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July 17, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 17, 2009 Policy From page 2A advancing Israeli-Palestinian talks enjoy the support of most American Jews. The two representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, president David Victor and president- elect Lee Rosenberg, asked non-confrontational ques- tions about Saudi Arabia and tran, respectively, and did not press the settlements issue. Rosenberg and Solow, who are both from the Chicago area, were major fund-raisers for Obama's presidential run. Some of Obama's most ardent critics--including the Zionist Organization of Amer- ica and the National Council of Young Israel--were among the notable absences from the list of those invited to the White House. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, presi- dent of the Union of Reform Judaism, delivered a ringing endorsement of Obama's demands for a settlement freeze, saying that settlement expansion was not in Israel's interest. Such pronouncements are likely to reinforce the grow- ing perception in the Israeli government that Prime Min- ister Benjamin Netanyahu is unlikely to garner significant support among U.S. Jews should the disagreement with Obama over a settlement freeze escalate into a full-scale confrontation. Top officials close to Ne- tanyahu are debating how to treat the reluctance among U.S. Jews to back what they now call "normal living" con- ditions in the settlements-- a euphemism for natural growth. Some Netanyahu advisers suggest writing off much of the U.S. Jewish com- munity in the short term, maintaining relations only with those groups sympa- thetic to Netanyahu. Others suggest intensive outreach to left-leaning Jews. Concerns about a potential confrontation may be moot. The United States and Israel reportedly are close to agree- ing to a formula that would allow Israel to finish about 2,500 "almost complete" units now under construction in the West Bank. That would allow Israel to claim settlement growth was continuing while the Obama administration would describe it as an effec- tive freeze. The only signs of conten- tion-from Foxman, the ADL's national director, and Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Presidents Conference--had to do with how Obama was handling his demand for a settlements freeze, not with its substance. Hoenlein said that peace progress was likelier when there was "no daylight" be- tween Israel and the United States. Obama agreed that it must always be clear that Israel has unalloyed U.S. support but added that for the past eight years, referring to the Bush administration, there was "no daylight and no progress." "There was a lot of apprecia- tion by the broad spectrum of the Jewish community of the president's clarity on Israel and the absolute alliance be- tween Israel and the United States," said Nancy Ratzan, the president of the National Council of Jewish Women. It was Foxman who raised the concern of a perception that Obama was leaning harder on Israel than on the Palestinians and Arab states. Obama conceded the point--to a degree--saying itwas the result of"man-bites- dog" coverage of a relatively unusual circumstance: a U.S. president pressuring Israel. He said hewould make it clear that he expected the Palestin- ians to contain violence and end incitement, and thatArab nations should make gestures toward Israel commensurate with Israel's concessions. "If you really read every- thing he's written and said, it is clear there are multiple parties that have obligations and steps," said Jeremy Ben Ami, director of J Street, a left-wing pro-Israel group. "He's going to call out the Palestinians and the Israelis and the Arab nations." On the issue ofIran, Obama said his strategy of outreach as a means of persuading the Islamic Republic to end its nuclear weapons program was still in place, although he recognized that the Iranian government was entrench- ing itself in the wake of riots triggered by June 12 elections denounced by many Iranians and westerners as rigged. Obama said progress had been made in persuading other nations, especially Russia, to sign on to his carrots-and-sticks strategy on Iran--offering incentives and threatening a harder line. The emphasis was on for- eign policy, but Obama fielded questions on domestic issues, including his efforts to intro- duce universal health care and end hunger among American children. Also present at the meet- ing were representatives of Americans for Peace Now, the Orthodox Union, the United Jewish Communities, Hadas- sah, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Council for Public Af- fairs and the American Jewish Committee. Participants said the meet- ing, at a round table in the White House's Roos- evelt Room, was relaxed and friendly. "The comfort level was magnificent; there were no notes," said Ira Forman, CEO of the National Jewish Demo- cratic Council. ObamateasedRahmEman- uel, his chief of staff, and DavidAxelrod, his top political adviser, both ofwhom attended the meeting and are Jewish. "If Axelrod or Rahm ignore you, don't blame me," he said. Ha'aretz published a story last week in which it claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu had pri- vately referred to both Obama aides as self-hating Jews. A Netanyahu spokesman, Mark Regev, was later quoted by The Plum Line blog as denying the claim, saying, "I've never heard the prime minister use such language." Meanwhile, one of Obama's most prominent Jewish back- ers, Alan Dershowitz, has received harsh criticism from some Jewish conservatives for writing an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal defending the president. The critics are accusing PAGE 21A Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor with a long track record of fighting anti- Israel efforts on campus, of essentially abandoning Israel out of loyalty to the Demo- cratic Party. In response, Dershow- itz wrote a piece in Front- saying he believes that "a young, extremely popular African American President who supports Israel, even if he disagrees with its policies regarding settlement ex- pansion, would be far more influential with mainstream Americans and with people throughout the world than an old conservative Republican, who also supported Israel." "That is why," Dershowitz wrote, "I gave, and continued to give, President Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt in his dealings with Israel." Plight From page4A To put it mildly: They would gladly have put up with checkpoints, security barriers and everything else with which the Palestinians live. Those who promote the moral equivalence of the Holocaust and the plight of the Palestinians are engag- ing in an unconscionable revision of history. This is not an "on the one hand, on the other hand" comparison. On one hand is the memory of the 6 million, all innocent, all murdered in cold blood. There is no other hand. Let the Palestinians find another analogy. Cheryl Halpern was an appointee of former Presi- dents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Iran From page 5A and the West as scapegoats and the root of the world's problems, but even remov- ing these countries from the equation, what do you have left? To what extent are Iran and its Middle Eastern brethren sufficiently intro- spective, as the United States and other democracies are, to assess, evaluate and adapt its current ways? Thomas Jefferson once said, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the govern- ment fears the people, there is liberty." Unfortunately, Iran's current leadership seems more focused on instilling fear and hatred into its citi- zens, rather than inspiring hope and cultivating an en- vironment where legitimate discourse and dialogue allows the government to actually learn from its people. For Iran to emerge from this crisis, the international com- munity must involve itself to a greater degree once the dust settles from this elec- toral nightmare. Althofigh the United States has rightly stood on the sidelines until a path forward becomes more clear, we cannot assume Iran's leadership is willing to "unclench its fist" of its own accord. We must offer our assistance to Iran's in- nocent civilians and further emphasize the constructive role the United States can play in Middle East develop- ments, as President Obama discussed in his recent speech in Cairo. If America and its partners are not involved now, clearly a role will be thrust upon us in the future in the form of another war in the Middle East or defending one of our allies. The spectacle on our screens these last weeks couldn't have laid out the issue in more stark terms. Either we nurture the Iranians and allow them to con- tribute to the world at large, or we witness more clerical-style "nurturing" of Iranian dissent and another dismal chapter of the Iranian legacy. Arash Farin is an invest- ment banker based in Los Angeles. This column is reprinted from the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Ange- les, UJC From page 8A today and to look at the future and where we want outcomes to be, and position us to be in a much stronger place in the future," Silverman said. "We have to really look closer to- gether to do things differently, and really look at what are the great practices we have going already and to make sure we are sharing them." While some within the system had been pushing for an executive at a big-city fed- eration to take the job--like Silverman's three predeces- sors--Silverman said he is fine with being an outsider and thinks it will serve him well. "I haven't worked in the federation system, but I truly believe that no rnatterwhether I am an outsider or insider, in any move I had made career-wise it is all about developing a very clear vision and having a top-notch, results-oriented organization that is extremely open to listen- ing and to trying to constantly exceed expectations so that their services are in demand,'he said. "Ifwe dothatasanorganization, then the question about me being an insider or an outsider becomes moot." Silverman said he was approached about the job initially in November at the annual UJC General Assem- bly in Jerusalem, and that he became serious about his candidacy in March--though he did not accept until after conducting intense due dili- gence with those inside and outside the system. Local federations and the UJC were made aware of his hiring on the afternoon of July 6. "Jerry has proven himself to be a visionary and results- oriented leader who put Jew- ish camping on the communal map," the head of the search committee and the incoming chair of the UJC, Kathy Man- ning, told the UJC staff in an internal communication July 6. "His personal qualities, his engagement with the Jewish world and his extensive suc- cess in the business world make Jerry uniquely poised to help bring UJC and the Jewish Federations of North America to the next level." Silverman, who helped pop- ularize the Dockers brandwhile at Levi's, comes to an organiza- tion that has spent millions on market research in an attempt to re-brand itself, recently lead- ing to the decision by the UJC to rename itself UJC/Jewish Federations of North America at some point next winter. "His understanding of the importance of the next generation and multiple audiences is really fortuitous for the organization," said Joe Kanfer, the UJC's cur- rent chairman and the CEO of GOJO Industries, which makes Purell hand sanitizer. "He clearly understands the importance of communica- tions and branding." The president of the Foun- dation for Jewish Camp, Skip Vichness, praised Silverman. "I think that we have been very fortunate to have Jerry for the five years that we did," Vichness said. "He has done an amazing job. I wish the UJC well and I think they made a terrific selection." Vichness was the head of the search committee that hired Silverman five years ago away from the business world. "Jerry has an amazing com- bination of entrepreneurial spirit and a Jewish neshama [soul]," he said. "That corn- bination, for me, was very attractive. He brought the best of what he learned in the for-profit world, but also had a passion for Judaism and was passionate about camping." Vichness, who said the Foundation for Jewish Camp did not try to block Silver- man's move to the UJC, lauded Silverman's talents as a fund-raiser. "Jerry Silverman is capable of translating his passion programmaticaily to funders who see his vision and who are willing to see his vision, and his vision is our vision and he gave life to that vision the way the head of an organization should,"Vichness said."I hope he can do the same for UJC." Roundup From page 10A antibiotics or hormones. Or- ganic chicken also adheres to ABF standards, as well as U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for organic poultry. Empire also announced that new equipment design would enable the company to increase its peak produc- tion volume from 350,000 chickens per week to nearly 800,000. Jewish inmate gets yar- mulke back SAN FRANCISCO (JTA)-- A Jewish inmate at the San Francisco County Jail will be permitted to have his yar- mulke back. Duane Allen Hoffman, 48, who is awaiting trial for theft and fraud, won a federal lawsuit alleging religious dis- crimination. Hoffman, who is Ortho- dox, was allowed to wear his yarmulke in jail after his May 2008 arrest, but sheriffs took it away inApril, claiming a razor could be hidden under it, ac- cording to the San Francisco Chronicle. In his handwritten law- suit filed April 23, Hoffman pointed out that Catholic inmates are permitted rosa- ries, and African-American inmates may wear mesh "wave caps." He claimed jail officials took away his yarmulke as punishment after he asked for a prayer shawl. Describing himself to reporters as a "gentleman thief,,' Hoffman wove a color- ful account of his life as the only child of wealthy Con- necticut parents, a former code-breaker for the U.S. military, and a high-rolling gay playboy arrested for iden- tity theft numerous times in Europe and the United States. No part of his story could be confirmed. Hoffman suffers from HIV and is in a wheelchair. He faces up to 50 years in prison for using stolen credit cards to pay hotel bills and buy luxury goods from Nei- man Marcus. Shalit named honorary Ro- man citizen ROME (JTA)--Kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalitwas made an honorary citizen of the Italian capital. Rome Mayor Gianni Ale- manno conferred the honor at a ceremony July 1, presenting a parchment declaration to Shalit's father, Noam. Alemanno said that mak- ing Shalit an honorary citizen was "a gesture of high symbolic value, which with Roma chooses to salute the values of life, of solidarity and of respect for the human rights." He added, "You cannot win usingviolence, kidnapping and ransom." Alemanno also called for Shalit's release. Hamas cap- tured Shalit three years ago during a cross-border raid. During their visit to Rome, Noam Shalit and his wife met with senior political figures, including the Cham- ber of Deputies President Gianfranco Fini, who said Hamas "did not respect the Geneva Conventions and it is not by chance that it is on the blacklist of terrorist organizations." ;  c-- i  ,ff | - I - -.f:lT- - .... v --r-- ........... 1,11II 111 rllhrllllllll[ll[]lnrllllllllrllll!lllMl|i[]lll i]t2V- , TI .... i[-T71 iilllllinllli/iilll, mililili, if Fiwlll 1III