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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 9, 2014 J Street From page 1A to the communal tent to an organization that represents a substantial segment of Jewish opinion on Israel." Jewish leaders have used a "big tent" metaphor to de- scribe which views on Israel and U.S. foreign policy are encompassed within the community's consensus. Sinee its formation in 2008, J Street has been a frequent subject of debates on how far that tent stretches, and the group's bid to join the Confer- ence of Presidents proved no different. The Forward reported that at an April 11 meeting during which J Street had failed towin the endorsement of a crucial committee for membership in the Confer- ence, J Street was questioned over donations it has re- ceived from liberal billion- aire George Soros--whose foundations have come under scrutiny for allegedly funding anti-Israel groups--and over the lobby's support of the United Nations-sponsored Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of war crimes against the Palestinians. Furthermore, J Street was accused of collaborating with anti-Israel groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine. Some Conference mem- bers were also troubled that J Street, if voted in, would have been the only organi- zation in the Conference of Presidents that endorses or raises money for political candidates through a politi- cal action committee. Andrea Levin, executive director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Obama From page 2A parties in Congress, however, blamed the Palestinians. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Ap- propriations Committee, said she would initiate steps in the Congress to defund the Palestinian Authority. She said the only thing that would stop her from the defunding path would be ifAbbas were to reverse course on the agree- ment with Hamas. "At this point the law is clear, their actions are clear and the path forward is clear," Lowey told JTA. Psaki said it was too early to determine whether the agreement necessitated a cutoff in aid according to U.S. law, which bans the delivery Reporting in America, and a Conference of Presidents member, told that J Street is taking positions "totally out of sync with the Jewish mainstream," noting its opposition to a 2011 con- gressional letter criticizing Palestinian incitement in the wake of the Itamar massacre that killed five members of an Israeli family, and more re- cently, its refusal to condemn the Fatah-Hamas unity deal. In an op-ed for last year, however, J Street Execu- tive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami called his group's position on Israel "the same as that of the Israeli government, the Obama administration and the vast bulk of the Ameri- can Jewish community." "At the end of the day, J Street exists to help Israel reach the deal it needs and wants so much and which is so cen- tral to its future as a Jewish state and as a democracy," wrote Ben-Ami, referring to a two-state solution, whose achievement is central to J Street's stated mission. Yet Sarah Stern, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Endowment for Middle East Truth think tank and policy group, believes members of Congress are often confused about where J Street stands on Israel. She noted that J Street "has consistently tak- en the same positions as the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the National Iranian American Council (NIAC)." CAIR has been accused of being a front group for the Hamas terrorist group, and NIAC routinely takes anti-Israel positions. "It's hard enough for mem- bers of Congress to listen to a growing Muslim and Arab demographic, but when they have a Jewish constitu- of U.S. funds to designated terrorist groups. Echoing Lowey's call for a cutoff was Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Middle East subcommittee who authored the 2006 law that bans funding to Hamas. Ros-Lehtinen said that Secretary of State John Kerry "must make Abu Mazen [Abbas] understand in no uncertain terms that opening up the Palestinian Authority to include Hamas will trigger the cutting off of all U.S. as- sistance to it." Other influential lawmak- ers, including Rep. Kay Grang- er (R-Texas), the chairwoman of the Appropriations Com- mittee's foreign operations subcommittee, said the unity accord jeopardized funding ency that is basically siding with the enemies of Israel, I think it's extraordinarily deleterious for the Jewish community here in the U.S.," Stern told Georgetown University pro- fessor and Middle East analyst Moran Stern, meanwhile, does not believe it is par- ticularly relevant to be ask- ing whether or not J Street is a "mainstream" Ameri- can Jewish organization. "The surge of J Street is a fact," he said. "What the Conference of Presidents and other Jewish organiza- tions in the U.S. that might have conflicting views on J Street are doing, and I think are doing very wisely, is they are identifying the surge of J Street. They recognize it and they adapt accordingly." Before the vote, a number of Conference of Presidents member groups publicly expressed their intent to sup- port J Street's application. Ameinu--which says its "connects liberal American Jews with a progressive Israel"--posted on Twit- ter, "Ameinu will vote for J Street's inclusion in the Conf. of Presidents. They meet all of the requirements. Simple." In ablog post for the Times of Israel, Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs wrote that there should not be an "ideologi- cal litmus test" for joining the umbrella organization. "If the Conference begins to limit its membership based on organizations' views on specific policy issues, it ceases t O represent the entire American Jewish commu- nity," Jacobs wrote. The leadership of Con- servative Judaism's congre- gational umbrella group echoed the call for accept- 237849561 59,4176832 186325947 972458316 648713-259 315962478 851237694 469581723 723694185 for the Palestinian Authority. "This is an irresponsible path forward and this agree- ment should be abandoned immediately if the Palestinian Authority is serious about the peace process," Granger said in a statement. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Com- mittee, told JTA that the composition of the Palestin- ian government would be key to determining whether the approximately $400 million in U.S. aid to the Palestinians is cut. "Will it be a Hamas-domi- nated government or a Fatah- dominated governmentwith a couple of Hamas ministers?" he asked. "We have to make a judgment." Benjamin From page 4A controlling the media. Course creditwas dangled to students in eight courses for attending Barghouti's hate speech. At NYU, Prof. Lisa Dug- gan hosted a conference for students that constituted nothing more than a platform for 21 anti-Israel activists to spew their hatred of the Jewish state and promote a boycott intended to hasten its elimination. Fully aware of its unscholarly, anti-Semitic, politically motivated purpose, Duggan wrote on Facebook, "PLEASE DO NOT post or circulate the flyer. We are try- ing to avoid press, protestors and public attention. ' ing a diversity of views. "The Conference of Presi- dents is designed as a forum in which the Jewish commu- nity, in all its diversity, can come together to discuss the major issues of the day and speak with world leaders and organizations as representa- tives of the Jewish people," said United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism CEO Rabbi Steven Wernick and International President Rich- ard Skolnik. On the flip side, the Zion- ist Organization of America (ZOA) campaigned aggres- sively against J Street's bid. Ahead of the vote, ZOA distributed 18 bullet points for why it believed J Street should not be admitted to the Conference of Presidents, and issued press releases slam- ming J Street's statements on the Palestinian unity deal and Secretary of State John Kerry's remarkwarning that Israel could become an "apartheid state." Reacting to criticism of Kerry's comments, J Street had said, "Instead of put- ting energy into attacking Secretary Kerry, those who are upsetwith the secretary's use of the term should put their energyinto opposing and changing the policies that are leading Israel down this road." ZOA then said, "J Street has again demonstrated that it is an extremist group, hostile to Israel, by support- ing Secretary of State John Kerry's 'apartheid' accusa- tion against Israel." Moran Stern, however, told that from his observations of the culture of U.S. Jewish organiza- tions, he has witnessed a "reservoir" of talented and educated young American Jews among the J Street ranks, and questioned the premise of abandoning that cadre of Israel advocates. "The question is what do you do with that reservoir," he said, explaining that leaving out J Street might "play into the hands of those who are anti-Israel because they will say, 'Look at the Conference of Presidents that claims to be pro-Israel and pro-Jewish, and here there is a group like J Street that supports the two-state solution and all that, and when they try to be part of that club they are being denied.'" The professor added that given J Street's popularity on college campuses, it is im- portant not to neglect those young American Jews who care about Israel but may have a different approach than tra- ditional pro-lsrael advocates. "I think that while you may not accept certain ideas, J Street certainly doesn't fall under this category," he said. "They do not call for the one-state solution, for the destruction of Israel, for boycotting Israel. Quite on the contrary." But Dr. Charles Jacobs, president of Boston-based Americans for Peace and Tolerance, the group behind the new documentary "The J Street Challenge," explained that J Street breaks a long- honored tradition between American Jews and Israel. "[American Jews] can freely criticize Jewish leaders in Israel--we can do it publicly, but we who do not live there or have our children on the front lines do not have the right to use our American power to circumvent Israeli democracy, and to try to lobby to get an American adminis- tration to impose our views and policies on the Israelis... J Street's entire program is designed to break this long- standing agreement," Jacobs told Leno From page 1A land, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and thesevere eco- nomic downturn in Detroit. "It is a great honor to be invited to host this prestigious event," said Leno. "I am very excited, this will be my first visit to Israel and I can't wait to be a part of the Genesis Prize ceremony." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present Mi- chael Bloomberg with the $1 million prize, which is endowed by Genesis Philan- thropy Group and will be awarded annually in partner- ship with the Prime Minister's Office and the Jewish Agency for Israel. The Genesis Prize is a symbol of a movement to honor and enhance Jewish identity around the world and spark a far-reaching and inclusive con- versation about Jewish values, cultureandheritage, especially among young people. Natan Sharansky, chair- man of the executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel and chairman of the selection committee of the Genesis Prize, added, "The develop- ment and strengthening of Jewish identity in Israel and the Diaspora contributes to the welfare of human- ity across the world. Only by modern-day Jews' better understanding their Jewish values and heritage can we fully realize our potential to build on the achievements of the past. The Genesis Prize is an important milestone in the workofthe JewishAgency, the State of Israel and Jewish philanthropists towards the union and the strengthening of the Jewish people." The evening will include remarks from Bloomberg and Sharansky; highlight a piano performance by Evgeny Kissin and will feature Israel's beloved national singer Rita, the outstanding Tararam dance group, iconic actress and comedian Hanah Laszlo and the acclaimed Raanana Symphonette Orchestra. Mourners From page 3A reality of the death may take weeks and months. Another reality is that deal- ing with the pain of loss can bring about reconciliation. Keep your treasured memories alive, whether it is through photos, books, heirlooms or the like. Your relationship with your loved one can continue, albeit in a different manner. In Judaism, remembrances of the person who died are built into our practices; we remember all the time--such as saying the Mourner's Kaddish prayer and reciting the Memorial Prayer, Yiskor, four times a year in the synagogue. Everybody is different with regard to their journey through grief, but these rituals provide an anchor during the journey. The grief support group is a safe haven for opening up and talking to others in the room. Knowing that you are not alone and having the support of others who are also mourning the loss of a loved one is tremendous. Developing a new self-identity, searching for meaning, and receiving support from others are the subjects of the three remaining weeks and will be featured in my next article. Our loved ones are always with us. Remembering the past becomes the gateway to embracing a new future. Yvonne David is a writer and an award-winning au- thor. For further information, please visit www.appletree- The impact of this academic Israel-bashing on students has been enormous. Stu- dents have reported feeling emotionally and intellectually harassed and intimidated by their professors, to the point that they are reluctant or afraid to express a view that is not anti-Israel in their classes. They are often afraid to come forward and confront the professor or complain to the university for fear of retaliation. Sadly, Jewish students who have spoken out have been vilified and attacked for even trying to call attention to the anti-Semitic behavior they are experiencing. For example, at a University of California, Davis anti-Isra- el "occupation" rally last November, a student who expressed concern about the anti-Semitic banners displayed at the protest Was physically assaulted by a protestor who screamed in his face, "You are racist and you should die in hell." Who bears the most blame for the tsunami of campus anti-Semitism? University administrators. Distressing- ly, administrators routinely turn a blind eye to this long-standing and pervasive anti-Jewish bigotry and ig- nore Jewish students' pleas for help. Language and be- havior that would never be tolerated from students or faculty when directed against other campus minorities goes unchallenged by administra- tors when directed against Jewish students. The primary responsibility for addressing campus anti-Semitism rests with university administra- tors. Unfortunately, they are missing in action when it comes to protecting Jewish students rights and ensuring their safety. Administrators: It's time to stop hiding. Tammi Rossman-Benja- min is a lecturer at the Univer- sity of California, Santa Cruz and cofounder of the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organi- zation that combats campus anti-Semitism.