provision that allowed non-itemizers to deduct up to $500 ($1,000 for joint filers) of their property taxes. The special deduction was available for the 2008 tax year but was subsequently extended through 2009 as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. This was welcomed relief for many of the 800,000 families in Upstate New York who do not itemize, but the provision expires at the end of this year.

The property tax legislation that Schumer is pushing, The Homeowner Tax Fairness Act, will make the deduction permanent and has no cap – a homeowner will be allowed to deduct the full amount of their property taxes from their federal tax bill. Seventy percent of taxpayers do not itemize — 800,000 of whom are homeowners in Upstate New York. With property taxes rising and homeownership threatened in many communities around the country, middle class families should not be penalized simply because they do not itemize.

The Homeowner Tax Fairness Act, introduced by Senators Evan Bayh (Democrat, Indiana) and Mel Martinez (Repubican, Florida), would immediately lift the caps on what families can deduct and make this new, enhanced deduction permanent. Any property taxpayer who does not itemize and pays more than $500 a year in property taxes will be eligible for the enhanced deduction starting this year. Families who are under the cap will see a benefit starting next year.

Preceding provided by Senator Schumer


Sanders: health care bill must 'wring out' profiteering

WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release)—The Senate health committee began work Wednesday on a health care reform bill to bring down costs and provide coverage for nearly 50 million Americans without insurance.

Senator Bernard Sanders is a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that is one of two Senate panels drafting health care legislation.

“In the United States today health care costs are soaring, 46 million lack any health insurance while more are under-insured, 18,000 die because they don’t have regular access to a doctor and, in the midst of all of that, we end up spending far more than any other country,” Sanders said.

“Our job must be to wring out the incredible profiteering and inefficiencies that 1,300 private health insurance companies create, and increase efforts on prevention, primary care and quality control.  If we do that, we can provide high quality, comprehensive and cost-effective health care for all Americans.”

Preceding provided by Senator Sanders
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Jewish-interest news from home and around the world


ZOA says poll shows Israelis favor Bibi's settlement policies

NEW YORK (Press Release)--A new poll has shown that a majority of the Israeli public supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repudiation of President Barack Obama’s demand that Israel freeze all Jewish construction and growth in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem by 56 percent to 37 percent. The poll, carried out by the Maagar Mohot Survey Institute headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz, also found Israelis oppose (51 percent to 34 percent) Netanyahu acceding to Obama’s reported demand that Israel abandon the settlement blocs as part of an agreement with the Palestinians (‘Maagar Mochot Poll finds Israelis want PM Netanyahu to reject President Obama's demands,’ Independent Media & Review Analysis, June 11, 2009).

These findings are consistent with those in another June poll conducted by the Dahaf Institute, sponsored by Yediot Ahronot, which found that 53 percent of Israelis believe that President Obama’s policies are not good for Israel, as against only 26 percent who think that they are. Also, 51 percent of Israelis believed that Obama cares more about Palestinian desires for statehood than Israel’s security, as opposed to only 22 percent who believe the opposite (Gil Hoffman, ‘Poll: 26% think Obama's policies bad for Israel,’ Jerusalem Post, June 8, 2009).

ZOA National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, “We see here firm opposition by a clear majority of the Israeli public to the stifling the growth of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem that has been pressed with special vigor in recent weeks by the Obama Administration. When one adds to these results the various polls that we have highlighted in recent years, showing that Israelis oppose further unilateral withdrawals and oppose major territorial concessions, including dividing Jerusalem even for the sake of a peace agreement, it is apparent that the Israeli public does not accept the present Palestinian leadership as a genuine peace partner.

“More and more Israelis have rejected the idea of handing over further territory to Mahmoud Abbas’ terror-supporting Palestinian Authority, whether unilaterally or as part of a negotiation process. The Israeli public is becoming more firmly convinced that even negotiated concessions to an unreconstructed PA are pointless and wrong when such negotiations are under present conditions incapable of leading to a genuine peace.”

Preceding provided by the Zionist Organization of America



ACLU says anti-terrorism laws unfairly target Mulim charities

NEW YORK (Press Release)– U.S. terrorism finance laws and policies unfairly prevent Muslim Americans from practicing their religion through charitable giving, create a climate of fear and distrust in law enforcement and undermine America's diplomatic efforts in Muslim countries, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report out Tuesday. The 164 page report, "Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity," is the first comprehensive report that documents the serious effects of Bush administration terrorism finance laws on Muslim communities across the nation.

"Without notice and through the use of secret evidence and opaque procedures, the Treasury Department has effectively closed down seven U.S.-based Muslim charities, including several of the nation's largest Muslim charities," said Jennifer Turner, a researcher with the ACLU Human Rights Program and author of the report. "While terrorism financing laws are meant to make us safer, policies that give the appearance of a war on Islam only serve to undermine America's diplomatic efforts just as President Obama reaches out to the Muslim world. These counter-productive practices alienate American Muslims who are key allies and chill legitimate humanitarian aid in parts of the world where charities' good works could be most effective in winning hearts and minds."

According to the report, terrorism finance laws expanded after 9/11 grant the Treasury Department virtually unchecked power to designate groups as terrorist organizations and lack procedural safeguards that would protect American charities against government mistake and abuse. These laws authorize executive branch officials to target charities on the basis of secret evidence and without notice, charges, opportunity to respond, or meaningful judicial review. The laws also permit the Treasury Department to seize all of a charity's assets "pending investigation," pursuant only to a blocking order signed by a mid-level Treasury Department official.

According to the report, for which the ACLU conducted 120 interviews with Muslim community leaders and donors in several states, federal law enforcement agents are engaging in practices that intimidate Muslim American donors, such as widespread interviews about their donations and surveillance of donations at mosques. Those interviewed say the government's actions have a chilling effect on Muslim charitable giving, or Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam and a religious obligation for all observant Muslims.

"Widespread intimidation of Muslim donors and the arbitrary blacklisting of charitable organizations trample on Muslims' free exercise of religion through charitable giving and tarnish America's reputation as a beacon of religious freedom," said Turner. "Post-9/11 policies have created a climate of fear that prevents Muslims from practicing their religion, and unless the Obama administration takes action, this legacy of the Bush administration will persist."

In his speech from Cairo on June 4, President Obama raised the issue of terrorism finance laws that have an adverse effect on Muslim giving. The ACLU report makes comprehensive recommendations to the Obama administration and Congress that are necessary to ensure terrorism financing policies are consistent with American values of due process and religious freedom and in line with U.S. human rights commitments.

"Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity" and a new video featuring people who have been affected by the laws are available online at: www.aclu.org/muslimcharities

NEW YORK (Press Release)- The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is outdated and under-funded and is resettling Iraqi refugees into poverty rather than helping rebuild their lives in the country that offered them sanctuary, says the International Rescue Committee.

In a new report, “Iraqi Refugees in the United States: In Dire Straits,” the IRC’s Commission on Iraqi Refugees says resettlement continues to be a critical and lifesaving intervention for thousands of at-risk Iraqi refugees who are living in precarious conditions in exile and unable to return home safely. Yet the federal program no longer meets the basic needs of today’s newly arriving refugees and requires urgent reform.

“The resettlement program in the United States fails individuals with high levels of vulnerability, especially during difficult economic times,” the report states.

In April 2009, the IRC Commission sent delegations to Atlanta and Phoenix to examine the bleak situation for Iraqi refugees and impediments to their successful assimilation. They interviewed dozens of Iraqi refugees, who expressed deep gratitude for their safety and freedom in the United States, but also painted a picture of intense anguish and frustration.

Many Iraqi newcomers have been unable to secure jobs. In the meantime, they are exhausting available resources, seeing their benefits expire, struggling to get by and facing eviction and destitution. A large number are war widows with young children who arrive here grieving and alone, with little if any work experience. Many others are highly educated professionals who hope to find work in their areas of expertise, but discover that even entry-level jobs are elusive. High numbers suffer emotional trauma, war-related injuries or chronic illnesses. Unstable living conditions and uncertainty about the future compound their psychological distress.

“Nearly all of the Iraqis we surveyed had expectations that they would receive better care from a government whose policies had a hand in their upheaval, particularly those who put their lives on the line to work for the U.S. military and government and were targeted as a result,” says IRC president George Rupp. “Few imagined that they would receive such short-term and limited assistance upon arrival or that they could become homeless in the country that offered them shelter. They deserve better.”

The full report and detailed recommendations are available at www.theIRC.org/iraqirefugees

Preceding provided by the International Rescue Committee



Mossad chief predicts Iran can launch n-missile by 2014

JERUSALEM (Press Release)—The head of the Mossad has said that Iran will be able to launch its first nuclear weapon by 2014. Meir Dagan, the Israeli intelligence agency chief, told a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee that "If the project has no technical glitches, and if Iran's program does not malfunction in any way, they will have a bomb to launch by 2014. This is a significant existential threat for the State of Israel. We must distance this threat."

Dagan also said that the current unrest in Tehran over the disputed results of last week's presidential election was "an internal matter" and that it would soon die down. He said the re-election of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would make it easier for Israel to explain to the world the significance of the threat of Iran gaining nuclear capability. He also pointed out to the committee that it was actually the more moderate candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who had actually started Iran's nuclear program when he was prime minister.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress


New York group says documents
prove that Pius XII helped Jews

NEW YORK (WJC)—A New York-based foundation says it has documents proving that controversial wartime Pope Pius XII worked to help Jews during the Holocaust. The Pave the Way Foundation said it will release 2,300 pages of documents, dating from 1940-45, which were discovered through the foundation's private research and provide "strong support to the argument that Pope Pius XII worked diligently to save Jews from Nazi tyranny." The Foundation's president, Gary Krupp, said many of the documents were discovered in a monastery in Avellino, Italy.

Krupp, who is Jewish, has close ties with the Vatican and twice has been named a Papal knight. He announced last year that Pave the Way, a non-sectarian foundation that promotes interfaith cooperation, would investigate the papacy of Pius XII by interviewing eyewitnesses and gathering publicly available documentation and newspaper accounts. The aim of the investigation is to disprove critics who accuse Pius of having turned a blind eye to Jewish suffering during the Holocaust.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress



The Shonda File:


Two indicted on charges of
rigging bigs at tax lien auctions

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) — Two Baltimore businessmen were indicted for conspiring to rig bids at tax lien auctions in Maryland for more than five years, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

The one-count felony indictment in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore alleges that Harvey M. Nusbaum and his business partner, Jack W. Stollof, participated in a conspiracy to rig bids in tax lien auctions conducted by the city of Baltimore and various counties in the state of Maryland beginning in or around the Spring of 2002 and continuing until at least Aug. 9, 2007. The indictment alleges that Nusbaum, Stollof and their co-conspirators agreed among themselves which of them would bid on specific tax liens or groups of tax liens, and agreed upon specific prices to be bid in certain auctions.

"With so many homeowners struggling these days, it is more important than ever that all aspects of real estate transactions, including tax lien auctions,
remain competitive and free from collusion," said Scott D. Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement of the Department's Antitrust Division. "The Antitrust Division will vigorously prosecute those who rig bids and deny Americans a competitive bidding process."

When owners of real property in Maryland fail to pay property taxes, the county or city in which the property is located may attach a lien. If the taxes remain unpaid after a waiting period, the lien is sold at auction. The winner of the auction has the right to collect the amount of the lien from the delinquent taxpayer, along with interest, and eventually to foreclose on the property if the lien and interest remain unpaid. Counties and municipalities
in Maryland typically hold tax lien auctions annually.

The indictment alleges that Nusbaum and Stollof carried out the bid-rigging conspiracy with co-conspirators by:

Attending meetings and engaging in discussions regarding bids for tax liens being auctioned by a municipality and counties in Maryland;

Agreeing during those meetings and discussions not to compete at certain tax lien auctions by allocating which tax liens, properties, or groups of properties each group would bid or refrain from bidding on, and by agreeing on prices that would be bid in certain auctions;

Discussing and exchanging prices to be bid at certain tax lien auctions so as not to submit higher bids than one another;

Submitting bids in accordance with the agreements reached; and

Purchasing tax liens under those agreements at collusive and non-competitive prices.



 


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Arabs have three strategies for Israel's elimination

By Barry Rubin

HERZLIYA, Israel—here are now no less than three main plans for wiping Israel off the map.


1. Conquest. This is the old PLO strategy and continues to be the Hamas strategy. In addition, it is endorsed less overtly by a large group—arguably a majority—in Fatah, the party that controls the Palestinian Authority.

Israel will be militarily defeated, perhaps with some assistance from internal collapse, and replaced by a Palestinian Arab Islamic (Fatah version) or Palestinian Arab Islamist state.

2. Two-Stages. This was officially adopted by the PLO and Fatah. It is an alternative vision that appeals to many in those two groups but is rejected by Hamas.

A Palestinian state will be created on as much territory as possible and then used as a base for conquering the rest . A diplomatic deal can only be made to obtain such a state, however, if its terms do not foreclose the possibility of the second stage being implemented. The demand that virtually all Palestinians who wish to do so can go and live in Israel is a supplement to ensure that phase one turns into phase 2. In 2000, Yasir Arafat either rejected this in preference to Plan Number 1 or at least deemed the terms offered insufficient to make the second stage easy or possible.

3. Binational state (also known as the one-state solution). This is supported by some in PLO and Fatah, partly because it has more appeal to naïve or other Westerners. It is rejected by Hamas.

A binational state will be created. (Note the irony that this totally betrays the idea of the Palestinian movement being a nationalist one seeking its own state.) Despite assurances, it will be unworkable and


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beset by violence. But since Israel’s strength would be dismantled and millions of Palestinian Arabs would migrate onto its territory, there would be a relatively brief—but very bloody—transition to an Arab victory and the reconstitution of the state as an Arab Muslim Palestine.

No binational state has ever existed in the Middle East (the only one I can think of that partly fits that model today is Belgium) and multinational countries with some binational characteristics have been falling apart for years (Austria-Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia). It becomes funny when one thinks of such elements in Plan 3 as Israel turning over half of its tanks and planes to Palestinians after training them, gives them half its national budget, etc. As George Orwell once said, this is an idea so stupid that only an intellectual would consider it.

None of these plans will actually ever happen but they do motivate people to fight, die, kill, and hold conferences, not necessarily in that order.

Another major effect is to convince Palestinians (and also other Arabs and Muslims) that they don’t have to make the compromises necessary for a real two-state solution since they can gain victory through Plans 1, 2, or 3.

[Of course, Plans 1, 2, and 3 have something else in common as a solution, a Final Solution.]

If someone asks you why the conflict remains unsettled--and why there's no real two-state solution--tell them it's because the Palestinian (and to some extent Arab) side doesn’t see why it should settle for less when it can implement plans 1, 2, or 3. And of course to the extent Westerners make them think this is possible they assist in postponing a solution and ensuring more suffering and bloodshed.

 

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The Jews Down Under.... A roundup of Australian Jewish news by Garry Fabian


Jewish schools receive
$13 million funding

CANBERRA - The Federal Government has pitched in to help Melbourne Jewish schools that have delayed construction plans due to a lack of funds.

Five of Melbourne's Jewish primary schools received more than $13 million for major projects in round two of the Primary Schools for the 21st Century program.

Adass Israel School, Leibler Yavneh College, Mount Scopus Memorial College, Sholem Aleichem and The King David School are among 776 primary schools in Victoria to have been awarded a share of the $1.4 billion package.

Mount Scopus College this week revealed it would now commence major building projects that were announced at the beginning of 2008, but put on hold due to a lack of funding.

A total of $4.5 million was awarded to Mount Scopus College, which will be used to rebuild Gandel Besen House and to construct a new upper-primary school at the Burwood Gandel Campus.

Funding for schools in NSW is yet to be announced.


Time to celebrate volunteers

MELBOURNE- Fourteen National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (NCJWA) volunteers were honoured at Glen Eira Council's recent volunteer recognition ceremony.

Held on May 14, in the middle of National Volunteer Week, nine long-time volunteers -­ Susie Balint, Esther Bartak, Arthur Best, Bina Best, Vivien Brass, Susie Ivany, Bronka Kaplan, Judy Krape and Eva Joel -­ will receive a special award.

Four others -­ Michael Balint, Ros Mow, Yetta Naphtali and Richard Rozen -­ will be recognised for 1000 hours of service to the NCJWA, and Chana Gutnick will be honoured for 500 hours of service.

Emmy Monash Aged Care will also be marking National Volunteer Week. Many people volunteer at the North Caulfield-based home, including Rita Greiner, Marta Mote and Ruth Lewis.

Mrs Greiner and Mrs Mote have been long-serving "kiosk ladies" at Emmy Monash. They were joined more recently by Mrs Lewis.

Every Thursday morning, the three ladies are the friendly faces behind the kiosk counter, and it is reported that their sales skills are matched by their flair for conversation.

The profits from all kiosk sales go straight back to Emmy Monash and are used to purchase equipment for residents.

Mrs Greiner began volunteering at Emmy Monash a decade ago, after working as a relief nurse.

She said she loved the interaction with residents and decided to stay on as a volunteer.

Mrs Lewis came on board more recently to help Mrs Greiner, who is 88 years old.

National Volunteer Week, which ran from May 11-17, celebrates Australia's five million volunteers.

It first began in 1989 as a method of promoting volunteering to the community. Many Jewish organisations are heavily assisted by committed and passionate volunteers.

Adelaide loses another Rabbi

ADELAIDE - Rabbi Avraham Gutnick, who took up a temporary appointment as rabbi of the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation (AHC) two years ago, is leaving South Australia after his contract ends this month.

A synagogue spokesperson said Rabbi Gutnick has played a key role in healing wounds created by a long-running dispute between AHC and its former spiritual leader Rabbi Yossi Engel.
Within weeks of Rabbi Gutnick's appointment in 2007, Shabbat attendances returned to a level not seen since before the rift with Rabbi Engel occured. A search to replace Rabbi Gutnick is
well underway and the congregation expects to make an announcement on his successor shortly.



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AHC is now looking for a permanent Adelaide-based appointment, so that the congregation can have the benefit of a local rebbetzin, the spokesperson said.

At the time of Rabbi Gutnick's appointment in 2007, current AHC president Eric Edelman said the rabbi's short contract was not a concern.

At one stage during AHC's dispute with Rabbi Engel, the Sydney Beth Din (SBD), which has jurisdiction over Adelaide, had threatened the shul with a siruv (notice of contempt) if it
replaced Rabbi Engel, whose employment the SBD regarded as ongoing. However the Supreme Court of South Australia ruled in 2007 that Rabbi Engel's employment had ended.

A police investigation is still underway into Rabbi Engel's involvement with forged report cards at the former Spirit of David Adelaide Hebrew School.


Multi-Faith programs receives government support

MELBOURNE - Another cohert of future leaders from varied faith communities will have the opportunity to join the Multifaith Future Leaders Program next year.
|
The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) has received a $22,000 grant from the Victorian Multicultural Commission, which will ensure the program is funded for 2010. The program, which this year provided leadership training for about 30 young leaders from Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities, will be expanded to included leaders from other faith communities.


Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs Mr James Merlino presented the cheque to ADC Chairman Mr Tony Levy at a recent function at Beth Weizmann. He said the program was a fine example of the kind of initiative the Victorian Government was keen to support. 2009 participant Jade Kestenberg told participants at the function that she had gained enormously from participating in program and was continuing to have positive contact with young leaders from other backgrounds whom she met at the program.

Fabian is San Diego Jewish World's bureau chief in Australia. Email: fabiang@sandiegojewishworld.com


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FROM THE KULANU QUARTERLY


Live and Become: a five-star movie, for sure


By Karen Primack

SILVER SPRING, Maryland—Live and Become is Radu Mihaileanu’s bittersweet drama about a young Ethiopian boy in a Sudanese refugee camp who is Christian but passes for a Jew in the 1984 Israeli airlift. The film, in Hebrew, French, and Amharic, covers the boy’s life over the following 15 years in Israel, France, and Sudan.

The settings are breathtaking. The overhead views of the desert and refugee camps in Sudan are unforgettable, as are those of the absorption center dining hall and the rococco anatomy lecture hall in Paris. Also captivating are the close-ups of beautiful Ethiopian faces.

Many views of Israel are seen – a synagogue, apartment interior, kes’s cottage, battlefield, Tel Aviv beach.

There is humor, and much of it comes as the boy, Schlomo, arrives in Israel and discovers new experiences like seeing water coming from a shower head, putting on socks, using a fork, and looking behind the television set for the source of the pictures.

There are poignant moments as Schlomo sleeps on the floor next to his bed, and takes off his shoes to feel the ground under his feet. There is also the scene in which a school pupil rubs Schlomo’s hand to see if the color comes off.

Schlomo is adopted by a secular family. He goes on to excel in school, form a few friendships, and aspire to become a doctor, but his background and his secret continue to haunt him. The final scene leaves the viewer gasping.

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You may have seen Live and Become in a film festival near you (it has won 18 Audience Awards across the US), or you may have the opportunity to see it in a theater soon. If not, you can now order it on DVD for $29.95 from Menemsha Films at www.menemshafilms.com.

Primack is the editor of Kulanu, a quarterly newsletter devoted to far flung Jewish communities, from which this essay is reprinted.


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JEWS FOR JUDAISM WRITING CONTEST


Student poet ponders meaning of being proud to be Jewish



Editor's Note: Jews for Judaism, based in Los Angeles, recently sponsored a nationwide Be-True writing contest in three divisions: middle school, high school and college, in which contestants were asked to write about their pride in being Jewish. Jews for Judaism, headed by Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, was formed in 1985 to combat efforts on campuses by representatives of other religions to proselytize Jewish students. In this nine-part series, we will bring the top three winners in each division, courtesy of Jews for Judaism.


Our Strong Jewish Pride

By Esther Yavitch
11th grade, Rancho Bernardo High School, San Diego
3rd place: High School Division


Being proud to be Jewish,
Being proud of such a long heritage,
It's hard.
For one thing, what does it mean,
To be proud?

Does it mean,
To get presents on Chanukah,
While your friends are getting presents for
Christmas?

Does it mean to go to synagogue for
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
But not the rest of the year?
Does it mean to have a Bar Mitzvah
Then not to go to synagogue again
Till your wedding?

I don't think so.

Maybe it could be.
Maybe that's part of it.
But I think
Differently.

In addition to that,
Who wants to be proud?
Who in their right mind
Would want to flaunt the fact
That they are
Jewish?

The single most hated nation
Ever to walk the face of the Earth.
Expulsions, laws, torture, terrorism,
Oppression, imprisonment, murders,
Holocaust, Diaspora, Golus.

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All of these things that make up our
History,
Heritage,
Being.

Who wants to boast about that kind of
Past?
And yet, we do,
Because still we thrive.
We're still kickin',
Quite alive.

And why is that so?
Why are we still here
Against all odds?

It's because of our pride,
In the most humble sense.
The pride to integrate Judaism into
Our everyday lives.

Everyday dedicating our
Bodies,
Hearts,
Minds,
Souls,

To following the path of Hashem.
A purpose and reason given to us
And no other.
Doing what He asks of us,
Without question.

Doing it with
happiness,
love,
joy,
and dedication.

We're the chosen nation,
So let's show our pride!
Though horrors face us,
There's no need to hide.

What ever comes our way.
We'll just double our efforts.
No force can stop us,
Though many have tried.

Nobody can snub out
Our strong Jewish pride.


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MUSIC NOTES

Now forgotten, Simon Barere was one of best pianists ever

By David Amos

SAN DIEGO--Former San Diego resident and retired artists’ manager Jacques Leiser heard a concert fifty eight years ago in New York’s Carnegie Hall, played by the legendary pianist Simon Barere, who was considered one of the greatest pianists of the Twentieth Century.

This extraordinary experience had such a profound impact on Leiser that he could not forget such phenomenal and magical piano playing. He was astounded, and as many years as have passed, it is hard to believe that Barere is practically unknown today.

As you may have noticed from my past articles, I also am intrigued by the dynamics of what makes some artists so popular and in demand, while others, equally, or far more talented, are ignored and eventually fall into oblivion.

Who was Simon Barere? Here are a few excerpts from Jacques Leiser’s writings and research.

"When Simon Barere had suddenly collapsed and died while performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto In Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy in 1951, the world had lost an extraordinary musician, interpreter and teacher. (Ironically, Ormandy related that just before stepping on stage, Barere told him “Let’s do our best with the concerto. By tomorrow, we may not be alive!”). A genius who was not always recognized as such because of various circumstances; many times he had to provide for his family by playing in cinemas and restaurants instead of being celebrated in the world’s music capitals.

"Barere was born in Odessa in 1896. At the age of 11 he was admitted for study at the prestigious St. Petersburg Conservatory, where Alexander Glazunov was its director; he protected the young Barere against the many restrictive anti-Semitic regulations in Russia. Barere continued his studies with Annette Essipoff and later with Felix Blumfeld, the latter also being the teacher of Vladimir Horowitz.

"After graduation, Barere started his career as professor at the Kiev Conservatory, but the Communist regime made it impossible for him to establish himself as a pianist. He took his wife and son to Berlin in the early 1930’s, but as you could have guessed, that was not a warm and welcoming place for Jews. It did not work out due to the growing Fascist climate and the adoption of the Nuremberg Laws of 1933. Luckily, his fortunes took a turn for the better when he traveled to England for concerts and recitals, and was contracted by HMV (RCA in the U.S.) to record a series of selections for solo piano. In 1934 he made his orchestral debut under the baton of Sir Thomas Beecham.

In 1936 he played his first of many recitals at Carnegie Hall, and was immediately recognized as one of the authoritative pianists of the period. The rave reviews by New York’s most prominent music critics are endless. He was called a 'giant,' 'pianism in the highest estate,' 'the most amazing feats of

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pianism in this city in many a year,' and in The New York Times one critic flatly declared that 'the immensely gifted Russian pianist  must be reckoned among the greatest of all exponents of the keyboard…..with technical equipment unrivaled among pianists of the day.'

"But even more important are the comments from his colleagues. One of his greatest admirers was Horowitz himself. Glazunov remarked that 'Barere is an Anton Rubinstein in one hand and a Liszt in the other.' Rachmaninoff told Barere, 'You are a pianistic genius.' Other prominent, famous pianists of the time were puzzled and shocked at his technical wizardry and musical creativity.

"In the 1930’s no one had recorded the technically difficult Toccata by Robert Schumann. Because of the technological limitations of recordings in those days, phonograph records were at 78 revolutions per minute, with a maximum capacity of around four to five minutes per side. The Schumann piece ran about six minutes, even if played at the fastest possible tempo, and it made no sense to break the music with the necessary interruption to flip the record over for the last two minutes. Barere told the RCA engineers 'I think that I can do it in four minutes.' And he did. His anatomical, almost freakish ability to play very fast, plus his artistry as a musician made this possible. A recording of this feat is available on compact disc today, as are other of his legendary recordings."

This is a brief summary of what compelled Jacques Leiser to learn more about Barere. Leiser traveled to New York to interview the pianist’s 87 year old son Boris, himself a pianist.. The result was the discovery of some fascinating information and anecdotes about his father’s career and encounters with famous artists. which gave a penetrating insight into Papa Barere’s personality. Interestingly, this was the first interview requested from Boris Barere, ever.

An amusing but understandable comment made by Boris is that during his early years, the Barere household was so frequently visited by admirers and friends which included some of the greatest names in the piano world, that he knew of no one who was not a musician. Up to the age of 8 or 9, he thought that everyone in the world was a musician!

The nagging question continues to be: How could it be that such an overwhelmingly important pianist, hailed by so many as the best ever, is not only totally unknown today, but even during his lifetime was not given his proper place in the highest music circles, something which he richly deserved?

(This reminds me of composer Bela Bartók, who is hailed as one of the greatest of the Twentieth Century, died in poverty with practically no recognition).

I plan to continue with Jacques Leiser’s fascinating discoveries on the life of Simon Barere, and what makes some outstanding artists popular while others disappear or at best, remembered as obscure historical curiosities, in my next column of San Diego Jewish World.

Amos is conductor of the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra and a guest conductor of orchestras around the world.


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Bible in Pop Culture: '... a living soul '



Genesis 1:30

And to every beast on the earth, to every bird of the sky, and to everything that moves on the earth, within which there is a living soul, every green herb is for food." And it was so.

Do you have a photo that you think illustrates how a biblical verse has worked its way into pop culture. Please send it to us for possible publication in this series, "The Bible in Pop Culture."

You may send your jpg photo for posting online to us at San Diego Jewish World, emailing it to editor@sandiegojewishheritage.com.

If possible, please send it at 72dpi resolution and 400 pixels wide. Please include the name of the photographer, the date and place the photo was taken, and any other relevant caption information.

For our growing "Pop Bible" collection please see
Bible in pop culture index

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nancy.harrison@americasvacationcenter.com



balloons

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WE'RE CALMING—Jeff Zlotnik gets some youngsters prepared for meditation practice

SARA-N-DIPITY PLACE

Zlotnik's life path is something to meditate about


By Sara Appel-Lennon

SAN DIEGO— “If,” the poem by Rudyard Kipling begins "If you can keep your head when all about you and losing theirs and blaming it on you.” How can we keep our head when the economy is turbulent, world news is negative, and worries whirl in our mind like dreidels? According to Jeff Zlotnik, executive director of The Meditation Initiative, we can calm our mind by meditating.

On Friday evening June 12, Zlotnik led a guided meditation at Temple Emanu-El before Shabbat services. Dressed in a traditional Taiwanese solid gray shirt. he affirmed there is not a correct way to meditate and it is not a requirement to clear our minds. He also avoids use of the following words: mantras, mudras, om, Namaste, spirituality, and religion.

Zlotnik said that he wants people to recognize that their happiness, anger, sadness, and depression come from the thoughts they have. If we change our thoughts, we can change the way we feel.

"I want people to challenge themselves to sit in meditation five minutes per day. Sit, be still, observe your thoughts, and recognize how you feel after,” sugested Zlotnik.

The mission of the Meditation Initiative is: to provide free meditation classes, training and community service outreach for children, adults, and seniors to help prevent stress and anxiety, improve focus and attention, and share tools for anger management while improving overall mental and emotional health and well-being.



FOR ALL AGES—Nine year old students at senior practice meditation under Jeff Zlotnik's direction

He has conducted free sessions at Jewish Family Service’s older adult centers; Temple Emanu-El, Congregation Beth Israel, and such organizations in the larger community as King Chavez Elementary School; Morse, Crawford and Lindsey high schools; The Monarch School, various hospitals, colleges and universities, jails, KPBS, Second Chance, Kids for Peace, By the Book Sober Living, South Bay Community Service, New Alternatives Teen Group Home, and the Campaign for Love and Forgiveness.

"It's your own mind, your own madness, your own peace, don't pay for it," said, Zlotnik.

He grew up in Del Cerro, and had his bar mitzvah at Temple Emanu-El. At age 20, he started meditating while attending University of Arizona and working at a group home for 13-15 year old girls with abuse issues. He shared his meditation practice with the girls and noticed an improvement in their moods.
In 1997 Zlotnik became a software industry recruiter "during the dot com phase." He taught others how to build computer companies on both the East and West coasts. He was able to work out of his home from 6 a.m.until noon. His salary was

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high but his tolerance was low, especially in terms of patience. He realized that something was missing from his life, and he wasn't happy.

In 2003 he ventured out looking to volunteer with teenagers when a mutual friend introduced him to Azim Khamisa.

Khamisa is the father whose only son was murdered. Khamisa's son, Tariq, a SDSU student and part-time pizza delivery man for Demille's Restaurant, was murdered on January 21, 1995 by a 14 year old gang member, Tony Hicks, after Hicks succumbed to peer pressure from an older gang member.

In response Khamisa said "From the onset, I saw victims on both ends of the gun. I will mourn Tariq's death for the rest of my life. Now, however, my grief has been transformed into a powerful commitment to change. Change is urgently needed in a society where children kill children."

In October of 1995 Khamisa started TKF, Tariq Khamisa Foundation. The mission is breaking the cycle of youth violence by Empowering Kids, Saving Lives, and Teaching Peace.

Khamisa offered forgiveness to Ples Felix, the guardian and grandfather of Hicks, who was tried and convicted as an adult for murder. The two men, Khamisa and Felix, have joined in a campaign to end the violence of children by speaking to thousands of students about how to choose peace instead of violence.

Because of Khamisa's volunteer work with teens, Zlotnik got to know him while volunteering at The Campaign for Love and Forgiveness. Khamisa told him that meditation had helped him onto his path of compassion and forgiveness.

In 2003 Zlotnik singlehandedly went to teach meditation at Calapatria State Prison, a maximum security prison." When I come in with calm nature, it's contagious even with inmates, a drastic change." Zlotnik said that while many of the prisoners are there for life sentences, he doesn't want the other prisoners "to reoffend" "Let's get them better for their release."

He studied at a Zen Monastery in Taiwan for eleven months. He returned home for his 30th birthday, Thanksgiving, and his mom's birthday.

As he explained the need for meditation to the dean of Crawford High School, the administrator responded, "Our kids need it." As a result, Zlotnik led a meditation for 300 kids prior to taking their exit exam.

Zlotnik describes himself today as a layperson who lives as a monk but interacts in the world. He says he owns only two shirts, both gray in the same style because clothes don't matter to him. He said that it's very easy and practical. Zlotnik said "I don't care what I wear, what's important is that my mind is peaceful."

Ironically, his own schedule is busy and he refers to it as" crazy, nonstop." He still works 70 hours per week as he did as a recruiter. The difference is he loves what he's doing.

Zlotnik concluded "We can never change what goes on around us. All we can change is our reaction to it. That's what this is all about. Learn to control our reactions."

He will be leading guided meditations at Congregation Beth Israel on June 26th, and at Temple Emanu-El on July 10th and 24th before Shabbat services. More about Zlotnik and the Meditation Initiative can be found on their website.

Appel-Lennon's email: appels@jewishsightseeing.com


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JEWISH MISCELLANY

'A little bit of this, a little bit of that'



Torah portion of the week
from G-dcast


Parshat Shelach Lecha from G-dcast.com More Torah cartoons at www.g-dcast.com


Soille first graders imitate
the works of great artists

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—Mrs. McCullough’s first graders at Hebrew Day put on a wonderful performance last week.  They showcased their knowledge of famous artists (Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Chagall and Miro), and the artwork each student did in the artists’ different styles.  Students in Mrs. Kaplan-Nadel’s class shared their books which they wrote and illustrated. Students also read original poems from their “one of a kind” poetry books.  What a fantastic group of creative students!  

Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School serves children from infants through eighth grade and offers generous financial aid grants to families to make a Jewish day school education affordable to all.  For more information on the school, visit the web site at http://www.hebrewday.org/ or contact Audrey Jacobs, Director of School Advancement at 858-279-3300 ext. 106 or ajacobs@hebrewday.org

Preceding provided by Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School


Mini-Melton grads, others, eligible for Israel study tour next March

SAN DIEGO--Melton Mini-School alumni and other serious learners are eligible for a March 15-24, 2010, tour of Israel organized by the Melton Centre of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Group size will be limited to 35 in order ot take advantage of a luxury air conditioned bus that will transport participants to such locales as Jerusalem, Yavneh, Caesaria, Tierias, and Safad, according to Noah Hadas, director of adult services for the Agency for Jewish Education in San Diego.

Cost per person is $2,495 not including airfare.

An informational meeting is planned at 7 p.m., July 13, at the Lawrence Family JCC, according to Hadas, who may be reached for more information via email at noah@ajesd.org, or by phoning (858) 268-9200.


UJF endorses 'Baby boomer' survey

SAN DIEGO—Michael Sonduck, chief operating officer of the United Jewish Federation of San Deigo County, announces that an online survey being conducted by New York University's Wagner School of Public Service will hep the Federation make decisions on programs and services for the 'Baby Boomer' generation. To reach the web page for the survey, please click here.


Levy will lead Beth Sholom services this month

Editor, San Diego Jewish World:

Thank you for the profile by Joel and Arlene Moskowitz of Cantor Judith Levy and Temple Beth Sholom in Chula Vista.  She will be leading services all during the month of June 2009, Friday nights 7:30 pm and Saturday morning 10:00 am, and on future dates to be announced.  The community is invited to join us.

Ellie Adams, past president
Chula Vista



Workshops this weekend will help adults teach children Jewish ethics

SAN DIEGO—This weekend at Beth Jacob Congregation, Rabbi Josh Kohl, curriculum director of J-Family, the Jewish Family Enrichment Project, will be the scholar in residence at a series of workshops beginning today and ending late Sunday afternoon. Reservations for meals in association with the weekend events should be made before the beginning of Shabbat by telephoning (619) 287-9890 or via www.bjsd.org.

Here is the lineup of workshops that will be led by the rabbi:

Friday, June 19 (today): The Secret of Jewish Heroism: Being a Hero for a Family and Kids.



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Saturday, June 20 after Kiddush (approximately 12:15 p.m.): An Ethical Start: Building Blocks of an Ethical Family.

Saturday afternoon, June 20, 6 p.m.: Seven Habbits of Highly Successful Families.
Sunday afternoon, June 21, 6:30 p.m.: Writing Your Family Mission Statement. The entire family will benefit from this interactive workshop and art project, accoring to the rabbi.

Preceding based on materials provided by Beth Jacob Congregation


Jewish-Themed License Plate



SAN DIEGO—Once again we're indebted to Melanie Rubin for spotting and snapping this license plate evoking memories of the Adam and Eve story in Genesis 2 and 3.




Jewish Cyber-referrals

Pam Ferris, chief executive officer of Seacrest Village, enjoyed some shtick on line about what makes a kosher computer. Nu, so, here's the link.

J.J. Surbeck spotted this piano performance by child prodigy Maya Tamir with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Surbeck says she is fantastic, and it would be hard to disagree. See below:





Free seminar planned for older
adults on changing residences


SAN DIEGO—Jewish Family Service will sponsor a free seminar on the questions attendant to moving to a different residence for from 1 to 4 p.m., Thursday, July 23, at the College Avenue Older Adult Center, 4855 College Avenue. Reservations may be made on line before July 17.

Older adults and their caregivers will be able to question a panel including Beth Barth, owner of Del Cerro Manor; Gail Arno, consultant for Senior Care Solutions, and Craig Lambert, JFS director of older adult services.

Preceding based on material provided by JFS




Boxer schedules seminar on
obtaining federal grants

SAN DIEGO—U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California) has scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 24, a seminar for community leaders and government officials on how to otain federal grants for various programs. It will be in Classroom G-101 at San Diego Mesa College.

"At a time when established services in the community and programs run by local governmet agencies are being asked to do more with less money, it is my hope that this workshop will allow you to learn more about federal funding opportunities and how they can serve our communities."


Representatives of various federal agencies will be present, according to the senator, who can be emailed to RSVP by Tuesday, June 23, at boxergrants@boxer.senate.gov

Respondents should include in the email, tehir names, organizations, phone numbers and mailing address, the senaotr said.

Preceding based on materials provided by Senator Boxer


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Adventures in San Diego Jewish History
With thanks to Gail Umeham for the transcription


Cradle
Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 4

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Weitzen, Jr. announce the birth of their first child, a son, Steven Barry, born May 2nd and weighing 5 lbs. 11 oz. Happy grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Glickman and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Weitzen.

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred S. Lapides announce the birth of their second child, a son, Gary Steven, born May 4.  Two and one-half year old sister Cara was happy to welcome Gary into the nursery. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs.  Samuel Sussman of San Diego and Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Lapides of Springfield, Mass.

Mr. and Mrs. Norman Marshall announce the birth of their second child, a son, Glenn, born May 4th and weighing 8 lbs. 10 oz.  Pleased with the arrival of her brother is 3½ year old Cheryl Lynn. Grandparents are Mrs. Isaac Domnitz, Mr. Samuel Lansky, and Mr. and Mrs. Morris Marshall of Newark, N.J.


Personals
Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 4

Bon Voyage—Among the parties feting Mr. and Mrs. Max Rabinowitz prior to their leving for Honolulu on May 7th was a buffet dinner given by Mr. and Mrs. Herbert I. Reder, daughter and son-in-law of the Rabinowitz’.  15 guests were entertained in the Reder’s home on May 5th.

On Sunday, May 3rd, Mr. and Mrs. George Neumann entertained for Molly and Max with a cocktail party which was followed by a dinner party given by Mr. and Mrs. Al Neumann.

Mrs. Martha Hollander has moved back to the Hotel Riviera and would like her friends to call.

Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Arenson are leaving on May 17th with daughter, Paula Gayle, for a two week vacation in Des Moines, Iowa where they will visit with Bernard’s parents.

Among the 15 S.D. County youths who have been selected from California for entry into the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. is Nelson M. Olf, son of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Olf.
He will attend Oregon State College in Corvallis, Ore. as a Midshipman. His scholarship will be in Industrial Engineering.
Nelson graduates from Pt. Loma High School this June, where he is president of the student body.


Feeling Old?

If you think “old rockin’chair has got you” just drop in at the S.D. Hebrew Home for the Aged and meet some of the youngsters.  One of the more active guests is Max Grossmayer, who at 94 years of age, still handles all his own correspondence and what is more goes downtown to mail it.  He has reason to be proud of his age.

Mr. and Mrs. Lou Moorsteen had as their guests last weekend, their niece and nephew, Dr. and Mrs. Benjamin Moorsteen of Akron, Ohio.  Before visiting in San Diego, Dr. and Mrs. Moorsteen spent a few days with Leonard and Betty Slater in Los Angeles while the doctor attended the Psychiatric Convention here.

When not entertaining guests, Esther Moorsteen has other ways of keeping busy.  She has been invited to show her Israeli films for the International Luncheon Club at the Y.W.C.A. on May 19th.

Lillian Newman, Sadie Berenson, Ruth Newman and Irving Singer wish to take this means to thank their many friends for their kind expressions of sympathy during their recent bereavement.

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Confirmation Ceremony At Temple Beth Israel Includes Record Group
Southwestern Jewish Press May 15, 1953, page 6

The Festival of Shovous (cq) will be ushered in on Tuesday evening, May 19th at 6 p.m., with the ceremony of Confirmation at Temple Beth Israel.

Twenty-six boys and girls will be received into the faith of Israel in this impressive ceremony.  Their names and the names of their parents in parentheses are:  Luanne Jean Blumberg (Harry), Deanne Helene Brown (Julius), Jane S. Cohn (Rabbi Morton), R. Peter Colt (William), James A. Deutch (Charles), Linda Margot Douglas (Morris), Jack Richard Felson (Harry), Stephen Goldfarb (William), Rochelle Goodrich (Murray), Nelson Barry Guyer (Arthur), Brenda Henriette Heiman (Leon), Neil Jay Kleinman (Dr. Max), Sheila Gayle Lipin (William), Jeremy J. Lustig (Myron), Kaye Melvyn Miller (Samuel), Arthur S. Pogrell (Donald), Michael George Price (Dennis), Adrienne Beverly Sachnoff (Roy), Abbe Salomon (Irving), Shirley Louise Samuels (Murray), Barbara Silverman (Charles), Harriet Silverman (Joseph), Judith Sandra Smollar (Nathan), Janet Carole Solof (A. Louis), Sharlene Louise Stone (Dr. Robert), Robert Simon Woolf (Harry).

The ceremony will be featured with the presentation of a cantata, “The Law God Gave On Sinai.” The cantata is under the direction of Rabbi Morton J. Cohn and Cantor Julian K. Miller, and the accompanist will be Mrs. Elliot Benedikt.

The Confirmants will enter the Temple in processional promptly at 8 o’clock and those attending are urged to be in their seats early.  The doors will be closed at 7:50 p.m., and latecomers will be seated in the balcony.

During the Ceremony the Confirmants will be presented with prayer books by Mr. Morris W. Douglas and Mr. Mack Esterson, President and Vice President of the Congregation, and they will receive Bibles from Mrs. Samuel Friedman, President of the Sisterhood.  Other presentations will be made by Mrs. Maury Novak, Chairman of the Religious School Committee, and Dr. Ernest Wolf, the class teacher.  Following the service a beautiful reception will be given in the Temple Center by the parents of the Confirmants.  This impressive service will mark the climax of the Temple’s religious year, and the community is invited to attend.


Beth Israel Pre -
Confirmation Sabbath


Guests of honor at Sabbath services this Friday evening in Temple Beth Israel will be the members of rhe Confirmation Class and their parents.  At this time Rabbi Cohn will give his message to the Class, preaching on the subject “Confirmed in What?”

All Temple members and their friends are urged to attend this special service of Consecration of the Confirmants.


“Adventures in Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg. Our indexed "Adventures in San Diego Jewish History" series
will be a daily feature until we run out of history.


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