Friday, March 29, 2013

Policies and the Law

This letter was published in The Jerusalem Post Magazine, March 29, 2013. A copy was also sent to President Obama.

As an American who resides part-time in Israel, I have long been astounded by the counterproductive strategies of the executive branch of the US government.

The explanations given by Efraim Cohen ("undiplomatic severance," Letters, March 15), former cultural attache at the only American embassy in the world which is not located in the host country's capital, omit crucial facts which show the policies Cohen describes are in contravention of American law.

The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, passed overwhelmingly by Congress, states "Jerusalem should remain an undivided city," that it "should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel" and that the US Embassy in Israel should be "established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999," while giving the president the authority to delay the relocation.

All the more absurd is Cohen's explanation that the consulate in Jerusalem represents the US vis-a-vis the Palestinians. This is akin to Great Britain having a consulate in Washington for the Cubans while locating its embassy in New York.

Moreover, statements by American officials regarding negotiations over the status of Jerusalem, including a possible division, clearly conflict with the official American policy signed into law by President Clinton nearly two decades ago. The actions of the executive branch are also counterproductive to any peace process, since they encourage Arab intransigence that is the heart of the conflict.

One of the most productive actions President Obama could take would be to finally move the US embassy to where it belongs, in Jerusalem, and move the consulateto Ramallah.

Alan H. Stein

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

BDS and Abraham's Tent

(This was sent by Maurice Ostroff.  You can find his group at!forum/maurice-ostroff.)

This year in Cape Town, opponents of BDS decided to show another side to the coin. Although totally outmatched by the well-financed and professionally organized BDS movement, these Capetonians adopted a proactive, imaginative approach with an “Israel Peace Week.”

At the center is an enormous “Abraham’s Tent” on the main plaza of the University of Cape Town campus. There, visitors will enjoy the patriarch’s hospitality – falafel, pita, Israeli salad, coffee and juices.

To support the Capetonians a new voluntary organization in Israel known as TRUTH BE TOLD (TBT) in cooperation with the IDC Herzliya and the SA Zioniist Federation in SA organized to send five Ethiopian students to South Africa to appear on campuses and  among non Jewish and Jewish groups. 

It was really heartwarming to meet these students at a briefing with TBT before they left. They are charming, sincere and intelligent. They are proud of their African Jewish heritage and proud to be Israelis.  All have either served in the IDF or completed meaningful national service.

And this is the reaction from one of the Capetonians who hosted the students
"Your five superb Israeli/Jewish/Ethiopian IDC students arrived in CT last week.
We could not have had any better emissaries to dispel the Israel Apartheid analogy and present a very different Israel to the one depicted in South Africa. 
As an Israeli and as a member of the Jewish/Zionist community I was so proud of them.
They spent 2 days with our Jewish youth in our Jewish day schools interacting with the kids and enabling them to see beyond what they read or hear in the media.
They have gone onto campus interacted with the students, addressed church service and spoke to 'man in the street', the bouncer at the club etc etc and dispelled many preconceived ideas about Jews and Israel
So,  thank you
Tamar "
Click here for more


PS. Diarize the evening of May 13 for a panel discussion organized by TBT on the information war to be  moderated by IBA personality Leah Zinder.  In addition to the panel discussion, one of the students will report back briefly on the events in Cape Town.