Wednesday, February 25, 2015

From Ian:

Michael Lumish: Americans support Israel, but do Democrats?
Needless to say, western journalists did more than their part in the defamation game as Matti Friedman has so nicely illustrated. It is as if they honestly think that Arabs have every right to try to kill Jews and if Jews fight back, this represents a form of aggression.
Meanwhile, of course, the academics – such as the vile SFSU Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, of Race and Resistance Studies fame, who advised the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) during a period when they were holding up signs calling for the murder of “colonizers” – were telling their students that Israel is a racist, imperialist, colonialist, apartheid, militaristic, racist state… despite the fact that it has far-and-away the best human rights record of any country in the entire region.
In any case, an ongoing campaign of defamation against the Jews painted them as modern monsters or the New Nazis and has succeeded in turning progressives and Democrats against one of the most persecuted people in human history… on moral grounds. The Jews of Israel may believe that they are acting in self-defense, but progressive Democrats know that they really act out of racism and white privilege, or Jewish Supremacism, or the shear lust for violence.
And this, ultimately, is why the Democrats have turned against the Jews.
They honestly think that the Jews of the Middle East richly deserve whatever beating they get.
Dexter Van Zile: How Not to Help Palestinians
Moon’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, also admitted (in 2006) that Israel was held to a higher standard than its adversaries. He said that “supporters of Israel feel it is harshly judged by standards that are not applied to its enemies – and too often this is true, particularly in some UN bodies.” Bourke’s book otmits all of this, but portrays concerns about the UN’s bias against Israel.
“Pro, pro, pro” activists justify their intense scrutiny of the Israelis by saying that because they are the more powerful party to the conflict, Israelis must be subjected to more intense scrutiny. But if these activists are going to advocate for the creation of a Palestinian state, they have an obligation to determine whether or not the Palestinian people and their leaders will be able to live in peace with Israel once that state is created. Sadly, while there is ample support to indicate that Palestinians cannot live in peace with a Jewish state, Palestinian Christians and Evangelical activists are loath to confront this evidence.
Leaders in both Hamas (which controls the Gaza Strip) and the allegedly more moderate Palestnian Authority, which controls the West Bank, routinely broadcast anti-Semitic imagery in the media outlets they control, inciting hostility on the part of their own citizens toward the people with which they need to make peace. To her credit, Bourke acknowledges that Hamas seeks Israel’s destruction, but she makes no reference in her text to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini, the man who, despite promoting vicious anti-Semitism in Palestinian society, is regarded as a hero by both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
Christians cannot be pro-peace if they are not pro-truth. Sadly, this is a lesson that activists in the “pro, pro, pro” movement must learn.
A shattered Palestinian society: Interview with Bassem Eid
I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Eid after his last publication, which is a blog on Times of Israel that received a great deal of attention and that was the most popular blog for four days running.
In this interview, Mr. Eid provides an insider’s view of a Palestinian society that is divided and full of contradictions. Perhaps the biggest contradiction is that while Palestinians are still pursuing violence and revenge against Israel, they also have strong economic and even friendship ties with Israelis, and their culture has become strongly influenced by and integrated with the Israeli culture.
This interview and Mr. Eid’s work in general provide a view of the conflict that is starkly different from much of what is said by either side. It leads to us to realize that no one has ever really worked towards a feasible long-term solution for the Palestinians, not Israel (which is hardly unexpected considering the long-standing Arab hostility towards Israel), not the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), not the UN itself, not the international community, not the so-called pro-Palestinian activists in the West, not the regional powers, and not even the Palestinians’ own politicians and leaders.

False ‘Israel drowns Gaza’ claims sweep internet
This isn’t the first time that the easily refutable claim was made against Israel. In 2013, in the wake of the storm Alexa between December 11 and 13, Hamas’s Disaster Response Committee chairman Yasser Shanti told journalists that Israel opened dams just east of the Gaza Strip, causing a flood in the area of Moghraqa near the town of Deir El-Balah.
A variation on that claim was made by Palestinian Civil Defense spokesman Muhammad Al-Maidana, who told the Palestinian daily Al-Quds that Israel had opened sewage canals east of the Gaza Strip, “exacerbating the crisis and raising the water level, causing homes to be submerged.”
Al-Majd, a Palestinian security-oriented website, went so far as to claim that Israel opened the dams in order to expose Hamas tunnels leading into Israel and impose an unbearable financial burden on Gaza’s government. “For Gaza to drown is an old Zionist dream,” the site wrote in a report.
Then, too, Israel denied Hamas’s claims out of hand.
“The allegation of [Israel] opening dams and flooding the Gaza Strip is baseless and false,” Uri Schor, a spokesman for Israel’s Water Authority told The Times of Israel in an email correspondence Wednesday. No dams even exist in the area, he added, noting that water reservoirs have overflowed across the country, causing flooding.
“The opposite is true: due to the damage caused by the storm — which affected all neighboring countries and not only the Palestinian Authority — Israel responded to a special appeal conveyed through the UN, transferring four high-power pumps to the Gaza Strip intended to help residents remove water from flooded areas.”
The “Flood Libel” Propagandists of 2015
And this week we were treated to another version of this story, though it’s one we hear often enough. It’s a bit of a hazing ritual: the Palestinians find someone they haven’t yet sold this particular lie to and watch the magic unfold. The lie is this: that flooding in Gaza was caused by Israel opening dams in the South. Easily the most important part of this story is the fact that there are no such dams. They are the Gaza-West Bank bridge of this story. And yet, the story just keeps appearing because the Palestinians never run out of Western suckers.
One of the suckers this year was Vice News. To try to hide its ignorance, Vice offered up several paragraphs of false accusations from the Palestinians followed by this attempt at “balance”: “Israeli officials categorically denied they were to blame while speaking to VICE News on Monday.”
Other outlets were more honest and ethical in the aftermath of publishing the flood libel. As HonestReporting notes, the Daily Mail went with a bit of false balance but also, crucially, added a straight correction and admission of error: “An earlier version of this article stated that Israel had opened river dams in the south of the country, causing flooding in the Gaza strip. In fact, there are no dams in southern Israel and the flooding was caused by rain and drainage issues. We are happy to clarify this.”
According to HonestReporting, the Daily Mail piece also contained the following amazing sentence: “The flooding was today compounded after an Israeli power company cut electricity to two of Gaza’s major West Bank cities.”
And according to CAMERA, both Agence France Presse and Al Jazeera (shocking, I know) passed along the flood libel. AFP pulled its video, and Al Jazeera went the Vice route by pretending the existence of magical dams is somehow in dispute.
The flood libel is proof that sometimes people refuse to learn from others’ mistakes. See this post from Jonathan Tobin in December 2013 for a reminder that the flood libel is neither new nor surprising. IDF spokeswoman Libby Weiss understandably would rather news organizations first locate their unicorns before blaming those unicorns for goring the neighbor’s ox:
Honest Reporting: Dam Busted Pt. 2: More Dam Lies
Following correspondence with the Daily Mail’s MailOnline, the story below has been further amended and a correction issued. The correction at the end of the story reads:
An earlier version of this article stated that Israel had opened river dams in the south of the country, causing flooding in the Gaza strip. In fact, there are no dams in southern Israel and the flooding was caused by rain and drainage issues. We are happy to clarify this.
In addition, a quote from Palestinian Brigadier General Said Al-Saudi that accused Israel of opening dams has been removed in its entirety. A sentence referring to “two of Gaza’s main West Bank cities” has also been corrected.
Al Jazeera Retracts Gaza Flood Article, Publishes Correction
CAMERA alerted al Jazeera to its false characterization of Israel opening dams to cause flooding in Gaza on Feb. 23, 2013. . Two days later, Al Jazeera has commendably retracted the erroneous article.
The outlet replaced the article with the following correction:
Although Agence France Presse spread similar misinformation in a video claiming Israel flooded Gaza, and although it pulled its video from several websites, it has yet to formally acknowledge or correct its error. (h/t Battler)
HR Radio: Dam Lies and Agendas
HonestReporting’s Yarden Frankl joins Josh Hasten in-studio to discuss press reports that Israel has opened up dams, in order to flood the Gaza Strip. The problem with this? No such dams exist in southern Israel, yet the story is making waves on the Internet. Yarden also responds to Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times, who claims that groups like HonestReporting criticize her because of a political “agenda.” He asks, “Who really has an agenda?”
BBC contributors on the ‘flood libel’ bandwagon
Readers who follow our colleagues at CAMERA will know that they recently exposed a fabricated story by AFP’s Yahia (or Yahya) Hassouna in which it was claimed that Israel had deliberately flooded areas of the Gaza Strip by opening dams. The same fictitious story was also promoted by Al Jazeera, the Daily Mail and Russia Today, among others.
That same malicious ‘flood libel‘ was also promoted on social media.
Readers may recall that Dr Bassel Abu Warda of Shifa hospital was one of numerous Gaza Strip-based doctors given BBC airtime and column space last summer – ostensibly in order to provide audiences with a supposedly authoritative and objective view of the conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Another person who promoted the false flooding story on Twitter was Human Rights Watch’s MENA director Sarah Leah Whitson.
Dicky Sliverstein: Dam Zionists (satire)
The hasbarists have been working overtime trying to defend their beloved Israel from revelations that they flooded Gaza with a dam. In fact, this very shmatteh has an example of the orchestrated effort to engage in this water-washing. Or I guess nowater-washing to be more correct.
Others usually sympathetic to the cause seemed to have been taken in by the hasbarist propaganda, like Sheera Frenkel from Buzzkill who wrote this piece yesterday. Although I must commend Sheera for at least still finding it to be Israel’s fault. What a gal!
Unfortunately, others like The Daily Mail capitulated to the hasbarafia onslaught. It is what the Zionists do best – bombard their target using disproportionate force until they achieve their nefarious objectives.
But not me. I stand out like a beacon of light in the hasbarized darkness. More like a beacon of truth, actually. And true to form, I can reveal from my secret sauce proof that Israel did indeed flood Gaza – a redacted photo from the Daily Mail.
Isi Leibler: Israel’s deficient response to the global anti-Semitic tsunami
Successive Israeli governments have failed miserably to meet the challenge of global anti-Semitism, not providing the leadership demanded of a Jewish state in these turbulent times and leaving Diaspora Jews to their own devices.
The global anti-Semitic tsunami, an unprecedented surge of feral hostility compounded by the Internet, emanates from a combination of factors: rabid Muslim anti-Semitism and violence, demonical anti-Israelism of the Left, and the traditional cultural and radical Jew-hatred of the Right. It has impacted on Jewish communities everywhere but ironically is most acute in Europe, the continent drenched with Jewish blood during the Holocaust. It gathered enormous momentum during the recent military confrontation with Hamas, climaxing in France.
The responses by European Jewish leaders differ in various countries. Overall, the French have responded courageously. In contrast, others have behaved like “trembling Israelites,” some remaining in denial and continuing to understate the problem. By and large, Jews in Europe are under great stress and many are despondent about their future.
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The situation in South America and South Africa has increasingly deteriorated. Even Canada and Australia, whose governments are strongly supportive of Israel, have witnessed an upsurge in anti-Semitism.
Génocidaires of the Palmah
The notion that what happened in Lydda in July 1948 was a “human rights atrocity,” “Rwanda-style,” is preposterous. Just as absurd is Kinsley’s claim that Israel’s leaders had a “purposeful strategy” to engender Arab flight through “terror,” of which Lydda was an exemplar. Not even Benny Morris, cited by Kinsley as an authority, makes that claim. “There was no Zionist ‘plan’ or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population,” Morris has written. He has discovered no “policy or master-plan of expulsion; the Yishuv and its military forces did not enter the 1948 War, which was initiated by the Arab side, with a policy or plan for expulsion,” nor did they develop such a plan during the war. In his exchange with me, Morris took the view that the forced expulsion from Lydda wasn’t typical: “In most places in 1948, Arabs simply fled in the face of actual or approaching hostilities.” Kinsley’s “purposeful strategy” is the thesis of Israel-hater Ilan Pappé, whose credibility has been shredded by—yes, Benny Morris.
“Victims don’t have the right to rewrite the past.” If you’ve gleaned your own knowledge of 1948 from a Detroit Hebrew school curriculum circa 1960 and a (cursory) reading of Shavit’s My Promised Land, you don’t have the right to rewrite the past either. The latter source poses almost as many problems as the former. In Shavit’s role as Israel’s Pied Piper on campuses and in synagogues, he may be doing some good. But the Lydda chapter is doing damage, and keeps popping up as the authoritative word on Israel’s original sin. This, even though Morris and Efraim Karsh have savaged his Lydda premises, and I have punched holes in his Lydda claims, many of which also failed to get past the fact checkers at the New Yorker (on which, see my critique).
When Shavit is asked about the criticism of his Lydda chapter on one of his innumerable whistle stops, he either dodges the question or dismisses discussion of it as a waste of his valuable time. Actually, that’s fine with me. All he needs to do is deposit the tapes of his witnesses in a public archive, and give Israeli readers his final version of the Lydda chapter in Hebrew. The critics will take over from there.
Douglas Murray: "Bravest Director": Finn Norgaard
Bravery is Finn Norgaard. He was the 55-year-old film director shot dead in Copenhagen earlier this month by Omar Abdelhamid Hussein.
People inside the café now credit Norgaard with helping to save their lives. If he had not struggled with the gunman and bought precious extra seconds for the police and others, it is likely that the number of fatalities at the free-speech event would have been far higher.
A substantial proportion of the few people on the front line of the struggle for freedom of speech in Europe were crammed into that small room.
In an industry that likes to pat itself on the back for its supposed bravery, Norgaard lived a life, and died a death, of true bravery. Is it too much to hope that at some point his industry recognizes the real heroes of our time?
After attacks, European rabbis train in self-defense
Rabbis from European countries have gathered in Prague for training in self-defense and first aid in a response to a wave of attacks against Jews and a rise of anti-Semitism on the continent.
During Tuesday’s training sessions, dozens of rabbis learned what to do to survive stabbing attacks and how to treat injuries.
The idea was to demonstrate “the most basic stuff needed,” Rabbi Menachem Margolin said.
Tuesday’s training is part of an annual gathering of rabbis organized by the Rabbinical Centre of Europe and the European Jewish Association headed by Margolin.
Algemeiner’s Dovid Efune on CNN: Demonization of Israel ‘Translating Into Antisemitic Acts’ (VIDEO)
The uptick in violence against Jews in Europe is a result of widespread demonization of the State of Israel, Algemeiner Editor Dovid Efune said in an interview on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront on Sunday.
Commenting on video footage of an Israeli reporter who was harassed while roaming the streets of Paris wearing a kippa, Efune said, “It’s this demonization of the Jewish state, which translates into antisemitic acts, and it’s something that really needs to stop and it needs to be addressed.”
“It’s impossible to guard every single target,” he said, responding to a clip of Rob Wainright, Director of Europol, detailing the steps his organization is taking to protect Jewish targets. “You’d have to have bodyguards following around every conspicuous-looking Jew who’s walking in the streets of Europe. You cannot protect the Jewish community fully in that way. What is needed, and what is more necessary, is to go after the root causes and a lot of that stems from the indoctrination.”
Demonizing Israel with false moral equivalence
Yet another use of false moral equivalence is comparing the Holocaust to the Nakba, the “catastrophe” or creation of the State of Israel. Many have adopted this false moral equivalence. The Holocaust and Nakba are far from similar, however. The Holocaust was a planned, industrial genocide. The Palestinian Nakba was a direct result of the refusal of Palestinians to accept the existence of Israel, which led to their major military defeat.
Another category of moral equivalence implies that the intentional murder of innocent civilians is equivalent to the accidental deaths of civilians in military actions. In March 2012, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton compared the deaths of innocent people, such as the Jewish children killed in Toulouse, France, by serial killers, and brutal dictators like Syria’s Bashar Assad, to the accidental deaths of civilians due to Israeli retaliatory actions in Gaza. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni reacted by saying, “There is no similarity between an act of hatred or a leader killing members of his nation and a country fighting terror, even if civilians are harmed.”
Many so-called humanitarian NGOs are frequent abusers of false moral equivalence. Even when writing brief statements about the human rights violations imposed upon Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit when he was kidnapped and imprisoned by Hamas terrorists for over five years, the reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch chose to bring attention to the false moral equivalence of a kidnapped Schalit and the Palestinian terrorists sentenced by the courts to serve time in Israeli jails.
Pro-Hamas MP Hosts Event With Group That Backed Terrorists
One of Labour’s Shadow Justice team is hosting an event in the House of Commons for the Arab Organisation for Human Rights UK (AOHR), an organisation linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Andy Slaughter MP, will chair the event on Thursday night, despite concerns that AOHR’s leadership has links to a variety of radicals.
AOHR claims to be a global non-governmental organisation “established to promote human rights culture in the world and to advocate human rights in general and the rights of the Arab citizens in particular”. But its directors, Mohammed Jamil and Ibrahim Sayam, have close links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Mr Jamil helped the notorious extremist, Raed Salah, when he faced a deportation order by the Home Office in 2012. At the time the Government stated Salah’s presence in the UK “would not be conducive to the public good”. Mr Salah is believed to be the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Israel, and has been described as a “virulent anti-Semite”.
After loss of US award, PA governor reiterates esteem for terrorists
Philadelphia Councilwoman Maria Sánchez has withdrawn the Citation of Honor that she awarded to Palestinian Governor of Ramallah Laila Ghannam last month. Sánchez's action came after Palestinian Media Watch informed her and released a report documenting that Ghannam has a long record of glorifying Palestinian terrorists, including terrorists responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis. Sánchez had been unaware of Ghannam's terror glorification at the time of the award, but immediately denounced Ghannam's statements praising terrorists.
Now Sánchez has also withdrawn the Citation of Honor itself. Palestinian Authority Governor Ghannam explained that "according to Sánchez's statements, the citation had been withdrawn from her because of her 'support of terror.'" Ghannam responded to the cancellation reiterating her support for terror and glorification of terrorists:
"We are not interested in citations of honor that require us to slander our fighters and our supporting pillars as terrorists." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 23, 2015]
Jews Associated With SDSU And UCLA Won't Admit Anti-Semitism On Campus
Jews in San Diego and Los Angeles are trying to minimize the impact of anti-Semitism on the campuses of San Diego State University (SDSU) and UCLA. Responding to the charge that SDSU is one of the worst ten campuses in the nation with regard to anti-Semitism, Tina Malka, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego, said, “It’s utterly ridiculous to call San Diego State University an anti-Semitic university. I don’t believe Jewish students on campus feel it’s an anti-Semitic environment.” U-T San Diego reported that Malka said the activities revolving around the campaign to divest from Israel did not significantly affect the campus atmosphere.
Malka was echoed by Michael Rabkin, executive director of the San Diego chapter of Hillel, who said, “I can tell you the kind of activities we’re seeing at San Diego State are not putting it in a top-10 list of anti-Semitic campuses,”
The Shocking Claims of Corruption in the PA
The anti-Israel groups would have you believe that if Israel would just release the taxes owed to the Palestinian Authority, all would be right with the world, the PA wouldn’t sponsor terrorism and Gaza would become the “Hong Kong of the Middle East.”
Even more confusing is the same groups blaming AIPAC for funding Israeli State-sponsored terrorism. This gem is from
Let’s debunk, quickly, these false premises:
1) 68 years of Ethnic Cleansing: An impressive run if I ever saw one, or the most inefficient killing machine in the world. Instead of focusing on the myriad of actual ethnic cleansing in the world i.e; ISIS vs. Yazidis, ISIS vs. Coptic Christians, Assad Regime vs Population, it decides to focus on the most open country in the Middle East, where Muslims, Christians, Jews, Copts can all hold office, vote, buy land, build businesses, without fear of retribution of any type.
Irish Times Journalist “Not Interacting With Zionists Anymore”
HonestReporting raised a genuine issue with Kitty Holland’s article. Irrespective of the discussion, no journalist should be responding with a statement that she is “Not interacting with Zionists anymore.”
Like Jim Clancy’s recent Twitter meltdown, this exposes a particularly insidious attitude towards Israel and supporters of Israel whereby journalists dismiss any valid criticism as a illegitimate product of “Zionists.”
Does the Irish Times think that this is acceptable behavior from one of its journalists?
So Kitty Holland, why don’t you tell us what you really think?
Responding to Rudoren
The New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren was recently the guest of a Voice of Israel radio show. Host Josh Hasten asked her about criticism she has received that the Times’ coverage of Israel was biased. Her response was that media watchdog groups were not really basing their criticisms on objective standards. Rather, groups like HonestReporting have their own agenda and are simply upset with her for not being more pro-Israel.
We reject this charge. Here are just a few examples of how Rudoren’s reporting fails even the most basic journalistic standards.
1) August 14: Rudoren tweets that the charge that Hamas intimidates journalists is “nonsense.” Here is a mountain of evidence. Here is Hamas’s admission to harassing journalists. Even her own paper described an example of the Hamas intimidation she calls “nonsense” a few days later.
2) June 29: Rudoren publishes an article comparing the mother of the three Israeli boys kidnapped and murdered by Hamas with the mother of a Palestinian who was killed while attacking Israeli soldiers. Is it an objective journalistic standard to draw a false moral equivalence? (Not according to Rudoren’s colleague, the New York Times Public Editor.)
IsraellyCool: Jim Clancy Still Seeing Hasbarists Under His Bed
Remember CNN reporter Jim Clancy, who had an anti-Israel inspired meltdown on Twitter, leading to his quitting the platform and then resigning from CNN?
Well, he’s baaa-aaack – on Twitter at least – and by the looks of it is as constipated as ever.
Unfortunately, he still seems to have verbal diarrhea, and a bad case of hasbara-itis.
Following our post, Guardian removes antisemitic book from online shop
After emailing Guardian editors yesterday to ask about the reappearance of Atzmon’s book, we were informed that their online shop uses automated feeds, and that the removal of specific titles has to be done manually.
So, they again removed Atzmon’s book from their virtual shelves.
Does the UK media fuel antisemitism?
Indeed, if the UK media’s narrative is to be believed, Israel not only intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians during the summer war, but disproportionately killed innocent children. News articles, headlines and images which depicted or focused upon dead Palestinian children were sensationally presented and often devoid of important context, such as Hamas’s widespread use of human shields.
A Guardian lead in their July 31st print edition literally accused Israel of killing “sleeping children”. The very same explicit accusation – that Israel murdered children while they slept – was included in a Telegraph lead on July 30th. The Independent published a cartoon on July 10th which (evoking the verse from Leviticus: ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’) all but accused Israel of ethnically cleansing Palestinians. A July 17th op-ed in the same paper was even more explicit, accusing Israel of engaging in genocide. And an Aug. 1 Indy op-ed likened the Jewish state to a “child murdering community”.
You don’t need to be an expert on Islamist extremist ideology to see a connection between the imputation of such unimaginable malevolence to the Jewish state and jihadists’ targeting of Jews in Europe “to avenge” the murder of Palestinian kids.
Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' to hit German bookstores for first time since WWII
For the first time since the end of World War II, Germans will be able to buy copies of Adolf Hitler’s memoir Mein Kampf.
According to TIME magazine, a state-funded research center will be reissuing the book in December, when the German copyright, which is owned by the state of Bavaria, expires.
Since the end of the war, the German authorities have banned reprinting the book.
The Institute of Contemporary History will publish a special 2,000-page edition filled with annotations, analysis, and criticism. The institute believes Mein Kampf to be of historical and educational value.
News of the book’s reissue has upset Holocaust survivors who say that publishing Hitler’s work anew risks perpetuating its message.
Bard edited to be more Jew-friendly
A prominent British theater actor and playwright said that he commonly edits out anti-Semitic passages from performances of Shakespeare’s plays because they bear a greater “resonance” in the wake of the Holocaust.
Mark Rylance, former artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London, told the Daily Mail Monday that historically speaking, playwrights often self-censored performances to match a particular audience or town and passages were frequently removed to prevent offense.
“There are some very unfortunate anti-Semitic things that the characters say. I have to make the decision, do I include that or not,” Rylance said.
“If a character says it, it doesn’t mean the author means it but since the Holocaust… these statements have a lot more resonance now than they did at that time,” he said.
Rylance noted that unlike the many bawdy or vulgar jokes that pepper Shakespeare’s pieces, when approaching anti-Semitic passages, he feels a lot more pressure to cut it out.
2 Israeli start-ups vie for MasterCard accelerator slot
Two Tel Aviv-based financial technology start-ups will represent Israel at a major event being held by MasterCard in Dublin next month. The Israeli companies will be vying against fintech start-ups from across Europe for a spot in the MasterCard Start Path accelerator.
One company, Sling, has a platform that allows micro-merchants to accept electronic payments from consumers via smartphone, and the other, Shopnfly, allows travelers to browse and pre-purchase items that can be picked up at a duty-free shop, delivered inflight or to a destination hotel.
Started last September, the Start Path program will provide chosen companies with a four-month program to help them streamline their technology. After that, they will embark on an eight-month period to integrate their technology in MasterCard’s ecosystem.
Tel Aviv is world’s 3rd best place for technology business
Tel Aviv is the third best place in the world for technology business, according to a new report by property consultants Savills. Austin took the top spot, followed by San Francisco.
Savills surveyed 12 global cities with strong tech environments. The scores were measured according to five metrics: business environment, tech environment, quality of life, talent pool and property affordability.
New York, Stockholm and London came fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the overall ranking.
Multinational R&D centers located within the Tel Aviv-Yafo metropolitan area include Google, Barclays, Motorola, BMC Software, Broadcom, EMC, Microsoft, GM, Amdocs, SAP, Applied Materials, Marvell, Oracle, HP, and CiscoIsrael.
From Tragedy, Families of Slain Israeli Teens Create the Gift of Unity
“In the Diaspora, people say they can’t remember a time when [Jews] came together across denominations,” Racheli Frenkel, the mother of one of the three Jewish teenagers who were kidnapped and killed by Hamas in Gush Etzion last summer, tells JNS.orgregarding her recent visit to the United States. “I’m convinced that it wasn’t an illusion. Hasidic Jews, Orthodox, [and] seculars all came together, and we were one family.”
Frenkel refers to last June, when world Jewry displayed what many considered to be uncommon unity during Israel’s search for abducted teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach. Though the teens’ dead bodies were found on June 30, an audio recording revealed that they were murdered shortly after being kidnapped on June 12.
From the perspective that they had already been killed, the nearly three-week search for the boys was for naught. But that doesn’t take into account the search’s impact on the Jewish people.
“The story of Eyal, Naftali, and Gilad, zichronam livracha (may their memories be blessed), gripped our people like few others and brought out the best of us in the face of tragedy,” says Yoni Sherizen, program and development director at Gesher, an organization dedicated to bridging rifts in Israeli society. “Today, we are challenged to take hold of that unique solidarity and make it [the boys’] legacy—to strengthen the bonds between our people and break down barriers that are created by our differences.”
The Frenkel, Shaar, and Yifrach families have teamed with Gesher as well as the city of Jerusalem to establish the recently launched Jerusalem Unity Prize, which will be presented for the first time on “Jewish Unity Day,” to be marked with special events on June 3 in Jerusalem.
Jonathan Sacks and Simon Schama on the Genius of the Jews
The former British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the historian Simon Schama discuss Judaism’s contribution to civilization, their own personal relationship with the Jewish religion, anti-Semitism, and Israel, among other topics. (Moderated by David Gregory; video, 1 hour and 21 minutes.)
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Simon Schama with David Gregory: Genius and the Story of the Jews

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