Tuesday, August 30, 2016

From Ian:

Give the UN Immunity for Terror?
The technical legality of this assertion is dubious. If any local employee of the United Nations, let alone, one of an embassy or consulate anywhere, is considered to have the immunity tradition accords actual diplomats the entire concept is called into question. It’s bad enough when real diplomats commit crimes and then are allowed to return home, albeit in disgrace. More common is when diplomats involved in spying—an activity not wholly unrelated to the business of foreign policy.
But while those with diplomatic passports must be accorded a fair amount of latitude for countries to feel free to exchange representatives, giving employees of UN agencies a free pass for blatantly illegal conduct is absurd. Even more outrageous is the notion that those who aid terrorist organizations should be treated with kid gloves.
This UN demand is especially egregious when one considers the record of both the UN and other philanthropic groups in Gaza. The same week that Borsh was arrested, an employee of the World Vision humanitarian group in Gaza was also apprehended for siphoning off for Hamas tens of millions of dollars donated from well-meaning foreigners that were intended to help Palestinian children. Another recent controversy has centered on Hamas infiltration of the Save the Children organization in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations Relief Works Agency was found to have hired members of Hamas and allowed its facilities and schools to be used by the terrorists for storing weapons during the 2014 war.
But rather than take responsibility for this fiasco that occurred in their name, the UN thinks Borsh and every other Palestinian working for them in Gaza ought to be given impunity for misdirecting international aid to terrorists. Israel is right to ignore this request and to vigorously prosecute all those who abuse their UN jobs in this manner.
The UN has been a cesspool of corruption and anti-Semitism for so long that to speak of salvaging its reputation is a fool’s errand. Yet this incident shows how little the world body actually cares for the welfare of ordinary Palestinians, who are being shortchanged of desperately needed assistance to bolster their Islamist rulers’ military infrastructure. By invoking diplomatic immunity, the UN is calling into disrepute a basic principle upon which the entire structure of its efforts rests.

Kerry: ‘The Media Would Do Us All A Service’ If It Ignored Terrorism. ‘People Wouldn't Know What's Going On.’
US Secretary of State John Kerry just uttered something stupid again. This time it was in Bangladesh where he met with the country’s top officials in the capital of Dhaka and explicitly stated that the media should cover terrorism less so that "people wouldn't know what's going on." Here’s the full quote (emphasis added):
Remember this: No country is immune from terrorism. It's easy to terrorize. Government and law enforcement have to be correct 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But if you decide one day you're going to be a terrorist and you're willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise. Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn't cover it quite as much. People wouldn't know what's going on.
The Secretary of State’s Orwellian rhetoric drew loud applause from the majority Muslim audience attending the press conference at the Edward M. Kennedy Center in Dhaka.
Kerry’s own department refused to comment on the Secretary’s shocking statements when pressed by reporters on Monday. "I'm not able to speak for Secretary Kerry,” stated a State Department spokesman.
As The Weekly Standard observes, this isn’t the first time Kerry has warned the media about covering terrorism.
BBC’s 2014 claim of an attack on a UN school shown to be inaccurate
Obviously footnotes need to be added to the relevant reports still available online in order to clarify to members of the public that the claim that the UN school was attacked is inaccurate.
Likewise, a similar clarification needs to be added to the BBC News website article titled “Gaza conflict: Disputed deadly incidents” which is also still available online and in which audiences are told that:
“Locals have told the BBC there were no militants in or near the school.”
Since the end of the conflict between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip two years ago, investigations into several of the incidents reported by the BBC have shown (see related articles below) that audiences were at the time given inaccurate and misleading information.
To the best of our knowledge, none of the specious reports which still remain available online (and form part of what the BBC terms ‘historical record’) have been amended to inform the general public of the outcome of investigations into the incidents and to correct inaccurate and misleading information included in their content. The failure to take such necessary steps risks the waste of publicly funded resources on complaints relating to those reports due to the fact that the BBC’s editorial guidelines state that if content is still available online, it may legitimately be the subject of editorial complaints.



David Collier: An open letter to Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue
Sirs
I recently wrote a blog that attracted considerable attention. As you can see in the comments section, three of those who responded to the piece were the Rabbi from your synagogue, a member of your board (and the Yachad chairman), and one of those who complained (an academic who conducted a survey for Yachad).
As I now understand the situation better, I would like to register my horror at the synagogues denial of a platform to the Zionist group ‘Im Tirtzu’ and I felt compelled to contact the synagogue directly. As is always my method, I do so openly.
Yachad are a tiny group of radical activists with a small and disinterested following. What they do, as all fringe movements do, is pretend they are much bigger than they are. That they somehow represent a ‘silent majority’. If you check their activity on social media, and the lack of response to it, you soon realise they are an astroturf group. They don’t engage in public political actions because nobody would show up. They do what they did here. Get three people to write a letter and pretend they speak for a mob.
This astroturf group have made at least two anti-Zionist actions in the past weeks. The first was to call on the UK government to pressure the Israeli government over Susiya. As they do this, they join hands with BDS, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Islamic Human Rights groups and so on.
The second was to make an open call to no-platform their political adversaries, Im Tirtzu. They embarked on a delegitimisation campaign that included distortions and half-truths. A deliberate and open attack on freedom of speech and a silencing of the Zionist voice.
Deporting BDS Activists from Israel – the Real Story
Earlier this month, Israel announced a new policy: to deport BDS activists currently in, or attempting to enter, the country.
BDS means “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions,” and bills itself as a human rights movement with the goal of isolating Israel in the international community. BDS activists strongly criticized the new Israeli policy as “anti-democratic,” “irrational,” and “heightened repression.”
But is any of that true?
HonestReporting’s Daniel Pomerantz debated this topic on the program “Faceoff,” on the i24 news channel.
Here is some of what he had to say on the program:
Just last year the United States deported 235,413 people, down from its usual average which is closer to 400,000.
Michael Lumish: The Raw Material Podcasts # 2: Palestinian Emirates
Heya guys, this is Michael Lumish coming atcha from the beautiful Oakland hills just across the bay from San Francisco the land of pokeymon go.
I don’t know if you guys know what this is, or not, but it’s essentially a game in which you use the optics on your cell phone to augment natural reality as you search for little pokeymon monsters.
What it really means is that you have idiots wandering around the bay area tripping over curbs, walking into passing bicycles, knocking people down in the street, and occasionally getting smashed by a MUNI bus.
But what I want to talk to you guys about today is an alternative to the two-state solution being promoted by professor Mordechai Kedar – who is a very well known figure among those of us follow Israel – and who is well-respected scholar of Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University in that country.
Kedar, and others, have been working through this idea of quote unquote Palestinian emirates.
Will Rahm Emanuel be US's next ambassador to Israel? Not so fast, says Chicago mayor
The US elections have not yet been held, and Ambassador Dan Shapiro has not yet said when he will leave his post, but Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has already vigorously denied rumors of any interest in Shapiro’s job.
Last week, Crain’s Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz reported “an absolute delicious piece of gossip floating around that, up to a point, makes some sense: The next US ambassador to Israel could be one Rahm Emanuel.”
Nonetheless, Hinz, whose column began, “I’m not going to say it’s going to happen,” wrote that the story goes like this: “Chicago’s mayor isn’t particularly tight with Hillary Clinton. But he and potential ‘First Lady’ Bill Clinton have gotten along just fine since Emanuel worked for the then-president a generation ago. Beyond that, Barack Obama, who is working really hard for Clinton this year, hired Emanuel as his first chief of staff.
“So as the story goes, if Clinton wins this fall – and if it becomes apparent that Emanuel’s road to reelection in 2019 remains badly uphill – it would be time to look for an honorable parachute.”
Florida State Senate Candidate Calls Out Incumbent Opponent for Meeting With Palestinian Terrorist (INTERVIEW)
A Florida Democratic state senator’s meeting earlier this year with a member of a Palestinian terrorist group was a display of poor judgement that should weigh on the minds of voters, the senator’s challenger in a primary election being held on Tuesday told The Algemeiner.
Andrew Korge, who is running against incumbent Dwight Bullard in Florida’s 40th Senate district (located in Miami-Dade County), told The Algemeiner on Monday, “I believe Israel is one of our closest allies and is a country we need to work with hand in hand and my opponent definitely does not.”
As reported by NBC6 News last week, Bullard has come under fire for meeting with a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) during a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in May with the Dream Defenders human rights group.
“I met with an individual who was a tour guide in [the] Old [City] of Jerusalem,” Bullard told NBC 6 News. “In terms of his political affiliations, I had no idea.”
Korge does not buy that excuse. “He’s pleading ignorance, yet he refuses to apologize,” Korge said. “At a time when the United States and the Western world are dealing with the threat of terrorism, it’s irresponsible and frankly wrong for an American elected official to go meet a member of a terrorist group. The PFLP has not only murdered innocent civilians and proudly taken credit for it, it also has ties to the Castro regime (in Cuba) and the Maduro regime (in Venezuela) and other dictators, so I’m not sure what the heck Dwight Bullard was thinking. We have enough ignorance in government, we certainly don’t need more ignorant people.”
Protest prompts Brussels Airlines to return Israeli snack to menu
Brussels Airlines announced Monday that it will reintroduce a popular Israeli snack to its menu. The item was removed from the Belgian carrier's in-flight dessert options in July following pressure by a Palestinian group associated with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The airline had allegedly decided to take the Achva brand halva, an Israeli sesame snack, produced in a factory located in the Barkan Industrial Park in Judea and Samaria, off its menu following pressure from the Palestine Solidarity Movement, a group that often encourages the boycott of Israeli products.
The company denied allegations suggesting it was actively boycotting Israeli products, saying the decision regarding the halva dessert "was in no way a boycott, but rather a case of a mistaken order on the part of the caterer for a product we did not request."
Israeli Ambassador to Belgium Simona Frankel met Monday with Brussels Airlines CEO Bernard Gustin, who assured her the airline had no political agenda and that it will continue to feature Israeli products on its menus, including those produced by Achva.
The Foreign Ministry had also contacted the airline on the issue, and following what was described as a "successful public diplomacy effort," it was decided the sesame snack will once again be featured on the Brussels Airlines menu.
NGO Monitor: Watchdog: Norway Should Cut Funding to Organization That Funnels Money to Pro-BDS Groups (INTERVIEW)
The Norwegian government should cease giving money to an organization that funds NGOs promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the head of an Israel-based watchdog group told The Algemeiner on Monday.
Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, spoke with The Algemeiner after publishing a report on Monday revealing that Norway allocated over $600,000 in the second half of 2016 to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (HR/IHL) Secretariat .
The NGO Monitor report said the “HR/IHL Secretariat is an intermediary that distributes funds to non-governmental organizations…active in BDS…campaigns and other forms of demonization against Israel. It is managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm, based in Sweden.”
Steinberg told The Algemeiner, “We do not know what the Norwegian government knows or doesn’t know, or which part of the government made this decision. Formally, the funds are designated by the Foreign Ministry, but NORAD — the Norwegian Aid and Development framework — is in charge of funding decisions for NGOs. Whether anyone did due diligence on the HR/IHL Secretariat remains to be seen.”
Human Rights Organization Welcomes Decision by Governing Soccer Body to Investigate French Team for Anti-Israel Discrimination
The decision by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to investigate a French team for anti-Israel discrimination is a welcome step, an official from the international Jewish human rights organization that had urged the governing soccer body to take action told The Algemeiner on Monday.
“Politics is a factor in sports, but politicizing it impugns its values of fair-play and the pleasure of the game,” said Dr. Shimon Samuels, director for international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center-Europe, who called on UEFA to hold the team St. Etienne accountable for banning Israeli flags during a match last week against Beitar Jerusalem at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard stadium, while allowing French and Palestinian flags to fly.
In a letter to UEFA’s president on Monday, obtained by The Algemeiner, Samuels demanded that the organization uphold its self-described neutrality on politics and religion, which is “now gravely endangered by Palestinian political agitation among local clubs.”
Rights group accuses PA, Hamas of abusing journalists
Palestinian authorities are silencing dissent by cracking down on free speech and abusing local journalists and activists critical of their policies, a leading international human rights group said Tuesday.
Human Rights Watch said both the Western-backed Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and its rival, the ruling Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, are “arresting, abusing, and criminally charging journalists and activists who express peaceful criticism of the authorities.”
In 2007, Hamas ousted Abbas’ Fatah forces from Gaza in bloody street battles, leaving the Palestinians divided between two governments. Attempts at reconciliation have repeatedly failed, and both Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority have periodically launched crackdowns against their rivals in efforts to consolidate power.
“The Palestinian governments in both Gaza and the West Bank are arresting and even physically abusing activists and journalists who express criticism on important public issues,” said Sari Bashi, the Israel and Palestine country director at Human Rights Watch.
HRW said that in the West Bank, Palestinian forces arrested activists and musicians who “ridiculed Palestinian security forces” and “accused the government of corruption” in statements posted on Facebook or stated in graffiti and rap songs.
Revisiting the BBC’s 2014 reports on Gaza’s power plant
Listeners to BBC World Service radio’s ‘Newshour‘ on July 29th heard Chris Morris make the following baseless allegation:
“And it is Gaza’s only power plant so there are electricity cuts in Gaza City, there could be problems with water supply because many of the area’s water pumps also rely on that power plant. So if that was a deliberate Israeli attempt to cause economic pain – which is certainly how most Palestinians will see it – then it could be fairly successful.”
Just over two weeks later, both television viewers and visitors to the BBC News website were again reminded of the story in filmed and written reports by Yolande Knell.”
A year later, the claims of deliberate targeting of the power plant were shown to be false but no effort was made to correct the misleading impressions and inaccurate information in those reports which still remain available online.
The Military Attorney General has now published the result of investigations into the July 29th 2014 incident and previous ones at that power plant.
Guardian, Telegraph claim that IDF killed Gaza family in 2014 contradicted by new report
Similarly, the Telegraph repo1qaantisemitism watchdog told The Algemeiner on Monday.
“The resulting atmosphere of impunity is enabling antisemitism in our country to grow and become increasingly violent,” said Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), in reference to what he called the “woeful record” of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in combating the phenomenon.
“Earlier this year, we published our National Antisemitic Crime Audit. We found that, despite the crackdown promised in 2014, in 2015 hate crimes against British Jews surged to a new peak, with a 26 percent growth in crimes against Jews and a 51% leap in violent antisemitic crime,” he said.
One of the more significant finds of the audit, Falter said, is that “against the backdrop of major rises in antisemitic crime, the number of antisemitic crimes charges dropped.” According to the CAA, the CPS prosecuted 15,442 cases of hate crimes, “But we are only aware of a dozen prosecutions for hate crimes against Jews,” he said.
Catholic Bishop Calls Destruction of 17 Belfast Jewish Graves ‘Shameful’
A gang of youths used hammers and blocks in an attack on the walled-off Jewish section of a cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Friday, local media reported. Seventeen Jewish graves were destroyed and vandalized in the organized attack inside the cemetery. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating the incident as a hate crime. Some of the graves date back to the 1870s.
Bishop Noel Treanor, head of the Irish diocese of Down and Connor, said that “these shameful acts are a blemish on our society.”
“What a tragedy and blemish then that the long-present, beloved and treasured Jewish families of our community should suffer yet again such actions of disrespect, violence to the memory of their beloved dead and the regrettable outworking of a latent xenophobia that stalks the minds of some,” Bishop Treanor said.
Inspector Norman Haslett of the PSNI said the attack was “a particularly sickening incident, which we are treating as a hate crime,” stressing that “to disturb the sanctity of a cemetery in this way is completely unacceptable and I can assure the public that we will conduct a robust investigation.”
‘Time to Stand by Ireland’s Jews,’ Declares Belfast Columnist in Wake of Cemetery Desecration
Following the desecration of 13 Jewish graves at a cemetery in Belfast on Friday, “It’s time to stand by Ireland’s Jews,” an Irish columnist wrote on Monday.
Henry McDonald of the Belfast Telegraph said that the act of vandalism “appears to have been something more organized, more targeted, more pointed” than “mindless drink and drug-fueled behavior.” According to McDonald, “The vandals used hammers and blocks to break up the headstones, while a larger mob looked on encouraging their actions. There is clear evidence here of forward-planning.”
McDonald said that some have pointed to the recent fining of the Celtic soccer team by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) over fans’ display of Palestinian flags during a recent game against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva as the catalyst for the vandalism. However, McDonald declared, “[W]hatever the motivation, or even the rights and wrongs of the Israel-Palestine question, it is undoubtedly the case that the desecration was motivated by anti-Jew hatred.”
Further elaborating, McDonald detailed the “dualistic, simplistic and narcissistic” views of many of his countrymen:
Spanish energy giant seeks to accelerate Tamar natural gas deal
Spanish energy giant Union Fenosa Gas is said to be considering accelerating its negotiations with the Tamar partnership as well as boost the gas quantities included in the deal, the Bloomberg news agency reported Monday.
The Tamar offshore gas field was discovered some 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Haifa in 2009 and is believed to have reserves of up to 8.4 trillion cubic feet. The Tamar partnership includes Texas-based Noble Energy and the Delek Group. The two also control the Leviathan, Tanin and Karish offshore gas fields.
A source privy to the negotiations said the current deal was for 6 billion cubic meters of gas per year, adding the companies were also discussing a new pricing arrangement, such as introducing floor prices. The gas is to be piped to Spain through to the Damietta liquefied natural gas plant in Egypt.
UFG and the Tamar partnership have been in negotiations for two years, and have signed a non-binding agreement for about 4.5 bcm over 15 years, Bloomberg reported.
Rafael lands €100m Lithuania missile-launcher deal
The Lithuanian Army will procure Samson Mk2 remote-controlled weapon stations mounted on 88 new infantry fighting vehicles.
The Lithuanian Army's largest-ever land system procurement has generated a major deal for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.. Today, the state-owned defense company announced that it had signed a deal to provide the Lithuanian Army with advanced, remote-controlled, weapon stations enabling the launch of accurate Spike missiles, also produced by Rafael.
The Samson Mk2 weapon stations will be mounted on 88 Boxer infantry fighting vehicles, to be provided to the Lithuanian infantry forces by the Dutch-German consortium ARTEC. As part of the deal reported by Rafael, it will serve as Artec's subcontractor, and the weapon stations will be modified to match different armament types and calibers.
Defense establishment sources estimated today that Rafael's share in the deal will be €100 million, while the entire deal is estimated at nearly €400 million. Defense industry sources say that this is Rafael's first deal in Lithuania and that the weapon stations will be provided in 2017.
King David-era battle comes to life in new museum exhibition
The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem will inaugurate a new exhibition next week featuring unique artifacts from Khirbet Qeiyafa, an ancient Judean city that may have played a key role in the famous biblical battle between David and Goliath.
The museum called the exhibition "In the Valley of David and Goliath" referring to the Elah Valley lying below Khirbet Qeiyafa, the valley where the famous battle between the Israelites and Philistines took place.
According to the museum, the exhibition will include "original finds from the city's ruins, its structures, gates, dwellings and many other remarkable artifacts." Visitors will also get to see up close a famous Hebrew inscription, portable shrines -- referred to as "shrine models" by archeologists -- and three iron swords.
The city, which lies close to modern day Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, is believed to have been inhabited by the ancient Israelites during the time of King Saul. The long archeological excavations on the site have provided some of the strongest evidence that ancient Israelites lived in the area at the end of the 11th century BCE, Archeologists say that swords at the site could have been used during the battle of David and Goliath.
Oldest human remains found outside Tel Aviv
When work began to widen route 5 outside of Rosh HaAyin 16 years ago, workers discovered something incredible; the opening to a world frozen in time.
A powerful controlled explosion designed to demolish a giant limestone boulder blocking the path of the road exposed the entrance to a giant limestone cave which had been sealed for over 200,000 years.
This 200,000 year old time capsule contained within it rare artifacts from a critical point in the evolution of humanity, and turned the cave, now called "Qesem Cave," into one of the most important pre-historic sites in the world.
Archaeology Professor at Tel Aviv University Ron Barkai is the head of digging at Qesem Cave. He discussed the international significance of the finds found there.
Jessica Alba touts Krav Maga as best prep for stunts
American actress Jessica Alba has been a Krav Maga fan for years. But now the Mechanic: Resurrection costar of British actor Jason Statham is crediting the official self-defense system of the Israel Defense Forces for her ability to perform her own stunts in the new action-thriller.
“I did all my stunts for Mechanic: Resurrection. Hand-to-hand combat is where I’m home,” Alba told Us Weekly.
The 35-year-old buff mother of two, who proved her martial-arts skills in the sci-fi series Dark Angel in the early 2000s and again in 2005’s Fantastic Four, first posted about her love for Krav Maga in 2014. She shared a video of her training, with fourth-degree black belt Michael Margolin of Krav Maga Worldwide, to her social media feeds.
“It gets you in good shape and you’re also learning a skill. It’s an effective workout because of the kicking and punching with the resistance of another individual,” said Margolin.
Now, as she does the press rounds to drum up interest for Mechanic: Resurrection, Alba – who, in addition to being a Hollywood actor is also cofounder of household products venture The Honest Company — is once again praising this Israeli hand-to-hand combat system.
‘Get ready to sweat’: Ricky Martin to shebang in Israel
Ricky Martin is coming to Israel for what will likely be an energized performance; this will be the first Israeli show for the Latino superstar, who began in a Puerto Rican boy band and achieved international success with his infectious beats during the 90s; ‘Israelis and Latinos are very similar, we’re very warm,’ says Martin, who advises you come to his show ready to move; watch the interview below.
Charismatic singer Ricky Martin is slated to come to Israel for his first ever performance on September 14. “I am extremely excited,” he said. “It’ll be an amazing event, two hours to forget all the issues in life and just to be yourself.”
In addition to looking forward to experiencing the local culture and cuisine, Martin spoke of a deeper connection to Israel. “I also heard it’s a very spiritual country, so I will allow myself to go there for a minute when I’m in Israel.”
Martin suggested music lovers planning on seeing his show prepare for an exhilarating performance. “Get ready to sweat,” he said, smiling at the camera.
Haifa team sires Intel’s ‘fastest-ever’ processor
Intel Corp. announced Tuesday its most advanced, next-level processor, whose development was led by its facility in Haifa, Israel, with the promise of a double-digit rise in computer performance, longer battery life and better security.
The seventh-generation new Intel Core enhanced 14-nanometer-plus processor, called Kaby Lake, is its “strongest and fastest ever,” Intel said in a statement, and aims to meet the demands of increased connectedness and internet use, and growing consumption of high-quality video, ultra-high-definition (UHD) premium and user-generated content, 360-degree video formats, Virtual Reality and digital sports content. It will power ultra-thin notebooks and two-in-one laptop-tablet hybrids.
Built on the foundation of the Skylake processors, which Intel launched last year and were also led from Israel, the Kaby Lake processors are more than 70 percent faster than a 5-year-old PC and 3.5 times better in 3D graphics performance, the company said in a statement.
The new processors will have a longer-lasting battery — 9.5 hours of 4K video playback — and better security, and will enable more natural and intuitive interactions of users with their PCs, Intel said.



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