Monday, June 23, 2014

From Ian:

Can Palestinians humanize 6 million living Jews when they won’t sympathize with 6 million murdered Jews?
UK media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict typically imputes good faith to Palestinians – operating under the premise that most truly want a peaceful resolution with the Jewish State.
However, what if this assumption is misplaced?
How would media coverage of boycotts, lawfare and other forms of Palestinian ‘resistance‘ change if journalists took seriously the possibility that the Palestinians’ end goal was not to live in peace with their neighbors, but, rather, perpetual war, the only desirable end result being the elimination of the Jewish state?
Well, an independent Catholic news site asked that very question (Do Palestinians Want Peace?, June 19), in the context of linking to a Guardian report by their Middle East editor Ian Black about the forced resignation of a Palestinian professor who led a group of his students on a trip to Auschwitz.
Black – as Guardian editors are wont to do – framed the depressing episode, in which a Palestinian professor was vilified for merely attempting to evoke sympathy amongst Palestinians for Jewish victims of Hitler’s genocide, as a story of ‘competing narratives of victimization.
JPost Editorial: Presbyterian mistake
It is dangerous to allow irrational theologies of any kind to inform one’s politics, whether these politics are pro-Zionist or anti-Zionist. Christians of all stripes should, instead, inform themselves about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reach their own conclusions based on reason, not theology. Intellectual honesty will lead any inquirer to admit at the very least that the issues are complicated.
By taking a stand in favor of divestment the Presbyterians of America are saying that they have figured out who is right and who is wrong in the conflict. And they have done this based either on the influence of irrational theology or a biased, radical left-wing agenda. As a result, some of the worst human rights offenders go unpunished by the mainline churches, while Israel is singled out for special censure.
Netanyahu slams ‘disgraceful’ US Presbyterian divestment
“It’s so disgraceful,” Netanyahu said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” news program. “Most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation.”
He said that while much of the Middle East was “riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions,” Israel is “the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians.”
Netanyahu advised the Presbyterians to “fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference.”
“I would give them two pieces of advice — one is make sure it’s an armor-plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christian.”
PCUSA's New Moderator Unsettled by CNN Scrutiny
Things got even uglier when the host asked about Zionism Unsettled, a hateful and dishonest text produced by the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), a group of so-called peace activists with a long history of demonizing Israel and American Jews. The host asked how the PC(USA) can profess its love for its Jewish sisters and brothers in light of some of the rhetoric in Zionism Unsettled. “It seems as if the rhetoric at least, does not speak to your love for, as you say, your Jewish brothers and sisters,” he asked.
In response Rada invoked a overture passed by the General Assembly in Detroit that stated that Zionism Unsettled does not represent the viewpoint of the PC(USA). Interestingly enough, the overture initially instructed the denomination to stop selling the text, but this section was removed in committee and approved as amended by the General Assembly. Rada said:
“Our General Assembly distanced itself, saying we do not support the statements that were made in Zionism Unsettled. We as a denomination do not affirm that terminology.”
The host responded, “But you’re still selling it on the Presbyterian USA website. It still is a teaching guide on your website. I looked at it this morning.
CNN Anchors Rip Presbyterian Official Over BDS Vote (quoted part starts at 5min)

Presbyterian Church Approves Israel Divestment, But Does its Boycott Even Matter?
The latest figures released by PCUSA in 2012 indicate that membership has dramatically declined over the last half decade, with the loss of nearly 465,000 members between 2006 and 2012, including 103,000 between 2011 and 2012. These declines have coincided with a growing push by anti-Israel members within PCUSA to have the church divest from Israel.
At the same time, according to the Pew Research Center, PCUSA is one of America’s smallest churches, constituting only 2 percent of total Protestants and 1.1 percent of the American population as a whole. When compared to largely pro-Israel Evangelical Christians, who constitute over a quarter of all Americans, making it the largest single denomination in America, it would appear their influence is limited.
“When you don’t have the moral clarity to denounce an anti-Semitic diatribe such as ‘Zionism Unsettled,’ then something is clearly wrong, David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), told
Some Good News About the Presbyterian Church’s Anti-Israel Vote
And of course, the Presbyterian church made clear that it’s divested from businesses that make money helping Jews defend themselves out of “love” for the Jews and a commitment to interfaith dialogue. So that should definitely make us all feel a lot better.
But I noticed some other, even better news today about the Presbyterian church: the median age of people in the Presbyterian church is 63.
The median age for people in the United States is 36.8.
About 90% of Presbyterians are white; the median age for non-Hispanic whites is 42.3
Jewish Jesus in Renaissance Art and the Roots of Anti-Semitism
The public was surprised if not shocked by the recent revelation that the mother of the late Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor, Archbishop of New York from 1984 to 2000, was Jewish. In the Jewish tradition, having a Jewish mother makes a person Jewish. What’s more, Cardinal O’Connor’s grandfather was a rabbi. At first I too was stunned. But then I thought, what’s the big deal? Jesus’ mother was Jewish.
So were the mothers of John the Baptist, Peter (the rock on which the church would be built), Paul (who many believe actually founded Christianity), and the mothers of all of Jesus’ disciples and followers.
Add to that the fact that Jesus was a dedicated Jew throughout his life. With these thoughts in mind, an intriguing image and hypothetical question occurred to me.
Imagine Jesus returning and standing in front of two adjoining buildings – a synagogue and a Catholic church. Which one would he choose to enter?
Palestinians to push for full EU recognition by end of year
In light of the moribund peace talks with Israel, the Palestinian Authority is planning a diplomatic push for full recognition by the European Union by the end of 2014, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told Ramallah-based newspaper Al-Ayyam.
Al-Maliki said he had raised the issue before European foreign ministers, who promised to consider the Palestinian initiative favorably.
The Palestinian Authority also stated it had appealed to the U.N. to hold an emergency Security Council session to "stop the Israeli aggression."
A ‘new anti-Semitism’ rising in France
Jewish leaders say Dieudonné is a symptom of a larger problem. Here and across the region, they are talking of the rise of a “new anti-Semitism” based on the convergence of four main factors. They cite classic scapegoating amid hard economic times, the growing strength of far-right nationalists, a deteriorating relationship between black Europeans and Jews, and, importantly, increasing tensions with Europe’s surging Muslim population.
In Western Europe, no nation has seen the climate for Jews deteriorate more than France.
Anti-Semitism has ebbed and flowed here and throughout the region since the end of World War II, with outbreaks of violence and international terrorism — particularly in the 1980s and early 2000s — often linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But Jewish leaders here are now warning of a recent and fundamental shift tied to a spurt of homegrown anti-Semitism. (h/t Alexi)
Israel and the White Trash Elites
So when did all the snide anti-Israel elites turn into poor white trash?
New York’s Metropolitan Opera puts on an Arab-terrorist-loving piece of garbage, entitled “The Death of Klinghoffer.”
Meanwhile The Rolling Stones swing through Tel Aviv, defying the boycott of Israel, as Mick Jagger talks to the crowd in Hebrew.
Who would have thought that The Stones would be educating the Opera crowd?
Some Operas You Won’t Be Seeing at the Met
Here are three operas that won’t get staged at the famed Metropolitan Opera (Met) in New York City anytime soon.
“Omar.” The story of a young Iraqi man who was beaten and tortured by Saddam Hussein’s secret police. Omar’s experience, relayed in the Iraqi writer Kanan Makiya’s superlative book “Cruelty and Silence,” exposes a world in which, as the lead character says, “Words can kill. Words are what got us in the end, not anything we did.”
The Guardian vs Myron Kaplan on ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’
Though the opera will be staged as planned, The Met recently cancelled plans for a cinema simulcast of the production, citing fears that it may inadvertently incite antisemitism due to what’s been characterized as its sympathetic view of the terrorists.
On June 18th, the Guardian’s classical music critic expressed his outrage at The Met’s decision in the following article, in which he dismissed “concern in the international Jewish community” about the opera’s propensity to “fan global antisemitism”.
Victim of Golan Heights terror attack unnamed in BBC News report
Although details of the event were released for publication around half an hour after this BBC report was published, it has so far not been updated to include the victim’s name or correct age. In fact, Mohammed Karakra was thirteen years old; not 15 as initially reported and he had accompanied his father to work on the first day of his summer holidays from school. Mohammed’s father – from the village of ‘Arrabe in the Galilee – is part of a team of contractors working on the border fence in the Golan Heights on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. He was seriously injured and is currently hospitalized in Haifa. Two other workers were also injured in the cross-border terror attack which took place at around 11 a.m. near Tel Hezeka, in the vicinity of the community of Alonei HaBashan.
Egypt: Al-Jazeera journalists sentenced to 7 years
The sentences were handed down against Australian correspondent Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian acting Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed, who also received an extra three years in prison on separate charges.
“I swear they will pay for this,” Fahmy shouted angrily from the defendants’ cage after the sentences were announced. Greste raised his fists in the air.
Cease-fire reached in Palestinian camp in Syria
If it holds, the agreement in the Yarmouk, the largest of nine Palestinian camps in Syria, could help ease the suffering of some 18,000 civilians who have been trapped there since the government imposed a blockade in mid-2013. Previous agreements to end the fighting in Yarmouk have all collapsed.
The official SANA news agency the latest deal was sponsored by the Syrian government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the cease-fire.
Under the agreement, heavy weapons are to be removed from the camp, barriers are to be taken down and an internal force is to be created to ensure security. The main entrances to the camp are to be opened, and infrastructure is to be restored.
Daniel Pipes: Turkish Support for ISIS and Islamic Terrorists
Some readers question that the republic of Turkey supports the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” the main Sunni group fighting in Iraq. They point to ISIS attacks on Turkish interests within Turkey, along its border with Syria, and in Mosul, and a successful recent meeting of the Turkish and Iranian presidents. Good points, but each of these can be explained.
First, ISIS is willing to accept Turkish support even while seeing the Islamist prime minister and his countrymen as kafirs (infidels) who need to be shown true Islam.
Jordan, Lebanon beef up security against Islamist threat
An al-Qaeda breakaway group’s seizure of territory in Iraq and Syria has sent tremors across the Middle East, jolting neighboring countries into action over fears that the Islamic militants may set their sights on them next.
In Jordan, the army dispatched reinforcements to its border with Iraq last week to boost security, while in Lebanon heavily armed police busted a suspected sleeper cell allegedly linked to the group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, in raids on two hotels in central Beirut.
Netanyahu to US: Weaken both Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday the United States should try to weaken both Iran and the Sunni Muslim insurgents driving toward Baghdad, urging the Obama administration not to work with Iran to help stabilize Iraq.
"What you're seeing in the Middle East today in Iraq and in Syria is the stark hatreds between radical Shiites, in this case led by Iran, and radical Sunnis led by al-Qaida and ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and others," Netanyahu told the NBC program "Meet the Press."
"Now, both of these camps are enemies of the United States. And when your enemies are fighting each other, don't strengthen either one of them. Weaken both," Netanyahu added.
Iran opposes US intervention in Iraq, says Khamenei
Khamenei, who has the last word on all matters of state, added in remarks to judiciary officials that Washington aimed to keep Iraq under its control and place its own stooges in power. The conflict there was not sectarian, but was really between those who wanted Iraq in the US camp and those who sought Iraq's independence, IRNA reported.
"We are strongly opposed to US and other (countries') intervention in Iraq," IRNA quoted Khamenei as saying.
"We don't approve of it, as we believe the Iraqi government, nation and religious authorities are capable of ending the sedition. And God willing, they will do so."
Beware ISIL, Iran’s Rouhani warns ‘petrodollar’ states
Rouhani did not name any country, but officials and media in mainly Shiite Iran have hinted that insurgents from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are being financially and militarily supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
“I advise Muslim countries that support the terrorists with their petrodollars to stop,” Rouhani said in remarks reported by the website of Iran’s state broadcaster.
“Tomorrow you will be targeted… by these savage terrorists. Wash your hands of killing and the killing of Muslims,” he added.
Fouad Ajami, ‘Genuine Arab Hero,’ Dead at 68
Foaud Ajami, a prolific writer and a scholar of the Middle East and, in particular, Arab and Islamic policies, has died.
Ajami was born into a poor Shiite Muslim family in Arnoun, Lebanon in September of 1945. He emigrated to the United States in 1963, where he attended university. He taught at Princeton and then, in 1980, became director of the Middle East Studies at the international relations graduate program, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University.
On the occasion of Israel’s 60th anniversary, Ajami rebuked his fellow Arabs for refusing to accept the existence of the Jewish State, choosing instead to inculcate their followers with the fervent desire and belief that Arab might would excise Israel from their midst like a boil.
Beit Guvrin National Park declared UNESCO World Heritage Site
Representing a "microcosm of the Land of the Caves," Israel's Beit Guvrin-Maresha Caves National Park has been accepted onto UNESCO's World Heritage List, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority announced on Sunday.
Alongside many other sites around the world, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) elected to inscribe Beit Guvrin-Maresha Caves National Park on Sunday during its 38th session in Doha, Qatar, bringing the World Heritage List total 1,001 properties since its foundation. Beit Guvrin and the Caves of Maresha – located in the Judean Lowlands south of Beit Shemesh and east of Kiryat Gat – contains a "city under a city" characterized by manmade caves, according to a World Heritage Committee statement.
Former GOP Candidate Mike Huckabee Speaks at the Knesset
Speaking of Sodastream's representative actress Scarlett Johansson, who refused to submit to pressure by the BDS movement to remove her support, Huckabee praised her for showing "more courage than all the State Department."
"If I ever become president, maybe you'll see Secretary of State Scarlett Johansson, I'm pretty sure she'll be more attractive than the two we just had," remarked Huckabee tongue-in-cheek.
"Truth is the best friend Israel has. Unfortunately it doesn't have many friends telling the truth," commented Huckabee. He noted the historical, Biblical, theological and logical definitions supporting Israel's right to exist, adding that it fits the United Nations description of an indigenous nation.
Israel claims $3B in cyber exports, second only to US
Israeli exports of cyber-related products and services last year reached $3 billion, some 5 percent of the global market and more than all other nations combined apart from the United States, according to Israel’s National Cyber Bureau (NCB).
Officials here say the latest data, cited last week at an international conference here and presented in detail at a closed briefing of the Israeli Cabinet in late February, clearly ranks Israel as the second leading cyber exporting nation.
Israel named Tier 1 nation in combating human trafficking
Israel has been awarded the highest ranking for its efforts to combat human trafficking in the U.S. State Department's 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, published Friday.
The State Department assigns countries one of four "tiers" based on their government efforts to put a stop to trafficking in persons. The findings assigned Israel a rank of Tier 1, noting that the country has continued to work determinedly to stop human trafficking, with various authorities making efforts to identify trafficking victims and move them to special shelters and taking harsh steps against traffickers.
The radiation-free alternative for breast-cancer detection
A no-radiation, no-contact device that could revolutionize breast cancer diagnosis is several steps closer to the market as it undergoes further clinical trials in Israel, in Sweden and in two major US cancer centers.
Real Imaging’s Real Imager 8 is eagerly anticipated as a safe, painless and more accurate screening to complement mammography. It has already received the CE Mark in Europe, and is preparing to apply for additional regulatory approvals from agencies including the US Food and Drug Administration.
Discovery could spare patients from kidney transplant
Researchers in Israel and the US have discovered that, contrary to popular medical opinion, the human kidney is able to regenerate itself. Until now, scientists had believed that the liver is the only human organ that can regenerate itself.
A new study by researchers at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, and Stanford University shows, for the first time, how the kidney pulls off this trick. Using genetically modified mice, the researchers were able to trace cell growth in the kidney, which reconstituted itself in the proper array of tubes and ducts.
The Man Who Warned The West About The Holocaust, At A Time When No One Would Listen
Thanks to American film director Steven Spielberg, many people may think of German businessman Oskar Schindler as the man who did the most to save Polish Jews during World War II.
But in Poland, efforts are under way to bring Schindler-style recognition to a lesser-known figure -- Jan Karski, an eyewitness to the Holocaust whose daring wartime attempts to call attention to the slaughter of Polish Jews were largely ignored by the United States and Britain.
In a year when World War II anniversaries are focused on Normandy in the West and the end of the Leningrad Siege in Russia, Poland is honoring the centenary of the birth of its own wartime hero with commemorative coins, political lectures, and the reissue, in Polish and English, of Karski's 1944 memoir, "Story of a Secret State."

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