A South African Muslim group wants the country's chief rabbi removed from a religious leaders' forum over the Gaza incursion.Every day, Israel stops fighting for 3 hours so that humanitarian aid can be given or civilians can change locations. However, during that time, Hamas continues to fire rockets at civilians.
The South African Muslim Judicial Council is questioning whether South Africa's Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein should continue to be a member of the prestigious National Religious Leaders' Forum comprising clerics from all the major faiths.
This follows a hot debate on a talk radio station last week between Goldstein, who plays a key role in the organization, and Muslim theologian Moulana Ebrahim Bham, in which Goldstein said the war in Gaza is one of self-defense and that the South African Jewish community "passionately" believes Israel is the victim and is conducting itself "in a manner which is a just and legal war" into which it was forced against its will.
Council spokesman Nabeweya Malick said his organization was questioning Goldstein's position and "whether he holds the necessary moral and ethical authority to be part of this noble forum."
Goldstein told JTA that the religious leaders' forum was established at the behest of former President Nelson Mandela "to give expression to the dream of the rainbow nation, where all can live together with tolerance."
Goldstein is co-author with Mandela's grandson, Dumani Mandela, of "The African Soul.' He has a doctorate in human rights law and his thesis was published as a book "Defending the Human Spirit: Jewish Law's Vision for a Moral Society."
On Sunday, the chief rabbi's office, together with the Israeli Embassy, the Jewish Board of Deputies, the Zionist Federation, the Beth Din the Israel United Appeal-United Communal Fund, the S.A. Rabbinical Association and the Union of Orthodox Synagogues, held a solidarity prayer meeting in Johannesburg.
Israel stopped fighting for three hours Monday, as it has daily for the past week, to allow Palestinian civilians to restock or change locations, and to allow aid agencies to distribute its goods during the 17th day of Operation Cast Lead. But Hamas continued to fire rockets at Israel during the lull, scoring direct hits on homes in Ashkelon and Sderot. No one was injured, although several people went into shock and the homes were badly damaged.Gilad Shalit is still a hostage and Hamas does not care what condition he is in.
One rocket landed near an Ashkelon high school where students had returned and were holding classes in bomb shelters. Attendance, however, was very low.
At least 16 rockets have hit southern Israel since Monday morning. According to reports, the number of rocket and mortar strikes on southern Israel has significantly decreased since the start of the operation.
Reserve soldiers have been sent into Gaza, an indication that the operation may be widening.
Overnight, the Air Force hit four weapons storehouses located in the homes of Hamas operatives, two tunnels dug under the homes of Hamas operatives and a smuggling tunnel on Gaza's border with Egypt, as well as a rocket launching position. Israeli ground troops clashed with armed Hamas gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip.
Both AIPAC and the ADL slammed the Bush administration for not vetoing a UN resolution. The United States abstained from the resolution.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee issued a statement Friday expressing "its disappointment with the U.S. administration for succumbing to pressure exerted by Arab states and agreeing to bring this vote to the U.N. Security Council -- a message contrary to the steadfast and overwhelming support expressed this week by the United States Congress and dozens of elected officials from across the country." The statement came a day after the U.N. Security Council approved the resolution in a 14-0 vote.Appearing on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Obama stood by his comments this past July.
The United States abstained, and failed to impose the veto it wields as one of five permanent members. Israel ignored the resolution, although it is binding, principally because the measure calls for an "immediate" ceasefire, and Israel is determined not to fall back until Hamas' capacity to launch rockets and smuggle weapons has been destroyed.[...]
The Anti-Defamation League also expressed "surprise" at the Bush administration's failure to veto the resolution. "At a time when Israel is engaged in defending its citizens against the brutality of Hamas terrorism, which has unleashed an outpouring of anti-Semitic rhetoric, threats and intimidation and violence in the U.S. and around the world, we expected the administration to abide by its longstanding commitment to fighting global terrorism and the scourge of anti-Semitism and Israel’s role on the front lines of that fight," the ADL said in a statement.
The American Jewish Committee did not issue a statement, but posted an analysis on its Web site that noted positive and negative aspects to the resolution.[...]
The Web site of the conservative Weekly Standard cited "well-informed sources" who said that Rice favored voting for the resolution. The report also said that Vice President Dick Cheney favored vetoing it. Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, brokered a compromise that President Bush ordered: abstain, but do not veto, the Standard reported.
Obama stood by his comments made last summer during a visit to Sderot: "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."Is history repeating itself? At least Rome's mayor is on our side.
When Stephanopoulos asked if he would say the same thing today, Obama said, "I think that a basic principle of any country is that they've got to protect their citizens."
Rome's mayor and provincial president shopped at Jewish-owned stores after a trade union called for a boycott of Jewish merchants to protest the Gaza Strip war.
Politicians across the spectrum condemned the boycott appeal by the Flaica-CUB union, a small, independent leftist union in the retail services and food sector, saying it was reminiscent of the Fascist era.
The boycott call was announced in a flyer, and Flaica-CUB chief Giancarlo Desiderati told newspapers that a list of shops was being drawn up. He later backpedalled, telling reporters that the boycott was only aimed at Israeli-made goods.
"It's an idea that has an undeniable anti-Semitic flavor and that recalls the darkest pages of our history," Nicola Zingaretti, Rome's provincial president, said after meeting Jewish shopkeepers Thursday in the historic Ghetto neighborhood. Mayor Gianni Alemanno, joined by Rome's Jewish community president Riccardo Pacifici, bought two shirts and a tie from a Jewish-owned clothing stores in another neighborhood, and expressed "firm and intransigent condemnation" for the boycott call. Alemanno recalled that such calls in the 1930s led to the imposition of Fascist-era anti-Semitic laws in 1938.
Numerous other politicians and mainstream union leaders also condemned the initiative, and Jewish leaders and shopkeepers expressed shock and dismay. Pacifici said the Jewish community was considering suing the union for instigating racial hatred.