Wednesday, February 26, 2014

From Ian:

Norwegian Store Chain Drops SodaStream Boycott
MIFF notified Staples it would publicize that Staples was a boycotting company, thus potentially hindering its international sales. Staples announced: “We want to make it clear: We still sells SodaStream. We take no position on political issues.”
General data shows BDS organizations have failed not only with Staples and SodaStream, but in regards to all trade between Israel a Norway. Norway’s Bureau of Statistics has recently published the preliminary figures for Norwegian external trade in 2013, and statistics show that Norwegian imports from Israel were at a total of 807 million Norwegian Krones (NOK), ($131 million), up from 761 million NOK in 2012.
In fact, for the fifth consecutive year imports from Israel to Norway have increased more than imports from other countries.
California Chapter of ASA refuses to apply anti-Israel academic boycott
Despite the ASA Executive Committee attempt to shut down the flow of information to me from ASA Regional Chapters, I again reached out to multiple Chapters as to whether the boycott would be applied at the regional level.
I can confirm that one of the most active ASA Chapters — the California American Studies Association (CASA) — will not apply the boycott to any of its activities, incuding the upcoming regional conference in April in Berkeley.
…. CASA has no intention of adhering to the ASA resolution; the boycott guidelines will not be applied to our upcoming conference in April…. The CASA officers discussed the ASA resolution, and we all agreed that CASA would not abide by the boycott.
UCLA Student Council rejects anti-Israel divestment resolution
After an all-night session, the UCLA student council defeated an ant-Israel divestment resolution by a vote of 7-5. (Featured image is moment vote announced.)
The vote received enormous attention, and was trending in the U.S. on Twitter.
This is a huge defeat for BDS on campus. Divestment resolutions recently were overturned at UC-Riverside and defeated at UC-Santa Barbara. I can’t say whether this is a national trend, but it does signify that pro-Israel students now are more organized than in the past.
BDS bad Karma: Co-op to report worst results in history
The Co-op Group's losses for 2013 are expected to be greater than £2bn, by far the worst in its history, when they are announced on 26 March.
I also understand that as the first stage in trying to revitalise the group as a whole, its chief executive, Euan Sutherland, will tell members of the Co-op's regional boards on Saturday that its substantial farming operation, which includes 15 farms, will be sold.
He will also reveal that Co-op is actively considering the sale of its 750 pharmacies, which generated revenues of £764m in 2012. "They are likely to be sold, but a formal decision hasn't yet been made," said a source. (h/t Rabbi Burns)

Brandeis senior puts up dukes over BDS
Nass appears in the clip for a few seconds with video spliced from an interview he gave on popular Fox Business News program “Varney & Company.” He is bookended by Roger Waters, Stephen Hawking and international Israel Apartheid Week activists. Quotes from Boycott, Divest and Sanction leaders scroll through the screen, and an image of Nelson Mandela appears while a South African accented male voice (not, seemingly, Mandela’s) expresses support for the movement.
In an after-midnight conversation with The Times of Israel, Nass says, “I grew irate and was incredibly irritated and vexed” upon hearing that his image was being used in support of the very movements he works against as a student pro-Israel activist.
Nass has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged the video’s makers via social media to a debate on “Israel as an apartheid state,” putting $5,000 of his own money on the line — to be donated to a mutually agreeable charity.
“That a 22-year-old college student of meager means is offering $5,000 of his own money should speak volumes. Rejection of my offer will expose their cowardice once and for all,” says Nass.
Nass also demands his image be edited out of the slick promotional video and an apology from the producers.
Educated Mainstream: The Bastion of Western anti-Semitism
It’s no accident that “Israel Apartheid Week,” an annual two-week extravaganza that began this week, focuses on Western college campuses. It’s not just because that’s where young, impressionable future leaders can be found. It’s also because, as a new study reveals, the educated mainstream is the mainstay of good old-fashioned anti-Semitism in today’s West. That counterintuitive finding explains why college campuses are such fertile ground for attacks on the Jewish state.
Prof. Monika Schwarz-Friesel of the Technical University of Berlin reached this conclusion after studying 10 years’ worth of hate mail–14,000 letters, emails, and faxes in all–sent to the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Israeli embassy in Berlin. In an interview published in Haaretz yesterday, she said she fully expected to discover that most of it came from right-wing extremists. But in fact, right-wing extremists accounted for a mere 3 percent, while over 60 percent came from educated members of “the social mainstream – professors, Ph.Ds, lawyers, priests, university and high-school students,” she said. Nor were there any significant differences between right-wing extremists’ letters and those of the educated mainstream, Schwarz-Friesel said: “The difference is only in the style and the rhetoric, but the ideas are the same.”
Passive attack: In Britain and France new Jewish Youth activism is stepping up where an aging leadership fears to tread
Rethink 2014 may symbolise the emerging sense of empowerment of the young diaspora in the UK, but its inspiration is found in the sense of a need to respond to a perceived threat whether real or not. “Historically, the community has always responded to perceived threats in a push or pull manner”, according to Hannah where response comes traditionally with the “push” which for Hannah’s Rethink2014 is a reaction towards a perceived bigotry and attack on Jewish identity being so deeply intertwined with Israel.
The campaign’s aim is to give a voice to the student body that feels nervous and intimidated by Israeli Apartheid Week on campus. There is a sense of “panic and vulnerability” on campus, explains Hannah. Rethink2014 is a defence of Israel, as a part of Jewish identity that is perceived as being most at threat. This reaction embodies the newfound collective desire to shelter the community’s most vulnerable point, which is its relationship to Israel. Whether they are politically justified or avoiding the core issues of the Israeli Palestinian conflict is besides the point. What we are seeing here is the beginning of the creation of a much more vocal Jewish leadership in the diaspora.
'Apartheid Week' Hits Hebrew University
"Israeli Apartheid Week," an annual event of Israel bashing, has occupied university campuses worldwide, but the attacks on Israel have sprung up from within as well. One particularly provocative photo display is spreading anti-Zionism in the halls of... Hebrew University.
Adi Golan, the head of the university's Ta Lavi pro-Likud student group, told Arutz Sheva that Arab students were behind the defamatory exhibit, which is located in a central hallway frequented daily by the university's regents. The Arab students put up photos depicting the IDF negatively with inciteful texts, reports Golan. The texts define IDF soldiers as "hunters of freedom," call Israel "Palestine," and the IDF an "occupying army."
Who is behind Israeli Apartheid Week?

Good Sports. Palestinian style
Looks like sports will be the next arena for boycott.
There's a petition (yawn) on There is always a petition on Anti-Israel activists are asking that membership of the Israeli Football Association (IFA)in the FIFA be suspended. And there is a new website devoted to the evil spoil sport Israelis and the poor oppressed Palestinians who just want to have fun.
Check it out: Israeli Occupation Transgressions against Palestinian Sports
In it we learn that "Palestinian Sports lost the following athletes during the Israeli Bombardment of Gaza"
This is the photo they choose to show you of Ayman Al-Kurd: National Team player.
And here's the martyrdom announcement of Ayman Ahmed Al-Kurd

His blessed efforts for the path of jihad are emphasized and not his good sportmanship (h/t Bob Knot)
Ha'aretz Veers Off Course on Israel Ports Story
Last week, the English edition of Ha'aretz published an article about a purported new victory for the anti-Israel boycott movement ("Israel boycott fears prompt foreign bidders to abandon ports tender," Feb. 18, 2014). The article, which was originally published in Hebrew in Ha'aretz's financial paper The Marker, stated:
Without including any response or statement from the companies in question or from the Israel Ports Company, the article originally reported that two foreign companies had withdrawn from an Israeli government tender due to "political" considerations. Furthermore, the reporter apparently failed to ask the companies to respond before publishing the story. Had Ha'aretz adhered to this basic journalistic practice, it might have avoided the embarrassment of publishing such an error riddled piece.
In communication with Presspectiva, CAMERA's Hebrew Web site, the involved companies denied the Ha'aretz story.
IPT: Al Jazeera Anchor Advocates Violence Against Anti-Muslim Brotherhood Journalists
A prominent Al Jazeera anchor with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement praising the murders of police officers and advocating attacks on journalists who stand with Egypt's current government.
Ahmed Mansour's statement was reported Saturday on the Brotherhood's own web site, Ikhwan Online. It blamed police and journalists for supporting last summer's military intervention which ousted President Mohamed Morsi – the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate – from office just one year into his term.
Four Corners producer - wrong again on antisemitic comments
In her article, Nathan detailed a number of comments on the page which were overtly and indisputably antisemitic -- referring not to Israeli policies or even Israelis, but to "Jews" --and clearly in breach of the ABC's editorial policies. As Nathan pointed out:
Some of the comments were deleted or edited by ABC moderators. However, many anti-Semitic comments have remained online for more than a week, spewing forth the gamut of traditional anti-Semitic themes.
In response, the Executive Producer of Four Corners, Sue Spencer, wrote into the Australian on Monday to say just how offended she had been -- not by the racist material published on her page, but by Nathan's article exposing it.
Accept Holocaust as Truth? No Thanks! Says Editor of Toronto Arab Paper
While criticizing Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for a perceived softening of his stance, board member of Palestine House and editor of the Canadian Arab newspaper Meshwar, Nazih Khatatba outrageously asked why we should accept the Holocaust as “truth”. According to a blog post and translation by Jonathan D. Halevi, the Meshwar editor stated the following in an editorial published on February 21:
“Why the Palestinian, any Palestinian, has to announce his ‘belief’ in the Holocaust of the Jews, and why should we accept it as truth? Mr. President, I reject the subservience expressed in your statements and we demand that you stop degrading our dignity and the dignity of our martyrs and prisoners.”
Israel urged to send forces to guard Ukrainian Jews
Ukrainian Jewish communities throughout the country are seriously concerned and feel helpless in the face of a “growing wave of anti-Semitic attacks,” the letter stated, citing the recent examples of a Molotov cocktail thrown at a Chabad center in the eastern city of Zaporozhye, a threatening phone message left for a rabbi in Kryvyi Rih calling for him to leave the city, and anti-Semitic graffiti found in Kiev and other locations.
The reports indicate a “Jewish emergency,” according to the letter sent by the Brussels-based EJA head.
Ukrainian envoy to UN downplays anti-Semitic violence in his country
Despite reports of attacks on Jewish estates and synagogues in Ukraine, Sergeyev told reporters the phenomenon probably was not widespread.
“It comes, not from a group of people, not even from the political parties. It comes from a certain people who then they’re trying to apologize, some statements and so on,” Sergeyv told reporters.
“Any attempt at anti-Semitism, any attempt not only at anti-Semitism but whatever, should be punished because it is under criminal law.”
Duma chairman: Russia concerned about Ukranian anti-Semitism
At a joint press conference with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein following a meeting between the two, Naryshkin answered reporters' questions about the situation in Ukraine, saying that Russia is very concerned about it.
"Unfortunately, the situation includes many expressions of anti-Semitism from radical groups," Naryshkin stated.
As for the Ukrainian government, the Duma chairman said "every government wants stability and must be based on law and order and unquestionable legitimacy."
Peres honors Merkel, lauds her stance against anti-Semitism
Shimon Peres awarded Israel’s highest civilian honor on Tuesday to visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Presidential Medal of Distinction “was bestowed upon Dr. Merkel for her unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and the fight against anti-Semitism and racism, in particular through education,” the President’s Residence said in a statement.
Israel, Germany to broaden joint cancer research
The agreement was ratified during a meeting in Jerusalem between Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri and his German counterpart, Johanna Wanka, who serves as the country’s federal minister of education and research.
Wanka and Peri expressed a willingness to expand the joint cancer research program and stated that they would strive to increase the program’s budget, which currently stands at NIS 2 million ($568,000) a year.
The two representatives also discussed plans to broaden joint water purification projects.
Israeli firms get top honors at premier cyber-security show
Israeli cyber-security companies walked away with eleven awards Monday night, concurring with the RSA Security Conference, being held this week in San Francisco. Israeli companies won awards in categories such as “Awesome Product of the Year,” “Products and Services Excellence,” “Database Security,” and “Tomorrow’s Technology Today,” among others.
RSA (named for the Israel-based security company that was bought by EMC in 2006), which has been held annually since 1991, brings together top security and cyber-defense professionals to discuss, among other things, the previous year’s cyber-news — who got hacked and why, and how to avoid future attacks. Dozens of companies from around the world present their cyber-technology, with executives from top multi-nationals checking out the technology for application security, network hardening, mobile security, cloud and data security, trends in the hacking world, and much more.
Israeli Tech Sector Never Been Better: Medved VIDEO
OurCrowd Founder and CEO Jon Medved discusses the Israeli technology sector and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Bloomberg Television's "The Pulse."
Medieval Jewish mikvah discovered in Spain
A 15th century mikvah was discovered at the location of the last synagogue in the old Jewish quarter of Girona in Catalonia, Spain.
The discovery of the Jewish ritual bath is significant since there are very few preserved mikvahs left in Europe and it further highlights the importance of Girona’s rich Jewish heritage.
Girona is a town near Barcelona which was known for its thriving Jewish community before the expulsion of Spain’s Jews in 1492.
IDF Blog: 16 Stories of Diversity in the IDF
Cadet D. started out in life as a shepherd in a small African village. Monaliza comes from an Arab-Christian family in Haifa. Dina grew up in Egypt, and didn’t know she was Jewish until terrorists invaded her home. Their backgrounds couldn’t be more different. But these soldiers share one thing in common: they have all served in the IDF.
Learn About the IDF's Druze Battalion

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