Friday, May 22, 2015

From Ian:

Robert Wistrich: Defender of the Jewish People
Many scholars look away from the widespread anti-Semitism emanating from Muslim states and from parts of the Muslim population in Western countries. Despite the backlash, Robert remained outspoken when his post-9/11 essay on Muslim anti-Semitism, originally published in English, was updated and republished in German in 2011. Therein, Robert claimed that the hardcore anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany. Expressing such an opinion was far more than an academic judgment. It was an act of courage. Much more gentle criticism about extreme ugly phenomena in Muslim societies was already being labeled as Islamophobia. Such criticism is constantly stifled not only by Muslims but also by many “politically correct” Westerners. Robert explicitly stated that Muslim hatred for Israel and Jews is “an eliminatory anti-Semitism with a genocidal dimension”.
From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel came out in 2012. The book includes the chapter, “Great Britain: A Suitable Case for Treatment?” Robert had studied in the UK, where the British literary classics on the school’s curriculum were almost all anti-Semitic in nature. Robert’s analysis started with Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales from the late 14th century and Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta from the end of the 16th Century. He came out unequivocally against the whitewashing of the anti-Semitism of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
Probably more so than anyone else, Robert has proven that anti-Semitism is not only inherent in European history but that it is an integral part of European culture. I once persuaded him to lecture at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs about the long tradition of intellectual anti-Semitism. He illustrated how each change in the social environment brings about a mutation of anti-Semitism. In Europe, Catholic anti-Semitism laid down the ideological infrastructure from which much of the demonizing of the Jews, Judaism and the Jewish people developed. From Martin Luther and Protestantism to the Enlightenment, including Voltaire, from the great German idealist philosophers, the early French socialists, to Karl Marx – many intellectuals and innovative movements gave their own “contribution” to anti-Semitism.
Robert was a passionate and tireless fighter for his ideas. A comrade-in-arms against the many ugly enemies of the Jewish people, and a man of principle, I had the privilege of last speaking with him –a lengthy, and as always, stimulating and pleasant conversation – during the recent Global Forum for Combatting Anti-Semitism, a few days before his passing. His sense of purpose remained unabated until the very end. Like all great intellectuals, he will live on through the legacy of his profound work and original thought.
Col. Richard Kemp: The Amoral Revolution in Western Values, and its Impact on Israel
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: To fight for Israel on the international stage is also to fight for the values of democracy, freedom of speech and expression, and civilized social values everywhere. Unfortunately, the morality and values of the West have been transformed and undermined over the past thirty years almost beyond recognition. Judeo-Christian principles of honesty, honor, loyalty, family values, patriotism, religious faith and respect for the state have all been eroded; whereas negative values, such as the acceptance of betrayal, duplicity and deceit, have flourished. The Western media is chiefly culpable in advancing this deleterious values transformation. And this transformation is the basis for the growth of anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist perspectives, and anti-Israel narratives.
What follows is the text of an address delivered by Col. Kemp CBE at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies on May 19, 2015. Kemp was Commander of the British Forces in Afghanistan. He subsequently worked for the Joint Intelligence Committee and the British cabinet national crisis management group. He testified in defense of Israel before the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, and the United Nations Human Rights Council in response to the Goldstone report. This week, he received an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University in recognition of his stalwart defense of Israel.
Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies: Col. Kemp’s 40 minute address


British commander provides hope to turn back the tide against Israel
Flatly contradicting the nasty Goldstone Report, Kemp confidently asserted that “based on my knowledge and experience as a military commander, the IDF did more during Operation Cast Lead to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare.”
Kemp has been vilified ever since. “In social media, I have been the subject of sustained assaults by particularly virulent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic networks. In universities, I have been the subject of demonstrations that have sought to silence me. I have been accused of corruption and being in the pay of the Zionist entity. I have been deliberately denied business opportunities.
I have been placed on a terrorist death list,” Kemp told his BESA Center audience.
“This is not because I speak out against the moral bankruptcy, corruption, incitement to terrorism or oppression of the Palestinian Authority; or the murder, brutality and terrorist violence of Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. I have spoken out at least as much against al-Qaida, the Taliban, the Iranian regime, the IRGC and many other sponsors of terror and terrorist groups without anything like this level of attempted intimidation.
“Rather it is for one reason, and that is because I fail to falsely condemn Israel in circumstances where to even be neutral on the subject is itself a crime in the eyes of so many. It is because I have gone further, and used my military experience and my objective view to explain and defend Israel’s legitimate military actions.”



One year after attack, Brussels Jewish museum drawing crowds
Although they now have to pass through a metal detector flanked by three armed soldiers, visitors to Brussels’ Jewish museum seem undeterred by the security arrangements that were introduced there last year, after the slaying of four people, allegedly by an Islamist fanatic.
Almost a year after the May 24 shooting, the museum welcomes 80 to 250 visitors a day — a considerable increase to attendance prior to the attack, according to what the institution’s spokesperson, Chouna Lomponda, told the La Libre Belgique newspaper, which published an article ahead of the one-year anniversary.
In the Belgian media, the occasion provided an opportunity for journalist to look back and take stock of Belgium’s anti-Semitism problem, which local community leaders say is creating a silent exodus and endangering the very survival of the Jewish minority in a country whose capital is also the capital city of the European Union.
“The number of visitors keeps increasing, but that’s an ongoing trend that started when we began putting on temporary exhibitions, which render the museum more attractive,” the museum’s director, Philippe Blondin, told La Libre Belgique.
Report: Paris at ‘High Risk’ for Terrorist Attacks After Charlie Hebdo Killings, Kosher Supermarket Siege
Paris has a “high” potential for a terrorist attack against civilians and businesses and has seen one of the greatest increases in risk among cities worldwide, a study by Verisk Maplecroft revealed on Wednesday.
“According to Verisk Maplecroft, Paris … has experienced one of the steepest rises in [the company’s] ranking, reflecting the severity of the terrorist attack in January 2015 that left 17 people dead,” said the report, referring to the deadly attacks at satire publication Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in the French capital.
Verisk Maplecroft said the risk in France reflected similar security challenges facing other Western cities, in countries such as Belgium, Canada and Australia, where radicalized Islamic terrorists may target high profile sites for their “significant PR value.”
To compile its results for its Global Alerts Dashboard, the security consulting firm collected data from “1300 of the world’s most important commercial hubs and urban centers.”
Not surprisingly, the Israeli capital of Jerusalem was categorized at “extreme risk,” though it ranked no. 42, after a string of car-ramming attacks against bystanders in the city and surrounding areas over the past several months.
French school paper threatened over Charlie Hebdo issue
Teachers, parents and media freedom activists are urging police action after death threats against a French teenager over a school newspaper issue about the extremist attack against satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The 17-year-old student, chief editor of the paper at the Marcelin Berthelot school in the Paris suburb of Saint-Maur des Fosses, received seven threats, according to Reporters Without Borders. They included letters sent with bullets and swastikas, some sent to his home, others left in his school locker.
The special issue included essays and poems about the Charlie Hebdo attack Jan. 7. The father of a student at the school was among the 12 killed.
The school’s teachers threatened to stop work, expressing concern that police aren’t doing enough to protect the school or stop the threats.
Muslim, Jewish Israeli Soccer Players Call on FIFA to Keep Politics Out of Sport
Israeli soccer players have published a video calling on FIFA members to keep politics out of sports, in response to a push by the Palestinian Football Association to have Israel suspended from the international body, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Thursday.
The clip, featuring representatives of the Israeli Football Association, was part of a campaign called, “One World, One Ball.” It was produced with the participation of male and female football players representing all three Abrahamic faiths and it urged FIFA to keep politics off the field.
The joint campaign includes the participation of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Football Association and is aimed to ensure that a vote in FIFA’s congress next week in Switzerland on the Palestinian call to suspend Israel would be rejected.
The video, which has been circulating on YouTube, will be played at FIFA’s congress in Zurich and at Israeli embassies worldwide.
IFPO "One world one Ball"
Israeli soccer players, men and women belonging to 3 religions, join together in a call to keep politics away from the football fields.


Palestinian soccer player detained at Jordan crossing
A Palestinian soccer player was briefly detained by Israeli security personnel at the Allenby border crossing with Jordan on Thursday, prompting the head of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, to send a letter of complaint to FIFA head Sepp Blatter.
Rajoub said the incident served as “proof” that Israeli promises to ease security restrictions on Palestinian players were insincere, Israel Radio reported Friday.
An Israeli security source told Israel Radio that the player, Sameh Marawbe, was detained for security reasons and was arrested six months ago for receiving funds and messages from Hamas representatives in Qatar to pass on to Hamas members in the West Bank city of Qalqilya.
The Palestinian team was en route to Tunisia for training.
The Israeli and Palestinian soccer associations were recently involved in a confrontation after the latter tried to have Israel suspended from the International Federation of Soccer.
New York may boycott the anti-Israel boycotters
We recently reported on legislation in Illinois barring state pension funds from investing in companies that boycott Israel.
The legislation passed both chambers unanimously, a stunning bi-partison rejection of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Gov. Bruce Rauner has promised to sign the legislation.
The BDS movement is screaming about the legislation because while boycotting Israelis is cool with them, bocotting the boycotters is the worst violation of human rights ever. That’s not much of an exaggeration as to their response — it is full blown hissy-fit which mischaracterizes the legislation as suppressing speech.
New York should be fertile ground for such legislation since it’s Human Rights Law already bars discriminatory boycotts based on national origin. That law played an important role in the Ithaca, NY, GreenStar Food Coop rejecting an anti-Israel boycott petition.
This bill is very different from the academic boycott bill introduced in early 2014 after the American Studies Association academic boycott of Israel. That prior bill was overly broad and sought to punish universities because of the actions of some faculty — a big mistake since universities took this as an infringement of their academic freedom; it also made no sense since over 250 university presidents rejected the academic boycott and no university (at least not in NY) is even considering boycotting Israel, so the legislation did not even target the problem.
UC President Napolitano Supports Adopting State Department Definition of Antisemitism
University of California President Janet Napolitano said on Thursday that she agreed with a UC-wide condemnation of antisemitism according to the State Department definition of Jew hatred, which includes denying Israel’s right to exist.
When asked by Boston public radio’s Here and Now program whether she supported such a resolution on antisemitism, which would include demonizing, delegitimizing or applying a double to standard to the Jewish state, Napolitano said, “My personal view is that we should.”
“I think there’s a serious point raised there,” she said, adding that the issue “is actually going to be on the board of regents agenda at its July meeting.”
Campus antisemitism watchdog Amcha Initiative quickly praised the stance taken by Napolitano, who became UC president in 2013 after resigning from the department of homeland security.
Radical professors push agendas on college campuses
As a taxpayer are you tired of paying for the constant stream of nonsense that happens on many college campuses? Pennsylvania State Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-Bucks County, wants to do something about one of these abuses. His proposed “Stand with Israel Act” would defund colleges that withdraw investments in Israeli companies.
His divestment process is popular on many campuses spurred on the notion that Israel is the new South Africa and commits many human rights violations. It is often egged on by college professors and pro-Palestinian student groups who harass and sometimes physically attack Jewish students on college campuses.
Before I broadcast from Israel last year, I spoke with various pro-Israel groups that told me that the enemies of Israel realize that it will be very difficult to defeat Israel militarily, but they can be greatly diminished by punishing them economically. Santarsiero’s bill would punish those engaging in this practice.
I can hear the mantra already of what about their freedom of speech. This bill doesn’t stop colleges from proposing and cheerleading for these hateful policies toward Israel. It merely creates consequences for indulging in anti-Israel and sometimes anti-Semitic policies.
Methodist Missionary Janet Lahr Lewis: Bias or Blindness?
Janet Lahr Lewis is a missionary with the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church serving in the Middle East as liaison between ecumenical groups.
From her biography:
Focusing on advocacy and activism, Janet's responsibilities are numerous. She is the main contact for VIM teams and United Methodist visitors who wish to follow the recommendation of the General Conference to spend a significant amount of time in the area with local Christians, acting to make those connections with UMC partner organizations.
In an essay entitled “Remember al Nakba too” published this week at the United Methodist Website, Janet has written
“Israel has even gone so far as to destroy archaeological artifacts in an effort to wipe out evidence of non-Jewish cultures, except Roman, throughout history in the region.”
This is a grotesque inaccuracy (in an essay full of gross inaccuracies), and is particularly abhorrent in light of Israel’s painstaking and meticulous efforts at protecting and documenting its rich archaeological legacy.
The Archaeological Survey of Israel was established in 1964 with the goal of creating a comprehensive archaeological study of the land . It is one of the largest scientific projects ever undertaken in the country and has lead to the creation of an online database which documents over 15,000 archaeological sites.
Former British MP Galloway Claims Israel Supporters Assaulted Him Three Times in Four Months
Former British Parliament member George Galloway, who is known for his virulently anti-Israel views, claimed on Wednesday that he has been repeatedly assaulted by Israel supporters in recent months.
“Supporters of Israel have 3 times assaulted me in 4 months,” he alleged in a Twitter post. “Now via a Tel Aviv based law firm they are trying to smear me. Confused much?”
Galloway said he blames “Tel Aviv lawyers” for an ongoing police investigation into his use of parliamentary funds, a probe that began after his former parliamentary assistant Aisha Ali Khan reported him to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) earlier this year.
Ali Khan alleges she was asked to do more personal errands for Galloway than official work while working under him for six months in 2012, Britain’s Jewish News reported. She said she was required to help plan his wedding, sort his laundry and work for the anti-Israel charity Viva Palestina, among other tasks.
Tel Aviv-based legal firm Asserson Law Offices filed the IPSA complaint on behalf of Ali Khan, according to the Jewish News. The firm says the errands Galloway assigned Ali Khan were a breach of the requirement to use funds only for parliamentary purposes. IPSA’s compliance officer Peter Davis assessed Ali Kahn’s claims and passed on the case to the Metropolitan Police for further investigation, according to the report.
How Al Jazeera America Went from a Home for Idealists to a Sexist Mess
In the last few weeks, Al Jazeera America has been facing its own series of ground-shaking disruptions: the channel has been slapped with an embarrassing lawsuit, lost a handful of top executives, and replaced its CEO. In the few months, they’ve hemorrhaged valuable newsroom and administrative talent, laying off at least one entire team. In the last year, unrest, fear, and uncertainty have plagued AJAM employees across departments, as seemingly nonsensical rounds of layoffs and promotions have given the whole place the air of a sinking ship. But it certainly didn’t start that way.
In a breathless writeup from August 2013, right before the channel’s launch, Brian Stelter wrote in the New York Times that AJAM promised to be “something a journalism professor would imagine.” The venture, which Stelter called the most ambitious cable news launch since Fox took off in 1996, was bankrolled by the nearly limitless wealth of the Qatari royal family. Interim CEO Ehab Al Shihabi remarked that the channel would produce “fact-based, unbiased and in-depth news.” Twenty-four hours of PBS-quality journalism, every day, by people who have waited for their entire careers to produce these kinds of stories.
In mere months since its development was announced on January 2, 2013, the channel had hired nearly 900 people to fill its bustling newsroom — veterans, idealists, hard-nosed reporters, editors, producers, on-air talent. They came from places like CNN and PBS; they came out of retirement. Employees of AJAM tell Jezebel that the breathless excitement in Stelter’s preview was echoed throughout much of the staff.
How things have changed in less than two years. (h/t The_Kenosha_Kid)
BBC WS’s ‘Newshour’ exploits Pope’s canonizations for promotion of propaganda
BBC coverage of the Pope’s recent canonization of four nineteenth century nuns has focused exclusively on the two who were born in places which were at the time part of the Ottoman Empire: Jerusalem in the Mutassariflik of Jerusalem and Ibillin in the Acco (Acre) Sanjak. The Ottomans of course did not recognize ‘Palestine’ as a separate entity but divided the Levant into provinces, governorates and districts.
All those items include an element of politicization of the topic by means of promotion of two women who would have been extremely unlikely to self-define as Palestinians as “Palestinian nuns”.
Update on the BBC’s handling of the Tim Willcox case
As was noted here at the time, Steel’s misunderstanding of the essence of the complaints on that topic was plain to see. Unfortunately, he obviously still does not (or will not) comprehend the issue properly.
Willcox was not making some academic comment on the ‘epidemiology’ of antisemitic incidents. What he did – whilst interrupting a woman talking about the need for recognition of the targeting of European Jews – was to insert a false equivalence (evident in his use of the words “as well”) in the form of ‘Palestinian suffering’ which he attributed to “Jewish hands”. In other words, Willcox falsely implied that – like Jews in France – Palestinians are targets because of their religion and/or ethnicity and that European Jews can be held collectively responsible for the perceived actions of Israel.
The bottom line of this latest communication from Fraser Steel is that he stands by his earlier proposal to reject en masse the large number of complaints received about Willcox’s remarks. Complainants still have the possibility of appeal to the BBC Trust at their disposal for a limited period of time, but as Steel points out in this letter, “the Trust does not consider every appeal brought to it”.
Four months (and goodness knows how many publicly funded man-hours) on, the BBC has not budged an inch from its original classification of Willcox’s remarks as “poorly phrased”.
Hamas-Loving Canadian Islamist Baffled by Suspension From Security Post
“For many years,” the article begins, “Hamas was my passion.”
Hussein Hamdani, a Canadian lawyer, described his excitement and nervousness over meeting Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin in Gaza. The article, published in 2004, was part of a tribute to Yassin after he was killed in an Israeli airstrike.
Hamdani calls Yassin “the people’s Shaykh” and explains that Yassin was part of a group of Hamas founders who decided “armed struggle must be established” against Israel. “It was like sitting at the feet of history,” Hamdani glowingly wrote about meeting one of his heroes. Yassin’s vision “represented the hope that the occupying forces could be defeated.”
One year after openly embracing a jihadist movement in writing, Hamdani was named to a Canadian national security roundtable, where he continued to serve until being suspended April 29 pending an investigation. A spokesperson for Canada’s Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said that although questions about Hussein’s “radical ideology have circulated for some time, it was hoped that he could be a positive influence to promote Canadian values in the Muslim community. It is now becoming clear this may not have been the case.”
Hamdani calls the suspension political and went on radio last week threatening legal action against people who called attention to his past statements and connections.
World Blasts Ukraine for Honoring Nazi Collaborators in New Laws
The Ukrainian government is under fire after President Petro Poroshenko signed a bill that bans all Communism and Nazi symbols. He also signed a law that honors and recognizes militias that worked with the Germans in World War II. The United States Holocaust Museum lashed out at the decision.
The museum is “deeply concerned” because the new laws “attempt to legislate how the history of Ukraine should be discussed and written, especially regarding the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA),” both of which fought with Nazis. From their press release:
Ukraine from 1917 to 1991, under Soviet, German, and renewed Soviet control, was the setting of enormous suffering inflicted upon Ukrainians and many minorities, especially Jews and Poles, and of varying degrees of complicity from segments of the population with these totalitarian regimes. During this period, ruling authorities dictated the narrative of Ukrainian history solely according to their propagandistic goals…
As Ukraine advances on its difficult road to full democracy, we strongly urge the nation’s government to refrain from any measure that preempts or censors discussion and politicizes the study of history. Ukrainian democracy must continue on the path of unfettered scholarly research and open debate on all aspects of the national past.
German Town Names Street After Nazi
A Bavarian town named a street after a prominent Nazi businessman on Friday, despite protests from the town's Jewish organizations and local historians.
The central German town of Coburg has named the street after Max Brose, a wealthy businessman who was also a Nazi party member honored by the Third Reich as a "military industry leader," according to the Financial Times.
The move follows a long campaign in local government by Brose's grandson, Michael Stoschek, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Brose's mega-company and largest local employer, Brose. The name was passed in a 26-11 vote.
Stoschek had apparently been campaigning since as far back as 2004 to have his grandfather honored on a street sign, and redacted almost all of the company's charitable funding to Coburg when the name was rejected nearly ten years ago. Coburg has denied being put under financial pressure in accepting the name.
Historian Florian Dierl noted to the Times that Coburg was also the first town in Germany to elect a Nazi mayor in 1931, and warned that it should, if anything, be "particularly careful about its past."
Argentinian War Veterans Claiming Antisemitic Abuse Take Case to International Court
Argentinian veterans of the 1982 Falklands War who have accused military officers of antisemitic abuse during the conflict will take their case to an international appeals court, The Telegraph reported on Thursday.
“Because I was Jewish they made me eat food off the floor, mixed with human feces. They tied me to stakes and made my comrades urinate on me,” war veteran Silvio Katz said Wednesday at a press conference. “Every day I wake up trying to find an explanation so I can tell my children why the judiciary doesn’t want to listen to me.”
The CECIM Falklands’ veterans association has gathered around 150 complaints from war veterans against their officers during Argentina’s war with Britain over the Falklands. The former servicemen allege antisemitic abuse, beatings, sexual violence, the use of electric shocks and tactics that immobilized them when punishment cells were unavailable, the Telegraph said.
Internet Black List Aims to Strike Out at Anti-Semites
An activist fighting anti-Semitism in France has established a “blacklist” of public figures in the country who are known to have anti-Semitic opinions, expressed such opinions in public, or have participated in anti-Semitic actions, demonstrations, and the like.
The author of the list is French activist Gregory Chelli, known on-line as “Ulcan.” The 29 year old is considered a “media provacateur” in France. Known especially for his phone pranks against anti-Israel and anti-Semitic figures, he has also hacked into websites in France and published lists of anti-Semites, not all of them “out of the closet.”
This week, Chelli announced that his own website would publish updated lists of such figures, in a “phone book” of anti-Semites in France, so that like-minded activists can annoy and harass them via e-mail, phone, and social media.
Anti-Zionist Jews are not exempt from “Ulcan's” wrath either. In the past, Chelli has distributed lists of Jewish figures who have spoken out against Israel on a special “Kapos” list he authored. That list, too, will be publicly available, he said.
Users of the site will be able to add their own suggestions to the lists, which will be updated as needed.
Czech show relives Nazi occupation
It’s Frontier House, but with a bizarre twist. A new Czech reality television show not only has a family living like in the old days, but it also has them living under Nazi occupation.
“Holiday in the Protectorate” is catching some major flak from critics wondering what could possibly be entertaining about watching people being intimidated by (actors playing) German soldiers and Nazi informers.
The show, produced by Czech Television, puts three generations of a contemporary family on a farm in the area that was known as the “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia”—effectively a majority ethnic-Czech puppet state set up by Germany after it occupied Czechoslovakia in March 1939.
The idea is apparently to see if the family can win a valuable prize by sticking it out under conditions similar to the privations of wartime for two whole months.
Last surviving Revisionist Warsaw Ghetto fighter dies
The last surviving member of the Revisionist movement’s Jewish Military Organization (ZZW) to have fought during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was buried in Israel Wednesday afternoon.
Ziuta Hartman-Rutenberg, born in 1922 in Kielce, took part in the revolt against the Nazis as part of the underground group founded by members of the militant Jabotinsky Betar youth movement, which fought alongside the better known left-wing Jewish Combat Organization lead by Mordechai Anielewicz.
The role of the Revisionists was largely minimized in the public eye for generations, although it has gained greater notoriety in recent years, especially following the publication of former Defense Minister Moshe Arens’ book Flags above the Ghetto: The Story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in 2009.
During her service in the ZZW, Hartman-Rutenberg worked as a courier, traveling between the ghetto and the Aryan side of the city, and later fought in the ill-fated uprising.
She was made an honorary citizen of Warsaw in 2010.
Israel makes it to Eurovision finals for first time in 5 years
For the first time in five years, Israel has qualified for the Eurovision finals set to take place in Vienna on Saturday.
Representing Israel this year at the song contest is 16-year-old Nadav Guedj, who performed his pop song “Golden Boy” in front of a rather exuberant audience at the semi-finals on Thursday night. Guedj is the winner of the second season of the Israeli reality TV show “The Next Star.”
The song was released in March and is sung entirely in English.
Israel is among 20 qualifiers for the international contest and will battle countries such as Australia, Azerbaijan, Poland, Latvia and Montenegro for the top spot.
Israel has failed to qualify for the finals since 2010, but still competes every year despite facing tough odds in the contest seemingly tied to its geopolitical standing.
Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’
Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people.
“Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on the inside is very important to everyone. We want to do everything we can to make them feel strong and happy, and know that they deserve a kinder and braver life.”
Gaga founded the Born This Way Foundation in 2011 together with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting the wellness of young people and empowering them, according to its website. Gaga said receiving the ADL’s award was an incredible honor” and “a huge deal” for her and her mother, “especially because of all of the hard work ADL has been doing to fight antisemitism, homophobia, bigotry, intolerance for the past 100 years.”
Israel the 7th-best country for gay men
Israel is the world’s seventh-best country for gay men, according to a poll of 115,000 gay men in 127 countries.
The Gay Happiness Index, a collaboration of the gay dating network Planet Romeo and researchers from Germany’s Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, named Iceland the best country for gay men, followed in order by three other Nordic nations — Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
The United States was 26th in the survey.
Twenty-seven of the 30 least-happy countries for gay men are located in Africa and the Middle East.
The survey claims that the sample of men who were polled was taken from Planet Romeo’s index of 1.8 million users. The list used three categories to rank countries: public opinion, or how society in that country views gay men; public behavior, which took public discrimination into account; and general life satisfaction.
Gay Couples Included in New IDF Policy to Protect Children of Enlisted Soldiers
Gay and straight couples with children will no longer have to deal with situations where both parents are enlisted for reserve service. The IDF recently decided to form special committees to deal with this problem, according to the IDF Reserves Corps.
The committees will communicate between units to make sure kids have a parent at home, which will therefore prevent situations where both parents are enlisted. The committees will also prevent the enlistment of single mothers with young children.
The decision came after discussions with an Israeli LGBT group called The Israeli Gay Fathers Association.
“During Operation Protective Edge, many couples were enlisted for reserve forces at the same time. They did want to contribute, [but] they saw that there was no arrangement for their kids,” a spokesman for the Israeli Gay Fathers Association told Tazpit News Agency.
Ambassador Prosor speaks at the #SE4ALL forum
"It’s on our shoulders to light a new path for people around the world toward a more sustainable future."


‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Was a Zionist
This week, May 19 to be exact, marks the 80th anniversary of the death of T. E. Lawrence — generally known as Lawrence of Arabia — who played a crucial role as a British officer in defeating the Ottoman Empire in the heartland of the Islamic world. While widely recognized as a champion of Arab nationalism, Lawrence also embraced political Zionism. Put simply, he was both an Arabophile and a Zionist. The popular vision of Lawrence — including in David Lean’s breathtaking, Oscar-winning 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia — has airbrushed from history his contributions to the formation of the Jewish state.
As early as 1909, Lawrence wrote about a then-undefined Palestine: “The sooner the Jews farm it the better: their colonies are bright spots in a desert.” His advocacy in this vein would extend to the post-WWI conferences that carved out nation-states in the Middle East. Lawrence served as the mediator between Hashemite Prince Faisal, who would later become the king of Iraq, and Chaim Weizmann, later the first president of Israel. Lawrence’s goal, he said, was to secure “the lines of Arab and Zionist policy converging in the not distant future.” In a scarcely noted 1920 article titled “The Changing East,” Lawrence wrote of the Jewish biblical connection to Israel. For Lawrence, “the Jewish experiment” to create a homeland was “a conscious effort, on the part of the least European people in Europe, to make head against the drift of the ages, and return once more to the Orient from which they came.” Sir Martin Gilbert, the late peerless British historian and biographer of Sir Winston Churchill, wrote the most compelling essay on Lawrence’s “little known romance with Zionism.”


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