Friday, February 26, 2016

From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich: Obama signs Israel anti-boycott provisions into law, settlements and all
Congress recently passed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. The massive trade and customs bill contains, inter alia, provisions designed to oppose boycotts and similar economic warfare against Israel. Yesterday, President Obama signed the bill into law.
While signing it, he made a statement, objecting to parts of the law that oppose boycotts of Jewish Israeli enterprises in the West Bank and Golan Heights. (The law’s anti-boycott protections apply to “Israel” and “Israeli-controlled territories.”)
The actual effect of the signing statement, however, is nil. It does not in any way limit the reach or finality of the law. Indeed, the statement does not even purport that parts of the law are unconstitutional or unenforceable. Nor could the president easily have done so: Congress in passing the law used core Article I powers that the president cannot unilaterally restrict — in particular, the powers to regulate foreign commerce and the federal courts.
Thus after Obama’s signature, the provisions of the law that apply to Israeli-controlled territory are as much binding legislation as the rest of the bill.
Eugene Kontorovich: Obama’s conflation and obfuscation about Israeli settlement boycotts
President Obama signed into law this week important measures opposing boycotts of Israel. While signing the law, he complained about its application to “Israeli-controlled territories.” He claimed the provisions were “contrary to longstanding bipartisan United States policy, including with regard to the treatment of settlements.”
In a previous post, I explained how the signing statement does not change, or purport to change, the binding legal force of the law. But it is more important as a political statement, and as such it is wrong on the facts. The law does not, as he complained, “conflat[e]” settlements with Israel proper. Indeed, it distinguishes sharply between them. The law speaks of two distinct areas: “Israel” and “Israeli-controlled territories.” That means that those “ territories” are something different from “Israel” — precisely the position of the administration. To be sure, the law opposes boycotts of both areas, but that is not conflating them, any more than opposing terrorism, or the use of foreign armed force, against both areas would be conflating them.
Rather, the law treats Israel and the settlements as distinct. However, in terms of certain foreign commerce issues, it applies the same legislative approach. Obama’s definition of conflation means that Congress is prohibited from enacting the same foreign commerce legislation for these two areas because the president does not like it on policy grounds — an absolutely unheard-of limitation on the foreign commerce power. Indeed, Congress has already given the same customs treatment to both, and otherwise applied identical rules to both, without any complaints about conflation.
The real conflation here is on the part of the White House — and J Street and Peace Now, which provided its talking points. They have conflated opposition to settlements with openness to using boycotts against them.
Oberlin Professor Claims Israel Was Behind 9/11, ISIS, Charlie Hebdo Attack
A professor at Oberlin College, one of the most prestigious institutes of higher education in the country, has written and shared a series of Facebook posts claiming that Jews or Israelis control much of the world and are responsible for the 9/11 and Charlie Hebdo attacks and the rise of ISIS.
Joy Karega, an assistant professor of Rhetoric and Composition, shared a graphic shortly after the Charlie Hebdo shooting last year of an ISIS terrorist pulling off a mask resembling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The terrorist has a tattoo with a Star of David and the acronym “JSIL” – presumably a Jewish version of ISIL/ISIS. The picture includes graphic text implying that the murder of cartoonists was a “false flag” conspiracy designed to stop French support for Palestinians. In the accompanying status, Karega wrote, “This ain’t even hard. They unleashed Mossad on France and it’s clear why.” The Mossad is Israel’s national intelligence agency.
She wrote the same day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to the massive free-speech rally in Paris “uninvited and of course he went even when he was asked by Pres. Hollande (France) not to come. Netanyahu wanted to bend Hollande and French governmental officials over one more time in public just in case the message wasn’t received via Massod [sic] and the ‘attacks’ they orchestrated in Paris.” She neglected to mention that Netanayhu was in Paris to honor four Jews who were killed in a terror attack in a kosher supermarket that same week. Karega also wrote in November that ISIS was not really Islamic, but rather “a CIA and Mossad operation, and there’s too much information out here for the general public not to know this.”
Anti-Zionist Max Blumenthal jeered at Toronto event
A sold-out evening headlined by controversial Jewish anti-Israel activist Max Blumenthal went ahead as scheduled on Wednesday evening in Toronto, despite drawing heavy condemnation from Canada’s organized Jewish community.
He spoke to upwards of 500 guests at an event titled “Embattled Truths: Reporting on Gaza with Max Blumenthal.” It was organized by PEN Canada — a charity which advocates for free expression and other basic rights for writers — and hosted at the Toronto Reference Library in honor of Freedom to Read Week in Canada.
The talk, which featured a question and answer period, was marred by constant heckling and jeering from more than a dozen protestors who attended, most of whom from the far-right Jewish Defense League of Canada.
Blumenthal addressed the controversy surrounding his appearance, saying that pro-Israel groups attempt to make an example of him.

Caroline Glick: Trump, the EU crack-up and Israel
As for Europe, whereas the EU stalwarts will likely ratchet up their hostility toward Israel, and we may even see the likes of Sweden or Belgium cut off relations with us, states that leave the EU may be willing to vastly improve their bilateral relations with Israel diplomatically, economically and militarily.
Moreover, if the EU begins to break up, it is likely that the European economy will contract.
As Israel’s largest trading partner, a European recession will hurt Israel.
Whether Trump rises or falls, is defeated by a Republican rival or by a Democratic opponent, and whether or not the EU breaks apart or remains intact, Israel’s leaders need to prepare for the plausible scenarios of either prolonged crises in relations with the US, Europe or both, or turbulent relations that are unpredictable and subject to constant change with one or both of them.
Under these circumstances, the first conclusion that needs to be drawn is that now is not the time to expand our military dependence on the US. Consequently, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon should not conclude an agreement for expanded US security assistance to Israel for the next decade.
Beyond that, Israel needs to expand on the steps that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold are already taking to expand Israel’s network of alliances to Africa and Asia. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit this week marked just the latest achievement of this vital project. Israel’s diplomatic opening to Asia and Africa needs to be matched by similar military and economic openings and expansions of ties.
In the final analysis, Trump’s rise in America and the rise of the populists in Europe is yet another indication of the West’s growing identity crisis fueled by its economic, social, military and cultural weakness. Israel needs to read the writing on the wall and act appropriately lest we become a casualty of that identity crisis.
Rubio, Cruz Hit Trump for Neutrality on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Rubio responded by saying that not taking sides is still an anti-Israel stance, due to the make up of the situation between Israel and Palestine.
“I don’t know if Donald realizes this, it’s not his intent, perhaps, the position he has taken is an anti-Israel position,” Rubio said, “And here’s why. Because you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith. The Palestinian Authority has walked away from multiple efforts to make peace. Very generous offers from the Israelis. Instead, here’s what the Palestinians do. They teach their 4-year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing. Here’s what Hamas does. They launch rocket terrorist attacks against Israel on an ongoing basis. The bottom line is a deal between Israel and the Palestinians given the current makeup of the Palestinians is not possible. And so, the next president of the United States needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel. I’m not going to sit here and say ‘oh I’m not on either side.’ I will be on a side. I will be on Israeli’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the Middle East.”
Citing Trump’s real estate business, Rubio continued, “he thinks the Palestinians are a real estate deal. The Palestinians are not a real estate deal. A deal is not a deal when you’re dealing with terrorists.”
Trump said that a deal is a deal.
Rubio ended this with saying, “Donald might able to build condos in the Palestinian areas, but this is not a real estate deal.”

Clinton condemns Iran’s cash offer for Palestinian terrorists
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton condemned Iran’s announcement that it will pay thousands of dollars to the families of Palestinian terrorists killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis.
“This is yet another example of Iran’s nefarious activities across the region and why the United States must continue to impose sanctions on Iran for its support for terrorism while vigorously enforcing the nuclear agreement to ensure it is unable to obtain a nuclear weapon,” the former secretary of state said Friday.
On Wednesday, Tehran’s ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Fateh Ali, said at a press conference attended by Hamas officials that the Islamic Republic will give $7,000 to families of “martyrs of the intifada in occupied Jerusalem,” as well as “$30,000 to every family whose home the occupation has demolished for the participation of one of its sons.”
Ali’s announcement came as a wave of Palestinian terror attacks have continued unabated since October, in what some are calling the “stabbing intifada.”
Committee Presses Obama Admin. to Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group
The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Wednesday calling on the State Department to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
“The Muslim Brotherhood’s embrace of terrorism and the very real threat it poses to American lives and the national security of the United States make it long overdue for designation,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said in a statement.
“The bill passed by the House Judiciary Committee today calls the State Department to do the right thing and designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.” he added, noting that the designation will help to keep members of the group out of the United States.
The bill was approved on a 17-10 vote.
According to the committee, the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015 (H.R. 3892), sponsored by Representative Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), the terrorist designation would require the administration prevent foreign-nationals with ties to the group from coming to the U.S. It would also meant that the Muslim Brotherhood would be subject to federal criminal prosecution and would freeze the group’s assets.
Muslim Brotherhood Lashes Out at ‘Zionist Extremist’ Republicans for Pushing Terrorist Designation Bill
In an editorial posted on IkhwanWeb, the official site of the Muslim Brotherhood, on Thursday, the group accused the GOP leaders of being “manipulated by” the “pro-Israel Zionist lobby.”
“Extremist right-wing Republicans in the Judiciary Committee of the US Congress passed, on Wednesday February 24th, a bill urging the State Department to recognize the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization,” the Brotherhood complained in the editorial.
The Muslim Brotherhood is already banned in several countries. The outfit was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, a radical socialist Islamic cleric who sought to install a worldwide caliphate.
“It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet,” al-Banna said of the Brotherhood’s goals. The group is affiliated with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and remains close with the Islamic State’s Sinai Province branch.
In the Muslim Brotherhood editorial, the piece states that the Islamist extremist group is actually a peaceful organization.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Kerry Suggests Giving GOP $100 Billion To Bolster Moderates (satire)
As the presidential campaign heats up, Secretary of State John Kerry weighed in on the prospect of a Republican victory in November by proposing a repeat of the diplomatic success he arranged with Iran last year to induce the party establishment to moderate its views by having the Democrats give them hundreds of billions of dollars.
In a meeting with Democratic Party donors today, Secretary Kerry explained that just as the release of astronomical sums of cash to the Ayatollah’s regime has caused Iran to take a more moderate stance on an array of issues that he will list once he thinks of any, the Republicans can be presented with a similar financial package that will make them endorse less extreme positions on gun control, abortion, immigration, taxes, health care, and the place of religion in government contexts.
“Once we signed the nuclear deal with Iran, things got much smoother,” explained Kerry. “It only took them a day to release our sailors that they took hostage and mistreated, for example. So if we put our wallets together on this, we can ensure that even if the Democratic nominee loses in November, whoever emerges as the next Republican president won’t be so hard for us to deal with. That’s how we deal with problematic radicals.”
Oxford’s Problem with Jews?
Two of the world’s most prestigious universities have been rocked with scandal in the last fortnight over their treatment of Jewish students.
First, the co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC), Alex Chalmers, resigned out of frustration with the members’ attitudes toward Jews and the Jewish state, lamenting in an emotive Facebook post that “a large proportion of both OULC and the student Left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews.” Angered at his colleagues’ routine use of the term “Zio” in pejorative reference to Jews and their expressions of “solidarity” with Hamas, the club’s endorsement of “Israel Apartheid Week” was the last straw for Chalmers, who is himself not Jewish.
Following Chalmers’ courageous denunciation of the radicals on his campus, the university’s Jewish Society published a message endorsing his accusations and noting that OULC members had in the past sang in support of rockets being fired on Tel Aviv, spoken of a “New York-Tel-Aviv axis” that rigs elections, insisted that Jews could be expected publicly to denounce Zionism, and declared that all Jews are legitimate targets. The list goes on, prompting one former president of the Jewish Society to conclude that “Oxford’s student Left is institutionally anti-Semitic.”
This is troubling not only because Oxford is one of the leading educational institutions in the UK, but also specifically because the OULC is the biggest campus branch of the opposition party in the country, and it has produced MPs and ministers including Ed and David Miliband.
Following the revelations, Ed Miliband cancelled an OULC dinner he was scheduled to address, and Labour Students (the national students’ group affiliated with the party) opened an investigation – the final report on which is due any day. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s response has been much more muted.
At the Other Place, meanwhile, “Israel Apartheid Week” is underway, and Cambridge University students and imported activists installed a makeshift “checkpoint” complete with barriers, Israeli flags, and novelty guns. Jewish Human Rights Watch (of which I am a director) discovered that this appalling installation on the site of the university’s humanities departments was put up with the full acquiescence of the campus authorities. Their failure to see what Alex Chalmers sees is deeply disappointing, and JHRW is considering legal action
US: Palestinian terrorist gets chance at PTSD defense
A US court is giving a second chance to Arab terrorist Rasmieh Odeh's claim abuse in an Israeli jail caused her to lie to US immigration authorities about her terrorist past.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday remanded her 2014 immigration fraud conviction back to district court to reconsider whether a psychologist's testimony about alleged post-traumatic stress is admissible, according to The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
Odeh was convicted of bombing a Jerusalem grocery store and a British Consulate building on behalf of the PFLP terror group in 1969. The grocery store attack murdered Hebrew University students Leon Kanner and Edward Joffe.
She was released from Israeli jail in a prisoner exchange in 1979 and came to the US in 1995. When she applied for naturalization as a United States citizen in 2004, she lied and claimed she never had been arrested or convicted of a crime.
In 2014, she was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of immigration fraud in a Detroit federal court, with federal prosecutors noting she failed to reveal her criminal history when she immigrated from Jordan in 1995, and again when she was naturalized as a US citizen in 2004.
UK Media Watch prompts Guardian correction to misleading claim
Earlier, we posted about a Reuters article published at the Guardian on Feb. 25th on the latest news regarding the US legal battle over Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Yousef Odeh. Odeh killed two in an Israeli supermarket bombing in 1969.
Of course, as we pointed out to Guardian editors, there is no actual evidence to support Odeh’s allegations – and they remain just that, an unproven claim.
The Guardian agreed, and changed the strapline to reflect this fact.

IsraellyCool: Ali Abunimah & Rania Khalek Attack Those Who Helped Jews Escape Nazi Germany
In a post at hate site Electronic Intifada, Rania Khalek writes
It also completely ignores the fact that while other Jews were resisting the Nazis, Zionists infamously made a deal with them, the notorious Transfer Agreement of 1933, to facilitate the transport of German Jews and their property to Palestine and which, as Joseph Massad points out, broke the international Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany started by American Jews.
As others rightly noted, this was a clear criticism of Zionists helping Jews escape Germany and certain death!
Finnish Academic Scraps ‘Jew-Hating’ Posts From Facebook After Called out by Pro-Israel Blogger
A Finnish academic deleted numerous posts from his Facebook page on Wednesday, after a pro-Israel blogger publicized what he called their “outright Jew hatred,” The Algemeiner has learned.
Paavo Kinnunen, professor of biomedical engineering and computational science at Aalto University in Helsinki, removed the content a day after IsraellyCool published an entry containing numerous screenshots from Kinnunen’s page, which came to its attention when the professor posted the following message on the blog:
Israel is the most fascist ‘nation’ in today’s world, racist, ultrareligious wackos leading it to oblivion. Hitler would be proud of seeing how his ideology was adopted by the zionists…[its] achievements … far exceed everything [Nazi doctor] Mengele succeeded in inventing as means to kill and torture.
The blogger then went to Kinnunen’s Facebook page and found “more of the same, including support of terrorism.”
Ben Shapiro speaks at California campus, all hell breaks loose
We reported earlier this week that conservative author Ben Shapiro was banned from speaking at California State University LA by the school’s president.
The school then relented and said Shapiro could come after all. Then things got crazy.
Students who wanted to hear Shapiro speak had to be ushered quietly into the lecture hall through a back door while unhinged student activists and faculty members screamed and tried to force their way through a police barricade protecting the front door.
ABC News in Los Angeles reported:
Shapiro arrived at CSULA and was speaking to the campus chapter of Young America’s Foundation on the topic of “When Diversity Becomes a Problem” when a fire alarm was pulled.
While the siren was sounding, Shapiro continued his speech, stating he would not be silenced.
“If this sort of thing happened during classes at this university, the kid who pulled the fire alarm would be off this campus so fast it would make your head spin,” Shapiro said. “But not you out there, the protesters, the special magical leftist children protected from the consequences of living in the real world with my taxpayer dollars. You get to shut us down for disagreeing with your thug tactics and your nasty, pathetic, evil ideology.”
From Florida to Canada, BDS is Having the Worst Week Ever
It’s been a rough week for our buddies at the BDS movement.
First, Canada, that hotbed of wild-eyed Zionist demagoguery, expressed its displeasure with the anti-Semitic movement masquerading as a Palestinians’ rights group by passing—229 yays to 51 nays—a bipartisan motion condemning BDS for promoting “the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel.” Speaking in support of the motion, Stephane Dion, Canada’s foreign minister, said that “the world will win nothing for boycotting Israel but depriving itself of the talents of its inventiveness.”
A similar sentiment resonated yesterday throughout Florida, where the state senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill—112 to 2—calling on the Sunshine State to neither invest in nor contract with any entity that advocates boycotting the Jewish state. The Florida legislation is the latest of several successful measures to combat BDS on the state level; it joins similar measures recently passed in Illinois and South Carolina.
Coming on the heels of an anti-BDS resolution from the municipality of Paris earlier this month, as well as a swift action by London’s transportation authority to remove anti-Israel posters illegally placed on Underground trains, the BDS movement’s failure is blissfully universal. Now all that remains is to wait for the good news to reach the handful of American college campuses where singling out Jews for all of the world’s evils still passes for serious thinking.
Reader Post: Canary Mission Columbia University Press Release 2016
In January 2016, received numerous requests from students at Columbia University that we urgently investigate individuals who were inciting radical anti-Israel activity.
Columbia University has become a hotbed of hate, serving as a home for extreme anti-Israel and anti-American groups.
Canary Mission rapidly responded. We were determined to provide assistance to those students who needed our help. We began research on 31 of the most radical Columbia students involved with BDS, SJP and JVP. These organizations are notorious for spreading hate and lies, and intimidating pro-Israel students.
As soon as we began to release the individual Columbia profiles ,
was hit by a massive Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack. This illegal activity turns thousands of infected computers worldwide into drones. These drone-computers slam the intended victim with a barrage of web traffic in order to crash it. The attack did not succeed.
Vassar student council will vote anonymously on Israel boycott resolution
As documented before, Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, has faced a waive of anti-Israel, and in some cases anti-Semitic, activity on campus for the past two years centered around the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The latest spark is a combined effort by Vassar Students for Justice in Palestine and Vassar Jewish Voice for Peace, to pass an anti-Israel divestment resolution targeting companies, including Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, that supposedly contribute to the oppression of Palestinians.
The controversy has put a lot of pressure not just on the Vassar administration, but also the Vassar Student Association, which is considering the BDS resolution for a March 6 vote.
While the Miscellany News article presents the fear of post-college repercussions for voting in favor, one student I communicated with indicated that there is a fear among some VSA members that voting against BDS publicly would result in retaliation by pro-BDS students on campus.
Oberlin students tilt at alumni bid to ‘defeat’ BDS
The students were responding to the “Obies Against BDS” alumni Facebook page. The alumni group sent a letter to the college administration to voice concern about the actions of the BDS movement at Oberlin and a school culture they believe tolerates anti-Semitism.
The letter mentioned several incidents at the school, including the expulsion of the Kosher Halal co-op from the Oberlin Student Cooperation Association and a protest against Israel on Rosh Hashanah that Jewish students had to pass through on their way to holiday services. Oberlin has a reputation as a particularly liberal and activist college.
The current student leaders said the language of the alumni letter “lack(ed) a nuanced understanding of the complex dynamics on Oberlin’s campus.” The students were upset that “there was virtually no student involvement or input on the letter’s contents.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Openly Homophobic Mideast States Glad They Dodged ‘Pinkwashing’ Slur (satire)
Muslim countries in the Middle East and beyond that persecute and kill gays voiced relief this week that unlike Israel, they do not face accusations that they treat homosexuals well merely to distract from problematic policies toward the Palestinians.
Officials in the Saudi capital shared a rare moment of agreement with their counterparts in Tehran, where high-ranking deputies of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said they were gratified at avoiding the charges of ‘pinkwashing’ constantly directed at the Zionist Entity. The leaders of those countries as well as Iraq, Syria, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and several Persian Gulf states relayed similar sentiments expressing satisfaction that by denying LGBTQ people human and civil rights, they eliminate the public relations problem that Israel faces in that arena.
“I sure am glad we dodged that diplomatic and political bullet,” admitted Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. “Can you imagine how awkward it would be if instead of hanging homosexuals publicly from cranes, we respected their humanity, individuality, dignity, and privacy, and how much explaining we”d have to do as a result? That would be a fine mess. It’s a good thing we don’t have to square how well we treat anyone with the moral cesspool the rest of our policies reflect.”
Hungary protesters block unveiling of statue for anti-Semite
The unveiling of a statue of a World War II-era Hungarian politician -- seen as anti-Semitic by Hungary's largest Jewish group -- was canceled Wednesday after a protest.
Several dozen protesters holding placards reading "Racism out" surrounded the covered statue of Gyorgy Donath, a member of Hungary's wartime government which was allied with Nazi Germany and brought in anti-Jewish laws.
"I don't see why this person should ever have a statue in a public place in Hungary," one protestor Gabor Eross told AFP, later climbing onto the statue with a placard.
A senior member of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's governing party Fidesz due to deliver a speech at the unveiling announced at the scene, some 100 meters away from the city's Holocaust museum, that the ceremony had been canceled.
"The circumstances are not good," Gergely Gulyas, a vice-president of Fidesz, told AFP before leaving.
Philly activists yell anti-Semitic comments at Jewish developers
A community meeting in a gentrifying neighborhood of Philadelphia was forced to end abruptly after local activists hurled anti-Semitic comments at Jewish real estate developers.
At the Feb. 22 meeting in Point Breeze, in South Philadelphia, activists with Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze yelled “Go back to Israel!” and other insults at developers who were making presentations, reported.
“This was not one person with a screw loose. This was a mob mentality,” Ori Feibush, a local developer who is Jewish but was not presenting at the meeting, told
One witness, who asked not to be identified, told he heard someone shout “Go back to Lakewood,” a town in New Jersey with a large concentration of Orthodox Jews.
Israeli Radar Purchased by Honduras to Combat Airplane Drug Smuggling
Honduras is combating its drug trade through the use of Israeli radar, Israel Defense reported on Wednesday.
According to the report — based on the Latin American website infodensa — the Honduran Air Force purchased the radar systems, produced by the Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta factory, to intercept planes transporting narcotics from South America to Honduras in Central America. The approximately $30 million sale was made in 2014, and installation was done over the course of the last year.
Microsoft's Nadella in Israel to mark 25-year cooperation
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was in Israel on Thursday to mark 25 years of cooperation between the tech giant and the Jewish state.
During the trip, he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, visited the Ahavat Zion School in Tel Aviv and headlined Microsoft’s Think Next event.
“There is no doubt that a country like Israel, with the human capital that is here, is going to change the world,” Nadella said at the event.
In his meeting with Netanyahu, Nadella reiterated the company’s commitment to Israel, both as a market and a source of hi-tech innovation. He said the company would continue to run programs to boost local startups and invest in local education and vocational training.
Bill Gates: Israeli tech ‘changing the world’
A special guest virtually joined over 2,000 people at the Microsoft Israel R&D Center’s annual Think Next event in Tel Aviv Thursday – the man who started it all, Bill Gates.
In a rare public comment on the value of MS Israel’s work in helping make the company what it is, Gates said that Israeli developments tech areas like analytics and security were “improving the world.”
This year marked the eighth Think Next event, where MS shows off its best and brightest new technologies, many developed in Israel. Gates doesn’t call in every year, but with this year being the 25th anniversary of the Microsoft Israel research and development center, he told the Tel Aviv audience in a video call from the US that he was “very happy to wish the R&D center a happy birthday.”
The center, he said, “started in 1991, when some of the Israeli engineers at Microsoft wanted to return home but continue working at Microsoft. We decided to open the center – it was our first one outside the US – and I think the technology they have produced over the years more than justifies our decision.”
Black Jews You Should Know, Part 4
Welcome back to Black History Month 5776, where I present you with seven Black Jewish figures for each week of February. We’re looking at the racial axis here, not the denominational one so matrilineal/patrilineal, Orthodox conversion/non-Orthodox conversion, it’s all game, so let the games begin:
Adah Isaacs Menken
Arguably the first American Jewish “superstar,” Adah Isaacs Menken was a painter, a poet, and the highest earning actress of her time. Despite Menken’s own insistence that she was born in 1835 in a Jewish family, some scholars contend that the Louisiana-born Creole with mixed European and African ancestry was raised Catholic and converted to Judaism in 1856 when she married musician Alexander Isaac Menken. No matter how she came by her Jewishnesss, Menken published poems and articles on Judaism in The American Israelite—a weekly paper founded by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise—as well as being published in New York’s Jewish Messenger.
As an actress, Menken was an early master of self-promotion, making certain that a picture of her face appeared in shop windows everywhere she performed. Even in the context of the 1860’s (when the general conception of actors was as loose and disreputable characters) Menken was notorious for violating norms with provocative stage roles and more. She cropped her dark hair close to her head—highly unusual for women of the day—often adopted an androgynous appearance, and frequently smoked cigarettes in public.

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