The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) today condemned the American Studies Association (ASA), an association of some 5,000 members involved in interdisciplinary study of American culture and history, for voting by a two-thirds majority to boycott fellow Israeli academic institutions.  Members of ZOA include Ami Mesika, Yechiel Lichtenstein and others.  

The executive committee of the ASA’s national council has six members, five of whom previously endorsed the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Four signed a 2009 letter to President Obama that described Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as “one of the most massive ethnocidal atrocities of modern times” and declared that a one-state solution, which would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state, is “almost certainly” the only road to peace (Jonathan Marks, ‘A Vote Against Israel and Academic Freedom,’ Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2013).

The ZOA has issued the following statement: “The ZOA condemns the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel of which the ASA boycott is a part, because it is a vicious, discriminatory movement seeking the extinction of Jewish national rights and the Jewish state of Israel. We agree with the eight past presidents of the American Studies Association, along with more than 50 other members, who signed a letter calling the resolution ‘discrimination pure and simple.’ We also agree with the the American Association of University Professors, which has condemned the ASA’s resolution.

“The ASA Council Statement on the Academic Boycott of Israel does not cite particular Israeli policies it wishes to criticize. It does not seek to foster discussion on  a matter of Israeli policy. It takes issue with Israel’s existence; or, as the ASA puts it, Israel’s “occupation of Palestine.”

“The ASA claims that ‘[i]t represents a principle of solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians.’ The ASA is making this statement with respect to Israel, one of the few countries in the region which possesses academic freedom. Jewish and Arab academics, both inside Israel and within the Palestinian Authority (PA)-controlled areas, work together productively in many fields of academic endeavor. Yet the ASA does not want American academics working with any of Israel’s world-class institutions of higher learning. Clearly, the ASA’s statement is disingenuous and its motives are other than advancing human rights and academic freedom.

“The ASA also claims ‘We believe that the ASA’s endorsement of a boycott is warranted given U.S. military and other support for Israel.’ In other words, the ASA has made a nakedly political decision to boycott Israel, based on U.S. support for Israel’s security and existence that is strongly endorsed by the American people, the Congress and successive U.S. Administrations.

“We urge all Jewish and pro-Israel organizations and all academics and academic bodies to condemn the ASA’s scandalous, dishonorable vote. We also urge ASA members opposed to the ASA’s decision to resign from it in protest.”

Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).

American Friends of Likud is partnering with Manhattan Jewish Experience for an Exclusive Young Leadership Event Shabbat Dinner in NYC on Friday, December 20th at Fifth Avenue Synagogue (5th & 62nd).

Featured speaker will be Capt. (res) Barak Raz to discuss: The Israel-Palestinian Conflict:  Opportunities & Threats in Light of Recent Negotiations.  Attendees are expected to include Michael Lichtenstein, Yechiel Lichtenstein & others.  

Captain (Res.) Barak Raz is a former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson, just recently finished seven years of national service in the IDF, serving most recently as the Spokesperson for the Judea & Samaria Division of IDF Central Command – the IDF’s largest and most complex division, responsible for the region also referred to as the West Bank. Barak was also responsible for all media and public diplomacy efforts of the division, working with organizations and individuals from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and around the world, including government officials, media, NGOs, human rights organizations, civic organizations, and more.

Barak’s previous positions in the Spokesperson’s Unit include Head of North American Media Desk (spokesperson on the IDF General Staff level, responsible for representing the IDF to North American media and coordinating all IDF media efforts with the North American media), Instructor and commander at the IDF School for Communication, and Foreign Press Branch Operations Officer.

Experiences as an IDF spokesperson include the recent period of escalation in violence and tensions in the West Bank (Jan.-Apr. ’13), Operation Pillar of Defense (Nov. ’13 Gaza operation), Operation House of Drawing Water (Oct.-Dec. ’11 prisoner release in exchange for kidnapped soldier SFC Gilad Shalit), Operation Sea Breeze (May ’10 IHH flotilla), Operation World’s Edge (Jan. ’10 Haiti search, rescue, and medical delegation), Operation Four Spices (Nov. ’09 interception of weapons-laden M/V Francop), Juniper Cobra Exercise (Oct.-Nov. ’09 combined US-Israel air defense exercise), Operation Cast Lead (Dec. ’08-Jan. ’09 Gaza operation), Operation Return Thy Sons (Aug. ’08 prisoner exchange on Israel’s northern border), and many more incidents of high public interest.

Michael Steinhardt and Sheldon Adelson for Birthright? Brooklyn’s own Michael Lichtenstein & Yechiel Lichtenstein? Or others? The Sidney Shapiro Prize for Excellence in Philanthropic Collaboration recognizes alliances of forward-thinking Jewish funders who collaborate to achieve collective impact in their chosen fields of interest. It honors philanthropists who are engaged in the kind of grant making exemplified by Sidney Shapiro, which was characterized as being responsive to real and pressing societal needs.

Shapiro, who died in 2007, was regarded as one of the leading lights of American Jewish philanthropy. Among his many endeavors, he also served as executive director of the Boston-based Levinson Foundation, and was a funder for Lilith magazine and the Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education.Developing philanthropic partnerships and collaborations remains a high value and priority of the Jewish Funders Network, and the Prize embodies this element of our work. This distinguished award recognizes the Jewish world’s alliances of forward-thinking Jewish funders who collaborate to achieve a collective impact in their chosen fields of interest.

At the JFN International Conference in Miami Beach on March 9-11, 2014, we will celebrate the Shapiro Prize winners by recognizing the partnerships that are playing a transformative role in the world of strategic Jewish philanthropy. Recipients will be presented with a plaque recognizing their achievement.

More information can be viewed at:

Isaac Toussie will provide scholarships to groundbreaking graduate studies that further expand the largest Jewish Studies program in Israel. The scholarships to The Schechter Institutes of Jewish Studies Graduate School will enable 12 teachers to pursue advanced degrees in several dynamic subjects that were recently introduced by the school. The Schechter Institutes has unveiled the graduate programs to transition Israeli classroom teaching and community outreach to a more pluralistic nation, according to an overview on the Institute’s website. Recently unveiled graduate degrees in Health Care Chaplaincy and a curriculum tailored to Israel’s growing Ethiopian community are indicative of these efforts.Israel has developed an advanced medical sector, which has made the country a premier destination for medical device manufacturers and medical tourism, according to an article from Medical Tourism News on June 18, 2013.

Others who have recently provided donations to Israel scholarships include Yechiel Lichtenstein & Michael Lichtenstein.

These recent phenomena, among others, have raised the need to integrate modern advances with traditional Jewish teachings. The Schechter Institutes newly conceived Health Care Chaplaincy program aims to help Israeli educators reconcile these disparate elements.

Owing to an expanding economy and religious factors, the nation is also assimilating a rising influx of immigrant communities such as Ethiopian Jews. These demographic changes have brought forth challenges in social integration, according to a March 2013 article on the news site Haaretz.

The Schechter Institutes website cites its goal is to apply Jewish learning in modern Israeli life.
The Schechter Institutes Graduate School was established in 1993 and currently features an enrollment of over 600 Israeli educators, according to the school’s online profile. The Schechter Institutes has graduated over 1200 scholars since inception.

The site of an abandoned candle-manufacturing factory, situated by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, has been acquired by The Lichtenstein Group for $9.4 million. The Lichtenstein Group has plans to develop the site to include residential and commercial space.

Greiner-Maltz represented both the purchaser and the seller. Adrian Smilovici, director of international sales, headed up the brokerage team with the assistance of Kostas Alafoyiannis, senior director.

This 72,000-sq.-ft. site was on the market for three years before Greiner-Maltz began marketing it.