Thursday, April 23, 2015

From Ian:

Amnesty’s Problem with Antisemitism
I can’t escape the feeling that not many people take antisemitism seriously. Even now while we witness its rise throughout Europe. Even when Jews are shot dead in supermarkets and schools. This was made particularly clear on Tuesday by the decision taken by Amnesty International to reject a motion calling for them to tackle the rise in antisemitic attacks in the UK. According to the Jewish Chronicle it was the only motion to be defeated at their annual conference.
But don’t be under the impression that Amnesty International are the problem. Their decision to ignore antisemitism in the UK simply serves to hi-light the fact that even people who see themselves as anti racism activists can’t bring themselves to take antisemitism seriously.
They can’t bring themselves to admit Jews are targets of a vicious, murderous hatred so insidious it exists in all levels of polite (and impolite) society. They can’t bring themselves to see that Jews now live in fear of the next attack against themselves and their community. They can’t bring themselves to see how Jewish communal buildings are slowly being turned into fortresses complete with state of the art security systems and security guards. In the case of France no less than 10,000 soldiers were drafted in to protect French Jewry. Several of them were stabbed in an attack that would otherwise have been meant for innocent civilians.
Innocent save for the fact they, we, are guilty of the crime of being Jewish.
Judea Pearl: An open letter to Cornel West
Judea Pearl is Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science and Statistics at UCLA and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation.
Dear Professor West,
This is a humble request sent to you from a rank-and-file Jewish professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, where you are scheduled to deliver a keynote address in honor of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, titled “Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity.” My request may sound odd, perhaps even audacious, but it needs to be said as we are preparing to commemorate the life and legacy of Rabbi Heschel, his moral grandeur and his spiritual audacity.
I will be as blunt and straightforward as possible: You should excuse yourself from delivering this lecture. My reasons are also blunt and straightforward: No matter how eloquent your speech and how crafty your words, the audience you will face at UCLA will not be able to take them too seriously in light of your recent decision to become a leading propagandist for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. You have to forgive us for being pedantic in these matters, and perhaps not as flexible and nuanced as one might hope, but our history has taught us the importance of devising crisp and visible litmus tests to distinguish friends from foes. It so happened, and you know it as well as we do, that the term BDS has become our most reliable litmus test. In other words, we have come to equate promoters of BDS ideology with those who seek the destruction of Israel, hence the demise of the Jewish people.
Thus, as much as we might try to separate the words you would be saying in honor of Rabbi Heschel from those you uttered in a Feb. 25 interview with David Palumbo-Liu at Stanford (published in Salon), in which you took great pride in promoting cultural and academic boycotts of Israel, our minds will resist the separation. Our minds will be warning us, again and again, that the person speaking before us wants our destruction.
The Academic War on Israel
As the Middle East collapses all around Israel, as jihadi factions grow bolder and more barbaric, and as Iran spreads its reach into Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, Israel has become the canary in the West's coal mine.
In addition to that, there is now the subversion of Israel's very right to exist through "lawfare," (the frivolous or malicious use of the law for political manipulation); UN Human Rights Commission distortions, and, in many ways the most chilling: the work of teachers and students in Western universities to boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) Israel.
Followers of Campus Watch or International Academic Friends of Israel, and readers of the essays in The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel (Wayne University Press, 2015) will be only too painfully aware of the decidedly unacademic raw Jew-hatred, posing as anti-Zionism, that has spread across university campuses throughout the United States, Europe and the West, particularly in the UK, Australia, Canada and elsewhere. Hate speech, disruption of lectures, demonstrations, expulsions and grotesquely one-sided lectures, papers and books have replaced the free speech, open debate, and academic neutrality that once characterized all universities within the Western tradition.
A generation of students is growing up learning to tolerate – and consider normal -- bias, falsehood and the runaway politicization of teachers and student thugs permitting only one-sided arguments. Many members of the faculty, radical Muslim teachers, and student thugs permit only one-sided arguments. It has become unpleasant, even a risk, for pro-Israel and Jewish students, such as Daniel Mael at Brandeis University, to lift their heads above the parapet.
In the UK, anti-Israel agitation has been not as violent but just as strong as in the US; and the BDS movement has been severe in many universities. For several years, the Association of University Teachers (AUT), the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) and the (later amalgamated) University and College Union passed boycott resolutions against Israeli academic institutions and individuals. The dominance of intolerantly "liberal" teachers in British educational circles has ensured a hindrance to open and civilized debate within the higher education sector as much as have the students.

Berlin pro-Hamas Palestinian conference sparks outrage
A pro-Palestinian conference slated to take place in Berlin on Saturday has come under attack because of its ties to Hamas and its erasure of Israel on a Middle East map.
“This is a direct pro-Hamas and anti-peace event, with the participation of hard-core Palestinian, British, and German supporters of rejectionism and incitement against Israel,” Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based NGO-Monitor watchdog organization, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“The sponsors are reportedly Hamas-front organizations, and the published list of participants include MP (UK) Tessa Munt, a radical supporter of demonization and BDS,” said Steinberg.”There is no justification for Germany giving legitimacy to any event in support of terrorists that are waging an immoral war against Israel, with thousands of rockets directed at civilians.”
It is expected that the 13th Palestinians in Europe Conference, which has been held twice in Germany, will attract some 3,000 attendees. The Palestinian Community of Germany (PGD) and the London-based Palestinian Return Center (PRC) are the organizers.
A spokeswoman for Israel’s embassy in Berlin told the Post, “The Embassy is in contact with the relevant local officials.”
According to German media, the Berlin Senate interior agency classifies the PGD as an organization with Hamas supporters. Germany and the EU have designated Hamas as a terrorist entity. The interior agency noted that the annual Palestinian conference is “one of the most import activities” of Islamic supporters.
New Book Reveals Venezuela-Hezbollah Narcotics Alliance
A new book has alleged that current Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro directly negotiated with Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah about drug trafficking, weapons and a Hezbollah presence in his country back in 2007. Maduro was then the Foreign Minister in the government of the late infamous socialist dictator Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer in 2013.
The book, Bumerán Chávez: Los fraudes que llevaron al colapso de Venezuela (Boomerang Chavez: the Fraud that Led to the Collapse of Venezuela), is the work of Emili J. Blasco, Washington correspondent for Spain’s newspaper (Spanish).
The revelations are largely based on diplomatic cables and the testimony of Rafael Isea, the former Deputy Minister of Economic Development in Venezuela. Isea defected in 2013 shortly after Maduro took the reins from the suddenly deceased Chavez. Isea has been living in Washington D.C. ever since.
2007 saw the personal relationship between Chavez and then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flourish, opening up major strategic cooperation between the two countries and their allies.
One of those allies was Hezbollah.
The Biggest Mistakes Pro-Israel Advocates Make. Number 1: How to Flip the Emotional Switch
I had planned to write a brief and concise Hasbara Guide for college students who are faced, often for the first time, with hostile opposition to the existence the country they love. Somehow though, I got more than a little bit carried away. I’ve just been doing this for way too long, and have a lot of field experience that I would love to impart on the next generation so that you don’t screw up as many times as I did.
1. Too many facts, not enough emotion.
This error is a committed often by pro-Israel students, especially since on our side we have facts, but on their side they have hyperbole, conspiracy theories, and pictures of dead babies. As my friend Ryan Bellerose always says, “If you respond to pictures of dead babies by talking about computer chips, everyone will think you’re an insensitive jerk.” The anti-Israel side is more effective by flipping an emotional switch in three seconds with a soundbyte or a picture of a dead Syrian baby than we are with our huge walls of text and facts about Israel’s myriad lifesaving technological innovations. Not only is that approach boring in comparison, it also isn’t particularly moving to anyone with a modicum of empathy when compared side by side to the disenfranchised Palestinians. That is unfortunate, because we do have a very compelling and emotionally charged story, we just need to learn how to tell it right. Since college students of the 21st century don’t have the attention span to read our long, dense fact sheets, especially when they have a few hundred pages of reading due by the end of the week, we need to flip their emotional switch. Not only should we debunk their pictures as fake or from other conflicts, but we should also contribute some of our own. Videos of Palestinian leaders admitting they want to kill all Jews, images of children hurt by Hamas rockets and suicide bombers, videos of Israelis running to bomb shelters and taking cover at the side of the road amidst sirens and panic, stories about Palestinians who were thrown off buildings and dragged by motorcycles for being gay or admitting publicly that they want peace with Israel, and maybe a 3-minute soundbyte about our indigenous claim to the land and the 7th century Arab conquest. Here’s a good example of an emotional video that is short and powerful enough to keep anyone’s attention and leave a positive impression of Israel, but if you look hard enough on sites and YouTube channels like MEMRI, Jerusalem U, StandWithUS, and PalWatch, you’ll find the soundbytes you’re looking for.
Michael Lumish: Don't Vote: Allah Says Not To
Apparently some of the more Sharia-minded Muslims, in protest of democracy and the coming elections next month, are putting up signage in British cities demanding:
Don't Vote.
None have the right to legislate except Allah.

The full text beneath reads:
Democracy is a system whereby man violates the right of Allah and decides what is permissible or impermissible for mankind, based solely on their whims and desires. This leads to a decayed and degraded society where crime and immorality becomes widespread and injustice becomes the norm. Islam is the only real, working solution for the UK. It is a comprehensive system of governance where the laws of Allah are implemented and justice is observed.
No one doubts that Sharia is comprehensive. In fact, that is precisely the problem. It is a tad too comprehensive. Furthermore, I do not know that chopping off body parts, as a matter of punitive law, is something that people of good will can reasonably disagree upon.
Defending Israel and the Wounded Feelings of the Jewish Left
Can American Jews talk about Israel any longer? A lot of people don’t think so anymore. Left-wing writer Peter Beinart even proposed last week in a Haaretz column that they should stop trying to rebuild an imaginary position of unity and instead concentrate on building relationships with each other by talking about Torah, since religion is the one thing they have left that might bring them together. While more such study is, by definition, a good thing, that call is a more of a measure of his frustration about his failure to persuade more Americans to join his crusade to overturn the verdict of Israeli democracy since the left-wing positions he advocates on the peace process have been conclusively rejected again by the Jewish state’s voters. But it also is a reflection of a general conviction on the left that the so-called Jewish establishment has been trying to shut them up and stifle debate on Israel. While Israel has always and will continue to generate heated and sometimes intemperate discussions, the notion that the Jewish left is being silenced is a joke. More to the point, as Israel commemorates its annual Memorial and Independence Days this week, the effort by some to accelerate the process by which Jews are distancing themselves from Israel is the problem, not the solution.
At a time when Israel is increasingly under attack and a rising tide of anti-Semitism around the globe is making it harder for Jews to speak up in its defense, the notion that we should stop talking about it is an indefensible, if not risible notion. Jews are now being singled out on college campuses and pro-Israel students are finding it increasingly difficult and unpopular to speak out in opposition to a culture of intolerance for Zionism. Elsewhere, an Obama administration determined to downgrade the alliance and create distance between the two allies is seeking to appeal to the partisan instincts of many Jews to cause them to choose loyalty to President Obama and the Democrats over their pro-Israel instincts on issues like the nuclear threat from Iran and the Middle East peace process. Yet for many on the left, the real problem facing the Jewish community is the fact that some on the left are nursing hurt feelings from being told off by their opponents for their hubris in thinking they can save Israel from itself.
France Hunts for Accomplices in Foiled Church Terror Attack
French police were hunting Thursday for possible accomplices to an Algerian whose plan to attack churches was foiled when his arsenal of weapons was uncovered, AFP reported.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the planned attack on one or more churches in the town of Villejuif just south of Paris was the fifth to be thwarted since a terrorist killing spree in the capital left 17 dead in January.
"The threat has never been as high. We have never had to face this kind of terrorism in our history," Valls told France Inter radio.
Sid Ahmed Ghlam, 24, was arrested on Wednesday after police stumbled upon his plans when he called paramedics saying he had accidentally shot himself in the leg.
An arsenal of four Kalashnikov rifles, several handguns and bulletproof vests were discovered in his car and at his apartment as well as jihadist literature mentioning Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. Detailed plans to carry out an attack were also found.
QUB in censorship row after cancelling summit on Charlie Hebdo attack
A university that hosted conferences throughout the Troubles has been accused of censorship after it cancelled a conference to discuss the fallout from the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Queen's University Belfast yesterday pulled the plug on the event scheduled for early June, citing a "security risk" and concern over the institution's reputation.
Now a journalist who was due to take part has suggested the university may have invented the threat out of concern that a speaker may cause offence.
In January, two Islamist gunmen forced their way into the Paris headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and gunned down 11 people, including journalists, cartoonists and columnists. A policeman was also killed outside.
It is believed the magazine was targeted as it had controversially published images of the prophet Muhammad.
Around 20 academics were booked to speak at the conference but an email on Monday stated it was being called off.
The email stated: "The vice chancellor at Queen's University Belfast has made the decision just this morning that he does not wish our symposium to go ahead.
"He is concerned about the security risk for delegates and about the reputation of the university."
But journalist Jason Walsh believes that QUB's reputation will suffer more due to the cancellation.
In Epic Twitter Rant, Argentina’s President Discovers the International Jewish Conspiracy
“Everything has to do with Everything” sounds like the title of some obscure New Age manifesto. In fact, it’s the headline on a disjointed article by Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in which she claims, in essence, that an international Jewish conspiracy was supporting the efforts of Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who spent more than a decade investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.
Nisman was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment in January, one day before he was due to appear before the Argentine Congress to launch a report charging Fernández de Kirchner and her cohorts with covering up Iran’s culpability for the AMIA bombing. Fernández de Kirchner said almost immediately that Nisman had committed suicide, but she backed down after waves of contradictory evidence emerged that strongly suggested he’d been murdered. If Nisman was murdered, the president opined, it was carried out by those—exactly whom, she didn’t say—who were out to get her as well!
The grim reality is that establishing the truth around Nisman’s death is as much a priority for the Argentine government as finding those responsible for the AMIA bombing, the single worst anti-Semitic atrocity since the Second World War. It’s not simply that justice has been denied in both these cases; Fernández de Kirchner has now gone one step further by portraying herself and her government as the innocent victims of a dastardly global operation masterminded by you-know-who.
In common with many of today’s anti-Semitic rants, Fernández de Kirchner didn’t mention the word “Jew” in either her article or in a bizarre series of tweets which the Israeli journalist Noga Tarnopolsky deemed worth reading only if you’re under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. But the underlying meaning was crystal clear.
Jimmy Carter And Habitat For Humanity: Not In Israel
Since we knew that Habitat had branches overseas, and my partner was interested in promoting similar projects in the south of Israel, we wrote a letter inquiring whether it was possible to bring Habitat to Israel as well.
This is the reply that we got:
“Thank you for your interest in Habitat for Humanity.
Unfortunately, Habitat for Humanity has no operations in Israel or any immediate plans to expand there. As you can imagine, opening up new operations in a country requires a large and sustainable level of funding and human resources both of which we can’t commit at this time. We do, however, work in the region and as coalition partners with international and mission-aligned organizations. We also advocate for changes in housing policies to improve access to affordable shelter and security of tenure.
If our plans for Israel should change, we will keep your letter in mind. Again, thank you for your interest. “
Habitat for Humanity is closely associated with former president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn. Thus, I can’t believe that it is a mere coincidence that an organization wiith such strong ties to the former president chooses to stay away from Israel
Congress moves to pressure Europe against BDS action
The powerful Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday unanimously adopted language targeting European anti-Israel activities as part of negotiations over a historic trade deal with the EU.
The amendment to the authorization for negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will add the discouragement of BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) actions as a principal objective for US envoys in the talks with Europe.
The committee voted in a roll-call vote to approve the amendment stating that the “principal negotiating objectives of the United States regarding commercial partnerships” include to “discourage actions by potential trading partners that directly or indirectly prejudice or otherwise discourage commercial activity solely between the United States and Israel” as well as “discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel and to seek the elimination of politically motivated non-tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on the State of Israel.” The US would also “seek the elimination of state-sponsored unsanctioned foreign boycotts against Israel or compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel by prospective trading partners.”
20 Organizations Say UC Riverside Offering Antisemitic Class
There has been no shortage of anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses during the past academic year, especially within the 10-school University of California (UC) system. As Jewish students deal with Holocaust imagery and student governments taking issue with their Judaism, UC Riverside (UCR) is offering a class cited by 20 watchdog and advocacy organizations as meeting the US State Department’s definition of antisemitism.
The UCR Spring 2015 listing of student-initiated courses (“R’Courses”) includes a class called “Palestinian Voices” that critics claim deceptively shows both the Israeli and Palestinian flags. Opening the course syllabus reveals a different title: “Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid.”
“The course schedule is filled with egregiously one-sided, anti-Israel readings and films that falsely paint Israel as a settler-colonial and apartheid state, hold Israel to a double standard to which no other democratic country is held, vilify and demonize Israel and Israel’s supporters, and argue for an end to the Jewish state; these tropes are all considered antisemitic according to the US State Department’s definition of antisemitism,” wrote the 20 organizations in a letter to UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox.
“Antisemitism on California’s campuses is escalating rapidly and those of us who care about the safety of Jewish students are gravely alarmed. And now we discover that UC Riverside is offering an antisemitic course taught by a student leader (Tina Matar) of Students for Justice in Palestine, a group dedicated to the elimination of the Jewish state and activities our government calls antisemitic,” Tammi Rossman-Benjamin—co-founder of the AMCHA Initiative, an organization dedicated to combating campus antisemitism—told the Haym Salomon Center. “This class was approved by the university review board. How does this happen? Disturbingly, this is only the latest incident of antisemitism at UC Riverside. “
SG votes against divestment resolution AR-3
After weeks of debate, the Student Government Assembly voted against a divestment resolution, which would have asked the UT System Investment Management Company to pull investments from five corporations that the resolution claimed “facilitate in the oppression of the Palestinian people by the State of Israel.” The Assembly voted against the resolution by a 11-23-1 vote Tuesday night.
The resolution asked UTIMCO to divest specifically from Alstom, Cemex, Hewlett-Packard, Procter and Gamble and United Technologies because of “human rights violations,” according to the resolution.
Katie Jensen, a graduate student representative, said the campaign to pass the resolution led to important dialogue, even though it did not ultimately pass.
“[Regardless] of the vote, it is a victory,” Jensen said.
Ethan Black, a Plan II sophomore who testified at Tuesday's meeting, said the resolution singled out Israelis.
“I truly want an end to settlement expansion as the authors of this resolution do, but divestment is not the way,” Black said.
UTIMCO CEO Bruce Zimmerman said UTIMCO makes investment decisions solely based on the financial interests of the University, and so would not have taken the resolution into consideration even if had passed. (h/t JayinPhiladelphia)
Down on the Farm. Another BDS fail
While anti-Israel activists chortled over their short-lived BDS paper "victory" at Stanford, the Board of Trustees was gathering information to formally denounce it, and Hillel was preparing the last laugh
On April 7, the Graduate School of Business hosted its third annual Israeli Entrepreneurship Fair, an event for Israeli companies from Silicon Valley. This event was a collaboration between Hillel at Stanford University and the Israeli students of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and featured 15 companies involved with social media, crowd funding, cyber-security and bio-tech
Over 300 students attended, meeting representatives from the various companies, listening to presentations and watching demos of new products.
No BBC coverage of Amnesty International’s antisemitism vote
On April 21st the Jewish Chronicle reported that Amnesty International had rejected a motion to tackle rising antisemitism in Britain at its annual conference.
“The motion was tabled by Amnesty member Andrew Thorpe-Apps in March who said it was defeated at the International AGM on Sunday by 468 votes to 461.
Mr Thorpe Apps said: “It was the only resolution to be defeated during the whole conference.”
Amnesty International UK press officer Neil Durkin said: “After a really interesting debate where everyone condemned discrimination against all ethnic and religious groups, our membership decided not to pass this resolution calling for a campaign with a single focus.”

However, Amnesty International has not ruled out ‘single focus’ campaigns in the past, as the BBC has previously reported and the JC goes on to point out:
“In April 2012 the charity published a report into discrimination against Muslims.
The report titled Choice and Prejudice Discrimination against Muslims in Europe said:
“The aim of this report is to focus on discrimination on grounds of religion or belief and to illustrate some of its consequences on Muslims in Europe.””
UK Media Watch prompts Guardian correction to Palestinian terror victim claim
Earlier today, we posted about an April 22 Guardian/AFP story about a request by the parents of murdered Palestinian teen Muhammed Abu Khdeir to erase his name from a monument for terror victims in Jerusalem.
The article claimed that the initial decision by authorities to include Abu Khdeir was the first time the name of a Palestinian killed by Jewish Israelis had been listed on the terror victims’ memorial at Mount Herzl. However, we noted that CAMERA’s Israel office recently prompted a correction at Times of Israel to the exact same claim about Abu Khdeir.
No BBC reporting on last week’s fatal terror attack in Jerusalem
The subject of the Hamas terror cells in Palestinian Authority administered areas which are controlled and funded by Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip and abroad – and threaten not only Israeli civilians but also the PA itself – is one which the BBC has largely managed to avoid in past months.
Clearly BBC audiences’ understanding of events in both Israel and the PA controlled areas is not enhanced by the absence of any serious reporting on this topic.
Sojourners Attacks Israel, Again
Sojourners, a magazine that caters to liberal Evangelical Protestants in the United States, has a well-documented reputation for promoting anti-Israelism.
In June 2013, the magazine published an article that falsely portrayed Israel as being at the center of Christianity's collapse in the Middle East when in fact, the Jewish state is the one country in the region where the population of indigenous Christians has increased over the past several decades.
A few months later, the magazine published an article by Ryan Rodrick Beiler about the deaths of Palestinians during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. In the article, Beiler omitted a number of facts that demonstrated that Hamas played a significant role in causing the death of civilians in Gaza during this conflict. With this article, Beiler revealed that he is part of the propaganda war against the Jewish state. It's an odd thing for Ryan Rodrick Beiler, a photojournalist and writer who describes himself as “in pursuit of peace and justice.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorials Fail to Abide by Journalistic Standards
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is the most recognized newspaper in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Its coverage, especially its editorials, are persistently hostile to Israel. Many of its editorials on Israel and the Middle East are written by Dan Simpson, a former ambassador with the State Department. Simpson routinely injects hostile and demeaning comments about Israel into his editorials, often gratuitously. Simpson crosses the line that separates provocative opinion from mean-spirited bias. He levels unsubstantiated allegations about the Jewish state and its supporters in the United States. On several occasions, Simpson has insinuated that Jewish-Americans manipulate the media and corrupt the American political process to benefit Israel.
CAMERA and the Pittsburgh office of the Zionist Organization of America [ZOA] sent to John R. Block, the publisher, David M. Shribman, the editor and Allan J. Block, an influential board member and relative of John Block, on March 20, 2015, a letter detailing the bias and examples of the factual errors in editorials and Op-Eds published by the newspaper. The recipients of the letter refused to meet with local ZOA representative Stuart Pavilack and dismissed the complaint out of hand.
The newspaper did publish, prior to the letter on March 4, 2015, a letter to the editor co-written by CAMERA and the ZOA, pointing out factual errors in an Op-Ed. However, the newspaper has thus far failed to take any corrective action on the editorials. Recent editorials appearing since the letter was sent continue the pattern of hostility to Israel.
‘Accountant of Auschwitz’ Trial Spectacle Sends Message to Future Generations
This week, in the German town of Lueneburg, a 93-year-old man went on trial accused of being an accessory to 300,000 murders.
Whether you welcome the unedifying sight of Oskar Groening, a man not long for this world, being hauled before a judge, depends on whether you see him as a frail old man bent over a walking stick in 2015 or a 21-year-old petty thief in 1944 when he stood on the unloading ramps of the most infamous Nazi death camp, plundering valuables from Hungarian Jews – a morbid mission that earned him the moniker, ‘The Accountant of Auschwitz.’
Between 16 May and 11 July that year, when the Nazi Holocaust reached its frenzied height, some 137 trains carrying 425,000 Jews pulled into the platform of death to be greeted by this grim reaper.
Groening’s deeds are not in doubt. He has spoken openly about Auschwitz. By his own admission he was an enthusiastic Nazi, but one without blood on his hands. At least not directly.
He told the court this week: “I share morally in the guilt but whether I am guilty under criminal law, you will have to decide.” Groening recalled the arrival of Jewish prisoners and witnessing an SS soldier throw a baby against a truck, “and his crying stopped.”
Since the 2011 prosecution of Ivan Demjanjuk – dubbed ‘Ivan The Terrible’ for his involvement in the death of 29,000 Jews in Sobibor – Germany’s legal focus has moved away from prosecuting the hundreds of high-level perpetrators towards the tens of thousands who enabled the slaughter.
Now anyone who acquiesced to evil can be charged as an accessory to murder.
Former SS guard: ‘Couldn’t imagine’ Jews surviving Auschwitz
A former Auschwitz guard being tried on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder has testified that it was clear to him Jews were not expected to leave the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland alive.
“I couldn’t imagine that” happening, former SS Sgt. Oskar Groening told the Lueneburg state court on Thursday during the third day of his trial, the dpa news agency reported.
The 93-year-old’s answer came in response to a question from attorneys representing Auschwitz survivors who have joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as allowed under German law.
On Wednesday Groening described in chilling detail how cattle cars full of Jews were brought to the Auschwitz death camp, the people stripped of their belongings and then most led directly into gas chambers.
The charges against Groening relate to a period between May and July 1944 when around 425,000 Jews from Hungary were brought to the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in Nazi-occupied Poland and most immediately gassed to death.
 Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media
Retired NBA player Keyon Dooling tweeted a link on Wednesday to a wildly antisemitic article that accuses Jews of seizing control of the world’s media and using it to promote their own interests.
The article, published by an obscure blog in April 2013, highlights six companies it claims are owned by Jews — such as Time Warner, Inc. and the Walt Disney Company – that allegedly “control 96 percent of the world’s media.” The post includes allegations of “Jewish control” and says Jews are “gobbling up” American newspapers. According to the blog post, Jews control what gets published by news outlets and they also use the press as an “instrument of Jewish policy.”
Recycling toilet waste and four other Israeli answers to California’s drought
For help facing its worst drought in centuries, California should look to a country that beat its own chronic water shortage: Israel.
Until a few years ago, Israel’s wells seemed like they were always running dry. TV commercials urged Israelis to conserve water. Newspapers tracked the rise and fall of the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s biggest freshwater source. Religious Israelis gathered to pray for rainfall at the Western Wall during prolonged dry spells.
However, the once perpetual Israeli water shortage appears to be mostly over. California’s water supply, meanwhile, is at record lows, prompting restrictions on household use and leading farmers to deplete the state’s groundwater reserves. From water recycling to taking the salt out of the plentiful seawater, here are five ways that Californians can benefit from Israel’s know-how.
From Zion will Come Forth Knowhow in Water
No fewer than 13 Israeli water companies participated in a "water delegation" to parched Brazil just before Passover – in an effort to help the country overcome what officials call its "water challenge."
Brazil is currently experiencing its worst water shortage ever, due to increased water use, low rainfall levels, and low infrastructure investments. The Israeli economic offices in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, in cooperation with Israel NewTech and the Israeli Export Institute, organized the delegation.
Israel NewTech, an arm of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, was founded on the principle that Israel's water and renewable-energy sectors can be strong growth industries for the country, and can also play an important role in finding solutions for the world’s rising needs. It helps advance these sectors by supporting academia and research, encouraging local market implementation, and helping Israeli companies succeed in the international arena.
The Who’s Pete Townshend: Philosemite And Israel Supporter
Unlike other fellow British rockers, most notably Roger Waters and Elvis Costello, who are vocal supporters of a cultural boycott of Israel, Townshend holds a pro-Israel stance, as he told the same Rolling Stone interviewer regarding the Who’s album, “Endless Wire,” a 10-song “mini-opera” about kids forming a rock band in the post-9/11 world.
And where are we today? We’re in the same anti-Semitic apologetic denial — it’s a dishrag of a policy. Trying to blame Israel for defending a country we created. And I’m not even Jewish! Jesus f—king Christ. And let’s start with him! Sweet Jesus. This album absolutely had to have several songs about Jesus the man, Muhammad the man, but not modern Christianity or Islam. They are both potentially anti-Semitic today. And I think the fact is that, when I was working on this album I just thought, ‘It’s f—king about time that I completed my story.’ At this time in my life, with nuclear threats coming from Iran and Korea, I am becoming so impatient with the ex-hippies all around me. I am suddenly thinking like an extreme reactionary, right-wing, warmongering… F—king hell, come inside my brain! The incredible numbers of dead in the last war make it clear that we can’t afford to wait to be hit again. That’s my opinion. That’s my story. Peace is something that has to be made. It doesn’t come from passivity.
How Intel came to be Israel’s best tech friend
For Intel, the country’s largest single tech employer, a strong relationship with Israel was always in the cards – or rather, in the chips. Although few remember now, nearly fifty years on, it was an Israeli engineer working for Intel in California, Dov Frohman, who in 1972 paved the way for computing as we know it when he invented the EPROM, the ultra-violet light, erasable, read-only memory chip that eventually led to the creation of flash memory.
Frohman’s accomplishment, as well as other important Intel Israel milestones, now live again, with the collation of a large number of photographs that lay out the history of the company – from its first Israeli office, opened in 1974 (with Intel hoping to find more Frohmans), until today, when the company has nearly 10,000 workers in half a dozen development centers and fabrication plants around the country. The photos were collated by Intel Israel’s public relations department in honor of Independence Day.
Intel’s presence in Israel is set to get even bigger than ever, with the signing of a deal between the company and the Finance Ministry last September. Under the deal, Intel committed to refurbishing its Kiryat Gat chip fabrication plant to produce the company’s newest generation of chips, in return for substantial tax breaks.
What would Israeli tech look like without Intel? It’s impossible to know, of course, but chances are the picture would be dramatically different.
Pillcam’s inventor regrets sale of ‘Biblical’ tech to foreign firm
The Pillcam, the gastro-intestinal endoscopy video device developed by Given Imaging, is more than just a better diagnostic system for doctors; it’s the fulfillment of a Biblical prophecy, said its inventor, Dr. Gabi Iddan. “The Pillcam was based on military technology,” Iddan told the Times of Israel in an interview. “It was a good example of how we shall beat our swords into plowshares and other useful devices, as the Hebrew prophets predicted.”
As such, Given Imaging, the company formed to develop and sell the Pillcam, was a very Israeli firm. “Too bad it no longer is,” said Iddan, commenting on the company’s 2013 exit, when Irish medical device maker Covidien paid $860 million. “I was opposed to the sale. It was unfortunate and unnecessary.”
Although his “baby” has left home, Iddan is as proud as can be for the work he did on what has become one of the hallmarks of Israeli technology – and a model for many of the medical device and medical technology start-ups that followed, and one of the originators of the idea that technology developed in the IDF could be used for civilian purposes.

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