Friday, April 18, 2014

From Ian:

Ron Prosor The Middle East War on Christians
This week, as Jews celebrate the Passover holiday, they are commemorating the Bible's Exodus story describing a series of plagues inflicted on ancient Egypt that freed the Israelites, allowing them to make their way to the Holy Land. But over the past century, another exodus, driven by a plague of persecution, has swept across the Middle East and is emptying the region of its Christian population. The persecution is especially virulent today.
The Middle East may be the birthplace of three monotheistic religions, but some Arab nations appear bent on making it the burial ground for one of them. For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the region, enriching the Arab world with literature, culture and commerce. At the turn of the 20th century, Christians made up 26% of the Middle East's population. Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 10%. Intolerant and extremist governments are driving away the Christian communities that have lived in the Middle East since their faith was born. (h/t Serious Black)
Egyptian Christians Slammed for Visiting Israel for Easter
On Sunday, the Arab news website Elaph alluded to an Israeli government ploy by citing sources in Egypt’s travel industry that claimed Israeli visas issued for Easter travel were really intended for another “mass” immigration of Coptic Christians to Israel. These fears stem from earlier waves of Christian emigration.
It is doubtful that Egypt’s ruling class views as disagreeable a potential exodus of Copts. It is more likely to be encouraged, if not fostered, just as in the evacuation of Jews from Egypt during the Nasser era. Currently, focusing on such “news” creates an opportunity to criticize and condemn imaginary offenses by Jews and the Israeli government.
Sarah Honig: We are the accusers
What has become known as Kerry’s “poof” speech is precisely what Israel was afraid of – being blamed for the predictable flop of Kerry’s delusional project.
Kerry can postfactum posture self-righteously and smugly deny having blamed Israel but that’s precisely what he did when he enumerated Israel’s supposed sins one by one. He then dramatically paused for a studied special effect – replete with expressive hand gestures – before resorting to really sophisticated phrasing: “Poof, that was sort of the moment.” The suggested cause and effect was unquestionable. No belated pedantic quibbles can erase Kerry’s intentional, even vindictive, anti-Israel smear.
If anything, Kerry’s cynical performance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee underscores all the reasons for Israel not to make concessions just in order to make a good impression.
Caroline Glick: The disappearance of America’s will
The most terrifying aspect of the collapse of US power worldwide is the US’s indifferent response to it.
In Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East and beyond, America’s most dangerous foes are engaging in aggression and brinkmanship unseen in decades.
As Gordon Chang noted at a symposium in Los Angeles last month hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, since President Barack Obama entered office in 2009, the Chinese have responded to his overtures of goodwill and appeasement with intensified aggression against the US’s Asian allies and against US warships.

US calls anti-Semitic Ukraine leaflets ‘grotesque’
The United States on Thursday condemned as “grotesque” the distribution of leaflets demanding that Jews in eastern Ukraine register with a self-proclaimed local authority or face consequences. US officials also denounced other instances of religious intolerance that are inflaming tensions in the crisis in Ukraine and said no such behavior could be tolerated.
Speaking in Geneva after top diplomats from the US, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement on steps to de-escalate the situation, Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the leaflets.
“In the year 2014, after all of the miles traveled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable; it’s grotesque,” Kerry told reporters. “It is beyond unacceptable. And any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities, from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of, there is no place for that.”
Jews cast doubt on origin of anti-Semitic flyers in Donetsk
The leaflets were handed out by several Balaclava clad men carrying a Russian flag earlier this week as well as being found plastered to buildings near a synagogue.
The flyers also said Jews were hostile to the Donetsk Republic and bore the signature of its leader, Denis Pushilin. Pushilin has denied any connection to the flyers.
Ukrainian Jews have indicated that they are unsure of the flyer’s provenance, telling The Jerusalem Post that it is impossible to determine its connection to the separatists.
According to a local news report, unnamed sources from the local Jewish community said that the flyers were an attempt to provoke a conflict and blame the attack on the separatists.
The Steady Rise of African Zionism
There is something quite remarkable happening on the African continent. A groundswell of love and support from African Christians for the State of Israel, forged in biblical ties and a mutual love of the land.
It is a relationship that has endured and survived political hardships. And at a time when Israel is feeling increasingly isolated, it is very welcome. Voices calling for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against the Jewish State grow louder around the world, but the ties binding us to Africa grow stronger.
It seems almost natural that African countries would seek to build bridges with Israel. Many countries have a historical and political trajectory that mirrors that of the Jewish State.
They share the same tragic pasts, having endured multiple wars and having struggled for independence against foreign powers who ruled their historical homelands.
Sudanese Jew Makes Her Way to Pesach Freedom
A modern “exodus” story took place in recent months, as one of the last Jews in Sudan managed to make her way to Israel – more than 30 years after she had planned to make it.
Takla's story (her real name is a secret, for her safety's sake) begins in 1980, when as an 18 year old girl she began a trek from her native Ethiopia to Israel, joining thousands of others of the Beta Israel community in making their way to the Land of Israel.
To get to Israel, the land trek required passing through Sudan, and while most of the Ethiopian olim were able to pass through that country without incident, Takla was waylaid – and forced to marry a Muslim man and remain in Sudan. Thirty four years later, Yedioth Ahronot reporter Dani Adino Ababa discovered, Takla had five children with her Sudanese husband, with none of them having any awareness of their Jewishness. (h/t Zvi)
Kerry Vows to Fight Israeli Visa Rejection Trend
Kerry announced the move in a letter Thursday, published by Al-Monitor, to House Representative Nita Lowey (D - NY). The letter acknowledges that the US has rejected more and more visa requests from young Israelis aged 21-26, and vows to "do more to encourage and assist young qualified Israelis to visit the United States."
Kerry stresses in the letter that there has been a disturbing trend of rejecting Israeli visa applications - but that the US government is also not specifically targeting Israelis.
"We reviewed data on refusal rates for tourist visas for Israelis from the ages of 21-26 and found that visa rejection rates have doubled from 16% to 32%," Kerry admits. "We know that despite a two-thirds approval rate, this increase has led to the perception by some that young Israelis are unwelcome to travel to the United States."
Naomi Wolf Attacks Me as a Zionist Agent for Criticizing Brandeis Feminists
Wolf claims that I, among other writers, have failed to disclose that I receive funding from “pro-Israel advocacy groups.”
First, let me point out that I do disclose all funding to the government and acknowledge funding for my published academic research.
Second, is my crime “failure to disclose” or is it taking money from...Zionists? Is it a crime--a thought crime--that I do not receive or accept funds from the Democratic Party and that unlike so many feminists, including Wolf herself, that I am not a Democratic Party operative?
Let it be known: No government, no political party, and no individual Zionist has to pay me to express my views. I am not for sale. I do not exercise my First Amendment rights merely for money.
I would never bother asking Wolf publicly about her funding sources. But now that Wolf has opened this door—I fear I must also walk through
Famed Jewish Architects Slam RIBA Anti-Israel Motion
The most renowned Jewish architects in the world are coming out to protest a motion to suspend Israeli architects from the International Architects Union, the UK’s Architect’s Journal reported on Thursday.
The sector magazine featured statements from Daniel Libeskind, who designed both the Berlin and Copenhagen Jewish Museums; Richard Meier, who created the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center and the Getty Center, both in Los Angeles; and Rick Bell, executive director of AIA New York who worked in the public sector before heading the AIA national staff association, CACE, and representing it on the AIA national board.
The architects were protesting a motion approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects, and condemned last month by Jewish human rights group The Simon Wiesenthal Center 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.’” (h/t Zvi)
Update: Cornell anti-Israel divestment resolution still tabled after 2 hour protest
As mentioned last night, and as expected, there was a protest by student groups seeking divestment from companies doing business in Israel in reaction to last week’s 15-8-1 decision of the Cornell Student Assembly to table indefinitely the proposed divestment resolution.
About 75 protestors attended the Student Assembly meeting. I heard one of them refer to hundreds, but it was not that many, and many drifted out after a while.
Here’s a video of the pro-divestment students walking from their gathering area to Willard Straight Hall, where the Assembly meets. You can see there just weren’t that many, certainly not hundreds. A disappointing turnout considering the priority the anti-Israel groups place on the protest.
Would Stanley Cohen really rather spend 18 months in prison than dine with a Zionist?
A petition drive has started seeking 10,000 signatures to keep him out of jail. It’s not clear who’s behind the petition, but it is being heavily promoted not only on Cohen’s Twitter account, but also by various “Anonymous“ type Twitter accounts and anti-Israeli boycotters.
That’s a hard sell, considering the breadth of his disregard for even the most basic tax reporting requirements over a long period of time, as detailed in our prior post. The petition is not off to a fast start, with under 500 signatures of the 10,000 sought.
One thing I didn’t realize was the complete depth of Cohen’s hatred of Israel. Among his tweets since his conviction is bravado that he’d rather serve the 18 months in prison than dine with a Zionist:
Guardian contributor blames 1929 Arab massacre of Jews on Zionist provocations
In an otherwise unproblematic 2010 Guardian review (that we just came across) of a book by Martin Gilbert, titled ‘In Ishmael’s House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands’, there was the following remarkable claim:
Leaving his specious claim about Sharon and the intifada aside, its first important to point out that the ’1929 Riots’ refers to several massacres that year - one in Jerusalem that the author is referring to, one in Hebron and one in Safed.
Regarding the Jerusalem incidents, to blame “Zionist activists at the Wailing Wall’ for the Arab massacres is nothing but a propagandistic historical fabrication.
Catherine Philp names a suspect in the Passover attack on Jewish family: The ‘settlements’
Catherine Philp’s story on the lethal attack, quite callously, never names the victim – referring to Mizrachi alternately as “a policeman”, even though he wasn’t on duty or in uniform at the time of the attack, and “the driver” – and focuses almost entirely on news from the day before regarding four Jewish families who moved into Hebron consistent with a Supreme Court ruling determining the property was purchased legally.
Remarkably, by the third paragraph Philp already establishes causation between the two events,
without one iota of actual evidence and before, let’s remember, the culprits have even been apprehended or interrogated.
JPost Editorial: Hungary and the Jews
Why would Hungarians support a party and a prime minister that legislate policies that hurt their weak economy and threaten their fragile democracy? It seems the crude populist messages of Fidesz and Jobbik – suspicion of the EU and foreign business interests, distaste for migrants and a pride in Hungarian separatism – strike a deep chord.
Unsurprisingly, the declining situation of the Jewish community – at more than 100,000 one of the largest in Europe – is collateral damage of Hungary’s turn to the Right. Attacks on Jews in times of crisis have been a theme in Europe throughout history, and the situation in Hungary is no different.
The latest controversy is over a series of public ceremonies and other events planned this year in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Germany’s invasion of Hungary. Hungary’s fascist government played a prominent role in the annihilation of half a million Jews. This fact will be played down, however, if not erased.
Scientists: Romanian troops behind 1941 massacre of Jews
Forensic scientists from Bucharest concluded that 36 bodies found at a mass grave near Iasi belonged to Jews who were murdered by Romanian troops.
The investigation into the mass grave at Vulturi Forest ended last month and determined that soldiers of the Romanian army’s Regiment 6 perpetrated the murders in June 1941, the Elie Wiesel National Institute for Studying the Holocaust in Romania announced Wednesday.
The institute’s director, Alexandru Florian, said the finding was “a legal document proving the Holocaust in Romania.”
Passed over in 1936, Jewish Olympians to be honored in Berlin
Nancy Glickman was a teenager when she heard the story about her father at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin: Marty Glickman and another Jewish sprinter, Sam Stoller, were replaced as members of the 400-meter relay team for the US squad on the morning of the event.
Maccabi USA, the Philadelphia-based branch of the Maccabi World Union sports federation, is hoping members of the Glickman and Stoller families will go to Berlin in July 2015 when the European Maccabi Games are held in the German capital and the memories of the two track stars are honored.
It will be the first time Berlin hosts the games, which started in 1929.
Top 10 Futuristic Technologies Made In Israel
Ten years ago, the notion of a world run by touch-screen phones, wireless internet and battery-powered cars was reserved for fans of science fiction.
This light-speed pace at which technology is being advanced begs the inevitable, and sometimes worrying question of what the future has in store.
Well, for answers to much of that question, look no further than Israel, the tiny country which seems to be on a perpetual step ahead of much of the rest of the world when it comes to futuristic technologies.
Here is a look at ten Israeli companies researchers whose futuristic innovations will shape days to come.
Israel Daily Picture: Why Was a Ton of Matza Delivered to the US Army's 77th Division in France during World War I?
The Jewish tradition of eating matza (unleavened bread) on Passover is so profound that the armed services of several countries provide Passover supplies to their soldiers even at the front. That's the practice in Israel, for sure, but the archives of several libraries provide pictures of Jewish soldiers observing Passover in the British and American armies during World War I, almost 100 years ago.
The 77th Division was made up of draftees from the New York City area, one of the first draftee units deployed in combat in World War I. They assumed the name of the "Metropolitan Division" or the "Statue of Liberty Division." Many of the men had lived a tough hardscrabble life on the streets of New York, perhaps a factor in their surviving a hard-fought battle in the Argonne Forest in October 1918 where the Division's "Lost Battalion" was surrounded by German troops and held out for a week without food and water. In a 2001 film about the "Lost Battalion," the men were described as Irish, Italian, Jewish, and Polish "gangsters."
Of the battalion's 550 men, almost 200 were killed and 150 were captured or missing.
A Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Lee J. Levinger, served in France during World War I and wrote that the 77th Division had "thousands" of Jewish soldiers -- for whom the matza in the picture was intended.


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