Tuesday, April 28, 2015

From Ian:

Anti-Zionism is racism
Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Jew-hatred is not a result of the existence of Israel or of anything Israel does. The cause and result go the other way round. Israel is hated because Jews are hated.
We are not talking about the religion of Judaism. Strange to say, it’s very rare to hear even the most rabid anti-Semite attack the Jewish religion. (We ourselves do, in a rational way, because we attack religion as such, but we are not anti-Semites.) We are talking about hatred of the Jews as a people.
The root of anti-Semitism is, however, in religion.
For two thousand years Christianity (though not all Christians) held the Jews to be bad. Not their religion, which Christianity came round to adopting as the pre-history of the god-man, but the nation, the people, who were dispersed from their own land and scattered among other nations when their general mutiny against Roman rule failed. They were cast in the role of handy scapegoats for every ill that afflicted the peoples they lived among.
With the rise of Islam, the Jews who lived in the lands that Muslims conquered were maltreated for a different badness: they, like the Christians, would not accept the “truth” of Muhammad’s religion, so must suffer the consequences of their obstinacy and pay to stay alive, or die. When, in 1948, the Jews in their recovered homeland mustered an army which actually defeated six invading Arab armies, the Arabs felt deeply humiliated. Something had gone very wrong. Allah simply could not allow such a thing to happen. Islam had conquered that once-Jewish territory centuries earlier, and no one else was allowed to own it.
Dennis Prager: Why Is Pakistan More Legitimate than Israel?
Given the spectacularly larger number of refugees and deaths caused by the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, why does no one ever question the legitimacy of Pakistan's existence?
This question is particularly valid given another fact: Never before in history was there a Pakistan. It was a completely new nation. Moreover, its creation was made possible solely because of Muslim invasion. It was Muslims who invaded India, and killed about 60 million Hindus during the thousand-year Muslim rule of India. The area now known as Pakistan was Hindu until the Muslims invaded it in A.D. 711.
On the other and, modern Israel is the third Jewish state in the geographic area known as Palestine. The first was destroyed in 586 B.C., the second in A.D. 70. And there was never a non-Jewish sovereign state in Palestine.
So, given all these facts, why is Israel's legitimacy challenged, while the legitimacy of Pakistan, a state that had never before existed and whose creation resulted in the largest mass migration in recorded history, is never challenged?
The answer is so obvious that only those who graduated from college, and especially from graduate school, need to be told: Israel is the one Jewish state in the world. So, while there are 49 Muslim-majority countries and 22 Arab states, much of the world questions or outright only rejects the right of the one Jewish state, the size of New Jersey, to exist.
If you are a member of the Presbyterian Church, send these facts to the leaders of the Presbyterian Church USA who voted to boycott Israel. If you are a student in Middle Eastern Studies -- or for that matter, almost any other humanities department -- and your professor is anti-Israel, ask your professor why Pakistan is legitimate and Israel isn't.
They won't have a good answer. Their opposition to Israel isn't based on moral considerations.
NGO Monitor: The Lancet, Richard Horton, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Political War Intensifies
The controversy surrounding The Lancet, a British medical journal edited by Richard Horton, and its central role in targeting Israel continues to be an important and evolving issue. Last July, during the war with Hamas, The Lancet published an egregious “Open Letter for the People of Gaza.” As detailed by NGO Monitor, The Lancet has a history of exploiting health for anti-Israel advocacy, and two of the primary authors of the “Open Letter” – Drs. Paola Manduca and Swee Ang Chai – promoted an antisemitic video made by American white supremacist David Duke. As a result, Horton and his allies have sought to defend themselves and to vilify their critics.
The main critics consist of over 700 medical professionals under the framework of the Concerned Academics Group, who sent a detailed complaint to the publisher, Reed Elsevier. Led by Professor Sir Mark Pepys of University College London, they called on the publisher to retract the letter, issue an apology, and ensure that “any future malpractice at The Lancet is prevented.”
In response, a counter group, Hands off The Lancet, launched a media campaign to vilify Pepys and Horton’s other critics. This self-serving group includes two authors of the “Open Letter,” -- Sir Ian Chalmers and Dr. Mads Gilbert. They have previously been linked to promoting antisemitic rhetoric and expressing support for the September 11 terrorist attacks, respectively.

Ben-Dror Yemini: The young Arabs who have chosen to be part of Israel
If more people like Lucy Aharish become the face of Israel's Arab public, the Jewish public will be more supportive of equal rights for Arabs and the level of hostility and racism will drop.
I don’t envy Lucy Aharish. It isn't easy and isn't simple to be avant-garde. She is blasted both by the Jewish radical right and by the Palestinian radical right. The coalition of extremists has once again expressed a uniform stance. For the former she is too Palestinian, supporting the struggle for equality, reconciliation and peace. For the latter she is too Israeli, because she chose the road of integration.
Aharish is avant-garde because she refuses to play by the rules of the herd. The herd demands hatred and incitement. The herd is against giving the Palestinians rights or giving the Jews rights. The herd has a lot of power in the Arab sector, and it's also strong, we must admit, among part of Israel's Jewish elites, where Aharish has already been attacked too.
As far as they are concerned, Aharish is the "Arab darling." That's really not okay. Why she should be spewing poison against Israel. Only then, this fascism – which is sometimes disguised as "left-wing" – will grant her an authorization certificate.
Is there a connection between Swedish aid and Hamas institutions?
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), which falls under the aegis of the Swedish Foreign Ministry, has for several years cooperated with the Islamic Relief (IR) organization.
According to SIDA documentation, SIDA renewed its agreement with IR last year, giving the international organization more than 59 million SEK ($6.8m.) for various aid projects.
However, IR is associated not only with aid, but also with the Muslim Brotherhood and with funding terrorist organizations, and has therefore been on the United Arab Emirates’ list of terrorist-related organizations since last year. In 2006 the Israeli authorities were notified of IR’s terrorism connections, resulting in the arrest of IR’s project manager at the time, Iyaz Ali. Ali confessed that he was in contact with the Hamas and had transferred funds to organizations linked to Hamas.
Since June 19, 2014, IR has been forbidden to work in Israel, including in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said in a statement that IR was a source of funds for Hamas and that Israel had no intention of allowing it to operate and assist terrorist activity against Israel.
According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, IR’s activities in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip were carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives. The intensive activities of these associations have been designed to further Hamas’s ideology among the Palestinian population, the ministry stated.
Berlin police apologize for making soccer fans remove Israeli flag
Police in Berlin have apologized to German fans of the Ingolstadt Soccer Club for making them roll up the Israeli flag they were displaying during a match in the city.
Almog Cohen, an Israeli who plays for Ingolstadt, reportedly tweeted in Hebrew after Sunday’s incident in the game against Union Berlin that a stadium marshal told the fans “no Jew-flags” were allowed.
“I apologize to all those affected” by the decision, Berlin’s police president, Klaus Kandt, said in a statement to Spiegel Online magazine.
The Bild Zeitung newspaper said the police were concerned with the flag’s political implications, given the large Palestinian community in Berlin — by some estimates about 30,000 people, including those with German citizenship.
Kandt said that police should rather be concerned with protecting freedom of opinion.
A team spokesperson said they would not interfere with police decisions, since they would then bear responsibility should problems ensue.
US puts Burgas bombing suspects on special terror blacklist
Three Hezbollah operatives — two of whom are accused in a deadly 2012 bombing targeting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria — were placed on a special US terror watch list, Washington announced Tuesday.
The State Department named Meliad Farah, Hassan el-Hajj Hassan and Hussein Atris as “specially designated global terrorists.”
The designation effectively means no US persons are allowed to engage in transactions with the three, and freezes all property and interests of Farah, Hassan, and Atris that are in the US or come within the US or the possession or control of US persons.
Farah, an Australian national, and Hassan, a Canadian national, were both publicly identified with the bombing at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, on July 18, 2012, in which six people were killed — five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian citizen.
Atris is a member of Hezbollah’s overseas terrorism unit and in 2012, he was arrested in Thailand in connection with a terror warning about a possible attack in Bangkok.
Farrah and Hassan are both believed to be in Lebanon.
Russian Jews plan trip to Paris’ Hyper Cacher
Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar is slated to lead a delegation of 500 young Jews to the Hyper Cacher supermarket near Paris where four Jewish shoppers were murdered.
The delegation’s member are between 18 and 28 years old and hail from cities across Russia. They are scheduled to leave from Moscow on May 1 for Poland, Berlin and France, Lazar told JTA.
In France, the delegation’s members will buy food at Hyper Cacher, the kosher supermarket where on January 9 an Islamic terrorist gunned down four Jews. “The idea is to support it with our presence and, symbolically, by shopping there, too,” Lazar said in an interview Sunday.
The delegation is part of the Russian Jewish community’s Eurostars program, in which participants learn about Europe’s Jewish communities and then travel to visit some of them. The trip next month will be the program’s third, but it will be the first time that France is included in the program, Lazar said.
Why Israel refused S. African Education Minister Blade Nzimande.
Israel acted with good reason to refuse Blade Nzimande entry.
He actively activated and propagated the severing of links between the University of Johannesburg and the Ben Gurion University, in Beer Sheva, Israel. Nelson Mandela accepted an honorary doctorate from this Israeli University, specifically for the groundbreaking work that this "University of the Negev" was doing to uplift Africa.
Ben Gurion University, located in the arid southern part of Israel, leads the world in combating desertification and in finding solutions to agriculture under harsh conditions. It leads the world in water purification and in combating food supply issues. Until relations were severed, Israel was helping South Africa with infrastructure projects and with finding solutions to food security. So while those propagating sanctions won this battle, South Africa’s ability to win its war to increase food supplies has suffered a huge setback. Ben-Gurion University ranks far higher in International rankings than does the University of Johannesburg, and the spiteful boycott would certainly hurt our local institution more than the Israeli institution.
By calling for the boycotting of all Israeli Institutions, Nzimande certainly deserves the opprobrium of his countrymen who seek only positive solutions to the problems we all face. There can be no reason or justification for a Minister of Education to call for such a boycott and all the steps Israel has taken to counter his agenda are entirely understandable and justified.
South African minister vows to visit Ramallah despite Israeli ban
A South African minister who planned to visit Ramallah but was denied entry permission by Israel insists that he will visit the Palestinian Authority nonetheless.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande will “definitely” visit Ramallah, though how he will get there has yet to be established, his spokesman Alex Mashil told The Times of Israel on Monday. Pretoria might “take action” if the ban is not lifted, he threatened.
“We will not allow Israel to determine for us which minister in the cabinet can or cannot visit Palestine. That undermines our sovereignty and national self-determination and we will not allow it,” Mashil said.
Nzimande maintains that the Israeli government cannot intimidate him and therefore “he wanted to rebel against them,” sources close to the issue told the South African newspaper The Citizen.
South African BDS activists threaten to personally expel Israeli ambassador
South Africa’s Jewish community expressed its concern on Tuesday regarding Jerusalem’s decision to ban the entry of a politician highly critical of Israel into the country last week. At the same time, the South African boycott movement expressed its desire to march on the Israeli embassy in Pretoria in order to expel the ambassador.
In a joint statement, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the Zionist Federation noted their “concern” regarding the denial of a visa to Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande, who was slated to attend a meeting with his Palestinian Authority counterpart in Ramallah.
Nzimande, who accused Israelis of attempting to “hide their atrocities” by blocking his visit, subsequently came under harsh criticism by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who cited recent violent attacks against foreigners throughout South Africa.
The Biggest Mistakes Pro-Israel Advocates Make. Number 2: How To Not Be A Wuss
Mistake #2: Always being on the defensive instead of being proactive.
This issue is why most of the advice I gave in #1 (too much pedantic, hard facts and not enough emotion) doesn’t always work. Since the status quo is on our side, the anti-Israel camp feels like it has to work that much harder to gain enough popular opinion to topple it, while we stay complacent in maintaining it. They are constantly on the offensive because we are by definition defending the status quo, and are eager and zealous to jump into action with enticing slogans that fool students into thinking they are about tikkun olam, making the world a better place. Buzzwords like “social justice,” “equality,” and “human rights” are thrown around, and the nastiest of accusations are aimed at Israel without much vocal opposition from Day 1. For the first time in their lives, many of these students are given the feeling they can make a difference in the lives of thousands of suffering Palestinians. Students are immediately guilt-tripped, made to feel that if they don’t support the Palestinians and protest Israel, then they aren’t good people who care about human rights. Unfortunately, this means that the pro-Israel groups need to be proactive in ensuring this doesn’t happen, in showing them what human rights actually mean, that Jewish human rights are human rights too, and that the very real violations of Palestinian human rights are not Israel’s fault, before the anti-Israel groups get to it. This typically means right away.
We Jews have such a compelling story, if only we were to frame it appropriately as a struggle against thousands of years of oppression, we can appeal to the underdog-loving left too. However, the other side normally beats us to it, branding us as the evil white privileged colonizers before we get a chance to show our side of the story.
Inside Look at Princeton’s Israel Divestment Failure
In a college-wide vote, Princeton university undergraduates voted against a resolution to divest funds from Israeli companies or certain companies that are used in Israel. The ballot closed on April 22, and the results were announced on Friday, April 26.
The proposal lost with 52.5 percent voting against it and 47.5 percent voting in favor.
The proposal on which the students voted asked whether the Princeton University trustees should be called on to divest from “multinational corporations that maintain the infrastructure of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, facilitate Israel’s and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or facilitate state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian, and Palestinian Authority security.”
According to Princeton’s internal regulations, any referendum can be included in the student government elections if a sponsor obtains 200 signatures on a petition.
There are no guidelines or standards for the content of a referendum. Accordingly, for those who are not independently knowledgeable, any student who believes in justice and human rights would be inclined to vote in favor of the ballot question.
Who – especially amongst U.S. college students – would fail to oppose repression or collective punishment?
Even given the biased language, the vote was close, and nearly 39 percent of the student body voted.
NGO Monitor: Israelis Who Hate Israel—and the Christians Who Fund Them
While most Israelis celebrated 67 years of independence last week, a fringe Israeli non-governmental organization (NGO) hopes this year will be the last for the Jewish state. Zochrot, a tiny radical anti-Zionist group, was established with the aim of “rais[ing] public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba (“Catastrophe” in Arabic)” and “recognizing and materializing the right of return,” an agenda equivalent to calling for the abolishment of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. With no local support base or constituency, Zochrot operates only through generous funding from a coterie of foreign Christian aid organizations.
Using church funds, Zochrot promotes a “de-Zionized Palestine,” meaning free of Jews. The group’s founder, Eitan Bronstein, advocates for Jews to abandon Israel en masse. He dreams of a time “when the refugees return, Jews will become a minority in the country… There may be Jews, most of them of European origin, who won’t be able to adjust to a non-Zionist reality, and prefer to use their other passport to move elsewhere.”
These charities, both Catholic and Protestant, receive funding grants from their respective governments, mostly European. The charities are Bischoefliches Misereor (Germany), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Christian Aid (U.K.), Finn Church Aid (Finland), HEKS-EPER (Switzerland), ICCO (Netherlands), Trócaire (Ireland), the Mennonite Central Committee (Canada), and the United Church of Canada (Canada).
That these Christian groups support the abolishment of Jewish Israel is deeply troubling.
Daphne Anson: Disruptive Demonics: London Jew-haters target the Jerusalem Quartet
Disrupted in full flood outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London's Southbank a few days ago, by a Sikh security guard, the thespian manqué who blares her demonisation of Israel every chance she gets, tells him arrogantly "I am talking!" and then, angrily: "The more you tell me to keep the volume down the more I'm going to shout louder"
She eventually started up again, spewing her venom against Israel and the Jerusalem Quartet, and by the end was clearly in need of a Fisherman's Friend (or three)
On hand to support her with their obnoxious chants and banners were the usual crowd of Jew-haters, including the seemingly ubiquitous plummy-voiced woman with long grey hair who some months ago tried the caper of boarding Tube trains to recite Israel-libelling "poetry" to the travelling public.
At the end two usual suspects tell proudly how they disrupted the concert, and boast that the concert hall's staff were obviously on their side.
Anti-Israel activists attempt to hijack Baltimore riots
This is becoming a recurring theme.
When there is a riot or other protest in the U.S., particularly if involving minority communities, “pro-Palestinian” activists try to hijack it and turn it into a criticism of Israel.
We saw it in Ferguson where “pro-Palestinian” activists spread lies that Israel trained the Ferguson police, and actually embedded themselves in the protests to try to turn the protests into anti-Israel protests.
The same thing has happened repeatedly with #BlackLivesMatters protests, most notably the dangerous blockade of the San Mateo – Hayward Bridge.
This is part of the emerging theme of anti-Israeli activists trying to tie unrelated movements, such as fossil fuel divestment, to Palestinian issues.
Now we are seeing it with the Baltimore riots.
The usual suspects, like Max Blumenthal, were out in full force immediately, trying to establish a link between the Baltimore police and Israel because some police trained in an Israeli form of martial arts:
Honest Reporting: Rude Tweets and Misleading Headlines
HonestReporting’s Yarden Frankl joins VOI’s Josh Hasten in-studio to discuss this week’s media coverage of Israel. Items Yarden raises: A crass tweet by the director of Human Rights Watch, ignoring the suffering in Nepal, while bashing Israeli efforts to help the victims; terrible New York Times headlines; and The Independent crying “free speech,” as it attempts to silence critics of the Lancet medical journal’s campaign against Israel.
More on the Law of Armed Conflict, Gaza and the BBC
As has been noted here before, less than twenty-four hours after the commencement of Operation Protective Edge in July 2014 the BBC began promoting to its audiences worldwide the notion that Israel was committing ‘war crimes’ in the Gaza Strip. That accusation – along with related ones such as ‘crimes against humanity’, ‘deliberate targeting of civilians’ and ‘collective punishment’ – continued to be a theme found in BBC coverage throughout the fifty-day conflict and since its conclusion, despite the fact that its origins were to be found in statements from politically-motivated NGOs concurrently engaged in ‘lawfare’ against Israel and in amateur speculations from BBC journalists.
Of course much of that material is still available to the general public as ‘permanent public record’ on the BBC News website and no attempt was made – either at the time or since – to provide audiences with impartial professional commentary on the topic of the Law of Armed Conflict which would enable them to reach informed opinions on the topic.
Two experts on the subject of the Law of Armed Conflict recently wrote:
“Broadly speaking, we concluded that IDF positions on targeting law largely track those of the United States military. Moreover, even when they differ, the Israeli approach remains within the ambit of generally acceptable State practice. The IDF is served by a corps of highly competent and well-trained legal advisors who operate with a remarkable degree of autonomy, and its operations are subject to extensive judicial monitoring. While there are certainly Israeli legal positions that may be contentious, we found that their approach to targeting is consistent with the law and, in many cases, worthy of emulation.”
Obsession? Guardian publishes their 78th piece on Mordechai Vanunu
In order to help contextualize The Guardian’s fixation on Mordechai Vanunu, let’s briefly look at the media group’s reports on another Westerner convicted of revealing classified nuclear secrets.
In February 2001 Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested by the FBI for passing hundreds of classified documents on US nuclear secrets, and other sensitive information, to foreign agents. He pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison.
In a report at The Guardian (‘FBI’s most damaging spy get’s life sentence‘) on Hanssen’s sentencing in a US Federal Court, he was characterized as “one of the most damaging traitors in US history”.
The article reported, quite matter-of-factly, his life sentence and noted in passing that Hanssen could have received the death penalty under US federal sentencing guidelines. The story quoted Hanssen apologizing for his reckless and traitorous acts during sentencing. Indeed, other brief mentions of Hanssen at The Guardian were mere passing references, none which even hinted that there was anything unjust about his sentence. There certainly weren’t any editorials condemning the U.S. for their harsh treatment of Hanssen, nor anything suggesting he was someone to be admired.
However, when it comes to Israelis convicted of espionage, The Guardian seems to employ an entirely different standard.
Kansas JCC killer will plead guilty to shootings
A white supremacist from Missouri who is accused of killing three people at two Jewish centers in Kansas plans to plead guilty to capital murder to avoid a lengthy trial because of his failing health.
Frazier Glenn Miller, 74, of Missouri, told The Associated Press in a phone call from jail on Monday that he doesn’t think he has much longer to live and wants a chance to speak in court about why he committed the crimes.
Miller is accused of fatally shooting William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas, on April 13, 2014. Minutes later he killed Terri LaMano, 53, at a nearby Jewish retirement home, before being taken into custody, prosecutors said.
Miller has told the AP and other media outlets that he planned and executed the fatal attacks, and that it was his intent to use the trial as a means to “put the Jews on trial where they belong.”
Testimony: French Resistance Fighter 'Waiting to Die' at Dachau
French former World War II deportee Clement Quentin had lost all hope and was simply "waiting to die" when US forces liberated the Nazi death camp of Dachau on April 29, 1945.
Seventy years on, the 94-year-old emotionally recalls American trucks rolling into the southern German camp to cries of joy amid the unspeakable horror.
When the US soldiers arrived "we were no longer normal human beings, we weren't yet animals, but only just," the former resistance member, who spent 10 months at Dachau, told AFP.
Despite his fragile state of health, Quentin will travel to the former death camp with his son on Sunday, for ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the camp's liberation that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also attend.
It is not his first trip back to the place where he thought he would end his days but will again revive memories of the scenes that awaited the liberating forces - the gas chambers, the piled-up corpses, the stench of death.
Russia bristles at swastika on ‘Maus’ cover
Russian bookstores were hastily removing an award-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust from their shelves on Monday, reportedly because its cover shows a Nazi swastika.
“Maus,” by American artist and author Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and was was published in Russian in 2013.
But Varvara Gornostayeva, the chief editor at the book’s publisher Corpus, said major bookstore chains were taking it off their shelves and Internet sites.
“They have removed the book,” Gornostayeva told AFP. “It was selling very well and nobody had ever sent us any official complaints.”
A reporter for Echo of Moscow radio, Darya Peshchikova, toured bookstores and said staff were expecting raids by the authorities ahead of May 9, when Russia marks 70 years since Soviet victory over Nazi forces in World War II.
Facebook bans pejorative for anti-Russia Ukrainian Jews
Facebook has taken down dozens of pages containing a Russian-language phrase that combines a Ukrainian pejorative for “Jew” with the name of a nationalist whose troops murdered Jews.
The removal of pages containing the phrase “Zhidbanderovets” occurred on April 22 after it was deemed by Facebook to violate the social network’s community standards against offensive speech, according to a report on the news website evreiskiy.kiev.ua.
More than 1,000 people complained about the phrase, according to the report.
The controversial phrase means “Yid-Banderite.”
“Banderite” refers to an admirer of the late Ukrainian nationalist figure Stepan Bandera, who fought alongside — and later against — the Nazis in the 1940s and whose troops massacred Ukrainian Jews. Bandera and his troops hoped the Nazis would allow them to gain independence from Russia.
Japan PM hails Holocaust hero Sugihara
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Washington’s Holocaust Memorial on Monday to hail a rare hero of Japan’s brutal World War II past.
Previously, Abe has faced criticism for his allegedly revisionist views of Japan’s own war-time behavior.
But, on the eve of a White House meeting with President Barack Obama, Abe solemnly marked the genocide while hailing Japanese envoy Chiune Sugihara, who helped Jews flee Nazi-occupied Europe.
Sugihara was Japan’s Imperial Consul in Lithuania, where he issued at least 2,000 visas allowing Jews to flee Nazi pogroms between 1939 and 1940.
“As a Japanese citizen I feel extremely proud of Mr Sugihara’s achievement,” Abe said as he toured the memorial.
“The courageous action by this single man saved thousands of lives.”
As he visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum 70 years after the end of World War II and the liberation of Auschwitz, Abe said “my heart is filled with a solemn feeling.”
“Never again,” he added.
Better Place battery swapping tech to live on in Chinese buses
Ziv Av Engineering, a company that helped design automated battery swapping stations for Better Place, has been hired to install similar infrastructure for electric buses in Nanjing, China.
Better Place, which went bankrupt two years ago, had been an international media sensation for its vision of pushing the world toward electric vehicles. One of its innovations was the idea to quickly swap car batteries at stations instead of requiring owners to charge them. The battery swap technology helped make lengthier trips possible for vehicles that would otherwise require recharging after traveling certain distances.
When Better Place cars eventually went on sale, however, they had difficulty finding buyers, and the company went under shortly thereafter.
ZAE signed the deal with China's Bustil to design 7,000 swap stations for Nanjing, the Capital of Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, whose population is roughly on par with that of Israel. Bustil, which operates swap stations in other Chinese cities, holds the franchise for charging and switching batteries on electric buses in Nanjing through its municipal authority.
Israeli Companies Showcase Revolutionary Green-Tech at European Nanotechnology Conference
Tiny but powerfully influential in myriad ways: That could describe Israel itself, but it also describes the nanotechnology advances made by Israeli academia and industry.
And that was the message that 1,000 attendees of – Europe’s largest nanotechnology conference – received loud and clear from 10 Israeli companies and their products showcased recently in Bilbao, Spain.
Two of those companies, Melodea and Valentis, are using cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) — a strong, inexpensive, biodegradable, transparent gel extracted from plant pulp –to make a variety of groundbreaking products out of a formerly unusable natural material.
Melodea pioneered an economically viable industrial process to extract CNC from industrial paper sludge and other plant-based processes, using it to form eco-friendly foams and materials to strengthen and improve bio-packaging, paper, acrylic glues and paints.
Wood pulp from paper production alone accounts for 11 million tons of waste each year in Europe, so it was a happy discovery that these fibers are a perfect source for CNC. However, the nanomaterial can be extracted from any kind of plant.
Murray Greenfield – a humble Israeli hero
The story is classic Greenfield. Murray is a marvelous story-teller and superb salesman. But his modesty and humor hide a life-long devotion to the State of Israel in a myriad of ways, including the rescue by sea of Jews who survived the Holocaust, helping immigrants from North America as a founding member of AACI, and playing a leading role in the aliya of Ethiopian Jewry.
As head of AACI, he is credited with establishing the first loan funds, a mortgage fund, and a variety of housing projects in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and on kibbutzim.
“One of the biggest problems for aliya is the lack of housing, which I fought for during my term as executive director of AACI,” he says. “This is a problem that we’re still facing today.”
He also accomplished a range of countless other achievements on the way, from running gift shops to serving as an investment counselor with the Palestinian Economic Corporation, exporting Israeli art to New York from his Tel Aviv-based Israel Art Gallery and – in 1981 – establishing the Jerusalem-based Gefen Publishing House, Israel’s top English-language book publisher, together with his wife Hana Lustig, a Czechborn Holocaust survivor.
Greenfield was born and grew up in a middle-class Jewish family in New York City, speaking English and Yiddish. During World War II, he served in the Merchant Marines, and by late 1946, someone told him about “Aliyah Bet” – or “illegal immigration,” as the British termed the Jews who trying to enter Israel after surviving the Holocaust.
Greenfield became one of 250 American volunteers who sailed on so-called “rust buckets” – vessels that were not made for long journeys – between 1946 and 1948, rescuing more than a third of Holocaust survivors from ports in Europe to Cyprus, Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Walking And Talking With Murray Greenfield
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Murray Greenfield played a significant role in the creation of modern Israel. From the moment he signed up to sail across the Atlantic in an unseaworthy rust-bucket to pick up the nearly dead survivors of the Holocaust in Europe, until the present day, he’s worked tirelessly to create a Jewish state.
Just last weekend the Jerusalem Post ran a large feature interview with him full of his amazing stories. But I know he has many, many more because he’s a good friend of a relative of mine. I count myself incredibly lucky to have shared quite a few shabbat meals and other occasions with him and so, last night, I joined him for a stroll . He was describing a talk about the foundation of Israel he gave the night before and I thought this would be good to film. I used Periscope and streamed it live and this is the saved version.
If there is interest here on the blog, I want to schedule a time to sit down with Murray and let anyone in the audience of Israellycool or live, as you watch, ask him questions. Leave a comment below or on Facebook if you’re keen on this and I’ll be in touch to set a time

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