Monday, May 09, 2016

From Ian:

Israel turns 68 with 8.5 million people, 10 times more than in 1948
On the eve of Israel’s 68th birthday, the country’s population stands at 8,522,000, according to figures released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
There are 6,377,000 Jewish Israelis, 74.8% of the total population, and 1,771,000 Arab Israelis, 20.8% of the population, the bureau said. Christians, non-Arabs, and other minority groups account for 374,000 people, or 4.4% of the population.
By comparison, the nascent State of Israel had a population of just 806,000 in 1948.
Israel’s Independence Day begins with celebrations on Wednesday night, as the country transitions from Memorial Day — 24 hours of mourning for its fallen soldiers and terror victims.
In the 12 months since last Independence Day, the population increased by 182,000 people, a growth of 2.2%, the CBS said. During that period, 195,000 babies were born, 47,000 people passed away and some 36,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel. There are also some 192,000 foreigners in the country, based on figures from 2014.
Reebok releases new sneaker design in honor of Israel's 68th Independence Day
The Reebok shoe company released a new sneaker design on Monday in honor of Israel's 68th Independence Day celebrations.
The special edition sneaker is blue and white and has "Israel 68" engraved on it's heel.
Moshe Sinai, the CEO of Reebok Israel, explained that these sneakers were to be a one time celebratory release as a collector's item in Israel and the world.
The Independence Day sneaker features the Reebok "Pump" technology that allows the sneaker to form to the foot of its wearer. A push button releases compressed air into the shoe increasing the hold it has on the wearer's foot, allowing the shoe to maintain the person's natural step.
The shoe will be sold on Independence Day in an auction to take place on the Reebok Facebook page. All proceeds from the sale of the shoe will be donated to the organization Crossfit Without Borders which helps people with mental disabilities integrate into the Crossfit community.

BuzzFeed: 44 Totally Crazy #OnlyInIsrael Moments
1. #OnlyInIsrael does army radio broadcast government infomercials reminding listeners to call their grandparents.
2. #OnlyInIsrael does an IKEA showroom include a display Passover table, complete with matzah and haggadah booklets.
3. #OnlyInIsrael will the display on the front of the bus wish you a Happy Pesach.
4. #OnlyInIsrael can a secular, Jewish, female justice minister appoint judges to Shariah courts.
5. #OnlyInIsrael does the national air space completely close down for a whole day on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
6. #OnlyInIsrael do heroes of Jewish history meet at street corners, like “Ben Yehuda corner of Jabotinsky”, “Bar Kokhba corner of Dizengoff” and “Ibn Gabirol corner of King David”.
7. #OnlyInIsrael is pork on sale but euphemistically labelled “other meat”.
8. #OnlyInIsrael do soldiers walk around with a rifle over one shoulder and a lulav (ceremonial willow branch) over the other.
9. #OnlyInIsrael can a totally non-kosher café, that even serves bacon on Shabbat, offer customers freshly-baked challah on Fridays.
10. #OnlyInIsrael is the religious beach literally right next to the gay beach.

Indigenous activist advocates for Israelis’ ‘Native’ rights
It’s time the world — and Jews themselves — identify the People of the Book as indigenous people. At least, that’s the opinion of indigenous rights activist Ryan Bellerose of Alberta, Canada. He recently returned from his second trip to the Holy Land where he filmed a video supporting the concept for the Israeli advocacy group StandWithUs.
“Indigenous status means that your people had a coalescence and a genesis on the land,” says Bellerose, co-founder of Calgary United with Israel, which advocates “for the wellness and security of Jews and their national homeland.”
In a video that has attracted thousands of views since its release last month, Bellerose elaborates, “Everything that makes Jews Jewish — their spirituality, their traditions, their culture, their language, everything — it stems from Israel.”
Bellerose is a Métis from Northern Alberta — Native People recognized by the Canadian government as Aboriginal. His father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which the Alberta legislature passed in 1990, cementing Native land rights. In addition to Calgary United with Israel, Ryan also founded Canadians For Accountability, a Native rights advocacy group, and is an organizer in the “Idle No More” movement, which supports indigenous sovereignty and land and water stewardship.
A self-proclaimed Zionist who has published a long list of articles supporting Israel, Bellerose shared more about his passions in this interview with The Times of Israel.
Why the Jews Are Indigenous to Israel

David Collier: Two states, Israel, several rabbit holes and one straw man
The recent post by David Hirsh on Israel and the Two State solution and antisemitism played an unhealthy and unhelpful trick. Creating a straw man argument, an irredeemably flawed logic, through which all political opponents were smeared.
The article begins with a headline that holds some merit. “Opposing settlements is constructive criticism, not anti-Semitism”. An attack on a specific policy, is not in itself antisemitism. Or at least not the last time I checked. The trouble however, is that the arguments of Hirsh, like many of those who push a similar line, exist inside a rabbit hole.
The issue of Palestinian Nationalism
Here is the crunch. The Palestinian identity was forged as a response to British rule and Zionism. This is not the same as saying they ‘never existed’ as people. As a result, what binds many of the Arabs of Ramallah, of the Camps, of Gaza, is hatred towards pre-1967 Israel. Outside of this conflict, they have never functioned as a cohesive unit. Rather the opposite in fact, internally they are divided, with split loyalties, different histories and vastly divergent post-conflict goals. An area of feuding clans in a backwater part of the greater Arab nation, that unified under an adopted flag to oppose Zionism. The ‘occupation’ of 1967 therefore is not, nor has it ever been the problem.
What the ‘occupation’ is however, is a thorn in the side of those that both internally and externally seek to build an accommodation between two conflicting entities, one born to re-create the Jewish homeland, the other born to oppose that Jewish homeland. The two state solution is seen as a possible way of defusing the conflict. It argues that there are 2 endings, the total defeat of one of the competing sides, or the ‘sharing scheme’, where somehow both entities exist in the tiny area of land allotted to them. International opinion overwhelmingly favours this sharing scheme.
Whilst at every single election, Israelis *in the vast majority* vote for territorial compromise, the Palestinians made no such strides. As Fatah publicly indicated a willingness to perhaps live within the sharing paradigm, new and more radical groups emerged. The fleeting light of Oslo exposed a violent undercurrent of factionalised rejectionism. If you do not represent the unifying Palestinian cause, you will be replaced by those that will. Hence the rise of Hamas.
IsraellyCool: The Perfidious British Museum Jewish History Denial
Last week I was in London to speak on a panel: “Two State Solution: dead or alive?”. A video will be coming out soon and I’ll post about it. On the day of the debate I strolled into the British Museum to have a look at the vast array of historical treasures the British half inched largely in the course of running two thirds of the world for a while.
As I tweeted when I entered: “Guess what they don’t have at the BRITISH Museum. British stuff.” They actually do have one or two bits of British history, but the vast majority of the contents come from far flung corners of the world. I’m quite a fan of these treasures being kept there, especially the stuff from Islamic countries and especially those who blow up and destroy history.
I searched out one hall of interest: “Ancient Levant”. The hall begins with the following information.
Ancient Levant 7500BC – 332BC
The ancient Levant comprises modern Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and western Syria. The region was home to two great indigenous peoples – the Canaanites and the Amorites.
Life for the people in the Levant was defined by their dealings with their neighbours – firstly through trade and commerce, then through domination by the Egyptian, Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian empires.

I started my panel talk by asking “The Levant was home to two great indigenous peoples – the Canaanites and who else?”. If anyone said Amorites, I didn’t hear them. Well I guess I should be grateful they don’t list “Palestinians” as a great indigenous people shouldn’t I?
While the first sentence, listing “modern Palestine” – whatever that is – before the state of Israel is bad enough, the second sentence, which wipes out Jewish connection to the land of Israel, is absolutely astonishing.
NGO Monitor: Analysis of the 2016 UN Committee Against Torture Review of Israel
This week (beginning May 2), Israel is being reviewed by the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) as part of its periodic review of country compliance with the International Convention Against Torture. Five other signatories to the convention – France, Turkey, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines – are also under review during this CAT session.
NGOs (non-governmental organizations) wield significant clout at the CAT. These groups submit reports on the compliance of states to the treaty, and conduct private briefings with the Committee to discuss countries’ practices. Accredited organizations may also attend the country sessions as observers and submit additional materials to the committee regarding follow-up of committee recommendations. In turn, the official UN webpage for CAT features links to the sites of several powerful NGOs, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and FIDH (France), giving these groups free advertising and credibility not offered to others.
Ahead of this session, Israel has once again become the focus of undue and disproportionate attention from a number of NGOs that have invented new standards of torture to further their political goal of demonizing and marginalizing Israel. Many of the NGOs that submit information regarding Israel are involved in anti-Israel demonization and BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) campaigns. Moreover, the sheer number of NGO submissions regarding Israel (13) is greater than those submitted on such serial human rights offenders as Saudi Arabia (7), Turkey (6), Tunisia (7)and the Philippines (8), highlighting a disproportionate focus on Israel. (NGO Monitor provided its own submission, highlighting the abuse of the CAT process and offering recommendations to improve it.)
NGO Monitor: HRW's and Yesh Din's Israel-bashing at the UN Security Council
Political NGOs, in conjunction with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, often drive anti-Israel agendas at the United Nations. This dynamic can be seen in the Human Rights Council, OCHA, Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and similar frameworks.
On Friday (May 6), the NGO element was in full force at a special meeting of the UN Security Council – a new arena for demonization.
Some background: Human rights stalwarts Egypt, Angola, Malaysia, Senegal, and Venezuela convened a special “Arria-formula” meeting of the Security Council, to discuss a “protection crisis for the Palestinian people.” “Arria-formula” meetings are “very informal, confidential gatherings which enable Security Council members to have a frank and private exchange of views” – in this case relating to allegations of Israeli violations of human rights and international law.
As reported in Israeli media, at the meeting, the Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations made an antisemitic slur, asking if Israel was seeking “to wage a final solution” against the Palestinians. He later issued a quasi-apology “if” the “Jewish people…were offended by the remarks.”
The session was led by the NGOs, and their Israel-bashing allegations preceded the ambassador’s ugly comments.
From Lebanon, a sparkling, contemplative war memoir on the dimming of a generation’s hope
In his new book ‘Pumpkinflowers,’ Matti Friedman — an Israeli soldier in Lebanon, then a tourist there, and now a Jerusalem father of 3 — shows that the men who tried to kill him in the late 1990s were the pioneers of a new type of conflict, now in hideous full bloom
The Pumpkin, an Israeli fort in south Lebanon, first entered Matti Friedman’s mind in the winter of 1997. It was the voice of the radio news announcer that imprinted it there, with the announcement, delivered on a wet Jerusalem day, that his friend, Mordechai, had been gravely wounded in combat with Hezbollah guerrillas.
A week later, Friedman [a close friend of mine and a former Times of Israel reporter], went to visit Mordechai along with another friend: “We went to the hospital in Haifa and were in the corridor when a nurse passed going the other way, pushing a skeletal old man hunched in a wheelchair. I paid the man no mind until he lifted his right hand from the armrest, barely, and said my name, and it was him — bloodied, crippled, twenty-one years old, with the grin of a corpse.”
In the hospital, Friedman wrote, he couldn’t quite picture what had happened to his friend or where it had happened. “Mordechai appeared to us like an explorer returned from a world unreachable from our own.”
But reach it Friedman has: first as a soldier, then as a civilian — in a move whose daring is artfully downplayed — and finally as a reporter. What emerges in “Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story” is a fascinating memoir about a war that still has no name, no ribbon, and no official monument to the fallen. Every year — from 1985, when Israel withdrew from Lebanon leaving only a slim territorial buffer known as the Security Zone in the south, until May 2000, when it withdrew further, to the internationally recognized border — some two dozen soldiers were killed annually in that hilly country to Israel’s north.
JPost Editorial: London's new mayor
What does Sadiq Khan’s victory in London’s mayoral elections mean for the Jews? Based on Khan’s past association with anti-Jewish Islamists, there might be room for concern. Looking to the future, though, his election presents a unique opportunity.
In 2003, for example, Khan shared a stage with Yasser al-Siri, who was convicted in 2005 for assisting the man behind the World Trade Center bombing in New York, and Sajeel abu Ibrahim, who ran a terrorist camp that trained the ringleader of the 2005 7/7 London bomb attacks.
Khan has also publicly defended Yusuf Qaradawi, long influential within the Muslim Brotherhood, telling Britain’s Select Committee on Home Affairs that he “is not the extremist that he is painted as being.” He has come to the defense of Babar Ahmad, convicted of conspiracy and providing material to support Islamist terrorism.
In 2006, by which time he had been elected to Parliament, Khan was one of the signatories of a letter to The Guardian that blamed terrorist attacks such as 7/7 on British foreign policy.
Khan was one of the 36 Labor MPs who helped get Jeremy Corbyn on the party’s ballot in the hope of broadening the debate (though he did not vote for Corbyn in the leadership contest itself).
And Khan has made controversial statements that seem to undermine his image as a “moderate” Muslim.
In 2009, in an interview to Iran’s Press TV, he referred to moderate Muslims as “Uncle Toms.” In the same interview he seemed to show support for boycotts of Israel.
Meet the First Muslim Mayor of London
Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith accused Khan of giving "platform, oxygen and cover" to Islamic extremists. He also accused Khan of "hiding behind Britain's Muslims" by branding as "Islamophobes" those who shed light on his past.
"The questions are genuine, they are serious. They are about his willingness to share platforms with people who want to 'drown every Israeli Jew in the sea.' It's about his having employed someone who believed the Lee Rigby murder was fabricated. It's about his career before being an MP, coaching people in how to sue the police." — Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith.
In 2008, Khan gave a speech at the Global Peace and Unity Conference, an event organized by the Islam Channel, which has been censured repeatedly by British media regulators for extremism. Members of the audience were filmed flying the black flag of jihad while Khan was speaking.
"I regret giving the impression I subscribed to their views and I've been quite clear I find their views abhorrent." — Sadiq Khan.
"A Muslim man with way too many extremist links to be entirely coincidental is now the Mayor of London. I suppose this is hardly a shock, though. The native English are a demographic minority (and a rapidly dwindling one) in London, whilst Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh are a rapidly expanding demographic." — British politician Paul Weston.
The Mottle Wolfe Show: Has London Fallen?
London is the first major Western city to elect a Muslim mayor. Are those that say this is a foreboding sign, racists, or are they justified? Who is the new Mayor? Turns out he does have a Jihadist past. Also is the US Republican beginning to devour itself over Donald Trump?

London’s new mayor makes Holocaust memorial his first official function
Sadiq Khan, London’s newly elected mayor and the first Muslim to head a Western capital, on Sunday made attending British Jewry’s annual memorial to the millions of Jews slain in the Holocaust his first official function in office.
Khan’s appearance at the north London ceremony came days after the end of a racially charged election campaign, during which Conservative Party opponents sought to portray him as an apologist for Islamic extremism and highlighted cases of alleged anti-Semitism within the ranks of Khan’s Labour Party.
Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Khan said he was “honored that my first public engagement will be such a poignant one, where I will meet and hear from Jewish survivors and refugees who went through unimaginable horrors in the Holocaust,” the Guardian reported.
The event inside a rugby stadium brought together thousands from London’s Jewish community, including more than 150 Holocaust survivors and a combined choir from five Jewish elementary schools.
New London Mayor Promises to Create “Londonistan” (satire)
Newly elected London Mayor, Sadiq Khan has promised right-wing American bloggers that he will be carrying out the secret plan to create “Londonistan” just as soon as he finishes this nice cup of tea and gets through a very small list of minor tasks.
“Apparently there are just some very small things on my to-do list that I have to get to before turning my home city into a hell hole of religious fundamentalism,” Mr Khan commented.
“I see from my notes that I have to handle policing, the environment and housing issues for 8.5 million people. That does sound like it will take up most of the morning. Then there’s transport and ensuring we maintain our position as a world financial capital. That will probably take me to teatime. Which reminds me, are there any biscuits?”
“But I’m pretty sure that I can get onto the agenda that Donald Trump thinks I have, by tomorrow. Though I’m not sure how seriously I should take a man that looks like the love child of Ann Coulter and a bunch of Tribbles.”
“Speaking of Trek, I’m a peaceful family man but I swear on a stack of Korans that the next person who shouts “KHAAAAAAAAAAN!” in a bad William Shatner impression when I enter a room is going to get a proper beating from my security detail.”
Muslims play a prominent role among Labour party anti-Semitic inciters
To do full justice to the explosion of anti-Semitic slurs in the British Labour Party and the debate would require a lengthy essay. This would have to examine subjects such as the negative role of Labour’s new leader Jeremy Corbyn, how his predecessor Ed Miliband prepared the ground for the current situation, the disproportionate presence of Muslims among the perpetrators, the reactions to the anti-Semitic slurs in the party itself as well as outside comments including those of Jewish voices, the pro-Palestinian bias of Labour and the lengthy history of British anti-Semitism.
Below, one of these subjects is addressed: the predominance of Muslims among the purveyors of Labour’s anti-Semitism.
Jeremy Corbyn, an extreme leftist parliamentarian won the Labour party leadership in September 2015, garnering almost 60% of the votes. Corbyn had once described it as his “honor and pleasure” to host “our friends” from Hamas and Hezbollah in parliament. When Prime Minister David Cameron asked him explicitly to take these expressions back, Corbyn stonewalled and refused to do so. It also became known that he had regular contacts with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.
After several weeks of disclosures about anti-Semitic remarks by Labour representatives, it suddenly became known at the beginning of May that as many as fifty people had been suspended by the party for racial and anti-Semitic utterances.
As so often among Muslim anti-Semites around the world, in addition to attacking Israel they also incite against Jews.
While not all of the most extreme anti-Semitic slurs disclosed were made by Muslim representatives of the party, they represented a disproportionately large percentage of the anti-Semitic perpetrators. Salim Mulla was one of those suspended. This councilor and former mayor of Blackburn claimed that Israel was behind ISIS.
'We're worried about the Labour Party, not a Muslim mayor'
Rabbi Yonatan Abraham, the head of London’s rabbinic court and Vice President of the European Jewish Congress, responded on Saturday night to news that Labour UK candidate Sadiq Khan had been certified winner of London’s mayoral election.
Khan, the first Muslim Mayor of London, won the election after eight years of Conservative control, despite ongoing scandals involving anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.
Rabbi Abraham acknowledged the Jewish community’s anxiety over the election, but emphasized that the concerns were not targeted at Khan personally or his religion.
“We’re worried more by the fact that a Labour man was chosen than the fact that he is a Muslim,” said Rabbi Abraham.
“The Labour Party concerns us, since there are people within it who have shown themselves to be very hateful of Israel.”
Abraham tempered his criticism, however, suggesting that Khan would expand welfare services and benefit lower income residents.
George Galloway was humiliated in London. Hooray!
It’s rare that an election result leaves you with a sense of giddy, disbelieving glee, but there it was in black and white. Galloway, George, Respect (George Galloway) Party, 37,007 votes. Walker, Sophie, Women’s Equality Party, 53,055 votes. Once you took second preferences into account, Walker and her newly formed feminist movement beat Galloway and his band of Islamists by almost 100,000 votes.
This result is so striking, and so perfect, because Galloway is one of those old-fashioned socialists whose attitudes towards gender equality are distinctly retrograde: it is the man’s job to further the revolutionary cause and the woman’s to provide dutiful comradely support. Indeed, while he may not be the only misogynist in British politics, he is certainly the most notorious. Famously, he claimed that what Julian Assange was accused of was not rape ‘as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it’: it was merely ‘bad sexual etiquette’. ‘Not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion,’ he added, prompting the then leader of his Respect Party, Salma Yaqoob, to resign in disgust.
Then there was the vicious and viciously personal campaign he sanctioned against Naz Shah, the Labour candidate, in the Bradford West election in 2015: part of what Dawn Butler, chair of the women’s Parliamentary Labour Party, called his ‘ugly track record in opposing Labour women’.
The most important thing is not, however, that Galloway has been beaten by the feminists, but that he has been beaten full stop. Not just beaten: humiliated. He ended up in seventh place, with just 1.4 per cent of the vote, a result so crushing to his ego that he didn’t even bother to turn up for the count.
Swedish deputy PM who called 9/11 ‘accidents’ quits as Green Party head
Sweden’s deputy prime minister, who called the September 11, 2001 attacks “accidents” while defending a colleague who compared Israel to the Nazis, stepped down Monday as co-leader of the Green Party.
Asa Romson, who served as environment minister, came under fire last month for her remarks about the terror attacks on New York and Washington.
According to Swedish news site TheLocal, Romson and party co-head Education Minister Gustav Fridolin have been under increasing pressure to bring new blood into the party leadership, in light of a series of scandals and plummeting popularity. Fridolin, however, is expected to stay on as party co-chair.
The crisis began three weeks ago, when Green Party member Mehmet Kaplan resigned as housing minister after the Swedish media reported on his alleged links to extremists in his native Turkey and it emerged that he compared Israel to the Nazis in 2009.
Days later, Romson made her own controversial remarks in his defense.
How Many Molenbeeks in France?
"There are today, we know, a hundred neighborhoods in France that present potential similarities with what's happened in Molenbeek." — Patrick Kanner, Minister for Urban Areas.
The Salafists, in fact, do not want to "take the power in these neighborhoods." In many, they already have it.
"The farther I walked between the buildings, the more I was stunned. A courtyard of Islamist miracles; an enclave that wants to live like during the times of Muhammad. Bakery, hairdresser... It's a mini Islamic Republic. During the sermons, they denounce, they criminalize. A woman who smokes? A degenerate. A woman who does not veil herself? A tease. A man that does not eat halal? He has an express ticket to hell." — Paris Match.
Remadna received a death threat over the phone: "We know where your kids go to school," and "your daughter is very pretty." The next day, a delegation of completely veiled Salafist "true Muslim mothers" came and told her, "We want mosques, not schools."
Court: Thwarted Belgian terror cell had bomb-making chemicals
A Belgian terror cell with links to the Paris and Brussels attacks had acquired bomb-making chemicals before it was smashed by police last year, a judge said Monday at the opening of the trial of the cell’s members.
Seven men who went on trial Monday in a Brussels court were arrested after a deadly raid in the Belgian town of Verviers in January 2015, which exposed an alleged plot to kill police officers.
Nine suspects who are still at large are being tried in their absence.
The presiding judge, Pierre Hendrickx, said the police who raided the Verviers hideout discovered weapons, munitions and chemical products that could have been used to make four kilograms (8.8 pounds) of TATP.
TATP is the highly volatile homemade explosives that Islamic State jihadists used in both the November 13 Paris attacks and the March 22 Brussels bombings.
Hendrickx listed the chemicals as five liters (1.3 gallons) of bleach, 15 liters of acetone and 12 liters of hydrogen peroxide. He said police also found an electrical item that could have been used as a detonator.
Found on 8 terror detainees: Kill-list, guide for sniper rifle, and bomb-making manual
SINGAPORE - Members of the so-called Islamic State in Bangladesh (ISB) that was formed in Singapore in March had identified several possible targets in Bangladesh that include members of Parliament, ministers, and media personnel, a kill-list released by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday (May 3) showed.
In a document titled "We Need for Jihad Fight", the group, set-up by S-Pass holder Rahman Mizanur, 31, also listed military targets such as the Border Guard of Bangladesh, the Air and Navy Forces, as well as the "Rapid Action Batalian", Bangladesh's elite counterterrorism force.
Also targeted were police officers as well as "disbelievers".
"The ISB members had intended to join the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as foreign fighters," said the statement.
"However, as they felt that it would be difficult for them to make their way to Syria, they focused their plans instead on returning to Bangladesh to overthrow the democratically-elected government through the use of force, establish an Islamic state in Bangladesh and bring it under ISIS' self-declared caliphate."
Why we sued the American Studies Association
In the past few years, the American Studies Association (ASA) has been diverted from its scholarly mission—promoting the study of American culture—to a political one, by leaders seeking to turn the ASA into an organization that advocates for social change far beyond American borders, and with an unwavering focus on delegitimizing Israel. This effort culminated in a resolution for an academic boycott of Israel in December 2013.
The Israel boycott was put together by a small group that has commandeered the ASA, and is opposed by a substantial number of ASA members. It has torn the group asunder. It has sullied the name of the ASA. And, we contend, it violates the law.
Recently, the four of us filed a lawsuit against the ASA to return the group to its core scholarly mission. We are lifelong academics in the field of American studies.
All of us care deeply about the study of American civilization. We have given our professional lives to the study of this rich field, and through our teaching, we seek to pass along our passion to our students. Combined, we have been teaching American studies for approximately 150 years. One of us is the editor of the ASA’s Encyclopedia of American Studies and an ab officio officer of the ASA, and another is a former editor of the annual Bibliography Issue of the American Quarterly, the official journal of the ASA. Two of us are winners of the Marie Turpie Prize, the ASA’s award for outstanding teaching, advising and program development in American studies.
We now fear what will happen to academic programming in American studies. We see how the ASA’s anti-Israel boycott has alienated our students. Few of our students and fellow faculty members attend ASA meetings any longer.
The main claim of our suit is that using a boycott to attack Israel is outside the scope of the ASA’s own legal purpose, enshrined in its corporate charter, which is to promote “the study of American culture” and the “broadening of knowledge about American culture.”
Lincoln University Disaffiliates From NUS
Two week ago Guido brought you news of a national campaign to disaffiliate from the NUS, well since then the number of universities with campaigns to leave has doubled again to 25. Students disgruntled with the new “Zionist-led media” bashing president and attempt to block commemorations of Holocaust Memorial Day are set to be voting en masse to leave over the next few months. One university has wasted no time in doing so – Lincoln, which won the NUS Union of the Year Award in 2014, voted resolutely to leave the NUS last week, with the result announced today. Exeter and Newcastle are set to follow them on Thursday, where the union is begging students to stay on with texts and presidential visits. Students are starting to realise that it’s not worth being part of an anti-democratic, power-grabbing organisation run by loonies…
Pew Survey a wake up call on anti-Israel activism on campuses
The takeaway from the Pew survey is that the younger generation is moving away from overwhelming Israel support, particularly the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party as reflected in Bernie Sanders supporters being more sympathetic towards Palestinians.
None of this is a great surprise. The anti-Israel movement, reflected most prominently in the BDS movement and its groups, has not achieved any major measurable electoral or political success in the U.S. But at least on campuses for the past several years, the relentless anti-Israel propaganda and smear campaign has the effect of portraying the Palestinians as pure victims, and the Israelis as pure victimizers.
The BDS movement on campus is not actually about divestment resolutions or boycotts — those are mere tactics. The goal is to shift the dialogue to how bad Israel is. Thus, if a BDS group can get the campus to spend weeks or months arguing whether Israel is merely bad, or so bad that it should be boycotted, BDS considers a voting loss to be a win. What is important is to put Israel on trial.
Faculty play a key role in setting this campus atmosphere. As we have documented here dozens if not hundreds of times, anti-Israel faculty devote themselves to the anti-Israel cause and use their influence to push the agenda. Hiding behind academic freedom, they have in reality abandoned academics in their classes and become political activists who teach. They are proud of that.
I can’t say to a certainty that the Pew findings among millennials reflect this anti-Israel campus activism, but there is no other identifiable source. That there is a pro-Israel trend among all sectors of the population other than the youngest progressives supports this conclusion.
It's Hate-Before-Profits In Kuwait Airways' Flight Ban Of Israelis (And Israeli-Americans)
Oil-rich Kuwait is a land of disturbing contradictions. The citizens of this monarchy enjoy high literacy, yet suffer huge restrictions on speech and press. It’s a deeply religious country, yet bribery is widespread and public officials engage in corruption with impunity. There are no laws in Kuwait protecting women from domestic violence or sexual harassment, and yet its women are among the freest in the Arab business world. Case in point: Rasha Al Roumi, the chairperson and CEO of Kuwait Airways, the country’s wholly-owned flagship carrier.
When it comes to hatred of Israel, however, in many regards Kuwait flies solo. Due to peace agreements, Israel has long enjoyed full diplomatic relations, and mutual air travel, with Jordan and Egypt. Other Arab nations, ignoring the 71-year-old Arab League boycott of Israel, quietly do at least some business with Israel — and allow Israelis to board their passenger planes on flights that run between certain foreign countries.
But the Emir of Kuwait, like the fabled spear-carrying Don Quixote, still sees value in chasing old windmills. In his view, even one Zionist must be viewed as excess baggage, and — despite the filing of discrimination complaints in the U.S. and Europe against his airline — the monarchy won’t budge. At Kuwait Airways, a permanent blackout period is always in effect for Israelis at their ticket counters, anywhere on the planet. It’s a position that, in the long haul, may cause disaster for the long-suffering, unprofitable airline.
Here’s why: Sometime last week, with no public announcement, Kuwait Airways (KAC) quietly halted all of its intra-European routes. The move came on the heels of criminal and civil lawsuits filed against the airline in mid-April in Switzerland, on behalf of an Israeli national who was denied a ticket on a KAC flight from Geneva to Frankfurt.
Robert Fisk praises extremist who called Zionists “Nazis with beards and black hats”.
Here’s what The Independent’s ‘award winning’ Middle East analyst Robert Fisk wrote about Jewish writer Norman Finkelstein in his May 5th op-ed, in the context of praising the putatively pro-Palestinian sympathies of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Again, it was a Jewish academic – Norman Finkelstein, another noble soul like Gideon Levy – who has been pointing out that Sanders, the first Jewish presidential candidate in US history, has been “sweeping the Arab vote” in all the primaries and “forged a principled alliance with Arabs and Muslims”.
A “noble soul”?
You might recognize the following image that Finkelstein shared on his blog on August 4, 2014 suggesting the ‘Jewish problem’ in the Middle East can be solved “transporting” Israel’s Jews to America.
BBC’s ME Editor gives unchallenged amplification to Palestinian defamation
Bowen of course neglects to remind listeners that those “security regulations” came into being because of Palestinian terrorism. Like Yolande Knell before him, he then goes on to amplify unsupported claims and blatant falsehoods from family members of attackers.
“Mourners gathered at the house of the Taha family. They were angry because Israeli private security guards had shot dead Ibrahim Taha aged 16 and his sister Maram who was 23 at a checkpoint into north Jerusalem. Maram allegedly threw a knife at the police. The family say they were both innocent – shot in cold blood by trigger-happy guards. Tahri [phonetic] Taha said her brother and sister didn’t have a chance.”
Voice-over: “They’re used to this. It’s normal for them. They kill us. They kill innocent children in cold blood. Our martyrs are in heaven – that’s enough for us. They’re used to this. It’s in their blood. They want to get rid of us in any way. They have a law: whenever they see an Arab their policy is to kill them. Killing is their policy – even old people and kids.”
Bowen: “Her uncle Abdallah joined in.”

Listeners then hear a man speaking in Arabic – including the words ‘al Yahud’ – the Jews. Bowen paraphrases his words as follows:
“He’s gesturing at the moment, saying if you scratch your head, they’ll kill you. If you just pick something off the ground, they’ll kill you. If you pick the phone out of your pocket, they’ll kill you.”
Jeremy Bowen of course knows full well that the claims made by both those interviewees are gross falsehoods.
BBC’s Bowen does maintenance on his framing of a Middle East story
But what Bowen has primarily come to do in Jerusalem is some maintenance on his long-standing project of deflecting attention away from Palestinian incitement (in accordance with PLO guidance) and encouraging audiences to adopt the view that the acts of terror perpetrated by Palestinians should be attributed to one cause alone.
“But hundreds of conversations with Palestinians over many years here have convinced me that the biggest factor that shapes their attitudes to Israel is not the incitement to hate but the occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, that started after Israel’s victory in the 1967 Middle East war.
When Palestinians who agitate against Israel find an audience, it is because of the way that the occupation, which is inherently violent, has overshadowed and controlled Palestinian lives for almost 50 years.”

As ever, Bowen fails to provide audiences with the relevant context concerning the background to the Six Day War and conscientiously avoids giving them any information concerning the legal status of Judea and Samaria before they were belligerently occupied by Jordan in 1948. For Bowen – and, he hopes, his audiences – all that is relevant is ‘the Israeli occupation’ because that is what enables his ensuing framing of the conflict.
“The issues here do not change much. Two peoples have been fighting for generations about one piece of land. That is still the core of the conflict.”
Greek Jews protest ‘Judas burning’ tourist attraction
The Greek Jewish community has protested to the Greek National Tourism Agency after its website and brochures listed the Easter practice of “Judas burning” as a recommended folk attraction.
This custom perpetuates anti-Semitic feelings and it is characteristic that in other European countries it has almost vanished,” said the letter sent Friday by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.
The tourism website tells travelers they “can observe the ancient ritual of ‘Judas Burning’ reviving: an effigy of Judas made by wood and straw- and filled with explosives- is set on fire!”
The same information was also included in a brochure handed out by the Greek Embassy in Washington DC, the letter said.
Armenian and Jewish groups band together to form European diaspora coalition
The European Parliament hosted on Monday a symposium led by A Europe of Diasporas that married a myriad of advocacy groups representing Jewish, Roma, Armenian and Assyrian diasporas into one network, PanArmenian reported.
The conference revolved around two distinct areas of focus, education and the need to incorporate the diaspora narrative into the larger European consciousness. One representative stressed the importance of embracing multilingualism in children of diasporas within the educational framework.
The need for "inclusive narratives" was also discussed at the forum and focused particularly on the diasporas' absence from the media as well as public discourse. Additionally, the charter emphasized the significance of genocide awareness.
According to the coalition's website, A Europe of Diasporas is "dedicated to cooperation between European diaspora and...aims to create a meeting of minds between activists and thinkers."
Israel close to signing gas agreement with Turkey
An energy deal between the two countries is close says Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and reports in the Turkish media.
Israel is closer than ever to signing an agreement to export natural gas to Turkey, according to reports in the Turkish and global press and statements by Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz in an interview at the end of last week with the "Bloomberg" news agency. Turkey wants to consume half of the quantity of gas in the Leviathan gas reservoir, starting in 2020. In the second stage, gas may be transported from Turkey to Europe through a pipeline.
"We have a strong connection with Israel, and importing Israeli gas to Turkey is a big deal for us," Zorlu Holdings CEO Omer Yungul said last week, adding that his company wanted to import 8 BCM of gas in the near future.
Zorlu is involved in the Israeli electricity sector, and together with Adeltech and Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline, is a partner in private power station Dorad Energy. Adeltech and Zorlu also plan to build two more private power stations in Israel, and last January signed a gas supply contract with Leviathan.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s son champions father's dream for Ethiopian Jews
The shared humanity and vision of Martin Luther King Jr. and Jewish leaders during the Civil Rights Movement period forged a special bond between two peoples in the United States.
More than 50 years later, King’s oldest son, Martin Luther King III, sat beside Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky in Jerusalem on Sunday to further that dream by presenting three Israelis with the 2016 Unsung Hero Award for championing the rights of the country’s marginalized Ethiopian community.
The awards come from the Drum Major Institute, a civil rights organization established in 1961 by the senior King and his Jewish adviser Harry Wachtel that was later revived in 1999 by Wachtel’s son William and King’s son, who serves as president.
On Sunday morning, King joined forces with Sharansky to honor singer Idan Raichel, former member of Knesset Pnina Tamanu-Shata, who was born in Ethiopia, and journalist Anat Saragusti, for their activism on behalf of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants.
Sharansky referred to his incarceration in the Soviet Union and to the protests in the US that helped set him free, which occurred while operations to bring thousands of Ethiopians to Israel were under way. Being with King’s son in Israel felt like coming “full circle,” he said.
New UK campaign - it's 'payback time' for the EU
As the UK is poised ahead of a fateful vote on whether or not to remain in the EU, a group of concerned British ex-pats and Israelis have launched a new "Support Israel-Leave Europe" campaign to get Britain out of the EU and stop helping its efforts against the Jewish state.
The campaign, which is funded by Jewish land rights watchdog Regavim and whose website can be viewed here, has launched a humorous video of Hamas terrorists calling on the UK to stay in the EU to continue helping fund the terrorists in their fight against Israel.
Regavim's work on the project comes amid their legal battle against the EU over its funding of illegal Arab settlements in Area C, the region in Judea and Samaria designated as being under full Israeli control by the 1994 Oslo Accords and which contains all the Jewish residents. Area A is under complete Arab control and only security in Area B is controlled by Israel.
The new "Support Israel-Leave Europe" campaign presents several major reasons why those who support the Jewish state should want to see Britain leave and consequently weaken the EU.
Firstly, the EU has paid millions in aid money to the Palestinians, a large portion of which is going directly to pay the salaries of terrorist murderers.

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