Monday, July 04, 2016

From Ian:

Alan Dershowitz: A tribute to humanity’s teacher
Elie Wiesel was my teacher, my “rabbi,” my mentor, my colleague, and my dear friend. Over the past 50 years, we worked together on numerous human rights projects. Elie did more to bring the word “human” into human rights than any person in modern history. For him, it did not matter whether the victims of genocide were Jews, Christians, Muslims, black, white, from the left, or from the right. Human rights were equally applicable to all.
Elie was deeply involved in campaigns on behalf of the victims of genocide in Darfur, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, and the Middle East. My last substantive conversation with him was about the genocide currently taking place in Syria, where hundreds of thousands of Muslims are being slaughtered by both sides of an intractable conflict. He bemoaned the unwillingness of the international community to stop the slaughter. “Have we learned nothing?” he asked rhetorically. For Elie Wiesel, the worst sin was silence in the face of evil. The worst crime was indifference to genocide, and the worst people were those who stand idly by the blood of their neighbors. Though he and his family were victims of the Holocaust, he never dwelled on his personal pain, but rather on the pain of those currently being victimized.
I first met Elie after the publication of his book “The Jews of Silence,” which dealt with the plight of Soviet Jews who were being persecuted in the Soviet Union. He inspired me to go to the Soviet Union with a legal team in order to defend those who were being criminally prosecuted for doing nothing more than practicing their religion. We continued to work together on matters involving non-Jewish victims of persecution around the world. I began as his student, and then became his colleague, and finally his friend. We shared a world view and a commitment to repairing a badly damaged planet. He would call me on the phone frequently to complain that we were not doing enough. He always wanted to do more.

MEMRI Mourns The Passing Of Elie Wiesel – Holocaust Survivor, Nobel Laureate, Renowned Author, Educator And MEMRI Board Member
MEMRI mourns the passing of Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, renowned author, Romanian-born educator, and MEMRI Board Member, whose singular voice sounded a clarion call to the world’s conscience to never forget the victims of the Holocaust and man’s inhumanity to man. Prof. Wiesel, who published 57 books including Night, his personal account of his harrowing experiences in Auschwitz, was a relentless champion of human rights and tolerance. Recipient of hundreds of awards and honors, including the Congressional Gold Medal and the United States Medal of Freedom, Wiesel was a passionate and acclaimed educator who raised awareness of hate and intolerance and its perils, through both the lens of the Holocaust and more recent genocides and ethnic cleansings. Cautioning the world against indifference in his Nobel acceptance speech in Oslo in 1986, he said: "Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant."
In his January 28, 2014 video address on Capitol Hill at the Fifth Annual MEMRI Tom Lantos Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial Archives Commemoration, Prof. Wiesel, an ardent supporter of MEMRI research and one of the distinguished speakers at the event, stated: "MEMRI is an important organization. It is because it gives information that can be found in very few other places. It's always well-documented. It always gives us an insight into an area – which is disturbing – the other side, those who are not our allies, those who are not our friends, those who are not with us. And so, thanks to MEMRI, we know what they think, what they plan, and this is actually what MEMRI is all about... So, in the years, of course what MEMRI has tried to do is to give us the historical background... Whatever we see now simply cannot be judged in the present, we must go beyond it, and above it, not without it, ever. MEMRI, I believe, is essential... in the world. We need to know more. And this is MEMRI, it always gives us more. So, what we think of MEMRI, we all can say with gratitude that we are glad, we are happy, we are grateful, that MEMRI exists."
Mourners say farewell to Elie Wiesel at New York funeral
Mourners gathered in New York on Sunday to bid farewell to Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate hailed for his life’s work of keeping alive the memory of Jews slaughtered during World War II.
Wiesel, who died in New York on Saturday at age 87, was honored at private services at a synagogue on the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, as tributes poured in from around the world.
His wife, Marion, in a wheelchair, was among those who arrived in a stream of black cars. The service began at about 11:00 am (15:00 GMT). The burial was to follow, some of the mourners told AFP.
“It’s a great loss for Jewish people. It’s a great loss for mankind. He was a unique individual and we will miss him dearly,” Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, told reporters outside the synagogue.
The Romanian-born Wiesel, a US citizen once known as “the world’s leading spokesman on the Holocaust,” was perhaps best known for his memoir “Night” detailing his experiences in Nazi death camps.



PreOccupiedTerritory: Local Facebook Profile Collapses Under Weight Of Elie Wiesel Obituaries (satire)
By mid-morning, the volume of Wiesel links and statuses on her timeline had slowed Dwek’s mobile device to a crawl. “I wanted to ask my friends to stop, but I couldn’t send any messages or use my iPhone as a phone because it was so unresponsive under the weight of all those posts. There are only so many millions of times a machine can handle the same essay praising someone for moral clarity, eloquence, compassion, and wisdom before it collapses.”
Dwek stressed that Wiesel’s stature certainly warranted an outpouring of mourning and admiration, and that he towered over his generation with his dignity, ethos, and talent for capturing the poignant contradictions of faith in a benevolent God and his own experience at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. “At the same time, I don’t need to see the same thing over and over again in my feed because each person who sees it thinks no one else has yet, so they hit Share. My app probably crashed from the weight of occurrences of the word ‘moral’ alone.”
Facebook software developers admitted they were caught off guard by the phenomenon. “Even after we received a detailed description of events we couldn’t quite wrap our heads around it,” reported software engineer Will Fuldiss-Regaard. “Our code is configured to handle torrents of hateful rhetoric against Jews quite smoothly, but at this stage we’re still playing catch-up on how to process a large volume of this other kind of content, which is so alien to us that I don’t even have a concise term by which to refer to it.”
Independent op-ed scolds Elie Wiesel for his “blind spot towards the Palestinians”.
An op-ed (Elie Wiesel’s life was a metaphor for Israel and its politics, July 3) by Rupert Cornwell published at The Independent about Wiesel’s legacy doesn’t go nearly as far as this group of extremists, but nonetheless attempts to sully his moral reputation by accusing him of speaking out injustices across the globe, while showing a huge blind spot with regard to Israel’s “oppression” of Palestinians.
The op-ed’s use of Wiesel’s death to repeat tired old calumnies, and borderline antisemitic tropes, begins in the second paragraph.
In his later years, he was not so much witness of the unspeakable as a metaphor for Israel. If you disagreed with Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, if you believed that a people who had suffered so much should understand the miseries they were inflicting on another people, then you would not appreciate Wiesel and his blind spot towards the Palestinians.
Note that Cornwell repeats a narrative used by former MP David Ward. Ward wrote on his website on International Holocaust Memorial Day in 2013 that he was saddened that “the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in…Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis…”.
The Independent’s Israel Hate Tramples on Elie Wiesel’s Legacy
In truth, Elie Wiesel was far from indifferent to the plight of Palestinians, as he said in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech:
And then, too, there are the Palestinians to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore. Violence and terrorism are not the answer. Something must be done about their suffering, and soon. I trust Israel, for I have faith in the Jewish people. Let Israel be given a chance, let hatred and danger be removed from her horizons, and there will be peace in and around the Holy Land.
Unlike Wiesel, Cornwell did not mention the deplorable methods of the Palestinians, nor the enormous efforts, risks and sacrifices that the Israeli and Jewish people continue to make to try and bring dignity and peace in the face of tremendous odds, and tremendous danger. Perhaps it is due to his insight and sensitivity that Wiesel is an internationally recognized peacemaker while the Independent is . . . well, not.
Cornwell speaks of Wiesel’s work in raising awareness of the Holocaust but claims he has a “blind spot” toward Palestinians, as if the situation of Palestinians was even remotely similar to that of Jews during the Holocaust. It is not.
Not even close.
Clinton-Linked Israel Basher Max Blumenthal Disparages, Defames the Late Elie Wiesel; Says Holocaust Survivor ‘Should Not Be Honored’
Max Blumenthal — senior writer for AlterNet and author of Goliath and The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, a virulently anti-Israel book about Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 – took to Twitter to say, “Elie Wiesel is dead. He spent his last years inciting hatred, defending apartheid & palling around with fascists.”
Wiesel, he wrote, “did more harm than good and should not be honored.”
In a series of additonal tweets in the aftermath of the announcement that Wiesel had died, Blumenthal — whose close association with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was revealed in the batches of emails released from her server over the past year– proceeded to explain his antipathy to the beloved chronicler of Nazi atrocities, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2013.
He “went from a victim of war crimes to a supporter of those who commit them,” wrote Blumenthal, referring to Wiesel’s staunch support for Israel.
“Elie Wiesel repeatedly lauded Jewish settlers for ethnically cleansing Palestinians in East Jerusalem,” Blumenthal tweeted, along with an article from the far-Left online publication Mondoweiss.
“Elie Wiesel took $500,000 from hate preacher Pastor John Hagee, who has written that Hitler was a ‘half breed Jew,’” Blumenthal wrote.
Meanwhile, Larry Derfner, a writer for the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles and +972 magazine, posted to Facebook an article about Wiesel written last year by Peter Beinart, senior editor at The Atlantic and a columnist for Israel’s left-wing daily, Haaretz.
Derfner prefaced his post with: “The whole truth about Elie Wiesel, RIP, written last year by Peter Beinart.”
The article, which appeared in Haaretz last February, is titled, “The Tragedy of Elie Wiesel: Why does such a great man keep apologizing for a government that betrays his ideals?”
Douglas Murray: Britain: Labour Party Finds Itself Innocent!
This none-too subtle linkage between Israel and ISIS was promptly seized upon by commentators and religious leaders. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis condemned the comments as "offensive," and stated that rather than rebuilding trust with Britain's Jewish community, Corbyn had in fact caused even "greater concern."
Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks called Corbyn's comments "demonisation of the highest order, an outrage and unacceptable." He went on to say that the comments showed "how deep the sickness is in parts of the left of British politics today."
Meanwhile, in the audience of the event, a Labour MP who is Jewish -- Ruth Smeeth -- found herself the victim of anti-Semitic slurs from one of Jeremy Corbyn's hard-left grassroots supporters. This individual insisted that Ms Smeeth was working in collusion with the "right-wing media" -- an anti-Semitic trope of precisely the kind at which the Chakrabarti report had been meant to look. Corbyn failed to intervene, so the Jewish MP walked out of the event.
Smeeth subsequently joined the majority of Labour MPs who have already -- for a whole multitude of reasons -- called on Corbyn to resign. By failing to intervene in an anti-Semitic incident going on right in front of him, Corbyn had, she said in a statement, shown a "catastrophic failure of leadership," adding:
"It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people, which were ironically highlighted as such in Ms Chakrabarti's report, while the leader of my own party stood by and did absolutely nothing."
Yet here we are. It is 2016 and in British left-wing politics you cannot even clear yourself of accusations of anti-Semitism without having an outbreak of it right there and then. There are those who have long noticed this fact. There are also those who have long rued this fact. But only the current leadership of the Labour party can imagine that they are going to get away with avoiding this fact.
Corbyn Confronted With His Past Support For Anti-Semites
Watch as Jeremy Corbyn is confronted with his own past statements supporting anti-Semites at the Home Affairs select committee. At one point Corbyn explained that he couldn’t invite blood libel nut Raed Salah to tea because he was under house arrest, so went to visit him instead. Really.
Corbyn defended Momentum activist Jackie Walker, who infamously wrote of “Jewish chief financiers of the slave trade”, telling the committee: “She will make a positive contribution to our party”. Jezza then defended his new Shadow Cabinet minister Paul Flynn, who once blasted the Israeli ambassador to Britain for having “Jewish loyalty”. Corbyn also finally admitted he “regrets” saying Hamas and Hezbollah are his “friends“. What a clusterf**k.


Jeremy Corbyn is neither nice nor decent – he is a nasty bully and an embarrassment to the country
I have always held to the view that Corbyn, however mad his personal politics, is a nice guy. He is unfailingly courteous, even to those who disagree with him (which is a hell of a lot of people to be courteous to, you must admit).
But yesterday’s events confirm that the opposite is true. A man who sits by and allows a nasty bully to smear one of his own MPs, who watches that MP leave the room in tears and who says nothing – not a single damn word – to defend his colleague, is no man at all, let alone a nice one.
Corbyn is a coward who values the praise he gets from the wild-eyed Trots and misfits of Stop the War and the Socialist Workers Party far more highly than he values his duties as the leader of the country’s (for now) second biggest political party.
If he thinks he can lead his party to government, then add stupid to the charge of cowardice. If he knows he cannot become prime minister but still refuses to resign, then add vanity and treachery to the list.
Jeremy Corbyn is neither nice nor decent. He is an embarrassment, not just to the Labour Party, but to our country.
In the name of everything that’s decent, he must go.
Labour PPB Star Compared Israel to Nazis
The star of Labour’s latest Party Political Broadcast said there are “similarities between Israel and Nazis”, Guido can reveal. Jawad Khan was the poster boy for Labour’s newest PPB and is pictured with Jeremy Corbyn on his Facebook page above. Khan, who was also a Labour Party candidate in the local elections in May, tweeted during the Israel-Gaza conflict:
“Anyone else see the similarities between Israel and Nazis?”
The Chakrabarti report found that “Labour members should resist the use of Nazi metaphors and comparisons in debates about Israel-Palestine”. Something to ask Corbyn when he gives evidence to the Home Affairs anti-Semitism select committee at 4pm…
More promotion of the Livingstone Formulation from BBC News
At the end of this article readers found an insert titled “Anti-Semitism and Zionism” in which the BBC informed them that:
“Zionism refers to the movement to create a Jewish state in the Middle East, corresponding to the historic land of Israel – anti-Zionism opposes that”.
No effort was made to clarify that political anti-Zionists are those who hold the opinion that the Jewish state should not exist – i.e. that Jews have no right to self-determination like other nations – and readers did not learn that various accepted definitions of antisemitsm describe such denial of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination as antisemitism.
Readers were then told that:
“Some say “Zionist” can be used as a coded attack on Jews, while others say the Israeli government and its supporters are deliberately confusing anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism to avoid criticism.”

In other words, once again (see ‘related articles’ below) the BBC has elected to amplify and mainstream the Livingstone Formulation.
Despite its own dismal record and the plethora of evidence showing that the BBC does not have the authority or the expertise – let alone the remit – to define antisemitism, it continues to co-opt itself to that role. The result is the kind of ‘blind reporting on the blind’ seen in this article and that clearly does not serve the interests of the corporation’s funding public as audience understanding of the issue of antisemitism within the Labour Party – and in general – continues to be compromised.
Pro-BDS groups in Israel receive foreign funding, report finds
Hundreds of nongovernmental organizations operating in Israel, whose mission statements are clearly anti-Zionist, fail to meet financial transparency guidelines on foreign funding, a report by NGO Monitor revealed on Sunday.
The watchdog group, which according to its website strives to "generate and distribute critical analysis and reports on the output of the international NGO community" with the objective of ending "the practice used by certain self-declared humanitarian NGOs of exploiting the label 'universal human rights values' to promote politically and ideologically motivated agendas," found that out of the 398 NGOs registered in Israel, only 185 have complied with financial transparency guidelines.
The report found that over the past three years, foreign funding to these groups exceeded 100 million shekels ($26 million), with over 50% of the funds given to 27 NGOs described as "very active" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The findings also showed that only 41 groups complied with the Registrar of Associations' requirement to submit quarterly financial reports detailing foreign funding sources.
NGO Monitor noted that the amount of money donated between 2012 and 2014 by foreign entities and governments to Israeli-based NGOs was most likely higher then the estimated $26 million, as most of the groups failed to properly report foreign funding.
Blind to the Obvious Anti-Semitism is up, but even the ADL won’t say why.
The Anti-Defamation League just announced that anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose dramatically in 2015. Colleges and universities were responsible for some 10 percent of the events, which included harassment, threats, and vandalism. The ADL, which pays close attention to such matters, said it was “not clear what may have led to the spike.” Any first-year political science major could furnish a working hypothesis.
Not a single statement has issued from the Oval Office about attacks on Jews in the United States or on foreign turf. Indeed, early last year, when Islamic terrorists went on a killing spree in the French capital, President Obama condemned “violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.” The zealots were violent and vicious alright, but their shots weren’t random. They aimed to murder patrons in a kosher supermarket. In other words, they sought to kill a bunch of Jewish folks. Somehow, the president couldn’t bring himself to utter that word.
Nor has Obama referred to the uptick in anti-Semitic episodes in academia. Currently, the Left has a palpable presence on campuses, disinviting speakers who dare to articulate conservative views, shouting down defenders of the Second Amendment before they can make their arguments, demanding “trigger warnings” before students read books like Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby, because literature that has been on the shelves for decades, and sometimes centuries, might disturb the frail sensibilities of today’s sophomores. Today, too, the low anti-Semitism of the Third Reich continues in the groves of higher education, often cloaked in pro-Palestinian rhetoric. The vocabulary of the academic Left brims with agitprop about “Zionist malevolence,” though many countries within rocket distance of the most liberal nation in the Middle East are notorious for the stoning of apostates, rape victims, and homosexuals.
"Obscene and Outrageous": Isi Leibler blasts the ADL's association with J Street
In conversation with Rabbi Mark Golub, veteran world Jewish leader and Jerusalem Post columnist Isi Leibler delivers a sustained and stinging criticism of ADL national director Jonathan Greenblatt for cosying up to "pernicious" J Street, which is doing untold harm to the Jewish People and the State of Israel.
Leibler believes that Greenblatt has not spent sufficient time in Israel, and should do so, seeing what it is enduring for himself rather than choosing to associate with people and ideas that are "undermining" Israel and its national security.
"Israel is standing alone in a sea of barbarism", Leibler says, and if Jewish leaders in the Diaspora stand aside and fail to stick up for Israel against the leftist and Palestinian narrative, "history will condemn them."
He is askance at the failure of American Jewish leaders strongly and unitedly to stress to Obama that Israel must have defensible borders, and fears that Obama might still give Israel an unacceptable "leaving present".
In The News: J Street - Isi Leibler


Award-Winning Author: Boycotters’ Goal is “World Without Israel”
Activists who target Israel with boycotts do so because they have a “vision of a world without Israel,” renowned Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi wrote in an op-ed Wednesday in The Los Angeles Times.
Klein Halevi, a National Jewish Book Award winner for his nonfiction book Like Dreamers, denounced the anti-Israel boycott movement (commonly known as BDS) as “immoral and a threat to peace.” The immorality stems from their claim that the blame for the lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinians should be placed solely on Israel, despite “the repeated rejection by Palestinian leaders of peace plans presented over the decades.” The movement is also immoral because it absolves the Palestinians for running education systems that denies Israel’s right to exist.
The BDS movement’s push for the Palestinian “right of return” seeks to “destroy Jewish sovereignty” by overwhelming the Jewish state with Arab refugees, Klein Halevi wrote. The activists who promote these ideas make no pretense of supporting a two-state solution, but rather “would press on until Israel was erased from the map,” even if Israel made every single concession demanded by the Palestinians.
At the heart of the BDS movement’s ideology is the belief that Israel is “an illegitimate, colonialist state,” transplanted from Europe into the heart of the Middle East. But that belief denies 4,000 years of Jewish history in the land now known as Israel. Another factor ignored by the BDS movement is that the majority of Israeli Jews have roots that go back not to Europe, but to other Middle Eastern lands from which they were expelled when the state of Israel was founded.
PreOccupiedTerritory: NJ Lawmakers To Take Turns Giving Wedgies To BDS Advocates (satire)
As part of a legislative package passed on Monday that barred the state pension fund from investing in companies that boycott Israel, New Jersey General Assembly and Senate members also initiated a mandated weekly activity in which one lawmaker will seize the underwear band of a BDS activist from the back and pull it upwards with enough force to jam the fabric of the garment into the wearer’s intergluteal cleft and, if possible, ripping the waistband itself from the remainder of the garment.
A provision of the measure divesting from the Israel-divestment advocates calls for a literal divestment of said advocates in the form of a wedgie, a classic prank associated with the debasement of the person receiving the wedgie. Legislators from both major parties spoke out in favor of both the overall anti-BDS bill and the specific wedgie provision of it, and called on Governor Chris Christie to sign the bill into law. The governor is expected to do so.
“This is an important statement that we will not accept the nonsense that the BDS movement peddles, and that their bullying tactics will only backfire,” said State Senator Minerva Melvin, a Democrat of District 18 in the central part of the state. “It is high time these thugs receive a taste of their own medicine, and I, for one, look forward to administering an atomic wedgie or two, and cheering on my colleagues to do the same.” An Atomic Wedgie, she explained, involves pulling the back of the underwear over the target’s head.
Times of London strangely features the Brexit analysis of anti-Semite, Israel Shamir
An article (pay wall) at Times of London on international media reports about Brexit (Glee, shock and awe…how the world’s press reacted, July 2) included a section on Russian reaction to Britain’s vote to leave the EU.
Israel Shamir, the Russian-Israeli writer, wrote in the same paper that “the creative and sexual minorities [of Britain], buttressed by the bankers, thought they had no need to take account of the rabble. They goofed up. The City voted against the exit by a sizeable majority.”
He added: “But the simple British people voted for it. It is impossible to overestimate the significance of this event — a sign of the new revolutionary wave in the west, a revolution against the international cosmopolitan anti-democratic establishment.”

To those who don’t know, Shamir is an antisemitic extremist who’s denied the Holocaust, reportedly described Jews as “virus in human form”, claimed that Jews “ritually murdered Christian children for their blood” and that Jews are aligned with demonic forces.
The Times of London article was co-authored by several writers, including Times of London Moscow correspondent, Tom Parfitt, presumably the journalist responsible for the section cited above.
So, was Parfitt truly unable to locate another Russian journalist to comment on Brexit – one, you know, not associated with Neo-Nazi style antisemitism?
Watchdog Calls Out Major News Org Over Palestinian Journalist’s ‘Conflict of Interest’
A Mideast-focused media watchdog group is criticizing the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency for what it called the “clear and blatant” conflict of interest of employing the chairman of the anti-Israel Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) as a reporter on Israeli-Palestinian affairs.
While Nasser Abu Baker reported on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for AFP for more than a decade, he also held senior positions with PJS, according to a recent report issued by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).
In one instance, while Abu Baker covered Israel’s detainment of Mohammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian journalist with ties to the Hamas terror group who was held for months without trial, he also campaigned on behalf of PJS for his release, CAMERA’s report states.
In a radio interview, Abu Baker accused Israel of “Nazi” crimes and using Islamic State-style practices against Palestinians, according to Al-Watan, a Gaza-based independent news website.
In March, at a “Media and Terrorism” conference in Jordan, Abu Baker falsely claimed that Israeli hospitals were treating 5,000 Islamic State members.
BBC’s account of Quartet report exposes the holes in its own narrative
In the latter point, the Quartet also noted “[t]he illicit arms build-up and militant activity” in the Gaza Strip but the BBC apparently found that unnecessary to report.
So how much coverage did the BBC devote to each of those three points in the rest of its article which – excluding the headline, sub-headings, photo captions and links – totals 736 words?
Ninety-one words were devoted to the topic of the lack of PA control over the Gaza Strip, including a sanitised portrayal of the violent Hamas coup which brought about that situation. No mention was made of the Quartet’s concern’s regarding terrorism and the smuggling and production of weapons or its call to terminate such activities.
Another hole in the BBC’s Middle East narrative laid bare
As has been documented here on numerous occasions in the past, the BBC has long ignored the subject of the salaries paid to convicted terrorists and the financial benefits awarded to the families of deceased terrorists by the Palestinian Authority and/or the PLO, despite the relevance of that topic to general audience understanding of the background to the conflict and notwithstanding the particular relevance of the issue to British tax-payers. Most readers of this article would therefore lack understanding of the context to the Israeli government’s action and statement described above.
As we see, for the second time in one day, visitors to the BBC News website came face to face with a topic that the BBC has serially excluded from its framing for years. Obviously (if the BBC really does seek to meet its obligations to its funding public) one of the tasks at the top of the list for whoever replaces Kevin Connolly at the corporation’s Jerusalem bureau should be to try to compensate for those years of neglect by providing audiences with the information of which they have been deprived on the inter-related topics of Palestinian Authority incitement, glorification of terrorism and funding of convicted and deceased terrorists.
BBC article on Entebbe anniversary marred by euphemism
The written article – by Raffi Berg – is titled “Entebbe: A mother’s week of ‘indescribable fear’” and like the filmed report it gives a good and accurate portrayal of the events – with one unfortunate exception.
Readers are told that:
“The hijackers announced their demands – the release of 53 militants jailed in Israel, France, Germany, Switzerland and Kenya, and a $5m ransom.”
Among those “militants” were of course convicted terrorists and criminals.
“Those whose release was demanded included 40 prisoners said to be held by Israel, among them Archbishop Hilarion Capuecci, serving a prison sentence imposed in December 1974 for arms smuggling [to Fatah], Mr Kozo Okamoto, the Japanese sentenced to life imprisonment after the 1972 Lod airport massacre, and Mrs Fatima Barnawi, serving a life sentence for placing a bomb [in a cinema] in 1967…”
What a pity it is that an otherwise interesting and informative article is marred by the euphemistic jargon employed in order to allow the BBC to avoid having to make a “value judgement” about someone who gunned down passengers in an airport baggage hall.
Israel-US consortium sinks $265 million in new gas well
A consortium led by US firm Noble Energy has approved a $265 million project to drill a new well in a major natural gas field off Israel, officials said Sunday.
Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, Israeli firms that are part of the partnership led by Noble, announced the financing for the Tamar field in the Mediterranean.
“The Tamar partners decided to approve a budget of about $265 million for drilling ‘Tamar 8’ and connecting to existing infrastructure in the Tamar field,” Delek and Avner said in a joint statement.
It said the latest well would allow “maximum supply from Tamar field during times of peak demand, in light of the volume of production from Tamar and the existing and expected demand for natural gas from the field.”
Tamar 8, the field’s sixth production well, is located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) offshore and would reach a depth of around 3.5 kilometers below the sea bed, it said.
Israeli startups raised record $1.4b in Q2
The highest-ever amount raised by the country's startups in a single quarter included $300 million raised by Gett from Volkswagen.
An examination by "Globes" found that Israeli companies raised an all-time record $1.4 billion in the second quarter of the year, compared with $1 billion in the first quarter (according to "Globes" figures) and $1.1 billion in the second quarter of 2015 (according to the IVC). The figures for the second quarter of 2016 include a $300 million investment in Israeli company Gett (formerly GetTaxi) by Volkswagen. This extraordinarily large investment was not strictly speaking a venture capital investment, and if subtracted it provides a slightly more precise picture of venture capital investments in Israeli technology companies.
Even after this investment is subtracted, however, the figures still show no real slowdown: $1.1 billion is similar to the first quarter of 2016 and almost identical to the second quarter of 2015, thereby maintaining the record pace. $2.4 billion was raised in the first half of 2016, compared with $2.1 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Now that the second quarter has come to an end and we have taken a deeper look at the figures, an analysis yields the following results:
Israel’s Mobileye joins Intel, BMW to develop driverless cars
The announcement of BMW Group, Intel and Israel’s Mobileye that they intend to join forces to make self-driving vehicles a reality by 2021 will help boost investment in driverless technologies and confirm Israel’s position at the forefront of developments, industry analysts said.
BMW, Intel and Israel’s Mobileye said on Friday they will collaborate to make “self-driving vehicles a reality and available for production by 2021.” The path to the driverless car is “complex and will require solutions that integrate intelligence across the network, from door locks to the data center,” the three companies said at a joint press conference at the German carmaker’s headquarters in Munich.
BMW will provide the cars, Intel will provide the technology that allows connectivity between devices and Jerusalem-based Mobileye will provide its sensing and road experience management technology, the companies said.
Mobileye uses algorithms and video images from a single camera placed in the car to develop its assisted driving technology that can identify vehicles, pedestrians, animals, and lane boundaries, as well as traffic lights. The technology warns drivers of possible hazards and can break autonomously. The Jerusalem-based company, which has had its product integrated into new car models since 2007 to help avoid collisions, held a $1 billion initial public offering of shares in New York in July 2014 and has a market valuation of around $10 billion today.
Intel uses Israeli vision technology in new Yuneec drone
Intel has installed Israel-developed technology into a new drone developed by the Shanghai-based aerospace company Yuneec International Co.
The drone, called Yuneec Typhoon H, incorporates Intel’s Real Sense technology, a camera developed at Intel’s lab in Haifa, that enables the craft to see like a human eye – to perceive a sense of depth and track human motion.
The technology enables the drone, sales of which are expected to start in coming weeks, to map out its surroundings, follow objects and avoid collisions, Intel said in a statement.
Intel invested more than $60 million in the Shanghai-based drone company last year as part of its push to expand into drone technology which is expected to be used increasingly by companies globally to deliver products to customers.
Singing stars come out at night among Israel Museum sculptures
It is the season of outdoor concerts and events, and the Israel Museum’s sculpture garden is a particularly magical spot for listening to music under the skies.
There, seated on cushions or chairs placed on the white pebbled ground, or perched on the concrete base of Robert Indiana’s iconic “Ahava” sculpture, audiences can hear a broad cross-section of Israeli performers during the second week of July, from Monday, July 11, through Thursday, July 14.
The first concert on Monday, July 11, brings beloved Israeli performers Yehudit Ravitz and Shalom Hanoch, followed on Tuesday, July 12, by the punk-like Aviv Geffen with Eviatar Banai, who are finishing up a year of joint performances.
Wednesday, July 13, offers seven pianists, including Israeli favorites Matti Caspi, Rami Kleinstein, Shlomo Gronich and Marina Maximilian with composer and pianist Gil Shohat, and the final evening, Thursday, July 14, features rocker Berry Sakharof on the sculpture garden stage.
The idea of the concerts, said museum events planner Neta Cohen, is to bring different audiences to the museum, and specifically to the garden, paying homage to the mix of modern sculptures placed strategically along its paths and pebbled areas.
In Entebbe, PM says legendary rescue proved Jews ‘were powerless no more’
Israel’s 1976 operation to rescue over 100 hostages from terrorist hijackers in Entebbe proved to the world that Jews were “powerless no more,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Monday, speaking at the Ugandan airfield where his brother Yonatan was killed during the legendary raid 40 years ago.
Netanyahu kicked off a tour of four African countries with the ceremony that marked one of Israel’s greatest successes in counter-terrorism and one of the most impressive rescue operations ever conducted.
The raid on Entebbe, the prime minister said, “was a watershed moment for my people.”
During the Holocaust, he noted, Jews “were murdered by the millions, stateless. The State of Israel has changed that. It was perhaps in Entebbe where this transformation was seen by the world. We were powerless no more.”
In the summer of 1976, a group of German and Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, demanding the release of dozens of prisoners around the world. In the days that followed, the terrorists released the majority of the hostages, save for the Israelis and some Jewish passengers whom they kept under armed guard in the Entebbe Airport in Uganda, with permission from the country’s dictator Idi Amin.
In a daring nighttime raid, a group of Israeli commandos flew into the airfield and successfully rescued almost all of the hostages. Three passengers died during the operation, as did Yoni Netanyahu, the commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, which played a central role in the operation.
Netanyahu invokes the 'spirit of Entebbe' in the global fight against terror
The Entebbe raid forty years ago shows that “good can prevail over evil, and hope can triumph over fear,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Tuesday at the site where his brother, Yonatan, was killed leading Israeli commandos in a rescue operation he termed one of the most daring in history..
"Entebbe was a watershed moment in the life of my people,” Netanyahu said. “For centuries we were stateless and powerless to defend ourselves. No one came to our rescue, we were murdered by the millions. The rise of Israel has changed all that. Time and again Israel has successfully defended itself against enemies committed to our destruction.”
Netanyahu's words came in the shadow of the tower near the Old Terminal building, where a firefight ensued between the IDF soldiers – some, such as Zionist Union MK Omer Bar Lev, were in attendance – and Ugandan soldiers. Ugandan soldiers in full regalia watched over the ceremony..
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni made clear the reason why Ugandan soldiers were today guarding a ceremony marking the Israeli raid that killed Ugandan soldiers: he fought Ugandan dictator Idi Amin for six years before the Entebbe raid, and until the latter’s eventual fall and exile.
With soaring rhetoric, Netanyahu said that the nighttime raid not only changed Israel, but – with the loss of his brother – also altered his life. He said that his brother taught him two things regarding terrorism: that when dealing with it, clarity and courage is needed.
Uganda’s president declares: Israel was right to carry out Entebbe raid
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday lauded Israel’s famed July 4, 1976, Entebbe rescue of a hijacked Air France plane, saying at a memorial service to mark its 40th anniversary that the Jewish state was right to launch the operation on his country’s territory.
Speaking at the Ugandan airfield where IDF troops rescued dozens of Israelis and Jews from the German and Palestinian terrorists who had hijacked a flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, Museveni said Ugandan leader Idi Amin’s “hobnobbing with the terrorists was a crime in itself.”
Turning to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose brother led the commando unit and was the only Israeli military fatality during the mission, Museveni said: “Your brother Jonathan, some Israeli hostages, and some Ugandan soldiers were killed here, on that night, fourth of July 1976. Fortunately, the rescue mission succeeded and the innocent civilians were rescued.”
An often rambling Museveni, clad in a wide-brimmed light-colored hat, also listed a number of biblical links between the Jewish state and his own nation, while consistently referring to Israel as “Palestine.”
The Entebbe Rescue, 40 Years Later
On July 4, 1976 – 40 years ago today – Israeli commandos carried out a daring raid to rescue over 100 Jewish and Israeli hostages held by Palestinian and German terrorists at the Entebbe airport in Uganda.
A week earlier, two terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and two German terrorists from the Baader-Meinhoff gang had hijacked Air France flight 139 as it took off from Athens bound for Paris, the final leg of its journey that had begun in Tel Aviv. The hijackers demanded the release of several dozen of imprisoned terrorists and sympathizers in exchange for the hijacked hostages.
After a stop in Libya, where additional terrorists boarded the plane, the flight continued on to Uganda, then under the dictatorial rule of President Idi Amin Dada. Ugandan troops aided the hijackers in guarding the hostages.
When the plane landed in Uganda, the Jewish and Israeli passengers were separated from the others.
“Even now, as I am telling you the process by which the terrorists selected their hostages, it hurts me to say it,” recalled Avi Mor, a member of the IDF’s rescue mission who had escaped from the Nazis in Poland along with his family. “It was a similar selection process the Nazis administered when selecting who would go work and who would be sent to the gas chambers.”
The ABC Evening Newscast - July 5, 1976 - part 1 of 3!


Yoni Netanyahu's childhood friends plan Entebbe event in Philadelphia
What could be the most emotional commemoration of the 1976 Entebbe rescue operation other than the event Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is attending in Entebbe will take place Tuesday in Philadelphia at the US memorial to Netanyahu's brother Yoni, who was killed commanding the operation.
The Netanyahu brothers went to Cheltenham High School outside Philadelphia before returning to Israel and serving in the IDF's elite General Reconnaissance Unit, Sayeret Matkal. After Yoni was killed in the operation releasing hostages in Uganda, Benjamin Netanyahu helped plan the memorial at Historic Congregation Mikveh Israel near the Liberty Bell.
The memorial was conceived by the current prime minister and Yoni's childhood friend Steve Friedman in 1982 when Netanyahu was deputy ambassador in Washington. The sculpture of granite and marble was dedicated in 1986.
"The memorial signifies the incredible, bold, brave defiance of the IDF and the unit Yoni led in carrying out the rescue," Friedman said. "The forces of creativity took over and succeeded. The tragedy of Yoni plus the symbolism of defiance against terror and the boldness of the IDF are the values embodied by the memorial. In this day and age of never ending terrorism, this memorial, this event, this recognition is critical."
Friedman met Yoni Netanyahu in January 1963 when they were in high school English class together. Their families became close and Friedman has remained close with Benjamin Netanyahu.
Entebbe's seriously wounded soldier meets with doctor who saved his life
At the beginning of their meeting, Professor Joel Sayfan takes out a note from an old photo album and shows it to Surin Hershko, a soldier who was seriously wounded during the Entebbe Operation. The 40-year-old note, which includes the schedule for the operation, is stained with Surin's blood.
A single bullet was fired by a terrorist at Paratrooper Surin Hershko. It entered his body through the right side of his upper lip without even leaving so much as a scar. But the bullet kept moving in a destructive path, breaking Hershko's teeth, and moving forward still until hitting his spine. Surin, who was only 21 years old, was left paralyzed from the neck down.
Joel Sayfan, 71, was at the time the Paratroopers Brigade's doctor. He was the first to get to Surin only a few seconds after he was wounded. The schedule, which was inside his right breast pocket, was soaked with blood when Sayfan leaned over Hershko to treat him, protecting him from further harm with his body. The doctor saved the piece of paper as "an evidence of a constitutive event."
"This is yours. The original note, you can do a DNA test on it," he told Surin, presenting him with the paper with its faded blood stains. "After returning home and taking off my uniform, I unbuttoned the shirt and pulled out the note, which was soaked with blood. I've treated wounded in the field, and in battles, and at nighttime—both before and after Entebbe—but it never became this personal. The sixty-some minutes, our entire stay on the ground in Entebbe, the entire operation, was spent treating Surin. Everything around it—the planning, the arrival, the return—it was all just background noise. The essence of this operation, for me, is Surin. It's hard to describe it in words. This is a real bond between two people who met under certain circumstances—in an event that was perhaps the most important in their lives. There is a true bond between us, a bond of blood."
StandWithUs+: The Raid on Entebbe
40 years ago today, 103 hostages were rescued in one of the most ambitious hostage rescues in history - the raid on Entebbe. After PFLP and Revolutionary Cells terrorists hijacked a plane from Israel, they separated out 103 Israeli passengers (and crew) and diverted the plane to Uganda where they demanded the releases of terrorists in exchange for the release of hostages.
The IDF was able to successfully rescue all hostages with very few casualties in a remarkable feat. Today we remember their incredible success, and well as those who did not survive:
Yoni Netanyahu, the sole IDF casualty and leader of the rescue operation
Dora Bloch, hostage
Jean-Jacques Mimouni, hostage
Ida Borochovitch, hostage
Pasco Cohen, hostage


The Greatest Hostage Rescue in History : Documentary on The Entebbe Raid




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