Wednesday, December 10, 2014

From Ian:

Brendan O’Neill: Rinsing Israel Out of Europe: The Zionistfrei Movement
The Zionistfrei movement isn’t really about effecting any change in the Middle East. As Leicester Councillor Mohammed Dawood admits, Israel is hardly going to be “trembling in its shoes” over the city’s boycott. Rather, the movement is about making the chattering classes in Europe feel pure and righteous, unsullied by the poisonousness of the state it’s now so fashionable to hate.
Where yesteryear’s creators of Judenfrei zones saw the Jewish people as a corrupting presence, today’s lobbyists for Zionistfrei territories see the Jewish state as corrupting, as a toxic entity whose fruit and technology and books must be shunned.
No, Jews aren’t being physically expelled from Europe, but they are being made to feel unwelcome. Given that most Jews feel affinity with the state of Israel, what must they think when they see parts of Europe being cleansed of all things Israeli? They must think: “My culture and my people are not wanted here.” And European Jews are voting with their feet. In the first eight months of this year, 4,566 Jews left France for Israel, more than the total number that left in 2013 (3,228). Last year a European Union survey found that 29% of Europe’s Jews had considered emigrating because they no longer feel safe.
BDS is one of the ugliest political movements of our time. It is shot through with double standards, treating Israel as more wicked than any other state. It is shrill and censorious, too. Its members boo and jeer and seek to expel from apparently civilized Europe not only Israeli military leaders and politicians but even Israeli violinists and actors. Now, the demand for Zionistfrei zones is taking BDS to its terrifying conclusion, that Israel and everyone associated with it (you know who) should be shunned by respectable communities everywhere.
On the False Parallel Between Gaza and Northern Ireland
One thing is certain, however: The fairy tale version of the conflict in Northern Ireland offers no useful guidance to any party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Quite the opposite, in fact.
To the Israelis, it offers only the illusion that spontaneous concessions to their enemies will bring them something better than their enemies’ contempt followed by further demands.
In regard to the Palestinians, it misrepresents the nature of Hamas’ ideology and whitewashes the organization’s dedication to violence and even genocide. In effect, it reduces the Palestinians to colorful Orientals incapable of meaning what they actually say.
Most importantly, however, the fairy tale actually makes peace less likely by recommending capitulation to terrorism rather than a determined and patient fight against it. In fact, that determined fight was the only thing that ultimately brought the IRA to the negotiating table.
There can be no doubt that the last thing the people of the Middle East need is anything that makes peace less likely. For their sake, let us hear no more of the Northern Ireland fairy tale.
New York Teens Teach a Lesson in Helping Terror Victims
They don’t have plush offices or secretaries or gala dinners, but a group of 15 year-olds on Long Island are providing an inspiring model of leadership for the rest of the American Jewish community.
Tenth graders at the Rambam Mesivta High School in Lawrence, New York, recently initiated an online crowd sourcing campaign, which has raised an astonishing $2.4-million for the families of the four American-Israeli rabbis, and the Druze police officer, who were murdered in a Jerusalem synagogue last month.
We were all horrified and saddened by the news of the Har Nof massacre. But most people quickly returned to their usual daily affairs. The grim reality of what the widows and orphans will endure for the rest of their lives didn’t attract much attention.
When the Rambam students heard about the massacre, they asked: What can we do? And then they did something – something that will make a real difference in the lives of the victims’ families. They can’t bring back the innocents who were massacred by Palestinian terrorists. But they can ease the pain of their widows and orphans, just a little.



UN Watch: Ex-UN investigator Richard Falk and his wife attack UN Watch
Asked by the interviewer from the Moon Magazine why the U.S. condemned her appointment, Elver, who has famously accused Israel of "water apartheid", misleadingly answered by insisting that the U.S. did not vote against her appointment, which is true -- largely because the appointment of numerous experts was a package deal -- but non-responsive to the question asked.
Elver claims that "the U.S. government did not oppose my appointment." In fact, the U.S. strongly condemned her appointment, following a UN Watch letter to Ambassador Samantha Power documenting Elver's utter failure to meet the basic requirements of the position. The U.S. slammed Falk's wife for her “lack of relevant experience,” questioned “her readiness for this assignment,” and pointed to her “biased and inflammatory views” which “run counter to the dispassionate professionalism central to the work of a Special Rapporteur.” Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird sent a letter to the UN condemning Elver’s “abysmal judgment.”
Elver omitted all of this, and instead accused UN Watch of mounting a "politically motivated publicity campaign" against her.
"A small Geneva NGO called UN Watch came out against my appointment, not because of my qualifications, but because I am married to Richard Falk, said Elver. "This NGO consistently and irresponsibly accused my husband of being anti-Semitic, and I was presumed guilty merely as a result of being his wife. I was also falsely alleged to be collaborating with his writings on the Palestine-Israel conflict."
The truth is that Elver's original application form was riddled with self-disqualifying answers, non-sequiturs, and spelling mistakes. Her English, as one can also see on YouTube, is very poor and at times incoherent. Curiously, however, while the interviewer claims to have "talked" to Elver, her English is flawless, and also includes all of her husband's usual manipulative arguments.
Remembering Forced Expulsions in the Arab World
Realistically, the chance they will collect is between zero and null. But, there case does illustrate just one more case—the mass expulsion of Jews from Arab lands following Israel’s independence being the other—of the hypocrisy of the refugee issue. The 500,000 persons expelled from Algeria are greater than the 472,000 Palestinians which the United Nations Mediator on Palestine concluded had left Israel in 1948.
Israel, however, settled the refugees as did Morocco. They are cases to be celebrated, and examples of responsible governance. Why the world continues to subsidize Palestinian refugees rather than disbanding the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and handling management of any remaining issue to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is beyond any logic and, indeed, UNRWA’s founding purpose.
Whether or not Algeria comes clean on its actions taken against the backdrop of Cold War animus, let us praise the Moroccans for doing the right thing. It’s time to recognize that Rabat and Jerusalem represent the best practices in refugee resettlement, and UNRWA the worst. Let’s replicate a model that works, and recognize UNRWA not only betrays Palestinians, but refugees around the world, many of whom desperately need aid not to build rockets but rather to get their lives restarted after suffering dislocation and tragedy. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
BDS Fail: Wesleyan University Restocks Sabra Hummus
Not so fast. The university dining service quickly clarified that the move had absolutely nothing to do with boycotting Israel, was made in the interest of sustainability, and that Sabra would be returning to the shelves:
As many people on and off campus are aware, Wesleyan recently switched from stocking Sabra hummus to a local brand, Cedar’s. Though we made this change in the interest of sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint, it unfortunately has been misinterpreted in the media and elsewhere as a political statement in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. In order to clarify our continued political neutrality, and to give students a choice, we will be stocking both Sabra and Cedar’s hummus, starting in January.
Yet another BDS fail.
Sweden Can't Sue Israel over Raids on Gaza Flotillas
Sweden cannot sue Israel for raids against two ships manned by radical activists attempting to break its naval blockade on Gaza, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Acting on behalf of Swedes on board two separate vessels, in 2010 and 2012, the Swedish Prosecution Authority launched a probe in June.
"After hearing the Swedish plaintiffs we have identified some facts that may constitute offences, but the perpetrators are unknown and we are unable to determine their identity," prosecutor Henrik Attorps said in a statement.
"We have no jurisdiction over acts committed on Israeli territory," Attorps said in the statement.
SJP=BDS=SSI
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is an oxymoronic synonym for SSI: “Students for Slandering Israel.” A tacit collaborator with BDS, the international movement that reviles Israel and calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Jewish state, SJP was established at Berkeley (where else?) in 2001. Within a year its activities led to a university ban prohibiting on-campus protests.
A decade later at Brandeis, SJP protesters interrupted a speech by Knesset member Avi Dichter to accuse him – and implicitly Israel – of torture and crimes against humanity. Earlier this year, the Northeastern University chapter of SJP was suspended for a year after its members were charged with “intimidation” of students.
In preparation for its October annual conference SJP presented an agenda for its role “in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine.” Highlighting its focus on “the ongoing colonization and occupation of indigenous lands and peoples,” it promised to explore “how settler colonialism is racialized and gendered and disproportionately affects women and children. We will also look into the increased violence against Palestinian women and women refugees and migrants in Israel.”
Divest This: What to Do About Academic Boycotts
So for organizations that have already had their leadership subverted, the next best option is to organize opposition within the group. In the early days of BDS, this was actually the dynamic that ended up checking the excesses of radicalized leaders in groups like the UCU/AUT teachers union and NUJ journalists union in the UK, both of which passed boycott motions which were immediately overturned by protests from an outraged membership. Internal opposition was also responsible for keeping BDS at bay within the Presbyterian Church for most of the last decade, despite PCUSA’s leadership doing everything in its power to force the organization to vote in a divestment policy.
But the BDSers (as well as being ruthless) are also relentless which means if they are ever told “No,” they will simply keep asking the same question over and over until they get the “Yes” they demand (as happened with the Presbyterians last summer). And while we’ve seen a well-organized minority opposition overcome corrupt processes at places like MLA, this option still requires people who may have otherwise opted out of association politics to instead not just participate but participate at a level that can counter highly aggressive political opponents.
So do we have to give up in places where the opposition’s majority of a minority is bigger than our majority of a minority? Not necessarily, for there are still a number of things that individuals or small groups of boycott opponents can do that leverage the huge gap between the boycotters’ claimed courage and their actual cowardice.
Concordia president swiftly denounces pro-BDS vote
Reiterating that the result of the vote is independent of the university, Shepard stated immediately after the tally was in: “In my view, a boycott barring us from contact with other universities and scholars would be contrary to the value of academic freedom that is a pillar of Concordia and of universities all over the world.
“That freedom – to think the thoughts we want to think, to test ideas however controversial – is the bedrock of university life. Boycotts by definition foreclose all opportunities for such a free exchange of ideas and perspectives.”
He called on discussion surrounding this “complex, controversial and emotional” issue to be conducted in an atmosphere of free speech and mutual respect.
“I have heard from a number of members of our community who worry that this issue is divisive and could create an unwelcoming environment on campus,” he said. “I call on everyone in the Concordia community to work together to sustain an environment in which all of us are emotionally and physical safe and secure.”
The New York Times Plays Host to Max Blumenthal and Hits Rock Bottom
The New York Times, the paper that earned the dubious distinction of being the recipient of the “Most Dishonest Reporting” award for 2013 is at it again. This time, The Grey Lady featured an op-ed piece by the notorious anti-Semite Max Blumenthal, providing this provocateur with a mainstream platform to express his odious views.
True to form, Blumenthal, the darling of radical extremists, conflates, distorts and simply makes things up. But I’m not here to analyze Blumenthal’s arrant nonsense. Others have already done a good job of that. What I wish to highlight is the depths to which the New York Times has sunk.
To be sure, the New York Times has in the past given a broad range of anti-Israel types a platform to express their opinions in the op-ed section, far more than those expressing positive views of Israel. But Blumenthal’s pernicious views veer uncomfortably close to old fashion anti-Semitism and this time, the New York Times exceeded the bounds of decency and fair play and has partnered with those who openly express Jew-hatred.
Commissioning Extremism from Max Blumenthal, the NY Times Also Receives Errors
If the New York Times Opinion section were to host an online debate about, for example, income inequality in America, there is no chance editors would include two avowed communists among the five total debaters.
But when it comes to Israel, the rules tend to be different. So in the newspaper's online debate about what a rightward shift might mean for the Israel, two of five participants selected by editors are not just virulent critics of the Jewish state, but also opponents of its continued existence. (The promotion of opponents of Israel's existence is something of a bad habit at The New York Times.)
The results were predictable. Both Diana Buttu and Max Blumenthal did what they always do, and the only thing an opinion editor could have expected them to do: Bash Israel, banish nuance, and brandish their tireless hatred.
Journalists Vs Jerusalem
‘The latest spasms of random bloodshed in and around Jerusalem have caused horror.” This was only one of the problematic sentences in a 3,000- word feature story published on December 4 by Newsweek titled “the young woman at the forefront of Jerusalem’s new holy war.”
That refers to the November 24 stabbing of two Jewish students from Shuvu Banim Yeshiva in Bnei Barak. Why were they “settlers”? Helm writes, “A mother sits amid the rubble of her home – demolished because her son drove his car into a line of Jewish settler commuters, killing two.” The victims were Karen Yemima Mosquera, a 22-yearold Ecuadorian citizen, and 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun. Why were they “settlers”? Because they were Jewish? What did the three-month-old “settle”? They weren’t residents of the West Bank. Their crime was to be Jews, and the article dehumanizes them, as it does Mohammed Abu-Khdeir, by not naming them and spreading false information about them.
The callous nature of this article is fully evident in its description of the November 18 Har Nof synagogue massacre: “a rabbi and three other men were killed in a Jerusalem synagogue.” Actually all four men were rabbis, Moshe Twersky, Calman Levine, Aryeh Kopinsky and Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, and the article doesn’t mention the policeman, Zidan Saif, who was also killed. The off-hand “three other men” sort of sums up this article’s total disregard for collecting basic information.
One could write this off to Newsweek’s declining journalistic standards. But that would be letting it off the hook. This article symbolizes how the supposedly crucial and globally important story of Israel and the Palestinians, of Jerusalem, is too often told. Journalists don’t bother to collect basic facts, learn about laws or even get people’s birthplaces correct.
Consider that a journalist writing about the Large Hadron Collider, black holes, or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wouldn’t be allowed to simply pass off nonsensical information in an article. One couldn’t confuse Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, the quarterbacks, or confuse rugby and cricket teams. But when it comes to reporting on Jerusalem, there is a collective shrug of the shoulders. Mohammed, Ahmed, Moshe, settlers. Oh well. After all, even Latifa didn’t have a last name.
Error-Riddled Newsweek Article About Israel: Have You No Shame?
In this article of 38 paragraphs, there are fewer than four which do not contain either a sloppy error, a falsehood stated as fact, or bald propaganda; sometimes all three can be found in a single paragraph.
For instance, in the very first sentence, Helm refers to the “sister mosque, the Dome of the Rock.” That building, the one with the gilded dome, is not a mosque.
Yehuda Glick is not only referred to as a “radical rabbi,” but the point-blank shooting attack on him which took place in Jerusalem, outside the Begin Center, is instead described as having occurred as he “had come to the Haram to pray.”
Which brings us to one of the most outrageous acts of propaganda by Helm.
Guardian ignores key evidence indicating PA minister was NOT killed by IDF assault
What is known at the moment is that a Palestinian minister, Ziad Abu Ein, died today shortly after a confrontation with IDF soldiers during a protest north of Ramallah. Abu Ein – imprisoned in Israel for his role in a terrorist bombing that killed two Israeli teens, but later released during a prisoner swap – collapsed and was evacuated for medical care, but died before reaching the hospital.
What’s not known is the cause of death, and there is increasing evidence (which we’ll show later in the post) that Abu Ein, who suffered from health problems including diabetes and high blood pressure, may have died of a heart attack.
However, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont naturally all but avoided evidence pointing to the strong possibility that Abu Ein died of natural causes, and instead primarily cited only those sources claiming he died as the result of trauma inflicted by an Israeli soldier.
Guardian/AP omits ‘minor’ detail in story: An alleged Palestinian plot to kill Obama
The Guardian’s version of the AP story (Israel indicts Texas Christian for plot to attack Muslim sites in Jerusalem) completely omitted the shocking news about the alleged plot to assassinate Obama.
Further, as you can see by this screenshot of a Google search using words about the plot against Obama from the AP story, other news sites – including MSNBC and Al Arabiya – included information about the planned assassination.
Jeremy Bowen’s olive harvest feature fails to offer BBC audiences anything new
The take-away message for BBC audiences is therefore that the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is all about land, that it can be solved by the division of that land and that as long as it remains unsolved, it will affect “the rest of us” negatively because the Middle East’s mess is spreading beyond the region.
Leaving aside Bowen’s obviously specious linkage between events such as the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS and other Islamist Jihadists and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict – and his transparent attempt to inflate the latter’s regional and global significance – the obvious question is why did Bowen seek to convey his take-away message through the medium of the olive harvest? The answer to that is found in the opportunities it presents for framing the story in a manner which advances an already well-worn political narrative.
One very dominant theme in Bowen’s report can be summed up as old versus new, ‘authentic’ versus modern, ‘traditional’ and ‘artisan’ versus industrial. In his opening sentence he informs listeners that “the olive harvest is all about tradition”. Two and a half minutes into the item he goes to visit “the oldest olive tree in these parts”, located near “ancient terraces” and there he – and of course BBC audiences – are told that the supposedly four thousand year-old tree:
“…stands as a symbol to the Palestinian people – the history and civilization.”
Five arrested for threats to attack French synagogue
French police arrested five men suspected of making threats online to attack a synagogue.
Two of the suspects, all of whom are believed to be far-right activists, were arrested on Tuesday morning in the southern city of Montpellier, the French news agency AFP reported. The remaining three were apprehended in the nearby city of Beziers.
The suspects are believed to have written on social networks that they intended to burn down the Grande-Motte Synagogue in Herault, also in southern France, Le Figaro reported.Also Tuesday, French police arrested three men and two women in Marseille in connection with the killing of four people at the Jewish museum in Brussels on May 29. Mehdi Nemmouche, a Frenchman, was extradited to Belgium and charged with murder there.
Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem hills found vandalized
A memorial to Holocaust victims located in the Jerusalem hills between Kibbutz Tzora and Moshav Eshtaol has been vandalized, and its metal plates bearing an inscription have been stolen.
Guides from the Shaar Hagai Field School hiking in the area discovered the vandalism. They informed the Israel Police, which began investigating the event on Tuesday.
The memorial, titled the Scroll of Fire, is made of bronze. It stands 8 meters (26 feet) high and is sculpted in the shape of two scrolls that symbolize the Jewish people as the People of the Book. One scroll describes the Holocaust and the other the founding of the State of Israel.
Standing together
Anti-Semitism is not a “Jewish problem” – rather, like most other forms of hate, it is a sign, or a symptom, of much deeper societal problems. As US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said in her keynote address to the assembly, “When the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Jews are repressed, the rights and freedoms of other minorities and other sectors are often not far behind. Unique as the horrors experienced by Jews in Europe are, and as essential as it is to give the Jewish community special vigilance, we must constantly situate our efforts to defend the human rights of the Jewish people within the struggle to advance universal human rights more broadly.”
The victims of those hatreds should not have to bear the responsibility alone for eradicating them – that should be a shared responsibility among us.
And so it was that this unprecedented delegation from the US stood out at the conference for its diversity and its inclusion. There were representatives from the African- American, Muslim, Asian, Latino, Sikh, LGBT and women’s communities, standing together in coalition against this particular pernicious and destructive form of hate that is seeing a current resurgence in the heart of Europe, in the countries where the Holocaust ended just seven decades ago.
Over the past few months, countries like France, Britain, Belgium and Germany itself have all suffered dramatic attacks on Jewish institutions, resulting in loss of life, loss of security and a certain amount of questioning about the future of Jews in Europe.
Over 200 Jews, Christians, and Hindus Hold Rally for Yazidis Against ISIS
Over 200 Jews, Christians and Hindus from the Chicago area gathered at Ezra Habonim/Niles Township Jewish Congregation in the northern suburb of Skokie to raise awareness and humanitarian aid for the Yazidi population under attack from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL).
Sponsoring organizations included pro-Israel StandWithUs and Protect Our Heritage Education Fund as well as Vishwa Hindu Parishad America, Assyrian National Council of Illinois, and Assyrian American Civic Club of Chicago.
In August of this year ISIS attacked and took over the Kurdish-controlled town of Sinjar, driving over 50,000 Yazidis out of their homes – fleeing for their lives to the Sinjar Mountains. According to Matthew Barber, a scholar of Yazidi history at the University of Chicago, as many as 5,000 Yazidi men have been killed by ISIS, and by conservative estimates the same number of Yazidi women and children may have been captured.
Barber cited United Nations confirmation that 5,000 men have been executed and as many as 7,000 women and girls have been made sex slaves by ISIS. Stories of beheadings, rape and children dying of starvation and dehydration are common among eyewitnesses.
Israeli High-Tech Company Makes World’s Smallest Christian New Testament
Using nanotechnology, an Israeli high-tech company has produced the world’s smallest version of Christianity’s New Testament.
The Jerusalem Nano Bible Company said it has developed a five-by-five millimeter chip that contains the original Greek version of the New Testament and can be embedded inside of watches, jewelry, and more.
“Our aim is to be able to mass produce it and cater to really every pocket. Because this application, the smallest bible in the world, Jerusalem Nano Bible, can be applied to infinite possibilities in the jewelry industry,” said David Almog, who heads the company’s marketing department, Reuters reported.
Cyprus, Israel, Greece push EU gas pipeline link
Cyprus says it has joined with Israel and Greece to get the European Union to consider a pipeline that would link the continent with newly found natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.
A statement Tuesday said Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis and his Greek counterpart Yiannis Maniatis pitched the idea to European Commission Energy Union chief Maros Sefcovic.
The officials told Sefcovic in Monday's meeting that the proposed East-Med Corridor would have a capacity of 8 billion to 12 billion cubic meters and would link Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy.
They said the pipeline would buttress the EU's energy security
MUVe over, Segway
Lessons learned, said Shimon, who believes his MUVe (which stands for My Urban Vehicle) will be everything the Segway isn’t – safe, cheap and street legal.
“The technology in the Segway is fine, and I respect what they have done in the tourism and police markets,” said Shimon. “But there were some essential elements that they were missing for the consumer market, and we, I believe, have corrected these issues.”
Take for example the cost. Marked at $2,000, Shimon said the MUVe’s price is consumer-friendly and potential users will be willing to pay this for a “clean, green, three-wheeled electric-based transportation system that will get them to where they have to go in the most efficient manner possible”.
Late Entertainer Joan Rivers Enriches Jewish Causes
Rivers’ 2014 will was filed in New York State Surrogate’s Court and gave her daughter “the broadest and most absolute permissible direction” over some $150 million.
Among the Jewish organizations to whom she left bequests were the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Jewish Guild Healthcare, Jewish Guild for the Blind, and the Jewish Home and Hospital Foundation in Manhattan.
Feisty to the end, Rivers added a provision to her will that anyone who tries to challenge either the will or the trust would be disinherited.
Comedy for Koby kicks off 8th season
Three middle-aged men stood talking to a brunette in Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market.
Nope, it’s not the beginning of a joke, but it could have been with this crew.
The four were comedians — Brad Upton, Vinnie Favorito, Avi Liberman, and Kira Soltanovich — and they were touring the market as a side part of their trip to Israel to perform in Comedy for Koby, the bi-annual comedy show benefitting The Koby Mandell Foundation.
The foundation — named after Koby Mandell, a 13-year-old boy who was brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists in May 2001 — runs camps and therapy sessions for families who have lost loved ones to terrorism.


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