Thursday, December 05, 2013

From Ian:

Top Clinton Associate Ducks Questions at Anti-Israel Book Event
The Clinton Global Initiative and a spokesperson for Bill Clinton did not respond to emailed requests for comment about Blumenthal’s role at the foundation.
Max Blumenthal dismissed the criticism of his book as “very predictable” during the question and answer session at Wednesday’s NAF event.
He also took a shot at top Clinton donor Haim Saban, who funds many pro-Israel causes.
“[Pressuring Israel] is almost off-limits now thanks to people like Haim Saban, who funded the construction of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Arlington … and who has been a major funder of the Obamas, the Clintons, and Terry McAuliffe,” said Blumenthal.
J Street Activists Defame Former IDF Spokesperson
What was not included in that op-ed is that the J Street U leader asking the question was Eli Philip, and that Philip and his J Street U colleagues were not just “not calm,” they were repeatedly disruptive and rude. But even more importantly, at least as a matter of honesty, is that Philip arrived more than an hour after Raz’s talk began. He missed entirely the groundwork of information already laid by Raz, which was the prelude to the statement Philip found so offensive.
But, actually, it’s worse than that. Because after Philip and his colleagues were so disruptive during Raz’s talk that there were calls for him to resign his student leadership position for having embarrassed the Brandeis community, Philip took to Facebook to announce what he called Captain Raz’s “lies” to the Brandeis community.
Bennett in Indonesia: Trade missions closed in western Europe to open new ones in Asia
Bennett was the first Israeli minister in 13 years to visit Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country. Shimon Peres visited there briefly in 2000 as minister of regional cooperation.
Addressing the conference in Bali, Bennett said that “economic ties can create bridges for peace,” and that as Israel’s minister of economy, “I anxiously await the day I can sit down and sign free trade agreements with all of Israel’s neighbors as well as other Arab and Muslim states in the wider region.”
A number of Arab and Muslim delegates were in the plenum when Bennett spoke, and no one demonstratively walked out.
Israeli minister on rare official visit to Turkey
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz landed in Turkey on Wednesday night, launching the first official visit of an Israeli minister to the country since bilateral ties nosedived in the wake of a deadly raid on the Mavi Marmara ship in 2010.
Peretz arrived in Istanbul to participate in an environmental conference, Channel 2 reported.
United Church of Canada Launches BDS Campaign
The United Church of Canada, the country's largest Protestant denomination, this week launched its "Unsettling Goods" campaign to boycott three Israeli companies, Ahava, Keter Plastics and SodaStream, all of which have factories in Judea and Samaria.
Aside from urging its members to boycott the three companies, the United Church intends to pressure Canada-based marketing chains Canadian Tire, The Bay, Home Depot and Walmart to stop carrying the Israeli products.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) denounced the church's boycott, noting "the church does not currently have any campaigns which address the ongoing slaughter of Christians in Muslim countries around the world, nor does it make any statement of support that recognizes Israel's right to exist."
Narrowing Academic Freedom, Discriminating against Israeli Nationals
The boycott proponents writing in the Journal of Academic Freedom, including great and respected historian Joan Scott, hold out a starkly radical and genuinely narrowing view for universities that dialogue in the global academy should be open only to those who agree on what are right beliefs and identify themselves with a specific political agenda, that of postcolonial progressives. They do so by seeking to set up a method of exclusion that is discriminatory based on nationality, and which, since these folks no doubt would include Israeli Arabs but exclude Israeli Jews, is also racist. They seek to narrow, not broaden, the conversation, and they seek to bar from contact with American faculty and students and university communities Israeli academics and journalists who have special expertise to share. It would be horrific if anyone in the AAUP or on American campuses were listening to them at all.
Ending academic prejudice against Israel
Moreover, the boycotters fail to recognize that Israeli academics do not necessarily agree with the political decisions of their government, and that they may share some of the views of the boycotters about the Palestinians.
It is time for the AAS , the ASA, and all academic and professional bodies, to recognize that academic freedom is precious. Institutions and individuals within them should be judged on the basis of their ideas and work, not on their nationality or religion.
If they truly care for “Palestinian civil society” the critics should be building bridges, not boycotts. They ought to remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “don’t use solutions that don’t solve.”
StandWithUs Statement About the Anti-Israel Incidents at SFSU
Unfortunately, these incidents expose the extremism, irrationality, and menace that often underlie anti-Israel activities on our campuses. Pro-Israel students feel targeted and threatened. This is unacceptable, just as it would be if blacks, Hispanics, gays, or other minorities were targeted and bullied.
We hope that President Wong sets an example for other universities so that the safety of pro-Israel students is ensured and so that contentious topics can be reasonably discussed without degrading into hatemongering, incitement, or violent rhetoric and threats.
Canned Palestinian Children Meat
It has to be understood that the Nazis were also idealists and that it is no coincidence that among Hitler’s greatest fans were German college students who believed in their souls in the rightness of the cause. When students of Arab descent go onto American campuses, today, and rally against the Jews of the Middle East they are continuing a tradition of blood libel and hate they goes not only to the history of Nazi Germany, but to Muhammad, himself, in the 7th century.
Apparently, however, I am not the only one who felt that way. Shortly after I departed SFSU, Laurie Zoloth, Professor of Ethics and Director of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State at the time, had a similar experience. As noted in a New York Post article by John Podhoretz, dated May 14, 2002:
“I cannot fully express what it feels like to have to walk across campus daily, past posters of cans of soup with labels on them of drops of blood and dead babies, labeled ‘canned Palestinian children meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites.’
What is anti-Semitism? EU racism agency unable to define term
Campaigners against anti-Semitism said the document is significant because alongside classical anti-Semitic behavior, it lists the vilification of Israel or Israelis, which some scholars call “new anti-Semitism.” The definition lists “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” and drawing comparisons between Israel and Nazis as examples of anti-Semitism.
Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told JTA that the agency’s “disowning of its own definition is astounding” and that “those who fight anti-Semitism have lost an important weapon.” He also said the “Union’s about-face on its own definition damages its credibility.”
A Frightening Portent for New York City
There is a new City Council member from the neighborhood in Brooklyn called Crown Heights, which is ethnically the city’s most interesting—a mix of blacks mostly of Caribbean origin and ultra-Orthodox Jews mostly from the Lubavitch Hasidic sect. Her name is Laurie Cumbo, and this week she decided to take to Facebook to express some thoughts about the recent spate of violent “knockout game” attacks in which passers-by find themselves being struck hard in the face by someone’s fist for no reason. She reports that at a community meeting called to discuss the violence, she said this:
"many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes. I relayed these sentiments at the forum not as an insult to the Jewish community, but rather to offer possible insight as to how young African American/Caribbean teens could conceivably commit a “hate crime” against a community that they know very little about."
Her insight into why a thug would punch a 19 year-old Hasidic kid in the face in the middle of her district while his friends watched, in other words, boils down to Jewish money. Cumbo knows she is treading on delicate ground here, so she attempts to mitigate the damage: “I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains.” And then she went all in: “While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success.” (h/t Jewess)
Sydney: Two Assailants Named Over Anti-Semitic Attack
Spartaco Marciano Di Bella has pleaded not guilty to affray – an offense of fighting or terrorizing people in a public place – reported Australia's ABC news.
Di Bella, 23, left Waverley Court on crutches Tuesday, after his bail was continued.
Robert Tamaki Clifford, 26, is charged with affray, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and having a knife in a public place and remains in custody.
Two 17-year-olds, who cannot be named, were also charged.
Broadcom CEO’s success recipe: Israeli start-ups and hockey
When communications chip giant Broadcom needs to develop a new technology for its customers, it scours the world looking for start-ups, and often, according to Broadcom Chairman Henry Samueli, “we end up finding those companies in Israel.” In fact, he said, “it’s actually somewhat amazing — no matter what technology we need, there is usually an Israeli company already doing it, and they are often the best in the world at it.”
In an exclusive interview, the usually reticent Samueli (he gives about one interview every couple of years, on average) discussed some of the current and future technologies and challenges that California-based Broadcom faces, as well as the contribution of Israel to the company’s success. He also talked about how the hockey team he runs contributes to Broadcom’s success.
Yeshiva University researchers show radiation can kill HIV
Typically, those suffering from AIDS, the incurable disease caused by the HIV virus, are treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), a cocktail of drugs that “keeps the virus from multiplying by killing the virus in the bloodstream” but doesn’t flush out HIV because it can’t “completely eliminate the HIV-infected cells in which the virus can replicate,” YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine said in a press release Tuesday.
But by using radioimmunotherapy (RIT), a team from the Albert Einstein College was able to “reduce HIV infection to undetectable levels” in the majority of blood samples taken from HIV patients who were being treated with antiretroviral therapy.
Begin Prize awarded to NGO Monitor
The Menachem Begin Heritage Center awarded NGO Monitor the Begin Prize Wednesday night for "the organization's efforts exposing the political agenda and ideological bias of humanitarian organizations that use the discourse of human rights to discredit Israel and to undermine its position among the nations of the world."
The award was also given to Abraham Foxman for his work as Anti-Defamation League director and to iconic Israeli actor Chaim Topol for founding and running the Jordan River Village camp for kids suffering from serious illnesses.
Gal Gadot is Hollywood’s new Wonder Woman
Israeli It girl Gal Gadot, AKA the hottie from “The Fast and the Furious,” has a new title: Wonder Woman. She will play the Amazonian princess warrior in the new untitled Batman-Superman pic, Variety reported Wednesday night.
The mega Justice League flick, which will star Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill and open in July 2015, is being directed by Zack Snyder, the man behind “Man of Steel.”
World's largest menorah lights up Tel Aviv sky
The eighth 'candle' was 'lit' Wednesday night on the World's Largest Menorah, lighting up the sky next to the Reading power station in north Tel Aviv.
The menorah, created by Israel Electric Corporation, is made up of nine aerial platforms including the Shamash ('attendant' candle) which reaches the furthest at a height of 28 meters, and eight lower lights each at 22 meters.
Morton's Hanukiya for IDF Soldiers

19th Century Photos of Jerusalem Now Digitized by New York Public Library
The digitizing of vintage photographs continues in archives and libraries around the world. Last year the New York Public Library digitized its photographic collections and posted them online. The photos in the Library's Dorot Jewish Division include hundreds of 19th Century pictures of Jerusalem and Palestine.
Below we post several of the pictures taken in the first years of photography by pioneers such as Félix Bonfils and Auguste Salzmann. The images were captured by their early cameras while the region was under Turkish role, and years before World War I, the emergence of the Arab nationalist movement, Theodore Herzl's Zionist movement, and the creation of the State of Israel.


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