Monday, June 06, 2016

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: The Dangers of Subcontracting EU Foreign Policy to Fringe NGOs
In 1995, the European Union’s Barcelona Conference launched the grand-sounding Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, a massive effort encompassing the countries of North Africa, Israel, Syria and Jordan. The main objective was to establish economic and political frameworks to stabilize the Arab regimes; the second goal was to compete with the US in Arab-Israeli peace making after Oslo.
Both missions failed. But in the process and through a very large budget, the EU built alliances with a number of highly politicized NGOs. Through frameworks such as Partnership for Peace and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, and via delegation offices in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Amman, the EU began bankrolling dozens of NGOs, including the Israeli B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence and Adalah and the hard-core Palestinian political NGO, Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ), a hard-core Palestinian political NGO receiving close to €1 million annually. This NGO funding was and still is decided in great secrecy and without external oversight.
Within post-Cold War Europe, NGOs, known collectively as civil society, are seen as important contributors to the democratic process, providing alternative voices which are, in theory, untainted by party politics and narrow interests. To this end, select NGOs active in EU member states receive an estimated two billion euros annually from government budgets – a huge amount by any standard.
But not all this funding goes towards strengthening European democracy; the Barcelona framework extended the relationship between EU governments and NGOs to the very different realm of foreign policy –especially with regard to the complex Israeli-Palestinian issues.
Engagement with a narrow group of political NGOs became a substitute for direct EU interaction with Middle Eastern governments and the wider political spectrum. Thus, the EU-NGO relationship took the form of policy outsourcing or subcontracting, particularly as EU experts and resources in this realm are very limited compared to major countries like the US, UK, France and Germany.
UK professors refuse “Israeli money” but merrily take Arab funds
The Israeli Dan David Foundation annually awards a prize of one million dollars to scientists, writers, musicians, thinkers, politicians. The British historian Catherine Hall, a feminist chosen for her research on the British empire, shared the prestigious Israeli Prize this year with two other scholars, the French Arlette Farge and Australian Inga Clendinnen.
The prize is named after philanthropist Dan David, it is administered by Tel Aviv University and has been awarded to former US Vice President Al Gore, former British prime minister Tony Blair, the city of Istanbul, the Warburg Library of London, theatrical talents such as Tom Stoppard and Peter Brook, novelists such as Margaret Atwood and Amitav Ghosh, Muslims such as Goenawan Mohamad. Professor of History at University College London.
Catherine Hall, however, refused the prize, along with $300,000, because it is Israeli money and she had joined the boycott movement against the Jewish State.
In Great Britain, “Islamic studies centers” have been set up in the major universities. A report by Anthony Glees, director of Brunel University’s Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, estimates that the Saudi rulers have spent 233 million pounds in these English universities. Including that University College London of Catherine Hall, which also has a campus in Qatar and has recently accepted a loan from Abu Dhabi.
This is the reason these English barons, who are shamefully boycotting the Israeli Jews, never raise the veil on abuses in the Islamic crescent.
June 1967: anti-Jewish riots in Tunisia
Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Tunisia on 5 June 1967. Although no deaths resulted, the Jews took the hint - and 13, 000 Tunisian Jews left within the year. David B Green writes in Haaretz (with thanks: Lily):
Unlike other Arab and Muslim states, which effectively expelled their Jews in the period surrounding Israel’s establishment, Tunisia went to some lengths to keep its Jews from leaving. There were several waves of departures, but they had more to do with the overall policies of the revolutionary government of Habib Bourguiba than with explicitly anti-Jewish actions.
Bourguiba (1903-2000), who became president when Tunisia was granted independence from France, in 1956, was a benign dictator who was determined to modernize the economy and society. Among other moves he eliminated the Ottoman-era system that gave significant powers of self-rule to protected religious communities and dissolved the rabbinical courts. He also ordered the unification of the country’s network of Jewish organizations into a single “Jewish Religious Council,” whose members he appointed. And, under the pretext of slum clearance, the Jewish Quarter in Tunis was bulldozed under.



Vic Rosenthal: America crosses the line
A 25-year old woman who is running for Congress in California has been the target of a remarkably ugly campaign of anti-Jewish abuse.
After Erin Schrode’s personal information was posted on a neo-Nazi website, she received hundreds of messages of anti-Jewish abuse, including death and rape threats.
It’s beyond horrible. Unfortunately, her response misses the point. She wrote on her Facebook page,
This unspeakable vitriol goes far beyond anti-Semitism. It is not merely an attack on me or on one people, but rather an attack on any individual or group who is targeted because of faith, race, nationality, gender, ability, orientation or other arbitrary classification.
No, it is precisely an attack on you and your people. Saying that it is in some way a generalized expression of hatred deemphasizes the sharply focused nature of the attack. It blurs the fact that in recent times there has been an explosion of public expressions of Jew-hatred to a degree that has rarely been seen in the US since WWII.
Ethnic and racial hatreds are not all alike. They have their special flavors. There is nothing in the world quite like American anti-black racism. And there is nothing like the Jew-hatred that today is sweeping the world, even the supposedly immune USA.
What Begin and Jabotinsky Would Have Said About the New Israel Fund
As I watch the work of the New Israel Fund and its grantees, such as Breaking the Silence, I recall the words of the late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who once wrote to American Jews critical of him, saying:
Jews have the right to criticize the government of Israel in which I serve as prime minister — at any given moment, any second, any hour, day or night. But I, too, have the right to ask of them to understand one thing at least: on matters which relate to the national security of this little nation in Eretz Yisrael, please refrain from preferring advice, at least in public, within earshot of our enemies who conspire to do us evil. Remember, please, the simple fact that we care for our children and grandchildren — and they, these little children, live here.
He continued:
I permit myself to express astonishment why a man like you has to organize American Jews in order to publish a statement which lends–not, God forbid, intentionally — comfort to those who gleefully declared: look, the Jews of American are turning their backs on Israel. Do you, with your intelligence, not perceive that the whole purpose is to squeeze us into a thin strip of territory? What else has to be rendered in writing or orally to make you and your colleagues understand that we are fighting for our lives?
Across the Israeli political spectrum — from Labor to Likud, Shas to Yair Lapid’s Kulanu Party — all sides condemn all forms of boycotts against Israel. Yet the New Israel Fund raises $30 million annually from American Jews to fund extremists like Breaking the Silence, an organization that is even more insidious.
The Roots of American Support for Israel
America’s persistent support for the Jewish state has baffled many observers—particularly so-called foreign-policy “realists”—leading some to deluded if not anti-Semitic invocations of the mythical power of the “Jewish lobby.” Revisiting his 2008 essay, “The New Israel and the Old,” Walter Russell Mead argues that American’s affinity for Zionism goes back to the 19th century, is connected to the ideals of the American founding, and reflects conviction deeply held by the American people. (Interview by Michael Doran; video, one hour.)


BDS Fight Is Shifting From Campuses and Churches to Statehouses
Northwestern University Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich has advised many lawmakers on anti-BDS bills they are drafting.
He distinguished between biased speech and activity. The new legislation “is not about the viewpoints a company holds. This is about discriminatory activity. A company can hang a banner saying ‘long live Palestine, out with Israel,’ and if it’s not actually engaging in discriminatory conduct” by boycotting Israel, then it’s fine, he said. “None of these statutes prohibit any speech by anyone,” said Kontorovich. “But when a state deems certain conduct discriminatory, even if it’s not illegal, they can say they don’t want to contract with it.”
Northwestern University Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich.Northwestern University
Kontorovich added that the impetus for these laws is coming from elected officials rather than being pushed by Jewish groups.
“It’s really a bottom-up thing. Since the first bill passed, state legislators have been reaching out to whoever they can find to do this,” he told Haaretz. “The state legislators are demanding it faster than the pro-Israel groups can respond.”
A Jewish community relations expert who asked not to be named said there wouldn’t be widespread interest in anti-BDS legislation without advocacy by StandWithUs and similar groups. “The notion that there are state legislators initiating action on a foreign policy issue without some approach by us in the community is implausible,” he said.
IsraellyCool: New York Governor Cuomo Takes Fight Up To BDS, BDS-Holes Seethe
Being someone who believes in playing offense and not just defense, I may have been one of the first people to encourage the boycott of BDS-holes.
The idea has certainly caught on over the years, and now we have a very high-profile exponent of this: New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who just signed an unprecedented executive order for agencies under his control to divest from companies and organizations aligned with BDS.
...
Notice the complaints of McCarthyism by the very people who have been punishing Jewish businesses – whether in pre-1967 Israel or beyond the Green Line – for years now. The hypocrisy is astounding.
Update: This may catch on.
Senator Chuck Schumer, speaking to reporters at an unrelated press conference on Sunday, said he would seek to introduce the same idea to fight BDS on a federal level. “I think what the governor has done is an excellent idea,” Schumer told reporters. “I think that the state (of New York) should not do any business with any company that participates in BDS, and I am looking at introducing a federal law to do the same thing. BDS is a movement that is just totally unfair to Israel. They hold Israel to one standard and hold the other countries, including those who are sworn enemies to Israel, to another standard.”
Wiesenthal Center: Officials in German city complicit in Israel boycot
The Simon Wiesenthal accused city officials and politicians in Bremen on Friday of complicity in boycotts against Israel.
In a blistering letter to Carsten Sieling, the Social Democratic mayor of the northern Germany city, obtained by The Jerusalem Post, Dr. Shimon Samuels, director for International Relations for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, wrote: ”Our members are most concerned by the inaction of your municipality against a reportedly, increasingly violent anti-Semitic campaign, otherwise known as BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), reminiscent of the 1930s ‘Kauf nicht bei Juden’ (“Do Not Buy From Jews”) assaults in Nazi Germany.”
Bremen city-funded and owned facilities have provided space for years to anti-Semites and BDS advocates to attack the Jewish state, according to critics.
Samuels wrote, “Apparently, the German BDS movement operates from Villa Ichon, owned by the City of Bremen and seat of the ‘Bremen Peace Forum,’ ostensibly leased as a place to meet for associations, especially for cultural and social life.”
The Bremen Peace Forum calls for a boycott of Israeli goods, and has staged protests in front of supermarkets urging customers not to buy Israeli fruit.
Samuels added: “We urge you to invoke your municipal integrity to publicly condemn BDS and take measures for the rapid eviction of these hooligans from Villa Ichon.”
Ontario Premier promoting 'less divisive' anti-BDS bill
After a bill against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) was rejected by the Ontario parliament, Premier Kathleen Wynne plans to work with members of the opposition to draft a new motion on the issue, The Canadian Jewish News reports.
Wynne made the pledge in response to the controversy surrounding “The Standing Up Against Anti-Semitism in Ontario Act,” a private member’s bill that was introduced last month at Queen’s Park by Conservative MPP Tim Hudak and Liberal MPP Mike Colle, with the backing of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies president and CEO Avi Benlolo. The motion was defeated by a vote of 39-18.
The bill identified the BDS movement as “one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel globally and is increasingly promoted on university campuses in Ontario… leading to intimidation and violence on campuses.”
It called on the province, as well as on colleges and universities, to abstain from doing business with companies that support the BDS movement.
When the anti-BDS bill was defeated on May 19, Wynne was in the middle of a trade mission to Israel, during which she spoke out against the BDS movement and anti-Semitism in any form, but also stressed Ontario must protect free speech in the province.
“Freedom of speech is something that all Canadians value and we must vigorously defend,” she said at the time, adding, “But, it’s unacceptable for students, or parents, or children to feel unsafe or discriminated against.”
Italian Education Minister to ‘Post’: Italy stands firmly against BDS
Italy stands firmly against boycott, divestment and sanctions, Italian Minister of Education, University and Research Stefania Giannini told The Jerusalem Post.
The minister was in Israel to celebrate Italian National Day, held annually on June 2, at a reception at the residence of Italian Ambassador Francesco M. Talo.
“We are marking 70 years of the Italian Republic, a turning point of Italian history and Italian democracy,” she said.
“Our fathers and our mothers decided to leave behind the period of Fascism and the dark time of racial law, and so to be here is to give a clear sign of friendship on this occasion for both Israel and Italy.”
Giannini was also in Israel, along with a delegation of over 50 Italian academics, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Italian-Israeli Government to Government Agreement on Scientific, Technological and Industrial Collaboration, signed in Bologna in 2000 and entered into force in 2001.
McGill University and How Western Civilization May Have Just Saved Itself — From Itself
Something quite remarkable happened a few days ago. It happened quietly, in a remote corner of some administrative building probably, but it ought to be loudly disseminated across the Western world. Not to be overly dramatic, but Western civilization just might have saved itself — from itself.
For universities are the heart of that civilization, and last week, a university’s student government suddenly remembered what the overall purpose of student governments is — which itself ought to remind universities of what their overall purpose is.
The Judicial Board at Montreal’s McGill University ruled last Tuesday that resolutions affirming the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel violate the Constitution and Equity Policy of its student government, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU). That means that McGill, whose campus has in the past 18 months endured three consecutive BDS campaigns and votes, all of which ultimately failed, will finally be able to return full-time to its proper business.
The reasoning in the decision is so clear that it’s downright refreshing.
Israel, Black Lives Matter and the Ideology of Victimhood
Ironically, victimhood does not apply when it comes to Jews or Israel. The victimhood crowd sees American Jews as the ruling class, and the Jews of Israel are considered colonizers. That Jews started to return in large numbers to their ancient homeland in the late 19th century to escape persecution apparently doesn’t count. Some BDS-ers deny that Jews ever lived in Israel in ancient times.
Not that Jews revel in being victims. Like most people who truly are victims of discrimination, rather than those who claim victimhood by virtue of belonging to an “oppressed” ethnic or racial group, Jews only want to be treated as others are treated. Nevertheless, the ideology of victimhood judges Jews by separate criteria. Some of the haters say Jews cannot be considered victims because they never were. Some even deny the Holocaust took place, or if it did, that Jews died in reported numbers; some even wish more had died.
The ideology of victimhood needs to be confronted head on. College administrators need to make sure those who would challenge the victimhood ideology are allowed to speak. On too many campuses the right of pro-Israel speakers to present their views has been denied –– in some cases violently. Conferences, classrooms and the like must be open to conflicting viewpoints, and security should be provided to make sure protesters don’t interfere with sanctioned events. Further, there should be consequences when victimizers fail to adhere to academic standards. First year Oberlin Professor Joy Karega’s reliance on Nation of Islam’s Elijah Mohammad [Louis Farrakhan?] as a source that Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks should be grounds to question her appointment.
Terrorism by other means
While it may not always seem that way, in the cognitive wars being fought against Israel, most notably the hysterically high-pitched calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions by the BDS movement, Israel's opponents are losing.
Naturally, the BDS movement claims it is winning. Omar Barghouti, its founder, asserts that his crusade "is working far better and spreading into the mainstream much faster than we had anticipated." Obviously, a movement whose primary weapons involve all the mendaciousness it can possibly muster from its members will not be truthful about its results any more than it will be honest about its true goals.
While the BDS movement claims that it is about "peace and justice" and "encouraging international economic and political pressure against Israel," the movement's real and indisputable aim is to destroy Israel and replace it with "Palestine." The founder of the BDS has said so himself: In Barghouti's own words, "a Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically. ... Most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine."
The chairman of the U.S. Congress House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, Ted Poe, has described the BDS movement as "a threat, which seeks [Israel's] ultimate destruction."
Thank you J Street
[A reply to J Street helped make Israel safer]
Failure
In reality, Obama failed to negotiate an acceptable deal. Israel’s former intelligence official, admiral Ami Ayalon who strongly believes that a deal is better than no deal, has criticised Obama’s strategy by saying: “He (Obama) doesn’t have the right combination of the language of peace and the language of war. This made Iranians believe that the US will not use force in case of no deal.” Obama failed to use America’s leverage over Iran by making 3 important concessions: first, he took the military option off the table. Secondly, he took the tough sanctions off the table by acknowledging that many of US’ allies will start to reduce sanctions on Iran regardless of any deal. And last and most importantly, he took off the option of rejecting the deal which leaves Iran to believe the Americans need the deal more than they do.
Alternative
J Street’s vice president concludes that the opponents of the deal have no alternative. If anything, Obama has put the US in a position with no alternatives. After hearing the views of Netanyahu and also of many US lawmakers (also democrats!) that opposed the deal, I can only conclude that Obama has ruined the possibility for a better deal.
J Street
Instead of unifying forces and keeping the free world’s leverage over Iran’s tyranny, J street’s supporters decided to use this opportunity to undermine Netanyahu and picked their battle at a wrong time. Instead of fighting Iran with a clear voice, J street divided us and together with Obama ruined every opportunity for a better deal. Today, Iran develops a nuclear bomb with J street’s blessing. On top of that, its supporters are expecting Netanyahu’s ‘thank you’ letter for making Israel safer. Who knows, maybe it got lost on its way to their mailbox.
At UCLA, kippa-wearing regent fights anti-Israel bigotry
Blatant and subtle forms of anti-Semitism are heating up on American college campuses for over a decade. But for the past two years, a Jewish-Israeli voice for tolerance has begun a counter-effort at the meetings of the UC Regents, the governing body of the University of California.
“When I first stepped onto UCLA’s campus, I came from a community where I didn’t meet a lot of critics of Israel,” says Student Regent Abraham “Avi” Oved.
Oved describes himself as a “Jewish Israeli American” from the heavily Jewish San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County.
“I was interacting with political ideologies who wanted to politicize my identity and make a controversy about it,” he says.
Now, at age 23, the student regent completes his tenure at the end of this month and graduates June 9 from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in economics and global studies.
His two-year appointment to the UC’s governing leadership, which he landed amid stiff statewide competition, has not been without controversy.
In some ways, that tension has helped publicly underscore a platform to improve and protect students from what some consider growing intolerance within this system of leading public universities, which includes UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Irvine and six other campuses throughout the Golden State.
Students Supporting Israel: Submission: Jews not to blame for Palestinian displacement
It is said that most lies are “lies of omission.” This is when someone simply fails to mention critical facts about a particular situation, purposely misleading the reader to the wrong conclusion. The opinion submission “Palestinian ethnic cleansing from Israel is ongoing, must be stopped” that appeared in the Daily Bruin on May 16 certainly has more than its fair share of omissions. However, the piece is unique in the audacity with which it misrepresents the truth, venturing into the more blatant form of lying in which boldfaced fabrications about complex historical events are presented as undisputed fact.
The authors of the article tell us that the Palestinians were forcibly “driven from their homes during Israel’s 1947-1949 campaign of ethnic cleansing.” The serious charge of ethnic cleansing against Israel – a term used to characterize genocides in Rwanda and Armenia, mass atrocities in Congo and the Holocaust – is not just baseless. It is hateful and discriminatory, leveled in our university’s primary public forum, the Daily Bruin, to demonize Israel – and create a hostile environment for pro-Israel and Jewish students. It takes all meaning out of the term “ethnic cleansing,” disrespecting those communities who bear this awful legacy.
Shame on the authors for introducing this divisiveness, ignorance and hate to our campus. The editors of the Daily Bruin should have known better than to print offensive and ultimately false accusations without doing their due diligence beforehand.
The whole truth is that an estimated 726,000 Arabs fled their homes during Israel’s War of Independence. That war was instigated not by the Jews but by the Arabs, who rejected the United Nations’ plan partitioning the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Israel accepted that plan, but the Arabs chose war.
BBC uses coverage of attack in Jordan to promote politicised messaging
Although the relevance, if any, of the location of that still unfolding story is unclear, from the second version of its report onwards, the BBC elected to promote UNRWA messaging, including a link to the organisation’s profile of Baqaa camp – but not to its webpage which clarifies that “[m]ost Palestine refugees in Jordan, but not all, have full citizenship”.
“The Baqaa camp was one of six set up in 1968 for Palestinian refugees fleeing the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. […]
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) says Baqaa is the largest camp in Jordan.
It is believed to house more than 100,000 refugees.
UNRWA says the camp continues to face major challenges, including unemployment, poverty and the need for structural repair.”

Furthermore, one of the two links to related reading posted under the article itself on the BBC News website’s Middle East page is a link to a photo essay from 2013 which promoted an exhibition staged within the framework of UNRWA’s public relations campaign.
One can but wonder what was going through the mind of the editor who found it appropriate to exploit a report about a terror attack in Jordan for the opportunistic promotion of politicized messaging on an unrelated topic.
BBC News produces eight versions of report on three-hour Paris meeting
Incredibly, over some sixteen hours BBC News devoted publicly funded resources to producing eight different versions of this report about an at best symbolic ‘conference’ (described even by the New York Times as an “extended photo opportunity”) that lasted the grand total of three hours.
Whilst it did seize the opportunity to communicate one-sided politicised framing of the topic to audiences, bizarrely the BBC had nothing to tell them about the prime factor behind the message in the article’s headline and opening paragraph.
“Hopes of a “two-state solution” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are in “serious danger”, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has warned.”
Apparently the BBC’s Middle East ‘experts’ did not think it necessary to “enhance audiences’ awareness and understanding of international issues” by informing them of the decidedly relevant fact that various Palestinian factions – including Hamas – completely reject the concept of the two-state solution.
How BBC Radio 4 squeezed Israel into programme on Irish history
Listeners may have been somewhat surprised when – at 33:54 – presenter Tom Sutcliffe elected to introduce the Holocaust into a programme about Irish history.
TS: “OK: what about the classic instance of the duty of remembering the Holocaust? Err…would it be better if we forgot that?”
DR: “Well first of all, with respect, eventually we’re going to do. And second – I’m sorry again to bring in geologic time but it is surely at least worth taking to some extent into account. And the second thing is it seems to me…ah…that memory is different as long as there are people alive, or at least people alive who knew people who were alive. So that yes; as long as there are survivors of the camps – of which there are a few – as long as there are the children of those people – of which there are many – and grandchildren, fine. But in a hundred years? In two hundred years? Yeah, I think it might be time to let it go. And, even in terms of the memory of the Holocaust, it seems to me the memory of the Holocaust as it is deployed in Israel has been nothing but negative.”

Given that Rieff had previously laid out his views on Israel’s ‘deformed’ society in that Guardian article (of which the producers of this programme must surely have been aware), the appearance of that latter throwaway politicized comment cannot have been too difficult to predict – especially following the presenter’s introduction of the Holocaust cue. Nevertheless, Sutcliffe refrained from challenging it –and not least the very interesting choice of the word “deployed” with its military connotations – before moving the conversation along.
And so – entirely predictably – uninformed listeners who had presumably tuned in because they wanted to hear a programme about Irish history therefore went away with the added ‘expert’ impression that Israel exploits the memory of the Holocaust for “negative” ends.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Haaretz To Charge Users To Submit Non-Left-Wing Comments (satire)
To maintain the ideological consistency of its online platform and to boost its struggling bottom line, the Haaretz newspaper’s web site will begin charging people who comment on articles in ways that do not match the hard-left, anti-Zionist, and anti-religious sensibilities the company desires to foster.
A notice on the site posted this morning (Monday) alerted users to the change in policy, which until now allowed all users to submit comments on most articles. According to the notice, as of July 1 Haaretz will require all users to register with a credit card number before being permitted access to the comments section below the articles. Users will not be charged if the content of their comments remains in keeping with the company’s editorial line and that of its writers Gideon Levi, Rogel Alpher, Amira Haas, and contributors such as Peter Beinart.
“Moderators already monitor comment submissions for abuse, inappropriate content, and other violations of the site’s policy,” explained the notice. “They will continue to serve in the same capacity, but the definition of policy violations has now expanded, and with it, their role in the process. The decisions of the moderating team are final, and there is no appeal.”
By instituting the new policy, publisher Amos Schocken said he aims to help the company back toward profitability. “Providing quality journalism every day is not cheap,” he explained. “And what Haaretz does costs money, too. Until now we have ignored a potential source of income. Essentially, anyone who is already willing to pay the subscription fees to gain access to our articles, and is not already hard-left liberal, displays a dedication to engaging with our content enough to pay for the privilege. Such people are much more likely to feel compelled to react with disagreement to the opinions and slant in our articles.”
Bangladesh blames Israel for Islamist murder spree
Bangladesh has seen a bloody string of murders targeting secular bloggers and religious minorities, with most of the killings claimed by Islamist groups - but according to Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Israel is to blame.
In accusing Israel of inexplicable involvement in the local murders, Khan noted that opposition MP Aslam Chowdhury, a joint secretary of the Bangladesh National Party, was arrested last week after local media reported he had met former Israeli government adviser Mendi Safadi in India in March.
Chowdhury, a tycoon from the southern city of Chittagong, was charged with sedition. He has insisted his visit was a business trip and that he did not meet an "Israeli intelligence agent" as was charged.
But according to Khan, whose Home Ministry gave the green light for charging Chowdhury with sedition, the MP's meeting with the Israeli was proof of an "international conspiracy" against Bangladesh, reports BBC on Monday.
Khan's conspiracy theory against Israel is far from the first in the Muslim-majority nation of Bangladesh - back in 2014 a Bangladesh court jailed a newspaper editor for seven years for trying to travel to Israel more than a decade earlier to speak about a rise in Islamic terrorism.
Khan's assertions come despite the fact that Islamists have gone as far as to publicly claim most of the murders. (h/t messy57)
Israeli Drama Criticized for Casting Iranian Muslim as Jewish Father Opens Film Festival in NYC (VIDEO)
The Israel Film Center Festival opened Thursday night in New York City with a movie that generated criticism for its casting of an Iranian-Muslim in the role of a Jewish father, The Algemeiner has learned.
Baba Joon is about tensions between three generations of an Iranian-Israeli immigrant family. Iranian-Muslim actor Navid Negahban, who also started in season 1 of HBO’s Homeland, plays Yitzhak, a Jewish father proud to maintain the turkey farm his father built when he moved to Israel from Iran. Yitzhak hopes his son, Moti, will take over the family business, but Moti is more interested in reconstructing old cars. This rejection is an insult to Yitzhak and all the Iranian traditional values that he believes in.
The Farsi-language film screened on opening night of the festival at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) Manhattan. Afterwards, Baba Joon‘s director, Yuval Delshad, took to the stage and told the audience about the backlash, but explained, “I never thought about it as a political issue. I just saw Navid as a human being, a good actor, the best actor for me. I didn’t ask if he’s Jewish or not. It just worked.”
Delshad, who said the film is semi-autobiographical, explained that he wrote the script for Baba Joon over the course of six years and originally had Israeli actors in mind, but in the end could not find “actors that know the Iranian culture precisely.”
In remote Madagascar, a new community chooses to be Jewish
A nascent Jewish community was officially born in Madagascar last month when 121 men, women and children underwent Orthodox conversions on the remote Indian Ocean island nation better known for lemurs, chameleons, dense rain forests and vanilla.
The conversions, which took place over a 10-day period, were the climax of a process that arose organically five to six years ago when followers of various messianic Christian sects became disillusioned with their churches and began to study Torah.
Through self-study and with guidance from Jewish internet sources and correspondence with rabbis in Israel, they now pray in Sephardic-accented Hebrew and strictly observe the Sabbath and holidays.
The conversions were facilitated by Kulanu, a New York-based nonprofit that specializes in supporting isolated and emerging Jewish communities, but were initiated by the residents.
“Now that we’ve re-established the State of Israel, it is time to re-establish the Jewish people, especially in the Diaspora,” said Bonita Nathan Sussman, vice president of Kulanu.
An end to annoying phone tag
How many times have you tried to call someone but the line was busy? And when the person calls you back, you’re busy?
MyState, an Israeli app for iOS and Android that raised $6.5 million from private US investors, lets you see if your contacts are available before you try calling.
MyState icons (automatic or custom-set by the user) indicate if your friend is currently on a call, offline, driving, in a different time zone, charging the phone or low on battery. It also lets you know if your contact prefers to be reached via text message, WhatsApp or phone call, and whether the phone is on vibrate or silent.
Users can type out their own status message, if they choose.
MyState allows users to maintain their privacy by not showing their status to all or specific contacts, or sharing certain statuses with certain groups such as family, friends or colleagues. The app preserves privacy by, for example, showing if a user is in a different time zone without sharing the exact location.
A key feature of MyState is the “Crunch” button, which is used when a contact is speaking on the phone. By pressing the Crunch button, your smartphone will notify you when the contact is off the phone, and notify the contact that you are trying to get in touch.
Herzliya to issue tender for two islands
Japanese delegations that visited Israel last month said that the islands for housing and an airport were feasible.
The Herzliya municipality will soon issue an international tender to examine the feasibility of building artificial islands along Israel's coastline. The tender will include consideration of two islands: one for housing and the other for an airport for internal flights. Japanese delegations that visited Israel last month said that the islands were feasible. At the same time, the Tel Aviv municipality is preparing another plan for an artificial island on which an international airport and other infrastructure will be built.
An airport on an artificial island is common in wealthy and densely populated areas in the Far East. Almost all the airports built in recent years in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan are on artificial islands. Discussion of such an artificial island in Israel began 20 years ago, when Israel and the Netherlands signed a memorandum of intent for cooperation in the construction of artificial islands in the Mediterranean Sea.
Nothing has happened since then other than talk. In 2002, the government approved the construction of two artificial islands off the Mediterranean coast: one for an airport off the Tel Aviv shore and one residential island opposite Bat Yam. In 2006, then-Minister of Transport Shaul Mofaz declared that his ministry would promote the construction of an artificial island, and that the feasibility check would take place in the first quarter of 2007. In 2012, the government approved the forming of an inter-ministerial steering committee for considering the technological feasibility of an island.
Alibaba invests in Israeli e-commerce search co Twiggle
Twiggle uses advanced techniques in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to power digital commerce.
Israeli startup Twiggle, which is developing next generation e-commerce search technologies, announced today that it secured additional funding from the Alibaba Group as the second tranche of its Series A financing. This follows the announcement in April of a $12.5 million round led by Naspers with participation from YJ Capital, State of Mind Ventures and Sir Ronald Cohen. The funding will be utilized to grow the company’s R&D team in Israel and drive the company’s global expansion plans. No details were disclosed about the amount Alibaba is investing but "Bloomberg" reported that it is $5-10 million.
Twiggle uses advanced techniques in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to power the next generation of digital commerce. The company was founded in 2013 by CEO Dr. Amir Konigsberg and CTO Dr. Adi Avidor.
Konigsberg said, “We’re redefining the way users engage with e-commerce, and we take it as the utmost validation of Twiggle’s vision and potential that a global company like Alibaba would join us on this journey. We are wholly focused on bringing the most advanced search experience and technologies to digital commerce to help this industry take a massive leap forward. Alibaba is an incredible company and we’re delighted to partner with them.”
30,000 parade through New York in support of Israel
Despite a persistent downpour of rain some 30,000 people marched through New York on Sunday in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade.
Hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the parade, which featured floats with dancers, bands, and performers, made its way through Manhattan from 52nd Street to 74th Street.
Among those who took part were New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, a delegation of Israeli MKs and city mayors, Israeli Consul General to New York Ido Aharoni, and Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Danny Danon.
“The residents of New York believe in Israel and we have a deep love for the people of Israel,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who also marched in the event. “As long as I am mayor, we will always stand by Israel.”
Some of the cast from the Broadway show “Fiddler on the Roof” joined the marchers and sang songs from the hit musical about Jewish life in Eastern Europe.
The night before the parade, the city’s iconic Empire State Building was lit up in blue and white to mark the occasion.



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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