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October 28, 2011

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 28, 2011 How a new Israeli attache renounced his U.S. citizenship By Eli Groner people of all nations.As Israel building the State of Israel, I announced to the world that cells in Lebanese villages was TEL AVIV (JTA)--After be- ing named Israel's minister for economic affairs to the United States, EH Groner was required by U.S. law to revoke his U.S. citizenship. The following is the state- ment he submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv upon his renunciation. Because I love America, it is with hesitant hands and a heavy heart that I am writing this note. I never ex- pected to request revocation of my citizenship, and while I certainly understand the circumstances requiring me to do so, it is important for me to share with you why I have decided to take this step. The United States has a per- fectly sensible law that does not allow for diplomats from for- eign countries serving in the U.S. to hold U.S. citizenship. The fact that this is eminently reasonable doesn't make this any less difficult. Much of who I am is based on my childhood in the U.S.; Eli Groner says he re- voked his U.S. citizenship with a "heavy heart" when he became Israel's minister for economic affairs to the United States. as a 4th-generation American growing up in quintessential Small-Town America, the values inculcated in me in school and at home were American. Many of those values are shared by Israel, which I believe to be the des- tined homeland for Jewish builds its place among the nations, it has much to learn not only from its Jewish and biblical roots, but also from the ideological foundations, which built the United States of America--the greatest country of the past 240 years. Every week in synagogue, Jews around the world read a portion of the Bible. Last week, we read the Ten Com- mandments. One of the many lessons of these command- ments is that the Jewish nation left Egypt not simply to survive, but rather with a greater purpose of building a just and moral society. Now, some 3,300 years after the revelation at Sinai and 63 years after the establishment of the State of Israel--two of the most momentous occa- sions in Jewish history--the guidance from Sinai is all the more relevant. In this spirit, a very small piece of what Israel needs to do is to continually strengthen its economic foundations. Like other dimensions required in consider this to be my gen- eration's holywork; therefore, when I was asked by Israel's Finance Minister to serve as the country's Minister of Eco- nomic Affairs to Washington, the decision to accept was easy. That doesn't make my decision any less painful. I will never forget the hor- rific terrorist attacks of 9/11, which took place roughly two miles from my classroom where I was beginning my graduate school studies. At the time, there was significant un- certainty as to how the United States would react. A very close, very educated friend of mine told me that day--as we walked uptown amidst the rubble in the traffic-less streets of one of the greatest cities on earth--thatAmerica didn't have the stomach to deal with the terrorists the way they needed to be dealt with. He said that America had gotten too complacent. Fortunately for mankind, my good friend was wrong, as President George W. Bush America would not rest until the people responsible would be dealt with--a promise eventually fulfilled by Presi- dent Barack Obama. When I saw President Bush's proclamation that day, I thought that here is a man who understands that the price of liberty is, indeed, eter- nal vigilance. I thought of that moment five years later when my professional career in the world of management con- sulting took me to one of the world's leading investment banks. I was commuting from my home in a Jerusalem sub- urb to London's CanaryWharf each week to work on what the bulge bracket bank defined as its number one strategic objective for that year. Three months into the six-month project, I was drafted by my reserve unit for the Second Lebanese War. While many of my international colleagues and clients thought I had lost my mind, the decision for me to leave that project to go assist in destroying terrorist an easy one. It was exception- ally frightening, yet easy. For I grew up in America, and I had been taught that personal commitments must be made to ensure a land of the free and a home for the brave. One can love two countries just as one loves two parents. Today, I voluntarily give up my citizenship, but I do not give up my values; indeed, in giv- ing up my citizenship to help further the economic develop- ment and strength of Israel in a diplomatic role, I believe I am living those values I was educated to cherish. During my 10 years of schooling in wonderful upstate New York, I pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States each and every day. And today, more than ever and despite the re- nunciation of my citizenship, I remain committed to the Republic for which it stands. God bless America; land that I love. Eli Groner wrote this state- ment inAugust. He began his post in Washington on Oct. 24. Activists try quell anti-Semitism at Wall Street protests By Dan Klein JTA neolibertariannet via YouTube An Occupy Wall Street protester, who says his name is David Smith, holds aloft a sign in Zuccotti Park in New York that offers an overtly anti-Jewish message on Oct. 11. Protest organizers say his type is a fringe element of the movement. York, he is a sign of an under- current of anti-Semitism that runs through some of those protesting at the Occupy Wall Street gatherings across the United States. While movement organiz- ers and sympathizers are quick to argue that such pro- testers are a fringe element, they are a reminder of the small proportion of Ameri- cans that still clings to the canard that Jews control the nation's money. According to the Anti-Defamation League, 16 percent of Americans hold anti-Semitic beliefs about Jewish control of the banking system. "With any kind ofpopulist movement, you're going to have that kind of expression popping out," said the ADL's civil rights director, Deborah Lauter. "But this is a par- ticularly sensitive one in the Jewish community, and we have to make sure it doesn't take hold." For the Jewish activists who see great merit in the Occupy Wall Street protests, they have had to do double duty tamp- ing down anti-Semitic and, in some cases, anti-Zionist expressions. That task has gained greater urgency as critics of the protests--within and outside the Jewish com- munity-have pointed to the anti-Semitic ferment of a few to disparage the larger anti- Wall Street movement. NEW YORK--The most unloved man in Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street protests, isn't a Wall Street banker but a fel- low who wears a baseball cap and carries signs denouncing "Jewish bankers." The man, who told Slate his name is David Smith, comes almost daily to broadcast mes- sages against Jews, Zionists and President Barack Obama, whom he calls a "Jewish pup- pet." One recent placard read "Google: Zionists control Wall Street." Organizers and activists have tried to provide a coun- terpoint when he speaks to reporters and gawkers, hold- ing their own signs deriding him. "A-- hole" reads one. "Who's paying this guy?" reads another. In one video, demonstrators nearby can be seen chanting "Nazis: Go home!" "Everyone's been trying to get rid of him," said Dan Sieradski, a Jewish activist who organized a Yom Kippur service at the site of the pro- tests, which are now entering their second month. "But the police say he has a right to stay there--and he does." Though the man is one of the few overtly anti-Jewish protesters at the site in New The conservative Emer- gency Committee for Israel released a video calling for Democratic leaders to de- nounce the protests. It fea- tured both Smith at Zuccotti Park and a young New Yorker named Danny Cline who was caught on video telling a kip- ah-wearing man to "go back to Israel." Cline later claimed to be Jewish and a descendant of Holocaust survivors. Radio personality Rush Limbaugh said the protest- ers' rants against bankers and Wall Street were coded references to Jews. Similarly, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin accused poli- ticians and the media of hy- pocrisy for a lack of coverage of the anti-Semitic content compared to coverage of rac- ism at Tea Party events. For their part, Jewish activ- ists involved in the protests acknowledged that an Israeli organizer of the social pro- tests that swept Israel over the summer was booed when he came to speak at Zuccotti Park. But, they noted, the heckler was kicked out. "Anti-Zionists come and try to make it about Israel," Sieradski said. "We accept them into the movement, but we don't allow them to hijack the movement." Overall, the Jewish pro- testers argued, the focus on anti-Semitism is exaggerated. "Wherever you go to a public demonstration," said Rabbi Michael Lerner, edi- tor of the left-wing Tikkun Magazine, "you always have a few nut cases standing on the side." Lerner, who is based in San Francisco, helped organize protests in Washington state. He said the strategy should be to ignore the occasional anti-Semite. "Unless you're a movement that beats up outsiders, you're going to have people on the periphery show up," said Lerner. But critics say the an- ti-Semitism is not just a fringe element. Among other things, they cite support for the protests by the Canadian magazine Adbusters, which was widely condemned for a 2004 story that focused on the influence of Jewish neoconservatives in drum- ming up support for the Iraq war and featured a list of 50 neoconservatives with aster- isks next to the names of the Jews. In 2010, the magazine published a story comparing the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw Ghetto. Protesters say that beyond promoting the protests in its magazine, Adbusters has had no influence on their actual content. Defenders of the protests also note that some Tea Party rallies have had offensive messages, including Hitler analogies. Pressure by Jew- ish organizations and oth- ers have helped marginalize those voices. After being inundated by concerned calls following anti-Semitic manifestations at the Occupy Wall Street protests, the ADL issued a statement saying it is keeping an eye on the protests but does not believe that there is significant anti-Semitism. "While we believe that these expressions are not repre- sentative of the larger views of the OWS movement, it is still critical for organizers, participants and supporters of these rallies to condemn such bigoted statements clearly and forcefully," saidAbraham Fox- man, ADL's national director. Sieradski said that protest- ers are printing pamphlets explaining how to confront the anti-Semites. He also accused critics of crying wolf and making it harder to fight real anti-Semitism. "We haven't encountered many anti-Semites, but wre still worried about it," Sieradski said. "It is in every part of our lives, andwe need to be ever vigilant." Dan Klein writes for JTA. This article appeared in the (Philadelphia) Jewish Ex- ponent, from which it was reprinted by permission. Iran observers: Assassination bid underscores nuclear threat By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Iran watchers say the revela- tion of an alleged plot to hire Mexican contract killers to assassinate the SaudiArabian ambassador to Washington signals the Iranian regime's deepening radicalization. It also underscores the urgency of the threat posed by Tehran's nuclear plans, they say. "We need to be reminded that if Iran poses a threat without nuclear weapons, a nuclear-armed Iran would be a dramatically more danger- ous threat," Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), a longtime advocate of Iran sanctions legislation, totd JTA. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder alleged two weeks ago that Iranian-American busi- nessman Mansour Arbabsiar and a cousin who works for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were caught planning to have a Mexican drug cartel kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir. Demonstrating the seriousness of the plot, the men allegedly arranged for a $100,000 down payment to be deposited into what turned out to be an FBI bank account. Iranian-backed attacks outside the Middle East once were routine news events. The years that followed the Islamic Revolution of the late 1970s brought a flurry of as- sassinations of Iranian exiles in foreign capitals, including Washington and Paris. In the 1990s, separate massive bombing attacks on a Jewish community building and the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires also have been pinned to Iran. Iranian-sponsored attacks abroad receded in the later 1990s as the Islamic Re- public under then-President Mohammad Khatami sought international legitimacy. At the same time, however, Tehran aggressively stepped up its nuclear program, which is widely believed to be aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons. The alleged plan to kill the Saudi envoy is a signal that the regime's conservatives are ascendant, said Roya Hakak- ian, who recently authored "Assassins of the Turquoise Palace," an account of Iran's assassination of Kurdish lead- ers in Berlin in 1992. Conservatives consolidated power after the mass protests following elections in the summer of 2009 that were widely perceived as being rigged, she noted. "The 2009 elections in Iran increasingly solidified the hold of the conservatives on Observers on page 18A Religions for Peace Iran watchers say the alleged plot to kill Saudi U.S. Am- bassador Adel al-Jubeir (r), shown here being interviewed at the Saudi embassy in Washington, raises alarms about the Iranian regime's willingness to carry out extreme acts.