Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From Ian:

Israeli Arabs help to debunk apartheid myths
Bader, a 23-year-old Tel Aviv University student studying for his bachelor’s in computer science and economics, said he met a number of people at U of T who were shocked to learn that Arabs live in Israel.
“I said, ‘I’m living proof,’” he said, going so far as to converse with them in Arabic to convince them further.
“I’ve travelled a lot, and I’ve been called [names] when they learn that I’m from Israel,” said Bader, a member of Israel’s 125,000-strong Druze community.
“I see how Israel is misrepresented in the media… They’re accusing Israel of apartheid… and you know it’s not true, but if you don’t stand up and say it’s not true, a lot of people are going to believe these lies.”
Heeb and his fellow WordSwap participants attended an IAW event last week at U of T, where he said he witnessed first hand that IAW organizers aren’t interested in dialogue.
“I asked them a lot of questions, but they didn’t answer any of them. They wanted to boycott Ben-Gurion University, so I said, ‘Listen guys, Ben-Gurion University has the most Arab girls, Bedouin girls, studying there, more than [schools in] Arab countries.’ I told them I was from the University of Haifa. I’m Arab. I’m doing my master’s, and my faculty would not be able to exchange the knowledge that we have. But they didn’t answer [me],” Heeb said.
Judy Feld Carr: If Jews Hadn’t Left Syria it Would Have Been a Slaughter
Canadian humanitarian Judy Feld Carr, recognized last year in The Algemeiner’s ‘Jewish 100′ list for her work in rescuing Syria’s Jewish community, told the Daily Beast that if Jews were stuck in Syria today, they would have been slaughtered.
“If they were there now, what would have happened? I know what would have happened. It would have been the slaughter of the Syrian Jewish community, that is for sure,”
Feld Carr said in an interview published on Monday.
For 28 years, Feld Carr worked secretly to smuggle some 3,228 Syrians out of the country to freedom. In addition to her operation, there was an airlift in 1992 organized by New York’s Syrian Jewish community, with as many as 5,000 Syrian Jews flown out of Syria secretly. Feld Carr said that by 2001, when she concluded her work, there were only about 30 Syrian Jews left in the country; today that number is believed to be 11.
Former Lebanese President: Mideast Christian Exodus ‘Approaching Biblical Proportions’
Gemayel, a Maronite Christian who served as president from 1982-1988 after taking over for his brother Bashir, who was assassinated during the bloody Lebanese Civil War—said at a speech sponsored by Christian Solidarity International that Middle East Christians in particular are fleeing the region “in an exodus approaching biblical proportions.”
Specifically, Gemayel highlighted “church burnings, physical assaults and killings” in Egypt, “an onslaught of murder” in Iraq, and “a bloody-minded reign of terror” from “ultra-radical Islamists in regions of Syria where they have imposed their rule.”



The Answer to BDS Bullies and ‘Open Hillel’
Let there be no ambiguity about this: The BDS movement is rapidly reaching a point where its violent, anti-democratic rhetoric could easily transition to physical violence. Many BDS supporters look like vegan hipsters, but don’t be deceived by appearances.
That is one of the many reasons why I was glad to learn of the emergence of a new Jewish student movement named “Safe Hillel.” Founded by Boston University student Rafael Fils and Brandeis University student Daniel Mael, the group is a counterweight to the so-called “Open Hillel” movement—a group of leftwing Jewish students, including many anti-Zionists, who want campus Hillels to violate their established guidelines by hosting speakers who advocate BDS and other strategies that seek the destruction of Israel.
“The BDSers are bullies,” Mael told me, in a refreshingly accurate and pithy summary of the nature of the boycott movement. “Why,” he asked, “do they have to go after the one place where Jews feel comfortable, given the prevalence of anti-Zionism on campus?”
Supporting Neil Young and others against anti-Israel boycotters
There is a reason why Israel’s tourism industry is booming – more people visited Israel last year than any other year – and why Facebook, Google and other big time companies keep buying up Israeli companies.
It’s because Israel actually has something to offer that goes beyond sloganeering and absurdly false representations.
You go to the BDS page and what do you see?
“Allah Akbar” – “Down with Israel” – and a lot of hidden or deleted comments. Who wants to be a part of that?
I expected some nastiness on our Facebook pages, but was committed to let the comments play themselves out.
Fighting BDS – Salon Sides with Roger Waters
Salon, one of the first magazines to appear exclusively on the Internet, has never been a friend of Israel, and its recent output on the Jewish state is decidedly pro-BDS. This week alone, the magazine published two pieces revolving around the two most prominent celebrities on either side of the BDS debate – pro-BDS Roger Waters and anti-BDS Scarlett Johansson.
Not surprisingly, Waters gets free space to promote BDS without comment while Johansson’s support for SodaStream is referred to as “awful” by the magazine.
Guardian interviewer is incredulous at ScarJo’s refusal to cave to BDS bullies
In a 2700 word March 16 cover story about Scarlett Johansson – titled “In Alien Territory” – published at The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian), roughly 600 words deal with the row involving the actress’s decision to step down as Oxfam ambassador after the NGO criticized her for becoming global brand ambassador for SodaStream.
While Johansson acquitted herself quite well in the interview, conducted by Carole Cadwalladr, what most stands out is how even their media group’s culture critics automatically become experts on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and adopt the Guardian narrative about the conflict.
Cadwalladr is a features writer for The Observer, and though it doesn’t seem she’s ever weighed in on the issues of BDS and Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria previously, she wasn’t shy about boldly making it known which party is in the wrong.
Opinion: Thomas Friedman Never Knows When to Quit
New York Times writer Thomas Friedman has been an apologist for and defender of the Left since he wrote his magnum opus, "From Beirut to Jerusalem.” He has constantly called for Israeli concessions, despite suicide bombings and showers upon showers of Hamas rockets.
Now, in an attempt to prop up one of America's weakest presidents, Friedman is at it again in his op-ed on Sunday, March 16, entitled, "The Three Faces of President Obama.” The article does little to boost the President's sagging ratings and does even less to buff up his foreign policy escapades.
Only Israel is “Hard-Line” According to AP
While members of Israel’s government have certainly questioned Abbas’ readiness to make peace, does this make them “hard-line”? Does this make the entire government “hard-line”?
Granted, the coalition contains some members of parties such as Bayit Hayehudi and parts of the Likud who are adamantly opposed to making concessions to the Palestinians. However, the coalition’s second largest party is the centrist Yesh Atid, which supports peace negotiations which are led by the Hatnua party’s Tzipi Livni. Not to mention the Israeli PM Netanyahu who has publicly committed to a two-state solution.
So why then does the Associated Press use such lazy and inaccurate terminology?
And why is Israel, which has repeatedly committed to making peace, portrayed as “hard-line” even when the Palestinian side has not moved one inch from its own zero-sum demands?
An evening with Dieudonne
The Quenelle, the fake graffiti, the Holocaust Pineapple, the support of Hezbollah (which I doubt 80% of the audience knew anything about), and the “I stick it in your eye” attitude, all from the safety of the 11th Arrondisement, all point to this general desire which underlies the latest casual forms of anti-Semitism: why or what we hate is unimportant, and we are ready to mix the icons of resistance with our own total lack of any meaning to create a feeling that we are against something, but never letting you know what: except that it has something to do with Jews, always useful for the purpose. The image that keeps returning to me is the bald door-guard in the Lavender Nation of Islam costume: he’ll evoke the Nation of Islam but the Lavender colour of his bow tie and suit lets you know that he certainly doesn’t believe that Elijah Mohammed is the messenger of God…
Europe Running Out Of Jewish Tombstones To Deface (satire)
Antisemitic vandals spray-painted swastikas and slogans all over the Jewish cemetery here last week, stoking worries among Europe’s far-right leadership that they face a looming shortage of such sites to deface.
The desecration highlights the need to produce more Jewish graves as soon as possible, and maintain a steady supply, according to Gábor Vona, leader of Hungary’s ultranationalist Jobbik party. “A favorite Hungarian pastime – and, I would say, one that has become popular all over the continent – is the desecration of Jewish graves. This crucial component of our culture is threatened by dwindling numbers of such tombs that remain unvandalized. The only solution is to provide more Jewish tombs, which unfortunately Europe has not been very good at doing in large numbers in recent decades.” He promised that his party, which currently sits in the parliamentary opposition, would do all it can to ensure more Jewish graves.
Anti-Semitic Elmo Inspires ‘Good Wife’ Cameo
Well, not anti-Semitic Elmo himself—he was sentenced to a year in jail for trying to extort the Girl Scouts—but a fuzzy life-sized Times Square costumed bear based on him.
In the clip below, attorney Elsbeth Tascioni is visiting New York and excitedly takes a photo with the happy-looking bear when, to her surprise, he snarls that she’s a “dirty stinking Jew.”
Workmen’s Circle Restores Defaced L.A. Mural
Hershl Hartman squinted in the late Friday afternoon sunlight at the south wall of the SoCal Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring building, a tired structure bravely holding down a corner of Los Angeles along the Jewish stretch of South Robertson Boulevard. A few weeks ago, someone spray-painted “Free Palestine” on this wall, defacing a mural commemorating the Jewish activist organization’s 114-year history. Opposition spray-painters then replaced “Free” with a more aggressive four-letter word.
The dueling acts of vandalism have officially been classified as a hate crime and are now under investigation by the LAPD—but the members of the Workmen’s Circle weren’t going to wait for resolution before fixing the mess, and hired the original artist, Eliseo Art Silva, to restore the mural, which he originally painted in the 1990s.
US seeks to keep access open to Iraqi Jewish Archive
The US State Department is seeking avenues to make the Iraqi Jewish Archive continually accessible to Iraqi Jews living outside the country.
Until now, the State Department had been adamant that the archive, transferred to the United States for expert restoration, be returned to Iraq in June.
Netanyahu set to visit Australia in June
According to political blogger Tal Schneider, Netanyahu will visit Colombia and Mexico in April, and, two months later, head to Australia for an official visit, accompanied by a large delegation.
It will be Netanyahu’s first official visit to Australia, a 24-hour flight away from Israel. Economics and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) has already visited the continent.
A government source would only confirm to The Times of Israel that Netanyahu and Abbott had met on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, with both leaders expressing interest in visiting each-others’ countries.
Israel Signs Digital Agreement With UK
Under the agreement, signed by Prime Minister's Office Director General Harel Locker and UK Chief Technology Officer Liam Maxwell, Israel will join a new British initiative, becoming one of the "D8" group of advanced digital countries.
Member nations are to enjoy an exchange of knowledge and cooperation in digital programs. Those who have already joined include South Korea, New Zealand, Estonia and Singapore.
Russian Internet Giant Buys Israeli 'Location-Finder' Startup
Leading Russian internet company Yandex has become the latest technology giant to invest in Israel's "Silicon Wadi", purchasing Israeli geolocation startup KitLocate.
KitLocate provides an energy-efficient alternative to other mapping and navigation software by only requesting users' locations when absolutely necessary, as opposed to on a consistent basis, thus saving battery-power.
Leave it to Israelis to reinvent the wheel
When a broken pelvis put Israeli farmer and inventor Gilad Woolf into a wheelchair for a few weeks, the bumpy ride wreaked havoc on his back, and he determined to improve wheelchair design with a suspension system to absorb shock.
After his initial idea – a hydraulic air cushion in the seat, like those in tractors – proved unsuccessful, he made the audacious decision to reinvent the wheel.
The result of his efforts, with encouragement and financing from Israel’s RAD BioMed Accelerator and a team of experts, is called SoftWheel
Purim Obama hoax fools Dutch media
Holocaust survivors, widows, people with disabilities — they are all regulars at the Amsterdam office of the Dutch Jewish welfare organization JMW.
But a 20-minute visit to JWM by President Obama and his army of secret service agents?
Now that’s news.
The prank fooled not only the Amsterdam television station AT5 and the Amsterdam FM radio station, but even the highbrow NRC Handelsblad daily, which, after reporting on it, issued a retraction and detailed explanation about the prank to readers of its online edition.
Negev river’s rebirth caught on film
The dramatic rebirth of a Negev river was captured on video and posted online this week, giving people across the world the chance to witness an Israeli desert natural wonder.
In the footage, published March 14 and reported by Examiner.com, dozens of spectators stand by the dry bed of the Zin River waiting for the first wave to rush through after significant rainfall in nearby mountains.



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