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June 13, 2014

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 13, 2014 9 By Noam E. Marans its desperation by publishing a virulently anti-Israel document, "Zionism Unsettled: A NEWYORK (JTA)--In the charming movie Congregational Study Guide," available for sale "Groundhog Day," Bill Murray's character on the Presbyterian Church's website. In this repeatedly relives the same day until learning document, the church's Israel/Palestine Mis- from the repetition transforms him from lout sion Network openly admits that its argument to worthy wooer of his colleague, played by with Israel is not about the Israeli-Palestinian Andie MacDowell. territorial dispute but rather the entire Zionist The "Groundhog Day" of Presbyterian- enterprise and Israel's very existence. Jewish relations is coming soon to a theater This screedpresents Zionism as a"false the- near you, but if we do not fully engage the ology," "heretical doctrine," "evil," a "pathol- issue, a Hollywood ending is unlikely, ogy," "racism," "colonizing" and responsible The biennial General Assembly of the Pres- for "cultural genocide." byterian Church (USA)has regularly included When asked for its response to "Zionism an unhealthy confrontation between pro- and Unsettled," the denomination's leadership said, anti-Israel voices. This struggle is out of sync "Our Church has a long history of engaging with the norms of American interreligious many points ofviewwhen it comes to dialogue comity, on critical issues facing the world around For the sixth time since 2004--this time in us--it's who we are, part of our DNA." Detroit on June 14-21--a minority within the Really? Are there no limits? Does Presbyte- denomination will attempt to convince fellow rian DNA include a document that respected Presbyterians that Israeli-Palestinian peace Presbyterian theologians have labeled anti- can be encouraged by anti-Israel resolutions, Semitic and anti-Judaic? divestment from companies doing business While the BDS minions are harming the with Israel, boycottofIsraeliproductsproduced Presbyterian-Jewish relationship, it is not in the territories, labeling Israel an apartheid yet beyond repair. Jews and Presbyterians state and replacing church support for a two- can still prevent a minority of Presbyterians statesolutionwithaone-statevisionsignifying from using the ignominious demonization the end of Israel as a Jewish state, and delegitimization of Israel from driving an In 2012, at the last biennial, a divestment irreparable wedge between the two religious proposal was narrowly defeated by only two communities. votes out of 664 cast. Despite multiple defeats, First, Jews and Presbyterians must clearly divestmentsupportershavenotgivenup.They reaffirm their commitment to a two-state are back with new tactics, solution achieved through direct negotiations Why is this General Assembly different between Israel and the Palestinians. from all others? That solution envisions a future Palestinian The Presbyterian BDS camp has revealed state living side-by-side in peace and security new gauge comes next? By Abraham Foxman only one factor. Other indicators, such as how many anti-Semitic incidents there are, The Anti-Defamation League's Global 100 how secure the Jewish community feels how Index of Anti-Semitism is the broadest public anti-Semitism plays out in politics, culture,, opinion survey of attitudes toward Jews ever entertainment and religion, are all elements conducted. It is one of the most important in assessing the extent of anti-Semitism in a efforts we have undertaken in our history as; particular society. an organization. In polling anti-Semitic attitudes, this survey The survey was conducted in more than 100 plays an important role in setting the stage countries and territories, and 53,100 people for the broader discussion of anti-Semitism were interviewed, representing4 billion adults in varying societies. around the world. As the organization primarily responsible Our basic findings were sobering: More fordealingwithanti-Semitism, ADLfrequently than one-quarter of the people surveyed encounters comments suggesting we have a (26 percent) harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, vestedinterestinfindinganti-Semitism.With The stereotypes receiving the most support this global survey, we do not seek to exagger- worldwide were those questioning the loyalty ate the extent of global anti-Semitism; rather, of Jews and those asserting excessive Jewish we want to document empirically how things power and influence. And, despite decades of actually are. efforts to promote Holocaust awareness, only Indeed, one of the many fascinating aspects 33 percent of those surveyed are aware of the of this poll is the positive side of the story, Holocaust and believe that it is accurately highlighted by countries where anti-Semitic described by historians, attitudes are absent or relatively minor. We We approach this project with a sense of see that in several Asian countries, like Laos, pride but also humility, knowing that it pro- Vietnam and the Philippines. We see lower vides direction rather than definitive answers, numbers in several West European countries The survey will form a baseline for further such as Sweden and the Netherlands. And, considerationofanti-SemitismandHolocaust in general, English-speaking countries have awareness, significantly better attitudes than the world Most importantly, the survey will, we hope, at large toward Jews. begin conversations among governments, These positive findings are important. They scholars, NGOsandothersaroundtheworldon show how varied attitudes are and suggest the attitudes toward Jews, and lead to new initia- need for further investigation to determine tives to counteract these pernicious attitudes, what common factors bring people in some In this regard, a few comments are in order, countries to have more positive attitudes We recognize that polling public opinion, toward Jews. however important a barometer of the state of anti-Semitism in a particular country, is Foxman on page 15A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Assoc'mte Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Chris DeSouza Sodety Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Loft Apple Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley 0 Ira Sharkansky David Bomstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore with the Jewish state of Israel. BDS, in sharp contrast, encourages and promotes the ideol- ogy of those who do not accept Israel's exis- tence, and therefore must be rejected. Second, Presbyterian leadership must rein in the excesses of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network and its fellow travelers. To say that the network speaks to the church but not for the church is a cop-out. After all, the network is chartered by the church, and its propaganda is marketed by the church. Similarly, BDS proponents should not be allowed to turn GeneralAssembly committees discussing anti-Israel initiatives into kangaroo courts inwhich conclusions are predetermined and intimidation is used to silence other voices. In April 2014, the assembly's committee on Middle East issues deposed a moderator who dared to have a relationship with his local Jewish community and participate in interfaith trips to Israel. Where is the fairness and representativeness that are Presbyterian hallmarks? Third, Jewish religious leaders and laypeople are encouraged to reach out to their Presby- terian friends--clergy and lay--and tell them what is being done in their name. Let them know how central Israel is to your Jewishness and how hurtful this process has been. Make sure they know of the Jewish commitment to peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. Like Americans as a whole, American Christians overwhelmingly support the State of Israel, whose values and aspirations for peace they share. Presbyterians in the pews are no exception. But a vocal minority--with tacit approval from the church's leadership--has dominated the conversation, They cannot be allowed to turn back the clock on Presbyterian-Jewish relations. It's time for Presbyterians and Jews to re- claim their historic alliance on issues of mutual interest, includingworking together for Israeli- Palestinian peace. That would be a Hollywood ending--or, in this case, a beginning. Rabbi Noam E. Marans is the American Jewish Committee's director of lnterreligious and Intergroup Relations. y's leadership on By Edwin Black America grants the Palestinian Authority about $500 million annually. The fast-spinning money meter has already broken the $5 billion mark over the years. The annual financial infusion has been on autopilot as Israelis and Palestinians negotiated over the meters and metrics of a two-state solution. American money has been lavishly spent on Palestin- ians for One purpose: to encourage the peace process. Recently something changed. The Palestin- ian Authority unified with Hamas, making it the largest, best organized, and best-armed terrorist entity in the world. Hamas iong designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization, is well-known for showering Israeli civilians with rockets. Quickly dashing any hopes of change, Hamas did not disband its highly-armed and trained militias, vowed to never recognize Israel, and barred pursuing joint peace. Newspapers have been filled with headlines recently about how Congress is preparing to defund the Palestinian Authority because various federal laws make continued cash infusions under present conditions illegal, and because further money would be antithetical to America's pro-peace and anti-terrorism policy. While many of the names of House and Senate leaders have been bandied about, most congressional sources arguably agree that the most important lawmaker is Rep. Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat from Westchester County, N.Y. Lowey sits on both the full Appropriations Committee and the key subcommittee governing state, foreign operations, and related programs. Foreign assistance begins and dies in this subcommit- tee. The Republican side of the aisle has been lining up staunchly against continuing fund- ing and invoking the mandatory legal brakes. This includes subcommittee chairwoman Kay Granger from Dallas, who has asserted that unification "puts in jeopardy future U.S. as- sistance to the Palestinian Authority." The Obama Administration, however, has signaled it is ready to continue funding the new Hamas-infused Palestinian Authority. Therefore, all eyes now fall on Lowey. For her, this is a leadership moment. Will she break with her party and the Administration? Lowey's personal and legislative feelings have been made abundantly clear. "At this point, the law is clear, their actions are clear, and the path forward is clear," Lowey told the JTA news service immediately after news of the Hamas union became known in late April. Monday, June 2, after the unification ceremony finished in Ramallah, Lowey issued this short warning: "I am deeply disappointed with the announcement today of a Palestinian govern- ment that includes the terrorist organization Hamas. As long as Hamas rejects the Quartet principles and the existence of the State of Israel, United States funding for this unity government is in jeopardy." Early June 4, 2014, a source close to Lowey confirmed her feelings remain unchanged, Indeed, within 10 seconds of asking, he emailed this reporter the relevant section of one of several key legal bars to continued funding. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, in Sec- tion 7020, Subsection F, titled Prohibition to Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Orga- nization, unambiguously declares: "None of the funds appropriated ... may be obligated or expended for assistance to Hamas or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence." The Lowey source explained, "The law is clear-cut, but what makes it complex is there are also important considerations--are we subjecting ourselves to more danger? For example, is there a particular security, as- sistance program? Should we stop that? Or, is it smarter to keep some of those of those programs going?" The staffer conceded the notion of a drastic cut with carve-outs for special security programs. However, the source added, "The Administration seems to be 'all systems go'" in terms of unrestricted funding. Lowey is now posed between the law and common sense on one hand, and her own party and extenuating circumstances on other hand. "Rep. Lowey appreciates the important considerations on all sides," the source stated. "But, also, this law is written that way for a reason, and this law has been agreed to by the overall majority of Congress and signed in to law by the president." There are presidential override provisions, "but that formal procedure has not yet been invoked," the Lowey source assured. In the meantime, momentum is fast-boiling through Congress to reach a bi-partisan consensus that funding must stop. The latest is a "Dear Colleague" letter and resolution jointly spearheaded by Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) seeking a"sense of the House" that "Congress must suspend our foreign aid and support to the Palestinian Authority, as continued for- eign assistance runs in direct contravention to current law." A House Resolution has just circulated demanding that all funding stop unless the PA-Hamas unity is unraveled, and the Ministry of Prisoners, that pays monthly salaries to terrorists, is disbanded. No one knows how Loweywilivote, not even her own staff. One key staffer remarked, "I just don't know yet. She is in consultations daily, if not hourly, with personnel at the White House and State Department." He stated the process would come to conclusion by the legislative deadline, October 1, 2014. Asked if Lowey would be willing to break with her party and the Administration over this issue, the answer was immediate: "Of course." Hence, the future of Palestinian funding will be written or unwritten, by Lowey. Edwin Black is the award-winning author of the international bestseller "IBM and the Ho- locaust." His latest iJolume is the just-released newsbook "Financing the Flames: How Tax- Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terrorism in Israel."