Friday, January 01, 2016

From Ian:

IsraellyCool: No Lie Shall Prosper
How are you gonna fight the most common anti-Israel tropes, such as the oft repeated, “Israel is an Apartheid state?”
Let me tell you how: you go to the source. You go to people who actually lived under Apartheid, the brutal separation policy imposed on the blacks of South Africa from 1948-1994. That’s as opposed to people like Noam Chomsky, a white, privileged Jewish academic who likes to say that Israel is actually worse than South Africa under the Apartheid regime. Or Bradley Burston who is just bursting at the seams to lie about Israel in that Palestinian rag, Haaretz.
And you certainly wouldn’t go to the last white president of South Africa, de Klerk, who is looking for a way to make somebody, anybody worse than South Africa. Or Neve Gordon, one of those Jews who is just chomping at the bit to slander and smear his own people. Who does this leave?
It leaves Olga Meshoe, the founder and CEO of DEISI (pronounced “Daisy”) a group whose acronym stands for Defend, Embrace, Invest, Support Israel. It leaves her father, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe of the ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party), a South African political party that holds 3 seats in Parliament. It leaves Nongcebo Andile Cebe, a researcher at Greater Good, SA, and Tikvah Magadzi a former model, now of Hope, SA, a religious organization.
Israel and South African Apartheid


Israeli Settlers, Meet Brazil’s Settlers
Brazil says it will not confirm the Israeli ambassador-designate to the South American nation, Dani Dayan, because it does not want to “show support for the settlement enterprise,” for which Dayan has been an activist. But anyone familiar with Brazilian history knows that it has an extensive “settler” history of its own.
The Portuguese settler leader Pedro Alvares Cabral is said to have “discovered” Brazil in the year 1500, although the indigenous tribes living there since time immemorial no doubt saw things differently. The natives numbered at least several million people — divided among an estimated 2,000 tribes — but they were no match for European settlers carrying rifles and tuberculosis. Centuries of persecution, slavery, and exploitation of natural resources became the hallmarks of the Portuguese occupation regime. Before long, more than 90 percent of the natives had been wiped out.
As the years passed, a colorful array of additional Portuguese settlers duly arrived — traders, slave-dealers, Jesuit missionaries and more. The discovery of gold in the Minas Gerais region in 1693 was a cause for considerable excitement — except, that is, among the locals, who soon found their native lands overrun by hordes of speculator-settlers and all the unpleasantries that accompany a rapacious gold rush. The occupiers were not inclined to give the tribesmen a vote on any of that, of course.
Brazil’s surviving indigenous tribes today number only about 800,000, in a nation of more than 200 million settler-descendants. Sadly, the legacy of settler violence persists. Just last month, Amnesty International sent a letter to Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff — she’s the one said who she doesn’t want to “show support for the [Israeli] settlement enterprise” — charging her with mistreating the Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous people.
France’s Jewish Problems Are Not New
In other words, the long-standing claim that the puppet government in Vichy collaborated but occupied France resisted is untrue.
Neither was the Nazi-era just a moment of anti-Semitism in an otherwise good relationship . To the contrary, anti-Semitism is the norm in France, so much so that Susan Warner has written at the Gatestone Institute about “France’s Thousand Year War Against the Jews.”
The Dreyfus Affair arguably kicked off modern Zionism. In 1894, the French, Jewish artilleryman Alfred Dreyfus was falsely accused of handing military secrets to the German embassy in Paris. Amid a hysteria of explicit anti-Semitism, he was convicted in one of the great historical miscarriages of justice. He was later given a new trial and acquitted, then served honorably through WWI. The Dreyfus Affair was long considered Theodore Herzl’s instigation for reviving dreams of a Jewish return to Jerusalem, though some now dispute it.
As we will learn in greater detail once the recently released trove is incorporated into the historical record, Vichy and “occupied” France alike collaborated in the destruction of French Jewry in WWII.
Revelation of the scope and horrors of the holocaust dampened explicit anti-Semitism in France as in most of Europe in the post-War period, but the hiatus did not last long.
Caroline Glick: Obama’s constitutional overreach… and Israel
And yet now, as Iran daily humiliates Obama with its unbridled aggression, that senior administration officials chose to brag to Wall Street Journal reporters about how they spied on Israel in breach of Obama’s pledge not to spy on leaders of US allied nations. It is now, when Obama’s opening to Iran is a self-evident failure, that they chose to share how they broke US law by spying on US citizens and abused the president’s constitutional authority by spying on US lawmakers.
Hours after the Journal article was published, Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, announced that his committee will review how the NSA handled its intercepts of congressional communications with Israeli officials.
Certainly, the Intelligence Committee should aggressively pursue the issue. For the fact is that the administration’s arguably unconstitutional moves to block Congress from exercising oversight over Obama’s foreign policy is not limited to his nuclear outreach to Iran.
Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry said the climate change deal the US and the world powers concluded in Paris was drafted in a way that would deny Congress oversight power over the deal. In other words, a common thread linking the administration’s policies from the Middle East to the ozone layer is its desire to disempower Congress.
Israelis reasonably concentrate their attention on how stories affect them. So most of the discussion in Israel following the Journal’s report on Wednesday revolved around what the story means for the prospects of better relations with the administration in its final year in power.
But in truth, the story wasn’t really about Israel. It was about an administration so contemptuous of US lawmakers and citizens that its senior officials have no compunction about admitting that they are breaking the law. They brazenly admit that they are undertaking unlawful spying operations against private citizens and lawmakers and in so doing conducting a massive abuse of presidential powers while trampling the spirit and arguably the letter of the US Constitution.
And they expect that no one will call them to task for it.



Why the White House Wanted Congress To Think It Was Being Spied On By the NSA
In fact, according to multiple sources reached recently, no one in the American intelligence community was spying on US citizens or our elected representatives, and forwarding their names to the White House; the White House just wanted them to believe this was happening. Why? The Journal story only coheres if these purported intercepts are understood as part of the White House’s aggressive campaign to spook possible opponents of the Iran deal.
Recall, if you can, how high the stakes were. In July on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, the president hinted broadly at anti-Semitic conceits to scare off Democrats inclined to go against the deal. New York Senator Chuck Schumer got the full “dual loyalist” treatment when he came out against the agreement. Obama told New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez that his opposition to the deal came not out of conviction but because he was beholden to “donors and others.” The New York Times gave the administration an assist when it charged that Republican Congressmen and Senators opposed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action are more loyal to the Prime Minister of Israel than the president of the United States: a Times editorial described the “vicious battle” as “the unseemly spectacle of lawmakers siding with a foreign leader against their own commander in chief.”
The poisonous environment that the administration created in order to sell the Iran deal spooked plenty of people on Capitol Hill. After all, the president accused Senators of dual loyalty, and the administration got the paper of record to drag them through the mud. In this atmosphere, would a fantasy in which the NSA was listening in on their calls and sending reports back to the White House be the weirdest thing for a Congressman to believe? No. Indeed, these were precisely the fears that the White House wanted to stoke.
What’s not clear is why this story came out now, nearly half a year after the deal was signed in July. The article is heavily reported and researched, and obviously took a long time to put together. Maybe members of Congress aren’t the only ones being gaslighted by the White House these days.
J.E. Dyer: Obama reportedly spying on Congress, political activists: What is this ‘disclosure’ about?
Ultimately, I don’t think a planted narrative like this one is about scaring members of Congress over an issue that was basically settled months ago. It seems that this move must be about something the administration expects to happen in the future.
Regardless, the most horrifying aspect of the whole thing to me is that the Obama administration apparently had no qualms about planting this story. If it’s true, after all, it should be investigated immediately (and although I’m not a fan of special prosecutors, Loretta Lynch & Co. can’t be trusted with that task. A special prosecutor would be the right solution for investigating something of this magnitude, in a situation where the administration is clearly untrustworthy).
But if it’s not true, why would the administration plant such a story so publicly, against itself? It would probably “spook” Obama’s political opponents more effectively to spread rumors in a more stealthy and ambiguous manner.
It’s interesting, if not surprising, to see that few began by doubting the veracity of the WSJ story from 29 December. Such skullduggery is quite believable from the Obama administration.
But it’s not believable from the leadership or the rank-and-file at NSA (that would be my going-in assumption, having worked with NSA for many years). For some reason, Team Obama is casually blackening NSA’s reputation and “outing” itself, in thinly- (laughably-) explicated criminal activity, relating to a political crisis point that passed more than three months ago. Hmm.
A crystal ball on 2016‎
One year ago today, I accurately forecasted in these pages that in 2015, U.S. ‎President Barack Obama would cement a complete reorientation of U.S. policy in the ‎Mideast and Persian Gulf by cutting a grand deal with the Persians.
Sure enough, Obama's appalling pact with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani merely ‎postpones Tehran's nuclear bomb production for a few years, while ‎legitimizing Iranian hegemony in the region. ‎
I also foresaw that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would ramp up his campaign of lies and ‎incitement to violence regarding the Temple Mount.‎
But I was wrong in expecting formation of a Netanyahu-Herzog national ‎unity government, and in presuming that Tzipi Livni would bow out of ‎public life.‎
Looking into my crystal ball for the year ahead, this is what I anticipate:‎
David Collier: ‘Breaking my Silence’, discussing the ‘theoretical Zionist’.
It cannot be said often enough or strongly enough that Israel is at war. Not a theoretical ‘cold war’ but a real battle, a battle that they cannot afford to lose. Israel is only there today because the IDF is strong. Can you imagine if Israel was protected by extreme left wing ‘Zionists’? This is why Israel has lost campus, because its international diplomatic corp – the Zionists- have been duped into giving platforms and status to people who do not like the Zionist state. How do you defend something you don’t like very much? When someone from one of these left wing groups argues against BDS, how can they win? The position they put forward doesn’t even exist beyond a dreamlike theory of a Middle East that is disintegrating before Islamic radicalism as I write. Remember, almost every one of these people would have wanted Israel to give up the Golan in the 1990’s. Today, had they been given their wish, ISIS would be on the shores of the Kinneret.
Limmud was overrun by theoretical Zionists. On every platform, people who represent a tiny minority in Israel were given massive coverage. Activists roamed the halls trying to persuade others to follow their vision. This isn’t Zionism, it is the demise of Zionism in the UK. Israel is only your state if you make it your state. Pack your bags and worked to change it from within. If, as seems the case, you choose merely to criticise, not to build, not to plant, not to donate, but rather to work from the outside against the democratic forces that exist there, then it is not your state at all. Indeed, you have set yourself up in opposition. You are an anti-Zionist or a theoretical Zionist at best. Either way it makes little difference, as Kaufman has shown, they end up being one ond the same.
What arrogance to sit in the comfort of the US or Europe and decide from afar what is best for a people who truly know the price of war. Being Jewish doesn’t give these groups any additional validity. If Israel was to follow or be pressured (as seems to be Yachad’s wish) into making massive territorial compromise within the current environment, what would Yachad activists do if it crumbled? When the rockets started to fly, who would be there to fight for the state – these activists certainly wouldn’t. The world these activists live in is dangerous one and is built on a load of theoretical poppycock. Just like their Zionism.
IDF reservists to sue NGO Breaking the Silence for slander
Several hundred IDF combat reservists and officers who organized a committee titled Reservists at the Front are currently working to file a slander lawsuit against the nongovernmental organization Breaking the Silence, which publishes testimonies, often anonymous, about alleged IDF misdeeds. The reservists claim that Breaking the Silence intentionally and consistently disseminates outright lies.
Amit Deri, a major in the reserves and one of the leaders of the campaign against the NGO, told Israel Hayom that "over a long period of time we've collected facts that prove that Breaking the Silence twists, manipulates and sometimes even lies, slandering IDF soldiers and commanders in Israel and the world."
"Breaking the Silence has a video clip called 'Equal Treatment for Prisoners' that includes the message from Avner Gvaryahu's testimony [published in the U.K.'s Independent newspaper during Operation Protective Edge] that we abuse prisoners and beat them regularly, as a policy. Members of his [army] team claim that's a complete lie and that he libeled them."
The soldiers and officers plan to reach out to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein this coming week for approval to file the slander lawsuit. Reservists at the Front needs Weinstein's permission to proceed since the litigants are IDF soldiers.
New Clinton emails reveal critiques from Israel-bashing son of adviser
The younger Blumenthal, author of the book Goliath, is a fervent critic of Israeli policies and a self-described anti-Zionist. The senior Blumenthal referred his son’s work to the secretary of state, sending her transcripts and links to articles. On at least one occasion, Clinton appears to have asked that one of the younger Blumenthal’s articles be printed out in multiple copies for distribution.
The Times of Israel has previously reported on correspondence between Sidney Blumenthal and Clinton regarding Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The latest emails provide further insight into the opinions of the secretary’s confidant.
In March 2010, Blumenthal plugged his son’s work — this time, playing up links between evangelical Pastor John Hagee and Netanyahu — in the context of an article (written by a different writer) discussing a controversial Pentagon briefing on US relations with Israel and the Arab world.
The briefing had dealt with the lack of progress in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and American concerns over a growing perception among Arab leaders that the US was incapable of standing up to Israel.
“I’ve included an article by Max Blumenthal, who spends his time on this issue and plans to move to Israel for about 6-8 months to write a book,” Blumenthal wrote to Clinton. “He tracks a lot of things that do not appear in the mainstream press.”
Clinton instructed a staffer to print out five copies of the articles, though “without the heading from Sid.” It was not clear from the email which articles from the email were supposed to be printed — the original article, which was featured in Foreign Policy; the Blumenthal piece; or both.
West should remove blinders, back Israel
Geography and demography are the central concerns of most Israelis. A trip to a mountaintop near the Israeli settlement of Barkan in the West Bank provides a dramatic view of “the three seas” – the Mediterranean, Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea. This vantage point, within view of Ben Gurion Airport, illustrates just how vulnerable Israel would be to terrorist rockets. As the saying goes, “Israel is a small country,” a truth that shocks many first-time visitors.
The Obama administration has asked both Israelis and Palestinians to “tone down” the rhetoric that feeds the violence in Israel. It is unlikely that Abbas or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will comply. Palestinian hatred of Jews permeates every facet of society, and it starts early.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli research institute studying Palestinian society, Palestinian textbooks, for example, “make no attempt to educate for peace or coexistence with Israel. Instead Israel’s right to exist is adamantly denied and the Palestinian war against Israel is presented as an eternal religious battle for Islam.”
Western governments must remove their blinders and support Israel’s attempt to curtail and conquer this virus.
IsraellyCool: We Need A New Word: UNgenocide
We need a new word in the dictionary!
UNgenocide
noun
the deliberate failure to kill a large group of people and stand by and watch while their numbers increase, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group. A campaign of ungenocide. [ count noun ] : News of ungenocides went unreported.
verb
to deliberately or through incompetence, fail to carry out a genocide and thereby allow a population, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group, to increase seemingly without limit. : The Jews ungenocided the Palestinians again this year.
2015: Year The Palestinians Turned Toward Global Caliphate Creation
With little fanfare and almost no one in the news media paying careful attention, this year marked a tectonic shift in the dynamics of the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, 2015 will become known as the year the highly-controlled Palestinian street largely moved beyond the geopolitics of territory and marched to the tune of religious extremism.
It is significant that the Palestinians carrying out the “wave of terror” are doing so, they believe, for the glory of the Al Aqsa Mosque. They have been incited by official Palestinian media outlets, mosques, and the state-run school system to believe in a non-existent Jewish threat to Al Aqsa, which Islam sees as its third holiest site. Social media accounts for Palestinian attackers almost always mention the “threat” to Al Aqsa as their primary motivation with scant mention of a Palestinian state.
The latest narrative is farcical and shows that the Palestinians can be brainwashed into believing almost anything. In this case, the Al Aqsa threat is a 180 inversion of reality.
The Islamic Waqf are the true custodians of the Temple Mount. Only Muslims are granted unrestricted access 24/7. Jews and Christians are permitted to ascend for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, and not on any days holy to Christians, Jews, or Muslims.
Palestinians: Save Us from the Good-Hearted Westerners!
Every Palestinian knows in his heart that we do not want a state of our own alongside Israel, but rather instead of Israel. This includes all the land of Palestine and Israel. It means that Jews have no right to exist on even one speck of it.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claims he wants to reach a peace agreement with Israel. But at the same time he and his henchmen incite the Palestinians to stab, run over and shoot Israelis to death, while he idealizes, glorifies and finances -- with the funds he receives from the West -- the terrorists and their families.
The Palestinian people are already almost totally radicalized, even in the West Bank. They do not seem concerned about living under an Islamist regime run by Hamas or Islamic State.
Abbas's goal is now, with the help of the international community, to impose a solution on Israel. The solution he seeks – a full withdrawal to the 1967 lines – would pose an existential threat to Israel. It would also just be a matter of time before the Palestinian state will be run by Hamas or Islamic State. (h/t Cliff)
US Treasury secretary named in suit over tax-free donations to Israel
A lawsuit naming the US Treasury Department and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew aims to revoke the nonprofit status of groups that the litigants claim have given billions of dollars in tax-exempt donations to Israel.
A group of American citizens filed the suit Dec. 21 in a US court, Al Jazeera reported Wednesday. One of the litigants was identified by Al Jazeera as a Palestinian-American writer and human rights activist, Susan Abulhawa.
The Treasury Department has 60 days to respond. It declined to comment to Al Jazeera, citing the pending litigation. The department is led by Lew, an Orthodox Jew.
According to the suit, about 150 nonprofit groups have sent about $280 billion to Israel over the last 20 years.
Groups such as the Falic Family Foundation, Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces, American Friends of Ariel, Gush Etzion Foundation, American Friends of Har Homa and Hebron Fund have funneled the tax-free donations to Jewish settlements and the Israeli military, the suit claims.
Meet Jeremy Corbyn’s German doppelganger
Unsurprisingly, The Left Party opposes German military intervention in Syria and does a lot of heavy lifting for the policies of Vladimir Putin. There is no shortage of apologists for radical Islamic regimes in the Left Party.
The Left Party’s foreign policy spokesman, Bundestag deputy Wolfgang Gehrcke, has attended pro-Hezbollah and pro-Hamas demonstrations in Germany. He participated in a 2006 rally where ‘We are all Hezbollah’ blared from the loudspeakers. Many of the party’s parliamentarians hold views from a catalogue of horrors. Deputy Christine Buchhloz supports the ‘legitimate resistance‘ of Hamas and Hezbollah.
She and Left Party Vice President Wagenknecht declared as ‘untruth’ the reality of Iran’s drive to build nuclear weapons. However, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, affirmed in reports that Iran has carried work on nuclear bombs.
Wagenknecht and Buchholz’s refusal to participate in the standing ovation for Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Israeli President Shimon Peres during his Holocaust remembrance speech in the Bundestag which was praised by Germany’s NPD neo-Nazi party. The Left Party has a peculiar obsession with fanning the flames of the Boycott, Divestment,Sanctions (BDS) movement in Germany targeting the Jewish state.
Wagenknecht has gone to great lengths to defend her party’s lawmakers who traveled aboard the Mavi Marmara vessel in 2010 in an attempt to break Israel’s legal blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
By way of background, the deputies, Inge Höger and Annette Groth, agreed to be segregated into an all-female section aboard the ship filled with a substantial number of Islamists.
Richard Burden MP, the anti-Israel troll?
Richard Burden, a Labour Member of Parliament for a Birmingham constituency, accuses me of being a troll. He tweeted as much on 29th December.
All I have been doing is pointing out to him the amount of time he dedicates to undermining Israel as opposed to helping the people in his constituency.
Burden’s twitter profile describes him as “Labour MP & community advocate for Birmingham Northfield. Shadow Minister for aviation, shipping, strategic networks & road safety.”
As you can see there is no mention of Israel in his job description. Yet, a large proportion of his tweets are spent dedicated to attacking Israel.
Obviously, the time he spends attacking Israel on twitter is less time for him to spend on thinking about how to improve the lives of the good people of Birmingham Northfield.
Considering his salary is paid for partly by the people of Birmingham Northfield, via their taxes, surely he should dedicate his time to working for them as well as fulfilling his shadow ministry duties.
White Muslim convert who trolled Tory MP over Syria vote calling her 'you dirty pig f****g whore' is jailed
A MUSLIM convert who posted a tirade of criticism on Facebook directed at Tory MP Charlotte Leslie, naming her a "dirty pig f*****g whore", was sentenced today.
Craig Wallace, 23, also known as Muhammad Mujahid Islam on the social media site, attended an anti-war rally outside Parliament to protest against Syrian airstrikes.
In the days after, Wallace published threatening messages targeting the Bristol North West MP.
On an existing thread of comments on the UK Truth Movement Facebook page he wrote: "I'm going to smash her windows and drop a bomb on her house when she is tucked up in bed, you dirty f*****g pig shagging slut.
"By the way love you're f*****g hideous."
The MP's father saw the comments and reported them to the police.
Mr Wallace, of Willesden Green in north London, was carrying a giant white poppy at the rally outside Parliament and posed for pictures with strangers holding a placard that read: "I am Muslim, I am labled [sic] a terrorist, I trust you, do you trust me enough for a hug".
BBC reports on 2015 internet ‘falsehoods’ – but not its own
Promoted using the heading “Fakes and Falsehoods” and with the sub-heading “Eight ways the internet lied to you in 2015”, the BBC News website published an article on December 27th similarly titled “How the internet misled you in 2015” which opens with the words “it was another busy year for journalists debunking fake or misleading images on social media.”Internet fakes art
It was also another busy year for those “debunking” inaccurate and misleading content on the BBC News website and on the corporation’s additional platforms. Here (in no particular order) are a few examples of some of the ways in which the BBC misled its audiences in 2015.
8) In July the BBC told us that terror attacks in Israel are “not comparable” to terror attacks in Tunisia or Kuwait and that the stories are “very different”.
The BBC, terrorism and ‘consistency’
BBC Complaints: terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tunisia are “very different”
9) In June the BBC yet again misled audiences with regard to the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and reports produced throughout the year continued to mislead on the issue of why reconstruction there is so slow.
BBC’s English and Arabic flotilla reports promote inaccurate information
BBC News website corrects Gaza Strip naval blockade inaccuracy
A side to the Gaza reconstruction story the BBC isn’t telling
Yolande Knell’s political campaigning continues in BBC ‘Gaza anniversary’ coverage
“Sophisticated” Economist revives facile cartoon smearing Israel
The cartoon was originally published by The Economist in July 2014, during the war between Hamas and Israel.
As a friend on Facebook suggested, the cartoon’s goal is not to educate, or to provide a unique insight into the war, but rather to reinforce lazy stereotypes of Israel as a cruel, malicious Goliath inflicting gratuitous violence on innocent victims.
It’s especially troubling that a London-based publication which fancies itself a centrist magazine providing “authoritative insight and opinion” would endorse such a facile and extraordinarily misleading graphic commentary.
German cinema rediscovers Nazi hunter Fritz Bauer
With two new films, German cinema has rediscovered the country’s fiercest Nazi hunter, former prosecutor Fritz Bauer, honoring a man who fought against post-war amnesia about the Holocaust.
A Jewish atheist and Social Democrat who spent time in a Nazi concentration camp before going into war-time exile, Bauer became “the most hated lawyer in Germany” after World War II, one of his biographers, Ronen Steinke, told AFP.
Honoring him on the big screen with the stories of his two biggest battles places him “finally back where he belongs: in the collective consciousness,” said Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
“Labyrinth of Lies” by Giulio Ricciarelli — Germany’s short-listed submission for Best Foreign Language Feature at February’s Oscars — describes one of Bauer’s chief accomplishments, bringing to justice 22 former Auschwitz officials in the 1960s.
Hate Crimes Against Members of London’s Largest Jewish Community Doubled This Year
Hate crimes against members of the largest Jewish community in London almost doubled in 2015, according to statistics released on Wednesday by Scotland Yard.
Hackney’s Stamford Hill district, which is home to 30,000 Hassidic Jews, had a record number of antisemitic incidents, a total of 122 in the last 12 months. This adds up to one anti-Jewish crime every three days.
A spokesperson for Shomrim, the area’s Jewish neighborhood watch group, told the Evening Standard the group assisted in more than 20 arrests connected to antisemitic crimes in the area in 2015. Shomrim president Rabbi Herschel Gluck said the figures are “of deep concern.”
“While this might be explained by some as being a result of better reporting, it still demonstrates the depth and persistence of this grave problem, which needs to be urgently and properly dealt with,” he said.
Italian superstar to play Israel in April
Italian soft rock balladeer Eros Ramazzotti, named for the Greek god of love, will perform on April 30 in Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena.
The Italian superstar, now 52, is being brought to Israel by the Helicon music group and Guy Besser and Shay Mor Yosef of BlueStone Productions, which produced Enrique Iglesias’s two recent Tel Aviv concerts.
With 60 million albums sold in his 30-year career, Ramazzotti is known for his unique voice, which is somewhat nasal in tone but resonant with audiences who also love his passionate, catchy tunes that are often autobiographical in nature.
The singer and guitarist — who learned to play piano from his music-loving, construction worker father — started his career by winning a youth music contest in 1981 and launching his first album four years later.
‘Mellow Yellow’ singer Donovan to play Jaffa in January
Donovan, the 69-year-old Scottish Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, will strum his psychedelic and folky favorites on January 11 in Jaffa’s Gesher Theater.
Donovan’s January gig marks the artist’s second visit to Israel. He first performed in Israel in 1979, according to the Ynet news website.
His Jaffa appearance follows his 50th anniversary tour through the United Kingdom in October and November. His Israel performance begins a year of continued tours, including an April 2016 tour across Germany.
The singer-songwriter landed his first hit “Catch the Wind” at the age 18 in 1965 and then toppled the rock industry charts with 15 hit singles, including “Sunshine Superman” and “Mellow Yellow.” His other hits include “Colours” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man.”
Wifi, security, traffic and weather data are added boon of new streetlights
The streetlight is due for an overhaul, urban officials around the world believe, as they aim to swap existing energy-inefficient high-intensity discharge (HID) streetlights for more efficient and smart city-friendly Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology streetlights.
An ambitious program called the Global Lighting Challenge is set to install no fewer than 10 billion LED streetlights around the world by the end of the next decade.
Ga’ash Lighting, an Israeli company that specializes in LED streetlight technology, is taking that further – installing smart LED streetlights that include wifi repeaters, security cameras, sensors to measure temperature and air quality, and systems to measure traffic congestion.
The Apollo system by Ga’ash will not only help cities save money by using energy more efficiently, says the company; it will allow them greater control over all expenditures, collecting and transmitting back big data that can be used to determine where to deploy police, where to pick up the garbage, how to prevent traffic jams, and more.
How Israeli tech got into one-third of the world’s smart TVs
Made-in-Israel technology is heading toward ubiquity, not just in back-end hardware and software, but even in consumer goods. Case in point: One-third of the smart TVs sold in the world today contain an essential piece of technology made by Tel Aviv start-up Giraffic.
“As of this year, both Samsung and LG are using our Adaptive Video Acceleration (AVA) technology to ensure flawless playback of streaming content on their Internet-connected televisions,” said Giraffic co-founder and CEO Yoel Zanger. “Right now we are the industry standard for client-side video acceleration and stabilization technology. It’s pretty cool.”
The folks at the world’s biggest smart TV makers certainly think so. Televisions today are very much commodity items, manufactured in China and other Far East lands and sold at small mark-ups; even TVs that are sold as “high definition” (HD) can be had for barely $200 – far less than the price Samsung and LG, among others, seek to sell their top-of-the-line TVs for.
Giraffic’s technology, said Zanger, makes it possible for television makers to distinguish themselves from among the pack by offering superior video display and content streaming uninterrupted by network glitches and slowdowns.
Amid Growing Ties, Indian Foreign Minister Swaraj to Visit Israel
India’s Foreign Minister Shushma Swaraj is expected to visit Israel in the second half of January.
Indian news channel NDTV reported that the much awaited trip would take place around January 16-19, three months after the historic visit by first ever Indian head of state to Israel, when President Pranab Mukherjee visited to the Jewish State in October 2015. Jerusalem Post reported that some logistical issues need to be worked out before Israel can officially announce the visit, quoting government sources in Jerusalem.
The announcement came on the heels of the successfully trial of a missile defense system jointly developed India and Israel. On Wednesday, Long Range Surface to Air Missile ‘Barak 8’ was test fired in Indian Ocean aboard the Indian naval destroyer INS Kolkata.
Foreign Minister Swaraj, a former Supreme Court lawyer, has a long-standing ties to the Jewish State. She considers Israeli stateswomen Golda Meir as her role model. She served as the chairwoman of the Indo-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group from 2006-09.
During the Gaza conflict of 2014, Swaraj led the charge in Indian parliament as her government scrapped an anti-Israel resolution tabled by opposition parties. Breaking from India’s traditional pro-Arab stance, Prime Minister Modi’s 19 month old nationalist government has repeatedly abstained from anti-Israel resolutions brought by Arab nations at the UN.
Israeli actors set to star in Game of Thrones
Israeli actors Yousef Sweid and Ania Bukstein are set to appear in the sixth season of the hit series Game of Thrones.
The new season, to be filmed in Europe, is due to be aired on the HBO network (and in Israel on the Yes network) in the spring of 2016.
It is not yet known which parts the actors — the first Israelis to appear on the show — will play. They were required to sign confidentiality agreements, Channel 10 reported.
Sweid and Bukstein are not the first Israeli actors to have auditioned for Game of Thrones; Yuval Scharf, Neta Garty and Leem Lubany have also tried out. It is rumored that Lubany will play a Dosh Khaleen widow in the sixth series.
As 2015 ends, screen year’s top sabra flicks
It’s been another year of major blockbusters at the box office in 2015, from the record-breaking ticket sales of “Jurassic World” and the psychological machinations of “Inside Out” to another round of “Minions” and the recovered glory of the seventh installment in the Star Wars series with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
While most Israeli films don’t make the same kinds of millions as the Hollywood industry, there’s more than a few that pack a punch and are well worth screening.
With another year of mind-probing, historical and gut-wrenching films under the Israeli film industry’s belt, it’s time to raise our champagne flutes and update our download lists to include the top five Israeli flicks of 2015.
So pop up some popcorn, spring open the sours and enjoy the year in motion pictures.
Queen Elizabeth to Recognize Holocaust Survivors in Traditional Year-End Honors
The Queen of England will recognize the contributions of 10 Holocaust survivors in her annual “New Year’s Honors List” the UK’s Jewish News reported on Wednesday.
Zigi Shipper, Susan Pollack, Ivor Perl, Lilly Ebert, Chaim Ferster, Jack Kagan, Freddie Knoller, Rudy Oppenheimer, Rene Salt and Agnes Grunwald-Spier will be honored for their efforts to spread awareness about the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Members of the group have collectively shared their tales of survival with thousands of students, supported the establishment of Holocaust Memorial Day and written books about the Holocaust, Jewish News reported.
“I have been honored as part of a dedicated team who work to strengthen our resolve for a fairer, safer future, and to learn lessons from the Holocaust and more recent genocides,” said Pollock, who survived Auschwitz without her parents.
Even Herzl had a blue box: JNF celebrates 115 years
December 31, 2015 marks the 115th anniversary since Theodor Herzl’s gavel banged down at the Fifth Zionist Council in Basel, Switzerland, and established Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL–JNF).
Zvi Hermann Schapira, a mathematics professor at Germany’s Heidelberg University, proposed a national fund to purchase land in Palestine at the First Zionist Congress in 1897.
But as bureaucratic groups of Jewish men are wont to do, they couldn’t agree on anything about creating a national fund, including the legal guidelines of how the fund would operate or purchase land. These disagreements deferred the establishment of JNF from one Zionist Conference to the next Zionist Conference, and progress seemed to be frozen.
When the vote to establish KKL-JNF failed once again at the Fifth Conference, Herzl stormed into the hall in anger. “Yours is the power to decide whether to postpone the establishment of the fund for another two years or until the coming of the Messiah!” he yelled, according to KKL-JNF archives.


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