Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From Ian:

The Rot of Return
If you’re looking for intelligent discourse on the matter, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Reporter Ben Lynfield plugs maximalist Palestinian demands that are rotten to the core. This Monitor dispatch is a real disservice, for several reasons.
First of all, contrary to the conventional wisdom, there’s no legal basis for the so-called “right” of return.
Secondly, any responsible article about the “right” of return has to explain its consequences for Israel, not just bury a brief Mark Regev reaction at the bottom of the story. If the more than one million registered Palestinian refugees flooded what is today the state of Israel, it would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
‘World mum on PA incitement but slams Israel on construction’
“When Israel builds in areas which everyone understands will remain part of Israel in a final-status agreement, this is somehow perceived as a problem for peace. When Palestinians indoctrinate their people with hatred for Israel, and thereby directly undermine reconciliation, this is ignored.
“What is required of leadership at this time is to prepare the public for respect and reconciliation. But what we are seeing from the Palestinians is the opposite: continued demonization, stress on maximalist goals and that Israel is an illegitimate creation that will eventually disappear.”
In classified cyberwar against Iran, trail of Stuxnet leak leads to White House
The Obama administration provided a New York Times reporter exclusive access to a range of high-level national security officials for a book that divulged highly classified information on a U.S. cyberwar on Iran’s nuclear program, internal State Department emails show.
The information in the 2012 book by chief Washington correspondent David E. Sanger has been the subject of a yearlong Justice Department criminal investigation: The FBI is hunting for those who leaked details to Mr. Sanger about a U.S.-Israeli covert cyberoperation to infect Iran’s nuclear facilities with a debilitating computer worm known as Stuxnet.
Shmuley Boteach: Why They Hate Israel and America
It’s not that imams are preaching violence, although many unfortunately do. It’s rather that they preach victimhood. America is to blame for their problems. Israel is to blame for their suffering.
Where are the Islamic leaders and clerics who are prepared to say, “We are responsible for our own problems. We are taking a great world religion and turning it insular and away from secular knowledge rather than finding the balance between the holy and the mundane. We are not empowering women to be the equals of men in all spheres.”
“We Palestinians took the largest per capita foreign aid ever given to a people and we allowed corruption and hatred of Israel to squander the funds on bombs and bullets rather than building universities and schools. We elect leaders democratically who then, like Hamas, or Muhammad Morsi, precede to dismantle democratic institutions. We see the Jews as our enemies rather than using them as an example of what we ourselves should aspire to. They returned to their land after long ago being dispersed by foreign European powers and made the desert bloom. We can surely do the same.”
Black stain on Whitehall
While British Prime Minister David Cameron publicly calls the UK a 'strong friend of Israel' and bilateral ties in trade and technology are on the rise, diplomatic and the political relationships can be more strained.
This all comes down to one thing: the deeply entrenched scepticism that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) displays towards Israel. Israeli settlement activity has been singled out as the cause of aggression by some, but it is really only one small part of a wider problem that the FCO appears to have with Israel.
Guardian staffer ponders the “Evil Trinity” of Zionists, Neo-cons and Wahabists.
An Aug. 18 Guardian report titled ‘US has lost all credibility in the Middle East, says John McCain‘, elicited 156 reader comments, including one which noted the “sharp divide” in the U.S. between pragmatists and extremists – the latter consisting of the “Evil Trinity” of “the neocon-military-corporate complex in alliance with Saudi Wahhabism and Israeli Zionism.”
Not only was the comment not deleted by moderators but, as you can see by the orange icon on the right side of the graphic, it was actually recommended by the Guardian staff.
Indy’s Matt Hill engages in cynical smear about Netanyahu and the Rabin murder
Before even fisking Moreh’s accusation, it should be noted that Hill’s claim that Bibi “helped lead the incitement against Yitzhak Rabin” is evidently based solely on one opinion by one film director that “Netanyahu made a speech in which [a couple of] protesters carried a coffin [of Rabin]“. That’s it – one protest against the Oslo Peace Process in which a protester allegedly incited against the Prime Minister.
However, even this claim has been completely deconstructed by, among others, the popular blogger Elder of Ziyon. Here are the main points:
BBC’s Marcus invents a “cloudy understanding” about Israeli building
The notion that sectarian violence in Iraq (which last month saw the highest death toll since 2008) is in any way influenced by progress – or lack of it – in peace talks between Israel and Palestinian representatives is of course absurd. The idea that Bashar al Assad will retire to write his memoirs and play golf, that strife in Egypt will be eased or that Iran will stop persecuting Bahais if only Livni and Erekat manage to sign a piece of paper is downright comic. Western diplomats – perhaps hampered by the culturally dependent notion that if there is a problem, it must have a doable solution: a premise which does not always work in the Middle East – may indeed “believe” such fairy tales, but that is no reason to promote them to the BBC’s audiences.
Roger Waters: "One Baroness Deech, (Nee Fraenkel) disputed the fact that Israel is an apartheid state ..."
The incorrigible Roger Waters [formerly] of the rock group Pink Floyd, seemingly needs no excuse to deride and demonise Israel.
But famous British violinist Nigel Kennedy's remarks at the Proms (described below) have been characterised by Waters as the "inspiration" for issuing a new open letter denouncing Israeli "apartheid" and calling on fellow musicians to boycott Israel (see here for details).
Note, in this extract, the reference to pro-Israel Baroness Deech's maiden name, just in case her Jewishness might not be at once apparent (incidentally, this distinguished lady's father, Josef Fraenkel, was a renowned Yiddishist and co author of Theodor Herzl, which appeared in 1943):
Israel Second Quarter Economic Growth Exceeds Expectations
Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced that the Israeli economy grew at an annual rate of 5.1 percent in the second fiscal quarter of 2013, beating economists’ expectations.
Economists had projected 3-percent growth in the second quarter for Israel. This compares with just 2.7-percent growth in the first quarter and 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 for the Israeli economy.
Israel Puts Focus on Latin American Trade
The new effort to increase Latin American trading, particularly with Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, will compliment Netanyahu’s simultaneous effort to increase economic ties with China and other East Asian countries. These four Latin American countries formed the free-trade Pacific Alliance last year and account for about 36 percent of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP). They all trade significantly with North America.
Currently in Latin America, Brazil is Israel’s main trading partner, taking in Israeli exports at about $1.1 billion per year and importing to Israel at about $400 million per year. In June, Israeli President Shimon Peres signed a free-trade agreement with Colombia.
Evogene reports success in banana disease field trial
Plant genome company Evogene Ltd. (TASE:EVGN) and banana biotechnology company Rahan Meristem (1998) Ltd. have successfully field tested banana varieties that are resistant tolerance to Black Sigatoka (also known as Black Leaf Streak Disease), the most damaging disease threatening commercial banana plantations.
Current methods to control Black Sigatoka include the use of fungicides, which can account for 30% of a grower’s production cost and adds 15-20% to bananas' retail price. In addition to this substantial cost, frequent use of fungicides has significant adverse environmental and health effects.
Elfi-Tech selected as finalist in $2.25m Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE
Israeli medical device startup Elfi-Tech has been chosen as one of 12 finalists in the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, a global competition aimed at revolutionizing digital healthcare. The contest is comprised of two competitions that are designed to accelerate the development of sensing technologies that capture meaningful data about a consumer’s health state, surrounding environment, and risk of developing a health condition.
Small, fast and not so demanding: breakthrough in memory technologies could bring faster computing, smaller memory devices and lower power consumption
Increasingly, memory devices are a bottleneck limiting performance. In order to achieve a substantial improvement in computation speed, scientists are racing to develop smaller and denser memory devices that operate with high speed and low power consumption.
Prof. Yossi Paltiel and research student Oren Ben-Dor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Harvey M. Krueger Family Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, together with researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science, have developed a simple magnetization progress that, by eliminating the need for permanent magnets in memory devices, opens the door to many technological applications.
Israel’s dive heaven on the Red Sea
“People come from all over Europe, from the US and Canada, and a lot of South Americans,” Koretz tells ISRAEL21c. “Most have dived all over the world.”
Almost every Eilat beach has diving equipment for hire. After all, diving represents 10 percent of the tourism income in Israel’s southernmost city, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
The coral reefs just off the coast are among the most heavily used in the world for recreational diving, with 250,000 to 300,000 dives per year.
A walk through the Baha’i Gardens on Mount Carmel
It costs nothing to take a tour of the 19 perfectly manicured, terraced Baha’i Gardens covering the slope of Mount Carmel in Haifa.
Besides being a UN World Heritage Site that attracts 750,000 visitors each year, the gardens and fountains are part of the Baha’i World Center, a religious shrine for the followers of a faith that teaches beauty in diversity.
That clearly goes for plants as well as people. Catch a glimpse of some of the 450 plant species here.



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