Thursday, February 27, 2014

From Ian:

Scarlett Johansson defends herself for first time since Super Bowl SodaStream ad which saw her dropped as Oxfam ambassador for breaching charity's Israeli boycott
She quit her role as Oxfam ambassador in a row over her controversial Super Bowl advert for SodaStream - and chose to keep her links with the Israeli fizzy drink firm.
Now speaking for the first time since she severed her ties with the humanitarian group, Scarlett Johansson insists she never saw herself as a role model in the first place.
In an interview with Dazed magazine, Johansson did not directly address the row with Oxfam, but said: 'I don’t see myself as being a role model; I never wanted to step into those shoes.
The 29-year-old actress said she had a 'fundamental difference of opinion' with the charity after it said it opposed all trade from Israeli settlements because they say it is illegal and denies Palestinian rights
Forgotten Even By Us: Judaism’s Historic Ties to Israel
With Palestinian Arabs claiming Canaanite descent, the Jewish people must make their case for their historical ties to the land of Israel. The biblical era, from Israelite origins in the land through the Second Temple’s destruction, is well-known in the West. The tenacious continued Jewish presence thereafter isn’t.‎
Former President Carter voiced a widely-believed misperception when he wrote regarding the year 135 CE: “Romans suppress(ed) a Jewish revolt, killing or forcing almost all Jews of Judaea into exile.” But the forgotten fact is that the Jews never left.
The great significance of this, stated by eminent British historian James Parkes, is that Jews have always had strong ties to the land due to the “heroic endurance of those who had maintained a Jewish presence in The Land all through the centuries, and in spite of every discouragement,” which gave the Zionists’“real title deeds.” Every ruler in between was a foreign invader, and mostly non-Arab at that. The homeland Jewish Yishuv saw them all arrive and depart.
Irreconcilable Conflict
Literary editor of the New Republic Leon Wieseltier is calling a new book written by his TNR colleague John Judis, a senior editor, “shallow, derivative, tendentious, imprecise, and sometimes risibly inaccurate” and also “insulting” and “nasty.”
The scathing remarks are contained in an email Wieseltier sent to historian Ron Radosh praising his negative review of the Judis book, which argues that Israel should not exist. Marty Peretz, the longtime former editor of TNR, remarked in 2010 that on the Middle East, “John Judis knows zero.”



What went right in the State of Israel?
The pessimists who proclaim the deterioration of Israel’s international standing might remember the old Jewish saying, “What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your mouth.” Their perception is inaccurate though their concern is loudly voiced.
Unfortunately for them, these boycotters are slow to appreciate the resilience of the State of Israel in responding to the fallacious Palestinian narrative that they have accepted.
The Israeli economy is strong and stable and has escaped most of the problems caused by the global financial crisis of recent years that was responsible for a decline in world trade growth and a reduction in global import demand.
Israeli GDP in 2012 increased by 3.3 percent, and GDP per capita by 1.5 percent. The driving force in the economy was the high tech industry, which was responsible for exports worth $21.5 billion. The high tech companies, mostly in pharmaceuticals, electrical components, chemicals, and aircraft, were responsible for 52 percent of the value of total exports.
BDS and the Oscars: How Screenwriter Ben Hecht Defied an Anti-Israel Boycott
Hollywood screenwriter Ben Hecht said he “beamed with pride” when he heard the news on that autumn afternoon in 1948: The British had declared a boycott against him. By day, Hecht was the highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood, but by night his typewriter had been cranking out fiery newspaper ads denouncing England’s Palestine policy. Now he was going to pay a price for his unbridled opinions.
Feb. 28 will mark 120 years since Hecht’s birth, an auspicious anniversary, perhaps, to consider his response to a dilemma that friends of Israel now face daily: how to respond to an anti-Israel boycott.
BDS: You Can’t Fight for Justice With Hypocrisy
Less than a week before Israel Apartheid Week opened on college campuses across the U.S. and UK, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired the first shot in Israel’s defense. Referring to the founders of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) as “classical anti-Semites in modern garb,” Netanyahu said the time has come to delegitimize those who delegitimize Israel.‎
Netanyahu was likely referring to people such as Omar Barghouti, one of the main founders of the BDS movement and its chief ideologue.
Barghouti claims his movement is opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. His own statements, however, demonize Israel and fall well beyond the scope of legitimate criticism. At a speech in Los Angeles earlier this year, for example, Barghouti claimed that IDF soldiers shoot Palestinian children “for sport” just because they are “bored.”
The Case for Israel and Academic Freedom
I appeared on Tuesday evening, February 25, 2014, at Ithaca College for a talk on The Case for Israel and Academic Freedom.
The appearance was in response to the appearance at Ithaca College of Cornell Professor Eric Cheyfitz, a vocal supporter of the anti-Israel BDS movement and particlarly the American Studies Association academic boycott of Israel.
Here’s the video of my talk. Be sure to watch the question asked by a BDS supporter and my answer at the 54 minute mark)


Breitbart's Ben Shapiro Crashes UCLA Hearing, Anti-Israel Divestment Fails
Tuesday night, the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC) considered a resolution calling for the university to divest from businesses that supposedly “profit from the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.”
Braving hundreds of anti-Israel speakers and protesters, Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro, a UCLA alumnus, took the microphone and delivered a fiery lecture to the student council and the protesters, exposing the true motive of the so-called Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement: Jew-hatred.
Ben Shapiro at UCLA: "BDS is just another form of anti-semitism"


Heard At The UCLA Divestment Debate
There were more than a few who let their obvious anti-Semitism flag fly, almost proudly. The one speaker who said that IDF soldiers who were there to speak were “intimidating;” another who quite intentionally referred to the IDF as “IOF” (“Israel Occupation Force”), a typical insult to those who protect Israel. The self-described “queer” who accused Israel of pinkwashing was actually rather humorous, with his lecture about not using words like “gay” or “homosexual” to describe his people, followed by his assertion that gays are treated well in the Middle East (not Israel, where being gay is not illegal nor punishable by death, but in the rest of the Middle East). While listening to him and the Jewish youth who were speaking for JVP, I couldn’t help but wonder how their speeches would play in Gaza or Ramallah and would happily organise a mission for them to get there.
We oppose Israeli Apartheid Week because…
As “Israeli Apartheid Week” arrives at Western university campuses, Jewish students have decided they won’t take the slander lying down. Hundreds are now participating in the #Rethink2014 campaign by snapping pictures of themselves holding up messages explaining their opposition to the annual hate-fest. The tactic borrows from the hugely successful “I Need Feminism” campaign, in which students expressed their support for feminism through messages on a whiteboard.
Here are my personal top-ten favourites, in reverse order:
You are #Rethink2014


More Utter Stupidity From The "There Was A State Called Palestine" Brigade
They've appropriated the Palestine Football Team that toured Australia just before the Second World War in support of their ludicrous thesis, assuming wrongly that the team consisted of Arabs.
They've enlisted maps supposedly of venerable age, and, as in all these ventures into a past that was not as it was but as they would like it to have been, made fools of themselves in the process.
And now they're using a postcard addressed by Golda Meir in 1930 as another piece of "evidence" for their false claim.
Look, for instance, how it's been utilised on the Facebook page of the disgusting CUFP (for the lowdown on that antisemitic group and its founder see my previous post):
It really does seem that such ignoramuses genuinely believe that before 1948 there was an independent Palestinian state with its own government. (h/t Norman F)
Poland and the chocolate factory
Since that time the family has continued to fight for its factory.
“The Polish government told us it had been nationalized according to Polish law — but said the owners were supposed to receive compensation — which they did not. That’s the most frustrating thing: They’re not complying with their own law,” says Lynn.
Bruno’s grandson, Bradley Schramek, and Wilhelm’s granddaughter, Nomi Rom, are now ostensibly 50-50 heirs to the family business. Their chances of seeing any recompense are slim in a Poland that still has not legislated a Holocaust restitution law or enacted any streamlined procedure for such claims.
Jewish foundation to deliver books to Israeli Arab kids
A foundation that distributes free Jewish books to Jewish children in North America and Israel is launching an initiative to deliver Arabic books to Israeli-Arab preschoolers.
The Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s PJ Library and Sifriyat Pajama, PJ’s sister program in Israel, have collectively given away more than 10 million books in nine years.
The new initiative for Israeli Arabs is called Maktabat al-Fanoos, Arabic for “Lantern Library,” and will distribute Arabic children’s books to 45,000 preschoolers living in Israeli-Arab communities. Some 215,000 Jewish preschoolers in Israel receive Sifriyat Pajama books.
Vandalized Japanese ‘Anne Frank’s Diary’ copies replaced
The books, a gift from the embassy and the Jewish community of Japan, were donated as police hunted those responsible for defacing copies of the much-loved book, which tells the tale of a young Jewish girl in Amsterdam who ultimately died in a Nazi concentration camp.
“Our first reaction actually was a little bit of a shock,” Peleg Lewi, the embassy’s deputy chief of mission, said at a ceremony in the residential area of Suginami, whose libraries were a main target.
A better potato for India, via Israeli tech
When he visits family on vacation from his post at Israel’s Vulcani Agricultural Research Institute, Dr. Akhilesh Kumar is always struck by the two very different New Delhis he experiences. One is the city of haves, where people can phone up a fast food joint and get a nice meal delivered. The other is the city of have nots, down in the street, among the penniless, hungry beggars that the delivery person has to wade through to make his delivery. “The food is there, but it isn’t getting to everyone,” Kumar said. “The problem in India is not a lack of food. In truth, India grows enough food to feed itself.”
The problem isn’t one of poor agriculture, but poor distribution, Kumar told The Times of Israel in an exclusive interview. “The biggest crop in India is the potato, and in fact India is the second largest producer of potatoes in the world after China (the country produced 45 million metric tons of potato in 2012, approximately 12.2% of total global potato production). But those potatoes are mostly produced in the winter, and when harvest time comes, there is a glut on the market.
Jersey’s efforts to enhance Israeli relationships well received at London event
Minister Bennett addressed an audience of 50 invited guests and spoke about innovation, entrepreneurship and deregulation in Israel.
Attendance at the breakfast briefing forms part of a busy programme of activity aimed at building positive business relationships with Israel. In December, Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst led a three-day visit to Israel, organised by Locate Jersey, and participated in a plenary session at the Globes Israel Business Conference in Tel Aviv. Details have also just been announced for an ‘Island Innovators [un]Conference’ from 3 – 6 April, featuring Israeli serial entrepreneur Yossi Vardi.
Israel lights way for tech start-ups
Israeli technology expert Oren Gershtein is a true believer in his homeland's start-up incubator programme, which New Zealand wants to replicate.
While Israel is better known for its long-running conflict with the Palestinians, the country is also a heavyweight player in the world of innovation, with the third largest number of listings on New York's tech-heavy Nasdaq stock exchange after the United States and China.
Many of the world's technology titans - including Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Intel - have research and development operations in the small, Middle Eastern country.
China Buys Its Way Into Israel's Tech Scene
Israel's technology scene has recently spawned several global sensations, and the Chinese are getting in on the action.
In an interview, Israeli Chief Scientist Avi Hasson said his office worked with China on dozens of joint technology projects last year. Three years ago, there were none. Chinese billionaire Li Ka-Shing — an investor in Waze before Google bought the Israel-rooted company for about $1 billion — is now the most active foreign investor in Israel, Hasson said.
"We are seeing more and more Chinese activity in Israeli high tech," Hasson said. "Investment in venture capital by strategic and institutional Chinese investors, direct investments in companies and also acquisitions. This is very welcome."
Ben-Gurion University Start-Up Wins $1 Million ‘Cybertition’
Thirty-five cyber-security companies competed. The winning company, Titanium Core, works to repel cyber attacks on mission-critical systems and prevent attacks in real time. It will receive a $1 million investment and working space in JVP’s laboratory in Beer Sheva, Israel.
“Our patented technology can provide an unbreakable security layer around core, mission-critical systems… This funding, along with the guidance of the Cyber Labs incubator, will allow us to bring our vision to market and ensure that this technology can be used to protect the world’s critical IT assets,” said Dudu Mimram, co-founder and chief technology officer for Titanium Core.
The company was founded by Mimram, Director of Telkom Innovation Laboratories at BGU Prof. Yuval Elovici, and Ph.D. student Mordechai Guri.
Israeli missile-defense system for passenger planes passes live-fire test
Eitan Eshel, head of research and development at the ministry, said Wednesday that testing of the “Sky Shield” system was “100 percent successful.”
Wednesday’s tests involved firing live missiles, which were all successfully deflected.
The system integrates laser technology with a thermal camera to protect aircraft against missiles fired from the ground. It deflects missiles fired at aircraft by changing their direction.
Eshel did not say when the system, under development for about a decade, would become operational.
Running for Holocaust survivor
Some 35,000 runners will descend on Tel Aviv this Friday to participate in the city’s annual marathon, including Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma.
Partnering with Aviv Lenitzolei Hashoah (Spring for Holocaust Survivors), runners and spectators can cheer on the ambassador as he runs the half marathon to raise awareness for the plight of Holocaust survivors in Israel.
“It is an issue that resonates quite deeply with Australia,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“Remembrance of the Holocaust is a large part of the Jewish community in Australia and it is an area of Jewish history that we take a close interest in,” he said.
Australia today has one of the highest rates of Holocaust survivors in the world, having absorbed around 35,000 of them following WWII, second only to Israel.


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