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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yale's Secret Society That's Hiding in Plain Sight

Founded in 1996 as a place to serve Shabbat dinner for the most interesting Jews on Yale's campus, Eliezer has grown into a global network of people who care about the Jewish people and making the world a better place.
On the storied ivy-laden, well-manicured grounds of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., something secretive is going on. Granted, this cradle of American intellectualism has long been the keeper of secrets. Since 1832, when the now infamous Skull and Bones society was formed, the best and brightest students of one of the best and brightest institutions in the world have shown that, if nothing else, they know how to keep mum.

In the shadows of Skull and Bones — an organization that boasts Presidents William Howard Taft, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and FedEx founder Frederick Smith as members — a secret society of a different stripe is flourishing as the modish club du jour. And this one was started by four men who 60 years ago would have been shunned by Bones.

Meet Eliezer, the secret Yale society that's hiding in plain sight. The "secret" lies in the private networking and intimate bonding among a cohesive, self-selecting, truly diverse membership. A list of who belongs to Eliezer exists, but the contents are strictly off the record. Everything is word of mouth and by invitation only, not to exclude but to include the most interesting Yalies from over the walls of Yale's various courtyards: college, graduate schools and faculty.

Read more at Time

Friday, April 15, 2011

Netanyahu to spell out peace policy to US Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress in May.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he would use a rare speech to a joint session of the US Congress in May to spell out his plan for forging a lasting peace with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu, in televised remarks to his Likud party, said he aimed for a durable end to the decades-old conflict, not just "peace on paper," and that he had "set some conditions to ensure that we have such an agreement."
"The two most important of them are, first of all, Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. The second principle is real security arrangements on the ground," he said.
Read more at Yahoo News

States Seeking To Limit Abortion Rights To Unprecedented Degree In 2011: Report

916 bills or measures have been introduced across the country since January.  Of these 56% restrict abortion rights in some way.
In the wake of the election of a new wave of conservative state legislators, lawmakers across the country have advanced abortion-limiting legislation to an unprecedented degree, according to a new report.

Of the 916 measures related to reproductive health that have been introduced since January, a record 56 percent restrict abortion rights in one way or another, the Guttmacher Institute report found. In 2010, 38 percent of bills relating to reproductive health restricted abortion rights, according to the report.

"This is a big jump, and it says that anti-abortion legislators want to be very active on this issue and they have some momentum," Elizabeth Nash, a public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, told HuffPost. "They used to chip away at Roe v. Wade, and now they're hacking away at it with a cleaver."
Read more at Huffington Post

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Obama meets with Peres, calls for urgent peace efforts

Israeli President Shimon Peres is in Washington, DC this week where he met with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
US President Barack Obama urged Israel to forge a peace in the Middle East as revolution roils the region, following a meeting with President Shimon Peres at the White House Tuesday.

“With the winds of change blowing through the Arab world, it’s more urgent than ever that we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Obama said following their meeting, which included a private 45-minute conversation and a lunch
where they were joined by officials from both sides.
Read more at The Jerusalem Post

Monday, April 04, 2011

Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes

Last week Richard Goldstone, author of the UN Goldstone report and chairman of the UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission commissioned to investigate Operation Cast Lead of 2008-2009, wrote that the report is flawed. 
We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”
Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.
 Read more at The Washington Post