Friday, January 29, 2016

From Ian:

David Collier: The ‘Elders of Zion’ reborn at the University of Kent
Yesterday, 28/01/2016, I was at the University of Kent to hear a talk by Amira Hass titled ‘Israel and the Palestinians: Colonialism and Prospects for Justice. The event itself was a collaboration between The Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at Kent University and the Palestine Centre at SOAS, University of London. One of these universities, SOAS, is already a notorious hotbed for extremism, the other, Kent, seems to be desperately trying to catch-up.
Dr Bashir Abu-Manneh is the head of the centre for Postcolonial studies at Kent, like other academics of his type, it can be seen from his own activity that he has long lost sight of what academia and critical thinking is about. This event, following one just the evening before attempting to create BDS activists on campus, is simply a sign of a deteriorating environment.
Amira Hass is an Israeli columnist at the Haaretz newspaper. For the last 20 years she has lived in the Palestinian areas, originally in Gaza, but more recently moving to Ramallah in the West Bank. Amira is an example of one of those Israelis nobody should have heard of. Standing for politics that receive no support in Israel, Amira’s opinions reflect none but a handful of oddballs. Every nation has people like Hass hidden in the shadows. What makes her ‘special’, what makes her a marketable commodity, are hundreds of millions of people outside of Israel that simply want Israel gone. The audience of Amira Hass are not peacemakers, but warmongers.
Hass had stepped back in time to explain the perpetual occupation, to present a reason why after 49 years, no movement had been made towards peace. Without Palestinian violence, Israeli actions become irrational, with Israeli democracy, they become inexplicable, and someway, somehow, this illogical unreasonable position needed to be explained away. All that is left is conspiracy. This is what she said:
“And I ask myself did the Elders of Zion really sit together at the beginning of the Seventies and then during the nineties, and plan, and have all these military orders, all these changes? I believe that they knew for sure that they don’t want to give back the land and in the Nineties, my conclusion is that they wanted to do everything possible to stop the two state solution.”
Beyond Israeli democracy, beyond the will of the voters, beyond the desires of peacemakers like Rabin and Peres, there are invisible Jewish decision makers. They planned from the early 1970’s, never to let the territories go, they manipulated, they connived, they controlled as puppet masters do. A conspiracy of a Jewish cabal that places the profit to be won from the occupation above the will of the electorate and the lives of innocent children. And it is called the ‘Elders of Zion’.
Cary Nelson: Anti-Israel Academics Face Pushback by the Truth
At their annual meeting in Atlanta earlier this month, members of the American Historical Association voted down a factually flawed resolution condemning Israel. The resolution claimed that Israel refuses "to allow students from Gaza to travel in order to pursue higher education abroad."
Opponents marshaled evidence to prove this was untrue. Egypt, not Israel, controls the Rafah crossing that Gaza students and faculty heading toward universities abroad have used for decades.
After Egypt closed the Rafah crossing in October 2014, Israel increased the flow of students leaving Gaza through the Erez crossing into Israel to the north, and on to Jordan for flights abroad.
But Jordan, which once issued transit visas in 10 days, now takes several months or longer because of increased security concerns about students from Gaza.
The resolution also condemned Israel for an air attack on the Islamic University of Gaza during the 2014 Gaza war. But it failed to mention that the campus housed a weapons development and testing facility, a valid target under the laws of war.
Activists in certain humanities and interpretive social-science fields have convinced themselves they have their hands on the levers of history and can delegitimize the State of Israel. But they are more likely instead to discredit their academic disciplines.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper: Holocaust Remembrance Day and UN Chief Ban Ki Moon’s cowardly act Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, who, as he has done each year on this day, will preside of the international organization remembrance of 6 million dead Jews.
Yet he chose the eve of this hallowed anniversary to bestow a moral and political blank check to Palestinian terrorists who this week alone buried knives into mother of 8 (6?), a pregnant woman and a beautiful young woman buying groceries for her grandparents.
According to Ban, the current Intifada by knife, gun, and vehicle “is a reaction to the fear, disparity and lack of trust the Palestinians are experiencing.” He went on to explain that "Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process," he said, blaming "the occupation" for causing "hatred and extremism."
"As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism."
Powerful words and imagery: fear, lack of trust, frustration, and humiliation.
What a tragedy that Mr. Ban lacked the courage to use this Holocaust Remembrance Day as a teachable moment for Palestinians and other “frustrated” and “humiliated” young Arabs and Muslims.
He should have told them, “instead of embracing the culture of death of ISIS, Al Qaeda and Al Shabab, why not read Eli Wiesel’s 'Night,' or Victor Frankel’s 'Man's Search for Meaning'?
Alex Salmond rebukes Israelis over Holocaust speech
Alex Salmond has come under attack for using his new role representing the UK in Europe to issue a rebuke to the Israeli parliament on Holocaust Memorial Day.
The former First Minister told the Council of Europe that it was “inappropriate” for a senior Israeli representative at a Holocaust commemoration service to criticise the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in France.
But his dressing down came the same day as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, published a video questioning whether the Holocaust “is a reality or not”.
The Ayatollah’s website promoted the video with a banner across its home page, featuring a montage of images, including one of Adolf Hitler.
Mr Salmond, who recently returned from a trip to Iran, told the Strasbourg meeting that there was a “time and place for international politics” and the Israeli government should not have issued the criticism “during a solemn commemoration service.”
He last night defended his actions, telling the Telegraph that everyone he had spoken to who also attended the council’s commemoration service on Wednesday morning agreed that the “political” attack in the Israeli speech was wrong.
However, experienced figures from other parties questioned his judgment on the international stage and claimed his comments created the impression of him being an unofficial spokesman for the Iranian regime.

Social Media Lights Up With Outrage Over Canadian PM’s Holocaust Remembrance Statement With no Mention of Jews, Antisemitism
The official statement released by the Canadian prime minister on International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust on Wednesday is causing a storm on social media for its omission of Jews in reference to the Nazi genocide.
Posted on Facebook by such figures as London-based Middle East analyst Jonathan Sacerdoti, Christians United for Israel (Canada) CEO Frank Dimant and i24 News producer D’vora Charness – to point out what they see as a travesty — Justin Trudeau’s statement is garnering hundreds of comments from furious followers.
Sacerdoti prefaced his post with: “Dear Mr Trudeau, Jew. Jews. Jewish. Judaism. Antisemitism. Regards, Jonathan.”
Dimant wrote above his own posting of Trudeau’s statement: “No mention of Six Million Jews murdered by the Nazis. Also interesting to note no reference to antisemitism sweeping Europe and the Islamist world.”
Charness, a Canadian, wrote: “This is what happens when you elect a 5 year old as Prime Minister… Missing words : Jew/Jewish/antisemitism ‪#‎disgustedcanadian.”
25% of Israeli Jews Fear Another Holocaust, Poll Shows
More than half (59 percent) of Israelis are afraid to travel outside the country, with 25 percent saying they are usually afraid to do so and 34 percent saying they have become more afraid this past year, a new poll commissioned by the World Zionist Organization shows.
According to the poll, which was conducted by the Midgam Consultants and Research Institute, more women than men say they are afraid to travel abroad (62 percent compared to 55 percent). Sixty-five percent of respondents say their concerns prompt them to play down signs of Israeli or Jewish identity while abroad, a group among whom 36 percent say they do so regularly and 29 percent say they have changed their habits and have recently started hiding their Jewish/Israeli identities.
Additionally, 25 percent of the Israelis polled say they believe there is reason to fear that another Holocaust will be perpetrated against the Jewish people, and 24 percent believe there is a chance that the state of Israel will cease to exist. More than two-thirds (67 percent) are worried about the safety of Jewish communities outside of Israel.
Holocaust Remembrance Foundation Launches Program to Teach Students About Evils of Global Genocide
The founder of a Holocaust remembrance foundation told The Algemeiner on Thursday he hopes a new program introducing students to survivors of the Nazi and Rwandan genocides will teach that ethnic cleansing is a global problem.
“We do so much work on college campuses and high schools around the United States, and in a lot of the places we’re dealing [with] it’s very difficult sometimes for students to connect with people who aren’t similar to them,” said Jonny Daniels, founder and executive director of From The Depths. “And when we’re able to show that it’s not just a Jewish issue, that this is a world issue…for us, it’s a really important thing to show.”
The From The Depths program will take a joint delegation of students, Holocaust survivors and Rwandan genocide to visit Rwanda for 4-5 days, where they will meet survivors of the country’s genocide and key figures in the Rwandan government, including President Paul Kagame. The delegation will then travel to Eastern Europe and visit the sites of mass killings that took place during Holocaust, including Nazi concentration camps. The first trip will take place in April.
Who is Out of Touch on Israel?
One of the standard arguments from Israel’s American critics is that the Jewish state’s advocates are out of touch with American public opinion. In so far as that concerns the liberal supporters of President Obama that make up the majority of American Jewry, there is some truth to the assertion. There’s even more truth to the charge that American Jewish groups that consider it their duty to mobilize support for Israel have trouble connecting with young Jews on college campuses where such views are neither “cool” nor in synch with the fashionable leftism of contemporary academia. That’s why those who oppose the policies of Israel’s government and believe it must be pressured to make more concessions to the Palestinians view Israel advocacy with such disdain. But the question we should be asking about this debate is not so much whether friends of Israel are out of touch with the forces in the culture that view it negatively but whether those that oppose its policies are out of touch the reality of the Middle East. To no small degree, future of the U.S.-Israel relationship hangs on the answer to that query.
The latest to sound the theme of alienation from Israel is New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who writes that “Israel’s image issue” runs deeper than differences about the best way to sell Israel to Americans. He chimes in to support U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro’s ill-timed rant asserting moral equivalency between isolated instances of Jewish violence and a mass campaign of terrorism on the part of the Palestinians. According to Cohen, Israel’s presence in the West Bank is the problem. He thinks growing numbers of Jews are “distancing themselves from Israeli policies seen as unjust, unlawful, immoral or self-defeating.” More than that, he says that the ability of the Black Lives Matter movement to focus “minds on issues of oppression and injustice” facilitates analogies between the cause of civil rights and the Palestinians.
Such facile and misleading analogies are the core of the problem and the answer for Israel’s detractors is that it must get out of the West Bank and give the Palestinians a state. That, in a nutshell, is the sum total of the liberal critique of Israel. Such thinking has the advantage of simplicity and being in touch with left-wing prejudices. And if the views of a Black Lives Matter movement that does far more to exacerbate lingering racial divisions than heal them is your moral compass, then it all makes sense.
Gerald M. Steinberg: Why Israel Is Frustrated With American Jewish Leaders
And now, when the Israeli public finally demands an effective response to the NGOs that lead to this demonization, the American Jewish leadership condemns Israel, repeating liberal pieties about free speech, but without addressing the real issues. In all of the criticisms of the proposed new NGO funding transparency laws, I have yet to see any serious understanding of the threat or alternative strategies. On this, as on so many issues, criticizing Israel from a distance is far too easy.
When crying out for an Israeli peace plan, “any plan,” your interlocutor makes it seem so simple. Like most Israelis, I also hope for a peace plan, but not any plan, and certainly not one that will bring us yet another disaster when it fails. The reality that I see not far from the windows in my Jerusalem home includes Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Assad, Iran and others. Our only “peace partners,” led by Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah group, are corrupt and stuck in the rejectionist dead-end of 1948. So no, “any plan” that helps Israel’s PR among liberal students, but makes our security situation even worse, is not better than the status quo.
On this and many other issues, I understand why American Jewish leaders want us in Israel to take risks, and probably think that this is for our own good. But we do not see many American Jewish leaders taking many risks in terms of criticizing President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry when they put all of the blame and responsibility on Israel, and patronizingly give the Palestinians a free pass. And where are your tough decisions to exclude BDS groups and Israel bashers from the big “Jewish tent?”
So it is not only “that Israel’s leadership is moving in a direction at odds with the next generation of Americans,” but that America’s liberal Jewish leadership is moving in a direction at odds with Israel and our realities.
If we are to continue to be one people with a common fate, both Israel and diaspora Jewry will have to learn much more about each other’s realities, and to move toward a meeting point in the middle.
Man carrying guns, Quran arrested at Disneyland Paris
French security forces on Thursday arrested a 28-year-old man found to have two guns and ammunition, as well as a copy of the Quran, in his luggage at the Disneyland Paris hotel complex, outside the French capital.
According to the French media, the suspect does not have a police background. He aroused the suspicion of the security guards after placing his suitcase in the X-ray machine at the entrance to the New York Hotel, one of the hotels at the Disneyland Paris Resort. One of the guns detected was an automatic handgun.
"Firearms were discovered in the bags of a man as he went through the metal detector during a routine security check at one of our hotels," Disneyland Paris spokesman Francois Banon said.
French documentary on Salafists gets rare '18 and over' rating
The French ministry of culture will allow cinemas to show the controversial film "Salafistes", which features interviews with North African jihadists, but have banned it for anyone under 18 in a rare move for a documentary in France.
The over-18 rating is normally only given to pornographic or ultra-violent films.
According to the filmmakers, the move will "kill the film", as it effectively bans it from being aired on public TV and means cinemas will be reluctant to show it.
"Salafistes", whose title refers to the ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam that drives movements such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group, drew accusations of promoting terrorism by showing frank interviews with jihadists bent on attacking Western, and in particular French, targets.
It was also accused of being an "attack on human dignity" in that it shows the murder of French policeman Ahmed Merabet during the January 2015 attacks on the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Merabet was shot at point blank range on the street outside the magazine’s offices.
Filmmakers François Margolin and Lemime Ould Salem said they had removed the offending scene, but insist that the film should be given as wide an audience as possible.
"It is the first time a documentary has been censured since the Algerian War [in the 1950s and 60s]," said Margolin. "What has upset the French authorities is not the violence, but the subject itself."
Shot between 2012 and 2015 in Mali, Mauritania and Tunisia, "Salafistes" features interviews with committed Islamist jihadists.
Denmark Passes Bill To Seize Jewelry From Refugees In Landslide Vote
Denmark passed a bill Tuesday to give authorities the right to seize cash, jewelry and other valuable items from arriving refugees in return for government social benefits while they await the outcome of their asylum applications.
The bill passed after a landslide 81-27 vote and will go into effect next week. It is meant to be a countermeasure to cover the costs of resettling immigrants in Denmark and deter more refugees from coming to the country. Any item valued at 3,000 Danish kroner — about $440 — or more could be confiscated.
International media have drawn comparisons to methods in Nazi Germany and a spokeswoman for Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, questioned the ethicality of the practice.
'America has joined the anti-Semitic campaign against Israel'
Samaria regional council head Yossi Dagan responded sharply on Friday to reports the day before, revealing that the US reissued its orders to importers not to label products from Judea and Samaria as being from "Israel."
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Thursday defended the instructions, saying that they were not a new policy. The instructions were published on Saturday, calling to enforce the 1995 American law on marking goods from the region.
"Even though this is just a 'reissuing,' it is clear why US Customs 'remembered' to brush the cobwebs off this wretched law," said Dagan.
"Unfortunately sources in the US are joining the anti-Semitic campaign against the state of Israel, and we rely on the Foreign Ministry and Deputy Foreign Minister, the Israelis who will know to respond firmly and decisively to this unacceptable attempt to mark Israeli businesses."
Dagan concluded by saying, "we also trust that this time there won't be any influence on the businesses in Judea and Samaria. We will continue to produce and live our lives."
Minister condemns US for demanding West Bank products be labeled
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel on Friday said that while Washington’s decision to issue a reminder that products imported from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip should not be labeled “Made in Israel” may not necessarily imply a shift in policy, the decision itself and its timing were nevertheless “unreasonable, unfair and inappropriate.”
Speaking with Israel Radio, Ariel, a former settlement leader from the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party, added that Israel should consider whether it truly needs to have an agricultural attache remain in the United States. He said Israel should weigh other options as well, such as transferring the attache to India or China.
The guidance concerning products imported from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip was issued last week by US Customs, and the State Department confirmed the reminder Thursday. Debate has erupted after media reports suggested Washington was hardening its stance against Israeli settlement policy. Sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Thursday night that they were studying the new US notice, and the ministry said Friday the ruling was merely a reminder of a 21-year-old policy. But Army Radio on Friday reported it as a significant concession to “Palestinian pressure.”
Barry Shaw: BDS: Building a cause around a fraud
BDS campaigns are not built on any solid foundation. They are built on a hypothesis, hypothesis being a proposed explanation based on limited evidence, or no evidence at all. It is used by BDS as their starting point and its lack of intellectual depth and honesty is draped in a mantle of emotional claims and sloganeering. No need to elaborate or produce facts or statistics. Emotional sloganeering is more effective in rousing support.
Something hypothetic is based on an imagined situation rather than fact. Everything in the BDS toolbox is based on hypothetical arguments devoid of facts. You know the list. Israel is an apartheid state when it isn’t. Israel is conducting an intense blockage on Gaza when it isn’t. Israel is conducting ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians when the condition and the population numbers of Palestinians have improved. Israel is a racist state when it is the most multifaceted nation in the Middle East and Africa.
They try to disguise the paucity of their argument in a form of tautology. They say and write the same simplistic things under different formats. They do this by attempting to recruit people in differing fields to declare their refusal to have any contact with their Israeli counterparts as if the message is being diffused globally but their statements are so shallow that they lapse into simplistic statements such as the one made by Professor Malcolm Levitt of Southampton University that made him look ridiculous.
In 2013 he said, “Israel has a totally explicit policy of making life impossible for the non-Jewish population and I find it totally unacceptable.”
If, by Israel’s non-Jewish population, Levitt is referring to Israel’s Arab, Druze or Christians I challenge his foolish remark. These non-Jewish members of our community have it far better than their counterparts in much of the regions non-Jewish regimes.
Gay Filmmaker Compares Anti-Israel Protesters at LGBTQ Conference to Nazi Mob (VIDEO)
Last week’s Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer (LGBTQ) conference in Chicago “could have been a scene from the early days of Nazi Germany [with] a raucous mob surrounding a gathering of Jews, chanting vicious slogans, screaming epithets, all the while their faces distorted by a hatred that is as irrational as it is stunning,” wrote Russian-Israeli-American filmmaker Michael Lucas in the gay lifestyle magazine Out on Wednesday.
Lucas, the creator of a company that produces all-male erotica — and defender of the Jewish state’s gay-rights record in independent documentary Undressing Israel — was referring to the 28th annual “Creating Change” conference in the Windy City’s Hilton Hotel that turned violent when participants protested the presence of Jewish and Israeli delegations.
Lucas said such a demonstration of hatred towards fellow members of the LGBTQ community constituted antisemitism, pure and simple, since the “liberal” and “progressive” Jews in attendance, including leaders of the organization A Wider Bridge and Jerusalem Open House – the latter of whom are particularly vociferous when it comes to attacking their own government’s policies and IDF operations – were not spared the vitriol.
Indiana Measure Is Latest State-Level Setback for BDS Movement
The Indiana House of Representatives this week passed new legislation that targets businesses or other entities that engage in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, marking the latest victory in the fight against BDS on the US state level.
House Bill 1378, which was introduced by Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and was passed unanimously by the legislature on Jan. 25, requires “the public retirement system to divest from businesses that engage in action or inaction to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel.” The bill’s next stop is a vote in the Indiana Senate, followed by the governor’s desk.
“Speaker Bosma’s leadership role in support of Israel places Indiana at the forefront of states taking a strong position in favor of the United States’ closest ally,” Elliot Bartky, president of the Jewish Affairs Committee of Indiana (JAACI), which was at the forefront of lobbying efforts for the new measure as well as different anti-BDS state legislation last year, told
Welcome to Academia: Professor Who Praises Jihadis Still Teaches, Jihad Critic Doesn’t
To understand just how depraved today’s college campuses are, compare the treatment of two professors — one defending a Western, pro-American democracy (Israel) and the other suspected of supporting this century’s most gruesome Islamist terror organization, the Islamic State (“ISIS”).
Julio Pino, an associate history professor at Kent State University, is under investigation by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for potential ties to ISIS.
Pino’s jihadist leanings and virulently anti-Israel rants on social media include possible threats against the US government. In 2002, he praised a teenage Palestinian suicide bomber who had killed two people in Jerusalem, saying that the teen had “died a martyr’s death in occupied Jerusalem, Palestine.”
In a 2014 open letter to “academic friends of Israel,” Pino published an unhinged and antisemitic invective: “I hold you directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women and elderly civilians over the past month…[w]hile The Chosen drain the blood of innocents without apologies you hide behind the mask of academic objectivity, nobility of research and the reward of teaching to foreign youth – in a segregated university, of course.” Pino closed the letter with: “Jihad until victory!”
Despite decades of hateful and extremist rants, Kent State reportedly gave Pino multiple awards, including the Faculty Excellence Award in 2010, 2003, 2000 and 1996, along with the Professional Excellence Award in 1999 and 1997.
U of South Florida student body president, VP veto divestment resolution
The student body president and vice president at the University of South Florida vetoed a resolution that calls for the divestment from companies complicit in human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
Andy Rodriguez and Michael Malanga, the president and vice president, respectively, of the Student Government Senate, rejected the resolution at the body’s meeting on Tuesday. Last week, the student senate approved the resolution by a vote of 32-12, with four abstentions, the student newspaper The Oracle reported.
The measure asks the USF Foundation to stop investing in companies that support tobacco products, fossil fuel use and Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. Its main focus, however, is on Israel.
“We believe that bringing a topic as polarized and politically driven as this into the realm of Student Government serves only to divide the Student Body and disparage students with opposing viewpoints, instead of uniting our students,” Rodriguez and Malanga said in a memo announcing the veto. “It is not the role of Student Government to interject into international politics nor investment policies.”
IsraellyCool: Roger Waters Pens Letter To French People Opposing Rising Antisemitism
Apologies for the link bait title. But it makes my point effectively.
Waters has penned a letter to the French people not to warn about the growing tide of antisemitism in that country and, in fact, in all of Europe.
Nope, he has written to complain about a French court ruling that found BDSholes – a group of people among whom are the worst antisemites – guilty of discrimination.
Two days ago we posted about the brave pushback in France against legislation that makes it a crime to advocate for boycott of Israel. We were then informed that Roger Waters had sent a letter to the French people, via a French news agency, on this very subject some weeks ago that has never been published. We are publishing it here. –Editors.
Mes Cher Citoyens,
Along with most thinking, feeling and compassionate members of global civil society, I deplore the occupation of Palestine and the subjugation of all of its non-Jewish peoples. The State of Israel’s anti-Palestinian discrimination since 1947/8 is unacceptable.
IsraellyCool: Alphaville Lead Singer: “I Don’t Give A Sh*t [About BDS]”
German group Alphaville – which gained popularity in the 80s – is performing in Israel next week.
Their lead singer Marian Gold was asked about the concert and if the band received pressure to cancel. This is what he had to say:
“Yes, we had some comments like that on Facebook and social media, but I don’t give a shit. There is a lot of critical voices about the foreign policy,” he went on, “we shouldn’t care about that, I never cared about that.”
UK Jewish Leader Slams BBC's Criticism of Ex-TV Chief's Opposition to Israel Boycott
A leader in Britain’s Jewish community has blasted the BBC for criticizing a former employee for his opposition to a cultural boycott of Israel, calling the broadcasting corporation “hypocritical” for suppressing its former TV chief’s right to stand up to “bigotry.”
“Sadly, we don’t expect much from the BBC given its lack of balance on issues concerning Israel,” Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said. “It was therefore thoroughly hypocritical to criticize its former director of television for allegedly not being impartial.”
The BBC’s former director of television, Danny Cohen, signed a letter alongside 150 other public figures that included author JK Rowling opposing a cultural boycott of Israel.
In response to complaints, the BBC said that it was “inadvisable” for Cohen to add his name to the letter and it regretted the “impression” created.
The letter was written in response to an announcement in February by UK artists stating their intention to culturally boycott Israel.
BBC takes lessons on ‘impartiality’ from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
One cannot of course disagree with the demand for the BBC to ensure that its staff “are impartial and seen to be impartial, in their work at the BBC”. One also cannot disagree with the claim that when BBC staff “publicly express their views on this subject” there is a risk that the BBC’s impartiality may be compromised.
The trouble is that Ms Apps and her friends at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign who organized the complaints against Danny Cohen (the group’s second campaign against a Jewish BBC employee in just over a year) do not in fact care a fig about BBC impartiality.
If they did, they would have similarly protested when a BBC staff member with considerably more influence on the impartiality of the BBC’s reporting of news from the Middle East than the corporation’s director of television collaborated with an anti-Israel political campaign run by one of the signatories to that February 2015 pro-boycott letter, Leila Sansour.
They would surely also have had something to say on the topic of ‘impartiality’ in relation to the fact that the BBC has broadcast content made by a former employee who pinned his own political colours to the mast by collaborating with the Palestine Solidarity campaign.
The Mottle Wolfe Show: I can’t look at Israelis anymore
Says New York Times reporter, Diaa Hadid. Could it be that she just hates Jews? Somehow the New York Times does not believe that this effects her journalistic integrity. Luckily there are media watchdog groups that reveal her true bias. Yarden Frankl of Honest reporting joins Mottle. Also Molly Livingstone back from her trip to the exotic Upper West Side of Manhattan shares what it is like to view being and American Jew through Israeli glasses.
Silent partner
Levy is a very popular contributor to Swedish media, and more often than not ‎he is the only Israeli voice the Swedish public hears on the conflict in general and ‎Israel in particular. So the fact that the Swedish public is ill-informed is not primarily a ‎fault of theirs but rather one shared by Swedish media executives and the center-‎right Israeli journalists who choose not to engage with this northern outpost that is seen ‎as a lost cause. The latter is a crucial mistake, however, because this small nation is in ‎dire need of intellectual and political diversity, where real change can be achieved with ‎the most basic of incentives. The absence of plurality of opinion on Israel has made its mark, ‎and what is left is this -- homogenous media creating an equally homogenous ‎audience, where Levy becomes the voice of reason and the face of truth. ‎
When what is supposed to be the one conservative news outlet in Sweden allows three ‎pages for an unabashed tribute to Levy without so much as a critical ‎counterpoint and beyond that, hires his girlfriend to perform the task without disclosing the fact, it ‎says something about the state of Swedish media and also its relationship to Israel and ‎the entire Middle East. It is a sad state of affairs but also an opportunity for action.
This ‎whole story was revealed and shared through the many vigilant private media ‎watchdogs out there, but in light of Sweden's current apocalyptic relationship with Israel, ‎we need backup, and we need it fast. However frustrating, center-right journalists from ‎Israel and for Israel need to raise their voices and get involved. Until we do, ‎Levy will speak for Israel in Sweden and abroad and be crowned one-eyed king in the ‎land of the blind. ‎
Israel Hayom Remains Israel’s Widest-Read Daily Newspaper, Report Says
Israel Hayom continues to be the widest-read daily newspaper in Israel, according to the latest Target Group Index (TGI) report reviewing media consumption in the Jewish state in 2015.
According to the report, published Wednesday, Israel Hayom’s exposure rate on an average weekday was 39.5 percent in 2015 — up from 39.3 percent in 2014.
The report noted that Israel Hayom held a statistically significant lead over its closest competitor, Yedioth Ahronoth, which had a 35.4 percent exposure rate on an average weekday in 2015.
Israel Hayom CEO Tzipi Koren said, “We are deeply grateful to our readers, who have made us the top newspaper in Israel for the past five years already. Their unwavering loyalty is a strong tailwind that pushes us forward and gives us fortitude and inspiration.”
Israeli app to revolutionize bike sharing schemes worldwide
The Moovit crowd-powered transit app is already making public transportation a more accessible option for millions of commuters in cities across the globe. It gives users real-time info on which bus or train will get them to their destination and when it is due to arrive at their station.
Now the green-thinking Tel Aviv company has added another weapon in its anti-pollution arsenal: a bike-sharing feature available to users in 130 locations around the world.
Launched January 11, Moovit’s Version 4.8 for Android and iOS works like this: Find your preferred location on the map and you’ll see the number of available rental bikes noted on the map icon. Tap the icon to review the available bikes or to see how many empty slots are open to return your bike at the location. Tap “Get Directions” and Moovit will guide you step-by-step to your bicycle.
“You know those days when you’re sitting in traffic, watching pedestrians walk by faster than your bus is inching along? For days like this, and also when you’d rather enjoy the nice weather out than sit on a bus, or you’re in the mood for a little extra exercise, Bike Sharing in Moovit will help you get around,” a Moovit blogger explains.
Revolutionary Israeli Car Engine: 1 Cylinder, 1 Piston, 86 Horsepower, Double the Efficiency
Meet Aquarius Engines, a company that was established in 2014 by the engine developer Shaul Yaakoby, now its Chief Technology Officer, Chief Executive Officer Ariel Gorfung, and Chief Marketing Officer Gal Fridman.
Despite the above hype, and its sixties-style name, the Aquarius engine does not run on water. Also absent are futuristic technologies such as fuel cells or aluminum fuel. The revolutionary change it introduces stems from the kind of innovation many engineers are probably kicking themselves right now for having missed it. Here goes: while ordinary engines produce a circular motion which is transformed to the wheels, the Aquarius engine produces a longitudinal movement. Only a 500 cc, single cylinder is pumping inside the engine, and its piston, moving sideways, produces 86 horsepower.
Contrary to conventional engines, the Aquarius does not drive the wheels directly, but serves as a generator charging a battery located beneath the car floor under the back seat. The battery operates two small electric motors located next to the front wheels, and these motors move the car.
Honda turns to Israel to help make its cars collision-free
Nick Sugimoto, senior program director of the Honda Silicon Valley Lab, makes no bones about it. By 2020, he says, Japanese automotive manufacturer Honda will offer smart cars that have 50 percent fewer collisions. A decade later, Honda’s safety features will take into account not just other vehicles, but also road users and pedestrians, and by 2040, Honda’s connected vehicles will be collision-free.
It’s an ambitious goal, and to do it 68-year old Honda needs smart technology – and that’s why the largest car manufacturer in the world has announced its formal move into Israel.
“Traditional cars were big hardware products with a cabin, engine and tires, but going forward the car is a big computer, and the connected car is becoming a more and more intelligent machine,” Sugimoto tells ISRAEL21c.
“Honda has been very strong in our initial R&D with engines, but when it comes to that connectivity and intelligence, Honda needs help. We need partners to work with. The product is changing, industry is changing, and customer expectation is changing and that’s why we are now in Israel.”
The sky’s the limit for parking downtown
As more people flock to downtown to live, work and shop, there’s a greater need for parking spaces. In addition, there are a slew of regulations regarding parking that builders need to follow, such as ensuring that there are enough spaces for residents and potential visitors to commercial centers, and, in flood-prone areas, building parking structures above ground to better protect vehicles.
With limited space, the only sensible way to build an above-ground parking structure is up. But, you can only go so high; nobody is going to drive up to the 50th floor to look for a space.
No person, that is – but a machine, like the one developed by Tel Aviv-based Unitronics Systems, doesn’t care if it has to cart a car to the first, 10th, or 100th floor of a parking structure. And while the company has yet to build a 100-story parking structure using its automated “untouched by human hands” parking system, the sky is the limit for the company’s Automated Vehicle Storage and Retrieval System (AVSRS) system.
New ‘Israel Is On It’ Ad Campaign Shines Light on Israeli Inventions
A new advertising campaign promoting Israeli inventions — dubbed “Israel Is On It” — launched this week, with its first ad appearing in the New York Times.
The campaign said it aims “to raise mass-market awareness of one tiny country whose citizens are curing cancer, making the ocean drinkable, freezing breast tumors, preventing hospital infections, stopping airport terrorism, and changing all our lives for the better.” The New York Times ad spotlights Israeli innovation in water desalination and water recycling.
“Israel Is On It” ( is a project of Untold News, a non-profit organization that highlights Israeli contributions in technology, science, medicine, environment, and humanitarian work. The ads will run in digital media, particularly focusing on websites reaching millennials such as,, and Untold News is seeking to raise $1 million to fund more ads.
How Israel reduced dropout rates among Druze teens
Supported equally by the Ministry of Education and the Rashi Foundation along with other philanthropic partners, Yeholot was first implemented in underachieving Bedouin and Jewish schools and then brought to 20 Druze schools six years ago. Now it operates only on the high school level.
Freshmen identified at risk of dropping out after failing an average of seven subjects are placed in an accelerated three-year Yeholot program geared to earning a full matriculation certificate at the end of 12th grade. Older students who failed or are expected to fail the matriculation exam in up to three subjects enter a one-year accelerated learning program to enable them to pass the exams.
“A combination of these two steps has increased the matriculation rate in the Druze high school in Beit Jann from 70 percent to 100%, and in Peki’in from 60% to 93%,” Cohen tells ISRAEL21c. “The matriculation rate across the entire Druze sector went up from 52% to 73% since we began the program.”

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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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