Wednesday, February 05, 2014

From Ian:

The darker side of Oxfam
But lurking behind this carefully-crafted website, and indeed the spokesman’s carefully-worded statement, is a rather different reality.
In truth, Oxfam channels charity funds to political groups which follow deeply partisan agendas, and support the boycott of Israel.
Over the last few years, Oxfam GB and the Dutch branch of the charity, Oxfam Novib, have granted many tens of thousands pounds to Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP).

This group is linked to, a website that publicly identifies boycott targets, including Israeli banks, utility providers and companies like SodaStream.
Divest This!: A Panic-Driven Response to Omar Barghouti
As the leader of a “movement” that has accomplished next to nothing in close to fifteen years, Omar Barghouti seems to have developed special vision powers (perhaps learned while studying at an Israeli school he insists everyone in the world but he should boycott). These powers allow him to see panic-stricken Israeli supporters on all sides that quiver in perpetual fear of BDS’s explosive growth that always seems to arrive in the form of a damp squib.
Barghouti’s latest New York Times piece (paired with a “rebuttal” by Hirsh Goodman which declares Israel to be guilty, but urges something other than boycotting as a punishment – great diversity of opinion Grey Lady!) demonstrates all the rhetoric ticks that give BDS staying power despite lack of concrete victory (incidental or otherwise).
Thus 16% of the American Studies Association’s membership voting for an academic boycott is a “landslide vote” while the stunning backlash against the boycott from across the academy goes unmentioned. Or perhaps that is just part of the panicked response of Israeli supporters? (Keep in mind that in the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose world of BDS, both the BDSers own activity and the overwhelmingly negative response it generates counts as a victories for them.) (h/t Yenta Press)
Answering Roger’s questions
The other day you posted an open letter to Neil Young and Scarlett Johansson on your Facebook page. This letter was primarily made up of a series of questions regarding the Palestinian employees of SodaStream’s factory in Ma’ale Adumim, addressed to Ms Johansson.
I see that neither Neil Young or Scarlett Johansson has offered you any answers to these questions, so I thought I might have a go.
There are several hundred Palestinians employed at this particular factory, I don’t know each of their particular circumstances, so I have taken my lead from the people interviewed in this recent article, and this video.

Starving, Besieged Palestinian Refugees In Syria Thrilled That Pro-Palestinian Activists Focusing On Scarlett Johansson (satire)
UNWRA, the United Nations agency that oversees the basic health, education, and nutritional needs of registered Palestinian refugees, has been unable to function effectively in Yarmuk, but called the kerfuffle about Johansson a breath of fresh air. “It’s about time people around the world began noticing what we’ve been doing, day in and day out, for the last sixty years,” said UNWRA spokesman Redd Herring.
“Companies that offer actual employment to Palestinians are a threat to our work, which is creating a population that’s dependent on handouts and nursed on entitlement. Organizations such as Oxfam come dangerously close to creating initiative among dependent populations to empower themselves economically to end their own hunger,” he added. ”We’re glad that Johansson and Oxfam have parted ways, for that reason.”
Charities accused of giving millions to left-wing campaigns as watchdog refuses to name causes under investigation
[UK] Charities are using millions of pounds of public money to subsidise fashionable political campaigns, a report warns today.
A study by the Institute for Economic Affairs says many well-known charities are using taxpayers’ cash to push for causes, such as increased foreign aid spending, which ‘are not priorities for the electorate and are often unpopular’.
It comes as MPs condemn the Charity Commission as feeble and 'not fit for purpose' as the watchdog refuses to name charities which are under investigation.
Byline With Brian Lilley: SodaStream Cda CEO Marta Mikita-Wilson discusses the real story behind SodaStream VIDEO
SodaStream Canada CEO Marta Mikita-Wilson discusses the real story behind SodaStream, the company facing boycott campaigns by anti-Israel groups
IsraellyCool: “Anti-Racism” Palestinian Students President Mohammad Hammad Slurs All Israelis
Remember Mohammad Hammad, the San Francisco State University General Union of Palestinian Students president who expressed genocidal views against Israelis? He subsequently defended his posts, claiming, among other things, that he stands “firmly against racism, regardless who the target is.”
Well, here he is posting on Facebook about Scarlett Johannson.
Boycotts Driven By Hate, Not Settlements
Since Israel has just agreed to Kerry’s framework for negotiations—the ultimate goal of which is a peace deal with the Palestinians that will grant them a state in much of the West Bank—the existence of the settlements can’t logically be represented as an obstacle to peace. That’s a point that should have been made clear to the Europeans when the Palestinians rejected offers of statehood including a share of Jerusalem in 2000, 2001, and 2008. Nor need one support the existence of all the settlements to understand that most of them—located in blocs near the 1967 lines—will remain within Israel in the event of a peace treaty.
So if the existence of the settlements doesn’t explain the recent upsurge in support for boycotting Israel, what does? The simple answer was supplied by the State Department when it described in its report on religious persecution a “rising tide of anti-Semitism” that was sweeping the continent. (h/t Norman F)
Homophobic, Racist, Sexist, 'Take Xanax': Reactions To My Open Letter To NYU's President On ASA's Israel Boycott
If you can’t rebut the facts, smear.
That’s how I’d sum up the reaction of the American Studies Association and the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement to my Open Letter to New York University president John Sexton.
NYU didn’t care for my letter either, but its views were measured and responsible.
NY Times condemns anti-academic boycott legislation, but not academic boycott
An editorial in the NY Times condemns anti-academic boycott legislation, but not the anti-Israel academic boycotts themselves. That legislation was passed by the NY State Senate and is pending in the Assembly (although the status in the Assembly is unclear – see update below). Similar legislation has been introduced in Maryland.
In response, the NY State legislature is working on legislation to protect academic freedom by denying state funding to groups that engage in academic boycotts. The legislation does not punish thought, it protects academic freedom. It may not be a perfect tool, and the wording needs to be extremely careful since it involves the state, but there is no right to state funding for any group.
UN Group Compares Boycott of Israeli Academics to Nazi Practice
Whether intentional or not, says a UNESCO body, the boycott of Israeli academics bears a similarity to the practice of German doctors, who were leaders in the Nazi party, of segregating out their Jewish colleagues
In many of Israel’s academies, Israeli and Palestinian students of all ages continue to learn and study together. Rather than promoting peace, the ASA’s action promotes further isolation for all peoples in the region and negates the importance and vitality of academic discourse. Their action is to be condemned by all those advocating for stabilization and peace in the Middle East. While ASA may make the misleading claim that its actions are an exercise of academic freedom, in singling out Israeli academics for such a boycott, our Unit’s work indicated that this immoral boycott, though not intended, is far more akin to actions of prominent Nazi academics in the early 1930′s, such as those German physicians who took leadership positions in the Nazi party and singled out their Jewish colleagues for boycott and expulsion from academic life and professional societies.
Tantura, a Fictional Play and a Real News Report
Contrary to Rotem's suggestion, the Tantura story is not an unresolvable "he said/she said" argument between two equally credible sides. Rotem fails to inform readers that Teddy Katz, a then PhD candidate at the University of Haifa, lost a libel suit against the brigade that he had accused of the 1948 Tantura massacre, and was forced to apologize.
The apology had stated:
After checking and re-checking the evidence, I am now certain beyond any doubt that there is no basis at all for the allegation that after Tantura surrendered, there was any killing of residents by the Alexandroni Brigade, or any other fighting unit of the IDF. I would like to clarify that what I wrote was misunderstood, and that I did not mean to suggest that there had been a massacre in Tantura, nor do I believe that there ever was a massacre at Tantura. (h/t Yenta Press)
Planting water in Israel
Exciting fact about Israel’s land use, as the world experiences massive deforestation: Israel is the only country in the world to have a net gain of trees in the last 100 years.
This is thanks to a non-profit and visionary non-governmental organization, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) –– or Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael –– set up in 1901 in Israel to develop the land.
Under Ottoman rule at the time, Israel was neglected and considered a backwater state infested with malaria. There was a genuine need for a long-term plan to turn things around.
Using donations from generations of Jews in the Diaspora, some 240 million trees have been planted in Israel by JNF over the last 11 decades, including a few by the Kennedys.
Israeli scientists offer new hope for Gaucher patients
Israeli scientists have discovered a new cellular pathway implicated in Gaucher disease — a genetic disorder most prevalent among the Ashkenazi Jewish population. The Weizmann Institute of Science researchers believe their findings, published recently in Nature Medicine, may lead to new treatments and management of this cruel disease.
Gaucher disease is a genetic disorder caused by a defect in a particular enzyme needed to break down a fatty substance, or lipid, called glucocerebroside. This results in the accumulation of glucocerebroside in various cells and organs, which prevents them from working properly.
CosyFlex named leading innovative technology
The unique CosyFlex fabric is the flagship product of Tamicare, a privately owned engineering company founded in 2001 in Manchester, UK, by the Israeli couple Tamar and Ehud Giloh.
Tamar Giloh previously told ISRAEL21c that she originally set out to devise a panty-and-pad solution for feminine hygiene, but soon realized there was much greater potential.
Eventually the Gilohs developed a unique three-dimensional printer that churns out Cosyflex from layered cellulose fibers and Vytex natural rubber latex on a moving surface. Thanks to 3D printing, it can be made into any kind of garment without sewing.
Israel Aircraft Industries To Unveil Unmanned Fast Patrol Boat At New Delhi Defense Expo
IAI will be unveiling their new concept for the “Katana” unmanned ship, which is designed to protect critical marine infrastructures, such as oil and gas rigs, gas terminals, undersea pipelines, perhaps even LNG carriers and of course the approaches to ports.
To do so the Katana will be equipped with the latest in automated navigations and fast propulsion systems and its own specialized arrays of weaponry.
Israeli defense companies are well known for their success in unmanned aerial vehicles, which they have sold in the billions, including to a number of Asian countries. IAI will clearly be hoping to replicate the exercise with the Katana as well.
Online Dead Sea archive upgraded
The Israeli Antiquities Authority has launched an upgraded version of an online archive of the Dead Sea scrolls, enabling web users to view thousands of high-quality images of the ancient texts along with explanations and translations into various languages.
The new website, officially opened on Tuesday, is the second incarnation of the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library and has over 10,000 photographs of the ancient texts that were found in a series of caves at Qumran in the Judean Desert.
Marbles that belonged to Anne Frank rediscovered
Shortly before Anne Frank and her family went into hiding from the Nazis, she gave some of her toys to a non-Jewish girlfriend who lived in the building next door.
The Anne Frank House Museum says the toys have now been recovered and Anne’s tin of marbles will go on display Wednesday at the Kunsthal art gallery in Rotterdam.
The neighbor, Toosje Kupers, kept the marbles along with a tea set and a book. It was only when Kupers, 83, was moving last year that she thought to mention the marbles to the museum.
New workshop promotes Israeli-Arab voice in foreign policy
The initial discussion was held last week with Jewish and Arab experts at the Nazareth Academic Institute – a joint initiative by the think tank Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, the Abraham Fund Initiatives for the integration and equality of Arab citizens and the Nazareth Academic Institute.
The workshop looked at opportunities for increased Israeli-Arab involvement in Israeli foreign policy in light of the changes occurring in the region.
“In the last three years, we have witnessed drastic changes in the Arab world, including increased interest in Israel in general, and in the lives of Israel’s Arab-Palestinian citizens, in particular. Arab intellectuals are showing increased interest in conducting a dialogue with us, and we should use the opportunity,” said Kamal Hassan, a policy fellow at Mitvim and a lecturer at the Open University.
Old-School Israeli PR Makes the Case for Judea and Samaria
A public relations video produced by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit more than 30 years ago makes the case for Israel to retain the Judea and Samaria region, from a purely military perspective, and offers a unique glimpse into a very different age, in which official Israeli government bodies were not shy of articulating the need for the Jewish state to maintain control over its Biblical heartland.
Entitled "9 Narrow Miles" - a reference to the perilously slim waistline of the Jewish state without Judea and Samaria - the video was released in 1980, in the days before the Oslo Accords, which saw Israel effectively cede parts of the region to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its Palestinian Authority (PA). After accepting the Accords as a pillar of government policy, much of the Israeli establishment became fixated on the idea of an independent Arab state in the Biblical heartland. At the time of the recording, however, while Israel's political establishment prevaricated over what to do with the region - which, as the cradle of Jewish civilization, includes ancient Jewish sites such as Hevron, Shechem and of course the Temple Mount - the country's security experts had little doubt as to the existential strategic importance of retaining Judea and Samaria.


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