Serving the Jewish Community of Central New Jersey for Over a Century

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Israel Affairs Committee

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The mission of the Beth El Synagogue Israel Affairs Committee is to provide education about the thriving economy in Israel, the various accomplishments of Israel and to address threats to the existence and security of the State of Israel.  We do not have a political agenda, and our programming strives to avoid being labeled as pro-Democratic or pro-Republican, or left or right wing.  Rather, we are pro-Israel Zionists.

To see our upcoming events, go to the calendar page and select “Israel Affairs Committee”” under the event category menu.

The Israel Affairs Committee welcomes new members and invites you to join us and share your knowledge and thoughts on future programming.  Please contact israelaffairs@bethel.net.



Thank you from AJC New Jersey

Thank you to those who joined us Monday night January 25, 2021 for the presentation of The State of Antisemitism in America: Insights from AJC’s Groundbreaking Report. We’d like to especially thank Rita Millner and Rabbi Jay Kornsgold for hosting this program. If you would like to listen to the recording of the program, please click here (will be available until Feb. 25) and if you have further questions please email newjersey@ajc.org.

As we heard from Rabbi David Levy, Director of AJC New Jersey, this groundbreaking report, based on parallel surveys of American Jews and the general public about antisemitism in the United States, revealed some troubling findings such as a disturbing lack of awareness among Americans about contemporary antisemitism. We encourage you to learn more from these AJC resources and join us in fighting antisemitism.

Please support AJC New Jersey as we work to combat antisemitism locally and around the world. With your support, we’ll continue to fight for the Jewish people and Israel. Across the U.S. and around the world, AJC’s work with government officials, law enforcement authorities, and interfaith and interethnic partners will never slow, not even during a pandemic.

To report a potential bias incident to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, please click here.

If you would like to receive emails from AJC and AJC New Jersey about future programs, please email newjersey@ajc.org.



A note from Rita Millner (01/01/2021):

For years, various individuals and groups have been working on the peace which is finally coming to the Middle East.  This is wonderful for Israel and the region.

But overall, 2020 was a depressing year.  I speak for myself and for friends who have experienced levels of loss of family.  Coronavirus vaccinations should improve our situation.

The Israel Affairs Committee was honored to receive a JNF/Nefesh B’nefesh ­­­­­programming grant. We are scheduling several excellent interactive programs on the topic of the recent increase in antisemitism. Our planned guest presenters are AJC, StandWithUs, and CAMERA. Snow or ice won’t interfere with your  Zoom learning experience. We hope teens participate in this adult programming.

The first in this series of Beth El Synagogue Zoom programs on antisemitism is Monday, January 25, at 7 p.m.  Rabbi David C. Levy, Director of AJC New Jersey, will provide an in depth analysis of AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America report, based on recent parallel surveys of American Jews and the general public about antisemitism in the United States. This in-depth analysis will review what the report’s findings mean for efforts to combat antisemitism in America.

Please register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sWo0U3yiQCO6_L_LEcSTQw in advance to join us.



A note from Rita Millner (12/01/2020):

This Winter and Spring, due to the events of our times, we will have Israel Affairs Committee programming heavily weighted on antisemitism.

  • RELEASE OF HATE CRIME STATISTICS

On November 23, New York Attorney General Letitia James and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined an American Jewish Committee webcast to discuss the release of the FBI’s annual hate crimes report (see November 16 NY Times report Hate crimes rose to highest level). The article stated that hate crimes targeting the Jewish community increased by 14% in 2019. James questioned the accuracy of the data, suggesting that underreporting from both local law enforcement and the impacted communities themselves led to a lower number. “Going forward, obviously we’ve got to do a better job, particularly in the Orthodox community,” she said. “We’ve got to inform them and educate them and encourage them with respect to reporting these crimes.”

Meaningful statistics are needed to communicate and address the scale and impact of the increase in hate. AJC (see ajc.org) helps to guide worldwide governments to better recognize, quantify and report on antisemitism. The statistics are to be analytically measured and communicated to those both in a position of control and in position to effect steps of change.

  • CAMERA

Our friends at Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis are now presenting programming regarding Israeli media. I have read some outrageous reporting in Haaretz.

  • ISRAEL BONDS BREAKFAST  (we know why we support the State of Israel)

Please respond to the invitation to the Beth El Israel Bonds Breakfast. You will need to provide your own bagel and coffee this year. In this return visit to Beth El, ­­Dr Ralph Nurnberger of Israel Bonds will talk about the Kindertransport from Prague which saved 669 children from the Nazis.

This virtual event is December 20 at 10 a.m.  You have been sent a link to sign up for the breakfast. You can also call our registered representative, Linda Schmidt at 732.527.9547 or send an email to linda.schmidt@israelbonds.com.

Our programming aims to be educational, positive and impactful.  We hope you will support us in our efforts.

Rita Millner



A note from Rita Millner (11/01/2020):

I just watched the AJC webinar “The State of Antisemitism in America” and highly recommend you watch it and review the report on which it was based. See the advocacy-anywhere link below. Some clarifications and takeaways for me included the following:

  • It is not perceived as credible when Jews define hate against themselves. It is accepted that Blacks and Muslims identify actions against themselves as true hate. To help us identify a clearly antisemitic act, a standard working definition of the term “antisemitism” has been adopted by a growing number of organizations, states and nations. It is the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, a clear and compact description of antisemitism in its various forms, including Holocaust denial, prejudices against Jews, and the denial of Israel’s right to exist. See https://www.ajc.org/the-working-definition-of-antisemitism
  • Three out of five Jews did not report their actual anti-Semitic experience this year.
  • 47% of Americans don’t understand the term antisemitism.
  • Solidarity for our empowerment is needed through unity with Blacks, Muslims, Latinos. This unity enables us to target hate in all communities. The values we support are American values.
  • Antisemitism is found in all political parties.

****************

Jewish Votes in the November 2020 U.S. Election: You may have missed last week’s AJC webinar on the 2020 Jewish vote.  At AJC Global Forum 2019, Halie Soifer, Executive Director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, and Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, provided passionate arguments for why their respective parties can serve as a political home for American Jews. Less than two weeks before Election Day, and on the heels of the release of AJC’s landmark survey of Jews in the United States regarding the upcoming election, Soifer and Brooks again joined AJC to examine trends related to the Jewish vote in 2020 and debated the issues of importance to American Jews.  I am certain you will find it another interesting and worthwhile hour.

For upcoming and recorded AJC advocacy programs click on: https://www.ajc.org/advocacy-anywhere



A note from Rita Millner (09/01/2020):

The Israel Affairs Committee mission is to provide education about the thriving economy in Israel, the various accomplishments of Israel, to address threats to the existence and security of the State of Israel and to deal with matters of antisemitism.  Our programming will avoid being labeled as pro-Democrat or pro-Republican or left or right wing.  We are pro-Israel Zionists.

The Beth El website (see below) contains information on the State of Israel and on overt antisemitism. There is an unfortunate, and appearingly growing, connection between the two.

In the past, speaker’s topics varied. Sometimes, we presented a timely and relevant movie and discussion.

To periodically receive links and emails to interesting Israel related information, please contact me. I have most of your emails, but my list is not comprehensive.

In this time of the Covid virus, programming may be done via Zoom and supplemented by periodic mailings. Prospective Committee members and programming ideas are welcome.



A note from Rita Millner (07/01/2020):

In the last month, I have been watching more virtual programming than ever. With an HDMI cable we tethered a computer to our TV (and switched input/source to HDMI-3). This may be old hat to many of you, but is reproducible magic for me. Seminars (and old digital photos) now feel like we are present. All I do is register to attend a program, look at my calendar, follow emailed reminder instructions, and I am in a meeting. Programs are commonly communicated via the same Zoom which links to Beth El programming, so you’re on your way. I hope my assuming others were at my level of tethering literacy doesn’t insult anyone.

The programming I watched (and may rewatch) is from the last few weeks, and is now on websites. I am particularly, but not exclusively, referencing the AJC website. AJC.ORG is an interesting and phenomenal source of information on the most important issues facing the Jewish people and the world, including the rise of antisemitism and others forms of hate in the era of coronavirus, the US presidential election, Israel’s quest for peace and security, and the future of the transatlantic relationship.

You can still “attend” this programming from Global Forum 2020 at ajc.org, by clicking on “watch the videos of all sessions from AJC Virtual Global Forum.” Donations to support AJC’s ability to influence and communicate events are appreciated.

POTENTIAL WEST BANK ANNEXATION:

AJC’s approach to potential application of sovereignty by Israel in portions of the West Bank is found by searching on We’ll Defend Annexation If Needed – But Here’s The Thing | AJC.  It was published in The Times of Israel. If the new Israeli government unilaterally applies sovereignty to a portion of the West Bank, AJC will do what it has always done: explain Israel to the wider world. But as Jason Isaacson, AJC’s Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer, writes in The Times of Israel, there likely will be repercussions, regardless of how well Israel and AJC explain the decision. “It is not for the ardent friends and supporters of Israel, comfortable in our homes thousands of miles away, to tell the democratically elected Israeli government what to do,” Isaacson writes. “We will never abandon the Zionist vision of a Jewish and democratic state in our people’s native land, and we will never forsake our brethren.” As Israel’s advocates, AJC will always share in the joy of the Jewish state’s successes and share concerns when there is danger ahead.

Another favorite source of excellent work and information comes from CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis). Many  Israel Affairs program attendees (I believe and hope) have made past donations to CAMERA. Last month CAMERA had a fine webinar of a current and important project led by Steve Stotsky. The recording is available by searching on CAMERA Briefing: Anti-Israel Indoctrination in School Curricula.

I look forward to seeing you all at Beth El Synagogue gatherings. Until then, thank you for reading my column, and stay well.

Rita Millner



A note from Rita Millner (06/01/2020):

Israel’s Good News Newsletter:  I’ve previously referenced this upbeat, varied, and clearly written newsletter which arrives twice a month. To receive a free subscription, email your request to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com and provide your name.

Some highlights further described in the April 19 edition of Israel’s Good News:

  • Three Israeli treatments have saved lives of critically ill coronavirus patients.
  • Israel has given coronavirus training to PA medics from Gaza.
  • Three Israeli innovative solutions for the ventilator shortage.
  • Investment in Israeli startups continues despite the pandemic.
  • Opportunities to enjoy Israeli culture and entertainment on-line.
  • A different Passover as Israelis sang with their neighbors from their balconies.

Also, you might want to check out www.IsraelActive.com

​As we stay at home, AJC continues to engage in global and domestic advocacy efforts and provide you with insightful, engaging and important programming.  You can access a schedule of future events and links to recordings of past events at www.ajc.org/advocacyanywhere .

Conspiracy theories fill a voidWe all are exposed to presentations of the US and world news and are not surprised that anti-Semites are thriving in this time of Covid19. Disappointed yes. Surprised no.Let’s continue to physically sequester from each other and do what we can to prevent growth of this pandemic in order to not lose many members of our communities.

Wishing you all well.

Rita Millner


COLLEGE STUDENTS OR INTERESTED OTHERS:

If you want to receive (at no cost) Know Your Rights: A student’s Guide to Pro-Israel Activism, please email rrmillner@gmail.com your request for this comprehensive AJC publication.

Links of Interest

Click here for “The Six Day War, Causes and Consequences”, by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.
Click here for the New York Times article “Tunnels Lead Right to the Heart of Israeli Fear.
Click here for the CNN World article “How the Iron Dome Blocks Rockets from Gaza, Protects Israelis.”
Click here for Elder of Ziyon – Israel News: EoZ Posters for “Apartheid Week.”
Click here for IDF “combat cameraman” deployed to combat propaganda.
Click here for Door Breech Weapon.
Click here for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summarizes the good, the bad and the beautiful.
Click here for Ambassador Nikki Haley discusses standing up for Israel at the United Nations.
Click here for Senator Charles Schumer addresses the critical threats facing Israel.
Click here for Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay calls for two-state solution, but stresses both sides must take steps to rebuild trust.
Click here for AJC Statement on Gaza Violence.
Click here for Evangelical Support of Israel Topic from October 28, 2018 program.