Monday, January 23, 2017

From Ian:

Hotbeds of anti-Semitism in British academia
Second only to the 2016 media attention surrounding the debate on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, was the issue of anti-Semitism in British universities. One case that got early media attention in the past year, also connected to the Labour Party, concerned the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC). It led to an investigation by a Labour member of the House of Lords, Lady Royall.
Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has now announced its decision to drop its investigations into the anti-Semitism at OULC, with no consequences meted out to those involved. Baroness Royall responded by saying that she is “deeply disappointed by the outcome and fears that it will further harm relations between the Jewish community and our party by confirming a widely held view that we do not take anti-Semitism seriously.”
In October, the House of Lords held a meeting to discuss anti-Semitism. Twelve members took part in the debate. They asked the government what steps it proposed to take to combat anti-Semitism, with particular emphasis on higher education.
A private meeting was also held at the House of Lords in October; hosted by the peer who has over the years been spouting the most hate against Israel, Lady Tonge, together with The Palestinian Return Center. It marked the launch of a campaign to ask Britain to apologize for the Balfour Declaration. At this meeting a number of extreme anti-Semitic remarks were made, including comparing Israel to the Islamic State movement and blaming Jews for the Holocaust.
Only recently it became known that in 2009 Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had undertaken a trip to Syria together with Lady Tonge -- then still a member of the Liberal Democrat Party -- to meet President Bashar Assad. This trip was funded by the same Palestinian Return Center that initiated the above-mentioned incitement meeting at the House of Lords.
CIA: UK armed, encouraged Arabs against Israel in 1948
New evidence has emerged to corroborate claims that Great Britain encouraged Arab resistance to the establishment of a Jewish state in 1948, and even helped arm Arab forces for what became the Israeli War of Independence.
A recently declassified CIA document dated January 27th, 1947 summarizes an interview agents held with a Lebanese newspaper publisher following a meeting with Grand Mufti Haj Ami El-Husseini, a Nazi sympathizer during World War II and one of the leading voices against the formation of a Jewish state in 1948.
According to the report, Afif Tibi, who is described as a former Nazi collaborator and owner of a Beirut newspaper, met with the Mufti in late 1946 to discuss the possible partition of the British Mandate for Palestine, established by the League of Nations as the future “national home” of the Jewish people.
During Tibi’s talk with the Mufti, the Mufti claimed that British authorities in the Mandate were “in continuous touch with” him, “and are actually encouraging him to denounce partition”.
“The Jews should not under any circumstances be allowed to assume real power in any section of the country, for the simple reason that they would immediately launch themselves on a program of armament, would attack neighboring land, and would face the Big Four Powers [US, UK, USSR, China] with the accomplished fact of a very much larger Palestine.”
According to the Mufti, the UK was enabling Arab forces to arm themselves against the possible establishment of a Jewish state.
NGO Monitor: EU Funding to NGOs Active in Anti-Israel BDS Campaigns
Executive Summary
Twenty-nine out of 100 EU grants administered through EU regional funding programs designated for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza funnel funds to organizations that actively promote BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) – totaling €16.7 million out of €67.1 million (roughly 25%).
Forty-two out of 180 EU grantees in total support BDS – through participation in activities and events, signing of petitions and initiatives, and/or membership in explicit BDS platforms.
A number of organizations were funded through more than one EU grant, sometimes as part of the same program (“Double Dipping”).
The EU expressly opposes BDS. When confronted by evidence of funding for NGOs with agendas or values that contradict EU policy, the EU’s recurring response is that it “funds projects submitted by NGOs, in line with [the] EU’s fundamental principles and values, but not NGOs themselves.”
A grant titled “Performing Arts: A Pathway Towards Self Expression and Democracy” amply demonstrates this flawed logic. In 2014, during their participation in the EU’s Cultural Programme, all twelve beneficiaries of this grant initiated a group statement calling for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel.
Nine BDS-supporting organizations were the recipients of the EU’s Partnership for Peace Program- a program designated for joint projects involving Israeli as well as Palestinian organizations, meant to “build trust and understanding between societies in the region.”



Confronting the Politicization of the Holocaust
About a month ago, I wrote in this column about a group of British animal rights activists who employed Nazi imagery in a vicious campaign against a kosher abattoir (slaughterhouse) in London. This, I said, was another example of the Holocaust being used as a stick with which to beat the Jews, by turning their own victimhood on its head.
In the intervening period, there have been three significant episodes involving the Holocaust, and the Nazi era more broadly, which suggest that I underestimated the scale of this problem. For all the widespread ignorance of history these days, for all the talk of post-truth politics, for all the celebrations on right and left over the coming dismantling of the post-1945 order, we remain fixated on the past. More, I would venture: We just can’t stop talking about Hitler.
By “we,” I don’t mean the Jewish community specifically. There is general agreement among ourselves about the Holocaust and its core lessons for our people—to be secure in the diaspora, to achieve self-determination in our ancestral homeland, to be vigilant in confronting any and all anti-democratic manifestations, to commemorate the Holocaust across future generations—although nobody can say how long that consensus will last.
Equally, the Jewish community has developed norms and customs for talking about the Holocaust, especially when it comes to invoking it in relation to contemporary events. And again, there is general recognition that this approach can sometimes be enlightening and helpful—when studying the genocides in Rwanda or Cambodia, for example. But most of the time, it involves demagogy and political opportunism—which brings me to the three examples I want to talk about.
The commonality these examples share is that the Jewish community was a bystander in all of them. In some ways, it seemed that everyone was talking about Hitler, or using Hitler for their own ends, except us, and we were left protesting on the sidewalk.
JPost Editorial: The shocking rise of antisemitism in the US
Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry released a report surveying antisemitic incidents in the West during 2016.
There were notable increases in Germany and Britain.
In Germany, the Syrian refugee crisis and the strengthening of the extreme Right contributed to a sharp rise in incidents, from 194 between January and September 2015, to 461 during the same period in 2016. Improved reporting methods could have also skewed results.
In Britain, there was a 62% jump in antisemitic incidents in 2016, 75% of them initiated by elements affiliated with the Right. The fact that the British Right managed to outstrip the Left in expressions of antisemitism is no small feat, considering that the Labour Party is headed by Jeremy Corbyn, a man who refers to Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends.”
Antisemitic attacks across London designed to 'instill fear'
A series of antisemitic attacks carried out across northern London over the weekend has been described as "cowardly" and "disgusting" by multiple Jewish groups in the UK, The Jewish Chronicle reported Sunday.
Shomrim, a volunteer Jewish civilian organization setup to combat antisemitic attacks in the US and Great Britain, told The Chronicle that the attacks were designed to "instill fear" in the Jewish community.
All of the incidents were concentrated in north west London, the organization added.
One attack early Saturday morning saw a brick scrawled with swastikas and antisemitic messages thrown threw the window of a Jewish household in the north London district of Edgware.
Personal property belonging to one Jewish resident of Watford Way in Mill Hill was also defaced with swastikas on Saturday.
As anti-Semitic tides rise, Diaspora turns to Israel for help
Leaders of Jewish communities across Europe called on Israel Monday to help them tackle the rising threat of terrorism and anti-Semitism, saying that the Jewish state can provide vital security assistance against potential attacks.
Speaking at the European Jewish Association’s annual Jewish Leaders Conference here in the Belgian capital, community leaders spoke of how growing anti-Semitic sentiment caused by both far-right political gains and left-wing anti-Zionist activists have led to an increasing number of attacks and other incidents across Europe.
Philippe Markiewicz, chairman of the Consistoire of Belgium, an umbrella group of Jewish organizations in the country, said that European communities could stand to benefit form Israel’s experience in combating terrorism.
“I think that Israel can help Europe a lot to fight against terrorism because Israel has a long experience of the subject,” Markiewicz said. “It’s very important that Israel give help to European countries to fight against this terrorism.”
New bill to recognize Israeli victims of terror attacks abroad
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved a bill that recognizes Israelis killed or wounded in terrorist attacks overseas as casualties of hostile incidents.
Such recognition would ensure the rights of victims and their families to state compensation even in cases where terrorist attacks were not specifically aimed at Israeli or Jewish targets.
The bill, introduced by Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin and Coalition Chairman David Bitan (Likud), was prompted by the recent terrorist attacks in Berlin and Istanbul in which Israeli tourists were among the casualties.
The bill calls for the formation of a special committee of representatives from the Defense, Foreign, and Labor and Welfare ministries that will determine whether victims and their families are eligible to certain benefits.
Ralph Nader pans Keith Ellison for 'toning down' Israel stance
Former US presidential candidate Ralph Nader has accused Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison of shifting his political stance on Israel as part of his campaign for Democratic National Convention chairman.
The New York Observer cited the former Green Party contender as charging Sunday that, compared to five years ago, Ellison was no longer one of the "top progressive legislators in the Congress."
Speaking at the Progressive Unity Summit in Washington, Nader lambasted Ellison for "toning down his opinions" when he began his run for DNC chair last year.
Nader charged that Ellison's alleged shift also included "not repeating progressive positions." He indicated that the entrance of former US labor secretary Tom Perez to the DNC race in part catalyzed the purported change in Ellison's stance.
Spanish courts deal double blow to BDS movement
ACOM, an Israel lobby group that works to combat BDS in Spain, dealt a double blow to the boycott movement this past week after garnering two legal victories in municipalities in Madrid and Barcelona.
A Madrid court ruled against the City Council of Rivas Vaciamadrid, a town of some 80,000 inhabitants in Madrid, annulling a decision to boycott Israel.
In May 2016, the council adopted a BDS resolution not to sign “any political, commercial, agricultural, educational, cultural, sporting or security agreement or contract with Israeli institutions, companies and organizations, nor with bodies, companies and organizations that are involved, collaborate or in any way capitalize on the violation of international law and human rights in the Palestinian territories or in the occupied Golan.”
According to ACOM, the municipality declared itself a “free space of Israeli apartheid.”
ACOM has been at the forefront of the battle against the BDS movement, and submitted legal action against the decision.
Priests who boycott Israel
Norwegian priests sorting under the TUC had nothing better to contribute towards a world free of hatred and bigotry than to fully embrace a boycott of Israel.
Luther’s hatred of the Jews lives on in Norwegian clergy…
lifted from miff.no (google translate)
Clergy members of the TUC blessed the decision to boycott the world’s only Jewish state.
Bjarte Bjellås
19/01/2017 11:01
Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 January the clergy chapter of the TUC held their annual meeting in Oslo. One of the topics to be discussed was a proposal to boycott of Israel. The Asker parish priest, Tor Øystein Vaaland, had suggested that priests’ union should stand behind the international BDS campaign against Israel. The union stands at 189 members, according to their annual report. There is a small minority of the total number of priests in the Norwegian Church, which is just under 1,300 employees.
Voting ended with an overwhelming majority went on to boycott the world’s only Jewish state. This according to well-informed sources in the union. The voting result is said to have been 30 in favor of a boycott, and 12 against. The boycott proposal had previous to the vote been hailed by a well known antisemite on social media.
How inclusive are American universities?
What should be considered hateful behavior on American university campuses?‎ Using ethnic or religious slurs, as are heard on many campuses across the U.S.?‎
Intimidating students who don't agree with you to such a degree that they are afraid to attend ‎classes, as happened at the University of Michigan, or feel the need to transfer to another university, as happened to former Graduate Students Association president Milan Chatterjee at UCLA?‎
Creating videos that portray a particular ethnic group as monsters?‎
Supporting restarting the intifadas that have murdered hundreds of innocent men, women, ‎and children from various ethnic groups?‎
Sharing Nazi propaganda on a student organization's website, and selling shirts with the terrorist Leila Khaled emblazoned on them, as happened at Vassar College?‎
Hijacking every liberal cause on campus to target one ethnic group?‎
Students in Canada speak out against BDS
A conference in support of the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria took place last week at the Trinity University in Canada.
Dozens of students, lecturers, and Israel supporters from the surrounding area participated in the event, and for the occasion, hung Israeli flags in the area.
During the event, the participants purchased products from businesses and entrepreneurs in Judea and Samaria, with the goal of strengthening these businesses in the face of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Attorney Nati Rom, founder of the Lev HaOlam organization who initiated the event, instead of delivering a speech on the enterprise of the Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria and on the security situation in Israel, delivered a speech about the challenges the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria face in the face of boycott attempts and the BDS movement.
The event in Canada is just one event of many that the sponsors in the Lev HaOlam organization speak at.
BBC responds to complaint about its description of Resolution 2334
As documented here at the time, the BBC’s coverage of UNSC Resolution 2334 included an item by Barbara Plett Usher broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on December 24th 2016.today-24-12
Listeners were told that:
“The resolution could become a reference point for further moves against Israeli policy in international forums but not for the next US administration. Mr Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, has sided with the Israeli government on this. And although the resolution is legally binding, it doesn’t spell out consequences for ignoring it – which is what the Israelis have said they’ll do.” [emphasis added]
BBC Watch submitted a complaint in which we noted that by describing the resolution as “legally binding”, Plett Usher inaccurately suggested to listeners that it was adopted under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter rather than Chapter 6.
UK media note construction of Jewish homes in “east” Jerusalem; ignore new Palestinian homes
As you can see, the city approved 667 new homes in “east” Jerusalem: 566 new homes in Jewish neighborhoods and 101 new homes in Palestinian neighborhoods. However, quite tellingly, several British news sites which reported on the new construction focused merely on the Jewish homes, while ignoring the Palestinian homes.
A report by Peter Beaumont in the Guardian (Israel reveals plans for nearly 600 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem, Jan. 22) included the following passage:
Israel has announced plans to build almost 600 new settlement homes in occupied East Jerusalem, just two days after Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president, with officials stating the “rules of the game have changed”.
Auschwitz artifacts to be unveiled on Holocaust Memorial Day
Artifacts and personal items originally discovered in 1967 during excavations around the Auschwitz III crematorium and gas chamber are finally being displayed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum and at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, according to the museum’s official website. The exhibitions have been arranged to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 2017.
The items include jewelry, watches, brushes, keys, empty medicine and perfume bottles, buttons and other personal objects.
“These items are extraordinary documents of extermination carried out in the camp by the Germans,” said Alicja Wojcik, head of exhibitions at the Auschwitz memorial. “Above all, [they are] a moving personal testimony of the victims. In most cases, these were the last personal belongings retained by the Jews who were referred immediately after selection at the ramp to death in the gas chambers.”
About 16,000 such items were discovered in 1967, but only a few were displayed in museums. The rest were stored outside the memorial for “unknown reasons,” according to Auschwitz. The documentary Archaeology by Andrzej Brzozowski depicted the excavation work done in 1967, showing a large number of objects missing from the museum.
This spurred a search for the items, which were eventually found in 48 boxes in the Polish Academy of Sciences buildings. Fortunately, the items had been packed individually and marked with the location of their discovery.
Gigawatt Global breaks ground on its second East African solar field
Two years after launching East Africa’s first commercial solar field in Rwanda, the American-Israeli-led team at Gigawatt Global has broken ground on their second such venture in the region, in the rolling hills of Mubuga, Burundi.
The 7.5-megawatt field, located about 100 km. outside the Burundian capital of Bujumbura, will add 15% to the country’s electricity generation capacity, according to the company. Gigawatt Global executives kicked off the $14 million project’s construction at a ceremony in Burundi last week, attended by about 2,500 local and international government officials, investors, religious leaders and diplomats.
“Empowering economic and social development is at the heart of our green energy business,” said Michael Fichtenberg, vice president for finance and business development of Gigawatt Global.
“This high-impact development investment supported by leading international financial institutions signals that Burundi is open for development and business,” he added.
In the barren south, Israelis and Arabs work to green the Middle East
Neat rows of corn, spinach, carrots and nasturtium grow near the edge of Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel’s barren Arava Valley. Nearby, a satellite dish lined with mirrors distills 400 liters of potable water per day, and food waste is converted into cooking gas in a tank loaded with sandbags.
The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies’ “Off Grid Hub” tests and models technology for communities that are disconnected from public utilities like water, electricity and sewage. It is part of the institute’s goal of improving environmental and human interests in the region through environmental cooperation. The tanks producing cooking gas are designed for use by Negev Bedouin, while the crops and water purification systems were developed with Kenya’s Turkana region, which has a climate similar to the Arava Valley, in mind.
The aquifers supplying groundwater to the project are shared with neighboring Jordan, notes Rabbi Michael Cohen, who has been involved with the institute since 1996.
“The environment is a constant that allows us to keep moving forward,” Cohen said. “Lines, borders, walls, divisions — when seeing the environment all of those fall away.”
The Arava Valley is a dry, desolate desert area stretching from the Gulf of Aqaba and Eilat to the southern tip of the Dead Sea. To the west is Israel’s Negev Desert; to the East are the jagged, rocky mountains surrounding Jordan’s Wadi Rum valley.
Study: Israelis in Nepal took leadership roles after quake
Prof. Haya Itzhaky was on an extended trip to Nepal to study the behavior of post-army Israeli backpackers when the deadly April 25, 2015 earthquake struck.
Itzhaky, chair of the PhD program at Bar-Ilan University’s School of Social Work in Ramat Gan, quickly initiated a study she hadn’t planned on conducting: how were Israeli tourists coping in the immediate aftermath of the devastating earthquake?
Recently published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, the study is the first of its kind to explore the experiences of tourists closely following a natural disaster.
Itzhaky conducted individual, in-depth interviews with 21 Israeli men and women ranging in age from 21 to 26, between one week and one month following the initial earthquake, during which time there were many aftershocks.
Harpers Bazaar: Israel named one of 17 must-visit places for 2017
Start your trip in the bustling-metropolis-meets-beach-town of Tel Aviv, but then make sure to explore all that this country has to offer. It would be an unfortunate mistake to fearfully paint this country's complicated politics as war-torn. Don't be fooled; its vibrant culture, phenomenal food scene, historic landmarks, beaches and endlessly impressive hotels are too much of a draw to ignore. Be sure to tour the shuks (markets) and the historic sites in Jerusalem–a trip to Israel is definitely not complete without a visit to the Kotel, the Wailing Wall. (When you visit, cover up as you would any temple–it's a place of prayer). While in town, be sure to enjoy the food; the delicious and dynamic scene at Mahane Yehuda is not to be missed.
Then, choose your own adventure: head north to experience jeep rides and hikes in the mountains of the Golan, explore Tel Aviv and Jaffa's vibrant food, arts and cultural scene, head to the world-renowned Dead Sea spas in the desert or to Eilat for its hippie, beach vibes. Don't get overwhelmed by the various experiences this country has to offer–you may want to spend 1-2 weeks here to soak it all in, but its size rivals that of New Jersey. If you're looking to be strategic in planning out the right amount of time in each city, consult an expert like Travel Composer (Israel's premiere luxury trip planner) who can also advise on attaching a visit to Jordan (and if you do, Petra is a must) and/or Egypt, which should also be on your bucket list.



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