by Richard Edmondson
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
With Jewish power in America standing at unprecedented levels, it is only natural we should begin to see Jews reap gains and benefits disproportionately greater than those available to other segments of the population.
Take college Pell Grants, for instance. Administered by the US Department of Education, the Federal Pell Grant Program provides grants to low-income students, mainly undergraduates, to help pay college expenses. The grants are named for former Senator Claiborne Pell, a Rhode Island Democrat, who way back in 1972 sponsored an amendment to the Higher Education Act that established the program as well as the funding to pay for it, the idea being to level the playing field and make higher education available to the poor as well as the rich.
“Lack of Finances is No Obstacle”
From a Chabad School, to a Chabad Synagogue, to
A Chabad Yeshiva in Israel
The Department of Education maintains a list of approximately 5,400 public and private colleges and universities at which students receiving Pell Grants may attend classes. These are schools which must be accredited and meet certain other qualifications as defined by Federal Student Aid guidelines, and while over the years religious-affiliated colleges have been included, it is doubtful Senator Pell would have envisioned quite the arrangement that now exists in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
It is here, in this upscale suburb of Detroit, with a median household income of $98,832, that the Michigan Jewish Institute managed to “transform itself from a small campus-based college into a burgeoning online university,” in the words of the Jewish Daily Forward . In an article published earlier this month, The Forward reports that the school has done this “thanks in large part” to federal aid designated for low-income students, mainly Pell Grants, totaling more than $25 million over the past five years. And here’s the real kicker: most of this money is going to students who aren’t even studying in the U.S. Most, in fact, are in Israel. Or as the Forward puts it:
But very little of this money has been spent on men and women taking courses in Michigan or, indeed, in the United States. Instead, the majority of MJI’s students can be found working toward an MJI degree in Judaic studies at yeshivas and seminaries overseas, mostly in Israel.
Affiliated with the Chabad Lubavitch movement, the Michigan Jewish Institute “seeks to serve all segments of the Jewish community,” offering “an environment that adheres to the highest ethical standards and religious traditions of Judaism.” The MJI website lists the address of its “Main Campus” as 6890 Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI, which also happens to be the address of “The Shul,” a Chabad synagogue (“shul” is Yiddish for “synagogue”) built at a reported cost of $6 million, with menorah-shaped glass panels on either end, and which opened its doors in 2002.
A look at The Shul’s website informs us that the synagogue, located on 40 acres, was intended from the very start to serve as the MJI’s campus, however, it appears that today, ten years later, very few actual classes are taught there. This is due largely to an online degree program that was launched by MJI in 2008—in Judaic studies. There are now also programs in computers and business, but according to The Forward, the vast majority of MJI’s 200 students are enrolled in the Judaic Studies program—and most if not all of them end up studying at yeshivas in Israel. One in particular is the Mayanot Institute, a Chabad yeshiva in West Jerusalem.
Mayanot’s website reassures prospective students that a “lack of finances is not an obstacle” to an education at Mayanot. In addition to grants and scholarships from Jewish institutions such as local American federations, Taglit-Birthright Israel and MASA (a program of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli government), Mayanot directs prospective American students to the U.S. Department of Education’s Pell Grant program.
It’s not unusual for foreign institutions to accept American students who are funded partly by Pell grants and come to study in a year-abroad program. Many overseas schools and colleges operate such programs. But in this case, Mayanot’s website appears to be directly recruiting students by suggesting they apply for Pell grant aid so that they can attend Mayanot in Israel as their primary institution.
A yeshiva in Israel as their “primary” institution of learning? On a Pell Grant? The information gives pause, to say the least, but take special note of Mayanot’s mention on its website of the MASA program. MASA is a work-study program which allows Jews to travel and study in Israel. Regular readers may recall a post I put up a few weeks ago about Armando Abed, a Palestinian Christian who was murdered on October 5 during a hotel shooting spree in the Israeli resort city of Eilat. The gunman was identified as William Herskowitz, an American Jew enrolled in MASA. Was Herskowitz also on a Pell Grant courtesy of the US taxpayer? We may never know for sure, but certainly it’s possible. In either event, Pell Grants seem to have become very much the lifeblood of the MJI:
As MJI has expanded rapidly, it has drawn increasingly on the Federal Pell Grant Program, the government’s largest education aid program targeting low-income students, which funnels public funds directly to the school. At the same time, MJI’s net income has soared. According to the institute’s most recent available tax records, between 2006 and 2010 inclusive, MJI’s net income increased to $850,000 from $89,000 — a staggering 860% five-year jump. The school ended 2010 with almost $3 million in assets. So far this calendar year, the school has received $8.7 million in federal aid. But its academic record is poor.
Its academic record is poor? Why on earth, with all this federal money coming in, would the MJI have an inferior academic record? Well, one reason is that the institute is plagued with a low retention rate. At the end of the 2011-12 academic year, the school had 1,522 freshmen, 320 sophomores, 51 juniors, and 26 seniors. Also, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education, only 9 percent of its freshmen who began their studies in 2010 returned in 2011 for their second year. It seems that after enrolling and receiving their Pell Grants, most of MJI’s students are going on to study abroad—in Israel. And as The Forward points out, this is no obstacle to a student’s eligibility to receive a Pell Grant.
Thus: Mayanot here we come!
Rivka Preisler, Mayanot’s financial aid officer and finance manager, said that about 15 to 20 of the institute’s 120 students are on an MJI study abroad program partly funded by Pell grants. Preisler said MJI takes “a certain amount” of the Pell grant and the rest is “applied to Mayanot tuition.”
But in addition to Mayanot, the MJI website also lists more than 40 other participating schools in its Study Abroad program. Of these 40-plus schools, three are in Canada, two in Australia…and the rest are in Israel.
But wait! Receiving funding from the US government as it does, MJI must be obliged to observe federal guidelines prohibiting discrimination, right? One would think so. But it kind of comes down to the question of whether Gentiles are allowed to enroll in Jewish yeshivas (not that many would want to, but conceivably some might). And here it gets kind of technical. At the MJI website, we find the school’s Non-Discrimination Educational Policy, which proscribes discrimination in some study areas—but not others. The defining factor seems to be whether the program is a “degree program” or a “certificate program.”
The MJI “admits students to its degree programs” without regard to race, religion, gender, or other considerations, we are informed…but in the very next paragraph the policy advises that only “qualified men of the Jewish faith” are admitted to the “certificate program in Talmudic Law and Jurisprudence.”
In summation, it should be equally emphasized that Pell grants are just that—grants. They don’t have to be paid back. It should also be emphasized that the MJI’s rapid growth and expansion, fueled by its Pell grant money, has come at a time when student loan debt has exploded in the US—now standing at just over $1 trillion.
The Jewish Rainbow
The words “starving” and “artist” often are found together in context, and for a very good reason: in America the overwhelming majority of artists and arts groups don’t make much of a living from their artistic achievements. Perhaps it’s the hallmark of a capitalistic society gone mad that artistic expression is undervalued and often even frowned upon. But in the relatively small urban community of Albuquerque, New Mexico, we find an arts group doing rather well for itself these days.
Last month, the US Economic Development Administration, an agency of the US Department of Commerce, awarded a $1 million grant to the Keshet Dance Company, an Albuquerque dance and repertory group which offers public performances as well as a variety of dance classes for both children and adults.
The grant money will go toward establishing the Keshet Ideas and Innovation Center, an “incubator” that is to be housed in the future Keshet Center for the Arts, and which is expected to “support start-up or struggling arts-related businesses with a variety of resources like development services and access to lending providers,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.
“With this funding, we’re more than halfway done with our fundraising campaign,” said Shira Greenberg, who founded Keshet in 1996 and today serves as the dance company’s artistic director. “We’ll continue to raise funds for the building and are hoping to have the entire center opened by spring.”
Virtually every city in America, large and small, has struggling arts groups of one kind or another—musical, dance, theatrical, and so forth. So why, one might wonder, would this particular group be singled out for such a large grant? And why by the Department of Commerce, when normally one thinks of the National Endowment for the Arts as the main provider of federal grants to the arts?
The award was approved by acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and publicly announced on September 12 by New Mexico Senator Tom Udall. “The arts are a defining part of New Mexico’s history, community and identity,” said Udall. “This innovative public-private partnership will help provide entrepreneurs with the tools and support they need to grow art-focused businesses.”
Art-focused businesses? Is this a new commitment to the arts on the part of the Obama administration? Or is it perhaps more a commitment to a certain type of art the Obama administration approves of? What is it about Keshet (the word means “rainbow” in Hebrew) that motivated such generosity from the Department of Commerce?
Whether developing productions based on the impact of the Holocaust on American Jews, the images and texts of poet Pablo Neruda, or a modern interpretation of the traditional Nutcracker, Keshet’s repertory engages audiences young and old, opening minds and changing perceptions of what dance and a dancer can be.
The above words can be found at Keshet’s website, where we learn that one of the staples of its repertory is a production entitled Ani Ma’amin, described as “a powerful and thought-provoking modern dance piece exploring the impact of the Holocaust on American Jews.” The program has been performed at numerous locales inside the state of New Mexico, and has even toured outside the state, helped in part by funding from the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. This would be the same Jewish Federation, by the way, whose executive director, Sam Sokolove, accused the Friends of Sabeel-North America of promoting anti-Semitism in connection with a recent conference on the Palestine-Israel conflict held in Albuquerque. *
The name Ani Ma’amin (“I believe” in Hebrew) is derived from the so-called 13 principles of faith, propounded by Mosheh ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides. Each of the 13 principles begins with the words “Ani ma’amin be-emunah shelemah” (“I believe with perfect faith”), and while Maimonides didn’t include the holocaust as one of the attestations, it would probably be fairly accurate to say that this has become the 14th principle with the majority of Jews these days. The recitation has been set to music over the years, and according to Wikipedia, “One version of the tune is attributed to the Reb Azriel David, a Modzitser Hasid, who reportedly composed the tune in a cattle car when being taken to Treblinka.” Others were said to have sung the same song, or some variation, as “they were being herded into the gas chambers”, and the melody apparently is still cantillated at holocaust remembrance day services and Passover seders to this day.
All of which brings us, in a roundabout way, back to the Keshet website and its description of its Ani Ma’amin dance production:
Choreographed by Shira Greenberg, the 85-minute piece runs with no intermission. Five dancers recreate the experiences and themes expressed by multiple generations beginning pre-war and culminating at the present-day. Dynamic and emotional movement is threaded together with poetry and video testimonies from Holocaust survivors and children of survivors, with footage compiled from the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.
The production is also being promoted as “an educational tool,” and as such is performed for school children, including school matinee productions where “free admission is encouraged,” and where Keshet will even “provide a custom-created, 50-page Curriculum Guidebook at no cost for all educators” who attend the performance. Shows are then followed by “a Q & A audience discussion session to provide an avenue for the community of performers and audience members to process and discuss the work while exploring their reactions to the event and the intense subject matter.” In such manner is a “dialogue about diversity, tolerance, and anti-Semitism” opened, whereby “the young audiences can examine and discuss their own thoughts and actions.”
Following is an Ani Ma’amin segment available on YouTube:
And here we have Ani Ma’amin, as sung by members of the Israeli Army, also available on YouTube:
Despite providing free school matinee performances along with the generously-supplied 50-page curriculum guidebooks—all of which must theoretically cut into its revenue—Keshet manages nonetheless to have professional, salaried dancers on its staff, something almost unheard of among community arts groups. This in fact is even remarked upon at the Keshet website:
Keshet became one of only a handful of dance companies within the country to offer full-time employment and benefits to professional dancers and staff. [Only 5% -9% of dance companies in major metropolitan areas are able to pay salaries to their dancers – Dance/USA]
Shira Greenberg was named one of New Mexico Business Weekly’s 40 Under Forty, recognizing 40 professionals under the age of 40 in the State of New Mexico who “stand out in their fields and are engaged in their communities making New Mexico a better place to live.”
Greenberg, were are informed here, began her formal dance studies at the Minnesota Dance Theatre, and also attended Interlochen Arts Academy, Ithaca College, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And apparently she still maintains her connections to Israel. Earlier this year, Keshet brought “acclaimed Israeli choreographer” Bar Roggel to Albuquerque to collaborate with its repertory dancers in a new production called “Gesher” (Hebrew for “bridge”). The production was scheduled for three performances in late April:
Keshet is excited to welcome Israeli Dancer and Choreographer Bar Roggel to Albuquerque! During the month of April Bar will be working with Keshet in a cultural exchange that involves collaboration, creation, outreach and performance. The exchange will culminate with community-wide Yom Ha’atzmaut performances celebrating Israeli Independence Day across New Mexico.
The project, perhaps not surprisingly, is another one supported by the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. But take note: it isn’t only the Jewish Federation that adores Greenberg. In 2009, Greenberg was awarded the Coming Up Taller award by First Lady Michelle Obama in a ceremony at the White House. The award was given in recognition of Keshet’s work with incarcerated youths at New Mexico’s Youth Diagnostic and Development Center.
“It’s really cool to see these teenage boys who are incarcerated do ballet class, and really doing a good job and being excited about it. It really connects them to their bodies, to each other and to their energy in a different way,” Greenberg enthused.
Interestingly, Greenberg has also been recognized as a “top-performing CEO” by New Mexico Business Weekly, and has been the happy recipient of a number of other awards as well, including the Women of Influence Award and the Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women. Also, this holiday season, Keshet will be performing Greenberg’s “Nutcracker on the Rocks,” described as “an original rock-n-roll rendition of the classical holiday tale,” and which includes “the roaring excitement of a Harley Davidson on stage.”
It’s probably only a coincidence, but “Keshet” is also the name of an illegal Israeli settlement in the Golan Heights that was established in 1974 and located near the abandoned Syrian city of Quneitra—destroyed by the Israeli Army in the 1973 war. Get it? After destroying the Syrian city, the Israelis named the new settlement “Rainbow.”
Quneitra, by the way—in what amounts to yet another curiosity—also means “bridge.” The city once served as a “bridge” between Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. Its ruins can be seen in a video here.
Homeland Security for Jews
If you think the cases of the MJI and Keshet Dance are aberrations, think again. Back in July I posted an article in which I discussed how the Department of Homeland Security has favored Jews and Jewish organizations in the awarding of grants under its Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Between the years 2007-2010 a whopping 73.7 percent of DHS’s NSGP grants went to Jewish organizations, while in the year 2011, the figure rose to 81 percent—meaning non-Jewish organizations got just 19 percent of the grant money that year.
After I posted that article, I then posted an update to it, in which I cited figures on the 2012 grant recipients, which had just then been announced. This year the percentage of Jewish organizations receiving NSGP grants rose even higher—to a staggering 97 percent.
The NSGP grants are designed to provide “target hardening” and “security enhancements” to American nonprofit organizations deemed “at high risk of a terrorist attack,” and DHS Director Janet Napolitano has not only candidly acknowledged that Jewish organizations have made up the bulk of recipients, she has even justified the decision making them such. In a podcast here you can listen to Napolitano explain why she thinks Jews face special risks the rest of us don’t have to worry about.
A Multitude of Tentacles
A rather conservative, albeit in a sense “time honored” institution in America is the Chamber of Commerce. There is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce, established in 1912, as well as a myriad of loosely-to-non-affiliated state and local chambers representing businesses of all sizes in all locales of the country. Based in Washington, the national organization is primarily a lobbying group that has at times been quite reactionary (opposing national health care, for instance), but at the local level, chamber organizations can play a positive role, providing, at least theoretically, a synergism for small businesses, helping them grow and become profitable.
But lately strange mutations have begun to appear—in the form of chamber organizations devoted to promoting Israel. The objective is to foster alliances between US and Israeli businesses, and to that end, conferences and other specialty events are being held, “venture capital missions” are embarked upon, and trade and investment opportunities touted—all seemingly with the goal of interfusing what might be thought of as the commercial and economic “DNA” of both countries. For instance, there is the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce-Southeast Region, based in Atlanta, which claims more than 500 members, and which seeks to “boost” the respective economies of both Israel and the Southeast US.
With the backdrop of Israel’s stable economy and innovative companies, AICC’s Professional Committee presented another outstanding seminar on August 23rd in Atlanta that addressed many aspects of “US Jobs and Economy: The Israel Innovation Effect”. Almost 100 members and guests were treated to the program that featured presentations, case studies, and panels to illustrate the theme and engage to participants.
“The presenters delivered another great program that educated our audience about the value of the US-Israel business relationship and prepared them for successful interactions with Israeli companies,” said Greg Kirsch (Ballard Spahr), new chairman of the Professional Committee.
The seminar mentioned above is only one of a number of events promoted or discussed at the AIIC-SE website. In June, the city of Atlanta also hosted the Eagle Star Awards, an annual gala to honor “the people and companies who have contributed most to the Southeast-Israel business relationship,” while in September the Israel Innovation Impact, known also as the “Big Data” conference, took place at the Atlanta headquarters of IBM Internet Security Systems. Organized by the AICC’s Hi-Tech Committee, the three-day event featured representatives from Israeli data processing developers, including Personetics, a firm which “helps enterprises respond to a major shift in consumer behavior.”
“Following the presentations, the audience had the opportunity to rate the Israeli companies in an interactive session and discuss interest in following up with them.”
Other Israeli companies that currently seem to be making or attempting to make inroads into the Southeast US include Data Analytics, a Herzliya-based developer of a system of identifying and analyzing hidden data patterns in large scale data warehouses; Beauty Care, a Yavne-based company which markets “a diversified range of beauty care products,” including Dead Sea products; and Infrastructure Networks, a Tel-Aviv-based provider of industrial Ethernet solutions.
AICC-SE has also been promoting the Journey 12 business conference which took place October 25 in Tel Aviv, and the organization equally boasts of its relationship with the BIRD Foundation (US-Israel Bi-national Industrial Research and Development Foundation), an entity set up by the US and Israeli governments in 1977 whose activities include matchmaking services between Israeli and American companies, and which also provides funding “covering up to 50 percent of project development and product commercialization costs.”
One Israeli company which has already gained a foothold in the Southeast is Elbit Systems, a manufacturer of electronic surveillance technology which has been the target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The Haifa-based company now has offices in Talladega, Alabama and Fort Mill, South Carolina. But Elbit is not by any means the only one. The AICC-SE website features an extensive directory of Israeli companies that have established locations in the American Southeast, with state-by-state listings. The list features no less than 80 companies in six states.
But it should be kept in mind that the AICC-SE is not by any means the only philo-israelitic chamber of commerce organization. Not by a long shot. There are at least 19 others, and more seem to be in the fledgling stage. Below is a partial list:
The California Israel Chamber of Commerce—Cupertino, CA
Southern California Israel Chamber of Commerce—Los Angeles
Colorado-Israel Chamber of Commerce—Denver
Florida-Israel Chamber of Commerce—Hollywood, FL
American Israel Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Region—Atlanta
America-Israel Chamber of Commerce Chicago—Deerfield, IL,
Maryland/Israel Development Center—Baltimore
Michigan Israel Business Bridge—Bloomfield Hills, MI
American-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Minnesota—Minnetonka, MN
America-Israel Chamber of Commerce& Industry—New York
Israeli Business Forum of New York—New York
Ohio Israel Chamber of Commerce—Cleveland, OH
America-Israel Chamber of Commerce-Central Atlantic Region—Philadelphia
Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce—Dallas
Virginia Israel Advisory Board—Tysons Corner, VA
South Carolina-Israel Collaboration
New Mexico-Israel Business Exchange—Albuquerque
Oregon Israel Business Alliance—Portland
Washington Israel Business Council—Seattle
Israel-America Chamber of Commerce (AmCham)—Tel Aviv
If we think of each one of these organizations as collaborating, like the AIIC-SE, with its own aggregate of Israeli businesses, then what we have here, quite literally, is a multitude of tentacles. Most if not all of these “chamber of commerce” organizations seem to have as their primary goal “matchmaking,” i.e. establishing business relationships between Israeli and American companies. How profitable this is all calculated to be for Goyim-owned American businesses is perhaps questionable. For instance, the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce Chicago has a section on its website entitled Why We Do It, which reads in part:
The America-Israel Chamber of Commerce Chicago (AICC) is founded on the premise that a strong and independent Israel requires a robust Israeli economy producing growth, jobs and tax revenue for Israel and its people. Our operations take many forms, but they all are focused on this basic goal. By continually demonstrating to business leaders here in the Midwest that it makes good business sense for them to do business in and with Israel, and by serving as the catalyst for this economic activity, we provide critical support for Israel’s economy and its people.
The emphasis does seem to be very much on benefiting Israel rather than the United States. It isn’t until the next paragraph that we find, added almost as an afterthought, an allowance for the possibility that, oh yes by the way, America might benefit as well.
Be that as it may, the economic DNA integration seems to be proceeding apace. Earlier this year, representatives from 18 Israeli companies attended the Michigan Israel Automotive Event, while a number of Israeli companies are also honing in on the city of Philadelphia. These include IntelliradControl Inc, an Israeli medical device company, and Rosetta Genomics, a medical research firm, both of which have already located there. Other Israeli companies in Pennsylvania are: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Delta Galil Industries, Eci Telecom, Retalix, Scope Metals Group, SHL Telemedicine, Dbmotion, Golan Fine Crafts, and Quantum Systems. And if we click here we can see a list of additional Israeli companies apparently seeking business opportunities in the state of Washington.
The concern for Americans, of course, is we have no way of knowing which of these enterprises are legitimate businesses, and which are Mossad front operations having the objective, possibly, of carrying out industrial or economic espionage against American companies. And as Grant Smith has discussed, Israel has a long history of such activity in the US. But perhaps even more worrisome than a case of industrial espionage, is the possibility that one of these Israeli companies could at some point begin to function in a manner similar to System Planning Corporation. Formerly headed by Rabbi Dov Zakheim, SPC developed a highly sophisticated “Flight Termination System” (FTS), enabling remote control of multiple aircraft on varying frequencies, presumably only for the purpose of guiding drones, but that may have played a role in the 9/11 attacks. Zakheim, by the way, was comptroller of the Pentagon at the time of the attacks, and in a recent article Kevin Barrett discusses his and SPC’s possible role in the events of that day:
Zakheim’s FTS system was apparently used to remote-hijack passenger aircraft, and stage a military attack disguised as a hijacking incident, under cover of the 46 military drills happening on and around September 11th, 2001. (One of those drills, a live fly hijacked-plane-into-building exercise, apparently “went live,” while the others provided distractions and excuses.)
Zakheim’s company SPC also had detailed knowledge of the blueprints and architecture of the World Trade Center. An SPC subsidiary, Tridata Corporation, oversaw the investigation of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The knowledge thereby gained was presumably used in the controlled demolitions of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11.
Oddly, perhaps, US officials (some at least) would appear wholly unconcerned about any of this. The US Department of Commerce—the same branch of government that awarded Keshet its $1 million grant—even has an agency that operates out of the US embassy in Tel Aviv and which basically extends an open invitation to Israeli firms interested in moving into America. Called the U.S. Commercial Service, the agency offers what it refers to as its Commercial Connection, whereby it will “find you appropriate contacts in U.S. companies” as well as provide “short company backgrounds on U.S. firms,” and even arrange introductions with company officials.
“An introduction by the U.S. Government gives your company the credibility it needs to be considered a qualified business partner,” states the website. “With 105 offices throughout in the USA, the Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy can be your official U.S. Government partner for contacting American suppliers and service providers!”
In other words, the US Commercial Service functions in a manner very similar to the above-listed “chambers of commerce,” only instead of membership dues, it is funded by U.S. taxpayers. Its staff includes “commercial specialists” who specialize in different industries, such as biotech, computers, electronics, etc.
And…in addition to all of the above, you can go here to find listings for Israel chambers of commerce in other countries, including China, Japan, and Australia. However, it is probably safe to say that no country in the world has been more thoroughly penetrated than the United States. So reaching are the tentacles, we now almost literally seem on the verge of becoming the next Jewish state, if we have not crossed that line already.
H/T to msa
*Sabeel is a Palestinian Christian ecumenical organization founded to advocate for peace and justice and an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza. On Sept. 28-29, the Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) sponsored a conference in Albuquerque entitled “Justice: The Path to Peace in Palestine/Israel.” The speakers included Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans. In a September 21 op-ed piece in the Albuquerque Journal, Sam Sokolove, executive director of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, and Todd Goldblum, chair of the Israel Action Network-New Mexico, denounced Sabeel and FOSNA for their criticism of Israel and their alleged anti-Semitism. ( See, New Mexico Jews Scream ‘Anti-Semitism!’ Over Sabeel Conference ).