Wednesday, January 29, 2014

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: Confronting European funding for BDS
The first step in confronting European governments that provide most of the funds for these organizations is to demand the implementation of democratic transparency principles in Europe. This would expose the sources of influence behind this NGO funding to independent analysis, and highlight the systematic abuse of European “soft power” for boycotts and demonization against Israeli democracy. On this basis, Israeli and European officials can negotiate mutually acceptable guidelines for funding political advocacy NGOs, which would prevent grants to groups that promote double standards, the discriminatory singling out of Israel, lawfare based on “war crimes” and similar false allegations, and the denial of the right of the Jewish people to sovereign equality.
While these measures will not bring an immediate end to BDS and political warfare, they constitute the essential first steps towards a viable counter-strategy.
Scarlett Johansson Applauded for Standing Up to BDS Movement, Invited to Visit Israel
Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson was lauded by Jewish groups for her support of SodaStream, an Israeli company that has come under fire from anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) groups that aim to harm Israeli companies.
“We salute Scarlett Johansson’s statement explaining clearly and directly the reasons for her association with SodaStream, and commend her principled opposition to those who have sought to use her relationship as a celebrity spokesperson for SodaStream to promote a divisive and highly politicized campaign designed to cause economic harm to the company and its hundreds of employees,” said Anti-Defamation League National Director, Abraham Foxman, in a statement.
SodaStream wins boycott case in France
Israeli drink manufacturer SodaStream won a legal battle in France against an organization seeking to impose a boycott on its products. The court's verdict ruled that the "origin of the product," in this case an Israeli settlement, does not justify the call to boycott.
The group calling for the boycott, the Association France Palestine Solidarité, was told to cease and desist its activities against SodaStream and take down its digital media equating SodaStream with fraud. (h/t Herb Glatter)

Anti-Israel group to Oxfam: Dump Scarlett Johansson over SodaStream
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement’s national committee called on Oxfam to end its relationship with actress Scarlett Johansson over her role as spokesperson for SodaStream.
A statement published Tuesday on the Alternative Information Center website called on Oxfam to “immediately sever ties with Hollywood actor Scarlett Johansson over her vocal support for illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.”
VOTE NO! Guardian Poll: Should Oxfam Sever Ties with Scarlett Johansson?
Our good friends at the Guardian are besides themselves trying to cover Israel-related issues in a balanced and unbiased way. And if you like their neutral headline, which doesn’t ask “what should Oxfam do” but rather offers option one from column A as the given, you’ll love their depiction of the events so far:
“It seems [Oxfam's] celebrity ambassador, Scarlett Johansson, has signed an advertising deal with SodaStream International Ltd, an Isreali company operating in the West Bank… [and the] move has caused an ‘internal revolt’ at Oxfam.”
New York Senate bill ends funding to schools linked to Israel boycott group
The New York Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would prohibit private or public state colleges and universities from spending taxpayers funds on academic groups that support boycotting Israel, Capitol Confidential reported.
The legislation, introduced earlier this month by Democratic Senator Jeff Klien, passed by a vote of 51-4.
This is the first time a legislative body has managed to pass a bill targeting the American Studies Association over its decision to boycott Israel.
Phase 2 of the pushback against the anti-Israel academic boycott
The boycott is discrimination on the basis of national origin. While they don’t boycott all Israeli academics, they only boycott Israeli academics, and that’s national origin discrimination.
And we’re going to be, you know it hasn’t really been publicly announced ’till now, but we’re going to be going around the country, and wherever they meet, we’re going to insist that universities and that municipalities apply their local anti-discrimination laws to these events. That if they’re going to hold an event that’s going to discriminate on the basis of national origin, we want the laws enforced as to them just as they would be to any other group.
Netanyahu calls ministerial meeting on European boycotts
This is the first time Netanyahu’s government has sat down to seriously debate strategies to counter European boycotts. A senior government source told Haaretz that the meeting was spurred by the announcement earlier this month from the Dutch firm PGGM, one of the 20 largest pension asset managers globally, that it had divested from five Israeli banks because they are involved in financing the construction of Jewish settlements in occupied territories.
Honest Reporting: UK National Union of Journalists To Support BDS?
The NUJ and its 38,000 members have been down this road before. In 2007, members voted to boycott Israeli products, ostensibly to protest Israel’s war in Lebanon. Less than three months later, the union scrapped the boycott. The timing raised questions that the NUJ’s move was a pandering ploy to help free abducted BBC reporter Alan Johnston.
Bottom line, you can’t call yourself an objective journalist if you support the boycott of the country you cover. Journalism has to be outside the realm of politics.
If this motion does come to a vote, NUJ members should disclose their votes. It’s in the public’s interest to know.
And if the motion passes, the journalism of its members working in Israel will have zero credibility.
ADL Rips Al Jazeera for Attempt to ‘Exploit and Diminish the Holocaust’
Leading Jewish human rights group, the Anti-Defamation League, slammed Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera for posting an online poll which asks viewers to compare the crimes of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad with those of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
“Shame on Al Jazeera. Even when people are dying on the streets of Syria the network cannot help but to inject their own warped views toward Jews and the Holocaust,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. “This is part of the network’s dangerous obsession with Jews and Israel, and this poll is a blatant attempt to exploit and diminish the Holocaust while having the unintended effect of demeaning all of the people who died in Syria.”
Russia's leading state television company fires ENTIRE department after its Facebook page lauds top Nazi Joseph Goebbels as a 'great'
Russia's leading state television company fired an entire department today after its facebook page lauded Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels as a 'great' figure alongside Winston Churchill.
'We apologise to our readers for the unethical publication,' said VGTRK media group after a public outcry.
Chile’s Palestine soccer club leaves map on uniform
“The fact that the Palestinian Soccer Club chose to keep the map of Israel on their shirt, claiming all of it as Palestinian Territory, provides further proof that the ideology of the leaders of the Palestinian community of Chile is very extremist, and it is based on the denial of all connection of the Jewish People with the land of Israel,” Maximiliano Grass, director of the Chile-Israel Council, the Zionist Federation of Chile, told JTA. “As a matter of fact, even when they cannot use the previous shirt any more, they’ve taken advantage of media coverage to sell more than 7,000 of them around the globe. With this kind of attitude, it is very unlikely that we are able to reestablish constructive dialogue with the local Palestinian community any time soon,” he added.
Frenchman charged over antisemitic photos
French authorities have filed preliminary charges against a man over photos posted online appearing to glorify a deadly attack on a Jewish school.
Toulouse Prosecutor Michel Valet told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the administrator of the website showing the photos was charged late Tuesday with inciting racial hatred.
Valet said the website included two photos of a man performing an arm gesture known as the "quenelle." One photo shows a man wearing a Yasser Arafat T-shirt doing the quenelle in front of the Toulouse school where gunman Mohamed Merah killed three children and a rabbi in 2012. In another, the man is in front of Merah's apartment building. (h/t Bob Knot)
France Dieudonne: Fraud police raid comic's properties
He is suspected of a fraudulent declaration of bankruptcy, money-laundering and abuse of company assets.
The government has vowed to make him pay fines for hate speech.
According to French media, he has transferred 400,000 euros (£331,000; $547,000) to Cameroon since 2009 while failing to pay fines totalling 65,000 euros.
Anti-Semitism is an international threat once again
What do a major Palestinian political organisation, a French comedian of partly African descent, large sections of the Iranian elite and a rightwing Hungarian leader have in common? They all believe that the world is run by an international Jewish conspiracy.
Hamas, which currently runs the Gaza Strip, put an approving reference to the paranoid anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in its founding charter. Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, whose comic shows are particularly popular among young and disadvantaged Frenchmen from immigrant backgrounds, invented the now notorious “quenelle”, a disguised Hitler salute. It hit the mainstream news when West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka gave the quenelle after scoring against West Ham in December of last year. The Iranian leadership and press routinely refer to the dominance of Jewish and Zionist forces — the two terms are used more or less interchangeably — in the world.
Israel, Georgia Sign Economic Cooperation Agreement
At the start of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said, “These intensified bilateral ties and enhanced people-to-people contacts are based on a logical continuation of our 26 centuries of exemplary friendship between the Jewish and Georgian people. I remember our history. The Jewish people first came to Georgia after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC. Since then Georgia has become your second home, where they were accepted, loved, respected and made part of the Georgian world. And this will continue and we’ll make sure that we strengthen this relationship.”
Beamr me up from Israel
Data compression company Beamr is not able to send an actual person through cyberspace, but their technology does promise to deliver us humanoids “life” quality video at warp speed.
The company’s made-in-Israel core technology works to compress imagery and video, without comprising quality. Beamr’s tuned algorithms manage to make compression adjustments to visual data, essentially optimizing a file size, while the naked eye notices nothing.
Portman’s hubby adopts Judaism
Benjamin Millepied, the choreographer husband of A-list actress Natalie Portman, is working on converting to Judaism, Millepied told an Israeli daily on Wednesday.
The couple, along with their son Aleph, are in Israel for a multi-week visit while Portman works on her directorial debut, a film adaptation of Amos Oz’s classic “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”
For some dying Syrian children, Israel is the only hope
KURDISTAN REGION, Iraq — A grandmother steps out warily into the muddy street. The sun setting behind the jagged mountains to the west casts a pink hue over the tents of the refugee camp. She wraps her blue scarf around her face, sizing up the unannounced visitors who are asking to see her granddaughter.
The seven-month-old child lies motionless in her arms, eyes barely open, breath slow and shallow.
The baby is fighting ventricular septal defect, a hole in the wall that divides the left and right ventricles of the heart. She weighs only three kilograms, and doctors here in Iraq won’t operate on her until she gets much bigger. But the same hole in her heart keeps her from growing.
IDF Blog: An Inside Look into the Israeli Hospital that Saves Syrian Lives
For the past three years, death has become a way of life for Syrian civilians, who are caught in the throes of a brutal civil war. Last year, the IDF set up a field hospital to treat wounded Syrian civilians near the northern border. Regardless of the tense relations between Israel and Syria, who are still officially at war, IDF soldiers have continued to apply a core Jewish value: “Whoever saves one life, saves the entire world.”
On February 16, 2013, seven wounded civilians from Syria approached Israel’s border in urgent need of help. Colonel Tariff Bader, a Druze officer, heads an Israeli field hospital near the border. He began his IDF service in 1993, and after completing his medical studies, rose the IDF’s ranks to become a senior medical officer in the IDF’s Northern Command.


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