Thursday, February 20, 2014

From Ian:

The ugly history of the Apartheid Smear
Here, I want to say something about the revealing historical background to the apartheid smear. There have been three key moments. Each – whatever the sincere hopes of many of its supporters – was a cynical attempt to demonise Israel as a pariah state in order to prepare the ground for its eventual destruction.
The smear originated in "anti-Zionist" campaigns that were waged without let up by the Communist states during the Cold War. Seeking Arab allies, these campaigns frequently descended into antisemitism, the word "Zionist" understood by all as a fig-leaf for "Jew". Many ideas that have since spread around the world, especially amongst "progressives", began here: Zionism equals racism, Zionism equals imperialism. Israel is the USA's "watchdog" in the Middle East, Zionism is complicit with, or even promotes, antisemitism, and, of course, Zionism equals South African apartheid.
Following Scarlett Johansson Furor, Oxfam Threatened With Lawsuit for Providing Aid to Branches of Terror Group
Global charity Oxfam has been threatened with criminal and civil lawsuits for its funding of branches of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an internationally designated terror organization, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center said in a statement on Thursday. The move comes just weeks after actress Scarlett Johansson ended ties with the charity over a difference of opinion regarding her role as an ambassador for Israeli company SodaStream.
Shurat HaDin, which “represents victims of Palestinian and Islamic terrorism in courtrooms around the world,” demanded that Oxfam sever its ties with the Union of Health Workers Committees (“UHWC”) and the Union of Agricultural Worker’s Committee (“UAWC”), two agencies of the terror organization which it said “were created by the PFLP” and “operate under the direct patronage and in close cooperation with the PFLP.”
Study: Arab-Israeli Conflict Source Of 85% Of World’s Bull$#!@ (satire)
The BS finds its way into the environment through such media as major news outlets that use the term “militant” instead of “terrorist,” for example, or “resistance to the occupation” instead of the more fact-based “attempts to destroy Israel.”
By far the most common type of this pollution involves the term “Palestinian,” a made-up nation with no discrete national history before the 1960′s except as derivative of Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian tribal loyalties. But other common types of BS can often outnumber those stool samples on any given day, such as the manifest misnomer “peace process” and an assumed “right” of return for Arab refugees. Still other common examples include “Israel’s blockade of Gaza,” which ignores the coastal strip’s border with Egypt; “1967 borders” as a reference to boundaries that were actually only a messily-defined ceasefire line from 1949, not a recognized national frontier; and anything that comes from a source that supports the BDS movement.



IDF, Watchdog Group Criticize Australian Media Report on Palestinian Children
“John Lyons’s documentary, replete with distortions, misrepresentations and outright falsehoods, is one of the most extreme instances of anti-Israel propaganda to appear in a mainstream television outlet in recent memory,” Tamar Sternthal, director of CAMERA’s Israel office, told JNS.org.
Sternthal added, “Had the reporter upheld his journalistic obligation to fact-check specific charges of brutal torture of Palestinian minors, he would have learned that the accusations were unfounded.”
Anti-Israel Professor Judith Butler to Speak at NYC Jewish Museum
Jewish anti-Israel professor Judith Butler will be featured by New York’s Jewish Museum in an event about existentialist Jewish writer Franz Kafka, and her critics on Wednesday were quick to call out the institution and its chief curator for their “Kafka-esque” move.
Israeli artist, playwright and professor, Dahn Hiuni, who pilloried Butler last week, in an interview in The Algemeiner, on Wednesday said he was “speechless” and that the news of the Jewish Museum event was “horrible, but upon reflection, I’m not surprised.”
After walkout, Bennett makes amends with EU president Schulz
During their conversation Wednesday, Schulz guaranteed Bennett that he will always stand with Israel. Bennett presented the German politician with a 2,000-year-old coin unearthed in Jerusalem, and thanked him for his firm stance against boycotts of Israel. He explained the Knesset walkout as “a parliamentary move,” Channel 2 reported.
The two also discussed expanding ties between Europe and Israel.
“Europe is Israel’s number one trade partner and we need to work to advance our ties,” Bennett said, according to a spokesperson.
During ‘nadir’ in ties, Merkel to bring entire cabinet to Israel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her entire cabinet are due in Israel next week for a high-profile visit that will include the largest bilateral government consultations in Israel’s history. However, the trip, which officially kicks off the preparations for next year’s celebration of 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, is being overshadowed by reports of the worst crisis in diplomatic ties since Merkel took office nearly 10 years ago.
War and Peace and SodaStream
Not only are the anti-SodaStream campaigners barking up the wrong tree, they’re not even in the right forest. Apart from posing no threat to Palestinian nationhood and employing said Palestinians in large numbers, the reality of life in Ma’ale Adudim blows the case for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) to smithereens.
That 80% isn’t just geographically entwined with Israel, but economically too. Contrary to the assertions of many activists, boycotting just the West Bank and not Israel itself simply isn’t feasible. Beyond that, it’s morally wrong. The people who live in places like this aren’t criminals or fanatics, but Israeli citizens. As our visit demonstrated, they are quietly, and independently of the politicians, learning to co-exist with their Palestinian neighbours. This process will take a very long time and may yet fail, but it is palpably happening.
The BDSers’ studied ignorance of all this is why so many of us suspect – more than suspect – that the movement isn’t about helping the Palestinians at all. Some of its advocates may sincerely believe it is, I can’t see into their hearts. But the inescapable implication of boycotting Israel is that the state itself is illegitimate.
BDS’er, get off those drugs!
One of the major players in the worldwide drug industry is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., an Israeli company. According to its website, Teva fills 1 out of every 6 generic prescriptions in the US and Canada. Generic drugs, in 2012, made up 84% of all prescriptions filled in the US. So in the US, 14% of all prescriptions were filled by an Israeli company. If you live in the US and you bought 7 prescription drugs over the course of the year, chances are that one of them was made by Teva. If you live in Europe, you very well could have bought prescription medications made by Teva. Teva Europe has supplied over 1000 doses of medicine per second (!) to European customers.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like J Street?
As the documentary wears on, exposed to this rather unforgiving dissection, the J Streeters almost begin to appear amusingly tragic. One J Street activist pleads that she supports J Street because she likes “creating good things in the world.” No match for Professor Wisse: “because they are so sensitive, and because they are so good-hearted … and wicked Israel is not as good hearted as I am. The stupidity of this kind of innocence in a world that is so complicated, when you belong to a people with such a tortured history of trying to arrive at the good in the midst of being persecuted and prosecuted falsely over so many centuries, I mean, its almost intolerable.”
What The J Street Challenge certainly exposes is the concerning way in which the J Street message risks having real traction with students. What this documentary does in response is to equip a broad public with the arguments by which to counter the supposedly sophisticated and morally superior arguments of liberals claiming to support Israel, while in reality only ever going out of their way to condemn it.
J Street: Building the Great Constituency of Naivety
By ignoring and twisting key facts on the ground, J Street is building a constituency that stands clueless on some of the most important issues in the Middle East. Furthermore, as a result of this, J Street’s clueless constituency is pushing for solutions to conflicts based off false realities, which can lead to dangerous results.
Extremely UNnecessary: Falk’s big fat waste of time
Basically, Falk was a colonizer, in that he felt he knew what is best for the Palestinians.
Ironically, his whole presence in recent years has been an unmitigated disaster for them. The leaked report illustrates the lack of accomplishment and the fact that no western power will take it seriously reveals his self-destructive role. Palestinians often do not see this. There is a perception that the Falks and other foreign “pro-Palestinian” radicals such as George Galloway, Baronness Jenny Tonge and Gretta Duisenberg benefit the Palestinian cause. But these radicals – Galloway was a supporter of Bashar Assad, and Duisenberg claimed that “the Jews... always seek to dominate the information flow” – don’t do them any service.
Falk is a twisted circus clown who should never be hosted by respectable institutions and should be put in his place for the disservice he did Israelis and Palestinians (rather than applauded for “helping” them); hopefully the international community will learn from this six-year waste of time and resources.
Exposing the boycott
Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, shows signs of mild embarrassment in the wake of reports it consigned Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim, to a list of firms deemed too “ethically questionable” for investment by ostensibly ethically minded investors.
Bank Hapoalim indeed featured on the list, but Deutsche Bank later averred this was merely a recommendation by an outside consultant from Denmark.
It needs be stressed that the actual damage to Bank Hapoalim is likely to be minimal at most. If anything, the impact on Deutsche Bank’s image will be greater. It goes beyond the specter of a German financial giant boycotting a Jewish concern. Deutsche Bank has a particularly dark past, even for a veteran German corporation.
Cinematic Strings: “BDS Movement Extreme And Counterproductive”
Last night Alex from Cinematic Strings left the following comment on yesterday’s second post:
Hi Yael,
Just an update. We realised that our own stance had been discriminatory, and that was not something we meant to do. We have given the discount to the artist concerned and in fact we have emailed him today and he is happy to work with us. We have agreed to provide the discount to every student regardless of their location, and after several discussions and further research, we have withdrawn our support of the BDS. We have done this because, while we still support open dialogue aimed at achieving peace and equality, we now consider the aims of the BDS movement to be extreme and counterproductive.
This was also featured Andrew Bolt's blog, Australia's most popular political blog.
After Soda Stream Factory Visit, Church Leaders Reject Boycotts
The Presbyterian delegates told representatives from Soda Stream that the visit to the factory strengthened their belief that the location of the factory enhances the business as well as the interpersonal relations between the Israelis and Palestinians and that they will express their support of Israel to the church administration and followers.
Ruby Shamir, Executive Director of AIFL Israel, stated, "These days when there are many voices calling to boycott Israel both in the business and academia regions, it is crucial to bring leaders and influential figures to change these ideas and to help form a positive and supportive opinion about Israel. This is yet another step towards the mission of the AIFL which is to strengthen the relationships between the American and Israeli people."
Channel 4 News’ Jonathan Miller doesn’t mention the 1948 war, and gets away with it.
In a cunning twist to that famous Fawlty Towers scene when Basil Fawlty tries to not mention the war when serving German guests but fails, Channel 4 News journalist Jonathan Miller does his best to not mention the war and succeeds!
The war that would not pass Miller’s lips was the one of 1948 when Israel beat five Arab armies and more to establish its legal state. Whereas the putative Israelis accepted UN Resolution 181 (the Partition resolution) the Arab world rejected it hoping to inflict on Israel’s Jews a second Holocaust instead.
To add to the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust another 6,000 Jews needlessly lost their lives in that 1947-49 war.
Not that such history seems to be of much concern to Jonathan Miller.
ADL Calls for ‘Sincere Apology’ From Photographer Rankin for Anti-Semitic Comments; Blasts Independent for ‘Lapse of Editorial Judgment’
Jewish human rights group, the Anti-Defamation League, said an apology issued by British photographer Rankin for anti-Semitic remarks he made didn’t go far enough, and blasted the UK’s The Independent newspaper for publishing the offensive comments.
“Rankin made a feeble attempt to justify his remarks when what is called for here is an acknowledgement from him that the views he expressed are anti-Semitic,” Michael A. Salberg, ADL Director of International Affairs, said in an email to The Algemeiner. “It is not too late for Rankin to offer a sincere apology.”
In Rawabi, the brand-new Palestinian city, both sides win
The city slopes down a hill 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) north of Ramallah, directly between Nablus and Jerusalem, and the Israeli coastline is clearly visible from the balconies of its higher apartments. Rawabi, which is Arabic for hills, is entirely funded by private investment — a joint venture of Palestinian company Massar International and Qatari real estate developer Diar — estimated to surpass $1 billion. When phase A is done, it will be home to more than 25,000 residents seeking to escape the disarray of traditional Palestinian cities.
While the prospects of a positive outcome to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians seem iffy, Rawabi is a towering certainty. But the shiny new city on the hill is not only a model of Palestinian entrepreneurship, it is also a little-known exemplar of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.
Israeli Invention Helps Wheelchair Users Go Down Stairs (VIDEO)
An new product created by an Israeli start up will allow the severely disabled to descend staircases without harming themselves, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Wednesday.
Technology developed by the Softwheel company will, according to CEO Daniel Bar-El, “Do away with the need to find a ramp,” when someone using a wheelchair wants to go down a flight of stairs.
Lady Gaga to play Tel Aviv in September
Gaga is the latest high-profile act heading to Israel this year.
Reports in the Israeli media last week said the Rolling Stones were near a deal to play in Israel for the first time, on June 10 at the Ramat Gan Stadium near Tel Aviv. Stones bassist Darryl Jones performed in Israel in December.
Also set to play are Deep Purple (February 22 and 33), Foreigner (March 25 and 25), Steve Vai (March 26), the Pixies (June 17), Soundgarden (June 18) and Neil Young & Crazy Horse (July 17).
Jordan-born Yitzhak Rabin to join IDF
Once again, Yitzhak Rabin is being drafted into the Israeli army.
Eighteen-year-old Yitzhak Rabin Namsy, born in Jordan and named following his namesake’s assassination on November 4, 1995, was granted citizenship after 16 years in Israel, Maariv reported Wednesday.
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar flew down to Namsy’s Eilat home to deliver his ID card in person earlier this week, the paper reported. (h/t Bob Knot)


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