Monday, May 12, 2014

From Ian:

Revisiting Jewish and Islamic Oppression during the Spanish Inquisition
The Spanish Inquisition was a time when considerable horror was visited upon the Jewish people of Spain, which subsequently spread to Portugal, one for which the authorities of both nations wish to make amends, even if in a belatedly tokenistic fashion.
Commentators, such as Robert Fisk, have taken issue with this offer of citizenship. Rather than welcoming the development, and using it to recommend that this legislation be extended to Muslims, it is framed as a pretext to suggest that lack of inclusion for Muslims is in some respect Islamophobic.
Likewise, when word of the plan spread a decade ago, Islamic groups began to demand Spanish citizenship for millions of the Muslim descendants, of the 325,000 expelled by the Spanish authorities in the early 17th Century, despite the fact that expulsion played a central role in the rapid expansion of the Islamic world itself.
"Fisking" history
Notably, Fisk white-washes the Moorish “Golden Age”, in which Jews, Muslims and Christians supposedly lived in a tolerant environment.
The Extremist Allegiances of Joel Beinin
Joel Beinin – Professor of History and of Middle East History at Stanford University – once threatened legal action after being named as a supporter of terrorism. That should have surprised even the most jaded observers of American academic “activism.” Ever since his days as a young Maoist on the campuses of Princeton, Harvard, and then Michigan, Beinin has competed in militancy with the most brutal terrorist foes of the Jewish state.
As a former student recalled, Beinin “had nothing but contempt for Israel, was well to the ‘left’ of the PLO, and was perfectly representative of the extremism of his milieu. One day, at a particular forum, he gave what I can only describe as a kind of beer-hall speech. Shouting and pumping his fist, he admonished the Arabs to forget any negotiating with Israel and to stay true to pure radicalism.”
Mick Jagger’s False Quote Spreads Through Social Media
As the owner of tickets for next month’s Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv, I’m very much looking forward to seeing Mick Jagger and the rest of the legendary rock band defying both their age and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
It’s not surprising that Israel advocates are trumpeting the Stones concert as an epic BDS fail, leading to this quote and related images spreading like wildfire through the pro-Israel community on social media.
Unfortunately the quote isn’t true.

Lyn Julius replies to the Guardian’s whitewash of the ethnic cleansing of Jews
On May 4th we posted about an article by Guardian Middle East editor Ian Black that whitewashed the radical anti-Israel agenda of the NGO, Zochrot. However, what we didn’t address at the time was Black’s characteristic whitewash of the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab lands i
We were going to comment on Black’s historical revisionism today when we learned that Lyn Julius - one of the more knowledgeable commentators on the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries – had submitted a letter to the Guardian in response which (unsurprisingly) the paper declined to publish.
Here’s her letter:
"Ian Black’s article (Remembering the Nakba: Israeli group puts 1948 back on the map) promotes a fringe Israeli NGO’s sick objective: the destruction of the state of Israel through the Palestinian ‘right of return’, while virtually ignoring the ‘Jewish Nakba’ of 856,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries at the same time.
Wringing their hands about depopulated Palestinian villages, Zochrot remain ignorant, silent and unmoved by the depopulation of scores of Arab cities of their age-old Jewish communities."
The rise and fall of the Iraqi Jews
After the establishment of the State of Israel , the Jews of Iraq became hostages in the land of their birth. Children 14 years of age joined the young Underground Zionist Movement, and wanted to flee the country through the desert or by any other route. About 20,000 young people, boys and girls, left Iraq by impossible and dangerous routes. There was no Jewish home without some member of the family missing. The graves of those who couldn’t make it are to be found on the mountains, in the desert or by the sea.
Three years after the establishment of the State of Israel, Iraqi Jews were given an opportunity to leave Iraq en masse provided that they gave up their citizenship and all their property. So began Operation Ezra and Nehemiah, when an airlift – the most daring ever organized in peacetime – transferred over 120,000 Jews from Iraq to Israel.
The Jews of Iraq left behind them not only a continuous history of 2,500 years, but all that was holy and precious to them, both spiritually and materially.
Tombstones of prophets stood on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and in the Kurdish areas.
US Lawyer Urges Court Injunction to Save Iraqi Jewish Archive
Speaking at a 31 March New York conference on the legal issues posed by the question of the Iraq-Jewish archive, American attorney Nat Lewin said that the community should not wait until the archive was returned to Iraq before taking action, insisting that the community would receive a sympathetic hearing in the US.
Harold Rhode, who was assigned to Baghdad as a defense analyst, told how the the Iraqi-Jewish archive was rescued from the waterlogged basement of the secret police headquarters in 2003. It was shipped to the US to be preserved, restored and digitized at a cost of $3 million. The archive is slated to go back to Iraq in June 2014 when an exhibition of 24 items from the collection ends at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan.
While the material is being exhibited it is protected from seizure under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
More Than 200 Christian Leaders Call for Protection of Mideast Christians
The grassroots campaign, which is not spearheaded by any particular organization, was launched Wednesday by U.S. Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
“We are compelled to take this action by the grave dangers that confront the Churches of Egypt, Iraq and Syria, in particular,” said the statement.
“In a siege that has accelerated over the past decade, Egypt, Iraq and Syria—the three Middle Eastern countries with the largest Christian communities remaining—have seen scores of churches deliberately destroyed, many clergy and laypeople targeted for death, kidnapping, intimidation and forcible conversion, and hundreds of thousands of believers driven from their countries,” it added.

What Is Going on at Vassar College?
In a blog entry describing reactions to Jacobson’s speech, Jewish studies professor Rebecca Lesses draws attention to a series of posts by Vassar’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, the most shocking of which includes this language: “Of course, mainstream media hasbarats have been around for decades, as have ‘hasbaratchiks,’ fifth-columns in foreign governments who subvert national policies to serve Israel.” The author of the linked article, Greg Felton, also wrote a book entitled The Host and the Parasite: How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America. Lesses observes that the Occidental Quarterly, on which the SJP draws, is an anti-Semitic magazine. While I hesitate to take the word of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which she cites, for it, a look through the Occidental Quarterly, which includes an article about libertarianism as a creed advanced by Jewish intellectuals to advance Jewish “group evolutionary interests,” tends to support the charge.
When the source of the passage they had quoted was brought to SJP’s attention on their Facebook page, they were completely unrepentant: “We at Vassar are all about the academic freedoms. If the idea is alright, who cares where they come from?”
“One responded, actually calling for a boycott of Professor Jacobson”
Here’s the email, which I obtained after my appearance, sent to the 38 other professors and one of the student organizers of my appearance, Luka Ladan:
Dear colleagues (and Mr Ladan):
Since Prof Jacobson so stubbornly and willfully insists on misunderstanding the nature and content of our letter and has offered a tantrum-like meet-me-in-the-back-of-the-school-after-class challenge I propose that we boycott his appearance at the College.
Lisa Paravisini
Once upon a time, the reaction would be to appear on stage with me and enlighten me and the audience as to how I allegedly misunderstood the letter defending the anti-Israel academic boycott.
If the case that I was wrong could have been made, it should have been. If it couldn’t be made, and if I didn’t misconstrue the letter, then I guess a group boycott was the only option.
Anti-Israel Vassar student group focuses on race of crowd at my speech
Their comment isn’t even accurate and is insulting to the diverse crowd in attendance.
Certainly the crowd was mostly white, just like Vassar’s student body and faculty. But so what?
Dividing people by race and trying to drum up racial tension is a deliberate tactic of SJP at Vassar and elsewhere, as was reflected in the highly racialized taunting of two Vassar professors at a March 3 open forum on campus, as previously reported.
I guess I’m not really surprised.
CAMERA Prompts Haaretz Correction on Netanyahu Quote
As we previously noted, the difference between an exclusively Jewish "home" and an exclusively Jewish "nation-state" is vast. If Netanyahu said Israel is "home" only to the Jewish people, then he was indicating that 20 percent of Israel's population -- or nearly 1.7 million Israeli Arabs -- are not welcome or entitled to live freely in Israel as citizens with equal rights.
In fact, the prime minister explicitly affirmed that Israel "provides full equal rights, individual rights, to all its citizens," and that legislation concerning the Jewish nation-state would affect "national symbols -- flag, anthem, language and other aspects of our national experience." In addition to Haaretz, Iran's Press TV also misreported Netanyahu's comments, falsely stating that he said that Israel is home to the Jewish people only.
Following communication from CAMERA, Haaretz's English edition editors commendably corrected both in print and online.
CiF Watch prompts Economist correction – admits Kochav Ya’ir is neither fanatical nor a settlement
In our post on May 8th we demonstrated that, contrary to claims made in an Economist article about the late Lehi leader Avraham (Ya’ir) Stern, the town named after Stern, Kochav Ya’ir, is neither a settlement (as it falls squarely within the green line) nor ‘fanatical’ (which we determined by citing the city’s left-leaning voting habits, per results from the last election).
Here’s the relevant sentence in the May 3rd Economist article:
"One of the most fanatical settlements, Kochav Yair, is named after [Stern]."
Strangely though, though Kochav Ya’ir was removed from the original sentence, the article still claims that an Israeli settlement named after Stern is ‘fanatical’ – yet fails to inform readers which settlement they’re referring to.
Here’s how it reads now:
"One of the most fanatical settlements is named after him."
It’s possible they’re referring to the outpost of Ya’ir Farm (which is indeed named after Ya’ir Stern) but it’s a bit odd that they don’t say so.
‘Jewish-free’ sign posted on Latvian nursery school
The entrance to a nursery school in Latvia owned by an traditionalist lawmaker featured a German-language sign that advertised the establishment as being “Jew-free.”
The posting of the sign, which reads “Judenfrei,” was revealed Monday by the Latvian daily Vesti Segodniya. The paper published a photo of the sign on the fence of the Pucite (“Owlet”) private school.
According to the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism, the establishment is owned by Imants Paradnieks, an ultranationalist Latvian lawmaker.
The Riga-based school has a history involving Nazi sympathies. In 2012, Pucite hosted two men dressed in Waffen SS uniform, who held what they defined as “a lesson of patriotic upbringing” for the kindergarten department of the school. (h/t Bob Knot)
Detergent in hot water over Nazi code
Outraged shoppers had posted pictures online of Ariel powder boxes featuring a white soccer jersey with a large number “88.”
The number is sensitive because far-right extremists in Germany often use it as a code to skirt a ban on the use of Nazi slogans in public: since “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet, “88″ represents the phrase “Heil Hitler.” Similarly, “18″ is used to stand for “A.H.” or Adolf Hitler.
Procter & Gamble acknowledged Friday that the number was “unintentionally ambiguous.”
Author of hoax Holocaust memoir to pay $22,500,000
Seventy-six year old Misha Defonseca had written an awe-inspiring story recapturing her experiences as a young Jewish girl on the run during World War II. Her memoir, published in 1997 under the title Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years, told of an encounter with a Nazi rapist, a search spanning 1,900 miles for her parents, and life among a pack of wolves.
But several years later, during a 1998 court case involving the Mount Ivy Press publishing company, which put out her book, and her publisher Jane Daniel, Defonseca’s work began raising suspicions as it was found to be packed with inconsistencies.
The Coming, Fearsome Test for French Jews
France has a rich Jewish history and a vibrant Jewish community of approximately 500,000 souls. At the same time, France is a country where anti-Semitism has deep, seemingly immovable roots. Modern Zionism evolved partly as a reaction to the Dreyfus trial at the end of the 19th century, while in the middle of the 20th, around 90,000 Jews were murdered during the Nazi Holocaust.
In our own time, France has provided fertile ground for Holocaust deniers—known in local parlance as “negationistes”—while during the last 10 years, we have witnessed a horrifying hate crime involving the kidnapping and murder of a young Jew, Ilan Halimi, an Islamist terror attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse which claimed the lives of three children and a rabbi, and a burgeoning anti-Semitic social movement which takes as its symbol an inverted Nazi salute known as the “quenelle.”
Small wonder, then, that French Jewish leaders are continually asked whether their community has a future in the long-term.
Israel, China start agri-tech incubator
The latest news in the rapidly growing Israel-China business relationship is a joint-venture agricultural technology incubator. Slated to be built in Anhui Province, China, the incubator will operate under the auspices of Trendlines Agtech, a specialized inve to Luban’s facilities earlier this year.
Anhui Luban Construction Group, with more than 10,000 employees and revenues of $720 million, encompasses businesses in construction, high-tech agriculture, real estate, and tourism. Luban has invested $640 million to build the 16-square-kilometer Luban Agricultural Technology Park.
Israeli firm nabs cyber prize
Earlier this month, CyberArk was selected as best advanced persistent threat protection at the SC Awards Europe 2014. Israel’s largest private cyber-security software company also was ranked “highly commended” in the identity-management category from among hundreds of vendors and service providers.
“After being narrowed down to a select group of finalists, our judges pored over the entries to thoroughly compare each product against its peers,” said Illena Armstrong, VP for editorial at SC Magazine for IT security professionals, the award’s sponsor. “CyberArk was selected as the winner in this year’s SC Awards Europe for its ability to best meet the needs of its customers.”
IDF Mobility and Robotics Dept. seeking robot for tunnel warfare
The Defense Ministry has issued a tender for the development of a light-weight robot that will be used to enter dangerous tunnels filled with explosives and to broadcast critical data to IDF combat engineering units tasked with subterranean warfare.
The tender, issued by the ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, is for a mechanism that can be carried on a soldier’s back and perform complex scans of underground structures.
Ideally, the robot will use a range of sensors to collect information and transmit it to the unit operating it, the head of the IDF’s Mobility and Robotics Department, Maj. Lior Trabelsi, was quoted as saying by the army’s official website.
IDF Blog: Honoring Their Excellence: Two Outstanding IDF Soldiers
Every year, out of thousands of candidates, the President of Israel honors the most outstanding soldiers in the IDF. These soldiers are an inspiration to their peers, acting as leaders and demonstrating the highest degree of excellence. We sat down with two of these exceptional soldiers and heard their stories.
Booming Israeli cinema sends 5 films to Cannes
Critics say the wave of Israeli films selected for international festivals over the past few years is a reflection of better quality production and rising box-office numbers at both home and abroad.
“International recognition and the implication of quality that it brings has rocketed Israel’s cinema production to the forefront,” film critic Meir Schnitzer told AFP. “The miracle of Israeli cinema in the last 10 years isn’t measured just by the number of films or their public reception, but by what has been a revolution in production quality.”
Over the past decade, four Israeli movies have received Oscar nominations for best foreign film.
What is missing from these two BBC Technology reports?
The only very round-about clue to the fact that Keepod is an Israeli start-up in the report’s written version is the following caption to one of the photographs used to illustrate it.
“Keepod is Hebrew for the word hedgehog. It is also a play on words, as it joins the English word “keep” with the Hebrew word “od”, meaning “everything”.”
‘Od’ actually means ‘more’ in Hebrew – not ‘everything’.
In the report’s filmed version, no mention at all is made of the fact that Keepod is an Israeli company and in neither report is the fact that the USB flash drive is an Israeli invention noted.


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