Thursday, August 22, 2013

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Where Muslims Can Speak Freely in the Middle East
While Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been thrown into prison in Egypt, Raed Salah and Kamal al-Khatib, the leaders of the Islamic Movement in Israel, continue to lead normal lives and organize various political activities around the country.
One of them, Islambuli Badir from Tulkarem, was detained for manufacturing and marketing a perfume named after Morsi. The second, Mahmoud Ayyad, a poet from Bethlehem, was taken into custody for wearing a shirt with a portrait of Morsi.
Last week, Palestinian Authority policemen used force to break up a pro-Morsi rally in Hebron. Two local journalists, Akram al-Natsha and Mahmoud Abu Ghania, complained that the policemen threatened and insulted them during the confrontation.
Today it has become evident that leaders and members of the Islamic Movement in Israel enjoy more freedom and rights than the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jordan and even -- under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank -- Hamas.
Israel’s Heroic Restraint
Israel routinely gets crucified by its enemies, not least for the behavior of the Israeli military. The Jewish state’s reckless soldiers eagerly spill Arab blood, as if for sport. Or so the story goes.
Kuwaiti officials accuse the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of “intentional killing, intentional destruction of civilian objects, intentional scorched-earth policy.” Pakistani authorities complain that the “horrors of Israeli occupation continue to haunt the international community’s conscience.”
“The IDF faces a challenge,” according to Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an outside expert on the IDF’s strategy and tactics. “It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights.”
If Israel’s critics would calm down and face facts, they would be astonished by the IDF’s efforts to reduce or eliminate civilian casualties through its policy of military restraint.
BBC documentary on Tel Aviv gay pride fails to keep up with the news
The trouble with that statement is of course that a suspect in the Bar Noar shootings has been caught (in fact he was arrested during the time that Samuels was in Tel Aviv making the programme) and was charged with two counts of murder and attempted murder on July 8th 2013. The implication that the shootings were purely an anti-gay hate crime is also problematic given the information which emerged after the arrests. That means that whoever wrote that synopsis has either not bothered to keep up with the facts of the case – and hence misleads audiences by making inaccurate statements – or that the facts of the case do not tailor themselves to the message he or she is trying to get across. Clearly, that synopsis needs to be corrected.
‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’ Really?
The Times is entitled to its fantasy that land for peace will seal the deal between Israelis and Palestinians. But Palestinians have rejected every international recommendation for the partition of land west of the Jordan. All or nothing has its cost, but readers should not hold their breath in anticipation of Times recognition that it has been Palestinian recalcitrance, not Jewish settlements, that have proven to be the overriding obstacle to peace.
Two weeks ago the Times reported the discovery in Jerusalem by a prominent archeologist of a fragment of King David’s palace. Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger made sure to insert his own doubts about its veracity, equating historic Jewish claims to Jerusalem with Yasir Arafat’s absurd denial of any Jewish connection there. But several days later, when the print media overflowed with accounts of the discovery of a juglet with a 3,000 year-old text from King David’s time, pre-dating the earliest known Hebrew inscription from the 8th century BCE, the Times ignored the story.
Palestinian official threatens to go to UN over settlements
If the US is unable to halt Israeli construction on war-won lands, deemed illegal by most of the international community, the Palestinians may have to seek redress elsewhere, said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization.
“We are saying very clearly that if Israel does not stop, then we have to move,” Ashrawi said during a tour of Israeli neighborhoods in east Jerusalem where hundreds of new apartments are planned.
Ashrawi said she was expressing the official Palestinian position, though it was not clear if her warning was a sign of frustration or actual intent. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas might be reluctant to disrupt recently relaunched negotiations with such a step, for fear of incurring US anger.
PLO official: Israel asked US out of negotiating room
A PLO official accused Israel on Thursday of undermining negotiations by demanding the removal of the Americans from the negotiation room in a bid “to exploit their power over the Palestinians.”
“We had an agreement on three-way negotiations. The Americans from the beginning were supposed to be there. I don’t see why the Israelis don’t want the Americans there, as witnesses,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, told The Times of Israel. “These are not two-way negotiations,” she added.
Peter Beinart’s Open Zion feels the pain of pre-Oslo murderers and their loved ones
An Aug. 20 essay by Maysoon Zayid at Peter Beinart’s blog Open Zion, titled ‘Palestinian Prisoners Are Released and No One Cares‘, mostly stands out in the way in which Arab murderers are characterized sympathetically while the victims of their brutal crimes are all but ignored.
Indeed, we’ve been posting frequently on the sympathetic portrayal, by some in the media, of the the 104 pre-Oslo prisoners who Israel has agreed to release – all of whom were convicted of murder, attempted murder, or being an accessory to murder, and the dearth of information about the victims and their families. And, in fact, Zayid spends most of the space allotted to her commenting on the pain felt by the recently released murderers – in “the middle of the night”!, we are reminded – and the ‘feelings’ of their families.
In addition to the moral inversion typical in the far-left’s coverage of the prisoner release story, here are a few of the smears and falsehoods in Zayid’s Open Zion essay.
Israel, the un-apartheid state – a comparison with Australia
The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement justifies its racist persecution of Jewish Israeli businesses in Australia, the UK, Europe and North America with the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state.
They like to imagine that their campaign of aggressive protests around tiny retail cosmetics stands and chocolate shops is comparable to the mass protests against the Springbok rugby team that characterized the campaign against South African apartheid in the 1970s and ‘80s.
But the analogy between Israel and apartheid South Africa is false on every level. A comparison of Israel with Australia, a country generally admired for its freedom and successful multiculturalism, reveals this clearly.
Words Supporting Boycott of Israel Deleted From JCC in Manhattan Official’s Article
The new version of the op-ed does not include the words “and the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable.”
In his op-ed, Zablocki opposed a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement letter asking Iranian film director Moshen Makhmalbaf to boycott the Jerusalem Film Festival. He also criticized calls for Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri to boycott the festival.
Before the language in Zablocki’s op-ed was altered, he defended the story in a comment on its Web page.
Who needs Waters when we have much finer wine
If all this coverage of one aging, has-been, rock star who once wrote some lyrics for a very fine band before destroying it, makes you think cultural boycotts of Israel are on the rise: think again.
For every idiot like Roger Waters, who’s happy to play gigs in the country which has imprisoned more reporters in the last few years than any other (Turkey) but won’t play in the only free and open democracy in the Middle East, there are dozens more who love playing in Israel.
Refaeli takes on Waters over boycott letter
Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli tweeted in Hebrew that she no longer wants to be associated with British rocker Roger Waters after his open letter calling for a boycott of Israel.
“Roger Waters, you better take my picture off of the video art at your shows. If you’re boycotting — go all the way,” Refaeli said Wednesday on Twitter.
Her image is among dozens beamed on the wall during Waters’ concerts.
The case for regime change in Jordan
The popular uprisings, in various Arab states, which were hailed by the pundits as the “Arab Spring,” were directed against despotic rulers, who invariably represented a minority, either ethnic, religious, or army juntas.
These despots established dynasties which remained in power for decades. Their unmitigated ruthlessness and kleptocratic greed kept the vast majority of the population in a state of fear and subjugation, hunger and rage. The people invariably called for regime change.
Nowhere is the rule of a minority over the majority more blatant than in Jordan.
Iranian gets life for planned attacks on Israeli targets in Thailand
A Bangkok court sentenced an Iranian man to life in prison for a botched bomb plot last year that officials believe was aimed at Israeli diplomats in the Thai capital. His accomplice, also an Iranian national, received a sentence of 15 years.
The Iranians were detained shortly after a cache of homemade explosives accidentally blew apart the villa where the men were staying in February 2012.
India and Israel’s strategic ties
At first glance, Hindumajority India, with approximately 1.2 billion people and a subcontinent, would seem to have little in common with Jewish-majority Israel, which has only about eight million people living on territory roughly 15 times the size of India’s capital city. While full diplomatic relations were established between Jerusalem and New Delhi only in 1992, the two countries actually have much in common.
Both countries are homelands for ancient peoples who gained their independence from the British in the 1940s.
Both states have gone on to create vibrant, multicultural democracies that have experienced dynamic, technology driven economic growth. India and Israel each also have a large Muslim minority population, and each faces an ongoing terrorism threat from foreign and domestic Islamic extremists; indeed, both Israelis and Indians were targeted and killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Even more serious, India and Israel each face ballistic missile threats from at least one close, hostile Muslim state.
Punjab Farmers Learn Farming Techniques in Israel
A 10-member delegation of dairy farmers from the Punjab region of India recently visited Israel to participate in a training program about modern dairy farming techniques. The unique program was especially designed for the group by the Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation (CINDACO), part of Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Liberman hopes to turn Arad into Israel's Hollywood
Milchan, 68, said tax credits persuaded movie studios to film top movies in Romania, Hungary, and New Zealand, so he saw no reason why films cannot be made in Israel. He said thee money invested by the countries came back in jobs, hotels, restaurants, construction, and tourism.
“This could be great public relations for Israel,” Milchan said. “It is possible to build a first-class studio here in Arad. If we do and there is cooperation from all sides, there is no reason why the biggest productions won't come to Arad instead of Budapest.”
Israeli Security System to be Used in NY Housing Projects
A one-building pilot project at the 1,600-unit Knickerbocker Village has been using the SafeRise program from the Israeli-based FST21 that is now rolling out to all dozen buildings.
The company is headed by retired IDF Major General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, formerly the head of Israeli Military Intelligence. He said the system is the ultimate answer to lost ID cards and security guards who don’t really examine IDs.
“Everyone who tried the system, was, ‘Yes I want it,’” Farkash told the newspaper. “This is the best way to introduce new technology.”
Canyoning, anyone?
Canyoning is all about accessing parts of nature you can’t otherwise access. It’s not just backing off a cliff for a high-energy rappelling experience and then climbing back up to do it again. Instead, this sport is about combining rappelling (abseiling) and rope-work, climbing and scampering, jumping and swimming.
“Israelis are good at canyoning because they like to explore, they like the fear factor and they like to do extraordinary things,” Adam Sela, founder of Challenging Experience — a jeep tours and wilderness activities venture – tells ISRAEL21c.
Israel is blessed with varied topography. And that means there are dozens of places to go canyoning. Israel’s top canyoning spots are found in the desert and the Golan Heights. Most of the trails are open to everyone and no prior experience is required. Sela notes that there are also canyons reserved for the more experienced.
Palestinians, Israelis work together to clear medicines from water
The joint Palestinian-Israeli research team from Al-Quds University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is working to assess the use of advanced membrane and bio-degradation technologies for eradicating pharmaceutical materials from treated waste-water. Organized by the Peres Center for Peace and sponsored by the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, the two-year project aims to investigate the degradation and removal processes of certain drugs found in aquatic environments that come from both domestic and industrial sources.
“In order to facilitate and progress with the research, we need the expertise of the Israeli side,” said Karaman, who is the principal researcher on the Palestinian side. “We can learn from them and they can learn from us, and this way you can do good research in Palestine.” (h/t Zvi)

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