Friday, March 27, 2015

From Ian:

UN Watch: World body urged to investigate anti-Jewish books in U.N. Bookshop
UN Watch is deeply concerned by the highly suspect selection of books featured in the United Nations Bookshop, and we urge you to investigate.
Perusing the shelf displays, one cannot miss the carefully orchestrated line-up of anti- American and anti-Israeli book titles, from “Reflections on Israel’s War Against Palestinians” to “The Punishment of Gaza.” Worse, the UN bookshop—situated just below the Human Rights Council prominently displays a book entitled “How I Stopped Being a Jew.” The author accuses the Jewish religion of a “genocidal Yahwestic tradition.”
Let us be clear: under no circumstances whatsoever would we presume to dictate to the UN bookshop which books to sell. We unflinchingly support the freedom of expression and full exchange of ideas, good and bad. Yet the unmistakable pattern of anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish books is a matter that requires your attention. We recall the promise of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the historic 2004 United Nations gathering against anti- Semitism: “The fight against anti-Semitism must be our fight,” said Mr. Annan, “and Jews everywhere must feel that the United Nations is their home, too.” As I am sure you will agree, the selective offering of one-sided and inflammatory books that demean Israelis and Jews does not contribute to the culture of acceptance promised by Mr. Annan.
At a time when Jews across Europe are being targeted by violent attacks and incitement, it is deeply distressing that the United Nations Headquarters in Europe would promote books on “how to stop being a Jew.” Significantly, we note there are no other books in the shop targeting or criticizing any other religious or ethnic group.
Anti-Israel Activist ‘Fact-Checks’ Hirsi Ali
Max Blumenthal, the David Duke-endorsed anti-Israel writer who is best known for being the son of long-time Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, launched a barrage of twitter attacks on the Somali-American women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Tuesday.
Blumenthal also took issue with a recent column in the Wall Street Journal in which Hirsi Ali, a critic of radical Islam, said that “at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims.” In the essay, Hirsi Ali cited an International Institute for Strategic Studies analysis.
Blumenthal questioned the stat in an email to Hirsi Ali’s foundation on Tuesday:
The J Street Challenge - Full Film in HD
The J Street Challenge is an important and timely documentary about a significant issue facing the American Jewish community.
Since it was founded in 2008, J Street's idealistic message has attracted many Jews, young and old, who are frustrated by the Middle East conflict and sincerely want peace between Arabs and Jews. J Street has been a subject of controversy. Critics claim that J Street has divided the Jewish community and weakened American Jewish support for Israel. "The J Street Challenge" lets viewers hear both sides of this important debate over the elusive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The film explores the reasons for J Street's appeal, as well as the diverse and at times contradictory motivations of its leaders and followers. The film is being released at a critical time for the American Jewish community given the intense efforts by the United States to resolve the conflict and influence the community's leadership to support these efforts. The Kerry peace initiative has further divided the Jewish community, with J Street working to weaken the influence of AIPAC while strongly backing the administration.
The film includes distinguished scholars and writers from a wide political spectrum, including Harvard professors Alan Dershowitz and Ruth Wisse, Rabbi Daniel Gordis of the Shalem College in Jerusalem, Caroline Glick, Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post, Professor Richard Landes of Boston University, Lenny Ben David -- former Israeli diplomat and author, and Bret Stephens, Pulitzer prize winning columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

"Catching the Jew" - Tuvia Tenenbom and Caroline Glick (h/t Alexi)
On Tuvia Tenenbom's best selling book "Catching the Jew"
At the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Jerusalem

Ryan Bellerose: I Stand With Israel
I will speak a bit about the conference first. It was amazing, the schedule was very intense, and I believe if you are not committed to this struggle, it would be way too intense. However, for people who eat, sleep and breathe this struggle, it was tough but doable. The speakers StandWithUs chose were all incredible. I learned a huge amount from them – some of them I am already friends with on Facebook, some of them I became friends with afterwards, but the amount of knowledge that was in that conference was staggering. I took copious amounts of notes, and my groups Calgary United with Israel and One Nation will both benefit, as we got great ideas for some initiatives and some excellent ideas for events. The pace was frenetic; we had speakers at meals, working groups, and so many speakers that even my large head was quickly filled to overflowing. Some of the best conversations, though, came at meals when we could discuss things in a more personal way.
I thought about detailing the conference, and maybe I will another time, but I learned some things that I believe will be more valuable for people to hear.
We need to involve people who are not Jewish. This seems like it would be common sense, but the truth is that it’s difficult, and we discussed ways to get those people more involved. I personally believe one group that we must get more involved are minorities.
DOJ Asked to Prosecute Hamas for Violating U.S. Law
An Israel-based law center is petitioning the Department of Justice to pursue charges against top Hamas leaders for committing acts of terror against U.S. citizens and commercial airliners at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport during last summer’s war with the Jewish state, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Israel Law Center, which pursues legal cases on behalf of terror victims, has filed a complaint with the DOJ requesting that it investigate jurisdiction to pursue charges against Hamas and its top leaders, according to a copy of the complaint, which will be sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday.
The complaint argues that the United States has proper jurisdiction to indict Hamas as liable for its rocket attacks on Ben Gurion Airport and commercial airliners flying in and out Israel during the July 2014 war.
In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board
Bret Stephens’ new book, America in Retreat, The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder, reveals the real-life Risk board taking shape globally. In a vacuum of American leadership, modern nations are at odds. They compete for influence and resources, all too often at the expense of Free World ideals. Sounding the alarm, Stephens examines America’s present-day hand in a crumbling world order. In a book rich with historical analysis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist—formerly editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post, currently deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, and a wildly popular columnist and public speaker in the Jewish and pro-Israel communities—makes a compelling case that the country is not in decline, and that a strategy of retreat is both unnecessary and a terrible risk.
“The United States was hand-delivered the job of world policeman, on a cold and gray day in Washington D.C. … February 21, 1947,” Stephens writes, recalling the origins of the Truman Doctrine. This official U.S. policy promised political, military, and economic protection to democratic nations threatened by authoritarian forces. At the time, Great Britain, severely weakened by World War II, was retreating from its policing role as the dominant colonial power. The fragile post-war peace would unravel unless the United States assumed responsibility and protected fledgling states. Enter the era of “Pax Americana,” a 68-year (and counting) period of relative peace and stability.
Stephens lauds Pax Americana, calling it a “world in which English is the default language of diplomacy, tourism, and technology; in which markets are global, capital is mobile, trade is increasingly free… in which values of openness and tolerance are, when not the norm, often the aspiration.” America deserves credit for extending democratic ideals and unprecedented prosperity on such a global scale. Today, however, Stephens observes a war-weary public that is shrinking from its traditional leadership role, signaling weakness and ushering in a new era of “global disorder.”
Saudi Arabian military action in Yemen kept quiet from US until last minute
Saudi Arabia kept some key details of its military action in Yemen from Washington until the last moment, US officials said, as the kingdom takes a more assertive regional role to compensate for perceived US disengagement.
The Middle East's top oil power told the United States weeks ago it was weighing action in Yemen but only informed Washington of the exact details just before Thursday's unprecedented air strikes against Iran-allied Houthi rebels, the officials said.
Although the Saudis spoke with top US officials as they debated an air assault in support of embattled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, US officials acknowledged gaps in their knowledge of the kingdom's battle plans and objectives.
Asked when he was told by Saudi Arabia that it would take military action in Yemen, General Lloyd Austin, the head of the US military's Central Command, told a Senate hearing on Thursday he spoke with Saudi Arabia's chief of defense "right before they took action." (h/t Yenta Press)
White House Declines to Say If Obama Views Bibi in the Same Light He Views Putin

Court clears Argentina president in Iran ‘cover-up’
An Argentine appeals court on Thursday upheld the decision to dismiss a case against President Cristina Kirchner on accusations that she shielded Iranian officials from prosecution over a 1994 Jewish center bombing.
In a 2-1 decision, the court rejected an appeal from prosecutors who sought to revive the case against Kirchner being brought by their late colleague Alberto Nisman before he mysteriously died on the eve of congressional hearings where he was due to present his explosive allegations.
“The federal appeals chamber ratifies the decision by Judge Daniel Rafecas to reject prosecutor Nisman’s accusation,” said a Justice Ministry statement.
The Nisman Case and the Whitewashing of Iran
Alberto Nisman was a 51-year-old special prosecutor in Argentina who had spent more than a decade investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires. On January 18, 2015, his lifeless body was found in his apartment in the capital. Though Argentine authorities have since conceded that the precise cause of Nisman’s death is unknown, their first reaction was to label it a suicide. But as waves of contradictory evidence emerged from the forensic examination, and as Nisman’s colleagues and friends angrily disputed that this energetic jurist would have suddenly taken his own life, the suicide explanation rapidly disintegrated. The smart money is now on murder, and establishing who might have pulled the trigger rises to a level of intrigue more commonly found in the novels of John le Carré.
The question of why Nisman died is more important. His death coincided with the ascension of two major geopolitical trends, both of which were intimately related to his life’s work: a surge in global anti-Semitism and the rise of Iran (the likely culprit behind the AMIA bombing) as the dominant power in the Middle East.
As Nisman, himself a Jew, noted in a lengthy 2006 report on the AMIA atrocity, the slaughter that took place on July 18, 1994, had to be understood first and foremost as an anti-Semitic attack. “Any interpretation of the terrorist attack that ignores this salient characteristic,” he wrote, “runs the risk of sinning by omission.” Given the history of anti-Semitism in Argentina, as well as the country’s opportunistic relations with states such as Iran that are dedicated to Israel’s destruction, one might say exactly the same about Nisman’s own death.
Does Association with James Baker Affect Jeb Bush’s Pro-Israel Credentials?
Jonathan Tobin, senior online editor of Commentary magazine, wrote that Baker’s “long record of hostility to Israel” should “make him radioactive for a candidate seeking to brand himself as a supporter of the Jewish state and a critic of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.” Zionist Organization of America National President Mort Klein said in a statement, “It is deeply disconcerting that Governor Bush would, not only contemplate, but actually appoint, as adviser someone who has been utterly wrong about the Middle East and unrelentingly hostile to Israel, endlessly demanding concessions and suggesting that Israel is the stumbling block to peace, while ignoring the continuing extremism, rejectionism and terrorism of the Palestinian Arabs, Syria and other hostile regimes.” Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, tweeted, “James Baker & J Street. The anti-Israel pre-Reaganite GOP meets the anti-Israel post-Clinton left.”
At the same time, Jeb Bush has visited Israel several times and has a warm relationship with the Jewish community in Florida, where he has governor from 1999-2007.
“Since I’ve started talking to Jeb about this over a year ago, I’ve never had any qualms or questions over his stance on Israel. He has certainly never given any indication that he won’t be as strong of a supporter as his brother,” Zeidman told
Despite the association with Baker, Lefkowitz believes that Jeb Bush will ultimately be judged on his own actions and words.
“I think American voters who care about Israel, and that includes the vast majority of Americans, are going to judge Jeb Bush based on his record, not the statements of a former secretary of state who, on other issues, is one of many foreign policy advisers to his potential campaign,” Lefkowitz told
James Baker’s Zombie Foreign Policy
It’s Baker and the other Cold War realists associated with the senior Bush who are old, tired, haggard, removed, out of it. They’re the products of a bipolar world in which the Soviet Empire was an ever-mindful presence. Members of the waning WASP elite and beholden to the zombie theory of linkage, which says the source of instability in the Greater Middle East is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Baker and company treat Israel not as an asset for the United States but a liability. For Bush to repudiate Baker or the other friends of H.W. would be a rebuke of long-lasting relationships; it would also be just the sort of act that would establish Bush’s identity as “my own man.”
Republicans don’t have any need or desire for James Baker’s foreign policy because they’ve spent the last six years seeing it enacted by Barack Obama. The hostility and fisticuffs that characterized Baker’s approach to the Jewish State when he held power more than two decades ago is repeated every day by this president, this chief of staff, this national security adviser. Baker threatened loan guarantees to Israel because of settlement activity; Obama demanded a settlement freeze his first year in office and threatens to withhold U.S. support for Israel at the United Nations. Baker banned Netanyahu from the State Department; Obama refused to see him on his most recent visit to the capital and waited two days to congratulate him on his election victory. Baker “argued strongly for punitive actions against Israel” when it destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak; imagine how Obama would react if Israel bombed Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. (And recall that George W. didn’t lift a finger when Israel bombed Syria’s reactor in 2007.) Baker famously said “F—k the Jews”; Obama officials call Netanyahu “chicken-shit.”
Can You Still Be Jewish on the British Left?
This is the fourth of a five-part series, A Polite Hatred.
In a packed conference hall in Islington, north London, the disembodied voice of Omar Barghouti is calling in over Skype. The co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement exhorts the crowd to renew their efforts for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which is holding the meeting. He derides and denigrates Israel, the apartheid state. And then, his rhetoric building up to a pitch, he delivers his killer line: “Balfour is dead, now let’s bury his damned colonial legacy.” A loud cheer echoes around the room.
Listening to Barghouti, I wondered how many people in the room understood the import of his words. The Balfour Declaration was a statement in favor of a “national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.” To advocate the destruction of Balfour’s legacy—whether it is a colonial one or not—is to advocate the disestablishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, in other words, the destruction of the State of Israel.
Either the people in the room didn’t fully understand the implications of what they were applauding, which is a concern, or else they did, which is even more of a concern. Does the PSC officially support this position? The chairman didn’t respond to my email. But one of the organization’s stated aims is to “campaign in opposition to the Zionist nature of the Israeli state,” which sounds like the end of the idea of a Jewish national home.
American bill aims to stymie Israel boycotters
Two Republican congressmen introduced legislation to prevent boycotts of Israel.
Under the Boycott Our Enemies, Not Israel Act introduced Wednesday by Reps. Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Ron DeSantis of Florida, prospective contractors with the US government would be required to certify that they are not participating in any boycotts against Israel. The bill also includes penalties for false certification, including permanently banning a company from doing business with the government.
“Our government business practices should not play any role in harming our greatest ally in the Middle East,” Lamborn said in a statement, adding that the bill was introduced to “thwart efforts by Palestinian organizations to pressure different corporations, companies and educational institutions to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.
“The BDS movement represents a disgraceful attempt to single out Israel for punitive treatment,” he said.
Lady Gaga Inspires NYU Students to Fight Back Against Israeli Apartheid Week
New York University students are rallying in opposition against Israeli Apartheid Week that began on Monday. Supported by The World Values Network Partners and inspired by the words of Lady Gaga, Mendy Boteach, along with fellow NYU students Daniel Greenblum, Yaniv Hoffman and Jacob Sternberg, have countered the most recent attack against the Jewish state, and will promote Israel Pride Week until Thursday.
“It is a big display of Jewish Pride and I think that is the most important thing, that Jews feel proud on campus,” said Mr. Boteach, 21. “We want to make sure they feel represented, that they don’t need to be afraid.”
The students are positioned just a few feet away from the Israel Apartheid Wall in Washington Square Park. While they have strength in numbers, roughly 20 students, their most visible attraction is a 10 foot sign quoting Lady Gaga from her tour in Israel in 2014.
“You are strong, you are brave, you are confident. I f*cking love you, Israel!” The quote from the pop superstar and NYU alumna is followed by the student group’s hashtag – #Israelprideweek.
Leftist Group in Paris Accuses IDF of 'Crimes Against Humanity'
A Paris-based leftist group, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), claimed on Friday that Israel's counter-terror Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza last summer included "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity."
The war, which began when Hamas launched a massive barrage of rockets on Israeli civilian population centers, "was marked by serious breaches human rights law" on the part of Israel, according to the leftist group as reported by AFP.
In a temporary recognition of the other half of the equation, FIDH condemned the Gaza-based terrorist groups for "indiscriminate firing of rockets and mortars," as well as using civilian structures including schools, cemeteries and mosques, along with planting booby traps to lethal affect and using Gazans as human shields.
But it apparently stopped short of labeling the blatant breaches on the part of the terrorist organizations as "war crimes," instead saying the various acts committed by Hamas and its cohorts did not give the IDF "carte blanche" to "disregard international laws."
Israeli Flag in Milan Defaced With Red Paint Simulating Blood
An Israeli flag displayed at the entrance to the “Expo 2015″ convention, in Milan, was vandalized by unknown culprits who sprayed it with red paint simulating blood.
The flag was displayed in the city’s Piazza Cordusio, along with the flags of many other countries, as part of the renowned international fair, which will be held this year in Milan starting May 1st. One of the main sites of interest is an exhibit on international investment, with pavilions representing different countries.
The local police in Milan spent hours examining video captured by security cameras in the area, trying to locate the anonymous culprit, according to Israel’s Walla news. The event’s organizers said that the flag will be replaced as soon as possible.
Islamist students Studying jihad?
Universities have long been naive about the risks posed by radical preachers, argues Usama Hasan, a British imam who fought in the jihad in Afghanistan but now works for the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think-tank. Many officials assume that their addresses resemble university lectures where ideas can be debated and questioned. But speakers are often invited to sermonise at Friday prayers—at which a challenge to their views would be thought inappropriate.
The problem is greatest in London. The capital has long been a refuge for extremists of all varieties, including Muslim ones. Its universities are less oriented around campuses than those elsewhere, making it harder to keep track of students. And many students in London—unlike, say, in heavily Muslim cities like Bradford—are far from their families, who might pick up on signs of radicalisation.
Britain seems to be unusual. In Germany, for example, home-grown terrorists tend to come from troubled backgrounds (they often have prior criminal convictions) and few have gone to university. But that does not necessarily mean that British universities are causing radicalisation. One possible reason lots of British Muslim zealots have gone to university is simply that lots of British Muslims go to university. The country is peculiarly successful at educating immigrants and the children of immigrants, points out Jytte Klausen, a political scientist at Brandeis University.
Terrorist Organization Hires Washington, D.C. Lobbying Firm
Today, O’Dwyers PR Report revealed The Raben Group, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying and consulting firm has been hired by Islamic Relief Worldwide, a UK-based Muslim charity, who have repeatedly been accused of being a terrorist organization. Robert Raben, former United States Assistant Attorney General under President Bill Clinton owns the firm, and he is regarded as one of the top liberal lobbyists in the United States. According to Wikipedia, the firm’s current client lists includes The Ford Foundation.
This organization is one that the Gatestone Institute has previously noted benefits from outstanding PR campaigns, saying, “The large number of links between IRW and extremist pro-terror groups, however, suggests that under the cover of a charity with excellent public relations officers lies a structured pro-terror group with an anti-Western agenda.”
So, who are they? In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.
Revisiting BBC reporting of civilian deaths in Gaza on July 28th 2014
On March 26th a report appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “Amnesty: Hamas rocket attacks amounted to war crimes“. The article includes the following:AI Shati report
“Amnesty said rocket fire had also endangered Palestinian civilians.
The group said an independent munitions expert had concluded that a Palestinian rocket had exploded next to a supermarket in the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on 28 July, killing 13 civilians, 11 of them children aged between seven and 14.”

As we know, the BBC sets great store by any report – accurate or not – produced by Amnesty International. Perhaps then the appearance of this one will at long last prompt the corporation to append clarifications to those five reports – all of which are still accessible in their original inaccurate and misleading form on the BBC News website. It is, after all, in the BBC’s interest to do so in light of the fact that – according to its own statement from June 2014:
“…however long ago our online content was first published, if it’s still available, editorial complaints may legitimately be made regarding it”
The Independent: Excusing Hamas War Crimes
Indeed there is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. The Independent, however, appears to imply that Israel is actually worse than Hamas by virtue of the greater level of destruction in Gaza.
While The Independent then goes on to state that there is “blame on both sides,” it still can’t bring itself to categorically refer to Hamas war crimes even though it is a central theme of the paper’s own initial story, preferring to quote a softer statement from the Amnesty report:
But it should not be forgotten that there is blame on both sides. Hamas’s reckless use of unguided missiles “displayed a flagrant disregard for international humanitarian law”, a report by Amnesty International concludes.
Taken together, The Independent’s coverage of the Amnesty report demonstrates a disturbing attitude that seeks to cast doubt on the veracity of serious charges leveled against Hamas. This sort of behavior is more in line with an advocacy organization rather than a media outlet.
Does The Independent adopt the same level of skepticism when it comes to reports from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accusing Israel of “war crimes?” Judging by the newspaper’s coverage of a previous Amnesty report that declared that “war crimes” could have been committed by Israel, we already know the answer.
Who’s Dashing Palestinian Hopes?
But who has really dealt a “grievous blow to a negotiated peace agreement?” Has the Times forgotten the record of what really has been going on the last few years between Israel and the Palestinians? While claiming that it is Israel and Netanyahu who are to blame, they ignore the consistent, anti-peace actions of the Palestinian Authority over the years.
The PA has partnered with Hamas, a terror organization committed to Israel’s destruction. The PA has sought recognition for statehood at the United Nations and is joining dozens of international organizations. These moves have been criticized by the US as inconsistent with peace efforts.
There has also been no reduction in the glorification of terrorism and incitement against Israel by the PA.
A week before the Israeli elections, the PA dedicated a new monument to Dalal Mughrabi. Dalal Mughrabi’s claim to fame is that she led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history. She and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Highway, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70. Yet you can not find coverage of this event in the Times.
Does the Times really believe that actions such as these do not impact Palestinian hopes of statehood?
No Place for Ignorance in Political Cartoons
Writers who use the op-ed section as a platform to comment on current events have the right to express opinions that go in any direction. But they don’t have the right to distort or misrepresent facts to make their points.
And that’s exactly what Chicago Tribune cartoonist Joe Fournier did on Tuesday in his outrageous “commentary” on the election of Benjamin Netanyahu. Referring to Netanyahu’s pre-election statement against the creation of a Palestinian state, Fournier showed a cartoon of Netanyahu “explaining” his rationale:
Come on, this is Bibi we’re talking about/The same Bibi who had the Israeli military repeatedly bomb Palestinian hospitals, mosques, and schools/Where exactly did you think I stood on a two-state solution?
So according to Fournier, Israel simply set its fearsome military on Palestinians for no reason, and with no objective other than to harm Palestinians. He ignores the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas and Israel’s duty to defend its citizens. He even ignores the fact that many of the rockets were fired from Palestinian population centers, leading to the Palestinian civilian casualties. Netanyahu didn’t bomb the Palestinians; he defended Israelis under Hamas attack.
As ‘Woman in Gold’ premieres, meet the man who battled for the Klimt
Adele Bloch-Bauer was part of a prominent Austrian-Jewish family, patrons of the arts whose belongings were plundered by the Nazis. Among the works stolen were two portraits of Adele by Gustav Klimt, commissioned by her husband. The first – with gold leaf applied directly to the canvas – is the more famous. “A painting sold on refrigerator magnets” as Charles Dance’s character, a lawyer skeptical about restituting the work to its rightful owner, reminds us in the new movie “Woman in Gold.”
After World War II, surviving members of the Bloch-Bauer family escaped to the United States. Their artwork remained behind – the “last prisoners of war.” The case of “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” made international headlines (and has been the subject of documentaries) but “Woman in Gold” is the first time it has been dramatized.
Helen Mirren plays Maria Altmann, Adele’s niece who demands to see justice done before she passes from this world. You’d think it would be a fairly simple task to reclaim the family treasures in the late 1990s, with the Cold War over and everyone everybody else’s friend. But this isn’t how it went down.
Make-a-thon harnesses technology for people with disabilities
For three days in Tel Aviv, a group of innovators and makers recently took part in a unique marathon geared to producing affordable and cutting-edge products that will significantly improve the lives of people living with disabilities.
The TOM:TLV make-a-thon brought together technologists, designers, therapists, and people with disabilities who developed ideas and products that address the challenges of people living with disabilities, their family members, and health-care professionals.
Participants had access to 3D printers, laser-cutting machines, and CNC machines (computer-operated milling devices). They built models and prototypes of aids for people with disabilities that organizers intend to develop for widespread use in the near future.
Jews counted among Lincoln’s closest confidants
A whopping 16,000 books have been written about President Abraham Lincoln. But a new book and an exhibit at the New York Historical Society tell a previously untold story about Lincoln: his relationships with Jews.
Benjamin Shapell has been collecting documents relating to Lincoln and the Jews for over 35 years, housing them in the in the archives of the Shapell Foundation. For the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, Shapell persuaded Jonathan Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, who had authored a book about Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Jews and co-edited a Civil War reader, to help organize the material so it could be shared with a wider audience.
Interestingly for a project connected with physical archives, the Internet proved a boon. The American Jewish newspapers from Lincoln’s time are all online now, so for any name mentioned in a document, a search could be made in contemporary newspapers.
Latin America rolls out red carpet for Israeli trade
Although the US, and to a lesser extent, Europe, will likely remain the main target markets of Israeli exporters, the government is working hard to open new markets in places where Israeli companies have traditionally not had a large presence.
Included in that category are Latin and South America, with Israel hoping to leverage its relationship with members of the Pacific Alliance and other economic blocs to expand trade with that region of the world.
Last week, a dozen members of an official Ministry of Economy delegation visited Panama City to meet with colleagues regarding the formation of a free trade agreement between Israel and Panama. Twelve working groups discussed access to markets, customs, services and investments, intellectual property, protection of flora and fauna, trade obstacles, institutional issues and conflict resolution.
Can Israel’s Medical Diplomacy Make It the Cuba of the Middle East?
In an old stone house on Nevi’im street in Jerusalem on a recent afternoon, young Kurdish and Syrian girls played with wooden toy sets on the floor while their mothers, clad in colorful head scarves and black clothing, chatted on their phones in Arabic and Kurdish with relatives back home. The children were awaiting heart surgery at Israeli hospitals and the parents were nervous, both for their children and because being in Israel at all is a risky proposition for someone from Syria, Iraq, or Jordan. They were brought to Jerusalem as part of a unique relationship between the Israeli NGO Save A Child’s Heart and the Christian group Shevet Achim. The former provides free surgical care for children with life-threatening heart conditions from around the region (and the world). The latter locates children in need of such care and is able to bring them across tense Middle Eastern borders to Israel for treatment.
Medical diplomacy—humanitarian work that can also serve as grassroots statecraft—has gotten a quiet boost in Israel in recent years. Though it remains haphazard and the various groups involved are largely uncoordinated, collectively their efforts have been growing. In the past year, Israeli physicians have treated the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the President of Zambia Michael Sata, Syrian rebel fighters and civilians, and Kurdish and Jordanian children. Every Tuesday children from Gaza and the West Bank arrive in vans to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon for surgery and check-ups.
Israeli students 'adopt' lone wounded Syrian boy
Six Israeli medical students have "adopted" a 14-year-old Syrian boy badly injured in his home country's civil war and currently hospitalized at Baruch Padeh Medical Center, near Tiberias.
The boy, who is undergoing extensive treatment in the hospital's orthopedics department, lost a leg in an explosion while tending to his family's herd of sheep. His other leg was also badly injured in the blast and he suffers from serious burns.
He was brought to Israel for medical care, where he underwent a series of surgeries, with several more expected over the next few months.
The young boy has no family or friends in Israel, and though they have seen several Syrians treated at Baruch Padeh Medical Center since beginning their residencies there, these six students felt compelled to provide him with a sense of family, love and security.
Seders in Uniform: How American Troops Celebrated Passover During WWII
“Lettuce au charoses.” “Kneidlach or borscht a la Sgt. Weinstein.” “Consommè [sic—the accent points the wrong way!] avec Knadlach.” “Palestine wine.” “Roast Beef Ala Yomtov.” “Iced Coca-Cola.”
These were some of the dishes enjoyed by Jewish members of the military at their Seders in both European and Pacific theaters of war 70 years ago. The American Jewish Historical Society at the Center for Jewish History has a file full of yellowing menus, programs, and homemade haggadot for these celebrations of freedom; they make fascinating reading, a lens through which to appreciate American Jews’ culinary and military past.
While researching a different story at the Center, I stumbled on this file and wound up so enthralled that I scrapped my original column idea to focus on this instead. Who were these American soldiers, noshing on matzo-ball soup in strange lands, sometimes near active fighting? Who organized these Seders? Who did the cooking? It was time to research.
According to the lively website Jews in Green, Jews served in WWII in numbers much higher than our representation in the general population; by some estimates, 4 to 5 percent of U.S. soldiers were Jews at a time when we constituted less than 2 percent of the population. And the significance of fighting for others’ liberty during their own celebration of freedom clearly wasn’t lost on them.
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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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