Monday, November 02, 2015

From Ian:

Dershowitz Wins Oxford Union Debate on Boycott Israel Movement
Alan Dershowitz, a famed Harvard Law School professor and Middle East expert, won over Oxford University’s Oxford Union on Sunday in a debate over the Boycott Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the state of Israel, defeating his opponent 137-101 in the heart of liberal academia.
Mr. Dershowitz told Breitbart News how he managed to convince students that the case for boycotting Israel was unjust, and only sabotages the peace process.
“The other side argued that BDS was an alternative to war. I argued that BDS was an alternative to a negotiated peace because it disincentivizes the Palestinian leadership from negotiating a compromise resolution and instead misleads them into relying on external pressure to delegitimize Israel,” he said.
Dershowitz squared off against Peter Tatchell, a self-described human rights advocate who is a member of the Green Party of England and Wales.
BDS, which advocates for a boycott of exports to and imports from the State of Israel, has been described by some as an anti-Semitic movement, given that many of its proponents refuse to recognize the sovereignty of the Jewish state.
Advocates of BDS commonly ignore the atrocities committed by actual dictatorial regimes, and tend to only focus on Israel, the only free, democratic country in the Middle East.
The Harvard professor argued that the side that promotes the boycott of Israel approaches the topic from a deep-rooted anti-Semitic perspective.
“BDS is anti-peace, anti-negotiation and anti-Israel. I am pro-peace, pro-negotiation, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine… BDS is based on bigotry. If Israel was not the nation state of the Jewish People, then this debate wouldn’t be happening today,” he said during the debate.
BDS leaders refuse to debate him, which says a lot about their supposed longing for peace, he added, stating: “BDS will absolutely not bring peace. If the BDS movement is desirous of peace, then why will its leaders not debate me?” (h/t Yenta Press)
What Do Palestinians Want?
Palestinians view Israeli words and deeds through a powerfully distorting lens. A half-century of Israeli restraint at the Temple Mount has failed to convince most Palestinians that there is no plan to replace the mosques on Haram al-Sharif with a Jewish house of worship. A decade-and-a-half marked by prolonged and intense bouts of violence has persuaded Palestinians that the use of force generally helps them, and many have formed these views based on earlier rounds of attacks against Israelis and Westerners dating back a number of decades. Additionally, a series of confrontations between the West and the Arab/Islamic world has ingrained in most Palestinians a belief that attacking Western or Israeli targets, far from constituting terrorism, is legitimate resistance. Hence, Israel is an unlikely candidate to mitigate Palestinian support for violence.
The onus is therefore on the Palestinian leadership to recognize the dangers posed to its own self-interest by the current volatile circumstances and to take a firm and consistent stance against violence. Of course, there is no expecting Hamas to adopt such a position, which would contravene its organizational ethos and traditions ingrained over two-and-a-half decades. But is it utterly inconceivable that a successor to the eighty-year-old Abbas might do so? Whatever his weaknesses may be—and they have been abundantly on display in recent weeks—Abbas has preached for a decade that violence is not beneficial to the Palestinian cause and has consistently ordered his security forces to cooperate with Israel in quelling armed attacks. This is at least a precedent on which a stronger and more courageous leader might build.
In any such effort, the Arab countries with the greatest stake in preserving stability and preventing the further ascendancy of radical Islamic forces in their neighborhood might have a refreshingly constructive role to play (especially Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia). So might the United States and Europe, which have both an interest in cooling fevers and various diplomatic, political, and financial levers at their disposal. Though Palestinians possess a remarkable capacity to form their own, independent perception of the world around them, they are not immune to the consequences of their actions or to the changing incentives they face. If the U.S. and other Western powers were to begin vociferously condemning violence initiated by Palestinians, to penalize the PA and Hamas until attacks stop, and to ensure that under no circumstances will gains, diplomatic or otherwise, accrue from them, this, too, might exercise a meliorating effect over time.
Palestinian support for violence, and the attitudes underlying that support, have developed and become entrenched over a period of decades. Altering those attitudes can only begin once the attitudes are recognized for what they are, without blinking and without excuses. Toward that end, I hope this essay, along with the broader research project of which it is a part, can serve as a catalyst.
A Soldier’s Mother: When the Arabs Make Our Point Better Than We Ever Can
According to popular misconceptions, the left will always tell you there is hope for tomorrow and the right will always tell you that peace is un-achievable. The left will tell you that Israelis just have to be more accepting, more able to see the good in every human being; and the right will say that all Arabs are our enemy…Every. Single. Damn. One. Of. Them. These are the words of people who do not understand left, center, or right.
Ironically, the majority of people who have daily interactions with Arabs…are right wing. We live next to them, among them, not in some tower in Tel Aviv perched on high as a few Arabs sweep the streets below. We ride the same trains, wait at the same bus stops. By interactions, I mean discussions, comments, etc.
I was recently told by a woman that I am a target but she is not. I’m a target because I live in Maale Adumim, and she lives in Raanana. Obviously, she said this a few weeks ago, before two terrorists chose her city to make the point that she is as much a target as I am; that they do not differentiate between those who live here versus those who live there.
We are right wing. We are not stupid. We are not filled with hatred. We are not, as my college friend (now a big thinker in a think tank in Washington from which he tells us of maps and solutions that will bring the peace he envisions for us), said a few years ago, living in “limbo.” We lead productive lives, filled with family and friends, work, social events and more. My city has a museum, a Cultural Center, a Music Conservatory and a Country Club. Bowling alley. Schools. Emergency Medical Care Center. In short, we are simply Israelis. On average, we are as educated, as intelligent, as honorable, as peace-loving as those who live anywhere else in this country.

Right-Wing Israeli Musician in War of Words with American Jewish Liberals
“Every time that you tell the left the truth, and the truth is hard for them to digest, they immediately do all they can to silence you.”
Richard Lakin was killed as he was shot and stabbed by Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem last week. He was an American who moved to Israel and was active in the peace movement in both countries. He believed deeply in co-existence.
Following his murder, a popular Israeli rapper, Yoav Eliasi – also known as Hatzel (Shadow) – posted to social media channels his commentary, as he does regularly as one who dabbles in political activism.
Hatzel posted,
"Richard was an English teacher and a radical leftist activist in the organization Tag Meir [an organization for “co-existence”], which shows you that it doesn't matter how much you're in the left, how active you are for the Arabs, and sell out and betray your people in the name of enlightenment - when the terrorist comes he won't care about your activities, and the only thing he'll see is a Jew, and for him your blood is exactly like that of the religious Jew or the settler who sat next to you.”
Following criticism of his comments as “insensitive,” he commented,
“I'm pained over him as I am over every Jew and I'm sorry if his family was insulted, but I didn't say anything bad against him, only about the absurdness of the situation. Pay attention how every time that you tell the left the truth, and the truth is hard for them to digest, they immediately do all they can to silence you. It's really hard for them when a mirror is placed in front of their faces and they're told 'this is you, deal with it!'"
Immigration, Antisemitism and the Future of European Democracy
At the beginning of the emotional debate sparked by the huge influx of refugees into Europe, leaders of the small vulnerable Jewish communities in Europe did not dare express their fears — lest they be painted as racists or Islamophobes. At that point, the dominant voices in Western Europe not only favored the intake of all refugees, but bullied many early critics into silence.
Nor did Jews dare ask an obvious question: do European leaders have a responsibility to incorporate concerns of Jewish communities already reeling from antisemitic threats and attacks often emanating from radicalized Muslims?
Now, as European leaders seek to recalibrate their policies toward the continuing influx from the Middle East, several Jewish leaders have begun to speak out.
Oskar Deutsch, chairman of the Jewish community in Vienna, wrote in the Austrian daily Kurier that his community has helped many refugees over the years. But the arrival of 20 million Muslims in Europe over recent decades, he says, has led to increased physical antisemitic attacks and migration of Jews. Deutsch added that refugees arriving now from Syria and Afghanistan come from societies where antisemitism is a staple in schoolbooks, media, and on social networks. Terror against Israelis, and Muslim attacks on Jewish schools, synagogues, museums, and other institutions are often glorified in these countries.
John Bolton, Israeli General Spar over Israel’s Future
On Thursday night, former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton and Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. Israel Shafir spoke at Beth Jacob synagogue about Israel’s future and security in a region that is growing ever more hostile towards the only Jewish State in the world.
The event was moderated by Simcha Salach, who is the executive director of the Israeli Air Force Center Foundation, which was responsible for the event.
“President Barack Obama has been the most hostile president towards Israel since 1948,” Bolton said. “I think the administration has pursued the notion that if you could create a Palestinian state that sweetness and light could break out in the Middle East. This has been a view in America that’s been very widespread and very persistent for a long time. It’s just fundamentally wrong.”
Bolton pointed out that he believes Obama “views Israel as just as much a problem as the United States” and is attempting to “constrain” both nations in order to weaken them strategically on the world scale.
He said that has pushed America’s other allies in the region to “hedge their bets” by deepening their relations with the Russians and the Chinese.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Report: No One Accuses US Blacks Of Loyalty To Liberia (satire)
A recent study shows that despite the established model of accusing American Jews of primary loyalty to Israel, African-Americans do not face allegations that their chief ties are to Liberia, a country established by other African-Americans.
The report, compiled by the Organization for Bloody Very Important Obvious Urgent Statistics (OBVIOUS), looked at public statements and comments by journalists regarding Jews, especially Jews in the public spotlight, and compared them with the rhetoric surrounding similarly situated African-Americans. Despite many similarities between the two historically persecuted populations, and despite the parallels between Liberia and Israel, the study found that almost no one accuses African-Americans of placing loyalty to their brethren in West Africa above loyalty to the US, whereas Jewish political figures, celebrities, and cultural figures are frequently evaluated in the public eye in terms of their connection to the Jewish state. The authors of the study were unable to pinpoint an explanation for the divergent phenomena.
“It is hard to know what factor might lie behind the different trends,” said lead author Cino Evel. “Given the political instability in Liberia and the general tensions plaguing West Africa, we would expect to see front-page treatment of the sort that Israel gets almost daily. And the population of African-Americans positively dwarfs that of American Jews, which only adds to the mystery. When was the last time anyone accused [Republican presidential candidate Dr.] Ben Carson of prioritizing Liberian welfare and security over that of his fellow US citizens? We’re flummoxed by what might account for this.”
The Palestinian 'war of history'
A quiet war has been raging for years and few but researchers in the field have paid it any attention. This war is a "war of history" that the Palestinian Authority has been waging against the State of Israel.
The scandal surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remark recently that Jerusalem Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini planted the idea of exterminating the Jews in Hitler's head can be considered a mild revision of history when compared with what is currently happening in Palestinian society, in a blatant, intentional manner.
One of the main staples of the Palestinian Authority's policy is the rewriting of the history of the Land of Israel. Thus, Jewish history is wiped and replaced with a fabricated, ancient Muslim-Palestinian history that supposedly pre-dates the Jews. Before the establishment of the state, the Zionist narrative rested on the Bible as a source of legitimization for establishing a Jewish state here. When David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, was asked by the Peel Commission why he -- a native Pole -- was demanding rights to this land, he replied: "The Bible is our mandate. Our historic right has existed since the dawn of the Jewish people."
To counter this narrative, the Palestinians have, for years, cultivated the "Canaanite myth." On Palestinian television programs, the Biblical Canaanites are morphed into Arabs who have lived in this land since 7000 BCE and to this day. After all, even the Bible says that the Canaanites lived in this land before the Israelites and Abraham came along. Incidentally, in these Palestinian documentaries, Abraham is turned into a Muslim who built Al-Aqsa mosque. Moses becomes a Muslim who shepherded the Muslims out of Egypt, and Jesus is not a Jew but a Palestinian.
Iranian MPs: No nuclear deal until sanctions fully lifted
Iranian MPs have called on President Hassan Rouhani to refrain from carrying out Iran's commitments under the nuclear deal signed with world powers until all economic sanctions are lifted.
In a letter to Rouhani reported by state-owned Press TV, 213 of 290 MPs in Iran's Majlis demanded that "no practical measure should be taken with regard to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) before US President Barack Obama and the European Union officially declare the lifting of all financial and economic sanctions against Tehran."
Such a move would be in breach of the JCPOA, however, which requires Iran to curb its nuclear activity in several areas before an incremental rollback in sanctions begins.
The letter, which was sent to Rouhani on October 21, also called on him to form of "powerful, informed and astute" committee to supervise the nuclear deal's implementation, and warned him "to fully observe the directives issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on the JCPOA implementation to safeguard the Iranian nation’s interests," according to state-controlled media.
Iran Launches Blockade On U.S. Goods
Iran announced over the weekend that it is beginning to implement a blockade of all U.S. goods into the country following an order by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has directed the country’s government to form an “economy of resistance.”
The order comes following a letter sent late last month by Khamenei to President Hassan Rouhani. Khamenei called the United States “hostile and disruptive” and directed leaders to cut off all further negotiations with America.
Iran’s trade and industrial ministry announced the blockade on Sunday in a statement carried by the country’s state-controlled media.
“We will implement the blockade on imports of American goods in a directive,” Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, the ministry’s leader, announced in a statement published by PressTV.
Iran Literally Just Erased A Guy From History
Iran’s Islamist government is pretty uneasy about dissidents. So uneasy, in fact, that the government is trying to delete them from history.
Iranian television aired footage Sunday from a 1984 speech delivered by Ayatollah Khamenei, who today is the country’s Supreme Leader. In the background is a large photo of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of Iran’s Islamic regime and the country’s Supreme Leader at the time of the speech. And, according to Iranian TV, that’s the only photo that was there.
But it wasn’t. In the original video, a smaller photo can be seen next to Khomeini’s. That photo, of Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri, was airbrushed out of the television version. Critics of the Iranian regime immediately noticed the change and posted on social media.
Montazeri was a major figure in the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and for years he was the designated successor to Khomeini himself. But eventually, Montazeri broke with the government and became a prominent dissident due to his belief the government should legalize political parties and show more respect for human rights. Montazeri spent the last years of his life under house arrest, and died in 2009.
Iranian Actress Who Posted Photos with Head Uncovered Is Called Immoral, Flees to Dubai
An Iranian actress who posted pictures of herself with her hair uncovered on Facebook and Instagram has fled to Dubai after being declared “immoral” by authorities in Iran, Yahoo! News reported Friday.
Sadaf Taherian put the pictures of herself on her Facebook and Instagram pages in protest against strict laws in Iran that decree women cover their heads.
But the pictures soon drew the attention of the Iranian ministry of culture.
She’s since had to flee to nearby Dubai after facing public abuse over the pictures, with officials even reportedly doctoring them, Photoshopping her hijab back on.

Taherian spoke about her experience on Tablet, a program on Voice of America’s Persian language channel,
Russia in Southern Syria: Israeli and Jordanian Concerns
Although neither country has many options for keeping the Russian air force out of the south, Israel could reiterate to Moscow that it will take action if Hezbollah or Iranian elements join any ground offensive close to the border. It is still a big question whether Israel would actually strike if Russian forces are in the area, but restating its oft-repeated redline could give Moscow pause about enabling an Iranian/Hezbollah front in the Golan.
If Hezbollah, other Iranian proxies, or Syrian forces do move closer to the border, Israel could use ground fire against them, including artillery or tanks. It could also use standoff weapons from its airspace. Yet both options are risky because they could escalate the situation with any Russian forces operating in the area. Unexpected errors tend to happen in combat situations -- whether it is Israeli artillery rounds interfering with Russian close air support, a human error leading to target misidentification, or similar problems, the probability of friction between Israel and Russia would increase.
Given their limited options, Amman and Jerusalem should express their concerns to their close ally, the United States, who can in turn convey them to Moscow. Jordan and Israel both have strong militaries, but they are not in the same league as Russia's. The only country currently involved in the Syrian quagmire that can guarantee their interests is the United States.
For now, southern Syria is not a top priority for Russia and its coalition of ground forces, as intense battles are ongoing in Aleppo, Hama, and other places to the north. Yet the south may be part of Russia's broader strategy, and it could still allocate some resources to the area even while occupied elsewhere. If this week's southern airstrikes lead to expanded Russian, regime, and allied activity there, it would test Moscow's complicated relations with Israel, Jordan, Iran, and Hezbollah. To forestall or manage such escalation, Jerusalem and Amman should ask Washington to make sure that Russia takes their interests into account, particularly regarding Iranian and Hezbollah operations near the borders.
Errant Russia airstrike kills Hezbollah fighters: report
A Russian airstrike has mistakenly killed a number of Hezbollah members in Syria, according to a Kuwaiti daily with close access to Moscow’s aerial campaign in the war-torn country.
Al-Rai on Friday morning cited a military source with “good knowledge of the Syrian battlefronts” as saying that the Russian air force accidently killed seven Hezbollah fighters.
“Members of Hezbollah stationed at a combat position in Syria were surprised by the low flight of Russian planes above their position,” the source told the newspaper’s chief international correspondent, Elijah J. Magnier.
“This was followed by concentrated bombing that caused at least seven deaths,” the source added, without detailing where incident took place.
Why is BDS losing? Simple: Israel is just too good
It’s no secret that some of the most innovative creations and technological advances over the last few decades have been dreamed up and created in Israel. From updates to the F-16 fighter jets of the US Military, to Microsoft’s infamous Intel technology and much of the technological prowess behind Apple’s iPhones, there is no shortage of Israeli innovation throughout the modern world.
What’s incredible is that Israel is now adjudged to be up there with Silicon Valley as one of the very best places in the world to ‘start up’ a new business or develop a new piece of software or technology.
Just walk through Tel Aviv and you’ll see the amount of investment going into new office blocks and ventures. Cranes, well-heeled investors in suits and modern day entrepreneurs in jeans; it seems everyone is joining in to get a piece of the success.
Being in the ‘age of the startup’ hasn’t done any harm to the Israeli startup and business markets either. For example, having a new method to do old things, like the technology that powers Waze, a popular ‘community navigation’ app on IOS and Android which seamlessly guides its users around traffic in whichever city they are in, the reach of the innovation provided by Israelis is remarkable. Such is the success of Waze that it was bought by Google for $1.1bn in 2013.
Italian Jews in Samaria: Boycott is against all Jews
Jewish representatives visit family of murdered couple and Knesset, in trip to learn more about the 'hypocrites' who boycott Israel.
After getting briefed on the region, they then went to the Knesset and met Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
"This boycott really drives me crazy," said Edelstein, addressing the Italian Jews, and adding, "I don't think it's a real danger to the Israeli economy."
"I really hate hypocrites, and when I see all those boycotters, I always have the temptation to tell them they should really boycott Israel. I've never seen anyone throw away their iPhone because he or she wants to boycott Israel."
Pacifici noted that the BDS "activities are not only against Israel, it's against all of the Jewish people in all parts of the world."
Activists plan women-only boat to Gaza Strip next year
A coalition of pro-Palestinian activists plans to launch an all-female boat to Gaza aimed at breaking the Israeli naval blockade on the Palestinians next year, the Freedom Flotilla Campaign announced Sunday.
The flotilla, the latest in a series of failed boat trips that Israeli officials have termed provocations, is part of a three-year strategic plan the group of activists released Sunday.
The Freedom Flotilla Campaign said it also planned to send two more boats over the two subsequent years, one in 2017 to show “solidarity with the fishermen of Gaza” and a second the next year “carrying hundreds of supporters from around the world.”
“We will continue our work until the blockade of Gaza is lifted, occupation comes to an end and all just rights of the Palestinian people are restored,” the coalition said in a statement on its site.
PreOccupiedTerritory: NJ Band Plans Israel Gig So Roger Waters Will Object, Create Exposure (satire)
A local band struggling to make a name for itself has hit upon a plan to leverage the celebrity of artists promoting the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement against Israel to generate much-needed publicity, the band’s lead guitarist told reporters today (Sunday).
Celiac Knights, a quartet of rock musicians in this northern Garden State township, announced a series of engagements in Israel during December and January, specifically aiming to attract the attention of Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd front man who has taken to trying to prevent musicians from performing in Israel in an effort to pressure the Jewish state culturally and economically. Lead guitarist and singer Trevor Marino said the group had booked appearances at three venues in the Tel Aviv area in the period immediately following Christmas, even though no one in the band is Jewish, has ever been to Israel, or thinks they stand a chance of selling any tickets there.
“We of course welcome the opportunity to take our music to a larger, more diverse audience than before,” explained Marino, 19, who dropped out of high school after his sophomore year to focus on the band. “But we haven’t tracked a single download of our songs to Israel, so that’s more of a long shot. The real goal here is to get Mr. Waters’s attention, since, as we understand it, he’s passionate about keeping groups from performing in Israel.” If all goes according to plan, Celiac Knights will soon be a household word among both supporters and opponents of an Israel boycott, for which the costs of reservations and bookings at the three Israeli venues are a small price to pay.
Edgar Davidson: Sky Broadband: It is a hate crime to report about antisemitism and anti-Zionism
I have reported a number of times before how this site - along with many pro-Israel sites - are blocked by various mobile service providers (using the default security settings) while no such blocks are placed on the most vicious anti-Israel (and indeed blatantly antisemitic) sites.
Increasingly, I am hearing that now even broadband service providers are blocking pro-Israel sites. For example, somebody trying to access my site using Sky's broadband today has informed me they got the following message:
Sky Broadband Shield "The site was blocked because it matched the following categories: Weapons, Violence, Gore and Hate"
The mobile and broadband companies use third party services for these parental/security controls. Those third parties rely in part on end users reporting 'offensive sites'. A known tactic of the anti-Israel activists is to report pro-Israel sites as 'hate speech' and that is why we get blocked. It seems that these activists are not content just to make up vicious antisemitic blood libels against Israel which are a perfect inversion of reality (such as the current one parroted by Gerald Kaufman that Israelis are executing random Arabs and 'planting knives on them'). They are also determined to silence anybody actually calling them out and reporting the truth.
What the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland gets wrong about Rabin and Israel’s search for peace
While Freedland correctly notes that Amir’s intention was to kill the peace process, he gives the far-right Jewish extremist way too much credit in suggesting that the two bullets fired into the back of Rabin were indeed the cause of the subsequent failures of Oslo.
In suggesting that Rabin was “the only Israeli leader who has genuinely seemed both willing and able to solve the…endless conflict”, Freedland fails to acknowledge that both Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, in 2001 and 2008, demonstrated a “willingness” to the solve the conflict by offering the Palestinians what Rabin didn’t even consider: a sovereign, contiguous state in most of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.
Palestinian leaders – Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas – rejected these offers. Indeed, Arafat not only refused to take yes for an answer, but then proceeded to launch a violent intifada which left thousands of Israelis and Palestinians dead.
Prime Minister Sharon’s subsequent withdrawal from Gaza resulted in the rise of Hamas, thousands of rocket attacks on Israeli cities, and three major wars.
Freedland’s omission of these inconvenient truths is significant, because it allows him to maintain that it was the assassination of Rabin, and not Palestinian rejectionism and violence, which killed Oslo – or, at least, eroded the Israeli belief in the peaceful intentions of Palestinian leaders and the logic of land for peace.
Tellingly, Freedland only mentions the word “Palestinians” once (in passing) in his entire op-ed.
Thomas Friedman Detained at Ben Gurion Airport for Smuggling Clichés (satire)
Noted author, New York Times columnist, and pundit Thomas Friedman was detained early this morning at Ben Gurion Airport for attempting to illegally smuggle multiple clichés out of the country. In addition, he is being held for possession of several non sequiturs and homespun bits of nonsense that he failed to declare to Customs authorities upon departure. The United States Embassy in Tel Aviv has sent a Consular Affairs official to the airport to meet with Mr. Friedman and ensure that he is being treated in accordance with agreements and protocols between the two nations vis-a-vis detention of citizens in transit. Meanwhile, the Daily Freier is on the scene of the unfolding crisis and speaking with Israeli Border Authority Spokesperson Sarit B.
“Mr. Friedman exceeded the very strict cliché limit that Israeli Customs Law dictates. Normally we let people go if they have one or two Masada references. Same with “Stuff your neighborhood juice guy told you”. You’re also allowed to have two camel anecdotes from the Negev……Birthright participants are allowed six.”
Mr. Friedman first attracted attention while standing on line waiting for the pre-departure interview. Alert local Ronit S. was waiting on line next to him and discreetly notified security that something was amiss. Ronit shared her experience with the Daily Freier; “So it’s 7 AM, I’m on my way to Rome for a week, and this guy will not stop talking to me. At first I ignored him because I thought he was just trying to hit on me. Then I realized it was far worse. He was trying to convince me that the Bible was actually a lot like a tech start up in Palo Alto.”
ADL director urges French Jews to stay despite rising anti-Semitism
Pierre Lellouche, a Jewish former French minister and lawmaker, noted that the number of anti-Semitic acts recorded in France each year has risen from about a dozen incidents in the 1980s to 851 last year.
“Violent Jew-hatred is but one consequence of the problem with coexistence of Islam in France today,” he said, adding that most incidents are perpetrated by Arabs or Muslims. “Whites, Christians are regularly accosted on the street, as the Jews are.”
The Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, who spoke at the conference hours before flying to Iraq on a fact-finding mission about jihadism, said that despite the challenges facing French Jewry, “they have never been less alone.”
“We have allies today in government and society in a way which we never had before,” he said.
Graves at Sobibor dug up by treasure hunters
The mass graves were discovered to have been disturbed during an archeological dig, the Daily Mail online reported on Monday.
“There has been a big archaeological project going on, but when we started excavating we discovered that people had already been digging near to where the gas chamber had been in Camp Three,” a museum source told MailOnline. “We found lots of pits which were nothing to do with us and clearly weren’t professionally dug by scientists. We don’t know who did it, but we suspect they were looking for gold or metal.”
“The idea that thieves have been here looking for such disturbing mementos is truly shocking,” the source also said.
Up to 300,000 people, most Jewish, were killed at Sobibor.
Algeria begins plans to uproot Jewish cemetery
A desecrated Jewish cemetery in Algeria has been taken over by authorities who are advancing a construction project on the site.
The demolition of the cemetery in the coastal town of Oran marks the end of Algeria's once-magnificent Jewish community, who first came to settle in the African country in the 14th century and expanded after the expulsion from Spain.
Anti-Semitism began to grow in the 18th century and reached its peak during World War II, when France was defeated by Germany, leaving Algeria under the jurisdiction of the pro-Nazi Vichy government.
After World War II, Jews attempted to remain neutral during the Algerian struggle for independence but found themselves the victims of attacks from both Algerian and French nationalists.
The Jewish community, numbering about 30,000 people, continued its regular life, but in 1956 rioters started attacking Jewish property. Attacks quickly escalated and began to claim casualties.
Italy soccer chief under fire for anti-Semitic, homophobic remarks
Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio is under pressure again for alleged discriminatory remarks, this time reportedly aimed at Jews and gays.
Tavecchio made the remarks to online outlet Soccer Life in June while discussing the sale of an amateur league’s headquarters to real estate mogul Cesare Anticoli, Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported Sunday.
“It was bought by that lousy Jew Anticoli,” Tavecchio is heard saying on an audio recording of the conversation posted on Corriere’s website.
“I don’t have anything against gays but it’s better to keep them away from me,” Tavecchio also allegedly said.
Tavecchio told Corriere that he’s being targeted for blackmail and that he doesn’t recall uttering the remarks, adding that they “might have been manipulated.”
Still, local Jewish and gay rights groups called for Tavecchio’s removal.
Austrian lawmaker walks back anti-Semitic Facebook comments
An Austrian lawmaker who agreed with an anti-Semitic post put on her page has walked back her comments.
Susanne Winter, a member of the Austrian Parliament from the far-right Freedom Party, on Friday responded to an anti-Semitic post by a citizen named Oehlmann Hans-Jörg in which he said that “Zionist money Jews are the global problem. Europe, and in particular Germany, are now getting what they deserve from Zionist Jews, particularly rich Zionist Jews in the USA, for the century-long persecution of Jews in Europe. According to the Zionists, Europe, particularly Germany, should be cut off as economic competitors to the US.”
Winter responded: “It is great. You are taking the words right out of my mouth. There are a lot of things I am not allowed to write. Therefore I’m even more pleased about courageous, independent people.”
The post appears to have been deleted from her Facebook page, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which on Sunday condemned the statements.
Greek Jews protest racist Shylock caricature of ex-finance minister
The Greek Jewish community protested after one of Greece’s main newspapers published a caricature of former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis as a “Jewish moneylender.”
The image, which shows Varoufakis wearing a giant black skullcap and hunched over a ledger, counting bags and coins of gold, was published Friday in Ta Nea, one of the country’s largest newspapers, usually associated with the center-left.
“We consider the use of religious racist stereotypes to portray current events as not only unacceptable and despicable, but especially dangerous, as it spreads religious hatred and perpetuates prejudices that should not have a place in today’s society,” said a letter to the editor from the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.
The cartoon was published after Varoufakis, the outspoken former far-left finance minister, revealed he had recently been paid thousands of euros for interviews and speaking fees.
Facebook removes Holocaust-themed Halloween costume after push-back from users
People push the limits every year with costumes appropriating different cultures in order to be edgy, and sometimes they wind up crossing the line. This year, a particularly offensive costume involved a man dressed as an SS officer and a woman dressed as Anne Frank, carrying a bag of powder labeled “Mama Frank.” Facebook had the original pictures taken down, after push-back from several users.
This wasn’t the only Holocaust-themed costume around this season. Earlier this week at a Goodwill store in Berkeley CA, there was a Holocaust prisoner uniform replica for sale. When the employees were notified of this inappropriate garment, it was quickly pulled from the racks.
Stand With Us, a pro-Israel organization primarily active on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, condemned the offensive costume. “Yes - this is actually a Halloween costume that someone wore this year, and posted about it on Facebook. It is absolutely shocking that we need to say this, but the murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime is not a Halloween costume. It is appalling and disgusting that this young woman and man thought it appropriate to dress up as such for Halloween - and even more appalling that they posted it on Facebook. These photos explain to the world just why Holocaust education is so important. We must continue to educate others about the Holocaust.”
Warsaw ghetto’s creation marked in ‘active memory’ vigil
More than 200 Israeli and American students gathered in the heart of Warsaw’s former Jewish ghetto on October 31, holding candles to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the ghetto’s erection by Poland’s Nazi occupiers.
Organized by the Israel-based From the Depths organization, the vigil took place at the former site of Mila 18, where the ghetto’s young Jewish fighters took their last stand against Nazi deportations to the death camp Treblinka.
Shortly after sunset, four buses filled with Israeli high school students from Nesher, outside Haifa, joined a group of Boston-area college students who helped organize the commemoration. Local Poles and several media personalities also attended the somber gathering, put on while Halloween was raucously celebrated in other parts of the city.
“This is so important for our students to be here along with other Jewish students from the States, as well as Poles,” said Racheli Buganim, head of the Israeli delegation touring Poland this week.
“Our theme today was heroism, and this is where so many Jewish heroes gave their lives for the Jewish people,” said Buganim.
Holding back the years: Simply Red returning to Israel
Remember British band Simply Red? They’re returning to Israel on June 14, 2016.
If you’re recalling that the band — known for its easy listening pop hits such as “Holding Back the Years,” “Money’s Too Tight (to Mention),” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” — split up and retired, you’d be right. It disbanded in 2010, and then announced a new tour for 2015.
Mick Hucknall, the band’s red-haired lead singer whose a supple, honeyed tenor that easily reaches a range of notes, was the sole remaining original member of the band at the time.
But he appears to have gathered a new band of brothers, and the group will perform in Israel for the first time since 1992, when it played Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. This time, it’ll perform only in Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim arena.
FIDF’s Israeli Miracle Man in NYC Marathon
Adi Deutsch served in the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces during the First Lebanon War. Deutch stepped on a landline and lost his right leg in 1979.
After several weeks in the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Adi went home. Deutsch’s next stop was in a rehabilitation facility. He stayed in rehab for three months, where he learned to walk again, using a prosthetic leg.
Fast forward to January of 2012, when Adi received a phone call from the Friends of the IDF. That phone call changed his life in ways that he could never have imagined.
The FIDF offered him the chance to participate in their Strides program, an FIDF initiative providing athletic prosthetics to injured veterans.
The Strides program assists wounded IDF veterans rediscover their strength by providing special prosthetics for athletic activities. It provides training in Israel, travel to and accommodations in the United States, and prosthetics from the A Step Ahead Clinic in Hicksville, NY.
Israel ranks 6th on list of world's healthiest countries
Israel is the sixth-healthiest country in the world and is the only Middle Eastern country in the top 10, according to recent world health rankings by media outlet Bloomberg and reported in British newspaper The Independent.
The rankings, which compiled data from the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Health Organization, placed Singapore in first place of 145 countries, with a "health grade" of 89.45 percent.
Italy came in second, followed by Australia, Switzerland and Japan. After Israel came Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany.
The United Kingdom ranked 21st and the United States 33rd. The U.S. came in after Costa Rica (No. 24), Denmark (26), Cuba (28) and the United Arab Emirates (30). Russia was in 97th place and Iraq in 98th.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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