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Archive for July 9th, 2014

AMP Demands End to Israeli Violence Against Palestinians

Posted by Admin On July - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(From The American Muslims for Palestine)

CHICAGO, IL – While President Barack Obama attends the so-called Conference on Peace in Tel Aviv and publishes an op-ed in an Israeli newspaper calling on Palestinians to commit to “non-violence,” Israel has launched “Operation Protective Edge” against the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip.

The American Muslims for Palestine, a national advocacy and education organization based near Chicago, decries the double standards and demands that President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry pressure Israel to end its violence against and collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

The Israeli air force and navy launched more than 50 airstrikes in Gaza overnight, killing 14 Palestinians, including at least four children. Two of the children were under five years old. One attack targeted a house in the southern Gaza Strip, killing several members of one family. Israeli attacks have injured an additional 22 Palestinians, including seven children, according to media reports.

The ramped up assault comes after two weeks of deadly incursions into the West Bank that resulted in the arrests of more than 500 Palestinians, including dozens of children, home demolitions, thousands of raids and the arrests of more than 100 Palestinian citizens of Israel. Israeli Occupation Forces have killed 19 Palestinians since June 12 and Israeli settlers have killed four – including 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Kdheir, who was burned alive.

Israel’s actions amount to collective punishment in violation of several international laws, including the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Its use of American weapons and weapons purchased with US taxpayer money against a civilian population not only violates international law, it directly contravenes the US Arms Export Control Act.

The fact that an American president is attending a “peace conference” at a time when Israel is unleashing barbaric collective punishment on Palestinians is an affront to the American values of justice, liberty and self-determination. President Obama says in his op-ed published today by Haaretz that peace is the only true path to security in the region. But he then repeatedly stresses the US commitment to Israel’s security. He writes, “[I was] struck by the fact that Israel’s security can be measured in a matter of minutes and miles. I’ve seen what security means to those who live near the Blue Line, to children in Sderot who just want to grow up without fear …”

It is time to ask President Obama: What about Palestinian security? What about Palestinian children who want to grow up secure in the knowledge their home won’t be demolished? Secure from the fear of being pulled from their beds in the middle of the night by heavily armed Israeli border police? Secure in the knowledge they can walk to school without being attacked by religious militant Israeli settlers?

As an occupying force, Israel is obligated under international law to provide security for the people it occupies. When are we going to stop demanding that the occupied Palestinians provide for the security of their occupier?

It is words like Mr. Obama’s that allow Israel to act with impunity. It is time for it to stop. The US must hold Israel accountable!

TAKE ACTION
Call and email President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry and demand the United States hold Israel accountable and demand it immediately stops its attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and within 1948 Palestine.

TALKING POINTS
Supporting Israel at a time when it is launching an offensive against the Palestinians of Gaza is anathema to the American value of justice and our stance on human rights.

Israel’s Operation Protective Edge and its actions in the West Bank and against Palestinian citizens of Israel amounts to collective punishment and is against international law.

The United States must investigate Israel’s abuse of the US Arms Export Control Act and withhold US foreign aid until Israel complies with international and US laws.

Several human rights organization, including Amnesty International, have condemned Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people.

Supporting Israel’s illegal actions hurts American standing throughout the world and calls into question our country’s status as the upholder of human rights.

Supporting Israel hurts the US in the Arab and Muslim world, and threatens US national security.

The United States must stop pandering to the pro-Israel lobby elements and finally uphold human rights for everyone, especially Palestinians.

CONTACT INFO
The White House – Comments: 202.456.1111; Switchboard: 202.456.1414 US Secretary of State John Kerry 202.647.5291 and then Press ‘1’.

Send a prepared email to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

Posted by Admin On July - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall – Deputy Secretary, Department of Energy
  • Jess L. Baily – Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Department of State
  • Judith Beth Cefkin – Ambassador to the Republic of the Fiji Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu, Department of State
  • Robert Francis Cekuta – Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, Department of State
  • S. Fitzgerald Haney – Ambassador to the Republic of Costa Rica, Department of State
  • Ambassador Michele Jeanne Sison – Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador, and Deputy Representative of the United States in the Security Council of the United Nations
  • Margaret Ann Uyehara – Ambassador to Montenegro, Department of State
  • James Peter Zumwalt – Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Department of State

President Obama said, “These dedicated individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles and I am proud to have them serve in this Administration.  I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Energy

Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall currently serves as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control, a position she has held since 2013.  Dr. Sherwood-Randall served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council from 2009 to 2013.  Prior to joining the White House, she was a Stanford University Senior Research Scholar from 2000 to 2008, and from 2004 to 2008 she was also the Adjunct Senior Fellow for Alliance Relations at the Council on Foreign Relations.  From 1997 through 2008, she was a Founding Principal in the Harvard-Stanford Preventive Defense Project.  From 1994 to 1996, she served at the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, for which she received the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.  From 1990 to 1993, Dr. Sherwood-Randall was Co-Founder and Associate Director of the Harvard Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.  From 1986 to 1987, she served as Chief Foreign Affairs and Defense Policy Advisor to then Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.  Dr. Sherwood-Randall received a B.A. from Harvard University and a doctorate from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

Jess L. Baily, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Department of State

Jess L. Baily, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Deputy Chief of Mission in Ankara, Turkey, a position he has held since 2011.  From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Baily served at the Department of State as Director of the Office of Southeast European Affairs.  From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Baily served as Director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs and previously served as Leader of the Regional Reconstruction Team in Erbil, Iraq from 2007 to 2008.  Mr. Baily served as the Director of the Washington Foreign Press Center from 2005 to 2007 and as Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands from 2002 to 2005.  From 1998 to 2002, he served as a Cultural Affairs Officer and subsequently as an Information Officer/Spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.  Before the United States Information Agency (USIA) merged with the Department of State, Mr. Baily served as USIA’s Representative to the American Foreign Service Association in Washington, D.C. from 1996 to 1997.  He was a Senior Advisor in the Office of the USIA Deputy Director from 1995 to 1996 and USIA Desk Officer for Francophone West Africa from 1994 to 1995.  From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Baily served as the Binational Center Director at the U.S Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.  He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dakar, Senegal and Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Before joining the Foreign Service in 1985, he worked at AMIDEAST in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Baily received a B.A. from Yale University and an M.A. from Columbia University.

Judith Beth Cefkin, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of the Fiji Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu, Department of State

Judith Beth Cefkin, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Senior Advisor for Burma in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State, a position she has held since 2013.  From 2010 to 2013, Ms. Cefkin served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangkok, Thailand.  Ms. Cefkin served as an Assessor on the Board of Examiners at the Department of State from 2009 to 2010, and she was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2006 to 2009.  Ms. Cefkin was the Director of the Office of Nordic-Baltic Affairs at the Department of State from 2003 to 2005, and she was the Deputy Director of the Office of Western European Affairs at the Department of State from 2001 to 2003.  From 1998 to 2001, Ms. Cefkin served as a Deputy Political Counselor and then Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines.  She was a Political Officer in the Office of European Union Affairs at the Department of State from 1996 to 1998.  Ms. Cefkin was a Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France from 1993 to 1996.  Earlier in her career, she served as Ambassador’s Aide and Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok; Regional-Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the Department of State; Desk Officer for Rwanda, Burundi and the Central African Republic; and Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.  Ms. Cefkin received a B.A. from Smith College and an M.S. from The London School of Economics and Political Science.

Robert Francis Cekuta, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, Department of State

Robert Francis Cekuta, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Energy Resources at the Department of State, a position he has held since 2011.  From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Cekuta served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy, Sanctions, and Commodities in the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs at the Department of State.  In 2010, he was the Senior Advisor for Food Security in the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs.  From 2009 to 2010, Mr. Cekuta was the Senior Deputy Coordinating Director for Economic and Development Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and served as the Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 2007 to 2009.  From 2003 to 2007, he was the Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany.  Mr. Cekuta was Director of the Iraq Economic Group in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State from 2002 to 2003.  In 2002, he was also a Special Negotiator for Biotechnology in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.  From 2000 to 2002, he was Director of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.  From 1999 to 2000, Mr. Cekuta served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  Mr. Cekuta was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania from 1996 to 1999.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Cekuta directed a Kosovo task force and served in the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs.  He also served at U.S. Missions in Vienna, Austria; Baghdad, Iraq; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Sana’a, Yemen.  Mr. Cekuta received a B.S. from Georgetown University, an M.A. from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and an M.A. from the National Defense University.

S. Fitzgerald Haney, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Costa Rica, Department of State

S. Fitzgerald Haney is a Principal and the Head of Business Development and Client Service (Europe, Middle East and Africa) at Pzena Investment Management, a position he has held since 2007.  Mr. Haney has also served as a Member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council since 2013.  From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Haney served as Senior Vice President of Ethnic Consumer Products at International Discount Telecommunications (IDT).  From 2002 to 2006, Mr. Haney served as Director of Strategic Planning/New Business at Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.  From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Haney was a Senior Associate at Israel Seed Partners in Jerusalem, Israel.  He was Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning at Citicorp/Citibank in Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico from 1997 to 1999.  From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Haney held various positions with PepsiCo Restaurants International, including Marketing Director in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Senior Marketing Manager for Mexico and Central America in Mexico City, Mexico, and Marketing Manager in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  From 1991 to 1993, Mr. Haney was an Assistant Brand Manager at Procter and Gamble in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  He previously served as an appointed Member of the City of Englewood Planning Board and Board of Adjustment in Englewood, New Jersey.  Mr. Haney received a B.S. and an M.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Ambassador Michele Jeanne Sison, Nominee for Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador, and Deputy Representative of the United States in the Security Council of the United Nations

Ambassador Michele Jeanne Sison, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Career-Minister, is the U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives, a position she has held since 2012.  From 2011 to 2012, Ambassador Sison was Assistant Chief of Mission in Baghdad, Iraq.  From 2008 to 2010, Ambassador Sison served as Ambassador to the Republic of Lebanon, and from 2004 to 2008, as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.  Ambassador Sison served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of South Asian Affairs at the Department of State from 2002 to 2004.  Ambassador Sison previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan; Consul General in Chennai, India; Consul General in Douala, Cameroon; and Director of Career Development and Assignments in the Bureau of Human Resources at the Department of State.  She also held positions at the U.S. Embassies in Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, and Haiti.  Ambassador Sison received a B.A. from Wellesley College.

Margaret Ann Uyehara, Nominee for Ambassador to Montenegro, Department of State

Margaret Ann Uyehara, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Executive Director of the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs and International Organization Affairs at the Department of State, positions she has held since 2012.  From 2010 to 2012, Ms. Uyehara served as the Management Counselor for the Department of State at the U.S. Tri-Missions in Vienna, Austria.  She was the Director of the Regional Support Center at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany from 2008 to 2010.  Ms. Uyehara was a Management Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine from 2006 to 2008, and served as the Director of the Office of Allowances at the Department of State from 2002 to 2005.  From 1999 to 2002, she was a Supervisory General Services Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.  From 1998 to 1999, Ms. Uyehara was the Liaison to the National Security Council for the 50th Anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit, and from 1995 to 1998 she was the Chief of Special Consular Services at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.  From 1991 to 1993, Ms. Uyehara served as a General Services Officer in the Bureau of Personnel and was a U.S. Disbursing Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines from 1989 to 1991.  From 1985 to 1987, Ms. Uyehara was a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in London, United Kingdom, and was a General Services Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, Mali from 1983 to 1984.  Ms. Uyehara received a B.A. from Kalamazoo College.

James Peter Zumwalt, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Department of State

James Peter Zumwalt, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Japan and Korea in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State, a position he has held since 2012.  Mr. Zumwalt served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 2008 to 2011.  From 2006 to 2008, he served as the Director of the Office of Japanese Affairs at the Department of State and from 2002 to 2006, he served as an Economic Minister and as an Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.  Mr. Zumwalt served as an Economic Counselor and as an Economic Minister-Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China from 1999 to 2002.  From 1994 to 1996, he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State and from 1993 to 1994, he was the Economic Unit Chief in the Office of Korean Affairs at the Department of State.  Mr. Zumwalt was an Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 1989 to 1993 and served as the Political Officer in the Office of Philippine Affairs from 1987 to 1989.  He was Staff Assistant in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1986 to 1987.  In 1986, Mr. Zumwalt was assigned to the Office of Japan and China at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  He also served as Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Osaka-Kobe, Japan and as the Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Zaire.  Mr. Zumwalt received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S. from the National War College.

U. S. Black Chambers Inc., National Bankers and Other Organizations to Launch Campaign to Support Black-owned Businesses and Hotels

Posted by Admin On July - 9 - 2014 1 COMMENT

WASHINGTON, DC – With billions of dollars being spent each year in the national tourism and hospitality industries, the U. S. Black Chambers Inc. (USBC), and other leading national organizations held a joint press conference yesterday (July 8, 2014) to release plans to encourage support of Black-owned vendors and hotels across the nation.

The press conference was held in the Cherry Blossom Room on the mezzanine level of the Black-owned Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.

Joined by the National Bankers Association, the National Urban League, the NAACP and other African-American organizations, it was the kickoff event for the USBC’s annual School of Chamber & Business Management, which is expected to draw hundreds of small businesses from around the nation for sessions on business growth and development; management; procurement, and the growing issue of economic inequality.

“When the wealth gap starts to increase, access to capital starts to decrease and the unemployment numbers stay on the rise, entrepreneurs are paramount for America’s success,” says USBC President Ron Busby. “We will be addressing each of these issues and more with our attendees leaving with an action plan that can be implemented in the 114 chambers and over 240,000 businesses across the country that we represent.”

The USBC, based in Washington, D.C., is a nationwide association of more than 100 self-sustaining, viable Black Chambers and small business associations. With a goal of economic empowerment, USBC provides these chambers and associations with resources and initiatives in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises.

Registered and credentialed media is welcome at all public sessions. Onsite press registration will take place in the foyer of Meeting Level 1 (one level down from lobby).

Other featured sessions include the following:

* Wednesday, July 9th Luncheon Keynote: Cheryl Pearson McNeil, Senior Vice President, U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement

* Wednesday, July 9th Closing Remarks: Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., president/CEO, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition

* Thursday, July 10th Luncheon Keynote: Sheila Johnson, Founder, Salamander Resorts and Hotels

* Thursday, July 10th, Angela Rye, founder and director of IMPACT, will moderate the “Women in Business” panel

* Thursday, July 10th, Derek Dingle, SVP/Editor-in-Chief, Black Enterprise will moderate the “Doing Business with Corporate America” session with panelists Ron Parker, President, Executive Leadership Council, and former SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, Founder, L&L Consulting

* Friday, July 10th, Advocacy Day – White House Briefing from 2pm – 4pm.

For more details on schedule and participants, please visit:

http://usblackchamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/2014-usbc-school-of-chamber-business-management-111

The USBC School is a premier educational summit for building the skills needed to successfully manage and grow chambers of commerce or business. This is the only event of its kind, and is one that brings together the best of chamber leadership, corporate partners and policy makers from across the country, all in one place, and at one time.

Key sponsors include Wells Fargo, Google, Walmart, MGM Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, IBM, MyWireless, Verizon, and Mobile Future.

As a Jew Living in America, the Past Week Has Changed Me Forever

Posted by Admin On July - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

As a Jew Living in America, the Past Week Has Changed Me Forever

Tikkun Daily

By David Harris-Gershon


Editor’s Note: The past week has brought renewed fighting between Israelis and Palestinains following the murder of a young Palestinain, Muhammed Abu Khdeir, 16, believed to have been committed in response to the deaths of three kidnapped Israeli teens earlier in June. That was followed by the beating by Israeli police of a 15-year-old Palestinain American who is the cousin of Khdeir. The violence has heightened tensions in the area and inflamed calls for revenge from both sides.

Growing up outside of Atlanta, I learned to crawl with Bob Dylan’s “Only A Pawn In Their Game” as my soundtrack, anti-war posters hanging on the walls, beckoning me and my raw knees forward. I was weaned with the voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. reverberating down the narrow halls of my parents’ apartment, formed my first words as though delivering a soliloquy on equality.

In first grade, I asked the teacher if the ‘Indians’ still celebrated Thanksgiving. When she asked why I wanted to know, I responded, “Because the people they ate with took their land,” something I’d learned from an honest mother. During a Little League game, my father intervened when coaches tried to initiate a prayer circle, wanting us to give thanks in Jesus’ name. He fiercely believed in the separation of church and, well, everything.

As an American Jew, I was mostly instilled with progressive values as a child. Rather, I was instilled with progressive, American values – particularly those which aligned with liberal, Jewish ones. A love of social justice, human rights, equality. A disdain for racism, fundamentalism, colonialism. Sure, I attended Hebrew school, but my scripture was more the Bill of Rights than the Torah, and my anthems came from hip-hop and rock, not the Book of Psalms.

Despite this, my early love for progressivism was accompanied by a love for the State of Israel. As a short, Jewish kid who wanted to be an NBA star, I was naturally inclined to root for the underdog. And at synagogue, we were taught that Jews were the ultimate underdogs, miraculously surviving the Holocaust and a history of oppression to create a contemporary “light unto the nations” which fought with dogged determination against evil and had a cool flag. And I was taught that I was vulnerable, that there were people who wanted me dead, and that Israel was a safe haven, a beacon, a garden to which I could always escape.

Palestinians, accordingly, were portrayed as just one in a series of people who have risen up throughout history to destroy us, being painted as a caricature of evil. As a boy, I nodded and understood. Israel was not just good, it was necessary.

As an adult, I’ve moved away from such naiveté while holding on to both my Zionist and progressive leanings, despite the growing struggle for coexistence between the two. And it’s not as though I’m mildly informed about the region or mildly invested in Israel and my Jewishness. The opposite, in fact, is the case. I’m a Jewish studies teacher at a day school, yeshiva-educated with a master’s degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I’ve authored a memoir about my experience with terror and reconciliation, and write extensively about the region, often critiquing Israel from a progressive perspective while maintaining my desire for a two-state solution to the conflict.

As an adult, I’ve learned about the cleansing of Arab villages which took place from 1947-1949 to make way for the Jewish state. I’ve learned about the ongoing settlement enterprise, the appropriation and bifurcation of Palestinian lands. I’ve learned the horrors of Israel’s decades-old occupation of the West Bank, about the suppression of basic human rights and the atrocities committed. I’ve studied Israel’s use of indefinite detentions, home demolitions, restrictions on goods and movement, and the violence visited upon those being occupied.

I’ve learned that – and this is just one example of many – a Palestinian child has tragically been killed every three days for the past 14 years. That bears repeating, since such deaths are rarely, if ever, given any attention in America: Palestinian parents have had to bury a child every three days for the past 14 years.

Knowing all this, I’ve still held fast to my ‘progressive Zionism,’ hoping Israel could become that beacon of liberalism I was presented as a child, a beacon which never truly existed in the first place, despite the country’s socialist roots. Why have I done so? For two reasons: 1) deep down, I still believe in the promise of Israel, and 2) I can’t shake the notion that a Jewish state is absolutely necessary for our security.

Over the last decade, I’ve formed alliances with progressive Americans and the Israeli left, working in my own, small ways to try and move Israel away from those illegal, geopolitical policies causing so much suffering for Palestinians and undermining Israel’s ability to not just thrive, but survive. All the while, I’ve watched the anti-war movement in Israel weaken, watched racism flourish and religious fundamentalism grow, watched Israel’s government build settlements at a record pace and make clear it has little interest in peace.

These realities have forced me to consider the incongruity between my American-borne progressivism and my Zionism. They have forced me to admit, like Peter Beinart, that in order to continue supporting Israel as a Jewish state, with everything it continues to do, I must compromise my progressivism.

However, the mind-numbingly horrific events of the past week have forced me, for the first time, to wonder whether such compromising can be sustained.

The past week’s events have shaken me to my core, and have forced me to look long and hard at my personal politics. For if this were any country but Israel, my progressive values would not allow me to support, much less love, such an enterprise. Yet the reality is this: I do.

I’m not ready to abandon the dream of a Jewish state that lives up to its democratic promises, and continue to hold tenuously onto the idea of two states for two peoples. However, I have begun, for the first time, to consider what a single, bi-national state might look like, to consider that it might finally end this madness.

And here’s the irony: Israel’s extreme-right leaders, embracing various one-state solutions, have forced me to do so. Hell, Israel just elected as its President a one-state proponent. How can I not consider what that might look like?

As it happens, during all of this, I’ve just finished Ali Abunimah’s The Battle for Justice in Palestine, which makes an impassioned case for a democratic, bi-national state as the only way to end this conflict.

The progressive American in me agreed with much of his arguments. The Zionist in me was scared by its premise.

The humanist in me just wants all of this to end. Wants all of the suffering and pain on both sides to end.

If not now, when?
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, published recently by Oneworld Publications. A longer version of this story originally appeared in Tikkun magazine.

African Americans Gaining Ground Developing Real Estate

Posted by Admin On July - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

F. Todd Ryan Developing His Land into $4,000,000 Development

F. Todd Ryan

Boston, MA (BlackNews.com) — Richard Michel Abraham, founder of the REDI Foundation, introduced his 6-month one-on-one mentoring certification real estate development course three years ago. At his press conference this week, he announced he would now only be able to take on and teach and groom a limited number of more students on how to develop and put together development joint ventures with investors.

One of his top students, F. Todd Ryan is developing his land into $4,000,000 mixed use development including apartments and a trendy, first floor restaurant.

Todd comments, “Success as a real estate developer is a rare gem and Mr. Abraham pushes you to shine. As much work as you put in, he will tell you, equals the result that you will get out. And, he will definitely push you to go above and beyond what you consider to be your best. With an extensive background in Chemistry, Art and Mathematics from Temple University, I still did not feel fulfilled… until I enrolled into the REDI Foundations Real Estate Development Certification Program. Imagine having someone thats like a friend of the family, a close friend of the family who wants to passionately and wholeheartedly see you succeed as a real estate developer, fulfilling your visions. Imagine having a life coach that passionately wants to see you succeed.”

He continues, “And the icing on the cake – to have someone teaching you principles that most people wouldnt even learn in a lifetime. The REDI Foundation has helped me to cultivate my passion and gift as a successful real estate developer. Mr. Abraham genuinely, patiently and aggressively opens up and unleashes the gift that you already had inside of you but was just dormant, waiting to be presented to the world. Not only has Mr. Abraham removed the enigmas out of the real estate developing puzzle but he has accelerated my drive to move forward with a restaurant and apartment complex development on a vacant lot that Ive owned for the last 10 years I am now proceeding confidently with my development.”

The course attracts entrepreneurial spirited people worldwide e.g. developers, builders, architects, engineers, construction and project managers, land and property owners, land planners, real estate attorneys, doctors, owners of commercial real estate firms, business owners and entrepreneurial spirited applicants who possess a passion for real estate development and feel they have what it takes to become a real estate developer and put together development joint ventures for investors.

This 6-month program is more comprehensive than a two year Masters degree in Real Estate Development, and tuition is less than a university Masters degree since the REDI Foundation offers partial scholarships.

For more details, visit www.redii.org

Photo Caption: F. Todd Ryan, a graduate of the REDI Foundations Real Estate Development Certification Program

Seven Performances of Brigadoon Just Added to Summer Schedule at Goodman Theatre, Now Runs Through August 17th

Posted by Admin On July - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago, IL -  By popular demand, Brigadoon extends its stay at Goodman Theatre for the second time; seven performances just added, running now through August 17. The full 28-member company (below) remains intact. Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick’s Loewe’s legendary musical of Broadway’s Golden Age, under director/choreographer Rachel Rockwell, tells the enchanting tale of an 18th century Scottish village that appears every century for one day only—and the complications that arise when it’s discovered by two 20th century Americans. Book writer Brian Hill revisits the libretto for this production, while music director Roberta Duchak and an orchestra of 13 use new orchestrations to enhance Loewe’s lilting score. Artist bios and rehearsal images for Brigadoon can be found in the Press Room. Visit the new interactive microsite, GoodmanTheatre.org/VisitBrigadoon, to learn about the show, “meet the villagers” and participate in social media contests for exclusive prizes. Brigadoon runs through August 17 in the Albert Theatre and is appropriate for adults and families with children aged 10+. Tickets ($25 - $105; subject to change, see below for discount opportunities) are on sale now at GoodmanTheatre.org/Brigadoon, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman is grateful to its production sponsors: JPMorgan Chase is the Major Corporate Sponsor and Allstate Insurance Company and PwC LLP are the Corporate Sponsor Partners. National Endowment for the Arts provided Production Support, and Towers Watson is the Opening Night Sponsor. Chicago Tribune is the Media Partner.

Additional Performances

Wednesday, August 13 at 7:30pm
Thursday, August 14 at 7:30pm
Friday, August 15 at 8pm
Saturday, August 16 at 2pm and 8pm
Sunday, August 17 at 2pm and 7:30pm

When Brigadoon debuted on Broadway in 1947, it was Lerner and Loewe’s third musical—and the one that established them as a formidable Broadway composing team. The plot, according to Lerner, occurred to him when Loewe offhandedly remarked that “faith moves mountains.” When American tourists Tommy and Jeff become lost on vacation in Scotland, they stumble into a town that isn’t on their map. Eventually they learn that Brigadoon was once a bustling town but now only appears for one day each century. While the two men sort out the town’s curious circumstances—including that no outsiders can stay unless they fall in love, and no resident can ever leave or the village will vanish forever—Tommy meets the love of his life. But what happens when the day ends, and Brigadoon fades into the mountain mist for another century?

Microbusiness Trade Group Uses Strategic Collaborations to Move Money to Main Street

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Cross-Sector Stakeholder Group Offers Plan to Widen Entrepreneurs’ Path to Capital, Spur Congressional Action

Washington, DC ̶  In response to a challenge issued by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to solve for the 8,000 business loan requests that are declined every day in America, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) forged a plan to unblock the flow of capital to Main Street. AEO will share its proposal at a Congressional Briefing on Thursday, July 10, 11 a.m. at the Russell Senate Office Building. Sen. Maria Cantwell, (D-WA), Chair, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, will give opening remarks.

“In the land of the great American Dream, 8,000 daily business loan denials are symptomatic of a massive market failure. Our analysis shows it’s a failure to deliver an estimated $44 billion to $52 billion in critical capital to Main Street. Each time business owners are denied requests for capital, it hinders their ability to start, grow or hire,” says Connie Evans, AEO president and CEO.

To identify solutions, particularly regarding access to capital in amounts of up to $250,000, AEO formed the Micro Capital Task Force (MCTF), a private multi-stakeholder group to present fact-based and practical recommendations to the White House, the Department of Treasury and the Congress. Evans, a MCTF co-chair, says the MCTF represents the largest cross-sector collaboration to address this issue.

Many rejected business loan applicants need capital to start or expand their businesses. For example, Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, who despite owning a construction company that grossed $1.1 million 2013, was recently declined for two working capital loans less than $25,000 by two banks in one week.

Unfortunately experiences like Lasenta’s are common among the nation’s 25.5 million microbusiness owners. And they’re not reflective of the American Dream, however one defines it. In a time when the long-term unemployment rate is holding steady, Mitch Jacobs, MCTF co-chair, says Main Street “is a solution to many things that ail America.”

“We simply need a financial system that works for Main Street, and the MCTF’s collaborative approach is a tremendous milestone to that end. We are confident in our recommendations, and hope Congress will take note of how we arrived here, viewing it as a private-sector model for their own participation,” Jacobs says.

Another example of private-sector co-action is AEO’s partnership with OnDeck, a technology-powered Main Street lender. For a trial period, OnDeck will waive the licensing fee on its short-term working capital loan products distributed by community lenders in AEO’s 450 member and partner network. OnDeck’s technology streamlines the loan process for small businesses, and giving AEO access to the OnDeck platform means more speed and convenience in the mission-driven lending process. (Join our July 9 press call about this deal).

“AEO is a longtime partner of ours and we are both committed to combining technology and mission-driven lending to increase capital access opportunities for America’s Main Street,” says Noah Breslow, OnDeck chief executive officer. “Our new trial program can further our efforts by encouraging more community lenders to distribute critical financing to small businesses.”

The partnership, Evans says, will expand the capacity of AEO’s network of nonprofit community lenders and other community-based organizations to reach underserved entrepreneurs, such as persons of color, women, veterans and low-income entrepreneurs, who have fewer financial connections and resources, and encounter greater obstacles on the path to capital and services.

“America’s economic and employment recovery rests on Main Street, and absent a systematic, coordinated national effort to bridge emerging and established elements of the U.S. financial system, capital will not flow to the very businesses with the power to revitalize America’s Main Streets and cross streets. Our MCTF and partnership with OnDeck are model examples of the power of strategic collaboration to bring change to Main Street – to create jobs, rebuild communities, and open more doors,” Evans says.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

1. Press Call
Wednesday, July 9, 2014; Noon, EDT; DIN# (712) 432-1212; Meeting ID#: 176-513-221

  • Noah Breslow, CEO, OnDeck
  • Connie Evans, president and CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO); co-chair, Micro Capital Task Force (MCTF)
  • Mitch Jacobs, co-chair, Micro Capital Task Force (MCTF)

2. Congressional Briefing | Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. (INVITED)
Thursday, July 10, 2014; 11 a.m. EDT to Noon; Russell Senate Office Bldg., Room 428A

3. Main Street entrepreneurs are available for interviews

RESOURCES

Click here for the MCTF framework and recommendations.

ABOUT

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is the voice of microbusiness in the United States. For two decades, AEO and its more than 400 member organizations have helped millions of entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth while supporting themselves, their families and their communities. AEO members and partners include a broad range of organizations that provide capital and services to assist underserved entrepreneurs in starting, stabilizing and expanding their businesses. Together, we are working to change the way that capital and services flow to underserved entrepreneurs so that they can create jobs and opportunities for all.

MICRO CAPITAL TASK FORCE (MCTF)
The MCTF is a private multi-stakeholder group formed to present fact-based and practical recommendations to Congress, The White House, the Department of Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding access to capital in amounts of up to $250,000 for the smallest businesses. The MCTF is comprised of thought-leaders and senior executives representing nonprofits, community development finance, international microfinance, Wall Street, philanthropy, national banks, credit bureaus and other private companies.

OnDeck
Launched in 2007, OnDeck uses data aggregation and electronic payment technology to evaluate the financial health of small and medium sized businesses and efficiently deliver capital to a market underserved by banks. Through the OnDeck platform, millions of small businesses can obtain affordable loans with a fraction of the time and effort that it takes through traditional channels. The company’s proprietary credit models look deeper into the health of businesses, focusing on overall business performance, rather than the owner’s personal credit history. The OnDeck system also provides a critically needed mechanism for financial institutions and other business service providers to efficiently reach the Main Street small business market.

OnDeck has deployed more than $1 billion in capital to tens of thousands of businesses across 700 different industries. The company grew 150% in 2013, and was recently named #11 on Forbes’ 100 Most Promising Companies in America list and was listed on the Inc. 500/5000 for a second year in a row. The company also has earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. OnDeck is financed by some of the nation’s leading venture capital firms, including Google Ventures, SAP Ventures, RRE Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners and Tiger Global.

For more information, please visit: www.ondeck.com. Follow OnDeck on Twitter @OnDeckCapital.

ABOUT MICROBUSINESS
If one in three Main Street microbusinesses hired just one employee, America would reach full employment.

Loans under $250,000 are frequently seen as too risky and expensive to underwrite using traditional approaches.

Microbusinesses are powerful – In 2011, 92 percent of U.S. businesses were microbusinesses, and generated approximately $4.87 trillion annually for the U.S. economy.

America’s 25.5 million microbusinesses influence job creation by contributing to the employment of 41.3 million individuals, which represents 31 percent of private sector employment.

Microbusinesses are vehicles for self-sufficiency for their owners – they allow their owners to accumulate a median net worth of nearly 2.5 times higher than non-business owners.

Microbusinesses are a key driver for America’s employment and economic health – If one in three Main Street microbusinesses hired just one employee, America would reach full employment.

Microbusiness is an important path to self-sufficiency, wealth-building and job creation.
If entrepreneurs cannot acquire capital and other resources to start or develop, then the heartbeat of Main Street USA slows, jobs are not created, the vibrancy of communities dim, and the wealth chasm widens.
The capital gap to Main Street businesses represents $44 billion to $52 billion in unmet demand.

AEO estimates that about one-third (30%) of entrepreneurs who are declined for business loans are credit-worthy using underwriting methodologies currently available in the market.

AEO’s policy team successfully advocated to continue the SBA’s Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME) program and increase its funding, which had been slated for elimination. The program was funded for $5 million, which is an increase of $1.5 million over current funding levels.

Glenda Newell-Harris, M.D. Elected National President of The Links, Incorporated

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Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated have elected Glenda Newell-Harris, M.D., as its 16th national president. The election of Newell-Harris marks the first time a medical doctor will serve at the helm of the organization, and the first time a national president has been elected from the state of California.

A 29-year member of the Alameda Contra-Costa (CA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, (Oakland Bay Area), Newell-Harris steps into her new role after having served four years as the organizations national vice president.

Excited about her election, Newell-Harris said “It is an honor of a lifetime to serve as national president of The Links, Incorporated. Recognizing the importance of her role as national president, Newell-Harris stressed that, My predecessors in this position have demonstrated not only the significance of this role, but also the profound impact it has across the nation and in several foreign countries. The Links, Incorporated is dedicated to serving communities that need the volunteer services of its more than 12,000 members. Building a Healthy Legacy: Our Prescription for the Future is her theme for the next biennium. As a physician, Dr. Newell-Harris intends to make individual and community health a key focus of her presidency.

Currently a regional medical director at Corizon Health, Inc., she is a board certified physician in internal medicine and a media spokesperson whose opinions on new advances in medicine and controversial medical issues have made her a valued medical expert. Newell-Harris is a past president of the Sinkler-Miller Medical Association, an affiliate of the National Medical Association, and recently co-authored a book, entitled Focus on Your Best Health. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors from many organizations including Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Bay Area Black United Fund, John Hale Medical Society and Cinnamongirl, Inc.

A native of North Carolina, and a graduate of Miss Porters School, Newell-Harris is the daughter of Dr. Virginia K. Newell and the late George F. Newell. She received her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine and a bachelor of science in Biology from Tufts University. A mother of four children, she is married to Robert L. Harris, Esq.

Newell-Harris was elected during The Links, Incorporateds 39th National Assembly, held in National Harbor, Maryland, at Gaylord National Resort. During the five day conference, the organization celebrated community achievements, recognized outstanding contributions of individuals and also elected Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Ph. D., national vice president; Clara Lee, national recording secretary; Carolyn Lewis, national treasurer; and Kimberly Mumby Green, chair, national nominating committee.
About The Links, Incorporated
The Links, Incorporated celebrates more than 65 years as a women’s volunteer service organization committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. A premier international service organization with nearly 12,000 members in 280 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, its legacy of friends providing service that changes lives, established by the original circle of nine friends in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1946, is alive and well.

The members of The Links, Incorporated are influential decision makers and opinion leaders. The Links, Incorporated has attracted many distinguished women who are individual achievers and who have made a difference in their communities and the world. They are business and civic leaders, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work towards a common vision by engaging like-minded organizations and individuals for partnership.

With more than 2 million service hours recorded in the past three years, members regularly contribute more than 500,000 documented service hours in their respective communities annually. For more information, visit www.linksinc.org.

Photo Caption: Glenda Newell-Harris, M.D., the 16th national president of The Links, Incorporated

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin: What’s A Patriotic Corporation? – Sign Petition For the Patriot Employer Tax Credit

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It’s time we reward companies who do the right thing

Dick Durbin - U.S. Senator

Too many big businesses in America have lost their way — more focused on making their executives rich than doing right by their workers.

I think it’s time to reward companies that keep jobs here in the United States; give their employees a living wage, quality health insurance, and a good retirement plan; and employ a diverse workforce. And that’s why I’m proposing a new idea: the Patriot Employer Tax Credit.

We need to stop rewarding companies for doing the wrong thing, and start encouraging them to do the right thing. That’s exactly what my new legislation would do.

Click here to sign my petition in support of my new Patriot Employer Tax Credit bill — and let’s reward companies that do right by American workers.

Right now, federal tax loopholes that benefit companies shipping jobs overseas cost American taxpayers $50 billion a year! Can you believe it?

You’d think both political parties would want to see workers get better wages and benefits. And you’d think everyone on Capitol Hill would want the tax code to reward companies that don’t ship their jobs overseas.

That’s why we call it the Patriot Employers Tax Credit. This ought to be something red, white, and blue that we all agree on.

But of course, it’s not that simple. Large companies that outsource jobs employ a battalion of powerful lobbyists. They buy friends on Capitol Hill who will go out of their way to protect their lucrative taxpayer-funded subsidies.

So to get this bill through, it’s going to take some grassroots muscle.

Click here to sign my petition in support of my legislation to create a Patriot Employer Tax Credit — to reward companies who practice “America-first” business models.

What better time to start pushing this legislation than now, the week of our Independence Day? Please have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

Yours,

Dick Durbin
U.S. Senator

TAKE ACTION »

Consumers Using Online Coupons Must Avoid Getting Clipped By Fraudulent Offers, Says the Better Business Bureau

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CHICAGO, IL -  Consumers can legitimately save hundreds of dollars per year on household essentials and special products. Everything from food to toilet tissue and coupon clipping has become as easy as a click of your mouse. However, along with that ease comes risk, says the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Millions of product coupons are offered online but it’s imperative that consumers know the difference between what’s real and what’s not. Recent reports state that bogus coupons circulating on the internet are worth up to $600 million dollars a year.

“There are scams that impact individual consumers and others where unsuspecting charities get ripped-off,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Money savers need to do their homework before getting involved in any online offers or “business opportunities” that involve the selling of coupon books or the purchase, selling or transfer of coupons.”

According to the Coupon Information Corporation (CIC), the internet is the key reason for the growth in the use of fake coupons. Previously, they were distributed in newspaper inserts or by mail. Today, they can easily be printed at home. However, because of that, it is more difficult to build in specific security measures.

The BBB offers the following advice on redeeming online coupons:

  • Check out who is offering the coupon. Consumers should check to see if the coupon is being offered directly by the store, or if it is being offered by a third-party such as a partner or affiliate. If it is via a third-party, they might ask for additional info or require the consumer sign up for services to redeem the coupon. If so, the BBB recommends using extreme caution before sharing any personal information. Check out the company, free of charge, at www.bbb.org
  • Be cautious of pop-up offers. The BBB advises coupon clickers to be wary of pop-up ad coupon offers that require you to immediately click to redeem. Clicking on the ad may automatically sign the consumer up for services they were not interested in receiving, causing them to be billed every month.
  • Read the fine print. Carefully read the terms and conditions for the use of the coupon. Check for the expiration date, limitations of use and whether it is an online coupon good for only online purchases or if it can also be redeemed at the physical store location.
  • Will the coupon be honored? With some stores concerned about fraud related to online coupons, not all businesses are eager to redeem them. The BBB recommends contacting the store where you wish to use the coupon directly to find out whether the coupon is being honored or not.
  • Be wary of required phone calls. Be extremely cautious if the coupon requires the consumer call the company to redeem the value of the coupon, and/or has any requirement to give personal information.
  • Don’t fall for phony coupons via e-mail. Many fake coupons have been making the rounds via e-mail. Just because it may come from a friend or family member, don’t assume the coupon is legitimate.

For more information, visit bbb.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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