Monday, March 31, 2014

From Ian:

Peres: Israel a living monument to the six million
The State of Israel is a living memorial to the lives of six million Jewish men, women and children who were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, President Shimon Peres said Sunday during a ceremony in the Austrian capital.
“The Judenplatz was at the heart of a vibrant, thriving Jewish community, [but] from the 176,000 Jews of Vienna, only 5000 remained after the dark chapter of the Holocaust,” Peres said.
“The State of Israel is our victory. A fortress of triumph against the dark hand of the Nazis. A home to the memory of our six million brothers and sisters. A promise to the survivors of the horrors. A hope for the future of the Jewish People.”
Why are Feminists not Standing up for Israel?
Beyond all this legal and social inequality there is the matter of domestic violence against women. Rape is usually not seen as a criminal offense. Honor killings exist in many of the Arab societies, including that of the Palestinian Authority. It is legal for women to be beheaded, burnt alive, stoned, and tortured for “immoral” behavior such as adultery or having sexual relations with a non-Muslim man. They are also forbidden to marry non-Muslims. On the other hand, polygamy is legal in a number of Arab countries.
Given her scholarship on the history of sexuality, Professor Duggan must surely be familiar with the sad condition of women in all Middle East countries except Israel, where women have full social and political rights. Can we expect her as the leader of ASA, to organize a conference on that sad condition and to call for equality and justice for women in the Arab countries? If not, she may be judged guilty of indifference to the problems of women.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians Condemned for Visiting Nazi Death Camps
But there is also good news. Many readers came to the defense of Professor Dajani and the students who visited the Nazi camps to learn about the Holocaust.
Responding to the criticism, one reader wrote, "Frankly, these responses are theatrical. Academics went on a tour and that's all. There's no need to politicize an insignificant visit."
Another reader who voiced support for the visit said, "We have politicized everything expect for the embezzlement of public funds. Is it okay to steal millions of dollars from the people and not okay to have an academic study mission?"

Apartheid, Palestinian-style
In the meantime, Arabs in the Triangle, a concentration of Israeli Arab towns and villages adjacent to the Green Line, are refusing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's proposal to free them from the horrible "apartheid" and move them, on their own land, to a "free Palestine." Many residents of the territories openly miss the days of the Israeli occupation. Israel's "apartheid" reputation has led to thousands of Muslim infiltrators from Sudan to flock to our borders.
In the Quran, we are "the chosen people," but Islamic commentators say that Jews are a lesser minority who must pay a poll tax and ultimately convert to Islam or die. As far as they are concerned, Muslims may pray on the Temple Mount, but Jews are forbidden to do so. In their eyes, this is legitimate "separation" in light of the fact that the mount is under Israeli control. Acting in accordance with race theory, the Palestinian Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini worked with Hitler to implement the Final Solution and "separate" the Jews from human existence. Now any Israeli action to prevent mass slaughter of Jews is referred to as "apartheid." (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Liberal Zionists Emerging as Toughest BDS Fighters
Rosenberg and other supporters of the two-state solution – including those who support a “limited boycott” of the West Bank for that purpose – are best positioned to see that the BDS movement is not a “peace” movement and does not aim for a Palestinians state alongside a Jewish state.
In fact, Liberal Zionists are the ones whose ideology is most threatened by BDS. When people on both sides, but especially the Palestinians, start to tilt towards a one-state solution to the conflict, the concept of democratic Israel with a strong Jewish majority is threatened. And that’s pushed Liberal Zionists to draw sharp distinctions between their own two-state agenda and the destructive measures promoted by the BDS.
Or as anti-Zionist Steven Weiss of the anti-Israel Mondoweiss website writes scornfully, “In their effort to preserve Jewish status in Israel, some of these liberal Zionists would seem to be… conservative.”
Behind RIBA boycott stands Abe Hayeem
It's not the first time that the activities of Abe Hayeem have come to Point of No Return's notice.
The motion for a boycott was passed by 23 votes to 16, with ten abstentions, after Hayeem gave a presentation to the RIBA Council.
The irony that Abe Hayeem comes from a family of Iraq Jews, themselves 'ethnically cleansed' from their homeland, did not escape commenters when Hayeem wrote a piece for the Guardian on the 'dark' colonial past of Tel Aviv:(h/t Lynne T)
Tell the International Assoc. of Architects to reject RIBA’s racist boycott of Israelis
We noted that this appalling decision represents a prime example of the racist double standards at the heart of the BDS movement, as RIBA singles out Israeli architects among the 74 members of the UIA – a list which includes Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria, among others.
It appears that the resolution was based in part on the anti-Israel activism of RIBA’s past President Angela Brady, and a dishonest and highly propagandistic presentation by an extreme Jewish critic of Israel named Abe Hayeem. Hayeem is a RIBA member, chair of Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine and ‘Comment is Free’ contributor.
You can hear Hayeem in this audio, from an anti-Israel demo in London in 2003, accuse the “neo-fascist” government of Israel of engaging in a policy of “transfer”, “ethnic cleansing”, “state terrorism” and “apartheid” against Palestinians, and calling for a complete trade embargo against the state.
However, there’s been some push back against RIBA’s resolution by Stephen Games, a RIBA member who published an op-ed at The Jewish Chronicle condemning the organization’s bigotry and hypocrisy, and calling for the removal of their Royal Charter if the resolution is not reversed.
Dutch Christian Zionists Push Chain to End Israeli Boycott
Israeli-made products – including those made by Jews living in Judea and Samaria – are back on the shelves of Dutch stores, just in time for Passover. A boycott declared by chains in Holland has backfired, as Christian Zionist groups demanded that they halt their boycott of products from Judea and Samaria – or face one themselves.
At least one chain, Jumbo, has acquiesced, [Jumbo probably never started to boycott] and has announced that it will restore Israeli products to its shelves, including those from Judea and Samaria. (h/t Yenta Press)
We stand behind the Harvard Israel Trek
In the past two weeks, the pro-Israel community has been in an uproar.
Not because the centrifuges are still spinning in Iran. Not because a cadre of anti-Semites are trying to delegitimize the State of Israel through their craven BDS efforts. Not because a Jew was viciously attacked in France and a swastika inscribed on his chest. And not because a naïve double standard is applied by many critics of Israel who systematically ignore the violence, homophobia and trampling on the rights of women and minorities which is on exhibit daily and egregiously in so many Middle Eastern countries.
No. The community of pro-Israel activists is incensed because Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), Boston’s Jewish federation, funded a group of Harvard College students to go to Israel, and while they were there, they had the poor judgment to be photographed at the grave of Yasser Arafat. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
A Murderer’s Life and the Chances of Peace
The problem here isn’t so much the manner with which Rudoren reports the extraordinary spectacle of a government that is praised by the United States as a good partner for peace for Israel treating Salah as a hero. She interviews the family of his victim who still mourn the man who was born in Poland and evaded death at the hands of the Nazis only to be felled by an Arab who thought it was an appropriate protest to slaughter him. Tenenbaum’s daughter even says that she wouldn’t mind her father’s murderer going free—a stance that is rare among families of Israeli victims of terror and probably the reason why Rudoren chose Salah as her subject rather than some other killer—if it would lead to peace.
But the fallacy at the core of such thinking—which is the basis of the U.S. pressure on Israel to release even more such killers—is that the very fact that Palestinians treat men with Jewish blood on their hands as heroes illustrates that theirs is a culture which is not ready for peace with Israel. Only when such people are regarded as relics of an age of unreason rather than lionized by Palestinians will it be possible to imagine that they are prepared to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn and live in peace beside it. Until then, gestures such as Salah’s release only make it likely that Palestinian society will produce and honor more such killers, making peace a distant dream.
CAMERA: NY Times, Who is Demonizing?
Perhaps the newspaper, which in its news articles routinely labels Israeli leaders (but never Palestinian leaders) "shrill," "stubborn," "abrasive," "derisive," "cynical," ought to reflect on the meaning of "demonizing."
Also remarkable is the detail that Rudoren provides of the trials and tribulations of Salah and other released prisoners -- the fact that dental care is not covered, the boredom, the unsteady driving, the insufficient grants from the Palestinian Authority, and more.
Will The Times be publishing a story going into tremendous detail about the trials and tribulations of the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children left behind by those, old and young, murdered by Palestinian terrorists? Are articles dedicated to the humanization of these Israeli victims off-bounds to Times journalists, lest they themselves become complicit in Israeli "demonizing" of Palestinian murderers?
BBC’s “Obstacles to Peace”: a barrier to understanding Israel’s borders
With even the PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat having stated that Israeli communities in Judea & Samaria take up 1.1% of the land, one might wonder where the BBC sourced that bizarre 40% figure. One possibility is a report put out by the highly politicised UN OCHA in the same year that Asser wrote this article which states in its introduction that:
“The analysis shows that almost 40% of the West Bank is now taken up by Israeli infrastructure.”
Later on readers learn that nature reserves and military training areas also count as “infrastructure” for UN OCHA.
“More than 38% of the West Bank now consists of settlements, outposts, military bases and closed military areas, Israeli declared nature reserves or other related infrastructure that are off-limits or tightly controlled to Palestinians.”
The BBC’s claim that “settlements and the area they take up cover 40% of the West Bank” is therefore obviously both inaccurate and misleading.
Anti-peace BDS campaigner on judging panel of BBC Arabic competition
One of the British Council-supported projects which openly promotes the anti-peace BDS movement is the ‘Palestine Festival of Literature’ – or PalFest as it is better known. Writing about the 2012 PalFest in the Guardian, Alison Flood noted that:
“Supported by organisations including Arts Council England and the British Council, with patrons including Chinua Achebe, Seamus Heaney and Philip Pullman, it endorses the Palestinian call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, and states as its mission the reinvigoration of “cultural ties between Arab countries, ties that have been eroded for too long”. [Ahdaf] Soueif is its founding chair.”
Readers can find out more about the birth of ‘PalFest’ and its “founding chair” and Palestine Solidarity Campaign patron Ahdaf Soueif here. Ms Soueif is also named as one of the judges for this latest BBC Arabic/British Council film festival.
Jewish School in Antwerp Targeted by Anti-Semites
Antwerp, Belgium, a center of the world diamond business, has a substantial hareidi community, and has the reputation of being a “quiet” city when it comes to anti-Semitism. But that quiet was broken Sunday, when members of the community found anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled on a building containing a Jewish school.
The school, operated by the local Vizhnitz Hassidic community, had swastikas and the name “Hitler” scrawled on it. Parents who brought their children to school Sunday morning were shocked at the sight, with the graffiti apparently scrawled on Saturday night.
Archaeologists Find Treblinka Gas Chambers
The first-ever archaeological excavations at the Nazi death camp Treblinka in Poland have revealed new mass graves, as well as the first physical evidence that this camp held gas chambers. The camp had been bulldozed in 1943. To cover their tracks, the Nazis went so far as to plant crops and build a farmhouse on the leveled ground.
Presented in a new documentary, "Treblinka: Hitler's Killing Machine," which aired Saturday on the Smithsonian Channel, the excavations revealed brick walls and foundations from the gas chambers, as well as mass graves and massive amounts of human bone, some of which was close to the ground's surface or exposed to the elements.
'Austria accepts its responsibility for Nazi crimes'
President Shimon Peres attended a Holocaust memorial ceremony with Austrian President Heinz Fischer in Vienna's Judenplatz on Sunday, after arriving for an official state visit in the country.
"Today, Austria accepts its joint responsibility with the Nazi criminals," Fischer said, adding that Austria only relatively recently began the difficult, but important, process of acknowledging its part in the Holocaust and commemorating the country's Jewish victims.
"I begin my visit to this country by bowing my head before this memorial," Peres said at the ceremony, "Paying respect to the thousands of Austrian Jews sent to death camps from Vienna."
This is why Germany doesn’t want China anywhere near Berlin’s holocaust memorial
The reason has little to do with the Holocaust itself. Instead, according to Der Spiegel, German officials fear that they would get involved in China's spat with Japan. China has frequently tried to contrast Japan's handling of it's World War II legacy with Germany's. An op-ed in Chinese state newspaper People's Daily expanded upon this theory today, arguing that the "government of China has been trying to impress the world with the sharp contrast between post World War II Japan and Germany in facing their parallel burdens of history." One source told the Japanese newspaper Asashi Shimbaum that Germany did not want a "third country" to use the monument for "diplomatic purposes."
Israel to host European weightlifting championship
Israel will host the 2014 European Weightlifting Championships starting Saturday, April 5, through Sunday, April 13.
Weightlifters from all over Europe are due to arrive in Tel Aviv this week to participate in the competition, after an ongoing Foreign Ministry strike nearly prevented them from attending.
Tel Aviv Researchers Find New Way To Fight Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths of American women than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. According to the American Cancer Society, one in 72 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and one in 100 will ultimately die of the condition.
Now Prof. Dan Peer of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Cell Research and Immunology has proposed a new strategy to tackle an aggressive subtype of ovarian cancer using a new nanoscale drug-delivery system designed to target specific cancer cells. He and his team have devised a cluster of nanoparticles called gagomers, made of fats and coated with a kind of polysugar. When filled with chemotherapy drugs, these clusters accumulate in tumors, producing dramatically therapeutic benefits.
The objective of Peer’s research is two-fold: to provide a specific target for anti-cancer drugs to increase their therapeutic benefits, and to reduce the toxic side effects of anti-cancer therapies. The study was published in February in the journal “ACS Nano”.
Famed Violinist Itzhak Perlman Says He’s Optimistic About Israel’s Future (VIDEO)
Famed violinist Itzhak Perlman has high hopes for Israel’s future, he told Huffington Post Live‘s Josh Zepps in an interview on Thursday.
“I’m an eternal optimist,” the native Israeli said, referring to the political state of affairs in his home country. “I always think ‘it’ll be okay,’ but that’s all I can think. A lot of people are saying ‘doom and gloom’ and so on. I’m hoping. I’m always hoping.”
Perlman was born in Tel Aviv in 1945, three years before the State of Israel was officially declared.
A selfie from the skies over Tel Aviv
The Israeli Air Force posted a picture on its official Facebook page on Sunday that was taken by an IAF pilot as he flew upside down above central Tel Aviv.
The Facebook post was titled "#selfie."
The photo was taken by "Maj. Ofer" in an Efroni (Beechcraft T-6 Texan II) training aircraft during a rehearsal last year for the traditional Independence Day airshow over Tel Aviv.

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