Thursday, July 02, 2015

From Ian:

Haaretz Editor Urges Boycott, Collective Punishment of Israelis
Not satisfied with demanding that the world boycott goods from Judea and Samaria, Ha'aretz op-ed writer Roy Isacowitz is now asking the world to boycott Israeli goods – all of them – as well as companies that do business here.
In an op-ed piece titled “Target me with your boycott, please,” Isacowitz bemoans the fact that the “limited” boycott of goods for Judea and Samaria is not working. Instead, he writes, more aggressive action is needed – and that would include a boycott of all Israeli products.
“After almost 50 years of Israeli defiance and evasion, there is little prospect of diplomatic change. The prime goal of the boycott against Israel, therefore, is to persuade the bulk of Israelis that the occupation is not in their interests,” writes Isacowitz. “And the way to do that is by focusing their attention sharply on what those interests are and how much they have to lose.
“It follows that boycotting only the settlements and their commerce, as many on the Israeli left suggest, makes no sense. They are not ideologically inclined to force the government out of the occupied territories and their numbers are insufficient. It is precisely those of us who have – or perceive ourselves to have – little personal investment in the occupation who should be targeted. For the occupation to end, Israel’s self-indulgent, apathetic and blinkered middle class needs a profound wake-up call – courtesy of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement,” Isacowitz says.
This is not the first time that Ha'aretz writers have adopted the language and tactics of radical anti-Israel groups.
Hevron Jew's Showdown with Ultra-Leftist Activist Goes Viral
A video that has received more than 90,000 views since being uploaded to Facebook Tuesday shows the face of Israel's radical Left, in a way that is both entertaining and disturbing.
The video is a verbal showdown between Ofer Ohana, a Jewish resident of Hevron, and Leah Shakdiel, a member of the ultra-leftist women's group Machsom Watch (“machsom” means checkpoint in Hebrew), whose members routinely harass IDF soldiers at checkpoints in Judea and Samaria.
Most intriguingly, however, is the dynamic between Shakdiel and the local Arabs she is ostensibly there to help.
At one point she attempts to shame an Arab man who appears to be on good terms with Ohana.
Shakdiel's insistence that Ohana is “violent” whereas Hevron's Arabs are “peace seekers” is a high point of the video, but perhaps the most dramatic - and cringeworthy - point comes immediately after.
Once again displaying her surprising disrespect for the (mainly Muslim) Arab residents she claims to help, the supposedly liberal Shakdiel proceeds to openly drink water in front of them during Ramadan. When Ohana challenges her for doing so, several local Arabs take his side and rebuke Shakdiel for her insensitivity, provoking a groveling apology. (h/t Jewess)

The ‘humanitarian aid’ aboard a recent flotilla to Gaza fit in two cardboard boxes
Members of the Gaza flotilla organization -- which sent four boats, three of which turned around before arriving in the vicinity of Israel -- have repeatedly said the vessel that was stopped, Marianne, was carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Asked to provide some evidence of the humanitarian aid, Ann Ighe, a member of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition sent this photograph:
The Gaza activitists said the larger cardboard box contains a solar panel, donated by a Swedish magazine, ETC, which also runs an “environmentally-friendly electricity company.” The panel was bound for Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
Ighe said the Swedish Association of Midwives also donated a nebulizer, a machine used to inhale medicines, often used to calm asthma attacks. That is the small cardboard box.
“Last but not least,” Ighe said, “the boat is cargo in herself, bound to be donated to a fishermen’s organization in Gaza.”
“We bring means of production, not means of destruction,” she added. (h/t Yenta Press)
IsraellyCool: Mocking The Flotilla-holes: Herman Reksten

William Jacobson: I Spent Two Weeks Talking With Israelis. Here’s What They Had To Say About President Obama and Iran.
Israelis see Syria falling apart with al-Qaeda or ISIS groups likely to control large parts of the country; or if not, then Iran in control. Along the Lebanese border there is Hezbollah, and in Gaza Hamas and increasingly even more radical Salafist-ISIS groups.
Yet Obama continues to insist that Israel is the problem. Both in his own speeches and also through surrogates, Obama has lambasted Israel for not being willing to take a chance in vacating Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”). Israel, however, has been there, and done that on “land for peace” initiatives that don’t have ironclad security provisions. Israel vacated the Gaza strip in 2005, only to see Hamas take over and turn Gaza into an Iranian missile base.
Against this background of being surrounded by a sea of increasing threats resulting from Obama administration policy, not a single person thought the Iran nuclear deal made any sense, or trusted the Obama administration on it.
While anecdotal, our interactions were consistent with polling showing that Israelis don’t trust Obama on Iran and that Obama has low favorability. That polling has grown worse for Obama in recent weeks.
Indeed, Americans have very low confidence that any Iran deal will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
In other words, Israelis live in the real world, not the world of Obama’s delusional hope. And they don’t appreciate Obama taking risks with their lives.
Michael Oren: Ex-envoy: Iran deal bad for Israel, U.S. and world
Well-intentioned advocates of the proposed Iranian nuclear deal, the deadline for which has been pushed back to July 7, will argue that it provides for intrusive inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities, will remove a large portion of Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium, and, for a 10-year period, will prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon in less than 12 months. Yet other experts -- including leading American scientists -- have concluded that, under this agreement, Iran could break out military nuclear power in a far shorter period and could develop the wherewithal to create not just one bomb, but an atomic arsenal.
In the interim, the agreement will also bestow legitimacy on an Iran that is attempting to overthrow pro-American governments throughout the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and is propping up the Syrian dictator who has killed many tens of thousands of his own citizens. The regime seeks to extend its hegemony throughout the region and beyond.
Distance can be emotionally deceiving. The nuclear deal imperils the United States as much as Israel, just not as immediately. The Supreme Leader directs crowds in chanting "Death to America." The Iranian navy practices blowing up U.S. aircraft carriers, and its armed forces bear responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers who fought bravely in Iraq.
There has been a suggestion from those conducting the negotiations with Iran that the alternative to a deal is war. It's not true. The alternative is a better deal brought about by ratcheted-up sanctions, a deal that dismantles Iranian nuclear facilities and is linked to a fundamental change in Iran's behavior: It must cease trying to overthrow pro-American governments, it must cease sponsoring terror worldwide, and it must stop threatening to destroy America's cherished ally, Israel.
Former US Official Michael Doran: Obama ‘Played’ Israel, American Liberals on Iran Issue
Senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former Department of Defense official, Michael Doran, derided President Barack Obama for “playing” Israel and American liberals over the nuclear issue with Iran, in an article published by Mosaic magazine on Wednesday.
Doran’s conclusion was based on a reading of former Israeli ambassador and current Knesset member Michael Oren’s political memoir on his time as emissary to the U.S., which claims that the Obama administration sought a policy redefining the Israel-U.S. relationship that put daylight between the two nations.
“At one point in Ally, Oren notes that ‘the worst word one could call an Israeli [is] a freier— Hebrew slang for a sucker,” writes Doran, referring to Oren’s book. “Especially with respect to Iran, Obama played Israel and its liberal American supporters for suckers.”
Doran contends Oren’s book approached its subject from two perspectives, Oren who attempted to mend bridges with the Obama administration, and the Oren who knew from the get-go Obama’s ideology was at odds with long-standing U.S. policy toward Israel.
Iran Violates Past Nuclear Promises on Eve of Deal
Senior Obama administration officials are defending Iranian nuclear violations in the aftermath of a bombshell report published Wednesday by the United Nations indicating that Iran has failed to live up to its nuclear-related obligations, according to sources apprised of the situation.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) disclosed yesterday that Iran has failed to meet its commitments under the interim Joint Plan of Action to convert recently enriched uranium gas to powder.
While Iran has reduced the amount of enriched uranium gas in its stockpiles, it has failed to dispose of these materials in a way that satisfies the requirements of the nuclear accord struck with the United States and other powers in 2013.
Secretary of State John Kerry declared last summer that Iran would be forced to comply with such restrictions, and State Department officials were assuring reporters as recently as last month that the Iranians would meet their obligations.
Wednesday’s disclosure by the IAEA sent the State Department rushing to downplay the Iranian violation.
Obama administration officials insisted that despite Iran’s failure to meet its obligations, negotiations were still on track and that Tehran would face no repercussions.
What Sanctions? Iran Receives 13 Tons of Gold From S. Africa
The Central Bank of Iran took deliver of 13 tons of Iran’s gold reserves from South Africa, worth close to $12 billion, Iranian Bank Governor Volilollah Seif announced on Wednesday, according to IRNA.
Seif said that Iran’s delegation to Vienna had taken up the issue of the gold reserves last week, in the course of the nuclear talks. Once again, Iran got everything it asked for.
Seif explained that the shipments of Iranian gold reserves, purchased from South Africa two years ago, had been blocked due to the sanctions.
The Central Bank governor confirmed that three shipments had been returned to the central bank since the start of the week, and on Tuesday night “the last parcel of that gold reserve, weighing four tons, arrived in Iran and was delivered to the safe of the CBI.”
Around $100 billion of Iranian assets have been frozen by the various sanctions, though sanctions were supposed to still be suspended until a deal was reached on Iran’s nuclear program as well as its support for terrorist organizations and developing ballistic missiles.
Congress Demands Obama Step Back From Iran Nuclear Deal
Leading members of Congress are pressing US President Barack Obama to abandon his attempts to force through a nuclear deal with Iran, after the deadline for talks was extended on Tuesday to July 7 in a last gasp week-long reprieve.
In response to the desperate efforts to reach a deal despite the obvious differences in position that continue to prevent an agreement from being reached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted the Obama administration in an op-ed for Politico.
"President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry should use the opportunity to pause negotiations, take a step back and re-examine the point of the talks in the first place," said McConnell.
Differences between the two sides are apparent even in terms of the deadline; while the US announced an extension to next Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday "we did not set any deadline," reports Fox News.
Behind the Book: Michael Oren on His ‘American Jewish Zionist Story’ (INTERVIEW)
Seemingly lost in all the debate over U.S.-Israel relations is that Member of Knesset Michael Oren’s new book, “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide,” is a memoir—and the memoir covers more than the author’s four years as Israeli ambassador to the U.S. from 2009-13.
“Very few people have actually read the book and seen what’s in the book, and the book is an American Jewish Zionist story,” Oren said in a phone interview with “It’s about a young man who grows up in the post-Holocaust generation, whose father landed on Normandy and fought all throughout World War II. It’s a total American story. I grew up in this working class neighborhood, and I was the only Jewish kid, and I experienced a lot of anti-Semitism as a kid.”
During his childhood, Oren—who was born in upstate New York and raised in New Jersey—also overcame learning disabilities and the need to wear a leg brace due to physical limitations.
“I had a lot of challenges,” said Oren. “So the thought that I would somehow get through this and fulfill my dreams—I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to move to Israel, I wanted to be a soldier—is a big part of the story, before I get to Washington. I think it’s a story that will resonate with a lot of American Jewish readers and even with American Jewish young people.”
Ronn Torossian: Opinion: Michael Oren’s New Book is a Must Read
I have just finished reading Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide by Michael Oren, Israel’s former Ambassador to the United States, and it was an amazing read. It is well-written – Oren is a historian – yet the book reads akin to a long-form daily newspaper, mixing politics, diplomacy, and current events. There was tremendous insight into the America-Israel relationship, and this is a must read for anyone concerned about the State of Israel.
While there’s been extensive press surrounding the book (Oren has written at least 3 op-eds on it), his hypothesis is nothing new: that President Obama is hostile towards the State of Israel. Oren shares countless stories from the political (and negotiating) frontlines, and shines a light on the political motivations, personalities, and behind the scenes drama.
Anyone reading this book who is a Zionist will become even more concerned about the current situation in the world. One cannot help but think the glass is half-empty, with eminent danger threatening the Jewish people on many fronts. It’s a scary – yet seemingly realistic – observation from one of Israel’s highest profile representatives of the past few years.
Congressman Slams State Department for Opposing Anti-BDS Law
The State Department objected to the language of the law on Tuesday, and indicated it would not oppose boycotts against Israeli settlements outside of the 1949 armistice line.
Roskam called on the State Department to “fully comply” with the law as written:
The State Department’s comments cast doubt on its true commitment to achieving a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians through direct negotiations—which has been and remains U.S. policy. Instead, by imposing territorial distinctions, State is prejudging the outcome of the peace process. Our language reflects the reality that those who seek to destroy the Jewish state through the BDS movement do not distinguish between Israel and its territories. These measures, which the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative publicly supported before the Ways and Means Committee in April, were unanimously adopted in the House and Senate. We expect the Administration to fully comply with the provisions mandated by Congress and signed into law by President Obama himself just a few days ago.
The anti-BDS law was opposed by J Street, a left-leaning Middle East lobbying group that has worked closely with the White House.
IsraellyCool: Malcolm Gladwell Has Some Explaining To Do
The blurb for Malcolm Gladwell’s book David and Goliath, published by Back Bay Books, spotted on a Barnes and Noble shelf in the United States, reads:
Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in Ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a stone and a sling, and ever since then, the names David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won. Or should he have?
You know what’s really improbable about that victory? According to that blurb it happened in a place with a name that wasn’t invented until 1000 years afterwards!
It’s pretty incredible how the publisher and their editors can conveniently ignore history like that.
Palestine was the name the Romans dreamed up 1000 years after the David and Goliath fight so they could literally wipe the Jewish state off the map after it gave them such a tough time by revolting.
I don’t believe someone as educated as Gladwell didn’t know that David was a king of Judea (a.k.a. The Jews!) and Palestine wasn’t invented until the Romans conquered Israel in the first century B.C., long after the legend of King David was said to occur.
Peace and Quiet
With the recent choice by Greenstar Food Coop to reject a boycott of Israeli products, I decided to stop by the organization’s web site to see if there was any fallout from the decision. After all, if BDS was a pressing concern for many members of the organization, protests of the decision would be ringing out in whatever forums Greenstar provides for community discussion. Yet, surprisingly, the site is bare of any follow-up (indignant or otherwise) from the Coop’s choice to give BDS the boot.
Perhaps the group’s site is not the place where such debates play out. But a quick Google news search (which should suck in news from the wider Ithaca community) seems to be similarly empty of responses to the Greenstar boycott decision – a strange quiet, given that the BDSers have told us for years that the Middle East conflict is a burning issue and that progressive communities like Ithaca have no choice but to accept their solution.
To investigate the phenomena of post-BDS quiet further, I stopped by the site of other coops where boycott debates raged over the last several years, including coops in West Coast locations like Davis and Sacramento in California and Port Townsend in Washington State. But automated searches of those sites turned up nothing or (in one case) records of decisions to say “No” to boycotts going on five years old.
A Word About Mitri Raheb’s Sermon at the UCC’s General Synod
The General Synod of the United Church of Christ held its 30th General Synod in Cleveland, Ohio during the last four days of June.
On June 29th, the day before the General Synod approved a resolution calling on the church to join the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb addressed the assembly. His sermon starts at about one hour and forty nine minutes into this Youtube video.
Raheb, a Lutheran Pastor from Bethlehem in the West Bank, has a well-deserved reputation for assailing the legitimacy of the Jewish people and their state. He does this while wearing the mantle of a Christian theologian, pastor, and peacemaker.
One of his most notorious statements came at a conference of Evangelical Protestants held in Bethlehem in 2010. At this conference, Raheb stated that the modern state of Israel “represents the Rome of the Bible, not the people of the land.” To further his point, he stated:
"I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test between David, who was a Bethlemhite, and Jesus, born in Bethlehem, and Mitri, born just across the street from where Jesus was born, I’m sure the DNA will show you that there is a trace. While if you put King David, Jesus and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, you will get nothing because Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages."
With this passage, Raheb promoted to a Christian audience the antisemitic trope that Jews from Europe who established the modern state of Israel really aren’t Jews because they are Khazars who converted to Judaism centuries ago and therefore have no connection to the Land of Israel.
Boston U Makes Pro-Hamas Workshop a Requirement
An anti-Israel education program that has made the rounds across high schools in the United States has now been fully incorporated into Boston University's curriculum.
According to Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), the Axis of Hope group's workshop, "Whose Jerusalem," has found a permanent home at The Global Literacy Institute at BU's School of Education.
"Whose Jerusalem" focuses on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and, according to APT President Charles Jacobs, it portrays "a highly inaccurate account of history," while simultaneously trying to "indoctrinate students against the state of Israel."
Describing the program during an interview with Al Jazeera TV, creator Carl Hobart defined the workshop as "educational, civil disobedience where students are...putting pressure on our government to create a Palestinian state."
A BU professor, Hobart uses simulated negotiation exercises to argue the root cause of the conflict boils down to miscommunication, which could be resolved by rational discussion between "morally equivalent parties."
Reader Post: Trending On Twitter #IndiaWithIsrael Upsetting Palestinian Activists
Twitter in India is abuzz today with the hashtag #IndiaWithIsrael. The trending hashtag came as surprize to supporters of Israel on social media and predictably caused some serious irritation to Palestinian activists. What appears to be a spontaneous outburst of support for Israel on the surface, is a collective effort by Indian twitter activists, influencers and grassroots groups.
These social media activists, often disparagingly referred to as ‘Internet Hindus’ by mainstream media, are a political force to be reckoned with. Their enthusiastic support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election campaign was crucial in his landslide victory in Indian General Election of 2014.
This is certainly not the first time Indians have turned to social media to express their solidarity with Israel. Having lost more than 30,000 civilians and soldiers to terrorism since 1994, Indians have no illusions about the nature of global terrorism. In July 2014, at the height of Gaza conflict, #IndiaWithIsrael became a rallying cry for supporters of Israel in the country. The hashtag trended nationwide during the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge, maintaining the top slot even when the FIFA World Cup final was underway. Later in August an estimated 20,000 Indians turned up for a pro-Israel rally in Kolkata.
British media ignore terror attack that killed Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld
Late Monday night, two terrorists driving in a car with Palestinian license plates opened fire on an Israeli vehicle on the Alon road, near the West Bank settlement Shilo. At least 15 bullets hit the vehicle. The four young men in the car were traveling home from a basketball game. Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, 25, succumbed to his wounds at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
The three others were wounded in the assault.
Yet, the Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, Financial Times and Times of London all entirely ignored the story.
Despite failing to cover the deadly June 29th terror attack, several of these publications found time to report on another evidently more important incident from that day. The Guardian, Independent, and Telegraph covered latest flotilla to Gaza, the group of radical activists trying to breach Israel’s legal naval blockade of the territory who, despite their putative ‘humanitarian concerns, inexplicably brought almost no actual aid on board their vessels.
BBC coverage of Ramadan terror ignores attacks in one country – in English
One particularly interesting discussion on that topic and others took place in the June 28th edition of “Sunday Politics” on BBC One – presented by Andrew Neil – with the sensible contributions from Maajid Nawaz and Tim Marshall being especially refreshing. As Nawaz pointed out:Sunday Politics terror Ramadan
“Jihadists in particular don’t see this as a month of prayer. They don’t see this as a month of merely spiritual replenishment. They see it as a month of war or a month of jihad.”
He later added:
“Yes, we are in a war but actually the target in this war – if we see it as just ISIS we’re incredibly short-sighted and prior to that we saw it as just Bin Laden who the international community killed and yet we had something far worse than Bin Laden emerge because we are fundamentally unable – due to reasons of political correctness or fear of being accused of being racist – we are unable to identify what the problem is here. […] President Obama – who is meant to be leading on this front – has not up until now named this ideology: it’s called the Islamist ideology. “

Of course in order to be able to name the ideology, people first need to be aware of what is happening and whilst Israelis are among those who have seen a sharp uptick in the already high number of terror attacks since Ramadan commenced, most of the BBC’s worldwide audience remains unaware of that fact.
The BBC and the UN HRC report on last summer’s conflict – part one
Whilst the article highlights selected statements and conclusions from the 183 page report, no effort is made to provide BBC audiences with objective analysis of its many very obvious shortcomings, such as the fact that it ignores Israel’s efforts to avoid the conflict and Hamas’ repeated breach of agreed ceasefires.
And of course nowhere does the BBC’s report – including the insert of ‘analysis’ from Yolande Knell – clarify to audiences the fact that the UN report is built upon the foundation of political NGOs, many of which concurrently engage in lawfare against Israel.
“B’Tselem was the most referenced NGO with 69 citations, followed by Amnesty International (53), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (50), and Al Mezan (29). UNWRA and UN-OCHA were also featured throughout the report.”
That, however, comes as no surprise because – as has been documented here in the past – the BBC itself quotes and promotes many of the same NGOs uncritically and unquestioningly.
In addition to this written article, the BBC also produced two filmed reports on the same topic which will be discussed in a later post.
The BBC and the UN HRC report on last summer’s conflict – part two
Knell then tells viewers that:
“The UN investigators weren’t able to come here to Gaza to see scenes like this for themselves and to meet the residents because Israel refused to cooperate with them.”
As was the case in the previous day’s written article and in Doucet’s filmed report, she fails to mention that Egypt also did not grant the commission entry – even though that fact is noted in the UN report.
“The commission repeatedly requested Israel to cooperate, including by granting it access to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Regrettably, Israel did not respond to these requests. Subsequently, the commission learned from a press release that no such cooperation would be forthcoming. The Government of Egypt, when requested to facilitate entry into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, responded that it was not possible owing to the prevailing security situation.”
Knell then goes on to make the following opaque assertion:
“At the same time there’s been a lot of criticism over how Israel carried out its own inquiries into attacks that killed Palestinian civilians.”
How much is “a lot of criticism” and by whom it was levelled is not made clear to viewers.
Revisiting BBC reporting of civilian deaths in Gaza on July 28th 2014 – yet again
In March 2015 we noted that despite BBC coverage of an Amnesty International report which stated that “an independent munitions expert had concluded that a Palestinian rocket had exploded next to a supermarket in the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on 28 July, killing 13 civilians, 11 of them children aged between seven and 14″, none of the BBC reports from the time had been amended to clarify to audiences the actual circumstances of the incident.
Now, in late June 2015, despite the fact that UN commission has reached conclusions identical to those publicized by MAG and Amnesty International and consistent with the information released by the IDF around an hour after the incident occurred, those inaccurate and misleading BBC reports still stand as they did when they were originally published nearly a year ago.
In June 2014 the BBC announced that “however long ago our online content was first published, if it’s still available, editorial complaints may legitimately be made regarding it”. Clearly the prospect of wasting publicly funded resources on dealing with unnecessary complaints concerning those reports has not prompted the corporation to amend them with the required notes of clarification.
Former Auschwitz guard asks God for forgiveness at trial
A 94-year-old former SS sergeant who served in Auschwitz testified Wednesday he helped the death camp function in his role sorting cash and valuables seized from Jews after they arrived in cattle-cars.
Oskar Groening told the Lueneburg state court in a statement read by his attorney that it was hard today to understand the blind obedience he had to the Nazi system even when witnessing the terrible atrocities perpetrated at the death camp in German-occupied Poland.
“There was a self-denial in me that today I find impossible to explain,” Groening said, the DPA news agency reported. “Perhaps it was also the convenience of obedience with which we were brought up, which allowed no contradiction. This indoctrinated obedience prevented registering the daily atrocities as such and rebelling against them.”
Council of Europe Calls on Spain to Introduce Laws to Combat Antisemitism
The Council of Europe called on Spain to pass “new and comprehensive anti-discrimination laws” to combat prejudices against Jews, Roma and other minority groups.
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities said such laws would make Spain “safer for migrants and Roma people.”
In its report on Spain, the committee said “prejudice and intolerance against Roma, as well as islamophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance against migrants, continue to be expressed, notably in the print and audiovisual media and on the Internet, as well as in political life.”
Spain should “ensure that all alleged cases of hate speech, including those committed on the internet and in the print and audiovisual media, are effectively investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned,” said the committee.
The Council’s call came after the lower Spanish parliament approved a law that would allow Jews claiming Sephardi lineage to apply for citizenship, paving the way for final legislation.
PreOccupied Territory: Blaming Jews For Crisis Mysteriously Ineffective In Saving Greece (satire)
Accusing Jewish bankers and currency speculators of being behind Greece’s recent monetary woes has proved inexplicably useless in getting the country out of its economic morass, Greek officials are reporting.
While the perception of Jewish financier guilt has proved popular in Greece amid a worsening economic crisis, giving voice to those accusations has, for reasons economists have been unable to explain, done nothing to alleviate the problem. The futility of vocally blaming Jews for the distress continues to puzzle Greek officials, since in the past, accusing Jews of manipulating, controlling and ultimately destroying a country has similarly failed to help any society progress.
Greeks lined up to withdraw cash from ATMs across the country alternately blamed Jews, Germany, the US, and the country’s own leadership for the Hobson’s choice facing Greece. To repay the massive debts Greece owes to its creditors – primarily other European nations such as Germany – the country must adopt austerity measures that would restrict services and funds available for popular social programs, cuts that strike at the heart of Greece’ experience with government. The alternative is to default on the loans that have already come due, which would trigger a host of negative repercussions for the Greek economy, possibly including expulsion from the bloc that uses the Euro. Such an event would force Greece to revert to its pre-Euro currency, the drachma, which would inevitably carry little value and subject Greeks to massive inflation and render them unable to conduct an economically stable life. Eventually, even some of those who leveled blame at the US, Germany, and Greek politicians said they saw Jewish fingerprints on every negative aspect of the situation. Economists say they are flummoxed that the propensity to assign blame to the Jews has not helped the country extract itself from the crisis.
Israeli Defense Firm Wins $150M Dutch Contract
The subsidiary of an Israeli defense electronics firm has won a contract from the Dutch of Ministry of Defense worth $150 million, Reuters reported.
Elbit Systems Ltd said Thursday that its subsidiary will be tasked with providing advanced systems for infantry soldiers in the Benelux countries - Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemberg.
The contract, set to last a period of five years, will see Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd serve as the program's prime contractors, while Thales Netherlands BV will be the main sub-contractor.
Other local companies are also expect to take part.
As part of a cooperation between the Benelux countries' soldier modernization programs, the Smart Vest program will provide infantry soldiers with a light-weight system that will help them enhance safety and survivability, while also expanding their capabilities on the battlefield.
According to Reuters, Smart Vest will include wearable, protective systems for each infantry soldier, command and control systems, as well as specialized displays and vehicle systems.
Israel signs $111 million deal to upgrade Argentinian tanks
Argentina’s army signed a $111 million contract with Israel to upgrade 74 tanks made in Argentina.
The deal to upgrade the Argentinian Medium Tanks, or TAM, was signed in Buenos Aires by Argentina’s Minister of Defense Agustin Rossi and Mishel Ben-Baruch, director of the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s International Defense Cooperation Division.
“This is an extremely important step, not only for the project but for the excellent relations between both countries. It’s also the beginning of a great friendship between the two ministries,” said Ben Baruch, who also praised the work done by Israeli and Argentinian technical teams to reach the agreement.
The agreement includes different tools designed to ensure that Argentina can develop its own technology and capabilities provided through co-production projects with Israel, and also human resources training and technical assistance to upgrade the tanks in Argentina.
Israel, top Latin American bank sign pact for R&D, trade
Israel signed a cooperation agreement with Inter-American Development Bank, the largest investment authority in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands.
The IDB funds some $12 billion in projects annually.
“Implementing the agreement will give Israeli companies access to partners in R&D and trade in the region,” said the Israeli Economy Ministry’s chief scientist Avi Hasson, who signed the agreement on Monday.
The agreement could allow a joint $5 million fund for subsidizing innovative projects involving Israeli companies in Latin America, assistance from the bank in making Israeli technologies accessible to organizations in Latin American countries, helping Israeli companies become involved in development programs that are funded by the bank, and funding industrial R&D cooperation.
Amazon to expand its operations in Israel
In just a year and a half, Amazon has gone from simply supplying Israeli companies with cloud technology, to developing that technology here – and it’s hiring more than a hundred engineers and other tech personnel to fill new positions that are opening up in Israel.
And that’s likely just the beginning, said Harel Ifhar, Country Manager for Amazon Israel. “Our purchase last year of Israeli tech firm Annapurna, which is now an Amazon research and development lab, and the hiring of more engineers for separate R&D efforts, shows the faith Amazon has in Israeli technology, and affirms the company’s plans to continue investing and expanding here.”
Amazon made the announcement last week at a major tech event for Israeli customers of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, which allows companies to run their entire operations — from administration to development to product distribution — using Amazon’s cloud network.
AWS is especially popular in Israel among start-ups. Just how popular the company won’t disclose, but according to Ifhar, there were over 2,000 people at the AWS Tech Summit in Tel Aviv last Thursday.
5-minute phone charging nano-tech creates better display, too
Not content with developing batteries for cellphones that recharge a completely dead device in a minute, or even with building a battery for electric cars that will cut recharging time from six hours to five minutes, Israeli start-up StoreDot has a third objective: developing screen technology that will allow users to roll up their phones and store them in their shirt pocket, like a pen – with a screen that displays colors that are clearer, cleaner, and more vivid than anything on the market today.
“We’ve been working on the screen technology since the company was first established in 2012,” StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf told The Times of Israel. “We didn’t talk about it too much because, since we are better known for the battery technology, we didn’t want to confuse the market. But we have reached an important milestone in development of the project that we wanted to share.”
That milestone is the development of StoreDot’s MolecuLED, a layer composed of organic molecules that allows liquid crystal display (LCD) screens to generate more vivid colors, approaching OLED image quality levels. The screens, used for everything from TVs to computer screens to phones and tablets, display brighter and clearer colors. They are “without toxicity” – which refers both to the materials used and the clarity of the display, said Myersdorf – to the extent that “it is as clean a display as an OLED screen,” the organic light-emitting diode that is considered the state of the art of display technology, with better and clearer colors, lower energy use, much faster rendering, and screen flexibility.

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