Saturday, August 31, 2013

  • Saturday, August 31, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
I reported on Friday that FIAT/IFTA, the International Federation of Television Archives, disinvited an Israeli director and nominee from its awards ceremony this year because it was taking place in Dubai, and the Dubai authorities bar Israelis.

FIAT/IFTA released a statement that pretty much proves that it is a spineless, craven organization.

Message from the President of FIAT/IFTA

Recently FIAT/IFTA has been involved in a political discussion both within and outside the network with respect to FIAT/IFTA Archive Achievements Awards; annually given to the best archival productions in the world.

Due to political tension in the region, one of the nominees this year, IBA TV and Mr. Bernstein, director of ‘Israel: A Home Movie’, is not able to attend this year’s World Conference.

FIAT/IFTA deeply regrets this.

Nevertheless, FIAT/IFTA wants to emphasize its independency. FIAT/IFTA is a professional federation, without political or religious connections. It is not in the position to be involved in political judgments, neither will we issue political statements, opinions and comments.

I8A TV’s and Mr. Bernstein’s work is respected by FIAT/IFTA. As his nomination for the Archive Achievements Awards will be respected. At the conference his work will be brought to the attention; and since he cannot attend the ceremony, FIAT/IFTA decided not to award a prize in this category when [if? - EoZ] his entry turns out to be the winning one. In that case, at next year’s conference in Europe, Mr. Bernstein will be invited to climb the stage and celebrate his work with the community.

Jan Muller, President of FIAT/IFTA.
And why exactly is the director "not able to attend?" A kid's basketball game, perhaps? A doctor's appointment?

IFTA claims to be demonstrating its "independency" by caving to the bigoted demands of its host. Is that what "independence" means nowadays?

If FIAT/IFTA were independent, they would fight for the integrity of their own awards. It would mean that they would fight for their members and nominees, no matter what nationality they are. It means that they would not silently scrap an award if it is won by someone the host country doesn't like. Independence doesn't mean allowing yourself to be stepped on.

If they were "independent" they wouldn't be beholden to the whims of Dubai, and they would tell their hosts that if they cannot perform their own ceremony in the way they desire, they will not be holding the awards in that country this year, and they will recommend fellow organizations to follow suit.

That would be acting independently.

This letter, on the other hand, shows that FIAT/IFTA has neither standards, nor morality, nor independence.

I remind FIAT/IFTA again of how the UAE responded when pressure forced them to allow an Israeli tennis player to compete:
The decision to issue the permit is in line with the UAE's commitment to a policy of permitting any individual to take part in international sports, cultural and economic events or activities being held in the country, without any limitation being placed on participation by citizens of any member country of the United Nations.
Here is all the ammunition FIAT/IFTA would have needed to force Dubai's hand.

The only way to change Dubai's behavior is to shame them, publicly, into doing the right thing. History shows that Dubai would have given in rather than face the possibility of being publicly outed as not quite as modern as it pretends to be in its travel ads.

FIAT/IFTA instead is quietly allowing Dubai to dictate how they run their own conference. And the excuse they are using is "independence!"

No, this isn't independence. It is the exact opposite.

I encourage you to write to the sponsors of the awards and the fellow nominees to withdraw support for this awards ceremony that is pandering to the ugliest sort of hate. I gave some of the contact information in my earlier post, which was picked up by JNS.

(The FIAT/IFTA message is almost impossible to find. You have to click here and then find the tiny words "Read this message from Jan Müller, President of FIAT/IFTA. ". The resulting pop-up is a graphic file, so there is no text that can be used to find it in search engines. It seems as if FIAT/IFTA is embarrassed that they were forced to even issue this statement. Thanks to Paul M at Harry's Place for transcribing it. H/T Sarah AB.)
From Ian:

A New Era of Anti-Semitism Is Here. Daniel Goldhagen Blames Globalization.
Nearly 20 years later, Goldhagen has broadened his scope in a new work. The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism offers an in-depth look at anti-Semitism around the world. He argues that it’s an almost pathological prejudice that spans centuries and cultures and therefore is a uniquely destructive force that has redoubled its strength thanks to a new age of globalization and information-sharing. Goldhagen joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss why anti-Semitism is distinct from other forms of prejudice, how globalization has contributed to its resurgence, and what we can do to combat this scourge. [Running time: 29:40.]
Egypt Joins With Israel in Battling Gaza Terrorist 'Fishermen'
When Gaza terrorists try to run the blockade, IDF vessels fire at the Gaza ships, forcing them to remain inside the perimeter, eliciting loud complaints from the PA about how Israel is “shooting at innocent fishermen,” complaints that other Arab nations such as Egypt, join in with.
But with the unrest in Egypt and the attempts by Muslim Brotherhood Islamists – with whom Hamas is closely affiliated – the Egyptian army seems to have changed its tone. On Friday, the Ma'an News Agency in Gaza reported that Egyptian army vessels had fired at “fishermen” from Gaza, too. No details were given, but it appeared that the “fishermen” were on their way to Egyptian territorial waters.
Hamas did not comment on the “Egyptian aggression” against Gaza “fishermen,” as they generally do when Israel fires at Gaza Arabs on these ships.
Explosion near IDF patrol on Gaza border
An explosive device was detonated Friday near an IDF patrol jeep that was traveling close to the border fence with the Gaza Strip.
No soldiers were injured in the incident.
An IDF Spokesman said that the explosive device was likely detonated by a terrorist group while the army force took part in routine patrol activities.
IDF Chief Says Many Secret Operations Have Been Carried Out on Golan Front
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday met with the IDF General Staff forum, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, who revealed that much defense work on Israel’s Golan front has been achieved away from “the cameras.”
While Jews around the world prepare for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, next week, Israelis are preparing for potential retaliation by Syria if the U.S. moves to punish the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for crossing President Obama’s “red line” by using chemical weapons.
What if Israel Had Left the Golan Heights?
Why didn’t we pursue the path Shiffer and his friends had advocated? Why didn’t we let the Golan Heights come under the control of the Assad family and forsake our security? Had a deal been signed with Assad, the bloody encounters of the Syrian civil war would have take place right above the Sea of Galilee; no Israeli/Jewish community would have been safe. Pro-Syrian sleeper cells would become active, too. This is all just common sense.
But the Left’s orthodoxy is still wedded to the dogma that the conflict with our enemies is mainly about territory. There are still many among us who accept this folly; they are awarded airtime and column inches. Jews have always had a knack for being the devil’s advocate.
U.S. Assessment on Syria’s Use of Chemical Weapons
The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack.
These all-source assessments are based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting. Our classified assessments have been shared with the U.S. Congress and key international partners. To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all available intelligence - but what follows is an unclassified summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community's analysis of what took place.
Kerry: We know Assad killed 1,429 of his own people and we say, ‘Never again’
“The United States government now knows that at least 1,429 Syrians were killed in this attack, including at least 426 children. Even the first-responders, the doctors, nurses and medics who tried to save them, they became victims themselves. We saw them gasping for air, terrified that their own lives were in danger. This is the indiscriminate, inconceivable horror of chemical weapons. This is what Assad did to his own people,” said Kerry.
Kerry said, “history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency, these things we do know.”
US intel knew Assad regime was preparing chemical attack 3 days in advance
An administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the report detailed Assad’s motivation in launching the attack on the 12 locations targeted last week. The regime had been focused on those neighborhoods and wanted to clear the area of opposition fighters. The US official said that pro-regime forces had exhausted their conventional options, and he emphasized that “the regime considers chemical weapons in its portfolio of military use. They do not see it as an extreme measure for extreme cases.”
US officials acknowledged that they had been surprised by the large and “indiscriminate” scale of last week’s attack, but said that they had signals and human intelligence as early as the Sunday before the assault. In contradiction to reports in recent days, another official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that there was “no indication” that the scale or targets of the attack were a mistake.
Analysis: Are Syrian and Iranian threats just bluster?
According to Karsh, Assad knows that the strikes will probably be limited, “so he speaks in a large voice, but he probably is already in a bunker, waiting for it to be done and over with.”
He says there may be a silver lining in a Western attack in that it could foreshadow one with Iran. Syria’s military may be better than Iran’s, and if the West is successful, it may show that attacking Iran might not be as difficult as previously assumed, he said.
On the other hand, should the attack go horribly wrong, it will drive the final nail in the West's willingness to confront Iran, an eventuality too dreadful to contemplate.
Indecision on Syria undermines Israeli confidence
While officially mum on the British decision not to participate in a strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, many Israeli policy makers are neither surprised nor disappointed — because “that’s what they expected,” the official said. It is now commonly accepted in Jerusalem that the international community’s assurances to stand with Israel in a possible future attack from neighboring Arab states or Iran are “based on hypocrisy,” he added.
As Syria strikes loom, Samatha Power's skills better suited to classroom than UN
NGO leaders, who celebrated Power’s appointment as U.N. ambassador, have never understood the practicality of that decision or the motivations of those who may or may not vote for a resolution to protect the vulnerable.
Too many members of the U.N. benefit from the status quo and won’t make decisions for purely altruistic reasons. Ambassador Power doesn’t understand this reality.
Power’s speeches, thus far, put forward purely intellectual arguments that are ignored by the very people we need to support us. This elitist strategy won’t work inside the U.N. Her academic style is bound to fail.
Erdogan says limited response not enough, wants Assad gone
A limited military response to the reported use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is not enough, and any kind of intervention should aim to topple him, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late Friday.
“It can’t be a 24 hours hit-and-run,” Erdogan told reporters at the presidential palace in Ankara. “What matters is stopping the bloodshed in Syria and weakening the regime to the point where it gives up.”
Syrian Opposition Says West Must Enable ‘Syrian People to Defend Themselves,’ Not Just Carry Out ‘Punitive Strikes’
“We are not asking for a punitive strike or for some show or slap in the face that lasts only for a day or two; rather, we want permanent protection for the Syrian people and the recognition of their rights to live,” As-Saleh said. “This calls primarily for enabling the Syrian people to defend themselves, preventing regime armament and forcing foreign invading troops – be they Iranian, Lebanese, or Iraqi – to withdraw from Syria.”
Western nations, including the United States, have threatened to strike Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons in an attack near Damascus last week that left hundreds of civilians dead. Syria and its backers in Moscow and Tehran have denied the allegations, placing blame on Syrian opposition forces.
Assad's brat 11-year-old kid reportedly goads US into attacking Syria in bizarre Facebook rant
The 11-year-old son of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hafez, has reportedly goaded the US to strike Syria in a Facebook post.
"I just want them to attack soooo much," Hafez al-Assad allegedly wrote, "because I want them to make this huge attack of beginning something that they don't know the end of it."
Whether the profile is real or not has not been confirmed -- but The New York Times has put forward evidence backing its authenticity.
Will Iran fight to the last Lebanese?
All this does not mean that Hezbollah will do nothing if the Iranians ask the party to widen the Syrian conflict. On the contrary, it is almost certain that Hezbollah would – seeing Assad’s survival as part and parcel of its own survival. But the potential costs are higher than anything the party has faced in its history as a branch of Iran’s security and intelligence apparatus. This will make Hezbollah think twice before acting rashly, and may give Barack Obama the leeway he seeks for a limited military operation in Syria.
The question is whether all sides are good at reading the signals sent by the other. When the rockets start flying, cool judgment often goes. (h/t EoZ)
Syrians Charged in Deadly Lebanon Attacks
Five people, including a Syrian army captain, were charged on Friday over deadly attacks in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli a week ago, a judicial source told AFP.
Two Lebanese religious figures were also charged over the twin car bombs outside Sunni mosques on August 23, which killed more than 45 people in the bloodiest attack since Lebanon's 15-year civil war ended.
Egypt: 6 Dead in Clashes During Protests
At least six people were killed and 190 were wounded on Friday in Egypt as violent clashes erupted between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and security forces, the Health Ministry said, according to Al Arabiya.
The protests come after a relative lull following the arrests of many Muslim Brotherhood leaders. The Friday rallies were the movement's biggest show of defiance since clashes two weeks ago in which hundreds of protesters were killed."
Plenty of propaganda and indoctrination, but apparently one thing John Greyson didn't teach his students was how to make a decent movie
York University's anti-Israel fanatic John Greyson is currently in jail in Egypt for charges including helping the Muslim Brotherhood's terrorist activities.
A few of his students and colleagues at York produced a short video appeal for his release. In viewing it, in which they describe the things they learned from Greyson, it becomes apparent one thing he did not teach them was how to make a decent motion picture.
Miss Israel Pageant Finalist Gives Up Modeling Career to Serve in Israel’s Border Police
Zoe Russell, a 5’10″ blonde beauty, was a finalist in the Miss Israel Pageant not long ago, but instead of taking the more glamorous route a modeling career would afford her, she has chosen to serve in Israel’s Border Police.
Instead of an evening gown, her outfit includes “a heavy and cumbersome vest, dusty helmet, rifle and boots,” Israel’s Channel 2 reported, publishing a recent interview, including official photos of the border policewoman.
Of serving in the Border Police, Russell, 20, said, ”It’s another world, perhaps less glamorous and glitzy, but there is a lot of action, that causes the blood to flow hard. There are amazing warriors who see female combatants as equals, and, most importantly, I see my work as part of the national mission of safeguarding the security of the state and its citizens.”

Friday, August 30, 2013

  • Friday, August 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
A month ago, Richard Behar wrote a cover story for Forbes talking about how, under the radar, Israeli and Palestinian Arab businessmen were cooperating and how this was bringing a type of peace to the region:

With official relations between Palestinians and Israelis still poisonous after a century of conflict, any constructive dialogue is newsworthy. But these aren’t security forces talking about joint military patrols, nor is this discussion connected to the sudden resumption of peace talks after a three-year stalemate. The group, brought together by Cisco Systems, is speaking their common language: tech management. Nearly 100 times over the past two years Israeli high-tech experts and Palestinian entrepreneurs have gotten together in the hope of making Israel’s “Startup Nation” economic miracle a cross-border affair. And it’s just one of dozens of business-driven dialogues quietly–in many cases secretly–proliferating across the Holy Land.

“The way to end this conflict is to create a very large middle class and be inclusive in how you go after it across all individuals, regardless of age, religion or gender,” says John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, the most actively involved American tech executive in a coordinated effort that includes de facto diplomats from the likes of Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. “If you can address those issues and you can get others involved, then you can have a shot at peace in the Middle East.”

Of course, there’s already billions of dollars’ worth of trade flowing between the West Bank and Israel, given their proximity and the latter’s border control over the former. Even in Gaza, whose leaders have a stated goal of destroying the Jewish state, commerce furtively passes back and forth on a massive scale. April’s Dead Sea meeting, however, represents something much more far-reaching and rarely discussed. Rather than just trading goods, hundreds of Israeli and Palestinians are becoming actual business partners and colleagues in startups that are slowly transforming the Palestinian economy, at least in the West Bank.

It’s not easy. Over the course of reporting this story FORBES interviewed scores of high-tech leaders on both sides of the border. Nearly all expressed fears and worries over how their comments would be perceived. (Many insisted on full anonymity; FORBES was granted access to the Dead Sea training session only on the condition that we keep its exact location a secret.) On the Palestinian side a large contingent myopically equates any collaboration with treachery, even if it strengthens the local economy (and especially if it’s perceived to strengthen Israel’s). While most in the Jewish state would view these partnerships positively, a sizable minority fear that Palestinians armed with the skills and technology that have driven Israel’s prosperity would use them against Israel in a future war.

Yet for all the mutual suspicion, collaborate they do. Buoyed by training, investment or partnerships from Israelis or Israeli subsidiaries of American companies, more than 300 Palestinian technology firms now employ 4,500 people, FORBES estimates, up from just 23 firms in the six-year period leading up to 2000. More are on the way: There’s at least $100 million in venture cash from Israeli or Western sources either looking for deals or recently put to work in Palestinian or Israeli Arab startups (with the latter community, representing one-fifth of the country’s citizenry, increasingly agitating to get in on the action). Meanwhile, Chambers and his peers at U.S. technology giants have pushed their Israeli subsidiaries to outsource research and development projects to Palestinian startups or to hire local Arabs.

This is the real backdrop for the renewed peace talks lurching forward under the aegis of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Feckless politicians will invariably look to blame the other side for inaction. The private sector’s detente is delivering results right now, with the intention of creating enough interconnected prosperity to make a lasting peace in everyone’s economic self-interest.
This week Behar wrote a follow up, also lengthy and also important reading:

Why So Many Palestinian High-Tech Entrepreneurs Hate My FORBES Cover Story

Following publication, Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg, the most influential American columnist about the Middle East scene, tweeted: “John Chambers’ ideas for Middle East peace are at least as good as those of John Kerry.” Chambers rang me to say “how proud we all were” of the article, which he called a “signature piece” that he believes “captures many business leaders’ minds and their hearts and hopefully their pocketbooks – to realize that if they invest [in Palestinian IT sector], you can really make a difference.” He and the company put the FORBES link on their respective Facebook pages.

Another reader, going under the anonymous moniker RICHARDS1052, had a different take on things. “Typical lib Zio bullshit from Forbes,” he tweeted. [We all know who that is! -EoZ]

Virtually every Israeli who contacted me reacted positively.

But the vast majority of Palestinians who were featured by FORBES reacted with disappointment, upset, and sometimes fear or fury. Referring to it as a “political article,” several requested that the entire piece be removed before they would even discuss their feelings with me. (Sorry, that’s not an option.) Some worry that the story will harm their businesses by sparking retaliation from Arab extremists. One says he’s already seeing such a backlash. Only three Palestinians named in our reports spoke positively about them.
Read both articles to understand one of the real reasons there is no peace.

(h/t MtTB)

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Obama’s bread and circuses
Iran achieved a strategic achievement by exposing the US as a paper tiger in Syria. With this accomplishment in hand, the Iranians will feel free to call Obama’s bluff on their nuclear weapons project. Obama’s “shot across the bow” response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons in a mass casualty attack signaled the Iranians that the US will not stop them from developing and deploying a nuclear arsenal.
Policy-makers and commentators who have insisted that we can trust Obama to keep his pledge to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons have based their view on an argument that now lies in tatters. They insisted that by pledging to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, Obama staked his reputation on acting competently to prevent Iran from getting the bomb. To avoid losing face, they said, Obama will keep his pledge.
Obama’s behavior on Syria has rendered this position indefensible. Obama is perfectly content with shooting a couple of pot shots at empty government installations. As far as he is concerned, the conduct of air strikes in Syria is not about Syria, or Iran. They are not the target audience of the strikes. The target audience for US air strikes in Syria is the disengaged, uninformed American public.
The Israeli Spring
The Arab Spring has thrown Israel’s once-predictable adversaries into the chaotic state of a Sudan or Somalia. The old understandings between Jerusalem and the Assad and Mubarak kleptocracies seem in limbo.
Yet these tragic Arab revolutions swirling around Israel are paradoxically aiding it, both strategically and politically — well beyond just the erosion of conventional Arab military strength.
In terms of realpolitik, anti-Israeli authoritarians are fighting to the death against anti-Israeli insurgents and terrorists. Each is doing more damage to the other than Israel ever could — and in an unprecedented, grotesque fashion. Who now is gassing Arab innocents? Shooting Arab civilians in the streets? Rounding up and executing Arab civilians? Blowing up Arab houses? Answer: either Arab dictators or radical Islamists.
'They Told Us Israel was the Enemy - They Lied'
Muhammad Adnan, an opponent of the Syrian regime who is living in Turkey, spoke to Arutz Sheva's Yoni Kempinski about his concern for his remaining relatives in Syria and his hopes for an American strike against the Assad regime.
“My mother and my father are in Syria now,” Adnan said, adding that his family feels very concerned and vulnerable.
Adnan said that his family and other Syrians anticipate a Syrian intervention within 4 to 5 days.
“Assad lied to us, [saying that] the enemy is Israel and the Americans. But now, after 70 years, we know who the enemy is: the Assad family, Hezbollah, and Iran,” Adnan declared.
Israel prepares for possible cyber attack
Beyond the conventional battlefield, Israeli analysts say the cyber-battlefield is becoming increasingly important. This week, a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army hacked into the New York Times website and managed to take the site off-line for several hours. The Times said the Syrian Electronic Army is a group of hackers who support Syrian President Bashar Assad, and they had several times hacked into major media outlets.
Israeli firms are in the forefront of cyber-security. The IDF 's Unit 8200, the army’s surveillance and intelligence unit, is one of Israel’s most competitive and creative units. Israel has long known that the future battlefield will not be conventional, but digital.
Rival Palestinian factions Hamas, Fatah unite against Western attack on Syria
Abbas Zaki, a top Fatah official, said that his faction was strongly against Western intervention.
He warned that such a move would harm Arab national security.
“Targeting Syria would mean targeting all Arabs,” Zaki cautioned. “This would only benefit Israel.”
Daphne Anson: "You Are Fighting For The Soul Of The Church" Pro-Israel British Christians Are Told By Jewish Leader
Remember my post regarding the disturbing Israel-bashing high jinks brought to the Greenbelt festival at Cheltenham Racecourse last weekend by former diplomat Jeremy Moodey's NGO Embrace the Middle East?
Well, pro-Israel Christians have not allowed the demonisers to have it all their own way.
A Christian blogger went so far as to compare Embrace the Middle East's Israel-demonising board game "Occupation!" at the festival to the anti-Israel games played at their camp in Utoya by Anders Breivik's victims, adding:
JPost Editorial: Bullying tactics
When the artists being pressured to boycott Israel go public with these campaign of intimidation, nothing is left to the imagination. No longer can the BDS efforts be concealed as an ideological appeal from peace-loving activists – it is thuggery, bordering on criminality, and it reflects just how desperate their cause has become.
It is heartening that most performers do not fall victim to these bullying tactics and make their own decisions about performing in Israel. With Rihanna, Tom Jones and DJ superstar David Guetta all due here this fall, it is clear they are making the correct choice.
German Jewish group calls for Roger Waters boycott
The Jewish community in Dusseldorf, Germany, is urging a boycott of an upcoming concert by former Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters, who is due to perform there on September 6.
The director of the Jewish Community in Duesseldorf, Michael Szentei-Heise, said in a statement Thursday that Waters was an “intellectual arsonist” whose stage act used “anti-Semitic and National Socialist” imagery.
In his show “The Wall,” based on the classic Pink Floyd album of the same name, Waters has used an inflatable pig featuring a Star of David which appears alongside other religious, political and corporate symbols, leading to charges of anti-Semitism.
Israel a Top Target for U.S. Spying, Leaked Documents Reveal
The Obama administration apparently views Israel as one of the top spying threats facing its intelligence services, according to leaked documents which were exposed Thursday.
A secret budget request obtained by The Washington Post from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden lumps Israel alongside U.S. foes Iran and Cuba as “key targets” for U.S. counterintelligence efforts.
According to The Hill, the document leaked by Snowden suggests that Israel does not believe U.S. assurances that its interests are aligned with Israel's on crucial issues such as Iran and peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
The Massive New U.S. Investment in Palestinian Mortgages Is a Really Bad Idea
What larger story, then, do the new mortgages and loans tell us? Sadly, not a very cheerful one. As Americans recently learned only too well themselves, mortgages, when divorced from a robust economy in which people are able to make enough money to pay them back, have a tendency to make the ground tremble. Seemingly oblivious to the searing lessons of America’s costly flirtation with unaffordable mortgages, Palestinians have been gobbling up the stuff: Personal debt has more than doubled between 2008 and 2011 and spiked another 40 percent in 2012, with most of the increase due to home loans. Couple that with an economy that the International Monetary Fund labeled earlier this year as “increasingly precarious,” a massive budget deficit, and an unemployment rate that hovers at the 20 percent mark, and what you get is far from a sound investment.
PMW: Palestinian NGO sponsored by UN and EU - Israel uses drugs to "control" Jerusalem residents

What Happens in Askar Stays in Askar
Brief clashes broke out in Ramallah, as around 50 Palestinians protested the PA’s return to talks with Israel, a Ma’an report said.
But he added they were also protesting the fatal shooting of Amjad Odeh, 37, a Palestinian, during an arrest raid by PA forces in Askar refugee camp in Sh’chem on Tuesday.
It’s good marketing — you come to protest the cops killing a guy, you stay to protest the peace process.
Egypt’s Brotherhood ramps up calls for protests
The Muslim Brotherhood ramped up its calls Thursday for nationwide protests against Egypt’s military-backed government, while an Islamist ally of the ousted president spoke of an attempt to broker a deal before the “ship of the nation sinks.”
The Brotherhood’s call for mass protests and sit-ins Friday will test how much the fierce security crackdown has crippled the group and if they can still mobilize their base in the face of widespread public anger against them.
Egypt’s hidden war on women
Concealed within the opposition to the Morsi administration, cloaked within popular protests, a gender war is being waged in Egypt. Mob rape is being used as a tool of political repression within Egypt’s uprising. Vicious sexual assaults are being orchestrated to intimidate and humiliate women demonstrating in Tahrir Square and the presidential palace.
The identity of the organizers is unknown, and their affiliation can only be speculated on. Yet their message is unequivocal: These men are capitalizing on the protests to terrorize women into silence. They want to punish women protesters, and deter women from expressing public opinions, and they are using sexual violence to do it. It can be seen as retribution for women taking on leadership in Egypt’s revolution, and a desperate attempt of the male elites from the deposed regimes to maintain their dominance.
Egyptians Respond with Diplomatic, Economic Measures After Turkish PM Slams Top Cleric
Al-Tayeb, the Turkish premier declared, was “finished.” He went further, insisting that “history will curse Al-Azhar Imam as it cursed religious intellectuals in Turkey before,” an apparent reference to Turkish religious figures who collaborated with the country’s former military rulers.
In response, a spokesman for Egypt’s military-linked presidency denounced Erdogan as a man of “no religious culture.” For its part Al-Azhar responded with a condemnation, asserting that al-Tayeb was “t considered a symbol of Egyptians alone, but also occupies a lofty status in the Arab and Islamic worlds.” The university called for a formal retraction.
US says Iran unable to access oil money
The US government estimates about $1.5 billion of crude oil revenues is piling up in restricted foreign accounts every month now. Crude revenues overall averaged about $3.4 billion monthly in the first half of year, according to the assessment.
This means Iran is not able to either spend or repatriate about 44 percent of its crude oil income.
Shopping for security: Israel's startups are catching the eye of tech heavyweights
Why would multinationals think to go shopping in Israel altogether? Because, said Gadi Tirosh, a general partner at VC firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), multinationals already know Israel and are comfortable here. Many of them already have R&D facilities in Israel, and in a sort of virtuous cycle, they meet entrepreneurs and innovators who work in or with startups. (h/t Zvi)
‘Hibernating’ crops may be science’s cure for drought
Will crop loss due to drought become a thing of the past? Professor Shimon Gepstein, a Technion professor and president of Kinneret College in northern Israel, thinks it might. By adding some “youth hormone,” his team developed plants that essentially put themselves into a state of hibernation when they weren’t getting watered and halted their aging/wilting process until they started getting water again.
“They go into a ‘frozen’ state when they do not get water for a while, and return to full development when the water flow resumes,” said Geptstein. “There is no damage to the plant.”
  • Friday, August 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Times of Israel:
Israeli judoka Yarden Gerbi sustained a string of decisive victories in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday to become the first Israeli to ever win gold at a World Championships meet.

The 24-year-old, who has been enjoying a terrific year on the international circuit, won four straight bouts before beating out Clarisse Agbegnenou, the European champion, in the finals.

Gerbi competes in the 63-kilogram category. She emerged victorious from her match with Agbegnenou after pinning her opponent to the mat and executing a powerful choke hold with her legs.

As she stood on the podium, Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikva,” playing in the background, Gerbi was visibly moved.

“I’m so happy that it really ended this way,” she later told Ynet. “I had a great competition… Nothing can be better than this… I cried a little for my parents; they also cried.”
Gerbi literally caused her opponent to pass out, and all of her victories in this competition were just as one-sided.

Here she is during Hatikva (at about 2:00):

(h/t Jean, Ian)

  • Friday, August 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
As the pundits generate hundreds of thousands of words as to whether the US will attack Syria, whether Syria will attack Israel, whether Hizballah will attack Israel, whether any attacks will be chemical or conventional, whether Russia will become aggressive....

This webpage has a single purpose - to answer whether Israel has yet been attacked.

So far, the answer is NO. I'm embedding the page in a frame here so it will be up-to-date if there is an attack.

It has the advantage that, so far, it has been correct 100% of the time.
From Ian:

Isi Leibler: Responding to the Syrian nightmare
Overall, the current U.S. response has been appalling. It has formally assured Assad that it will restrict its punitive military response to "limited strikes" over a number of days, and stressed that it is not seeking to bring about regime change.
This mere rap over the knuckles is hardly likely to act as a deterrent and the killing business will proceed as in the past. In fact, Assad is likely to boast that he defeated the U.S. and the Western alliance. It will not reassure those concerned about the failure of the U.S. to stand by its commitments and allies. It will certainly not allay Israel's concerns about the U.S. standing by its undertakings concerning the Iranian nuclear threat.
David Horovitz: Perfidious Albion hands murderous Assad a spectacular victory
In Iran, for a regime which has always had a withering estimation of western moral purpose, the anti-Cameron opposition’s dramatic victory would have come as less of a surprise, and it can only reinforce Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s confidence that he, like North Korea before him, can safely lie and dissemble his way to a nuclear weapons capability, ignoring the empty rhetoric of the craven West.
And in Israel? In an Israel beset by threats and challenges in almost every direction, an Israel whose northern border is just an hour’s drive from Assad’s toxic Damascus, an Israel being urged by the international community to take territorial risks for peace in a vicious, WMD-using, phenomenally unstable Middle East — in that Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be feeling a further bitter vindication of his long-held and oft-stated conviction that, ultimately, against all dangers, Israel needs to be able to take care of itself, by itself. At the very least, he might be reflecting, perfidious Albion could not be relied upon to rally to the rescue.
Barry Rubin: U.S. Attack on Syria Won't Change Anything
What would be the best outcome for America? That the war will go on long enough until one side wins and that side will not be the regime. But basically, the civil war is going to be fought out.
It might well be said that strategically, it would be better if Iran didn't win the victory by saving the regime, but frankly, a victory by radical Islamist rebels and al-Qaida is hardly a bargain. Don’t forget that in practice, an American intervention would not be on the side of easing the lot of Syrian civilians but on the side of an extremely oppressive and unstable future government winning.
In other words, it is not that there are no easy answers but there are no good answers.
Antiwar Left Stays Quiet On Syria
On the eve of American military intervention in Syria, the once-robust antiwar movement has stayed curiously silent.
Activists who turned out thousands of protesters during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq say they’ve been unable to effectively organize or raise money since the end of the Bush years, and that newer causes like drones have seized the space on the left once occupied by opposition to conventional warfare. And some acknowledge that the energy has leaked out of the movement because a Democrat is now in office. Though some groups have organized online petitions and some real-life protests, the antiwar crowd that was on fire before the war in Iraq has made hardly a dent in the conversation surrounding Syria.
Galloway Caught Lying to Parliament Over Syria Comments
A week after accusing Israel of giving Al-Qaeda chemical weapons to use against civilians in Syria, British MP George Galloway was caught lying about his remarks during a debate in Parliament.
Galloway, who is known for his vehemently anti-Israel views and for his support for the Hamas terror group, claimed last week during his program on the Iranian state-run Press TV, “If there’s been any use of nerve gas, it’s the rebels that used it...If there has been use of chemical weapons, it was Al Qaeda who used the chemical weapons. “Who gave Al Qaeda the chemical weapons? Here’s my theory: Israel gave them the chemical weapons.”

BBC defence correspondent: Al Kibar was a ‘suspected’ nuclear facility
The International Atomic Energy Agency says it was. US intelligence says it was. The BBC, however, is apparently not convinced.
If you happened to be watching BBC television news coverage on the subject of a potential Western attack in Syria on August 28th you could hardly have failed to miss the repeated broadcast of an item by BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale which also appears on the Middle East page of the BBC News website under the title “How would Syria respond to military action?“.
Officials: Obama Prepared to Go at Syria Alone
United States President Barack Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials told the New York Times on Thursday, even with a rejection of such action by Britain’s Parliament, an increasingly restive Congress, and lacking an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council.
Although the officials cautioned that Obama had not made a final decision, all indications suggest that the strike could occur as soon as United Nations inspectors, who are investigating the August 21 attack that killed hundreds of Syrians, leave the country. They are scheduled to depart Damascus on Saturday.
Senate Foreign Relations chairman backs Syria strike
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said late Thursday that “the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime requires a decisive response.
“Our national security interests, those of our allies, and regional stability are at risk as Syria is disintegrating into a failed state,” he wrote in a statement.
“This is not a moment to look the other way, to blind ourselves to the horrifying images in Syria, and to send the dangerous message to the global community that we would allow the use of a chemical weapons attack to take place with impunity. Vulnerable populations throughout the world, as well as some of our allies, and potentially even our Armed Forces could be future targets if we don’t respond. Tonight’s briefing reaffirmed for me that a decisive and consequential US response is justified and warranted to protect Syrians, as well as to send a global message that chemical weapons attacks in violation of international law will not stand,” he said.
French president endorses Syria action, despite UK no vote
French President Francois Hollande expressed readiness Friday to push ahead with plans to strike Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons, despite the British parliament’s rejection of military action, and Germany’s declaration that it would not participate. Washington was understood to be preparing for the possibility of a strike against the Damascus regime within days.
“The chemical massacre of Damascus cannot and must not remain unpunished,” Hollande said in an interview with the newspaper Le Monde, published Friday, as UN experts in Damascus began what is expected to be the last day of their probe into the alleged attack.
The real winners and losers from Britain's Syria vote
The sight of the blundering, opportunistic buffoon that is Britain's Leader of the Opposition celebrating the Prime Minister's "humiliation" in the vote on Syria on Thursday evening will make Syria's Bashar Al-Assad as delighted as it made us sick.
And the fake indignation of Labour officials aside, the unshakeable fact is that Ed Miliband has indeed given Assad succour and he has helped send a message to oppressive regimes and terror groups alike that the use of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction is something that Britain just doesn't much care about.
‘If Assad Falls, Al-Qaeda Rises’
If the United States and other Western nations intervene in Syria, Israel will pay a heavy price – not because of immediate retaliation, but because of the nature of Middle East politics, an expert on Mideast affairs has warned.
“Bashar Assad made a huge mistake when he used chemical weapons… But on the other hand, if the West strikes him, G-d protect us,” Dr. David Bukay of Haifa University told Arutz Sheva.
“If the Sunni opposition defeats him, that means that next to us, on the Syrian border, will be Al-Qaeda loyalists,” he warned.
Report: Russia increasing weapons shipments to Assad
More than two years into Syria's civil war, President Bashar Assad is settling his bills for Russian arms orders through the Russian banking system to try to shore up ties with his most powerful ally, according to a Russian arms industry source.
The payments, which have increased in recent months, show how Assad has sustained his ties with his main diplomatic defender, a relationship that has come under the spotlight this week as Western countries plan military action to punish him for suspected chemical weapons attacks on civilians.
Iron Dome deployed near Tel Aviv
The IDF deployed several additional Iron Dome missile defense batteries in the Dan region around Tel Aviv and in the north Friday, as part of the army’s continued preparations for the possibility of conflict with Syria.
The deployment was accompanied by the stationing of longer-range Patriot anti-missile batteries in the north and center of the country. The air force has also raised the readiness level of its Arrow 2 batteries, which are tasked with intercepting long-range missiles from deep inside Syria or Iran.
Netanyahu: ‘Low probability’ Israel will be drawn into Syria fighting
Responding to reports of heightened IDF mobilization, including the deployment of additional missile-defense batteries to the north, Netanyahu suggested the steps were taken as a precaution.
“Despite the low probability that Israel will become involved in what is happening in Syria, we decided to deploy the Iron Dome batteries and other interception systems,” he said.
Report: Syrian Army Seals Damascus, Prepares ‘Martyrs’
Thirteen pilots, and a total of more than 8,000 Syrian soldiers, have expressed willingness to die in suicide missions if necessary, he claimed, adding, “I myself am ready to blow myself up against US aircraft carriers to stop them attacking Syria and its people."
Syria: BBC Team Witnesses Incendiary Bomb Dropped on School
A BBC team inside Syria filming for the Panorama program witnessed the aftermath of a fresh horrific incident, an incendiary bomb dropped onto a school playground in the north of the country.
The attack left scores of children with napalm-like burns over their bodies, the network reported on Thursday.
Built to counter Israel, Assad’s chemical arsenal now wielded against the rebels
Syria, defeated by Israel in three wars and afraid its arch enemy had gained a nuclear arsenal, began in earnest to build a covert chemical weapons programme three decades ago, aided by its neighbours, allies and European chemical wholesalers.
Damascus lacked the technology and scientific capacity to set up a programme on its own, but with backing from foreign allies it amassed what is believed to be one of the deadliest stockpiles of nerve agent in the world, Western military experts said.
Meet the Monster Behind Syria’s Chemical Weapons
His family loves art and refined European tastes. This highly cultured man is responsible for producing poison gas. It reads like something out of Nazi Germany but it is not. Meet Syria's Amr Najib Armanazi.
  • Friday, August 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Egypt Independent reports:

Major General Hassan Fallah, head of the Red Sea Ports Authority, forbade the Israeli commercial ship Zim Rotterdam from entering any of the ports on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez.

The ship broke down four days ago after leaving Djibouti due to a fire on board that was later extinguished.

Fallah said in a press statement on Thursday that he had informed the naval base to monitor the vessel currently standing off the coast of the Gulf of Suez,. He also informed the crew of Zim Rotterdam that they were not welcome to enter the Red Sea Ports in South Sinai or the Red Sea Governorate.
Maritime Bulletin notes:
As of the morning of Aug 30 the container ship ZIM Rotterdam maintains its speed of 8 knots and course in southern direction, moving out from Gulf of Suez. The vessel was drifting for some time off Egyptian port Sakhna, reportedly for fixing the consequences of the fire, which occurred on Aug 23 or 27. Egypt gave a rather crude explanation as to why the vessel was ordered to leave Egyptian waters. Explanation in fact, doesn’t explain anything.

UPDATE: According to the less-than-reliable FARS News, "the ship lacked certification from the International Maritime Organization that is required for entry to Egyptian ports and the canal." (h/t Zvi)
  • Friday, August 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Al Arabiya reports:
The BBC has come under scrutiny over its Twitter guidance policy after the BBC Trust upheld a complaint against correspondent Wyre Davies who was reporting on an incident in Gaza, according to media reports on Friday.

The trust concluded that a tweet sent by Davies breached the corporation’s accuracy guidelines after it was later established that his tweet was misleading.

Davies had tweeted: “In this ‘limited operation’ at least 13 Palestinians and 3 Israelis have been killed - nearly all civilians. #Gaza,” however it later emerged that four of the casualties were civilians. The remainder was described as “militants.”

“The Trust has not asked the Executive to carry out a formal review of its Twitter policy but rather highlighted that the current guidance of its use by BBC staff should be looked at and if necessary additional guidance be issued,” the Trust said.

Chris Hamilton, the BBC's social media editor for Journalism, stated: “To uphold the complaint would suggest that for all tweeting, from both individuals and ‘branded’ accounts (for example, @BBCBreaking), we must continuously be deleting tweets sent in good faith at the time and clarifying them with new tweets, potentially long after the event, as new information emerges on any given news story.

“It even suggests we should do the same for news stories in our website archive,” he added.
Yes, the BBC - that bastion of fair and accurate reporting - is actually defending its disseminating inaccurate and misleading information!

It isn't that hard. Davies could have said "according to Hamas, nearly all are civilians" so at least we would know who he is trusting with his news. The fact is that he tweeted Hamas propaganda without attributing it and without checking it out, or even attempting to. And the BBC is defending that.

The Independent adds:
In his response to the complaint, Davies - who tweeted 24 times that day on the developing situation in Gaza - noted that the number of casualties in the conflict had risen quickly and that "the 'fog of war' is also something that armchair critics at home rarely experience - we were not covering the State opening of Parliament but a brutal and confusing conflict".
If it was an honest mistake, it should have been corrected by Davies. Period.

This justification after the fact for BBC's unquestioning parroting of Hamas lies is truly revealing. It proves that accuracy is not the BBC's major goal - it is more interested in defending its lies.

UPDATE: Davies tweeted this false information on November 15. Yet on the 14th, I already showed a number of lies Hamas was disseminating. The "fog of war" excuse is absurd.

I didn't realize that I was the first one to tweet a response to Davies saying he was wrong. He ignored me, as well as a CAMERA followup.

On the 14th, Davies also tweeted that "BBC sources" claimed Israel targeted Mahmoud Zahar. He emphasized that Zahar was a political, not military, target. But that was not true either, and he never corrected himself.
  • Friday, August 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Several Arabic news sites are reporting that Jordan's Office of Civil Status refused to allow a local couple register their newborn daughter's name as "Israel."

Employees insisted that they would not allow it, but the couple insisted, pointing out that there is no law in Jordan that stops them from naming their child any name they want.

The media calls the father "strange" and guesses that this is probably the first Arab child ever to be named "Israel."

The story seems to be a few weeks old although it just popped up. A Tunisian message board had people asking what is wrong with that name, given that Israel is Jacob which is a fine Arabic name (Yaqoub.)

Apologies in advance for the pun.

  • Friday, August 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Al Jazeera:
Al Jazeera correspondent Wayne Hay, cameraman Adil Bradlow, and producer Russ Finn are currently being detained by Egyptian authorities.

The arrests follow the detainment of Abdullah al-Shami who was performing his duties as an Al Jazeera correspondent when he was arrested after the raid of the pro-Morsi sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya on August 14, along with Mohamed Badr, a cameraman for Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr who has been held for more than one month.

These arrests are part of what Reporters Without Borders has called "growing hostility" towards journalists in Egypt.

There has also been a campaign against Al Jazeera in particular, as the channel's offices were raided last month and security forces seized equipment which has yet to be returned.
Arabic media is reporting that the Anatolia/Anadolu news agency headquarters in Cairo has been closed by Egyptian security. The Egyptian authorities say that the reason is "operating without permits, and working on publishing erroneous and false news." (Anadolu is not yet reporting this story.)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss....

UPDATE: Further reports say that Egypt raided the offices of Hamas' Al Aqsa TV. (Hamas blames - Fatah!)

  • Friday, August 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
This is outrageous:

The creators of the Israeli documentary "Israel: A Home Movie" were recently informed that their film has been dropped from an international competition for films based on archival footage, because the awards ceremony is to be held in the Arab emirate of Dubai.

The competition is being sponsored by the International Federation of Television Archives. According to the film's producer, Arik Bernstein, the organization's chairman informed him that because the ceremony is taking place in Dubai (which has no diplomatic relations with Israel) and the film deals with the history of Israel, it will not be shown at the event. In addition, the film’s creators cannot be hosted there and the film will be disqualified from winning a prize in the competition and not mentioned at the awards ceremony.

...Two months ago Bernstein was officially informed that the film, which is known as "Kach Ra'inu" in Hebrew and directed by Eliav Lilti, had made it to the finals. A jury chose it as one of the nine best movies and the film was in the running in the “Preservation and special use of archival material” category, against two competing movies. The notice invited the filmmakers to attend or send a representative to the October 26 award ceremony. The ceremony is held in a different country every year, and Dubai was chosen as this year’s location.

However, two weeks ago Bernstein was informed that the invitation had been withdrawn and his film had been removed from the competition. "This is an international organization of which Israel [through the state broadcaster Channel 1] is a member," Bernstein said Thursday. "The total disqualification of the film followed pressure from the authorities in Dubai, which are hosting and funding this year's conference," he said.
The film is still listed as a nominee on the IFTA webpage:

How could IFTA cave so easily?

In 2009, under pressure, the UAE allowed an Israeli tennis player to enter the country. at the time, here was their statement:

The decision to issue the permit is in line with the UAE's commitment to a policy of permitting any individual to take part in international sports, cultural and economic events or activities being held in the country, without any limitation being placed on participation by citizens of any member country of the United Nations.

OK, we don't expect Dubai to keep its word. That's a given. But the UAE would have been shamed into allowing the Israeli film to be in the competition, and allow its director to come to the country - if IFTA had pushed back for what is right.

Instead, the International Federation of Television Archives has shown the world that is has no principles. And it is IFTA that must be shamed now.

I hope other directors who are nominated will now refuse to attend the ceremony. Perhaps someone who is a member of IFTA has some residual morality and cares about what is right. 

Similarly, the sponsors of the awards - which includes such major companies as Oracle and EMC - should tell IFTA that their sponsorships will be pulled immediately unless this discrimination is reversed and condemned. Tweeting and posting on their Facebook pages asking if they support institutionalized discrimination in the arts might give them pause.

(h/t Zvi)

UPDATE: This morning I emailed a number of people to complain.

Oracle public relations:

EMC public relations:

Two of the other nominees for awards:

You might want to write and politely ask them if they will withdraw from sponsorship/the awards to protest the discriminatory practices of Dubai that IFTA is sanctioning.

IFTA's Twitter handle is @FIAT_IFTA. The only email info I have so far is

There are others you can find from the sponsors page and the list of nominees but it takes time to research to find the right contact people.

UPDATE 2: IFTA has written an EoZ reader saying that they are not discriminating against Israel and that they will be releasing a statement on their website shortly.

UPDATE 3: Their statement is a joke. See here.

UPDATE 4: Oracle denied sponsoring the event; their name is off the page.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

  • Thursday, August 29, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here's something most people don't know:
As a 15-year-old facing the threat of Nazi Germany in Austria, Fred Kaufman could barely imagine that he would soon find himself separated from his family, peering through the barbed wire fence of an internment camp deep in the woods of New Brunswick.

Internment Camp B70, located in Ripples, N.B., housed more than 700 Jews in the early months of the Second World War. More than 70 years later, it is a piece of New Brunswick history rarely spoken of and little known by many.

As the situation for Jewish families in Austria worsened in the months leading up to the war, Kaufman’s father decided to send his son to England — one of 10,000 Jewish boys taken to the United Kingdom as part of a relief effort known as the Kindertransport.
But then-British prime minister Winston Churchill was worried there could be spies among the Jews, and he asked Canada and Australia to house them as internees.

Kaufman was one of 711 men and boys who found themselves stepping off a train on Aug. 12, 1940, and led on foot to an internment camp in Ripples, an isolated community about 30 kilometres east of Fredericton.

“The camp was in the middle of the woods and we spent our days chopping down trees into heating-sized cords of wood,” Kaufman said. “It was cold.”

Kaufman said that at the age of 16, he was the second youngest boy at the camp; another boy was just a day younger.
The internees were housed in army barracks and spent their days cutting the 2,500 cords of wood required each year to keep the 100 wood stoves in the camp burning.

They wore denim pants with a red stripe on the leg, and denim jackets with a large red circle on the back.

“That’s in case you ran away and you could be identified as an internee,” Kaufman said.

“It would also make a good target if someone wanted to shoot you.”

There were six machine-gun towers positioned around the perimeter of the camp.

After a year, Britain realized that many of the internees could contribute to the war effort and were given the choice to return to England and join the military or obtain a sponsor and stay in Canada. Kaufman chose the latter.
The Vancouver Holocaust Education Center fills in details:
As Nazi Germany drew the world into war, Canada’s discriminatory immigration policies denied entry to those seeking refuge, particularly Jews. In 1940, when Canada agreed to Britain’s request to aid the war effort by taking in “enemy aliens” and prisoners of war, it did not expect to also receive approximately 2,300 civilian refugees from Nazism, most of them Jews.

These men, many between the ages of 16 and 20, had found asylum in Britain only to be arrested under the suspicion that there were spies in their midst. After a brief period of internment in England, they were deported to Canada and imprisoned in New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec alongside political refugees and, in some camps, avowed Nazis.

Although the British soon admitted their mistake, Canada, saddled with refugees it did not want, settled into a policy of inertia regarding their welfare, their status, and their release. Antisemitic immigration policy and public sentiment precluded opening Canada’s doors to Jews, and that included through the “back door” of internment.

The refugees faced the injustice of internment with remarkable resilience and strived to make the most of their time behind barbed wire. Meanwhile, Canada’s Jewish community worked with other refugee advocates in an effort to secure freedom for the “camp boys.”
  • Thursday, August 29, 2013
From Ian:

UN Agencies Prevent Peace in Israel
As Palestinian “refugeeness” above all is synonymous with Palestinian national identity it has been worn as a “badge of honor” and an evergreen reminder of the Nakba – the supposed catastrophe of Israel’s birth. In this story the Arabs of Palestinian are blameless and have no responsibility whatsoever for their unfortunate destiny; their own decisions and those of their leaders, go unmentioned.
In fact historically, the Arab world has a significant amount of responsibility for the situation, having encouraged and facilitated the refugees’ flight – to a large degree. But in this narrative it is none other than the UN and UNRWA who are the toxic enablers who are now helping fuel this story for generations.Why UNRWA does this is evident: Its continued existence is at jeopardy. It has every reason to entangle itself into Palestinian society and to become more of an obstruction to a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
It is exactly for this very reason that if these renewed talks are going to have any chance of success both Washington and Jerusalem need to learn from past mistakes and leverage the significant amount of dollars we have poured into UNRWA which only perpetuates the problem and look for real solutions starting with ending the right of return.
Elliott Abrams: Mere state-building in Palestine
That is an extraordinary statement, and should not pass without notice. What he derides as "falling back into the comfort of an internationally subsidized state-building effort" is in fact the greatest challenge facing Palestinians now, and one they have not met. Nor have donors -- Arab, American, European -- met the challenge of providing adequate political and financial support for state-building, focusing instead for decades on repeated failed efforts at leaping to final status agreements. Those efforts have produced little for Palestinians, while state-building efforts can offer them pragmatic gains and real improvement in their lives -- and can show Israelis that their security needs can be met in an independent Palestine.
Put another way, Eide continues the failed policy of wanting to create a Palestine whose borders might be known, before we have any idea what will be within those borders: a failed state or a successful economy? A democracy or a terrorist base? This has not worked and will never work. To find that the chairman of the donors' committee now dismisses mere state-building as an activity not worth supporting in its own right suggests that nothing has been learned from the experience of recent decades.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Visits Israel
The Norwegian FM agreed with Elkin that “the fact that a large percentage of the PA budget goes towards the funding of salaries of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails is problematical.”
In response, the Deputy Foreign Minister said, “the educational message is troublesome, especially in the eyes of the young generation that understands that the most worthwhile job in the Palestinian Authority is that of terrorist," continuing that, in comparison, the salary of an employee in the security service is approximately one quarter of that of a terrorist residing in an Israeli prison.
Time for Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) to Change its Name
It is time for some truth in advertising. It’s time for Churches for Middle East Peace to change its name.
CMEP, as the organization is often called, does not promote the cause of peace and human rights in the most troubled region on the planet.
It promotes the cause of Palestinian statehood and that’s about it.
Abraham Cooper: The absence of outrage
Videos depicting the gruesome death of 1300 men, women and children by poison gas in Syria were posted online. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood torched several scores of churches, some dating back 1500 hundred years, while nuns were paraded in the streets like captured POWs.
Even as President Obama seems to finally doing something to degrade Assad’s capabilities, it is hard to say if Americans were shocked more by the twin towers of evil spiraling out of control in the Middle East, or by Lady Gaga’s latest outfit.
The World Treats Israel With a Double Standard
And finally, much as some may conveniently choose to forget, the Palestinians are not the first, last, and only refugee population in the history of the world, far from it.
But they are the first, last, and only refugee population deliberately kept in limbo for as long as 65 years in order to nurture hatred and revanchism.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a bit more honesty, and less hypocrisy, coming from those who profess to care about the Palestinians’ well-being?
For them, is it really all about the Palestinians, or is it rather about Israel, pure and simple?
And if the latter, what does it, in fact, tell us about their underlying motives?
Ben Cohen: Roger Waters and BDS Movement are an Embarrassment
Here’s the rub, though: 10 years ago, when the BDS movement was a relatively new phenomenon, statements like these would have set off a minor panic in the Jewish world. These days, we’re far more sanguine, and we’ve learned that the State of Israel can survive and flourish no matter how many graying prog-rockers like Roger Waters dedicate their lives to removing the world’s only Jewish state from the map.
A hashtag on Twitter that’s popular with pro-Israel activists, #BDSFail, neatly encapsulates my point. Responding to Waters, the Israeli model and actress Bar Refaeli, who normally sets pulses racing for other reasons, demanded that the singer remove her picture from the multimedia show that accompanies his live set. “If you’re boycotting,” she teased, “go all the way.”
PA promotes religious hatred against Jews
As part of its promotion of religious hatred against Jews, the Palestinian Authority disseminates the libel that Israel and Jews were behind the 1969 arson. Since the Al-Aqsa Mosque is an important holy site for Muslims, accusing "senior Jews of high position" of trying to destroy it is clearly an attempt by the PA to promote religious hatred against Jews. This particular accusation appeared in a documentary film about the arson, and was shown at an event under the auspices of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Libel that Jews set fire to Al-Aqsa Mosque repeated at PA ceremony

PA cleric calls for genocide of Jews and killing of Americans VIDEO

'Collaborating' With Israel is Punishable by Death In Gaza
The man, who is only identified as B.H, was ordered to death by hanging by the Gazan court. A date for the execution has not been set. The court will also allow the defendant to appeal against the verdict.
The unidentified defendant was found guilty of "collaboration with the Zionist occupation against the Palestinian people." Under “Palestinian” law, collaboration with Israel is punishable by death.
Scandinavia: Jews Deserve Terror, Not Us
Whatever you may think about where Israel’s borders should be drawn, by treating terror carried out by Palestinians against Jews as legitimate, Europeans are signaling not only that they approve of this cause but also that Jewish lives are less precious than their own. The families of the Utoya victims deserve our sympathy in their grief. But they, and other Europeans who are “seething” about any comparison between their children and dead Jews, have crossed the line into anti-Semitism.
S#!t debaters say about Israel and “the Jews”
It has become a tradition to hold a debate about Israel at Euros: this is the third in as many years. As such, the championship has become a fascinating place to see what the students of today – and the leaders of tomorrow – think and know about the Jewish state. Before you read on, you should know that the vast majority majority of debaters at Euros were conscientious, friendly and highly intelligent young people, who tackled the debate with knowledge and sensitivity. Others, however, were not, and did no such thing.
Biblically Based Classic Opera Twisted to Vilify Jewish Nation
This misuse of a classic artistic work, happening during an alarming rise in antisemitism in Europe, apparently is meant to indoctrinate people with the idea that Israel is the villain in its conflict with the Palestinian Arabs. Judging by audience reception, the attempt seems to have succeeded. All the music is from the great Italian opera composer Gioachino Rossini and the words sung are those of Rossini's librettist but everything else in this production of Rossini's nineteenth century masterpiece Mose in Egitto (Moses in Egypt) is from director/producer Graham Vick and set/costume designer Stuart Nunn.
NYPD Announces Measures to Protect Jewish Worshippers as High Holidays Approach
The New York Police Department plans to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the City’s Jewish residents observing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur next month, and will send extra police officers to synagogues and other potential targets, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday.
Sri Lankan-Born Student Wins HR Award Defending Israel
The winner of this year’s $2000 Blankfeld Award for Media Critique has been chosen and comes from a most unlikely source. Sri Lankan-born Timon Dias was adopted in the Netherlands at the age of three months and is a Clinical Psychology Masters degree student at Leiden University.
His winning articles were all published in the Jerusalem Post and impressed the staff of HonestReporting above all of the other candidates.
Dr. Michael Belkin, an eye doctor with uncommon vision
One of his newest published studies shows that Israel is the only country to have reduced rates of preventable blindness by more than half in the past decade. It is likely that some of the methods and devices Belkin innovated helped to bring about that achievement.
The ExPRESS miniature glaucoma shunt implant, used by eye surgeons worldwide, was Belkin’s idea and has dramatically advanced the way this condition is treated. “Before, we used to make uncontrolled holes in the eye to reduce the pressure and drain the fluid,” he relates.
Ethiopian model is Big Brother champ
Hours before Israel completed the final phase of Falash Mura immigration from Gondar, the Ethiopian community had cause to celebrate after Ethiopian-born model Tahunia Rubel, 25, won Israel’s Big Brother Tuesday night.
Rubel’s win, coupled with the crowning of Ethiopian Yityish Titi Aynaw, 21, as Miss Israel earlier this year, can be seen as signs of growing acceptance of the community across Israel.
  • Thursday, August 29, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
I think this was during a Q&A at UC Irvine last May:

Here is his speech at that conference about the origins of Islam and the conflict (unfortunately, I cannot embed it here.)

(h/t Jean V)
  • Thursday, August 29, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon

The chief of staff of Iran's Armed Forces has emphasized that a potential military attack against Syria by the US and its allies will have a ruinous impact on the Israeli regime.

"Any military measure against Syria will draw the Zionists deep in the fire [as well],” said Major General Hassan Firouzabadi in an address on the recent American military threats against the Syrian nation and government on Thursday.

Further elaborating on the ramifications of a potential new military move in the region, the top military commander said, “This will be a huge damage to the human community and its effects will not be merely limited to the Muslim community.”

He stated, “The US, Britain and the rest of their allies will suffer greatly by deploying their military forces to the region and Syria.”

FARS News Farsi says that a group of Iranian youths are volunteering to go to Syria to wage jihad against the Zionist regime.

President Assad made the remarks on Thursday while receiving a delegation of Yemeni politicians in the Syrian capital, Damascus, Syria's state television said.

"Syria will defend itself in the face of any aggression, and threats will only increase its commitment to its principles and its independence," Assad said.

The Syrian president also noted that Syria is determined to crush the Israeli-backed terrorists operating against his government.

“Syria, with its resistant people and valiant army, is determined to wipe out terrorism which is being backed by Israel and Western nations to serve their own purposes of sowing division in the region, fragmenting its people and forcing them into submission,” he added.
Also PressTV:
Iran says Tehran, Moscow and Beijing have been assured by the Syrian government that it has not used chemical weapons in the fight against Takfiri groups in the Arab country.

On Thursday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the reassurance by the Syrian government has been relayed to the UN Under-Secretary-General Jeffery D. Feltman, who was recently on a visit to Iran.

Amir-Abdollahian further said Feltman was also told that the Islamic Republic, itself a “victim of chemical weapons,” is opposed to the use of such weapons in any way.

The Iranian diplomat further described a potential military intervention in Syria as a “strategic mistake, which would not be limited in dimensions if it occurred.”
Addressing his first meeting with members of the 11th government, Ayatollah Khamenei said the US threat of intervention in Syria would be a real catastrophe for the region.

Any intervention and war mongering will definitely be detrimental to the war mongers.
Also IRNA:
Addressing his weekly cabinet meeting, Rohani called recent regional developments worrying, and warned, Any adventurism in the Middle East would endanger regional and global stability.

He said people of the world, especially in the region, are not ready for a new war and warned that any adventurism in the region would only result in promotion of extremism and terrorism.
And this from the "moderate" foreign minister:
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States will fall into a trap laid in Syria by the Zionists if Washington launches a military strike on the Arab country.

“The Syria crisis is a trap set by Zionist pressure groups for this country (the United States),” said Zarif in a Tuesday TV interview.
From City AM:
The Syrian parliament appears to have dropped a reference to Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" in a letter to UK MPs.

In the second paragraph of a document obtained by Sky News, Mohammad Jihad al-Laham, speaker of the people's assembly of Syria, writes:

We write to you as fathers and mothers, as members of families and communities really not so different to yours. We write to you as fellow human beings for, if you bomb us, shall we not bleed?
That line is curiously similar to one delivered by the Jewish money lender Shylock in Shakespeare's classic:
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, arms, legs, senses, affections, desires? Are we not fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If the intention was to draw a comparison between Syria and Shylock, it may not be taken as a very wise one, for in the play Shylock is a cruel character.
Of course, Shylock was also a Jew.

The idea that Syria is trying to paint itself as a persecuted (and despised) Jew is strange, to say the least!

It also shows an interesting and sharp divergence between Syria's strident tone in the media and how it talks to diplomats.

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