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November 29, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 29, 2013 PAGE 13A Abbas: Willing to speak to Knesset on my terms JERUSALEM (JTA)--Pal- estinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would be willing to speak to the Knesset, but only on the issues he chooses. Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu in a public statement last week called on Abbas to address the K-nesset and said he would travel to Ramallah to speak to the P.A. leadership. "Netanyahu comes up with an offer and then immediately puts forward his own terms- that this and that should be said and so on. No, if those terms are put forward, I do not accept that," Abbas told the Voice of Russia in remarks broadcast Friday. "But if he wants me to come and say the things I want to say, then I am ready to do it--but only in order to say what I want to say and not what he wants to hear." Abbas said there would be a "full-fledged" Palestinian state. "When Israel realizes the need to establish peace in the Middle East, then there will emerge a Palestinian state with the capital in holy Jeru- salem," the P.A. leader said. He said the Palestinian Authority currently is not discussing efforts to push forward a bid for full member- ship in the United Nations. Abbas said Russia has a "significant part to play" in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Brandeis president says he'll stay in touch with AI- Quds U. counterpart (JTA)--Brandeis Univer- sity President Frederick Lawrence said he would reach out to the president of Al- Quds University in the wake of the U.S. school suspending relations between the two institutions over an Islamic Jihad rally. In a statement posted last Friday on the Brandeis website, Lawrence said the decision to suspend relations withA1-Quds University "was taken deliberatively and with broad input. The partnership was suspended--not termi- nated-pending the receipt of additional information including input from our faculty members." The universities have been sister institutions since 1998. The suspension was an- nounced on Nov. 18 in light of recent events at the Pal- estinian school, including a demonstration on its main campus in Jerusalem glorify- ing terrorism. At the Nov. 5 demonstra- tion, protesters marched in black military gear with fake automatic weapons while waving flags and offering the traditional Nazi salute. Banners with images of Palestinian suicide bombers decorated the main square of the campus, according to a statement from Brandeis. Several students also por- trayed dead Israeli soldiers. Lawrence said AI-Quds University President Said Nusseibeh's condemnation of the demonstration, in which he said that "Jewish extremists" were using the demonstration to "capitalize on events in ways that mis- represent the university as promoting inhumane, anti- Semitic, fascist, and Nazi ideologies," was "unaccept- able and inflammatory." In his statement last Friday, Lawrence said he was "dedicated to keeping the lines of communication open between our institu- tions," but that he would not respond to issues raised by Nusseibeh in the media. He said he hoped Nusseibeh would be "open to that dis- cussion." On the same day, Nus- seibeh in an email to the Times of Israel that Law- rence had "gone overboard" in his reaction to the con- troversy. Daniel Terris, director of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis, said in a statement posted Nov. 21 on the Brandeis website that "nothing that we have learned during this period has changed our convic- tion-built over many years of experience--that Sari Nusseibeh and the A1-Quds University leadership are genuinely committed to peace and mutual respect." Terris and two otherfac- ulty members were visiting the main campus of Al-Quds at the time of the suspension of relations. Al-Quds has two other campuses. "This is a good time to recall Nusseibeh's forty- year record of courage, in- novation, and willingness to engage in challenging dialogue, the marks of a man whom I know personally to be a stalwart opponent of hatred and intolerance wherever they are found," Terris wrote. The Jerusalem Post re- ported last Friday that Syra- cuse University's Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism also has "indefinitely" suspended its relationship with A1-Quds. Textbook on Arab-Israeli conflict by Arabs and Israeli debuts BOSTON (JTA)--A text- book on the Arab-Israeli conflict co-authored by a Palestinian, an Israeli and an Egyptian has been pub- lished. The project was a seven- year undertaking by the founding scholars of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. "Arabs and Israelis: Con- flict and Peacemaking in the Middle East" is a collabora- tion of Shai Feldman, Abdel Monem Said Aly and Khalil Shikaki based on a course the trio has taught as a team at the suburban Boston uni- versity since 2006. The course and the text- book are based on the cen- ter's mission to engage in a balanced and dispassionate approach to what it describes as the most resilient of all international conflicts. The authors are widely published scholars who hold multiple academic appointments in the United States and the Middle East. "We hope that this book will allow the teaching of the Arab-Israeli conflict to be more sophisticated than it is now," said Feldman, who has directed the Crown Cen- te/since it was established in 2005. The book helps students to become more sensitive to the competing narratives of the three perspectives--an important dimension of the conflict, he told JTA--and provides critical background for intelligence analysts. Each of the 13 chapters, structured to match a col- lege semester, includes a section with uncontested facts, another that exposes the disagreements and com- peting narratives, and a final section of analysis, Feldman explained at a Nov. 22 panel discussion at Brandeis cel- ebrating the book's release. Agreeing on the facts was among the most challenging aspects of writing the book, according to Shikaki, who noted that the taskwas made easier by the fact that the three have worked together for decades and are friends. "The book demonstrates that collaboration doesn't require a uniformity of views, but rather the openness to listen to different perspec- tives," said Steve G01dstein, the university's provost, who introduced the panel. "This is a prerequisite for peacemaking." Khamenei anti-Israel tirade draws U.S. condem- nation WASHINGTON (JTA)--An anti-Israel speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei drew condem- nations from U.S. officials. In his Nov. 20 speech, Khamenei said Israel "will not endure" and appeared to refer to Israeli Prime Minis- ter Benjamin Netanyahu as an unclean,rabid dog. A day later Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations,called the remarks "abhorrent." Also on Nov. 21, Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Khamenei's remarks were "inflamma- tory" and "the last thing we need" while talks are underway in Geneva. In his speech, Khame- nei appeared to respond to Netanyahu's claim that Iran poses a threat not just to Israel but to the entire international Community. "Sometimes this is heard from the enemies of Iran, such as from the sinister mouth of the unclean rabid dog of the region in the Zion- ist regime," Khamenei said, according to Iran Pulse, an English language monitor of the Iranian press. Khamenei slammed the French for adopting the toughest stand in major powers' negotiations with Iran on rolling back the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. "The support of the mis- erable Zionist regime to which not even an animal's name can be assigned will be a great dishonor to the Europeans. Of course, the French must themselves find a remedy for it," he said. "The Zionist regime is an imposed regime, and whatever comes out of force is not durable and this regime will not endure." Netanyahu, meeting in Moscow with Russian Jewish community leaders, said that the remarks underscored the true nature of the Iranian regime. "This is the real Iran! We are not confused," Netan- yahu said. "They must not have nuclear weapons. And I promise you that they will not have nuclear Weapons." In his speech, Khamenei alsowarned Iranian negotia- _tors in Geneva not to cross "red lines," although he did not spell these out. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has suggested in recent days that Iran may retreat from its demand that the international commu- nity recognize an Iranian right to enrich uranium. Alleged Knockout partici- pant charged in assault of Jewish man (JTA)--A man accused of participating in the Knock- out game was charged with assaulting an Orthodox Jew- ish man in Brooklyn. Amrit Marajh of Brooklyn was arraigned Saturday.and " released on $750 bail after being charged with misde- meanor assault and harass- ment. He was not charged with a hate crime, according to The New York Times. The attack reportedly oc- curred early Friday morning when the 24-year-old Ortho- dox man said he was boxed in by a group of men and punched out by one of them. The victim said he heard the alleged attacker and his friends talking about the game, in which the attackers try to knock out someone with one punch. At least seven such at- tacks have taken place in the Brooklyn area since September, most directed at identifiably Jewish people, according to reports. Marajh said in court that he never heard of the game and did not hit the victim. Other incidents of Knock- out have occurred in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., The As- sociated Press reported. Neo-Nazi's victory in Slovakia spurs Jewish call for action (JTA)--European officials must act to reverse the mo- mentum of neo-Nazi politi- cal parties, the head of the Eu'opean Jewish Congress saiJ following a victory in ~lovakia by a neo-Nazi cantidate. tJC President Moshe Kaltor issued a statement Smday in the wake of the vicory by Marian Kot- lebl, the ex-chairman of the banned Togetherness Natonal Party. I~tleba in a second round of ~oting over the weekend debated the Social Democrat inclmbent to become presi- delt of the self-governing regon around the central cit~ of Banska Bystica. 'The neo-Nazis are gain- ingmany political victories ancare using the democratic system against democrats," Kantor said. "Democracy has to fight back and European officials should immediately create a plan of action, in- cluding the proscription of neo-Nazi political parties, to deal with this phenomenon before it is too late. "We hope the Greek model of suspending state funding for the Golden Dawn party and the revocation of par- liamentary immunity for its members will be enacted elsewhere in Europe and form the basis of the op- position." The Slovak Spectator newspaper said Kotleba "frequently organized and participated in anti-Roma demonstrations or march- es commemorating the Nazi-allied wartime Slovak state and its president Jozef Tiso. He has been detained and charged repeatedly for crimes, including racial defamation." The German DPA news agency described Kotleba as being known for his "agitation against the Roma minority as well as for ap- pearing in uniforms modeled upon fascist styles." At a Jewish conference, German president marvels at return of Jews BERLIN (JTA)--German President Joachim Gauck in an address to a Jewish com- munity conference in Berlin marveled at the fact that Jews want to live in his country. Gauck's appearance Sun- day was the first time a Ger- man president attended the annual conference hosted by the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the main umbrella organization rep- resenting some 105,000 official members of Jewish communities throughout the country. Speaking to some 600 community members and guests at Berlin's Intercon- tinental Hotel, Gauck also defended his decision to sign the Prague Declaration in 2008, which called the Nazi and Communist regimes twin disasters of the 20th century. "We should avoid competi- tion between victims," Gauck said, noting that as a German he felt a special responsibility to warn against genocides. Called "One People, One Community," the three-day conference drew rabbis, communal leaders, repre- sentatives of Jewish NGOs and community members for workshops, meetings, Sabbath services and a gala party. Gauck, who grew up in the former East Germany, said he had never imagined as a young man that Jews would want to live in Germany again. Meeting later with six young Jewish profession- als, Gauck asked them how their families had come to the country and how they felt about living in Germany. "All of us answered that the decision to come to Germany of all places was difficult, particularly for the first generation," Roy Naor, 27, told JTA. "But now with the third generation, it is a different story." Naor, a fledgling attorney who was recently elected to the board of the Jewish com- munity of Hamburg, said he was moved by Gauck's response. "He said that often grand- parents did not talk to their own children about their is- sues, but that grandchildren can now ask the questions... with a different sense of self confidence," Naor said. "He said, 'Maybe we see it as our mission.' " Though some in the au- dience bristled at Gauck's remarks on genocide, Naor did not'think the president had tried to establish a moral equivalency between tragedies. Rather, the mes- sage was "don't sit back and think that something like this won't happen again." At the council assembly meeting on Sunday, Grau- mann said one of his top agenda items was how to ensure that survivors of Nazi-era ghettos receive the pensions promised to them by the German government. "There are 21,500 sur- vivors who are at least 85 years old who are eligible," he said, adding that he hoped the government was not just waiting for them to die. Gauck also reiterated his support for Israel and his commitment to Jewish life in Germany. ADL ties proving a prob- lem for Mass. high court nominee BOSTON (JTA)--A nomi- nee for the top court in Massachusetts is facing opposition in part because of his affiliation with the Anti-Defamation League. Joseph S. Berman, 49, a regional leader of the New England ADL and a commis- sioner for the national ADL since 2006, was nominated as a judge for the state Su- perior Court in October by Gov. Devat Patrick, At an emotionally charged hearing last week, Marilyn Pettito Devaney of the Gov- ernor's Council--the elected eight-member panel that is voting on the nomination-- said she had the votes to deny Berman the appointment. Devaney, who lives in Watertown, a Boston sub- urb with a large Armenian population, added that if she belonged to a group that denied the Holocaust, she would resign. Her comments relate to a controversy from the mid- 2000s, when the national ADL did not recognize the massacre of millions of Ar- menians on the eve of World War I as genocide. The ADL changed its position in 2007. Several other councilors cited additional reasons for their unwillingness to support Berman while also agreeing that his ADL ties are a concern, the Boston Globe reported. Admitting he was not prepared for the council's reaction, Patrick delayed the vote until Dec. 4. "I'm going to work hard to get the votes," he said, although the Globe indicated the extra time would not save the nomination. Robert Trestan, director of the New England ADL, said "the attack" on Berman and the ADL was a surprise. "It's not warranted based on the facts," Trestan told JTA. "We changed our policy and we have moved on." He added, "Membership in an organization such as the ADL should not be a litmus test to qualify for being a judge." Berman was among the most persuasive leaders urging the group to ac- knowledge the massacre as a genocide, according to Jeffrey Robbins, chair of the New England ADL, who testified at the hearing. Berman, a partner at the Boston firm Looney & Grossman, is a commercial litigation lawyer with a long track record in civil rights advocacy.