Feature Articles


Robbins: Democrats’ vote against Ken Marcus worrisome

Jeff Robbins 

Friday, January 26, 2018 

Boston Herald Article

At last month’s Senate hearing on the nomination of civil rights lawyer Ken Marcus to be the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) praised Marcus for his advocacy on behalf of a Virginia Tech student threatened by a white supremacist working for the university.

Marcus and the Brandeis Center for Human Rights that he heads, Kaine said, “laudably, I think, helped the student out and weighed in with the administration of Virginia Tech and said, ‘You got to take this seriously; white supremacy is wrong; neo-Nazi ideas are wrong.’ ”

Having praised Marcus for doing the kind of work he has done for years, ­Kaine then proceeded to join all of the Democrats on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in opposing Marcus’ nomination, which only cleared the committee by a 12-11 vote because of Republicans’ unanimous support. For Democrats who find Donald Trump loathsome but worry that their party has lost its bearings, the Democrats’ vote against Marcus is more reason to worry.

Marcus’ “problem” is that he has devoted the last several years of his life to defending the rights of Jewish college kids who, caught in a vise between white supremacism on the far right and ugly, beyond-the-pale anti-Israelism on the far left, have been subjected to increasingly widespread, increasingly repugnant anti-Semitism on American campuses.

Jewish students face this challenge: Hostile conduct aimed at intimidating them — which would be readily understood to have the effect if not the purpose of delegitimizing students of color or women or members of the LGBT community — is regarded as acceptable in some quarters when directed at Jewish kids, particularly but not exclusively those who care about Israel.

The problem is both significant and growing. Robert Trestan, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League in New England, says simply: “Campuses have become the incubator for anti-Semitism.”

This conduct strikes Marcus as deeply wrong, and he has challenged the right of certain groups, pro-Palestinian groups prominently among them, to engage in it. These groups, in turn, want to operate free from any scrutiny, and they have made the predictable accusations against Marcus and mobilized others to oppose his nomination.

That’s their prerogative. The question Democrats will have to answer is whether it is right or wise to be roped or cowed into doing the bidding of bullies simply because their goal is to have their bullying left unchallenged.

Boston attorney Jeff Robbins was a U.S. delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in the Clinton administration.


Lappin Foundation Awards CJUI President: Ray Hanna with the 2017 Friend of Israel Award


September 7, 2017

Jewish Journal

SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 – “Don’t break the chain” was the heartfelt message Lappin Foundation  President Robert I. Lappin conveyed to the cohort of teens who went to Israel with the foundation’s Youth to Israel Adventure this summer.On Sunday, August 27, more than 350 people attended the 2017 Y2I Welcome Home Event at Temple B’nai Abraham in Beverly, which included 109 Y2I teens, their families, a delegation of Israeli teens from the Young Ambassadors School of  Petah Tikva, and community members.The Lappin Foundation honored Jeffrey Robbins with the foundation’s 2017 Y2I Award for his outstanding leadership in the Jewish community.Robbins, a Boston attorney who specializes in complex civil litigation, including allegations of fraud, First Amendment issues, and claims of defamation, is a former United States delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and a past chair of the New England Board of the Anti-Defamation League. Lappin thanked Robbins for his talents and passion that he gives in service to the Jewish community, noting that he is truly an inspiration for all, especially Jewish youth.Ray Hanna, president of Christians & Jews United for Israel, was awarded the Foundation’s 2017 Friend of Israel Award. Lappin thanked Hanna for fighting anti-Semitism, the BDS movement, and the vitriolic narrative against Israel that is rising on university campuses all over the US.

“Thank you for standing with Israel and the Jewish people,” said Lappin. “When friends of Israel are in our midst, it is important to acknowledge and thank them, especially those individuals of other faiths who embrace and support Israel and the Jewish people.”Lappin presented awards to exceptional teens for their leadership and Israel advocacy efforts: Elana Zabar of Swampscott, the 2017 Exceptional Teen Israel Advocacy Award; and Ally Kramer of Beverly and Mason Quintero of Marblehead, the 2017 Exceptional Teen Leadership Award.“There was a lot to celebrate about 2017 Y2I,” said Lappin. It was the largest enrollment of rising juniors and seniors since Y2I’s first trip in 1971, and more than 50 percent of 2017 Y2I teens are from interfaith families.“I am deeply grateful for the community’s support of Y2I, which has grown to be our community’s most successful Jewish program for our teens,” added Lappin, adding that Y2I is the answer to Jewish continuity.In addition to pre-trip Israel educational programs for teens and parents and the two-week, fully subsidized teen trip to Israel, Y2I provides free, post-trip advanced Israel advocacy training for teens and a growing menu of social and volunteer opportunities.Plans are underway for Y2I 2018. Y2I is open to Jewish teens who are sophomores or juniors in high school as of September 1, and who live in or who are members of a temple in the Lappin Foundation’s service area.For more information about upcoming Y2I informational meetings, visit Y2I.org or contact Sharon Wyner at 978-565-4450 or email swyner@lappinfoundation.org. 


Robbins: Rights group goes astray on Hirsi Ali

 Jeff Robbins Tuesday, August 29, 2017


What separates humans from other species, the late William F. Buckley Jr. admonished a sanctimonious college student in his office 40 years ago, “is the capacity to make distinctions.” With a White House as relentlessly repulsive as this one is and significant elements of American society willing to indulge conduct reminiscent of 1930’s fascists, it is perhaps a bad time to expect that people will make distinctions, and the capacity of some people to do so has eroded badly.

A case in point is the decision of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an admirable organization founded in 1971 to combat hatred, to list human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of the world’s most courageous voices against hate, as a practitioner of it.

Hirsi Ali, whose journey from an Islamist upbringing and a forced marriage to international stature as a critic of human rights abuses by radical Islamic state and non-state actors led Time Magazine to call her one of the most influential individuals in the world. And yet she was branded by the Center last year as a prominent “anti-Muslim extremist.” This kind of Alice-in-Wonderland stuff by a respected civil rights group can only have been cheered by actual extremists, who are pleased to see Hirsi Ali defamed, and would be even more pleased to see her disappear.

Hirsi Ali has long been considered Public Enemy #1 by apologists for Islamic extremism. She has been a powerful defender of the rights of women and girls both in Islamic countries and in the West who are victimized by honor killings, genital mutilation, sexual coercion, child marriage and other forms of degradation.

Her foundation provides training to law enforcement, shelters, educators and social service providers who work to protect women and girls. It also lobbies for the strengthening of protections against practices which, as Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, put it succinctly, “have no place in the 21st century.”

read on...

Talking Politics with the Israeli Settler Leader Turned Diplomat

By Nadine Epstein July 13, 2017, 

moment magazine

Dani Dayan has an unusual background for an Israeli diplomat. The Argentinian-born secular Israeli and successful tech entrepreneur was Israel’s chief advocate for the settlers from 2007 to 2013 as chairman of the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Upon stepping down, he took the settler cause to the world stage as its foreign envoy. After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to appoint him ambassador to Brazil ran into resistance in Brasília, Dayan was assigned to be the consul general of Israel in New York City in 2016. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Dayan conducted by Moment editor-in-chief Nadine Epstein.

What do you tell people who say settlements are the obstacle to peace? read on...

Palestine is a Geographical Area, Not a Nationality

Eli E. Hertz


The Arabs invented a special national entity in the 1960s called the Palestinians, specifically for political gain. They brand Israelis as invaders and claim the geographic area called Palestine belongs exclusively to the Arabs.The word Palestine is not even Arabic. It is a word coined by the Romans around 135 CE from the name of a seagoing Aegean people who settled on the coast of Canaan in antiquity – the Philistines. The name was chosen to replace Judea, as a sign that Jewish sovereignty had been eradicated following the Jewish revolts against Rome.In the course of time, the Latin name Philistia was further bastardized into Palistina or Palestine. During the next 2,000 years, Palestine was never an independent state belonging to any people, nor did a Palestinian people, distinct from other Arabs, appear during 1,300 years of Muslim hegemony in Palestine under Arab and Ottoman rule.Palestine was and is solely a geographic name. Therefore, it is not surprising that in modern times the name ‘Palestine’ or ‘Palestinian’ was applied as an adjective to all inhabitants of the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River – Palestine Jews and Palestine Arabs alike. In fact, until the 1960s, most Arabs in Palestine preferred to identify themselves merely as part of the great Arab nation or citizens of “southern Syria.”  read on...

Prosor: Israeli Construction Not an Obstacle to Peace

Israel's UN ambassador responds to European nations' condemnation. "Settlements are not and never have been the main obstacle to peace."

Ron Prosor:  Reuters

Israel's building in its own capital is not an obstable to peace, but rather the Arabs' demands and incitement, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Ambassador Ron Prosor was responding to the condemnation by four European members of the Security Council of Israel's plans to build thousands of new housing units in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

"The planned construction is in neighborhoods that will be part of Jerusalem and Israeli sovereignty under any future agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,"  read on...

New Christian Zionist Film Celebrates Jewish Victory in 1967

By Tricia Miller June 2, 2017  7:30 am
The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) has produced a powerful new film, titled “In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem,” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of the city of Jerusalem under Israeli control. The docudrama shares the story of Israel’s extraordinary battle for survival in June of 1967, when four neighboring Arab nations mobilized for the purpose of wiping Israel off the map.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) partnered with CBN to promote the one night premier of the film in over 700 theaters in the United States on Tuesday, May 23, and again on June 1 and 6. In anticipation of the release of “In Our Hands,” CAMERA talked with Gordon Robertson, the CEO of CBN and the Executive Producer of the documentary, about the significance of the events portrayed in the movie.

“In Our Hands” is the most recent in a series of documentaries that CBN has produced about Israel. According to Robertson, it is the result of two years of research, including primary sources such as the diaries of soldiers involved in the battle for Jerusalem, and interviews with members of the 55th Paratrooper brigade, the first ones to enter the part of Jerusalem previously occupied by Jordan. The Israel Defense Forces helped CBN with the recreation of the battle scenes, all of which were shot at the actual locations where the battle for Jerusalem occurred.

As a result, the film gives the viewer an accurate historical picture of the events that occurred during the battle that reunited the city of Jerusalem. Robertson told CAMERA, “We wanted to make sure every line in this movie had an historical backdrop and was historically accurate.”

 read on...

 The Zionist Message Hidden within Antique Pictures of the Holy Land

A 110-year-old trove of pictures taken by the Christian photographers of the American Colony in Jerusalem provides dramatic proof of thriving Jewish communities in Palestine. Hundreds of pictures show the ancient Jewish community of Jerusalem’s Old City and the Jewish pioneers and builders of new towns and settlements in the Galilee and along the Mediterranean coastline. The American Colony photographers recorded Jewish holy sites, holiday scenes and customs, and they had a special reason for focusing their lenses on Yemenite Jews.  read on...

Fact checking the settlement issue by Yoram Ettinger 

  1. Judea and Samaria (Jewish roots) or West Bank (Arab roots)? “Judea” (יהודה) is the origin of the term “Jew” (יהודי). Its Hebrew spelling combines one of God’s names: Jehova (יהוה) and one of God’s acronyms: ד'. Judea and Samaria are the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture, holidays, ethos, language and yearnings. The official name of the area was "Judea and Samaria" from Biblical times until April 1950, when Jordan occupied/annexed the area, renaming it "West Bank," as distinguished from the east bank of the Jordan River. Judea and Samaria was the official name used by the 1922-1948 British Mandate of Palestine, as well as by the U.N.
  2. Are Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria an obstacle to peace?  read on…  


Israel Supporters: Stop Using these 13 Phrases! 

Mainstream Western media coverage of Israel seeks to delegitimize the Jewish State by using certain words and phrases. The good news is that these terms were not written in stone 3,300 years ago, but created post-1948 in an attempt to attack Israeli independence. We must stop repeating these 13 phrases that forfeit our historical right to the Land of Israel,  read on...