Thursday, July 28, 2016

From Ian:


The ‘Termite’ Infamy and the Jews
Johnson, of course, is a Democrat representing Georgia’s 4th district. Greenblatt, to his credit, retweeted Johnson’s “apology” with the heading, “yes there was an apology, but no ‘point’ justifies referring to human beings in such an abhorrent, inappropriate manner.” The ADL retweeted Greenblatt’s personal tweet, but has yet to issue an actual statement on the controversy. In an election cycle that has enlivened anti-Semitism on both the far right and the far left, the ADL should have treated this moment with the gravity it deserved, responded in a professional and substantive manner, and used Johnson’s crude remarks as an opportunity to educate the electorate on anti-Semitism in all its iterations.
Another organization that has failed spectacularly this week? J Street. It is overtly anti-settlement, and, in striving to achieve its political aims, J Street makes rating and endorsing candidates a core part of its mission. Hank Johnson has been the beneficiary of both J Street’s endorsement and its fundraising. Thus in the wake of his remarks, the organization had an opportunity to demonstrate true leadership.
But how did it respond to this vile imprecation? The J Street statement incoherently contended both that “there is no place…. For personal insults or slurs against whole groups of people including settlers in the West Bank,” and that “the Congressman was clearly referring to the corrosive impact of the settlement enterprise… and not to individuals.” Indeed, the organization delivered a sharper rebuke to the media for breaking the story than to Johnson himself.
For Jews around the world, the three week period of mourning leading up to the fast of Tisha Ba’av has just started. The Talmud explains that the destruction of the Second Temple—one of the tragedies Jews mourn during the fast—happened as a result of Sinat Chinam, which is usually translated as “baseless hatred” within the nation. The phrase is often invoked to demonstrate how division renders the Jewish people weak and ripe for targeting. The responses from the ADL and J Street are distressing indicators of the condition of American Jewry as our mourning begins.
The ADL Should Not Accept Congressman Hank Johnson’s Phony Apology for Calling Jews ‘Termites’
It’s wrong for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to have failed to condemn as blatant antisemitism Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA)’s “termites” label for Jews living in Judea/Samaria.
It’s also wrong for the ADL to have accepted Johnson’s phony apology “tweet,” which read: “Poor choice of words – apologies for offense. Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution.”
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is not alone in feeling this way.
Prominent Las Angeles Rabbi David Wolpe wrote: “That is not an apology. ‘I am sorry I said something stupid and anti-Semitic’ — that would have been a fitting apology. These are not trivial issues. . . . To call Jews ‘termites’ is base and vile.”
Commentary editor John Podhoretz tweeted: “How about using the term “anti-Semitic,” you cowards? He compared Jews to TERMITES, for f —‘s sake.”



In troubled post-Mandela South Africa, a fight or flight dilemma for the 70,000 Jews
While Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been trumpeting his recent visit to sub-Saharan African countries, declaring that Israel is “coming back to Africa” after decades of bumpy relationships, some South African Jews are asking whether they should be heading in the opposite direction.
Citizens are disillusioned with the downward slide under President Jacob Zuma and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) — Nelson Mandela’s former much-admired liberation movement — since the country’s idealistic heyday two decades ago.
Staying versus leaving, or optimism versus pessimism, is an old Jewish dilemma.
During apartheid, fearing a racial bloodbath, many emigrated along with other whites, particularly after the Soweto riots in 1976.
In the community’s heyday in the 1960-70s it numbered 135,000. Today it is half that, at some 70,000, most in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Jews have traditionally left countries because of anti-Semitism — the latest example being France, where large numbers are emigrating. In South Africa, however, emigration is low compared to other Diaspora communities.
Here, Jewish optimism has ebbed and flowed: A 2005 survey by the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at Cape Town University found 79 percent of Jews were “very likely to continue living in South Africa” in the next five years, compared to only 44 percent in 1998. If the talk at Shabbat tables mentioned by Mandy Wiener is anything to go by, it is likely Jews are more pessimistic now than in 2005.
Mandela epitomized an optimism that South Africa’s non-racial project would succeed after apartheid’s defeat. Will Afrika Tikkun and Temple Israel be the symbol of Jewish South Africans who won’t give up on it? Next week’s elections will give an indication of which way the wind is blowing.
Clinton campaign condemns burning of Israeli flag
Hillary Clinton’s campaign condemned the burning of an Israeli flag at the Democratic National Convention.
“Hillary Clinton has always stood against efforts to marginalize Israel and incitement, and she strongly condemns this kind of hatred,” Sarah Bard, the campaign’s director of Jewish outreach said in an email Wednesday.
“Burning the Israeli flag is a reckless act that undermines peace and our values.”
An Israeli flag was set alight Tuesday as protesters chanted “Long live the intifada” outside the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, housing the Democratic National Convention.
Protesters chanted “Long live the intifada” and a woman wearing a black bandanna on her face lit the flag on fire. Someone stood nearby waving a Palestinian flag.
Former Boston Red Sox Player Tweets Dismay Over ‘Jew Hatred,’ Burning of Israeli Flag Outside Democratic Convention
A former star player for the Boston Red Sox expressed dismay on Wednesday over the burning of Israeli flags outside the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia.
“Sad to see the hatred that still exists for Israel and Jews across the world,” Kevin Youkilis tweeted, along with the hashtags “StopTheHate” and “NeverAgain.”
Youkilis’ Twitter followers responded in kind, with comments such as, “so true and so sad,” “Amen” and “That is absolutely nauseating to see, especially in my hometown!” One social media user even thanked the former professional baseball player for “speaking up.”
As The Algemeiner reported, eyewitnesses at the Wells Fargo Center, where the DNC is being held, said protesters were burning Israeli and American flags on Tuesday night, while chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Long Live Palestine.” Activists also waved signs that read, “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free,” a slogan calling for the elimination of the state of Israel.
Meanwhile, inside the convention center, Palestinian flags were prominently displayed and attendees were seen holding up signs that read, “I support Palestinian human rights.”
Leftist Protester Catches On Fire from Burning U.S. Flag
Protesters at the Democratic National Convention grew even rowdier than on previous nights and a U.S. flag was lit on fire — and a protester attempting to dance on the burning flag ended up on fire. The graphic video can be seen below. Police and protesters attempted to treat the injuries and worked together to carry off the burned protester.
PreOccupiedTerritory: BDSers Clash With DNC Protesters Over Buying Israeli Flags To Burn (satire)
Demonstrators outside the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in the City of Brotherly Love became enmeshed in a vociferous dispute today after advocates of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement against Israel discovered that other protesters burning Israeli flags had acquired the banner by purchasing it, in direct violation of the spirit of BDS.
Scores of activists assembled outside the convention burned Israeli and American flags to protest the mainstream policies supported by the party’s presidential nominee, which they claim will promote injustice and the dispossession of Palestinians. Within the convention hall some attendees even held a Palestinian flag aloft, but the most vehement displays of anti-Israel sentiment have occurred beyond the confines of the arena, and the need to demonstrate antipathy to Israel has come into conflict with the desire not to support Israeli interests economically.
Eyewitnesses reported that two groups of demonstrators engaged in sporadic shouting matches throughout the proceedings, with pro-BDS activists attempting to snatch Israeli flags from the clutches of activists aiming to burn them. A group of protesters from the University of Pennsylvania chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, a pro-BDS organization, confronted a gathering of activists sporting Bernie Sanders paraphernalia, and challenged them over the provenance of the flags.
“You can’t use those!” they yelled. “Every time you buy one you support Occupation!”
“You play into the hands of the Zio-Nazis!” retorted the Bernie Bros. Minor scuffles ensued, recurring periodically throughout the evening. At one point the SJP contingent succeeded in wresting an Israeli flag from a Bernie supporter and throwing it on the ground, at which point the Sanders activist set it alight as intended. Scattered shouting matches flared in small groups.
Sanders campaign chair: Bernie wants ‘fresh thinking’ on Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Shortly after Bernie Sanders unequivocally endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the party’s national convention Monday night, his campaign chair said the Vermont senator would continue to encourage “fresh thinking” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While the Sanders camp has taken steps in recent days to project an image of party unity and shepherd its grassroots base into the Clinton coalition for the general election, Jeff Weaver acknowledged that differences remained between the former rivals vis-a-vis the region, but that Sanders would “stress issues where they are very much together.”
Sanders does not intend to highlight any variations between his camp’s stance on the Israel-Palestinian conflict and that of the former secretary of state during the coming five months, Weaver said, but would advocate the US policy take “a new look” on the enduring issue.
“He knows we’ll have to work through this,” Weaver told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. “It’s a very difficult situation over there, obviously. It’s very complicated. And it’s a situation we’re going to have to work through.”
DNC 2016: Team Hillary Tweeted Out This Pic of Muslim Fan—But She’s for Bernie
Last night, Hillary’s campaign tweeted out a picture of a young woman in a headscarf, overcome with emotion as Clinton accepted the nomination. That emotion was not happiness.
That evening, Hillary for America tweeted out a photo of Allam, donning her glasses and a hijab, seemingly overcome with emotion, with pro-Hillary signs being waved around her in every direction.
“We made history,” the tweet reads.
The tweet, which strongly implies a Muslim-American female Hillary fan tearing up over the historic occasion, earned Team Hillary over 2,300 retweets and 7,200 likes.
Allam wasn’t amused.
“Guess you didn’t get the memo….. #StillSanders #ImanImmigrant #ISupportPalestinianRights,” she tweeted at the Clinton campaign.
SodaStream hires hundreds of new employees in southern Israel
Southern Israel-based SodaStream has hired 300 new employees for its production plant in the Negev Desert.
The company now has 1,400 employees in the Idan Hanegev industrial park near Lehavim, one-third of them Bedouin Arabs from the surrounding area, the Israeli business daily Globes reported.
The company, one of the largest employers in the Negev, will hire 70 more people in the coming weeks, according to the report published Wednesday.
The company is also buying 20 new manufacturing machines to keep up with the demand for home carbonated drinks products in Israel and abroad. Figures published by SodaStream show that demand for its products has risen sharply since May 2015, mainly in the Israeli market, but also in other markets, according to Globes.
Stand with Us: Say NO to BDS - Update 2016
What you need to know about the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement


HRC Prompts CBC Correction: Mavi Marmara Flotilla Ship Never Had Humanitarian Aid on Board
Following a complaint filed by HonestReporting Canada on July 22, today, CBC News.ca issued the following correction after falsely claiming that the anti-Israel flotilla vessel, the Mavi Marmara, was “loaded with supplies for Gaza” when Israeli forces interdicted the vessel in 2010:
A July 21 CBC.ca article entitled “Who is Fethullah Gulen, the man Erdogan blames for coup attempt in Turkey?” had erroneously stated the following: “The cracks in their relationship began to emerge in 2010, when Gulen commented publicly on the Mavi Marmara incident, in which nine Turks were killed when Israeli soldiers stormed a Turkish ship loaded with supplies for Gaza.”
Contrary to what CBC.ca had reported, the anti-Israel flotilla ship known as the Mavi Marmara carried only passengers (and many armed individuals) who in 2010 attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Importantly, there was no humanitarian aid on board the ship.
There was no truth to the CBC’s reporting that the Marmara was a ship which was “loaded with supplies for Gaza.” Naturally, it behooved CBC News to publish a correction notice to set the record straight and HRC is appreciative that CBC has done just that.
On Modern Antisemitism, Christian Silence Is Complicity
Today, we see Christians who make the choice to sit in churches and turn away when they hear the newest forms of antisemitism. There are Christians of the “emergent church” who join other “peace and justice” activists and embrace a cause they think is good and right. They are being swayed by the fashionable attitudes of the “progressive left” when the truth is that antisemitism is beginning to shake the world again. Never having gone away, it is currently escalating faster than anyone would have ever thought possible.
Antisemitism can be found on campuses, in the marketplace, within government agencies, and at the United Nations. It is found in churches where the deceit of replacement theology/supersessionism plays itself out. Hatred of Jews has been taught for generations under the guise of mere doctrinal difference.
Christians must be more engaged in learning not only about the historical oppression of Jews, but about the current overt hatred of Jews through the promotion of lies and misinformation about Israel. Today, the voices of antisemitism are once again rising—this time through the anti-Israel boycott movement. The memories of those murdered by the Nazis must be shared among those who do not know, to serve as a warning to those who are as clueless as the ordinary Europeans were in the 1930s.
Elie Wiesel — the recently deceased Holocaust survivor, author, and human rights activist — said, “To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” I would add that it would be not only dangerous and offensive, but unconscionable if Christians like me make the mistake of not learning from the past.
Whether the State of Israel is surrounded by guns or hostile rhetoric, Christians must make the decision now to take action. Tomorrow will soon become today. One cannot assume that they will suddenly become a voice when the rhetoric turns to violence. It doesn’t happen that way. May we all choose the right side of history and be counted among the righteous.
Belgian tennis player to Jewish opponent: ‘You should have been gassed’
A Belgian tennis club suspended a player who told a Jewish competitor on the court, “All of you should have been gassed.”
Alain Verlaak made the remark to a Maccabi player at the Tennis 7th Olympics club in Antwerp on July 22, the Belgian monthly Joods Actueel reported Tuesday. The incident occurred during a tournament of the VTV national tennis association of the Flemish Region.
The Jewish player, who asked to be identified only as Serge S. due to security concerns, told Joods Actueel the incident evolved after a dispute over the validity of a point lost to Verlaak, who was leading in the match. Ludo Depooter, the tournament organizer, confirmed the details of the incident to Joods Actueel.
The club management suspended the match and removed Verlaak from the tournament, Serge S. told JTA on Wednesday. He said he believes the club acted correctly, but added Verlaak should be banned from playing in association matches. Serge S. added that he has filed a criminal complaint against Verlaak with police.
Spielberg should not shrug off Roald Dahl’s anti-Semitism
By the time the celebrated children’s author, Roald Dahl, died in 1990, he was most certainly a splenetic and bad-tempered old man.
Neither attribute can possibly excuse Dahl’s sustained and all-too-frequently uttered anti-Semitism, which found expression in a series of public outbursts in the 1980s but which, his biographer Jeremy Treglown recorded, may well have dated as far back as 1948 when Dahl was 31.
There seems to have been something about us Jews that got under Dahl’s skin. In an interview with the Independent eight months before his death, he said: “I’m certainly anti-Israel and I’ve become anti-Semitic inasmuch as that you get a Jewish person in another country like England strongly supporting Zionism.” Asked by a Jewish journalist if he could elaborate, Dahl spluttered: “Why are you being so persistent? It is not a trait of your Jewish race to be rude but you are certainly being rude… I am an old hand at dealing with you buggers.”
In 1983, in the wake of the Lebanon War, he reviewed a strongly pro-Palestinian book for the Literary Review, in which he found it necessary to write: “It makes one wonder in the end what sort of people these Israelis are. It is like the good old Hitler and Himmler times all over again.”
That year, he told the New Statesman: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews. There’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.
Merchant of Venice opens in city’s historic ghetto
Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice” for the first time is being performed on the spot where some of the action takes place – the main square of the historic Venice Ghetto.
The production, which opened Tuesday night and runs for a week, is staged as part of year-long events marking the 500th anniversary of the imposition of the ghetto by Venetian rulers in 1516 as well as the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
In the audience at the premiere was US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose grandson, the actor Paul Spera, is in the cast.
A key figure in the play is the Jewish moneylender, Shylock, who makes a loan contract with a Venetian merchant, Antonio, from whom he had long suffered anti-Semitic abuse, stipulating that he can cut a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body should he fail to repay the loan. Antonio defaults, but Shylock is defeated by a legal argument that he is entitled only to a pound of flesh – if he spills even one drop of blood, he will be guilty of murder.
Visiting African Christian Leaders Express Solidarity With Israel
A delegation of African Christian leaders on Wednesday presented an award to Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, in Jerusalem on behalf of millions of Christian Africans who support Israel.
“As Prime Minister Netanyahu recently said, Israel is returning to Africa and Africa is returning to Israel . . . We want you to know that there are millions of people in Africa who love, support, and pray for Israel,” said South African Pastor Linda Gobodo, founder of the Vuka Africa Founation.
Gobodo said they held the largest pro-Israel rally ever in Africa during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2014.
Nigerian Pastor Olusegun Olanipekun, who is also the founder of the Institute for Christian Leadership Development, said he believes Africa’s future depends on their ties to Israel.
“We have a great deal to learn from the Israeli people and we believe that he have a great deal to offer in return. We look forward to returning to Israel with dozens of leaders from across Africa for the third Africa Leadership Summit in Jerusalem in 2017,” said Olanipekun.
Intel, global banks are banking on Israeli fintech ideas
A unique financial technology startup hub housed at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange aims to put Israel on the global map in the hot field of fintech.
Officially opening at the end of July following a launch party on June 29, The Floor will host 25 fintech companies at a time, developing technologies for digital banking and payments, capital markets, big-data analytics, blockchain (the technology behind cryptocurrency), banking IoT, compliance and anti-fraud.
Among The Floor’s founders are some of the world’s largest banks: RBS, Banco Santander, HSBC and Intesa Sanpaolo. Accenture, Intel and KPMG are strategic partners. The Chinese-Israeli Pando Group plans to invest up to $250 million in Israeli startups in The Floor, beginning with a preliminary $2 million seed investment.
“We have an international focus,” says The Floor CEO Avi Cohen, formerly a scout for fintech and retail-tech for the British government.
“When we were looking to set up the hub, we noticed that the Israeli ecosystem doesn’t have the advantage of a local presence of multiple international banks, so we are trying to bring those banks to Israel as our partners.”
Prospera raises funds to expand agro-tech globally
Tel Aviv-based Prospera, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help farmers better monitor their crops, has raised a Series A investment of $7 million led by Bessemer Venture Partners.
The funding will be used to further expand the supply of Prospera’s AI-based products to farmers and agricultural businesses worldwide, the company said.
Prospera uses deep learning techniques, computer vision and data science to bring technology to the rescue of farmers, who often have to rely on intuition when tending their crops.
With in-field cameras and climatic sensors, Prospera said it is the only company that allows farmers to accurately remote-manage their fields by getting real-time analysis on what is happening to their crops — from a leaf-by-leaf basis to a multi-field, multi-crop basis. This access allows them to tackle critical issues of underperforming fields caused by pests, disease, irrigation, nutrient deficiencies and sub-optimal agro-technical activities.
The solutions are cost-effective and scalable, enabling farmers to grow crops in a more efficient and sustainable way. They also ensure water, pesticides and fertilizers are used only as required and allow for the maximum potential crop yield to be delivered to market, Prospera said.
IDF to welcome foreign recruits from 21 countries, mainly France
Jewish youth from 21 countries participate in Israeli military's program seeking to mentally and physically prepares foreign volunteers for service
Forty-five percent of all foreign recruits to the Israel Defense Forces hail from France, compared to 29% from the U.S. and 5% from Britain, according to findings published Wednesday by the Defense Ministry.
This is the second consecutive year in which France's Jewish community takes the lead over U.S. Jews in terms of the number of recruits, most of whom will officially enlist in August.
Jewish youth from a total of 21 countries participate in the IDF's recruitment preparation program.
Israeli findings may cut US troops' risk of psychological disorders
Researchers at Tel Aviv University released a study this month that found computerized training before deployment could help prevent flare-ups of post-traumatic stress disorder. The research team followed soldiers from basic training to combat and found that those who avoided potential threats presented on a computer screen were at greater risk for developing PTSD.
The study was conducted in collaboration with the Israel Defense Forces, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the National Institutes of Health.
U.S. Army Secretary Eric Fanning says the Army is paying more attention to behavioral health and making sure anyone who's injured while defending the nation gets the treatment they need.
The Army and other military branches are conducting research into how military deployment affects anger, and they are encouraging mental health treatment before deployment to mitigate the effects of anger after soldiers return, he said.
"There's a tremendous amount of research the Army's been doing, the military's been doing," Fanning said. "It's clear we have a lot of work left to do."
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Carlos Santana To BDS-Holes: Stop Whining, Complaining and Bitching!
As I posted a month ago, Carlos Santana is not the BDS poster boy the BDS-holes had previously claimed.
But now he has gone one step further, using some strong words in an interview with Ynet to let them know just what he thinks of their little cause.


IsraellyCool: James Caan: “I Don’t Know Any [anti-Semites]. And If I Did, I’d Punch Them In The Face.”
James Caan’s visit to Israel has already produced some great soundbytes, with the Hollywood actor speaking out in defense of Israel and against those who oppose the Jewish state.
And like they say on those cheesy infomercials, there’s more!
The Media Line: The entertainment world seems to be divided between those who travel to Israel and those who won’t. Did anyone ask you not to visit Israel?
James Caan: They would have gotten punched in the face. No, I don’t hang around with anti-Semites if that’s what you mean and I don’t know any. And if I did, I’d punch them in the face.
TML: Is this your first visit to Israel? How does it feel?
JC: Yes. It’s great so far. They are wearing me out with these tours and I just had my back operated on, so walking up and down those hills is not so much fun. But it’s not supposed to be. Yesterday was great. I was at the Western Wall and got a great history lesson going through the tunnels. It’s just mind-boggling.
First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)
The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday.
The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a married life rife with unfulfilled promises and a world surrounded by bloodshed.
The English trailer for Portman’s film includes clips of the actress/director speaking in Hebrew. In one scene, Fania tells her son, “Even after you live out your entire life, and have all kinds of experiences, your innocence will never abandon you.”




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