Friday, July 03, 2015

From Ian:

Vote approving UN’s Gaza war probe a case of much talk, few consequences
It came as no surprise whatsoever that the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday approved a resolution backing the controversial McGowan Davis report on last summer’s 50-day Israel-Hamas war.
The European Union deliberated until virtually the last minute on how to vote, but eventually decided to throw its full support behind the resolution welcoming a report that Israel considers to be deeply biased and skewed. The desire among the Europeans to speak with one voice eventually led even Germany to vote yes, in what will be perceived as a particularly painful sting in Jerusalem. As so often happens, only the US rejected the resolution.
But even if Israel had succeeded in splitting the European vote into many yeses and a few abstentions, the automatic Arab majority in the 47-member council meant that the end result was never in doubt.
Israeli diplomats in Geneva spent many hours trying to persuade their colleagues to vote against the resolution. Several Israeli politicians, from the coalition and opposition, sent letters urging council members to reject draft resolution A/HRC/29/L/35. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited the ambassadors of the countries sitting on the council to Jerusalem for a special briefing (though according to a diplomat who was there, he spoke mostly about Iran).
The bad news is obvious: Once again, Israel was let down not only by the usual suspects, but also by countries that it considers its friends.
During the debates that preceded the vote on the resolution, Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba and other countries with questionable human rights records voted against resolutions condemning Syria and Belarus. Yet on Friday they all happily voted in favor of a text that, at best, put Israel and Hamas on the same moral plane. (Since the McGowan Davis report strives to differentiate between Hamas and what it calls “Palestinian armed groups,” it actually spares Hamas the kind of direct criticism it levels at Israel.)
Full text of UNHRC resolution on Gaza war probe
The following is the full text of Friday’s UN Human Rights Council resolution backing last week’s report by the Gaza Conflict Commission of Inquiry. It is titled “Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”:
Netanyahu: UNHRC cares nothing for human rights
Israel officials on Friday tore into the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption of a report on last summer’s war between Israel and the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. The report charged that Israel, as well as Hamas, may have committed war crimes during Operation Protective Edge.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the vote — which was supported by all European members of the UNHRC — that “the UN’s Human Rights Council cares little about the facts and less still about human rights.”
He added: “On a day when Israel is hit by fire from the Sinai, when Islamic State is carrying out cruel terror attacks inside Egypt, in Syria [President Bashar] Assad is slaughtering his people and in Iran the number of arbitrary executions rises on an annual basis, the council decides to condemn Israel that has committed no sins. Israel will continue to defend its citizens from those who call for its destruction and act every day to achieve this.”
Archival documents reveal secrets of mission to rescue Israeli hostages at Entebbe
The Defense Ministry released the military operations log for Operation Entebbe on Thursday, which marked 39 years since the daring mission to rescue Israeli hostages being held in Uganda.
The IDF Archives also released the handwritten notes passed between then-defense minister Shimon Peres and thenprime minister Yitzhak Rabin in which Peres’s apprehension over the fate of the mission was evident. In one such note Peres wrote to Rabin: “How does the operation start? – They say it is impossible, the timing isn’t right and the government won’t approve it – the only question I’ve seen, and continue to see, is how will it end?” Another note has Peres suggesting changes to Rabin’s plan for the raid at Entebbe Airport.
“The last improvement in the plan, instead of an airport vehicle, a big Mercedes will enter with flags. [Ugandan president] Idi Amin is returning home from Mauritius. I don’t know if it will be possible, but it’s interesting.”
Rabin replied to Peres’s suggestion by asking him, “When is Idi Amin returning from Mauritius? What is the Mercedes for?” The archives also released the video of the Israeli hostages being welcomed back home after the rescue. In the video, Peres and the defense leadership are seen waiting on the runway at Ben-Gurion Airport for the Israel Air Force Boeing 707 with the rescued passengers on board.
Operation Entebbe had the military codename Operation Thunderball, and was later called Operation Yonatan, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother Lt.-Col.
Yonatan Netanyahu, the only IDF soldier killed during the mission that he led, sought to save 84 Jewish passengers and 12 French crew members who had been aboard an Air France flight that terrorists hijacked while en route from Tel Aviv to Paris.

Europe’s Crisis Proves Israel is No ‘Anachronism’
Back in 2003, as some readers will recall all too clearly, the noted historian Tony Judt penned a searing critique of Israel in the New York Review of Books. Titled “Israel: The Alternative,” Judt, whose impressive scholarship was largely focused on Europe, depicted the Jewish state as a reactionary outpost of 19th century nationalism that bucked the trend elsewhere—exemplified most of all by the European Union (EU)—toward “individual rights, open frontiers, and international law.”
Judt’s argument struck a wide-ranging, resonant chord. Insofar as an article can be said to have gone viral during a year when most people were still accessing the Internet through dial-up, and “Twitter” and “Facebook” sounded like nonsense words, this one did. Its most memorable and damning line read as follows: “Israel, in short, is an anachronism.”
That line sounds ridiculous in 2015, but it was equally flawed in 2003. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s Nazi-like Ba’ath regime was battling for survival, the Taliban was wreaking havoc and terror in Afghanistan, and North Korea dumped the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In those countries, and in many others, “individual rights, open frontiers, and international law” might as well have been concepts from another planet.
Yet there was one important difference: Judt was writing at a time when the EU as an institution, along with its underlying post-nationalist political vision, was very much in the ascendant. One year after his article was published, the EU expanded its membership with 10 new states, from Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. Then, in 2007, Romania and Bulgaria joined the roster. In 2013, Croatia entered in the EU, just 20 years after the devastating war in the Balkans which followed the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Most of all, the deepening and strengthening of the Union was exemplified by the adoption, and subsequent expansion, of the Euro single currency in 2002, which resulted in established currencies like the German Mark and the French Franc being consigned to the history books.
London’s Neo-Nazi Rally Moved Out of Golders Green
London Police have moved a neo-Nazi march scheduled for this coming Sabbath, July 4, out of the Jewish neighborhood of Golders Green.
The upcoming demonstration was to culminate in a rally at which participants would burn an Israeli flag and a Jewish holy book – a Talmud – while denouncing the “Jewification” of the area.
Instead, the rally is now to be held at Richmond Terrace, Whitehall and will be restricted to a one-hour, static assembly. Then it will be moved on, according to Mike Penning, the Home Office minister responsible for policing and crime.
Under British law, a march may be banned, although a rally – which is static — cannot. Nevertheless, the law provides for other remedies in the restriction of rallies, such as duration, location and size of participation.
The organizer of the rally, self-described fascist Joshua Bonehill, 22, appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday to respond to charges of inciting racial hatred. After tweeting endorsement of the upcoming march, Bonehill was detained and will remain incarcerated until his next court appearance, officials said.
Close to 60 members of Parliament had signed an early day motion condemning the upcoming rally and urging its venue be relocated away from Golders Green.
Israeli flags not welcome at London rally against anti-Semitism
Although the women attempted to broadcast their ideas through a megaphone during the morning’s event, for the most part the other participants, busy draping lamp posts and flower troughs in the Golders Green campaign colors of gold and green, did not interact with them.
But a furious Israeli businessman, Eyal Landau, was not ready to ignore them. Despite angry protests from Klaff and Shetreet, Landau accused them of “disrespecting” the Israeli flag.
“People died for that flag,” he proclaimed, as he went around the war memorial taking down the women’s flags. “You have no right to use this flag here,” Landau told the women. “You are doing great damage. This event is not about Israel, it is about anti-Semitism. Enough is enough.”
As Landau told the women he was reporting them to the Israeli embassy for misusing the flag, the women, in their turn, said he had no right to lay hands on their property.
The clash was the only sour note, however, in a relatively good-humored event, attended by some 80 supporters, including Golders Green MP, Conservative Mike Freer, and London mayoral candidate and former Labour front-bench MP Dame Tessa Jowell.
Freer was also not pleased when he saw Israeli flags.
“Those of us who stand up for Israel in parliament spend a lot of time making a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism; this kind of thing” — pointing to the Israeli flags — “doesn’t help,” said Freer to The Times of Israel.
Caroline Glick: Israel’s populist energy crisis
Direct foreign investment in Israel is in free fall. According to a report published last month by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, (UNCTAD), foreign direct investment in Israel in 2014 was 46 percent below levels in 2013, dropping from $11.8 billion to $6.4bn. During the same period worldwide direct foreign investment dropped a mere 16%, meaning the drop in investment in Israel was nearly three times the global average.
Some responded to the report by blaming Operation Protective Edge or the boycott Israel movement for the sudden downturn. And there is probably something, although not much, to that view.
Israel tends to bounce back relatively quickly after wars end. Since 2006, the impact of wars on Israel’s economic growth has been marginal.
As for boycotts, it is hard to enact them. Only 5% of Israeli exports are finished consumer products capable of attracting the ire of Jew-haters. The other 95% are business to business sales with Israeli exports incorporated into products assembled in other countries, and so largely immune to boycotts.
The real cause of the plummet in investments is elsewhere. And to understand it we need to understand recent developments in the natural gas industry.
Is the ALP abandoning Israel?
No doubt there are many explanations for the [UK] Labor Party’s failure to win Finchley or the general election.
However, Labor’s loss in Finchley comes in the wake of much soul-searching by British Jews about their relationship with, and continued support of, the Labor Party. Indeed, of late there has been much discussion on whether one can still be Jewish on the British left.
The discussions have been prompted by the left’s increasingly shrill criticism of Israel, which has too frequently morphed into crude anti-Semitism.
Is the situation any different in Australia? Can an Australian Jew for whom the survival of Israel is important and the international isolation of the Jewish state a matter of concern continue to support the Australian Labor Party?
It has long been the policy of the ALP to support an “enduring and just two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the right of Israel to live in peace within secure borders internationally recognised and agreed by the parties, and reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to also live in peace and security within their own state”. The ALP’s policy differed little from that of the conservative political parties. Indeed, until recently, there had been political bipartisanship on the Israel/Palestine question.
The ALP policy recognised that the solution to the conflict lay in a settlement to be negotiated by the parties – the Israelis and the Palestinians. Appropriately, the Labor Party did not seek to attribute blame for the failure to reach a final settlement of the underlying decades-old dispute. That did not mean, however, that there were not parties to the dispute who were not more blameworthy than others.
If newspaper reports are to be believed, it is now proposed to jettison the “even-handed” approach encapsulated in the Labor Party’s platform and to adopt a partisan position that is founded on historical inaccuracies and irrational discrimination. If adopted, it will forever paint the ALP as a tainted and opportunistic political party. It will increase the discomfort and dismay of supporters for whom the injustice of the new position will be palpable. It will be seen to mock Bill Shorten’s repeated declarations that the party he leads stands for fairness for all.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Who Is Damaging Relations Between Arabs and Jews?
Some Arab Knesset (parliament) members have devoted much of their time and efforts to helping the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- who have their own leaders, spokesmen, representatives -- at the expense of their own constituents in Israel.
How does joining a flotilla to the Gaza Strip solve any problems facing Arab Israelis, such as unemployment and poverty? It is also a betrayal of the Arab voters who sent them to the Knesset to fight for more public funds and services for the Arabs in Israel.
Would the two Knesset members be willing to risk their lives for the people who voted for them? It was hard to find Arab Israelis who saw anything positive in Ghattas's decision to sail aboard a ship to the Gaza Strip. In fact, many did not hesitate privately to criticize the decision.
It is time for Arab Israelis to endorse a new approach toward their state, and distance themselves from representatives who act against their interests and damage relations between Jews and Arabs.
If some Knesset members wish to devote their time and energy to helping the Palestinians, they should consider moving to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Otherwise, they need to start addressing the problems facing their constituents and refrain from causing further damage to Arab-Jewish relations.

Sarah Honig: That red-diaper mess
Israeli expat Dror Feiler, domiciled in comfortable and smug Sweden, has helped organize many of the “humanitarian flotillas” to Gaza, including the 2010 Mavi Marmara provocation, the 2012 Estelle follow-up and the latest foiled Marianne misadventure. He is a classic red-diaper baby.
In his pro-Hamas fervor, Feiler never mentions that Israel regularly (and quite dementedly) supplies Gaza with goods, electricity, fuel and water, whereas Gaza uses its resources to subjugate its masses and stockpile weapons of indiscriminate destruction.
Feiler either justifies or omits from discourse Gaza’s many and flagrant sins. He grotesquely exaggerates Israeli responses and willfully twists them out of all context. Feiler delights in painting Israel as intrinsically and irredeemably evil. Don’t look for Jewish empathy or a soft spot for the old homeland in Dror. That would contradict his red-diaper upbringing. That’s not where he comes from.
He’s a trusty unquestioning chip off the old block – his mother, Pnina, who spent a lifetime crusading for Palestinian causes and defaming Israel with relish. She hails from Yad Hanna, Israel’s sole Communist kibbutz. It was named in 1950 after heroic WWII paratrooper Hanna Szenes, whose memory and legacy have of late been targeted by artsy leftwing iconoclasts. Self-sacrifice for a Jewish cause and Zionist dedication have become unbearable in their enlightened milieu.
Gaza Flotilla Activists Brought Hate, Not Aid
The talk of bringing help to the Palestinians in Gaza is a sham that extends beyond the two cardboard boxes on the so-called aid ship. The Palestinians already have an entire United Nations refugee agency — UNRWA — devoted to them while the uncounted millions of other refugees around the world must make do with sharing one to tend to their needs. UNRWA operates in Gaza with Israeli cooperation, despite the fact that it is a highly political group that is not only dedicated to preventing refugee resettlement — the normal task of a refugee aid group — but also allows Hamas to use their facilities and schools for storing armaments.
What Gaza needs is not a ship with or without superfluous aid material but a government that isn’t a terrorist organization. It needs foreign friends who genuinely care about the plight of Palestinians caught in the grip of such Islamist tyrants. But instead it gets people whose main purpose is providing moral encouragement and public relations stunts aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy and supporting Hamas’ war on the existence of the Jewish state.
The paltry two boxes of assistance on the Marianne don’t amount to much for the poor of Gaza. Yet there is a reason why flotillas go to Gaza rather than Syria, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this week, where hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions have been made refugees. The flotilla activists don’t bother bring real aid to Gaza because the point of the flotilla wasn’t to promote “freedom” for the strip since their effort is aimed at bolstering Hamas and shaming the world into recognizing it. No, the “freedom” they are after is one that would allow Hamas to freely import weapons and construction materials that could be used to build fortifications and terror tunnels into Israel, such as the one that Hamas boasted about reconstructing this week.
You don’t need to bring actual aid if your goal is waging war on the existence of the sole Jewish state in the world. For that, you only need to be immersed in the anti-Semitic zeitgeist of a movement that thinks helping Hamas is a humanitarian gesture.
British government official: We oppose BDS
Britain’s cabinet minister for the Middle East sought to reassure Israeli politicians of his government’s opposition to boycotts against Israel.
“Many people have been concerned by recent media coverage about the United Kingdom links to the BDS movement,” Minister Tobias Ellwood said last week at a conference on Israeli-British ties, speaking of the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. “But I hope I can reassure you all that this government’s position is very clear indeed. We oppose boycotts. We oppose attempts to delegitimize Israel – they do not further progress towards peace.”
The conference, titled “UK Israel Shared Strategic Challenges Conference,” took place at the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British government and parliament, and was organized by BICOM, a pro-Israel lobby, and the London-based Jewish News weekly.
Last month, Britain’s national student union voted to join the BDS movement.
UK Institute Founded to Combat Anti-Semitism is Being Invaded by BDS
The past decade has seen a growing presence within its administrative and academic bodies not only of individuals who show themselves to be dishonestly or unfairly critical of Israel, but who also support boycotts and sanctions against Israel, like Professor Oren Ben-Dor.
Most media outlets have ignored this story. It was only a few media outlets like the Jewish Chronicle, which mentioned that Ben-Dor’s support for BDS has led to his removal from the board of the Parkes Institute.
And there are surely others against whom action should be taken. One of the Institute’s former directors, Dr. Mark Levene, has been one of the supporters of the movement Jews for Justice for Palestinians (as well as identifying himself as one of the so-called Independent Jewish Voices, like Professor Brian Klug and Professor Tony Kushner, another former director of the Parkes Institute).
In recent years, even if most lectures and seminars have been unexceptionable from a scholarly point of view, there have been one or two really questionable ones – like the seminar given in October 2005 by John Rose, author of Myths of Zionism.
It’s time to make sure the Parkes Institute honors the terrific legacy of its founder.
Episcopal Church rejects Israel boycott resolutions
Its House of Bishops defeated the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) resolution brought to the vote at the church’s 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Referencing the sharp increase of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, which it said “eroded the prospects for a two-state solution and hopes for peace,” the defeated resolution offered that “it is time to try new methods to persuade Israel to do what is in its own best interest.”
A second resolution that was struck down called on the US government and its global partners to “offer a new, comprehensive, and time-bound framework to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority for the conclusive negotiation of a two-state peace agreement.” The resolution further stated that “simple calls for the parties to return to the negotiating table are no longer sufficient to the urgency of the situation.”
Separately Thursday, a leading Mennonite group delayed a decision on divesting from companies with business tied to Israel’s control of the West Bank. The Mennonite Church USA was set to vote on whether it should sell off stock in companies “known to be profiting from the occupation” and from “destruction of life and property” in the territories.But delegates at a national meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, voted 418–336 to table the resolution until their next assembly two years from now, a church spokeswoman said. Twenty-eight delegates abstained.
Will United Church of Christ’s Israel Divestment Pack a Punch?
The UCC’s move follows those of other declining mainline Protestant churches who have also turned towards anti-Israel activism as a distraction from troubling core issues. Presbyterian Church USA, which voted last year to divest from Israel in a narrow 310-303 vote, saw a loss of nearly 465,000 members between 2006 and 2012. Two other mainline churches considered divestment from Israel this week, with the Episcopal Church overwhelmingly rejecting a divestment resolution on Thursday and Mennonite Church USA voting to table a similar measure until their next general assembly two years from now.
While it focused heavily on Israel, the UCC gathering ignored other major issues facing Christianity, such as the persecution of Middle East Christians at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
“The resolutions regarding Israel accounted for one-fifth of the 16 resolutions initially proposed by the UCC General Synod. By contrast, inexplicably and tellingly, none addressed the pressing plight of Christians—including beheadings, attacks on churches, expulsions, forced conversions, etc.—at the hands of Islamic State, Boko Haram, and other Islamist forces in the Middle East and Africa,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, director of interreligious and intergroup relations for the American Jewish Committee.
Van Zile echoed Marans, telling that the General Synod “did not offer one word of solace or support to Christians and other religious minorities suffering in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.”
“How can a responsible organization remain silent about what’s happening to the Assyrians, to the Yazidis, and what the Copts endured in Egypt when [president Mohammed] Morsi was in power? The silence is criminal, simply criminal,” he said.
Conning the World: Israeli "Occupation"
There are two big cons going on against Israel that belittle the legitimacy of the State of Israel.
- There was a country called Palestine that the Zionists replaced with Israel.
- Israel's rule in land liberated in its defensive war in 1967 is "occupation."
Note the red Ottoman empire, the fact that today's borders and countries aren't even hinted at in this map. That is why there is so much instability among the Arab countries. They have no real history as independent countries.
The truth is very simple! There never was a country called Palestine, and there is no history of a people or country by that name either.
The lower map shows the tiny Israel in yellow just before the 1967 Six Days War. The borders were indefensible andit's a total miracle that Israel survived the coordinated attack to push it into the sea by Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
They had planned our destruction and we had no ally other than G-d. Everyone stood by watching, expecting us to be a footnote in history.
Why Universities Need a Definition of Anti-Semitism
Does it matter how we define our words? Sometimes it does. The U.S. Department of Education understands this point, as do the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Universities need to learn it, too.
Last year, the Education Department paid CDC to develop a uniform definition of the word “bullying.” Both agencies recognized that a uniform definition was needed to assist schools to understand what bullying is, when it occurs, and whether efforts to prevent it are successful.
This is a basic point, and yet it is lost on many people, especially when the students involved are Jewish.
Later this month, the Regents of the 10-campus University of California (UC) system will decide whether to adopt a uniform definition of anti-Semitism. They are responding to requests from several organizations, including mine, to adopt the U.S. State Department’s well-regarded definition.
This is a big issue for the UC schools, which have recently seen many high-profile anti-Semitic incidents.
The Guardian’s ‘correction’ on refugees needs correcting
To clarify their clarification:
The overwhelming majority of the 5.1 million “refugees” who come under the mandate of UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) are – as we’ve noted previously – not in fact refugees.
According to UNRWA, ‘Palestinian refugees‘ are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”
The number of Palestinian refugees from the ’48 war who are still alive – out of the initial 711,000 or so – is estimated to be roughly 30,000. However, due to UNRWA’s expansive definition of who qualifies for “refugee” benefits – which includes the children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren of Palestinians who may have once lived in Historic (British Mandate) Palestine – over 5 million Arabs of Palestinian descent are considered “refugees”.
This means that 99 percent of UNRWA’s clients are not actual refugees.
Google-owned video game sent players to Nazi camps
A Google gaming subsidiary included Nazi concentration-camp sites as locations in a video game. The company, Niantic Labs, has since apologized.
Niantic Labs said players of “Ingress” can propose historic locations and monuments for inclusion in the game, in which two factions use smartphones to battle for control of these sites. The German weekly Die Zeit reported Thursday that some of the sites, known as “portals,” were located within concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Dachau and Sachsenhausen.
Gabriele Hammermann, director of the memorial site at Dachau, told the dpa news agency that Google’s actions were a humiliation for victims and relatives of the Nazi camps.
The head of the Sachsenhausen Memorial, Günter Morsch, told Die Zeit: “All of us here are completely appalled. This is most definitely no place for video games,” according to The Telegraph.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Niantic Labs’ founder John Hanke said the company has begun removing the offending sites from the game. He commented, “We apologize that this has happened.”
Teen Threatened French MP Because he 'Represented Israel'
On Thursday, a trial was held in the case against Amin Bouslamat, a 19-year-old Muslim who threatened the lives of Barnea Hasid, who serves as the Israeli Consul-General in Marseilles, and Jewish MP Meir Habib.
Bouslamat was sentenced to one year of prison with the option of conditional release.
Among other things, Bouslamat sent ISIS propaganda videos to Habib and Hasid, including its brutal beheadings, and wrote messages threatening a similar fate, to "avenge my Palestinian brothers."
During the trial, the judge asked him why he sent the threats, and Bouslamat responded, "because they represent Israel."
Among other things, he used the name of ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in making the threats. When the judge asked him why he used the name of al-Baghdadi, Bouslamat claimed that it was "not a deliberate choice."
"You'd think about using the name Adolf Hitler as a nickname?" the judge asked. Bouslamat said the two were equivalent.
Lithuanian Officials Skip Local Commemoration of Kaunas Pogrom, Lietūkis Garage Massacre
A somber memorial was held last week to mark the 74th anniversary of the Lietūkis Garage massacre and the Kaunas pogrom in Lithuania, in which thousands of Jews were killed in just a few days.
The ceremony was held in a courtyard in the center of the city last Friday and attended by Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon as well as staff from the recently inaugurated Israeli Embassy in Vilnius, which opened its doors in March.
But no Lithuanian officials bothered to attend the commemoration, despite the fact that it was Lithuanian volunteers who by eyewitness accounts largely committed the slaughter.
Polish museum returns controversial gas chamber installation
A controversial performance art installation featuring naked men and women playing tag within a gas chamber has been returned to a Polish modern art museum despite having been removed after protests by Jewish organization and Israeli diplomats, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The video entitled “Game of Tag,” which many found “controversial and offending is no longer displayed,” a spokeswoman for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow told the Post in June.
“Instead we are presenting information about the artwork including our curatorial commentary.”
“We were quite shocked and disturbed to hear that this exhibition, which includes one of the most offensive and disgusting videos relating to the crimes of the Holocaust, is being run in partnership with the Israeli Embassy,” Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, told the Post at the time.
French Summer Aliyah Wave Begins
The first batch of thousands of French Jews expected to move to Israel this summer arrived in Ben Gurion International Airport Monday, as France'e Jewish community continues to struggle with rising anti-Semitism and a growing threat from Islamist terrorism in particular.
Some 130 olim, including 46 children and two babies, landed at Ben-Gurion Airport yesterday, while an additional 80 French Jews who had been in Israel on tourist visas became Israeli citizens and received their Israeli identity cards during a ceremony hosted by The Jewish Agency for Israel at the organization's Jerusalem headquarters building earlier today (Tuesday).
According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, more than 3,000 French Jews will immigrate to Israel this summer, including many young families whose children will enter Israeli schools at the start of the new school year.
Some 400 French Jewish immigrants are expected to arrive by the end of this week alone.
Jews Fleeing Ukraine Arrive in Israel, Recount Assaults by Pro-Russian Rebels
Two Jewish refugees who say they endured torture by pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine arrived in Israel after making aliyah on Wednesday.
Lawyer Roman Makria, 25, his girlfriend Sasha Malinka, and a man from Donetsk who identified himself as “D” joined more than 7,000 Ukrainian-Jewish refugees who have moved to Israel since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict in November 2013.
Makria recounted how he was kidnapped by rebels and interrogated on suspicion of espionage. “In May 2014, a couple of thugs came to our offices and took me away. They interrogated me over the course of two days, all the while threatening to kill me, and then let me go. [Afterward,] I got fired from work because they didn’t want to be involved with all this and the thugs had told them I was a spy,” he said, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“After I was released, we fled to Kiev. We couldn’t stay in Donetsk any longer. Every day, rockets fell, there was gunfire. Many of my friends and acquaintances were shot, wounded or killed. When I got to Kiev, I found work. But I wasn’t able to make more than $120 a month. The rent in Kiev alone is three times more than I’m used to paying. It’s impossible to live there making so little. … I have nothing to go back to. The minute you flee your home, the Russian rebels move in,” added Makria.
Subsequently, the couple “decided to make aliyah and to begin a new, normal life here,” he said.
“D” recalled how rebels “broke into my house, put a sack on my head, beat me up and broke my jaw with the butt of their rifle.”
Canada and Israel to Fund Joint Biomedical Research
Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced that his country is teaming up with Israel on the new Canada-Israel Health Research Program, a seven-year program expected to cost $35 million that will fund as many as 30 joint research projects in biomedicine. The initiative will start with a focus on neuroscience.
The program is a partnership between Israel’s Azrieli Foundation, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Israel Science Foundation. Projects funded by the program will include collaborations among trainee researchers from middle-income and low-income countries in order to promote those nations’ scientific capacity.
“Canada and Israel are renowned for excellence in health research, particularly in the neurosciences,” Oliver said, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. “The Canada-Israel Health Research Program harnesses the collective energies of our two great nations to pursue basic biomedical research aimed at improving health outcomes for Canadians, Israelis, and people throughout the world. I am pleased to note that researchers in developing countries will have an opportunity to contribute to these research endeavors as well.”
Top Israeli tech firms ‘graduate’ for 6th time at MS accelerator
In the world of high-tech accelerators, it’s hard to beat the record of the MS program, either in Israel or in the eight other locations where the company runs or partners with an accelerator.
Around the world, the MS accelerators have, over the past three years, graduated 410 companies, of which 77% have raised follow-on funding of $3.3 million, with 23 exits and one IPO.
In Israel, 70 companies have participated in the six batches of the Israeli accelerator program held so far, with approximately 80% of them raising funding in the total amount of $90M. Three of the graduates of the Israeli accelerator have been acquired: Kitlocate was acquired by Yandex; Appixia was acquired by Wix; and Conferplace was acquired by Meda Group.
And, since the beginning of the current round in Israel, which began four months ago, 7 of the 11 companies have raised backing or have received funding offers. “Can any other accelerator beat this record?” rhetorically asked Zack Weisfeld, director of the MS Ventures program worldwide.
Robert Capa exhibit includes his color photos of young state of Israel
Rarely seen color photographs by Robert Capa, the legendary Hungarian photographer best known for his battlefield pictures from the Spanish Civil War and D-Day, are being shown for the first time in Europe at the Budapest institution which bears his name.
Capa, born Endre Friedmann in Budapest in 1913, began experimenting with color photography in 1938 and it soon became an integral, though seldom published, part of his work. Afterward, he always carried two cameras, one loaded with color film, the other with black and white.
“This allows a very good comparison and how he approaches color photography in a totally different manner,” said Istvan Viragvolgyi, deputy director of the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center. “He turns his camera in other directions, looking for themes where color really adds a lot to it.”
The exhibit containing 136 color photographs, as well as film and sound recordings of Capa, runs until Sep. 20 and was first shown last year in New York, at the International Center of Photography founded by Cornell Capa, Robert’s late brother.
Israeli Entrepreneur Wants to Send Torah to the Moon
The Torah is going to the moon.” It sounds like a phrase straight out of a Jewish fairytale or children’s book, but the real-life Torah on the Moon initiative is not as pie in the sky as one might think.
French-Israeli entrepreneur Haim Aouizerate is calling on the Jewish people to help fund a project that aims to send a Torah scroll to the moon to celebrate the ancient book’s innumerable contributions to morality, justice, education, culture, and more.
The idea was launched about three years ago, when high-tech wiz Aouizerate saw technology ravaging his children. They would come home from school, throw their bags on the floor, and go from screen to screen, he recalls.
“To Aouizerate, it seemed like they were living their lives entirely based on 15-second sound bites and videos, with no depth to them,” says Elie Klein, a spokesperson for Torah on the Moon. “It is not easy for children—or anyone—to connect unless they have the correct foundation and the correct push in the right direction. He knew he needed to do something big, a big stunt, to help people refocus their lives away from technology and more on their culture, heritage, and the legacy they should leave the next generation.”
Inspired by the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million competition to land a privately funded robot on the moon, Aouizerate determined to catch the Torah a ride on one of these vehicles.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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