Thursday, November 12, 2015

From Ian:

JCPA: Luxury Alongside Poverty in the Palestinian Authority
A Photo Album of Palestinian Luxury in the West Bank
Completing the Picture of Palestinian Life in the West Bank
Ramallah’s landscape is undergoing a transformation. Multi-story villas fronted by ornamental porticos and columns are rising on Ramallah’s hilltops along with glass and marble office buildings. There are newly paved roads. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts opened Ramallah’s first five-star hotel. The 172-room, $40 million hotel boasts a head chef imported from Florence, a pastry chef from Paris, and a lobby bedecked in marble and Italian suede.
Across the West Bank, similar scenes are unfolding. Building cranes pierce the sky. Outside Nablus, new car dealerships sell everything from BMWs to Hyundais. In Ramallah, the Mercedes dealership does a brisk business selling luxury-class sports cars and sport-utility vehicles to wealthy Palestinians with sticker prices ranging from $100,000 to $200,000. The Hirbawi Home Center opened just outside Jenin. The five-story shopping mall cost $5 million. Fireworks marked the opening. On the fifth floor in-demand electric gadgets may be found: enormous TV screens, vacuum cleaners, espresso machines. The prices are not much cheaper than in Israel, perhaps except for the furniture. One can find china plates, crystal, and classical furniture. The chain’s CEO, Ziad Turabi, says, “We believe we can make a very handsome profit. Many people in the…territories have money but they have nowhere to spend it if they’re after quality. We offer them the best quality there is.”
This may not sound like the familiar description of the West Bank – the impoverished Palestinian village or the overcrowded refugee camp, a population sustaining itself on international aid. But it turns out that quite a few Palestinians consider a plasma screen, a surround sound stereo and comfortable chairs to be fairly essential items.
Dershowitz: Doctors Without Borders Really Is ‘Doctors Without Morals’
International law experts are blasting Doctors Without Borders for forcibly removing civilian patients from the aid group’s Kunduz, Afghanistan, hospital and replacing them with wounded Taliban fighters when the city fell to the rebel control in late September.
Alan Dershowitz, an acclaimed Harvard constitutional lawyer and authority in international law, said that he was not surprised that the group, known as Medecins Sans Frontieres, favored Taliban fighters over civilian patients, telling The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview that he regards Doctors Without Borders as “Doctors Without Morals.”
Dershowitz charged the group with having a long history of anti-Western political stances and of not being neutral. He says MSF “is a heavily ideological organization that often favors radical groups over Western democracies and is highly politicized.”
The lawyer said the doctors also were hypocritical. “What they violate is their own stated mandate and that is of taking no political ideological position and treating all people in need of medical care equally. It’s just not what they do.”
At least 41 dead in twin suicide attacks on Hezbollah’s Beirut stronghold
At least 41 people were killed Thursday evening in a twin suicide attack in a suburb of southern Beirut controlled by Shiite militant group Hezbollah, the Lebanese Red Cross said.
Lebanese Health Minister Wael Abou Faour said more than 200 people were injured, and that “many were in critical condition.”
Police said two men on foot set off suicide vests minutes apart during rush hour, in front of a shopping center in the suburb of Bourj el-Barajneh. The army claimed to have found the body of a third terrorist who was unable to detonate his belt.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings that detonated around 6:00 p.m. (1600 GMT), witnesses said. (h/t Yenta Press)

Michael Lumish: "Winning a Debate with an Israel Hater": A Book Review
Despite his substantial previous work as a pro-Israel advocate, including lectures, panel discussions, media appearances, and work with Stand With Us - his new book, "Winning a Debate with an Israel Hater" is probably Michael Harris' most significant contribution to Israel advocacy. The book is concise, often funny, and I would not send a Jewish student off to university without a copy in his or her backpack.
The primary virtue of the book is that Harris manages with humor and concision to cover the key arguments made by what he calls, People with Israel Derangement Syndrome (PIDS). Whether it is the bogus "Israel apartheid" slander or hypocritical BDS moral posturing or the cynical "right of return" tactic, Harris efficiently outlines the case against the PIDS' attempts to defame the lone, sole Jewish state. He also makes sliced deli ham out of the anti-Israel "experts" such as Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappe, and John Meirsheimer, among others.
Harris provides a number of positive suggestions for both action and analysis. His proposals for action are standard. Write a letter to the editor, join local pro-Israel organizations like Stand With Us, join the buycott and purchase goods manufactured in Israel, and so forth.
From the analytical end, he recommends, for example, using Natan Sharansky's 3-D Test to determine if an argument against Israel is anti-Semitic; that is, is Israel held to a double-standard or subject to demonization or delegitimization? If the answer is "yes" then the argument is anti-Semitic. However, and rightly in my view, Harris warns against flinging around charges of anti-Semitism as if they are confetti because doing so will likely backfire among the very people that pro-Israel / pro-Jewish people should be trying to reach.
The Battle for Zionism at the UN: Statement Delivered by Ambassador Danon Commemorating 40 years Since the Resolution that Compared Zionism to Racism
"Forty years ago this week, the world witnessed the low point in this institution's past, and a high mark in the history of statesmanship which still inspires us in the present.
When the United Nations voted to condemn the national aspirations of the Jewish people to live in our historic homeland as a form of racism, it earned a badge of shame that it continues to bear to this very day.
When President Chaim Herzog, serving as Israel's ambassador, stood at the podium of the General Assembly, and denounced the disgraceful resolution as 'without moral or legal value', he earned a place of honor in the history of the Jewish people.
Ambassador Herzog's courageous stand for the dignity of Israel, remains the model of leadership on the world stage, and I look to his example, as I have the honor of sitting in his chair.
With his powerful words, Ambassador Herzog stood up for Israel and the Jewish people, and spoke to the conscience of the world, but the world refused to listen.
For sixteen shameful years, the comparison between Zionism and racism continued to be official UN policy.
It was not until 1991, with another brave stand, and with the help of the United States and other allies, that the infamous resolution was finally repealed.
Statement of Israel on the Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories
The reason behind this wave of terror is clear- it is inflammatory rhetoric that lit the fuse, and it is incitement that keeps feeding the flames.
The violence that Israel now faces began with lies about the Temple Mount; Palestinian President Abbas has continually accused Israel of trying to change the Status- Quo. Let me be clear - Israel remains committed to the status-quo. Far from endangering the holy sites, it is Israel that ensures their security. We continue to protect the right of Muslims to pray in the mosque, as well as the freedom of all people, Muslims, Christians, Jews and others, to visit the Temple Mount...
Mr. Chair, Israel has repeatedly called for the resumption of talks and expressed our readiness to meet with Arab leaders and Palestinian leadership in order to advance the peace process. Unfortunately, the Palestinian side consistently refuses to return to the negotiating table. How can Israel make peace with a Palestinian partner who refuses to even sit at the negotiating table?
The Palestinian Authority must play a constructive role in this process by demonstrating a commitment to bilateral negotiations rather than unilateral actions. It is only through direct negotiations that we and the Palestinians will be able to find concrete solutions to the challenges at hand. Any other path will hold the region captive by the chains of resentment and hatred – and pass a legacy of violence and intolerance on to the next generation.
We call on our Palestinian and Arab neighbors to join Israel in taking concrete and courageous steps to pursue the path of peace. Let us end the cycle of inflammatory rhetoric and start utilizing this committee's resources in the way that they were intended – to improve the lives of the people in our region."
Expert: Israel can, and should, fight EU labeling plans
International legal expert Professor Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University noted that the move is highly discriminatory, given that the EU does not apply to other cases they themselves define as identical.
"It is entirely inconsistent with EU policies towards other areas where they do not recognize a country' sovereignty," he said. "For example, in Western Sahara, the EU does not recognize Moroccan sovereignty but insists it is OK to label goods from there 'Made in Morocco.'
"It also contradicts all decisions of European courts on this issue. And it discriminates against Israel in a manner illegal under the World Trade Organization treaties."
Despite produce from the areas effected only amounting to a small percentage of total Israeli trade with the EU - around $50 milion per year according to officials' estimates - the impact of such a move could still be far-reaching. Indeed, the EU's own envoy to Israel recently said such a move would only be "the beginning" of efforts against Jewish communities.
"It creates an atmosphere of delegitimization, and paves the way for further and more severe restrictions, which are surely coming if these measures are not defeated. The goal is to create a legal ghetto for Israel," Kontorovich explained.
Law Expert Takes on French Ambassador Over Legality of Doing Business With Jewish Settlements
Following Richard’s announcement, the French ambassador, himself a prolific Twitter user, posted the following message: “4th Geneva convention : settlement policy in occupied territories is illegal. It is illegal to contribute to it in any way.”
The Northwestern law professor, who also sits on the Jewish National Fund’s speakers list and blogs for the Washington Post, sharply rebuffed Araud’s message, saying no such legal precedent existed, either in France or in the international community.
Kontorovich mentioned the case of French multinational company Alstom, which a French court ruled did not violate international law by building in parts of the West Bank.
He mentioned Total, a French oil company with operations in the Western Sahara, to which the French ambassador replied, “There is oil in Western Sahara?”
The Northwestern law professor also posted a picture of a French tire-manufacturer Michelin, apparently from disputed territories in Northern Cyprus.
Eventually Kontorovich wrote in a piece for The Washington Post that the French ambassador blocked the law professor.
On Friday, Araud posted that “France condemns all boycott [sic] of Israel.”
Seventy Years After the Holocaust, Why Is Europe Again Labeling Jews?
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely of the Likud strongly denounced the plan, saying that, “Our concern is that once you put a label on Judea and Samaria, you put a label on Israel.”
“We see it as a boycott of Israel for all intents and purposes,” she said, adding that, “we view it as a slippery slope. It’s simply a sweeping disqualification of Israel.”
And MK Michael Oren of the Kulanu party, who previously served as Israeli ambassador to Washington, was even blunter, asserting that “The EU decision to label Israeli products is anti-Semitic.”
“There are dozens of border disputes and ‘occupations’ in the world, but the EU decided to single out Israel,” he noted, adding, “They are not labeling products from China, India or Turkey — only Israel.”
Even Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union came out sharply against the European proposal, arguing that it “won’t contribute to the end of the conflict and will only inflict serious economic harm on tens of thousands of Palestinians whose work in factories in Judea and Samaria enables them to support their families.”
The European plan to label Israeli products from Judea and Samaria cannot be allowed to stand, and we must all raise our voices in protest against this repugnant scheme.
In 1945, the Jewish people crawled out of the ovens of Europe and succeeded in returning to our ancestral homeland.
No human power, and certainly not Europe, has the right to tell Jews where they can or cannot live. Especially in the Land of Israel.
Europe’s New Trade Sanctions Against Israel
These Israeli compromises have been rewarded with a harder EU line against Israel. Instead of meeting Israeli compromises with good will, the EU has interpreted Israeli compromises as invitations for further European sanctions. This is particularly noticeable in the latest European Notice. The Notice presents itself as a legal interpretation based upon customs agreements between Israel and the EU. In other words, the EU is using the Israeli decision to forego a fight on Europe’s unilateral anti-Israel customs standards to justify Europe’s new illegal labeling discrimination against Israeli products.
For all the European pontification about the importance of international law, the EU apparently views itself entitled to violate the law with impunity when mistreating the Jewish state. If Israel fails to fight the European Notice more seriously than it has fought past European sanctions, it will encourage further European bullying. It is a mistake to attempt to appease the EU bureaucracy in its vendetta against the Jewish state.
Indeed, Israel should seriously reconsider its past forbearance. It is time for Israel to set aside its zip codes agreement, and take other steps to prevent discriminatory EU treatment. Israel must not acquiesce to illegal adverse European treatment.
Israel has announced that it has suspended the EU’s participation in some diplomatic discussions on matters related to the Palestinians. This is a welcome first step, but it should not be the last. It is time for Israel to consider litigating its trade rights before a World Trade Organization dispute resolution panel. Israel must keep up the pressure, and exclude the EU from sensitive matters, until the EU revokes all its prejudicial acts against the Jewish state.
Gerald M. Steinberg: The EU's immoral move
The groups that promoted the product labels have already described it a "first step" and called for "tougher sanctions." Some have said the labeling was not enough and the EU was legally obligated to do more. The European Council on Foreign Relations (an EU-linked think tank [+ Soros backed]) went the furthest, calling for the policy to be extended to additional business sectors and the realm of sports. According to this view, "differentiation" must be reflected in EU policy, even though the idea was discussed and rejected in negotiations between Israel and the EU.
It took Israeli governments a long time to realized the EU's strategy was mostly political, not economic, and to figure out an effective counterstrategy. As in any form of warfare, the counteroffensive must be multi-dimensional. Israel must mobilize allies in the EU -- lawmakers, journalists and academics who oppose the cynical exploitation of human rights values. In the U.S., a bipartisan effort has been launched against the EU's move, and this effort must be supported by Israel. International bodies, such as the World Trade Organization, can be used as platforms to exact a heavy price from the European officials and NGOs (including perhaps even fines on the EU) behind the immoral product labeling move.
Bennett: EU labeling a 'new form of anti-Semitism'
When pushed by BBC's reporter to say consumers are entitled to know the origins of their products, Bennett accused the EU of "singl[ing] out Israel specifically, because there's got to be 200 land disputes around the world and I don't see them singling out anyone else."
Ignoring's Bennett's charge of discrimination, the reporter once against brought up the question of consumer rights. "Surely people are entitled to know precisely where they're buying their goods from," he stated.
"And they're buying their goods from Israel," the Jewish Home chairman stated, before dismissing the reporter's claim the products are being made in "occupied territories."
"No, they're not occupied, they're disputed as are hundreds of other locations around the globe, and when the EU, Europe of all places, singles out Israel, I see that as a form - a new form of anti-Semitism."

Israeli students chant 'never again' to EU envoy
The Students for Israel movement held a demonstration Wednesday night in Herzliya outside the home of the EU envoy to Israel, following the body's decision to label Jewish prodcuts from Judea-Samaria and the Golan Heights.
The activists held up pictures of banned Jewish-owned stores in Europe at the outset of the Holocaust, with crowds holding signs, like: 'Do not buy from the Jews!"
Israeli flags and chants of "never again" could also be heard outside Lars Faaborg-Andersen's residence.
Movement chairman Eliyahu Nissim blasted the EU's decision as "illegitimate" and noted the group both "rejected and scorned" it.
"This is actually a denial of our right to live as Jews in our country," he argued. "The fact that the Golan Heights is on the list of areas they chose to label proves that we're not talking here about [the question of] Jewish sovereignity in Judea and Samaria, rather an anti-Jewish decision which continues the EU's policies of the last few years."
Israel suspends talks with EU amid settlement tagging scrap
The ministry indicated in a statement that Israel was withdrawing from several bilateral forums dealing with the Palestinian issue.
“We have suspended the subcommittee on diplomacy, the subcommittee on human rights and international organizations,” the ministry said. “The remaining dialogues [with the EU] are continuing as planned. Clearly, we won’t damage Israeli interests.”
“It is very important to the Europeans to be involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to hold a dialogue with us on the subject, but in light of their behavior it was decided to suspend all conversations with them about the matter,” added Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.
The suspension was communicated to EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Anderson, who was summoned to the Foreign Ministry Wednesday evening for a formal dressing down.
Germany’s ruling party pans EU labeling guidelines
Germany’s ruling party, the Christian Democratic Union, warned Thursday of the “danger” of the European Union’s new labeling guidelines for Israel, which identifies products made in settlements beyond the 1967 borders.
“This decision might not bring advantages in consumer protection,” Jurgen Hardt told JTA on Thursday about new regulations published the previous day by the European Commission. Hardt is the foreign policy spokesman for the parliamentary group in the Bundestag of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party.
“In this case there foremost is a danger of a stigma. An anti-Israeli movement might exploit the decision and put it to use on anti-Israeli campaigns,” he said.
The regulations adopted Wednesday require separate labeling for Israeli products sold in the European Union when they are either packaged or produced in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. It also requires labels on such products specify whether they were produced by Israelis or Palestinians.
Does the US oppose the EU settlement labeling guidelines?
Further, US Treasury policy papers dealing with imports into the US have stated that "every product made in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip should not bear the label Made in Israel."
A US official said recently that there was no special labeling policy for settlements at the current time.
Last June, it was reported that the Israeli company SodaStream would have to label all its products as made in the West Bank. The decision was taken reportedly as a result of pressure by human rights activists in the US.
Only after the SodaStream company was moved to the city of Rahat in the Negev was the labeling threat removed.
Asked about the the issue of labeling on Wednesday, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said that this was not the US approach towards the settlements.
"We oppose building in the settlements, but we have our own ways to express this position," Shapiro told Israel Radio.
Golan winery putting a cork in EU labeling
A winery in the Golan Heights has decided to print Israeli flag emblems on the caps of bottles headed for sale in Europe, in "outright defiance of European boycott threats" on Israeli products made beyond the Green Line.
The boutique Bezelet HaGolan Winery on Thursday announced its plans to print the blue-and-white hallmark of the Jewish state on the seals of Chardonnay bottles destined for export to countries in the EU.
The winery's move came a day after the European Union published new guidelines on labeling what the body calls "Israeli settlement products."
"We are proud of our national flag and hope that other wineries will follow our example and bare the Israeli flag on wine bottles destined for export to Europe," said the winery's founder and head winemaker Yoav Levy.
Following EU Decision Israeli Supermarket Removes European Products from Shelves
Some Israelis have already begun to fight back, according to News 0404, which reported Wednesday on a supermarket in northern Israel that removed all the products from Europe, leaving only blue and white merchandise on the shelves.
The supermarket owner announced: “We don’t worry about our income — let those who boycott us be worried.”
The owner is refusing to let his identity be revealed for now. “I don’t want to be exposed because we have no interest in customers rushing in to buy,” he said. “This was done not for publicity purposes, but for Zionism and for the love of our country,” he told friends.
The supermarket, which made a big announcement: “Starting today, 11.11.15, all our products are blue and white,” is running a special, 20% off on all the products from Judea and Samaria. And while they were at it, they also pulled the Baracke Tahini brand, made by the Rushdie Food Industries Corporation from the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, replacing it with the Har Bracha Tahini.
Samaria activist takes on Jewish BDS supporters
Samaria activist Ezri Tubi has published yet another video in defense of Israel - this time directed at American Jews who support the boycott movement against the Jewish state.
In the English-language video, entitled, "Something bad is happening to some American Jews," the Yitzhar resident takes aim at those Jews who "patronize" Israeli citizens by accusing their state of a host of evils.
"When some Jews comfortable in their lives start solely accusing Israel and turning their back on us, then something bad is happening to them," Tubi argued. "So if you want us to accept your accusations, then accept ours too."
After listing sharp Israeli rejoinders to a number of charges that have been thrown at the Jewish state, Tubi urged American Jews to "stop these mutual Jew accusations."
Major American Jewish Groups ‘Dismayed’ by ‘Misguided’ EU Labeling of Israeli Settlement Products
American Jewish groups across the board echoed Israel’s harsh condemnation of new European Union guidelines for labeling products made in territory captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.
Jewish advocacy group the American Jewish Committee said it was “dismayed” by the EU announcement. “Today’ s decision will play into the hands of those determined to demonize the Jewish state; offend mainstream Israelis who favor territories compromise and encourage maximalist Palestinian positions,” said the director of AJC’s Transatlantic Institute, Daniel Schwammenthal.
Schwammenthal warned that the activists promoting a boycott of all Israeli products would ultimately use these new guidelines as fuel for their political activities. Referring to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, Schwammenthal said, “This BDS movement will no doubt use these EU rules to intensify its shameful policy of picketing shops and intimidating consumers and business owners to outright ban Israeli settlement products as a first step in their strategy to boycott all Israeli goods.”
As Israeli leaders have said, Schwammenthal stressed the singling out of Israel from among the world’s nations regarding the labeling of products from disputed territories.
Rubio: Discriminatory EU Labeling Decision Rewards Those Who Reject Peace With Israel
In an op-ed in National Review, Rubio emphasized the discriminatory nature of the guidelines, observing that out of “more than 200 disputed territories worldwide,” only Israel is singled out and targeted by the EU. He charged that the policy would “encourage Europeans to boycott Israeli products, and to stoke European animosity toward Israel — which is already at disturbingly high levels.”
The rule is grossly unjust. It makes a mockery of the EU’s claimed commitment to international law. It punishes Israel for Palestinian leaders’ repeated rejection of statehood offers and for their ongoing refusal to negotiate. In the midst of a new wave of Palestinian terror, the EU seeks to punish Israel while taking no action against Palestinians inciting and perpetrating murder. The rule requires products sold in Europe and produced in what the EU considers ‘Israeli-occupied territories’ to be specially labeled.
To illustrate the absurdity of this policy, produce grown in the hills outside Jerusalem will be specially labeled, but not produce grown in Gaza, which is controlled by a U.S.- and EU-designated terrorist organization. Remarkably, the EU’s labels will even apply to the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in a defensive war in 1967.
And while the EU is rewarding Palestinians who refuse to make peace, the Palestinians who will face the most harm from the labeling rule are those who work cooperatively with Israelis. One of the only lasting achievements of the peace process is the creation of a single economic unit, including a customs union, of Israeli and Palestinian Authority–controlled areas. This free trade and economic cooperation improves lives and gives Palestinians a stake in maintaining peace — but the EU will now deliberately punish this cooperation, and the people who will be hurt the most are Palestinian workers, not Israelis.
Tele Editorial: Boris Johnson is right to defend Israel from lefty academics
Boris Johnson has been forced to cut short a visit to Palestinian Authority territory. A Palestinian group he had been due to meet took offence at his strong support for Israel, which he rightly praised as the only full democracy in the Middle East, and at his rejection of calls for an economic boycott of Israeli goods and services.
Those who have taken umbrage at Mr Johnson’s remarks are clearly lacking a sense of irony. One cornerstone of a democratic society is free speech, the willingness to allow someone to say things with which you disagree, without penalty or punishment. Refusing to talk to Mr Johnson over a difference of opinion may thus lend weight to the argument that parts of Palestinian society fall short of the democratic standard set by the state of Israel.
Yet the fault here does not lie primarily with the Palestinian activists who cancelled their meeting with the mayor; they may be wrong but they are surely sincere. The real offenders are the cynical cabal of Left-wing academics, politicians, charities and others outside the region who do so much to encourage Palestinian grievance against Israel and to denigrate Israel’s people and government. It is hard to disagree with Mr Johnson’s description of them as “corduroy-jacketed Lefty academics who have no real standing in the matter”. Indeed, he might justifiably have gone further and noted the whiff of anti-Semitism that emanates from parts of the Left-wing anti-Israel mob.
Mr Johnson is quite right in his admiration for Israel and his contempt for those advocating a boycott. And given that he is a political member of David Cameron’s Cabinet, perhaps the Government should make clear that, in this, the mayor speaks for Britain.
Guardian covers for Palestinian extremism during Boris Johnson’s #Israel visit
Journalists increasingly insists that their role is not to report fairly and accurately irrespective of their personal political beliefs, but rather to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the powerful’ – in a sense, showing solidarity with those perceived to be powerless and “aggrieved”.
The Palestinians are of course the immutably ‘aggrieved’ party within the media’s Israeli-Palestinian tale.
In this mix, not only do many foreign journalists covering the region feel it is their moral duty to report events though the lens of the Palestinian (victim) narrative, but that they must obfuscate evidence of Palestinian racism, intolerance and extremism.
The Guardian’s coverage of the row over London Mayor Boris Johnson’s visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories – particularly the manner in which their Jerusalem correspondent covered two incidents surrounding his trip – provides a perfect example of such advocacy journalism.
The first incident we’re focusing upon involves outright discrimination by a Palestinian NGO (Palestine Business Women’s Forum) which was to host the mayor. As the The Jewish Chronicle (The JC) reported, Noga Tarnopolsky, a Jewish Israeli reporter for The JC covering Johnson’s visit, was banned from attending the NGO’s meeting with the mayor simply because she’s Israeli.
London Mayor Buys 200 Israeli Road Safety Devices for City Garbage Trucks
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, has welcomed the roll-out by a UK company of cutting edge technology developed in Israel to help improve road safety. Amey, one of the UK’s largest public and regulated services providers, will be equipping 200 Garbage Trucks (known locally as refuse collection lorries) with a system called “Cycle Safety Shield,” which helps drivers be more aware of vulnerable road users.
Cycle Safety Shield was developed by the Israeli firm Mobileye, and it uses cameras and sensors to help drivers avoid collisions by detecting and warning of the presence of cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, of drifting outside traffic lanes, and of getting too close to other vehicles. Mobileye technology incorporates strategically placed multi-vision smart sensors acting as the driver’s third eye and monitoring blind spots around the vehicle. The system provides drivers with real-time visual and audible alerts as the risk of a collision increases. The alerts can be annoying, but most users report getting used to it, and confess at least one or two occasions when their lives were saved by the device.
Mayor Boris said: “It’s fantastic to see that cutting edge technology, such as Cycle Safety Shield developed by Mobileye in Israel, is being utilized to help make London’s roads safer.” He added that “as we work towards strengthening our Safer Lorry Scheme we’re giving real consideration to making sensor technology like this a requirement for HGVs (heavy goods vehicle) operating in London. I’ve said that improving the direct vision of drivers is one of our key priorities going forward, but high tech solutions being developed by Mobileye and others are sure to play a big part in helping us to deliver future improvements‎ to road safety.” (h/t Cliff)
Rouhani: US apology to Iranian people is condition for restoring relations
In an interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper, Rouhani suggested that the United States and Iran could open embassies in each other's capitals after decades of mutual hostility, but said Washington should apologize, without going into further detail.
"One day these embassies will re-open but what counts is behaviour and the Americans hold the key to this," Rouhani told the newspaper ahead of a trip to Italy this weekend, his first to a European capital.
"If they modify their policies, correct errors committed in these 37 years and apologize to the Iranian people, the situation will change and good things can happen."
Iran and Washington severed ties shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution when radical students seized the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for over a year.
Ahead of Europe trip, Rouhani won’t disavow desire to destroy Israel
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani refused to say whether he agreed that Israel should be wiped off a map, but called for a one-state end to the conflict with the Palestinians, in two interviews published Thursday.
Speaking to French TV ahead of his first trip to Europe, Rouhani also denied that Iran ever sought nuclear weapons.
Asked by France 2 whether he shared his hard-line predecessor Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s view that Israel “has no place on the map of the Middle East,” Rouhani answered: “How come this question destined for my predecessor returns now to me?”
He then added that Iran does not believe in a two-state solution.
U.S. Contractor’s Cranes Being Used to Hang Iranians
The company, Cargotec, acknowledged to the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday that its equipment is being used to publicly hang Iranian prisoners, but maintained that it is not responsible for directly selling the equipment to the Islamic Republic.
However, advocacy groups critical of Iran’s human rights record say that companies such as Cargotec should be doing more to prevent equipment from reaching Iran, given their status as U.S. government contractors.
Cargotec, via a Texas-based subsidiary called Kalmar, has long partnered with the U.S. government to provide equipment mainly to the Pentagon. These contracts have totaled around $1.21 billion as of November 2015, according to records compiled by the Federal Procurement Data System.
Photographs of a Cargotec crane being used for an execution earlier this week were first published by Iranian-controlled websites and prompted criticism from groups such as United Against a Nuclear Iran, which has been waging a pressure campaign to stop companies from providing this type of equipment to Iran.
Obama Admin: Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Not a Terror Group
The State Department does not currently believe that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization despite the military organization’s efforts to procure nuclear materials and conduct terrorist operations across the globe, according to a State Department official who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
Obama administration officials last week were hesitant to address the issue during testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. When asked to clarify its position on the corps, a State Department official told the Free Beacon that now is not the time to formally designate the military group as a terrorist organization.
Iranian officials have insisted that any new sanctions from the United States would be considered a violation of the recent nuclear deal and cause for Iran to walk away from the agreement.
The State Department maintains that the sanctions in place on the corps, which target certain individuals and actions, are enough to rein in the group’s rogue behavior. Iran itself is designated as a state sponsor of terror.
“We believe the sanctions we have in place remain the most appropriate and effective tools for targeting the IRGC, and we are making full use of such authorities with respect to the IRGC,” said a State Department official who was not authorized to speak on record. “In addition to Iran’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, we have a substantial set of sanctions already in place against the IRGC.”
MEMRI: Pro-Assad Press On Vienna Conference: Kerry Acted As A Mediator, Blocked Discussion Of Assad's Removal; Iranian FM Zarif Was Conference's Dominant Player
The October 30, 2015 Vienna conference dedicated to finding a solution to the Syria crisis was attended by 17 countries, including the US, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and culminated in the issuing of a joint declaration. Following the conference, the official regime Syrian press, as well as the pro-Syrian Lebanese press, published reports and articles presenting their perspective on what had transpired at the talks and the disagreements that had surfaced in them. These articles contend that Russia and the US presented similar positions at the conference, and that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acted as a mediator rather than siding with the Saudi and Turkish foreign ministers, his presumed allies, and even silenced them on more than one occasion. They also claim that Kerry made efforts to "smooth the rough edges" and bridge the differences between the parties, and prevented a discussion of Assad's removal and of military action to achieve this purpose.
According to the reports, the Saudi and Turkish representatives were left frustrated by the talks and by Kerry’s position; conversely, the Iranians seemed pleased and Iran's representative was “the dominant player” at the conference.
At Iran's behest: West to outlaw Syrian rebels as 'terrorists'
The world powers trying to end the civil war in Syria are drawing up a list of "terrorist" groups, Britain said Tuesday, warning that some countries may have to drop support for allies on the ground.
The move comes at the request of Iran, the leading state sponsor of terror, which the US recently agreed to have join the talks concerning Syria - where Tehran is propping up Bashar al-Assad's regime and fighting rebel forces.
"It will require deep breaths on several sides, including the US side," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond warned, speaking to reporters in Washington.
Around 20 countries and international bodies will meet on Saturday in Vienna to try to push forward a peace plan for Syria that would include a ceasefire between Assad's regime and some opposition groups.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Russian Airstrikes In Syria Claim First Non-Civilian Casualty (satire)
Syria’s four-year-old civil war has killed more than a quarter of a million people, most of them civilians, and displaced millions more. The Islamic State has swallowed up stretches of the country in the east and north, while other militias and guerrilla fighters battle for control of areas in the south and west. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly come to Assad’s aid, helping him rebuff outside efforts to broker a settlement that would require him to step down, while also providing military aid. Under the guise of battling the Islamic State, Russian strikes have actually targeted more moderate opposition groups, notably the ones supported by the West. Putin’s support has allowed Assad’s forces to continue their own indiscriminate use of force, in addition to helping distract Russia’s populace from economic troubles at home. Yesterday’s airstrike was the hundredth such mission over the Aleppo area flown by Russian military aircraft, which gave them an enemy combatant fatality ratio almost twice as good as that of Syrian loyalist forces and allied militias such as Hezbollah.
The dead fighter was identified as Aziz Waleed, 30, and the nearby civilian casualties were his family. Waleed was not on duty at the time, and not in uniform or carrying a weapon, as he had been sent home to recover from wounds sustained in battle. If operations proceed as planned, Russian jets intend to cause the death of an opposition fighter actively engaged in combat by the time winter sets in next month, possibly even separately from multiple civilian deaths.
A spokesman for the Russian military said his forces were also engaged in contacts with the Saudi Arabian military to try to coordinate the latter’s achievement of the same goal in their ongoing operations against Iran-backed Huothi rebels in Yemen.
SJP’s Black-White Prism
How is it not racist to chop up, chew up, and bottle up the narrative of the Jewish people, of Israel, and of the Palestinian-Arabs?
How is it not racist to judge someone’s ability to have a sense of right and wrong based on their ethnic identity; to assume that an act of terror committed by a Palestinian-Arab is more understandable and excusable than an act of terror committed by an Israeli-Jew?
How is it not racist to allow your work fighting for ‘social justice’ to be inapplicable to all of those facing persecution equally and fairly, and to condemn the persecutors equally and fairly, regardless of skin color and identity?
How is it not racist to appropriate the terms apartheid, ethnic cleansing, occupation, and imperialism and wrongly apply them to Israel, ignoring facts and basic history in order to do so, and to close your ears when these allegations are refuted and when the real instances of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, occupation, and imperialism, which are raging across the globe, are fully ignored because most of these instances do not fit into your black-white prism?
Students for Justice in Palestine: Where is your moral clarity?
Where is the justice? (h/t Cliff)
African migrants: Packaging anti-Zionism for Black audiences
That, in my view, is the real issue here. The situation of African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel is being used as a stick with which to beat up the Zionist state and draw a large population that would otherwise be indifferent to events in the Middle East into active condemnation (i.e., BDS) of Israel. This is why there are people going to great lengths to spread this story. Perhaps al-Jazeera will one day focus on Asian workers in Qatar, but for now, its piece tying recent demonstrations by Ethiopian Israelis to America’s #BlackLivesMatter, interspersed with commentary by Israel’s number one Native Informant, David Sheen, is doing the rounds. Speaking of Sheen, I hear he is currently on tour in South Africa, selling his “Israel’s War On Africans” to every Black Studies institution that has nothing better to do on a given day.
Black people need to form their own opinion of Israel and its racial issues, based on direct interaction with Israelis. In this day and age of advances in communication, there is no reason at all why we should have an opinion packaged for us. This week, I saw this video on the Facebook page of a friend, depicting African Christians praying fervently at the Kotel in Jerusalem. Like the multitude who were confounded, according to the New Testament story of Pentecost, because that every man heard them speak in his own language, I was startled to realise that the two men were praying in ChiShona, my own language! African Christians praying freely at Judaism’s holiest site? This is what happens when Africans take the trouble to actually travel to Israel and see for themselves if these reports are true, instead of joining in the condemnation based on tailored propaganda. For, when we endorse that propaganda, as have the likes of Alice Walker, Jeremiah Wright and Desmond Tutu, when we put on the lie that Israel is intrinsically racist towards Black people the stamp of immutable Black thought, we have ceased to think, but merely follow. (h/t Cliff)
‘Proud pinkwasher’ Assi Azar confronted by US campus protesters
Azar, a noted LGBTQ activist, told The Times of Israel this week that he had been looking forward to an engaging and productive dialogue with the 70 students who had shown up at the Hillel-sponsored event. But when he noticed that 15 of them had pink duct tape over their mouths, he had a feeling things might get ugly.
As he feared, the event turned out to be highly upsetting for both Azar and many of the students. It was “one of the most horrifying experiences I have ever faced,” Azar wrote on his Facebook page.
According to Azar, when the film was over, the 15 students — apparently from the campus LGBTQ organization — removed the tape and stood up. They chanted anti-Israel slogans and waved signs with various anti-Israel messages, including some accusing Israel of mistreating Palestinian gays.
“These chants were combative and filled with distortions of facts — mostly anti-Semitic,” he wrote.
This was Azar’s fifth tour of US campuses and film festivals with his 2010 film. On this trip he visited Cleveland, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Washington, DC, in addition to Baltimore. In none of the other cities, nor on any of his previous tours, had he encountered this kind of disruption and confrontation.
The Impotent Theatre of the Palestine Solidarity Movement
Galway, Ireland. They stood huddled in the corner of the lecture theatre whispering ominously. A final pep talk perhaps, or a hasty revision of tactics. Then the leader surged forward, arms flailing, voice bellowing, clad in the colours of Palestine. ‘Get the f–k off our campus, now, you f–king Zionist, f–king prick,’ his body literally convulsing with rage. His acolytes obediently pounded the desks in wild approval. ‘We don’t want your Israeli money around here.’
Professor Alan Johnson, a respected political theorist and one of British Labour’s most astute thinkers, stoically continued his address, speaking in his characteristic soft, measured, thoughtful tones. He presented his analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, unsparing in his criticism of both sides, and stated the progressive case for peace: two states for two peoples.
But the protestors weren’t there to engage with ideas, or to advance a negotiated, peaceful outcome to the conflict. They were there to ‘resist’. What they were resisting in that lecture theatre on the western coast of the Irish Republic is not clear. Common sense and tolerance perhaps? But there they were. Seething westerners draped in keffiyehs and kitschy woven Palestine bracelets, the essential uniform of today’s fearless ‘revolutionary’.
Brendan O’Neill, the British libertarian agitator (and Speccie columnist) calls this phenomenon the ‘politically correct form of blacking up’. Ashamed of their ‘white privilege’, the activists appropriate the symbols of a people they see as noble and downtrodden; reducing them to a crude stereotype, a positive one in their minds, but an insulting, racist caricature nonetheless.
At CUNY, Students Blame Israel for Tuition Hikes
On November 9, the 77th anniversary of the Nazi “Kristallnacht” pogrom, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) announced on its Facebook page that it was participating in the Million Student March on the 12th to protest tuition increases at the City University of New York (CUNY). This is an important issue that should be debated on its merits.
However, SJP is not interested in the merits. For SJP, the problem is “the Zionists.”
SJP’s post, signed by SJP chapters throughout the CUNY system, declares that the “The [CUNY] Zionist administration invests in Israeli companies, companies that support the Israeli occupation, hosts birthright programs and study abroad programs in occupied Palestine, and reproduces settler-colonial ideology throughout CUNY through Zionist content of education. While CUNY aims to produce the next generation of professional Zionists, SJP aims to change the university to fight for all peoples [sic] liberation.”
The Million Student March itself does not take this line and clearly does not have anything to do with the SJP demand to purge “Zionists” from CUNY. Their tuition protest is a serious issue, worthy of public debate. The hijacking of their march by extremists cannot be in their interest, and the organizers should condemn and distance themselves from SJP hate-speech.
There’s a Hot New Dating Site For Jews Who Don’t Really Like Most Other Jews (satire)
The Jewish Community is abuzz over the launch of a new dating site for Jews who are uncomfortable with Israel, dislike most Israelis, can’t stand the Congregation they grew up in, hate Birthright, don’t get along with anyone in their Hillel……OK OK…. it’s a dating site for Jews who don’t really like most other Jews they meet. The site, titled “J-Date Street” was launched with grants from Billionaire George Soros, the Center for American Progress, and the New Israel Fund. And certain segments of the Jewish community are VERY excited.
“OMG This is amazing!” noted Amanda K., a content writer at Jewish Voices for Peace. “I met this guy through the site who seems really nice. His avatar on the site is ‘Blumen to the Maxx’. He says he’s from a prominent Washington family too! We have a date tomorrow night in Georgetown! The only weird thing is he told me to bring a kaffiyyeh, Shabbat candles, and a jar of hummus….. ‘for later on that night’. I don’t know….is that normal?”
Despite this enthusiasm, the site is running into some problems reaching its target audiences. The Daily Freier talked to a spokesperson at Code Pink by telephone, who refused to provide a name, as this would be “an exercise in gender-identity exclusionary hegemony, reminiscent of the Zionist tactics of denying historical memory“. As the Daily Freier tried to wrap its head around that last sentence, the Spokesperson acknowledged that it would actually be nice to “meet someone new” as the writers over at Mondoweiss “just spend all day sipping cocoa in their pajamas”
Yesterday the site expanded to Israel, causing the Blog +972 to miss several publication deadlines as their editorial staff and writers ceased all work related activity for the day and crashed their server when everyone uploaded their dating profiles at once.
Ignoring Precedent, NPR Station Refuses to Correct Max Blumenthal Errors
In September, an NPR member station in Chicago invited Max Blumenthal to pontificate about Israel. And as has come to be expected from the anti-Israel extremist, he bombarded the credulous audience with a torrent of falsehoods.
NPR listeners, of course, deserve and expect no less than accuracy. So it was left to producers at WBEZ, the station, and Worldview, the program, to clear the record.
Blumenthal claimed “almost every building” in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun had been “destroyed.” Listeners deserve to know that this is false — according to multiple UN studies, an overwhelming majority even of affected buildings — that is, ignoring undamaged structures — were not destroyed.
Blumenthal severely misquoted the Israeli military, the Associated Press, and the advocacy group Btselem about casualty statistics. Regarding the military, Blumenthal told the audience it said the exact opposite of what it actually said. Listeners deserve to know the truth.
Detroit Radio Show Booted by Pro-Israel Network for Blatant Antisemitic Broadcast
A satellite radio program in the United States was discontinued by its network earlier this month, following an antisemitic broadcast, The Algemeiner learned this week.
The program, called “White Lies and Roses,” was removed by the Salem Radio Network, a Christian syndicate with an illustrious line-up of American conservatives, including Bill Bennett, former secretary of education during the Reagan administration, and renowned Jewish pundits Michael Medved and Dennis Prager.
Kim Stewart and Christian Wright, the hosts of the show in question — broadcast on November 1 on WDTK The Patriot in Detroit, Michigan — describe their mission as one of “truth-telling.”
Devoting more than half of what would turn out to be the duo’s last broadcast with Salem to “Israel and Palestine,” the man-woman team conducted a dialogue that had livid listeners calling in to argue the “facts” presented.
Arabic Canadian Newspapers: Israeli Leaders Are “Neo-Nazis”
Two Toronto-based newspapers in Arabic, Meshwar and Al Watan, published last week an article penned by the Lebanese novelist and intellectual, Elias Khoury, bearing the title: “The Nazi exonerated Hitler and kills Palestinians.”
The article, that appeared in Meshwar, Issue 142, October 30, 2015, p. 20 and in Al Watan, Issue 227, October 29-30, 2015, p.22, deals with comments made by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, about the influence of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, on the German Nazi Führer, Adolf Hitler.
In his article, Khouri accuses Netanyahu of belonging to a “fascist party” and of following the “path of [Ze’ev] Jabotinsky” who “did not conceal his fascination of the Nazis.”
He added,“In light of the alliance between the fascists and the fundamentalist religious Jewish groups, the slip of tongue made by the Israeli fascist leader is reasonable, as he defends the brutal model embodied in Hitler personality.”
Khouri, who argued that “those in power in Israel are the neo-Nazis,” went on to say that “lying is one of the characteristics of the state that was built on a myth, made the blood of the Jews a bargaining tool and consented to become a puppet for Europe, which wiped out the Jews.”
According to Khoury, “the Israeli Nazi exonerated the German Nazi from the crime of committing a genocide against the Jews in order to become oblivious of turning the Israeli Jews into a tools for committing a genocide against the Palestinians.”
Guardian prompted to correct Yitzchak Navon obit’s references to Sabra & Shatila Massacre
On Nov. 8th, the Guardian published an obituary for former Israeli President Yitzchak Navon, who died three days earlier at the age of 94.
The obituary, written by Lawrence Jaffe, included three misleading passages or omissions, all pertaining to context and background on Navon’s role in Israel’s decision to create the Kahan commission in response to the massacre of 700-800 Palestinians in Lebanon in 1982.
- In referencing the attack on Palestinian civilians in Lebanon, it failed to note that the massacre was actually committed by Christian Phalangists.
- It falsely claimed that a “UN Commission” found that Israel was responsible for the massacres. In fact, the commission was not formed under the auspices of the United Nations. Rather, it was a relatively obscure (non-UN affiliated) “international commission“, but one so biased that their report actually accused Israel of committing “genocide” in Lebanon.
New Polish minister: ‘Protocols of Zion contains some truth’
A newly appointed Polish minister has in the past implied that anti-Semitic theories regarding a Jewish plan for world domination may be true.
Antoni Macierewicz was named on Monday as the country’s next defense minister. According to UK paper the Guardian, Macierewicz told the radio station Radio Maryja in 2002 that he had read “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a pamphlet that purports to be a Jewish plan to control the global economy and media. The pamphlet, first published in Russia in 1903 and since translated to many languages, was exposed as a hoax as early as 1921, though it has remained popular among anti-Semites.
Macierewicz, according to the Guardian, acknowledged that the pamphlet’s authenticity was in doubt, but told a listener: “Experience shows that there are such groups in Jewish circles.”
The 67-year-old politician is no stranger to controversy.
Oregon Student Arrested for Hurling Antisemitic Epithets at Jewish Frat Boy
A student at the University of Oregon has been arrested and charged with intimidation, after allegedly using antisemitic slurs against a Jewish student at an Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Jewish fraternity house on campus.
According Eugene, Oregon police, the victim noticed the suspect, later identified as Damien Leon Ramirez, 23, in the bed of his pickup truck outside of the Jewish fraternity house, Oregon ABC-affiliate KEZI reported. When the victim asked the suspect to get out of the truck, he reportedly kicked the truck and shouted antisemitic slurs. He also reportedly made a comment about getting a firearm.
The Vice President of Student Life at the University of Oregon, Robin Holmes, issued a statement condemning the incident and praising the police department for their actions.
“The University of Oregon community is deeply disturbed by the crimes alleged to have been committed against Alpha Epsilon Pi. We do not tolerate hate crimes or threats founded in bias against any individuals or groups,” Holmes said.
New Israel Air Force Drone’s Star Set to Rise
The Israel Air Force introduced a new unmanned aerial vehicle into its operational lineup Tuesday, in a move a senior officer said would “revolutionize the drone world.”
The Hermes 900 Kochav (“Star”), which became operational this week, is a medium-size multi-payload unmanned aerial vehicle, designed for long-endurance tactical reconnaissance, surveillance, and communications missions.
Manufactured by Elbit Systems, the Hermes 900 can remain airborne for more than 30 hours, and can fly at an altitude of 30,000 feet. The innovative drone is equipped, among other things, with state of the art electro-optical and infrared sensors, synthetic aperture radar capabilities, and advanced communications and electronic intelligence systems.
The Hermes 900 is the first drone included in the IAF’s UAV lineup in 16 years, and it means to improve on its predecessor, the Hermes 450, an advanced drone that can remain airborne for 20 hours.
Polish accelerator to open Tel Aviv branch
The Lublin Science and Technology Park (LPNT), a government-sponsored accelerator that encourages commercialization of research and helps start-ups establish themselves, will be opening a branch in Israel in 2016.
The announcement was made last week, at the start of a biomed conference that saw dozens of Polish and Israeli companies present their innovations to hundreds of visitors from both countries. This year, Poland and Israel mark the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of official political and trade relations, after they were broken off in the wake of the 1967 Six Day War, when then-Communist Poland was in the sphere of Soviet influence.
Currently, trade between the two countries amounts to about $860 million – not a large amount, officials from both countries said at the conference, but a sum that is expected to increase in the coming years.
Conde Nast Traveler: Tel Aviv has ‘world’s best vegetarian food’
Tel Aviv has the world’s best vegetarian food, according to a newly published article in Conde Nast Traveler.
The Nov. 10 article by Raphael Kadushin describes the Israeli city as an “herbivore smorgasbord.”
“Spending a week going meatless in Tel Aviv isn’t just easy; it lets you sample the city’s best bites,” Kadushin writes.
The article lists several recommended vegan and “veg-friendly” restaurants in the White City, including one devoted to vegan Georgian food and an Ethiopian vegan cafe. Vegan diets omit not just meat but all animal products, including eggs and dairy.
According to the activist group Vegan-Friendly, Israel is home to approximately 300,000 vegans, the highest per capita vegan population anywhere in the world. A separate survey found that 8 percent of Israelis are vegetarian and nearly 5 percent are vegan.

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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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