Thursday, March 20, 2014

From Ian:

Boston Jewish Leader "Appalled and Offended" By Arafat Visit
The director of Aish Campus Boston, Rabbi Chananel Weiner, was sickened to hear that Boston donors helped support a trip to Yasser Arafat’s grave: "I am appalled and offended by the visit to Arafat’s grave funded by Boston’s Jewish community for the Harvard Trek to Israel.
For Boston’s Jewish community’s funds to go toward the lionizing of Arafat strikes me as a turn of events that will stain our community beyond recognition.
As someone who lived in Israel from 2000-2005 and witnessed first hand the destruction of lives, buses, cafes, property, and much more I cannot stand for this revisionist history and allocation of funds for the next leaders of our world."
Hillel on Harvard Student Arafat Grave Visit: No Big Deal
David Eden, Chief Administrative Officer at Hillel International, provided a statement in defense of the Harvard College Israel Trek 2014. The trip made a stop at Yasser Arafat's grave and posed for a picture. His statement is quoted in full: "A photograph of Harvard Israel Trek participants at the tomb of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah is causing understandable concern. That image is not what this trip is about. This morning the Trek was up north on the Syrian border touring an elite Israeli defense post and receiving an update from a senior IDF general on the current security situation there. So much of the trip is in that vein."
Some student Israel-hate from France.
Friday 14 march, the president of Paris VIII University threw out 10 Israeli students, who had actually been invited to a debate. In Saint-Denis the pressure from radical, ideologically anti-israeli students is so strong that the “president” found nothing better than to publicly humiliate these young Israelis to calm the anger of these students.
One of the 10 israeli students, Nicolle Perle, has written a witness letter to the students of France
France's hatred is rife in Paris VIII! (French)
The video below appears to be a group of anti-Israel students who, on top of having public demonstrations where the make their hatred of all things Israeli as public as possible, also demand that no one take their picture or video the demonstration.(h/t Yenta Press)

More reports about the same incident:
Hebrew: Israeli students bullied out of Paris8 university
French: University of Paris 8 Saint Denis removes the Hebrew day license for the event "APARTHEID ISRAEL!"

Israel Divestment Passed by Students at Chicago’s Loyola University, Tabled in Arizona and Michigan
Student governments at Arizona State University and the University of Michigan, meanwhile, tabled Israel divestment resolutions indefinitely on Tuesday, according to the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs.
The Loyola resolution, which passed 26-0 with two abstentions, urges the university administration “to withdraw investments from eight corporations complicit in Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories,
including Caterpillar, SodaStream, Veolia, and Hewlett-Packard,” according to the anti-Israel website “Sixteen Minutes to Palestine.” A video posted on Facebook by the group “Chicago Divests” shows the passage of the divestment resolution to the applause of the students.
Stand With Us: SJP’s underhanded tactics at Loyola U
How was SJP able to accomplish such a feat? Well, SJP has shifted its tactics away from the street theater of Israel Apartheid Week that made them look too radical to many on campus, and instead has been steadily infiltrating campus institutions like student newspapers and student government. At Loyola there are at least 5 members of the SJP, including the group’s president, who are student senators.
According to Loyola’s student government’s (USGA) bylaws, a bill can be presented during a meeting if it has 5 USGA members as co-sponsors. Obviously for SJP this was a fait accompli.
SJP was able to steamroll this latest incarnation of the insidious BDS movement, which seeks to destroy Israel, by playing the worst kind of undemocratic political maneuvering. Because there was no public announcement that this bill will be presented, there was no debate and not one word was heard in opposition, and that was by design.
Why would SJP resort to such underhanded tactics if their cause is so just? Their actions are a testament to the fact that BDS has been defeated at almost every university where it has been given a fair trial and argued on its merits. On the same evening, March 18th, Arizona State University and the University of Michigan’s divestment resolutions were tabled indefinitely after vigorous debates. At the University of Arizona and other colleges where similar underhanded tactics were used, pro-Israel students challenged and then overturned the vote at the next student government meeting.
Northeastern U rally cry: “Long Live The Intifada”
A rally in support of Northeastern SJP was held on March 18.
The rally was hyped in advance by anti-Israel websites like Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada, and among branches at SJP at numerous universities.
The expectation was that there would be a mass rally.
It didn’t turn out that way. There were at most about 200 protesters according to participants.
It’s pretty obvious from photos and video that many if not most of the protesters were not even students, but a coalition of local (and rather aged) activists and some union members with gripes unrelated to Israel:
Calling the President of Northeastern a “Zionist Goon,” as reflected in the video, was bad enough, and was typical of the attacks.
Fighting BDS – Countering BDS Bullying
Every time an artist or culture figure of any sort announces plans to perform or even visit Israel, the BDS launches a campaign to bully the artist to cancel the appearance and denounce Israel.
The tactic is effective because it generates undeserved media attention for the BDS movement due to the celebrity of the artist being bullied, even if the artist completely ignores the campaign. And when the tactic succeeds, as it did with Elvis Costello and others, a whole cadre of the artist’s fans is influenced to believe that Israel is beyond the pale and unworthy of a place among the nations.
Cultural figures have immeasurable influence in society because their fans often adopt their views on political matters uncritically. So it’s possible that the cultural boycott against Israel is more effective than the economic, political, and academic boycotts combined, at least for now.
Toulouse Jewish leader urges young Jews to leave
On the two-year anniversary of the murder of four Jews in Toulouse, the president of the local Jewish community encouraged young Jews to leave France.
Arie Bensemhoun, the community’s president, said young Jews should leave Toulouse because they could not practice Judaism openly and without fear there.
“I won’t deny that, yes, I encourage the younger people to make aliyah [immigrate to Israel] or go elsewhere, where they can thrive in open Judaism, emancipated and without constantly fearing over what tomorrow will bring,” Bensemhoun said during an interview Monday with the i24 television news channel.
In France, Killing Jews is Becoming a Reality Again!
It was August 9, 1982, in the Pletzl (Paris Jewish quarters). I remember when the French media announced that the Jewish Deli Jo Goldenberg had been attacked by terrorists. I was in my early twenties. Two men entered the restaurant, threw a grenade and then indiscriminately emptied their machine guns onto the patrons. Six people died and 22 were wounded in what was soon to be recognized as the worst Jewish death toll in France since World War Two. It had been less than 40 years since the six million had perished in the camps and much of the civilized world was regaining faith in the goodness of mankind. In the fresh aftermath of the Holocaust, Jewish hatred was still a non-subject. Anti-Semitism was the stigma attached to the Nazis and since they were no more, logically anti-Semitism should have ceased.
But if we can learn anything from anti-Semitism, it is that it defies logic on all levels. The giant volcano of hatred appeared dormant for a while. To be sure, nobody ever believed that it was completely extinct but simply dormant.
School children in Boston area play ‘jail the Jew’
A suburban Boston school district is working with community groups to combat a series of anti-Semitic incidents at elementary and high schools.
The Bedford district is addressing incidents that have occurred in recent months, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday, including a community forum set for Thursday. The incidents include a game called “Jail the Jews” at two elementary schools, and swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti painted on Boston High School and one of the elementary schools, according to the newspaper.
Hungary's Jews Mark 70th Anniversary of Nazi Invasion
Several thousand Hungarian Jews on Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Hungary with a memorial service outside the Grand Synagogue in Budapest, AFP reported.
The service, organized by Mazsihisz, the country's largest Jewish organization, was the first in a series of events marking the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of some 600,000 Hungarian Jews, most deported to Nazi death camps.
The anniversary has been marred over Hungary's own role in the Holocaust including a row over a plan by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government to build a monument in Budapest depicting Hungary under attack by Germany.
Argentina marks 22nd anniversary of Israeli embassy bombing
The March 17, 1992 attack killed 29 and injured nearly 300. The commemoration was held Tuesday due to Purim celebrations on the actual anniversary date of the bombing.
“Here there was life” is the motto of this year’s commemoration, which also includes an icon marker with the motto “Here there was life” on the Buenos Aires City interactive map at the corner where the embassy was located.
Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation turns 20
After “Schindler’s List,” Spielberg turned his lens on real survivors of the World War II Jewish genocide through his foundation, which has since filmed nearly 52,000 testimonies from Holocaust survivors around the world. As the organization turns 20, it has expanded its mission to include interviews with survivors of other genocides, including those in Armenia, Cambodia and Rwanda.
Spielberg was inspired to create the foundation after meeting so many Holocaust survivors while making “Schindler’s List,” which tells the story of a German businessman who used his Nazi ties to rescue 1,100 Jews from the Holocaust. The film’s greatest legacy isn’t its seven Oscars, $300 million in worldwide box office or even its message of humanity, says the 67-year-old, but the ongoing work of the Shoah Foundation.
Dutch parliament votes for motion that encourages trade with Israeli companies
Van der Staay submitted the motion after several Dutch companies terminated their cooperation with their Israeli counterparts. Another reason for the motion was the attitude of the Dutch Foreign Ministry that was accused of double speak. The Ministry was consulted by the companies who pulled out of Israel and reportedly influenced the decision to terminate cooperation with Israeli companies.
Dutch FM Timmermans has vehemently denied that his ministry pressured the Dutch companies and pointed out that he only executes a long standing policy of discouraging trade with Israeli settlements. He said that the Dutch government encourages trade with companies in Israel proper.
Tanzania, Israel to enter agro-development pact
Tanzania and Israel are to enter into an agricultural development pact in which the latter is expected to gain immensely from Israel’s irrigation know how having transformed its desert setting into an agricultural haven.
Addressing a forum on Tanzania-Israel Business and Investment organised by the Kingdom Leadership Network Tanzania a faith based organisation, Vice President Mohammed Gharib Bilal pointed out that Tanzania has plenty of minerals, gas and oil deposits, fisheries, livestock, forestry and wildlife and with such endowment, he underlined that Tanzania is just scratching the surface of its potential.
An Israeli startup bootcamp, bil Arabiya (in Arabic)
Could the next ICQ, Amdocs or Waze be built by an Arab-Israeli? This is what Fadi Swidan is hoping.
With government support, industry sponsorship and mentors on board, Swidan is launching what appears to be the first true high-tech venture accelerator for Israel’s Arab community.
Based in Nazareth, the new Naztech Accelerator is currently screening a couple of dozen companies to fill 10 to 15 spots in the five-month accelerator program starting early this year.
Advanced Technologies Park: An ecosystem of tech innovation in southern Israel
For the Advanced Technologies Park (ATP) at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev, located in the Israeli city of Beer-Sheva, the ultimate vision is as high as the desert sun.
Inaugurated in September 2013, the park is the brainchild of former BGU president Prof. Avishay Braverman. "My dream that Ben-Gurion University will do for Beer-Sheva what Stanford University did for Silicon Valley begins," said Braverman in a message pre-recorded for the inauguration. Also present at the ceremony were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, current BGU president Rivka Carmi, and several Israeli government ministers.
Israelly Cool: Blair Underwood’s “Incredible” Trip To Israel
Actor Blair Underwood – who 80s children like me will remember from L.A Law, but has acted prolifically ever since – is currently in Israel as part of America’s Voices in Israel, whom I have blogged about extensively before.
As you can see from his Facebook posts – included below for your convenience – he’s had an incredible time.
Graffiti artists bring 'youthful color' to Knesset
Six artists painted graffiti outside the Knesset Wednesday as part of a delegation expressing support for Israel.
The group was brought to the Knesset by Artists4Israel on an all-women trip that coincided with Purim and Women's History Month.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein called the visit "a beautiful, powerful initiative" and thanked the artists for their work and love of Israel.
"We came to add a little youthful color to the proceedings," Artists4Israel Executive Director Craig Dershowitz said.

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