Archive for February 17, 2010

Iran’s goal to further enrich uranium ‘destabilizing’

February 17, 2010 3 comments


By John J. Kruzel

WASHINGTON (Press Release)-The top U.S. military officer criticized Iran’s recent announcement that it would increase levels of uranium enrichment to 20 percent, saying the move further destabilizes the Middle East. 

The remarks by Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came after the government in Tehran reportedly vowed on Feb. 9 to produce uranium at higher levels, fueling fears it would move Iran a step closer to obtaining nuclear weaponry.

“The Iranian announcement a couple of days ago is of concern to all of us,” Mullen told reporters on Feb. 14 in Tel Aviv, Israel. “I think Iran needs to make strategic moves which help stabilize the region, and in fact, they continue to make moves which further destabilize the region, which is what happened the other day with this announcement.”

Tehran has stated its nuclear pursuit is toward peaceful ends, saying the more highly enriched uranium would produce fuel to power medical equipment. But many international observers believe that Iran wants to obtain a nuclear weapon.

President Barack Obama has repeatedly called on Tehran to provide assurances to the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful and transparent, a request backed by the five permanent U.N. Security Council members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany. But Iran continues to ignore demands by these so-called P5-plus-1 nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog organization.

“An awful lot of people [are focused] on Iran and the announcement the other day that they’ve increased the level of enrichment in what I would call a pretty public and defiant way,” Mullen said in a Feb. 14 interview with McClatchy Newspapers.

Mullen, during a trip through the Middle East, said the Iranian government’s announcement presented an opportunity to reinforce engagement with Iran. He characterized the U.S. as working from “the diplomatic and engagement and sanctions point of view,” and added that tougher sanctions were being discussed.

Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, Mullen declined to identify at what point Tehran’s nuclear ambitions might prompt military action. But he warned against the prospect of war with Iran.

“I think them getting a weapon and/or the outbreak of a conflict would be a big, big problem for all of us,” he said, “and I worry a great deal about the unintended consequences of a strike.”

But the chairman repeatedly has refused to rule out any options in dealing with Iran, which appears to be extending its reach in the Middle East.

Mullen said Iranian influence appears to be growing in Yemen, where Tehran reportedly is backing the Shiite Houthi clan engaged in a civil war against the Saudi-backed Sunni government in Yemen. Iran also reportedly has contacts with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“Their reach into Lebanon, their reach into Gaza and throughout the region – their reach into Yemen,” he told reporters in Cairo, “I think all those things may continue to foment a lot of instability, which is very dangerous for all of us.”


Preceding provided by American Forces Press Service

J*Company presents The Sound of Music

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment


LA JOLLA, CA (Press Release)– The award-winning J*Company Youth Theatre, a program of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jacobs Family Campus, is pleased to announce its production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ever-popular The Sound of Music.  The production will run March 4-21, 2010, at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre.  

Based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, the final collaboration between Rodgers & Hammerstein was destined to become the world’s most beloved musical.  When a postulant proves too high-spirited for the religious life, she is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval Captain.  She gradually captures the hearts of both children and father. The family’s narrow escape from the Nazis over the mountains to Switzerland provides one of the most thrilling and inspirational finales ever presented in the theatre.  The musical includes some of the greatest musical theatre pieces ever created such as “Climb Every Mountain,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” and “Edelweiss.”  Just like brown paper packages tied up with string, this J*Company 50th Anniversary production will prove to be one of your favorite things.

“J*Company is alive with The Sound of Music. I can’t believe that we have been in existence for 17 years and have never previously brought this show to life,” said Joey Landwehr, J*Company Artistic Director. “After record breaking attendance at auditions for this show (over 200 young people), I am proud to say that we have collected one of the finest and largest casts of The Sound of Music ever assembled, consisting of 98 young artists, with choreography by Deven P. Brawley.”

“We have also topped ourselves with the largest orchestra to ever be assembled on the J*Company stage,” said Landwehr.  “Tim McKnight will conduct a professional orchestra of 23 fine young musicians.” 

Landwehr is directing The Sound of Music.  He has worked extensively as an actor and director in New York City, both on and off Broadway, as well as in national tours and regional theatre.   He has studied under such instructors as Betty Buckley, Marcel Marceau, Francis Sternhagen, F. Murray Abraham, Twyla Tharpe, and has had the privilege of working with great performers such as Phyllis Diller, Sam Harris, Joel Grey, Kaye Ballard, Michael Feinstein and Howard Keel.  Landwehr is a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Actors’ Equity Association (AEA). Landwehr was honored in 2006 by San Diego Metropolitan Magazine as one of the 40 San Diego residents under the age of 40 who are making significant contributions to the community.  Landwehr most recently directed Into the Woods, the World Premiere of Fireflies: The Story of the Artists of Terezin,Featuring the Original Children’s Opera Brundibar, South Pacific, and The King and I for J*Company.

Show Dates and Times:

Thursday, March 4, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 5, 10:00 a.m. (School Show)
Saturday, March 6, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 7, 1:00 & 4:30 p.m.
Friday, March 12, 10:00 a.m. (School Show)
Saturday, March 13, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 14, 1:00 & 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 18, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 20, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 21, 1:00 & 4:30 p.m.

Join J*Company for a magical movie experience and bring the entire family!   Watch The Sound of Music (the movie) on the big screen at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre, as you sing-a-long, clap-a-long and following the bouncing ball to lyrics.  First 50 attendees receive a special goodie bag on that night! 

Dress up as your favorite character from The Sound of Music and sing along with the film.  A prize will be awarded for best costume. Admission price is $8.00/JCC members and $10.00/Non-members with half off for season subscribers; 

 The Sound of Movie Musical Sing-A-Long will be held on Thursday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. 

Tickets for The Sound of Music are $13 for children and $17 for adults and are available online at or by calling the JCC Box Office at 858-362-1348.  The David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre is located at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jacobs Family Campus at 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla.

Canadian minister says an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada

February 17, 2010 2 comments

OTTAWA (WJC)–Peter Kent, a minister of state in Canada’s Foreign Ministry, has said that his country stood ready to throw its full military weight behind Israel. “An attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada,” he told the Toronto-based publication ‘Shalom Live’, saying that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper thought likewise. Kent said the prime minister “has made it quite clear for some time now and has regularly stated that an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada.”

Kent referred to the Iranian threat, saying that “Canada has been concerned for some time not only about brutal repression of civil rights in Iran, but also about the nuclear adventurism and the proclaimed quest of nuclear weaponry by President Ahmadinejad.”

Kent’s statement was “not too far from what the [Prime Minister] has said,” Norm McIntosh, the minister’s chief of staff, told the newspaper ‘Globe and Mail’. However, McIntosh declined to say whether this meant that Canada would automatically declare war on an aggressor that attacked Israel.

The Prime Minister’s Office has so far not commented on Kent’s statement. In the past, Harper made strong statements in support of Israel. In May 2008, he said: “In this ongoing battle, Canada stands side-by-side with the State of Israel, our friend and ally in the democratic family of nations. We have stood with Israel even when it has not been popular to do so, and we will continue to stand with Israel, just as I have always said we would.”

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Russia to build Holocaust museum; Israel to erect memorial to Soviet Army

February 17, 2010 1 comment

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

MOSCOW (WJC)–Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu that Russia would soon build a museum dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. Netanyahu in response said Israel would erect a memorial dedicated to the efforts of the Soviet Army in liberating Europe during World War II. Netanyahu said the gesture, which he intends to move forward, was in honor of the 65th anniversary of the victory over the Nazis later this year. “No one has the right to forget those terrible losses among the Jewish people in this disaster, though some do. No one has the right to forget the decisive role that Russia, the Soviet Army, played in defeating Nazi Germany,” he said.

Putin pointed out that he was currently in discussion with Moscow’s chief rabbi about the possibility of establishing a Holocaust museum in Moscow.

Netanyahu expressed hope that the memorial for the Red Army would be ready before Putin’s next visit to Israel, expected within the year.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

RJC denounces congressman’s comments calling for Berlin-style airlift to Gaza

February 17, 2010 4 comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 17, 2010) — The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), Wednesday called on President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to repudiate remarks by Rep. Brian Baird (Democrat, Washington) calling for U.S. intervention to break the Israeli “blockade” of Gaza. We find Rep. Baird’s comment disturbing and troubling on many levels.

According to an Associated Press report, Baird made the following comment in remarks to a group of students in Gaza: “We ought to bring roll-on, roll-off ships and roll them right to the beach and bring the relief supplies in, in our version of the Berlin airlift.”

Given the outrageous nature of his statement and the fact it was made in Gaza by a U.S. congressman, we feel it is important for the administration to speak out forcefully and clearly in repudiation of his words.

Matthew Brooks, executive director of the RJC,  sent the following letter to President Obama and to Secretary of State Clinton:

“On behalf of the Republican Jewish Coalition, I write to ask you to repudiate the recent remarks by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) regarding Gaza.

“Rep. Baird told students in Gaza this week that the U.S. should send ships to the coast of Gaza and bring supplies to the Palestinians there ‘in our version of the Berlin airlift.’

“We ask that your administration speak out loudly and clearly against Baird’s remarks and the efforts of Baird and other congressional Democrats to bring pressure on Israel regarding Gaza. In January, Baird was one of the 54 congressional Democrats who signed a letter to President Obama, asking the President to pressure Israel to lift security measures along the Gaza border.

“Baird’s remarks in Gaza ignore several important facts: Egypt also has a blockade of Gaza in place and is constructing a wall, similar to Israel’s, to stop the smuggling of people and weapons across its borders with Gaza; Israel allows huge quantities of food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies into Gaza each day; Israel has prohibited only building supplies from coming into Gaza, to prevent them from being diverted by Hamas to military use. Israel has taken necessary and justifiable steps to stop terrorism originating from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

“We ask you to repudiate the congressman’s remarks and declare that the United States will not take action against Israel nor bring diplomatic pressure to bear against Israel in an effort to force Israel to take unilateral actions that could compromise her security in the face of the continued threat of Palestinian terrorism and rocket attacks emanating from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

“We look forward to your response.”

Preceding provided by Republican Jewish Coalition

Ceremonies mark beginning of construction of Sha’ar Hanegev’s protected school

February 17, 2010 2 comments


SIGNERS–Clockwise, they are Barbara Sherman, Steve Morris,
Alon Schuster and Aharale Rothstein {Ulla Hadar photo}

By Ulla Hadar

SHA’AR HANEGEV, Israel — With tractors due to roll onto the property the next day to begin construction of the Sha’ar Hanegev Educational Village, representatives of the municipality, school administration and the United Jewish Federation of San Diego, partnership organization of Sha’ar Hanegev, signed a scroll formally inaugurating the project.

Steve Morris, UJF’s chief executive officer, signed the ceremonial document on Tuesday, Feb. 16, along with Sha’ar Hanegev Mayor Alon Schuster and the school’s principal, Aharale Rothstein.

Morris, who traveled to Israel in a delegation that also included Barbara Sherman, director of donor development, commented that he was “personally thrilled that we reached the reality… of actually constructing this new school village.”  

He also said an important part of his job is “to figure out ways to make the partnership work in the future.”

Noting that Sha’ar Hanegev is right next to Gaza, which still occasionally launches Kassam rockets toward Israel, Mayor Schuster paid tribute to the teachers of Sha’ar Hanegev for “the way they cope with the situation and succeed and succeed in continuing their educational and Zionist work despite the daily difficulties…”

Rothstein, principalof the Sha’ar Hanegev High School, said programs of the educational complex will reflect some of the lessons learned during more than 10 years of partnership between Sha’ar Hanegev and San Diego.

“We have been exposed not only to our Israeli side but to our Jewish sides,” he said.  “In order to understand the complete aspect of being Jewish we need to understnad the part that exists here in Israel and the part that exists in the Diaspora because without the unity, there is no Eretz Israel.”

He added that it is important that students in Sha’ar Hanegev learn “who they are and why they are here.  This is the only way we can  maintain the existence of the Jews in Israel, forever and ever. No Kassam missiles, no threats, nor anything else will move us from here.  This school, which will be protected against missiles, is a must that we need to see rise as soon as possible.

In addition to the speeches, a local group “Birds of Peace” entertained with a medley of songs from the movies “Yentl” and “Fidller on the Roof.”

While in the Sha’ar Hanegev municipality, Morris and Sherman also visited the Ibim Student Village, Sapir College, the Ihadav Senior Center, the Hydortherapy Center and an overlook of the border with Gaza.

Hadar is Sha’ar Hanegev bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World