Monday, June 30, 2014

From Ian:

International leaders condemn murder of kidnapped teens
Politicians and leaders throughout the world fiercely condemned Monday the murder of three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-ad Shaar, whose bodies were found several hours earlier near the Palestinian village of Halhul, north of Hebron. The three had been abducted on June 12 while they were hitchhiking from a bus stop in the Etzion Bloc in the West Bank.
“We obviously condemn in the strongest possible terms violence that takes the lives of innocent civilians,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
French President Francois Hollande condemned the “cowardly murder” as well, and went on to offer his sincere condolences to the slain teenagers’ families and to Israeli authorities, AFP reported.
Prime Minister David Cameron stated that the killing was “an appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers,” according to AFP.
Daphne Anson: Isi Leibler's Insights Into European Antisemitism, Jewish Leadership Reactions, & Other Critical Current Issues (video)
Here's the highly articulate and characteristically forthright veteran international Jewish leader and Jerusalem Post columnist Isi Leibler in conversation with Rabbi Mark Golub on Shalom TV. The topics range from the kidnapping of the three teenage Israelis in the West Bank, to the New York Metropolitan Opera's planned restaging of the despicable opera "The Death of Klinghoffer", to the crisis of European antisemitism and the head-in-the-sand attitude of what passes for the Anglo-Jewish leadership.


BDS Activist Admits: Boycott Call Limited
A senior official in the BDS movement has admitted that the “boycott” of Israel is limited to areas that don’t hurt the boycotters too much.
In a series of emails obtained by The Jewish Press, a leader of the BoycottIsrael.info website confirmed that “the BDS campaign, supports a boycott of Israeli institutions, not a blanket boycott of all Israeli individuals.”
The emails were prompted by a news article about Israeli doctors from Haifa who volunteered their time in May to treat hundreds of patients in northern Ethiopia. BDS activists were asked whether Ethiopians would have correctly boycotted the Israeli doctors, in order to show their disgust with the Zionist enterprise and support for the “Palestinians”.
Famed Rock Star Bashes BDS 'Real Racists'
Famed rock musician Phil Soussan, a bass guitarist songwriter and producer who has worked with Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol and other popular singers, spoke out against the BDS boycott movement targeting Israel.
On his Facebook page last Friday, Soussan compared several recent events, noting the crackdown on Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA team Los Angeles Clippers over his racist remarks that were revealed in a recording, and the recent outrage over the name of the NFL football team Washington Redskins over its perceived negative portrayal of Native Americans.
"Sterling - a racist? …shock, horror, disgust, public outcry, fines. The Washington Redskins ? …NOT in our country!" wrote Soussan.
"But, here in Los Angeles, in an attempt to target, harass and intimidate Jewish students at UCLA, Students for 'Justice' in Palestine (SJP) have just demanded that candidates for student government positions sign a statement pledging they will not go on any trip to Israel sponsored by Jewish organizations," continued the rock musician.



How One Woman's War Against Iran Could Make Legal History
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is could make history this week - and in doing so deal an unprecedented blow to the world's biggest state-sponsor of terrorism.
Her organization, Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, has spent the last 11 years since its founding fighting terrorism in courts throughout the world. Its campaign of "lawfare", or legal warfare, battles for the rights of terror victims by waging way on the purse-strings of terror, targeting the pockets of everyone from the terror groups themselves, to the banks which serve them, to the states which back them.
Shurat HaDin works through the US Federal Court, taking up cases for American citizens who were injured or killed in terrorist atrocities in Israel. The indefatigable Darshan-Leitner has managed to win $1.5 billion of damages so far, of which "more than $120 million" has actually been collected. It may seem like a relatively small fraction, but it is a remarkable achievement considering that most of the entities being sued do not recognize US courts or turn up to their hearings, and certainly do not willingly hand over their assets even after losing the ruling. Lawyers instead are forced to track down assets owned by the defendants to freeze and, where possible, seize them on behalf of the claimants.
French bank fined $8.9 billion for dealing with Iran
French bank BNP Paribas has agreed to pay US authorities a $8.9 billion fine to avoid being tried in court for dealing with US-blacklisted countries, including Iran, sources close to the matter told AFP.
The deal forces BNP to plead guilty to the bank’s deals from 2002 to 2009 with countries that Washington has blacklisted like Cuba, Iran and Sudan.
The investigation probed more than $100 billion of transactions, finding that $30 billion of that amount were concealed in order to skirt the sanctions.
The true face of the New Israel Fund
Don't get too excited by the pleasant-sounding names. They have nothing to do with morals. "Human rights" was long ago made into a code name for denying the right of the Jewish people to their own state and to defend themselves. In his book "Financing the Flames," Edwin Black showed how the Ford Foundation and the NIF fuel a culture of terror and violence in Israel. A decade ago, Black conducted research on the American Ford Foundation and revealed its involvement in funding anti-Semitic and anti-Israel organizations that took part in the infamous Durban Conference in 2001, a conference that claimed to combat racism, but instead, primarily targeted the Jewish state.
In an online interview with Mida, Black said that when he was asked to monitor the Ford Foundation, he discovered that 10 years earlier, Ford had stopped supporting the Durban groups and started supporting the NIF. According to him, "This is a natural progression: NIF can do the same work it did in the Durban organizations, but with one distinct advantage -- it has a Star of David on its front door, thus allowing it to operate efficiently, while covering the public's eyes."
BDS and Klinghoffer Opera: Liberal Focus on Incorrect Tactics, Not Incorrect Analysis
In both cases, we find liberal organizations refusing to reject either BDS boycotters or Palestinian terrorists because their criticisms of Israel are exaggerated or false. Instead, by their silence, these organizations give legitimacy to the demonizing efforts. Jews have had a long history with organizations that agree with the slander made against them but rejected the violent solutions offered by the most regressive forces. Although pre-World War II Poland has important differences from the contemporary threats Jews face, recall the 1936 Easter homily by Cardinal August Hlond, primate of the church in Poland.
Countering the Presbyterian Church’s World Without Zion
The tactics deployed by anti-Israel zealots at the recent Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly would have made Soviet dictator Joe Stalin proud. The leadership of PCUSA and a few committees long hostile to Israel hijacked the committee process. They removed a chairman they couldn’t control, and made sure that the microphone stayed in the hand of anti-Israel speakers, along with self-loathing Jewish Quislings who piled lies upon accusations upon demonization of Israel. Pro-Israel voices were given only one-90 second shot to respond. Pro-Israel resolutions were turned into pro-Palestinian, so that delegates who had bothered to read originals before the conclave unwittingly voted against their actual wishes.
By the time the dust settled, Committee 4 had sent a number of resolutions to the floor that openly contradicted each other – but all were hostile to the Jewish State. The divestment resolution – the one everyone was watching – passed by a narrow margin. A sleeper resolution – not even debated during the plenary – which was far, far worse, passed by a huge margin.
Anti-Zionist tract no longer sold on Presbyterian site
Following the divestment vote at the General Assembly, Jewish leaders said that the combination of the booklet’s sale and the divestment would precipitate a rupture in Jewish-Presbyterian relations.
Presbyterian leaders have been at pains in recent months to distance themselves from the booklet, although they never made clear why the process of removing it for sale was so involved.
The statement Friday said that the Israel/Palestine Mission Network may continue to sell the booklet and a companion DVD study guide through other avenues. It also explained the removal as a matter of addressing a distraction but did not address the materials in the study guide that Jewish groups found offensive.
What do American students learn about Hamas and Hezbollah?
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books are the worst offenders. In discussing the Gaza strip, the high school textbook explains that, “Since 2007, an organization called Hamas, which means ‘Islamic Resistance Movement,’ has controlled Gaza.” The middle school version goes even further and characterizes Hamas as a “political group.” The high school textbook is equally evasive about Hezbollah, explaining only that, “the Syrian regime received backing from Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
By failing to identify Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations, these textbooks mislead students.
In both cases, Hamas and Hezbollah are discussed in context with either an authentic political organization (Fatah and the Palestinian National Authority), or a nation-state (Iran). Students reading this text will internalize Hamas and Hezbollah as synonymous with these other groups/nations and will fail to grasp the true nature of Hamas and Hezbollah’s hatred of Jews and Israel, and the violent acts of terror they undertake.
One Professor’s Twisted Definition of ‘Scholarship’
What, though, does Abdulhadi, a professor at SFSU’s College of Ethnic Studies, understand the word “scholarship” to mean? That question, I would contend, is what lies at the heart of this controversy.
By her own admission, Abdulhadi’s methodology does not begin from dispassionate neutrality, whereby the perspectives of all parties to the conflict, including that of the Israeli mainstream, are taken into account. Instead, as she says in her public statement, “The purpose of such programming is to contextualize the study of Palestine as well as the study of Arab and Muslim communities within other social justice struggles and affirm our principle of the indivisibility of justice.”
To my ears, that sounds much more like explicit political advocacy, not scholarship—and it gets worse. In the passage where she discusses her meeting with Leila Khaled, Abdulhadi doesn’t even mention the latter’s participation in the hijack of an El Al plane in 1970, which resulted in the shooting of a member of the flight crew. Instead, she lionizes Khaled as a “Palestinian feminist icon” whose insights are integral to “a counter narrative to the orientalist depictions of Palestinian, and other Arab and Muslim, women as weak and docile.” Later on, we learn that another element of Abdulhadi’s “scholarship” involves “our commitment to the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel”—a quite astounding admission, given that she has spent the previous pages bemoaning AMCHA’s “attack” on academic freedom in the U.S.!
SFSU Ethnic Studies Dean: I Stand With Pro-Terror Research
On Wednesday evening, Kenneth P. Monteiro, the Dean of College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, issued a strong defense of pro-terror professor Rabab Abdulhadi, claiming that the AMCHA initiative, which brought attention to Abdulhadi's radical "Palestinian Solidarity tour," was unreliable. In line with typical scandal cover-ups, Monteiro's first line of defense was to attack AMCHA's character, using buzzwords and failing to address any of the issues at hand:
UN Racism Expert Condemns Holocaust Denial
Unlike its discredited predecessor, the Human Rights Council has not passed one single resolution condemning antisemitism. (The Commission on Human Rights used to condemn antisemitism in 3 separate resolutions each year. Not much has changed since our 2004-2007 The United Nations and Anti-Semitism Report Card.)
Yet, in a recent welcome development, Mr. Mutuma Ruteere, the UN’s expert on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, had some tough words for antisemites across the world. In his most recent report, the expert dedicated an entire section to “Countering Holocaust denial and the distortion of History” and included another section outlining successful methods for combating neo-Nazis and skinheads.
In particular, the report explicitly defines and denounces modern Holocaust denial. The report defines Holocaust denial as 1) denying six million Jews were killed during the Second World War; 2) professing the Nazis had no official policy or intention to exterminate Jews; and 3) extermination and concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau never existed.
French ironies and the Jews
One of the most painful and heated of the controversies extending throughout more than a hundred years of French history, and still continuing today, concerns the presence and rights of Jews in France.
Anti-Semitism in France, in both practical and rhetorical form, has been vigorous, divisive, and deadly, as revealed by the prejudice and injustice of the Dreyfus Affair (see picture of Dreyfus above after his release from Devil's Island) and the dishonorable actions of the Vichy regime in its participation in the Holocaust during World War II.
The situation could have been otherwise. Though a Polish prince in 1264 issued a document granting Jews personal freedom and legal autonomy, it was the edict of the French Constituent Assembly passed on September 27, 1791 that can be considered the first real act of modern Jewish emancipation.
New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)
The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday.
Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America.
The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million an episode, according to Bloomberg.
Ayelet Zurer named Best Actress in Monte Carlo festival
Israeli series "Hostages" won the Best International Drama Series award at the 54th annual Golden Nymph Awards ceremony held in Monaco last week as part of the Monte Carlo Television Festival.
"Hostages" lead actress, Ayelet Zurer, took home the Best Actor in a Drama Series award.
Israel’s top 10 models to watch
Israeli supermodels Bar Refaeli and Esti Ginzburg are well known to anyone who’s seen the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition or Victoria’s Secret ads. Former Miss Israel Gal Gadot has risen from supermodel to superstar as she is poised to play Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Though these women and others listed in ISRAEL21c’s 2011 look at Israeli top models are still at the height of their careers, we decided the time has come to introduce readers to the latest crop of Israeli models storming the world’s catwalks.
Leviathan strikes $30 billion gas deal with UK company
Partners in Israel's Leviathan natural gas field have signed a non-binding letter of intent to supply the U.K.'s BG Group with an estimated $30 billion worth of natural gas for its facility in Idku, Egypt.
The preliminary agreement, announced Sunday, comes on the heels of supply agreements signed with Jordan and other local countries, making Israel a major local exporter of natural gas. Once the deal is signed and authorized, the natural gas will be sold directly to BG's Egyptian facility, which has the necessary infrastructure to liquefy it.
BG will receive the gas via a special outlet that will be installed adjacent to the Leviathan gas field. An underwater pipe will connect the outlet to the BG liquefaction facility in Idku.
Nepalese students return home from Israel after agriculture training
Fifty-four students have returned home after receiving 10-month training on agriculture in Israel.
The students, who had left for Israel for agriculture training at the joint initiation of Sana Kisan Bikas Bank and Israeli Embassy in Nepal, shared their knowledge and experiences at a press meet organized in the capital on Friday morning.
The colors on your TV and phone are about to pop
The Israeli company Qlight Nanotech aims to enhance the quality and colors of LCD TV screens and LED lights while reducing energy consumption.
Its semiconductor nano-crystals with unique optical and electrical properties could be a panacea for next-generation flat-panel displays and could double the battery life of your smartphone, claims Qlight CEO Shlomo Amir.
The forward-thinking company is working full speed ahead on its nano-sized crystals for screens and mobile displays –– promising an environmentally friendly alternative to dangerous chemicals and energy-guzzling technologies.
Israeli 3D tech behind ‘ultimate selfie’ sports drone
Israeli-developed 3D printing technology is helping a Latvian company enable extreme sports enthusiasts take the ultimate selfie — a drone that follows them and shoots video of their performances from the air as they do triple wheelies, a “360” on a skateboard, ride the surf, or any of their other adrenaline-pumping activities.
Using 3D printers developed in Israel by Minnesota-based Stratasys — which merged with Israel’s Objet 3D Printers in 2012 — Helico Aerospace Industries, the company behind the AirDog, has been “printing” components of just the right size and shape for a drone that is taking the sports world by storm.
72 hours to make a better world
At the three-day Tikkun Olam Make-a-thon (TOM) running through July 1 in Israel, teams of engineers, occupational therapists, designers and artists from around the world are pooling their talents to produce open-source working prototypes of affordable assistive gadgets for people with disabilities.
The tools of modern digital fabrication – including laser cutters, 3D printers, and other rapid manufacturing equipment — are at the heart of this “maker revolution” taking place in the recently opened Nazareth Industrial Park.
TOM is a project of the Tel Aviv-based policy group Reut Institute, which last year inaugurated its XLN (Cross-Lab Network) Initiative to make 3D printing available to people in Israel’s periphery regions; and the Schusterman Philanthropic Network’s Connection Points.
US regulators okay Israeli-made robotic legs
Federal health regulators in the US approved Thursday a first-of-a-kind set of robotic leg braces that can help some disabled people walk again.
The ReWalk system, developed in Israel, functions like an exoskeleton for people paralyzed from the waist down, allowing them to stand and walk with assistance from a caretaker.
The device was developed by the founder of Israel-based Argo Medical Technologies, who was paralyzed in a 1997 car crash.


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