Douglas Murray: The Middle East’s 30 Years’ War just took a turn for the worse
In January 2014, Douglas Murray explained in The Spectator how relations in the Middle East were becoming increasingly tense. With Saudi Arabia having now cut diplomatic relations with Iran, Douglas’s insight seems prescient.Honest Reporting: The Truth is Not Enough
Syria has fallen apart. Major cities in Iraq have fallen to al-Qa’eda. Egypt may have stabilised slightly after a counter-coup. But Lebanon is starting once again to fragment. Beneath all these facts — beneath all the explosions, exhortations and blood — certain themes are emerging.
Some years ago, before the Arab ‘Spring’ ever sprung, I remember asking one top security official about the region. What, I wondered, was their single biggest fear? The answer was striking and precise: ‘That the region will clarify.’ That is a fear which now appears to be coming true.
The Middle East is not simply falling apart. It is taking a different shape, along very clear lines — far older ones than those the western powers rudely imposed on the region nearly a century ago. Across the whole continent those borders are in the process of cracking and breaking. But while that happens the region’s two most ambitious centres of power — the house of Saud and the Ayatollahs in Iran — find themselves fighting each other not just for influence but even, perhaps, for survival.
The way in which what is going on in the Middle East has become a religious war has long been obvious. Just take this radio exchange, caught at the ground level earlier this month, between two foreign fighters in Syria, the first from al-Qa’eda’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS], the second from the Free Syrian army [FSA]. ‘You apostate infidels,’ says the first. ‘We’ve declared you to be “apostates”, you heretics. You don’t know Allah or His Prophet, you creature. What kind of Islam do you follow?’ To which the FSA fighter responds, ‘Why did you come here? Go fight Israel, brother.’ Only to be told, ‘Fighting apostates like you people takes precedence over fighting the Jews and the Christians. All imams concur on that.’
First, and most importantly, we must turn uninterested parties into interested parties. Public education on all aspects of Israel, including those utterly unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is one of the best ways to foster emotional and intellectual connections to Israel. Even better, BDS protests against such efforts to raise awareness about Israel are utterly ineffective. First, they reveal how very petulant the BDS movement is. For example, at Columbia University, where I am a student, pro-boycott groups flyered the campus in protest of an effort to raise awareness of Israel’s humanitarian efforts abroad. Even an uninterested and uneducated party can see how utterly ridiculous such “protests” are. Second, the response of anyone intrigued by public debate or “controversy” over Israel is to Google “Israel.” Here, the truth once more becomes important, and HonestReporting’s efforts pay the greatest dividends. Our hypothetical Googler will undoubtedly stumble across many different articles on Israel, and it is crucial that he or she finds facts, not bias.Defending Israel to Diaspora Jews at Limmud
Of course, there are some people who will never be reached by educational efforts, but they too can be swayed. Since we can’t bring Israel to the foreground for these people, we must instead bring it into the background, to make it so normal and pedestrian that boycotting or demonizing it becomes outlandish, rather than the default position. Put another way, no store owner would give the time of day to anyone asking for a boycott of say, Portuguese products, no matter how loud the boycotters were. Uninterested parties must see Israel as just a normal highly-developed Western country, before BDS starts its aggressive demonization efforts. BDS wants to make Israel “special;” we must work to keep Israel normal. This is a subtle and difficult effort, which can range from ensuring the widespread availability of products with the “Made in Israel” label, to things as subtle as making sure Hebrew, or an Israeli flag, is featured in any display of flags or languages. As silly and odd as it may sound, this sort of background messaging is perhaps the only way to keep uninterested parties from being swayed by loud lies.
Neither of these two efforts detracts from the fact that, as mentioned before, the truth about Israel is incredibly important. Honesty, accuracy, and fairness in discussions about Israel are essential in protecting the country from the pernicious and persistent efforts to slander and destroy its image, and without the truth, no amount of effort can protect Israel from its enemies. Equally, however, the truth on its own is not enough in a world that largely doesn’t care about a tiny country with a small population. Only by combining the truth with education and normalization can friends of Israel arrest the tide of demonization and slander against the Jewish state.
I spent the last days of 2015 meeting with British Jews in Birmingham. Along with many presenters from different countries and professional fields, I had been invited to participate in a Limmud conference, a multi-annual — and by now multi-continental — Jewish happening.
The topics on my agenda were ostensibly varied: the viability of a two-state solution; flaws in the Israeli political system; Israel-US relations in the wake of the Iran deal; the cause and effect of the knife intifada; and whether antisemitism is sufficient impetus for immigration to Israel. Still, they all came down to basically the same debate — the extent of Israeli culpability in local and global affairs.
The Paris attacks were still fresh in everyone’s mind, and the heightened security in other European capitals was so palpable that it made Israel’s pale in comparison — as reports on the cancellation of public New Year’s Eve celebrations indicated. Nevertheless, the atmosphere at Limmud was upbeat. Attendees spent good money to live in not-so-luxurious conditions at a hotel repurposed to house the dozens of simultaneous lectures, classes, singles’ events and entertainment for both adults and children. This was a crowd of some 2,500 Jews who could have spent the week after Christmas doing anything they chose. And they opted to spend it reinforcing their sense of community and dedication. Impressive doesn’t begin to describe it.
So far so good. Except for the sad specific reason that I and a handful of like-minded people from Israel and abroad were brought there by one of the members of the organizing committee: to serve as the only voice not singing in the predominantly left-wing choir. (h/t Jewess)
Breaking the Silence: abusing human rights, foreign funding and feeding Israeli boycotts
BtS attempts to portray itself as part of a “beleaguered” Israeli “human rights community.” However, its core objective (“ending the occupation”) is political, using the language of human rights to advance its cause. This is belied by the fact that significant BtS’ funders conditioned their grants on the NGO obtaining a minimum number of negative “testimonies” to publish outside of Israel.Israel Must Tell Better Stories to Get the World on Its Side
This conditioning indicates they are more interested in demonising Israel and the IDF, as opposed to promoting human rights.
While advocating for political positions is legitimate, foreign government funding and use of NGOs to advance political goals is form of neo-colonialism, whereby foreign officials are trying to use their NGO allies to circumvent the Israeli electorate.
Many individuals and groups, with varying political opinions, travel the world talking about Israel. This includes former diplomats and officials who lobby for both BDS and lawfare against Israel, as well as pro-Israel groups that speak about the diversity of Israeli society and urge audiences to educate themselves, so they can speak up against verbal attacks, defamations and false blood libels against Israel.
BtS activists are free to exercise their right to free speech and association, but this does not render them immune to informed criticism and repercussion. But it also must face the consequences of soliciting funds from foreign governments that wish to force political change on Israeli society and associating with BDS supporters. Accordingly, Breaking the Silence is regarded by the majority of Israelis, including centrist politicians, as merely another politicized NGO using the language of human rights in order to tap into the lucrative market of hostile NGOs that travel the world demonizing the Jewish State.
The success of the Palestinian “narrative” in gaining world appeal stems from these gifted Palestinian Internet-hakawati of the modern day.Palestinian leaders' self interest militates against peace
Israel also has incredible true stories to tell. Surrounded by enemies, this diverse country has survived a handful of defensive wars, two intifadas and constant terrorist attacks. Most Israeli children, especially in northern and southern towns susceptible to rockets from Hamas and Hezbollah, grow up in a constant state of fear, never knowing when the next alarm will sound or if they will be the next victims.
Avi Dorfman, 26, is a terror-attack survivor who sustained severe brain damage in the 2007 attacks on the Zikim base. When describing him, YNet lumped him in with a group of 66 other victims, writing “67 injured, no dead.”
When Avi told me about his injury, how he was informed he would die within the week or emerge with severe mental and physical disabilities, and how he recovered miraculously, I was in awe. I was shocked that no effort had been made to disseminate his story outside of Israel, as it is a perfect example of how Hamas targets innocents who play no part in the conflict. Avi, who served in a non-combat role in the IDF and volunteered upon his recovery, spoke of his other friends who were severely injured. These drastically disrupted, sometimes permanently ruined, lives that are brushed off and aggregated as “67 injured,” are untapped opportunities that can add a great deal of richness to our collective narrative.
A few weeks ago, the Huffington Post published an article by Omar Alnatour, a pro-Palestinian activist who describes himself as a humanitarian. In the piece, Alnatour rehearses the familiar tropes about the suffering of young children in Gaza during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.Time to move on from the two state solution
The conflict is not a religious one, Alnatour reports, but is really a “secular humanitarian crisis.” In this crisis, Palestinian suffering is all Israel’s fault, Hamas did nothing wrong, and the world really needs to do something to help the Palestinian people.
“Justice” is the way to peace, Alnatour opines.
But when Alnatour talks of “justice” he doesn’t mean the arrest, prosecution and punishment of Hamas leaders who have committed war crimes by targeting civilians with rocket fire or by using hospitals and schools to store their weapons and in so doing putting Palestinian children in harm’s way. For Alnatour, “justice” means the continued demonization of the Jewish state and its leaders.
This is a pretty dishonest view of the conflict. It is Hamas that causes the suffering of the people in Gaza. In its effort to exercise a veto over Jewish self-determination, Hamas starts wars it cannot win with a more powerful state that cannot afford to lose, and in the course of these wars, it attacks Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians.
Hamas then uses the inevitable suffering of the Palestinians that results to score propaganda points against Israel. Alnatour, like a lot of so-called humanitarians, cooperates with this strategy.
With no two-state solution viable for the foreseeable future, why does the international community insist on paying lip service to the idea and flogging a dead horse? US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, commenting on the Netanyahu-Obama meeting, said the talks had focused on steps to reduce tensions and violence and “maintaining the viability of the two-state solution for the future.”The fallacy of moderate mideast Muslim countries
But that is nowhere near enough. It is time for an end to vapid talk of a currently unrealizable solution and for the international community to adopt and actively push for an interim solution, as well as to explore alternatives to the two-state solution, such as a greater Gaza and/ or a Jordanian- Palestinian federation.
Immediate measures need to be taken to create prosperity on the ground for Palestinians by creating jobs – not by labeling settlement goods, which can only lead to the loss of Palestinian jobs. Money should be put directly into economic projects, not into the pockets of the corrupt cronies of the Palestinian Authority.
Israel needs to take measures to reduce contact with the Palestinian population to a minimum and to leave viable options open for the future. The Palestinian leadership must finally take seriously their obligation to stop incitement and violence and to search for a better future for their own people.
If the two-state solution is dead, it’s time to do something about it. To repeat an overused maxim: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.
Moreover the Israeli left, center-left, and mainstream media, fail to realize, that true peace cannot be achieved in the mideast, until real democratic reform comes to the Arab and Muslim world, and it doesn't look like that will be happening anytime soon. True peace is one between nations with shared democratic values, and not just between governments, and certainly not dictatorships. Sadly the Israeli Troika, fails to grasp this most basic foundation to what makes a real and lasting peace.New Year's Wish: A Worthwhile Palestinian Partner for Peace
Having said that, Israel by all means should be pursuing tactical and strategic alliances with mideast regimes who are sincerely interested in joining forces, to combat terrorists and state sponsored terrorism. And moreover, Israel's moral and existential imperative, must be to seek out and build bridges to true moderates, and democratic reformers in the mideast, which do exist, and together can be agents of true democratic change to the region.
Arab nation states are crumbling before our eyes, and deteriorating into barbaric, bloody and violent chaos. This is hardly the time to be pursuing peace agreements, based on concessions, to authoritarian and immoral regimes, that may not be around tomorrow. Let us not forget the cry of the center-left, to quickly pursue a 'peace' agreement with Syria, while Assad was still in power, in exchange for the Golan Heights, before it is too late...
The refrain "when will they ever learn", from the 1960's political folk classic "Where have all the flowers gone?" feels likes a curiously appropriate question for the Israeli Troika.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has never been a man of peace. Even now, he continues calling for Jewish blood. Israel, however, has offered peace deal after peace deal – never even to receive even so much as a single counter-offer.NSA spying on Israel: This is how you treat your enemies
Sometimes, Abbas harps on Israel's settlement policy as the sole reason for the absence of peace in the region. But before 1967 there were no settlements -- and still no peace. What, then, was the PLO thinking of liberating? If you look at any current map of "Palestine" from the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, it blankets the entire country of Israel.
"For how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last? After 67 years, how long?" -- Mahmoud Abbas, saying recently that the "occupation" has existed since Israel's creation in 1948.
Following the report's publication, Robert agreed to broach the subject. The reason for that, beyond the fact that the information he had kept from me until that point had now been revealed by the newspaper, was his desire to warn against the disastrous consequences of the strained relationship between the leaders of the two nations. "In the United States, the mindset coming from the Commander in Chief projects onto the soldiers, down to the most junior among them. Obama despises Netanyahu, and that affects the entire system," Robert, who cares much about Israel, says with pain.Vatican recognition of Palestinian state comes into effect
According to him, "After the Snowden affair (the revelation that the NSA eavesdropped on Western leaders - RB), President Obama ordered to stop spying on leaders that the United States views as close and friendly allies (Robert gestures at the Chancellery building by the river). But he ordered to continue, all the more forcefully, spying on several leaders, primarily Netanyahu. We all understood what that order meant: Obama doesn't view Netanyahu as a friendly leader."
Netanyahu, it's important to note, did not wait for the report in the American media. Over the past few years he has been repeatedly telling his aides that the US is making great efforts to spy on him. He even instructed information security personnel at the Shin Bet (Israel's General Security Agency – RB) and the Director of Security of the Defense Ministry (MALMAB) to take measures that, at times, were perceived as extreme, to the point of paranoia.
An agreement signed last year making the Vatican's de facto recognition of a Palestinian state in 2012 official has come into effect, the Holy See said on Saturday.UN monitor for human rights in West Bank quits over access
The Vatican signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" last June when it called for moves to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backed a two-state solution.
"... the Holy See and the State of Palestine have notified each other that the procedural requirements for (the accord's) entry into force have been fulfilled, the Vatican said in a statement on Saturday.
The Indonesian diplomat said he had been assured before taking up the position that he would have access to the West Bank.France prepares tribute to Charlie Hebdo, Jewish shop victims
“I took up this mandate with the understanding that Israel would grant me access, as an impartial and objective observer,” he said.
But he said repeated requests for access were unsuccessful.
“With no reply from Israel to my latest request, in October 2015, to have access by the end of 2015, it is with deep regret that I accept the premise upon which I took up the mandate, which is to have direct access to the victims in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, will not be fulfilled,” he said.
By contrast, the Palestinian government had “cooperated fully” with his mandate, he said.
Israel responded that his resignation was a result of the lack of balance in the mandate he had been given.
France this week commemorates the victims of last year's Islamist militant attacks on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket with eulogies, memorial plaques and another cartoon lampooning religion.“Next year in Jerusalem” takes on new meaning in France
Heavy security is planned for the ceremonies honouring the 17 victims of the Jan. 7-9 gunfire sprees in Paris, which proved to be a grim forerunner of the suicide bombings and shootings in the city 10 months later in which 130 people died.
Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical covers gleefully ridiculing political and religious leaders, lost many of its top editorial staff when two Islamist militants broke into an editorial meeting on Jan. 7 and raked it with bullets.
Another militant murdered a policewoman the next day, took hostages at the HyperCacher supermarket on Jan. 9 and killed four of them before police shot him dead. Other police cornered the escaped Charlie Hebdo gunmen in a printing plant north of Paris and killed them that same afternoon.
Charlie Hebdo plans a special edition with a cover cartoon showing an angry God with blood on his hands and a Kalashnikov automatic rifle strapped to his back. "One year later, the assassin is still on the run," the headline says.
Regardless, hidden in the Telegraph’s report is that the rate of attack on Jews nearly doubled for the period from January to May, 2015. Indeed, the telegraph uses some linguistic sleight-of-hand to hide just how severe French anti-Semitism is. The reported threefold jump in anti-Muslim attacks from 133 to 400 is for all of 2015. The Telegraph then reports than anti-Semitic attacks over a five-month period approximately doubled to 508.SPME BDS Monitor: Fighting Boycott Movement Begins to Show Results
In a year of Islamist terror against Jewish and secular targets in France, Jews are being targeted three times as often as Muslims, at an annualized rate of 100 attacks per month. Even that number likely underestimates the current rate of attacks, as the January-to-May time-frame does not capture any acceleration in anti-Semitic attacks since 11/13.
With French counter-terror efforts seemingly on the upswing, Islamists by all appearances set on continuing their terror war on Europe, and Jews apparently victimized by secular and Muslim French alike, circumstances for French Jews are only poised to worsen.
As a result, many French Jews are looking to emigrate to Israel. Israel, in turn, is looking to ease the process, especially for those whose professional degrees or certifications from French institutions are not credited under current Israeli law. If and when that law changes, France could experience both a brain drain, and the loss of the leaders of the French-Jewish community.
For French Jews caught in the crossfire of a war between Islamists and France, “Next year in Jerusalem” takes on new meaning.
The year 2015 ended with BDS supporters co-opting more campus governments and causes to discriminate against Jewish students. At the same time, more BDS resolutions were defeated and steps taken to prevent student governments from adopting Israel boycotts. These signs suggest that the BDS movement’s overreach is producing backlash, at least in terms of energizing campus opposition. A similar dynamic is apparent in the political sphere, where efforts to isolate Israel economically have been met with local legislation prohibiting Israel boycotts. The lesson of 2015 is that grassroots opposition to BDS can work, both on campus and in the political system.Lapid outlines his battle against EU labeling ruling
The fall semester ended in December with several incidents where BDS supporters used student government to harass Jewish students and organizations for supporting Israel. At the University of Michigan a Jewish member of student government was exonerated after an investigation found he “did not engage in unethical behavior or engage in conduct unbecoming of a representative” by verbally challenging BDS supporters. The BDS group — “Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE)” — had accused the student of abusive conduct. The use of campus disciplinary mechanisms against individuals who challenge BDS has been seen several times, most notably at UCLA in the spring of 2015.
At Vassar the local branch of J Street University was initially denied the right to apply for event funding by the student government on the grounds that “Zionism is an inherently racist ideology.” The funding was eventually approved. A pro-Israel group at San Diego State University was also excluded from a student statement against Islamophobia after the local Students for Justice in Palestine objected. Efforts to exclude Jewish and pro-Israel groups and individuals from campus life are likely to expand in 2016.
MK Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, arrived on Monday at Ma’aleh Adumim to participate in the second annual business conference taking place in the largest city in Samaria.Want to Boycott Israel? Ignore This PA University
Lapid met with Mayor Benny Kashriel, as well as business owners, following which he gave a speech in front of a crowd of more than 500 participants in the conference. The speech focused on the political and economic effect that the EU decision to label products from Judea and Samaria is expected to have on products from the region.
Lapid started out by stating that in his opinion as well as the Yesh Atid party platform consider Ma’aleh Adumim to be part of Israel. “Ma’aleh Adumim, for me as well as my party, for the entire center bloc of Israeli politics, is part of the country of Israel. It will always be a part of Israel. There is no future agreement in which it is not a part of Israel.,” he said.
"I am a strongly opposed to the labelling of products that come from Judea and Samaria. It is a damaging and anti-Semitic step, and I have a campaign against it in Europe as well as in the United States. Sadly I was almost alone in that campaign, because the Israeli government didn’t showing up to the playing field," Lapid claimed.
Congratulations are in order for An-Najah National University (ANU) of Nablus. It heads the list of the top 12 “Palestinian” universities, ranked by an international site that ranks over 11,000 institutions in more than 200 countries. If the supporters of academic boycott against Israel want to find evidence of the horrid suppressive impact of Israel on academic freedom in the PA, they should ignore this university and seek evidence elsewhere.Why Historians Should Vote Down the Resolution Critical of Israel
ANU boasts of having over 20,000 students who follow a wide range of courses of study. First operating as an elementary school in 1918, it gradually grew and in 1941 became a college; by 1965 it was a teacher’s college.
In 1967, Jordan lost control of the so-called West Bank in their attempt, as part of a united Arab military campaign, to destroy Israel; in this defensive war, Israel ousted the Jordanians and regained the land, officially named, by the way, Judaea & Samaria. A mere decade later, the teacher’s college had grown to become a full-fledged university with Faculties of Arts and Sciences, all under the watchful eyes of the Israeli so-called “occupation”.
The resolution to be discussed at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Historical Association essentially is an indictment of the policies of the government of Israel towards Palestinian universities in the West Bank and Gaza. Many of us who oppose this and similar resolutions have done so because we believe that the AHA is a scholarly, not a political organization. Last year in New York, we successfully argued that as historians we have neither the knowledge nor expertise to evaluate conflicting factual assertions about events in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. These remain powerful reasons to vote against this resolution.David Collier: ‘Hey Roger’. A #BDS annual review of 2015
Moreover, it is possible that what this resolution asserts about the policies of the government of Israel is not true. The standards of evaluation we use in this case should be comparable to those we demand of ourselves in our work as historians. It is fair to insist that where there is an indictment, we must pay attention to the case for the defense. It was for this reason that I asked Israeli Embassy in Washington to reply to the assertions made in the HAW resolution. On December 18, 2015 the Embassy sent its response. I have included it in attachment.
The Embassy memo asserts that Israel does not as a matter of routine policy restrict the movement of faculty, staff and visitors in the West Bank. To the extent to which movements are restricted or Israeli military forces enter Palestinian universities (as in Tul-karm), it is because “Palestinian universities periodically serve as sites of violence and incitement.” “There are no restrictions on foreign academics teaching in the West Bank.” They are “free to enter, unless there are exceptional security concerns.” Israel does not routinely refuse to allow students from Gaza to travel to pursue education abroad and at West Bank universities but permission may be restricted if members of Hamas seek to continue their activities in the West Bank. In the war of 2014, Israel bombed the Islamic University not because it was a university but because it was used by the terrorist organization Hamas to manufacture and fire rockets at Israeli civilians.
An open update on #BDS for Roger WatersUK Media Watch prompts Times of London correction to false Israeli “book ban” claim
Hope you are well. It has been about 7 months since I wrote you an open letter, so I thought I’d check in on how we are doing on that #BDS lark. I think it is important we keep in touch, so I’ve decided to give you a 2015 year-end review.
First off, I have to say it was a bit embarrassing on the Matisyahu episode. Placing someone on the list of BDS targets because of their religion or political affiliation, that was a bit, well… you know. I mean he was an American that supports Israel, so what are we going to do next, boycott New York? BDS founder Omar Barghouti supports boycotting Jews who ‘like’ Israel, and at a #BDS event I attended, Yael Kahn, Chair of ‘Friends of Yibna’, said pretty much the same thing. I did try creating an app that names and shames all ‘Zionists’ so we can target specific non-Israelis for boycott, but in reality it’s just a list of Jews I found online. I am going to call the app ‘NAZI’, what do you think?
Then there was Marsha Levine’s response to the 13-year-old schoolgirl. Poor Shachar had been told by her teacher to contact an expert to help with a school project and contacted Dr Levine for help. Boycotting a 13-year-old wasn’t really the greatest BDS moment of 2015 was it? I mean it is a bit hard to justify publicly. Today on my FB page, someone posted ‘let’s just kill all the *****’ next to the #BDS hashtag. Privately, of course I know many of us want all the Zionists dead, but how do we get it across to our activists not to make that part of the public discourse?
Our post yesterday, comparing UK media outlets’ coverage of an Education Ministry decision not to include a book depicting an Israeli-Palestinian love affair on the literature curriculum, named a Times of London article by Catherine Philp as the most inaccurate report on the row.Protests at Tel Aviv University Animal Testing Lab After Chimp Forced to Read Haaretz Kills Itself (satire)
Specifically, both the headline and text erroneously claimed that Israel “banned” the book Borderlife, by Dorit Rabinyan.
We argued thusly:
The article by Catherine Philp doesn’t at all clarify the remarkably misleading headline and opening passage claim that “Israel’s education ministry has banned” the book “from being taught in schools”. (Philp also claims that the ministry’s statement on the book cited a fear that it would promote “miscegenation”. However, it did not cite “miscegenation”. It cited “assimilation” (התבוללות). The word “miscegenation” of course possesses more racist connotations than “assimilation”.)
This morning, we asked Times of London editors to revise the headline and passage to more accurately reflect the ministry’s decision, and recently we learned that they upheld our complaint.
Israel’s Animal Rights Community is up in arms over credible reports that a chimpanzee housed at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine took its own life early today after a marathon session in which it was forced to read the newspaper Haaretz every day for three weeks straight. The chimp, known as “Dudi” was found in his cage at dawn, unresponsive, and attempts to revive him with coffee and a nice cinnamon pastry failed. The Daily Freier was on the scene as various Animal Rights Activists chained themselves to the Medical School’s gate.Seth J. Frantzman: A world against ISIS
“This is unacceptable and it has to stop. NOW.” exhorted an impassioned Tamir W. “To force a defenseless creature to read Haaretz cover to cover for three weeks. I mean, I don’t even do that, and I’m Lefty as hell.” Tamir continued. “If they had just let Dudi read the Weekend edition, maybe skip the editorial page during the week, that would have been OK. But to overdose him like this…….it’s just not right. No human could take this punishment. Well, no human outside of Sheinkin.”
Even some members of the Medical School’s student body left class early to stand in solidarity with the protesters. A tearful Smadar K. recalled her experiences with Dudi. “As part of my internship, I used to bring Dudi his snacks every day. When I first met him, he was so happy. But as he got further and further into the Haaretz experiment, he became plagued with self-doubt. It’s like he started to…..he started to blame himself for everything. Like when I showed up 2 hours late one day, he used sign language to apologize to me……but I was the one who was late. What the hell?”
University officials were unapologetic today, with Spokesperson Tamar C. speaking to assembled media. “Whatever. This is science. Anyway, next week the orangutans will start going online to read +972.”
The war against Islamic State has also created new enemies in Turkey and Russia. Turkey was the transit point for thousands of foreign fighters, perhaps as many as 30,000, who joined Islamic State. It was also the transit point for Islamic State oil. When Turkey downed a Russian bomber in late November, it began a war of words with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin who said the country would “regret more than once,” its actions. Now there are reports of US special forces operating with the Kurds in Syria, and Turkish troops in the Kurdish regions of Iraq.The West's most precious ally
Islamic State has helped unify the interests of Iran, Russia and Assad and created a reaction in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish Regional Government, which has sought closer relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Turkey, in turn, has now sought to normalize relations with Israel.
But Islamic State is far from finished. On December 16, the extremists launched attacks along numerous Kurdish Peshmerga front lines. I happened to be in Kurdistan when it happened. They used the fog for cover and killed 13 Kurds. In Kirkuk, the police arrested an Islamic State terrorist cell. On December 22, Iraq’s army, with its Shi’a militias, launched a grueling and bloody assault on the city of Ramadi. It put up pontoon bridges across the Euphrates River and cut the city off from reinforcements.
If the Shi’a militias defeat Islamic State and seek to control Mosul in northern Iraq, they may find themselves on a collision course with the Kurds. According to IHS Jane’s, Islamic State has lost 14 percent of its territory in the last year. That’s thousands of square kilometers, but what it leaves behind is death and destruction and the extermination and cleansing of minorities. In Sinjar city, called Shingal by the Kurds, the local Yazidis say the land is “like a cancer” now, they cannot return home unless they are guaranteed security against the Sunni Arabs who supported Islamic State. Sectarian relations will never be the same.
Many pieces of a Middle East puzzle are being jammed together, with Islamic State serving as an appetizer for countries to pursue larger agendas. Never before in history did one organization unite the world in such a singular cause, but as Walzer and others have argued, these competing powers that are all at war with Islamic State do not have the same vision for a post-Islamic State Middle East.
Islamic terrorism is succeeding in reversing the basic values of conservation and survival of humanity.British Commander: ISIS are cowards who hide behind children and masks
This is how you explain the French wife of Sami Amimour, the suicide bomber of Bataclan's Parisian theatre, who declared herself “proud” and “envious” of what her husband did: butchering 100 innocents.
This is how you explain the fatwa by which the Caliph authorized sexual slavery of 3,000 Yazidi girls.
This is how you explain the decision of the Islamic State to kill newborn disabled babies, just like the Nazi doctors did.
This is how you explain the French youth who fled to Raqqa to hang bombs on their children like garlands and offer them to Allah in a holocaust.
This is how you explain the love, yes the love, that most of Palestinian Arabs show for spilled Jewish blood (the grin of Samir Kuntar, the smile of the terrorists who murdered the Fogels).
This is how you explain Beslan.
“We love death as you love life”, Islamists repeat to us.
Colonel Richard Kemp spoke out about the video, which showed a masked man with a British accent waving a gun as he mocks Prime Minister David Cameron and the RAF's bombing campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria.ISIS throw 15-year-old boy off a roof for being gay... but the terror chief who raped him is let off
He then shoots five men who he claims are British spies.
And the video ends with a young boy, who has an English accent and is wearing an Daesh headband saying: “We will kill the Kuffar over there.”
Col Kemp said: "This person, is waving a pistol about at the camera and trying to look very brave.
“This is exactly the kind of cowardice we have become to expect from people like him and the other ISIS cowards.
“No doubt there will be subsequent appeal to British Muslims to attack other British people. The inclusion of a child is designed to shock us as it has done in previous videos of children holding heads up and things like that.
"This gunman is trying to look tough, but he conceals his face and is obviously scared of being killed by our forces.
“This is exactly the kind of cowardice we have come to expect from people like him."
A teenage boy has reportedly been thrown off a roof by ISIS militants in Syria after he was accused of being homosexual, but the Islamist who raped him was spared a death sentence.Netherlands: Anti-Semitic vandals attack Jewish home
The 15-year-old boy was pushed to his death off a high building in Deir ezzor province in Syria.
The ISIS commander who raped him is believed to be Abu Zaid al-Jazrawi, who previously appeared in a video showing child soldiers executing prisoners in a sickening twist on the game of hide and seek.
Al-Jazrawi was reportedly flogged and sent to fight on the frontline in Iraq as punishment.
The home of a Jewish family in Amsterdam became the target of an anti-Semitic attack this past weekend.Israel-Developed Test For Early Detection Of Alzheimer’s Begins U.S. Clinical Trials
According to Dutch media reports, during the New Year festivities held in Amsterdam, a number of local youth began rioting and sought to release their anger on Jews.
While shouting "Jews Cancer" and “liberate Palestine," they kicked down the door and broke windows of the house where a Jewish family resides, causing extensive damage.
Local police were called to the scene and began searching for the offenders, using footage from a nearby security camera.
The Jewish community in Amsterdam said that "this event brings us back to those times Jews were afraid to go out into the streets, the police must do all they can so the Jewish population can live without fear.”
An Israeli-developed blood test that can potentially detect an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease years before the onset of noticeable symptoms has begun clinical trials in the United States.Novel university ranking system lists Hebrew U in top 50 worldwide
NeuroQuest Development Center is working with the University of California-San Diego to collect and process blood samples for the tests, which are designed to be much more inexpensive and convenient than the PET scans that usually are used to identify Alzheimer’s. NeuroQuest was founded in Misgav, an area in the Galilee, and has a development center in Charleston, S.C. The blood test is based on nearly 20 years of award-winning research led by Dr. Michal Schwartz, president of the International Society of Neuroimmunology and a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.
Nearly 44 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, but an accurate, cost-effective, and practical tool for early diagnosis has not yet reached a mass scale.
Human trials in Israel showed NeuroQuest’s blood test to be 87 percent accurate with an 85 percent specificity rate in detecting Alzheimer’s and ALS, two common neurodegenerative diseases. With blood tests, anything over 70% is considered medically significant.
In addition, recent pilot testing of NeuroQuest’s biomarker technology in Australia surpassed current standards of specificity and sensitivity set by the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association.
A new ranking has determined, based on the number of times institutions of higher learning were cited in online encyclopedia Wikipedia, that Hebrew University is the 47th most influential such institution in the world.Make way for Israeli dominance of the Internet of Things
Using Google to parse Wikipedia pages, the Wikipedia Ranking of World Universities lists the top 100 universities worldwide, based on their real influence, divorced from cultural biases of experts, students, administrators or others.
The ranking was not developed by Wikipedia itself, but by several researchers at French universities — Jose Lages and Antoine Patt at Université de Franche-Comte and Dima L. Shepelyansky at Université de Toulouse — taking into account all citations in all articles in all 24 languages Wikipedia language editions.
The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) industry has been one of the biggest trends in tech in recent years and especially during 2015, where new innovation is disrupting traditional industries across the board. The growing adoption by consumers, enterprises and governments is helping create smarter and more intelligent homes, smarter cities, better healthcare, more robust agricultural systems and so much more. Today, using a Fitbit bracelet, a Nest smart thermostat, or the Apple watch – is becoming a standard, not the exception. The IoT revolution is here to stay.IDF Blog: This IDF Startup Could Change the Battlefield Forever
All this fuels the growing appetite of investors who are pouring money into IoT startups. According to CB Insights, Funding for IoT startups has grown steadily, more than doubling in 5 years from $768M in 2010 to over $1.9B in 2014, while 2015 is on track to surpass last year’s record-breaking funding to IoT startups. A report by McKinsey & Company reveals that IoT will encompass between 20 to 30 billion connected devices by 2020. This number does not include PCs, tablets and smartphones which makes it even more powerful.
In the past, the army used maps, stickers, and markings to tell commanders where to go and what to do. Now, an enterprising team of IDF programmers and engineers are developing a digital battle command system that will take us into the future. “Noked,” a hi-tech, interactive, mapping system will change the rules of the game.Wikipedia Contest Taking Israeli Heritage to a New Level
“Noked,” is an acronym for the Hebrew words “digital battle procedure.” With it, commanders will always have a crystal-clear picture of the frontlines. They will be able to see exactly where each unit is located in real time and interact with other commanders to coordinate changes seamlessly. IDF Field Intelligence Soldiers Observe Battlefield
Just like in sci-fi movies, “Noked” fills a screen with a complete 3-D map of the battlefield. Commanders can then use transparent layers to fill the map with all the information they need. The entire system is dynamic. “The picture comes alive. You can move layers around and zoom in on the map,” said Major Moshe Castro, the officer in charge of the project.
The most important feature of the “Noked” system is its communication abilities. If a unit finds itself in a difficult position to defend, they can pull up a 3-D map layer and quickly find a better spot. Instantly, their new position will be communicated to all other active units. The quick communication makes complicated changes seem simple. After the battle, the system allows for the review and investigation of all troop movements. This allows the IDF to learn for the future and fine-tune strategies and methods.
Review: Top 10 winning photos at the annual Wiki Loves Monuments Israel contest, with a special Jewish heritage twist.
Jewish heritage in Israel was put front and center over the past three months, when, for the first time, a Best Synagogue Photo Award was given as part of the annual Wiki Loves Monuments Israel photography contest. The award was initiated and sponsored by my very own World Jewish Heritage Fund., and resulted in the submission of over 600 newly taken pictures of some 150 synagogues across Israel that hold great importance to our collective Jewish heritage. I am so happy and proud to have had the opportunity to add this extra value to the contest.
Out of many impressive synagogue photos, one photo of the Ancient Arbel Synagogue, taken by Abraham Graicer, really stood out, and was voted the winning photo in the Synagogue category.