Saturday, March 05, 2016

From Ian:

David Collier: What the Anti-Israel Boycotters are Saying When They Think We’re Not Listening
How does a person decide to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel? As someone who understands the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, supporting Israel seems to be the natural position to take. Shared values of democracy, freedom, and tolerance make backing Israel an easy decision. And yet, we now see ostensibly freedom-loving movements throughout the West turn their backs on the only state in the Middle East where the existence of these very movements is tolerated.
It is true that there are issues of democracy and freedom between Israel and the Arabs. It is possible to argue that refugees exist in squalor, that Palestinian children have died, that the conflict seems endless, and that Israel is the stronger party. But none of these suggest that Israel is the cause of the conflict, nor that it is in Israel’s hands to provide a solution. In fact, as a democratic state with a market economy that seeks foreign investment, Israel has strong motivation to avoid conflict and war. History has taught us that such nations tend to seek peace at almost any cost.
But this means nothing to supporters of BDS, because the movement is entirely based on the manipulation and distortion of the truth. If you engage with BDS supporters and directly challenge them, their response is usually little more than an illogical pack of lies. If someone you know is thinking about supporting BDS, why is it so hard to “show them the truth”?
The simple answer is that BDS is a movement that has reached its verdict beforehand. It does not ask if Israel is guilty. Instead, it seeks to determine the correct punishment for a “criminal” that is already condemned. So when you respond to a potential BDS supporter with facts, you are simply irrelevant to them. It is like bringing evidence to a sentencing hearing that should have been presented during the trial itself. You are simply too late.
Recently, I have heard more than my fair share of lies about Jews and lies about Israel. However, what is different about the recent events I have witnessed is that I have seen how these lies are created.
U.S. Enabling Bias at UNHRC
The hypocrisy stems from the fact that members of the UNHRC’s governing council contain some of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers. Most of the countries that were mentioned in Blinken’s address as violators of human rights are also part of the council. That means that rather than investigate Russia, China, Cuba or Saudi Arabia, to name just a few of the worst offenders, the council exists to protect them from scrutiny. Hypocrisy isn’t just an ever-present element of life at the UNHRC. It is its engine.
That means that rather than act as a watchdog for human rights or even a driving force for helping the oppressed peoples of the world the UNHRC is instead essentially the diplomatic bodyguard for dictators.
But there is one issue that the UNHRC works hard to promote: the plight of the Palestinians. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it tries to promote peace with Israel or an end to terrorism. Instead, it supports terror campaigns against the Jewish state. It devotes a disproportionate amount of its time creating resolutions and setting up committees and writing reports aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish state’s right of self-defense. Its reports on the last two wars fought between Israel and Hamas over the latter’s terror attacks have been travesties that didn’t even bother with a pretense of objectivity. They solely condemned Israel while ignoring Hamas’ firing of thousands of rockets at Israeli cities, its use of terror tunnels to kidnap and murder Israelis or its use of the population of Gaza as human shields.
At the same time that it works overtime attacking Israel, the UNHRC hasn’t done much that is effective about a real human rights catastrophe next door in Syria where hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions made refugees. To the contrary, as with most UN efforts, it has failed the people of Syria.
The argument for staying in the UNHRC has always been that the U.S. could accomplish more by staying in it than by boycotting it. But the systematic bias against the one Jewish state on the planet is not an exception to an otherwise fine record but actually key to understanding why it does little to advance human rights. By diverting the UN’s attention to an embattled democracy that tries to save the lives even of its foes, the UNHRC does more to harm that cause than to help it. Moreover, by giving it the imprimatur of U.S. participation, the administration has legitimized the very anti-Semitism that it says it wishes to oppose.
Among the priorities of the next president ought to be a revisiting of the decision to stay in the UNHRC. The argument for staying in was always unpersuasive. But the longer the U.S. sits alongside human rights abusers on this council, the more it will be complicit in the problem.
Political correctness, not terrorism, is the biggest threat to the west, says terror expert
“We are where France and the UK were 10 years ago.”
Mass sexual assaults by migrants from Muslim countries in European cities on New Year’s Eve have resulted in Europe’s political leadership toughening their stance on immigration. “It’s nothing new,” said Thomas Quiggin, terrorism and security expert. “It’s been going on for awhile, but fearful of being called racists, nobody talks about it and it’s just now coming out.” Government officials and the mainstream press have tried to cover up the “Taharrush”, a practice of encircling, groping and sometimes raping women.
But in Cologne alone so many attackers -approximately 1000 migrant men, and the number of complainants, 1,075, forced public acknowledgement of the problem.
Barely reported, even before the migrant flood, crime was rampant among asylum seekers, ranging from sexual assaults, a disproportionate number of rapes to purse snatches, 90 percent of them by males in their 20’s from North Africa or the Balkans.
From 2003 on, in Rotherham, England, everyone know that a gang of Muslim men were sexually enslaving mostly white girls, 11-15, but nobody would talk, terrified of being accused of racism. The one city councillor, a Pakistani Muslim who wanted to expose them ,was shut down and ostracized “Nobody wanted to rock the multi-cultural boat,” Quiggin said.
There are no-go zones in France and England where non Muslims do not enter. Europeans are protesting that their countries have changed and they don’t feel safe. France, Quiggin reported, has 10,000 soldiers posted permanently on the streets.
With Canada’ s rash promise of bringing in 50,000 Syrian migrants, whose security is impossible to screen adequately, could we be the Europe of 10 years ago, posed Quiggin. The US Senate in homeland security hearings in December, raised questions about Canada’s plan, informed by intelligence agencies that there are jihadists planted among the migrants.

'Not my place to tell Palestinians how to resist Israel,' Arab MK says
The most senior Arab lawmaker in the Knesset told a Saudi-owned satellite television station on Friday that "it's not my place to tell the Palestinian people how they should resist" Israel.
Ayman Odeh, the chairman of the predominantly Arab Joint List faction, told Al Arabiya television on Friday that "a popular intifada is most beneficial for the Palestinians."
The Haifa-born parliamentarian refused to condemn the recent wave of stabbings, car rammings, and shootings that have claimed the lives of dozens of Israeli soldiers and civilians in recent months.
Odeh told Al Arabiya that "we must examine our history and the history of other nations in order to decide upon a strategy."
"There's no doubt that the popular, grassroots intifada is the most beneficial for the Palestinian people, but I don't think it's my place to tell the people how to resist," he said.
Hamas video urges PA policemen to attack IDF troops
Hamas has issued a new propaganda video encouraging Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank to follow in the footsteps of a security officer who died attacking Israeli soldiers, and to sacrifice their lives to inflict harm upon Israeli troops.
The video, which was broadcast by Channel 10 news on Friday, was likely produced in the Gaza Strip. In it, a PA policeman is seen driving around a Palestinian town when he sees a poster of “The heroic martyr Amjad Sukkari” — a PA official who was shot dead as he fired on Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint in January.
The distressed policeman drives on when a newspaper announcing the deaths of Palestinians at the hands of Israelis flies into his windshield. He tears it away, only to see a group of soldiers abusing and kicking a disabled man at a checkpoint.
The policeman then cocks his handgun and puts his foot on the gas pedal. The scene cuts to black.
“Sacrificing one’s life is a small price to pay for love of country,” a title reads.
Movie in works about man who sued Iran for attack that killed daughter
A feature film is being made about Stephen Flatow, the New Jersey man who successfully sued Iran after his daughter was killed in a 1995 suicide bombing the Islamic Republic helped fund.
AG Capital is partnering with Scott LaStaiti on the project, Variety reported Thursday.
A Brandeis University junior who was studying at an Israeli religious seminary for a semester, Alisa Flatow, 20, was one of eight people killed in an Islamic Jihad attack while on a bus headed for a resort in a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip.
Stephen Flatow sued the government of Iran as a state sponsor of terror and also exposed corruption within the international banking system.
Producers are currently meeting with writers and directors about the project.
“Stephen’s story is truly extraordinary, the very heart of which is a father’s unwavering love for his daughter,” LaStaiti told Variety. “In his relentless pursuit of justice for his daughter’s murder, he uncovered a much deeper conspiracy which reveals systemic injustices still in place today.”
Brother of Toulouse killer to be tried by national security panel
French prosecutors requested a special panel of judges to try the brother and alleged accomplice of Mohammed Merah, who murdered four Jews in Toulouse, France, four years ago.
The Paris Prosecutor’s Office asked for the special panel for Abdelkader Merah last month, AFP reported Thursday. The prosecution has yet to indict him officially on the charge of accessory to murder — which prosecutors said they are seeking based on their claim that Abdelkader supplied his brother with weapons used in the attacks he perpetrated in the spring of 2012.
Mohammed Merah killed Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and two of his children as well as another girl in March that year at the Otzar Hatorah school in Toulouse. Days earlier, Merah killed three French soldiers in two attacks in the suburb of Montauban, France. He was killed in a shootout with police in his Toulouse apartment where he hid after the school killings, which he said in a video he perpetrated as part of jihad and to avenge the suffering of Palestinian children.
Several weeks after the attack, police arrested Abdelkader and Fettah Malki, whom they said helped Mohammed Merah plan and execute the attack. They have denied any wrongdoing.
Despite grim poll showing, Herzog insists only he can oust Netanyahu
Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Saturday insisted his Zionist Union is “the only alternative” to the current government, even though an opinion poll showed his party losing a considerable proportion of its support.
A Channel 2 survey carried out ahead of the March 17 anniversary of last year’s elections showed Zionist Union slipping from its current 24 seats to 18, and being overtaken as the Knesset’s second largest party by the centrist Yesh Atid, which rose from 11 seats in the current House to 19.
Herzog said it was only natural that support for his party would temporarily wane, because of disappointment that it did not form the government despite doing “so well” in last year’s elections. Still, he insisted, Prime Minister Benjamin “Netanyahu is eroding… We are the only alternative.”
Herzog said the Israeli public was gradually internalizing that Zionist Union, whose main component is the Labor Party, has “a realistic plan” for separating from the Palestinians — a “responsible separation,” he said, that would “maintain the IDF in Judea and Samaria” while still enabling Palestinians outside the major settlement blocs to run their own lives.
European Affairs: BDS spreading like wildfire in Europe?
As the Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor has documented, European governments have pumped tens of millions of euros into NGOs that support various forms of BDS. The mushrooming industry of BDS-animated NGOs in Europe is not matched in the United States.
A growing rift between American and European labor movements as regards their attitudes toward Israel has unfolded over the last decade. One extreme example was the left-wing Italian Flaica-Uniti-Cub trade union calling for a boycott of Jewish-owned stores in Rome because of Israel’s 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead to stop Hamas rocket fire into its territory. While major trade unions in the United Kingdom and Ireland have waged a BDS campaign against Israel, more than 30 unions in the United States (including those representing teachers, the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO, the Change to Win coalition of American labor unions, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists) joined a Jewish Labor Committee campaign in 2007 to oppose boycotts of the Jewish state. The UAW overruled in December a resolution by its local union of California teaching assistants to boycott Israel.
All of this helps to explain that organized labor in the US remains largely free of anti-Jewish boycott measures. To be fair, The Jerusalem Post learned this week that the German teacher’s union GEW pulled the plug on a BDS talk with a Palestinian official in Hamburg. German unions, in sharp contrast to their counterparts in other parts of the EU, have not capitulated to BDS activity.
The lessons of the Holocaust appear to be alive and kicking within Germany’s labor movement. The legendary former head of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB), Michael Sommer, played a key role in laying the anti- BDS foundation. Speaking at a joint Histadrut and DGB event in Berlin in 2009, he voiced his opposition to boycotts against Israel.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room that separates Europe from the US is the Holocaust.
The Shoah still informs large segments of Europe’s psychology – and frequently in a pathological way. Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s play The Garbage, the City and Death, written in 1975, neatly captures an aspect of Europe’s preoccupation with Jews: “And it’s the Jew’s fault, because he makes us feel guilty because he exists. If he’d stayed where he came from, or if they’d gassed him, I would sleep better,” said one of the characters.
The transformation from “It’s the Jew’s fault” to “It’s Israel’s fault” is part and parcel of the BDS movement in European discourse.
EU businesses demand 'made in occupied territories' labels on Israeli settlement products
The European Union plans to step up its anti-Israel boycott measures and require farmers based beyond the Green Line to clearly label produce as coming from "the occupied territories," Israel Hayom learned Thursday.
Farmers in the Jordan Valley were recently informed by two companies that export their produce to the EU that the new directive will take effect in mid April.
One Israeli exporter told Israel Hayom that since the EU made the decision to label settlement products, many clients across Europe have made arrangements to implement the directives.
EU guidelines have left the exact nature of product labeling to the discretion of each member state. For the most part, settlement products imported to the EU are repackaged upon arrival at their destination, and a small sticker is added indicating the West Bank as the goods' point of origin.
According to the exporter, he was recently approached by several German supermarket chains which told him that Israeli manufacturers must now label their products prominently to indicate to consumers that they were "manufactured in territories occupied by the Israeli government."
Some German clients have decided to cease importing settlement goods altogether, he said.
Jordan Valley rejects Germany's 'Jewish labeling'
David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley regional council, was dismayed to receive a demand by marketing chains in Germany calling for Jewish products in the Jordan Valley to be marked as "occupation goods."
In one of the phone conversations that representatives of the German Gaia company held with a local farmer, they said their customers in Germany demand prominent labeling reading as follows: "the product was produced in territories occupied by the government of Israel."
Elhayani, himself a farmer, sent his strong protest to the German Ambassador to Israel Clemens von Goetze, and firmly stated that Jordan Valley farmers will not label any of their products.
"The state of Israel in these days is dealing with a wave of violent and severe terror," said Elhayani. "This decision for the harmful demand by the European Union comes on the background of this serious reality - it's simply scandalous."
"We will not label any of our products. In our eyes the demand to label goods is equal to the demand from the dark and awful days of the past when Jews were labeled in Europe," he added, in reference to the genocidal Holocaust committed by the German Nazis. (h/t Yenta Press)
Occupation = Israel According to Bing Translator
While doing our normal morning rounds on Twitter, we came across this tweet from the Quds News Network:
It first caught our eye because the idea that IDF soldiers searching a car in Silwan was tweet-worthy, let alone newsworthy, seemed laughable. But then we noticed something a little more subtle.
In Arabic, QNN refers to “Occupation Forces,” (قوات الاحتلال) a phrase that is used to describe IDF soldiers regardless of where they are stationed or operating. However, Twitter’s built in Bing translator says, “Israeli Forces.”
The translation on Bing’s website is even more striking, describing it specifically as “Israeli Occupation Forces.”
Bing TranslatorOnline translators like Bing and Google, rely heavily on user input, so it is very unlikely that this is an intentional slight by Microsoft. However, it does mean that Arabic speakers have corrected translations of “occupation forces” to “Israeli forces” so often, that Bing just assumes that whenever the word occupation is used, it must mean Israel.
This has not yet happened on Google:
Vassar student gov’t may lose control of funding if passes BDS resolution
The Vassar College Student Association is in the midst of a highly contentious debate over whether to adopt an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution and bylaws amendment proposed by Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. SJP takes the position that the BDS resolution includes an academic boycott, though there is no explicit language to that effect in the resolution.
There also is a counter-resolution by Vassar J Street U which condemns Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but does not call for a boycott.
The vote is Sunday night, March 6, 2016. The BDS vote will be anonymous, while the J Street U vote will be on the record.

There was an important development today. In a mass email to all students, VSA’s Executive Board indicated it had been informed by the administration that Student Activity Funds used to fund VSA may be taken out of the control of VSA should the BDS resolution be adopted.
The VSA email indicated that the reasoning was as follows:
The Board of Trustees and senior level administration of the college have publicly stated they do not approve of the BDS movement, and that they are concerned with potential legal consequences of using funds to support a boycott.
This legal concern makes sense because the New York State Human Rights Law prohibits boycotts based on national origin. It was on that ground that the GreenStar Food Coop in Ithaca, NY, rejected a BDS resolution on advice of the Coop’s legal counsel.
Oberlin Professor Thanks Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Website for Support
Joy Karega, the Oberlin College professor whose support for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel conspiracy theories was first reported last week by The Tower, offered her thanks for an article at the conspiracy site Veterans Today that claimed she spoke “honestly about 9/11 and the two 2015 Paris false flags.”
In a Facebook post on Thursday that quoted a portion of the article, Karega wrote:
Grateful for this article from Kevin Barrett. Also, grateful for Robin Kelley and the support I’ve gotten from other folks who are close to me and folks I don’t even know who have sent their support through email, calls, etc. Overwhelmed with gratitude. While I continue to receive emails, messages, etc that are filled with slurs (racial, misogynist, and classist), harassment, and threats, this escalation in support has been encouraging. I love what Barrett is proposing here in this article with this debate (and access to scholarship).
“A rabid little Fox is drooling and gnashing its teeth. But that hasn’t stopped Oberlin College from respecting the academic freedom of Professor Joy Karega, who is being witch-hunted by the neocon-Zionist network for speaking honestly about 9/11 and the two 2015 Paris false flags.”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an anti-racism watchdog, Veterans Today features “myriad claims that there was a conspiracy behind 9/11 (Israel orchestrated it, in cahoots with the American government), that the American government is a puppet (of Israel), that the Holocaust never happened or was greatly exaggerated (Jews made it up to manipulate non-Jews), and, most recently, that Julian Assange, the man behind Wikileaks, is a pawn (of Israel).”
The SPLC added that the extreme anti-Israel content on Veterans Today “can slide pretty quickly into overt anti-Semitism.” Articles from Veterans Today are frequently quoted on white supremacist sites such as Stormfront and White News Now.
In Academe, Shouldn’t Blatant and Repeated Anti-Semitism Be a Fireable Offense?
Recently, Joy Karega, a rhetoric and composition professor at Oberlin College, was revealed to have posted wildly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel content, often in the form of conspiracy theories, on her personal Facebook page. According to Karega, the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, was the true mastermind of last year’s Charlie Hebdo massacre; ISIS is the product of a CIA-Mossad collaboration; the IDF shot down that Malaysian airliner over Ukraine; and Jews were behind the attacks on 9/11. Karega also posted this meme of Jacob Rothschild, a clear satirization of various anti-Semitic tropes, such as claiming that Jews secretly control the world (or, in this case, at least “your news, the media, your oil, and your government”). (Her beliefs appear to extend beyond anti-Semitism, too.)
Karega’s views are vile and racist. And yet she is still employed, still teaching.
In response to calls for her dismissal, Oberlin president Marvin Krislov—a self-described “practicing Jew” and “grandson of an Orthodox rabbi” whose family members “were murdered in the Holocaust”—defended Karega. In an email to Oberlin’s student body, Krislov wrote that even though he understands Karega’s views “cause[d] pain for many people—members of our community and beyond,” she would be keeping her position because of her right to express “personal views.”
When I read Krislov’s comments, I thought maybe I wasn’t seeing clearly. The fact that her anti-Semitism isn’t seen as grounds for firing her—when other professors at other universities who’ve engaged in similar, if much less deliberate, prejudices or offenses against other minority groups are dismissed immediately—speaks volumes to the double standard to which Jewish students are held. I’m often the first person person to condemn false accusations of anti-Semitism. I go to Columbia University, deemed the most anti-Semitic campus in the U.S by a few web-dwelling fearmongers, and will readily admit that I have yet to encounter a blatant anti-Semite at school. But Karega’s Facebook posts are undeniably bigoted.
CUNY holds anti-Semitism probe after ‘Zionist pig’ incident
After last month’s anti-Zionist incident at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York launched an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism at several of its campuses.
In addition to the probe directed by CUNY Chancellor James Milliken, the university is establishing a task force to foster a more understanding and respectful environment.
The probe follows a string of anti-Israel incidents incidents at CUNY campuses detailed in a lengthy letter sent Feb. 22 from the Zionist Organization to Milliken and the CUNY board of trustees. ZOA National President Mort Klein told JTA that his organization was informed that it would be meeting in the near future with the two attorneys leading the probe.
On Friday, the Anti-Defamation League praised the institution for the actions.
Students at Brooklyn College on Feb. 16 allegedly demanded that “Zionists” leave campus and referred to a professor at a meeting as a “Zionist pig,” prompting strong condemnations of the incident by the college administration.
That Thursday, state assemblyman from Brooklyn, Dov Hikind, called on Brooklyn College to discipline the involved students.
UK school suspends pro-Palestinian group after inviting terrorist to speak
A British university has temporarily banned an on-campus Palestinian group from organizing future activities after a Palestinian terrorist was invited to lecture at one of their events, The Jewish Chronicle reported Friday.
Ahmed Alfaleet, who served 20 years in prison for murdering an Israeli in 1992, spoke at an event hosted by the Queen Mary University Palestine Solidarity Society via online in January.
Following the speaking engagement, Jewish students took the issue to the London university's president Simon Gaskell, demanding that the group be barred from organizing future events at the school.
Shortly afterwards, Gaskell released a statement saying the society would be barred from holding activities for the next eight weeks, The Chronicle added.
Queen Mary student Devora Khafi, who helped bring the issue to the attention of the university's president, said after the announcement: "I don’t think it will help Jewish students. It will just anger the PSS more."
British Jewish Groups Attack New Oxford University Antisemitism Inquiry as a ‘Cover-Up’
Several British Jewish groups have already criticized a newly launched investigation into antisemitism at Oxford University, The Jewish Chronicle reported Thursday, with the newspaper noting that there have been “accusations of a cover-up.”
According to the report, the investigation has been limited to focus on the alleged antisemitic actions of two particular members of the “hard-left” student group Momentum.
But the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a long-established group that calls itself the “voice of British Jewry,” said that the new investigation should address the allegations of widespread antisemitism throughout the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC), the student club of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party, rather than just the two particular students.
Similarly, the Union of Jewish Students, constituted by 64 Jewish societies on campuses across the United Kingdom, said, “It is important that among all the internal Labour politics we do not lose sight of the original issue of alleged antisemitism in one of the most prestigious Labour clubs in the country.”
The new investigation was ordered by the Labour Party, considered a center-left political party, after an earlier investigation by its student group, the OULC, was completed. The results of that earlier investigation were not published, prompting the accusations of a cover-up.
Journalist wins gender discrimination case against Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir after they forced her to sit in a segregated women's area at one of their lectures
An Islamic group has been ordered to stop segregating men and women after a journalist won a gender discrimination case against it.
Journalist Alison Bevege had attended a lecture hosted by Hizb ut-Tahrir on October 10, 2014, but was forced to sit in women's-specific seating at the back of a venue in Lakemba, in Sydney's south west - so she sued the group and five of its members for sexual discrimination.
On Friday, the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal said the action was unlawful sexual discrimination, a decision welcomed by Ms Bevege, who told Daily Mail Australia it was a 'win for everyone - progressive muslims and non-muslims'.
In its finding, the tribunal ordered a member of the group to ensure attendees of further meetings were aware that segregated seating arrangements were not compulsory.
Canadian editor suspended from Multicultural Council after praising jihad against Israel
Mohamad Hisham Khalifeh, a Canadian of Lebanese descent, the founder, CEO and Editor in Chief of Al Forqan Newspaper‎ printed in Windsor, Ontario and distributed in Windsor, London and Detroit, was suspended from his position with the Windsor Multicultural Council.
The Windsor Multicultural Council is a body that receives funds from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and is intimately connected with the welcoming and resettlement of Syrian refugees.
Following CIJnews report on Khalifeh’s editorial lauding the Palestinian knife attacks aimed Israeli Jews as a “sacred duty of jihad”, the Jewish human rights organization B’nai Brith Canada urged the Ontario government to “launch a full investigation of the paper and particularly the offensive editorial.”
“This is a positive first step by the Multicultural Council while it investigates Mr. Khalifeh’s writings,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada. “However, it calls into question how he was originally vetted for his position. To ensure that Syrian refugees are not exposed to radical Islamist ideology in Windsor, it would be prudent for the Council to re-examine the backgrounds of all of their staff and volunteers.”
BBC Promoted False Palestinian Eviction Story in Parliament
Back in December CAMERA had secured corrections to inaccurate information appearing in an article published by Associated Press [AP] which was largely sourced from an employee of a political NGO previously promoted in BBC content. AP's account of the looming eviction of Nura Sub-Laban from her home in Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter reflects a narrative of supposed Jewish encroachment in the holy city at the expense of dispossessed Palestinians, blameless "victims of discriminatory use of Israeli property law."
CAMERA wrote at the time that the story grossly misrepresented basic facts about the Sub-Laban case, initially ignoring critical essential information and falsely casting it as part "of a wider settlement campaign."
The subject matter of that AP article cropped up again last week during Prime Minister's Questions in the UK Parliament. The ‘BBC Parliament’ TV channel of course broadcast the February 24 session.
Turkey's president Erdogan rejects court ruling to free journalists
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he has “no respect” for and would “not abide” by a court ruling that two prominent journalists were unfairly jailed.
The editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper, Can Dundar, and its Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gul, were detained in November accused of revealing state secrets and attempting to overthrow the government after publishing claims that Turkey tried to deliver weapons to Islamist rebels in Syria.
The pair left prison on Friday after the Constitutional Court ruled that their rights had been violated. They still face trial on the charges, with prosecutors demanding that they be jailed for life.
In comments that will exacerbate international alarm about the rule of law in Turkey, President Erdogan severely criticised the court’s decision and suggested that he would not allow it to stand. “I keep my silence on the decision of the Constitutional Court but I do not abide by the decision or respect it,” he said.
Turkish authorities seize newspaper close to cleric Gulen - state media
Turkish authorities seized control of the country's largest newspaper on Friday in a widening crackdown against supporters of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, an influential foe of President Racep Tayyip Erdogan.
Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse a few thousand supporters who gathered outside Zaman newspaper's offices and chanted, "Free press cannot be silenced."
Rights groups and European officials criticized the confiscation of Zaman and its sister publication, the English-language Today's Zaman, which occurred on the eve of a summit between Turkey and the European Union and as concerns mount that the Turkish government is stifling critical media.
Administrators were appointed to run Zaman at the request of an Istanbul prosecutor, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Officials were not immediately available to confirm the reports.
Erdogan accuses Gulen of conspiring to overthrow the government by building a network of supporters in the judiciary, police and media. Gulen denies the charges. The two men were allies until police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to Gulen opened a corruption probe into Erdogan's inner circle in 2013.
Major Jewish Group Condemns ‘Vile Antisemitic’ Rally in Greece Featuring Banners, Texts Calling Jews the One and Only Enemy (VIDEO)
A major international Jewish organization on Friday denounced a recent rally in Thessaloniki, Greece that featured signs and literature promoting antisemitic stereotypes of Jews.
“It was a particularly vile antisemitic demonstration,” Daniel Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, told The Algemeiner. “The fact that it happened in a city that is so important in Jewish history and whose population suffered – more than 90 percent killed during the Shoah – makes the demonstration even that much more outrageous.”
The demonstration was aimed at protesting new electronic citizen cards in Greece, according to the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism. Members of the Greek Orthodox organization Agios Vasileios initiated the protest against “instruments of Antichrist and the New World Order” and were seen holding religious banners, along with Greek and Byzantine flags. One of the banners said, “No to the citizen card. There is only one enemy: International Zionism.”
Among the literature available for purchase at the demonstration was one booklet titled “The Jewish-Zionist vampire Soros is thirsty for Greek blood.” Protesters also shouted slogans against “Jewish” Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris.
Israel Holds Its First Transgender Beauty Pageant
The first “Miss Trans Israel” beauty pageant was held at a club in Tel Aviv on Thursday. Thirty transgender women of different faiths competed, taking to the catwalk in stiletto heels and skinny jeans.
It was the latest event cementing Israel—and Tel Aviv in particular—as a gay-friendly area in the midst of a Middle East region where gays are frequently persecuted.
Although transgender individuals had a “terrible” life in Israel in the past, today they are much more accepted by Israeli society, said Israela Stephanie Lev, the pageant’s organizer, the Associated Press reported.
“We are enlightening people to accept and empower transsexuals,” she said.
The pageant wasn’t limited to Jewish transgender women. The competitors included 21-year-old Talleen Abu Hanna, a Catholic Arab from Nazareth.
“We are normal people. This is normal,” Hanna said.
Diver ‘panic bracelet’ wins startup prize
Omer Arad was on a routine dive when he had one of the most terrifying experiences of his life.
“More than 80 feet below sea level, a malfunction prevented the airflow from the tank to the regulator in my mouth,” said Arad, a computer-science student at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
“In an instant one of my favorite hobbies turned into a genuine nightmare. I tried to signal my buddy, but he was far away and wasn’t looking in my direction. Luckily, I came out of it alive.”
The experience led Arad to conceptualize a wearable panic bracelet that lets the diver call his or her partner even when there is no eye contact between them. The idea earned his team first place at this year’s Israeli finals of the international 3-Day Startup (3DS) competition, held in January at the Technion and organized by the university’s Bronica Entrepreneurship Center.
Dubbed “BLU,” the wearable distress bracelet would be sold in pairs, to be worn by diving buddies. A simple press of a button immediately would transmit a distress signal – via light and vibration – to the buddy diver.
17 Israeli billionaires make annual Forbes rich list
Seventeen Israeli billionaires made the 30th Forbes Billionaires List for 2016, including newcomer Adam Neumann, cofounder of shared work space firm WeWork.
The kibbutz-raised Neumann is spotlighted among the 198 newcomers for turning communal working space into a multi-billion dollar business. Neumann, 36, ranks #1198 on the overall list of 1,810 billionaires, with a net worth of $1.5 billion.
“Volatile stock markets, cratering oil prices and a stronger dollar led to a dynamic reshuffling of wealth around the globe and a drop in ten-figure fortunes for the first time since 2009,” reports the magazine.
Yet, editors of the financial magazine still found 1,810 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $6.48 trillion.
The list shows that of the 198 new names joining the three comma club, 16 percent got rich on an inheritance alone, more than 70% of the new billionaires are self-made, and the remaining 13% inherited fortunes and have worked to expand them.
The top Israeli on the list is real estate and shipping magnate Eyal Ofer (#135). Worth $8.4 billion, Ofer is also listed as the Middle East’s second-richest billionaire (after Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud, $17.3 billion). Ofer and his brother, Idan (net worth of $3.7 billion) split the fortune of their father, Sammy, who was Israel’s richest person before his death in 2011.
PHOTOS: The Monumental Rise of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is an unfinished city, and probably always will be. The bustling metropolis that, like New York, “never sleeps,” is a mosaic of cranes, diggers, and scaffolding as its growth continues unchecked and unhindered by the chaos and upheaval of the Middle East.
Founded in 1909 on a collection of sand dunes, Tel Aviv is named for the “white city” described by Zionist founder Theodore Herzl in his utopian novel Altneuland (“Old-New Land”). Today, it is home to over 400,000 people, and is Israel’s cultural and financial capital. Its propulsive energy and liberal atmosphere are noted worldwide.
Tower magazine photographer Aviram Valdman ventured out into the center of Tel Aviv and caught fleeting images of a city that never stands still. Here are the beginnings of steel and concrete towers, office and residential buildings, museums and marathons, moments of serene nature amidst the headlong rush of the metropolis, and even a lone artist building an intricate sand castle.
Amidst the rising towers of the new city, Valdman also snatched images of “old-new” Tel Aviv—the famed “White City” composed of the largest concentration of Bauhaus architecture anywhere in the world, including Tel Aviv’s own old city hall.
Bauhaus was a design movement that was prominent in Germany in the 1920s and ‘30s. But when the Nazis denounced it as a decadent and corrupted movement, many of its most prominent exponents fled to then-Palestine, where they brought their singular approach to modern architecture with them. In 2003, Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus treasures were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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