Tuesday, February 02, 2016

From Ian:

Pro-Palestinians create parody 'New York Times' to slam 'pro-Israel bias'
A group of pro-Palestinian sympathizers fanned out across New York City
earlier on Tuesday and distributed thousands of parodied copies of The New York Times bearing headlines and stories that contradict what they claim to be the newspaper's pro-Israel bias in its coverage of the Middle East conflict.
Commuters in the Big Apple could be forgiven for thinking that the "supplement" they were handed was an actual copy of the Grey Lady, since it uses the Times' famous masthead as well as the same headline fonts, page design, and layout.
The "supplement" – which is titled "Rethinking our 2015 coverage on Israel-Palestine" - was also posted online. It was even given a Twitter account.
The Jerusalem Post was unable to determine the identity of the individuals behind the initiative. The only response given was that the fake newspaper was the brainchild of followers of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement – an ad hoc alliance of pro-Palestinian activists seeking to punish Israel financially over its policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (h/t Yenta Press)
Shmuley Boteach: Hillary Clinton’s Advisers Gave Nothing But Anti-Israel Advice
It’s already been established that one of Hillary Clinton’s most trusted advisers, Sid Blumenthal, sent her dozens of anti-Israel articles, ideas and pieces of advice during her time as secretary of state. But the stream of anti-Israel advice received by Hillary was much more comprehensive than that which came from just one adviser. In the entire batch of Hillary’s emails, you will be hard pressed to find a single email that is sympathetic towards the Jewish state, from any of the people on whom she relied.
The negative, poisonous approach towards Israel throughout this cache of emails shows the atmosphere that Hillary had established around herself. These emails seem to demonstrate that a huge segment of her close advisers and confidants were attacking Israel, condemning Netanyahu, and strategizing about how to force Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria at all costs.
Take a look at a sampling of the advice being sent to Hillary from her many advisers.
NGO Monitor: HRW´s "World Report 2016": Selective Narrative on Israel and Middle East
On January 27, 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released its “World Report 2016,” with a section devoted to “Israel/Palestine: Events of 2015.” Following a long-running pattern, HRW presents a highly selective political narrative and omits any facts that challenge it.
Lack of Methodology: Inconsistent Statistics
The statistics presented by HRW, in particular those on Israeli casualties, are ambiguous and appear to be internally inconsistent. In the absence of footnotes and given the unclear writing, it is impossible to confirm most of HRW’s data.
Distorted Narrative on Gaza
In the Gaza subsection, HRW claims “Israel’s punitive closure of the Gaza Strip, particularly the near-total blocking of outgoing goods, continued to have severe consequences for the civilian population and impeded reconstruction of the 17,000 housing units severely damaged or destroyed during the 2014 war.”
Contrary to these claims, delays in Gaza reconstruction were primarily due to Palestinian infighting (Fatah wanted full oversight over the process); failure of donor countries (mostly Arab) in paying pledges; and diversion by Hamas of cement and other materials to rebuild their own infrastructure and terror tunnels. (h/t Yenta Press)

Legal Insurrection: Vox Don’t Know Much ‘Bout Middle East History
Elder of Ziyon Schools Vox on the History of Israel
In the middle of January, I dissected Vox video purporting to distill the Arab-Israeli conflict into 10 minutes. But those ten minutes were littered with countless errors and omissions. I wasn’ t the only one weighing in, of course.
Elder of Ziyon, one of the longest running pro-Israel bloggers has taken the criticism to a new level, in a video critique of the Vox video. This is no easy task – and I admire his patience and cool – as his critique of the first three minutes clocked in at 17 minutes. As Elder put it:
I’m not certain I will create parts 2 and 3, because I don’t know who will want to spend maybe 45 minutes listening to a critique of a ten minute video. Literally every ten seconds I needed to stop to respond to another distortion or lie.
I certainly had that feeling reviewing the video:

Can Good Intentions Mix With Bias?
The current stalemate is troublesome for both sides and especially the Palestinians who are stuck being governed by a corrupt kleptocracy that encourages violence in the West Bank and an Islamist terror movement in Gaza. They have genuine grievances that could potentially be addressed in negotiations aimed at coexistence and a two-state solution. But given the fact that not even a supposed moderate like Abbas can bring himself to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn, it is not reasonable to expect that Israeli concessions will do anything but perpetuate the conflict on less favorable terms. Indeed, given the results of Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza — which became a terrorist-run independent Palestinian state in all but name rather than a laboratory for peace — it’s not hard to understand why even the leader of Israel’s liberal opposition agrees with Prime Minister Netanyahu that a two-state solution is not possible for the foreseeable future.
Israel has made it clear again and again that it is ready for peace if a sea change in Palestinian political culture ever allows their leaders to embrace a chance for a permanent end to the conflict. Until then, it has no choice but to manage the situation as best it can. It is unfortunate, but that does mean the status quo will continue. But if it is untenable for Palestinians, they have no one but themselves to blame.
Whatever the ills of the current situation in the West Bank, it is not “human nature” that drives the Palestinians to terror. Rather it is their belief that they can eventually destroy Israel. By legitimizing that fantasy, albeit unwittingly, Ban has become part of the problem, not the solution. Instead of complaining about his critics, he needs to re-evaluate his assumptions.
That’s why criticisms of Ban’s rant about “human nature” were neither unfair nor out of bounds. By focusing primarily on Israel and treating the real obstacle to peace as an afterthought, he does more than distort the truth about the conflict. He is feeding a prejudiced view of the dispute and effectively giving Palestinians a pass for terrorism. That is something that he would not dare to do with regard to any other outbreak of terror against a UN-member state. Only Israel remains the object of such persistent bias. Under the circumstances, it is only reasonable for observers to conclude that he, like the rest of the UN bureaucracy, is infected by a double-standard that is rooted in anti-Semitism.
Labor stirring up Jew-hatred
The modern Left seems to have a Jew problem. The obsession with Jews even within (Australian) Labor is extraordinary - and ominous.
Sharri Markson:
Former Labor national president Warren Mundine has launched a blistering attack on the party, saying its move to ban sponsored trips to Israel is “verging on anti-Semitic’’ and is “sickening to watch”....
The NSW ALP international relations policy committee chairman Michael Forshaw told The Australian yesterday that 39 resolutions had been received concerning Israel and Palestine, compared with 17 resolutions dealing with other international issues, such as the Syrian war, the Myanmar junta, Paris terror bombings, China free trade and foreign aid.
There were none on Saudi Arabia or Iran.
There are moves to recognise Palestinian statehood and to boycott products from Israel that originate in settlement areas, and many concerning banning trips to Israel while Benjamin Netan­yahu is Prime Minister. The move by Labor is partly driven by political motivations to secure the vote from Muslim communities in marginal southwest Sydney seats..
Anti-Semitic hatred is behind the ALP push for trip ban
Jewish advocacy groups are “cancerous” and “malicious” and try to “deny, misinform and scaremonger”.
A NSW Labor politician voiced these incendiary words — the first NSW Muslim MP, in fact, Shaoquett Moselmane.
He didn’t utter them in the privacy of his own home. He felt comfortable enough broadcasting this anti-semitic sentiment within the walls of the NSW Parliament. This is terrifying in itself.
The MP, who ironically decried racism in his first speech to parliament, made the remarks just two years ago, in May 2013. He was not shouted-out of the high office he holds for racist commentary. On the contrary, Labor continues to support him and Moselmane is now a vocal advocate behind a push to ban Labor MPs from visiting Israel on trips funded by Jewish organisations.
A group Moselmane is aligned with, Labor Friends of Palestine, supports the ban on the trips ...This is one of 39 resolutions critical of Israel submitted to the NSW Labor conference this month.
By comparison, just 17 motions have been put forward that relate to other countries, including Iraq, Syria, China or Libya. There are none on Saudi Arabia or Iran.

Ariel Sharon advisor: Gush Katif was destroyed on PA request
Dov Weisslgass, Ariel Sharon's personal consultant and confidant, has revealed that the destruction of the communities in Gush Katif was requested by the Palestinian Authority and its head, Mahmoud Abbas.
During an interview with Army Radio, Weissglass explained that, contrary to the public feeling in Israel and around the world that the disengagement was carried out unilaterally, Israel spend dozens of hours in talks with the PA in order to determine how to carry out the action.
According to him, the initial plan called for leaving the houses in Gush Katif intact, but later Abbas asked Sharon to destroy the homes so that officials not under PA control could not make use of them.
Weissglass revealed this information as a response to reserve General Yom Tov Samia, who yesterday (Monday) told Army Radio that abandoning the Philadelphia Route in Gaza was completely unjustified. Samia claimed that he himself suggested to political officials that the route should be left in the hands of the IDF, and that thousands of buildings in Rafah should be evacuated in order to expand Israel's ability to control the route. He further thought that the residents of these buildings could move into the abandoned Jewish homes.
Samia said that such a move would have prevented Hamas's terror tunnels into Israel. He further claimed that his idea was shot down by Weissglass, among others.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Meretz Still Living February 2, 1993 (satire)
Neurologists have diagnosed one of Israel’s premier left-wing parties as suffering from a rare condition in which the patient experiences the same day over and over again, local news sources have reported.
An anchor of several Labor-led coalitions and a key player in the Oslo Accords that established Palestinian self-rule, the party suffers from Groundhog Day Syndrome, a condition that usually forces the patient to relive the same day repeatedly until a constructive, life-changing, positive personality adjustment is made. In the case of Meretz, said political neurologist Dr. Harold Ramis, the condition presents not in its classic form of an individual trapped in a time warp of the same day, but in a variety that condemns the patient to a mental reset each morning, resulting in complete obliviousness to the fact that a day has passed.
“I suppose this variety of the condition might better be called Fifty First Dates Syndrome,” said Ramis, referring to a case first described by Sandler and Barrymore in a 2004 work. “But the effect is analogous. In practice, for Meretz it means an inability to assimilate the fact that the assumptions of the pre-Oslo, pre-Gaza-Disengagement eras have been thoroughly debunked by reality. So they will keep pushing for further surrender of Israeli control over various areas, blissfully unaware of the traumas and frustration that such moves brought about in the real world.”
Jordanian BDS campaign launched against renewed negotiations for Israeli gas imports
The Jordanian BDS movement launched a social media campaign against gas imports from Israel following reports of renewed negotiations between Jordan and the American gas company, Noble Energy, over the gas deal.
An official Noble Energy delegation arrived in Jordan's capital, Amman, on Monday, to discuss the Israeli-Jordanian gas deal with senior government officials, the Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad reported on Monday.
After details of the secret discussion were exposed, the placard on the door of the hotel conference room where the meetings were taking place, which read, "Meeting with Noble Energy Mediterranean," was removed and replaced with a placard reading: "Vacant," al-Ghad reported.
A senior official who participated in the meeting told al-Ghad that the meeting was aimed at discussing technical issues and to negotiate an Israeli gas import deal, emphasizing that no decision to sign a formal accord to import gas was made.
Following the reports, the Jordanian BDS movement relaunched its social media campaign against gas imports from Israel that was first launched in September 2014, after Jordan signed a $15 billion gas deal with Israel.
Poll: Most Frenchmen believe Jews responsible for rise in anti-Semitism
Fully 60 percent of Frenchmen believe that Jews bear at least some responsibility for recent rises in anti-Semitism, according to a new poll by the Ipsos market research firm.
According to French media reports, the 18-month study, which was sponsored by the Fondation du judaïsme français, also found that 56% of Frenchmen believe that Jews have a “lot of power” and are richer than average while more than 40% said that Jews are “a little too present in the media.”
About 13% agreed that “there are a few too many Jews in France,” perhaps helping to explain why “three-quarters consider it difficult to be a Jew in France” and 40% are considering emigration.
These findings confirm another recent poll by the Institut français d’opinion publique, which pegged the number of French Jews mulling moving to Israel at 43% percent. Given France’s approximately 700,000 Jews, that translates to about 200,000 people.
Anti-Semitism and a worsening economy have driven many French Jews to seek their fortunes abroad, with significant communities forming in Montreal, London and other cities.
Jews and France
The New York Times opens its story of anti-Semitism in France last week with a terrifying paragraph:
“It was the heavy leather-bound volume of the Torah he was carrying that shielded Benjamin Amsellem from the machete blows.”
The barbarism and brutality of the attack by an ISIS inspired youth on a Jew brings a feeling of insecurity that public kippa wearing campaigns cannot erase. This is the latest incident of local Jewish communities being a prime target of terrorists attacking nations.
Whether organized attacks like Mumbai, Istanbul and Paris or seemingly the lone wolf attacks in Toulouse and now Marseille, Jews and their community institutions are always on the list for terrorists trying to make a point.
For your average citizen, terrorism has sadly become like any other impersonal disaster. The victim of a mass terrorist incident is not targeted for anything other then the misfortune at the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet this obsession of attacking Jews, and there definitely is a trend, makes these incidents against the community far more personal.
'And With This, Our Democracy Dies': Politician Blasts Conviction For Speaking The Truth On Anti-Semitism In Europe
A veteran Danish politician has been censured for tweeting about the Europe migrant crisis, receiving a fine from the high court for pointing out Muslim anti-Semitism.
Veteran Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkpartei, DF) politician and retired parliamentarian Mogens Camre made the tweets in 2014 following the comments of the Israeli ambassador to Berlin that year, who compared the persecution of Jews by Muslims in Europe to the situation in 1938.
The offending tweets read: “Regarding the Jews’ situation in Europe: The Muslims are continuing where Hitler left off. Only the same treatment Hitler received will change the situation… forces in the Islamic world who threaten non-Muslims should be fought like Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden and Gadaffi were”.
The case was initially heard at the lower court but after it found against him, Mr. Camre took it to the high court, which on Monday ruled his remarks were against Danish racism laws and enforced the £800 fine. Mr. Camre gave an exclusive interview to Breitbart London immediately after receiving a statement of the judgement of the case by the Danish high court, saying the 1939 law he was convicted under had been twisted by political correctness and should be abolished.
German Mayor Tells 10-Year-Old Girls To Stop 'Provoking' Refugees With The Way They Dress
The mayor of a small German community said elementary school-aged girls should take alternative routes to school and not provoke refugees with the way they dress.
The town of Bad Schlema in central Germany has 5,500 residents. More than 100 people showed up to a city council meeting last week when the topic of the town’s 85 refugees was discussed.
The grandfather of an elementary school girl “under 10” said the children have been harassed by refugees on their way to school. The man asked Bad Schlema’s mayor Jens Muller about his plans to prevent sexual assaults by refugees on girls in the community, particularly when the weather gets warmer and people dress more lightly.
“That’s easy,” Muller said. “Just don’t provoke them and don’t walk in these areas.”
The crowd at the town hall meeting went crazy over the comment and the grandfather responded by saying: “Who the hell elected you? They come here and we’re not allowed to walk here anymore!”
No Joke: Finnish TV Spot Teaches Women How Not to Get Raped By Migrants
No. Sadly, this is not a joke nor a satirical sketch on a late-night comedy program. What you are about to watch is a so-called "educational video" by Finnish media. This is Finland's weak, ineffective attempt to teach women how not to get raped by migrants. Of course it would be "Islamophobic" to actually feature migrants in the video, so none make an appearance. Rather, the "rapist" in this dramatization is a white male.
So how does this video suggest women fend off the barbarian hordes bent on violating them? Hold out their hands in a "stop signal" way and then beat said barbarian with a handbag.
We are shocked the video's creators did not suggest women carry around a dog whistle or, as one viewer suggested, simply start jingling their keys to scare the would-be-rapists away.
The spinelessness on display is breathtaking in scope and leaves viewers wondering who on earth actually thought this public service video was in any way shape or form, a good idea. One thing is clear, however. If this is how the community believes it should be fending off migrant rapists, Europe is in far more trouble than we even thought possible.
Iran: $100 billion in assets ‘fully released’ under nuclear deal
Iran said Monday it now has access to more than $100 billion worth of frozen overseas assets following the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal with world powers.
Government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said much of the money had been piling up in banks in China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey since international sanctions were tightened in 2012 over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency meanwhile quoted central bank official Nasser Hakimi as saying nine Iranian banks are now reconnected to SWIFT, a Belgian-based cooperative that handles wire transfers between financial institutions. No foreign banks operate in Iran, and ATMs in Iran are not yet linked to the global system.
SWIFT had no immediate comment.
Why Iran's Khamenei resorts to Holocaust denial
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is bringing up the issue of the Holocaust – again. On Wednesday, as the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a video was uploaded to Khamenei's website in which he questions the Holocaust and its true magnitude.
Why is Iran's most powerful man doing this, and why now?
First and foremost because Khamenei is a known Holocaust denier. His first public denial of the Holocaust took place on the 7 February 2006. During a speech to Iranian Air Force personnel he referred to the Holocaust as afsaneh, meaning “myth" in Persian. This speech is also published on his official website.
Second, because Iran's supreme leader, much like other hardliners in Iran, is worried about President Rouhani's efforts to improve Iran's relations with the West. They are worried that having reached a nuclear deal with the US, the “Great Satan” will now want to use its improved relations with some Iranian politicians to “infiltrate” Iranian decision-making bodies.
These days you cannot open an Iranian newspaper or internet news website without some Iranian hardliner, including the supreme leader, warning about “nufuz,” or infiltration, by the West. Khamenei's office has even produced an infograph warning the Iranian public that candidates want to “infiltrate” Iran's upcoming elections like termites.
So what is the best way to halt an improvement in relations with the West which such critics see as facilitating Iran's "infiltration"? Bring up the Holocaust, deny the Holocaust, and question it. Why? Because as far as the hardliners are concerned, the Holocaust is the Achile's heel of Israel, which has close relations with the West.
This also explains why a new "Holocaust Cartoon and Caricature" competition - two have been held previously - will be held in Iran in June.
Cartoons as a symbol of defiance
Iran knows very well how cartoons can be used for political messages. Ms. Atena Farghadani, an Iranian citizen, was sentenced in May 2015 to 12 years in prison. Evidence against her included satirical cartoons she had drawn, depicting Iranian officials with disdain. She has been termed a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. Recently, according to news reports, she was charged with illegitimate sexual relations and forced to undergo a “virginity and pregnancy test,” because she shook hands with her attorney. Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program was quoted stating: “It is shocking that on top of imposing a ludicrous charge on Atena Farghadani for the ‘crime’ of shaking hands with her lawyer, the Iranian authorities have forced her to undergo a virginity and pregnancy test.”
This case highlights the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime. It sponsors cartoons against the Holocaust on the one hand, yet arrests Iranian citizens for oppositionist cartoons on the other. It also highlights how seriously the Iranian authorities take satirical cartoons: seriously enough to impose 12 years in prison. Clearly, significant differences should be noted between the two issues. Atena’s cartoons were a private initiative of an oppositionist, protesting horrendous acts by the Iranian regime. The Holocaust caricature contest is governmental, institutional, international, and in clear violation of international accords. It is also an offense to the innocent victims of the Holocaust.
Iran’s intolerance for oppositionist cartoons calls into question the Iranian leaders’ attempts to excuse themselves with false claims of not understanding the significance of convening this detestable contest.
This issue is not, and should not be, an Israeli or Jewish issue. This act of insolence should awaken the negotiators of the P5+1 and the leaders of the tolerant world to the true character of the Iranian regime. It is just one additional act of defiance among many.
IRGC Admiral: Iran Retrieved “Extensive Information” from U.S. Sailors’ Laptops, Cell Phones
The commander of Iran’s elite extraterritorial navy proclaimed in a session at the Iranian parliament Monday that his forces “extracted a lot of information from the confiscated cell phones and laptops” from U.S. Navy sailors it detained last month.
Rear Admiral Ali Javadi, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) navy, said that the IRGC possesses additional footage of the capture of two American naval boats and their ten crew members. According to Tasnim News, a website affiliated with the IRGC, Javadi said that releasing the footage would bring “humiliation” to the United States, and American officials would be “100 times more embarrassed” than they already are.
Javadi’s claim of additional videos that could cause humiliation to the United States comes in light of growing concern over how the American sailors were treated by the Iranians. The Third Geneva Convention states that prisoners of war are to be protected “against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.” While the United States and Iran are not officially at war, James Ross, legal and policy director of Human Rights Watch, told The Wall Street Journal last month that “while the Geneva Conventions may not formally apply here, the Iranian government actions would appear to be contrary to the intention of the Geneva Conventions.”
A similar case was made after Iran captured 15 British sailors and marines in 2007 and showed footage of them on TV. The British government asserted at the time that the broadcasting of their images breached the Third Geneva Convention.
NGO Monitor: Research Note: NGO Involvement in US Product Labeling "Reminder"
On January 26, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement reiterating U.S. “country of origin” regulations for goods produced in the West Bank and Gaza. According to U.S. policy adopted in 1995, yet unenforced until restated in this announcement, these products should be labeled “West Bank/Gaza” or variations to that effect, and should not be listed as originating in Israel.
The context of this unusual statement includes the highly controversial Europe Union product labeling “interpretative note” for items produced in Jewish settlements (including the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem). In response, the US State Department declared support for the EU move, which the Israeli government denounced as a prelude to discriminatory boycotts. The original purpose of the 1995 regulation was to encourage Palestinian business and exports, avoid confusion between Palestinian and Israeli products, and was not intended to “label” or penalize goods produced in Jewish settlements.
In the process preceding the January 26 reiteration of the US “country of origin” statement, we note the lobbying activities of a number of anti-Israel political NGOs on this issue. These include Human Rights Watch, as well as core BDS groups such as Codepink and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Bill Introduced to Undo US Ban on Label ‘Made in Israel’ if Beyond Green Line
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) introduced legislation on Monday, Feb. 1, that would undo a regulation recently re-issued by the Obama administration that would ban the right to label any goods produced beyond the 1949 Armistice Line (the “Green Line”) as made in Israel.
The JewishPress.com reported last week that U.S. Custom and Border Protection re-issued a 1997 regulation – written at a very different time, under very different circumstances – which the State Department insisted it will now “strictly enforce.”
The original regulation was issued in 1997.
Prior to that time, the only acceptable designation for anything produced in the area west of Jordan, west of Syria, south of Lebanon and to the east and north east of Egypt was Israel, according to U.S. Customs. But after the Oslo Accords were signed, the State Department directed the Treasury Department to ban the label “made in Israel” for anything made in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”).
But in the intervening nearly 20 years, the Oslo Accords have failed, acting Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas announced to the United Nations that his people are no longer bound by the Accords, there is no viable Palestinian Arab leadership and there is no unity between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the Arab governing party in Gaza.
Diplomatic cables reveal sharp increase in efforts to boycott Israel
The Jerusalem Post's Hebrew language sister publication Ma'ariv Hashavua has obtained a number of diplomatic cables sent in recent days to the Foreign Ministry describing the growing phenomenon of international isolation both in Europe and the US.
One such cable arrived from Barcelona, where the CUP operates, an extreme left-wing party that supports Catalonian independence and secession from Spain. Members of the party in the Barcelona Municipality, who have been defined by Israeli diplomats as "anarchists," raised an initiative calling on the city council to make changes to existing agreements with Israel and to consider canceling its sister city designation with Tel Aviv.
A cable sent from the Israeli diplomatic delegation in the Spanish city reads: "The request by CUP's representatives in the city council to change existing agreements with Israel and to consider canceling existing agreements with Tel Aviv is a concerning request. Even more concerning is the answer by the ruling party that they will check the issue, because other organizations have already turned to them on the same matter. In response to the claim that the agreement with Tel Aviv strengthens the occupation, the deputy mayor answered that this must be given the utmost consideration, without expanding. The Israeli Embassy in Barcelona spoke with the foreign secretary of the ruling party in Catalonia (which is actually in the opposition in Barcelona), and he promised to ensure that all of the members of his party will oppose the initiative."
The diplomats ended the cable with the conclusion that "the phenomenon of anti-Israeli activity in Spain is bothersome and concerning, but in the past was centered in small cities. When it arrives in Barcelona, and is voiced among elected officials, the subject takes on entirely different proportions."
Brooklyn food coop makes it harder to boycott Israel
A New York City food coop that previously rejected a proposal by some members to boycott Israeli products has voted last week to adopt new measures designed to make it more difficult to pass boycott resolutions in the coop.
At their annual meeting on January 26, members of Brooklyn’s Park Slope Food Coop voted 294 to 192 to require a 75% super-majority, instead of 50%-plus-one, to boycott any food producers.
While the motion did not specifically mention Israel, the proposal was an effort to preempt a resuscitation of the 2012 fight over boycotting Israeli-made products carried by the store.
The calls to boycott Israel by the coop is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Palestinian-launched effort to isolate Israel diplomatically and economically.
Khaled Abu Toameh: 'You can’t boycott the Bible,' say settlers on Airbnb controversy
A Jewish, a Christian and a Muslim family slept in the same building, is not the opening line to a joke.
It’s Shalom Tal’s description of what happened after he rented two guest suites of his West Bank home in the Kfar Adumim settlement to Israeli and foreign tourists though Airbnb.
So he and his wife, Drorit, were surprised this month to discover that their home, located close to Jericho and between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, was the topic of controversy.
The Palestinian Authority has asked Airbnb to remove Israeli listings over the Green Line, in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem and in West Bank settlements from its site.
To date, Airbnb, which boasts that it helps people rent vacation rooms or apartments in 190 different countries, has not complied or responded.
Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)
“We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday.
“Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”
The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour.
It will be the band’s third time in Israel, after performing in 2010 and 2012, according to Hebrew news site nrg.
BBC gives amplification to Middle Eastern conspiracy theories
Instead, the self-styled “standard setter for international journalism” chose to take a different approach to the story, focusing on the obviously groundless and downright ridiculous suspicions of the Lebanese villagers that the captured griffon vulture was carrying espionage equipment. The BBC was far from the only media organization to report the story from that angle, but at least the Guardian, for example, made the essence of the story quite clear to readers.
“Conspiracy theories are endemic in the Middle East.”
The BBC, however, elected to add credence to such silly conspiracy theories with wording such as “Lebanon returns Israeli vulture cleared of spying” – presumably written with a straight face.
Burger King rides back into Israel
After a six-year absence, Burger King is reopening in Israel.
The first Burger King franchise since 2010 opened Monday night in Tel Aviv. Fifty branches are expected to open in the next five years at an initial investment of about $12 million, the Israeli business newspaper Globes reported.
French businessman Pierre Besnainou and a group of investors own the rights to the new franchise. Besnainou is already invested in other Israeli businesses, including the Carmel Winery.
The new Tel Aviv Burger King will not be kosher.
Burger King originally entered the Israeli market in 1993. Its 55 franchises in Israel shut down in the summer of 2010; most reopened as the Israeli franchise Burger Ranch.
Oxford University Press signs deal with 3 Israeli start-ups
The Oxford University Press (OUP) announced Tuesday that it was teaming up with three Israeli education technology start-ups to develop additional online educational services, amid a growing movement among academic institutions worldwide to boycott Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians.
The three firms – Tiny Tap, Kidoz, and Total Boox – are involved in all aspects of the digital book business, from creation to distribution to marketing. With the deal, said Paul Riley, Director of Channels and Partnerships at OUP, the organization will be in a better position to “develop innovative products and services that improve the lives of teachers and learners globally.”
Over the past two months OUP has signed deals with three Israeli digital book start-ups to help the publishing house digitize and distribute its content. One of the firms, Tiny Tap, will digitize some of Oxford University Press’ key pedagogical materials, making them available as cross-platform interactive lessons using its customized game creator system. Tel Aviv-based TinyTap is a free platform for teachers and students to create personalized interactive lessons.
Netflix Buys First Israeli TV Show
The online streaming service Netflix, which recently opened operations in Israel, purchased its first Israeli television show.
Netflix acquired the adolescent-geared show “The Greenhouse” (HaKhamama in Hebrew), created by Giora Chamizer, from Nickelodeon and Yes, the Israeli business publication Globes reported.
The sale is a landmark deal because Nutz Productions, the subsidiary of Israeli company Ananey Communications, which broadcasts Nickelodeon in Israel, will produce the U.S. version of the show.
The Israeli series takes place on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. In contrast, the American version, which will be filmed in Israel, will be set near the Pacific Ocean in southern California. The title of the American show will remain “The Greenhouse” and will stream on Netflix in 2017.
Israel’s version of the show has been running for three seasons and has won the Israeli Academy of Film and Television’s award for Best Kids’ & Youth Drama.
HRC in Huffington Post: “10 Reasons Israel Is Not An ‘Apartheid’ State”
Tyler Levitan’s recent Huffington Post Canada op-ed entitled “Israel’s Actions In Palestine Are The Definition Of Apartheid” is a perfect example of how when baseless accusations are left unanswered, they risk becoming accepted as conventional wisdom.
Levitan’s libeling Israel as an “apartheid” state is wholly disingenuous and lacks substantive argumentation. As his preferred instrument of choice, Levitan employs empty rhetoric to blacken Israel’s name and to isolate it through boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns.
The goal is to force Israel into making dangerous, one-sided concessions that make defensible borders porous and impossible to maintain. Ultimately, Levitan’s modus operandi serves to demonize and stigmatize Israel, to malign the Jewish state’s hard-fought reputation and to tarnish its standing in the community of nations.
As such, a full refutation of the “apartheid” libel must be stated for the record. For posterity purposes, here are 10 reasons why Israel is not an “apartheid” state:
1. All people living in Israel have full equal rights.
There are no inferior or second-class citizens, unlike non-whites in South Africa or minorities in Islamic or Arab countries. Moreover, Arabs occupy senior positions on the Israeli police force, the Knesset and the Israeli judiciary. For example, Salim Joubran, who currently serves on the Israeli Supreme Court, is a Christian Arab. South Africans living under apartheid could only dream of obtaining these types of positions.
Ishmael Khaldi, an Islamic Bedouin, is currently a diplomat in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Majalli Wahabi (Druze) was the acting president of Israel in 2007. These are just a few examples out of the many minority groups holding prominent positions in Israeli society.

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