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THE CENTRE FOR ISRAEL AND JEWISH AFFAIRS APPLAUDS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF JEWISH HERITAGE MONTH IN ONTARIO

4 march 2012

TORONTO, ON – On February 23, 2012, the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 17,  An Act to Proclaim the Month of May Jewish Heritage Month. The legislation received strong cross-party support, being introduced by Liberal MPP Mike Colle as a private member’s bill with co-sponsorship from Peter Shurman of the Progressive Conservative Party and Cheri DiNovo of the NDP.

Reacting to the Bill’s passage, David Spiro, Greater Toronto Co-Chair of The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the advocacy arm of Canadian Jewish Federations, issued the following statement:

“We commend all Members of the Ontario Legislature for establishing May as Jewish Heritage Month in Ontario, and we appreciate the swift passage of this cross-party initiative.  For more than two centuries, the Jewish community has worked side-by-side with Ontarians from all backgrounds to help build one of the greatest places in the world to raise a family. Indeed, the values upheld by all Ontarians are values shared by our community. Just as Jewish Heritage Month offers an opportunity to reflect on our past, it serves as a reminder for all in our province to continue building on our collective achievements – for the benefit of the next generation of Ontarians.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization that creates and implements strategies for the purpose of improving the quality of Jewish life in Canada and abroad, increasing support for Israel, and strengthening the Canada-Israel relationship.

 

For more information, contact:

Jordan Kerbel
Deputy Director, Communications and Advocacy Training

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

[email protected]


 
 
Invitation: WELCOME THE SWIFTS ON THEIR RETURN TO NEST IN THE WESTERN WALL IN JERUSALEM

 

4 March 2012

 

The Common Swift is a unique bird that spends most of its life on the wing. It feeds on flying insects, which it hunts in the air, it drinks while flying, it sleeps on the wing and it even mates on the wing at the beginning of the breeding season.

 

The Common Swift spends most of the time living in South Africa in dense colonial groups and at the beginning of spring starts migrating north to its breeding sites.

 

During mid-February it arrives in Israel, which is known to be one of its first breeding sites, and migrates back to Africa at the beginning of June, immediately after its nestlings have fledged.

It is a small bird, weighing only 35 – 45 grams, but is a superior flier, an aerial acrobat. It has a thin, short body and impressive, long, scythe-like wings with an outstanding aspect ratio.

 

Ever since humans have started building cities, the Common Swift has found our buildings perfect for nesting sites including ancient holy sites such as churches, synagogues, mosques and temples, and has become dependent on us. The Western Wall in Jerusalem serves as one of the oldest Common Swift nesting sites in the world.

 

A special study to map the nests was conducted in 2002 by the researcher, Mr. Ulrich Tigges and by the late Prof. Mendelssohn during which 88 nests were noted. This study map served as a guideline during the work of strengthening the Western Wall, keeping the nests unblocked.

 

However, the future of the Common Swift is not secure at all and their future is at risk. The FRIENDS OF THE SWIFTS Association, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, and Tel Aviv University are working together to promise the future of the Common Swift by all available means: saving existing nesting sites, designing and building new ones, special educational programs in schools, assisting Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers, and PR activities to increase public awareness of this special bird and the problems it faces.

 

Thank you very much for joining us on this unique and special day, which also symbolizes the arrival of spring.

 

17:00 –17:15: GATHERING

17:15 –17:35: GREETINGS

Mr. Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem

Mrs. Naomi Tsur, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites

Dr. Yossi Leshem, Tel-Aviv University and Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

CEREMONY GUIDE: Amnonn Hahn GM “FRIENDS OF THE SWIFTS” Association

18:00 –17:35: Guided Observation of Swifts Returning to the Western Wall

Guides: Amnonn Hahn, Dr. Yossi Leshem, Dan Alon, Amir Balaban

18:00: END OF CEREMONY

 Visit our web site: www.birds.org.il 

 

 


Yours Truly,

Amnonn Hahn, Dr. Yossi Leshem and Dan Alon


 
 
AMERICA’S PRO-ISRAEL LOBBY HOLDS ITS ANNUAL POLICY CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

2 March 2012

Top American and Israeli Leaders to Headline Conference

WASHINGTON — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual Policy Conference is the most important event of the year for America’s pro-Israel community. This year’s conference will be the largest Policy Conference in AIPAC history, with more than 13,000 people participating and thousands heading to Capitol Hill on the final day of the three-day conference to lobby Congress in support of the U.S.-Israel relationship. 

This year’s conference gathers at a time when the global threat posed by Iran is at an all-time high. Iran is nearing nuclear-weapons capability, jeopardizing American national security and threatening our friends in the Gulf as well as our broader interests in the Middle East. Tehran’s terrorist proxies have heightened their efforts to strike against U.S. and Israeli targets worldwide—from Washington D.C. to Thailand. And Iran’s leaders call for Israel to be wiped off the map as they pursue nuclear weapons that would pose an intolerable threat to the Jewish state.

Speaking to this very issue and the dangerous national security threat posed by Iran are the leaders of both the United States and Israel. Headlining this year’s conference will be President of the United States Barack Obama, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, President of Israel Shimon Peres, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Conference delegates will also hear addresses by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), as well as Republican candidates for President former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Other notable conference speakers include: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor, Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Brad Sherman (D-CA).

On the final day of the conference, thousands of AIPAC delegates will participate in approximately 500 lobbying meetings with members of the House and Senate in order to demonstrate support for critical security assistance for Israel and increasingly stringent sanctions on Iran designed to thwart its pursuit of nuclear weapons. AIPAC activists will also be encouraging their representatives to support strengthening the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship.

Consistently ranked as the most influential foreign policy lobbying organization on Capitol Hill, AIPAC is a bipartisan American membership organization that seeks to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel.  For more than 50 years, AIPAC has been working with Congress to build a strong, vibrant relationship between the U.S. and Israel. With more than 100,000 members across the United States, AIPAC works throughout the country to improve and strengthen that relationship by supporting U.S.-Israel military, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation.


 
 
Locating Rubin Family

Sun, 4 Mar 2012
 
To the Editor,

Hoping you can direct me in my serch to find cousins on my mothers side of  family.
The information I have is that there were  2 first cousins who lived in Winnipeg, there names:  Louis and Bernard Rubin.

We believe one of them had triplets and daughters by name of Gil and Sondra.

I would appreciate any help in directing me to someone I might  contact in this regards.
I ama  resident of USA and currently live in Florida. 

Thank you for your assitance in this matter.

Jonathan Miller


 
 
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs Welcomes Israel’s Prime Minister on Visit to Canada

March 1, 2012

Ottawa, ON – This weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be visiting Canada to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, key officials, and members of Canada’s Jewish community. In anticipation, David Koschitzky, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, issued the following statement:

“We extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Netanyahu on his visit to Canada, the second such official trip in three years. For more than six decades, successive Canadian governments have expanded bilateral relations with Israel, fostering a deep friendship based on the values we share as liberal democracies. This relationship has become increasingly beneficial for both countries, as joint projects have poised Canada and Israel to make breakthroughs in fields like healthcare, green energy, and technology.

“By remaining true to Canada’s core interests and ideals, our country is playing a key role in the Middle East on a number of issues. On the one hand, this has meant taking a strong stand against those who violate human rights, export terrorism, and threaten global stability – like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the governments of Iran and Syria. On the other, it has meant actively promoting peace by encouraging negotiations and enhancing Palestinian self-government. All of this is helping to achieve two prosperous states, one Jewish and one Palestinian, living side-by-side in peace and security.

“As we reflect on the extraordinary friendship between our two countries, all Canadians can be proud that Canada is a leading champion of democracy, human rights, and peace in the Middle East.”

 

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization that serves as the Canadian Jewish community’s official spokesperson to government and media.

 For more information, contact:

Steve McDonald

Associate Director, Communications

416-953-4417   [email protected]


 
 
MY VISIT TO WINNIPEG

20 February 2012

Dear Rhonda,

I just wanted to say thank you for all your support. If it wasn't for you in the first instance I would not have visited Winnipeg. It really was incredible, the warmth I felt from the community and it really was special, and the Jewish community in Winnipeg truly has a special place in my heart and look forward to visiting again soon, and hopefully we can meet.I would aslo especially like to thank Shelley Faintuch, for all the support and planning for my trip, she really was incredible.

 Take care and please stay in touch

 All the best

 Kasim  Hafeez


 
 
The Drums of War - Word on the Street

 

19 February 2012

Rhonda,
 
The drums for war with Iran sound more loudly with every passing day.
Let’s acknowledge up front the very real and legitimate fear that this Iranian regime might acquire a nuclear weapon. Security – for Israel, Iran’s immediate neighbors and frankly for the world as a whole – must be the first and foremost concern in the discussion over what to do to prevent that from happening.
Yet, remarkably absent from the political debate on the campaign trail or in Washington is a realistic accounting of the feasibility or costs of military action against Iran or a discussion of alternative strategies centered on robust diplomacy for dissuading or preventing Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon.
It really appears that our politicians learned nothing from the failed debate leading up to the war in Iraq.
Agreed, a strong regime of sanctions aimed at making the Iranian regime – not its people – suffer should be one piece of the equation.  And non-violent, covert steps to slow Iran’s nuclear program, for instance in cyberspace, have a role.
However, a robust, new diplomatic initiative along the lines laid out by Ambassadors Thomas Pickering and William Luers should be part of the American and international strategy as well.  Effective diplomacy doesn’t start with “give up your nuclear program or else.” As these veteran diplomats remind us, "Deployment of military force can bring the immediate illusion of 'success' but always results in unforeseen consequences and collateral damage that complicate further the achievement of America’s main objectives."
An Iran that willingly agrees to halt its possible weapons development will have to be given a face-saving path away from confrontation and be allowed to develop civilian nuclear energy.  At the same time, of course, it must be clear to Iran that failure to take this path means utter and complete international isolation.
However, as the political debate on Iran focuses ever more narrowly on whether or when to attack Iran militarily, there’s too little meaningful discussion of the alternatives to, or consequences of, military action.
J Street has compiled statements from Israeli and American military and intelligence officials who highlight the costs and possible consequences of military action. Policy makers and the broader public need to understand that this isn’t Iraq in 1981 when a single bombing run destroyed the country’s nuclear program.  It’s also not Syria in 2007 when a similarly limited attack destroyed their partly-constructed nuclear reactor.
Iran’s nuclear program is spread across the country.  It’s buried far underground, perhaps unreachable by even the most powerful weapons available.  An attack on Iran may cause massive civilian casualties and bring an unpredictable retaliation that could spiral quickly into regional war.  (Two panels at our national conference next month in Washington will explore these issues more deeply.)
J Street’s view is clear: military action to attempt to stop Iran’s nuclear program would be a mistake.
We should be listening in advance to the experts telling us that military action can’t prevent Iran from getting a weapon and can, at best, delay the program by a matter of a year or two.  We need to recognize now – not after the fact – that an attack on Iran could make the situation worse, not better.  It would certainly unite the Iranian people behind a government they don’t like and increase their desire for military confrontation with Israel and the U.S.
What we need in the United States – and what seems so unfortunately lacking in the heat of an election year – is a rational discussion of what actually is the best approach for the United States and the international community to push Iran to choose a different path.
What we’re getting instead is an irrational race to yet another war our country and the world will regret and from which we’ll vow yet again to learn lessons so that, next time, we won't repeat the same mistakes.
This time, maybe our politicians should heed the lessons from prior mistakes before they act.
Thanks,
Jeremy Ben-Ami
President, J Street


 
 
RE:TIME FOR GAY-STRAIGHT ALLIANCE AT GRAY ACADEMY

Feb 16, 2012
Hi Rhonda,
 
RE:TIME FOR GAY-STRAIGHT ALLIANCE AT GRAY ACADEMY
 
Thank you for publishing Eliot's op-ed. As a former JWC student, I was
 delighted to read Eliot's article, and proposal for a Gay-Straight Alliance at

the Academy. There are many of us that were in the closet, that could have
 benefited from a GSA in the 1970's. I second Eliot's recommendation!
 
 Shawn Corne, San Francisco


 
 
Very Good News Israel

To the Editor, Feb 14, 2012
 
I would like to share with Winnpeg News free weekly good news form Israel including Israel's humanitarian work, medical achievements, technology innovations and much much more at www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com"
 
Michael Ordman


 
 
Simkin Nursing Home

February 13, 2012

TO:  Rhonda Spivak:

I would like to speak with you to get an update on the story about criminal charges against the Simkin nursing home in the death of one of its residents, Mrs. Lilyan Peck.

Our organization, the Coalition to Support SENIORS AT RISK, advocates on behalf of seniors and their families against elder abuse crimes perpetrated by institutions and by public agencies and authorities.

Despite different laws and different jurisdictions, there are remarkably similar issues arising across Canada and in the United States with respect to the risks, rights and protections afforded elderly people by public agencies. One of those similarities, a growing trend it seems, is the reluctance of authorities to enforce laws on behalf of elderly people, especially in residential care facilities.

One of our associates alerted us to the Simkin story through this Vancouver blog:  http://thebernermonologues.blogspot.com/2011/10/important-piece-of-jourrnalism-found.html

I look forward to speaking with you about this.

Thank you,

Lois Sampson

The Coalition to Support SENIORS AT RISK

www.seniorsatrisk.org


 
 
Statement Condemning Israeli Boycott at the University of Regina
Toronto, ON – On February 11th, the University of Regina’s Student Union passed a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academics and businesses. In response, David Koschitzky, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, issued the following statement:

“We condemn this resolution and call on the Student Union to repeal it immediately. The campaign to boycott Israel rejects constructive dialogue and solutions that promote peace and reconciliation. On the contrary, it holds Israel as solely responsible for the conflict and punishes all Israeli academics – including those who are themselves activists for peace.

“Israel, the most free and liberal country in the Middle East, is the only democracy in the world whose citizens are singled out and personally boycotted for the policy decisions of their government. It is outrageous that the University of Regina’s Student Union would endorse such a repugnant campaign. We call on students, academics, and alumni of the university to give voice to their conscience by contacting the Student Union and university President to demand the repeal of this resolution.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization that creates and implements strategies for the purpose of improving the quality of Jewish life in Canada and abroad, increasing support for Israel, and strengthening the Canada-Israel relationship.
 
For more information, contact:
Steve McDonald
Associate Director, Communications
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
416-953-4417

 
 
JNF partners for February Casual Day for a Cause
February 9, 2012     16 Shevat 5772
Dear JK – Grade 12 Families,
On February 24th, Gray Academy of Jewish Education is partnering with the Jewish National Fund Manitoba & Saskatchewan Region for the February 2012 “Casual Day for a Cause”. 
For a Toonie ($2.00) your child will be able to purchase a leaf, label the leaf and pin it on the bare Acacia tree that will be displayed in the multi – purpose room (MPR). The goal of this project is to help sustain the Arava Valley in Israel. Acacia trees are the basis of the           eco-system, providing a source of nitrogen to the soil for farming. Its roots offer protection from soil erosion and its leaves and pods serve as fodder to nourish desert animals and livestock.
100% of the money raised from this Casual Day for a Cause will go towards purchasing Acacia trees to be planted in the Arava Valley.
Details of Casual Day for a Cause
·         On February 24th, your child is allowed to wear his/her own casual clothes
·         Each child will be able to purchase one leaf only.
  • JK – Gr. 6 will celebrating Kabbalat Shabbat together. A Tu B’Shvat cookie treat (from Gunns) will be served. 
·         Your child’s Teacher will start collecting Toonies ($2.00) for the February Casual Day for a Cause starting the week of February 13th.
·         Your child’s Teacher will have the leaves in his/her classroom for purchase starting the week of Feb. 13th until Feb. 24th.
 On behalf of JNF, I thank you in advance for your support.
Sincerely,
Samantha Loxton
Samantha Loxton
Program & Communications Coordinator
JNF Manitoba & Saskatchewan Region

 
 
Genealogist - Author – Lecturer find them...write the stories...leave a legacy

 

7 Feb 2012

I cannot find a fax number to have the publisher Xlibris of my grandfather's translated Yiddish and appended book Collected Writings send you a press

release. I have attached a copy of that press release and hope with all my
heart you will take a look at it.
 
My grandfather, Joseph J. Goodman, was part of Winnipeg's early Jewish history and I hope to honor his work, dedication and contribution. You could not be a more appropriate source to review his work and hopefully feature this book with a review.
 
 Xllibris will be pleased to send you a complimentary copy upon your request. I sincerely hope you will want to review it.
 
Most sincerely,
Hart Hoffman
 Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
 
 Harriet "Hart" Hoffman
 Genealogy...from the YHart
 
Genealogist - Author – Lecturer  find them...write the stories...leave a legacy
 
facebook.com/GENEALOGYfromtheHART
 

 
 
Statement on CBC Report on White Supremacists in Canada

February 2, 2012

Toronto, ON – Today, the CBC reported that hackers in Europe have exposed an international network of white supremacists, including a list of 74 Canadians involved with hate organizations.

In response, Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, made the following statement:

“We were disturbed to read today’s report, which reminds us that classical antisemitism continues to exist, and occasionally inspire violence, here in Canada.

“Such toxic hatred disgusts the overwhelming majority of Canadians and stands in stark contrast to Canada’s core values. Today’s report should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to remain vigilant in standing against hate, regardless of the community that is targeted.”

 

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization that creates and implements strategies for the purpose of improving the quality of Jewish life in Canada and abroad, increasing support for Israel, and strengthening the Canada-Israel relationship.

 For more information, contact:

Jordan Kerbel

Deputy Director of Communications

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

416-317-9517

[email protected]


 
 
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs Commends Expanded Iran Sanctions

January 31, 2012

Ottawa, ON – Today, the Government of Canada announced measures to enhance sanctions targeting Iranian nuclear proliferation.

The new measures target front companies used by the Iranian regime to circumvent existing sanctions, entities known for funneling weapons to the brutal regime in Syria, and three highly placed Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officials.

In response, David Koschitzky, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, made the following statement:

“We commend the government for this initiative, which exemplifies the important role Canada plays in the international effort to counter Iran’s illegal drive to obtain nuclear weapons. We are gratified that Canada continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with likeminded nations in taking peaceful measures to confront the Iranian nuclear threat.

 “The most recent UN report from the International Atomic Energy Agency paints a grim picture of Iran on the cusp of developing the capability for nuclear weapons. Combined with its funneling of weapons and funds to terror groups around the world, the Iranian regime poses a grave threat to international peace and security. If these sanctions fail to convince the regime to abandon its dangerous course, Canada must be prepared to take further peaceful steps in response, such as listing the IRGC as a terrorist entity.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization that creates and implements strategies for the purpose of improving the quality of Jewish life in Canada and abroad, increasing support for Israel, and strengthening the Canada-Israel relationship.

 For more information, contact:

Steve McDonald
Associate Director, Communications
(416) 953-4417
[email protected]


 
 
Light meal with spiritual light, songs, stories, teaching and good company

31 Jan 2012

Light meal with spiritual light, songs, stories, teachings and good company

 

Saturday, February 4 at 6:30pm at Congregation Shaarey Zedek

Justin Jaron Lewis

Winnipeg


 
 
Looking for Grape leaves, can anyone help?

30 Jan 2012

I am hoping that you will be able to provide me with this information I am
having a heck of a time finding his item grape leaves but, they can’t be in
brine either dried or fresh any help I can’t have vinegar at all.

Esther Haver


 
 
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs Commemorates Raoul Wallenberg

JANUARY 17, 2012

Toronto, ON – In honour of Raoul Wallenberg Day, which was established ten years ago by Parliament to be observed every January 17th, David Koschitzky, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, issued the following statement:

“Raoul Wallenberg Day serves two important purposes. First, it reminds us that, just as we must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust, we must honour those who took action to save lives at great personal risk.

“Known as the ‘Righteous Among the Nations’, countless individuals resisted the cruel power of Nazi Germany and demonstrated that even a single person of conscience can have an extraordinary impact. Raoul Wallenberg’s tireless and solitary campaign, in which he used his diplomatic post to provide safe haven for the doomed Jews of Hungary, is credited with saving thousands.

“As Canadian Jews, we are blessed to be citizens of a country that values freedom and human rights as universal, core principles. Indeed, these are the bedrock values of a country that sacrificed so much in the fight against Nazi Germany – something for which all Canadians can be proud.

“This speaks to the second purpose of Raoul Wallenberg Day. For it is a day that should inspire us not only to preserve these values for future generations, but to continue to take a firm stand against evil. We can best honour his legacy by speaking up and taking action on behalf of those who face persecution around the world.”

 

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization that creates and implements strategies for the purpose of improving the quality of Jewish life in Canada and abroad, increasing support for Israel, and strengthening the Canada-Israel relationship.

 For more information, contact:

Steve McDonald
Associate Director, Communications
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
[email protected] / (416) 953-4417


 
 
RE HOWARD MORRY'S ARTICLE RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE

 

 

Jan 14, 2012

Rhonda
 
I am writing you to express my disappointment for including my picture in the article that was sent to you by Howard Morry entitled:
 
Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. 
 
Showing my picture with Howard in this article gives the reader the impression that I am in support of the position that Howard stated in the article. 
 
As you are aware, Howard and I debated this point at great length at the Arab Jewish Dialogue chapter meeting on Wednesday November 16th 
 
At that meeting I disagreed with Howard's view of the subject and gave my rational for not agreeing with this position as it is an obstacle for peace. The Palestinian Authority already stated they will never accept Mr. Netanyahu‘s position which he placed as a precondition for negotiation. 
 
We are now at square one, obstacles are again put in place such as this one and the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem which have resulted in stalled negotiations and continuation of the conflict. At the meeting I stated that both parties should seize the moment and set down at the negation table and be open for discussing all the issues without preconditions. Changes are taking place rapidly in the Middle East and the time has come to have the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians resolved, this is past due as well. As co-chair of the Arab Jewish dialogue, I am proud of the fact that we can debate all the issues freely in a secure environment without any fear of negative labelling. We don't have to agree with one another on all issues, all we seek is understanding of each other's narratives and hopefully find common ground.

 Sincerely, Ab Freig

 

Editor's response: I put in the photo of you next to Howard becasue you are co-Chairs of the Arab-Jewish dialogue and I thougth it was a nice photo of the two of you. By no means did I mean to imply that you agreed with the content of Howards's article. Similarly, when newspapers have photos of world leaders next to each  other it by no mean's implies that they agree with eachother on  a given point. However, given your letter, I have taken down the photo.

For the record Ab, I think that Netanyahu's position is not that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is a pre-condition to negotiations, but that this recognition will be required  in order for any peace agreement to ever be made, otherwise it will not signify an end to the conflect but  only a prelude to the next stage of the conflict.

Ab-Can you clarify what you disagree with in particular in Howard's article. It is  a lenghy piece and he said a lot. i.e. Do you agree with Howard that the crux of the dispute is that Israel's neighbours haven't accepted a Zionist state in the region, or do you think that Netanyahu has no interest in peace and is simply stalling by introducing irrelevant conditions ?   

Ab Freig's response: As I mentioned above, neither party should place obstacles they know would discourage peace negotiations.

Editor's response: For the record Ab, I think that Netanyahu's position is not that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is a pre-condition to negotiations, but that this recognition will be required in order for any peace agreement to ever be made, otherwise it will not signify an end to the conflect but only a prelude to the next stage of the conflict.


 
 
Panetta: Developing Nukes, Blocking the Strait are "Red Lines"

9 January 2012

Hi, just wanted to make sure you saw this important discussion with Secretary of Defense Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Dempsey on yesterday’s Face the Nation.

From CBS: “Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined some red lines when it comes to Iran in an interview on Face the Nation Sunday, saying the U.S. would not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon or to block the Strait of Hormuz, which is a key passageway for oil from the Middle East.”
WATCH the discussion here: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3460_162-57354645/panetta-iran-cannot-develop-nukes-block-strait/?tag=contentBody%3bcbsCarousel

KEY EXCERPTS
Panetta on Iran:
I think -- I think the international strategy here, and this really has been an international strategy, to apply sanctions, to apply diplomatic pressure on them, to try to convince Iran that, if -- you know, if they want to do what's right, they need to join the international family of nations and act in a responsible way.
I think the pressure of the sanctions; I think the pressure of diplomatic pressures from everywhere -- Europe, the United States, elsewhere -- is working to put pressure on them, to make them understand that they cannot continue to do what they're doing.
Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they're trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that's what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us.
Panetta on Military Option:
Well, you don't take any option off the table. I think that's extremely important. Don't take any option off the table. But the responsible thing to do right now is to keep putting diplomatic and economic pressure on them to force them to do the right thing and to make sure that they do not make the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon.
Dempsey on the U.S. Has the Capability to take out Iran’s Nuclear Program:
Well, I would rather not discuss the degree of difficulty in any way encourage them to read anything into that. But I will say that my responsibility is to encourage the right degree of planning, to understand the risks associated with any kind of military option, in some cases to position assets, to provide those options in a timely fashion. And all those activities are going on.
SCHIEFFER: Could we, if we had to, without using nuclear weapons ourselves take out their nuclear capability?
DEMPSEY: Well, I certainly want them to believe that that's the case.
SCHIEFFER: Well, is it?
DEMPSEY: I absolutely want them to believe that that's the case.

Panetta on Military Options if Iran Moves Towards a Nuclear Weapon:
I think they need to know that if they take that step that they're going to get stopped.

Panetta on Strait of Hormuz:
We made very clear that the United States will not tolerate blocking of the Straits of Hormuz. That's another red line for us. And we will respond to that.

Dempsey on Iran’s Ability to Block the Strait of Hormuz:
They've invested in capabilities that could, in fact, for a period of time block the Strait of Hormuz. We've invested in capabilities to ensure if that happens, we can defeat that. And so the simple answer is yes they can block it. Of course that is, as well, a -- we've described that as an intolerable act.
And it's not just intolerable for us, it's intolerable to the world. But we would take action and reopen the straits.
 
Panetta on Israeli Military Action against Iran:
I think, you know, our preference is that the international community, including Israel, ought to work together on this issue. We have common cause here. We're not interested in them developing a nuclear weapon. We are not interested in them proliferating violence throughout that region. We are not interested in them trying to assist in terrorism. We are not interested in them trying to destabilize governments in that region or any place else. We have common cause here. And the better approach is for us to work together and not act...
… If the Israelis made that decision, we would have to be prepared to protect our forces in that situation. And that's what we'd be concerned about.
 
As always, feel free to get in touch to discuss further. Best, Ari

Ari Goldberg
Spokesperson • Director of Media Relations
[email protected]
AIPAC • The American Israel Public Affairs Committee
 251 H Street, , Washington, DC 20001


 
 
 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

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