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UK police arrest 5 in terror probe

UK police arrest 5 in terror probe

Police in Birmingham, England, said Friday they have arrested five terror suspects in a joint investigation involving UK intelligence and French and Belgian authorities.

The suspects — four men ranging in age from 26 to 59, and a 29-year-old woman, were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorist acts, West Midlands police said in a statement. Four were arrested in Birmingham, the fifth at London’s Gatwick Airport, police said.

"The arrests were preplanned and intelligence-led," Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said in a statement. "There was no risk to the public at any time and there is no information to suggest an attack in the UK was being planned."

The arrests followed revelations that Mohamed Abrini — who investigators say has been linked to the terror March attacks in Brussels and the November 2015 attack in Paris — had traveled to Birmingham several times in the year before the Paris attacks.

‘Man in the hat’ identified in Brussels terror attacks

‘Man in the hat’ identified in Brussels terror attacks 02:18

Abrini is known as the "man in the hat" in surveillance video taken of bombers in the Brussels Airport attack. His DNA and fingerprints were lifted from a vehicle used in the Paris attacks, and surveillance video spotted him with Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam at a gas station between Brussels and the French capital.

A senior British counterterrorism source told CNN on Friday that investigators have determined he met with people suspected of terrorist activity and took several photos of landmarks in the Birmingham area, including a football stadium.

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Criticizing Israel

Criticizing Israel, Bernie Sanders Highlights Split Among Jewish Democrats

It was the sort of question — Does Israel have a right to defend itself as it sees fit? — that had often caused candidates, especially those with designs on winning a primary in New York, to produce paeans to the strength of the Israeli-American relationship and a stream of pro-Israel orthodoxy.

But Senator Bernie Sanders dug in.

“There comes a time when if we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time,” Mr. Sanders said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, amid cheers from the crowd at Thursday’s Democratic debate in Brooklyn. He added: “All that I am saying is we cannot continue to be one-sided. There are two sides to the issue.”

Jewish Democrats, like the rest of the party, have been struggling for years over the appropriate level of criticism when it comes to Israel’s policies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But that debate burst onto a big national stage this week thanks to Mr. Sanders, the most successful Jewish presidential candidate in history.

Mr. Sanders’s comments, in the de facto capital of Jewish American politics, buoyed the liberal and increasingly vocal Democrats who believe that a frank discussion within the party has been muzzled by an older, more conservative Jewish leadership that is suspicious of criticism of Israel.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a progressive pro-Israel lobbying group whose more critical view of the Israeli government has gained influence on Capitol Hill, said Mr. Sanders’s comments were “very different from the stale talking points that have dominated those types of discussions before” and contributed to a “meaningful redefinition of what it means to be pro-Israel.”

But the comments, as measured as they were striking, worried more traditionally pro-Israel Jewish Democrats and Jewish organizations trying desperately to maintain bipartisan support for the Israeli government but watching it slowly being chipped away.

“I thought that Bernie Sanders’s comments were disgraceful and reprehensible, and I thought he was just over the top,” said Eliot Engel, a Jewish congressman from the Bronx who supports Hillary Clinton. He said that Mr. Sanders’s comments were irresponsible, giving radical left-wing elements in the party more license to attack Israel.

Continue reading the main story

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“Maybe he feels like he has to bend over backwards because he’s Jewish?” Mr. Engel said, adding, “It bothers me a great deal.”

Even before the debate, unease over Israeli policies within the Democratic Party was rising.

At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, delegates lustily booed officials who reinstated in the party platform a recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at odds with the United States’ official position that the city’s status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.

Protesting Israel’s policies and advocating boycotts to pressure its government are practically electives for liberal college students furious about the growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In Washington, relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are acrid, and last year more than 50 members of the Democratic caucus boycotted Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in which he criticized Mr. Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Mr. Sanders’s response on Thursday was to a question about his past statement that Israel had used disproportionate force in responding to Hamas’s rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli towns. One of the moderators, Wolf Blitzer of CNN, asked whether Israel had a right to defend itself.

Mr. Sanders said Israel had “every right in the world to destroy terrorism.”

“But,” he said, “we had in the Gaza area — not a very large area — some 10,000 civilians who were wounded and some 1,500 who were killed.”

The applause and cheers that accompanied Mr. Sanders’s answers — someone yelled “Free Palestine!” — might have been the most vocal signs yet of shifts in the Democratic Party.

A Pew Research Center poll in 2014 about violence in Gaza found that Americans under 30 were more likely to blame Israel than to blame Hamas, though half blamed both or did not have an opinion. African-Americans and Hispanics also blamed Israel more often than Hamas.

Those surveyed who were over 30 found Hamas more responsible, and the older the respondents were, the less they blamed Israel.

“The roar in the crowd was telling,” said Peter Beinart, a leading voice in the liberal Zionist movement.

“A Democratic Party dominated by progressive millennials, African-Americans and Latinos will gradually defect more and more from the Aipac-Bibi line,” he added, referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and to Mr. Netanyahu by his nickname.

“Those aren’t their values,” Mr. Beinart continued. “What Bernie said last night, and the crowd’s response, were a sign of things to come.”

Younger Jews’ waning support for Israel in its dealings with Palestinians may not be so surprising. Unlike their parents and grandparents, who grew up when Jews were still reeling from the Holocaust, they know Israel primarily as a powerful nation rather than an existential necessity.

Andy Bachman, a prominent Brooklyn progressive rabbi, said the energetic applause at Mr. Sanders’s criticism of Israel “spoke to this growing rift in the Democratic Party — it was proof of a major crisis in the Jewish community that no major Jewish organization has resolved or figured out to handle.”

Mr. Sanders, who is not observant, has spoken at times about family members killed in the Holocaust, and he spent time in an Israeli kibbutz after college. But he has had some stumbles related to his views on Israel. His hiring of a young activist leader, Simone Zimmerman, as his Jewish outreach director turned out to be a rare blunder for his campaign when Facebook posts turned up in which she referred to Mr. Netanyahu with a vulgarity. She was suspended a few hours before the debate.

Supporters of Mrs. Clinton raised concerns about the substance of Mr. Sanders’s statements, arguing that he showed his haphazardness on the issue in a recent Daily News interview in which he greatly exaggerated the number of civilians killed in Gaza, saying more than 10,000 had died. Clinton supporters also said he had supplied no specifics when he called for an “evenhanded” approach.

In Mrs. Clinton’s response to the same question Thursday night, she stopped short of endorsing Israel’s response but echoed its argument that Hamas fighters were often mixed in with civilians. She noted her experience dealing with both sides as secretary of state and said — to applause — “I believe that as president I will be able to continue to make progress and get an agreement that will be fair both to the Israelis and the Palestinians without ever, ever undermining Israel’s security.”

Mr. Engel, the congressman, said he took solace in the fact that Mrs. Clinton still had a large delegate lead.

“I don’t have a fear because he’s not going to be the nominee,” Mr. Engel said of Mr. Sanders. “Hillary is going to be the nominee, and she’s just fine.”

Still, Jewish activists who are highly critical of Israel said they would be thankful for his contribution even if he did not win.

Minutes after the debate, Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a growing grass-roots organization that advocates pressuring Israel with the threat of boycotts, released a statement calling Mr. Sanders’s remarks “heartening” and added, “Today showed that the movement for Palestinian rights is shifting the discourse at the highest political levels.”

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Mountain lion captured in Granada Hills

Mountain lion captured in Granada Hills, returned to wild

He was first seen prowling in the early morning hours at a San Fernando Valley high school, where the campus mascot is a cougar.

He was later captured in the front yard of a nearby home where stone lion statues adorn the entrance.

Wildlife experts were unsure Friday what lured a large puma to John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills early Friday, then later into surrounding neighborhoods. But authorities said they were grateful that the big cat, estimated to be about 3 years old, was safely tranquilized, captured and returned to the wild later Friday.

“Everything worked out perfectly,” said Lt. J.C. Healy with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It couldn’t have happened any better.”

The drama unfolded Friday morning on live video from ABC Channel 7’s helicopter.

Fish and Wildlife officials arrived before 11 a.m. at the high school, where the 110-pound cat had been seen earlier by cafeteria workers. They called school police, which launched a response by Los Angeles Police Department, animal control, and state Fish and Wildlife officials. The mountain lion was cornered for a time before fleeing into the residential neighborhood just southwest of the Los Angeles Unified campus, which had been locked down. The big cat later was found in Armando and Dora Villanueva’s fenced frontyard in the 16400 block of Donmetz Street, not far from San Fernando Mission Road. Their home features stone statues of lions near the entrance, but the couple did not find the irony amusing. Both said they believed their lives were in danger.

“My husband had just closed the door because of the wind, and then we saw it,” Dora Villanueva said. “It looked at me through the window. I thought it was going to break the window and come in. I was so scared.”

Healy said he was able to shoot a tranquilizer dart into the lion’s backside, but the puma resisted the effects of the drug for several minutes.

“He was a tough cat,” Healy said of the way the animal continued to move. When it was safe, experts had to administer more tranquilizers to make sure he had passed out. All the while, animal control and LAPD kept their automatic weapons on the lion. He was then placed in the bed of a pickup and later released into the wild. Meanwhile, police closed neighboring streets and parents circled the area looking for their children. Some students who left early said they knew the cat was lingering on campus but never saw it.

Unlike many pumas in the area, the mountain lion was not tagged or known to officials, Healy said. The big cat appeared to be about 90 pounds, but it was thin for his size and age and may have come down in search of food, Healy noted.

Andrew Hughan, spokesman for state Fish and Wildlife, said that while Valley residents might be surprised by the cat’s sojourn, it’s not all that unusual.

“In the state, it happens every day. But it’s pretty unusual for it to be right in the middle of day in Los Angeles near a school,” Hughan said of the giant cats roaming into urban areas.

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Most mountain lions stay in natural habitats, wildlife experts have said, though males tend to wander farther to establish their own range and find females. With more freeways and development coming up against wildlife corridors, some mountain lions do roam into urban areas. In 2012, a young mountain lion was shot and killed near the Santa Monica Promenade after experts tried to tranquilize it, but it became agitated and police believed it posed a danger to pedestrians. Last year, a mountain lion known as P-32, was killed by a vehicle on Interstate 5 near Castaic.

In March, a popular local puma known as P-22 apparently mauled a koala bear to death at the Los Angeles Zoo.

•RELATED STORY: Mountain Lion P-22 not likely to be put down for koala killing

Prime mountain lion habitat is close to Granada Hills because the community is adjacent to the Santa Susana Mountains. Friday’s Granada Hills visit by the mountain lion may have occurred for many reasons, Hughan added.

“It could have been chasing prey in the middle of the night and woke up in the morning and said, ‘Hey, what am I doing here,’ ” Hughan said.

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UK police arrest 5 in terror probe

UK police arrest 5 in terror probe

Police in Birmingham, England, said Friday they have arrested five terror suspects in a joint investigation involving UK intelligence and French and Belgian authorities.

The suspects — four men ranging in age from 26 to 59, and a 29-year-old woman, were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorist acts, West Midlands police said in a statement. Four were arrested in Birmingham, the fifth at London’s Gatwick Airport, police said.

"The arrests were preplanned and intelligence-led," Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said in a statement. "There was no risk to the public at any time and there is no information to suggest an attack in the UK was being planned."

The arrests followed revelations that Mohamed Abrini — who investigators say has been linked to the terror March attacks in Brussels and the November 2015 attack in Paris — had traveled to Birmingham several times in the year before the Paris attacks.

‘Man in the hat’ identified in Brussels terror attacks

‘Man in the hat’ identified in Brussels terror attacks 02:18

Abrini is known as the "man in the hat" in surveillance video taken of bombers in the Brussels Airport attack. His DNA and fingerprints were lifted from a vehicle used in the Paris attacks, and surveillance video spotted him with Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam at a gas station between Brussels and the French capital.

A senior British counterterrorism source told CNN on Friday that investigators have determined he met with people suspected of terrorist activity and took several photos of landmarks in the Birmingham area, including a football stadium.

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Boston marks 3 years after deadly marathon bombings

Boston marks 3 years after deadly marathon bombings

Boston marked the third anniversary of the deadly 2013 marathon bombings with subdued remembrances.

The governor and mayor joined victims’ families Friday morning for a brief and quiet ceremony at the finish line on Boylston Street.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and his wife, Lauren, bowed their heads in silence after helping the father of one of the three who died, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, place a white flower wreath. Mayor Marty Walsh placed a second wreath with the families of the other slain victims, 8-year-old Martin Richard and 23-year-old Lingzi Lu.

No one spoke.

Related Image

FILE – This combination of undated family photos shows, from left, Martin Richard, 8, Krystle Campbell, 29, and Lingzi Lu, a Boston University graduate student from China. Richard, Campbell and Lu were killed in the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/File)Expand / Contract

This combination of undated family photos shows, from left, Martin Richard, 8, Krystle Campbell, 29, and Lingzi Lu, 23. (AP Photo/File)

A bagpipe played softly before the occasion, which was observed by nearly 100 people including survivors, their families and supporters.

A multi-colored banner with a peace sign, a heart and words Martin Richard had written before his death — "no more hurting people … peace" — hung on an empty storefront.

Two men placed crosses on a tree honoring the victims, including MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed by the attackers in the ensuring manhunt.

Scott Weisberg, a 46-year-old Birmingham, Alabama, physician who finished the 2013 marathon seconds before the first bomb detonated, said he comes back each year for the anniversary and to run the race.

He wears hearing aids now because he suffered hearing loss and recently closed his medical practice because he continues to deal with memory loss and speech processing problems from head injuries he sustained in the blast.

"This is a special time to connect. I have a second family who understands what I’m going through," Weisberg said. "The first year, a lot of us were just trying to figure things out. I think the focus now for many of us is where we’re going, what we’re going to do with the second half of our lives."

Later in the day, Deval Patrick, the governor at the time of the attacks, is slated to speak at an interfaith service near the finish line.

At 2:49 p.m., a citywide moment of silence will mark the time when the first of two pressure cooker bombs detonated near the race’s end, killing three people and injuring over 260 others.

One of the bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was sentenced to death in June. His brother, Tamerlan, died in a gunfight with police in the days after the attack.

Throughout the day, residents will be taking part in blood drives, food and clothing collections and other community service projects as the city has proclaimed April 15 "One Boston Day," a day to celebrate the city’s resilience through acts of kindness and generosity.

Martin Richard’s family, for example, is leading a cleanup in their Boston neighborhood of Dorchester while Lu’s family is making a financial donation to the Police Department’s Athletic League.

The mayor’s office is collecting premixed baby formula, baby wipes and hand sanitizer to send to Flint, the Michigan city struggling with lead-tainted drinking water.

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Pope Makes Provocative Trip to Greece as EU Deports Migrants

Pope Makes Provocative Trip to Greece as EU Deports Migrants

LESBOS, Greece — Pope Francis is known for his symbolic gestures, but even by Franciscan standards, his visit to a Greek refugee detention center as the European Union implements a controversial deportation plan is as provocative as any he has undertaken.

Francis and the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians will spend nearly an hour Saturday greeting some 250 refugees stuck on the Greek island of Lesbos. They will lunch with eight of them to hear their stories of fleeing war, conflict and poverty and hopes for a better life in Europe. And they will toss floral wreathes into the sea to pray for those who never made it.

It’s a gesture Francis first made when he visited the Italian island of Lampedusa in the summer of 2013, his first trip outside Rome as pope, after a dozen migrants died trying to reach the southern tip of Europe. He made a similar gesture more recently at the U.S.-Mexican border, laying a bouquet of flowers next to a large crucifix at the Ciudad Juarez border crossing in memory of migrants who died trying to reach the U.S.

"He is slightly provocative," said George Demacopoulos, chair of Orthodox Christian studies at the Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York. Citing Francis’ Mexico border visit in February, in the heat of a U.S. presidential campaign where illegal immigration took center stage, he added: "He is within his purview to do so, but that was a provocative move."

The Vatican insists Saturday’s visit is purely humanitarian and religious in nature, not political or a "direct" criticism of the EU plan.

But spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told reporters that Francis’ position on Europe’s "moral obligation" to welcome refugees is well-known, and that the EU-Turkey deportation deal certainly has "consequences on the situation of the people involved."

The Vatican official in charge of migrants, Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, was even more explicit, saying the EU-Turkey plan essentially treats migrants as merchandise that can be traded back and forth and doesn’t recognize their inherent dignity as human beings.

The March 18 EU-Turkey deal stipulates that anyone arriving clandestinely on Greek islands on or after March 20 will be returned to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece. For every Syrian sent back, the EU will take another Syrian directly from Turkey for resettlement in Europe. In return, Turkey was granted concessions including billions of euros to deal with the more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees living there, and a speeding up of its stalled accession talks with the EU.

Human rights groups have denounced the deal as an abdication of Europe’s obligations to grant protection to asylum-seekers.

The son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, Francis has made the plight of refugees, the poor and downtrodden the focus of his ministry as pope, denouncing the "globalization of indifference" that the world shows the less fortunate.

Aside from the inherently political nature of the trip, it also has a significant religious dimension. Francis will be visiting alongside the spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and the head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, Athens Archbishop Ieronymos II.

Lombardi said the ecumenical significance of such a meeting was "obvious" — and he credited Greece’s politicians with their willingness to let the religious leaders take center stage as an "appreciated" gesture of discretion.

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Firefighter shot fatally

Firefighter shot fatally, second wounded in Prince George’s

One firefighter was shot and killed and a second was critically wounded Friday evening ­ when they went to a house in Prince George’s County to answer a medical call, authorities said.

The firefighters were shot about 7:30 p.m. at the door of a house in the 5000 block of Sharon Road, in the Temple Hills-Camp Springs area, as they were trying to get inside, county officials said.

The slain firefighter was identified as John Ulmschneider, 39. Authorities said he had been in the department for 13 years. He was married and a father, officials said.

He died at the Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton. Top county officials gathered there late Friday night to express their sorrow.

The name of the second firefighter could not be immediately learned. He was described as a member of the Morningside Volunteer Department. He was reported in surgery late last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

A third person, a relative of the occupant of the house, was also hit, suffering a wound that was not life-threatening, authorities said. It was that person who had apparently become concerned about the welfare of the 61-year-old man and summoned help.

Authorities said one person, apparently the occupant, was taken into custody.

Even in the most crime-ridden neighborhoods, it is unusual for firefighters to be shot. Mark E. Brady, the department spokesman, said the entire department was in a state of shock.

According to authorities, the firefighters first knocked on the door of the house but when they got no answer, they decided to enter.

As they did, shots were fired and they were hit, officials said.

After authorities finally entered, officials said, gunfire stopped and an occupant of the house was taken into custody.

The county’s state’s attorney, Angela Alsobrooks, was at a news conference at which the death was announced. “We will apply the law to the facts,” she said.

The site of the shootings is about two miles west of Joint Base Andrews, and southwest of the Capital Beltway and Branch Avenue.

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Criticizing Israel

Criticizing Israel, Bernie Sanders Highlights Split Among Jewish Democrats

It was the sort of question — Does Israel have a right to defend itself as it sees fit? — that had often caused candidates, especially those with designs on winning a primary in New York, to produce paeans to the strength of the Israeli-American relationship and a stream of pro-Israel orthodoxy.

But Senator Bernie Sanders dug in.

“There comes a time when if we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time,” Mr. Sanders said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, amid cheers from the crowd at Thursday’s Democratic debate in Brooklyn. He added: “All that I am saying is we cannot continue to be one-sided. There are two sides to the issue.”

Jewish Democrats, like the rest of the party, have been struggling for years over the appropriate level of criticism when it comes to Israel’s policies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But that debate burst onto a big national stage this week thanks to Mr. Sanders, the most successful Jewish presidential candidate in history.

Mr. Sanders’s comments, in the de facto capital of Jewish American politics, buoyed the liberal and increasingly vocal Democrats who believe that a frank discussion within the party has been muzzled by an older, more conservative Jewish leadership that is suspicious of criticism of Israel.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a progressive pro-Israel lobbying group whose more critical view of the Israeli government has gained influence on Capitol Hill, said Mr. Sanders’s comments were “very different from the stale talking points that have dominated those types of discussions before” and contributed to a “meaningful redefinition of what it means to be pro-Israel.”

But the comments, as measured as they were striking, worried more traditionally pro-Israel Jewish Democrats and Jewish organizations trying desperately to maintain bipartisan support for the Israeli government but watching it slowly being chipped away.

“I thought that Bernie Sanders’s comments were disgraceful and reprehensible, and I thought he was just over the top,” said Eliot Engel, a Jewish congressman from the Bronx who supports Hillary Clinton. He said that Mr. Sanders’s comments were irresponsible, giving radical left-wing elements in the party more license to attack Israel.

Continue reading the main story

Presidential Election 2016

Here’s the latest news and analysis of the candidates and issues shaping the presidential race.

Bernie Sanders Makes Quick Transition From Brooklyn to Rome

APR 15

G.O.P. Chief Discourages Rule Changes That Seem to Block Donald Trump

APR 15

At Columbia University, Daring to Back Clinton

APR 15

Supreme Court Immigration Ruling Won’t End Political Tussle

APR 15

Smitten by Bernie Sanders, Working Families Party Can’t Show It in Primary

APR 15

See More »

RELATED COVERAGE

FIRST DRAFT

Bernie Sanders Campaign Suspends Jewish Outreach Coordinator for Vulgar Remarks About Netanyahu APRIL 14, 2016

As Bernie Sanders Makes History, Jews Wonder What It Means FEB. 10, 2016

Bernie Sanders Is Jewish, but He Doesn’t Like to Talk About It FEB. 24, 2016

Bernie Sanders’s Kibbutz Found. Surprise: It’s Socialist. FEB. 5, 2016

“Maybe he feels like he has to bend over backwards because he’s Jewish?” Mr. Engel said, adding, “It bothers me a great deal.”

Even before the debate, unease over Israeli policies within the Democratic Party was rising.

At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, delegates lustily booed officials who reinstated in the party platform a recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at odds with the United States’ official position that the city’s status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.

Protesting Israel’s policies and advocating boycotts to pressure its government are practically electives for liberal college students furious about the growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In Washington, relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are acrid, and last year more than 50 members of the Democratic caucus boycotted Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in which he criticized Mr. Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Mr. Sanders’s response on Thursday was to a question about his past statement that Israel had used disproportionate force in responding to Hamas’s rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli towns. One of the moderators, Wolf Blitzer of CNN, asked whether Israel had a right to defend itself.

Mr. Sanders said Israel had “every right in the world to destroy terrorism.”

“But,” he said, “we had in the Gaza area — not a very large area — some 10,000 civilians who were wounded and some 1,500 who were killed.”

The applause and cheers that accompanied Mr. Sanders’s answers — someone yelled “Free Palestine!” — might have been the most vocal signs yet of shifts in the Democratic Party.

A Pew Research Center poll in 2014 about violence in Gaza found that Americans under 30 were more likely to blame Israel than to blame Hamas, though half blamed both or did not have an opinion. African-Americans and Hispanics also blamed Israel more often than Hamas.

Those surveyed who were over 30 found Hamas more responsible, and the older the respondents were, the less they blamed Israel.

“The roar in the crowd was telling,” said Peter Beinart, a leading voice in the liberal Zionist movement.

“A Democratic Party dominated by progressive millennials, African-Americans and Latinos will gradually defect more and more from the Aipac-Bibi line,” he added, referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and to Mr. Netanyahu by his nickname.

“Those aren’t their values,” Mr. Beinart continued. “What Bernie said last night, and the crowd’s response, were a sign of things to come.”

Younger Jews’ waning support for Israel in its dealings with Palestinians may not be so surprising. Unlike their parents and grandparents, who grew up when Jews were still reeling from the Holocaust, they know Israel primarily as a powerful nation rather than an existential necessity.

Andy Bachman, a prominent Brooklyn progressive rabbi, said the energetic applause at Mr. Sanders’s criticism of Israel “spoke to this growing rift in the Democratic Party — it was proof of a major crisis in the Jewish community that no major Jewish organization has resolved or figured out to handle.”

Mr. Sanders, who is not observant, has spoken at times about family members killed in the Holocaust, and he spent time in an Israeli kibbutz after college. But he has had some stumbles related to his views on Israel. His hiring of a young activist leader, Simone Zimmerman, as his Jewish outreach director turned out to be a rare blunder for his campaign when Facebook posts turned up in which she referred to Mr. Netanyahu with a vulgarity. She was suspended a few hours before the debate.

Supporters of Mrs. Clinton raised concerns about the substance of Mr. Sanders’s statements, arguing that he showed his haphazardness on the issue in a recent Daily News interview in which he greatly exaggerated the number of civilians killed in Gaza, saying more than 10,000 had died. Clinton supporters also said he had supplied no specifics when he called for an “evenhanded” approach.

In Mrs. Clinton’s response to the same question Thursday night, she stopped short of endorsing Israel’s response but echoed its argument that Hamas fighters were often mixed in with civilians. She noted her experience dealing with both sides as secretary of state and said — to applause — “I believe that as president I will be able to continue to make progress and get an agreement that will be fair both to the Israelis and the Palestinians without ever, ever undermining Israel’s security.”

Mr. Engel, the congressman, said he took solace in the fact that Mrs. Clinton still had a large delegate lead.

“I don’t have a fear because he’s not going to be the nominee,” Mr. Engel said of Mr. Sanders. “Hillary is going to be the nominee, and she’s just fine.”

Still, Jewish activists who are highly critical of Israel said they would be thankful for his contribution even if he did not win.

Minutes after the debate, Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a growing grass-roots organization that advocates pressuring Israel with the threat of boycotts, released a statement calling Mr. Sanders’s remarks “heartening” and added, “Today showed that the movement for Palestinian rights is shifting the discourse at the highest political levels.”

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Criticizing Israel

Criticizing Israel, Bernie Sanders Highlights Split Among Jewish Democrats

It was the sort of question — Does Israel have a right to defend itself as it sees fit? — that had often caused candidates, especially those with designs on winning a primary in New York, to produce paeans to the strength of the Israeli-American relationship and a stream of pro-Israel orthodoxy.

But Senator Bernie Sanders dug in.

“There comes a time when if we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time,” Mr. Sanders said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, amid cheers from the crowd at Thursday’s Democratic debate in Brooklyn. He added: “All that I am saying is we cannot continue to be one-sided. There are two sides to the issue.”

Jewish Democrats, like the rest of the party, have been struggling for years over the appropriate level of criticism when it comes to Israel’s policies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But that debate burst onto a big national stage this week thanks to Mr. Sanders, the most successful Jewish presidential candidate in history.

Mr. Sanders’s comments, in the de facto capital of Jewish American politics, buoyed the liberal and increasingly vocal Democrats who believe that a frank discussion within the party has been muzzled by an older, more conservative Jewish leadership that is suspicious of criticism of Israel.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a progressive pro-Israel lobbying group whose more critical view of the Israeli government has gained influence on Capitol Hill, said Mr. Sanders’s comments were “very different from the stale talking points that have dominated those types of discussions before” and contributed to a “meaningful redefinition of what it means to be pro-Israel.”

But the comments, as measured as they were striking, worried more traditionally pro-Israel Jewish Democrats and Jewish organizations trying desperately to maintain bipartisan support for the Israeli government but watching it slowly being chipped away.

“I thought that Bernie Sanders’s comments were disgraceful and reprehensible, and I thought he was just over the top,” said Eliot Engel, a Jewish congressman from the Bronx who supports Hillary Clinton. He said that Mr. Sanders’s comments were irresponsible, giving radical left-wing elements in the party more license to attack Israel.

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“Maybe he feels like he has to bend over backwards because he’s Jewish?” Mr. Engel said, adding, “It bothers me a great deal.”

Even before the debate, unease over Israeli policies within the Democratic Party was rising.

At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, delegates lustily booed officials who reinstated in the party platform a recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at odds with the United States’ official position that the city’s status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.

Protesting Israel’s policies and advocating boycotts to pressure its government are practically electives for liberal college students furious about the growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In Washington, relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are acrid, and last year more than 50 members of the Democratic caucus boycotted Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in which he criticized Mr. Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Mr. Sanders’s response on Thursday was to a question about his past statement that Israel had used disproportionate force in responding to Hamas’s rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli towns. One of the moderators, Wolf Blitzer of CNN, asked whether Israel had a right to defend itself.

Mr. Sanders said Israel had “every right in the world to destroy terrorism.”

“But,” he said, “we had in the Gaza area — not a very large area — some 10,000 civilians who were wounded and some 1,500 who were killed.”

The applause and cheers that accompanied Mr. Sanders’s answers — someone yelled “Free Palestine!” — might have been the most vocal signs yet of shifts in the Democratic Party.

A Pew Research Center poll in 2014 about violence in Gaza found that Americans under 30 were more likely to blame Israel than to blame Hamas, though half blamed both or did not have an opinion. African-Americans and Hispanics also blamed Israel more often than Hamas.

Those surveyed who were over 30 found Hamas more responsible, and the older the respondents were, the less they blamed Israel.

“The roar in the crowd was telling,” said Peter Beinart, a leading voice in the liberal Zionist movement.

“A Democratic Party dominated by progressive millennials, African-Americans and Latinos will gradually defect more and more from the Aipac-Bibi line,” he added, referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and to Mr. Netanyahu by his nickname.

“Those aren’t their values,” Mr. Beinart continued. “What Bernie said last night, and the crowd’s response, were a sign of things to come.”

Younger Jews’ waning support for Israel in its dealings with Palestinians may not be so surprising. Unlike their parents and grandparents, who grew up when Jews were still reeling from the Holocaust, they know Israel primarily as a powerful nation rather than an existential necessity.

Andy Bachman, a prominent Brooklyn progressive rabbi, said the energetic applause at Mr. Sanders’s criticism of Israel “spoke to this growing rift in the Democratic Party — it was proof of a major crisis in the Jewish community that no major Jewish organization has resolved or figured out to handle.”

Mr. Sanders, who is not observant, has spoken at times about family members killed in the Holocaust, and he spent time in an Israeli kibbutz after college. But he has had some stumbles related to his views on Israel. His hiring of a young activist leader, Simone Zimmerman, as his Jewish outreach director turned out to be a rare blunder for his campaign when Facebook posts turned up in which she referred to Mr. Netanyahu with a vulgarity. She was suspended a few hours before the debate.

Supporters of Mrs. Clinton raised concerns about the substance of Mr. Sanders’s statements, arguing that he showed his haphazardness on the issue in a recent Daily News interview in which he greatly exaggerated the number of civilians killed in Gaza, saying more than 10,000 had died. Clinton supporters also said he had supplied no specifics when he called for an “evenhanded” approach.

In Mrs. Clinton’s response to the same question Thursday night, she stopped short of endorsing Israel’s response but echoed its argument that Hamas fighters were often mixed in with civilians. She noted her experience dealing with both sides as secretary of state and said — to applause — “I believe that as president I will be able to continue to make progress and get an agreement that will be fair both to the Israelis and the Palestinians without ever, ever undermining Israel’s security.”

Mr. Engel, the congressman, said he took solace in the fact that Mrs. Clinton still had a large delegate lead.

“I don’t have a fear because he’s not going to be the nominee,” Mr. Engel said of Mr. Sanders. “Hillary is going to be the nominee, and she’s just fine.”

Still, Jewish activists who are highly critical of Israel said they would be thankful for his contribution even if he did not win.

Minutes after the debate, Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a growing grass-roots organization that advocates pressuring Israel with the threat of boycotts, released a statement calling Mr. Sanders’s remarks “heartening” and added, “Today showed that the movement for Palestinian rights is shifting the discourse at the highest political levels.”