Thursday, October 01, 2015

From Ian:

The Progressive Left and Israel's Right to Exist
At bottom, the bien-pensant view is that (a) Israel is wrong because it's strong; (b) Israel has no right to exist because it is a European state in the Muslim Middle East; and (c) Palestinians and fellow Muslims are not responsible for their fate, or their crimes, because they are oppressed victims.
The left hates Israel’s military strength and its willingness to use it for the same reasons it hates American power. As right-thinking cosmopolitans, they would never approve such brutality. Obama captured this perspective in a Freudian slip. “Whether we like it or not,” he explained, “we remain a dominant military superpower.” The left doesn’t like it. They don’t like it in America, and they don’t like it in Israel. As for Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea brandishing military threats, well, let’s not think about that. The threats may vanish from their minds, but they still threaten everybody else with working synapses.
Not only is Israel powerful, the left (like the Muslim world) sees Israel as a remnant of Europe's crimes: imperialism and the Holocaust. University faculties are preoccupied with imperialism and post-colonial legacies, which they blame for many of the world’s ills. They see Israel through that lens, as a colony of white settlers in an Arab-Muslim region. They blithely ignore the Jewish people’s age-old connection to the land, its continuous presence there, and its central religious significance. And they ignore how many Israelis were driven out of Arab countries, which have become virulently anti-Semitic.
The combination of Israel’s religious heritage, its nationalism, its prosperity, and its unapologetic self-defense combine virtually everything loathed by secular, cosmopolitan intellectuals. That’s why Obama's 2009 Cairo speech offered such a tepid “defense" of Israel's right to exist. Israel was needed, he said, because Jews needed somewhere to go after the Holocaust. That is the view of the average professor of French literature: Israel is the bastard child of Europe’s crimes.
In the left’s worldview, Palestinians and fellow Muslims are not seen as agents of their own history, for good or ill. They are righteous victims. This condescending view is grounded in Jean Jacques Rousseau's gauzy, romantic vision of "noble savages," not yet cursed by civilization. What can be expected of such people? Their crimes are merely "weapons of the weak.” And who are we, the oppressors, to criticize them? That would commit an unforgivable sin, blaming the victim.
For years, this coalition of anti-Zionists has marched across campuses shouting "Palestine, Palestine, must be free, from the Jordan [River] to the sea." The state they demand, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, means Israel should disappear completely. So, when Bernie Sanders says Israel has a right to exist, they sit on their hands. Their shameful silence says Israel's very existence is a no longer a "progressive position." (h/t Cliff)
MEMRI: In Eid Al-Adha Editorial, Qatari 'Al-Quds Al-Arabi' Daily Laments State Of Arab World: Muslims Are Slaughtering One Another, Export Nothing But Murder And Terror
The Eid Al-Adha (September 24, 2015) editorial of the London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi discussed the current state of the Muslim world, and bemoaned how many Muslims are slaughtering their brethren in Arab and Islamic countries. It added that Muslims today are in the throes of an unprecedented catastrophe that surpasses even the loss of Andalusia and of Palestine.
The following are excerpts from the editorial:
"How sadly misleading is this picture, which does not reflect the true state of this nation: One million Muslims in simple white garb, symbolizing a state of abstinence and purity, equality and compassion, stand in a single place as one, praying and offering pleas to a single deity. Despite their differences in color, nationality, tongue, and cultural and political schools of thought, they help each other bear the effort of the pilgrimage to Mount Arafat at high noon...
"Are these pilgrims, these submissive believers, who praise Allah morning and night, among those Muslims who slaughter each other in more than one country, to the point that their lands are awash in blood and tens of thousands of them have been killed or wounded since the last Eid Al-Adha?...
"Have we reached a situation in which we must redefine the term 'Muslim'? Do we even remain an 'Islamic ummah'? And are we still 'the best nation established for mankind' [Koran: 3:110]? Or have we become 'a nation of refugees?' Are Muslims still 'a single body, in which if one organ complains the rest of them hasten to treat and protect it,' [as the hadith says]? Or have they become one body in which one organ kills another and conspires against it?
Is the Pope Ending Catholic Anti-Semitism?
"Nostre Aetate," released in 1965, called for friendship and dialogue between Catholics and Jews, instead of the centuries-long repudiation of Jews by Catholics; St Joseph's University became the first to respond by establishing the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations. Is Pope Francis picking up where Pope Paul VI left off?
Can Pope Francis' hopes and dreams for reconciliation of Catholics and Jews override some unfortunate but pressing realities, such the Church's desire to placate the Palestinians?
If Pope Francis is serious about a "journey of friendship" with the Jewish people, perhaps he would not be so quick to approve President Obama's Iran nuclear deal in the name of a hoped-for peace that will most certainly ignite an unhoped-for war between Iran and Israel.
By assisting the UN in establishing the "sustainable development platform," the Pope is offering his permission to the UN -- one of the most anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bodies on the face of the earth -- to usurp power on behalf of a shared utopian agenda. Sustainable development notwithstanding, the UN should be encouraged to clean up its own house before it tries to clean up the world.

Clinton Slams Israel As ‘Cocky’
Just a week before Clinton’s email was sent, she berated Netanyahu in a 45-minute phone call. She demanded that Netanyahu consent to multiple demands to preserve the historically close U.S.-Israel relationship.
Clinton’s anger was due to the announcement that 1,600 new housing units were being built in a mainly Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. The announcement came as Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel.
Kim Ghattas, a BBC reporter that followed Clinton as secretary of state, wrote in an email to Clinton aide Jake Sullivan that the Israeli side was “sounding a bit cocky” during a press briefing, noting her belief that it was unlikely that the United States would be able to move them toward an agreement.
Clinton discounted that notion.
“They always sound cocky—in the air or on the ground,” wrote Clinton on March 22, 2010.
New Israeli UAV can reach Iran
Aeronautics’ Dominator XP, converted from a civilian craft, can fly at 27,000 feet and carry heavy equipment and specialized sensors.
Israeli security company Aeronautics sold its largest unmanned system, the Dominator XP, to the Mexican government. The new UAV can carry hundreds of kilos of equipment, specialized sensors, and cameras. It can fly at an altitude of 27,000 feet and reach Iran from Israel.
Its operating costs are especially low at only $360 per flight hour. The UAV can also be used for civilian purposes like following icebergs in the North Pole and monitoring oil installations and offshore gas rigs using advanced applications
Before the recent sale to Mexico, mediated by local marketing firm Balam Security, the system had been rented to a variety of customers around the world, including Canada and Turkey.
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Calls for New Sanctions Against Iran Over Human Rights Abuses
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday calling on the president directly to slap sanctions against senior Iranian officials over “serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran.”
Royce’s call came as Obama met with would leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly’s opening session this week in New York to discuss the implementation of the nuclear deal that would actually lift sanctions against Iran, mostly against its oil and financial sectors.
The letter by Royce, a vocal opponent of the president’s nuclear agreement, noted that since September 2013, shortly before the announcement of an interim agreement with Tehran over its nuclear program was announced, only one Iranian official and “two other entities” have been sanctioned for human rights abuses. This, despite the Obama administration’s insistence that negotiations with Iran and the subsequent deal addressed the nuclear program alone, and did not necessarily signal a thaw in relations with the U.S., which still designates Iran one of three state sponsors of terrorism worldwide, a designation shared with just North Korea and Syria.
US lawmakers push to designate Iranian Guards a terror group
Senator Ted Cruz introduced a Senate bill — the IRGC Terrorist Designation Act — that serves as companion legislation to Rep. Michael McCaul’s House bill, both of which call attention to the fact that the Iranian military organization is not considered a foreign terrorist organization under current State Department designations.
Such a designation provides US law enforcement with enhanced tools to prosecute individuals or groups supporting the organization. Charges can be brought against anyone providing “material support or resources” to the group, including money, identification documents, lodging, training, weapons and transportation. Any foreign member of such an organization can be deported from the United States even if they are in the country legally, and banks are required to freeze any funds tied to designated organizations.
McCaul first introduced legislation calling for the IRGC’s designation in 2012, but it gained new impetus following the nuclear agreement with Iran reached in July – and the failure of the agreement’s opponents to prevent President Barack Obama from lifting sanctions against Tehran. The IRGC is deeply enmeshed in Iran’s military and civilian economy and is likely to be a key beneficiary of some of the anticipated financial windfall as crippling international sanctions are dismantled under the terms of the accord.
The bill’s sponsors believe it will offset some of the benefits the IRGC is expected to receive under the deal.
Brother of Terror Victim: Obama Must Hold Iran Accountable
Kenneth Stethem, a former Navy SEAL and the brother of an American victim of Iranian terrorism, called on President Obama to support a bill that would compel Iran to pay the $43.5 billion it owes to victims of terrorism before receiving sanctions relief.
Stethem joined Rep. Patrick Meehan (R., Pa.) and other lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday to publicize House legislation introduced this week that would bar the Obama administration from releasing $150 billion in unfrozen cash assets to Iran until the country pays the legal penalties awarded to U.S. victims of Iranian terrorism and their families by U.S. courts.
The bill, named the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act, is expected to go to the House floor Thursday for a vote and has upwards of 100 cosigners. Sens. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) have also introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“This bill ensures accountability for terrorist acts, and if the president doesn’t take the opportunity and Congress doesn’t take the opportunity to hold Iran accountable for their terrorist actions now, I have to ask, when will they?” Stethem said at a press conference Wednesday.
Iran's Hardliners Compare Historic Handshake Between Obama, Zarif to Pact With Devil
A now-famous handshake between President Barack Obama and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif at the United Nations on Monday was no accident, although their chance meeting was not pre-planned.
The gesture has become the subject of international analysis and criticism with Iranian hardliners calling Zarif “unrevolutionary” and comparing the act to shaking hands with the devil.
Iran Rejects Claims it Sent Arms to Yemen as 'Propaganda'
Iran rejected as "propaganda" on Thursday claims that a seized fishing boat loaded with weapons heading to Yemen was Iranian, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The Saudi-led coalition said on Wednesday that it had seized an Iranian fishing boat in the Arabian Sea loaded with weapons and destined for Shiite rebels it is fighting in Yemen.
A coalition statement said 14 Iranians as well as weapons including anti-tank shells were found on board, and that the boat's papers showed it was registered and licensed for fishing in Iran.
Despite the damning evidence, an Iranian foreign ministry source told IRNA that it was clear "these accusations and propaganda are psychological warfare and baseless."
"After the scandalous Mina tragedy, the coalition forces have resorted to a worn out and repetitious scenario," the source said, adding that Yemeni rebels don't need Iranian arms.
Argentine President: Obama Official Wanted Nuclear Fuel for Iran in 2010
Earlier this week Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina for nearly eight years, spoke before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City and claimed that in 2010 the Obama administration tried to convince the Argentinians to provide Iran with nuclear fuel, a key component of nuclear weapons, reports Mediaite.
Kirchner said that two years into Obama's first term, he sent Gary Samore, former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, to press Argentina to provide Iran with nuclear fuel:
"In 2010 we were visited in Argentina by Gary Samore, at that time the White House's top advisor in nuclear issues. He came to see us in Argentina with a mission, with an objective: under the control of IAEA, the international organization in the field of weapons control and nuclear regulation, Argentina had supplied in the year 1987, during the first democratic government, the nuclear fuel for the reactor known as 'Teheran.'
Gary Samore had explained to our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Héctor Timerman, that negotiations were underway for the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease with its uranium enrichment activities or to do it to a lesser extent but Iran claimed that it needed to enrich this Teheran nuclear reactor and this was hindering negotiations. They came to ask us, Argentines, to provide the Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear fuel. Rohani was not in office yet. It was Ahmadinejad's administration and negotiations had already started."
(h/t MtTB)
'Anti-Israel boycotts violate international trade laws'
A group of foreign lawmakers visiting Israel announced Wednesday that its members plan to pursue a bill stating that boycotts against products manufactured in Judea and Samaria communities are in violation of international trade and commerce laws.
Speaking with reporters at the Binyamin Regional Council's industrial park, the delegation, comprising 22 parliamentarians from the European Union, Africa, and Central and South America, stated its members adamantly oppose the EU's decision to label settlement-made products, and that they plan to pursue measures to counter it.
They MPs further stated they were opposed to any form of economic sanctions that may be imposed on Israel by European countries, and that they support Judea and Samaria communities' business ventures.
"I'm proud to be here and to see the collaboration between Arabs and Jews in Binyamin," European Parliament representative Bas Belder from the Netherlands said, adding the delegation "will stand steadfast against any boycott of Israeli products."
Finnish MP: Most of Europe is Anti-Israel
Arutz Sheva spoke with Finnish MP Peter Ostman, who is visiting Israel as part of a delegation of 22 parliamentarians from 18 different countries as part of the Israel Allies Foundation's annual Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference.
The delegation, led by European Parliament member Bastiaan Belder, on Wednesday toured Judea and Samaria and visited the Rami Levy supermarket in Sh'ar Binyamin to hear from Arabs and Jews who work together every day.
Israel, Ostman said, “has been in my heart since I became a member of the Finnish parliament, and now in this term I have been appointed as chair of the Finland-Israeli friendship group in parliament, so it was my duty to come to the promised land, Israel.”
“We have really enjoyed our stay here,” he continued, and then expressed regret that there is so much anti-Israel sentiment in Europe.
“Most of the member states in Europe are more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel,” admitted Ostman. “During my work in parliament I have been able to get the correct information from different sources, and I have heard lots of stories. What we see here today (Jews and Arabs working together in Judea and Samaria -ed.) is a good example of it and I can just say to those who still have their doubts: ‘Come and see it with your own eyes.’”
How European Social-Democrats support Palestinian Murderers
With the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour party the anti-Israeli incitement by European social democrats has crossed a new red line. Corbyn is not just another pro-Palestinian. Several years ago, he called a Hamas and Hezbollah delegation ‘his friends,’ despite the fact that both organizations promote genocide of the Jews. Ghazi Hamad, deputy foreign minister of the Islamo-Nazi movement Hamas, praised Corbyn at the beginning of September, describing him as ‘a man of conscience.”
Corbyn is open about where he stands by calling such criminals his friends. Many other European social democrats support crime-promoting Palestinians more insidiously. One typical ‘subterranean’ method is to attack Israel while remaining silent on the subject of Hamas’ genocidal plans against the Jews and the glorification of murderers of civilians by the Palestinian Authority and President Mohammed Abbas, leader of Fatah, the second largest Palestinian party.
In an interview with Norway’s commercial channel TV2 in 2011, Jonas Gahr Stoere, then Norwegian Foreign Minister and currently Labor Party leader, initially denied that he had spoken directly with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal several times on the phone. The interviewer replied that Mashal had confirmed that he had been in contact with the Foreign Minister at the time. Stoere then asked to stop the tape and restart the interview. He explained that the contacts with Mashal were instigated following a request by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Shaked Suspects Leftist NGOs Not Reporting Foreign Funding
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is seeking to open an investigation against several leftist non-profits responsible for harassing IDF troops and disseminating propaganda suggesting that they abandon their posts and refuse to serve in Judea and Samaria, Walla! News reports.
The groups, Shaked believes, have been receiving contributions from foreign organizations and governments but have failed to report theirs relationships with these organizations to Israeli authorities.
Receipt of money from foreign governments would require the groups to register as foreign agents, which would limit their access to IDF checkpoints and other security installations.
Shaked has asked the Finance Ministry's Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations to conduct an initial check of the long-standing rumors regarding the foreign funding, as a first step to a full-blown investigation.
BDS SA targets Woolworths, Israel, makings of a misdirected campaign
Such actions have not caused the slightest harm to Israel, nor have they helped the Palestinians in any way. Instead, they have sown further discord and division in a country already plagued by such ills.
In the final analysis, Woolworths says that pro-Palestinian activism had little impact in their charity fund-raising attempts with Pharrell Williams.
Woolworths CEO Ian Moir spoke at a primary school in Soweto where Williams planted a tree as part of a school charity campaign. Moir added that BDS SA’s protest at Williams’ concert in Cape Town was unsuccessful.
Begging the question then, what has BDS actually achieved, if not simply to rile up misdirected anger and anti-Semitism in South Africa?
It is no wonder that BDS’ national coordinator, Muhammad Desai, reportedly stated that “for those of your comrades and friends that have gone back to Woolworths, we know you, where know where you live, come back home” – suggesting that all is not well with the Woolworths campaign.
Failure and compassion fatigue of a pro-Palestinian campaign that has long veered off course, has set in – BDS, of course, would want us to be believe otherwise.
South Africa won’t push ‘anti-Semitic’ dual citizenship ban
South Africa is not planning to ban dual citizenship, a senior official told Jewish organizations Wednesday, after the country’s government was said to be considering a policy meant to stop the country’s Jews from joining the Israeli army.
Dual citizenship is protected by the Citizenship Act, and the government has no plans to make changes to the policy, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said, according to a Thursday statement by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies.
The SAJBD and the South African Zionist Federation had accused senior ANC official Obed Bapela of anti-Semitism and unfairly singling out the country’s Jewish population.
The government does not tolerate anti-Semitism or other forms of racism, Gigaba told the SAJBD and SAZF leadership.
BDS Activist Finds Sympathetic Audience in Malaysia, Where Jews Are Hated
Anna Baltzer, National BDS organizer for the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, recently traveled to Malaysia, a nearly Jew-free country where child marriage is legal and Bibles have been burnt. According to Robert Fulford, the Malaysian government has distributed antisemitic sermons to be read in mosques, and politicians distribute copies of Henry Ford’s book, The International Jew.
The so-called human rights activist went to Malaysia to promote the cause of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against the Jewish state.
Baltzer, who was introduced as a “Jewish American” was given a positive reception at the Sept. 12 event. “I’m really honored to be here,” she told the audience at a pro-BDS conference organized by the anti-Israel organization Viva Palestina in Malaysia. “I’ve been around your country, traveling a little bit, getting to know the people, loving the food. It’s been wonderful.”
During her talk, Baltzer, a St. Louis resident, indicated that she found the political atmosphere in Malaysia to be more amenable to the BDS cause than the United States, where “so much of our energy is spent fighting incredible ignorance and racism that people do not understand what’s happening in Palestine.”
2 pro-Palestinian groups: Israel advocates threaten free speech on campus
A Jewish pro-Palestinian group has issued a report claiming that Israel advocates are using “false charges” to silence criticism of Israel on U.S. campuses.
The Jewish Voice for Peace report was released on Wednesday, the same day that Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights issued a separate report making similar arguments.
Called “Stifling Dissent,” the JVP report accuses numerous Jewish organizations of seeking “to muzzle political criticism of Israeli policies” on campus, putting “constitutionally protected speech and academic freedom” under “increasing threat.”
The Palestine Legal-CCR report, called “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US” documents “the widespread and growing suppression of Palestinian human rights advocacy in the United States,” according to a news release issued jointly by Palestine Legal and CCR.
Both reports claim that activists for Israel have made false accusations of anti-Semitism and argue that off-campus pro-Israel groups are seeking to exert influence over grass-roots student activism.
StandWithUs: StandWithUs Condemns Cynical Attempts to Whitewash Racism, Stifle Student Activism In Reports Issued September 30, 2015
StandWithUs condemns two new reports released today by Palestine Legal and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). These reports cynically invoke free speech and academic freedom in an attempt to whitewash racism against Israelis and Jews on campus, silence the voices of Jewish students, and protect the narrow political interests of anti-Israel lobbying groups.
“These reports are shockingly hypocritical. They were not written to protect freedom of speech or academic inquiry. JVP and Palestine Legal are at the forefront of academic boycotts against Israelis, which have been overwhelmingly denounced as violations of free expression and academic freedom. They invoke these universal values when it suits their immoral agenda, but throw them out the window when it comes to protecting the rights of Israelis and Jews,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs.
The real purpose of these reports is to stifle grassroots activism by Jewish students, which has grown dramatically in response to escalating incidents of anti-Jewish racism on campus (many of them stemming from anti-Israel activism). Last year Jewish students at three University of California (UC) schools introduced resolutions to their student governments endorsing the State Department Definition of Anti-Semitism. This outcry from students is the primary reason why administrators are finally considering concrete steps to curb widespread racism against Jews in the UC system.
JVP and Palestine Legal claim the State Department Definition undermines free speech and labels criticism of Israel as inherently anti-Semitic. If this were truly the case StandWithUs would also be opposed, but fortunately the definition does neither of these things. What it does do is recognize that demonization, delegitimization, and double standards against the world's only Jewish State (aka the 3 D's) are forms of bigotry.
Students for Justice in Palestine were anti-Semites — at a discussion about anti-Semitism.
SJP and JVP’s vehement opposition at the UC Regents meeting exposed the true intention of the anti-Israel movement on campus: commitment to a narrative in which Palestinian self-determination and Israeli self-determination cannot exist together. In this narrative, Palestinians and Israelis are not equal. One may be sacrificed at the expense of the other. This is what SJP’s chant of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” means. Palestine must exist at the expense of the Jewish state. A definition of anti-Semitism that includes delegitimization of the Jewish homeland offends SJP’s sensibilities, because it means that the model of hatred that they have been using would be defined as intolerable.
I suppose I should thank Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace for their attendance. Their statements made the need for a sufficient “Statement of Principals Against Intolerance,” abundantly clear.
Student Leader in California Blasted for ‘Blatantly Antisemitic’ Remarks, Holocaust Denial
Sacramento region community college student trustee Cameron Weaver’s recent comments questioning the number of Jewish Holocaust victims are “blatantly antisemitic” and constitute “clear Holocaust denial,” said one of the heads of a nonprofit organization committed to combating antisemitism at institutions of higher learning in the U.S. on Wednesday.
“Weaver’s comments are a clear form of Holocaust denial,” said AMCHA Initiative co-founder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a University of California, Santa Cruz lecturer. “They are not only ‘troubling, misguided and abhorrent,’ as Los Rios Community College President Johnson has called them; they are blatantly antisemitic and should be identified as such by college administrators.”
Weaver raised eyebrows following a September 18 interview with the Current, the student newspaper of the American River College, a community college near Sacramento.
“Now I’m definitely not gonna go out and venture and say anything like, ‘Oh, the Holocaust didn’t happen.’ There are tons of people that make that argument. And from a really non-biased perspective, I completely disagree, but I also completely agree. What I mean when I say both is I don’t know the answer,” Weaver told the paper, according to the Sacramento Bee, which reported the incident on Tuesday.
US finds Kuwaiti airline discriminates against Israelis
In a challenge to boycotts of Israel, the U.S. government has found that Kuwait Airways unlawfully discriminated against a passenger traveling on an Israeli passport by refusing to sell him a ticket for a New York to London flight.
Eldad Gatt, an Israeli citizen, complained to the Department of Transportation that in 2013 he was unable to buy a ticket from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to London Heathrow Airport through Kuwait Airways because the airline's online booking system prevented him from selecting Israel as his passport-issuing country.
The department investigated and initially rejected Gatt's discrimination complaint, according to a statement and letter provided by transportation officials. But when Gatt appealed the department's decision, the case was reopened and the department ultimately concluded that the airline had violated a different federal law than the one initially cited by Gatt.
"We considered Mr. Gatt's claim upon an alternative ground ... which holds that an 'air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person, place, port, or type of traffic in foreign air transportation to unreasonable discrimination,'" Blane Workie, DOT's assistant general counsel for enforcement said in a letter to the airline.
‘Gross under-reporting’ of anti-Semitism plagues Europe, says EU agency
European nations lack systematic methods of collecting data on anti-Semitism, contributing to “gross underreporting of the nature and characteristics of anti-Semitic incidents that occur,” the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) asserted on Wednesday.
In a new report on data availability, the agency stated that “few EU member states operate official data collection mechanisms that record anti-Semitic incidents in any great detail” and this lack “limits the ability of policy makers” to deal effectively with growing hate crimes.
“Incidents that are not reported are also not investigated and prosecuted, allowing offenders to think that they can carry out such attacks with relative impunity,” the organization stated.
In late 2013, the FRA reported that a third of European Jews it had polled had admitted to refraining from wearing religious garb or Jewish symbols out of fear, with a further 23 percent avoiding attending Jewish events or going to Jewish venues.
While 66% reported anti-Semitism as having a negative affect on their lives, 77% did not bother reporting abuse or harassment.
Council of Europe cancels anti-circumcision measure after joint Jewish-Muslim effort
Two years of efforts by the Knesset to combat a resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) recommending that countries ban ritual circumcision bore fruit Thursday, when it was reversed via a new resolution on religious freedoms.
The new resolution, which passed with 73 in favor and six opposed, recommends that PACE member states “seek reasonable accommodations with a view to guaranteeing equality that is effective, and not merely formal, in the right to freedom of religion.” It gives general guidelines to promote coexistence and fight hate speech, allowing religious communities to practice their faith, manage welfare institutions and express their opinions. The resolution refers specifically to Islamophobia, but not to anti-Semitism.
The council recommended that states require circumcisions to be performed by people trained to do so, in appropriate medical and health conditions, and that parents be informed of any medical risk to their child.
The resolution also addresses ritual slaughter, stating that PACE is not convinced it should be banned and recommending following the French or German model of protecting animals from unnecessary suffering while respecting religious freedom.
Microbrew Trend in Holy Land Turns Water to Hummus Beer
In an industrial zone among the hills of Galilee in northern Israel, a ponytailed sociologist with an intolerance for gluten explained what he was up to: beer made with chickpeas and dates.
"It's a very Middle Eastern food," 52-year-old Bryan Meadan said of his gluten-free beer made with chickpeas, familiar to most through hummus and falafel. "Local beer with local products."
The microbrew movement taking hold in many countries, showing drinkers that a pint can mean more than bland lager, has been embraced in Israel as well. A wide range of local producers now have a firm foothold in the market.
Meadan, who pursued his love of brewing by first doing it at home, has a particularly niche operation, producing beer that is both gluten-free and made with chickpeas, dates and buckwheat.
Six Israeli Universities Make World Top 500 List
Israeli universities rank among the top in the Middle East as well as worldwide, the 2015 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking poll revealed Monday.
Six of Israel's nine universities made THE's top 800 universities list.
Of those, Hebrew University of Jerusalem ranked highest at #178 worldwide, followed by Tel Aviv University (TAU) in the 201-250 range, Technion University in Haifa at the 301-350 range, and Bar-Ilan University among the 401-500 range.
Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Be'er Sheva and Haifa University rounded out the bottom of the list at the 501-600 range.
The universities which did not make the list include Ariel University, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Open University.
Mellanox to buy EZchip for $811 million
Israeli chip designer Mellanox Technologies Ltd has agreed to acquire network communications chip maker EZchip Semiconductor Ltd for $811 million as it expands its product portfolio for high-performance computing.The offer price of $25.50 per share represents a premium of 16 percent to EZchip's closing price on Tuesday.
Mellanox said the acquisition pursues its strategy to become the leading global supplier of interconnect solutions for software-defined data centres.
Mellanox, with a market value of $1.85 billion, makes InfiniBand products that enable databases, servers and computers to communicate. By buying EZchip, also based in Israel, the company adds Ethernet network processors to the list.
Israel's MediWound signs $112m. deal in US for burn treatment
Israel-based MediWound has signed a five-year, $112 million contract with the US authority that handles public health medical emergencies to further develop and buy the company's drug treatment for severe burns.
Investment group Clal Biotechnology, which has a 45 percent stake in MediWound, said in a statement that the deal with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority would raise preparedness for mass-casualty incidents.
The US body would also help MediWound get approval for its drug NexoBrid, a topical treatment that removes damaged tissue, from the Food and Drug Administration, Clal said.
Israeli Start-Up Snags USAF EOD Robot Award
After competing for more than two years with America's leading robot providers, an Israeli newcomer to the industry through its US subsidiary has snagged a $25 million US Air Force contract to provide its man-portable, stair-climbing, battle-tested system in support of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) missions.
In a contract announced by the Pentagon late last week and confirmed Sunday by Tel Aviv-based Roboteam, the firm's US subsidiary will provide up to 250 of its anti-IED Micro Tactical Ground Robots (MTGR) through 2022.
Established in late 2009 as a boutique provider of optronics, robotics and intuitive imaging, Roboteam beat out much larger and more established US firms Foster Miller, a subsidiary of British QinetiQ; and Bedford, Massachusetts-based iRobot.
Why are non-Jewish American celebs buying real estate in Israel?
From Madonna’s kabbalistic lyrics to Ashton Kutcher’s tech portfolio, celebrities find many reasons to invest in the Holy Land
Pop singer Mariah Carey and her billionaire Australian boyfriend, James Packer, aren’t known to be investors in Start Up Nation. But they’re pals with its first family, the Netanyahus. The Australian press reported in August that Packer was renovating a multimillion-dollar home he purchased last year next-door to the Netanyahu family’s private residence in the Israeli town of Caesarea.
The Israeli press has reported extensively on Sara Netanyahu’s troubles with the help, but she apparently got along famously with the pop diva when they met backstage after Carey’s August show in Israel. Carey shrugged off efforts to boycott Israel at the time, saying, “I do what I want to do … I don’t care what other people’s political agendas are.”
For his part, Packer attended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech to Congress opposing the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran — at the prime minister’s invitation. (h/t Cliff)
Jerusalem's Liberators to Retrace Historic Six-Day Victory
Thursday's Jerusalem March will mark the 60th year the event has been held – making it the biggest and oldest parade in Israel.
To celebrate, parade organizers have recruited dozens of Israelis who were soldiers during the 1967 Six Day War, and participated in the liberation of Jordanian-occupied parts of the city.
This will mark the first time these warriors have gotten together for a march in the footsteps of their original victory.
At least 60,000 people from 35 countries are expected to be a part of the parade, either marching or watching.
The march, which lasts all day Thursday, has something for everyone: hikes along several trails in the Jerusalem forest for families who want to join the main body of the parade; marching bands, celebrities, balloons, and street theater for spectators who line the streets of the city, watching marchers; and a major happening in Sacher Park, where music, food, and fun will be the rule of the day.

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