Beware of Groups Who Demean Their Own People op-ed in The Durham Herald Sun

January 2nd, 2016 by Mike Ross

• By Michael Ross and Robert Gutman Guest columnists

The recent op-ed from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), “Jews should resist racism from North Carolina to Palestine,” is part of its long-standing effort to de-legitimize Israel. Other efforts have focused on undermining Israel’s intellectual and property holdings and to carry out disruptive street protests against Israeli artistic performances.
The current effort is more insidious and dangerous. They seek to conflate justifiable concerns about the status of people of color here in the United States with the treatment of Palestinians at the hands of allegedly racist Israelis. The authors wish to persuade champions in the social justice movement here in America to join them in their efforts to weaken Israel. These good folks should beware invitations to align with a group that seeks to undermine its own family.
The opinion piece starts with the very reasonable assertions with which we agree: All of us, Jews and gentiles alike, should treat every human being, regardless of group identifiers, with the greatest respect.
But, alas, it then quickly drifts into defamation of groups with which they disagree. They scold American society with hyperbolic claims of pervasive racism and repeatedly use pejorative terms such as “white supremacist.” They demonize anyone who views our society in other than narrowly racial terms and claim there is a ubiquitous “white supremacist right” which targets blacks, immigrants and those who appear Muslim or Arab.

Their deliberate distortions can only lead to an unhealthy splintering of our society’s cohesion. The editorial is a blatant effort to poison the relations between US blacks and their fellow citizens. We must always remember and need to reaffirm that we share so much more in common than that which divides us. Our country, though not perfect, has been able to achieve and provide remarkable benefits for ourselves and humanity, when it is united.

The article ignores the plain fact that the Palestinian fatalities are the consequence of deliberate and planned Arab assaults with knives, guns and stones, and the consequent Israeli defensive response. These attacks come not from spontaneous or random acts, but from the incitement by Arab political and spiritual leaders who publicly urge youths to kill and who give inspirational and instructional lessons on-line about where and how to attack civilians on the street. Palestinian leaders are continuing to promulgate the lie that Jews are threatening to defile al-?aram al-Šar?f, also known to Jews as the Temple Mount. As in the past this serves to incite deadly attacks against Jews.
Of great concern is the appetite of the authors to try to enrage U.S. blacks against Israeli society in general. This will fail. The largest numbers of visitors from America are Christian and at least 30 percent are groups from black churches. These visitors see the truth.
The op-ed doubles down on their efforts to enhance racial animosity by misleading their readers in stating: “58 Palestinians have been killed …by racist violence.” This serves to create the false notion that the responses of the Israel Defense Force to deliberate knife attacks are actually the result of color testing of the skin of the assailants. “Those of us who have visited Israel frequently know how well the communities of different color interact in that country.”
If helping the Palestinians is really the authors’ prime motivation, why not insist that the Palestinians accept the Two-State Solution along the parameters they have been repeatedly offered but repeatedly declined? Imagine if the Palestinians were to say “yes” to a deal, accept Israel as the Jewish State, and truly commit to an end of the conflict. Their opportunities for peace and prosperity would be endless. Should not that be the goal of a true Jewish Voice for Peace?
Michael Ross is the chairman and Robert Gutman the vice-chairman of Voice for Israel of the Triangle.

Governor Roy Cooper Signs Into Law Anti-BDS House Bill 161

July 30th, 2017 by Mike Ross

Beginning Today The State of North Carolina will not Contract with or Invest in Companies which Boycott Israel

On Thursday, July 27th, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law, HB 161. This law prohibits the State of NC from contracting with companies which boycott Israel, or to invest state pension funds with such designated businesses. NC became the 22nd state to enact such legislation.

The accomplishment was the result of the persistent efforts of the pro-Israel community in NC over a nearly 18 month period. The Jewish Federations of NC including in Raleigh/Cary, Durham/Chapel Hill, Greensboro and Charlotte aided by the Israel Action Network provided the organizational strength. The effort was led by Carin Savel, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary.

Voice for Israel was proud to be one of the first groups to lay the groundwork for the initiative, and to provide much of the on-going grassroots support.

The final bill was passed with strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

Below is the text of Governor’s Cooper’s remarks at the bill signing:

Good afternoon.

Thank you for joining me as I sign into law House Bill 161.

This new law requires our state government to divest from companies that boycott Israel.

It also prohibits the state from entering future contacts with companies that boycott Israel.

As one of our country’s closest allies, Israel deserves our support.

This bill strengthens support for the fruitful ongoing economic and cultural relationship between Israel and North Carolina.

Our state conducts nearly $140 million in exports and commerce with Israel each year.

This new law is a step forward that has been taken by several other states in the U.S.

Twenty-two states have already passed similar legislation.

I would like to thank the primary sponsors of this bill for their work: Representatives Stephen Ross and Jon Hardister.

I’m also grateful for the efforts of the

The Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary
The Jewish Federation of Greensboro
The Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte
The Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill
Voice For Israel
and the
Israel Action Network

that provided the leadership that makes this possible.

I will now sign into law House Bill 161.

“This bill makes it clear that the State of North Carolina stands with Israel, which has long been an important trading partner of North Carolina,” said Carin Savel, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary. “Today is a historic day for the State of NC and the State of Israel”

Representative Stephen Ross, deputy majority leader in the NC House and the primary bill sponsor, said, “Today is a significant day for North Carolina,It’s important for our state to stand with Israel against boycotts that threaten Israel’s sovereignty. This bill protects North Carolina’s economy from efforts to restrict trade and affirms our state’s economic commitments to Israel. ”

“Governor Cooper signed into law anti-BDS legislation on Thursday, making NC the 22nd state to do so. This is a great day for Israel and NC and is a defeat for those who seek division and endless conflict,” stated Mike Ross, President of V4I.