Wednesday, March 26, 2014

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Saudi shame
It seems the Saudis are interested in keeping up the false impression – particularly before the greater Sunni world – that it has never stopped ostracizing Israel. They do this in a feeble attempt to cover up the cooperation between the two countries. This time it was the Post’s Wilner who was the fall guy for the Saudis’ cowardly foreign policy.
Indeed, there seems to be an inverse correlation between clandestine and formal relations: The more the Saudis secretly cooperate with Israel to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons capability, the more the kingdom takes pains to show the world – especially the Sunni world – how it snubbed a reporter who works with an Israeli daily. Ultimately, this entire sorrowful episode is yet another depressing example of how much of decision-making in this region is guided by irrational fears and prejudices, not real shared interests, and of how hatred of Israel continues to be a rallying call for Muslims.
White House Expresses “Deep Disappointment” That It Has No Balls (satire)
In a statement, the White House said it had “deep disappointment” over Saudi Arabia’s decision and its own apparent lack of testicles. Having such anatomical features might have enabled the administration to call the kingdom on its unacceptable behavior, but as the White House has no balls, it was rendered incapable of summoning of the courage to defend the principles it claims to have.
The same lack of cojones has plagued the Obama administration in its dealings with other Middle East figures, notably Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has continually refused to commit to a formula that would leave Israel secure as a Jewish state. Instead of taking a courageous stand and displaying integrity by drawing an actual line, the White House has highlighted its own emasculated position by letting a corrupt, incitement-fueling autocrat pretending to democratic authority scuttle prospects for a meaningful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, allowing Abbas not to concede a thing and laying the onus on Israel to compromise on points crucial to its survival. (h/t Mightier than the Pen)
White House Thinks Anti-Semitism Is “Disappointing”
Wilner is not Israeli, but in such cases one is often told that this is not really about Jews or Jew hatred, but simply about Israelis. Just such thinking is promoted by the boycott movement. Yet, even if we were to buy into the notion that this is simply about Israelis–Wilner, after all, works for an Israeli newspaper–what are Israelis other than Jews who live in the Jewish state? Such moves never target Arabs living in Israel. This notion that it is not as bad to target an Israeli Jew not only promotes the belief that it is perhaps not quite right that Jews should have a state, but also that there are certain places that it is permissible to forbid Jews from living. This is the logic that imprisons Jews in ghettos, that says that certain places are off-limits for Jews.
President Obama may have bowed before the king of Saudi Arabia, but this is a country where the most vicious hatred of Jews is deeply entrenched in the national culture. As Eli Lake highlights in today’s Daily Beast, there are still serious concerns about the kind of incitement to hatred being promoted in Saudi school textbooks. As Lake notes, the State Department is refusing to release its most recent report on these books, yet it assures us that the Saudis are making promising progress on this matter.
US Hiding Report on Radical Saudi School Textbooks
US President Barack Obama stands poised to visit Saudi Arabia later in the month, to discuss "countering violent extremism" among other things. However, a report has revealed the US has kept secret an extensive study of Saudi textbooks, traditionally rife with Islamic extremism, since the end of 2012 - casting doubts over the seriousness of the administration to tackle the root causes of Islamic extremism.
The study, commissioned in a reported $500,000 State Department contract in 2011, was the most comprehensive ever commissioned. Completed in late 2012, the findings with their implications on radical indoctrination and anti-Semitism have been kept hidden from the public.
However, a new report published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think-tank, quoting sources familiar with the hidden study, notes Saudi textbooks still “create a climate that fosters exclusivity, intolerance, and calls to violence that put religious and ethnic minorities at risk.”

Palestinian Activist: Arab Countries' Laws Relating To Women Are Stone Age Laws
In an article for International Women's Day, which occurred on March 8, 2014, Palestinian activist Ahlam Akram reviewed the repeated violations of women's rights across the Arab world and claimed that laws relating to the status of the Arab woman "belong to the Stone Age." According to her, Arab countries do almost nothing to improve women's status under the pretext of preoccupation with "the grand campaign against Israel." She noted further that, despite reforms that have been enacted to grant women more liberties, for instance in Saudi Arabia, the situation of Arab women remains bleak.
“Shut Up,” BDS Explained: An “Open Forum” at Vassar
So members of Vassar’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine “staged an action against” the on-campus part of the class, which included picketing, urging students to drop the course, and making a lot of noise (the only dispute seems to be whether the noise could be described as “ululating” or not). Jill Schneiderman and Rachel Friedman, two of the course instructors, complained to college officials about the protest; the protesters, most of whom were “people of color,” cried racism; and so the open forum was held.
[Philip] Weiss is explicit about the character of this “open forum”: "The spirit of that young progressive space was that Israel is a blot on civilization, and boycott is right and necessary. If a student had gotten up and said, I love Israel, he or she would have been mocked and scorned into silence. Or bedevilled by finger-snapping—the percussive weapon of choice among some students, a sound that rises like crickets as students indicate their quiet approval of a statement."
In other words, at least at this Vassar forum, it was not even possible to have a debate about the desirability of BDS because the students who support BDS have no intention of engaging in a debate or even letting their opponents speak without disrupting them. But such “belligerence may be necessary,” Weiss argues, to make sure that the right side wins.
U.S. says glad 'noxious' U.N. rights envoy for Palestine leaving
The United States on Monday welcomed the imminent departure of a U.N. human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories whom Washington accused of being biased against Israel and spreading conspiracy theories about the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Richard Falk, the outgoing United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, told a news conference as recently as last week that Israeli policies bore "unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.
In a statement to Reuters, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power condemned what she described as "Falk's relentless anti-Israeli bias, his noxious and outrageous perpetuation of 9/11 conspiracy theories."
"His publication of bizarre and insulting material has tarnished the U.N.'s reputation and undermined the effectiveness of the Human Rights Council," she said. "The United States welcomes Mr. Falk's departure, which is long overdue." (h/t Stan)
Hate Speech Illustrates True Face of BDS
As Adam Kredo of the Free Beacon writes, a university spokesman refused to condemn the threats or to express an opinion about the attempts by the BDS activists to intimidate other students. One can only imagine the university’s reaction had a similar controversy taken place involving insults or slurs directed at African Americans or other minorities. Yet, the hurling of words like “kike” and “dirty Jew” at Jewish students as well as other stunts intended to silence opposition to BDS appears not to be regarded as a serious threat to the peace of the school.
The connection between anti-Semitic rhetoric and BDS is not an accident. At its core the movement is an expression of Jew hatred since it seeks to single out for special discrimination the one Jewish state in the world while disregarding every other possible human-rights issue elsewhere. Its purpose is not to redress the complaints of Arab citizens of Israel or the administrated territories under its control but rather to seek the extinction of the Jewish state via the waging of economic warfare. BDS doesn’t seek to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians but rather to aid the efforts of the latter to wipe out their opponents. Its efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state are an inherent expression of bias against Jews. As such, BDS is not so much a debatable proposition but the same sort of hate speech that university officials would have no compunction about banning or punishing if it came from the Ku Klux Klan or other racist groups.
The time is now to stop divestment bullying at Michigan
What followed next can only be described as brownshirt-style tactics by divestment supporters: chanting mobs, barely legal occupations of public spaces, and most egregiously serious threats against representatives in CSG, including violent ones to the point where they were “afraid to attend their classes because they felt unsafe,” and racial slurs against pro-Israel students. When commentators on the Michigan Daily website spoke out against these tactics, divestment proponents posted in response, accusing anyone who disagreed with them of “racism” and denying them their “freedom of speech.”
This is completely unacceptable behavior and it has no place in this country, much less one of the US’s premier academic institutions. Regardless of the actual nature of the resolution, and the way CSG chose to handle it, the decision was made to table it. The divestment supporters chose to ignore the democratic decision of the CSG and took the law into their own hands. A vote for this resolution is no longer a vote about human rights in the Middle East but a vote about whether the Michigan community will stand by and allow the use of bullying and racial intimidation to achieve political goals on their campus.
#LoyolaDivest passes, again
So after more than four and a half hours of debate on Tuesday night, March 25th, 2014, Loyola University Chicago’s student government (USGA) yet again passed a divestment resolution singling out Israel.
The resolution passed with 12 in favor, 10 opposed, and 9 abstentions. This is a markedly different result from last week’s railroaded-through resolution which passed 26-0-2.
What is especially telling is that there are 9 confirmed members of Students for Justice in Palestine on the USGA board. Essentially, this means that SJP was only able to convince 3 senators of their bigoted views, while pro-Israel students valiantly swayed 17 senators to change their votes to no or abstentions.
Dutch MEP Says the Pro-Israeli Camp is Growing
Bastiaan Belder, a Dutch politician and Member of the European Parliament, said Monday that anti-Israel sentiment is "mostly on the Left."
Belder is a Dutch politician and Member of the European Parliament with the SGP, part of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group. He spoke to Arutz Sheva about anti-Semitism in his country.
Belder sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs. He himself is a member of the SGP, the Reformed Political Party .
Israeli architects appeal to Foreign Ministry, Britain against boycott threat
Israeli architects have appealed to the Foreign Ministry and the British government to help prevent the International Union of Architects from suspending their membership in the worldwide organization over the issue of West Bank settlements.
The Israeli Association of United Architects has turned to the two governments after it was targeted by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
“When the British prime minister [David Cameron] was here, he promised not to boycott Israel. This was his statement in front of the Knesset,” Israeli architect Itzhak Lipovetzky said.
Jewish Human Rights Group Says Royal Institute of British Architects Reliving Nazi Boycott Campaign
Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center called out the Royal Institute of British Architects for allowing “itself to become the victim of an extremist group of spoilers that use tactics redolent of the Nazis’ 1930s boycott campaign, ‘Kaufen Nicht bei Juden‘ – ‘Do Not Buy from Jews.’”
In a letter to International Union of Architects President Prof. Albert Dubler, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels wrote, “Political agitators aim to hijack your profession and blemish your mission ‘to unite the architects of the world without any form of discrimination.’”
Samuels called out their hypocrisy for choosing to boycott Israel, as he listed the regimes that are members of the group which have received no sanction.
"Why Have The RIBA Voted To Focus On Israel As The Greatest Sinners In The World?": Prominent Architects Blast RIBA
Educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, Stephen Games is an architect and founder of the New Premises think tank. He has served as deputy editor of the organ of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), has made documentaries for BBC Radio 3, has written for The Independent, The Guardian, and the Los Angeles Times. He edited the radio talks of celebrated British architect Nikolaus Pevsner and has edited several anthologies of poetry by John Betjeman.
Now, Mr Games has slammed RIBA's Council's support for Angela Brady's recent anti-Israel motion urging suspension of the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the International Union of Architects (UIA), in a letter to the president of RIBA, Stephen Hodder:
Yad Vashem rebuffs Hungarian memorial initiative
Yad Vashem has decided not to participate in a project to build a Nazi occupation museum in Hungary.
The House of Fates project invited representatives of the Jerusalem-based Holocaust museum and memorial to attend an international meeting of experts to discuss the memorial center to be built in Budapest.
Yossi Gevir, senior assistant to the chairman at the Yad Vashem Directorate, turned down the invitation in a letter last week to Maria Schmidt, head of the House of Fates project.
Chief Rabbi, Hungarian President Discuss Anti-Semitism
While in Hungary for the 70th anniversary of the murder of the Hungarian Jews by the Nazis on Monday, Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau and Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan met with Hungarian President Janos Ader.
The rising anti-Semitism in Hungary was a key topic in the meeting, which took place in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
Ades announced that recently a law has come into effect that would allow civilian courts to try cases of anti-Semitic expressions, in addition to the existing option of criminal court processes. Additionally, the law allows the trial of those speaking against a community, and not just against individuals.
Muslims Furious That Jews Not Blamed More For Missing Plane (satire)
“The default assumption must be that the Jews, either collectively or through the Zionist Entity, are behind any destructive occurrence that could be the work of humans, plus several that could not be,” said Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby. “We find it unconscionable that the avenues of investigation into a tragedy in which so many citizens of a Muslim nation, Malaysia, have been affected, do not include the obvious, namely, that the Jews are to blame.” He lamented that the default assumption has weakened in recent centuries, especially in the Western world, when it could serve well in both simplifying solutions to existing problems and preventing recurrences.
To illustrate, Elaraby noted that dozens of questions could be satisfactorily answered by the simple premise that Jews had, through sinister means, seized control of the aircraft by hacking into its guidance system and compromising the communication systems. Jewish computer expertise is well known, and the deaths of non-Jews as the Jewish holiday of Passover approaches has been a recurring theme, as Jews require the blood of gentiles to make their matza.
Israel’s National Library highlights Palestinian history
Convincing Israeli Arabs to share their cultural heritage with a Zionist institution isn’t always easy, curator says
An old advertisement poster printed on brittle green paper beckons Palestinians in Jerusalem to buy Al-Jamal cigarettes, made in Nablus.
“Smoke the products of this company and sense the Arab aroma and flavor untarnished by Zionism,” reads the ad. “By doing so, you will safeguard your revolution and prove that you respect the martyrs. You will be honored and respected by the foreigners.”
The eye-opening artifact, which offers insight into the political climate of the land some 80 years ago, is one of 600 British Mandate-period posters and announcements, mostly from the 1920s and ’30s, recently scanned and digitized by Israel’s National Library in Jerusalem. Paid for by the Arcadia Fund, the project is part of a massive undertaking by the library to make 150,000 mundane historic documents, known professionally as ephemera, available to the general public online.
Hugh Laurie weighing Israel gig
Israeli media has reported in recent days that Laurie is headed to Raanana in July as part of an international tour promoting his second studio album, “Didn’t it Rain.”
Asked by Israeli journalist Shaul Amsterdamski on Twitter Tuesday if the rumors were true, Laurie tweeted “Im yirtzeh hashem” (Hebrew for “God willing”).
So a performance seems to be on the table, at the very least.
Palo Alto Networks to buy Israeli cybersecurity firm for $200 mln
Security software maker Palo Alto Networks Inc said it agreed to buy privately-held Israeli cybersecurity company Cyvera for about $200 million to expand its offerings that protect businesses from cyber attacks.
Palo Alto said the deal would close in the second half of its fiscal year 2014.
Palo Alto said Cyvera's software - which protects businesses from cyber threats by blocking unknown, zero-day attacks - would help its customers to safely enable applications and protect them against threats on any device, across any network.
Printing Food: Israeli Start Up Could Revolutionize the Way We Eat (VIDEO)
Israeli company White Innovation is currently developing an entirely new and remarkably fast way to prepare food from the comfort of your kitchen, Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Saturday.
Its product, known as “Ginny”, is essentially a souped-up printer that is small enough to fit on any counter. To create a meal one places a capsule of raw ingredients into one side of the machine.
Then, olive oil, milk or water is injected.
It then marinates for about thirty seconds and voila: a delectable feast awaits.
Israeli (Settler) Wins Woman’s World Thai-boxing Championship
Sarah Avraham (20), of Kiryat Arba in Judea, won the Woman’s World Thai-Boxing Championship in Thailand last Thursday (Mar. 20). Officially named Muay Thai, the combat sport is dubbed “the art of eight weapons” because of the use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet. Sarah has previously won the Israeli championship, and now, after overcoming her Brazilin opponent, has become the world champion.
Sarah has an outstanding life story. Born in Mumbai, she converted to Judaism in 2008 at the age of 14 together with her family and immigrated to Israel following the terror attack on the Chabad House in November of that year. Avraham’s father, Dr. Aaron Avraham, was the friend and family physician of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who were murdered when terrorists attacked the Chabad House where they served as emissaries. Sarah and her family felt drawn to the Jewish People, and thus converted and immigrated to Israel.
World’s first self-cleaning solar park in the Arava Valley
Each night, the 20-acre facility is cleaned by 100 Israeli-made robots, which brush and clean the hundreds of solar panels, generating 9 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. It’s a technical breakthrough, said Eran Meller, CEO of Ecoppia, which built the robot cleaning crew, that could encourage more use of solar power.
Solar-produced electricity contributes just a small amount of the approximately 60 billion kilowatt hours of electricity that Israel uses each year, but the government has some ideas about how to change that – beginning with its own “house.” Earlier this year, the Knesset announced a new project that will make Israel’s parliament “the greenest in the world,” according to the Energy and Water Resources Ministry. Among other things, the project will entail installing 4,500 square meters of photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Knesset building, generating all the power the building needs to function, and then some. According to Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom, “the Green Knesset project will be a source of pride for Israel and will inspire other countries.”
Pharrell Williams very happy about Israeli video
American singer Pharrell Williams has paid special tribute to the Israelis who covered his award-winning single ‘Happy’.
The Grammy-winning rapper and record producer chose the video tribute filmed in Tel Aviv, to be shown at the UN’s International Day of Happiness .
‘Happy Tel Aviv-Yafo’, which features toddlers to grandparents dancing and miming along to the song , was filmed in the city's Rothschild Boulevard and Dizengoff , the beach and playgrounds.
The three-minute clip, which has had more than 200,000 views on YouTube, was filmed by non-profit educational group ISRAEL21c. Nicky Blackburn, a director of the group, told the Jerusalem Post: “We are delighted that Pharrell Williams and the UN chose our video for the day of happiness.
“People abroad often have certain assumptions about Israel, so this was a really wonderful opportunity for us to be able to show the world what an incredibly joyful and happy place Tel Aviv actually is. (h/t Predictor92)

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