WASHINGTON (JTA) — After being thwarted by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Rashida Tlaib succeeded in spotlighting Palestinian perspectives on Israel’s founding in an event on Capitol Hill — with help from one of Congress’ most powerful Jewish members, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The Palestinian-American Democrat from Detroit also introduced a congressional resolution calling on the suspension of some aid to Israel.
Tlaib’s event on Wednesday, called “Nakba 75 & the Palestinian People,” featured the Arabic word for “catastrophe” that Palestinians use to describe the dispersion and expulsion of Palestinians during Israel’s 1948 war for independence. The event included cosponsors that have endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Americans for Justice in Palestine Action.
Tlaib had originally reserved a room in the Capitol Visitors’ Center for the event, but McCarthy canceled it, exercising a rarely used prerogative of his office.
“This event in the US Capitol is canceled,” he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, sharing an article from the Washington Free Beacon, a right-wing news website that called Tlaib’s event antisemitic. “Instead, I will host a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the US-Israel relationship.” (Whether that event took place is not clear; McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment.)
That decision earned McCarthy praise from an array of centrist and right-wing pro-Israel groups, which objected to the event, citing the participation of anti-Zionist groups.
“We commend Speaker McCarthy’s decision to shift the focus towards a civil, bipartisan discussion on Israel-US relations,” said a statement from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the foreign policy umbrella for a number of national Jewish groups. “This approach fosters mutual understanding and constructive engagement, laying the foundation for progress towards a more peaceful future.”
Tlaib then turned to the Senate, where Democrats are in the majority and where the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is chaired by Vermont’s Sanders. The progressive leader, who campaigned for her and whom she calls “amo,” or “uncle,” provided the room.
The meeting went ahead as planned, Jewish Insider reported, with the participation of Tlaib and Rep. Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat who like Tlaib is an outspoken critic of Israel. Sanders’ office confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the senator signed off on the event, though he did not attend.
“Everyone needs an amo in the Senate,” Jewish Insider quoted Tlaib as telling the room. On Twitter, she was triumphant, writing: “Let the headlines read ‘McCarthy tries to erase Palestine but fails.’”
Centrist pro-Israel groups condemned Sanders for allowing the event to take place.
“It is disgraceful that @SenSanders allowed this event by @RepRashida to be held in our nation’s Capitol,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League who has called anti-Zionism antisemitic, wrote on Twitter. “Real conversations are needed around a path to peace, but not with groups & individuals who espouse antisemitism. We call on the Senate to condemn this event.”
On Wednesday, Tlaib also introduced a resolution marking the Nakba. It cited JVP and other anti-Zionist groups as endorsers, and was cosponsored by a number of Democratic representatives who have joined Tlaib in vocally criticizing Israel, including Bush, Jamaal Bowman of New York, Betty McCollum of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
The resolution calls for the suspension of some forms of defense assistance to Israel. It calls on the United States to “reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Nakba” and to scrutinize Israel’s actions according to the provisions of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018, which is named after the famed late Holocaust survivor.
Tlaib’s event and resolution came amid a series of congressional actions celebrating Israel’s 75th birthday, which the country marked in late April. Last month, a bipartisan resolution congratulating Israel passed overwhelmingly in the House and a similar one is under consideration in the Senate. Additionally, the leaders of both parties in the House — Democrat Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, and McCarthy, a California Republican — visited Israel to join in the commemorations and festivities.
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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