Friday, October 02, 2015

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Israel’s risk aversion problem
This delusional thinking is what caused the IDF’s General Staff to convene immediately after Operation Protective Edge ended and try to figure out how to rebuild Gaza.
Ever since the cease-fire came into force, Hamas has diverted all the assistance it has received from Israel and the international community not to rebuild Gaza, but to rebuild its military capacity to harm Israel. And yet, from the IDF’s perspective, ever since the war ended our most urgent task has been to save Hamas and the Palestinians alike from reckoning with the price of their aggression.
Likewise, Israel continues to insist that we have a strategic interest in peace with the PLO. Even if this is true in theory, chances are greater that unicorns will fall from the sky and prance through Jerusalem’s Old City than that the PLO will agree to make peace with Israel.
Our continued defense of the PLO as a legitimate actor harms our ability to secure other strategic interests that are achievable and can improve Israel’s regional position. These interests include securing transportation arteries in Judea and Samaria and strengthening Israel's military and political control over the areas. These interests have only grown more acute in recent years with the rise of jihadist forces throughout the region and among the Palestinians themselves.
This brings us back to McCain and his strategic wisdom.
Israel must not allow the risks of action to lure us into strategic paralysis that imperils our future.
The more Israel allows other actors to determine the nature of the emerging regional order, the less secure Israel will be. The more willing we are to take calculated risks today the greater our ability will be to influence the future architecture of regional power relations and so minimize threats to our survival in the decades to come.
Sarah Honig: That level of hatefulness
In all, during her inglorious State Department stint, Hillary functioned as an authentic representative of her boss, President Obama.
And now as a presidential candidate herself, she pretends to be far friendlier to Israel than she was. She is understandably after money and votes. Electioneering begets lots of affable blarney but the devil is in the details. As only expected, Hillary never mentions her chumminess with Suha Arafat and her failure to take Mrs. Arafat to task for odious propaganda that (in the words of Hillary’s own censure of trump) “not only was it out of bounds, it was untrue.”
There are no extenuating excuses for the fact that Hillary kept mum during her Gaza visit and especially afterwards. She didn’t object to outright lies about non-existent contaminants with which Suha insisted Israel literally polluted actual Palestinian wells.
Not to so much as intimate a suggestion of criticism lent a measure of legitimacy to Suha’s outlandish and ultra-false charges. It also subliminally lent the impression that somehow Israel is the figurative poison in the Mideastern well – an impression later wellhoned by Obama whose bias-laden diplomacy Hillary Clinton unflinchingly furthered and helped implement.
Clearly, owning up to even a faint trace of such skewed statecraft now would be politically super-stupid for her with elections in the offing. Besides, Hillary was anyhow never a remarkable stickler for the truth. That, though, doesn’t mean that we should forget her double standards.
Paraphrasing Hillary’s own sanctimonious admonition, she “should have from the beginning corrected that kind of rhetoric, that level of hatefulness.”
The truth about J Street (h/t Bob Knot)

Amnesty International Defends Palestinian Who Uses His Children to Provoke Israeli Soldiers
In this context, it is also important to understand that the goal Bassem Tamimi pursues is not the peaceful co-existence of the Jewish state of Israel and an Arab-Muslim Palestinian state. In various interviews published on sites that oppose Israel’s existence as a Jewish state – such as the “hate site” Mondoweiss and The Electronic Intifada (from where an interview conducted by the notorious Max Blumenthal was even cross-posted on the website of the Al-Qassam Brigades), Bassem Tamimi has indicated that he is a determined proponent of the so-called “one-state-solution” that would replace the world’s only Jewish state with yet another Arab-Muslim majority state.
While Bassem Tamimi’s frequently stated views illustrate how preposterous it is for Amnesty International and other groups to promote him as a “human rights activist” worthy of everyone’s support and admiration, I have documented in considerable detail that the publicly accessible Facebook activity of Bassem Tamimi and his family – who are important participants in and supporters of his activism – provide plenty of additional evidence that the Tamimis are quite open about their disdain for non-violence. There are “Likes” for pages and posts promoting Hamas and the jihadist Al-Qassam Brigades; several notorious terrorists who together killed more than 50 Israeli civilians – including many children – and wounded hundreds more are celebrated as admirable “rebels;” and perhaps most disturbingly, there is relentless pressure put on the Tamimi children to provoke the IDF in order to achieve either “victory or martyrdom.”
It seems that as long as you send out your own and other people’s children to “shatter the myth of the Zionist army,” lip service to human rights and the ability to manipulate the media are all it takes to get Amnesty’s unwavering support. And if Bassem Tamimi succeeds in his quest to start a third intifada by urging his own children and other youngsters to provoke clashes with the IDF, Amnesty will no doubt repeat its accusations that Israeli security forces are showing “a callous disregard for human life.”
‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ defends anti-Israel Third Grade event
Rather than becoming introspective and questioning themselves as to why they feel the need to manipulate third graders, Jewish Voice for Peace is going on the offensive, claiming that the school’s actions and my reporting have silenced pro-Palestinian voices.
This appears to be part of JVP’s national campaign, launched yesterday in conjunction with Palestine Legal, to claim that pro-Israel groups have “stifled” their free speech.
On its national website, JVP and other anti-Israel groups that sponsored Tamimi’s national tour, issued a press release, objecting to the “Undeserved Backlash” against Tamimi’s third grade appearance. It reads, in part:
"On Friday, September 18, 2015, internationally renowned Palestinian nonviolent human rights activist, Bassem Tamimi, was an honored guest speaker as part of the human rights curriculum in the third grade classroom of Beverly J. Martin (BJM) Elementary school. Unfortunately, the school has received undeserved backlash from community members who objected to Mr. Tamimi’s human rights activism."
Ryan Bellerose: A Letter To Palestinian Supporters Tempted To Co-Opt Native American Struggles
Dear Pallywood asshats,
I think perhaps you people do not understand the depth of my disdain for those who piggyback off my peoples’ sorrows and misfortunes in order to gain credibility.
I am angry because I am more than a little fed up with people like Steven Salaita who write articles and “books” comparing Arabs to Indians in order to demonize Jews. I am even more tired that nobody seems to want to stand up to this guy or his friends. They don’t think its that big a deal. Maybe because he is just lying to Indians, and everyone knows, that’s not exactly new. I have been speaking up against him for a couple years now and what also annoys me are the dumbass Indians who actually think that clown is right and don’t even look at the actual history before speaking up. I can understand why he does what he does – his own struggle has no truth and needs the truth of my peoples to gain credibility, but why are some of our own are helping? I cannot understand.
First off, the Arabs are nothing like us. They are descended from colonizers and imperialists who conquered the entire Middle East, much of Africa and Europe and were not gentle with indigenous people. They force converted people, stole language and culture and basically were every bit as bad if not worse than white people in North America. So don’t ever compare my people to them and expect some of us not to speak up. Just because you read some piece of c**p book by Edward Said or Steven Salaita that is more fiction than truth, doesn’t make you an expert. In fact you will probably say something stupid if that’s what you base your opinions on. They are the very definition of Imperialists; just because they aren’t pale skinned doesn’t make them any better.
Is This the Beginning of the End for AIPAC?
And why would they? Crossing AIPAC, after all, is not the same as crossing Israel—something that American lawmakers, given voters’ overwhelming sympathy and support for the Jewish state, actually do fear. It’s not even clear that AIPAC still has a clear mandate from Jerusalem: The organization was reportedly opposed to Netanyahu’s speech in Congress earlier this year and saw the Israeli prime minister’s decision to accept John Boehner’s invitation as something between an irritation and an assault. Some at AIPAC even used the metaphor of a surprise attack in describing how ill-prepared the group was for Bibi’s move: “This is AIPAC’s Yom Kippur War,” one of the organization’s leaders told the Israeli journalist Ben Kaspit at the time.
With the GOP now talking directly to Netanyahu, and the Democrats standing firmly with the president, it’s hard to see AIPAC bouncing back unless the organization shows it has to be taken seriously. The lobby’s only hope is to use its considerable war chest to forcefully go after Democrats in 2016, restoring some of its capacity for political deterrence and regaining the Democrats’ obedience and the Republicans’ respect.
The Iran deal wasn’t just a battle over a specific policy; it might also have been a bellwether for a new political order, one in which traditional alignments fade away. Ever the master of the zero-sum game, President Barack Obama—whose chief talking point about the Iran deal was that you’d have to be some kind of nutty warmonger to oppose such a sensible scheme—managed to intimidate ostensibly pro-Israel Democrats on the most important vote related to Israel’s security in decades. What does it mean to support AIPAC—as leading Democrats, such as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, claim to do—but simultaneously vote for measures that cede regional power and influence to Israel’s (and America’s) worst enemies? This is not a political question, at least not entirely. It’s a moral conundrum, one that leaves many supporters of Israel, inside and outside the District of Columbia, in despair. Unable to be Democrats any longer, and frequently unwilling to turn Republican, these ideologically homeless voters are looking for a strong organization to represent them. To seize that mantle, AIPAC, or whoever replaces it, must do away with any notion of politesse and fight not only for votes but also, and most importantly, for beliefs.
Senate Democrats move to tighten up terms of Iran deal
Those correctives were evidenced in the legislation introduced Thursday by Senators Ben Cardin, Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Ron Wyden, Chris Coons, Chuck Schumer, Mark Warner, Cory Booker and Brian Schatz. Although the bill did not have Republican sponsorship, its sponsors argued that it “builds upon the bipartisan commitment to oversight outlined in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 that passed the U.S. Senate 98 to 1.”
The legislation’s aim, according to its sponsors, is to “strengthen US policy toward Iran and to clarify aspects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” — the nuclear deal — “that is set to take effect.” It includes a regional security strategy for the Middle East and authorizes additional security assistance for Israel.
“The JCPOA will be implemented and we must now focus on how best to make this agreement succeed by strengthening US policy toward Iran and bolstering our strategic plan for a very volatile Middle East region,” said Cardin, who announced shortly before the September filibuster that he opposed the nuclear agreement. Cardin took the lead in working to draft the bill following the White House’s successful campaign. “We as Democratic opponents and supporters of the Iran agreement are taking the first step forward to chart a new course that borrows from past practice.”
Bennet, who supported the administration’s position on the deal, said that the legislation “will strengthen implementation of the nuclear agreement and reiterate our support for Israel.” The bill, he said, “reiterates that all options, including the use of force, remain available to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
The legislation also seeks to counter Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism by emphasizing increased cooperation with international partners.
Bahrain Withdraws Ambassador from Iran After Bomb-Factory Find
Bahrain said on Thursday it had recalled its ambassador to Iran, a day after it said security forces had discovered a large bomb-making factory and arrested a number of suspects linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had also declared the Iranian charge d’affaires in Bahrain a “persona non grata” and gave him 72 hours to leave the country.
In a statement on its website, the ministry said the decision to recall its ambassador had come “in light of continued Iranian meddling in the affairs of the kingdom of Bahrain … in order to create sectarian strife and to impose hegemony and control”.
The Gulf Arab kingdom has been cracking down on militants behind recent bomb attacks on security forces that killed several people this year.
Iran denies involvement in any violence in Bahrain.
In March, Bahrain’s public prosecutor said it seized bomb-making equipment being smuggled from Iraq aboard a passenger bus for use in attacks in Bahrain.
Yemen reportedly cuts diplomatic ties with Iran
The Yemeni government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has decided to sever diplomatic relations with Iran, Reuters quoted a report on state-owned Aden television as saying Friday.
Hadi’s internationally recognized government is supported by Saudi Arabia, and a Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in a war between forces loyal to Hadi and Houthi rebels, Shiites backed by Iran, in March.
Bahrain also recalled its ambassador from Iran on Thursday.
On Wednesday, forces of the Saudi-led coalition stopped an Iranian boat carrying weapons allegedly destined for the Houthis as it made its way to Yemen.
Obama’s Nightmarish Syrian Legacy
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at the level of naiveté in Washington, where responsible office-holders honestly seem to imagine that the Russian dictator can be trusted to keep a solemn international commitment. If anyone had bothered to consult with the Georgians or Ukrainians, they would have rapidly disabused our leaders of this farcical notion.
The good news is that “deconfliction” between U.S. and Russian air strikes may not turn to be so important, because the Russians are going to be dropping bombs in a different part of the country from the Americans. Our aircraft are bombing ISIS. Their aircraft are bombing more moderate fighters who are in many ways the more significant threat to Russia’s ally, Bashar Assad. Oh and Turkish aircraft are bombing the positions of Kurdish militias that are the only effective anti-ISIS fighters on the ground in Syria.
What a perfect division of labor. Its effect will be just what the Russians and Iranians, who are Assad’s biggest backers, intend: to keep the dictator in power in at least a small part of Syria. That will leave Assad free to carry out his reign of terror, which is responsible for most of the deaths in Syria and most of the refugees fleeing the country.
Now even if President Obama wanted to take more serious steps to stop Assad — and there is no sign that he does — he would find it increasingly difficult to do so. As General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, recently noted, Russia is building an “A2/AD bubble” over Syria. That stands for anti-access/area denial — military nomenclature for defensive systems such as anti-aircraft missiles that will make it hard for U.S. or Israeli forces to operate in the area.
So, in addition to the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the ongoing killing of the Syrian civil war, the general chaos of Libya, the loss of territory to the Taliban, and the general expansion of Iranian influence, the Obama administration is leaving another legacy to its successor: Growing Russian power in the heart of the Middle East. It makes you wonder why anyone would want to be president, given the size of the mess that Obama’s successor will inherit.
What Putin's Syrian strategy means for Israel

It's likely that as a result, and as a result of the agreement between Putin and Netanyahu, Israel will try to avoid future airstrikes against Assad's weapon convoys to Hezbollah. After all, Russia is the one giving Assad those weapons, and it has a clear interest in drawing Israel, a local power, to its side, distancing it from the Americans.
Russia sees as a partner even though Putin quickly condemned Israel's airstrikes in Syria. That condemnation was meant to send the message: You Israelis are partners, but there are rules to this game, and you'll have to respect them.
It's likely that as a result, and as a result of the agreement between Putin and Netanyahu, Israel will try to avoid future airstrikes against Assad's weapon convoys to Hezbollah. One can also expect Russia to avoid permitting the transfer of Assad's weapons to Hezbollah. After all, Russia is the one giving Assad those weapons, and it has a clear interest in pulling Israel, a local power, to its side, distancing it from the Americans.
The bottom line is that Russia will probably serve as a stabilizing force in Syria, but what's less appealing is that it will legitimize an Iranian entrance into the country, under its supervision. As I said, it's unknown what will come out of the complex regional stew Russia is cooking. Putin doesn't know if his gamble will pay off, either. But as of now Israel needn't be too worried about Russia's increased presence in the region.
Russian airstrikes reportedly target CIA-backed rebels, civilians in Syria
More Iranian troops have arrived in Syria for an upcoming ground operation to accompany Russian airstrikes, defense officials confirm to Fox News.
“It has always been understood in this building that the Russians would provide the air force, and the Iranians would provide the ground force in Syria,” one official said.
Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters, “We know the Iranians are a part of this. We've known that since day one.”
The officials speaking to Fox News could not disclose the size of this new Iranian force due to the sensitivity of the information.
These Iranian forces are under the command of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the Quds Force commander in charge of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s international operations, which runs a network of proxy forces throughout the Middle East, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon.
Pentagon Won't Clarify Whether U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebels Will Be Protected Against Russia
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) refuses to explicitly say whether or not American military troops are planning to assist and protect U.S.-armed and trained Syrian rebels who come under attack by Russia.
Pentagon reporters grilled DOD press secretary Peter Cook about the issue during a briefing on Thursday, asking him numerous times if the U.S. military was committed to protecting American-backed Syrian rebels against Russia and respond if they were to come under attack by Moscow’s military.
U.S. officials, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have said that Russian airstrikes have hit American-backed Syrian rebels.
Yet Cook, at numerous times, dismissed Russia attacking Syrian rebels considered allies of the United States as speculative.
“You’re talking about a hypothetical situation, in which case specific opposition forces would be targeted, and we don’t have that situation right in front of us right now,” he said.
Decade on, Danish Mohammed cartoonist has no regrets
Ten years after a Danish newspaper triggered deadly protests by publishing 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the man behind the most infamous drawing says he feels anger but no regret.
Kurt Westergaard, 80, has received numerous death threats and lives under police protection since his caricature of a swarthy man with a bomb swaddled in his turban was published by daily Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005.
In 2010 an axe and knife-wielding man broke into his home, forcing him to take refuge in a panic room for 10 minutes as his attacker pounded on the door, while his five-year-old granddaughter was left alone in the living room.
“My basic feeling has been and still is anger. If you are threatened I think anger is a good feeling because it is like you mentally strike back,” he told AFP in a telephone interview.
Douglas Murray: Denmark’s free speech conference kept the spirit of Charlie Hebdo alive
This has been a terrible year for free speech. In January, after the atrocities in Paris, the whole world was ‘Charlie’, for about an hour. Then the violence and intimidation did the job they usually do (though we like to pretend otherwise) and by July even Charlie wasn’t Charlie anymore.
So I was delighted earlier this year when the Free Press Society of Denmark asked me if I would be willing to come to Copenhagen this September to take part in a conference to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the original ‘cartoon crisis’. I have spoken for this excellent group of doughty Danes before, and they have certainly shown more courage than the rest of the European media class combined. Not that they don’t pay a price for their bravery. The person who introduced me the last time I spoke for the organisation was the historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard. A while later a Muslim assassin arrived at his front door and tried to fire two shots at his head. Lars – who despite being in his 70s is as tough as anything – thankfully survived the attack.
Another founder member, who now heads the Lars Vilks Committee, is Helle Brix. It was her committee who organised the meeting on free speech in February this year that was shot up by an Islamist gunman (I interviewed her for The Spectator after that attack). In the meantime, there have been countless efforts to attack Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper which carried the original cartoons, and its editor, Flemming Rose, who commissioned the depictions.

Mark Steyn in Denmark, on the "Mohammed Cartoons" 10th anniversary
In some ways, it was a somber gathering, as many of those who should have been in attendance -- cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo and other publications -- had either been murdered by Muslim terrorists or gone into hiding.
As Steyn notes in his talk, the British Foreign Office issued an advisory, warning travelers against attending the event.
Even the newspaper that first published the cartoons declined to participate.
In his stirring speech, Steyn hailed "Rebel Commander" Ezra Levant for being one of the few publishers brave enough to run the cartoons, in his magazine The Western Standard.

The Middle East Studies Blind Spot: Anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jews as Jews, has a history in the Arab states and in Iran. It is blatant and obvious in the declarations of the government of Iran and in the public statements of Islamist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The link between Islamism and anti-Semitism has been a continuing theme of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt since the canonical writings of Hassan al-Banna, Haj Amin al-Husseini, and Sayyid Qutb from the 1930s to 1950s. The evidence of its presence is extensive in the files of the American and British diplomatic archives. It was a theme in the liberal and left-leaning journalism of the World War II era and in the scholarship of the postwar decades.
Yet the discipline of Middle East Studies today, rather than building on this valuable scholarly legacy, shows too little interest in the topic. Or it finds anti-Semitism's origins in the existence and policies of Zionism and the state of Israel while neglecting the presence of such antagonism in the years before Israel's founding. In so doing, the current disinterest evinces the entry into the academy of aftereffects of the leftist ideological offensive against Israel and Zionism that achieved so much success at the United Nations from the 1960s to the 1980s and that culminated in the UN's "Zionism is racism" resolution of November 1975. In the last decades of the Cold War, the Arab states, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Soviet bloc placed the entire blame for the Israel-Arab-Palestinian conflict on Israel. As I am documenting in At War with Israel: East Germany and the West German Radical Left, 1967-1989, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in spring 2016, these countries and organizations equated Israel with Nazi Germany and succeeded in preventing any public examination of the policy of expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the great majority of Jewish citizens of Israel that would have resulted from an implementation of the PLO's Charter of 1968. The flow of such ideas into the academy has created a regrettable blockage of research into the issue of anti-Semitism in an Arabic, Islamist and also Iranian context.
'Bon Jovi stands with Israeli settlers who burn Palestinian babies,' Roger Waters says
Pink Floyd co-founder and bassist Roger Waters continued his long-standing tradition of publicly calling out a big-name pop star for agreeing to perform in Israel.
In a letter written by the legendary British rocker and obtained by the online magazine Salon, Waters wrote that Jon Bon Jovi, who is bringing his act to Tel Aviv for a much-anticipated concert scheduled for this Saturday night, "stands shoulder to shoulder with the settler who burned the [Palestinian] baby" in the West Bank village of Duma last month.
"Often in the past I have written detailed, and sometimes even persuasive, letters to colleagues in the music business, encouraging them not to give succor to the Israeli government’s apartheid policies by performing in Israel," the creative brains behind such seminal works of music as The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon wrote. "Having read Jon’s comments last week...I won’t waste my time drawing parallels with Apartheid South Africa and the moral stand that so many artists took then and that thousands are taking now in the face of decades of Israeli oppression of Palestinians."
Bon Jovi joins a lengthy list of high-profile names whom Waters has publicly scolded due to their associations with Israel or Israeli-linked activities. Waters has criticized actress Scarlett Johannson for her endorsement of SodaStream and he has also urged other musicians like Neil Young, Robbie Williams, and the Rolling Stones to cancel gigs in Israel.
IsraellyCool: Roger Waters Disgraces Himself With Attack On Bon Jovi
With Bon Jovi touching down in Israel for tomorrow night’s highly anticipated concert, after lead singer Jon said Roger Waters’ BDS campaign “does not interest him” – Waters has gone on the offensive. While being offensive.
..Waters has published this rant the very same day this was happening:
6 young children burying their parents, who were deliberately murdered by palestinian terrorists last night.
Of course, to Waters, this was probably either justified or at least understandable.
I would like to think Bon Jovi stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Israelis who just want to enjoy their music, while trying to put behind last night’s deplorable murder and, in fact, decades of unrelenting terrorism.
On the other hand, Roger Waters stands shoulder-to-shoulder with terrorists and murderers.
Quick Pushback Is Needed as BDS Efforts Grow
The partial retraction of the almost wholly symbolic boycott gesture by an entity with no real economic or political relationships with Israel indicates that BDS initiatives are often both propaganda warfare against Israel and manifestations of “virtue signaling.” In the latter, endorsing BDS is a means to demonstrate “decency” and “virtue” (and thus ideological solidarity, almost exclusively with the left) by expressing antipathy towards designated unpopular causes. In these and other cases, however, quick exposure and responses may be effective in pushing back BDS.
Other BDS developments in September were less symbolic. Reports now indicate that European Union (E.U.) labeling of products that originate in Israeli communities across the “Green Line” will commence in October. The move came after the recent endorsement of labeling by the European Parliament and by the French Economic Minister. A European official also warned that “we will continue with moves against settlement expansion, and the marking of products will just be the beginning.” The labels and remarks reflect the E.U.’s relentless focus on “settlements” as the exclusive means to resolve the Arab-Israel conflict.
Israeli officials have reacted angrily to the impending labels. The issue was raised in a strategic dialogue with E.U. officials that accompanied the visit of European Council President Donald Tusk to Israel. Israeli officials complained that the labeling was actually a means to force a diplomatic solution. Israeli officials also noted that the labels were unfair, since among other things they were not applied to other “occupied territories” such as Northern Cyprus, and that they constituted a slippery slope towards a full boycott of Israel.
In a sign that the labeling issue is being taken seriously at the highest levels, Israeli Prime Minister warned before his official visit to Great Britain that the E.U. risked losing Israeli high tech business to Indian and Chinese investors. This assertiveness was echoed by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who warned that European labeling “settlement” products was a “red line” for Israel. It was unclear, however, precisely what measures Israel would take besides diplomatic initiatives.
French cancer group said behind ‘Palestine’ map
The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Thursday urged a withdrawal of support for the French League Against Cancer and its patrons, saying the organization had produced a map which labeled Israel as “Palestine” and which was subsequently distributed to elementary schools in Paris.
In a letter to Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, the center urged her to “take steps to recall these scurrilous ‘diaries’, identify and dismiss the antisemite responsible for this geographical revisionism and publicly condemn this travesty.” It also registered a complaint with the World Health Organization.
Responding last week to parents who complained about the distribution of the map at public schools, the City of Paris said it was the result of “a simple production error.”
The map, which ends north of central Israel the West Bank, designates the territory of Israel included in it as “Palestine,” alongside Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. In addition to omitting Israel’s name, it contains no mention of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, though it contains parts of those countries.
Financial Times erases the Temple Mount from Jerusalem
In addition to the omission in the text, graphics and photos used by FT editors also erase the existence of Judaism’s holiest site.
The only passage which even alludes to Jewish history in Jerusalem is in a paragraph which notes that “archaeologists digging in and around the Old City…often find..signs of an ancient Jewish presence…including ruins from the Temple period.”
However, even that passage is “balanced” by citing Palestinian claims that such Israeli archeology is used as a “political tool”.
Of course, denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem is par for the course for the Palestinians. However, professional journalists who omit such an important component of the Jews’ connection to the holy city are not commiting a serious distortion of history, but are arguably engaging in a breach of the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code.
Criminal complaint filed against German Mayor for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate
A German Jew filed a criminal complaint against the mayor of Jena, Albrecht Schröter, alleging he incited hatred toward Israelis because of his call to boycott products from the Jewish state and blaming Israel for the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe.
The Thüringische Landeszeitung newspaper reported on Tuesday that Andreas Neumann filed the criminal complaint against Schröter with the public prosecutor’s office in Gera.
According to a fax sent to the Mayor’s office, Neumann seeks a 15,000 Euro penalty, as well as a temporary restraining order against the Mayor’s allegedly anti-Jewish rhetoric.
Neumann said “Schröter’s call has a clear anti-Semitic character and is, in my view, clearly incitement to hate.”
Israeli, American and Palestinian Launch ‘Peace’ Game App
Bandura Games, a computer gaming company based in San Francisco, California, is set to launch a new mobile game app that will build connections and create empathy among people from different sides of conflict zones.
Justin Hefter, Bandura Games’ CEO, traveled to Israel in the summer of 2014 to see if he could find a way to use games to bring Israeli and Palestinian youth together.
In an interview with Tazpit News Agency, Hefter explained what set him on this path. “I graduated from Stanford University with a degree in public policy in 2011. One of the things I did as an undergrad was work with Jewish and Muslim students on campus to come up with events to bring people together.”
“I always wanted to take those experiences that brought people together and scale them up. So in 2014 I left my job and traveled to Israel to see if there was a way I could use online video games to bring Israelis and Palestinians together,” he said.
In one stroke, Spain granting citizenship to 4,300 Sephardic Jews
Spain on Friday granted citizenship to 4,302 people whose Jewish ancestors fled after being told in 1492 to convert to Catholicism or go into exile ahead of the Spanish Inquisition that saw many Jews burned at the stake.
The naturalizations were approved a day after Spain adopted its new citizenship law for descendants of Sephardic Jews, said Justice Minister Rafael Catala.
It allows applicants to maintain their original citizenship so they can have dual nationality.
Those granted citizenship Friday applied under an older law requiring them to relinquish home country nationality but can now have dual nationality.
The new decree “has allowed us at one stroke to grant nationality to 4,302 people of Sephardic origin” whose applications under previous legislation were already pending, Catala told a news conference after a cabinet meeting.
Teridion gets $20 million investment on promise of 20X faster Internet
Israeli fast Internet provider Teridion, which claims it can deliver Internet content twenty times faster than current solutions, emerged from stealth mode on Wednesday, and announced that it had just closed a $15 million second round of investment, bringing the company’s total fundraising to $20 million. For the past two years, Teridion has been providing fast Internet services to fifteen companies around the world – providing data with the best routes on congested web data highways to ensure the fastest possible data delivery time.
“The Internet is an incredibly powerful tool, but until now, we have struggled to take full advantage of its capabilities. It’s still common for us to fall victim to slow response times and volatile connections,” said Elad Rave, founder and CEO of Teridion. “We are breaking down these boundaries and providing users with a seamless Internet experience – no matter their location, device or application. It’s our goal to bring customer loyalty to the forefront, and the funding and general availability of our product are major steps in this direction.”
The latest investment round was led by JVP, Magma and Singtel Innov8. With the new funds – and now that Teridion has “gone public” with its technology – the company said it would “accelerate its go-to-market strategy and grow its team both in the US and internationally.”
Philips CEO: Israel has major role in our vision
Frans van Houten tells "Globes" that Philip's focus on technology for medicine means Israel will become one of its main centers.
Royal Philips will spin off a substantial part of its business in 2016. The giant concern, with annual revenue of €21 billion and a €23 billion market cap, plans to offer shares in its lighting division, which accounts for a quarter of its business. This measure is another step in the change the company has been undergoing in recent years from dealing in industrial and household electronic products (such as TVs and electric razors) to a company with a special focus on health.
Philips's products are designed to create a continuity of treatments from the hospital (where the company operates imaging systems, medical devices, and large systems for managing all of a hospital's information) to the patient's home (where the company offers home medical devices, but also consumer health products, such as a toothbrush that measures the health of a person's mouth and a refrigerator that monitors food consumption). Through this change and integration, Philips hopes to dominate the growing and flourishing digital health sector. (h/t Cliff)
The intrepid couple who restored a gem of a Polish synagogue
It’s been almost one year since Israeli president Reuven Rivlin delivered a stirring speech at the opening ceremonies of Warsaw’s glistening new POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
“It is not a museum of the Holocaust, it is a museum of life,” Rivlin proclaimed, echoing the mission of the museum that tells the 1,000-year history of how Jews lived in Poland, and not only how they died.
Since then, more than 350,000 people from around the world, including thousands of Israelis, have visited the museum and the widely hailed centerpiece of its permanent exhibit — the recreated roof and painted ceiling of the 18th century Gwozdziec Synagogue and its intricately painted, hand-carved eight-sided bimah.
Now, a new documentary, “Raise the Roof,” takes viewers behind the scenes with the unlikely and inspiring story of how Rick and Laura Brown, a husband-wife team of artists and visionary educators from Boston, led an international movement of more than 300 students, artisans and scholars to recreate this magnificent architectural gem, a little known but significant piece of nearly lost Jewish history.
At one time, there were some 200 of these wooden synagogues built during a period referred to as the golden age of Polish Jewry. None survived destruction during the German Nazi occupation of Poland.
Thousands attend Jerusalem March amid security tensions
Waving colorful flags, thousands of foreigners and Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on Thursday to participate in the 60th annual Jerusalem flag march and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
Ahead of the event police tightened security and blocked many Jerusalem streets to allow the march to pass through, causing traffic jams in other parts of the city.
Many Christian supporters of Israel, who joined the Israelis in celebrating the holiday and Jerusalem March, walked down the heavily guarded streets.
"Actually we would like to pray for Israel and tell the people here that we love them. And God bless this city Jerusalem, always all the time, [and] forever," said Suka, from China.
"We are here to show support on behalf of the United States' delegates to show our support for Israel and the Israeli army and to say that we stand with Israel and the guard of Israel," said Joyelizabeth from the U.S.
A Succot scorecard
At home, Israel’s dramatic drive to succeed ever-more in all aspects of life continues unabated, with spectacular results, from leading brain scientists to rocket missile defense systems; first-class doctors and world-class healthcare; high levels of Torah study – only 70 years after the destruction of European Jewry’s Torah world; multiple humanitarian missions undertaken abroad; and most of all, sensational activism and high motivation of our magnificent youth. And we are returning to our roots and healing our divisions.
Thus, a cold evaluation of Israel’s strengths versus our enemies’ threats leads to the conclusion that Israel is winning on all battlefronts; overcoming every challenge; and advancing in all ways. Life in Israel is full of meaning – adorned by sacrifice, commitment, achievement and joy – all the components that make life satisfying and exciting, and uniquely so for Jews who have long awaited a national return to Zion.
Listen to the words of the late, great ambassador Dr. Yaakov Herzog, speaking in 1971 about “The Permanence of Israel”: “We face perils. No man can guarantee that fighting will not resume tomorrow, that our soldiers will not have to fight again bloody battles. But we know we have the strength to withstand them. The balance of arms is in our favor at the moment... We may face political isolation and pressures, but we face all this in the knowledge that we belong to a new epoch and that the Jew has changed – in Jerusalem, in Israel and across the world.
“And though at times it looks dark, the light will reappear. With firmness touched with generosity, with strength uplifted by spiritual understanding, we can move ahead. With all the difficulties, with all the pressures, we are the generation of redemption. Let us indeed be worthy of this privilege that defies human logic and supersedes human vistas.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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