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November 22, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 22, 2013 i By Adam Levick The Algemeiner Jewish Daily Forward 'Top 50' includes promoter of anti-Semitism Glenn Greenwald The Jewish Daily For- ward 2013 'Top 50' represents their annual survey of the 50 men and women who've made "a significant impact on the Jewish story" over the past year, and is informed by "rules require that every one is an American citizen whose actions speakwith a Jewish inflection." Their 2013 list includes such prolific Jewish voices as Philip Roth and Ruth Wisse--as well asaformerGuardian columnist we've commented on quite frequently: Their selection of Glenn Greenwald is explained thusly: The biggest story of 2013, and possibly the decade, has been the exposure of the National Security Agency's domestic and international surveillance program, includ- ing the extent of intelligence- sharing between America and Israel. At the center of this story--its conduit--is Glenn Greenwald. As a columnist for the Guardian, Greenwald came into contact with the NSA security contractor Edward Snowden in May. Snowden was ready to reveal the ex- tent of the agency's spying, and Greenwald's first story ran on June 6. At that point, Greenwald became the world's most important journal- ist--though some question whether he is a journalist or an advocate. Greenwald, 46, is based in Brazil, where he lives with his partner, but he grew up in New York and Florida and worked as a constitutional and civil rights lawyer before he started a blog in 2005 and saw his career take off. Though his fame over the past year has been due to the NSA revelations, Greenwald's columns, at Salon and the Guardian, frequently dealt with Israel in a critical way. Whilst the far-left orienta- tion of the paper, which once ran a glowing profile of a prolific opponent of Israel's continued existence known as Ali Abunimah, at least partly explains the honor they bestowed to Greenwald, their characterization of his politics as 'critical of Israel' represents a simply egregious deception. As we've demonstrated continually, it is not at all an exaggeration to characterize Greenwald's hostility to Israel (and the U.S.) as similar to PAGE 5. . the hate rhetoric of Islamist extremists--a fact that may in part explain Greenwald's defense of Hamas, Hezbollah, and even, on at least one oc- casion, an American Al Qaeda operative. Additionally, to get a sense of The Jewish Daily Forward's ideologicalairbrush of Green- wald--employing the Guard- ian tactic of characterizing commentators who engage in anti-Semitism as merely "critical of Israel." In its time of need, repaying a debt to the Philippines By Alan H. Gill NEWYORK (JTA)--As the extent of the catastrophic damage and tragic death toll continues to grow in the Philippines, a particu- larly heroic piece of history should be recalled by the global Jewish community, which owes a debt to the island nation. Seven decades ago, a Philip- pine president, a globetrotting Jewish family named Frieder and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, my organization, helped save the lives of more than 1,000 Jews who otherwise would have almost certainly died in the Holocaust. Thanks to their initiative, these refugees were issued rare travel certificates to the Asian country to work as skilled laborers in the Frie- ders' cigar factories in Ma- nila-though in reality, few of them had any experience in the industry whatsoever. The audacious operation, seem- ingly extraordinary today, is the subject of the recently released documentary "Res- cue in the Philippines." At the time that Manuel Quezon admitted Jews to his country, the Filipino presi- dent made what seems today like a remarkably prescient statement. "The people of the Philip- pines will have in the future every reason to be glad that when the time of need came, their country was willing to extend a welcome hand," he was quoted as saying. We recalled this moment in history last week when we began reading reports and watching coverage of the impending super typhoon Haiyanmthe strongest storm in recorded history--as it barreled toward the Philip- pines. In anticipation Of the impact, JDC's disaster relief and development staff as- sembled a contingency plan that went into full effect once news emerged of the death and destruction wrought by Haiyan. As part of our ongoing -response to the typhoon, JDC will ship critically important food, shelter, and hygiene and medical suppliesmas well as ensure the provi- sion of water and sanitation items and shelter support-- through its partners, the Afya Foundation and Catho- lic Relief Services. JDC's ad- vance team of disaster relief and development experts will head to the Philippines later this week to assess damage and needs while consulting with our local/international partners and the Filipino Jewish community to eysure maximum impact for storm survivors. About 30 percent of funds raised will be dedicated to im- mediate relief for food, water, shelter, medical supplies and care, unless the emergency phase lasts longer because of expanding, critical needs among survivors. The rest will be invested in sustainable local projects thatwill emerge in the long, slow process of rehabilitation that is sure to come. It's a formula JDC, which is celebrating its centennial this year, has developed over decades of efforts in the field, from helping Ukrainians starved by the Bolsheviks in the 1920s to rehabilitat- ing survivors of genocide in Rwanda. And on behalf of the North American Jewish com- munity and with its support, we have over the past decade delivered tens of millions of dollars in aid to victims of natural and manmade disas- ters in Southeast Asia, Haiti and Japan. These efforts now come full circle, especially for one member of our team arriv- ing in the Philippines later this week, Danny Pins. In addition to being one of our developmentand employment experts, Pins' mother and grandparents were among the German Jews who fled to the Philippines to seek safe haven in 1938. His posting, in many ways a homecoming despite previous trips to the country, is highly symbolic. Today, in the wake of one of the worst storms in his- tory, with perhaps more than 10,000 dead and hundreds of thousands homeless, we are fully committed to fulfilling President Quezon's prophecy and returning the favor to the Filipino people. Not just because we are Jews, the heirs to this nation's life-saving ac- tions, but because we firmly believe in mutual responsi- bility and the idea that each individual life is valuable beyond measure. Alan H. Gill is the CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. By Rafael Medoff A tried-and-true method for lobbyists whose cause is opposed by the U.S. president is to bypass the White House by going to Congress. It worked for Jewish activists in 1943. But will it work in the current battle over sanctions on Iran? Seventy years ago, the Holocaust rescue activists known as the Bergson Group found themseh)es stymied by an administration that did not want to take action to save Jewish refugees from the Nazis. President Frank- lin Delano Roosevelt and his aides insisted that rescue was not possible until the Nazis were defeated on the battle- field. The White House called its policy "rescue through victory"--a clever way of dis- guising what was, in reality, a policy of nonrescue. The Bergson Group looked to Congress for help. In the autumn of 1943, just before Yom Kippur, the Bergsonites and an Orthodox rescue group, the Va'ad ha- Hatzala, brought 400 rabbis to Washington, D.C., for an unprecedented march to Capitol Hill and the White House. The dramatic protest helped galvanize members of Congress to introduce a resolution calling on FDR to create a new government agency to rescue Jewish refugees. Bergson understood the political importance of lin- Would 1943 Holocaust advocacy work today toward lran sanctions? ing up supporters from both sides of the aisle. Itwas quite a coup that the leading spon- sors of his resolution were Congress members from President Roosevelt's own party: U.S. Sen. Guy Gillette of Iowa and U.S. Rep. Will Rogers, Jr. of California. Presidents don't like when activists use Congress to advance a policy that the administration opposes. FDR didn't like what Bergson was doing, and the adminis- tration of President Barack Obama doesn't like that some pro-Israel activists today are urging Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has called the con- gressional sanctions effort "a march to war." In 1943, the Roosevelt administration's allies in Congress tried to slow down the rescue resolution by insisting on full hearings before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Bergson arranged for an impressive array of public figures to testify in support of the resolution. Probably the most important was New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The fact that he was a staunch supporter of Presi- dent Roosevelt's policies in general gave La Guardia credibility to challenge FDR on refugee policy. In his testimony, La Guar- dia zeroed in on the fact that the administration had recently established a com- mission to rescue historic buildings and monuments in war-torn Europe. ("Monu- ments Men," a new George Clooney movie about that effort, will be released in February.) The mayor told the congressional hear- ing, "This very important problem.., is not like the destruction of buildings or monuments, as terrible as that may be, because, after all, they may be rebuilt or even reproduced; but when a life is snuffed out, it is gone; it is gone forever." Unfortunately, American Jewish leaders were divided on the rescue resolution. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, head of the American Jewish Con- gress and a fervent supporter of President Roosevelt, testi- fied that the Gillette-Rogers resolution was inadequate because it did not state that refugees should be brought to Palestine. (Bergson had deliberately omitted the con- tentious Palestine issue from the wording in order to gain the backing of more members of Congress.) This display of Jewish disunity nearly doomed the resolution. Today, by contrast, there appears to be unity among the major Jewish organiza- tions in support of congres- sional efforts to tighten sanctions on Iran. The Israeli daily Ha'aretz claimed in a Nov. 1 news article that leaders of four Jewish groups agreed to a White House request to temporarily hold off on the sanctions effort. But in response, two of the groups--the American Israel Public Affairs Com- mittee and the American Jewish Committee--pub- licly reaffirmed their sup- port for tighter sanctions. A third, the Conference of Presidents of Major Ameri- can Jewish Organizations, did not indicate any change in its support for tighter sanctions. A fourth, the Anti- Defamation League (ADL), initially confirmed that it would refrain from urging more sanctions, but 10 days issued a statement reversing that position. Back to 1943: The Roos- evelt administration coun- tered Bergson and La Guar- dia by sending its top refugee policy expert, Assistant Secretary of State Breck- inridge Long, to testify against the Gillette-Rogers resolution. But that move backfired when Long wildly exaggerated the number of refugees who had already been admitted to the United States. Now the mainstream Jewish organizations, while still hostile to the Bergson Group, nevertheless joined with Bergson in denounc- ing Long's distortions. That made it harder for the Roos- eyelt administration to play divide-and-conquer. President Roosevelt, faced with this rising tide of criti- cism from the Jewish com- munity and Congress, re- luctantly agreed to create a rescue agency. It was called the War Refugee Board. Although FDR gave it only token funding (90 percent of its budget came from Jewish organizations), and the State Department and War Depart- ment often failed to cooperate with its efforts, the Board played a key role in the rescue of some 200,000 Jews in the waning months of the war. Jewish disunity nearly derailed the 1943 rescue resolution. If not for a twist offate--Breckinridge Long's preposterous testimony-- the War Refugee Board might never have been cre- ated. Perhaps today's Jewish leaders have learned a lesson from that experience. Dr. Rafael Medoff is direc- tor of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Stud- ies, in Washington, D.C. His latest book is "FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith." Dry Bones WHAT t5 REALLY OIST00BII400 15 THAT POLITICALCARTOONS.coM DRYBONES,COM