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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Who is the 'Jewish Council on Education and Research'?

A very Jewish-sounding organization called the 'Jewish Council on Education and Research' has been churning out pro-Obama videos at a torrid clip and seems to have an endless budget. Their latest video has recruited a panoply of leftist former army and Mossad officers who support Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama. In Israel, where most of the country serves in the IDF, there is no shortage of 'security experts' who would give the country to the 'Palestinians.' One of them - who does not appear in this video - is the current head of the Labor party, Ehud Barak. So let's go to the videotape, and then I'll tell you who some of these 'experts' are and then we'll try to look a bit at who JCER is. Hint: This is the second time you've seen them this weekend.

Let's talk about the JCER first because that's the juicy part. The JCER are the same people who are sponsoring the Columbus Day trip to Florida (returning on the first night of the holiday of Succot when it's forbidden to travel under Jewish law?) to convince your grandparents to vote for Obama. Yes, that's the group that put together the video by that sick yenta Sarah Silverman that Jackie Mason debunked on Friday.

Despite its lofty-sounding name, JCER is not a Jewish organization per se. It's a 527 organization started by a couple of rich, young, leftist Jews, who decided to find their Jewish identity through liberalism.
The Jewish Council for Education & Research (JCER), a federal political action committee, was created to develop and disseminate information to voters in the United States around issues of concern to the Jewish community. JCER is motivated by a deep love for the Jewish community and by a desire to ensure that Jews have access to all the information they need as they engage in the electoral process. Its premiere initiative is JewsVote.org, a campaign to help Jews take responsibility for identifying and communicating about the election with voters in our own communities -- among our friends and families -- and in key swing states. JewsVote.org will work with people from across the Jewish denominational spectrum to engage, inform and activate our community members.

In 2008, JewsVote.org is supporting Sen. Barack Obama for president and six other Congressional candidates [Did not see the list anywhere, but you can bet that one of them is Bob Wexler. CiJ] who share the American Jewish community's core public values: a robust First Amendment, equal rights for all, broad-based economic and educational opportunity, cultural liberalism, vigilance in the face of oppression, respect for the natural world, a strong but not belligerent foreign policy, and support for Israel [Note what's in last place. CiJ].

Recognizing that the Jewish community is not one-size fits all, and that inter-generational discourse is a key to disseminating information among Jews, JewsVote.org will soon launch a cross-platform initiative called TheGreatSchlep.com. TheGreatSchlep will target, engage and activate the facebook generation, connecting them with relatives and friends in the state of Florida and other key states.


The co-Executive Directors of JCER are Mik Moore and Ari Wallach.

Mik has fourteen years of experience working in the often overlapping worlds of communications, politics, and the Jewish community. He is currently on leave from Jewish Funds for Justice, where he serves as Chief Communications Officer. Mik serves on the board of The Jewish Week and is board chair of the Jewish Student Press Service. He studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, spent a year in Israel with the Zionist youth movement Young Judaea, and holds a B.A. from Vassar College and a J.D. from Georgetown Law.

Ari has been working at the intersection of business, politics and communications for over 12 years. He is currently on leave from the consulting firm of studioBenZion (sBZ) and was formerly VP of Corporate Development at Seed Media Group, where he was responsible for strategic alliances and business development. He serves on the board of the American Jewish Committee's ACCESS program and has been a past participant of the Hillel Spitzer Forum, The Bronfman Reboot initiative and The Jewish Week's "The Conversation." He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area by the artist Susan Wallach and the late Raul Wallach. Ari's father, a Polish-born partisan with the Jewish underground in W.W. II, was hailed by Sen. Henry Reid as "a national treasure" upon his passing. He holds a B.A. from the University Of California, Berkeley.
Mik Moore is currently on leave from his job at Jewish Funds for Justice, an organization that has many worthwhile activities but has also promoted 'shareholder activism' to combat imaginary 'global warming.' Mik is also the proud owner of a Kos diary. We all know how much Kos loves Israel.

Ari Wallach is
founder re:think media which produces the new TV/IPTV show re:think. Ari was the founder of INFORUM, which is now one of the nation's largest non-partisan forums for those in their 20s-30s to learn about and discuss business, politics and culture.

He has worked with The United States Institute of Peace, the DNC and as the director of conflict resolution for the USCA at UC Berkeley. Ari was most recently a New York Coro Leadership Fellow.
Wallach doesn't seem to have Israel as his number one concern either. They're both in their early 30's and apparently still think they can change the world. Nearly all the search results on them relate to the current campaign.

I could not find their sources of funding - probably the most curious question of all.

And why Obama? Watch the birdie:

In a May, 2008 poll, more than 60% of Jewish voters said they would vote for Senator Barack Obama in the general election; 28% said they would vote for Senator John McCain. Obama's support from a large majority of American Jews is likely due to his background in the social change movement, his judgment in supporting efforts against Al Qaeda and opposing the war in Iraq, his leadership in reconciling racial and religious divisions, and his vision for creating and sharing opportunity and prosperity among all Americans. Obama's commitment to the long-term safety and security of Israel has inspired renewed hope among Jews disappointed with the lack of engagement in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that has characterized the Bush administration.

According to a recent opinion survey of American Jews by the American Jewish Committee, Obama's positions on a range of issues are closely aligned with those of most Jews. For example:

  • 80% believe the United States should handle its energy need either by encouraging greater energy conservation or developing alternative energy sources. Obama's energy plan has focused on conservation and alternative energy, while McCain has emphasized drilling for oil and a summer gas tax holiday.

  • 67% believe the United States should have stayed out of Iraq. Obama opposed the decision to invade Iraq, while McCain strongly supported the invasion.

  • 67% believe the United States should allow illegal immigrants to remain and become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over a period of time. Obama has consistently stated that comprehensive immigration reform is the only solution; McCain, after championing these reforms, has backtracked to emphasize punitive measures embraced by anti-immigrant activists in the Republican Party.

Other polls have shown that 75% of American Jews consider themselves to be "pro-choice" on a woman's right to choose an abortion. Obama is strongly pro-choice. McCain said he would be "a pro-life president" and would appoint Supreme Court justices like Scalia and Alito.

After Obama's recent trip to Israel, many politicians and opinion leaders who were unfamiliar with Obama came away impressed with his command of the issues, his remarkable poise, and his commitment to the safety and security of Israel and Jews everywhere. David Horowitz, the editor of The Jerusalem Post, wrote this after meeting and interviewing Obama: "Obama, who was making only his second visit to Israel, knew precisely what he wanted to say about the most intricate issues confronting and concerning Israel, and expressed himself clearly, even stridently on key subjects." By contrast, Horowitz noted that Sen. John McCain " looked to [Sen. Joe] Lieberman several times for reassurance on his answers and seemed a little flummoxed by a question relating to the nuances of settlement construction." Likkud Party Chairman and former Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, after spending time with Obama, said that "he was impressed about Obama's understanding of the Iranian threat and said they both agreed that a nuclear Iran was unacceptable.

But now that Israel has moved up to being their 4th priority (after energy, the war in Iraq and abortion), is that really what Horovitz (could they at least get his name right?) or Netanyahu said? (And by the way, is Israel really only the 4th priority of the American Jewish community?) No, JCER told a half truth. This is what JPost said in an editorial(with my comment added at the end):
All US administrations since 1967 have pushed Israel to trade land for peace and opposed Jewish settlement in the West Bank. However, on April 14, 2004, President George W. Bush wrote to prime minister Ariel Sharon: "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the Armistice Lines of 1949..."

We asked Obama whether he too could live with the "67-plus" paradigm. His response: "Israel may seek '67-plus' and justify it in terms of the buffer that they need for security purposes. They've got to consider whether getting that buffer is worth the antagonism of the other party."

Without that "buffer," the strategic ridges of the West Bank that overlook metropolitan Tel Aviv and the country's main airport would be in Palestinian hands. Eighteen kilometers - or 11 miles - would separate "Palestine" from the Mediterranean, the narrow, vulnerable coastal strip along which much of Israel's population lives.

While Obama promises to dedicate himself, from the "first minute" of his presidency, to solving the conflict, his apparent sanguinity over an Israel shrunk into the 1949 Armistice Lines is troubling. Half the Palestinian polity is today in the clutches of the Islamist rejectionists in Gaza. If the IDF precipitously withdrew, the other half, ruled by the "moderate" Ramallah-based leadership, would quickly fall under Islamist control. And that is something no American president would desire.

Obama's position on territorial compromise, in part, may be a consequence of Israel's abiding inability to achieve a consensual position regarding those areas of Judea and Samaria it feels must be retained under any peace accord, and then to assiduously explain that position internationally.

But he sounded surprisingly definitive in his outlook on this immensely sensitive issue - more so, indeed, than did McCain when we interviewed him in March - even though he was making only his second visit to Israel. He owes it to Israelis and Palestinians - and to himself - to return here for a deeper look.
Amazing how the man can make that definitive a statement on his second trip here - a trip that lasted a day (how long did the first trip last?). That's the height of arrogance in my book.
Finally, a few words about the 'senior IDF officers' in the video above who - guess what - do not really come from 'across the political spectrum.'

Shlomo Brum was in charge of IDF strategic planning from 1996-98. He has since entered academia, where he has argued for 'engaging' with and legitimizing the Hamas thuggocracy in Gaza. He was also a supporter of the Gaza expulsion and argued that it would have a 'positive impact' on 'Israeli-Palestinian' relations. We all know where that one went.

Yossi Alpher is a known leftist who for many years has run an 'Israeli-Palestinian' website that has promoted surrender to the 'Palestinians.' All of the Israelis on the site are leftists.

Shaul Arieli (link in Hebrew) left the IDF in 2001 after heading up the IDF liasion to the negotiating team with the 'Palestinians' during the Barak government. He also was a 'negotiator' in the (unofficial) Geneva negotiations between Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abd Rabo in 2003 (which proposed that Israel commit suicide).

Amnon Lipkin-Shahak was IDF chief of staff and was too left wing even for the Labor party. He served in the Knesset for about a year and a half, and as a minister for about the same period (not overlapping). He was known as a leftist - and for attempting to play politics with his superiors - even while he was in uniform.
Lipkin-Shahak succeeded Ehud Barak as the 15th Chief of the General Staff in 1995. As Chief of staff, he continued to take part in negotiations with the Palestinians and Syrians, in which position he met his Syrian counterpart. Most of his tenure as Chief of Staff was under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai. His tenure was marked with much public friction between him and his superiors, reportedly due to political differences and personal disrespect (Lipkin-Shahak refused to nominate Mordechai, a Major General, as his deputy when he became Chief of Staff, causing Mordechai to retire from the army and join the political arena, eventually to become Lipkin-Shahak's superior.)

Lipkin-Shahak retired from the army after 36 years of service in 1998 and was succeeded as Chief of Staff by Shaul Mofaz.
In April of this year, he signed a letter of support for J-Street. J-Street is a Jewish leftist organization that is backed by George Soros (and Alan Solomont) and is trying to replace AIPAC as America's 'pro-Israel' lobby. They are so 'pro-Israel' that they managed to get Sarah Palin 'disinvited' from the anti-Iran rally last month, which caused the rally to be small and ineffective.

Amram Mitzna is the former Mayor of Red Haifa (yes, that's what it's called here - Haifa may be even more leftist than Tel Aviv), who ran for Prime Minister on the Labor party ticket in 2003 when they couldn't get anyone else to run after Ehud Barak's resounding defeat in 2001. Mitzna is the original conceiver of Israel's unilateral expulsion of Israel's Jews from Gaza. But give him this much credit: at least he was honest about it. But give Mitzna this much credit: at least he's an honest leftist. Ariel Sharon ran against Mitzna on a platform opposing what was then called a 'unilateral withdrawal' from Gaza. And we all know what happened (please read that link - I've been looking for an excuse to post it for ten days).

Ephraim Halevy has been the leader of the 'we can live with a nuclear Iran' crowd among former generals. Halevy is also a proponent of reaching a 'long-term truce' with Hamas so that they can regroup and live on to fight us for another day. Come to think of it, that's what's been going on for the last three months.

Giora Inbar is a businessman who was a Brigadier General in the IDF. He too was a leftist even while in uniform. This is from Think Israel, an Internet magazine that comes out regularly:
Another Brigadier General in the Northern Command, the Command's Chief-of-Staff Rafi Noy, said a few years before Barak fled from the Security Strip [abandoned southern Lebanon in May 2000. CiJ]: "In Lebanon there is no one to defeat."

Another Brigadier General, Commander of the Lebanon Division Giora Inbar, went even further, and after retiring from the army joined the hedonist money-grubbers of the extreme left and took part in the junta of generals who supported Yossi Belin's "Geneva accords" and his operators/financiers in the European Union.

Giora Inbar is doing very well financially as a post-Zionist and anti-Jewish intellectual. This same Inbar told his soldiers who had remained in Lebanon that "their war was pointless and unjustified, and their blood was being spilled there in vain." Inbar, like Eli Geva before him, fled from the battlefield. But the simple soldiers under his command were not granted the privilege of doing the same; they thus remained there, with the stark truth that they with their bodies enabled the inhabitants of the north of Israel, and the rest of the State as well, to live their lives in relative peace.
I guess many of you are wondering why JCER claims that their group of IDF officers comes from 'across the political spectrum.' It's Uzi Dayan who allows them to make that claim. Uzi is a leftist too, but he has the blessing of a guy named Binyamin Netanyahu.

Isn't it curious then that Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu has been silent about bringing down the government now? It is especially curious since two days ago, he took former IDF Chief of Staff Uzi Dayan into the Likud, to whom he has apparently promised the defense ministry (ahead of former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe "Boogie" Yaalon, from whom we have not heard in quite some time, and making it difficult to form a coalition with Kadima if former IDF Chief of Staff and former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz wins the primary there). Dayan is one of those 'moderates' that Bibi talked about a year ago. Netanyahu is trying to take what remains of the post-Sharon Likud and turn it into a Sharon-style 'centrist' party. This is Israel Harel (token right-winger) writing in Thursday's Haaretz:
Dayan, as has been proven in previous elections, is not a major vote bringer. Moreover: Quite a number of Likud members, including those who strongly object to Netanyahu's wooing of reinforcements such as Dayan and Dan Meridor, will vote for the right-wing parties. Netanyahu probably knows that, and he does not expect a dowry of votes from these new members, but rather to strengthen the pragmatic wing, which is distancing itself from the Likud's traditional ideology.

Regarding Dayan's views on the main national issues, one can say that he belongs to the large and lukewarm camp that includes Kadima, the Labor Party (which he also considered joining, according to reports) and to a great extent, today's Likud as well. The differences between them are slim.

Dayan, the man behind the separation fence, still believes in it, as he said at the press conference. In his preliminary agreement with Netanyahu, the two also agreed that when the Likud comes to power, the fence construction will be accelerated. The main reason for the fence is political, rather than security-based - it divides the western part of the Land of Israel and leaves about 90 percent of Judea and Samaria outside Israeli sovereignty. Nevertheless, he promised to complete it.

The change, therefore, is not Dayan's, as his critics claimed, but rather to Netanyahu's Likud. The Likud head has taken another step to sever his party from the broader camp, with its ideology and its proven capacity to sacrifice and to realize its ideals. He is joining an admittedly larger camp, whose ideological vagueness has led its security and political path to fail for the past two decades. Just when the public has begun to recognize this failure, Netanyahu is embarking on the path of vagueness, which lacks a goal, and therefore lacks a clear destination, too.

When no ideology exists or remains, we get policy like that of the most recent prime ministers, who mostly reacted, while others - especially the terror organizations - initiated most of the moves to which Israel responded with weakness, hesitation, a high cost in human life, resources and a loss of reputation and deterrence.
Especially for those of you who wonder why my support for Netanyahu is lukewarm at best (and why I do not plan to vote for the Likud in the upcoming election), read the whole thing.
In other words, they chose a group of former IDF officers who hold a specific point of view and tried to give the impression that it's how the IDF thinks.

JCER is a dishonest way for two young kids to make their place in Jewish communal politics at Israel's expense. I'd love to know who's funding it.


At 6:01 PM, Blogger ZH#2 said...

Excellent research! Thanks...

At 6:59 PM, Blogger DemoCaster said...

Yasher koach! Thanks for deconstructing this very persuasive, very damaging political device. But where's the rebuttal from anyone in the IDF, or a similarly qualified ex-general debunking and presenting a counter-arguement?


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