Thursday, July 09, 2015

From Ian:

The Troubling Question in the French Jewish Community: Is It Time to Leave?
The most troubling question in the French Jewish community is also the most obvious one: “Is it time to leave?”
I asked Roger Cukierman, the head of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France, or CRIF, the umbrella group for secular Jewish organizations in France. I expected him to equivocate, but, by way of an answer, he quickly reeled off some of the horrors that have plagued the Jews of Europe during the last decade: the case of Ilan Halimi, a cell-phone salesman kidnapped, brutally tortured, and killed in the Paris suburbs by a gang in 2006 for being Jewish; the 2012 murders of three small children and one adult at point-blank range at the Ozar Hatorah school, in Toulouse, by Mohamed Merah; the 2014 slaughter at the Brussels Jewish Museum; the deadly attack at the synagogue in Copenhagen in February of this year. This March, Merah’s stepbrother was pictured in the New York Post in his camouflage ISIS togs pronouncing a death sentence, as a pre-pubescent boy beside him pulled the trigger in the videotaped execution of the 19-year-old Israeli Arab Muhamed Musalam. Then there are the riots. As Cukierman told The Telegraph last summer, “They are not screaming ‘Death to the Israelis’ on the streets of Paris. They are screaming ‘Death to the Jews.’ ”
To get a better idea of why Ghozlan decided to leave, I went to visit his friend and colleague Yossi Malka, a retired businessman who works for the B.N.V.C.A. Malka met me at the commuter rail station at Stains, a suburb in Le Neuf Trois. If you didn’t know better, you could be in parts of Queens or the Bronx. Here are the same gray projects, laundry flung over the balconies.
Malka wore a worn brown leather jacket, a natty tie, and a fedora—what I think of as the uniform of the banlieues—and drove me to Sarcelles, 20 minutes away and part of what is called the Red Belt, a string of suburban towns, many with Communist or Socialist mayors historically but, now, an expanding National Front. “This is not the Paris of Woody Allen,” Malka told me as we approached a small synagogue ringed by low apartment buildings topped with satellite dishes. “That Paris no longer exists.”
13-year-old Jewish boy wearing kippah attacked in Paris
The National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA) condemned Monday's anti-Semitic aggression against a 13-year-old boy wearing a kippah in the 19th district of Paris.
The boy was beaten by a band of six youths described as being of ‘’African origin’’ who attacked him as he left his Jewish school.
One of the attackers shouted: ‘’Beat that dirty Jew’’. Before fleeing, they stole the victim’s phone.
The Jewish boy was taken to hospital with wounds on his head.
The BNCVA, which monitors anti-Semitic incidents across the country, recommended the victim’s parents to file a formal complaint and urged police authorities to find and arrest the aggressors.
Michael Lumish: Say "Good-Bye" to the Democrats
Can one be considered supportive of the Jewish people if one is hostile to the Jewish state?
I certainly would not think so, but I would bet that more and more Democrats think that way.
Israel is the only country on the entire planet that cannot coax the United States into recognizing its capital, yet somehow Israel is said to have too much influence on US foreign policy.
I have been arguing for years that the Progressive-Left and the Democratic Party have betrayed their Jewish constituency through accepting the BDS movement as part of the larger coalition. It would be something akin to telling black people that if they wish to remain Democrats than they will just simply have to get used to the fact that the Ku Klux Klan has a seat at the Democratic Party table.
The movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel has nothing to do with peace. BDS has nothing to do with social justice or universal human rights and everything to do with the Palestinian-Arab determination to weaken, undermine, and eventually eliminate Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.
Abbas recalls envoy to Chile after anti-Semitic remark
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Chile over a speech in which the diplomat cited from a notorious anti-Semitic text.
In a video of the speech, which was delivered in May, Imad Nabil Jadaa can be seen quoting from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and claiming that the creation of the State of Israel was a pretext to protect Jewish plans for “world domination.”
Jadaa also told the Conference for Peace in Palestine and Israel, held in Santiago, Chile, on May 15, that there is “no Jewish People” and that Palestinians don’t recognize the existence of such a people. An English translation of his comments was only recently made public.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters that Jadaa’s statements were in “contradiction to the official Palestinian position.”



Mudar Zahran: If Israel disappears, others will too
Since 1948, we Arabs have been taught that all we need to do is get rid of the Jewish state, and ‎everything else will go well after that. Our dictators took full advantage of this idea. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser locked up and executed his opposition members ‎using his famous excuse: "No voices are to be allowed except for those for the war with ‎Israel." Iraqi President Saddam Hussein adopted the Palestinian flag and had it ‎printed, distributed and flown alongside his own flag, and even said, "Palestine and Iraq share the same ‎identical cause." In short, we Arabs have put 70 years of our existence on hold while awaiting that ‎‎"glorious day" when we defeat Israel and "feed the Jews to the fish."
But that day did not come, nor does ‎it seem to be coming, as Jordanian opposition figure Emad Tarifi once told me: "It seems the fish in ‎the sea are not betting on us feeding them Jews." ‎
In addition, we Arabs have given our dictators carte blanche to impoverish, terrorize, oppress and ‎destroy us all in the name of "the great Arab struggle to end the Zionist entity." The outcome of this has ‎been clear: While Israel made 10 new breakthroughs in cancer and cardiac treatments in the last two years ‎alone, we Arabs developed new execution methods. The latest is death by drowning in a cage, as ‎shown in an Islamic State group video two weeks ago.‎
We Arabs have wasted seven decades of our existence awaiting Israel's demise. It is time to think of the future, and whether Israel's "disappearance" should be our ‎ultimate wish.‎
Israel: If Hamas is allowed to wage warfare through international courts then Islamic State will be next
Islamic State's brand of terrorism has recently shocked the world once again, with sickening videos showing the torture, drowning and shooting of prisoners, and an IS-inspired massacre of 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia for which the group proudly claimed responsibility.
No less horrendous is the IS strategy of purposefully blending its fighters within civilian populations, in Iraq and Syria, even using small children as human shields. It has been reported that in Raqqa, Syria, the group is encouraging all men to grow beards in order to make terrorists and civilians look the same.
These tactics create horrendous dilemmas for coalition forces, the UK among them, as they seek to target IS forces and jihadi leaders while trying to protect the lives of the civilians they are hiding behind. Having deliberately created these dilemmas IS has no compunction about accusing the coalition of waging war directly on the Iraqi people.
The allegations are of course ridiculous, but imagine for a moment that someone took them seriously. Imagine that IS hired lawyers to produce a report accusing the UK and the coalition of war crimes. Imagine that IS then presented such a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC), with encouragement from the UN.
This scenario would make a mockery of international institutions, turning them into weapons against democracies trying to defend themselves from terror. In an absurd pincer movement, a terrorist group could attack a state physically with bombs, while at the same time work to undermine its ability to defend itself by legal action in an international tribunal.
What seems like a ludicrous suggestion is actually happening with regard to Hamas and Israel.
Mordechai Kedar: Daesh: It's not an Organization, It's a State
The reasons stated above keep the entire world from calling Islamic State by its full name. Those speaking in Hebrew use the acronym "Daesh", which stands for "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. That translates to ISIS or ISIL in English (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/Levant) both acronyms used to avoid calling the group by its real name.
Denial is of no use, however, and laundering a name will not change reality, because what looks like a state, sounds like a state and functions like a state – is a state, even if we dislike it intensely. Denying Islamic State's existence is like much of the Arab world's denial of Israel's existence for over 67 years and their use of the insulting name "The Zionist Entity" for the Jewish State.
I hereby call upon the world to open its eyes, admit the reality that has been forced on the Middle East and understand that Islamic State intends to stay and has no plans to evaporate. Islamic State is part of the Middle East reality and the world must relate to it as a state. In case anyone is wondering. let me state clearly that I have not turned into a public relations lackey of Caliph Abu Bakr el-Baghdadi. On the contrary, I call on the world to regard his state exactly as it did Nazi Germany, because that is the only way the world can overcome the psychological barrier that allows it to live in denial. It must wake up, look reality straight in the eye, prepare for war and destroy Islamic State. For as long as the world relates to that entity as an organization, gang, group, or something with unintelligible initials, there is a feeling that it can be overcome if the West bombs here and there, eliminates someone here and there – and there is no greater error than that kind of thinking. (h/t Yoel)
NGO Monitor: Amnesty map app showing IDF attacks on Gaza lacks essential information
NGO Monitor was also critical of the data the tool used, stating that “the platform simply parrots publications by Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, without independent verification.”
The interactive map does not show attacks that Hamas carried out against Israel last year.
In response to the NGO Monitor statement, Amnesty International said that the tool was not static and that it could and would be updated with new information over time.
Asked whether the organization planned to include Gaza’s attacks on Israel, Philip Luther, the director of Amnesty’s Middle Eastern and North African program, responded with a maybe.
Luther also told The Jerusalem Post that “we are not claiming that the Gaza Platform itself, on its own, gives you a conclusion in every case about whether a war crime was committed or not. It is not able to do that; we are not claiming to do that.”
He added that he hoped the Gaza Platform would be used by organizations such as the International Criminal Court.
“They will be helped by looking at this data set – not on its own, with other material, with very detailed case investigations and coming to conclusions on whether particular attacks are war crimes or should be investigated,” Luther said.
Netanyahu and the Israeli Arabs: The Untold Story
If there is one thing liberal pundits in Israel and America seem to agree on, it's that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu doesn't like Israeli Arabs and wishes them harm. The outcry over his remarks—ill-judged at the very least and inflammatory at worst—regarding Arab voters being brought in buses to vote against him helped cement this suspicion. But a close look at Netanyahu's actual record on Israeli Arabs, as opposed to this or that public remark, reveals a very different story.
For a start, affirmative action policies initiated under Ehud Olmert were accelerated during the Netanyahu administration. These prioritized economic development, including allocating funds for joint industrial parks in Arab and Jewish towns. Subsidies helped firms hire Arab labor and expanded transportation infrastructure, which allowed Arabs to reach employment sites. These ventures were so successful that the government began setting up industrial parks and employment offices exclusively in Arab towns. In addition, the Israeli government developed a five-year plan for improving Arab education and established a special unit in the prime minister’s office to promote economic development in the Arab community.
Despite the opposition of Palestinian nationalists, more and more Arab communities began to cooperate with government agencies, particularly those that were aligned with Hadash. At the same time, educational and occupational initiatives began to improve the possibilities for Arab women and their labor participation rates increased substantially: for women 30 to 39 years old, it increased from 24 percent in 2005 to 34 percent in 2010.
Villagers talking to J street Jews


France Denies it Dropped UN Bid on Israel-PA Talks
The French Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it does not intend to give up on its bid to advance a UN Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Haaretz reported.
The statement was released in wake of comments made a day earlier by the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, who said that France had dropped the initiative.
"We haven't given up," the French Ministry said, according to Haaretz. "We will push for a UNSC resolution on Israel-Palestine as long as it gains a consensus that would allow it to be implemented."
A spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said in the statement that for the past few months France has been making efforts to create diplomatic possibilities vis-à-vis the stalled peace process and the deteriorating situation, and that it intends to continue doing so.
Israel Changes Policy, Will Talk to Hague Prosecutor
The Netanyahu government has decided to change policy and begin talks with Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
A senior Israeli official has told Ha’aretz that “the purpose of the talks is just to clarify Israel’s position that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear Hague Palestinian complaints” against the Jewish State.
According to Ha’aretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided recently to open a dialogue with the prosecutor’s office in the Hague, after consulting with representatives from the Foreign Ministry (which he heads), the Justice Ministry, the IDF and the National Security Council.
The talks will be conducted by a professional team of representatives from various government ministries, who’ll be meeting with representatives of the Prosecutor while maintaining a low profile.
What the UN report on Gaza left out
Back to those two pages, which sum up neatly the flaws in the report's use and analysis of international law and its presentation of information. First, near the beginning, the commission summarizes the key principles of the law of war governing the conduct of hostilities: distinction, proportionality and precautions. What the report states about these principles is correct; it's what it omits that is so significant.
The principle of distinction states that all parties to a conflict must distinguish between those who are fighting and those who are not, and only direct attacks at the former. As such, it is an essential principle of the law of war and the foundation on which the law's core purpose of protecting civilians from the dangers of war rests.
The principle of distinction also requires, however, that persons who are fighting distinguish themselves from those who are not — if you are a soldier or fighter for an armed group, you must differentiate yourself (by uniform, arm band, insignia or other method) from civilians, those who are not fighting. This obligation is just as important as the first component of distinction explained above; indeed, it is easy to see how the obligation to distinguish oneself from uninvolved civilians is central to the protection of such civilians.
And yet the commission simply omits this aspect of the principle of distinction altogether. One is left with the impression, therefore, that the law of war only imposes obligations in choosing the target of an attack and ignores the dangers of fighters comingling with civilians, using civilian infrastructure for military purposes or disguising themselves as civilians to gain a tactical advantage (such as a suicide bomber). This impression, however, is entirely erroneous. The law of war prohibits perfidy (disguising oneself as a civilian in order to benefit from the law's protections while launching an attack); using protected objects, such as hospitals or religious buildings, for military purposes; and using civilians as human shields. All of these prohibitions rest on the principle of distinction and the obligation for those who are fighting to distinguish themselves from those who are not.
In the context of conflict in Gaza, where Hamas and other armed groups deliberately — as they themselves proclaim — comingle with the civilian population and turn the failure to distinguish into an art form, this omission is remarkable in its shortsightedness and the message it sends about the report's methodology.
IAF pilot: We did our best to avoid harming Gaza civilians
"During Operation Protective Edge, we returned to base on more than half our sorties with full weapon loads, due to the fact there were civilians at the targets we had intended to strike," Lt. Col. Matan, the commander of the Israeli Air Force's Valley Squadron, told Israel Hayom.
"There were instances in which we saw rockets launched from the heart of populated areas and we did not receive approval to strike [the launch sites] because of the presence of civilians."
The commander's words provide insight into how the IAF conducted itself during the fighting in the Gaza Strip last summer.
"The intelligence effort we made regarding every target we struck was beyond belief," he said. "All of this was done to ensure innocent people were not harmed. Our planes waited hours in the air to avoid hitting innocent bystanders."
Dutch foreign minister to visit Israel, Gaza
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders is set to visit Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Gaza next week, i24news has learned, the latest in a wave of high- ranking European officials touring the region in an attempt to reassess solutions to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Koenders will be meeting the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah. He will also cross the border into Gaza, amid growing international concern about the slow pace of the Strip's reconstruction after last summer's 50 day war with Israel.
The Hague has donated millions of euros to assist Gaza reconstruction efforts, including the purchase of a sophisticated scanner to monitor imports and exports in and out of the strip. As part of the steps Israel has taken in recent months to alleviate its blockade of the enclave, it decided to ease restrictions on construction materials entering Gaza and allowed the scanner to be operated at the Kerem Shalom crossing through which most goods go into Gaza.
The scanner was the subject of a diplomatic feud the last time a high-ranking Dutch official visited the region: in 2013, Prime Minister Mark Rutte canceled a planned dedication ceremony for the scanner, angered by Israel's refusal to use it.
After his visit to Gaza and meetings with Palestinians there, Koenders is expected to visit and meet with residents in Israeli communities along the border.
NGO Monitor: Arms Embargo Report Funded by Lipman-Miliband Trust
Did you know that the Lipman-Miliband Trust funded a July 2015 report published by the UK-based War on Want, together with Campaign Against Arms Trade and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, calling on the “UK government to implement an immediate two-way arms embargo to end all arms sales to and purchases from Israel”?
The report, “Arming Apartheid: UK complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people,” accuses Israel of being an “Apartheid regime,” committing “war crimes,” and “continuing violations of human rights,” and urges “all readers to help us end the UK’s complicity in Israel’s systematic violation of international law.”
In addition to funding the report, the Trust has funded a 2013 War on Want “awareness campaign” to “Stop Arming Israel,” a 2012 project of +972 Magazine (Advancement of Citizen Journalism), a 2011 “Exhibit of destruction policies” organized by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), a 2010 ICAHD conference in the UK, and the Russell Tribunal in 2010.
Rasmea Odeh Appeal – Government files devastating Brief
Rasmea Odeh is the supermarket bomber who killed Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner in 1969, served 10 years in Israeli prison before being released in a prisoner exchange, and then made her way to the U.S. in the mid-1990s.
Rasmea then lied on her visa and naturalization applications, among other ways, by denying that she ever had been charged, convicted or imprisoned. Rasmea was convicted in federal court in Detroit in November 2014 of immigration fraud, sentenced to 18 months in prison, and ordered deported. Rasmea danced in the aisle of the bus back to Chicago after sentencing.
The prosecution brief completely eviscerates the main legal claim on appeal, that the trial court incorrectly applied a general intent standard to the crime, instead of a specific intent standard. In plain English, the trial court held that the government only needed to show that Rasmea knowingly lied, not that she did so for the purpose of obtaining immigration status. The government went through all the pertinent case law, and convincingly argued that the language of the statute in question did not impose a specific intent standard.
This is important, because Rasmea claims she was denied a chance to present her defense because the trial judge would not allow her to call an expert as to PTSD resulting from the alleged torture. Under a general intent statute, such a defense is not allowed.
The government also easily dealt with issues such as whether the Israeli military court records should have been admitted into evidence. Rasmea on appeal argues that a military court is not a real court and therefore did not fall under the legal mutual assistance treaty pursuant to which the records were admitted into evidence. The prosecution pointed out that the treaty is not limited to court records, and covers government agency records (which in Israel would include the IDF). And in any event, Rasmea in her testimony admitted to the conviction and imprisonment.
BBC website’s flotilla article still misleads on ‘humanitarian aid’
Readers no doubt recall that the BBC’s report on the interception of the recent ‘flotilla’ publicity stunt included the following paragraph:
“The activists said the vessel was carrying humanitarian aid, including medicine and solar panels.”
As was pointed out here at the time:
“….the use of the plural term “panels” in that sentence is – according to a spokesperson for the flotilla organisers interviewed by Ma’an news agency – apparently superfluous.
“On board, the Marianne is carrying one solar panel
to al-Shifa hospital and medical equipment for Wafa hospital, both in Gaza City. If everything goes as planned, activists will also leave the fishing trawler for Palestinian fishermen to use.”
Roger Waters – The Porcine Roots of Anti-Semitism (satire)
New information has surfaced recently, shedding light on what was previously believed to be straightforward anti-Semitism espoused by famed singer and songwriter Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. Waters, who denies all accusations of being an anti-Semite, has repeatedly said that all such accusations are merely “a Judeo-Zionist plot by long-nosed old men to conquer the world and get hold of my money, so typical of those grubby Jews”. In a statement published ahead of his upcoming album, “Another Brick in the Apartheid Ghetto Zionist Wall”, Waters says: “my Jewish agent ‘thirty-percent Abraham’ and my Jewish accountant ‘Loophole Zalman’ are just like normal humans and their horns hardly ever show”.
A soon to be published biography of Roger Waters recounts an episode in Mr. Waters’ childhood which may be the cause of his strong feelings about Jews. Growing up on a farm in Great Bookham, England, Waters was molested by a pig at the tender age of 8. As the young Waters was bending over to pick a flower, a 500 lb. male pig known as “Rabbi” apparently mistook his behind for that of a favorite sow named Julie, upon which “Rabbi” mounted the young singer and sodomized him. A neighboring farmer, Isaac Goldenberg, reportedly screamed “oy vey” but would not touch the pig, deemed non-kosher. The episode influenced Waters’ music later in life. As part of the “Pink Floyd” band, Waters dedicated his song “Wish You Were Here” to his neighbor Goldenberg and the song “Pigs on a Wing” to the pig that molested him. Many critics believe that the sodomy episode was the inspiration for Waters’ iconic song, “Comfortably Numb”.
Lyse Doucet’s promotion of her BBC Two ‘Children of the Gaza War’ programme
Promotion for Lyse Doucet’s programme ‘Children of the Gaza War’ – timed to be broadcast on the anniversary of the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 8th – has been appearing, inter alia, on the BBC News website and on social media.
From the second of those Tweets from Lyse Doucet we learn that whilst the BBC was filming in southern Israel on July 16th 2014 it caught an incoming missile alert and the resulting scramble of two children to their home’s fortified safe room on camera. Insofar as we are aware, that footage was not shown to BBC audiences at the time.
Visitors to the BBC News website on July 5th found a filmed report by Doucet titled “Battle scars: Gaza children living with war’s legacy” and two days later a written report by Doucet also appeared in the ‘Features’ section of the website’s Middle East page under the headline “The children scarred by war“.Doucet art 7 7 Gaza
Of the 1,086 words making up that article, two hundred and thirty-six can be categorized as background information. The Israeli children’s side of the story is told in two hundred and sixty words and five hundred and ninety words are devoted to the stories of Palestinian children. One can only hope that the upcoming programme itself will show better balance.
Written in Cement
In her BBC dispatch, Why is Gaza reconstruction so slow?, BBC NEWS, 8 July 2015, on the pace of rebuilding in Gaza she totally ignores eight good reasons that don’t scapegoat Israel’s dual use policy.
Eight reasons ignored by Knell
1. Hamas commandeers a significant part of construction material for itself and has been reported to have begun to reconstruct fortifications;
2. The Gaza black market distributes most of the remainder to the highest bidder;
3. Egypt also has a border but doesn’t allow import of building materials. The Rafah crossibng is for people (when it is open) not goods;
4. Disputes between Hamas and the P.A. have meant that finance for purchasing materials doesn’t always arrive;
5. Only a fraction of money pledged by the ‘international community’ (notably the Arab world) has materialised;
6. Hamas may be deliberately keeping parts of Gaza unreconstructed for propaganda purposes — exactly as Knell’s report;
7. Palestinian attacks on the transfer of material slows things down. Israel transferred the entrance point for trucks to Keren Shalom from the much larger and better equipped Karni crossing because of Palestinian attacks on Karni – which left several Israeli soldiers dead – several years ago;
8. This week Israel closed Keren Shalom crossing, until further notice, in response to attacks which killed dozens of Egyptian soldiers in Sinai. This isn’t the cause for anything that has happened previously but it’s odd Knell doesn’t mention it, even as a things will get worse throw-away ending.
The Independent obfuscates overwhelming Israeli support for Operation Protective Edge
A July 7th article by The Independent’s Ben Lynfield (Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel’s front line, still recovering from last summer’s war with Hamas) included this passage suggesting that the country was divided over Operation Protective Edge:
Debate over the [Gaza] war continues: politicians on the right have depicted it as both justified and necessary, while those on the left have questioned the damage to Israel’s international standing and its growing isolation – not least in the light of the re-election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with more MPs than before, and an even more right-wing government.
However, as polls during the war clearly indicate, Israeli support for the war was extremely strong on both the right and left.
PreOccupied Territory: Ynet Introduces Maximum IQ For Comment Submissions (satire)
Israel’s largest provider of online news and analysis announced today that it would soon impose a ceiling on the level of intelligence that would be permitted in comments posted to online articles.
Ynet, the online sister to Israel’s daily tabloid Yediot Acharonot, took action amid concerns that readers were getting bogged down in nuance as erudite, thinking people weighed in on each article, inevitably contributing something constructive to public discourse. For a publication that never goes more than 21 hours without an article and photo shoot with a bikini-clad female celebrity as one of the featured items on the home page, the presence of eloquent contributors struck a jarring note that editors intend to remove.
“Our brand carries a certain set of associations, and an erudite readership is not something we see ourselves as having,” said the site’s managing editor, Daili Mell. “Reader engagement will only take the business model so far, when we’re in it to get as many ads to display as possible, which means trying to get users to load a different page, which means creating disincentives to remain on the current page for very long.”
The technical aspects of the intelligence restriction remain to be ironed out in their entirety, but Mell explained that Ynet would soon create a short quiz to be completed before a comment may be submitted. The quiz topics would have nothing to do with important issues or current events, instead focusing on celebrity gossip, recently released action movies, and television. That set of categories automatically eliminates 95% of intelligent humans, but Mell said more thorough weeding would have to take place if Ynet is to ensure that no intelligent people submit comments.
Jewish officials protest Polish gas chamber art installation
Jewish officials are furious over a video installation at a Polish museum that shows naked men and women playing a game of tag in a gas chamber.
Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's office in Jerusalem, called the installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow "so offensive and so disgusting that we found it necessary to protest."
"Game of Tag," made in 1999 by Polish artist Artur Zmijewski, has for years been accused of taking the Holocaust lightly.
It was displayed among the works of more than 20 artists at a temporary exhibition on the Holocaust running from May 15 through Oct. 31. When shown at museums in Germany and Estonia, it also caused protests.
The World Jewish Congress and Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, also asked the museum to remove the installation. In response, the museum recently put it behind an enclosure with a warning.
But Zuroff and other Jewish officials say this is not enough. Zuroff said it is "simply incomprehensible" that the video is being shown in Poland, where Nazi Germany killed millions of Jews and non-Jews.
Fight over one of the world’s largest tech companies turns anti-Semitic
As the significance of the merger was magnified by these social and cultural tensions, some South Korean journalists began to note the fact that the most prominent rabble-rouser jeopardizing the merger, Elliott Associates, had a Jewish owner and chief executive, Paul Singer.
One South Korean news site, Mediapen.com, has been outspoken on the C&T-Cheil merger. At the time of writing, Wednesday evening, the site had no fewer than five articles about Samsung on its homepage, one a glowing profile of Samsung’s corporate leadership and the other four expressing support for the merger.
Among these was a Sunday column by journalist Kim Ji-ho (Korean-language link), who framed the Elliott-Samsung feud in stark terms.
“Jews are known to wield enormous power on Wall Street and in global financial circles,” Kim began. “It is a well-known fact that the US government is swayed by Jewish capital.”
The Ghosts of Old Baghdad
A few hours in the Shorja open market in Baghdad can teach you a lot – about the Middle East’s past, its present and its apparent future. What’s to be found there is informative. What is absent – equally so.
My fixer Yusuf hadn’t wanted to take me to Shorja. I was in Baghdad for a reporting project on the Shia militias. Between heading for Anbar with Kata’ib Hezbollah and up to Baiji with the Badr Corps, we had a few hours of downtime in Baghdad so I suggested we make for the market area that had once formed the hub of the city’s Jewish community.
I am no expert on the Jews of Iraq. But a friend’s Iraqi father back in Jerusalem upon hearing that I was heading for Baghdad had mentioned the Taht el Takia neighborhood in the heart of the market where he had grown up and asked me to take some pictures if I had the chance.
“Old Baghdad isn’t really safe anymore. We won’t be able to walk around,” Yusuf told me as we debated the issue. “After the Jews were kicked out in the ’50s, a load of poor Shi’a moved in and they have been running it ever since.”
I tried to ascertain what exactly the danger was. But, like much else in Baghdad, it wasn’t clear – just a general sense of foreboding, and maybe justified paranoia, of a kind that seemed pervasive in the city. (h/t NormanF)
Dry Bones: Interview in Dispatch from Jerusalem
AS you probably know, I am seeking funding to launch an Online Dry Bones Academy of Cartoon Advocacy. Dispatch from Jerusalem has just published an article about my crowdfunding campaign at indiegogo
“We are at war,” says Yaakov Kirschen, the man behind the popular Dry Bones comic strip. The battle lines of this war, he says, are clearly drawn. In contemporary society, according to Kirschen, combat is no longer confined to traditional warfare and tactics. The advance of modern technology brings with it a host of unchartered fronts of attack—all of which require fortification and defense. Take electronic media for example. The rapidly increasing popularity of social media and instant messaging means that the battle for public opinion is won and lost on the internet. And cartoons have become a propaganda weapon of choice—especially when it comes to launching an attack on the existence, values and culture of Israel, the United States and Western society as a whole.
Cartoons have become one of the most important means of communication in today’s society, says Kirschen. The recent massacre at French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, arguably supports this notion. Controversial cartoons ribbing Muhammad are widely believed to have been the motivating factor behind the attack, thus illustrating the strong emotional response that images can evoke.
Ramadan tours, the latest in cultural coexistence
Food has always been a uniting factor in Israeli society. From Abu Ghosh hummus restaurants that serve hungry Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, to Jaffa’s famous ethnic street-food vendors, to Daliat Al-Carmel’s. Druze eateries with a wide-ranging clientele, to Nazareth’s famous cross-cultural market fare, culinary coexistence in Israel is thriving.
So it makes sense that at holiday season each culture seeks out the other for tasty bites and enriching encounters. And during the Islamic month of Ramadan – when religious Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk — the Jewish Israeli appetite for Arabic foods and novel happenings is at a high. This year, Ramadan ends July 18.
“Tourism and food are the recipe for easy interaction between two different peoples,” Neta Hanien, co-owner of Juha’s Guesthouse in the Israeli Arab village Jisr az-Zarqa, tells ISRAEL21c. “When one side is the host and the other is the guest, and we sit together, we learn about one another as people without preconceived or political differences. It’s an opportunity to be together as people.”
Ramadan tours around the country have been offered for the last 10 years or so, but their popularity has exploded in 2015.
Jerusalem ranked as 10th best city for 2015
Readers of Travel + Leisure Magazine ranked Jerusalem as the tenth best city in the world for 2015, according to a list published by the magazine earlier this week.
"Christians, Jews, and Muslims converge to worship in this 4,000-year-old holy city, and their respective churches, synagogues, and mosques surround the historic Old City," the magazine said. "Here, you can tuck a miniature prayer into the Western Wall, or see a fragment of clay engraved with cuneiform at the excavation site at Temple Mount. The iconic, gleaming gold Dome of the Rock is best photographed from the Austrian Hospice, which offers unparalleled views of the city and Mount of Olives.
"Jerusalem, like every other city on our list, also has a stake in the contemporary and the secular. Luxury apartment buildings now erupt like stalagmites from the Judean Desert, and high-end restaurants, such as King's Court at the restored Waldorf Astoria, are bringing a new upmarket appeal to this arid oasis."
Kyoto was ranked the best city in the world, followed by Charleston, Siem Reap, Florence, Rome, Bangkok, Krakow, Barcelona and Cape Town.
Tel Aviv was ranked third in the Africa & Middle East category.
Discovering Zionism in Japan
Known as the “Japanese Schindler,” Chiune Sugihara had helped roughly 6,000 Polish Jews escape the Nazi extermination machine over 29 days in 1940. Sugihara’s act of courage was chronicled by one of the Jews he saved, the late Johns Hopkins University scholar Samuel Iwry, in To Wear the Dust of War: From Bialystok to Shanghai to the Promised Land.
Japan’s consul to Lithuania, Sugihara wrote and signed the letters of transit that allowed the Jews to travel through Russia on their way to Japanese-held Shanghai. He did so out of conscience and against the explicit written orders of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
I was determined to say kaddish at his grave (he died in 1986), and for a year before the trip I kept a picture of Chiune Sugihara and his wife, Yukiko, taped to my computer monitor as a reminder of my commitment.
A commitment indeed was required.
The Sugihara Memorial Museum is located in his birthplace, Yaotsu in Gifu Prefecture, far from the bright lights of Tokyo. The train connections for my travel to Yaotsu were arranged by the assistant concierge at my hotel, but I carried several burdens. I had all my luggage, and I knew only a few words of Japanese.
Prague Railway Station Could be Named After 'British Schindler'
Prague’s main railway station could be named after Sir Nicholas Winton, also known as the “British Schindler”, who died last week at the age of 106, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Wednesday.
Winton saved the lives of 669 Jewish Czech children from the Nazis during World War II and was responsible for rescuing the children before they were sent to concentration camps.
The idea of renaming the station came from Prague mayoral candidate Jan Cizinsky who presented it to the Czech government, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
"First we need to talk to the family and to discuss the issue with them. Their decision is the main one," he said.
The station is currently called President Wilson’s station after former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, and was previously called Franz Joseph station after the emperor of Austria.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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