Friday, January 31, 2014

From Ian:

Why you should be proud Zionists
Zionism’s astounding success in building a stable democracy makes it a symbol for democracy, not only in the Middle East, but all around the world.
What do you oppose when opposing Zionism? There are many more values for which Zionism serves as an ambassador. However, these small examples can help give a clear message: Those who support the BDS movement and oppose Zionism should know that when opposing Zionism, they are in fact opposing the principles of justice, freedom and democracy.
Their fight against Israel’s right to exist is a fight for a world without these great values.

Those of us who believe in these values should join together and defend Israel against this new strategic threat.
Academic extremism threatens democratic values
It is the obligation of all academics everywhere to recognize and challenge claims that have no basis in fact or logic. Instead of ignoring historical revisionism or common sense gone awry, they should respond vocally and forcefully. Not only can offensive speech and conduct be constitutionally confronted and condemned, but responsible administrators, faculty and students have a moral imperative to do so.
Meanwhile, we must continue to confront those seeking to draw a distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
As Martin Luther King famously wrote: "What is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the globe. It is discrimination against the Jews … because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism. The times have made it unpopular in the west to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the anti-Semite must constantly seek new form and forums for his poison. How he must revel in the new masquerade. He does not hate the Jews, he is just 'anti-Zionist!'"
Barghouti’s blood libel
Indeed, it is favorite trope of the Arabs and their supporters to say that Israel deliberately targets civilians and especially children, although careful research based on mortality data [2002] shows that the exact opposite is true.
The lie that Israel targets children is a specialty of anti-Israel ‘journalists’ like Gideon Levy and Amira Hass of Ha’aretz and anti-Zionists like Alison Weir. It has particular resonance in the West, whose emotional buttons it pushes.
But like most of what comes from the mouths and keyboards of Barghouti, Levy, Hass and Weir, it is a vicious lie. (h/t Bob Knot)

Scarlett gives a damn
Blinded by the BDS crusade, Oxfam sacrificed an ally devoted to helping starving children to a litmus test that it applies to no other nation.
Companies do business in China, which imprisons dissidents by the thousands. Companies trade with Bangladesh, where workers in dangerous factories have died by the hundreds. Only Israel, which protects basic human and civil and economic rights, is forbidden territory.
With a strong, clear stand — calmly citing “fundamental difference of opinion” — Johansson becomes the highest-profile celebrity to buck the load of BDS bull. Ever more power to her, and to those who may follow her example.
Brendan O'Neill: Three cheers for Scarlett Johansson's stand against the ugly, illiberal Boycott Israel movement
There is nothing remotely progressive in this campaign to boycott everything Israeli, with its double standards about various nations’ behaviour and its shrill rhetoric about everything that comes from Israel being covered in Palestinian blood. This movement is not designed to have any kind of positive impact in the Middle East but rather is about making certain Western activists feel righteous and pure through allowing them to advertise how Israeli-free their lives are. It’s illiberal, because it effectively demands the censoring of Israeli academics and performers; it’s hypocritical, because it is led by people who are only too happy to use iPhones made in undemocratic China and to vote for the Labour Party, which, er, bombed the hell out of Middle Eastern countries for the best part of 10 years; and it has unfortunate ugly echoes of earlier campaigns to boycott Jewish shops and produce. So three cheers for Ms Johansson for taking a very public stand against this right-on pressure to treat Israel as the most evil nation on Earth.' (h/t Herb Glatter)
SodaStream plans to bring Johansson to Israel this year
SodaStream plans to bring its global ambassador, Scarlett Johansson, to Israel this year, the company said on Thursday, the same day that the Hollywood star resigned from her prominent eight-year role as Oxfam’s representative due to the controversy over her new connection to a firm with a West Bank factory.
“She has never been to Israel before. We look forward to hosting her later in the year,” SodaStream president Yonah Lloyd told The Jerusalem Post, just three days before its ad featuring Johansson was to air at Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Scarlett Johansson’s Decision to Back SodaStream Over Oxfam Puts Charity’s Anti-Israel Activism Into Spotlight
In one “win” for the BDS campaign, Herzberg described a meeting with a senior executive of an Israeli pretzel company called Bagel Bagel that was owned by Dutch multinational Unilever and relocated its factory in Ariel’s Barcan Industrial Area, over the Green Line, to open another facility in Galil, on the other side.
“He had to tell 150 weeping men that they were about to lose their jobs, in fact that they had lost their jobs, because they were shutting the factory down,” Herzberg said. “Because of a BDS campaign, 150 Palestinian families lost their livelihood. How is that a victory?”
Financial Times Reporter Implies Scarlett Johansson Quit Oxfam for the Money, Then Apologizes
The Financial Times Middle East and North Africa Correspondent, the Cairo and Beirut-based Borzou Daragahi, faced social media talkback on Thursday after implying Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson, who quit Oxfam yesterday, did so for financial reasons.
“Scarlett Johansson picks lucrative #israel @SodaStream deal over @Oxfam charity backing, @FT reports,” Daragahi tweeted. (h/t Yenta Press)
Jewish voice for peace gets it wrong. Again.
Poor Jewish Voice for Peace is still trying to come to grips with superstar Scarlett Johansson's decision to remain as the celebrity spokesperson for the Israeli home carbonation device, Sodastream. In a marvelous act of fantasy or perhaps simply delusion the team at Jewish Voice for Peace has declared victory over the same incident they bemoaned as a loss just 12 hours earlier.
Last night , JVP wrote on their facebook page "Oxfam's inaction allows Sodastream shill Scarlet Johansson to quit ambassador role, rather than be held accountable for promoting policies Oxfam staunchly opposes". Its still there.
( Hmmm. Scarlet's been taking about peaceful coexistence and economic cooperation. Why does this upset JVP and Oxfam so much?)
Will ScarJo Pay a Price for Her Principles?
It is possible that Oxfam’s decision wasn’t entirely based on the anti-Israel bias of its London-based leadership. One of the leading corporate donors to Oxfam just happens to be the Coca Cola Company that has given millions to the group. That tie between a company that can be linked to obesity and bad nutrition and a charity that promotes feeding the hungry is seen as a contradiction by some and only explained by the cash that flows from Coke to Oxfam. But the fact that SodaStream is a competitor that is already eating into Coke’s market share could account, at least in part, for Oxfam’s speed in denouncing Johansson.
But even if contributions from Coke had nothing to do with Oxfam’s decision, the most important conclusion to be drawn from the way this controversy developed is the ease and speed with which a theoretically apolitical charity like Oxfam publicly embraced the BDS stand even though it meant losing the services of such an effective ambassador as Johansson.
BDS in Academia, Politics and Industry
January was an important month for BDS. In the academic sphere, the American Studies Association boycott resolution was followed by a pseudo-debate at the Modern Language Association. Both of these developments produced uniquely high press coverage and political backlash, suggesting that BDS advocates in academia can no longer rely on stealth to advance their goals.
In another sphere, however, the linkage between politics and economics has become ever clearer. As Israeli-Palestinian peace talks (as well as ongoing negotiations with Iran) continue, threats and expressions of concern regarding boycotts of Israel are intensifying, particularly with regard to Europe. The timing and nature of these statements, from both European and Israeli spokesmen, suggest boycotts are being used as a threat to pressure Israel to make concessions specifically regarding the “West Bank.”
Football Jihad: who's who in the new battle ground (satire)
One example of such a group being increasingly targeted are footballers, because an anti-Israel message from them can have instant worldwide impact. Hence, there has been a steadily increasing number of footballers taking part in what I call the 'football jihad' - and they are by no means all Muslims. The non-Muslims are typical of the ignorant youngsters you see at any university meeting or rally protesting against Israel - with their Hamas supporting T-shirts and kaffiyas, repeating unquestioningly the same lies told to them.
I have decided to maintain a log of these footballer and (as per my log of anti-Israel charities) I have awarded a number of Arafats (rather than stars) to each (where 5 Arafats is the worse possible). The list - ordered by the fame of the player - is by no means exhaustive but will be updated over time.
Obama’s Brother, ‘Best Man,’ Dons Hamas Regalia
You can say what you want about not being your brother’s keeper, but if you are the President of the United States, your closest living relative is fair game for public comment.
So here’s the issue: President Obama’s brother appears on the website of the Barack H. Obama Foundation – named for their mutual father – in a Hamas keffiya emblazoned with the words, in Arabic, “Jerusalem is ours – we are coming!”
The keffiya also includes a map which purports to be of “Palestine.” On the map, the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River are outlined in blue, beneath which is written the Palestinian Arab war cry: “From the River to the Sea!”
No, we’re not a normal family, says Obama’s Jewish half-brother
It’s pretty natural to do a double-take when talking to Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, Jewish half-brother of US President Barack Obama. Even speaking on the phone from China, Ndesandjo’s deep tones and Midwestern twang are startlingly similar to those of the president.
That’s a familiarity and connection that Obama Ndesandjo is counting on as he makes his way around the newspaper and television circuit, publicizing his self-published book, “Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery,” which deals in large part with his family and his presidential brother. Part of the book proceeds will be dedicated to his foundation, The Mark Obama Ndesandjo Foundation, whose goal is to promote cultural exchange between Asia, Africa and America, with a focus on young and disadvantaged children.
The psychology of anti-Semitism and the link to anti-Zionism
The big “give-away” is the utterly ridiculous lies anti-Semites are willing to believe about the Jewish people.
The anti-Semite relishes in his Jew hatred. It provides an outlet, a gratifying release of pent-up emotion. His fury against the Jew facilitates a catharsis of anger and frustration – it serves as a safety valve of sorts, releasing all kinds of pent-up dissatisfactions, allowing them to run riot with dizzying freedom.
Belgian lawmaker: Zionists bankrolled Holocaust
The president of Belgium’s parliament condemned the actions of a lawmaker who said Zionists were responsible for the Holocaust and performed the quasi-Nazi quenelle gesture in parliament.
“I would like to reinforce my condemnation of these hateful acts,” Andre Flahaut said on January 23 in reference to the actions of Laurent Louis, who on January 16 said in parliament, “The Holocaust was set up and financed by the pioneers of Zionism.”
Man who sent pig heads to Rome synagogue 'found'
A man who allegedly sent pigs' heads to Jewish sites across Rome ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday has been identified, police said Friday.
The 29-year-old Roman, reportedly linked in the past to far-right party Forza Nuova, is suspected of sending the heads to Rome's Synagogue, the Israeli embassy and a museum hosting a Jewish exhibition in what was dubbed a hate crime. (h/t Bob Knot)
Anti-Semitic fresco causes uproar in Poland
Alicja Kobus, chairwoman of the western city’s Jewish community, made the accusation on January 26 in an interview with the Gazeta Wyborcza daily about a fresco which depicts an anti-Semitic blood libel and which adorns Poznan’s Sacred Blood of Christ cathedral.
The fresco, which was painted by the 17th-century Franciscan monk Adam Swach, depicts a local blood libel which said Jews desecrated communion bread before its consumption by Christians. The men are seen sticking pins in the bread as a demon watches them approvingly.
Israel's Oramed a step closer in race for first insulin pill
Israel's Oramed, which is racing Novo Nordisk of Denmark to develop the world's first insulin pill, moved a step closer to its goal on Thursday by announcing successful results from a small mid-stage test.
The oral drug delivery specialist said its insulin capsule had met all primary and secondary endpoints in a Phase IIa clinical trial and it now plans to launch a larger mid-stage study in the third quarter.
QualComm founder a fan long before ‘Start-Up Nation’
Some multinationals only became aware of the Start-Up Nation after reading the book of that title — at which point they rushed in, feet first, to grab a piece of Israel’s tech magic for their companies. But others — call them the “old-timers” — knew the secret of Israel’s success years before the country’s technology prowess was in vogue.
Among those veterans is Irwin M. Jacobs, a cofounder and former chairman (now chairman emeritus) of QualComm, by far the world’s largest cellphone technology company. “In the same way that QualComm was ahead of its time in cell technology development, I was ahead of my time in seeing Israel’s potential,” Jacobs told The Times of Israel on the sidelines of this year’s Innovex event, which brought together some of the leading figures in tech from around the world to discuss new and upcoming technologies.
Despite Decades of Enmity, Israel Quietly Aids Syrian Civilians
About five weeks ago, he recalled, he had been working his land when he learned that his grandchildren had been hurt in a rocket attack. He had heard about the Israeli medical care and, ignoring the political risks, worked to bring his granddaughter here.
“When there is peace, I will raise an Israeli flag on the roof of my house,” he said.
The war has eroded once-impervious psychological barriers on both sides. This month, an Israeli aid drive led by volunteers from the Working and Studying Youth movement, Israeli Flying Aid and other local organizations collected about 20,000 items — mainly jackets, blankets and sleeping bags — to be transferred to Syrian refugees. Donors were asked to remove all Israeli labels. Barak Sella of Working and Studying Youth said there were plans to establish a website for dialogue between Israeli and Syrian youths.

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