Thursday, March 10, 2016

From Ian:

David Collier: UCL: Religious hate and boycotting Jews
Yet another page of shame has been written in the history books of a student union in the UK. This time it was UCL or UCLU (University College London Union). On Tuesday 8/3/2016, a mob of rabid, semi-ignorant, hate-filled ‘red fascists’ assembled together to play ‘government’.
One of the motions tabled (unsurprisingly, given the make-up of the council), was to decide whether or not to support the boycott of Israel. Israel is a touchy subject amongst student unions these days. Time was, that the tiny Jewish state, surrounded by blood thirsty despots like Nasser, Saddam Hussein, the Ayatollah & Gaddafi could count on students to easily differentiate right from wrong.
Today, with talk of the Zionist run USA or Mossad being behind ISIS and 9/11 only too common in certain student quarters, all semblance of moral order has been lost. Israel, whilst still the target for every radical Islamic nutcase in a region that never runs out of them, has somehow become the cause of everything that is wrong in the student world. No doubt Netanyahu, seeing as ‘Zionists’ control the US, UK and the banks, is also responsible for raising university fees.
Think of a nasty accusation and place it before the word Zionist. They all work. ‘Racist’ – easy, ‘Ethnic Cleansing’- but of course, ‘Genocide’ – sure, even ‘Apartheid’ works, all placed on the only liberal country in the entire region where everyone has a free vote. Funny how some UCL students wouldn’t even be allowed to enter cities in Saudi Arabia because of their religion, yet that issue fails to bother a student union council that clearly isn’t working to an agenda about ‘universal’ human rights.
The real motive:
To deal with the claim that the student union vote was actually about human rights. Let’s just look at the central force behind the #BDS motion. UCLU Friends of Palestine Society.
Labour’s expelled Trotskyite says he will not ‘condemn’ 9/11
This week Jeremy Corbyn received flak from the Prime Minister during PMQs over the decision by Labour’s NEC to allow Gerry Downing — a member of the Trotskyist Socialist Fight — to re-join Labour. Cameron said he was ‘completely appalled’ by the decision — as revealed by Guido Fawkes — as Downing has previously described the motivation for 9/11 as ‘entirely understandable’.
After Labour finally expelled Downing again late last night, he appeared on today’s Daily Politics to fight his corner. In an interview with Andrew Neil, Downing attempted to show why he should be allowed to join Labour. Alas, he appeared to do the opposite as he spouted several alarming view points:
Downing also has some pretty interesting views when it comes to Zionism:
AN: You’ve also said that we need to confront the Jewish question, what is the Jewish question?
GD: Well, the fact that Israel can commit absolutely heinous crimes against, Palestinians, they can bomb them without letter and this is presented in the Western media as an attack on terrorists.
AN: Your group says that Zionism plays a major role in politics of all the advanced capitalist countries. You say that Zionists are behind the witch hunt behind Jeremy Corbyn. You say that Zionists hold great sway over our three main political parties. You say that Zionism is the vanguard of injecting anti-Muslim hatred into Western politics. It would sound when you see all that that for you the Jewish question is a Zionist conspiracy?
GD: No, it’s not a Zionist conspiracy. It adds up to something very material and that is the number of millionaires and billionaires of Zionist persuasion which in the American ruling class and in the European ruling classes in general it is their economic and political power, that leads to ridiculous situations.
AN: And Zionists — as you call them — play a key role in that?
GD: They obviously do play a key role, they have duel-citizenship most of them.

And to think he was a member of the Labour party just yesterday!
Gerry Downing on BBC's Daily Politics! [this is just the Zionism stuff, the link has the full 15 min train wreck]

"BDS is Nothing Less than a Declaration of Economic War against the Jewish People"
A truly excellent, even uplifting, speech this past week by Aussie federal Liberal MP Michael Sukkar (a Roman Catholic of Lebanese and Norwegian parentage):
"It is with some dismay that I rise today to acknowledge that 2016 marks 15 years since the seeds of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, also known as BDS, began against Israel at the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. What passes for left-wing thought in our day and age has never been noted for coherent logic or factual accuracy. Nowhere are these leftist moral and intellectual failings more obvious than on the question of Israel in general and on the BDS campaign against the only democracy in the Middle East.
The member for Fremantle [Melissa Parke], who, I must say, made my day with her recent announcement of her departure from this place, exemplifies the Left’s noxious intellectual bankruptcy on matters Middle Eastern. By hitching her wagon to the anti-Israel BDS she exemplified how those who claim the rubric of progressive are actually quite oppressive when it comes to the Jewish People.
Make no mistake, BDS s nothing more than a declaration of economic war against the Jewish people. We have all seen the BDS causes and the antisemitic ugliness. We saw this on the streets in mob-scene blockades of Jewish owned businesses in Melbourne. We have also seen BDS in all of its genocidal ugliness when its founder, the Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, made it clear that the movement would settle for nothing less than the elimination of Israel as we know it.
Rowan Dean interviews MP Michael Sukkar

Evelyn Gordon: Pew Polls and Arab MKs
The Israeli media were virtually unanimous yesterday in headlining a new Pew survey of Israeli opinion. All highlighted the finding that nearly half of Israeli Jews support expelling Arabs. The only reporter who thought to ask an expert what this figure really means was Haaretz’s Ofer Aderet. But to understand the expert’s answer, one other fact is helpful: Just a day before Pew published its survey, two of the Knesset’s three Arab parties publicly condemned the Gulf Cooperation Council for declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organization, on the grounds that this declaration might benefit the country in whose parliament they serve.
Aderet queried Professor Sammy Smooha about the Pew finding because he’s Israel’s leading expert in Jewish-Arab relations, having tracked the subject since 2003 through a series of comprehensive annual polls. Smooha said Pew’s results disagreed with his own polls, which consistently found that about three-quarters of Israeli Jews support coexistence with Arabs. He offered two explanations for this divergence.
First, the Pew question was vague and confusing. Respondents were asked simply whether they agreed or disagreed that “Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel.” That’s easy to answer if you believe that Arabs should either always be expelled or never be expelled. But what if, like many Israelis, you believe the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no?
Many center-rightists, for instance, favor expelling Arabs who openly support terror or seek to undermine Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, but not other Arabs. Many center-leftists believe East Jerusalem Arabs (most of whom are permanent Israeli residents but not citizens) should be forced to become part of the Palestinian Authority whether they want to or not, but not other Arabs. Thus for these respondents, the answer would depend on whether they interpreted the word “Arabs” in Pew’s question to mean “all Arabs” or “some Arabs.”
Smooha argued that most respondents who agreed with the statement interpreted it as meaning “some Arabs,” because if you read it to mean expelling all Arabs, the idea “is unrealistic and unfeasible.” Indeed, no Israeli party advocates expelling all Arabs, and very few individuals do; even diehard anti-Arab racists tend to make exceptions for the Druze, for instance.
What’s Obama’s Real Mideast Legacy?
That is why Biden’s statements about the PA having to condemn the Jaffa attack are welcome but too little and too late. After years of beating up the Israelis and treating them as the obstacle to peace, the Palestinians believe the Jewish state is increasingly isolated. With both the U.S. and its European allies continuing to send aid to a PA that continues to praise terrorists as martyrs, so-called “moderates” like Abbas have no incentive to change their policies or even to attempt to begin the work of convincing their people to accept peace. Indeed, Abbas’s lies about Israel harming the Temple Mount mosques — a cynical ploy taken right out of the playbook written by the pro-Nazi Haj Amin al-Husseini — was aimed at provoking violence in the home of creating more U.S. pressure on Israel.
The only thing the Obama framework would accomplish is to create more such pressure and, in turn, more incentive for Palestinian terrorism, since both the PA and Hamas, believe, with good reasons, that the international community will never make them pay a price for either their support for terrorism or their refusal to make peace.
If the overwhelming majority of Israelis no longer believe that the two-state solution is viable (a consensus that now united both Netanyahu’s Likud and the leading left-wing opposition party), it is because they know that any withdrawal would lead to more terrorism. They also know that the model for an independent Palestinian state is not the utopia envisioned by Obama but the very real entity in Gaza run by Hamas as a terrorist caliphate.
Peace plans that don’t take changing this reality as their main focus and starting point are pointless. Worse than that, they convince the Palestinians that they need only wait for the West to abandon Israel. Sadly, President Obama has done much in his time in office to encourage them in that belief. His real Middle East legacy isn’t a peace plan but a framework for violence that Israelis and now even American tourists continue to pay for in blood.
Sanders: ‘Level playing field’ needed for Israeli-Palestinian deal
Bernie Sanders, speaking in an Arab-American stronghold, said he would aim for a “level playing field” in US Middle East policy.
Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont bidding for the Democratic presidential nomination, said at a rally in Dearborn, Michigan, on Monday that brokering Israeli-Arab peace is daunting.
“For decades now there has been hatred and warfare in the Middle East, everybody knows it,” he said. “We’ve had some presidents — Carter, Clinton others — who have tried to their best to resolve it.
“All I can tell you is I will make every single effort to bring rational people on both sides together so that hopefully we can have a level playing field, the United States treating everybody in that region equally.” The crowd erupted in applause.
Arab-American groups have long complained that US policy in the Middle East tilts too much toward Israel.
Clinton: I'm Against UN-Imposed Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Hillary Rodham Clinton is against the UN Security Council imposing terms for an Israeli-Palestinian peace process “from without,” her campaign said on Tuesday.
In an op-ed Clinton wrote for the Jewish newspaper the Forward, the presidential hopeful claimed that “while no solution can be imposed from outside, I believe the United States has a responsibility to help bring Israelis and Palestinians to the table and to encourage the difficult but necessary decisions that will lead to peace.”
Clinton reiterated a statement she made at the Brooking Institution’s Saban Forum in December.
Clinton’s position differs slightly from that of the Obama administration, which said it would consider measures at the UN in reaction to Israel’s continued settlement construction policy. According to the White House, this policy runs contrary to the pursuit of peace.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the administration is considering a UN Security Council resolution to serve as a basis for negotiations in a final bid for peace before Obama leaves office.
According to the Jerusalem Post, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Tuesday that the U.S. “will continue to oppose one-sided resolutions” – but not all resolutions.
Hillary Clinton to address upcoming AIPAC conference
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is slated to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington later this month, the organization said Wednesday.
“AIPAC is pleased to announce that former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is confirmed to join us live at AIPAC’s 2016 Policy Conference,” the pro-Israel lobby said in an email. “It is our honor to host presidential candidates this year, just as we have in previous election cycles.”
The conference is scheduled to kick off Sunday, March 20, and last until Tuesday, March 22. AIPAC has stated that all presidential candidates were extended invitations to speak but Clinton is the first to confirm her attendance.
This year’s summit, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, will be the third time Clinton addresses the AIPAC crowd. She previously spoke at the annual event in 2008 as a New York senator and presidential hopeful, and again in 2010 as secretary of state.
Berlin: Theodore Herzl Biopic Set with Peter Medak Directing
Development began over four years ago, inspired by Bernard Zissman’s book “Herzl’s Journey” and a screenplay by Geoff Morrow.
“The creation of the Jewish State and Theodor Herzl’s role in it is one of the most sensitive and controversial political issues in the world today,” Hamori said. “Artistic reasons aside, the reason development took this long is because we wanted to ensure our approach to the story was as well-balanced as possible.”
In order to deal with potentially incendiary nature of the subject matter, Hamori assembled an advisory board for the project that included the late publisher and philanthropist Lord George Weidenfeld; producer/distributor Sharon Harel-Cohen; and Sidney Blumenthal, journalist and former aide to President Clinton.
Blumenthal will also serve as an executive producer on the project with Diana Phillips. Tibor Krsko and Julia Rosenberg will be co-producers.
Blumenthal was a political consultant for the HBO series “Tanner 88” and the executive producer of the documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side,” directed by Alex Gibney, which won an Academy Award for Best Documentary of 2007. He was an associate producer of the 2002 film “Max.” (h/t Alexi)
Swedish European lawmakers object to pro-Israel speaker
Fearing one-sided criticism of Sweden, European Parliament lawmakers from that country objected to the appearance of a Zionist compatriot at a panel debate about Israel.
Bodil Valero and Marita Ulvskog of the Greens and Social Democrat blocs, respectively, expressed their objection to Wednesday’s appearance in Brussels of Saskia Pantell, director of Sweden’s Zionist Federation, in a letter they sent Monday to European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
“Considering public statements made by Ms. Pantell on Sweden in the past, unopposed criticism could be expected” at Pantell’s address on Sweden-Israel relations before members of the parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Israel, they wrote.
Sweden’s relations with Israel have deteriorated since Sweden became the only EU country to recognize Palestine as a country, and since Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom linked terrorist attacks in Paris to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
French Music Video Mocks Zionist Jews, Claims: Hollande Is Paid in Shekels
A music video recently posted on the Internet presents a parody of French Zionist Jewry, with lyrics such as "I will wear a "Charlie [Hebdo]" badge" and "I won't do the boycott anymore." The video, which includes its lyrics references to the Israeli settlements, the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and pro-Israeli French personalities, has been posted on the BDS website in Belgium and on other BDS-associated websites.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Reverses Course, Will Stage Hamlet in Israel
Shakespeare’s Globe, the theater company founded on the spot where William Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed, announced Tuesday that it would be performing Hamlet at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv on March 30. The performance will be part of the theater’s ambitious two-year-long project to stage a production of Hamlet in every country in the world, in honor of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. The announcement came just after Liam Hoare and Tal Kra-Oz reported for The Tower that an announced performance in Tel Aviv had “vanished into the online ether.”
Dutch Zionist Christians defy labeling with ‘Made in Israel’ warehouse
As a boy, would often accompany his father, Karel, on the elder van Oordt’s weekly shopping excursions specifically seeking out products made in Israel.
A Christian Zionist businessman in Amersfoort, some 25 miles east of Amsterdam, Karel van Oordt sought to strengthen the Jewish state economically by purchasing its exports to feed his family of eight. But it wasn’t easy.
“At the greengrocer, my father asked for Jaffa oranges, but they didn’t offer those,” Pieter van Oordt recalled. “Then at the liquor store, dad asked for Israeli wines. Same reply.”
Four decades later, those Israeli goods and thousands more are available across the Netherlands thanks to the international advocacy group founded by Karel van Oordt in 1979. Pieter and his brother, Roger, have run Christians for Israel since their father’s death in 2013.
Through its own import agency, the Israel Products Center, or IPC, the organization brings in 120,000 bottles of Israeli wine each year, as well as many tons of Dead Sea cosmetics and other merchandise. Most of the products are sold in IPC’s own store, on its website or by a corps of 200 volunteer door-to-door sales agents, a majority of them women.
NGO Monitor: Zochrot "Right of Return Event"- EU and NIF Funded Participants
On March 21-22, 2016, the Israeli NGO Zochrot will hold “The Third International Conference on the Return of Palestinian Refugees” in Tel Aviv. The two day event will include speakers from NGOs and academia, all promoting a Palestinian “right of return.” This so-called “right” including multiple generations has no basis in international law, is a primary obstacle to peace, and equivalent to calling for the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
As with many other Zochrot initiatives, this conference is in partnership with Badil, one of the most virulently anti-Israel NGOs. In 2012, Zochrot and Badil published a manifesto that encourages a “de-zionized” one-state solution, essentially calling for Israel to be dismantled. Badil also consistently posts antisemitic cartoons and posters on its website.
The new face of BDS
The world is finally waking up to the cancer called BDS — the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign. I can recall countless meetings with Israeli officials who originally dismissed this insidious, anti-Semitic movement. Now they want to set up conferences and send emissaries to counter the scourge.
Yet the BDS campaign is no longer just the BDS campaign. Like all anti-Semitic libels and propaganda initiatives dating back over 2,000 years, it metastasized while the Jewish world was slowly catching on. It is now going through a re-brand on university campuses because of: 1) the negative and anti-Semitic connotation of the term “boycott,” with its undertones of the Final Solution; 2) political condemnation and counter-legislation targeting BDS in Canada, the United States and Europe; and 3) the need for a wider, socially acceptable umbrella to be used as a cover to promote an anti-Semitic narrative through the denunciation of Israel.
The new brand name for BDS is “Divestment.” This latest incarnation is billed at Toronto’s York University as #YUDivest. It is a strategy that aims to bring together student groups and faculty alike under a singular declaration against the financing of arms manufacturers.
This Is How You Fight BDS
Having delivered the bad news that Vassar College’s administration is not doing enough to address anti-Semitism on its campus, I am glad to be able to report better news about the University of Minnesota.
There, the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) put forward a resolution demanding that the University of Minnesota divest from four companies said to directly profit from Israel’s presence in the West Bank. But the resolution was really about support for BDS. Even SJP conceded that the University of Minnesota has no investment, direct or indirect, in two of the four companies, and may or may not have an indirect investment, through a mutual fund, in the others.
In advance of today’s Minnesota Student Association vote, President Eric W. Kaler issued a statement. The “University does not endorse measures advocated in the SJP resolution, which has been offered in support of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement.” Kaler did not stop at observing, as college and university presidents often do, that the BDS goal of isolating Israel conflicts with a university’s devotion to “academic freedom and… the free exchange of ideas.” He went on to warn “that we may be unfairly singling out one government and the citizens of the country in question.” And then he pointed out something that is true, but that university administrators almost never say, that “the Global BDS movement does not seem to distinguish between opposition to the policies of the government of Israel and opposition to the existence of Israel.”
At the same time, Kaler also declined to endorse a resolution, put forward by a student group called Students Supporting Israel, condemning anti-Semitism and adopting the State Department definition thereof. In light of the context in which that second resolution was put forward, Kaler was probably right to think that it might “limit the prospects for constructive campus dialogue, in light of its possible implication that supporters of the disinvestment resolution are also supporters of anti-­semitism.” It was enough for him to say that the University “strongly and unequivocally condemns prejudice and hostility toward Jews, as we condemn bias against any groups” and to add that he shares “the concerns of many that we must be especially vigilant in light of resurgent anti-­Semitism in Europe and anti-Semitism in other parts of the world.” He also acknowledged that the University needs to do more to “sustain [a welcoming] environment for… Jewish students.”
New Anti-BDS Strategy Scores Win as U Minnesota Drops Boycott Resolution
A new strategy against the campus Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement scored its first win Tuesday, The Algemeiner has learned, when the Student Association at the University of Minnesota voted to remove a BDS resolution from the agenda, rather than debate or vote on it.
The Minnesota chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) immediately issued a statement celebrating the result and describing the new strategy, in which pro-Israel campus advocates moved “from defense to offense.” The statement read, in part:
About a month ago a BDS campaign was launched at the University of Minnesota Campus. The activists of SSI came up with a pioneer strategy: instead of defending ourselves in the student government against the BDS resolution, our own resolution was submitted to be presented on the exact same day, making the debate in the student government a two-sided story by facing two resolutions.
SSI’s resolution called for the condemnation of antisemitism as defined by the US State Department, which includes certain forms and levels of criticizing Israel.
Faced with the prospect of debating and voting on the two opposing resolutions, the student government decided to remove both resolutions from the agenda, and, according to SSI’s statement, “BDS at the University of Minnesota was defeated.”
UT-Austin rejects discrimination claim by anti-Israel students who disrupted event
The students involved, led by Nabulsi, put together an edited video purporting to show Prof. Pedahzur being aggressive, and then launched a media campaign to villify Prof. Pedhazur. They also hired legal counsel to file a discrimination complaint with the university, again in a very public manner. The complaint was not made public.
The University then held some sort of investigatory function, again in a non-public manner. My Texas Open Records Requests seeking the complaint and the evidence, including the unedited video, were rebuffed by UT under the claim of student privacy. We may have to litigate that, and I’m in the process of obtaining counsel. The students’ attorney never provided the complaint, despite my request.
So we don’t know what has gone on in the investigation, but the University just announced on its website that it has rejected the complaint and cleared Prof. Pedhahzur completely
Business or BDS? British giant G4S drops Israel services
Did G4S (formerly Group 4 Securicor), the multinational British security services company, cave in to pressure from the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement?
The company on Wednesday announced its intention to sell its services in several fields, including its activities in Israel, due to losses sustained from business deals in Great Britain.
On Wednesday, the company's stocks plummeted by 16% on the London Stock Exchange.
BDS activists have intensified pressure against G4S in recent weeks, demanding that it cease doing business in Israel. The company supplies security equipment and services for use at Israeli prisons, checkpoints and Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
However, according to foreign reports, it was not clear whether the company's decision to sell its services in Israel was a result of pressure from the BDS movement or part of broader business-related considerations to balance its losses in other areas.
Union director who pushed for Israel boycott to leave role
The political director of Britain's biggest trade union is moving from her role following a series of anti-Israel controversies.
Jennie Formby has been involved in a number of incidents at Unite in the past five months.
She was said to have caused outrage at a Labour national executive committee meeting last week by complaining that the peer appointed to investigate claims of antisemitism among Labour-supporting students at Oxford University had previously visited Israel.
She was also one of the leaders of an attempt to get the party's NEC to boycott security firm G4S because of its work in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The JC understands there has been discontent over her outspoken comments. Her new role as the union's regional secretary in the south east region is a less prominent one.
German Jews slam Ulm academic center for modern Jew-hatred
German and Israeli groups, which monitor anti-Semitism in government funded organizations, slammed an adult education center in the city of Ulm for promoting contemporary anti-Semitism.
Levi Salomon of the Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, “Today anti-Semitism expresses itself in the appearance of criticism of Israel. No public money should be used for anti-Israeli propaganda. It is self-evident that the lecture should be canceled.”
Salomon, a leading expert on modern Jew-hatred in Germany, added that the Ulm Adult Education Center should offer balanced Middle East discussions at the center and not biased events against the Jewish state.
The municipal funded adult education center vh Ulm-- located in the German birthplace of Albert Einstein--is slated to host a speaker on Wednesday who supports the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The obscure anti-Israel activist Arn Strohmeyer will deliver a talk on playing down the dangers of anti-Semitism and attack the Jewish state.
Colorado Governor Stands With Israel And Rejects Boycott Call
Colorado’s governor says he supports a proposal to have the state’s public employee pension fund oppose a boycott seeking to punish Israel for its treatment of Palestinians.
The bill won tentative approval in the state Senate on Tuesday. It has already passed in the House.
The bill directs Colorado’s Public Employees Retirement Association to divest from foreign companies participating in the boycott.
“What it does is tell people, Israel is our ally, and what we want is peace,” said Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa.
Boycott supporters say it seeks to advance Palestinian independence and end Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Backers of the movement claim responsibility for pressuring large companies such as carbonated drink maker Soda Stream to stop or change operations in Israel or the West Bank.
Critics, however, accuse the movement of anti-Semitism for singling out Israel while ignoring countries with poor human rights records.
The pension fund’s board of directors opposes the bill. Directors said they didn’t want politics to influence investment decisions.
London Mayoral candidate pushed for Israel boycott
The UK Labour Party's candidate for Mayor of London pushed for sanctions against the State of Israel in the past, it has been revealed.
Sadiq Khan, a Labour MP who has been actively courting London's Jewish community ahead of the elections in May of this year, has repeatedly claimed during the campaign that he has always opposed boycotting the Jewish state.
But the UK's Jewish Chronicle revealed on Monday emails it said it received from one of Khan's top parliamentary aides to a meeting of the far-left Stop the War Coalition in February 2009, outlining how Khan lobbied officials to boycott Israel.
It claimed Khan had "regularly" been in contact with then Foreign Secretary David Miliband and other top officials.
The aide explicitly told how Khan "wrote to David Miliband… asking that sanctions be brought against Israel."
Addressing Stop the War - which is virulently anti-Israel - he vowed on behalf of the MP that "Sadiq's commitment to the situation in Palestine is longstanding and will, I can assure you, continue into the future."
Sparkasse Bank in Berlin apologizes for denying account to Israeli
The Berlin branch of the state-funded Sparkasse bank apologized on Monday for refusing to open an account to an Israeli citizen because of his nationality.
Constanze Stempel, a spokeswoman for the bank, wrote The Jerusalem Post that the bank "regrets and ensures that the matter was a misunderstanding. The rejection of the account did not have a political background and in no way corresponds to the policies of the Berliner Sparkasse.”
She added, “It was a regrettable mistake by a young female employee who is currently in a training program and was with the situation at that moment apparently overwhelmed. She deeply regrets the mistake.”
Ynet reported the Israeli, Yakir Avraham, sought to open an account at the bank’s Alexander square branch. He presented his Israeli passport and was told by the teller "I'm very sorry, but we cannot open up a bank account for you here. We aren't allowed to open accounts for citizens of countries under embargo,” according to Ynet.
Mordechai Kedar: Al Jazeera's deceitful behavior exposed
Al Jazeera's chief broadcaster himself admitted its deceit. Should Israel let this go by?
The Al Jazeera TV channel first went on the air towards the end of 1996, advertising itself as "Opinion and the Other Opinion," and purporting to create a new kind of media presence in the Arab world, one that would not simply repeat government propaganda - as did all the other existing government channels. It soon became clear, however, that this channel, which advertised itself as being objective, was infected with very specific agendas, especially with regard to the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offshoots, and most especially when it came to Hamas. In fact, Al Jazeera's staff is wholeheartedly committed to helping these organizations thrive.
Recently, we were privileged to hear an admission of guilt from the chief newscaster, the first man ever to appear on Al Jazeera's screen and the man who has the greatest influence on Al Jazeera's agenda – except for the Emir of Qatar, who funds the channel. He is Jamal Rian, a Jordanian-Palestinian born in Tul Karem. This past December, he appeared on a program called "We are Al Jazeera" in which a broadcaster talks about himself for half an hour, telling the audience about his family, where he was born and raised, his hobbies and professional background.
During Rian's half hour, he said the following, concerning an interview he conducted with me during the regular news broadcast on June 1, 2008, about eight years ago, the day the government of Israel decided to built a few hundred apartments at Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev in the Jerusalem area.
Al-Jazeera's chief anchor admits: Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran

Turkey's Runaway Anti-Semitism
When it comes to diplomatic conflict between Turkey and Israel or Turkish anti-Semitism, there is always an unusual optimism in the official language chosen by Israeli officials or Jewish community leaders. Facts on the ground are a little bit different than the rosy picture.
If Turkish Jews are "safe and secure" in Turkey, why do they feel compelled to protect their schools and synagogues with heavy security? Why do most synagogues in Istanbul look almost like a U.S. embassy in Baghdad or Islamabad?
Anti-Semitism in Turkey reached such intensity that even anti-Semitic Islamists were not immune to anti-Semitic smear campaigns.
Latvian lawmakers to participate in annual SS march through capital
Latvian SS veterans and their supporters, including several members of parliament, are set to march in the capital Riga next Wednesday in an event that has become an annual tradition.
At least several members of the All for Latvia party will march in the event, which marks the unofficial holiday of Latvian Legion Day, which honors those who fought in the German-organized, anti-Soviet Latvian SS Legion -a component of the Waffen SS- according to reports by the Baltic Course and TASS news agency. A countermarch is also expected to be held.
“Wednesday’s march of SS veterans is another example of the systematic efforts of post-Communist eastern European countries to rewrite the narrative of the World War Two and the Holocaust,” argued Dr. Efraim Zuroff, a Nazi hunter and the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office.
“It is incomprehensible how people who fought for the victory of Nazi Germany, the most genocidal regime in human history, can be honored in a country which is a member in good standing of both the European Union and Nato,” he continued, asserting that reports of parliamentarians participating only added to the “outrage.”
Sacha Baron Cohen screens previously-cut hoax footage of ex-KKK murderer
Fans of all faiths had come out to see a preview of “The Brothers Grimsby,” which opens nationally Friday. The screening was supposed to be followed by a Q&A with Cohen, so his appearance beforehand was a surprise.
Baron Cohen showed up early to introduce an 8-minute tape of unused footage from his 2009 film, “Bruno,” including an attempted prank interview with F. Glenn Miller, a violent white supremacist who had just been released from prison.
In the interview, Miller tells Bruno that “all the problems of white people pale in comparison to the problems of the Jewish menace.”
The conversation at Miller’s home is interrupted when a staffer “accidentally” trips and spills a drink on Bruno’s expensive trousers, forcing him to strip down to his underwear. Later, Bruno’s “boyfriend” storms in and accuses them of fraternizing. Miller threatens to do bodily harm, and everyone runs.
Afterward, in the safety of the car, Baron Cohen says he thought he saw Miller reaching for a gun.
The New York audience howled. Until, that is, on-screen text explained that the mark was the same F. Glenn Miller who shot three people at a Jewish center in Kansas City in 2014. After several quiet minutes, “The Brothers Grimsby” began.
The whole intro was typical Baron Cohen — outrageous, serious and, in a way, brave.
Poland to open museum honoring Poles who saved Jews
A museum honoring Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust will open next week in the southeastern village of Markowa, where Nazis killed a family of Poles for harboring Jews, organizers said Tuesday.
“A photo covered in drops of the victims’ blood is one of the most moving items that we have at the museum,” its director Mateusz Szpytma told reporters.
Nazi-occupied Poland was the only country in which the Germans had decreed that citizens risked death for helping Jews during World War II.
More than 6,600 Poles have been honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Israel’s Yad Vashem institute, the title given to non-Jews who stood up to Nazi genocide — outnumbering any other nationality.
The Top 5 Inventions Seen at Microsoft Israel R&D’s 25th Anniversary Event
Israeli technology is changing the world. Last week, at the Microsoft Israel R&D Center’s 25th anniversary event in Tel Aviv, this was proven yet again.
The event hosted dozens of booths housing Israeli innovations that showcased the start-ups’ inventions. Immigrants like myself made many of the inventions; immigrants tend to be among the most innovative people, often out of necessity. Think about Silicon Valley, which full of Asian and Indian immigrants who make it the tech hub that it is. This is exactly why Israel is jokingly called “Silicon Wadi.”
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella (an immigrant himself), was present at Israel’s Microsoft Anniversary Event plenary and offered an address that praised Israeli innovation: “There is no doubt that a country like Israel is going to change the world”. To hear that from the Microsoft CEO is promising to say the least- there are few people whose validation is worth so much as Satya Nadella’s validation.
Here are some of the top inventions showcased at the event, with a touch of my personal spin on them:
The Bible goes primetime with sexy ‘sacred’ soap opera
King David, “Warrior. Lover. Legend.” At least that’s the gospel from an unexpected source: network television.
Move over HBO and “Game of Thrones,” there’s a new drama series in town. On March 8, ABC premieres “Of Kings and Prophets,” depicting the biblical giants of the day – King Saul, his successor David, the Prophet Samuel — and a host of other familiar figures.
Based on the Books of Samuel, this Hollywood production takes plenty of historical liberties and a rather creative license – replete with mature themes and graphic violence – to depict the turmoil surrounding King Saul, the up-and-coming slingshot-wielding shepherd, David son of Jesse, and other palace intrigue.
In this version of the Hebrew Bible, a handsome cast of actors speaks in British accents with some awkward Hebrew pronunciations. The resourceful David is portrayed by Olly Rix, a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (BBC’s “The Musketeers”). His love interest, Saul’s beautiful daughter, the princess Michal, is played by Oxford-educated Maisie Richardson-Sellers (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”).
Mohammad Bakri, a native of Bi’ina in northern Israel, portrays the Prophet Samuel with an exotic regional accent, while Haaz Sleiman, who is Lebanese, plays Saul’s son, the swarthy Jonathan. Simone Kessell is an empowered queen as his mother, Saul’s wife, Ahinoam, and veteran British actor Ray Winstone plays a battle-weary King Saul.

Happy International Women's Day 2016

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