Friday, January 16, 2009

A few things

Here's some things to get you through the long weekend.

British Muslims call for tolerance.
A group of prominent British Muslims called on co-religionists to help prevent attacks on Jews.

The letter, signed by 20 leading imams, writers, academics and community activists, was timed to arrive at 1,200 mosques and Islamic centers around Britain on Friday, the Muslim day of worship.

Referring to a recent arson attack on a synagogue in North London, the letter says: "We unreservedly condemn attacks on innocent British citizens and the desecration of all places of worship."

The letter calls on fellow Muslims "to remain vigilant against attempts to bring our own faith and community into disrepute." It concludes: "British Jews should not be held responsible for the actions of the Israeli government."

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the representative body of the Jewish community in Britain, issued a statement welcoming "the moral clarity, courage and vision shown by many leading British Muslims in their statement condemning the wave of anti-Semitic hatred that British Jews have suffered during the course of the terrible conflict in Gaza."
At Senate testimony for her confirmation hearings, Susan Rice said that Israel is being treated unfairly by the UN.
Susan Rice said Israel is treated unfairly at the United Nations.

Barack Obama's nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said in her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Commitee that "many try to use the U.N. to willfully and unfairly condemn our ally Israel."

She said that such "flaws and disappointing actions within the U.N. are rooted in its potential to serve as an engine for progress."

"When effective and principled U.N. action is blocked, our frustration naturally grows, but that should only cause us to redouble our efforts to ensure that the United Nations lives up to its founding principles."

Later in the hearing, Rice expressed support for a "durable cease-fire" in Gaza that "has to entail the halt to Hamas rockets against Israel and the Israeli people," according to The New York Times.

She added that once the fighting ends, "We need to mount a swift and robust effort to attend to the dire humanitarian needs inside Gaza."
With the new media playing a major role in our lives, activists are utilizing it to the best of their abilities.
As Israel takes to the Internet in search of innovative ways to make its case about Gaza to the world, Jews around the globe also are utilizing innovative methods -- and particularly new technological tools -- to explain what the Jewish state is facing as it acts to protect its southern flank from rocket fire.

StandWithUs, a Los Angeles-based pro-Israel group, has established a round-the-clock Internet task force -- in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel -- to monitor Web sites and provide instant responses to attacks on the Jewish state. Some 15 to 20 volunteers staff two situation rooms, in Herzliya and Jerusalem, that promote pro-Israel content on social networking Web sites, respond to online opinion polling and try to alter the tenor of discussions in Internet chat rooms.

The group also has launched a Web site,, that provides links to public opinion polls on the conflict, online articles in need of response and ideas to integrate pro-Israel symbols with profiles on sites such as Facebook. It also features pictures and videos that highlight Hamas' indoctrination of children and the humanity of Israeli soldiers.

“We're trying to dictate the Net agenda as well as respond to it,” Michael Dickson, the director of the StandWithUs office in Israel, told JTA.

Much of the online activity related to the Israel-Hamas battle in Gaza centers around Facebook, the hugely popular networking site that has seen a noticeable upsurge in political content related to the conflict. More than 5,000 users are attending a virtual rally on the site organized by the World Zionist Organization. Pro-Israel users are being encouraged to change their profile pictures to “I Love Israel” and donate their “status update” to keep track of the terrorist rockets landing in southern Israel. Some 1,200 users are listed as "fans" of the rocket application, which automatically updates whenever a rocket lands in southern Israel.

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