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June 5, 2009

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m PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 5, 2009 By Stewart Ain New York Jewish Week NEW YORK--The Israeli government launched a po- litical offensive Monday, May 25 to convince the Obama administration to allow se tt! - ment expansion in return for dismantling illegal outposts, a position supported by the in- fluential chairman of a House subcommittee. "Internal growth is not an obstacle--it is life," said the congressman, Gary Acker- man (D-L. I.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. "There is no moral equiva- lence between settlements and terrorist activity," he said by phone shortly after leaving a 90-minute meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. "Bibi mentioned settlements," Ackerman continued, using Netanyahu's nickname. "He pointed out that unlike previ- ous administrations that said they would not build them but built them, he is not building new settlements. But he has a position that you cannot stop people on the issue of internal growth." Ackerman said he sub- scribed to the position of a Kadima Knesset member, Ot- niel Schneller, whowas quoted as saying:"Iwill not lend ahand to a dictate preventing my daughters from giving birth to my grandchildren." Ackerman's comments came the same day Dan Meridor, Israel's minister of Intelligence Agencies, flew to London to meet George Mitchell, America's special Middle East envoy. He was sent to convince him that "natural growth" should be permitted in the major settle- ment blocs in return for the dismantling of illegal West Bank outposts. Meridor was expected to refer to an April 14, 2004 letter to Prime MinisterAriel Sharon from President George W. Bush in which Bush acknowledged realities on the ground" and said it would be "unrealis- tic to expect that the outcome of final-status negotiationswill be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." Ackerman said there is a difference between natural growth and "building settle- ments on land you are nego- tiating about or that may be on the negotiating block in the future. It would be unfair to everybody" to build on that land. Media reports suggested that Netanyahu appeared to be agreeing to President Barack Obama's request that Israel must make strides on achiev- ing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in order for the U. S. to successfully win international support in keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. During a meeting of his Li- kud Party last Monday, Netan- yahu said he would soon have to remove the illegal outposts and then concentrate on the Iranian nuclear threat. He said he hoped to do that through dialogue. But Peter Medding, a professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jeru- salem, said he is going to have a hard time convincing illegal settlers to leave peaceably. "The settlers are apprehen- sive-afraid that the govern- ment will start first with the illegal settlements and then expand to others," he said. "They don'twantany changes. They don't want any Israeli territorial withdrawal. They see the illegal outposts as a wedge--that once it [disman- tling] starts it will continue. That's why they will be putting pressure on the government to desist." Medding said also that settlers found upsetting the comments this week of the head of the Pale~tinian ne- gotiating team with Israel, Ahmed Qureia, about a future Palestinian state. Qureia told the newspaper Haaretz that Palestinians would permit Israelis to hold dual citizenship if they found themselves living in settlement blocs turned over to Palestinian control. Talk ofa Palestinian state is premature, Medding stressed, because "on the streets of Jerusalem they are not talk- ing of a two-state solution but a three-state solution." He was referring to the fact that Hamas, which the U. S. and Israel call a terrorist or- ganization, controls the Gaza Strip; Qureia and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas control the West Bank. Although some observers believe Netanyahu's position on the illegal outposts was to accommodate Obama in order to win American help on Iran, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said last Tuesday that the two issues are unrelated. "We need to find a way to explain to the Americans that there is no link between outposts and Iran," Barak was quoted as telling reporters. "It's not as though the minute an illegal outpost is dismantled the Iranianswill abandon their nuclear aspirations. Therefore, these issues must not be di- rectly hinged on one another." "The Iranian threat does not face the State of Israel alone. Iran is threatening the stability of the entire region, as well as many European and Muslim states," Barakadded. "The free world, moderate elements in the region and Israel see eye to eye on this threat." Ackerman, who was in Is- rael as part of a three-member congressional delegation, said that in his meeting with Netanyahu, the idea that there was linkage betwe_en the ~vo issues was never suggested. "He didn't link itto me," Acker- man said. "They are separate issues. Do they impact on each other and the political climate? Yes. But they are not related or linked. Iran is not developing a bomb because of sympathy with the Palestin- ians. And if the Palestinian issue is solved which we all would like to see--that would not solve any other problem in this part of the world." Abbas was expected to press for a total Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank and Jerusalem when he met with Obama in the White House May 30. But at least one ob- server believed Obama may not go along. "I think Obama wants to get [Israeli-Palestinian negotiations] renewed and will pressure Abbas and Bibi into renewing talks without conditions," said Yossi Alpher, a Middle East analyst and co- editor of an Israeli-Palestinian online dialogue, bitterlemons. org. Qureia in his newspaper interview said that before the By Jacob Berkman NEW YORK (JTA)--In the coming days, the leadership picture of the central organi- zation of the North American Jewish federation system is expected to become clearer. Ever since the CEO of the United Jewish Communities, Howard Rieger, announced that he would be leaving his post at the end of August, the big question around the organization has been "Who will replace Howard?" Now it appears that a decision could be made within the next week or so, according to several sources. For months itwas rumored that Misha Galperin, the exec- utive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, was the front-runner for the spot. But, according to several sources, he is out of the running. Though other names have been floated, such as Jehuda Reinharz, the president of Brandeis University, and Morlie Levin, the national executive vice president of Hadassah, the name with the most buzz now seems to be that of Jerry Silverman, the president of the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Silverman would be an interesting choice. He has received universal praise for his work in turning the camp foundation into one of the most successful and innova- tive Jewish organizations, and has helped pump tens of mil- lions ofdoUars into developing the Jewish camping world, in the process attracting tens of thousands of children who had not attended Jewish overnight camps. He also would be the first professional head of the UJC that came from completely outside the federation system (Rieger and his two predces- sors served as chief executives of big-city Jewish federations peace talks could begin, Israel mustalso evacuate all outposts established since 2001 and all "internal roadblocks that dissect the West Bank," In the past, Abbas has also said no talks would resume until Israel committed to atwo-state solution. David Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Peace, said he believes Netanyahu left his meeting with Obama believing that the president "shares his concerns that an Iran with nuclear weapons would have a destabilizing impact on the region." And Makovsky, who is co-author with Dennis Ross of the forthcomingbook, "Myths, Illusions and Peace," said Netanyahu also understands that the "settlement issue is not going away. He therefore would like to create a set of understandings on the issue before Obama meets this week with Abbas and before his speech nextweek in Cairo." Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University, said it was unclear to him what Obama's reaction would be to Abbas' demands. "These meetings are to- wards developing a policy and I don't expect a clearAmerican In On new UJC Kathy Manning is in line to become the first female chairperson of the United Jewish Communities. before joing UJC). So Silver- man is not necessarily a safe choice in terms of appeasing a federation system whose lay leadership is putting intense pressure on the national or- ganization to downsize and become more efficient. It has been rumored for months that members of the UJC search committee seek- ing Rieger's replacement favor bringing in an outsider--elic- iting grumbles from some of the old guard of the federation system's lay leadership who would like to see the spot filled by an executive from one of the largest federations. Hiring an outsider also could further rankle some who already were upset with the other major leader- ship news from earlier this month---that a nominating committee had tapped Kathy Manning to be the next chair of the umbrella organization of the NorthAmerican Jewish federation system. Manning, who has served as the chair of the UJC's execu- tive committee since 2006 and heads the search committee searching for Rieger's replace- ment, is a reformer who wants to see the federation system policy for some time," he said. "They [the Obama adminis- tration] are still learning the complexities." Netanyahu himself made clear last Sunday that he has no intention of limiting construc- tion within Jerusalem, which he vowed two weeks ago would forever remain in Israeli hands. "United Jerusalem is Israel's capital," he said. "Jerusalem was always ours andwillalways be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided." Last Sunday, a U. S. State Department spokesman said Jerusalem's future remains to be decided. "Jerusalem is a final-status issue," the spokes- man said. "Israel and the Pales- tinians have agreed to resolve its status during negotiations. We will support their efforts to reach agreements on all final status issues." The State De- partment position is nothing new, Ackerman pointed out. "That Jerusalem is the undi- vided capital of Israel is some- thing to which I subscribe," he said. "But what happens to Jerusalem remains to be seen. [Former Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni spoke of two states for two people. But can two people share a capital?" Reprinted with permission from the New York Jewish Week, and the UJC evolve--and the favored choice of outgoing chairman Joe Kanfer. If her nomination is ap: proved at the annual UJC Gen- eral Assembly, which will be held in Washington in November, she would become the firstwoman selected to the organization's top volunteer post since its creation from the merger of the United Jew- ish Appeal and the Council of Jewish Federations in 1999. But there is a potential pit- fall: Manning is from Greens- boro, N.C., a small-market federation town. As much resistance as Kan- fer has faced during the past two years for his sometimes aggressive moves to overhaul the UJC and bring the coun- try's federations in line with the national organization, the CEO of GOJO Industries (the maker of Purell hand sani- tizer) perhaps has received even more pushback from some corners of the federa- tion world because he is from a small-market federation, Akron, Ohio. Some argue that a system that receives most of its money from large federation markets such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore should have a lay leader from an area with mega money. Time will tell if Manning, a graduate of Harvard Uni- versity and the University of Michigan Law School, runs into more of the same. It's not an easy time to be the top lay or professional leader of the organization. The UJC recently went through its second round of layoffs in the pastyear, with 31 employees let go as part of an 18 -percent budget cut--from $37 million this year to $30.3 in 2009-10. Meanwhile, the organization is still struggling to define its mission. This article was adapted from, JTA's philanthropy biog.