Monday, September 22, 2014

From Ian:

Does Human Rights Watch Understand the Nature of Prejudice?
A few days ago, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, tweeted the following statement: “Germans rally against anti-Semitism that flared in Europe in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza war. Merkel joins.” Roth provided a link to a New York Times article about the rally, which took place in Berlin.
Roth’s framing of this issue is very odd and obtuse. Anti-Semitism in Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza,” or anywhere else. Anti-Semitic violence and invective are not responses to events in the Middle East, just as anti-Semitism does not erupt “in response” to the policies of banks owned by Jews, or in response to editorial positions taken by The New York Times. This is for the simple reason that Jews do not cause anti-Semitism.
It is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of prejudice are not the cause of prejudice. Just as Jews (or Jewish organizations, or the Jewish state) do not cause anti-Semitism to flare, or intensify, or even to exist, neither do black people cause racism, nor gay people homophobia, nor Muslims Islamophobia. Like all prejudices, anti-Semitism is not a rational response to observable events; it is a manifestation of irrational hatred. Its proponents justify their anti-Semitism by pointing to the (putatively offensive or repulsive) behavior of their targets, but this does not mean that major figures in the world of human-rights advocacy should accept these pathetic excuses as legitimate.
Jennifer Rubin: Pushing back against the world’s oldest hatred
Meanwhile, as in Europe, U.S. college and university campuses are awash with anti-Israel rhetoric. However, on American campuses it gets dressed up as scholarship. (Singling out Israel and holding it to a different standard than any other country is classic anti-Semitism, as Natan Sharanksy pointed out. But for now let’s just called it anti-Israel propaganda.) The Chronicle of Higher Ed reports that, in a “joint statement issued on Wednesday, [several pro-Israel] groups argue that Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which provides funds to international-studies and foreign-language centers to educate the public and train security specialists, is being misused ‘to support biased, politicized, and imbalanced programs of Middle East studies.’ ” The groups argue that these “programs fail to satisfy Title VI’s intended purpose, flout Congressional intent, and thwart American national-security and foreign-policy interests.”
The groups point to two studies (the Amcha Initiative and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law) documenting the fixation some of these programs have on Israel, virtually all viciously critical of the Jewish state. The report notes: “The statement alleges that such abuses continue despite amendments to the Higher Education Act, enacted in 2008, that require programs receiving Title VI funds to reflect diverse perspectives. It urges Congress to amend the Higher Education Act to require recipients of Title VI funds to establish grievance procedures to handle complaints that their programs do not reflect a wide range of views. It also urges Congress to require the Education Department to establish a formal process to resolve complaints about the programs.”
Americans were too late in realizing Israel is not the problem
This delusional perception is a continuation of the decades-long approach that Israel is the root of all problems in the Middle East, a sort of almost anti-Semitic approach. Our conflict has been so inflated by politicians and academics, that over the years many have fallen into the trap of thinking that we really are the problem.
Now that same Kerry is trying to build a "coalition" to fight ISIS, and he didn't even bother to come to Israel, because what good can Israel do? Are we Sunnis or Shiites? Or maybe we are part of the conflict of Arab nationalism against radical Islam?
Indeed, he was very late in understanding that not only are we not an Archimedean point with which the problems of the Middle East can be solved, but that we have a very weak connection to these problems. Only now, the Americans have realized that our conflict is at the margins of the margins of the real problems in the region.
Open Letter to Henk Zanoli: the Dutchman who returned his Holocaust medal
I am truly sorry for the deaths of any and all innocent civilians, particularly the members of your family that were killed in the aforementioned bombing. I truly am. I am also saddened by any grief this may have caused you. That said I am concerned as to whether or not you are aware of the unfortunate connection certain members of this family have to Hamas, an organization with ideologies similar to those of the Nazis. Although the BBC made every effort to avoid telling this part of the story, your great-niece, the woman who married into this Palestinian family, has a brother-in-law who is a member of Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigades. This is a terrorist organization committed to the death of Jews to the same extent that the Nazis were when you behaved in the courageous and righteous fashion that you did so many years ago. My understanding is that her brother-in-law was in the house at the time of the bombing. It has also been reported that visiting the home on the day of the bombing was Mohammed Maqadmeh, also a member of Al Qassam. To put it in a different perspective, Al Qassam is to Hamas what the SS was to the Nazis. Brutal murderers with almost no conscience. Again let me say that you have my most sincere condolences for your loss, but I believe the presence of 2 terrorists on the premises at the time of the bombing is an important factor that can not be ignored.

Hatred Masquerading as Scholarship in the Classroom
“[T]hey will bomb Gaza back to the Stone Age they said, and that they did–and yet there are very few spots on planet earth today nobler to the human spirit of resistance to tyranny and injustice than Gaza–now held like a shining jewel on the loving ring of humanity around the globe–I kiss that noble ground and hold it dearer than cities full of ignoble postmodern architecture built on the stolen land of other people.”
The above quote, replete with biases and omissions, does not simply represent the viewpoint of one lone professor. It represents an extensively held perspective that has become a rigid orthodoxy that permeates through many of our nation’s Middle Eastern Studies Departments. This bias is being spoon-fed to our nation’s college students and sold to them as scholarship. As American parents who save for years for their youngsters’ college tuitions, many of us should be outraged that this bigotry is masquerading as solid erudition to our youngsters. As American citizens, we should be outraged that this sort of thinking is being subsidized by the American government in the form of Title VI grants to universities, and is shaping the thinking of our current and future American thinkers and leaders.
In fact, so blatant are the biases of the program, that 218 scholars from Middle Eastern Studies programs across the country, ranging from Columbia University and New York University on the East, the University of Chicago University of Illinois, and Michigan State University in the Mid-West to University of California in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, San Diego, Riverside, Santa Cruz, and hundreds of points in between, have all recently signed a petition for an academic boycott of Israeli Universities and any joint program with Israeli scholars.
How did this come about?
Sign Petition Against Academic Boycott of Israel
The loudest mouths get all the attention, while the majority of people in academia who do not support academic boycotts (of Israel or any other nation) mostly go about their business and watch from the sidelines.
There have been strong institutional expressions against academic BDS, most prominently by over 250 university presidents, the American Association of University Professors, and numerous higher education associations.
Now, a Petition is circulating that gives individuals on campus an opportunity to go on record against the academic boycott of Israel. (h/t Jewess)
Former head of human rights charity accused of leading double life as terrorist fundraiser
Abdul Rahman al-Nuaimi accused of sitting at centre of web of funding for al-Qaeda affiliates in countries ranging from Yemen to Syria, to Iraq to Somalia
In the summer of 2007, two prominent Somali Islamists left their war-torn country for the tranquillity of Qatar's capital, Doha. The men were put up in the five-star Millennium Hotel before addressing a seminar on the evils of Western intervention in their homeland.
In a Gulf state with no qualms about hosting radicals from across the Muslim world, there was nothing unusual about this event, save for the fact that one organiser had already crossed America's radar screen for his alleged extremist sympathies.
Abdul Rahman al-Nuaimi would later be designated by the US Treasury as a “global terrorist” and accused of sitting at the centre of a web of funding for al-Qaeda affiliates in countries ranging from Yemen to Syria, and from Iraq to Somalia.
Although he protests his innocence, Mr Nuaimi was singled out last December for US sanctions, including a travel ban and asset freeze.
Despite this public designation, Mr Nuaimi is believed to remain at liberty in Doha.
UK: More Taxpayer Funds Go to Extremist Charities
The British government is, incredibly, still continuing to fund charitable UK-based organizations with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, terrorist groups and domestic extremism. Simultaneously, lawmakers seem to be having trouble thinking of ways to tackle extremism and terrorist incitement within Britain's Muslim communities.
In early 2014, the Department for Communities and Local Government provided a grant of £18,000 ($29,000) to the Muslim Charities Forum [MCF], a charitable body and umbrella group for a number of leading Islamist charities, most of which are members of the Union of Good, a fundraising body established by the Muslim Brotherhood to raise money for the terror group Hamas.
The MCF is made up of nine member organizations, all of which stand accused of funding terror or promoting extremism:
British Jews Are Represented By 124 Moral Cowards
Board of Deputies COWARDSIn a not wholly unexpected move, the Board of Dhimmis of British Jews (BoD) approved by 124 to 40 the astonishing joint statement with the Muslim Brotherhood Council of Britain (MCB) thus confirming what many of us have known for a long time.
This is completely clear to all (except those 124): their deceitful interlocutors at the MCB fully believe this statement by Britain’s Jews accuses the IDF of directly and deliberately targeting civilians in Gaza. Something no right thinking person (let alone Jew) should accuse the Israeli Defence Forces of.
The BoD have nothing to say about the definition of civilians: according to the MCB and Hamas all of Gaza, including the guys carrying guns, the bomb builders, the rocket firers and the ones in Qatar ordering them are engaged in honourable resistance or civilians. According to the MCB and the BOD all Israelis are military invaders and occupiers to be targeted for death.
Iran who? IAEA conference to focus on Israeli 'nuclear threat'
The International Atomic Energy Agency opened its 85th annual General Conference in Vienna on Monday, with the participation of high-ranking officials and nuclear experts from more than one hundred countries, and Arab states will likely try to heighten diplomatic pressure on Israel over its assumed nuclear arsenal.
The head of the Israeli delegation to the conference, Dr. Shaul Chorev, is expected to address the conference. The Israeli delegation also includes representatives of the Foreign Ministry and the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.
This year, an Arab initiative dubbed the Israeli Nuclear Capabilities resolution is expected to garner a lot of attention. Israel has described this initiative as blatantly anti-Israel, and accused its initiators of being politically motivated and overstepping the IAEA's jurisdiction.
The initiative has been put up for a vote and defeated in the past. This year, like in past years, Israel has enlisted the help of allies in efforts to defeat the initiative again.
Anti-Israel activists attempt to hijack the People's Climate March
First they hijacked airplanes. Now the Palestinians hijack agendas.
Palestinians and their supporters are the spoiled children of the activist world- demanding, immature and inconsiderate.
Today's People’s Climate March in New York City attracted over 300,000 participants. Leave it to Jewish Voice for Peace and their anti-Israel comrades to shamelessly attempt to hijack the agenda.
Whenever a group of progressive activists mobilize, its a given that anti-Israel activists will be tagging along, with shrill foot-stomping demands of "Pay attention to me!"
Noor Mir on Twitter on Twitter gushed " I organized a #Free Palestine bloc and it is huge", adding "The climate connection is here & its clear"
Activist Admits BDS Effect Largely Psychological
Although the strategy of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions conjures an image of an economic war against Israel, the truth is that the psychological effect of the BDS movement is far more insidious.
Studies typically show that Israel’s economy is resilient enough to withstand the limited effects of BDS. But every time a boycott is called or a divestment measure goes to a vote at a university, it reinforces the psychological position that Israel does not deserve a place among the nations.
In a column in Haaretz this week, BDS supporter Roy Isacowitz, promotes the psychological dimension of BDS as a vital part of the strategy.
World Council of Churches Demands Israel Release Terrorists
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is holding its annual "World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel" (WWPPI) this week, calling on Israel to release jailed terrorists - despite the severity of their crimes and the abundance of terrorists immediately returning to terror.
NGO Monitor notes that WCC is a collective of "347 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories," and in this year's week-long event it will focus on ending the "illegal occupation."
This year's WWPPI, which is organized by the WCC's Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF), is being held under the title "Let My People Go," in an offensive appropriation likening "Palestinian political prisoners" - including jailed terrorists - with the Jewish people leaving Egyptian oppression in Biblical times.
According to the materials for WWPPI, all "political prisoners" should be freed. The ambiguous term is defined as referring to "any Palestinian - resident of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, or Israel - arrested in relation to the occupation."
In short WCC calls for the release of all jailed terrorists, white-washing their crimes. One such terrorist is listed by name in the PIEF dossier: Ayman Sharawna.
John Tory: No city funding for Pride if 'Israeli apartheid’ group allowed
The gay Pride festival should be denied city funding if the activist group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid is allowed to participate, mayoral candidate John Tory said at a debate held by a Jewish group on Friday — reigniting a long-running city hall debate that appeared to have finally dissipated.
Pride received a government grant of $160,500 this year. About 50 people marched under the QuAIA banner in the WorldPride parade, a group representative says — out of about 12,000 registered marchers in total.
City manager Joe Pennachetti concluded in 2011 that “there is no legal precedent” to suggest the phrase “Israeli apartheid” constitutes a hate crime or a violation of the provincial human rights code.
The city’s top lawyer, solicitor Anna Kinastowski, told council in 2013 that the phrase appears to be “protected speech” under the law and does not violate the city’s human rights policy.
Speaking in front of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, Tory argued that Kinastowski’s opinion was “wrong.”
Pro-Israel Students on Social Media
In the wake of Operation Protective Edge, pro-Israel college students have taken an active stance on social media. While members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) plaster hate throughout their social media channels, pro Israel groups have a different approach.
In the new campaign, “Waiting For A Real Peace Partner,” created by Cal Poly Pomona students and Broncos for Israel leaders Dana and Doron Feuer, the message is simple: find Israel a real peace partner. The campaign points out the real aggressor in the Arab-Israel conflict-Hamas. With the trending hashtag, #FreeGazaFromHamas, these students are hoping that their voices will be heard and their message will be clear. Israel is not the enemy. Hamas is.
Dana Feuer, a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow, states that, “students who support Israel on campus have been fighting an uphill battle against the hate groups and I really hope that this social media campaign gives campuses across the nation a positive boost.”
Pro-Israel Students Hope To Shame Mahmoud Abbas With Empty Seats
Jewish student groups are planning protests against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at a speech in New York City this Monday night — including a push to create swaths of empty seats at the event.
The students, who say that Abbas often sugarcoats his anti-Israel rhetoric when addressing English-speaking audiences, hope to reserve seats for the event at the Cooper Union, then not show up.
Ruthie Lehmann, a Jewish senior at New York University, called Abbas’s planned speech a “disgrace,” especially given the large Jewish student population at Cooper Union, a design school in Manhattan’s East Village.
The Zionist Organization of America students group is also protesting the speech, according to the Zach Stern, the group’s Northeast campus coordinator who provided educational pamphlets for the protest.
Paper’s claim that tens of thousands of Israelis fled to Germany draws fire
Germany’s largest broadsheet paper, Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), came under fire for its claim that “tens of thousands of Israelis fled” from Israel to seek refuge in Germany.
Last week the article, titled “Germany’s terrible silence” attracted fierce criticism in Israel and Germany, because of ostensibly faulty statistics and its suggestion that the policies of Israel’s government created a refugee crisis with parallels to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany.
“This strikes me as a purposeful distortion of current reality to minimize or erase guilt for the Holocaust. There are numerous reasons why Israelis might relocate to Berlin temporarily or permanently. To assume that every Israeli is running away from Israel because of politics is not based on scientific data,” Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and director of its Israel office, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
It is unclear where the author of the article, Thorsten Schmitz, a former SZ correspondent in Israel, secured his statistical information. (h/t Gastwirt)
Former Editor of The Indepedent: Israeli ‘expansionism’ radicalises Muslims
Leaving aside the risible characterization of the roughly 21,000 square km State of Israel – comprising about two-tenths of one percent of the Middle East landmass – as an “expansionist” country, Kelner’s suggestion that Muslim extremists don’t possess moral agency represents a classic example of liberal racism – the failure to hold those perceived as historically oppressed to the same standard of behavior as others.
Indeed, Kelner’s argument makes about as much sense as white supremacists in the US suggesting they’ve been radicalized by black crime, Islamophobes claiming they’ve become racist due to Islamist violence, or (closer to home) defenders of Baruch Goldstein attributing his radicalization to Palestinian terror.
If Kelner would never countenance such shameful alibis for the racism and extremism by whites and or Jews, then why would he do so when it comes to Muslims?
BBC whitewashes 20th century Jewish emigration from Egypt
Anti-Jewish violence, rioting and economic discrimination also predated the existence of Israel.
“Jews in Egypt faced acute problems in the 1940s but these did not set their mass departure in motion. Rioting against Jews occurred in November 1945, then resumed in June-November 1948, the latter time inspired by the war with Israel. An amendment to the Egyptian Companies Law dated July 29, 1947, required that 40 percent of a company’s directors and 75 percent of its employees be Egyptian nationals, causing the dismissal and [loss of] livelihood of many Jews, 85 percent of whom did not possess Egyptian nationality.”
Clearly these two BBC reports have in no way fulfilled the claim of explaining to audiences why no Jewish community to speak of remains in Egypt and the promotion of the simplistic notion that Jews were forced to leave in the 50s and 60s because they were “suspected […]of being spies” whitewashes a much more complex story.
Omissions, distortions and inaccurate history in BBC WW1 ‘educational’ feature
Once again we see that the BBC continues to mislead its audiences by pretending that the 1947 Partition Plan is a thing. UNGA resolution 181 was of course a non-binding recommendation, the implementation of which depended upon the agreement of the parties concerned. Whilst Jewish representatives accepted the proposal, the Arabs rejected it outright meaning that it has no contemporary relevance whatsoever. Likewise, the BBC’s suggestion that violence commenced with the departure of British forces in May 1948 is of course an inaccurate representation of history.
Section seven of the feature is titled “Does the peace still haunt us today?” and it includes a contribution from Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards. Those familiar with Milton-Edwards’ work and with her history of associations with Alastair Crooke and his ‘Conflicts Forum’ will not be surprised by the political overtones of her contribution which includes the specious claim that “radical Islamism” arose as “a reaction to foreign intervention and control”.
The trouble is, of course, that the majority of BBC audience members hoping to be educated or informed by this feature will not be aware of Milton-Edwards’ agenda and – in contradiction of BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality – no attempt is made to inform them of that important factor.
Israel’s Warning to the West: Don’t Be Fooled by Iran’s Lies
The international community is allowing the rise of ISIS to distract it from the far more dangerous prospect of a nuclear Iran, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz warned Wednesday. The comments followed his visit last week to the United States, where he met with senior State Department figures William Burns and Wendy Sherman.
“The Iranians are getting almost everything but giving almost nothing,” Steinitz said at a Jerusalem news conference, where he expressed his belief that Iran is being far from truthful in its ongoing P5+1 nuclear talks. “Although it is important to defeat ISIS [Islamic State], if Iran gets nuclear weapons, it’s a different world for decades. This is the main threat to global security and should be the priority… I went [to Washington] concerned and I came back concerned,” Steinitz added. “I didn’t hear anything… that gave me hope.”
As nuclear talks open, US says Obama-Rouhani meet is ‘up to Iran’
After preliminary meetings between top Iranian, American and Russian officials, a marathon session of nuclear negotiations between world powers and Tehran was set to begin in New York City on Friday.
Although US officials said that they were initially “not optimistic” regarding the potential for progress, a senior administration official said that the Iranians had come to New York ready “to work.”
The Obama administration also indicated that President Barack Obama would be willing to meet Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, with whom he spoke by phone this time last year, and that it was up to Iran to decide if it wanted such a meeting.
Iran said to offer to fight jihadis if US relaxes nuke stance
However, Western officials insisted that the two issues must remain distinct, a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry said Iran had a role to play in fighting the jihadists.
“Iran is a very influential country in the region and can help in the fight against the ISIL (IS) terrorists … but it is a two-way street. You give something, you take something,” an anonymous senior Iranian official said, according to the report.
The official insisted that the nuclear program “is a peaceful program,” while the Islamic State “is a threat to world security.”
With Pipe Proposal U.S. Waves White Flag on Iran Nukes
The Obama administration thinks it may have found a way to solve the nuclear standoff with Iran. But the leak of this proposal, which was clearly intended to give the impression that its foreign policy isn’t as clueless as it seems, isn’t likely to improve its public-relations problem or reduce the chances of the Iranians building a nuclear weapon. Instead, by placing a proposal which called for dismantling the pipes connecting Iran’s nuclear centrifuges while leaving their nuclear infrastructure intact, Washington is demonstrating just how desperate its position has become. That Iran isn’t biting on even this abject attempt at outreach by the administration illustrates how strong it has been allowed to become by Obama.
There are two issues raised by yesterday’s New York Times story in which the idea of pipe removal was mooted as a “glimmer of hope” coming out of the negotiations that the U.S. and Iran have been holding in New York this past week during the prelude to the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations. One is the way the Obama administration’s zeal for a deal has, piece by piece, dismantled its previous positions on stopping Iran to the point where there is almost nothing left of President Obama’s campaign promises about the Iranian nuclear threat. The second is the way this proposal demonstrates the strength of the Iranian position in which Tehran feels it doesn’t need to give an inch in talks with the West.
Irwin Cotler: Rouhani’s Record Reveals Nothing Has Changed in Iran
While Iranian President Rouhani pledged to usher in a new era of human rights for Iranians, the person held out as a “moderate” has presided over a regime that continues to engage in massive repression. As nuclear negotiations continue, so does the systematic and widespread violation of human rights in Iran. While negotiations respecting Iran’s nuclear weaponization program resume this week, they should neither overshadow nor sanitize the regime’s ongoing abuses.
What follows is an overview of some of the serious human rights violations in Iran that serve as a litmus test for the authenticity of Rouhani’s commitment to human rights for the Iranian people.
Top Iranian Leaders Justify Arrest of WaPo Reporter
On Friday, The Washington Post reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered no new details about Iranian-American Post reporter Jason Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, in an interview last week with Ann Curry of NBC.
"Rouhani declined to offer details on the condition of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who was detained about two months ago on unspecified charges.
“Are you surprised that a person in the legal procedures have been investigated because of some accusations? I am confident that the Iranian judicial system within the framework of the rules and justice will follow up the cases,” Rouhani told Curry, through an interpreter."
Iran Facing Leadership Crisis as Supreme Leader’s Health Worsens
Iran is on the cusp of experiencing a major political crisis as regime insiders jockey for power in what intelligence reports indicate is the coming end to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s 25-year reign as head of the country.
Khamenei, who rose to power as Iran’s second supreme leader in 1989, was in the hospital last week to undergo prostate surgery.
The well-publicized surgery—coupled with 2010 U.S. diplomatic cables stating that Khamenei has terminal cancer—suggest that the regime is “preparing the nation and the world for a transition to a third supreme leader,” according to a report released by the global intelligence giant Stratfor.
With Khamenei’s health in question, longtime regime insiders appear to already be paving the way for him to be replaced with an equally extremist and hardline ruler who would enter the political fray at perhaps the most significant time in Iran’s history.
Iran arrests 11 for Khomeini texts
Eleven Iranians accused of sending insulting SMS text messages about Islamic republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini have been arrested in the southern province of Shiraz, a newspaper reported on Monday.
“After monitoring social network applications on mobile phones like WhatsApp, Viber, Line and tango … 11 people were arrested,” the provincial Revolutionary Guards chief, General Esmail Mohebipour, said.
“They recognized the error of their ways,” the Haft e-Sobh daily cited the general as saying.
On Saturday, Iran’s judiciary issued a one-month ultimatum for the government to ban such social networking apps, in a move that would boost existing restrictions on Internet use.
The ultimatum came after the discovery of messages criticizing Khomeini.
Iranian Court Gives Government One Month to Block WhatsApp
Iran's judiciary has given the government one month to block WhatsApp and other popular instant messaging services, Reuters reported on Sunday.
Chief prosecutor Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei accused the country’s Communications Minister Mahmoud Vaezi of failing to unplug social networking sites and apps "with immoral and criminal content."
"Despite a three month grace period to allow you and your colleagues enough time, no effective action has been taken to filter out immoral and un-Islamic offences" relayed through WhatsApp, Viber and Tango, said Mohseni-Ejei, an influential cleric and judge, according to Reuters.
His ultimatum, in a letter carried by Iranian media late on Saturday, came amid reports of a police investigation into "widespread dissemination of offensive material" against the leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera and the Mainstreaming of Jew Hatred
The reason why the Met doesn’t produce operas rationalizing Jim Crow or apartheid and the classical music world doesn’t celebrate al-Qaeda is not because the arts world doesn’t embrace works that stir up emotions or are controversial. Kennicott is right when he says there is a consensus about that being the business of artists. We don’t hear such pieces because there is also also a consensus that racism is beyond the pale of such discussions and may not be justified even in the guise of high art. What Klinghoffer’s critics have noticed and its defenders seek to ignore is that the opera’s embrace by arts and media Mandarins illustrates that they consider Jew hatred to fall under the rubric of those expressions that may be debated rather than one that should be merely condemned by members of decent society as they would racism.
It is an unfortunate fact that in recent years forms of anti-Semitism have crept in from the margins of society and been mainstreamed. That is exactly what an opera that rationalizes the murder of an old man merely because he was a Jew does. This is not an issue on which intellectuals should think themselves free to agree to disagree. That is why those who are angry about the Met’s decision are right and the arts community and anyone else who embraces this deplorable decision are not merely wrong but opening the door to a new era of anti-Semitism.
Honoring Liberators and Mahalniks Before It’s Too Late
It is no secret that the eyewitnesses to the Nazi death camps, the liberators from the U.S. and Allied Armies, are themselves quickly dying off. They did their duty, most having no clue when they walked into the camps that the devastation and utter horror they would see, smell, and touch would linger with them permanently. ‎
The Mahalniks, the 4,000 volunteers from all over the world who helped Israel fight for its independence in 1948-49, are similarly dying off. Their service, often heroic, has yet to be fully realized and truly recognized.‎
Unfortunately, it seems there has been small, sporadic, and not largely organized acknowledgement of the services these groups have performed for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Some of us have recognized a real need to actively and definitively coordinate an effort to honor these efforts and put them “on the map” before it is too late.
California dates thrive on Israeli methods
California date plantation owner David Kohl is so sure of Israeli agricultural knowhow that he’s adopting its radically different farm-management practices –– even if other US date farmers are skeptical.
Kohl came into the date-farming business in 2002 by accident, he tells ISRAEL21c. His family owned a large tract of land and thought to grow date palms for the homebuilding industry. When the real-estate market tanked, they turned to farming the fruit of the trees instead. And that has turned out to be a good, profitable business.
Today Kohl and his family manage the 1,500-acre (600-hectare) La Quinta Date Farm in California’s Coachella Valley near the town of Thermal. He believes many of the practices of American date farms are obsolete and wasteful, so he hired an Israel date-growing expert, Moshe Tirat, to come and replicate Israeli practices in California.
Forbes listed this firm among Israel’s 25 hottest
The dream of every startup is to foresee and capitalize on revolutionary trends, and the video technology company Kaltura has been doing just that.
Founded in 2006 by Israeli serial entrepreneurs Ron Yekutiel, Shay David, Michal Tsur and Eran Etam, Kaltura was listed by Forbes last June as one of the top 25 hot Israeli tech startups to watch this year.
A business-to-business, open-source online platform, Kaltura powers the videos produced by hundreds of thousands of media, corporate and educational institutions, among them HBO, Disney, ABC, Warner, Paramount, IBM, Intel, Ikea, Bank of America and Harvard University.
“The world is becoming much more visual than textual,” CEO Ron Yekutiel tells ISRAEL21c at Kaltura’s subsidiary office in Ramat Gan (the technically American company, called Delaware Corporation, also has branches in New York, London, Sao Paulo and soon in Asia-Pacific). “We will watch it grow more and more videofied.”
Indeed, he quips, “The saying goes that a picture is worth 1,000 words; in video, there are 30 frames every second. So you could say that a video second is worth 30,000 words.”
Intel to spend $6b in Israel’s biggest-ever tech investment
Intel appears set to produce its next generation of chips in Israel with the largest-ever foreign investment in Israeli tech. Under a deal announced by the Finance Ministry Monday, Intel will spend $6 billion to upgrade its Kiryat Gat plant to enable production of next-generation computer chips. In return, Intel will get grants of up to $600 million over the next five years, as well as a major tax break through 2023.
For Israel, it’s worth the expense, said Finance Minister Yair Lapid. “Intel’s investment is a strategic asset for Israel,” he said, adding that it “provides additional proof of Israel’s capabilities in high-tech and innovation.”
The announcement signals the end of the drama that has surrounded Intel’s manufacturing plans over the past several years, as the company considered where to build a new plant to produce advanced 10 nanometer chips. The chips will power wearable technology and perceptual computing devices, which Intel believes will be a major growth area for the company in the coming years.
Intel was said to be considering building the plant in either Israel or Ireland.

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