Friday, July 10, 2015

From Ian:

Iran deal ‘done,’ Israeli report says, after major US concessions
According to Yaari, Israel’s most respected Middle East analyst, the deal was reached because the Americans “have made a series of capitulations over the past two to three weeks in almost every key aspect that was being debated.”
Yaari said that even those in the US who had supported the agreement with Iran “admit that it is worse than they thought.” Now, he said, the ball is in the court of Democratic lawmakers who have to decide whether to support their president as he seeks to secure Congressional approval, or to join the vocal Republican opposition to an agreement.
One major concession, Yaari said, is the issue of inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, which has long been a sticking point in the negotiations. According to Yaari, the US negotiators have given in to an Iranian demand that inspections are “managed” — in other words, there will be no surprise visits, only those that are pre-arranged and approved by the Iranian regime.
While there has been no official word that the deal is finalized, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday evening that progress had been made in the talks, and praised what he called the “constructive” atmosphere.
Eugene Kontorovich: The State Department’s response to Israel boycott law — a line-item veto for trade legislation?
The administration’s criticism of the bill it just signed is particularly striking in light of Zivotofsky. Since Foggy Bottom adamantly refuses to treat Western Jerusalem (i.e. part of “pre-67” Israel) as part of Israel, the only way Congress can make U.S. trade policy toward Israel’s capital is by using language like “areas under Israel’s jurisdiction.” It is the administration policy of not treating the nation’s pre-67 capital as part of the country that blurs the Green Line, not Congress’s law.
Finally, the State Department repeatedly referred to the “two state solution” and the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Presumably it has no objection to the law’s application to the Golan Heights, which is not part of that conflict.
If the Executive were considering not enforcing the law, it would be extraordinary constitutional usurpation by the Executive, effectively giving State Department spokesmen line-item veto power over enacted trade laws. Obama’s lawyers may have greatly over-read Zivotofsky as holding that the chief executive can nullify laws willy-nilly if they involve foreign affairs, or maybe just Israel. This would be particularly extraordinary as applied to foreign trade laws, all of which by definition have serious foreign policy implications.
Veteran Labour MP Embarks on Anti-Israel Rant in Commons
A Jewish Member of Parliament has provoked outrage by accusing Israel of using the Holocaust to justify killing “thousands upon thousands” of Palestinians in Gaza. Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, the father of the House of Commons was accused of being disrespectful to the House by his repeated assertions that Israelis are “murderers”.
Kaufman’s comments came during a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday into the UN’s Inquiry into last year’s fighting in Gaza, in which he told colleagues:
“The Israelis are murderers in Gaza. They have murdered thousands of people in Gaza. They have achieved nothing by doing so, except to make the lives of the people of Gaza total hell.
“When I was in Gaza, I spoke to a girl who told me she was standing between her parents when an Israeli soldier came up and shot her father dead in the head, and then shot her mother dead in the head. The Israelis use the holocaust: they use the murder of 6 million Jews to justify their murder of thousands upon thousands of Palestinians.”

He also accused Israel of starving the people of Gaza, saying: “There are children whose brains will never develop because their inadequate diet prevents them from developing physically and therefore mentally.”
In fact, the Gaza strip has one of the highest levels of obesity in the world, with four in five residents being classed as overweight. Diet centres in the strip are booming.
UNESCO Crosses the Line Into Anti-Semitism
It is comical to even address the complaints lodged against Israel, but let’s briefly note that the charge of undermining the structural integrity of the Temple Mount is simply a lie. What the members who voted for this lie are doing is seeking to stigmatize Israel for work in the area of the Western Wall that has opened up the tunnels as well as an archeological park. The not-so-secret agenda here is to deny Jewish history and the ties of the Jewish people to their ancient capital. If there is any destruction going on in Jerusalem it is the work of the Wakf which has conducted excavations that have trashed ancient sites and treated artifacts that predate the 7th century arrival of Muslim conquerors as trash to be discarded.
Just as telling is the fact that this UN resolution refers to the Western Wall only as the “Buraq Plaza,” a Muslim term. It also references the Temple Mount — the holiest site in Judaism — as only a “Muslim holy site of worship.” Nor is there any reference in the text to the city’s ties to Christianity.
As for the building of the Light Rail, the creation of a system of mass transit was a vital necessity for what is a living city and serves Arab neighborhoods as well as Jewish ones. Built to blend in with its surroundings, it in no way affects the “visual integrity” of the city. But, like every other evidence of the revival of Jewish life, it is seen as inherently offensive to those who think the Jews have no right to live in their ancient homeland, even in territory controlled by Israel before 1967.
But UNESCO’s embrace of these canards isn’t harmless or merely an offense to Jewish sensibilities. By parroting Palestinian propaganda in this manner, the UN agency is feeding into efforts to foment hatred against Jews. Throughout the last century, Arab leaders have whipped up anti-Semitic sentiment by spreading lies about the Jews plotting to do damage to the mosques on the Temple Mount. These efforts led to pogroms in 1921, 1929 and 1936 and inspired terror attacks during the last year. Seen in that light, this resolution isn’t merely just another instance of UN prejudice against Israel. By endorsing incitement and denying Jewish history, it is a UN endorsement of anti-Semitism.
If not rescinded, this resolution should be justification, in and of itself, for a U.S. decision to completely pull out of UNESCO (funding has already been cut off) and to raise the ante by threatening funding for the UN itself. It is long past time for both the U.S. and other democracies to stop participating in a hate group masquerading as a force for world peace. So long as UNESCO behaves in this fashion, it no longer deserves the presence of an American delegate.

Analysis: Was UNESCO Jerusalem Resolution Google-Translated from Arabic?
In fact, the words Arab or Palestinian are not mentioned in the resolution text. Jordan is mentioned twice, in relation to the report by the Waqf, which was adopted on its face, while the comprehensive Israeli report, answering in great detail every one of the points raised by the committee, was ignored in its entirety.
Moreover, no one over in Bonn, Germany, even bothered, it seems, to fix the error in translation from the original Arabic to English. And so, for instance, The UNESCO resolution is “deeply concerned by the persistence of the Israeli illegal excavations and works conducted by settler groups in the Old City of Jerusalem and on both sides of its Walls.”
The term “settlers” is attached regularly by Arab media to any Israeli doing anything outside what is perceived as pre-1967 Israel. In this context, it reaches an absurd imagery, which was totally lost on the authors, of archaeology-craving settlers, wrapped in their tzitzis, digging up historic treasures.
Reclaiming Jewish Identity: An Aboriginal People of the Middle East
Starting this September, after decades of lobbying efforts by Arab-American organizations, the United States Census Bureau will begin testing a new category for Americans of Middle Eastern and North African origin. In conjunction with this new listing, no less than 19 subcategories will be made available, including 'Israel.' So where does this leave Jewish Americans? Should diaspora Jews follow the example of their Israeli co-ethnics and mark "Middle Eastern/North African," or should they take the easy way out and mark "Other" or even "White," as most Middle Eastern and North African Americans have done up to this point? Should there be a separate "Jewish" category?
These questions are likely to confuse many readers, particularly those who are more inclined to perceive "Jewishness" as a religious identity rather than an ethnic one. Nevertheless, contrary to the widespread belief that we merely constitute a religious faith, the Jewish people are an ethnic group/tribe of Southwest Asian origin, and one of the oldest extant native peoples of the region.
The term "Jew" itself was a name given to us centuries ago by foreigners, denoting our country of origin (Judah/Judea, which is located in present day southern Israel). (1) A Jew can be an atheist, a Buddhist, an agnostic, or a follower of any other faith and they will still be recognized as members of the tribe. (2) And as far as genetics and race are concerned, contemporary ethnic Jews (including European/Ashkenazi Jews) share a stronger kinship with other Levantine populations than with the autochthonous European and North Africans they lived within diaspora. African, East Asian, and Indian Jews tend to be closer to their neighbors, although they too have ancient Jewish descent and cultural continuity with their Middle Eastern source population. Overall, much of the confusion surrounding Jewish identity is the result of our unique historical circumstances, and our status as a nation that had been displaced by colonizers centuries ago and remained in exile until relatively recently.
How a Jew Fills Out a College Application

IsraellyCool: For The Love Of Zion, Stop Calling Yourselves European
So what went wrong? To put it mildly, I found this sentence to be highly problematic….
“Israel has long considered itself almost a European country; the European immigration that marked early Zionism shaped that character, even if geography and immigration from Turkey, Iran, India, and the Arab world also bestowed Israel with a Middle Eastern character.”
My jaw dropped, and I’m still picking the splinters out of my beard. With this obscenely damaging statement, he just gave legitimacy to the root of everything we are fighting against. What many of us don’t seem to understand is that Israel isn’t hated because it’s an apartheid state, conducting a genocide, harvesting organs, or any other ridiculous libel our enemies like to hurl at us. Those are all tertiary. Rather, the bedrock of the BDS campaign is the idea that Israel is a European colonial creation, built on the bleached bones of indigenous, dark skinned third worlders.
Jews_in_Jerusalem_1895And the more we falsely identify as Europeans, the more we lend credibility to these accusations. The early Zionists weren’t European immigrants, they were returning indigenous people. And the Jewish people are Middle Easterners, or West Asians if you want to be specific, and not Europeans. Living as a foreign minority in Europe for however long doesn’t change that. As a matter of fact, Europeans persecuted and slaughtered Jews *for that very reason*. And I’m not just talking about Hitler here. It had always been common knowledge, among Jew and gentile alike, that our people were of Oriental origin until relatively recently, when our enemies decided that the only way to delegitimize Israel’s existence would be to paint Israel as a foreign implant in the Middle East. And quotes like the one above do us no favors. Our people need to let go of this idea that we’re just Poles, Russians, Czechs, Iraqis “of a different faith”.
We are called Jews because we are the native people of Judah. A Jew can be of any faith, or of no faith, and still be a member of the Israelite tribe. That is because Jews are a nation and ethnic group, not a religion. For example, I am an atheist, but I am also a Jew because that is my nationality. It’s really as simple as that. It is time for us to decolonize our minds and embrace who we really are. We are just as much a part of the Middle East as the Arabs, Druze, Kurds, and Samaritans, and it’s time we fully acknowledged that. Otherwise, how do you expect anyone to believe Israel is legitimate?
Where do Walls Work?
After suffering a series of terrorist attacks — most recently the slaughter of more than three dozen mostly British tourists in the beach resort town of Sousse — the Tunisian government has had enough. Speaking on Tunisian state television on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Habib Essid announced that Tunisia would build a 100-mile long wall to separate Tunisia from civil war-torn Libya, where the Islamic State is rapidly taking root. “With our army we are building a protective [wall] along [the border], especially in the area between Ras Jedir and Dehiba, which is approximately 168 kilometers long,” he said. He expects the wall will, along with other counterterrorism tactics, decrease terrorism now pushing Tunisia to the brink of collapse.
Kudos to the Tunisian government for doing what is necessary to defend its citizenry from terrorists and predators who migrated illegally into the country. Tunisia has every reason to believe such a wall would be effective. At the same time, however, its efforts show both international counter-terror hypocrisy and how American politics sacrifices security for posturing.
First the hypocrisy: The international community still condemns Israel’s security wall (which, in reality, is more of a security fence) even though its counterterrorism effectiveness is clear: Since its construction, terror attacks inside Israel have declined 90 percent. Despite their opposition to Israel’s security wall, walls now exist between India and Pakistan (and a new one is coming), Saudi Arabia and Yemen (and a new one is coming there as well), Morocco and Algeria, and Turkey and Syria. Kenya is building one along its border with Somalia. All of these, like Israel’s with the West Bank, cover disputed borders or are built entirely on disputed territory. The United Nations is perhaps the most hypocritical of them all, as it condemns Israel on one hand, and yet on the other built a buffer zone to separate Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus from independent Cyprus through which it restricts movement of those with origins in the opposite side. Simply put, the question of disputed borders has absolutely no bearing on the utility and legality of walls (the latter based on the precedent set by the United Nations).
Interview: the Woman Who Will Crush BDS
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, president of the Christian Zionist NPO Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), has been a leading force campaigning to defend the Jewish state from the scourge of BDS that pushes to boycott and economically attack Israel.
Cardoza-Moore sat down with Arutz Sheva to discuss her important activities in confronting BDS throughout the US and abroad.
PJTN launched its anti-BDS campaign in Tennessee with a resolution against investing in companies taking part in the boycott movement, seeking to fight the phenomenon and educate about the nationwide "anti-Semitic movement."
After successfully passing the anti-BDS resolution in Tennessee in April - following which she traveled to Israel, to present a framed copy of the original resolution to Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein - a similar success was scored in Indiana.
"Since then momentum is growing," remarked Cardoza-Moore, noting on how the resolution went on to pass in the state assemblies of Pennsylvania and New York.
Now, no less than 35 states and six countries have requested further information about the anti-BDS resolution to introduce it in state legislatures and national parliaments, revealed the PJTN head.
"Our goal is to have all 50 states by the end of this year, and at the rate that we're going I think that we'll accomplish that goal," she said. "Our goal is to obliterate BDS and crush it in the United States."
10 years later, how BDS became the politically correct way to delegitimize Israel
While still reeling from sporadic suicide attacks during the final stages of the Second Intifada, many Israelis a decade ago were also allowing themselves some tentative hopes for, if not peace, then at least more tranquility. Ariel Sharon was prime minister, and the Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas was seen as more peace-minded than the late, largely unlamented Yasser Arafat.
Then, exactly 10 years ago, on July 9, 2005, as the final preparations were underway for the disengagement of Israeli settlements from Gaza, a collection of 170 Palestinian activists and organizations launched the first call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions from Israel.
The impetus of that first BDS call was ostensibly the lack of response by Israel and the international community a year after the publication of an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which stated that the portions of Israel’s security fence built on occupied Palestinian territory are illegal.
The security fence, an idea first floated in 1992 by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, was approved in 2000 by prime minister Ehud Barak. Its construction was fast-tracked during the Second Intifada and the fence, alongside wide IDF incursions into the West Bank, is widely credited with the dramatic decrease in suicide bombings, and thus the saving of hundreds of Israeli lives.
Attempts to rally support for BDS ahead of Education International World Congress
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and the UK’s National Union of Teachers (NUT) have proposed anti-Israel resolutions to be discussed at the world congress of Education International, to be held in Ottawa, Canada, later this month.
Educational International describes itself as “the world’s largest federation of unions representing 30 million education employees in about four hundred organizations in 170 countries and territories.”
According to the resolution submitted by SADTU, the congress, to begin on July 21, would vote on passages describing Education International as being “deeply concerned by the carnage targeted at the Palestinian children,” “noting the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel” and being “further convinced that the USA actions in the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly is giving Israel the guts to commit these heinous crimes against the Palestinians.”
The SADTU resolution further calls upon member groups to boycott all exports from, and imports to, Israel “in solidarity with [the] people of Palestine,” and to “lobby other countries to support BDS.”
Empowered 21 and Christians Who Promote Anti-Israel Propaganda
Empowered 21 (E21), a worldwide Christian organization based in Tulsa, OK and the sponsor of a Global Congress in Jerusalem in May 2015, may be endangering its credibility, and the credibility of the Christian faith it seeks to propagate, because of its relationship with Palestinian Christians who promote a fallacious anti-Israel narrative.
This global entity, which intends to “shape the future of the Spirit-empowered movement” and evangelize every person on earth by 2033, claims to represent 640,000,000 evangelical and pentecostal Christians. Therefore, the potential fallout from an alliance with those who spread dishonest propaganda against Israel is significant.
At the recent conference, E21 co-chair Billy Wilson and others repeatedly emphasized the necessity of Christian unity for the purpose of “world evangelization in our generation.” The problem with this call to unity stems from E21's unreflective support for, and involvement with, Palestinian Christian leaders who promote a narrative rooted in demonization of Jews, delegitimization of Israel, and erroneous theology.
This relationship is demonstrated in part, through the inclusion of Jack Sara, president of Bethlehem Bible College, as one of the leaders in E21's Global Congress. Sara was scheduled to participate in a breakout session that addressed the subject of networks of ministries and churches. He was also a member of the committee, “Exploring the Land of Pentecost,” which was responsible for educating attendees about places they would tour.
Jack Sara's participation is particularly troubling because Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) and the Christ at the Checkpoint (CaTC) conferences it sponsors are some of the primary promoters of virulent anti-Jewish/anti-Israel propaganda. The logo for Christ at the Checkpoint depicts a church behind the security barrier built by Israel, and the theme of last year's meeting was “Theology in the Service of Peace and Justice.”
Sussex Friends of Israel: Jon Snow interviews Mark Regev
Jon Snow (yeah I know) interviews Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev on Channel 4 news tonight...

The bias and power of Snapchat and social media
Today on my Facebook page I posted the following:
“Interesting how Snapchat story in West Bank shows the “separation wall” (hmm how about SECURITY wall) but when the story was in Israel, it didn’t show any places that were affected horribly due to terror attacks. Where were the videos of the tunnels that threatened Israeli security? Where were the videos of memorials put up to those brutally murdered at the hands of our enemies? This is not an invitation to debate on my status, but rather a suggestion to reflect on the bias found in today’s traditional and social media.”
Although Snapchat is a wonderful outlet to share your voice and send funny pictures to your friends, and the recent addition of stories from around the world have been a great way to connect people, today I became aware of how harmful social media truly can be.
The difference of coverage between Tel Aviv and the West Bank is shocking. The stories that Snapchat included on their story of Tel Aviv, versus the story about the West Bank show that there can be problems of bias in social media that are just as strong in traditional media.
In Tel Aviv pictures and stories included girls dancing at clubs, people on the beach, and other neutral visuals. There was no pictures of the soldiers, no showing places that were blown up during the Intifada, no showing tunnels or any sign of terror that has tormented Israel for decades.
The West Bank, on the other hand, had pictures of the Security Wall, referring to it as the “Apartheid Wall” or the “Separation Wall”. It was definitely not a politically neutral story.
The fact that those who use Snapchat are not necessarily people who are going to be extremely informed about the true nature of the conflict in the Middle East scares me. The only exposure many people will have to the conflict, thanks to Snapchat, is that in Israel there are parties and beaches, and in the West Bank there is a wall that excludes those living there from partaking in the benefits that Israel has to offer.
BBC ‘Gaza war anniversary’ coverage continues to mislead on the causes of the conflict
The BBC’s narrative does not inform audiences that the military operation could have been avoided had Hamas elected to take advantage of the ample opportunities it was given to stop the missile fire before July 8th or that the terrorist organisation chose not to do so for reasons not by any means exclusively connected to Israel.
Neither does the BBC’s version of events clarify to audiences that the conflict could have been considerably shorter – and hence less costly in human life – had Hamas accepted any of the numerous offers of a ceasefire presented before the one which finally ended the hostilities.
The distortion of the factors which led to the summer 2014 conflict has over the past year become standard BBC practice. The version of events repeatedly promoted by the BBC is obviously not accurate due to its omission of the firing of hundreds of missiles at Israeli civilians before Operation Protective Edge even began and nor is it impartial as it clearly seeks to erase Hamas’ responsibility for igniting and prolonging that conflict from audience view.
We have said it before and regrettably we have to say it again: it is high time the BBC got a grip on its serial misrepresentation of this issue. Its failure – or refusal – to do so over the past twelve months severely compromises its claim to impartiality.
Is British journo Jon Snow alleging that Israel doesn’t allow wheelchairs to cross into Gaza?
However, it’s quite unclear what exactly he was alleging. Snow thus far hasn’t responded to our tweets asking him for a clarification.
Is he saying that Israeli (COGAT) authorities at the Erez Crossing (in northern Gaza) don’t allow wheelchair bound Palestinian passengers to pass into Gaza? Given that thousands of Gazans each year pass through Erez to receive medical treatment in Israel or the West Bank (despite the fact that Hamas sometimes fires rockets at the crossing), it seems extraordinarily unlikely that this could be the case.
Here’s one photo of a “Palestinian passing through metal detector at Erez crossing border with Gaza strip Southern Israel” which we were able to find easily enough.
Here’s an AFP photo of a “Palestinian Christian lady from the Gaza Strip is pushed in a wheelchair through the Erez crossing on December 22, 2011″.
Errors, Omissions and Language: Washington Post Israel Coverage Erodes
Arabs attack Jews, Jews fight back: 'Violence on both sides'
The July 4, 2015 print edition of The Post featured as its lead article in The World section, “Wave of recent attacks sets Israelis on edge; Violence has broken a period of relative calm, and some wonder whether a new confrontation is about to erupt.” Large color photographs illustrated Jerusalem Bureau Chief William Booth's dispatch. The cutlines read:
“Family members mourn during the funeral of Malachi Rosenfeld, who was killed when a gunman fired into a car carrying him and three other young Israelis near a settlement in the West Bank” and “A Palestinian woman grieves for her son, Hamad Romaneen, who was fatally shot after he opened fire on Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in the Jordan Valley.”
According to The Post, there had been “seven major attacks against Israelis in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem over the past two weeks. The pace and mixed style of violence—ambushes, stabbings, drive-by shootings—have broken a months-long period of relative calm and set many on edge.”
The article then adds to a false equivalence implied by the photographs of grieving Jews and Arabs: “There has also been violence from the Israeli side, including the fatal shooting Friday morning of a 17-year-old Palestinian who had thrown rocks at a senior military commander's vehicle.”
“Violence from the Israeli side” has been, as the article's tally of Arab attacks indicates, reactive, security forces against those perpetrating attacks or potentially dangerous assaults. Palestinian aggression has been just that. But cause-and-effect in such cases—Palestinian terrorism sparks Israeli reaction—long has been a Post weakness.
Los Angeles Times Halves Israel's Arab Population
In a film review last week, The Los Angeles Times ("Life in Israel from an Arab's view") understates the percentage of Israel's Arab population by half. The review states: "'A Borrowed Identity' deals with the situation of the roughly 10% of the state of Israel population (1.617 million people, we are told) who are Palestinians."
In fact, Israel's Arab population constitutes just over 20 percent of the country's total population. According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (in Hebrew), as of April 21, 2015, Israel's total population was 8.345 million, of which 1.730 are Arab (20.7 percent).
'Scandalous' Polish Politican Gives Parliamentarians Nazi Salute
In what he claimed was a protest against a German proposal at a meeting of the European Parliament, Polish MP Korwin-Mikke stood up and gave fellow MPs a Nazi salute – and paraphrased the Nazi tribute to Hitler in order to disparage the current German proposal.
The parliamentarians were voting on a proposal by Germany to introduce a single ticketing system for travel across the European Union. Currently, each country is responsible for its own rail, bus, and air ticketing system.
Advocates say the proposal will encourage the use of public transportation, but opponents say that it will damage local economies in less-prosperous European countries.
Speaking to MPs in English, Korwin-Mikke raised his hand in the Nazi salute, telling them that the only thing that seemed to be on the Parliament's agenda was unification. “This time it is ein reich, ein volk, ein ticket,” paraphrasing the Nazi slogan ein volk, ein reich, ein fuhrer (one people, one empire, one leader).
Turkish ‘Great Escape’ Organizer Apologizes for Holocaust-Themed Challenge
The organizer of an interactive ‘Great Escape’ game in Turkey apologized on Tuesday for framing the challenge around a Holocaust theme, which outraged members of the Turkish Jewish community.
The organizer, who withheld his name, told The Algemeiner he did not realize his “terrible mistake” when he framed the escape-the-room challenge around Jewish prisoners of World War II.
But the offensive nature of his game — in which participants in the northwestern Turkish city of Bursa had to solve a series of riddles in order to escape SS guards and being “turned into soap” — came to his attention after the Turkish Salom newspaper reported on a picture he posted following a test-run of five participants.
The picture featured three challengers smiling and posing in the uniform of Jewish concentration camp prisoners.
Croatia urges UEFA not to ban soccer team over on-field swastika
Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic on Wednesday pleaded with UEFA not to expel his country from the European Championships because of a swastika scrawled on the pitch during a game last month.
Milanovic wrote to UEFA president Michel Platini saying he was “worried over the fate of the Croatia squad from disciplinary proceedings which resulted from a ‘sad incident.'”
UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings for racism against the Croatian Football [soccer] Federation (HNS) over a swastika drawn on the pitch used for Croatia’s 1-1 draw with Italy in a Euro 2016 qualifier on June 12.
The European body is to announce its action on July 16 and Croatians fear an international ban. The team leads qualifying Group H ahead of Italy.
Council of Europe: European Antisemitism Increased ‘Dramatically’ Over Gaza War
Verbal and physical attacks against Jews in Europe increased “dramatically” in 2014 across the continent, the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance said in its annual report released on Thursday.
“In some countries the number of antisemitic attacks more than doubled in 2014 compared to the previous year,” said the report.
The ECARI — which functions under the Council of Europe — noted an increase in antisemitic trends in Muslim immigrant communities, particularly among the younger generation.
“Tensions rise in the wake of any renewed violence in the Middle East conflict and lead to sweeping generalizations against all Jews,” said the report, pointing to the surge in antisemitism throughout the 2014 Gaza war.
The report also said there was not enough emphasis in public discourse placed on distinguishing between criticism of Israel’s actions and manifestations of antisemitism and hatred of Jews in European countries.
Ralph Nader Targets ‘The Jews’ and Linguistically Hijacks Anti-Semitism
Ralph Nader, the famous crusader against fraud and corruption, believes he has uncovered a horrific new injustice—and the perpetrators are “the Jews.”
“You never avoid using the word anti-Semitism when Arabs and Arab-Americans are discriminated against, are arrested without charges, are exposed to all kinds of swears and bars against employment and all kinds of discrimination that goes on, and that is anti-Semitism. The Semitic race is Arabs and Jews and the Jews do not own the phrase anti-Semitism,” Nader declared at the recent annual convention of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), where he was a featured speaker.
The five-time unconventional U.S. presidential candidate added that “anti-Semitism against Arab-Americans is a serious problem, and of course it’s much more serious around the world.”
Nader, the son of Lebanese immigrants, rose to fame in the mid-1960s with his campaign to expose safety problems in automobiles. His efforts led to stricter regulation of the auto industry and the adoption of many new safety mechanisms. But in leaping into the debate over anti-Semitism, Nader has ventured far from his areas of expertise.
Is the Semitic race “Arabs and Jews,” as Nader asserted? Actually, it’s not. “Semitic” refers to a group of Middle Eastern languages. There’s no such thing as a “Semitic race.”
Wiesenthal Center slams Ukrainian Holocaust bill
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has criticized legislation proposed by a Ukrainian Jewish lawmaker to criminalize the denial of both the Holocaust and the Holodomor, claiming that it cheapens the memory of Nazi victims.
The Holodomor refers to a massive famine brought about by the forced collectivization of farms that resulted in the deaths of millions of Ukrainians and is regarded in Ukraine as a genocide planned by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
The proposed law, drafted by MP Oleksandr Feldman – the founder of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee – defines the Holodomor as the “genocide of the Ukrainian people” and the Holocaust as the “genocide of the Jewish people.” The legislation proposes that denial of either be grounds for fines or imprisonment. Repeat offenders or government officials would be punishable by a longer incarceration.
Diplomacy: Shifts happen - India and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Palestinians can no longer count on an Indian vote for every UN resolution they want passed against Israel, with New Delhi abstaining twice over the last few weeks on these types of votes.
India’s left-wing, influential Hindu newspaper ran a story in December under the headline “India may end support to Palestine at UN.” The over-line to the headline read: “Major shift in foreign policy.”
“In what could amount to a tectonic shift in the country’s foreign policy, the Modi government is looking at altering India’s supporting vote for the Palestinian cause at the United Nations to one of abstention,” the story read, referring to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was elected in May 2014.
“Two sources within the government confirmed to The Hindu that the change, which will be a fundamental departure from India’s support to the cause of a Palestinian state, was under consideration,” the report continued.
The story obviously captured the attention of policy-makers in Jerusalem, but there was skepticism.
In fact, it was seen by some as an attempt by certain officials in the Indian government to scuttle the policy – smother it before it was even born – by making it public.
If that was the case, however, the tactic failed.
Chinese firm to pay $90 million for Israeli biopesticide maker
Israel’s Stockton Group, a world leader in the biopesticide business, is being acquired by China’s Hebang Group.
The Chinese firm will pay $90 million for 51% of Stockton’s shares. Hebang’s goal with this investment is to “support Stockton’s growth as a global leader in environmentally friendly biofungicides,” according to the Chinese firm.
Biopesticides are treatments to kill bugs, but in a biologically “sensitive” manner, limiting the use of chemicals. There are various technologies to produce biopesticides, such as using plant extracts to develop organic chemicals that can be applied to plants and crops, along with microbial biopesticides based on using bacteria, fungi and yeast extracted from plants.
However, the field is relatively new, and as of now there are no biopesticides strong enough to handle the entire growth cycle — meaning that, currently, biopesticides are used as an adjunct, not a replacement, for chemical pesticide treatments. However, according to Ziv Tirosh of the Stockton Group, every little bit helps.
Israel-China boost financial protocol by $500 million
Israel and China are expanding by $500 million a protocol that helps to finance Israeli exports to China.
The agreement, signed on Thursday, increases the financing available to $2.6 billion. It comes amid growing business ties between the two countries, as the Israeli government encourages companies to export to the East.
China, Israel's second-largest trading partner by dollar value, is also looking at an expansion in bilateral trade, which reached nearly $9 billion last year.
The agreement "indicates the success of the protocol in opening the Chinese market to Israeli companies," said Israeli Accountant-General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu.
Natalie Portman Says She is ‘Grateful’ for Her Israeli Roots — ‘I Never Questioned My Identity’
Famed actress Natalie Portman said she takes pride in having Israeli roots, in a new cover story for the Harper’s Bazaar‘s August issue.
“Everyone has a very strong, very passionate opinion about it,” she said of her birth country. “But I’m grateful for it. I had so many friends who asked, when we were younger, ‘Who am I? What’s my identity?’ I never questioned my identity.”
The Black Swan star, 34, also said that a mention of her Israeli heritage usually gets people talking about politics. She told the magazine, “If you say, ‘I’m from Sweden,’ everyone says, ‘Cool.’ Then when you say, ‘I’m from Israel!’ everyone wants to have a 10-hour political conversation.”
Portman grew up on Long Island but was born in Jerusalem, where her father was raised. She spent six months last year in Israel filming her first feature as a director, A Tale of Love and Darkness.
The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May and is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Israeli author Amos Oz. It tells the story of Oz’s relationship with his mentally ill mother, played by Portman, and is set in Israel in the years after World War II. Aside from starring in the film, Portman also wrote the screenplay, which is entirely in Hebrew.
Meet the next leader of the Phree world
Compatible with Office, OneNote, EverNote, Acrobat, Google Handwriting Keyboard, ViberChat and similar handwriting-recognition software and apps, Phree promises to free the user of clunky typing interfaces.
“We live in a world of screens that we’ve come to rely on for everything from our work to our personal lives, but oftentimes our imaginations are confined by these same screens,” says Gilad Lederer, co-CEO and cofounder of OTM Technologies. “Phree goes beyond the screen to help your imagination go digital, free of constraints.”
More than $1 million crowdfunded
But wait a sec – do people really want to go back to writing by hand? Do we even remember how?
Apparently the answer is yes, judging by the extraordinary response to a Kickstarter campaign for Phree that hit the $100,000 target in less than 24 hours and ended up raising $1,065,761 by the June 26 deadline.
Phree plugs into a recognized trend that may seem counter-intuitive: As we become ever more digitally connected, we crave a return to handwriting.
Israeli Nature Reserve Director Wins International Award for Wetland Preservation
The director of the Ein Afek Nature Reserve in northern Israel’s Acre Valley wetlands received international recognition recently for her efforts in restoring the man-made wetlands nature reserve. Giselle Hazzan, who is the first Arab woman to become a manger of a nature reserve in Israel, was awarded the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award in June. “We are really proud of this huge achievement, winning the Ramsar Award, which recognizes our many years of hard work,” said Hazzan. “Our team learned a lot through trial and error and we are continuing to learn.”
Since 2002, Hazzan has been working as manager of the Ein Afek Nature Reserve (EANR) and has changed the water management of the reserve for the better through effective management and by promoting new legislation and carefully planned long-term projects. Thanks to Hazzan’s regeneration and conservation efforts, the ecosystem of Ein Afek was transformed as a vital resource.
Hazzan was recognized at the 12th Conference of Parties of the Ramsar Convention, an international gathering which aims to conserve and make wise use of wetlands through international cooperation and through actions on a local and national level. The Convention defines wetlands on a broad scale and includes rivers, lakes, swamps, marshes, wet grasslands, mangroves, coral reefs, tidal flats, human-made sites like fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, among others, in its criteria. “The most successful part is to institute a system based on the wise use of the limited water resources, integrated with the local community, by planning for the long term for the local and national level,” said Hazan in the Ramsar Convention YouTube clip. The Ramsar vision entails development and maintenance of an international network of wetlands which are vital for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life. The award, which was established in 1996, has been given out five times since then. It is named after Ramsar, Iran where in 1971, the Convention was first adopted by 21 participating nations.
Amb. Prosor at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
"We must know where we are, and how far we have come, in order to know how much further we still need to go. Since 2012, Israel has done pioneering work with the OECD to launch a pilot program to develop new and innovative ways to measure well-being and sustainability on a national level, and utilize the data to enable the government to improve lives. People should be our starting point, our motivation, and our inspiration to work together to make this world better for all."

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