Wednesday, February 01, 2017

From Ian:

IsraellyCool: Stop Comparing Trump To Hitler
One thing I am seeing more and more of during these turbulent and crazy times is the pronouncement – mostly by liberal friends – that Donald Trump is the new Hitler. Or at least is on his way.
Whatever misgivings I may have about Donald Trump, I am disgusted by such pronouncements. Here’s a few reasons why.
He’s not
Donald Trump seems to be a lot of things. Arrogant. Impulsive. And even then, there are many who will disagree with me there. Nevertheless, there is no doubt he is not Hitler. Not even close.
True story. 6 million Jews murdered, and about another 5 million non-Jewish victims. That’s 11 million people murdered as a result of Hitler’s extermination program.
Donald Trump has murdered approximately 0 people that we know of. Oh, and wait, he does not have an extermination program.
I can’t believe I have to point this out. What the hell is wrong with you?
Douglas Murray: Nine questions those protesting against Donald Trump’s immigration ban must answer
In my own view it would help immensely if the people who are lambasting the Trump administration had at least given some thought to the following questions and could go some way to giving answers to such questions as:
1 – Do you accept that America (like many other countries in the world today) has security problems? Do you recognise that despite the giggly charts on social media showing lawnmowers to be more of a threat to American life than terrorism, there are legitimate security concerns that reasonable Americans might hold?
2 – Do you recognise that Islamic terrorism is not a figment of a fevered imagination, but a real thing that exists and which causes a risk to human life in America and many other countries? This isn’t to say that other forms of terrorism don’t exist – they obviously do. But how might you address this one (assuming you can’t immediately solve global peace, poverty, unhappiness, lack of satisfactory sex, masculinity etc)?
3 – If you do recognise the above fact then would you concede that large scale immigration from Islamic countries into the US might bring a larger number of potential challenges than, say, large scale immigration from New Zealand or Iceland?
4 – Is everybody who wants to visit Disney World morally akin to Jews fleeing the Holocaust? If not then what are the differences, and is it always wise to conflate the two?
5 – Would you recognise that Iran is one of the world’s leading state-sponsors of terror, and that, for example, an Iranian-born American citizen in 2011 was caught planning to carry out a terror attack in Washington (against the Saudi Ambassador)? Would you recognise that aggravating though a temporary halt on all Iranian nationals visiting the US might be, and many good people though it will undoubtedly stop, there is a reason that some countries cause a greater security concern than others? Might citizens of a country whose leadership regularly chants ‘Death to America’ present a larger number of questions for border security than, say, citizens of Denmark whose government rarely says the same? What would your vetting policy be to distinguish between different Iranians seeking to enter the US?
6 – Does the whole world have the right to live in America? This is a variant of the same question we Europeans should have been asking for years. If you do not think that the whole world has the right to live in the USA then who should be allowed to live there and who should not? Who might be given priority?
7 – If you believe in giving some people asylum, as I do, who should be given priority? Should asylum be forever? Or should there be a time-limit (such as up until such a time as your country of origin is deemed safe)? How do you deal with people who have been given asylum, whose reason for asylum is over (i.e. their country has returned to peace) but whose children have entered the school system (for instance)?
8 – Is it wrong that the Trump administration says it wishes to favour Christian refugees over Muslim refugees? This is a fascinating and difficult moral question. Many Christians refuse to accept that the plight of Christians – even when they are the specific target of persecution – should be given priority over anyone else. This is a noble example of Christian universalism, but is it wise or moral when you consider the limited numbers that can come in and if you accept that the entire persecuted world cannot arrive in America?
9 – How do you identify the type of Muslims who America should indeed welcome? And how do you distinguish them from the sort of Muslims who the country could well do without? In other words, what would your vetting procedures be? There are some people who have thought about this. But what is your policy?
If you think all of the above questions are simply ‘racist’ or ‘bigoted’ then I suppose the rest of us will just have to accept that we’re going to lose you to four years of shouting on the streets in vagina hats. But the rest of us should try to address these questions. We’re not going to be able to shout them away you know.
Brendan O'Neill: Anti-Trump hysteria lets others whitewash their own crimes
Then there’s Hillary Clinton, who was retweeted tens of thousands of times for saying of Trump’s order: ‘This is not who we are.’ But it is who she is. This is the woman who spearheaded the bombing of Libya, helping to plunge that nation into mayhem and creating hundreds of thousands of refugees in the process. Ed Miliband spoke at the Downing St demo. He was a fulsome supporter of the bombing of Libya. The people who helped to make swathes of humanity into refugees are virtue-signalling about Trump’s tough line on refugees. The people who caused, or okayed, instability in Muslim nations are pontificating about Trump’s tough words on Muslim nations. It is morally perverse. By any objective moral measurement, Clinton and Miliband did something worse to the people of Libya than Trump has, and yet this is ignored, or overlooked, drowned in the joyous moral kick that comes from hating Trump.
This is the true danger of historical illiteracy. To describe Trump as abnormal, as a break with proper American politics, makes normal the horrors of the past, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of Vietnam, of McCarthyism, of Iraq, Afghanistan and all the rest. It tells us, implicitly, that all of that was normal, better even.
This is my problem with the protests: they promote emotional fury at the expense of historical thinking, and in the process they play down the sins of the past. This is really bad for younger, fresher protesters in particular. They’re encouraged to think that until now, from the war to today, between Hitler and Trump, things had been pretty much okay, or at least ‘normal’. The protests aren’t radical at all. In fact they’re a boon for the warmongers and liars in the corridors of power who spy in the ‘Trump is Hitler’ cry an opportunity to rebuild their own moral standing. The out-of-control hatred for Trump doubles up, unwittingly perhaps, as an uncritical, conformist apology for pre-Trump, for the rot that came before him. It redeems barbarism.

Nigel Farage accuses London Mayor Sadiq Khan of hypocrisy for attacking Trump's immigration ban while entertaining ELEVEN diplomats from countries that bar Israelis
Nigel Farage has accused Sadiq Khan of hypocrisy after the Mayor of London invited ambassadors from countries which impose immigration bans on Israelis to City Hall.
At the meeting the Mayor slammed President Trump's 'cruel, prejudiced and counterproductive' policy of banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
But representatives from Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen - which do not allow entry to Israelis - were all welcomed at the reception last night.
Former UKIP leader Mr Farage branded Mr Khan a hypocrite on Twitter and asked why he 'did not oppose' those bans.
His view was supported by Tory MP and former justice secretary Michael Gove, who re-tweeted him.
Khan Hosting Party Tonight With 11 Nations Who Ban Israelis
UPDATE: Tory London Assembly member Andrew Boff says:
“I fully support the Mayor’s condemnation of President Trump’s divisive travel ban but he should also be willing to condemn those countries that discriminate against citizens from Israel – particularly when he is hosting their representatives at a drinks reception at City Hall.”
UKIP’s Peter Whittle adds:
“Will the Mayor use this occasion to speak out against the 11 countries that permanently ban Israelis? Of course he won’t. Will he rescind their invites to this party, just as he’s calling for the state visit to be stopped? Of course he won’t. Like the protesters yesterday, his outrage is highly selective.”
And Nigel Farage tells Sadiq:
“You want Trump banned from UK but are happy with anti-Israeli discrimination. You are a hypocrite.”
US: Israelis born in Muslim states not restricted by Trump travel ban
US visas for Israelis born in one of the seven predominantly-Muslim countries currently barred from entering the US remain valid despite new US travel restrictions, the American Embassy in Tel Aviv said Tuesday.
Previously-issued US visas remain in tact as long as the visa holder does not concurrently hold a valid passport from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen. In a statement, the US embassy clarified that for such Israelis, "your visa was not cancelled and remains valid."
"Similarly, we continue to process visa applications for applicants born in those countries, so long as they do not have a valid passport from one of those countries and have not otherwise declared themselves to be a national of one of those countries," the embassy added.
UAE minister says Trump travel ban not anti-Islam
US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations is not anti-Islam, the United Arab Emirates foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, whose country like neighboring Saudi Arabia is a close ally of Washington, said it was “wrong to say” that the decision by the new US administration was “directed against a particular religion.”
“The United States has made… a sovereign decision,” he said at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, pointing out that it was “provisional” and did not apply to “the large majority” of the world’s Muslims.
Trump’s Travel Ban Should Include Palestinians
American Jews were among those protesting the Trump administration’s ban on individuals from seven Middle Eastern countries entering the US.
But travel bans against Jews — specifically Israeli Jews — to Muslim countries continue on a daily basis, without a murmur of protest from many of those same people.
Around the world, it is accepted that Jewish Israeli passport-holders are barred from entering Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The discrimination does not end there. Israeli Jews are also prevented from participating in international sporting competitions, and other events, in these and other Muslim countries.
But if the aim of the Trump administration is to stop the infiltration of potential terrorists into America, the White House must also include Palestinians on its list.
That is because the Palestinians — in addition to killing thousands of Israelis — have also murdered countless Americans.
Parliament, Palestinians and pornography: An interview with Howard Jacobson
Howard Jacobson clings to a simple ideology to help get him through the trials and tribulations of everyday life — he deeply mistrusts the fundamental principle of ideology itself.
“The reason I’m a novelist is that I disbelieve in ideology,” the 75-year-old confesses from his home in central London. “I’m not an existentialist. But I’m an absolute skeptic,” he adds.
This statement seems laden with paradoxical contradictions once you begin to engage with Jacobson on certain issues dear to his heart, most notably politics.
Still, he begs to differ.
Last year was just about the most horrible year he can remember, ever. “2016 was morally ugly and intellectually barren,” he says.
The politics of US President Donald Trump is an appeal “to the rabble in people.” Following Trump’s election victory last November, Jacobson says he needed to find a form of writing where he could express his political outrage. The end result was a satirical novella called “Pussy,” which is due to be published in the UK this coming April.
NGO Monitor: Transparency and Due Diligence in U.S. Government Funding for Israeli and Palestinian NGOs: 2016 Update
This report updates NGO Monitor’s previous analyses (2013, 2014) of U.S. government funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that operate in Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Funding agencies include USAID, the U.S. State Department (through the MEPI program), and United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Additionally, this analysis reviews the work of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an American NGO funded by the government and overseen by Congress, with strong institutional ties to both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Our detailed research shows that, despite improvements since 2014, U.S. funding continues to go to NGOs active in anti-Israel and BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns that directly contradict U.S. government support for peace efforts and strong anti-BDS policy. There are also pronounced inconsistencies between the stated objectives and the activities of many NGO grantees.
In a number of instances, it appears that grants have been awarded without sufficient due diligence, including independent evaluation of all aspects of grantees.
How Two US-Trained Israel Advocates Became International Spokesmen
You could say that Yishai Fleisher was destined to be a Jewish activist. Born in Haifa on the day of the 1976 Entebbe hijacking to parents who struggled to escape from the Soviet Union, Yishai’s brit milah (circumcision ceremony) took place just as the hostages were being freed in Israel’s most daring rescue operation.
Today, the trilingual Fleisher serves as international spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, a demanding and sensitive job that puts him front and center representing a city that is a lightning rod for controversy.
Elie Pieprz, director of international affairs for the YESHA Council, is another US-trained activist playing a leading role in one of Israel’s most controversial issues.
Pieprz, a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, is a member of the team responsible for presenting the face of Israel’s settlement movement to the world. Pieprz was part of the delegation of leaders from the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria who attended the recent inauguration of President Donald Trump. Makor Rishon, a leading Hebrew-language newspaper, just described Pieprz as “the Israeli who seems to have the best contacts with the new [US] administration, apart from [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, of course.”
Like Fleisher, Pieprz cut his teeth as an activist in the US before making aliyah and bringing his experience to one of the core issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Anti-Israeli boycotts are anti-Semitic
So, if you ask the boycott Israel movements and activists what they are trying to achieve they will of course tell you that they are trying “to stop the Israeli occupation”. If this is what they are asking for, for what they see as a human rights violation to stop, why are they calling to boycott every corner of Israel and every Israeli, and why do they threaten Jews in general, wherever on earth they may be?
The answer is very simple – none of the boycott Israel movements and organisations believe in the “two state solution” or in any other solution that involves the existence of a Jewish state. They simply want to see the state of Israel disappear, and their strategy is to present Israel – a democratic state – and all the Israeli citizens and generally Jewish people as the most evil creation on earth, because only the most evil country or people in the world wouldn’t deserve the right to exist. And if you don’t have the right to exist, nobody will care how many suicide bombers or rockets hit you. They use the worst terminologies from the worst regimes in the history of humanity, such as “apartheid”, “fascists” or even “ethnic cleansing” and “holocaust” and apply them to Israel, without any connection to facts and truth.
These movements and organisations calling to boycott Israel represent nothing less than pure anti-Semitism and hatred, and we must always remember that even the holocaust under the Nazi regime started with a boycott on Jews in 1933. Boycott is violence; boycotting Israel is Anti-Semitism.
Academic boycott launched AGAINST U.S. after Trump Immigration Executive Order
A column in The Guardian raises the same issue, Should academics boycott Donald Trump’s America?:
The inauguration of President Trump poses a challenge to liberals inside the US and beyond; a truth brought home only too vividly by the introduction of an executive order barring entry to all refugees and any citizens from a list of Muslim-majority countries. There are many ways that the academic community can resist – and is resisting – the illiberal, populist regime represented by Trump’s White House.
But for non-US academics who travel regularly to the US to participate in scholarly meetings, this latest measure presents a dilemma of a very particular kind: should we continue to participate in conferences held in the US which many of our colleagues, including British academics with dual citizenship, may be prevented from attending?
This is not an abstract question. I am myself in the process of making a panel submission for a conference to be held in Denver in November. Others already have places confirmed and flights booked for major events taking place in the coming months. Should we change our plans in solidarity with our banned colleagues, or would doing so only isolate US-based scholars whose critical voices are needed now more than ever?

I’m basically laughing my ass off over this development because it proves my point that academic boycotts are a systemic threat.
I still haven’t seen anyone call for an academic boycott of Turkey, despite thousands of academics having been arrested. And what about all the Arab countries and universities controlled by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority where there is no academic freedom?
Pretty selective outrage among the circular firing squad forming on the left.
London University’s Investigation Into Disruption of Israel Event Concludes Some Protesters Were Violent, Chanted Slogans That ‘Could Be Considered Antisemitic’
The investigation into the disruption of an Israel-related event at a UK university revealed that some protesters had been violent, contradicting the school’s statement in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
University College London’s probe of the demonstrations against a lecture in October by prominent Israel activist Hen Mazzig — which, as The Algemeiner reported, ended in police having to escort attendees through a swarm of students who had descended upon the event area — concluded that protesters had “intentionally disrupted” the program in a way that violated others’ rights. It also said that there were cases of physical assault, including “pushing and shoving.”
“This was a serious incident that represented a failure of the UCL Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech,” investigators wrote in the report summary.
Demonstrators “created a hostile, aggressive and intimidatory atmosphere; and conducted their protest noisily and aggressively such that many students, staff and other attendees felt intimidated by their behaviour,” the report concluded.
Canadian Trade School Retracts Policy Rejecting Israeli Students Following Jewish Community Uproar
A Canadian trade school has retracted its policy of rejecting students based on their Israeli nationality, following major blowback from the local Jewish community.
The change by the Island School of Building Arts (ISBA) comes after advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada intervened on behalf of Israeli Stav Daron, who was turned away by ISBA with an email stating: “Due to the conflict and illegal settlement activity in the region, we are not accepting applications from Israel.”
According to B’nai Brith, ISBA — located on the small Gabriola Island of British Columbia — has also promised to publish an apology on its website.
Daron, an engineering student and budding carpenter, expressed appreciation for the “outpouring of support” he received from the “grassroots Canadian Jewish community,” the group said in a statement.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Daron had been in contact with ISBA’s manager of student services, Patricia Rokosh, about signing up for a four-week course, and mentioned that he was from the Jewish state. Rokosh then sent him the email stating that ISBA does not accept Israelis.
"Here and Now" Corrects on "New Settlements" Plan
"Here and Now" producers quickly and commendably posted the following correction to the bottom of the online page carrying the Jan.30 broadcast:
Correction: In the audio atop this post, host Jeremy Hobson said the Israeli government was planning to build 2,500 new settlements. The government is planning to build 2,500 new housing units in existing settlements. We regret the error.
We will update further as soon as we have information about an on air correction.
The NPR correction follows Australian Broadcasting Corporation's correction early this week of a headline which confused 4,000 individual residences for 4,000 settlement outposts.
BREAKING: The Mideast Beast to Begin Covering Real News (satire)
The Mideast Beast, a satirical news source, has confirmed that they will begin to focus on reporting real news. This comes at a time when real news and fake news are becoming less and less distinguishable.
There have always been some that think satire is real and real news is fake, but recently the number of people unable to decipher between the two is increasing at an alarming rate.
“Why expend effort to write something that outlandishly exploits the hidden truth, when the actual truth is far better than anything we could come up with,” a spokesman for the website commented.
“We decided to switch gears when we were blamed for an article written by the Wall Street Journal. People were outraged, saying we had finally crossed the line. We tried to tell them that the news was real and it wasn’t published by us, but they wouldn’t believe it.”
Even White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer retweeted some articles. In all fairness, the pieces were meant to be satire but have turned out to be true – something that seems to be happening more and more often lately. Spicer simply forgot that he was only supposed to share alternative facts and immediately regretted posting the truth, which was thought to be fictitious. It’s a very confusing time for everyone.
JCCs Across U.S. Targeted by Bomb Threats For Third Time This Month
At least 17 Jewish community centers across the United States received bomb threats on Tuesday, the third time this month that a wave of JCCs has received such threats on the same day.
Among the JCCs targeted were those in Boulder, Colo.; Albany and Syracuse, N.Y.; West Orange, N.J.; Milwaukee, San Diego, and Salt Lake City.
Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Network, a group affiliated with the Jewish Federations of North America that advises Jewish institutions on security, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that most of the calls came in late Tuesday morning.
“In the past we know that the numbers can grow exponentially,” Goldenberg noted, adding that those making the threats have been “leveraging technologies to make mass calls.” Goldenberg told the Chicago Tribune that in this case, the culprit “is a live person telling people, or describing what kind of bomb or devices have been hidden.”
The JCC in New Haven, Conn., which is currently housed in several locations due to a fire last month, evacuated people from all of its facilities after receiving a live call just before noon. The New Haven JCC was one of the more than 30 that was similarly threatened on January 18.
This is what a JCC bomb threat sounds like
JTA has obtained a recording of one of the bomb threats made on January 18, during the previous wave of threats.
The brief call sounds like it was made using voice-disguising technology that protects the caller’s identity.
Audio of the call, as well as a transcription, are below.
It’s a C-4 bomb with a lot of shrapnel, surrounded by a bag (inaudible). In a short time, a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered. Their heads are going to be blown off from the shrapnel. There’s a lot of shrapnel. There’s going to be a bloodbath that’s going to take place in a short time. I think I told you enough. I must go.
Ryanair announces new Israel routes
Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has announced new Israel routes today. Ryanair will operate 19 routes from Israel - 12 routes from Ovda near Eilat and 7 routes from Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.
Ryanair already operates flights from Ovda Airport to four European destinations - Krakow (Poland), Kaunus (Lithuania), Bratislava (Slovakia), and Budapest (Hungary). The eight new routes to be introduced will be to Brussels (Belgium), Milan (Italy), Berlin, Frankfurt and Baden-Baden (Germany), and Gdansk, Warsaw and Poznan (Poland).
Ryanair has already said it will launch flights from Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion Airport) to Paphos (Cyprus) from March 28 starting at €21.99 - one way. The new routes from Ben Gurion Airport are to Milan (Italy), Baden-Baden (Germany) and Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw and Krakow (Poland).
Ryanair promises that flights to European destinations further afield will start from €40. This will introduce intense competition in air fares that israel has not known before.
Fast, accurate test for malaria could be a game-changer
In 2015, about 212 million people were infected with malaria and an estimated 429,000 died from the disease, which is transmitted by mosquito-borne parasites.
As Israeli researchers investigate solutions for preventing and treating malaria, an Israeli company founded in 2010 has developed a device that helps labs around the world detect malaria rapidly, reliably and automatically using unique computer vision-based algorithms for identifying blood-related diseases.
About 70 percent of the 500 million malaria tests done annually are performed using manual microscopy, which is slow and only as reliable as the person processing the test, explains Sight Diagnostics CEO Yossi Pollak. The other 30% are done with rapid tests that are not sufficiently accurate.
“It was pretty clear everywhere we went that current solutions are inadequate, and that a ‘high-tech’ solution is needed,” says Pollak.
Israeli Military Sees Spike in Number of Women Serving in Combat Units
The number of women serving in Israel’s combat units continues to rise, with about 2,800 slated to fill such roles this year, according to figures revealed in a special meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
The Israeli Navy saw a 93 percent increase in females serving in combat positions and there were double the number of women serving in such roles with Israel’s Border Police. The IDF’s Homefront Command had 38% more women in its ranks this past year and the number of female soldiers in artillery units was up 19%.
Brig. Gen. Eran Shani, head of the Planning Brigade and Manpower Administration in the IDF Personnel Directorate, told the committee meeting, “As we are an army of the people, we aspire to integrate all population sectors and allow the greatest possible equality of opportunities. We have expanded the number of roles open to women, which now comprise 90 percent of all service positions in the IDF.”
Shani added that the military is working to establish its first-ever training base for mixed-gender battalions.
Bank of Israel unveils new banknotes featuring women
The Bank of Israel on Tuesday rolled out its new designs for the 20 and 100 shekel bills, both of which feature portraits of acclaimed Hebrew poetesses.
None of the new Israeli shekel banknotes currently in circulation — which come in denominations of NIS 20, 50, 100 and 200 — feature women. The NIS 10 bill issued in 1985 featured a portrait of former prime minister Golda Meir, until it was removed from circulation in the 1990s.
Meir was also featured on the 10,000 shekel bill prior to the replacement of the shekel with the new Israeli shekel in 1985. Numerous women were featured on the Israeli pound before it was supplanted by the shekel in 1980.
The new NIS 20 note’s design is red and will have an image of Rachel Bluwstein — known in Hebrew as Rachel the poetess — and the back of the bill will contain words from her poem “Kinneret,” known in English as the Sea of Galilee, alongside a picture of the shore of the same lake.

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