Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: Despite Supposed Boycott, Democratic Presidential Contenders Meet with AIPAC Officials

Posted by Tip Staff - March 27, 2019

Despite Supposed Boycott, Democratic Presidential Contenders Meet with AIPAC Officials
Part 1: UNC-Duke Conference on Gaza Whitewashes Hamas, Blasts Israel
Head of NZ Mosque Criticized for Blaming Christchurch Massacres on Mossad
National Library of Israel Releases Pictures of Begin in Egypt in Honor of 40 Years of Peace

Despite Supposed Boycott, Democratic Presidential Contenders Meet with AIPAC Officials

Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have met with AIPAC officials and constituents representing the group in town for the annual policy conference, despite reports of a widespread boycott, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The candidates had earned praise from the far-left activist group MoveOn, which had publicly called on them not to participate in the conference. The organization described AIPAC as a “partisan lobbying group that has undermined diplomatic efforts” and given a platform to Islamophobes.

The campaign won the support of controversial Palestinian-American activist and co-chair of the Women’s March, Linda Sarsour, who shared posts on social media celebrating the reported boycott.

However, the Post observed, “you can’t really say someone is boycotting the organization,” if they are meeting with officials from and constituents representing AIPAC.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D – Calif), tweeted on Monday, “Great to meet today in my office with California AIPAC leaders to discuss the need for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, the right of Israel to defend itself, and my commitment to combat anti-Semitism in our country and around the world.” Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) also met with constituents attending AIPAC.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gilibrand (D-NY) both gave speeches to AIPAC conference attendees from inside the convention center where the policy conference was taken place.

Two others — Beto O’Rourke and John Delaney — cited scheduling conflicts for not attending the conference this year, the Post reported. “We were in South Carolina and Nevada for town halls,” O’Rourke spokesman Chris Evans said. He stressed that it’s not “anything to the negative” against AIPAC.

Citing reporting by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Post also noted that AIPAC no longer invited candidates to speak in non-election years.

In a segment on Fox News earlier this week, The Israel Project's President and CEO Josh Block reiterated this point. He said that for a candidate to say that he or she is boycotting AIPAC is like saying, "I'm boycotting a wedding to which I wasn't invited."

Read more at The Tower.

Part 1: UNC-Duke Conference on Gaza Whitewashes Hamas, Blasts Israel

On Saturday March 23, I attended UNC-Chapel Hill’s (UNC-CH) “Conflict Over Gaza,” which I had hoped might possibly be constructive but in reality, was an anti-Israel hate-fest. The three-day conference was sponsored by UNC’s Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies. As reported in the Tower, the opening reception and the opening remarks, as well as the full-day “academic sessions,” were all held on Shabbat, thus preventing observant members of the Jewish community from attending.

At 8am, an hour before the conference was to begin, there was already a large, peaceful group of protestors holding signs such as “Free Gaza from Hamas,” “UNC Indoctrination Education Center” and “Gaza Elected a Terrorist Government.” Protestors handed out copies of the previous day’s New York Times column on how Hamas terrorizes and brutalizes the Palestinian people, the people it rules.

The large lobby area served as the central gathering place with vendor tables and catered snacks. It featured a large screen that played a photo collage on repeat, celebrating and glorifying Palestinian terrorism against Israel. Conference attendees continually saw photographs of Palestinians attacking Israel with incendiary devices, such as fire kites. Photographs of other forms of Palestinian terror – such as rockets and mortars being launched at Israel, terror tunnels, and suicide killers – were deliberately omitted from the collage.

The myth being sold here is that Palestinians fight with just kites and fire. Nowhere were there photographs of Israeli children hiding and crying in shelters as rockets from Gaza exploded around them.

There was a “UNC Student Stores” bookstore setup with more than 20 titles that shared central themes of anti-Israel and Hamas apologetics. I picked up a book titled Hamas: A Beginner’s Guide and opened it to a random page. The first paragraph I read in the book included the following statement: “Intrinsically and religiously Hamas could not be anti-Jewish.” The author went on to admit that Hamas’ charter contains many “anti-Jewish statements” but then dismissed Hamas’ charter as “irrelevant” to the group. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports that Hamas is “well known” for “anti-Jewish hatred.” The United States, European Union, and many others classify Hamas as a terrorist organization. The corrupt message being sold was: Hamas says they don’t like Jews, but they don’t really believe it.

The book store attendant informed me that the Conference Director chose the books being sold at the event.

To continued reading this essay, please click here.

Head of NZ Mosque Criticized for Blaming Christchurch Massacres on Mossad

The chairman of New Zealand’s biggest mosque told a rally attended by thousands in the city of Auckland on Saturday that Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, was behind the far-right terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques that left dead fifty people and wounded dozens of others.

In a video posted online, Ahmed Bhamji can be heard saying, “I will not mince my words. I stand here and I say that I have a very, very strong suspicion that there is some group behind him, and I am not afraid to say that I feel that the Mossad is behind this.”

Bhamji continued: "And not only them. There are some business houses (...) Zionist business houses that are behind him,” to which a member of the crowd loudly replied, “that is the truth, Israel is behind it.”

The preacher made the comments the same day New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke to hundreds gathered at the mosque that he chairs – the Masjid e Umar in Mt. Roskill – for an open vigil for the victims of the massacre.

New Zealand's Jewish community reacted with outrage to the news. "These conspiracy theories are dangerous lies. They put the Jewish community at risk, at a time of heightened security concerns," New Zealand Jewish Council spokesperson Juliet Moses told the local outlet, Newshub.

"Conspiracy theories - particularly the idea that Jews (whether through the Jewish state or otherwise) are a malevolent controlling force in the world - are at the very core of anti-Semitism,” she added.

Umar Abdul Kuddus, a prominent Muslim activist and council member, wrote on Facebook: "I am horrified and offended that the chairman made these ridiculous and hurtful comments towards the Jewish community.”

"I was on the ground in Christchurch and I saw Rabbis and Jewish community leaders coming to support and pray with us for the victims and their families.”

Read more at The Tower.

National Library of Israel Releases Pictures of Begin in Egypt in Honor of 40 Years of Peace

March 26, 2019 marks the fourth decade since the signing of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty. It is a bittersweet anniversary. Relations between Israel and Egypt have long been described as a “cold peace” with little person-to-person contact – so different from the euphoria of the early Eighties when Israelis rushed en masse to visit the country that had once been a bitter enemy.

That spirit was perhaps best exemplified by the two leaders at that time, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat, who – in addition to sharing the 1978 Nobel Prize for Peace – shared a friendship that extended beyond the confines of formal diplomacy.

In honor of the 40th anniversary, the National Library of Israel has released a series of photographs documenting Begin’s visits to Egypt.

During the negotiations with Egypt and in the years following the signing of the agreement, Begin came to Egypt several times. Betwixt and between the crowded meeting schedule, the Israeli PM managed to tour some of Egypt’s most famous historic sites: the Pyramids of Giza, the Aswan Dam, the temples of Abu Simbel and the tombs of the Pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings.

According to photographer Dan Hadani, who accompanied the Israeli entourage on one visit, “It was impossible to describe the excitement that gripped us when we suddenly saw the pyramids from the plane. To think of the Children of Israel who were slaves in Egypt… it was like a dream.”

Hadani also captured the warm relations between the two leaders, notes NLI Israel Collection curator Dr. Hezi Amiur. “Our collections hold countless resources related to the historic peace agreement, including posters, newspapers, correspondence, and official publications; yet the unique contribution of these photographs is that they provide an unmediated look at the remarkable personal relationship between Begin and Sadat.”

Sadat was assassinated on October 6, 1981. Begin attended the funeral of his friend. He then forged ahead, continuing implementation of the agreement, withdrawing from the Sinai Peninsula in April 1982.

The National Library houses the Dan Hadani Archive, a collection of almost one million images and negatives from the Israel Press & Photo Agency, founded and run by Hadani from 1965 until 2000.

(via Israel21c)

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