Tuesday, August 04, 2015

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Honoring Shira
The murder of 16-year-old Shira Banki at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on Thursday was a terrible tragedy – for her family and friends, and for those who envision an Israel that protects the freedom of all.
Shira succumbed to her wounds on Sunday at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem after a three-day battle for her life. She was stabbed by Yishai Schlissel, a fanatic homophobe who carried out a similar attack at the gay parade in Jerusalem a decade ago, and was just released from prison a few weeks ago.
Shira is survived by her parents and three siblings. Her family decided to donate her organs to save other lives.
The family issued a heart-wrenching statement saying: “Our magical Shira was murdered because she was a happy 16-year-old – full of life and love – who came to express her support for her friends’ rights to live as they choose. For no good reason, and because of evil, stupidity and negligence, the life of our beautiful flower was cut short. Bad things happen to good people, and a very bad thing happened to our amazing girl. The family expresses hope for less hatred and more tolerance.”
Shira represented the very finest of Israeli society.
According to her family and friends, she balanced a strong Zionist ethic with the liberal and democratic values of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.
NUT pulls 'one-sided' school books on Palestinians
The National Union of Teachers has “temporarily” pulled a new educational resource which aimed to “illustrate the daily struggles experienced by Palestinian children”, following public outcry that it was one-sided and unbalanced.
In a statement on Tuesday the union said: “The NUT and Edukid are temporarily withdrawing the jointly developed 'My Name is Saleh' teaching resources, which examine the situation of a Palestinian child through the framework of the UN Rights of the Child.
“The NUT remains confident in the materials, but we are always prepared to consider any concerns about publications we have any involvement with.
“Legitimate support of the United Nations’ definition of the rights of the child are something that we will of course uphold.”
The resource immediately drew criticism, with the Board of Deputies expressing concern that “the literature presents a one-sided and partisan view in contravention of legislation, which encourages political education in schools, but is required to be balanced”.
The resource was reported to both the Charities Commission, which said it was investigating the matter, and the Department for Education.
A DfE spokesperson said: “The law is crystal clear that all political discussions in school should be unbiased and balanced. Teachers should only use teaching materials which are suitable for their children and we trust them to decide which resources to use in their lessons.”
Obama admin mulling intervention in massive judgment against Palestinians in terror case
The Obama administration has signaled it may intervene next week in a civil lawsuit in which 11 American families won a potential billion-dollar judgment from the Palestinian leadership over a series of bombings and shootings that killed or wounded dozens of U.S. citizens, a move that critics say would find the government siding with terrorists over its own citizens.
The families won a $218.5 million judgment in February after a seven-week trial in Manhattan Federal Court in which a jury found the Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority were responsible for a string of attacks from 2001 to 2004 that killed 33 and injured hundreds. A 1992 law that requires damages in such cases to be tripled, as well as interest on the award, would push it to as much as $1.1 billion. The judgment, which the Palestinians are appealing, would equal nearly a third of the Palestinian Authority’s annual operating budget.
Late last month, the Department of Justice, which had previously not been involved in the 11-year-old case, informed the court it was considering filing a “statement of interest” in the case by Aug. 10, but officials would not elaborate. A source said the Department of Justice was working with the State Department on the matter.
“As the filing states, the United States is considering whether to submit a Statement of Interest in the [Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization] matter,” a DOJ spokeswoman told FoxNews.com. “Any filing would be made on behalf of the United States, not on behalf of any other party.”



The Strange World of Max Blumenthal and the BDS Movement
Blumenthal finally raises his fist in the air and shouts, “BDS”, whereupon the whole room goes wild with cheering, shouting and applause, reminiscent of the “Sieg Heils” heard at Nuremberg rallies in the 1930s. At this point, I decide it’s pointless waiting for the Q&A. The Palestine thought police will not let me ask any questions anyway. As I leave, I hear sarcastic chants of “Shabbas, shabbas”. It is Friday night, the start of the Sabbath. I am not Jewish.
Max Blumenthal is very dangerous. He is nothing but a puppet of the BDS movement, who are backed by Islamist interest groups at war with both Israel and the West. Supporting BDS, Blumenthal is not supporting the welfare of the Palestinian Arabs; he is supporting Islamic supremacists in the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the PLO and Fatah. The Israeli Arabs have more freedom than Arabs in the surrounding Muslim states. Most of them do not want to live in a totalitariam Palestinian state, which is what is on offer from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Many Arabs in Gaza too are suffering under the Islamist rule of Hamas. Not every Palestinian Arab is an Islamist. A small minority are Christians. Even though many Christian Arabs dislike Israel, they know that they are better off than Christians in the Muslim world, where persecution and genocide is being perpetrated by Muslim rulers.
When talking about Israel, Blumenthal always says “across Palestine”, as if Israel is completely illegitimate. He is trying to destroy Israel and replace it with a Muslim-majority state. When he supports the terrorists of Hamas and the PLO, Max Blumenthal is just another grave-digger of Western civilization and a traitor to the cause of freedom. (h/t Cliff)
IsraellyCool: A Taste of “Concentration Camp” Gaza: Blue Beach Resort
Inspired by the Gaza mall photos, I have featured on this blog various facilities from Gaza, with the aim of providing readers with a glimpse into the real Gaza, which is anything but a concentration camp as some claim.
My point is not that there is no hardship in Gaza, but rather that the situation is a far cry from what is being presented by the palestinians, their supporters and the mainstream media.
Introducing Gaza’s Blue Beach Resort.
From the website:
These distinctive Chalets of Blue Beach is more than just a stunning landmark: it’s the one and only fully-facilitated and luxurious chalets within the Gaza Strip.
With its elegant interiors, spacious landscapes, entertaining outdoors and indoors facilities and its special selection of Eastern and Western restaurants and coffee shops; The Chalets symbolizes the ideal escape for individuals and families from the busy and hectic lifestyles.
The Judean People's Front: The Many Myths of Jerusalem: Part 5
Myth Number 5: Jewish-Only Areas of Jerusalem
This myth is incredibly persistent because the media continues to give it air. We've already tackled this briefly in our response to Noura Erakat's libelous preface to the BDS Handbook but something caught our eye today in an article by Reuters:
More Palestinians, albeit in small numbers, have also been moving into predominantly Jewish neighborhoods and even settlements on occupied land.
While it is heartening to see a major news outlet finally admit that there are no "Jewish-only" areas in Jerusalem (or anywhere in Israel for that matter) it is unfortunate they still do so in such a stilted and anti-Israel way. It labels all of eastern Jerusalem occupied land and calls any Jewish neighborhood there a settlement despite the fact that it has previously been agreed that many if not all would remain as part of Israel under a two-state solution. Yet it does not label the newly Israeli Palestinians who live there as "settlers" nor the Israeli-Arabs who move there as such either. For Reuters, the only time an Israeli moving to eastern Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria is a problem is when that Israeli is also Jewish.
This fact was clearly visible earlier this year when Mohammed Said Ismail Musallam, an Israeli Arab, was killed by ISIS after traveling to its territory to join the group. ISIS accused him of being an Israeli spy and the reports about his execution all highlighted the fact that he was Israeli, Arab and lived in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem. This neighborhood has a Jewish majority but many Arab residents as well. Had Musallam been a Jew, the media would have been quick to point out that he was an "illegal settler," but since he was Arab, this was completely ignored.
Arabs can and do live in any area of Jerusalem. Not only has there never been a law restricting where Arabs can settle but it is expressly illegal to prevent someone from moving somewhere based on their religion or ethnicity.
Edgar Davidson: EE censors and blocks pro-Israel sites - no restriction on vicious anti-Israel sites
I have discovered that the EE network in the UK is censoring pro-Israel websites and blogs, including my own. If you are using 3G or 4G on your mobile phone with the default settings and try to connect to such a website you get the Content Lock screen above warning that the site is not suitable for people under 18. Only by providing a credit card or changing your account settings can you get round this.
Just in case anybody thinks this has nothing to do with Israel or antisemitism please note the following:
While my pro-Israel blog is blocked, my 'twin alternative' Free Palestine Now blog - which has exactly the same owner and account - is not blocked. Although it has managed to fool plenty of antisemites and anti-Israel fanatics (including, incidentally, many from the Palestine Solidarity Committee) Free Palestine Now is actually a satirical blog that pumps out ludicrous antisemitic conspiracy theories and Israel hatred in the spirit of 'real' anti-Israel websites. EE certainly do not know it is a spoof (they would censor it otherwise) - it is presumably classified as either 'pro-Palestine' or 'anti-Israel' which is OK in their eyes. I could find not a single anti-Israel site (no matter how inflammatory, including things like Electronic Intifada and all the sites dedicated to the boycott and demonisation of Israel) that was censored by EE.
Yet, other popular pro-Israel sites that are censored by EE include:
IsraellyCool
Daphne Anson
Israpundit
Exposé: Jewish Foundations That Fund Boycotts of Israel
Funding those who boycott Israel, therefore, is clearly unacceptable for The Jewish Communal Fund – and instead of hiring PR people, they should stop funding boycotters. The uber wealthy in America create foundations through which they give to charities - from yeshivas to community centers, healthcare organizations to childrens projects – but nothing can justify their donating to organizations that support a boycott of the State of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said that those who fund boycotts against Israel must be exposed. As Netanyahu explained, “We must not cave into the pressure, expose the lies and attack the attackers.” Netanyahu is right.
Buried in the tax-returns of numerous foundations is funding for organizations that support boycotts of Israel – and they must be exposed. The Jewish Communal Fund, as well as foundations including The Lopatin Family Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, The Russell Berrie Foundation, J.S. & S. Michaan Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation, Leichtag Foundation, David Hochberg Foundation must stop giving millions to help organizations like the NIF and Jewish Voice for Peace damage Israel.
Harvard professor Ruth Wisse rightfully has noted that, “the rapid demoralization of Jews in the face of anti-Zionism… shows the depth of the influence of the past, for many have yet to achieve the simple self-respect that has been eluding the Jews collectively since the dawn of modernity.”
Reject the extremist foundations who fund boycotts of Israel.
Unless the foundations themselves change their donating patterns.
From South Africa to Zion
"I am a Zionist. I am a Zionist because I understand that we Africans ‎share a tragic history with the Jews. As they have lived through the ‎Holocaust, we have lived through slavery. They have triumphed against ‎all odds, and so shall we. "‎
His name is Justice. A year ago, he was a leader in the South ‎African boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which made headlines across the world for its ‎aggressive tactics, including the University of Johannesburg ‎academic boycott, the massive boycott campaign against Woolworths ‎department store, the South African Artists Against Apartheid cultural ‎boycott campaign, and the annual Israel Apartheid Week.‎
In 2013, members of BDS South Africa stormed a concert featuring the Israeli jazz saxophonist Daniel ‎Zamir at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. While the activists claimed it was an "anti-Zionist" action, some ‎of its participants began chanting the slogan "Shoot the Jew" ("Dubula e ‎Juda" in Zulu), based on a protest song sung in the 1980s against white ‎oppressors in the apartheid regime. When questioned, Muhammed ‎Desai, coordinator of the protest and leader of BDS South Africa, said the protesters did not mean the slogan literally.
South African BDS activists set sites on US pop superstar Pharrell
Concerts scheduled by US pop star Pharrell Williams in South Africa next month face disruptions from pro-Palestine protesters over a promotional deal he has with major retailer Woolworths, which has trade ties with Israel.
The Grammy award-winning producer and performer has been targeted by the South African branch of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) movement. It objects to Israel's 48-year-old occupation of territories where Palestinians seek an independent state.
Williams is collaborating with Woolworths on its "Are You With Us" campaign, acting as style director on several sustainability-focused projects encompassing fashion and fundraising for education.
"He is about to face the biggest backlash any artist has faced in South Africa in over 30 years, since the days of apartheid," said Braam Hanekom, a BDS South Africa board member.
"He is walking into a very angry, unhappy environment because he has chosen to walk with Woolworths," Hanekom told Reuters after the City of Cape Town denied an application by thousands to protest at Pharrell's first concert on Sept. 21.
He said protesters could block roads on concert nights, potentially delaying proceedings, or even rally inside venues.
We Heard 'Em Say: Kanye West to perform in Israel
American rap superstar Kanye West apparently liked Israel so much on his lightning visit here in April with his celebrity wife Kim Kardashian, he’s decided to reward his Israeli fans with a show.
Just a week after fellow A-lister Mariah Carey announced her first Israeli concert this month following a recent vacation here, flamboyant hip hop giant West has added his name to the list of performers who are making 2015 one of the more star-studded concert seasons in recent Israeli history.
West, one of the most successful American artists and producers of the past decade, will be appearing on September 30 at Ramat Gan Stadium, promoters from Bell Entertainment and Bookmark Entertainment announced at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Tickets for the show will range from NIS 199 to NIS 650 and go on sale Wednesday.
Local man charged for holding pro-Israel rally in Warsaw

Tadeusz Markiewicz, a Polish former Haifa University student, has been indicted in Poland for organizing a pro-Israel rally in front of the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw during Operation Protective Edge last summer.
Polish authorities ruled that the demonstration, attended by several dozen people, was illegal. It was organized as a counter-protest to a pro-Palestinian rally taking place at the same time.
A court hearing will be held within the next month, at which Piotr Kadlcik, the president of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, will testify. Kadlcik was among those who took part in the demonstration.
If convicted, Markiewicz is expected to fined a sum equivalent to around $800.
Markiewicz, an active member of the Jewish community in Poland, said, "The pro-Palestinian demonstration was violent and some of its participants made anti-Semitic remarks, such as, 'We'll make soap out of you.' The problem is that our rally lasted longer than police had authorized and I, as the organizer, am being held responsible for this.
BDS @ 10
A few people have asked about the whole 10-year-anniversary meme the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions “movement” has been trying to foist on the media this year.
Unlike the few media outlets that allowed themselves to be led to this narrative, most readers of this blog understand that BDS was born not in 2005 (a birthday that allows the BDSers to attach their project to a “call from Palestinian civil society” – giving it the illusion of grassroots origins) but to the 2001 Durban I Conference that turned the fight against global racism to a fight for bigotry directed at the Jewish state and people.
The notion that “Palestinian civil society” rose up in all its civil societiness and demanded that its economic fate be put into the hands of Omar Barghouti is risible enough. But if BDS was breach-birthed at an international conference led by state actors (as well as NGOs long-corrupted by state actors), this would mean the “movement” represents just the kind of offspring you’d expect if racism mated with state power (which is not the parentage the BDSers would like anyone to consider).
Given that the boycotters are happy to lie about their very origins, is it any wonder that their celebratory communication of this alleged anniversary is also filled with countless fabrications they’ve been spreading around for years?
For example, one correspondent sent me a link to this page that is shooting off verbal fireworks regarding the 100 (count them 100!!!!!) victories of the BDS movement.
One-hundred is one of those numbers people use to establish a narrative of momentum and success. For if it only requires three points to establish a trend in people’s heads (which is why those “three guys walk into a bar jokes are so funny, since they begin to establish this trend in our minds, but then break the pattern just when we’d expect it to be confirmed), 100 examples is supposed to imply that a trend is so well established that double digits will no longer contain it.
Whataboutism
In fact, one could make the case that the entire Arab war against Israel represents whataboutism on an industrial scale never before seen in human history. For – as is playing out today in a Middle East aflame – the problems of the region have always been about the dysfunctional government, fanatical politics and instability that characterizes virtually every nation in the Middle East save Israel, embodied in states which are by any measure the world’s worst human rights abusers.
But bring any of this up and you’re sure to be met with a photo of a dead Gaza child (or, just as likely, a photo of a dead Syrian being laundered as a Palestinian) or loud demands that we talk about the latest bathroom addition to an apartment in Gilo – anything but the human rights catastrophe that characterizes those nations that have been at the forefront – and are thus the de facto partners – of the propaganda war current traveling under the name of BDS.
Going further, the transformation of the United Nations and virtually every organization and entity created for fight for human rights across the planet into weapons directed at the Jewish state (the latest casualty being the International Criminal Court) is meant to ensure that whataboutism never needs to be invoked by Israel’s foes since a refusal to look at the vast crimes of Israel’s enemies is now hard wired into the system.
Back in the 1980s, someone toted up million+ people killed in the Middle East since 1948 who died in wars and other violent acts that had zero to do with Israel’s existence or continuation. And it would not surprise me if contemporary calculations brought that number well above the two-million mark. Which leaves us at the question anyone genuinely interested in human rights should be asking: whataboutthem?
Why a Major U.S. Church Chose Hate over Peace
The boycott-Israel movement is built on the principle of rejection of a peaceful solution to the conflict. So why would a big church want any part of it?
In late June, the United Church of Christ held its 30th General Synod in Cleveland. At the conclusion of a small news conference during the event, UCC Board Chair Rev. Dr. Bernard Wilson remarked, “One should never underestimate the power of words.” This sentiment was particularly significant on an afternoon that saw the UCC vote to boycott and divest from companies that allegedly profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
The UCC’s divestment resolution, titled “Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” exemplified Wilson’s advice. It expressed hopes for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, underlined the responsibility of the church to promote regional peace, and wrote movingly of Palestinian courage, suffering, and despair. Yet while these words formed the backbone of the resolution, it was the omission of others that ultimately secured its overwhelming victory at the General Synod: The UCC’s call for a “Just Peace” completely excluded the Israeli point of view.
In fact, the resolution and the discussion leading up to it were overwhelmingly partisan and hostile toward Israel. In this, they reflected the efforts of various anti-Israel groups working to demonize, isolate, and ultimately destroy the Jewish state through political and economic warfare. These networks are particularly influential in mainline Protestant churches like the UCC, and so the pro-Israel community must begin to proactively challenge these groups, and help Christian allies fight them, before they gain more momentum in American churches and beyond.
Vårt Land editorial: Boycott not helpful; Norwegian Consumers: we love to buy Israeli goods
Google Translate
In the last few years years there there were several calls to boycott Israeli goods, but numbers from Statistics Norway (SSB) show that the calls fell on deaf ears:
• In 2000, Norway bought goods from Israel for nearly 475 million.
• In 2014 we imported goods for 875 million.
Had to give up
A few months after the Social Left leader r Kristin Halvorsen became finance minister in the its Red Green government in 2005, she encouraged a boycott of Israeli goods. Israel reacted strongly to that a Norwegian government minister asked for a boycott – and already the day after Halvorsen had to back track on her call for boycott.
One year into before, the socialists reacted with fury when they were served oranges from Israel at their annual congress in Kristiansand. One of the delegates discovered a Jaffa brand on the oranges and hotel staff had to carry out the fruit and buy new oranges for the socialists, who boycott Israeli goods.
Stronger support
The statistics for 2013 and 2014 shows that, even if imports from Israel to Norway grown,some products are declining; fruit and vegetables. This reduction, which is 8 million, is being offset by strong growth in imports by other types of products, in particular technology.
Evil Church of Norway priests and bishops want to punish Israel more
Although I no longer am surprised by the extraordinary venom that is spewed against Israel by Church of Norway clergy ( a good few number of them are actively involved in BDS activities, and a small number dont feel ashamed to appear alongside well known sponsors of terrorists whom they invite to “dialogue meetings in Norway, however without inviting even one Israeli)
I have written about the hateful priest at Svalbard, and it seems the rotten summer in Norway has further addled his brain and he’s busy at it again, demanding full boycott of Israel, without – obviously – making even one tiny little mention of the almost weekly terror attacks perpetrated against Israelis here, or even reflecting how his hate filled drivel helps fuel anti-Semitism in Norway.
Honest Reporting PodCast: Radio: Cecil the Lion and Saeb Erekat
Yarden discusses the murderous attacks on participants in the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade and an Arab family. Are these the acts of a select few or the product of a “culture of hate?” AP reports Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat’s condemnation of Israel, without investigating whether there is truth to what he says. It’s an example of the media reporting the narratives they want.
The figures behind the BBC’s claim of a ‘secular majority’ in Jerusalem
According to information published on May 13th 2015 by the Central Bureau of Statistics and pertaining to the years 2013-14:Catharina Moh report
“Among the Jews in Jerusalem, 35% identify themselves as Orthodox, 18% identify themselves as religious, 12% as traditional-religious, 14% as not so religious and 20% as secular.”
The Jewish residents of Jerusalem make up 63% of the city’s total population. There is no information available in that fact sheet regarding the self-identification of the city’s 37% Muslim and Christian Arab population but obviously a significant proportion would have to identify as non-religious for the city to be accurately described as having a “secular majority”.
The BBC’s claim of a “secular majority” in Jerusalem would therefore appear to be unfounded and inaccurate.
Israels ambassador tears into Norwegian media
One year ago, after the fighting finally subsided, came parts of the Norwegian press, mainly NRK, with an important concession: Their coverage of the conflict in summer 2014 between Israel and Hamas had been unbalanced.
The Broadcasting Council criticized NRK partly deficient background info and context, that coverage is insufficiently “shed a critical light on Hamas ‘role’, and that was not good enough” at distinguishing propaganda from documented information ". The Broadcasting Council admonished the NRK to “become better at distinguishing between reporting and comment»
Unfortunately it seems today, one year later, as if the conclusion and the advice from last year has been forgotten and that little has been learned. A significant number of articles, executives and feature articles have recently been published to mark the one year since the operation "Protective Edge” began. It almost all had in common was the same professional failure who also was present at last year’s coverage, namely a one-sided and uncritical approach.
No mention of Israeli suffering
The stories referred almost exclusively to Palestinian suffering, without even mentioning the suffering of tens of thousands of Israelis traumatized by daily rocket attacks. It was the complete absence of context, no cause and effect – as if Israel used fire for no reason, and not in legitimate defense.
Bloomberg Corrects Reference to Gaza as "Occupied"
The original caption stated,
Residential apartment blocks and commercial buildings stand on the skyline in Gaza City, Palestinian Occupied Territories, on Thursday, June 25, 2015.
The caption now reads,
Residential apartment blocks and commercial buildings stand on the skyline in Gaza City on Thursday, June 25, 2015.
The following correction is appended to the article:
A photo caption on an earlier version of this story identified Gaza City as a part of the occupied Palestinian territories without attributing it to the United Nations. Israel, which pulled out of the strip in 2005, rejects this characterization.
British-Jewish Lord’s Antisemitic Twitter Troll Ordered to Pay Compensation
A U.K. court ordered a teenager to pay compensation to British-Jewish businessman Lord Alan Sugar for directing an anti-Jewish Twitter comment at Sugar back in January, the local Jewish Chronicle reported on Friday.
The 17-year-old, whose name could not be revealed for legal reasons, called the television personality an “old Jewish c***”, The Algemeiner previously reported.
Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday ordered the boy to pay £100 in compensation ($109) and £85 ($93) in costs and instructed him to complete an eight month referral to a youth offender panel. The teen from Lancashire admitted posting the offensive tweet.
German Neo-Nazi Joins European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee
Even worse, at the beginning of July, German neo-Nazi politician Udo Voigt, 55, joined the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.
The move drew an outraged reaction from European Jewry and a pledge from the parliament’s president to oppose him, EurActiv.com reported. But he is still there.
The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee is responsible for the protection of citizens’ rights, human rights and measures to combat discrimination.
Udo Voigt, 55, is the former leader of the National Democratic Party of Germany, classified by German intelligence as a far-right extremist party.
Lawmakers are currently engaged in a legal battle before the German courts in an attempt to have the party banned on the grounds that its ideology is identical to that of Adolf Hitler.
Voigt has openly stated his praise for Hitler on the record; he even was convicted in 2009 for glorifying the Waffen SS. He is the son of a former Wehrmacht officer who tried to nominate Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. Voigt himself once claimed “no more than 340,000 Jews” died in the Holocaust.
Wiesenthal Center calls on Germany to condemn 'Jew baiting' at Maccabi games
The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Monday called on German Justice Minister Heiko Maas to condemn outbreaks of anti-Semitism at the Maccabi Games.
In a letter to the minister, Dr. Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for international relations, protested what he called “the Jew-baiting of Maccabi athletes at the Berlin Games.” He praised Maas for “welcoming the Maccabi Games to Berlin as a gift that Germany, after the Holocaust, did not deserve.”
Although German President Joachim Gauck has said that he is “very moved that the Maccabi Games had chosen Berlin,”in his letter to Mass, Samuels wrote that “apparently, not everyone shared those sentiments [of the President].”
Samuels cited three examples of the “Jew baiting” being faced by the athletes: “anti-Semitic taunting, reportedly by German Muslims of Maccabi athletes at the Hotel Estrel, which hosted several of the teams; neo-Nazi threats against them on the Internet; a leftist journalist, Silke Burmester, deprecated the athletes.”
Lithuania’s Hunt for Jewish “War Criminals” Who Fought against the Nazis
If Lithuanian prosecutors were interested in impartial justice, they would be investigating war criminals of all ethnicities and holding trials with firm rules of evidence in which the accused could defend themselves in open court on the basis of an alibi or a claim of self-defense. The real point of the investigations of Jewish partisans is to overturn the narrative that the anti-Nazi partisans were fighting on the right side of the war. At the extremes, this is to claim that, in post-Cold War hindsight, the Nazis were the right side—at least for Lithuanians. Even in the softer version that is taught to Lithuanian schoolchildren, it claims that was there was no right side. Swastika equals hammer plus sickle.
Prejudice and conspiracy theories are often born of a desire to blame others for one’s own faults or bad luck. Spending time in Lithuania, I came to comprehend the nation’s urge for its current condition to be someone else’s fault. While similarly situated countries like Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Poland have leapt ahead socially, politically, and economically since the end of the Cold War, Lithuania lags. Even a college education guarantees little; the maximum salary for a secondary school teacher is under $8,000 a year. With the exception of a few choice parts of central Vilnius, Lithuania still looks like a post-Soviet backwater of crumbling slab apartments. The shiny fast-food restaurants, supermarkets, and chain stores that occasionally enliven some of the old storefronts are less signs that Lithuania has joined Europe than reminders that a prosperous continent lies just beyond the nation’s borders. For Lithuanians, the main benefit of EU membership has been the freedom to leave the country; tens of thousands of Lithuanians now work in the more successful countries to its west. Those who remain are often underemployed. Since 1991, the chief guide at the Museum of Genocide Victims told me, 700,000 people have left the country seeking greater opportunities in the West. “In a country of 3 million people,” he asserted, “that is a genocide.”
Triple treatment could keep lung cancer from coming back
Lung cancer patients know that the statistics for a full recovery are not in their favor, but new research coming out of Israel could alter these grim figures. According to the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Prof. Yosef Yarden, an innovative strategy involving a three-pronged approach might keep an aggressive form of lung cancer at bay.
Yarden and his lab staff showed on mouse models that their approach stops lung cancer cells from developing resistance to chemotherapy.
Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death worldwide (for men and women) and is responsible for some 1.59 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization.
While cancer recurrence is always a worry for anyone who has finished treatment of the disease, studies have shown that if lung cancer returns there is almost no chance of the tumor ever being cured, according to the American Cancer Society. Add to that the knowledge that the recurring cancer is often resistant to the chemotherapy and other drugs that originally drove it into remission.
Melanoma cure may be within reach, Tel Aviv U study shows
Melanoma is unlike other cancers in that it doesn’t start out as the result of mutated, invasive cells that form within the body, but rather is caused by external factors that cause changes in skin cells and only later turns into a killer cancer. That change generally takes place when mutated melanoma cells remain untreated on the skin surface (the epidermis) and later sink down to the dermis, from where melanoma-affected cells can spread to the rest of the body, turning from benign growths on the skin to aggressive, metastasizing invasive cancer cells.
How this transformation takes place has long been a mystery to researchers, but in a new study published this month in the journal Molecular Cell, Levy and her team at the Department of Human Genetics and Biochemistry at TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine, along with researchers from the Technion, Sheba Medical Center, the Institut Gustave Roussy, and Hebrew University pinpointed the precise place in the process where “traveling” melanoma-affected cells turns lethal.
Now that the transformation pivot has been identified, she said, researchers will be able to develop interventions that stop melanoma in its tracks before it gets to the dermis and the adjacent subcutaneous tissues.
“To understand melanoma, I had to obtain a deep understanding about the structure and function of normal skin,” said Levy. “Before invading the dermis, melanoma cells surprisingly extend upward, then switch directions to invade.
“It occurred to me that there had to be a trigger in the microenvironment of the skin that made the melanoma cells ‘invasive,’” Levy continued. “Using the evolutionary logic of the tumor, why spend the energy going up when you can just use your energy to go down and become malignant?”
Tel Aviv chosen as one of best 25 cities for foodies in the world
One of the best parts about travelling is getting to indulge in regional delicacies from around the world.
We combed through a recent Quora thread on the best cities for foodies, and pulled out the top food cities where you’ll everything from high-end Michelin-starred restaurants to scrumptious street food.
From Tokyo, which is home to the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, to Tel Aviv, where meals come with an array of fresh salads and appetizers, here are 25 cities that any foodie should cross off their bucket list.
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL: In Tel Aviv, Israel, most eateries are farm to table with locally grown, fresh produce and vegetables. The city also hosts a cafe culture, where it's not uncommon to sit in an open-air restaurant for long hours while you sample small bowls of creamy labneh, hummus, flatbreads, pickled onions, and roasted red peppers all before indulging in your main entrée.
It's All About Amba!
Hummus is quickly gaining popularity in America, with sales totaling about $800 million in 2012, nearly 50 times higher than 2006. As hummus skyrockets in popularity, fans of Middle Eastern food are rejoicing at its ubiquity. Years ago, the only place to enjoy hummus was at a Mediterranean restaurant, but today we can find it everywhere. However, there’s another Israeli product that has yet to make the jump from the Middle East to the United States, and that is amba.
Amba is a spicy, sour mango condiment whose origins lie in an Iraqi version of an Indian food, and has now become a staple of Israeli street fare. While other Israeli foods, from hummus to falafel to shwarma, can be found in America, amba remains virtually unknown here, even to American Middle Easterners. In fact, I called over a dozen Mediterranean restaurants and specialty stores in the DC area, and only one carried amba—most had no idea what it was.
My family had never heard of amba either, until we travelled to Israel several years ago. One night, we stopped for a late dinner at a shwarma stand in Tiberias. I noticed a squeeze bottle containing a dark yellow condiment. It wasn’t tahini, which is usually found in those bottles. So I asked about it. The guy behind the counter, exasperated at my apparent cultural ignorance, told me it was amba, an Iraqi mango sauce. I smelled it and was immediately skeptical of the “mango” claim. The scent was pungent and sharp, unlike anything I would remotely want to consume. But I tried it anyway. I squirted some on a corner of my shwarma and took a bite. Its sourness caught me off-guard. The taste reminded me as much of mangoes as ketchup does of tomatoes.
Israeli Archaeologists Find Remnants of Gath, Home of Goliath the Giant
Israeli archaeologists at Bar-Ilan University have discovered an entrance gate and other remnants of the Philistine city of Gath, which was mentioned in the bible as the home of the giant Goliath, who fought and lost against the man who later became King David.
Professor Aren Maeir and his colleagues conducted the excavations in the Tel Zafit national park, which is located between Ashkelon and Jerusalem. Gath was destroyed in 830 BCE by Hazael, the king of Damascus.
The gate is the largest of its kind to be discovered in Israel, according to Maeir, who said that fact substantiates the theory that Gath was once a very influential city.
Other items discovered in the same excavation included a temple, an iron production facility, and other buildings.
Israeli-British project makes Hebrew texts available online
One of the oldest surviving Hebrew manuscripts, a bible dating back more than 1,000 years, will soon be available online in a joint project with The British Library in London, the National Library of Israel said Monday.
Aviad Stollman, the library’s chief of collections, said the Gaster Bible would go online as part of a project to digitize all of the 3,200 rare Hebrew manuscripts at The British Library.
The National Library of Israel has partnered with the British Library in London to digitize its entire Hebrew manuscript collection, considered one of the largest and most significant in the world.
Most of the manuscripts date back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance era and include rare texts of Hebrew literature, prayer books, bibles, Talmud or biblical commentary, as well as texts on the Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.
The project is part of the Israeli library’s million-dollar global initiative to digitize and disseminate online tens of thousands of rare Hebrew manuscripts currently dispersed between hundreds of collections worldwide. The library has also partnered with libraries in other countries with significant Hebrew manuscript collections, such as Germany and Russia.
An aerial view of Masada
Amazing Aerial View of Masada (4k) - Drone Cinematography by Jeffrey Worthington
It was an honor to be allowed to film over such a historic place as Masada! Flying solo operating the drone and the camera was a challenge in the wind but it paid off. I’m grateful to the Israeli Nation Park Service for the opportunity to film over some of Israel’s most precious archaeological treasures!


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 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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