July 03, 2008

Can 600 Rabbis be wrong?

From the European Jewish Press, July 1:

In Brussels, the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE), which represents around 600 communal rabbis across Europe, deplored that "certain organizations are prepared to sacrifice starving children for their own parochial and political interests."

"Although most of these children would have no idea about Adallah’s political interests, they are the ones who will bear the consequences of this decision," the RCE said in a letter sent to UNICEF.

The RCE added:“As seen from the famous philanthropy of Jewish entrepreneurs around the world, the Jews as a people believe in giving and assisting the needy from all nations.”

Where is Anthony Julius when you need him? Is this not a blood libel against Adalah-NY? "Sacrificing starving children" -- that's pretty grisly stuff. So who exactly is the RCE? Would you believe it, the RCE is a Chabad-run organization started in 2004 to rival the pre-existing European orthodox grouping, the Conference of European Rabbis. RCE's Russian member of the board is none other than Berel Lazar, widely viewed as Leviev's man in Putin's court. According to Ha'aretz on July 2, Berel "owes his job to his extraordinary ability to get close to former President Vladimir Putin and win the patronage of Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich."

Maybe the villagers of Jayyous, under physical and economic strangulation by the combination of Israel's wall & Leviev's settlement Zufim, which uses the wall to expand, can explain to the RCE what all the fuss is about:

"More than 70% of Jayyous' farmers are now denied access to their land, which in many cases happens to be the very area where Leader plans to expand Zufim. As a result, our once-prosperous farming village of 3,400 hundred souls, which once provided food for 60,000 Palestinians, is now impoverished and dependent on external food aid. 57% of Jayyous' families now depend on food aid... [while] 70% of families, are in great need of food aid, and this number is constantly increasing.

Leviev's settlement and Israel's wall have impoverished our village to such a degree that 103 out of a total of 195 students in grades 7-12 were compelled to drop out of school. [Students'] dreams of attending universities now seem impossible. In 2002, before Israel began construction on the wall, 180 high school graduates from Jayyous were enrolled in university studies. That number has now dropped to 50. We understand that Leviev contributes to fundraising events in France benefitting UNICEF programs to educate girls in Senegal. We ask why UNICEF, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children worldwide would accept Leviev's support in educating Senegalese children while his companies are destroying the lives of Palestinian children in places like Jayyous?"

Why Indeed? And Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews Against the Occupation, & The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions are all wondering the same thing. Nu, does the RCE have an answer for them?


Other Leviev-related news today:

--7 Groups Call on Susan Sarandon to Follow UNICEF & Cut Ties with Leviev.

-- Gulf News: Arab League may blacklist Levant Jewellery stores

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