Monday, April 28, 2014

From Ian:

A Palestinian Student Defends Her Visit to Auschwitz
When my fellow Palestinian travelers talk among themselves and with friends and family about the accusation that they “sold out to the Jews” by visiting Auschwitz, they tend to cite their love for their country, noting that their travel makes them no less patriotic or nationalistic than their critics. Although the public outcry has silenced most of them, they all went to Auschwitz out of the belief that deepening their knowledge of the Holocaust could help pave the road to peace. Not only did they choose to reject ignorance, but they displayed remarkable moral courage by choosing to respect the past suffering of “the other.”
Our experience reminds me of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” The great philosopher asks you to imagine that you have been imprisoned all your life in a dark cave, with your hands and feet shackled and your head restrained so that you can only look at the wall in front of you. Behind you is a blazing fire, and between you and the fire there is a walkway where others move back and forth. The shadows cast on the wall by those objects are the only things you see. Those shadows become your reality. Suppose you are released from your shackles and freed to walk around the cave. Dazzled at first by the fire, you would gradually come to understand the origin of the shadows that you thought were real. Finally, you are allowed out of the cave and into the sunlit world, where you see the fullness of reality. But if you go back to the cave and tell others what you saw, will they believe you? No, they will condemn you. That is what happened to us, the Palestinian students who dared to visit Auschwitz. We simply left the cave.
Some of Professor Dajani’s colleagues believe this entire exercise has been a curse, given the attacks and criticism we have suffered since we returned home. Yet Professor Dajani, the eternal optimist, sees only a blessing in what we have done. We have opened a crack in the wall of ignorance. We have made Palestinians talk publicly about a topic that was once taboo.
Life of Begin
Review: ‘Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul’ by Daniel Gordis
Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul is a pleasure to read. The author, Daniel Gordis, a fellow at Jerusalem’s Shalem College, has a gift for clearly summarizing complex events, including key incidents about which much nonsense has been written.
Begin was born in the Polish town of Brisk in 1913. His most important early influence was his father Ze’ev Dov Begin, a deeply religious man who helped organize Jewish self-defense.

Gordis does point out Carter’s cluelessness about what made Begin tick. “His public protestation of Christian piety notwithstanding, Carter had none of the biblical sensibilities or knowledge that were central to who Begin was,” Gordis says. This ignorance continues today. Kerry blames Israel for the failure in negotiations without any idea of Jewish history, of the difficulties Israel faces, and of the nature of the enmity against it, rooted in Islam and the absolute refusal to accept a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.
Begin’s Jewishness is a running theme in the book. Begin was, the author notes, the “most Jewish of Israel’s prime ministers.”

Nation comes to standstill as sirens wail for 6 million lost
Millions of Israelis paused for two minutes Monday in solemn silence as air raid sirens wailed across the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The annual commemoration for the 6 million Jews killed in Europe during the Holocaust brought the country to a standstill at 10 a.m., with drivers standing alongside their cars on highways and normally bustling city centers freezing for the funereal event.
After the sirens, a number of remembrance ceremonies were planned for across the country, including a wreath-laying at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and the “Unto Every Person There is a Name” ceremony at the Knesset.
Netanyahu: Those who seek to destroy us will fail
"On this day, on behalf of the Jewish people, I say to all those who sought to destroy us, to all those who still seek to destroy us: you have failed and you will fail," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the Holocaust Remembrance Day state ceremony held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu linked the Holocaust with the threat posed by a nuclear Iran. "Very few world leaders understood the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism. Few among our leaders, primarily Jabotinsky, warned against the imminent destruction facing our nation, but they were widely criticized and their warnings were disregarded, and they were treated as merchants of doom and war mongers.
Dutch cities join Holocaust memorial project
The 2014 Open Jewish Houses initiative is scheduled to be held on May 3-5, the 69th anniversary of the liberation of The Netherlands from Nazi occupation, and will encompass dozens of buildings in the Dutch capital as well as Rotterdam, The Hague, Haarlem and four other cities, the news site museumkijker nl reported earlier this month.
Organized by Jewish Historical Museum and several partner organizations, the project, first launched two years ago, makes it possible for visitors to enter some of the homes of the approximately 104,000 Dutch Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. Some houses will feature lectures by survivors who lived in the homes before the Nazi invasion in 1940.
25,000 Attend Hungarian 'March of Life'
Hungary's annual "March of Life" commemorating the Holocaust drew a record 25,000 people on Sunday as part of events marking 70 years since the start of mass deportations of Hungarian Jews in World War II, AFP reported.
According to the news agency, there was an open-air concert in front of the House of Terror museum in Budapest before a procession from the Elizabeth Bridge, where a new sculpture was unveiled, to the Keleti railway station.
A train then left for Auschwitz carrying 600 people, one for every 1,000 Hungarian Shoah victims, ahead of a ceremony Monday at the former Nazi death camp in Poland to be attended by Hungarian President Janos Ader.
Tibi Ram: The Holocaust Survivor Who Fought in Every Israeli War
He perfectly symbolizes “Shoah ve Tkuma”- Holocaust and rebirth. As a holocaust survivor, and one of only two people who participated in all of Israel’s wars, Ze’ev Tibi Ram understands better than anyone the importance of protecting the Jewish state.
During the Holocaust Tibi lost his whole family. He survived Auschwitz, a labour camp, and Bergen-Belsen. After being separated from his mother and eventually finding her at the end of the war, she disappeared and Tibi never saw her again. His brother survived until the end of the war, but died shortly after.
Now, Tibi gives lectures to soldiers about the holocaust and his extensive military experience. He is also the proud grandfather of an IDF soldier.
Tibi Ram: The Holocaust Survivor Who Fought in Every Israeli War

US Reform Jews following same path as in 1940s
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) as seems not to have noticed Yom haShoah this year — at least, I can’t find anything on its website. Individual congregations, like the one in our town, are holding commemorative events. Possibly they have decided to deemphasize the observance.
But the URJ’s drift in the direction of anti-Zionist politics hasn’t stopped. Under the leadership of its President Rabbi Richard ‘Rick’ Jacobs, we find the URJ supporting the phony ‘pro-Israel’ organization J Street in its bid to joint the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. J Street — which called for a cease-fire on the first day of Operation Cast Lead in 2009, which supported an anti-Israel resolution in the UN Security council (which the US vetoed), which consistently opposed sanctions on Iran, which supported the conclusions of the Goldstone Report (later repudiated by its author) that accused the IDF of war crimes in Gaza and introduced Goldstone to members of Congress, which has invited viciously anti-Zionist and pro-BDS speakers like Mustafa Barghouti, Rebecca Vilkomerson and James Zogby to its annual conference, but refused to allow liberal Zionist Alan Dershowitz to speak — is anything but pro-Israel. It is, however, very pro-Obama.
It is ironic, then that the liberal wing of the Jewish establishment in the US is following the same path as it did in the 1940s, when, out of loyalty to a liberal president and his party, it worked against the true interests of the Jewish people. The danger is not as immediate today as it was in the dark days of WWII, although the Iranian nuclear project, which is being facilitated by the policy of the Obama Administration, could very quickly change this.
J Street U Brandeis’ Talia Lepson Harasses Pro-Israel Student
A top J Street leader at Brandeis University harassed a pro-Israel student activist early Saturday morning, calling the student a “shit bag” and telling him that “Jews hate you,” according to those who witnessed the incident.
Daniel Mael was walking to his dorm room on the university’s campus late Friday night when he encountered Talia Lepson, a J Street U Brandeis board member, who purportedly referred to Mael as a “shit bag” and angrily told him “Jews hate you.”
“I don’t feel comfortable on campus knowing people will lob verbal insults at me simply because we disagree,” said Mael, who has filed an incident report with the Brandeis police over what he described at the “uncivil environment that is developing on campus and the attempts to isolate students with differing opinions.”
Chomsky Not Sure BDS Exists
What about academic boycotts?
Prior to the event, Chomsky told The Herald that he does not support the boycotting of Israeli universities, adding that the United States is involved in international crimes as well, and he would not suggest boycotting MIT or Harvard.
Boycotts need to be “principled,” and “targeted” in order to be effective,
he told The Herald.
While Chomsky doesn’t explicitly state that he’s opposed to BDS, his use of the words “principled” and “targeted” would appear to exclude the BDS movement, which calls for a complete economic, political, cultural, and sports boycott of Israel. It also has no concern for the international standards that grant Israel the right to exist. So it’s neither principled or nor targeted, and thus ineffective.
But Chomsky’s reluctance to state his opposition to BDS outright suggests that he may be trying to play it both ways. After all, Chomsky has been a hero among Israel bashers for years. What would they think if they realized Chomsky were going soft on Israel?
Can BDS Change the Status Quo in Israel?
New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, another liberal who’s openly suspicious about the motives of the BDS, notes in passing in his latest column that the BDS movement has very little actual impact on Israel.
In his latest article, Cohen refutes a central myth about Israel that has penetrated to the highest reaches of American government – that the status quo in is “unsustainable,” that Israel cannot remain as it current is.
The misconception served as the basis of John Kerry’s recent push for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. But according to Cohen, a deeper look at the situation reveals that the idea is simply false.
Sodastream. Maybe not BDS fail. Maybe BDS irrelevant?
Several months ago, Sodastream stock took a tumble. The BDS cru declared victory. The fact that Coca Cola was considering creating its own home carbonation device couldn't possibly have anything to do with the stock prices. This was the result of their efforts. They were winning. Even Scarlett Johansson couldn’t save Sodastream.
In the warped world view of the anti-Israel activist, there are no routine business decisions Its all about BDS.
Yet this week Sodastream stock prices soared. Are the BDS’ers wearing sack cloth and ashes and wringing their hands over the failure of their efforts? Are they bemoaning the abject failure of their cause?
Strangely enough, no. Apparently only events that support their allegations bear notice- everything else can be conveniently ignored. Why the uptick? Starbucks is considering buying a portion of Sodastream. This has led to the surge in stock prices. Maybe is isn't really a BDS fail. We should call it what it really is, and what its been all along.
LA Times Correction: SodaStream HQ Not in West Bank
CAMERA staff have prompted correction of a Los Angeles Times article which incorrectly stated that SodaStream's headquarters are located in the West Bank. While the beverage carbonation company has a factory in Mishor Adumim, in the West Bank, its headquarters are in central Israel, in Airport City, abutting Lod.
‘Fisking’ Robert Fisk’s latest on Israel: distortions, half-truths and fabrications
Robert Fisk isn’t very happy with the latest “betrayal of the Palestinians”, which is how he characterizes the US decision to temporarily end their aggressive engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after Fatah’s reconciliation with Hamas.
In his latest report for The Independent, ‘Yet another betrayal of the Palestinians‘, April 25, Fisk blames Barack Obama for ‘cowardly’ walking away from the process, and laments that the US President has shown himself once again to be ‘in lock step’ with Jerusalem.
However, beyond the narrow and quite risible claim that Obama and Netanyahu are in cahoots, or at least using the same political playbook, Fisk’s ‘analysis’ is laden with distortions, half-truths and outright fabrications.
Bowen misleads BBC audiences with irrelevant Northern Ireland analogy
In his fifth question, Bowen invokes the inaccurate, misleading – and very jaded – IRA analogy which steers audiences towards the misconceived impression that the two conflicts are comparable and therefore solvable in the same fashion.
“Now, Britain negotiated with the IRA and finally managed to make a peace agreement and Britain continued to negotiate with the IRA even when they were taking action against the British. Isn’t that the sensible way to make peace?”
As Prime Minister Netanyahu points out in his reply to Bowen’s question and as Lord Trimble has previously noted:
“Republicans in Northern Ireland wanted to wrest it away from the United Kingdom, but never assaulted the legitimacy of Great Britain or aspired to destroy it. Why, then, should lessons from the British-IRA conflict apply to that between Israel and Hamas or Hizballah, when the latter terrorist organizations declare Israel illegitimate and vow to destroy it?”
BBC Monitoring amplifies PA outlet’s propaganda
BBC Monitoring however makes no attempt to inform the readers of this report that the claim made by the Palestinian Authority mouthpiece Al-Hayat al-Jadidah is inaccurate both in terms of its suggestion that the incident was in “reaction” to the announcement of the deal and in terms of its misleading assertion regarding the scope of the incident: one man in Beit Lahia was attacked: not “Gaza”.
It is of course highly unfortunate that BBC Monitoring – with disturbing similarity to Al-Hayat al-Jadidah – appears to consider the unqualified amplification of misleading defamatory falsehoods promoted by the Palestinian Authority to be part of its repertoire.
‘Stealthy’ Israeli firm ranks among on-line video giants
AnyClip, an Israeli start-up, is one of the ten biggest video content companies on the Internet, according to the latest web analytics. Via its distribution network and unique metadata search engine, AnyClip came in tenth on comScore’s March list of sites with the most unique viewers, just behind content giants Amazon, Vimeo and Turner Digital, the online arm of CNN and affiliated sites.
Though well established, AnyClip was not considered a major player in the online video content space, certainly not as big as the aforementioned sites. While the ranking by comScore, the online data analytics site considered by many to be the top authority on Internet usage numbers, may have surprised many in the business, it did not surprise the AnyClip people. “AnyClip Media’s cutting edge technology and vast distribution network are all focused on providing tremendous value to our various partners,” said Oren Nauman, AnyClip Media’s CEO. “We are honored to be included in the list alongside Internet giants like Google, Facebook and Yahoo, and we are diligently working to further expand our offerings both in breadth and depth. We are excited about the opportunities we see.”
Blood pressure drug could end injury-caused epilepsy
Scientists from Ben-Gurion University, University of California, Berkeley, and Charité-University Medicine in Germany found that losartan (marketed under the brand name Cozaar), a common blood pressure medication, significantly cut down seizures in rats that suffered head trauma due to injuries, according to a study published in the current issue of the Annals of Neurology.
“This is the first-ever approach in which epilepsy development is stopped, as opposed to common drugs that try to prevent seizures once epilepsy develops,” said Alon Friedman, professor of physiology and neurobiology and a member of the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience at BGU. “Those drugs are administered for many years, have a limited success and involve many side effects, so we are excited about the new approach.”
Argentina FM’s Israel visit seen as start of ‘new era’
A visit to Israel by Argentina’s foreign minister and the signing of several agreements is being called a ‘new era’ in ties between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, who is Jewish, is scheduled to meet in Israel with President Shimon Peres, his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Liberman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. On the trip, which begins Monday, Timerman also will participate in Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies at Yad Vashem.
Under a recently signed deal, Argentina will buy a squadron of up to 18 upgraded Kfir fighter jets from Israel, according to the Israeli business daily Globes.
Korea pushes to buy 10 low-altitude radars from Israel
South Korea is pushing to buy about 10 low-altitude radars from Israel to better detect small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and thereby counter threats posed by North Korean drones, military officials said Wednesday.
The military has been hastily preparing measures to step up its surveillance capability, in the wake of the discovery of three small UAVs near the tensely guarded border with North Korea in recent weeks.
The suspected North Korean drones equipped with cameras, which contained photos of Seoul's presidential office and military installations near the border, revealed holes in South Korea's air security.
TripAdvisor slots Jerusalem in ‘Top 10 Destinations on the Rise’
Leading travel website TripAdvisor has released a new list citing the Top 10 Destinations on the Rise around the world, and ranks Jerusalem as the fourth most popular site to visit. The new ranking comes in the wake of the Tourism Ministry’s announcement of record-breaking numbers of tourists to Israel for the first quarter of 2014.
“Religious pilgrims have been traveling to Jerusalem for centuries, yet you don’t have to share their zeal in order to appreciate this city’s profound cultural and historical significance. Plan on seeing the major sights, but also leave plenty of time to walk through the streets and simply immerse yourself in the daily life of such an ancient and revered place,” wrote TripAdvisor in its blurb about the city.
There are over 5,200 Jerusalem related posts on the global travel advice website.


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