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The US vetoes UN SC resolution seeking to block Trump's Jerusalem decision Dec 18, 2017 @ 20:19

The resolution called on "all states to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem" in an attempt by UN Security Council members to invalidate President Trump's pledge to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was carried by all the other 14 members. US ambassador Nikki Haley said: "We will not let the UN Security Council to again pass one-sided resolutions against Israel." After the vote she said: "The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy." Israel's ambassador Danny Danon said: "Members of the Council can vote again and again – for a hundred more times. It won't change the simple fact that Jerusalem is, has been, and always will be the capital of Israel."

US Vetoes UN Resolution Rejecting Washington's Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli Capital Last Updated: December 18, 2017 3:45 PM

Margaret Besheer

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a high level Security Council meeting on the situation in North Korea, at United Nations headquarters, Dec. 15, 2017.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a high level Security Council meeting on the situation in North Korea, at United Nations headquarters, Dec. 15, 2017.

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The Trump administration wielded its first U.N. veto Monday, blocking a Security Council resolution that rejected the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.

"The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy," Ambassador Nikki Haley told council members.

The U.S. was isolated in the vote, with the other 14 members voting in favor of the text.

The draft resolution did not specifically mention the U.S. announcement, but noted its "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem." It also said, "Any decision and actions which purport to have altered the character, status, or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded."

Haley noted that it is the first time in more than six years that the United States has used its veto.

"We do it with no joy, but we do it with no reluctance," she said. "The fact that this veto is being done in defense of U.S. sovereignty and role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment to us; it should be to the remainder of the Security Council."

She said President Donald Trump's decision does not contradict existing Security Council resolutions, which constitute international law and date back decades. Haley emphasized that the administration supports the status quo of the city's holy sites and will support a two-state solution if that is what the parties want.

"It is highly regrettable that some are trying to distort the president's position to serve their own agendas," Haley said. She added that the U.S. had the "courage and honesty to recognize a fundamental reality" – that Jerusalem is the capital and seat of the modern Israeli government.

The text, put forward by council member Egypt, sought to reaffirm earlier resolutions that conveyed a special status on the city, which is holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, and leaves it as a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations.

Egyptian Ambassador Amr Aboulatta, whose delegation drafted the text, warned of repercussions of the U.S. decision and declared that the move would have no legal effect on Jerusalem's final status.

"Al Quds is one of the final status issues, which must be settled through peaceful negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis," Aboulatta said, referring to Jerusalem by its Arabic name. "Any attempt at changing the facts on the ground in Jerusalem is considered one of the illegal, unilateral measures that will have no legal impact whatsoever, since it comes in violation of international law," he added.

"Because of its unmatched symbolic and emotional dimension, Jerusalem is the key to peace between Israelis and Palestinians," French Ambassador François Delattre told reporters. "Without an agreement on Jerusalem, there will be no peace accord. This is why an agreement on Jerusalem can only be decided by the parties themselves, with the support of the community of nations, and not by the unilateral decision of a third country that would bring us back one century ago," he added.

While Britain's envoy reiterated his government's disagreement with the Trump administration's decision, he said the U.S. would still continue to play an extremely important role in the search for peace.

"We commend President Trump for his efforts and energy in that direction, and we call on the U.S. administration to put forward concrete details, proposals, as soon as possible to take that process forward," Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.

FILE - Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour told the Security Council the U.S. announcement was "extremely regrettable," Dec. 8, 2017.
FILE - Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour told the Security Council the U.S. announcement was "extremely regrettable," Dec. 8, 2017.

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour denounced the U.S. decision as "provocative," "reckless and dangerous," and said a veto could not negate the legality of existing Security Council resolutions.

"This U.S. decision will have no legal effect that will alter the character and the status of Jerusalem," Mansour told the council. "This resolution affects the status of the U.S. as a peace broker and actually stresses its bias and undermines its role in any future peace process," he added.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters in the region that he would seek support from the U.N. General Assembly if the U.S. vetoed the text.

Israel's envoy, Danny Danon, welcomed what he called the "courageous stance" of President Trump in recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

"They can vote on this issue again and again and again," Ambassador Danon told reporters of the Security Council. "Even a hundred more times; but it will never change the fact that Jerusalem is, has been, and always will be the eternal capital of Israel."

Shift in US policy

Randolph-Macon College history professor Michael Fischbach told VOA that Trump's decision overturned decades of U.S. policy as well as what had been "global consensus" against setting Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

"Since '67 Israel has controlled the entire city, but in the international community there's been a consensus that until the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolved finally and peacefully, that no country wants to prejudice the outcome of what's going to happen to Jerusalem because the original U.N. decision was that it would be held in an international zone," Fischbach said.

Trump said his decision is a "recognition of reality" that Jerusalem is not only the historic capital of the Jewish people but also the capital of modern Israel. Israeli leaders welcomed his actions, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said having Jerusalem as Israel's capital is the "foundation of peace."

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last week that his side will no longer accept a U.S. role in the peace process. He spoke at a gathering of Arab leaders where many others condemned Trump's decision as unlawful.

The European Union reiterated that its position is that a realistic resolution between the Israelis and Palestinians is a two-state setup with Jerusalem as the capital of both.

Victor Beattie contributed to this report.

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AIPAC lauds U.S. veto of Jerusalem resolution

AIPAC welcomes United States' veto of resolution seeking to overrule Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Contact Editor
Ben Ariel, 18/12/17 23:30

UN Security Council
UN Security CouncilReuters

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Monday evening welcomed the United States' veto of United Nations Security Council resolution seeking to overrule President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"AIPAC applauds the veto cast by the United States today at the United Nations Security Council of a proposed resolution objecting to American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. We deeply appreciate President Trump and his administration's courageous stance on this issue," the organization said in a statement.

"U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stated that America rejects the `double standard' that attacks American impartiality when Washington expresses the will of the American people by moving our U.S. embassy, but somehow accepts the notion that the UN is a neutral party when it consistently singles out Israel for condemnation," it continued.

"Instead of considering counterproductive and biased resolutions seeking to condemn America for accepting Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the United Nations should urge Palestinians to return to the negotiating table with Israel. That is the path to peace," concluded AIPAC.

The resolution which Washington vetoed had called on "all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem" in order to prevent the fulfillment of President Trump's pledge to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The text also demanded that all states "comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions."

14 members of the Security Council supported the resolution, with only the United States in opposition.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised Haley for vetoing the resolution.

"Thank you, Ambassador Haley," Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter account. "On Hanukkah, you spoke like a Maccabi. You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness [as they did]. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies. Thank you, President Trump. Thank you, Nikki Haley."

The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, slammed the veto, with a spokesperson for chairman Mahmoud Abbas saying it was "unacceptable" and adding that it "threatens the stability of the international community because it disrespec

Netanyahu on soaring bitcoin: Banks fated to disappear

Value of digital currency continues to surge, briefly crossing $20,000 mark - Netanyahu says banks exist to minimize trade risks but argues that they will ultimately disappear - "Should it happen with bitcoin? That's a good question," he says. Ariel Whitman and Israel Hayom Staff

Bitcoin has gained over 500% in value since July | Illustration: Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Sunday on the soaring value of the digital currency bitcoin, saying he believes that as the use of digital banking services and currency increases, brick-and-mortar banks will eventually disappear.

Bitcoin rates continued to surge Sunday, temporarily crossing the $20,000 mark before falling back down to below $19,000. The digital currency has seen a meteoric rise into five figures, gaining over 500% in value since July, when it traded for $2,600.

Speaking with reporters Sunday, Netanyahu said, "Why can't you sell money? It's the same thing [as other sales]. You want to minimize the risk of theft, so you use mediators to mitigate that risk, which is why banks exist."

"Are banks fated to ultimately disappear? The answer is yes," he said. "Should it happen tomorrow? And should it happen with bitcoin? That's a good question. But what I just said – that's the reason bitcoin rates are surging," he said.

Analyst Ronnie Moas, founder of Standpoint Research, told CNBC's "The Rundown" that the value of bitcoin will continue to soar, saying, "The end-game on bitcoin is that it will hit $300,000 to $400,000 in my opinion, and it will be the most valuable currency in the world."

Also on Sunday, the Hanan More Real Estate Group became the first Israeli developer to offer buyers the opportunity to purchase real estate using the digital currency.

Dror Even-Chen, VP of marketing at the group, confirmed that the company had approached investors but declined to elaborate on how exactly the transactions would take place.

The Israel Tax Authority said that any such deals would be considered real estate-based barters, meaning the exchange of property for the digital currency and as such, they would be subject to capital gains tax.

MainAll NewsJewish WorldDeadly Brooklyn fire may have been caused by Hanukkah menorah

Deadly Brooklyn fire may have been caused by Hanukkah menorah

Law enforcement investigating whether Hanukkah menorah sparked blaze that killed mother, 3 children from Israeli family in Brooklyn. Contact Editor
Gary Willig, 18/12/17 19:45

Hanukkah Menorah
Hanukkah MenorahINN:" Hanukkiah

The house fire that claimed the lives of a Jewish mother and three of her children in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn early Monday morning may have been caused by a Hanukkah menorah.

A 40-year-old woman, her 11-year-old son, 7-year-old son, and 3-year-old daughter perished as a result of a house fire that broke out overnight in the three story home as they slept.

Investigators have turned their attention to the oil-fed menorah which relatives said the family kept on the first floor.

"This may be the source of the fire because it was in the room on the first floor where the fire was predominately contained," a law enforcement official told the New York Post.

Neighbors said that the house was home to a family of eight - two parents and six children. The father is in critical condition, and two of the children who survived the blaze are in serious condition, while the third is stable.

At least 10 people were injured in the fire, including three people who suffered serious injuries. Five of the injured were firefighters attempting to rescue people trapped inside the burning building.

The parents had moved to Brooklyn from Israel and celebrated the Bar Mitzvah of one of their sons five months ago, according to the haredi website Behadrei Haredim.

The funeral of the victims is expected to take place in Israel.

US Tactical Training School Teaches IDF Combat Methods to Civilians


Honesdale in northeastern Pennsylvania is a rural location that is home to the Israeli tactical training academy, Herev Gideon. Kan television visited the facility and spoke with Yonatan Stern, Director of Herev Gideon.

"It's been my dream to start an Israeli tactical training school here. I would have done it in Israel if I could, but it's not legal to do this in Israel. I want to have Jews armed in their synagogues and trained, so that when the see an anti-Semite walking in with a weapon, they'll know how to neutralize that threat."

Stern grew up in Kiryat Arba, Israel, served in the Netzach Yehuda IDF battalion, and has been in US for 11 years. For five years he has built his fully-equipped training school where they teach American civilians as well as law enforcement Israeli tactical firearms training.

"We are blessed in Pennsylvania with very liberal gun laws. Anything we'd like to do with firearms that I feel is necessary for people to defend themselves with, I can do. Anyone who legally qualifies to own a firearm can come here and train."

Ninety percent of Stern's clients are Orthodox Jews from the New York City area, he says. Herev Gideon has trained hundreds of students since beginning the program, and the numbers are growing.

"A lot of people don't realize the kind of threats that Jews are facing in America today. When I saw the footage from Charlottesville with hundreds of Nazis carrying torches screaming 'Jews will not replace us' it sent shivers down my spine ... We're training to defend ourselves and our communities in the case of need. Anyone who's threatening us automatically becomes a target for us," said one academy student.

"What we focus on here is Israeli tactical training. It's developed over the course of seventy years of constant combat and conflict in the Middle East, and it has refined itself to be an extremely effective combat training method. It's all about winning the fight as quickly as possible," explained Stern.

"The time when I actually saw combat in Israel was as a civilian, other than in the military because I was living in Kiryat Arba and I was involved in a lot of combat instances, a lot of gun battles. I saw a lot of action, a lot of people being shot, people being killed, and that's something that really motivated me to train others to protect themselves because I really don't want to see anyone being a victim.

"The goal is that everyone should be armed, everyone should be prepared, everyone should have the training to safely, effectively, and legally carry and use firearms in the case of need." Another participant says, "I believe in 'Never Again', and I think it's a mitzvah to protect our families, protect our synagogues, our shuls."

When asked whether he thinks the answer to terror and violence really is to increase the number of firearms in people's hands, Stern is straightforward and unapologetic: "To the issue of terrorism, and anti-Semitic violence, and political instability, absolutely; guns are the answer, yes."

The Sulzberger family: A complicated Jewish legacy at The New York Times Donate

The Sulzberger family: A complicated Jewish legacy at The New York Times

By Josefin DolstenDecember 18, 2017 4:44pm 4shares

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. speaking at The New York Times' New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Feb. 29, 2016. (Kimberly White/Getty Images for New York Times)

NEW YORK (JTA) — On Thursday, The New York Times announced that its publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., 66, is stepping down at the end of the year and will be succeeded by his son, 37-year-old Arthur Gregg (A.G.) Sulzberger.

The familial exchange of power wasn't unexpected. The younger Sulzberger is the sixth member of the Ochs Sulzberger clan to serve as publisher of the prominent New York newspaper. He is a fifth-generation descendant of Adolph S. Ochs, who bought the newspaper in 1896 as it was facing bankruptcy.

The family's Jewish history — Adolph Ochs was the child of German Jewish immigrants — has often been the subject of fascination and scrutiny, especially during and after World War II, when the paper was accused of turning a blind eye to atrocities against Jews.

Today the family's Jewish ties are less apparent than they were in the past. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. was raised in his mother's Episcopalian faith and later stopped practicing religion. He and his wife, Gail Gregg, were married by a Presbyterian minister. However, he has said that people still tend to regard him as Jewish due to his last name.

A look back into the family's history shows why. Adolph Ochs, the original member of the Ochs Sulzberger clan, married Effie Wise, the daughter of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, a leading American Reform Jewish scholar who founded the movement's rabbinical school, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

After Ochs' death, his son-in-law, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, took over the reins at The Times. Sulzberger, a Reform Jew, was an outspoken anti-Zionist at a time when the Reform movement was still debating the issue. He and his family "were closely knit into the Jewish philanthropic world as befitted their social and economic standing," wrote Neil Lewis, a former longtime reporter at The Times.

The owners drew criticism for the way the paper covered Jewish affairs, particularly the Holocaust. Critics said the newspaper failed to give adequate coverage to Nazi atrocities committed against Jews, a charge that The Times later owned up to. Arthur Hays Sulzberger had experienced anti-Semitism, and he was worried about his paper being perceived as too Jewish, Laurel Leff wrote in her 2005 book "Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper."

"There would be no special attention, no special sensitivity, no special pleading," Leff wrote.

In a 2001 article for The Times, former Executive Editor Max Frankel wrote that the paper, like many other media outlets at the time, fell in line with U.S. government policy that downplayed the plight of Jewish victims and refugees, but that the views of the publisher also played a significant role.

"He believed strongly and publicly that Judaism was a religion, not a race or nationality — that Jews should be separate only in the way they worshiped," Frankel wrote. "He thought they needed no state or political and social institutions of their own. He went to great lengths to avoid having The Times branded a `Jewish newspaper.'"

As a result, wrote Frankel, Sulzberger's editorial page "was cool to all measures that might have singled [Jews] out for rescue or even special attention."

Though The Times wasn't the only paper to provide scant coverage of Nazi persecution of Jews, the fact that it did so had large implications, Alex Jones and Susan Tifft wrote in their 1999 book "The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times."

"Had The Times' highlighted Nazi atrocities against Jews, or simply not buried certain stories, the nation might have awakened to the horror far sooner than it did," Jones and Tifft wrote.

In 1961, Arthur Hays Sulzberger stepped down as publisher, three years after having suffered a stroke, giving the position to his son-in-law Orvil Dryfoos. Dryfoos died two years later from heart failure, so his brother-in-law Arthur "Punch" Ochs Sulzberger took over. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who died in 2012, identified as "nominally Jewish, although not at all religious." He was "much more comfortable with his Judaism" than his father, wrote former Times religion reporter Ari Goldman. Still, stories related to Jewish topics were carefully edited, said Goldman, who worked at the Times in 1973-93.

"Those stories got a little more editorial attention, and I'm not saying they were leaning one way or another, but the paper was conscious that it had this reputation and had this background and wanted to make sure that the stories were told fairly and wouldn't lead to charges of favoritism or of bending over backwards," " he told JTA on Monday.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger raised his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., in his wife's Episcopalian faith. But Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. still had some connections to his Jewish background. In high school he went on a trip to Israel that left him slightly intrigued by his background, Jones and Tifft wrote. While criticism from the Jewish community under his tenure was less harsh than during his grandfather's time, many, particularly on the right, still saw the newspaper as being biased against Israel.

Nevertheless, given its owners' family history, its disproportionately large Jewish readership and its frequent coverage of Jewish preoccupations, The Times is often regarded as a "Jewish newspaper" — often disparagingly so by anti-Semites.

That perception is "largely because of the family and because of the family's Jewish name and Jewish roots," Goldman said, "so whether they're Jewish or not today, there's a feeling that this is still a newspaper with a heavy Jewish influence."

And that family history lives on. A.G. Sulzberger is part of a generation at the paper that includes his cousins Sam Dolnick, who oversees digital and mobile initiatives, and David Perpich, a senior executive who heads its Wirecutter product review site. Dolnick's mother, Lynn Golden, is the great-great-granddaughter of Julius and Bertha Ochs, the parents of Adolph S. Ochs, and was married in a Chattanooga, Tennessee, synagogue named in their memory. Perpich, a grandson of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, was married by a rabbi in 2008.

A.G. Sulzberger is best known for heading a team that in 2014 put together a 96-page "innovation report" that meant to prod The Times into moving more rapidly in catching up with the new digital media landscape. Asked recently about his working relationship with Dolnick and Perpich, A.G. Sulzberger spoke of their strong journalism backgrounds and invoked the family ethos.

"If they weren't members of the Ochs/Sulzberger family, our competitors would be bombarding them with job offers," he said. "But they are deeply devoted to this place, and the three of us are committed to continuing to work as a team." Get JTA's Daily Briefing in your inbox
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