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JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

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Posts

Is your loyalty to US or Israel? Rich American Jews fund the question

Israel asks U.S. Jews, Israelis: Where do your loyalties lie?

PM orders ministries to stop distributing the survey, which asks questions about dual allegiance and the Jewish lobby in America.

By Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz
October 27, 2013

Two sensitive and potentially explosive issues have always clouded the relationship between the Jewish community in the United States and the State of Israel. The first relates to claims of “dual allegiance” to both Israel and the United States; the other concerns the pro-Israel, American “Jewish lobby.” Many of those raising such claims against American Jewry have themselves been accused of anti-Semitism.

So it’s strange that representatives of Israel’s immigrant absorption and foreign ministries have just distributed a questionnaire to tens of thousands of Israelis living in the United States and Jewish Americans, which includes problematic questions on exactly these issues, and asks them to indicate where their allegiance would lie in the case of a crisis between the two countries.

On Sunday, following the report of the story in Haaretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed the ministries to stop distributing the questionnaire. He also ordered that it not be promoted by any official government agency.

The survey was commissioned by the Israeli American Council, a private nonprofit group based in Los Angeles. Its mission is “to build an active and giving Israeli-American community in order to strengthen the State of Israel, our next generation and to provide a bridge to the Jewish-American community,” according to the IAC website.

The IAC was established by Israelis living in Los Angeles in 2007, and is primarily supported by Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban, who has donated close to a million dollars in the past four years.

In September, the IAC announced plans to expand by establishing new branches throughout the United States. Conducting the survey is seen as part of this process.

According to the IAC, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has taken it upon himself to help finance the group’s expansion.

Adelson, considered one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest allies, owns the pro-Netanyahu free daily Israel Hayom, and donated tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates in the last U.S. presidential election.

Last Tuesday, the IAC’s chief operating officer, Miri Belsky, sent an email to the Israeli embassy in Washington with a link to the survey, asking that Israeli consulates in the United States be instructed to distribute it. She even asked that the consulates send out four reminders – one every three days – in order to elicit replies from at least 10 percent of their mailing list.

That same day, the Israeli consulates in the United States received instructions from the embassy in Washington and the Immigrant Absorption Ministry’s returning citizens’ department to distribute the survey by email to the tens of thousands of Israelis and Jews on their mailing lists.

“The IAC is conducting a survey of Israelis in the United States to map their positions and needs,” read the email the Washington embassy sent to the consulates. “We will be partners in the findings. They are asking for our help in distributing the questionnaires via our communication channels, in order to reach as many Israelis as possible … We thank you for promoting this from today.”

Midgam Research and Consulting, a polling company, has been hired to carry out the survey, which is apparently financed by the IAC but was endorsed by official Israeli government agencies. The symbol of the State of Israel appears on the survey’s opening page, and the questionnaires were sent from official Foreign Ministry email accounts.

However, it is unclear what governmental level approved this move, or whether absorption or foreign ministry officials checked what type of questions would be asked. Only after several of the consulates had already distributed the survey to tens of thousands of recipients did some Israeli diplomats realize the significance, and partially halted its distribution.

“Tell her not to send it out. The questions in this survey are unbearable and not legitimate,” Gil Lainer, consul for public diplomacy at the Israeli Consulate in New York, wrote to one of his colleagues in an email.

One question in the survey asks specifically which side the respondents would support publicly if there was a crisis in the relationship between the United States and Israel. The respondents are also asked to what extent the presidential candidates or Congress members’ attitudes toward Israel impact their voting decisions.

They are also asked about the impact of American Jews and U.S. Jewish organizations on American policy, and how Israelis living in the United States and American Jews have an impact on Israel’s strength.

An Immigrant Absorption Ministry spokesperson told Haaretz, “this survey has no connection to the ministry,” but admitted ministry personal were involved in its distribution. “We will check how this hitch occurred.”

The Foreign Ministry noted that “the survey was distributed by Ella Saban – director of the department for returning Israelis at the Absorption Ministry – to the consulates. It is a project of the Absorption Ministry and the IAC.” However, it noted that the embassy in Washington and the consulates around the U.S. helped circulate the survey.

The IAC replied via its PR, Moshe Debby. “The Israeli American Council initiated and approved the survey and questions,” Debby said. “We drafted the survey and it was distributed by many organizations, including [the Immigrant Absorption Ministry agency] Bait Israeli. The government of Israel was not involved in drafting the survey. We chose to conduct this survey … checking the characteristics of Israelis living in America and their children, to learn about the community’s nature.

“We think those questions are legitimate, as they are not influencing the reader to vote one way or another. The survey is totally anonymous and the results are for statistical study. The questions you referred to are questions that many Jews and Israeli Americans are faced with.”


Pro-Israel organization sought to survey US Jews on dual loyalty

Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss
October 27, 2013

This is astonishing. An Israel lobby group came up with a questionnaire for American Jews and Israeli Jews living here that asks a question that supposedly only anti-Semites ever ask, about the degree of loyalty Jews would have for Israel if the two countries were at odds. An other questions about the importance of the Jewish lobby.

The Israeli government had distributed the surveys to tens of thousands of people, Haaretz says, but Netanyahu has now scotched the survey, which was undertaken by a nonprofit, the Israeli American Council (which is funded by both Sheldon Adelson (Republican giver) and Haim Saban (Democratic)).

Haaretz’s original story:

One question in the survey asks specifically which side the respondents would support publicly if there was a crisis in the relationship between the United States and Israel. The respondents are also asked to what extent the presidential candidates or Congress members’ attitudes toward Israel impact their voting decisions.

Haaretz follow-up– Netanyahu kills the poll:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday ordered Israel’s immigrant absorption and foreign ministries to cease distribution of a controversial questionnaire already sent to tens of thousands of Israelis living in the United States and Jewish Americans, asking them to indicate where their allegiance would lie in the case of a crisis between the two countries.

Netanyahu also instructed all official government agencies from promoting the questionnaire. News of the questionnaire, reported in Haaretz on Sunday, promoted an uproar in the Jewish media.

The survey was commissioned by the Israeli American Council, a private nonprofit group based in Los Angeles. Its mission is “to build an active and giving Israeli-American community in order to strengthen the State of Israel, our next generation, and to provide a bridge to the Jewish-American community,” according to the IAC website.

Two sensitive and potentially explosive issues that have always clouded the relationship between the Jewish community in the United States and the State of Israel related precisely to the issues raised in the survey: firstly claims of “dual allegiance” to both Israel and the United States; the other concerns the pro-Israel, American “Jewish lobby.” Many of those raising such claims against American Jewry have themselves been accused of anti-Semitism.

P.S. I have long maintained that the dual loyalty issue is inherent in Zionism, and have compiled statements by American supporters of Israel that directly raise the issue. By the way, here is liberal Zionist Eric Alterman saying that he is dual-loyal and that if the U.S. had to take a hit for Israel, it can take it.

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