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Am Echad weekly update for the week of February 13, 2022

  • Am Echad mission is coming to Israel next week

Am Echad mission with some 40 top business and community leaders from the Diaspora will visit Israel between Tuesday, February 22 and Thursday, February 24. The mission will mee with the President Itzhak Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Head of the Opposition Binyamin Netanyahu, ministers and Knesset members to raise issues of religion and state that are on the Diaspora Jews' agenda.


  • The UK Board of Deputies attacked MK Bezalel Smotrich during his visit to the UK last week

The Board of Deputies, the umbrella organization for Jewish organizations in Britain attacked MK Betzalel Smotrich during his visit to the UK last week. In a Hebrew tweet from their official account, they wrote "We reject Betzalel Smotrich' appalling ideas his hateful ideology and call on all members of the British Jewish community to show him the door. Go back to the airplane and be remembered as a disgrace forever. You are not wanted here". Smotrich responded with tweeting "British Jews: I love you. All of you". Prior to the tweet Smotrich has met with representatives of Bnei Akiva and the Mizrachi, who later apologized, stating they don't support his worldview. (Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Chronicle)


The conversion reform

  • Minister Kahana is said to advance civil marriage and change the Law of Return

The Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana might agree to a bill by MK Sharren Haskel that would allow consular marriage, i.e., civil marriage in foreign consulates in Israel. In order to soothe opposition from the religious parties of the coalition, he offered to cancel the "Grandson Clause" in the Law of Return. This clause allows grandchildren of Jews to immigrate to Israel and become Israeli citizens, even though they and their parents are not Jews. The report drew sharp opposition from Israel Beitenu MKs who said they would oppose this initiative, and that civil marriage should be allowed regardless of anything else. Minister of Information expressed his opposition too, saying that the Grandson Clause is important for Diaspora Jews and a change would not be considered on the current government. MK Betzalel Smotrich responded that the clause should be cancelled while the status quo on marriage should be preserved. (Haaretz)


Antisemitism

  • Dutch universities order staff to disclose Jewish ties

More than a dozen Dutch universities ordered their staff to disclose their interactions with Jewish and Israeli organizations. The list of organizations the staff should report ties to includes the Anti-Defamation League, the Central Jewish Board of the Netherlands, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, B’nai B’rith, the office of the Dutch government’s own National Coordinator for Fighting Antisemitism, Elbit, and Christians for Israel. The order came after The Rights Forum, a pro-Palestinian organization, filed a WOB (a freedom of information) request. The organization is headed by former Dutch prime minister who is known for spreading antisemitic ideas. Jewish organizations and leaders condemned the requirement, among them the Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, who said that "The clear inference is that some shadowy Zionist/Jewish cabal is operating in the Dutch university system," and that "this reeks of antisemitism." (Jerusalem Post)


BDS and Anti-Israel Bias

  • BDS to launch a campaign against Puma for its sponsorship of Israeli football

The BDS movement has launched a boycott campaign against German sportswear company Puma over its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association. This is the 6th such campaign. In the past, such campaigns resulted in loss of clients such as the Qatar Sports Club, a Malaysian university, and the British Chester F.C. The campaign was reported in several Arabic and Muslim media outlets, including the Iranian Press TV (Middle East Eye).

  • Under threat to be blacklisted in Illinois, a Chicago firm investigates its subsidiary for BDS Practices

Illinois board’s Committee on Israel Boycott Restrictions announced that the state would be wholly justified to add Morningstar, a financial services firm, to the its list of prohibited investments today. The announcement comes after Morningstar purchased the Netherland-based, allegedly pro-BDS Sustainalytics in 2020 and a Swedish company also accused of advancing the cause of BDS. Shortly before being added to the list, which would have barred Morningstar the from Illinois’ state pension funds, the company hired the law firm of White & Case to investigate the pro-BDS practices of its subsidiary. Following this move, the committee chairman agreed to delay his committee’s decision regarding Illinois’ dealing with Morningstar until March when the board would receive the results of White & Case’s probe. (Jewish Press).