Saturday, December 15, 2007

Facebook Users Support the US-Israel Relationship More Than They Believe in Global Warming

Facebook has a new US politics section that includes "debate groups" with polls of facebook users.

One such poll asked this question: "Should the United States continue its close alliance with Israel?"

74% of respondents said yes. 5, 618 people have voiced their opinion. The vast majority of them are 18 to 24 years old.

A minority of those who answered yes also answered that the US should forge closer ties with "Palestine."

The poll indicates that while anti-Israel activists are very loud (including their many facebook groups), young people aren't convinced. A diverse group of young Americans: Democrats, Republicans, Jews, non-Jews, supports the close alliance between the US and Israel.

It's interesting to note that very few issues have such support.

In another facebook poll respondents were asked if global warming is real. 71% of respondents said "Global Warming is a proven phenomenon." 29% said it isn't.

Apparently facebook users believe in a close US-Israel alliance more than they believe in Global Warming.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

“When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.”

In 2002, a group revealed that a letter supposedly written by MLK Jr. in support of Israel was in fact a hoax. Who revealed this? None other than a pro-Israel organization: CAMERA.

Despite all the false propaganda out there on Middle East issues, CAMERA works to present the facts.

So, what did Martin Luther King, Jr. actually say?
On March 25, 1968, less than two weeks before his death, he spoke strongly in favor of Israel:
“[P]eace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.”
And in a speech to Harvard students he made the following claim:
“When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.”
It is telling that one of the greatest advocates for civil rights in history was a strong support of Israel and Zionism.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Israel 360

On November 29, Tikvah SFI hosted its first event: Israel 360. Over 100 people filled the Tan Oak room in the MLK, Jr. Student Union for the event.

Participants chowed down on Falafel and Shwarma from Holy Land Restaurant before the presentation.

Elliot Mathias, Director of Hasbara Fellowships, gave an engaging presentation full of interesting facts about Israel.

The anti-Israel extremists on campus have made a big fuss over it.

On his blog, Yaman Salahi, the leader of Students for Justice in Palestine, calls the event the "The MTV version of Israel." He proceeds to attack the neutrality of the presentation by pointing, fallaciously, to other materials from Hasbara Fellowships he considers biased.

The reality is that he can't refute even one fact in the presentation.

When people are presented with the facts and not patently false propaganda, the anti-Israel extremists lose. We plan to continue to present the facts to Cal students.

Bill Affirms Strong Relationship Between Two Countries, Highlights Ideals

I commend the ASUC Senate for recently passing a bill affirming the strong and positive relationship between the United States and Israel. The issue before the Senate was an important one for all Americans. It’s unfortunate that the ASUC president, in vetoing the bill, let his own personal politics and lack of understanding about the bill stand in the way of the will of the senators and the students who elected them. That one person trumped the collective decision of the Senate is unsettling, but at the same time draws attention to a meaningful bill that deserves recognition.

The bill highlights a multitude of shared ideals on which the two countries are based, including freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and press, as well as equality and tolerance for all people. Israel is a beacon of liberty, a country where women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights and political rights flourish. Israel is the only country in the region with legal protection for gays from discrimination, uncensored media and full freedom of speech and assembly. Additionally, 45 percent of women are in the workforce, the same as in the United States.

Together, the United States and Israel have taken many strides and made many sacrifices toward peace, including treaties with Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994, and the Palestinians in 1993.

The bill also illustrates the longstanding historical context of a positive United States-Israel relationship: Since Israel’s independence, every U.S. President has supported a strong relationship between the two democracies. Jimmy Carter articulated that “The survival of Israel ... is a moral imperative. That is my deeply held belief ... a strong secure Israel is not just in Israel’s interest. It’s in the interest of the United States and in the interest of the entire free world.” Both the Democratic and Republican parties consistently champion the benefits of the relationship. And most importantly, both the American and Israeli governments are echoing the sentiments of their people, as the overwhelming majority of Americans and Israelis back the relationship.

The bill before the ASUC was about affirming core values and a desire for peace between two nations who share a natural bond. To see my student government take a stand on an issue of international significance makes me proud to be a UC Berkeley student. It’s reassuring to know that at a school once in the spotlight for its political and social activism, students are still speaking and their voices are still being heard. Despite an attempt by the ASUC president to conceal the merits of the bill behind a veil of personal politics and misinformation, the Senate made it clear that the bill stands on its own.

-John Moghtader, co-founder of Tikvah SFI.

Daily Cal article on the passing of the bill: