Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From Ian:

House Minority Leader Forced Cancellation of Congressional Event to Promote Boycotts of Israel
A congressionally sponsored event to promote boycotts of Israel was cancelled late Tuesday evening after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) was informed about the forum and made an impromptu phone call to the lawmaker sponsoring the event, ordering that it be shut down, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
The Free Beacon disclosed earlier this week that a member of Congress had lent their backing to an event aimed at promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which has been widely cited as an anti-Semitic effort.
The group hosting the forum, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, is known for employing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic language, according to human rights organizations.
The U.S. Campaign was reported to have convinced a low-level staffer in Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D., Texas) office to reserve an official congressional room for the event.
Pelosi’s office then called Jackson Lee to “demand” the lawmaker revoke her support and cancel the event, according to sources familiar with the conversation.
Pelosi learned of the event after William Daroff, a leading pro-Israel official, informed her of the Free Beacon’s reporting on the pro-BDS forum, according to sources.
BDS event on Capitol Hill cancelled after US congresswoman withdraws support
An event initially sponsored by a US lawmaker in the House of Representatives in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) has been canceled following the legislator's withdrawal, US Conservative publication The Weekly Standard reported Tuesday.
According to the magazine, US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) had originally reserved a room for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation on Capitol Hill, before pulling out of the event following complaints by fellow Democrats.
Jackson, for her part, denied any prior knowledge or connection to the event, which advertised the participation of "actual practitioners" of the BDS movement, according to the organizer's invitation.
A spokesperson from Lee's office acknowledged that a room had been booked by a former employee in the congresswoman's office, but said that neither Lee nor her aides were previously aware of the arrangement.
Congressional Forum in Favor of Boycotting Israel May Violate Rules on Discrimination
An upcoming congressionally sponsored forum to promote boycotts of Israel may violate internal rules barring the use of federal offices for events that promulgate discrimination “based on race, creed, color, or national origin,” according to congressional documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Free Beacon disclosed on Monday that a member of Congress who refuses to be identified publicly is sponsoring a forum this week that promotes the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which has been criticized by Jewish organizations as an anti-Semitic effort.
Efforts by senior congressional sources to determine the name of the lawmaker sponsoring the event have so far failed, but the Free Beacon has learned that the lawmaker is required to attend the event under congressional rules governing the use of official facilities.
Internal congressional documents governing the use of federal facilities also bar lawmakers from hosting any outside organization that practices discrimination.
Human rights groups and Jewish organizations have long accused the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the organization leading the Friday event, of engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric and supporting discrimination against the Jewish state.
Is this law, or a public opinion poll?
The Left, which loves to brandish the "international law" argument while pointing to the obvious legal "consensus" over the settlement enterprise, which it opposes, believes the demand to evict Jews from Judea and Samaria within the framework of a peace deal is justified, rather than ethnic cleansing. But does this consensus really exist?
Even in the early 1970s, Judge Stephen Schwebel, who would later serve as president of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, argued that Israel was within its rights to hold onto the territory it had seized during the Six-Day War in 1967. His argument was based on the assessment that the war was a matter of self-defense for Israel. Schwebel said that because the original danger had not dissipated, from Israel's perspective, holding (even if not fully annexing) the land was justified, valid and that any change was dependent on resolving the conflict through peaceful avenues. Moreover, Schwebel argued that in cases where the previous sovereign (Jordan) seized the territory unlawfully (the world did not recognize Jordanian sovereignty in Judea and Samaria), then the rights of the new country -- which took control of the land through the legal action of self-defense (Israel) -- supersede the rights of the previous country. Professor Eli Lauterpacht from Cambridge, Professor Eugene Rostow from Yale and other esteemed jurists also concurred. A "consensus," you say?
Last week, Northwestern University School of Law published a comprehensive research paper entitled "Unsettled: A Global Study of Settlements in Occupied Territory." Professor Eugene Kontorovich, an international law expert, examined all the cases throughout modern history of settling in conquered territories and how those conflicts were resolved. Evidently, in no instance after World War II and the signing of the Geneva Conventions in 1949 did the international community accept the demand to vacate people who had already settled in an area as a condition for peace or independence. When East Timor requested independence from Indonesian occupation, its representatives did not condition their desired independence on the eviction of Indonesian settlers. In the negotiations between Cyprus and Turkey, the peace accord wasn't conditioned on making every Turkish settler leave the island. When Vietnam conquered Cambodia, a million settlers followed. In the Paris talks in 1990, the mediating countries rejected outright the demand to evict the Vietnamese settlers. During World War II, millions of Russians followed in the wake of the Soviet Union's occupation of Baltic countries. In the early 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, those countries did not condition their independence on evicting Russian settlers. Other cases are currently being thoroughly debated (Western Sahara and Morocco, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria and Lebanon, Russia and Georgia, and Russia and Crimea).

NGO Monitor: NGO Statements on 9/11 Reveal Apathy Towards Victims of Terror
Powerful NGOs like Human Rights Watch (HRW) have long abandoned their commitment to universal human rights, in favor of promoting post-colonial ideology and opposing U.S. foreign policy. Nowhere is this shift more apparent than NGO approaches to terrorism directed against Western victims. In contrast to the hundreds of publications, videos, and PR campaigns against U.S. and Israeli counter-terror activities, there relatively little attention is paid to those who carry out terror attacks and their victims. Similarly, conflicts that do not involve Western powers receive scant coverage, if any. (For more see NGO Monitor’s monograph, Second Class Rights.)
The NGO response to the 9/11 atrocity is reflective of this phenomenon. Nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and murdered 3,000 people in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives. Unprecedented physical and economic destruction was unleashed on lower Manhattan and the Pentagon.
Yet, HRW’s sole statement on this catastrophic event consisted of three short paragraphs, two of which warned the Bush administration not to engage in the “logic of terrorism” in its response. There were no publications with in-depth emotional stories from the victims, subsequent examination of the perpetrators, press conferences or PR blitzes, campaigns for UN investigations or arms embargoes on those who assisted in the attacks. No high profile advocacy was undertaken to name and shame the terrorist organizations and their backers.

NGO Monitor: Norwegian Funding Update 2016
The Norwegian government, via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), provides tens of millions of kroner (NOK) through direct and indirect funding processes to politicized NGOs operating in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
Organizations receiving Norwegian funding lead campaigns and political activities that are inconsistent with Norway’s government policies to promote peace and a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
As of June 1, 2016, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs allocated NOK 5 million ($600,000) to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (IHL Secretariat), managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and NIRAS – a European consulting firm.
Half a bridge is not better than none
The UK’S Board of Deputies and Union of Jewish Students have started up a delusional campaign, which they seriously imagine is going to make a major contribution to combating Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns against Israel on UK campuses.
The ludicrous logo says it all.
It seems to envision Israeli and Palestinian figures forming a bridge each waving their own flag.
But it is actually mounted solely by British and Jewish student NGOs, not by Israelis and Palestinians. No organised Palestinian groups are involved.
And the situation between Israelis and Palestinians is not currently remotely one where they stand hand in hand waving their respective flags to make a bridge.
To promote this campaign amongst British students seems to me to be an utterly laughable enterprise.
Where are the UK-based Palestinian students and Muslim NGOs that are going to partner with the BoD and UJS to promote this campaign?
Michael Lumish: This week on NOTHING LEFT (Sept 13, 2016)
3 min Editorial: the media’s treatment of Israel
12 min Henry Greener, The Shtick
32 min Daniel Mandel, Zionist Organisation of America, on Donald Trump
51 min Zeev Ben-Shachar, educator on Israel advocacy (part 1)
1 hr 13 min Zeev Ben-Shachar, educator on Israel advocacy (part 2)
1 hr 29 min Isi Leibler, Jerusalem
Labour Conference to Open With “Rally Against Anti-Semitism”
Guido hears Labour’s party conference in Liverpool will open – wait for it – with a “rally against anti-Semitism”. Speakers will include John “bar them for life” McDonnell, Naz “the Jews are rallying” Shah, and Baroness Shami “evade your question” Chakrabarti. They will be joined by Labour moderates Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth (both victims of shocking anti-Semitic abuse from Labour members), Michael Dugher, Baroness Royall and Labour Friends of Israel chief Joan Ryan. The event is being organised by the Jewish Labour Movement and will also welcome members of the local Jewish community. Guido has a feeling it’ll be one of the most high-interest events of the whole week. You can’t say McDonnell and Shami aren’t brave…
After a year of Corbyn, Labour more unpopular than ever
One year after his election, Jeremy Corbyn is leading the most unpopular opposition Labour Party in British history, according to an analysis of polls published Monday.
Labour is currently trailing the ruling Conservatives by an average of 11 points, according to the Nuffield series of British General Election studies.
No Labour party has faced such a deficit 12 months after electing a new leader since modern polling began in the 1950s, according to a Press Association analysis of historic polls to mark the anniversary.
It is also the second-worst polling level for any major British opposition party since World War II, behind the 25-point deficit suffered by William Hague’s Conservatives in 1998, when Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair was riding high.
Oy Vey! Corbyn’s New Seat Home to Huge Jewish Community
Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington seat is to vanish from the map following the boundary changes, leaving Jez to fight it out for a new seat called Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington. Sources with intimate knowledge of the Boundary Review tell Guido that the new seat will take in the ward of Stamford Hill West in Hackney. Stamford Hill West forms part of a 30,000 strong Orthodox Jewish community. 37.6% of people living Stamford Hill West identify as Jewish. Corbyn won’t want to miss the Hebrew off next year’s Passover message…
Jeremy Corbyn in his own words

Amos Oz: Those who deny Israel's right to exist are antisemites
Famed Israeli author and Israel Prize laureate Amos Oz said that calling for the destruction of Israel is anti-Semitic and spoke out against the boycott movement on Tuesday night.
Speaking to Kirsty Wark of BBC’s Newsnight program, Oz said, “I can tell you exactly where I draw the line. If people call Israel nasty, I to some degree agree. If people call Israel the devil incarnate, I think they are obsessed - they are mad. But this is still legitimate.
"But if they carry on saying that therefore there should be no Israel, that's where anti-Zionism becomes anti-Semitism, because none of them ever said after Hitler that Germany should cease to exist, or after Stalin that there should be no Russia,” he said.
"Saying that Israel should cease to exist, or should not have come into being, this is crossing the line,” he said.
When asked about his position regarding the boycott movement, Oz replied that he thinks the boycott is “hurting the wrong people.”
‘Antisemitic Anti-Zionist’ Course at UC Berkeley Suspended Following Exposé, Outcry
An “anti-Zionism” course at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) was suspended on Tuesday, following intense backlash over its biased nature, The Algemeiner has learned.
The course in question — “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” — was decried by a campus watchdog group as “a classic example of antisemitic anti-Zionism,” which contributes to greater hostility toward Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus.
On Tuesday, some two weeks after The Algemeiner exposed the contents of the slated course, UC Berkeley Assistant Vice Chancellor Dan Mogulof, from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, informed The Algemeiner:
It has been determined that the facilitator for the course in question did not comply with policies and procedures that govern the normal academic review and approval of proposed courses for the Decal program.
As a result, the proposed course did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards before it was opened for enrollment to students. For that reason, approval for the course has been suspended pending completion of the mandated review and approval process.
Rising anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses in New York
The list of numerous anti-Semitic incidents at CUNY confirmed by the investigators includes these:
• “Students for Justice in Palestine” (SJP) led a rally at Hunter College, chanting “Jews out of CUNY,” “Death to Jews,” and “Long live the intifada!”
• At Brooklyn College, a student’s mother was harassed by an SJP member while she was cleaning offensive anti-Israel chalkings off the sidewalk. Jewish students who did not endorse the SJP’s positions were harassed and even threatened by SJP members. Among Brooklyn College professors: One called Israelis “assassins” and “baby killers” in the classroom, another made disparaging comments when Jewish students had to miss class for a religious holiday, and another skipped over the Holocaust in a history class, dismissively telling his students, “You all know this story."
• At John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the SJP threatened the Muslim Student Association (MSA) for co-hosting an event with Hillel that had nothing to do with the Middle East conflict. The MSA dropped its sponsorship.
• At the College of Staten Island, an anti-Israel student disrupted another student’s class presentation on women in the Israel Defense Forces, shouting that Israeli soldiers were “killers;” the professor did not intervene. Both a Hillel student and the Executive Director of Hillel were bullied and harassed on Facebook.
UCLA Alumni Demand Apology on Behalf of BDS Bullying Victim
Approximately six hundred students and alumni at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have signed a petition urging the UCLA administration to issue an apology to former UCLA law student Milan Chatterjee, a victim of anti-Israel bullying and harassment at UCLA.
Chatterjee has recently resigned from his position as president of UCLA’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) and announced his transfer to New York University, citing the UCLA administration’s unwillingness to protect him from BDS activists who were targeting him for doing his job and attempting to keep the GSA neutral on the Israel-Palestine debate. When Chatterjee reached out to UCLA administrators for help, their only response was a shoulder shrug.
In fact, when he contacted UCLA’s Interim Vice Chancellor of Legal Affairs for help, Chatterjee wrote, “Not only did she decline to provide me with the necessary legal support, but she told me that I needed to get my own attorney.” Chatterjee added the Students for Justice in Palestine had violated confidentiality and retaliation policies while attempting to dismantle his reputation.
“I filed a complaint about this violation, your administration declined to investigate it. Worse yet, the Vice Chancellor of EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), on his blog, urged the public to read this leaked confidential report, and gave them access to it,” he wrote.
Let the BDS-ers Against Israeli Water Expertise Eat Dust
As we well know, all these water libels have been debunked over and over again by Israel. This 2012 report by CoHav, an Israeli advocacy volunteer group, on Israel’s water issues vis-a-vis the Palestinians is as relevant today as it was four years ago. Some of its salient points:
Israel is supplying the Palestinians more than double the amount agreed in the 1995 agreement … Palestinians are losing 33% of water supplied due to evaporation, leakage and a large part due to theft.
Over 300 illegal wells have been drilled in Judea and Samaria which ultimately can destroy the aquifer and cause an ecological disaster for the Palestinians.
In spite of help offered, the Palestinians do not recycle waste water or have any plans for desalination.

And who exactly are these unnamed “activists” who wrote the letter? Why, they are our old friends, the advocates of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, who never miss any occasion to denounce Israel, no matter how counterproductive that might be to the very people they purport to defend.
The fact that they want the EU to boycott a water conference in which Israel is a participant shows more clearly than any stunt what their ultimate objective is: the total delegitimization of Israel as a normal country among the nations — the attempt to turn it into a pariah surrounding which nothing is legitimate, not even life-saving technologies — and ultimately to destroy it.
Let them choke on their own dust, while Israel solves the world’s water woes.
More BDS Falsehoods in The Toronto Star
The anti-Israel BDS movement (boycott, movement and divest) campaign has long used misinformation to garner support. It's a shame that Canadian journalist Linda McQuaig follows suit ("Elizabeth May shouldn't run away from BDS: McQuaig," Aug. 22).
The Toronto Star should have learned from its 2013 experience, when CAMERA prompted corrections of false BDS claims that Meg Ryan and Bruce Willis heeded boycott calls and refused to perform in Israel.
Writing last month in The Toronto Star, McQuaig argued that BDS is successful, noting a "2014 UN report [which] found that foreign investment in Israel had dropped by almost half from the previous year, partly because of the campaign." She ignores, though, the United Nation's latest figures, which reflect an increase in direct foreign investment in Israel of over 70 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year.
Moreover, according to Bloomberg ("The Boycott Israel Movement May be Failing," June 2016), "Foreign investments in Israeli assets hit a record high last year of $285.12 billion, a near-tripling from 2005 when the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) was started." The 2014 decline coincided with the summer 2014 war between Hamas and Israel. Given the overall growth in the last decade since the launch of BDS, the 2014 downturn cannot logically be attributed as a BDS success.
In another deception, McQuaig quotes Desmond Tutu alleging "racially segregated roads" in the Palestinian territories, echoing the bogus canard that there are "Jewish-only roads" in the West Bank, a falsehood about which CAMERA has prompted correction in numerous media outlets.
Finally, McQuaig misleads with her grossly inaccurate characterization of Israel's occupation of the Gaza Strip. She erred, referring to "the fact that millions of Palestinians have been living under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza for almost 50 years, with Israel effectively annexing their land."
Travel to Alternative Jerusalem Reality in International New York Times'
"Trips into the unknown" is the headline of an International New York Times culture feature today about "Seven Ways to Dissolve Boundaries," a Jerusalem tour "billed as 'doco-theatrical journeys' into alternative realities." Indeed, journalist Debra Kamin describes an alternate reality of Jerusalem unknown to those familiar with the city.
The Jerusalem which freelancer Kamin describes in the page 10 travel article (available only in print) is unrecognizable. For instance, the freelance journalist writes:
Like most of the 800,000 citizens uncomfortably sharing real estate in Israel's contested capital, where Arabs and Jews are staked out on opposite sides and communities are strictly segregated between the religious and secular, everyday travel for Mr. Muna is circumscribed by lines real and invisible.
There is so much to unpack in this one sentence that it's hard to know where to begin.
A Brave Letter from a French-Moroccan Charlie Hebdo Journalist
‘You always obtained your rights in French, and yet you hate this country.’
‘Your supposed identity, which you think you have lost and which has made you undertake this quest, is also mine.” So states Zineb El Rhazoui, a French-Moroccan journalist in an open letter to potential French jihadists published in Le Figaro in late July. The letter, addressed to a fictional “candidate for jihad” chastises the growing population of radicalized, French-born Muslims who, she asserts, are misguided in their sense of exclusion. “You have made your battle against racism not into a fight for universal human rights, to erase the differences between citizens of the same country, but into a petty struggle,” she writes.
Her letter is raw and visceral and understandably so — El Rhazoui worked for Charlie Hebdo and lost several of her colleagues in the attack on their offices last year (she was in Morocco at the time), and she has been routinely threatened for her outspoken views about religious fundamentalism, in particular about radical Islam. Indeed, El Rhazoui and several other moderate or secular French Muslim writers were profiled in Le Figaro in April (“The Intellectuals and Islam — a High-Risk Engagement”), because all are under threat for their views and must live in hiding, under armed guard.
El Rhazoui is neither intimidated nor silenced. In the letter, she takes to task French-born Muslims who are seduced by jihadism. Their claims of exclusion from French society are baseless, she says. Indeed, they have wasted the opportunities that French citizenship has offered them and have instead chosen the path of “petty criminality.” She addresses the reader as a fellow Muslim with North African roots, albeit one who did not have the privileges of growing up in France. To underscore what she perceives as the incongruity between French-born Muslims’ claims of exclusion and their actual opportunities as French citizens, she cites her own experiences growing up poor in Morocco:
The Film Denial Demolishes British Holocaust Denier
To put it bluntly, Holocaust denial is the stock-in-trade of neo-Nazis and antisemites. In their zeal to defame Jews, defend Nazi Germany and rehabilitate Adolf Hitler, they dredge up factually baseless arguments.
Their claims are absurd: The number of Jewish victims was drastically inflated to benefit Jews and Israel. Jews succumbed to disease and were not murdered on an industrial scale by the Nazis. The gas chambers and crematoria never existed. Jews, far from having been uniquely victimized, were among the millions of casualties of World War II. Indeed, the Holocaust was a hoax.
Or so Holocaust deniers say.
In her book, Denying the Holocaust (1993), American historian Deborah Lipstadt elaborated upon these themes. In passing, she singled out David Irving, a specialist on the Third Reich, as a denier. Irving, a British historian, sued Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin, for defamation, claiming she had damaged his reputation and imperilled his livelihood.
The case went to trial in London in 2000. Irving lost after Lipstadt’s brilliant legal team proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was a racist and had deliberately misrepresented, distorted and manipulated the historical record. Lipstadt wrote a book about it, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, and now Mick Jackson has brought this cause celebre to the big screen.
Rare findings from ancient Jewish community of Afghanistan
The National Library of Israel in Jerusalem has acquired a one of a kind collection of manuscripts which will revolutionize our understanding about the history and culture of the legendary Silk Road's ancient Jewish community. The new collection, comprised of approximately 250 pages dating to the early 11th century, constitutes the largest body of original materials from the region prior to the modern era. Complementing the NLI's existing collection of 29 pages from the widely-reported "Afghan Geniza", Because of the widespread destruction during the Mongol Conquests, it represents virtually the only primary source for information about this once-thriving Jewish community, as well as the region's Islamic and Persian cultures prior to the Mongol invasion. This acquisition has been made possible through the generous support of the William Davidson Foundation and the Haim and Hanna Salomon Fund.
Part of the collection comes from the same archive as the handful of pages already held by NLI. These texts flesh out our understanding of the lives of the eleventh-century Abu Netzer family of Jewish traders living in and around the city of Bamiyan, a once-bustling commercial center located on the Silk Road. Pages account for parts of multiple tractates from the Talmud, as well as liturgy, Jewish Law (halacha) a historical chronicle, and portions of the Bible. A full 27 pages of a bound merchant's account book offers a look into the economic realities of an ancient and sparsely studied community. The collection is written in Persian, Arabic, Aramaic, and Judeo-Persian.
"This is a particularly impressive find related to the lives and culture of Jews from this part of the world from the beginning of the second millennium," explained Prof. Haggai Ben Shammai, world-renowned expert on Jews of the Islamic world. According to Ben Shammai, the collection is of exceptional importance due to the previous dearth of first-hand accounts and evidence of Jewish life under local dynastic rule. Literary source materials had also been severely lacking until this discovery.
Ricky Martin Livin’ La Vida Loca in Israel
Latino pop star Ricky Martin is in Israel for one concert and three days of touring. The Puerto Rican crooner is making his first visit here, although he has told local media that he has many friends in Tel Aviv and has been invited numerous times before.
“I know that Israelis and Latinos are very similar. We’re very warm, we’re very caring and very open and I’m looking forward to this,” he told Ynet news site prior to his visit.
The Shake Your Bon-Bon and Livin’ La Vida Loca singer arrived by private plane on Tuesday with an entourage that includes 18 dancers and his twin sons Matteo and Valentino.
The 44-year-old Martin has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide. His Tel Aviv concert is part of the One World Tour.
“This is my first visit and I’m going to make the best of it,” Martin said, noting he will partake in the Tel Aviv nightlife and visit holy sites in Jerusalem. “I cannot wait to try Israeli food.”
Israeli filmmakers shine at Toronto Film Festival
Alongside the biggest names in Hollywood, Israeli filmmakers have been making a name for themselves, garnering critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival, which opened on Sept. 8 and will last until Sept. 18. TIFF 2016 hosted top Israeli directors such as Joseph Cedar, Avi Nesher and Elite Zexer, who featured their latest films.
Cedar's highly awaited feature, "Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer" stars Richard Gere, as well as Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi and Hollywood's Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Steve Buscemi and Hank Azaria.
The film tells the story of an experienced hustler in New York City's Jewish community whose life takes an unexpected turn after a low-ranking Israeli politician (portrayed by Lior Ashkenazi) he befriended three years earlier becomes an influential world leader.
Cedar's film was also screened at Telluride Film Festival and earned a positive review in Variety magazine that compared it to the acclaimed political drama "House of Cards." The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Cedar successfully created a "complex and intricately detailed portrait of the web of political, financial, social and religious affiliations that has everything to do with how the world works."
Israeli Researcher Invents Devices Allowing Blind People to “See” Via Vibrations, Sounds
In Prof. Amir Amedi’s world-renowned Laboratory for Brain and Multisensory Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, people with vision impairment can “see” their environment with the aid of sensory substitution devices (SSDs) that provide visual information from sound and touch.
Now, two of the lab’s groundbreaking inventions are being readied for the mass market.
EyeCane, a flashlight-like orientation device, emits infrared rays to translate distance into auditory and tactile cues, enabling the user to sense objects within an adjustable range of up to five meters (16 feet). After brief training, EyeCane users can estimate distances, avoid obstacles, and successfully navigate in simple environments.
EyeMusic is an app and mini-camera system that conveys colors, shapes, and location of objects by converting images into “soundscapes” for the brain to interpret visually. Blind individuals can be trained to recognize the letters of the alphabet, “see” pictures of animals, and even find an object or person in a complex visual landscape. A version of the app is available free on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Commercializing and eventually combining EyeCane and EyeMusic could give unprecedented self-navigation capabilities to blind people, said Daphna Rosenbaum, CEO of RenewSenses, a pre-startup based on Amedi’s research in the medical neurobiology department of the university’s Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada.

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