Monday, June 12, 2017

From Ian:

Judea Pearl: Debating the Morality of the BDS Cult
If the Jewish people ever needed an icon for their sworn enemies — a litmus test that distinguishes those who oppose the core of Israel’s existence from those who have other reasons to criticize the Jewish state — then the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has given it to us. It has managed to galvanize the Jewish community into an unprecedented wave of unity in opposition to this threat.
A May 22 debate sponsored by the UCLA Debate Union was unique, in that the issue was not the effects of BDS’ actions, but the morality of their aims. I took part in this debate, and I would like to share with readers a summary of my arguments. What follows is an edited version of my remarks:
Dear Friends,
I have not spoken to this debate club before, and I am glad to do so on this occasion, because I see it as a historic moment.
For more than 10 years now, we have been witnessing BDS supporters roaming the campus with their megaphones and slander machines, accusing Israel of every imaginable crime, from apartheid to child molesting — accusing, accusing and accusing.
Today, for the first time in the history of UCLA, we see BDS itself on the accused bench, with its deceitful tactics, immoral ideology and anti-peace stance brought to trial.
It is a historic moment.
BDS is not a new phenomenon; it is a brainchild of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, who in April 1936 started the Arab Rejectionist movement (under the auspices of the Arab Higher Committee), and the first thing he did was to launch a boycott of Jewish agricultural products and a general strike against Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine from war-bound Europe.
The 1936 manifesto of the rejectionist movement was very similar to what BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti presented here at UCLA on January 15, 2014. It was brutal in its simplicity: Jews are not entitled to any form of self-determination in any part of Palestine, not even the size of a postage stamp — end of discussion!
France: Islamic Antisemitism, French Silence
The murder of Sarah Halimi is not the first anti-Semitic murder Islamic committed in France in recent years. Twelve years ago, Ilan Halimi was abducted, tortured for three weeks, then savagely murdered by a gang led by an Ivorian Muslim, Youssouf Fofana. In March 2012, Mohamed Merah, a French jihadist who trained in Afghanistan, shot dead Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two sons, Aryeh, 6, and Gabriel, 3, and Miriam Monsonego, 8, in a Jewish school courtyard in Toulouse. In January 2015, in a kosher supermarket east of Paris, Amedy Coulibaly, a man who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic state, murdered four men: Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab, and François-Michel Saada.
Each time, the anti-Semitic and Islamic character of the murders was almost completely erased by the French media.
Ilan Halimi's murderers have been described as "teenagers adrift", looking for easy money. Mohamed Merah was originally depicted as a young man frustrated at not being able to join the French army. Amedy Coulibaly was presented as a petty criminal who slipped abruptly towards "radicalization".
The French authorities declare that they mercilessly fight anti-Semitism, but the only anti-Semitism they seem to fight or even denounce is the one emanating from the far-right. During the French presidential election campaign, the Front National and Marine Le Pen were obsessively presented as an absolute danger for French Jews and used as straw-men. Marine Le Pen is not beyond reproach, but she was the only candidate who dared to connect the dots and say that anti-Semitism is rising sharply among French Muslims and leads to murder. Evidence shows that far-right anti-Semitism in France is dying. The files of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNVCA) document that all of the anti-Semitic attacks committed in France for more than two decades came from Muslims and Islamists. The French authorities know this, but choose to hide it and look in another direction.
None of the French organizations supposedly combatting anti-Semitism talks about Muslim anti-Semitism: therefore, none of them combats it. Talking about Muslim anti-Semitism on French territory can lead one to criminal court. This is what happened recently to intellectuals such as Georges Bensoussan and Pascal Bruckner, among others. The Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) tracks all "Islamically incorrect" statements, asks for penalties and is often successful at getting them. Even organizations that pretend to fight anti-Semitism sometimes join the CCIF in fighting someone who points out Muslim anti-Semitism.
France fights 'soft' anti-Semitism, ignores Muslim anti-Semitism
"The French authorities declare that they mercilessly fight anti-Semitism, but the only anti-Semitism they seem to fight or even denounce is the one emanating from the far-right" – which, evidence shows, is dying. So writes Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris and prolific author, adding that all anti-Semitic attacks committed in France for more than the past 20 years were perpetrated by Muslims and Islamists.
"The French authorities know this," writes Millière for Gatestone Institute, "but choose to hide it and look in another direction.
Nine Jews have been murdered by Muslims in four attacks since 2006, and yet each time, "the anti-Semitic and Islamic character of the murders was almost completely erased by the French media," Millière writes.
Even more acutely, none of the French organizations that aim to fight anti-Semitism actually talk about Muslim anti-Semitism, and can therefore not fight it. In fact, some of these organizations even join the CCIF - the Collective against Islamophobia in France - in fighting those who attempt to identify the problem of Muslim anti-Semitism.
Talking about Muslim anti-Semitism on French territory can lead one to criminal court, Millière points out. By way of example, historian Georges Bensoussan was recently put on trial for saying that among "Arab families in France - and everyone knows it but nobody wants to say it - anti-Semitism is imbibed with mother's milk."



The Best Letter to the Editor Ever in the New York Times?
The Sunday New York Times Book Review carries what may just be the single best letter to the editor ever printed in the Times.
Here it is, in all its glorious entirety:
To the Editor:
June 12, 2017 3:14 pm
While Gal Beckerman’s “On the Seventh Day: New Books on the Six Day War and Its Aftermath” (Essay, May 28) articulates much of the disappointment and sadness that I feel after 50 years of occupation and no solution — and while he correctly places (in my opinion) much of the blame on the current Israeli government — I vigorously dispute his comment, presumably referring to the West Bank, about “Israel’s occupation of large swaths of Arab land to which it had no legitimate right besides brute force.”
It bears repeating that — whatever one’s views about how international law and justice should inform a current solution to the conflict and what steps the Israeli government should take to move the process along — (1) the historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel (both sides of the Green Line, e.g., Hebron) spans two millenniums; (2) the Green Line was intended as a temporary armistice line, not a final border; (3) the territories were acquired in a defensive war; (4) Security Council Resolution 242 contemplates the retention of some of the territories; (5) the 1948-49 war resulted in the destruction of existing Jewish settlements (e.g., Gush Etzion), to which Israelis returned after 1967; (6) there are significant security reasons for continued control of the territories; and (7) international law is far from clear as to which side has the better of the “legal” argument. I do not think that these arguments (individually or in combination) dictate continued retention of the territories and perpetuation of the occupation. But it is frankly absurd to characterize the current situation as, say, akin to that of France in Algeria or the British in India.
One more thing. After a couple of pages of essentially holding Israel responsible for the continued occupation, the essay ends with a plea by Raja Shehadeh that until the Israelis “accept that the land must be shared and that both people have the right to self-determination, peace will remain elusive.” Maybe so. But how to square that with Nir Baram’s conclusion (apparently endorsed by Beckerman) that the conflict is not about “final borders” and there remains “total and irreconcilable difference” between the parties?
STU BLANDER NEW YORK
Jared Kushner’s family is a legend in this Belarus town
People in Jared Kushner’s ancestral town tend to speak very highly of US President Donald Trump.
That’s generally the norm in the former Soviet Union. After all, Trump’s style goes over well in this part of the world — a survey conducted in November in Russia found that 45 percent of respondents said they would vote for Trump, compared to a four-percent approval rating for Hillary Clinton. Trump has promised to improve relations with Russia and has enjoyed high approval ratings throughout the region, with the exception of Ukraine and the Baltic countries.
But in Novogrudok — a picturesque city of 30,000 in western Belarus, about halfway between Minsk and Bialystok, Poland — Trump’s election is especially celebrated because it adds Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and key advisor, to the city’s short list of international success stories.
“Of course I am very proud that there is someone from Novogrudok in the White House,” said Boris Semyonov, a 57-year-old businessman, when asked about the subject last week in Lenin Square — a wide, clean space in the city center featuring a bust of the communist leader. “I am waiting for him to visit us.”
Time to Tell the Truth about Radical Islamic Terror
In the wake of the recent bloody attacks on Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the need for “difficult, often embarrassing conversations” about the ideological sources of terror. Jeffrey Herf agrees:
North African Muslim writers, scholars, and journalists . . . since the 1990s were drawing attention to the connections between interpretations of Islam and the practice of terror by Islamist organizations. They did so especially in what [one observer] called “the terror years” of the 1990s in Algeria, when between 100,000 and 200,000 people died in a civil war between Islamist organizations and the military regime. . . .
In their scholarship, journalism, poetry, essays, and satire, these writers disputed the idea that terror “had nothing to do with Islam.” They called [instead] for critical engagement with the sacred texts that terrorists cited to justify murder, and offered abundant and embarrassing evidence about the importance of [those] texts used to legitimate terror. They argued that a criticism of Islamism and its interpretation of the sacred texts of Islam were not synonymous with prejudice against Muslims. . . .
For many years, the [sois-disant] voices of realism in the democracies have told us that euphemism and avoidance regarding the truth about Islamism, Islam, and terror were essential to win the “war on terror.” Designed to avoid generating an anti-Muslim backlash in the democracies, the euphemisms and silences . . . have contributed to just that outcome. To refrain from stating the obvious has fostered cynicism and mistrust. . . .
Conservatives working with DUP will be good news for Israel
The DUP returns to Westminster with ten MPs and are the Conservative’s most natural allies to achieve a working majority.
And that might be good news for Israel.
Northern Ireland’s DUP MPs – including the experienced and well-respected Nigel Dodds and Ian Paisley, son of the party’s founder, are amongst the staunchest supporters of Israel in the House of Commons.
Their MPs regularly speak at meetings of Northern Ireland Friends of Israel and when some years ago the issue of recognising Palestine came up at Westminster the party turned up in block to register opposition. Indeed, they formed a full 5 of the 12 MPs that opposed it.
DUP MPs also spoke prominently in the debate earlier this year on the Balfour centenary and have been outspoken in condemning Palestinian incitement and funding for terrorist prisoners.
They have taken an active part in opposing antisemitism both in Northern Ireland and elsewhere and supported the Belfast Jewish community’s and Board of Deputies manifesto for the recent Northern Ireland Assembly elections.
Did Israel Just Win the British Election?
The biggest winner may end up being… Israel!
Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in various combinations have been a potent force in British politics among both Tories and Labour since WW2. The non-Thatcherite Right and the Corbynite Left don’t have much in common, but dislike for Israel and for America’s support for it are strong at both ends of the British political spectrum.
One of the few reservoirs of strong pro-Israel feeling in the UK lies in Northern Ireland, the homeland of the Scots-Irish, who are the core of Jacksonian politics in the United States. The DUP is the most “Jacksonian” (that is to say rightwing, nationalist-populist) political force in the UK, and many of Ulster’s Protestants are as sympathetic to Israel as their U.S. cousins. Travelers in Northern Ireland will sometimes see Palestinian flags in Catholic neighborhoods and the Star of David banner in Protestant ones.
Last night’s election turned those Ulster Protestants into kingmakers; the 10 seats of the DUP hold the balance in the British parliament, and Theresa May had no choice but to look to DUP as her best coalition partner and strongest ally.
It’s unlikely that a British government that depends on Northern Ireland unionists will be eager to break new ground in the world of anti-Israel boycotts. Expect gnashing of teeth at the (mostly) anti-Zionist Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
A Myth Debunked: Linda Sarsour cannot be a feminist and a supporter of Sharia law at the same time
Sharia law, on the other hand, still results in discrimination in Muslim majority countries, even if only limited to certain legal issues. With the exception of Tunisia, the entire of the MIddle East as well as North Africa has adopted Sharia Law as state-level law, meaning that it is the highest law in the land, as can be seen on the map in the link. The Muslim counties in light green, for example Indonesia, only apply Sharia law in family law matters, however this still amounts to gender discrimination, as explained below.
Family law includes matters of marriage and divorce. In matters of divorce or “Talaq”, it is only the husband who has the right to determine whether or not he wants a divorce and not the wife. Furthermore, a husband can decide to take the wife back by simply uttering the words to her or having sexual relations with her. Once the waiting period, known as the “Iddat”, is complete, the wife must immediately leave the matrimonial home. Do you notice how it is only the husband who gets to choose whether or not to end a marriage, and it is the wife who is forced to leave the former couple’s home after the divorce has been completed?
The above Sharia legal rule displays just one of many clear instances of discrimination against women, and because divorce is a part of family law, such discrimination is practiced in every country that practices Sharia law. Such discrimination is testament to the fact that, apart from Tunisia, not a single Muslim country is regarded as being a free country. Even in Tunisia, there were “setbacks” concerning “political rights” and “civil liberties”, as explained by Freedom House in the “Key Findings” provided below the world map with countries’ results.
Sharia law displays discrimination against women no matter what degree it is implemented in a country’s legal system. When Linda Sarsour says she supports Sharia law, she immediately discredits her claim to be a supporter of feminism and womens’ rights, as we have seen that Sharia law is indeed discriminatory against women even in its mildest forms. This goes without mentioning that if you approve of and wish to adopt a certain system of law, you agree to follow all of it’s rules, and not just those that you find convenient. That is what a law-abiding citizen does.
Linda Sarsour’s claim to support feminism and Sharia law is an oxymoron and is fundamentally false. Sharia law is incompatible with gender equality, and is thus incompatible with Western values.
Linda Sarsour had better decide which side of the equation she is on, as there is no way that she can support two value systems that are in complete opposition of one another. Either she is for Western values or against them; there is no room for “fence-sitters” here.
The battle against BDS proponent Roger Waters
Behind almost every act canceling a scheduled show in Israel stands one man: Roger Waters.
The rocker has led several prominent and public campaigns against artists who choose to perform in the Jewish state - most recently Radiohead, who are scheduled to play Tel Aviv next week.
But now one group is fighting back, trying to stage a boycott of Waters himself. Charles Asher Small, the founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, is behind the new site and campaign.
"Roger Waters is the leader of the BDS movement at the cultural level," Small told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. "He uses some of the most horrific old forms of antisemitic tropes about Jewish power and about Israel being an apartheid state."
At the same time, Small said, the rocker is still a wildly successful performer, and has tour dates scheduled throughout North America for much of 2017.
"We felt that a lot of his success was in part due to the imagery that he was promoting of Magen Davids with pigs and dollar signs and dressing up as Nazi" - things he did at a 2013 show in Belgium, said Small. "A lot of imagery, combined with his call to boycott Israel, gives off a horrific message - and he's making profit from it...we felt that it was time to take a stand."
Honest BDS NEWS


In Campus Arena, Maccabee Task Force Wages Battle Without ‘Credit’
The organization borrows its name from the Hanukkah story’s heroes, and its founder is one of America’s highest-profile Jewish philanthropists. Yet as dozens of national Jewish nonprofits devote resources to fighting anti-Zionism and antisemitism on college campuses, the Maccabee Task Force (MTF) says it isn’t concerned about getting “credit” for pro-Israel victories.
In July 2015, a Brandeis University survey found that nearly 75 percent of North American Jewish college students reported experiencing some level of antisemitism. The same year, with funding from business magnate and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, MTF was launched with the stated purpose of giving students “strategies and resources” to counter the BDS movement.
While Adelson’s name recognition brought MTF the expected media attention, the organization has kept an intentionally low profile and lets the college students lead the way, MTF Director David Brog, the founding executive director and a current board member of Christians United for Israel, tells JNS.org.
“What we found quickly is that it is best to work behind the scenes, and let the students on the frontlines and the pro-Israel professionals who actually live on the campus lead the way,” Brog says. “If you let them take credit and responsibility for what you do, then they welcome the help and together we can come up with really effective plans.”
Campus professionals echo the organization’s self-assessment.
Vic Rosenthal: A bug, not a feature
Dear Apple CEO Tim Cook,
I am writing to report a bug in the Clock application of your iOS operating system (10.3.2), found on my new iPad.
Somehow the country associated with Jerusalem seems to be missing!
Almost every other city, even Ittoqqortoormiit, has a country. But Jerusalem does not (Taipei also lacks a country, but I will leave that to someone else to argue about).
I know this has to be a bug, because Jerusalem is in Israel! Not only is Jerusalem in Israel, it is the capital of Israel, and has been since the modern state was founded in 1948 (it was also the capital of David’s kingdom, back around 1000 BCE). Israel’s Knesset meets there, its Prime Minister’s office is there, and there are even several authorized Apple dealers there. So how can you not know?
I thought this was a new thing, but apparently the bug has been around since iOS version 7 in 2013! Surely it would be easy to fix.
I’m beginning to think that this isn’t a bug, but something that some of your people think is a feature. Believe me, it’s not. It’s a political statement that most Israelis take as offensive and insulting, whether it comes from the US State Department or Apple. If Jerusalem isn’t in Israel, where is it? On Mars?
Kansas passes anti-BDS bill
Both houses of the Kansas State Legislature have passed a bill that would bar the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.
The bill still must be signed by state Gov. Sam Brownback, who is expected to do so, the Lawrence Journal World reported.
A final version of the bill passed both houses of the legislature on Wednesday. It first passed the Senate by a vote of 36-3 and few hours later passed the House by a vote of 99-13.
An amendment to the bill allows the state’s secretary of administration to waive the boycott law if the secretary “determines that compliance is not practicable or in the best interest of the state.”
The bill says the anti-BDS, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, legislation applies to Israel and “territories under its jurisdiction,” which means Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Study: White Supremacism Behind Every Last Aspect Of Western Culture (satire)
New research by a team of anthropologists and historians has determined that not a single element of Western culture that developed in Europe and spread to North America did not arise out of a feeling that the white race must dominate the rest of the world.
Writing in this month’s issue of the journal Berkeley Indigenous-Anthropological Studies (BIAS), the researchers describe how they analyzed approximately ten thousand characteristic aspects of Western culture over the course of eight years, and concluded that each and every one grew out of white supremacism.
The article details the process by which the scholars and postdoctoral researchers conducted their study, and listed a portion of the cultural elements they examined in making their determination. The team looked at soccer hooliganism, microbreweries, film, the Scientific Method, paid vacations, fidget spinners, internet memes, museums, windsurfing, gaming, the internal combustion engine, deep-fried Twinkies, modern art, universal literacy, skiing, CPR, solar power, classical music, and offset printing, among others, and, through painstaking research, demonstrated how each of those and other elements of Western culture originated in, or were subject to formative influence by, white supremacism.
“Some of these cultural elements’ white supremacist origins are more obvious,” acknowledged Libberay-Shunthi Olojee, a student who participated in drafting the article. “But through the rigor we always bring to bear in the social sciences, we concluded that, for example, since classical music includes Wagner, and Wagner explored mythic themes that Hitler later admired, Wagner must have agreed with Hitler’s racial theories, and by extension, so did every other Western composer, since they never called Wagner out on that. And of course it must have found expression in their music, which is full of martial terms such as ‘forte,’ aggressively phallic note shapes, and a segregated system for assigning keys that sorted compositions into such hierarchical categories as ‘major’ and ‘minor.'”
Honest Reporting: Settlement Tourism No Holiday For The Sunday Times
Writing for The Sunday Times of London (paywall), Louise Callaghan visits Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, where efforts are being made to increase tourism to the area. While it is a positive that the article references terminology such as “disputed land” and “ancient Judaea,” Callaghan states, matter of factly:
A sign on the winery welcomes visitors to the settlement of Gush Etzion, considered by the locals to be part of Israel. But the town is in the West Bank, illegally built on Palestinian land seized by settlers after the Six Day War of 1967.
Gush Etzion isn’t a settlement per se, but a bloc of settlements. While this may not be a serious error, it is important in light of the missing context in the article. Gush Etzion isn’t only “considered by the locals to be part of Israel.” It is part of a mainstream Israeli consensus on both sides of the Green Line that views certain settlements that would most likely be included as part of Israel in the event of a deal negotiated with the Palestinians.
The Sunday Times fails to differentiate between areas such as Gush Etzion, outlying settlements that are located in more isolated areas, and settlement outposts that have been built without government permission and are illegal according to Israeli law.
Honest Reporting: Ignoring Israeli History Won’t Make It Go Away
An op-ed in the Irish Times blames Israel entirely for why the “Misery of [the] Palestinian people is the result of two historic events marked this year,” the Six Day War and the Balfour Declaration. But the only way that it can blame Israel is by omitting almost all of the crucial – and inconvenient – historical facts that explain the truth of the current situation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Dr. Conn Mac Gabhann visited Israel with a delegation called the Holy Land Coordination Group, purportedly to “better understand the political situation of the region.” Unfortunately though, it doesn’t seem that he gained much understanding at all.
The Holy Land Coordination Group aims to support Christian communities in Israel and the Palestinian areas, yet seems to have visited with a political agenda to promote the false black-and-white, one-sided view of the conflict where Israel is at fault for everything and Palestinians are blameless. It’s only once you reach the end of the article that part of this agenda becomes clear – the trip appears to have been funded by Trócaire, which supports BDS, spreads biased and false information on Israel, and funds a long list of political, extremist, anti-Israel NGOs.
On visiting Gaza, Conn Mac Gabhann says its Palestinians “have been subject to an Israeli siege-like situation” since Hamas took over in 2007. He omits that Gaza is also under an Egyptian blockade, and doesn’t ask, or answer the obvious questions as to why Gaza is in this situation.
Hebrew Haaretz Says What English Won't: Islamic Jihad Man Was Target of Fatal Strike
In a column looking back on 30 years of reporting, veteran Haaretz writer Gideon Levy last week described the particularly heartrending case of the 2006 Israeli air strike in Gaza that killed multiple members of the Aman family and left then 4-year-old Maria Aman with critical injuries, leaving out entirely that the key information that the strike was aimed at Islamic Jihad commander Mohammed Dadouh, who was also killed in the attack ("No greater lie," print headline, available online here).
Editors of Haaretz's Hebrew print edition commendably added the important information about the Islamic Jihad target, both into the article itself, as well as a photo caption accompanying the article. The Hebrew print edition, but not the English edition or the Hebrew digital edition, reported: "A guided missile, launched by the moral Israeli army which was targeting an Islamic Jihad activist, hit the family car."
In addition, there was this Hebrew photo caption: "Maria Aman at the opening of her exhibit two weeks ago. The missile that hit her was aimed at an Islamic Jihad activist."
English editors, unlike their Hebrew counterparts, did not deem it necessary to add in any information about the Islamic Jihad target.
Jerusalem Post Corrects: No Police Order to Close Muslim Quarter Shops
CAMERA's Israel office today prompted correction of a May 25 Jerusalem Post article which incorrectly reported that police ordered stores in Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter to close during the Jerusalem Day flag march ("Jewish businesses show solidarity with Arab shops closed by Jerusalem Day").
The article explicitly erred, stating: "The police require shops along the march route to close in order to avoid conflicts and maintain order." In addition, reinforcing the false notion that police ordered shopkeepers to shutter, the article quoted Noam Frankorter, one of the Jewish shop owners who closed in solidarity, as giving the confused statement: "I think [closing in solidarity] could have an influence. The police, instead of protecting the Palestinian business owners, who are exposed to violence toward them and their property, are forced to close [sic]."
CAMERA contacted The Jerusalem Post, noting that in call with CAMERA, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that claims that the police ordered Arab shops to close are absolutely false. He maintained that shopkeepers opt to close their stores due to the lack of customers as the streets along the march route are completely clogged with Jerusalem Day revelers. (A closure was in place on some, not all, streets along the march route; it did not require stores to close, said Rosenfeld. In addition, according to Rosenfeld, some of the shopkeepers along the march route chose to remain open.)
Toronto Star Issues Clarification for Failing to Disclose Anti-Israel Group’s Role in Co-Producing Book
Chabon’s excerpt published by the Star was particularly critical of Israel’s military efforts in the west bank and his contention that these efforts impede progress in developing Palestinian business and infrastructure there. Not surprisingly, there was no mention of Israel’s security concerns when faced with unrelenting Palestinian terror.
As the New York Times Public Editor asserted on the topic: “… the wiser choice would have been to make clear the role of Breaking the Silence in the project. Disclosure ahead of time is better than questions afterward.”
Without mention of this information, the Star was de facto promoting a political agenda by neglecting to expose the bias underlying Chabon’s observations.
Secondly, we told the Star that it would have been only appropriate for the Star to have acknowledged Israel’s concerns with BTS and its “radical” agenda, and what Israel considers its biased and flawed methodology as it relies on anonymous witnesses who make unsubstantiated allegations that Israel is committing “war crimes”.
From our perspective, the Star is perfectly entitled to have published Chabon’s excerpt, but we argued that it should have disclosed BTS’ role in co-producing and underwriting costs for the book in advance.
After liaising with the Toronto Star, on June 3, the Star’s Public Editor, Kathy English, issued the following clarification for publishing a book excerpt which was highly critical of Israel without acknowledging that Breaking the Silence had co-produced and had underwritten various costs associated with developing the book:
BBC R4 gives a dog-whistle ‘explanation’ of terrorism in the UK
The item then got to its take-away point. Having spent nearly four minutes telling the BBC’s domestic audience that terrorism in Manchester and London has nothing to do with Islam and Muslim faith leaders, Armstrong left them with her ‘authoritative’ answer to the question of what is the “root cause” of such horrific attacks.
KA: “This is a really frightening moment for us and one of the things that’s happened is that the state has lost the monopoly of violence. States have always had to control the violence of society in order to rule but, starting with the French revolution, they began to lose that. And now, with the ease of travel and modern communications, ahm…a car can become a lethal weapon. Ahm…and so this is a moment when we have to reassess things; not just jump for an easy scapegoat like Islam or Islamic faith leaders. I think we all have to look and also realise that a lot of discourse about these attacks – saying they’re against our democracy – I don’t think that’s the issue at all. I think one of the main issues – ah…and this has been done…proved by surveys – is that the extremism is largely fuelled by images of Muslim suffering round the world. That has been so from the 1980s when people were radicalised in Saudi Arabia by looking at the hideous pictures coming from…ah…the camps – the Palestinian camps…”
Martha Kearney jumped in with clarification designed to drive home the point:
MK [interrupts]: “In Gaza.”
KA: “Yes, in Gaza and so on. And they come every day and that is one of the main triggers to extremism.”
MK: “Karen Armstrong; thank you very much indeed for coming to the studio to discuss this.”

So there we have it. BBC Radio 4 has brought in an ‘expert’ to tell British listeners that the real reason British citizens are being indiscriminately murdered on the streets is because the terrorists are radicalised by seeing “hideous” images from Gaza.
And of course BBC audiences have in the past been told so often who is ‘responsible’ for those “hideous” images that there is no need to even mention the ‘guilty party’ by name in this transparent exercise in dog-whistle propaganda.
Play inspired by Mideast peace process wins at Tony Awards
A play inspired by the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Norwegian husband-and-wife diplomats behind the 1993 Oslo Accords was crowned best play on New York’s Broadway Sunday at the Tony Awards.
The homegrown play, “Oslo,” written by US playwright J.T. Rogers, was inspired by the back-channel talks, unlikely friendships and quiet heroics that led to the agreement more than two decades ago.
The play has won rave reviews and a Hollywood movie adaptation is also in the works, planned by Marc Platt, producer of “La La Land,” which won six Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards.
“To the ladies and gentlemen of the Oslo Accords who believed in democracy, who believed in seeing peace, seeing their enemies as humans, I give this up to them,” said Rogers.
Elbit unveils time-traveling airborne surveillance system
Elbit Systems unveiled today (Monday) an airborne video surveillance system that allows users to collect high-resolution intelligence from up to 10 specific points of interest over exceedingly broad areas in real time, or what Elbit executives call “back-in-time” modes, reports Defense News.
Called SkEye, the firm’s eye-in-the-sky system covers some 80 square kilometers at a time, enabling users to zoom in and out over multiple points of interest while going “back in time” to analyze events from ongoing or previously recorded missions.
“For the first time, there’s a capability to go back in time. And it’s not the playback option that you’ve come to know,” Yair Ganor, senior director for business development and marketing for the firm’s Wide Area Persistent Surveillance line, told reporters.
“Today, we’re completely changing the paradigm of aerial surveillance; we’re no longer in the world of viewing regions of interest through video soda straws," Ganor said. "We’ve added a unique layer of intelligence collection on top of existing electro-optical systems to record and analyze events over very wide areas. We’re talking about 80 square kilometers."
He cited terror events in Paris and more recent events in London where authorities were forced to launch multiple aerial platforms and determine specific areas for priority surveillance. “In terror events that involved multiple affected areas, authorities had to launch several helicopters, and each helicopter had to know what he was looking for. The decision-makers had to prioritize and to compromise," he said.
Microsoft signs accord to buy cyber firm Hexadite
US giant Microsoft Corp. said Thursday it has acquired US-Israeli cybersecurity startup Hexadite, whose technology allows automatic investigation and response to cyberattacks, for an undisclosed amount.
In May, financial website Calcalist said Microsoft would pay $100 million for Hexadite.
The acquisition will enable Microsoft to strengthen its Advanced Threat Protection, “making response and remediation faster and more effective,” Microsoft said in a statement.
“Our vision is to deliver a new generation of security capabilities that helps our customers protect, detect and respond to the constantly evolving and ever-changing cyberthreat landscape,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, Microsoft. “Hexadite’s technology and talent will augment our existing capabilities and enable our ability to add new tools and services to Microsoft’s robust enterprise security offerings.”
Hexadite has developed software that uses artificial intelligence to integrate with existing security detection tools, like the firewalls and cyber alert systems of Check Point Software Technologies and Kaspersky Lab, to investigate and follow up on every alert, a time-consuming process for information security professionals and analysts.
Israeli, Indian partners team up with Motorola to launch Jerusalem incubator
Aiming to give Jerusalem-based start-ups a global edge, Israeli and Indian partners have teamed up with American data communications giant Motorola Solutions to establish a hi-tech incubator.
The incubator, led by equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, will focus on frontier technologies such as big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, fintech, storage, the Internet of Things and computer vision, according to the partners.
Other partners in running the venture, which will be housed at OurCrowd’s Jerusalem headquarters, will include the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Yissum Technology Transfer Company and Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries.
“This represents a unique team with a global reach, incredible scale, and with deep technological, commercial and academic roots,” said Jon Medved, CEO of OurCrowd. “We expect to invest in close to 50 companies over the next 10 years and further grow the formidable cadre of Jerusalem start-ups.”
Netanyahu: Nauru has been a wonderful friend to Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Monday morning with Nauru President Baron Waqa.
Nauru has friendly relations with the State of Israel.
During their conversation, Waqa asked Netanyahu that Israel assist his country in medical training, water, waste management and innovation.
"You have been our wonderful friend," Netanyahu said. "It's a pleasure to receive you in the land of Israel and the State of Israel."
"I hope you have an excellent visit that reflects our excellent relations."
On Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) thanked Waqa for his country's longstanding support for Israel at the United Nations.
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