Thursday, February 06, 2014

From Ian:

In Memoriam: Barry Rubin
In his 64 years, he worked tirelessly to defend and promote both U.S. and Israeli interests. He was also dedicated to the research and commemoration of his ancestry and those who perished in the Holocaust. In 2013, he published Children of Dolhinov, a historical account of the Jews of Dolhinov (today part of Belarus). He wrote, “If we don’t respect those who came before us, and who made our existence possible, how can we expect anyone to respect us?”
In addition to his professional and academic achievements, he was a loving father and husband. He is survived by wife Judith and his two children.
The Woman Who Makes the Jihadis Squirm
Civil lawsuits, it turns out, are not just a great way to help victims find justice and compensation for their misery. They are also an enormously powerful tool in fighting terror. Because they are not initiated by any government, they cannot be stopped through ordinary diplomacy or with back-channel deals. The can be initiated spontaneously, unpredictably—effectively turning the tables on the terrorists, who are used to being the unpredictable ones. Once filed, they are in the hands of an independent judge who follows the law, not the political needs of the moment.
And because civil lawsuits have lower thresholds of proof than do criminal proceedings, and it is therefore usually much easier to prove liability than criminality, civil attorneys can very often succeed where prosecutors fail. For this reason, Western intelligence agencies often happily cooperate with civil cases against terrorists, providing crucial evidence for the plaintiffs—for they are doing the work that government cannot.
Thomas Friedman’s New York Times Colleagues Call Him an ‘Embarrassment’
Jewish New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, often criticized for expressing anti-Israel views, was slammed by his own colleagues in an expose published on Tuesday by the New York Observer. The article came as a Friedman-penned Op-Ed in The Times on Wednesday claimed that a “Third Intifada is underway.”
The Observer said it interviewed some two-dozen current and former NYT staffers about a split between the news team and the editorial pages, run by Andrew Rosenthal, son of former NYT editorial leader AM Rosenthal, who publishes work by Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. The staffers’s concerns, as embodied in The Observer headline, ‘The Tyranny and Lethargy of the Times Editorial Page,’ were that, as one put it, the Op-Eds are “completely reflexively liberal, utterly predictable, usually poorly written and totally ineffectual,” and that the editorial page was frequently trounced by crosstown rival, the Wall Street Journal. Most of The Observer article criticizes Rosenthal’s vision and ability to manage a team that has grown to 14 employees, plus assistants, but staffers reserved plenty of venom for Friedman’s role in destroying The Times editorial page.

Jewish roots in Israel go back over 300,000 years
Don’t believe me? Good, you shouldn’t. These claims are complete nonsense and any scholar (and even most laymen) will tell you so.
But the claim of Judaism’s 300,000 year lineage in the Holy Land is no less preposterous than Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat’s claim that the Palestinian people trace their roots back to 5500 years before Joshua. Of course he was just following in the tradition of Yasser Arafat and Faisal Husseini who claimed that the Palestinian people are descended from the Jebusites, from whom David conquered Jerusalem. It doesn’t really matter that no scholars other than the Palestinians themselves place any shred of validity in these ridiculous claims.
Tel Aviv University Retracts Nasrallah Invitation; ‘Too Zionist’ (satire)
The university had issued the invitation for a conference on post-Zionism to take place early next month. Nasrallah was asked to address some of the political implications for Lebanon once Israel ceases to exist as a political entity and the Jewish inhabitants remaining in the land are relegated to second-class citizens or cannon fodder. The notable exception, in the university’s assessment, will be the enlightened left-wingers of North Tel Aviv, where the institution makes its home, who of course will be seen as allies and not corrupt Western Godless infidels.
But last week a group of students and faculty presented a petition to the university administration pointing to problematic statements by Nasrallah in which he did not foresee the immediate annihilation of the Zionist Entity. They also noted Hezbollah’s strategic decision to enmesh itself in the Syrian civil war, thereby proclaiming that Israel was not the number one danger to Lebanon or Hezbollah itself, but a more distant threat than the insurgents fighting the government of Basher Assad.
Jennifer Rubin: Oxfam defends, NGO Monitor dissects
Oxfam has a track record that belies its claim not to be anti-Israel. NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg responded to Oxfam’s defense via e-mail, telling me that the BDS movement is itself an action designed to undermine Israel’s legitimacy, not simply force return of the post-1967 territories: “Oxfam claims that their funding for [Coalition of Women for Peace] CWP (which led the attack on SodaStream and Scarlett Johansson) as well as similar activities related to demonization does not constitute supporting “a boycott of Israel”. But the explicit goal of the BDS movement is to use boycotts of Israel to achieve ‘the complete international isolation of Israel as an apartheid state,’ as stated in the Final Declaration of the NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban conference. This NGO declaration launched the BDS and demonization campaigns.” He went on to cite evidence that the BDS movement is not merely about the 1967 territories:
Jpost Ed: Oxfam vs SodaStream
The SodaStream Mishor Adumim plant is precisely what Oxfam should promote as its ideal for coexistence and cooperation.
Would it be better by Oxfam’s yardstick if the factory were shut down and its Palestinian employees went hungry (and subsequently perhaps needed Oxfam handouts)? In all likelihood, Oxfam would then vociferously denounce Israeli occupation for creating poverty, a charge Oxfam executives relentlessly level against Israel.
Such lopsided logic not only offends common sense, it exposes deep-seated anti-Israel bigotry. In effect, Oxfam tells us that it is acceptable for Palestinians to work for any firm, so long as it is not Israeli. Does this not negate the very notion of peace?
Boycotters' contempt for ordinary Palestinians
The curious case of SOS – Scarlet, Oxfam and Sodastream – has enabled us to hear something almost totally inaudible most of the time – the voice of ordinary Palestinians. And what they are saying doesn't quite match the much louder voice of boycott campaign groups, one of which it seems Oxfam has become.
Instead of backing international NGO calls for a boycott of settlement goods, workers at the Sodastream factory in the West Bank have come out overwhelmingly in favour of Scarlet Johannsen’s opposition to BDS. So why are ordinary Palestinians at odds with the groups that claim to support them?
One of the biggest traps of the whole international BDS campaign is that it depersonalises the lives of ordinary people, both Israelis and Palestinians. The campaigners, including Christian NGOs and churches, simply do not care about the circumstances, hopes and dreams of ordinary people.
Al-Jazeera America Not To Be Trusted For Israel News – Example
An Al-Jazeera America Jan. 30, 2014 report may well have led many viewers to the incorrect conclusion that an advertisement for an Israeli product, SodaStream, was rejected by Fox Television because the ad promotes an Israeli company operating in the West Bank. The ad featured actress Scarlett Johansson and was to, and did, run during Fox's February 2 broadcast of the National Football League's Super Bowl. The Al-Jazeera America report included 69 seconds of essentially anti-Israel propaganda (a 19-second West Bank video clip, 23-second Oxfam statement (Johansson resigned as an Oxfam representative in protest of the group's anti-Israel animus), 27-second Palestinian labor minister polemic), which more than doubled the 28 seconds of air time allotted for a statement by the Israeli CEO of SodaStream.
But the actual reason (never mentioned by Al-Jazeera America) that the ad was (temporarily) rejected was because it was dismissive of two Fox advertising clients ("Sorry, Coke and Pepsi") in a jibe at the end of the commercial. In fact, the Super Bowl ad ran Sunday during a commercial break at 9:35 PM (with 9:48 remaining on the game clock in the final quarter) with the offending phrase omitted.
The boycott mirage
Indeed, it takes a lot of imagination to see a concerted international effort to boycott the Jewish state. If Israel continues to make products with a clear qualitative edge at competitive prices, there will be many to buy them.
Kerry is simply echoing the arguments of the Israeli Left, which claims that an agreement with the Palestinians is the only way to escape international isolation. Moreover, irresponsible elements of the Israeli Left are asking for foreign pressure on Israel, realizing that they have no chance to change Israeli policies by the ballot box. The electoral decline of the Israeli Left makes it more desperate and less democratic when reaching the conclusion that "Israel has to be saved from itself" by the international community.
Whitewashing BDS and antisemitism in the New York Times
The inconvenient truth is that as long as BDS activists like Omar Barghouti remain firmly opposed to a two-state solution that would result in the peaceful coexistence of a Jewish and a Palestinian state, their activism has nothing to do with human rights. Try as he may, Barghouti cannot conceal that he is actually campaigning for what he regards as the most fundamental and non-negotiable Palestinian “right:” the supposed “right” to finally achieve what the Arab war against the emerging Jewish state failed to accomplish. The Palestinians who fled this war that was supposedly waged on their behalf have served as pawns ever since, clinging to their refugee status and the illusion that it could be passed on through generations reared in the belief that the Jews of Israel are their “misfortune.” But then as now, their misfortune was the unwillingness of the Arabs to acknowledge the simple fact that the Jews are one of the Middle East’s most ancient peoples who, in modern times, could claim as much of a right to self-determination as the Arabs. People like Omar Barghouti are still unwilling to acknowledge this simple fact and are devoting all their energies to convince the world that Jewish self-determination is the misfortune of the Palestinians and that it is therefore their “right” to insist that the Jews in the Middle East should be forced to once again live as a minority under Arab Muslim rule.
Dutch pension fund says no reason to boycott Israeli banks
Dutch pension fund ABP, one of the largest pension funds in the world, announced on Wednesday that after looking into the matter it sees no reason to end its relationship with three Israeli banks.
The fund’s announcement runs firmly against the grain of the increasing public perception that Israel is on the verge of wholesale boycotts by European financial institutions. (h/t Yenta Press)
On 10th Anniversary, Facebook Says ‘Jewish Ritual Murder’ Page Doesn’t Violate ‘Community Standards’
Jewish human rights group, the Anti-Defamation League, said that social media giant Facebook’s assertion that a page entitled “Jewish Ritual Murder” doesn’t violate their Community Standards is an “unacceptable excuse,” in a statement issued on Wednesday.
The ADL’s comments, also calling for the page to be “removed immediately,” came a day after Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Hungarian Jews set to ‘physically hinder’ Neo-Nazi rally in former synagogue
As part of its political campaign, Jobbik is planning on staging a rally at the former synagogue in the city of Esztergom, whose Jewish community was wiped out during the Holocaust.
Party leader Márton Gyöngyösi has previously called for the government to draw up of a list of “people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who pose a national security risk to Hungary.”
While the local Jewish community has called upon Esztergom Mayor Éva Tétényi to prohibit the gathering, it is also preparing itself for a physical confrontation, Mazsihisz president András Heisler told the Post.
Tory MP Aidan Burley who organised Nazi-themed stag in French Alps to stand down at the election
The Tory MP who organised a Nazi-themed stag do for a friend and then tried to downplay his role in planning the party, last night announced he would step down at the next election.
Aidan Burley was allowed to remain as MP for Cannock Chase after pictures were published in the Mail on Sunday of him attending the distasteful event – despite a party inquiry last month which called his actions ‘stupid and offensive’.
The Oxford graduate always insisted that the stag do, which took place two years ago in the French ski resort of Val Thorens, was not anti-Semitic.
Hummus is a laughing matter
For those who prefer their Onion-type humor with some Middle Eastern spice, a new, satirical, Muslim-oriented, faux news website, The Hummus, launched in December, to little or no fanfare.
Other stories, such as “State-Run Media Is Most Reliable Source of News According to State-Run Study” and “Efficient New Democracy Will Feature Single Un-Elected Representative” highlight the totalitarian nature of some Muslim regimes.
From Zion shall go forth… Arabic web content?
In what is perhaps the ultimate in Internet irony, citizens of countries where even speaking to an Israeli can land them in jail or worse may soon find themselves using the latest in Israeli technology to access information on the Internet, read books and documents on devices, shop online, use advanced location tech apps in their native language, and more. While there are plenty of web sites in Arabic, according to Dona Haj Manaa, Arab Sector Manager of the UK-Israel Tech Hub, they are generally just static repositories of data – and there are precious few ways for people to access and use that data in apps for devices like cellphones and tablets. “Our program aims to bring that technology to them, using the latest in Israeli-made tech,” she told The Times of Israel.
Revealed: Beyonce’s Daughter Digs Israeli Duds
The glamour icon, famous around the world for her exquisite fashion sense, recently uploaded a picture of her and baby daughter Blue Ivy to Tumblr. The image shows the undisputed queen of pop music sitting with her precious princess, who just so happens to be wearing a get up designed by the famous ‘Nu Nu Nu’ Israeli clothing company, Walla said.
And it turns out that Beyonce is not alone in her Blue and White fetish. Israeli fashion brands are currently starring all over Hollywood, especially among the children of celebs.
Among the other beautiful people whose little tikes have been seen on the red carpet in threads spun in the Land of Milk and Honey: Gwen Stefani, Orlando Bloom, Ben Affleck and Celine Dion, Walla reported.
Renowned Jewish Canadian MP, law scholar to retire
Canadian MP and former justice minister Irwin Cotler announced on Wednesday that he will not run in the 2015 federal election.
“I have enjoyed the honor and privilege of serving my riding, Parliament, and the Canadian people as a whole for close to fifteen years. I look forward to completing my mandate and continuing the pursuit of justice in other arenas,” Cotler posted on Facebook.
Israel’s Peres Aims for Guinness Record With 6,500-Student Online Civics Class
Israeli President Shimon Peres will on Thursday deliver what is expected to be the world’s largest online civics class, setting a new Guinness World Record, with 6,500 students from 215 classrooms.
In a statement on Wednesday, Peres’s spokesman said the class will be broadcast from Cisco’s Israeli headquarters, in Netanya, to Jewish and Arab students in Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, Tel Aviv, Kuseife, Ofakim, Dimona, Hadera, Tiberias, Tayibe, Nahariya, and other communities across Israel.
1,700 years of Jewish history come alive in downtown Cologne
Several years in the planning, the Archaeological Zone/Jewish Museum, as the Cologne municipality calls the project, will be spread out over an area of more than 10,000 square meters (approximately 110,000 square feet). Besides the ancient shul, visitors will get to see (and learn about) ancient medallions, clay marbles and ivory dice, animal bones (which shed light on the Jews’ eating habits) and a Hebrew inscription above a private house that contained instructions about how the “feces are to be taken out.” Archaeologists also found countless slates with inscriptions, including one museum officials consider “a true historical sensation” — the oldest Yiddish writing on stone.


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