Thursday, September 03, 2015

From Ian:

On way out of West Bank, SodaStream CEO blasts BDS as anti-Semitic
With two weeks to go before it clears out its controversial factory in Ma'aleh Adumin in favor of one in the Negev desert, Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum on Thursday skewered the BDS movement as anti-semitic.
"It's propaganda, it's politics, it's hate, it's anti-Semitism. It’s all the bad stuff we don’t want to be part of," Birnbaum said.
The SodaStream factory has been a central target for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, which claimed the decision to move out of the West Bank settlement as a major victory. Birnbaum, however, said that the decision was strictly business. Moreover, he said that the factory's presence in the West Bank was good for Palestinians.
“Sodastream should have been encouraged in the West Bank by the BDS, if they truly cared about the Palestinian people. Because we were the most advanced, technological and largest factory in the West Bank, period. We were the largest private employer of Palestinians in the world, period. How can you fight that? How can you argue that's bad for the Palestinians?”
Birnbaum went on to say that he had offered to pay taxes to the Palestinian Authority, but that Palestinian economy minister would not even take a phone call with him.
So, you think BDSers would end their campaign if Israel left the West Bank? Think again.
First, they evidently have no real interest in improving the lives and economic conditions of actual Palestinians.
As Peter Beaumont pointed out in his report on the SodaStream move (SodaStream leaves West Bank as CEO says boycott antisemitic and pointless, Sept. 3), hundreds of Palestinians may lose their jobs due to the closure of the plant in Mishor Adumim.
SodaStream said it employed up to 600 Palestinians there, and had sought to transfer their jobs to the Israeli plant. But Birnbaum said Israel had granted only 130 work permits so far due to security issues and many likely would lose their jobs.
Ali Jafar, a shift manager from a West Bank village who has worked for SodaStream for two years, said: “All the people who wanted to close [SodaStream’s West Bank factory] are mistaken. … They didn’t take into consideration the families.”

Second, contrary to claims of movement leaders, like Omar Barghouti, they clearly don’t ‘merely’ want Israel to withdraw back to 1949 boundaries and an “end discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel”. The Guardian report notes the following response by Barghouti to news that the West Bank SodaStream factory is closing:
“This is a clear-cut BDS victory against an odiously complicit Israeli company,” said Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the movement. He said it would continue to target SodaStream because its new factory is located in an area where Israel has in the past proposed to resettle Bedouin Arabs. The company employs more than 300 Bedouins.
To recap: One of the most prolific BDS leaders acknowledged that his movement will continue boycotting the fizzy drink maker, despite the fact that their new plant is within Israel proper and employs hundreds of Bedouin citizens of Israel. As with Palestinians at the old plant in the West Bank, it’s clear that BDSers have no moral concerns over the potential loss of hundreds of Arab Israeli jobs if the new plant near Rahat would similarly close.
Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR
The UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, is currently staffed with 8600 people handling 34 million refugees from 125 countries. The number of refugees continues to swell each day and hundreds of others die before they even reach safety. In 2014 alone, an estimated 2900 refugees died in transit. In 2014, UNHCR estimates that it will assist over 41 million people. Its biennial budget is $5.3 billion.
The Swell and Permanence of UNRWA
Meanwhile, the UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, has continued to stretch its “temporary” existence for 66 years. This distinct refugee agency for Palestinians manages virtually no refugees anymore, but instead handles services for 5.4 million children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of people who left Palestine in 1948.
The UNRWA staff stands at 30,000, or 3.5 times the staff that the rest of the world gets for actual refugees. It services only 13% of the people that UNHCR assists.
Unlike the refugees serviced by UNHCR, the Palestinians speak the language and have skills. The UNRWA infrastructure and systems have been established for decades. Yet, the UNRWA biennial budget is over $2 billion, or $370 per person serviced compared to $130 for each UNHCR refugee who needs real and immediate services and infrastructure such as shelters, medical facilities and schools.

EU official at center of police probe after alleged anti-Semitic attack on co-worker
A European Union official is the subject of a probe by Belgian police after he allegedly physically and verbally attacked a co-worker, calling her a "dirty Jewess," during an anti-Semitic diatribe. The Belgian League against anti-Semitism (LBCA) said Thursday that it had filed a complaint against 45-year-old Maltese official Stefan Grech, who is president of an EU labor union called Generation 2004, after the 50-year-old Italian complainant reached out to the organization, providing it with copies of the complaint she filed, as well as testimony from a friend and witness.
The incident dates back to July 16 and occurred at an Italian cafe in Brussels, nearby the EU headquarters. LBCA President Joel Rubinfeld told The Jerusalem Post that the rampage was triggered by the woman's surprise at seeing a man carrying a metal placard engraved with Mussolini's name. She asked him why he was promoting the infamous leader, stating: "Mussolini was still a dictator." This allegedly sparked a slew of anti-Semitic insults, with the man calling the victim a Jew. Though the woman is not actually Jewish, she did not feel obliged to state her religion and simply replied “I could be a Jew.” The man then allegedly took the metal sign and hit her in the face with it, before taking her neck between his hands and attempting to strangle her.
"He was talking about Nazis and Jews," a Spanish friend of the victim told police, "They were racist comments, that was very clear." The man was also allegedly heard saying, "Hitler should have killed all the Jews." Grech’s Facebook page displays a number of anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian posts.
Rubinfeld has further stated that Grech was convicted for the possession and distribution of child pornography in 2002. According to articles by the Times of Malta website written at the time, Grech was sentenced to six months in prison, but the sentence was suspended due to mitigating circumstances. The Times of Malta also said that Grech had been under psychiatric care long before the court case began. (h/t Yenta Press)
Scottish MP Apologizes, Deletes Antisemitic Tweet About Jews ‘Persecuting’ Gazans
A Scottish MP apologized on Wednesday for posting an antisemitic message on Twitter accusing Jews of persecuting civilians in Gaza, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Paul Monaghan, who deleted the offensive tweet when confronted by the U.K. Jewish paper, said he regretted having posted it. He also referred to remarks earlier in the week made by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to Glasgow’s Jewish community that it is unacceptable to use the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as “some kind of justification for attacks on Jewish people.”
“I share the commitment set out earlier this week by the First Minister to the Jewish community,” Monaghan said. “I am sorry for my comments, they were certainly not intended to cause offense and I have removed them to ensure no further upset is caused.”
This was not the first time Monaghan stirred controversy over comments on Twitter. In April 2014, he accused Israel of embarking “on genocide.” Earlier this year, he was criticized for allegedly supporting a pro-SNP racist, who himself posted offensive tweets, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
German politician: Israel’s security fence is worse than communist Berlin Wall
Israeli organizations slammed Green Party Bundestag deputy Uwe Kekeritz on Thursday for claiming that Israel’s security barrier and border system designed to stop Palestinian terrorism is worse than the Berlin Wall.
In comparison with Israel’s borders, the Berlin Wall was “a toy,” Bavarian politician Kekeritz claimed in the course of a nearly four-minute video posted to YouTube in mid-August. He spoke at an anti-Israel event in early June, at “Protestant Church Day” in Stuttgart.
Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the director of its Jerusalem office, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday: “It is obvious that Green MP Uwe Kekeritz learned nothing about the larger picture of Middle East politics and history during his visit to Israel” last year.
“To the best of my knowledge, the Berlin Wall was not built to stop terrorists from committing suicide attacks against West Berlin civilians, rather to prevent East Germans from fleeing to freedom in the West. And the number of people shot by communist authorities far outnumbers any casualties at Israel’s security fence,” Zuroff said.
Honest Reporting in HuffPo: When Criticism of Israel Becomes Anti-Semitism
No country is perfect and it certainly isn't difficult to find imperfections in every country in the world. Indubitably, some countries are more flawed than others. Surely Iran, Cuba and North Korea have more flaws than the United States, Canada and Israel combined.
No country should be beyond legitimate criticism and all should be measured against the same yardstick, but when you single out one country over all others, namely Israel, and hold it to a unique standard and put it on the receiving end of exclusive censure, it's anti-Semitism, plain and simple.
Tyler Levitan's recent Huffington Post commentary overlooks this important fact. Through his support for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and the demonization of Israel, Mr. Levitan either intentionally or unwittingly aligns himself with countries, organizations, individuals and ideologies that seek Israel's destruction.
BDS advocates recently revealed themselves as bigots, hate mongers, and anti-Semites when pressuring the Rototom Sunsplash reggae festival demanding that Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu issue a statement in support of Palestinian statehood, a demand which Matisyahu refused which then saw the organizers cancel his performance. Matisyahu was the only artist at the festival asked to issue such a statement and he was targeted simply because he was Jewish. In fact, his national origin is not even Israel, he's simply an American-Jewish artist, though to discriminate against him even if he were an Israeli would be bad enough, but Matisyahu was targeted simply because of his Jewish faith and because he supports the Jewish state: this is fundamentally anti-Semitic. Only after festival organizers were rebuked for their discriminatory actions, did they re-invite Matisyahu to perform, which he defiantly did in front of thousands (some waving Palestinian flags) where he performed his monumental hit song "Jerusalem."
CAMERA: The Real Holocaust – al Nakba Connection
What’s needed to spark Israeli-Palestinian understanding is a truth and reconciliation commission like those that have tamped down conflicts elsewhere by acknowledging the truth and substituting it for vengeance.
Such a commission would highlight Arab complicity in the Holocaust and Arab self-dispossession. Evidence publicly acknowledged would include:
a) Arab pogroms against Palestinian Jews in the 1920s and ’30s. They helped induce British Mandatory authorities virtually to end Jewish immigration—in violation of the letter and spirit of the mandate. The result was to trap European Jewry on the eve of the Holocaust, ensuring a much greater genocide.
b) Arab rejection, including by Palestinian Arab leadership, of the United Nations’ 1947 partition plan calling for two states, one Arab, one Jewish after the expiration of the British Mandate. This contrary to Israeli leaders’ acceptance of a truncated statelet.
c) Insistence by five Arab countries and Palestinian “irregulars” on war against the new Jewish country in 1948.
d) Arab vows, like that by the Arab League secretary general, of “a momentous war of extermination and a momentous massacre …” Israel’s victory, despite its isolation and numerical inferiority, denied fulfillment of those pledges. Defeat at the hands of the Jews—by religion and culture necessarily a subordinate dhimmi people—was for Arabs, especially Muslims, an enduring psychological trauma.
e) Flight of Arab refugees from what became Israel amounted to a self-imposed consequence of rejection and defeat. Likewise the multi-generational maintenance and growth of a toxic “refugee” class. Contrast this with Israel’s absorption of a larger number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, let alone examples of Germany’s post-war acceptance of many times more Germans from Czechoslovakia and Poland, India’s integration of millions of Hindu from Pakistan and Pakistan’s absorption of millions of Indian Muslims.
Ryan Bellerose: The Sky Is Not Falling: One State Will Not Destroy Israel
First, I need to make sure people understand: I am about to say some things that you won’t like, but think of it like ripping off the bandaid instead of peeling it slowly. You also need to understand, I am not Christian, I ascribe to no apocalyptic theology saying that Israel needs to go boom for the messiah to come or any other such foolishness. I believe Israel has spiritual significance to me insofar as it’s an example to every indigenous people struggling to go home. The Jews have given us the blueprint and I don’t believe most of you even realise what a gift to the world that really is. So my apologies if some of the things I say are not gentle, because I believe you need to hear them.
Israel does not exist in a vaccuum, in fact it exists in a very hostile neighbourhood, nobody will dispute that. Israel often must walk a very fine line or risk an all-out war, nobody will dispute that.
I believe, however, two of what have been Israel’s most intransigent neighbors finally understand that a peaceful, non-expansionist neighbor is far preferable to one who will kill you for not being “Muslim enough”. This changes the dynamics of this entire argument. So let’s look at some facts, not opinions mind you, but facts.
Fact One: Israel has a lawful, legal and moral claim to the ancestral lands of the Jewish people.
JCPA: International Courtship of Hamas Shows that Terror Pays
Hamas has the same ideological outlook as the Islamic State; it, too, aims for the creation of a global Islamic caliphate. Hamas, however, espouses a phased approach that leaves room for diplomatic activity.
The fear of Hamas’ military option, its leader Khaled Mashal believes, spurs international actors to court Hamas and try to bring it into a dialogue process that will restrain it.
The Hamas leadership is pleased with the talks with international emissaries, most recently former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Hamas, assured that the path of terror and violence pays off diplomatically, is raising the bar of its demands in return for a truce in Gaza while continuing to fight Israel in the West Bank.
Netanyahu, Kerry want to restart PA-Israel talks, but why?
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently declared he was ready to resume direct talks with the Palestinians.
“I believe there is a chance and I think it is imperative we have not lost sight of that issue,” Kerry said Wednesday in an interview with MSNBC.
What are we to make of this?
There is only one two-state solution envisaged by Kerry and the world, including AIPAC, and that is the one based on ’67 lines plus swaps and the division of Jerusalem. Nothing else in on the table or in the back rooms.
When Netanyahu and his negotiator Silvan Shalom invite talks, they understand exactly what any deal would entail. Therefore they simply focus on our security requirements and on recognition as a Jewish state. They have thrown in the towel on keeping more land and they accept the “land for peace” formula. This is one of the reasons that the prime minister doesn’t embrace the Levy Report.
Netanyahu knows that the right in Israel rejects this formula so he keeps pandering to them in words but not deeds. It is easier for him to capitulate to such a deal when he heads a right wing coalition, as history has shown, so he forms right wing coalitions.
PA officials reject Netanyahu’s call for renewal of peace talks
A senior Palestinian Authority official on Thursday rejected the recent appeal made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said he was “prepared to go to Ramallah” in order to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called Netanyahu “king of the settlers” and dismissed his remarks as a PR stunt, Israel Radio reported. Erekat charged that the prime minister actively worked against a sustainable two-state solution.
Another senior PA official, Jamal Mohaisen, said that Netanyahu was unwelcome in Ramallah, and that returning to the negotiating table would be meaningless unless the prime minister were willing to discuss ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
Trying to rebuild your house in Gaza is a Kafkaesque nightmare
Thousands of other homeless families are struggling to negotiate the same process. It works like this: First a homeowner must apply to the Gazan Ministry of Housing and Public Works, detailing the damage and estimating the amount of money they need. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) or the UNDP then assesses the damage, and submits the names of homeowners and materials required to the ministry. The UN also supplies that estimate to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which shares it with Israel, which has final say. Once approved, the Gazan homeowner must sign an agreement saying they will only use the materials to build their house. Then the materials are brought into Gaza.
The trucks coming into Gaza carrying materials are checked by the Israeli authorities. Gazan contractors must also have security clearance from the Israeli government. Once in Gaza, materials are stored in warehouses surrounded by high walls that are under 24-hour surveillance by inspectors and cameras. When the homeowners have money from international agencies to buy materials, it is disbursed in stages as the homeowner proves they are indeed using the materials to build houses. For larger projects the cement is also released in stages, out of concern that it might be sold off or used for non-civilian purposes.
UN staff accompany the materials to construction sites. Representatives from the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the body providing administrative support for reconstruction under the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism— an agreement between the Israeli and Palestinian governments brokered by the UN — even visit a sample of the construction sites to conduct spot checks.
You don't have to be an expert to see how easily this process could get hung up.
How Jeremy Corbyn unleashed my inner Zionist, and can do the same for you!
The left prides itself on listening to people. We’re quick to notice men telling women that their experiences aren’t what they say they are. We’re attuned to the Islamophobic conflations that crop up in the media. We’re the first to concede that history often elides the testimonies of witnesses who fall outside the mainstream discourse. We’ve got a vocabulary of victim-blaming, slut-shaming, gaslighting to employ when we see rhetoric and privilege being used to elide people’s experiences.
We pride ourselves on hearing when someone is trying to tell us something.
Except when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn.
When an embattled minority tell us (on the whole) that they feel threatened not only by the people he associates with, but that they fear his leadership might pose an actual threat to their safety, we’re pretty quick to issue a “Calm down, dear,” and move on.
Why? And let’s whisper this: Might it be… Because they’re Jews?
Jeremy Corbyn's staff say he is ‘reluctant to confront hate’
There is growing unrest within Jeremy Corbyn's campaign team over his approach to dealing with issues of concern to the Jewish community, the JC can reveal.
One well-placed source within his team said that the unwillingness to deal "head-on" with these issues had come from Mr Corbyn himself.
The reluctance, according to the source, was because the frontrunner in the Labour leadership campaign was "partly casual about Jewish concerns, partly [because he knows] hostility to 'Zionist neocons' plays well to his constituency".
Media interest in Mr Corbyn's association with Holocaust deniers, antisemites and other extreme figures has grown in the past three weeks since the JC posed a series of questions for him to answer.
Another senior Corbyn campaign member indicated this week that the issues raised by this newspaper were not being taken seriously by Mr Corbyn and his team and said some within the team have grown concerned at the Islington North MP's reluctance to speak in more depth publicly about the Jewish community's concerns.
"This comes from Corbyn himself," the source said.
San Francisco School District Partners with Anti-Israel Hate Group
The San Francisco Unified School District is embroiled in a controversy that demonstrates the pervasiveness of politicization in Arabic instruction. According to, the school board has approved a resolution for “K-12 Arabic and Vietnamese language and culture classes beginning in the 2017-18 school year.” In order to create “culturally appropriate professional development opportunities for school faculty,” the district plans to work with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), a fiercely anti-Israel,pro-BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) local organization whose website blames global “repression” on “U.S. imperialism and Zionism.”
Lara Kiswani, AROC’s executive director and cofounder of the UC Davis chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, is notorious for having declared at a 2014 UC Berkeley BDS panel discussion, “Bringing down Israel will really benefit everyone in the world.” She also responded to a Jewish graduate student’s concerns about anti-Semitism by stating, “As long as you continue to be on that side [of Zionism], I’m going to continue to hate you.”
Opposition from Jewish community leaders and others has prompted the school board to issue an apology and to reconsider “whether to retain or drop AROC.” As board president Emily Murase put it, “Clearly we want to make sure it [the Arabic language and teaching program] does not contain political agendas.” The board’s decision will determine whether or not teaching Arabic entails indoctrinating children with the political biases of that troubled region.
J Street U’s new Muslim president says she’s ‘culturally Jewish’
Eric Rozenman – Washington director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, which challenges perceived anti-Israel bias in the media and is active on campuses – said that the hype regarding Farooqi’s election has been overblown, especially, he said, because she’s not the first Muslim-American college student to be vocally pro-Israel.
What would be more remarkable, he said, is if a Jewish Zionist student were elected to head a Muslim student association. That’s never going to happen, Rozenman said, because so much of the “other side” isn’t about criticism of Israel, it’s about “delegitimization of Israel” as a Jewish state.
Sitting in a coffee shop not far from her parents’ home in Potomac, Md., Farooqi readily shared that her path to Zionism started as far more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.
“My first, first Israel memory is a ‘We Support Israel’ sign outside of [Congregation] Har Shalom and these other places and knowing that I didn’t agree with that because I was reading about settlement expansion, Operation Cast Lead,” said Farooqi, referring to Israel’s 2006 [2008] war in Gaza.
Israeli NGO Threatens GE with Lawsuit Over BDS
Tel-Aviv based legal rights organization Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center has taken on General Electric Co. on Thursday, urging the company to void GE's labor accords with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) in light of the union's endorsement of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The letter, signed by Shurat HaDin president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel-Aviv and U.S. counsel Robert J. Tolchin, of New York, puts the publicly traded GE "on notice that the BDS movement’s efforts are unlawful racial discrimination on the basis of national origin and/or race, creed and religion under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and numerous U.S. state and federal statutes."
In the letter, Shurat HaDin warns GE, the international industrial mega-company based in Fairfield, Connecticut, that implementing BDS policies "could result in severe criminal and civil liability" for the company and its officers.
Shurat Hadin "will take all steps permitted by law to ensure" that GE "is not engaged in instituting, promoting or inciting boycotts of the State of Israel, Israeli manufacturers, companies or their products or services, including without limitation filing legal action without further notice," it adds.
International Jewish Human Rights Organization Ridicules Luxembourg Supermarket Chain for ‘Caving’ Selectively to BDS
The Simon Wiesenthal Center appealed to the very small Western European country to enact measures to deal with the “gangs” of activists, mostly from Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient (the Committee for a Just Peace in the Middle East), who have noisily demonstrated outside Cactus stores for months, demanding Israeli products be taken off the shelves. The Wiesenthal Center argued that law enforcement should treat these protests as public disruptions.
Cactus responded by issuing a statement that the “income from Israeli produce is minimal and not worth the annoyance to customers caused by protests.” Still, it added, high-priced products from Israeli company SodaStream would remain.
In a letter to Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Dr. Shimon Samuels, Simon Wiesenthal Center director for international relations, ridiculed the chain for caving to pressure, and called the supermarket’s economic considerations “outrageous.”
He said the fact that the supermarket would continue to sell SodaStream because it is more lucrative makes it sound “like Cactus will accept any threats and mayhem if the price is high enough.”
The Judean People's Front: Turkey Supports "Apartheid" in Israel, No One Notices
Hurriyet Daily News reported yesterday on Turkish-Israeli plans to "discuss establishing a new industrial zone for Palestinians in the West Bank." Sounds good right? So what does this have to do with "Apartheid?"
Well, Israel haters will stop at nothing to link Israel with horrible crimes no matter how tenuous the connection. The main focus of the BDS movement centers around convincing the world - in the face of all evidence - that Israel is not the Liberal Democracy that it is, but rather an Apartheid State.
We have previously taken this charge apart law by law proving that this libel is without any merit. However, in doing so we acknowledge that there are some laws in Israel that do bare a superficial, though completely non-substantive, similarity to certain apartheid laws. One such law is "The Bantu Investment Corporation Act, Act No 34 of 1959." This law was designed to provide for "the creation of financial, commercial, and industrial schemes in areas designated for black people." It doesn't matter that there are no areas in Israel only for Jews or only for Arabs, anti-Zionists seize on this law, look at Israeli created "Industrial Zones" in the West Bank and then scream "Apartheid!"
Fixed: Fanta Website Puts Israel Back on Map
Previously, the homepage only listed the "Palestinian territories," along with several other Arab countries as well as Russia and countries from the former Soviet Union.
"Typically, the countries listed at the bottom of the site are only those that use that particular global site as their Fanta home page," Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers clarified Thursday afternoon. "In many markets, local versions of websites are used that are not linked to the global site seen in the United States."
"To avoid any confusion, a link has been added from the global Fanta site to the Israel site where Fanta fans can also find the local Fanta information," he added.
Holocaust denier David Irving: 'I'm not an anti-Semite, yet'
David Irving, a convicted British Holocaust denier, is currently leading a nine-day tour of former concentration camps in Latvia and Poland. Irving was jailed in Austria in 2006, but in 2010 began running tours of death camps and World War II sites, to the dismay of many Jewish community groups and Holocaust memorial organizations who have accused him of re-writing history and insulting the memory of Holocaust victims.
"Don't miss this lifetime adventure! Make up your own mind about the truth," reads an advert for the tour entitled "The Real History Tour of the Wolf's Lair," as it includes a visit to Hitler's military headquarters. Irving is known for calling into question traditional historical account's of Adolf Hitler's role in World War II, even portraying him in a favorable light and going as far as to claim that he was not aware of the Holocaust. The disgraced historian has also battled against accounts of mass-killings of Jews in gas chambers, branding their existence as a "hoax" and "fairy-tale."
The Jerusalem Post caught up with Irving at the beginning of his current tour, to find out exactly what his controversial trips entail.
With anti-Semitism rampant in the UK and Europe, don't you think tours like these might fuel this?
The Jews should ask, Why us? It is not for me to ask that question. Maybe it’s how they have acted over the thousands of years. Maybe it is all our fault. Our Riga tour includes the NKVD headquarters, and the Skirotawa train station, where Jews also played a role.
Some people describe you as an anti-Semite - what do you say to this?
No. Despite everything. Not yet.
Israeli medical tech company joins billion dollar exit club
In the biggest deal ever for an Israeli medical device company – and one of the biggest in any industry in Israel – Massachusetts-based HeartWare International is acquiring Israeli biotech start-up Valtech Cardio.
According to the terms of the agreement, Valtech shareholders will receive some six million shares of HeartWare stock in incremental stages over the next year, depending on milestones. Between the stock transfers and cash payments that accompany several of the milestones, the deal is worth more than $900 million, and could reach as much as a billion dollars.
Valtech specializes in the development of innovative surgical and transcatheter valve repair and replacement devices for the treatment of the most prevalent heart valve diseases, including mitral valve regurgitation (MR) and tricuspid valve regurgitation (TR).
John Lewis partners with Cimagine
Cimagine, which lets you use a mobile or wearable device to visualize products in life-like 3D at the click of a button, announced today that it is partnering with the UK’s leading retailer, John Lewis Partnership (JLP).
The Israeli company is a leading developer of markerless augmented reality (AR) technology for retailers and brands. It’s technology will be used to create a virtual showroom at JLP’s flagship store on Oxford Street.
The new Visual commerce (or ‘V-Commerce’) experience shows shoppers how items, colors and fabrics not on display really look and creates a new type of in-store experience.
“Technology will play a key role in the new Home Department at John Lewis Oxford Street, helping customers visualize new ways to personalize and design their home. Central to this is our new partnership with Cimagine. It allows customers to visualize products in life-like 3D, rather than just on the pages of a catalogue; helping them to virtually ‘try’ an item before they buy it.
“We hope it will give our customers a taste of the future of shopping and enhance their overall experience,” said Matt Hully, Head of Brand Innovation at John Lewis. “This is just the first step in using a very exciting technology.”
Israeli-developed weapon a less lethal alternative to police shootings
Police in more than 20 North American cities are testing the latest in less-lethal alternatives to bullets — “blunt impact projectiles” that cause suspects excruciating pain but stop short of killing them. Or at least that’s the goal.
Police have long had what they considered “nonlethal” weapons at their disposal, including pepper spray, stun guns and beanbag projectiles. But even those weapons have caused deaths, leading to a search for “less lethal” alternatives. The quest has taken on new urgency in the past year amid furor over a string of high-profile police shootings of black men.
Micron Products Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arrhythmia Research Technology based in Fitchburg, makes the new ammunition, which was developed by a ballistics engineering company in Israel. The projectiles are much larger than rubber bullets and have silicone heads that expand and flatten on impact, enhancing the pain and incapacitating a suspect. One executive of the company that patented the technology was a guinea pig and described experiencing the business end of a BIP as the “equivalent of being hit by a hockey puck.”
“It was like, ‘Ow!’ I had to shake it off,” said Allen Ezer, executive vice president of Security Devices International, a defense technology company that hired Micron to make the projectiles.
A technology to stop rail death in its tracks
As rail travel increases in speed and popularity, so does the potential for death. There is a train accident every 20 minutes somewhere in the world and a growing phenomenon of “rail suicide.”
That’s why Elen Katz, CEO of Israeli startup Rail Safe, sees his revolutionary automated early-warning system as a life preserver.
“This is not another smartphone app,” Katz tells ISRAEL21c. “We are going to save lives.”
Rail Safe is developing its system jointly with Israel Railways, and seeks to raise about $1.5 million to enter the market within 12 to 16 months.
Katz, who previously invented robotic systems for homeland security, was astounded to discover that locomotives lag way behind cars in terms of safety features.
IsraAID sending team to help refugees in Europe
“What’s happening in Europe right now is the beginning of a tsunami,” said Professor Arnon Soffer, head of the Chaiklin Chair in Geostrategy at the University of Haifa, who claims that the Middle East is deteriorating as population growth, water scarcity and climate change take their toll. “It is not a short affair that will pass quickly – we are witnessing the beginning of a mass migration, such as the incursions of the peoples of the sea or the Huns.”
Zahavi is confident that enough funds will be forthcoming for him to send an initial four-person aid delegation in the next few days to Greece and possibly to Italy. Zahavi tells ISRAEL21c that he hopes enough donors will respond to the appeal in order to send additional volunteers to help manage the European migrant crisis currently overwhelming several countries.
Though some nations, most notably Germany, have been taking in tens of thousands of refugees, other countries are reluctant to admit them, and as a result there have been demonstrations and violent incidents.
“Last year we did a program with the Bulgarian Red Cross dealing with Syrian refugees who crossed over their border,” Zahavi says. “Now the situation is getting 10 times worse, if not more, and we believe that our experience in places such as Iraq, Jordan and North Africa gives us an advantage in helping them deal with this crisis. We understand the refugee mentality and that allows us to communicate how to reduce the level of violence on the part of the refugees on the one hand, and on the other to help the authorities in Italy, Bulgaria and Greece cope better with absorbing the refugees.”
Zahavi says IsraAID intends to work in partnership with three types of agencies on the ground in each country: the local NGO sector, local Red Cross and both national and regional government officials.
Israeli Beekeepers Help Make New Year Sweeter for President Rivlin
Beekeepers from across Israel delivered their honey products to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin this week for a festive event that will be held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem for the upcoming Jewish New Year.
A delegation of the Israeli Honey Council, which included a three-generation family of children, parents, and grandparents in the beekeeping business, presented the President with their selection of sweet goods on Sunday, August 30. From zatar honey and carob honey, to the more well-known wildflower honey and citrus flower honey, the Israeli president and his wife got to sample a wide variety of high quality Israeli honey.
Every Rosh Hashana, Israelis consume around 1,600 tons of honey, symbolic of the Hebrew blessing traditionally recited across Jewish households for a sweet new year.
Israel produces more than 3,000 tons of honey each year, no easy feat according to Herzl Avidor, the head of the Israel Honey Council. From the north to the south of Israel, there are 500 beekeepers that take care of 100,000 hives, of which 60,000 are placed in agricultural areas to pollinate crops. The year-round demand for honey is greater than what Israel can provide, and so honey is also imported from abroad.
Watch: Rare 1,800-year-old sarcophagus discovered in Ashkelon
A rare 1,800-year-old stone sarcophagus found by construction workers at a building site in the coastal city of Ashkelon has been appropriated by the Israel Antiquities Authority after the workers allegedly damaged the relic and concealed their discovery.
The IAA announced on Thursday that the valuable, ornately decorated stone tomb was seized by the authority’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery on Wednesday, in coordination with detectives from the Ashkelon Police.
“This is one of the rarest sarcophagi ever discovered in Israel,” the IAA said in a statement.
“They decided to hide it, pulled it out of the ground with a tractor, while aggressively damaging it, concealed it beneath a stack of sheet metal and boards and poured a concrete floor in the lot so as to conceal any evidence of the existence of the antiquities site.”
The coffin, which is made of hard limestone, weighs two tons, is 2.5 m long, and is sculpted on all sides, with a life-sized figure of a person carved on the sarcophagus’ lid, the IAA said
PreOccupiedTerritory: Soldier Bitten By Palestinian Girl Now Accused Of Ruining Her Teeth (satire)
Several human rights organizations have rushed to amplify Tamimi’s accusation. “The unconscionable act of damaging a young girl’s teeth by causing her to bite a soldier shows once again that the Occupation must end for dignity to be restored to the Palestinians,” wrote Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch. “Decades of international opprobrium have toughened Israelis’ skin, the predictable consequence of which is the mangling of teeth that attempt to bite that skin. The IDF cannot claim ignorance of this phenomenon, and therefore bears direct responsibility for this dental crime.”
Amnesty International called for an investigation into what it called “rampant disregard for Palestinian orthodontic needs,” and, in a statement, described the ruining of Ahed’s previously straight teeth a war crime. It called on the international community to put a stop to Israel’s manifestly disproportionate responses to such attacks. “We challenge the necessity and legality of the soldier’s action when the clear alternative of having the girl bite a softer, less damaging body part was so readily available.”
An Israeli military spokesman dismissed the allegations. “To tell you the truth I’m surprised by the inanity of the accusation,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with policy. “By now we’ve come to expect more creativity in these kinds of allegations.”
“Here, I’ve got a better one,” he suggested. “Invoke the popular theme of Jews as the source of moral corruption in the world, and adduce these videos as proof that the evil Zionists befoul the innocence of Muslim women through sinister schemes to cause them to put their hands all over the bodies of Jewish men.”
At press time, Palestinian Authority TV was airing a segment on that theme.

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