Thursday, June 19, 2014

From Ian:

Chloe Valdary: Native Son
I have been through far worse than you could ever put me through. I was beaten and bruised by oppressors throughout millennia; Yet, I am still here, bold and beautiful as the day I was born.
So you can try to lynch my brothers if you want. You can kidnap my sons but, I assure you, they will return. We will go on loving humanity so fiercely, you’ll be begging us for more, because that is simply what we do. My children will grow up to beome the 8th wonder of the world, because we just got it like that.
So please pardon me, dear world. I simply do not have the time to prostrate before your hollow thrones of sanctimonious chitchat. I’ve got things to invent, laws to create, mysteries to discover, and kingdoms to establish. And while I am busy I am sure you will concern yourself with whether you really can bring about my demise but rest assured that this much is true:
I have risen before and I will rise again.
Over Arab objections, Israel to vice-chair UN panel on Palestinian refugees
Israel overcame a coordinated effort by Arab states on Wednesday to thwart its appointment as vice chair of a UN committee dealing with issues such as Palestinian refugees and human rights, and will serve in that capacity at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
Mordehai Amihai won the appointment to represent the Western European and Other Groups voting bloc on the 4th (Decolonization) Committee with 74 votes, while candidates from Belgium and Norway each garnered one vote. He received staunch backing from Britain, Canada and the US, all of which expressed disappointment with the decision to call the vote. (h/t messy1a)
Arab and Muslim Antisemitism: A Muslim Perspective
Islamism is a pathology propelling a significant segment of the global Muslim population into conflict with others – most prominently the Jews – all of whom are viewed as enemies. What seems like an inner compulsion of Islamists to wage war has also historically turned into Muslim-on-Muslim violence: a raging sectarian conflict of Sunnis against Shi'ites, tribes against tribes, and nations against nations. Islamists have shredded their "thin veneer of Islam" and displayed their "jihad" as a neo-pagan belief in a capricious tribal god governing a cult of violence. It was from such a pagan belief that Muhammad sought to lift the Arabs of the desert by having Islam bear the universal message of belief in one God, merciful and compassionate; but it is precisely this pagan cult of tribal violence that Islamists have resurrected or which, it might be said, they never entirely renounced.
The world at the end of the twentieth century was not prepared to encounter Islamism as an ideology of hate and terror. The terrorist acts of war unleashed by Islamists on September 11, 2001 came as a shock. Since that day, the world has been informed about Islamists and now needs to recall from history how violence born of Jew-hatred or anti-Semitism does not end with the Jews; nor is it only about the Jews. Anti-Semitism was, and remains, a plague that endangers us all. There is an urgent need to quell, rather than appease, Muslim anti-Semitism. The suicidal acts of terrorism, in which Islamists have engaged before and since the 9/11 attacks, demonstrate their willingness – should they acquire the weapons – to bring about their own version of Götterdämmerung in their fanatical and pagan desire to destroy the enemy. The world stands warned.

A Jew's passionate plea to UNESCO
Last week, a delegation from Justice of Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) met with Director-General Irina Bokova at UNESCO's Paris Headquarters to present her with a list of endangered Jewish sites. Mrs Bokova listened to 'powerful' addresses by Edwin Shuker of Iraq and Yves Fedida of Egypt. She expressed sorrow at the destruction of cultural heritage, but said she could not wave a magic wand. She was sceptical about the term 'tolerance' - a better term might be 'respect'. UNESCO was an inter-governmental organisation of member states and its freedom of manoeuver was limited. She could do her best to encourage meetings between individual UNESCO ambassadors and Jewish organisations.
Here is the text of the address to Mrs Bokova by Yves Fedida of the organisation Nebi Daniel.
U.N. meeting on "counter-terrorism" upstaged by terrorist state sponsors
On June 12, 2014 the UN General Assembly convened a review of its "Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy." The UN "strategy" was first adopted on September 8, 2006.
Discussions about countering terrorism at the UN are always fraught with a certain difficulty - the absence of a UN-agreed definition of terrorism. The prime reason for the standoff is the insistence of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that various targets - like Israelis - are always fair game. The Arab Terrorism Convention and the Terrorism Convention of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) define terrorism to exclude armed struggle for liberation and self-determination. This claim purports to exclude blowing up certain civilians from the reach of international law and organizations.
Vox Explains: Israel Is The Worst
On what surely is a trivial note to many, Hamas is still considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. It is – the political wing, included — in a state of war with Israel, one that includes missile strikes aimed at the civilian population. Fisher sees fit to mention the horrors of a gas shortage in Gaza; he does not find it worthy to mention the 8,000 rockets that Hamas – a political entity that a now has teamed with the “moderate Palestinian government” in the West Bank – has launched at civilians. This is the government Fisher wants Israel to empower. How that would work out, he doesn’t offer any thoughts on.
Vox, a site that purportedly exists to explain the world to us, is plowing old ground. The idea that the powerful are culpable might be logically flawed, but Israel’s critics have used it for decades. It can be found in The Nation circa 1985, or a Ron Paul newsletter circa 1992, or now on the Vox landing page. Of course, the idea that Vox has the capability to explain an issue as complex as the Israel-Arab conflict in a few thousand words or that it can render judgment is laughable. The reasoning used to try and accomplish the feat, though, is just as disturbing as its always been. (h/t MtTB)
Hillel Neuer to UN: "Why does the UN elect Syria to top human rights positions?

WSJ: Hezbollah’s Nasrallah Pledges Troops to Support Iraqi Regime, As Soldiers Fortify Beirut Against ISIS
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday said he would pledge soldiers to support the Iraqi regime against ISIS, according to a report in pro-Hezbollah newspaper As-Safir, as reported in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, but Lebanese sources close to the group told the U.S. business daily that Hezbollah was already spread too thin in Syria and along the Israeli border to also enter Iraq. Meanwhile, a Lebanese security source pointed to Hezbollah reinforcements strengthening their positions in Beirut in case ISIS also makes a play for the city.
Nasrallah told As-Safir: “We are ready to sacrifice martyrs in Iraq five times more than what we sacrificed in Syria, in order to protect shrines, because they are much more important than [Syria's holy sites].”
Iran Supreme Leader: The Islamic Messiah Is Coming Soon To Kill All Infidels
Iran’s supreme leader is promising a world free of infidels and nonbelievers with the coming of the Islamic messiah, Mahdi, a 9th-century descendant of the prophet Mohammad whom the Shiites refer to as the 12th Imam.
“The coming of Imam Zaman [Mahdi] is the definite promise by Allah,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech Wednesday on the anniversary of Mahdi’s birthday at an exhibition of research and historical documents on the 12th Imam.
Diplomats signal no progress in Iran talks
Two diplomats spoke to the Associated Press on Thursday ahead of a third day of planned meetings, with the possibility that they would wrap up the round early because of the lack of progress.
One Western diplomat told news agency AFP that Iran’s position in the talks was “worrying.”
Amb. Ross: U.S. Policy on Iran Causing Discomfort Among Allies, Must Be Balanced
Ross also assessed that any credible deal with Iran would require convincing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that a collapse in talks “will mean enduring, severe economic pain for Iran as well as the high probability that force will be used to destroy the huge investment the Islamic Republic has made in its nuclear facilities” – a stance that he noted “would also be useful for assuaging the deep concerns our regional friends have about any possible P5+1 nuclear accord with the Iranians.”
Ross also called on the Obama administration to address Arab concerns over Iran’s ongoing efforts to destabilize Gulf states – which those states have been criticizing for years in increasingly explicit terms – by moving against Tehran’s proxies such as the Bashar al-Assad regime and blocking Iranian efforts to ship destabilizing arms across the Middle East.
UK to reopen embassy in Iran
The announcement represents another step in the thaw in recent days between Iran and the West. American officials are also looking for common ground with Iran as they seek ways to quell mounting violence in Iraq.
Australia assauges Arab concerns over East Jerusalem
Australian’s foreign minister met Arab and Islamic ambassadors Thursday to try to soothe concerns over Canberra’s stance on East Jerusalem, insisting there was no policy change despite moves to stop referring to it as “occupied.”
The meeting followed fury in the Arab world after Attorney-General George Brandis said the term would not be used as it carried pejorative implications and was neither appropriate nor useful.
Eighteen diplomats from countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia protested and warned of possible trade sanctions.
Australia’s export trade with the Middle East accounts for billions of dollars annually, particularly in wheat and meat.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said there had been a “constructive” discussion and released a letter to the diplomats re-affirming there was no change in the government’s position on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories.
“Our position is consistent with relevant UN resolutions adopted over many years, including UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338,” it read.
Behind Robert Mackey’s Continued Assault on Israel
To say that Mackey’s coverage of Israel is reprehensible simply doesn’t do justice to the word. Consider his latest article, Israelis Start #BringBackOurBoys Campaign. An outpouring of sympathy for three Israeli youths kidnapped by Arab terrorists while hitchhiking prompted those supportive of Israel to take to social media in an effort to bring attention to their dire plight.
Here Mackey’s malevolence truly comes to fore. He creates a moral inversion of sorts by linking grassroots Israeli efforts to free the kidnapped youths to automaton-like agents of government propaganda. This certainly is not the first time that Mackey has engaged in this sort of insidious yellow journalism.
Press TV Cage Fight: Gilad Atzmon vs Lee Kaplan
This entire video from Iran’s propaganda arm Press TV contains a 5 minute summary of the kidnapping story that is so far off the scale of lying propaganda, it’s hard to single out any of the lies. I do like how they refer to the Israeli Government’s actions as Tel Aviv did this or that because they can’t even admit there is an Israel and they certainly can’t notice that our capital and seat of government is Jerusalem.
But what follows is an epic debate between second rate jazz musician and veteran Israel-hater Gilad Atzmon; and journalist Lee Kaplan. Oh and magically, just like all the Arab victories in all the wars they ever started against Israel, Atzmon thinks he won this round!

French Anti-Semitism and the Specter of “Humanitarian Zionism”
To take those three points in order: According to Brown University’s Maud Mandel “France houses the largest Jewish and Muslim populations living side by side outside of Israel.” That bodes ill, obviously, for Muslim-Jewish relations in Europe in the future (though there are certainly aspects of this that are specific to France). On the second point, European mass media is broadly hostile to the Jewish state, so it’s unlikely any strife caused by the press would be limited to France. (Ahem, BBC.) On the third, I’m not sure what the Jews of France expect, outside of their own private army. Jewish institutions in many cases could do much better than they are, but it’s doubtful they can singlehandedly change the hearts and minds of Europe’s Mehdi Nemmouches and Mohammed Merahs.
If there is any strength to be had in numbers, then France’s treatment of its Jews shows how easily that strength can be negated. The packed aliyah fairs in Paris and the rate of French aliyah itself raise the specter of what Jabotinsky once called “humanitarian Zionism.” If such a Zionism is necessary in 2014, Europe has failed its Jews once again.
Anti-Israel Text Remained in Schools Longer Than Officials Claimed
An anti-Israel text that school officials and some Jewish organizations say was removed from a Boston suburb’s public school curriculum during the 2011-12 academic year was being distributed to students longer than the aforementioned parties let on, new research shows. Furthermore, references to the controversial text remain on a website that is routinely visited by those students to access materials for class.
The Boston-based advocacy group Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) said in late May that “The Arab World Studies Notebook” (AWSN), a Saudi-financed text on Middle East history that falsely claims Israeli soldiers murdered hundreds of Palestinian nurses in Israeli prisons, was still being used in at least three separate classes during the 2012-13 school year in the public school system of Newton, Mass.
US man arrested over Auschwitz killings
An 89-year-old Philadelphia man was ordered held without bail Wednesday on a German arrest warrant charging him with aiding and abetting the killing of 216,000 Jewish men, women and children while he was a guard at the Auschwitz death camp.
The man, retired toolmaker Johann “Hans” Breyer, was taken into custody by US authorities Tuesday night.
Technion awards honorary doctorate to Dershowitz
World-renowned lawyer and pro-Israel activist Alan Dershowitz was given an honorary doctorate by the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology on Monday.
Dershowitz was feted by the Haifa- based university for his “standing as a distinguished legal scholar and criminal lawyer,” his “fervent advocacy of civil liberties and human rights” and his “life’s work as a passionate, persistent and persuasive champion of the State of Israel in numerous and diverse arenas.”
He said he was honored to receive a doctorate from the Technion, which he deemed “the epitome of emerging science and humanity.
Israeli Company Makes Major Breakthrough on Bone Regeneration
Bonus Biogroup, a regenerative medicine company in Israel, has found a way to grow human bone from a patient’s own fat, culled during liposuction. Following successful pre-clinical testing, clinical trials will begin within the next year in Europe or in Israel on applications ranging from growing bones for dental surgery to replacing bone tissue lost through trauma or illness.
The new innovation pioneered by Bonus evolved from years of research and development at the NASDAQ-traded company Pluristem Therapeutics, which Meretzki founded previously. The technology involves extracting stem cells from a person’s own fat tissues, and transferring them to a special matrix that coaxes the cells to grow into real human bone.
Despite Political Hostility, Israeli Books Read Throughout Mideast
Despite the tense relations between Israel and most other Middle-Eastern countries, Israeli literature is gaining in popularity across the region.
Books written by Israelis are sold and read in countries such as Iran, Lebanon and Pakistan, Netanel Semrik, founder and CEO of the Contento De Semrik publishing house, told Yedioth Achronoth.
Google’s Eric Schmidt Says Tel Aviv Close Second to Silicon Valley – ‘Nowhere in the World is Comparable’
Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt on Monday told a group of Israeli entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv that their city was a very close second to Silicon Valley, Israeli business daily Globes reported on Wednesday.
“It is hard to see such things elsewhere in the world outside Silicon Valley,” Schmidt said. “Nowhere in the world is comparable, not even Boston and New York.”
The only trouble with Tel Aviv – flying there doesn’t feel scary any more
After decades of having to schlep all the way to Heathrow and undergo a somewhat shamefully enjoyable grilling from the sexy El Al staff who moved along the line making you step into a corner with them and answer questions, you can now check in online with the friendly orange airline and waltz through security with no more bother than if you were going to Marbs.
When I first came to Israel more than a decade ago, my atheist Jewish ex-mother-in-law cried and told me she would pray every day for my safe return, and my friends mostly gasped ‘But WHY?’ Now she is dead, and they express the earnest desire to accompany me next time. It’s pretty safe to say that the demonisation of the tiny Jewish state has been a failure, despite the zeal of the anti-Semites in anti-Zionists’ clothing.
From the 4 Corners of the World: Picture Collection from New Zealand, Part II
The Presbyterian Church Archives Research Centre holds a fascinating collection of 144 glass Lantern slides of various scenes from the Holy Land. The majority appear to have been taken in the latter years of the 19th century.
The picture of the Western Wall is from the Presbyterian Research Centre,
but it also appeared in the Israel Daily Picture two years ago. It was taken by Frank Mason Good in 1866/67 and published by the Palestine Exploration Fund.

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