Thursday, May 28, 2015

From Ian:

The daily effects of Palestinian privilege
Whilst the idea of ‘privilege’ is intellectually suspect for a host of reasons, it’s troubling that Jews, of all people, are often considered among “the privileged” within this paradigm. Not only has the post-Holocaust taboo against antisemitism been eroded, but Jews, who represent a fraction of 1% of the world’s population, are – in a manner evoking classic tropes – now routinely portrayed by virtue of their relative success in the West, as an elite, monied and dangerously powerful group.
Further, the idea that Jews benefit from instiutional privilege has begun to gain some traction within the mainstream left.
Maital Friedman wrote an op-ed at JTA back in January, on Martin Luther King Day, which asked Jews to be “aware of racial inequality and of the daily privileges we [Jews] enjoy that others cannot”. On April 7th, The New Republic published an article, titled ‘Does the Holocaust discount Jewish white privilege?’, which – though narrowly rejecting the idea of ‘Jewish privilege” as such – argued that even Jews whose relatives were killed in the Holocaust can now be beneficiaries of ‘white privilege’.
Though we’ve responded previously at length to the suggestion that Jews and/or Israelis enjoy unfair advantages, in monitoring media coverage of Israel year after year, we’d argue that Palestinians are – in many respects – uniquely privileged.
Here’s our list of the advantages (privileges) of waking up in the morning as a Palestinian – the daily effects of Palestinian privilege.
Muslim Scholars: Israel Is ‘Root Cause’ of All Islamic Nations’ Failures
Muslim clerics gathered in Beirut on Wednesday to kick off the Khomeinist International Union of Resistance conference, where “scholars” discussed how to stand up against the “cancerous tumor of Israel,” according to reports from Lebanese and Iranian media outlets.
Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem told the audience that Syria’s successes on the battlefield – with the help of Hezbollah and Iran – are “a pure success which will be followed by others, Allah willing.” When asked whether criticism of his terrorist group was legitimate, the Hezbollah leader said that such criticism only “serves the Israeli scheme,” Al Manar reported.
Qassem, as Hezbollah’s second-in-command, has regularly reminded observers that his organization’s chief goal is to seek the destruction of Israel. He has argued that Islamic law allows for Hezbollah jihadists to carry out suicide attacks against Israel.
Iran’s state-run Press TV reports that the Muslim scholars all agreed that Israel is a “root cause of economic, political and cultural problems facing Muslim nations in recent decades.”
The Muslim “academics” unanimously agreed that “confronting the Tel Aviv regime” is a “top priority of Islamic resistance movements.” The clerics promised to support “the resistance” (Hezbollah, Hamas, and other jihadist terrorist groups) in their mission to destroy Israel, according to the report. (h/t NormanF)
How UK taxpayers’ money is funding Palestinian terrorists
Therefore, I have no problem in UK aid money going to Palestinians who really need it, as anything that can give hope to Palestinians lessens the chance of them turning to violence. The problem is though, numerous reports show that is not where the aid money is going. Rather it’s lining the hands of Palestinian terrorists, whose raison d’etre is attempting to destroy everything they touch whether that’s Israeli lives, Palestinian hopes and dreams, as well as Palestinians caught in the crossfire and their ultimate goal the destruction of Israel. Supposedly the Department for International Development gives aid money to the Palestinians to help build Palestinian civil society and encourage peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians. That’s all very laudable, but perhaps before giving taxpayers’ money away like confetti, it would have been a good idea to do a cursory check on where the money’s actually going. I would have thought that to be a good idea, considering the Palestinian leadership does have a track record of embezzling money or using it to fund terrorists. Yet despite protestations to the contrary nothing of the sort has taken place. I for one object to taxpayers’ money being spent on murderers who would like to see my relatives dead for the crimes of being Jewish and Israeli.
Lest you think this is a rant based on little evidence, I’d like to share some facts with you. In the past five years the Palestinian Authority (PA) has taken £130 million in foreign aid from the Department for International Development. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) who have done studies into where the money has gone have made credible claims that Britain may have been intentionally misled by the PA, who said they had stopped controversial payments amounting to an estimated £84 million annual wage bill for around 5,500 terrorists locked up in Israel.
In fact there is little proof that this blood money has stopped. I find it gut-wrenching that among those now eligible are Abdullah Barghouti, Hassan Salameh and Jamal Abu Al-Hijja who are serving 122 life sentences between them for planning suicide bombings. The Government talks about fighting extremist terror, yet here they are indirectly rewarding them, with PMW saying that our aid money could be being used to fund the salaries and bonuses of 5,000 terrorists. I thought the UK was committed to fighting terrorism!

British MPs Call on Government to Reconsider Funding to Palestinian Authority
British parliamentarians have called on their government to reconsider providing financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.
The request from Conservative MPs Guto Bebb, James Morris and Andrew Percy on Wednesday came after a Palestinian media watchdog accused the PA of continuing to provide monthly salaries to convicted Palestinian terrorists serving out sentences in Israeli jails.
“The British government must seriously reconsider its provision of aid to the PA’s general budget until it ceases this abhorrent practice of financially rewarding and incentivising terrorism,” said the three in a joint statement.
Daphne Anson: "The Israelis Are Far More Like The Sioux, Cheyenne, & Arapaho At Little Bighorn Than They Are Like Us"
In the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine, there's a long and searching article by Sebastian Junger on the high incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among returned American servicemen. It's entitled "How PTSD became a problem far beyond the battlefield".
"Even the Israeli military – with mandatory national service and two generations of intermittent warfare – as by some measures a PTSD rate as low as 1 percent....
Israel is arguably the only modern country that retains a sufficient sense of community to mitigate the effects of combat on a mass scale. Despite decades of intermittent war, the Israel Defense Forces have a PTSD rate as low as 1 percent. Two of the foremost reasons have to do with national military service and the proximity of the combat – the war is virtually on their doorstep. “Being in the military is something that most people have done,” I was told by Dr. Arieh Shalev, who has devoted the last 20 years to studying PTSD. “Those who come back from combat are re-integrated into a society where those experiences are very well understood. We did a study of 17-year-olds who had lost their father in the military, compared to those who had lost their fathers to accidents. The ones whose fathers died in combat did much better than those whose fathers hadn’t.”
According to Shalev, the closer the public is to the actual combat, the better the war will be understood and the less difficulty soldiers will have when they come home. The Israelis are benefiting from what could be called the shared public meaning of a war. Such public meaning—which would often occur in more communal, tribal societies—seems to help soldiers even in a fully modern society such as Israel. It is probably not generated by empty, reflexive phrases—such as “Thank you for your service”—that many Americans feel compelled to offer soldiers and vets. If anything, those comments only serve to underline the enormous chasm between military and civilian society in this country.
Edwin Black: When Baghdad Burned – the June 1941 Farhud Massacre
Soon after Hitler took power in 1933, Germany’s chargé d’affaires in Baghdad, German Arab specialist Fritz Grobba, acquired the Christian Iraqi newspaper, Al-Alem Al Arabi, converting it into a Nazi organ that published an Arabic translation of Hitler’s Mein Kampf in installments. Then, Radio Berlin began beaming Arabic programs across the Middle East. The Nazi ideology of Jewish conspiracy and international manipulation was widely adopted in Iraqi society, especially within the framework of the Palestine problem that dominated Iraqi politics.
As Arab Nationalism and Hitlerism fused, numerous Nazi-style youth clubs began springing up in Iraq. One pivotal group known as Futuwwa was nothing less than a clone of the Hitler Youth. In 1938, Futuwwa members were required to attend a candlelight Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg. When the delegation came back from Germany, a common chant in Arabic was, “Long live Hitler, the killer of insects and Jews.”
By the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, and a coterie of transnational Palestinian agitators, had thoroughly permeated Baghdad’s ruling circles. For example, Taha al-Hashimi, Iraqi Chief of Staff, doubled as the head of the Committee for the Defense of Palestine.
To lure more Arabs to the Nazi cause, Grobba employed such tactics as dispensing lots of cash among politicians and deploying seductive German women among ranking members of the army. German radio broadcasting in Baghdad regularly reported fallacious reports about non-existent Jewish outrages in Palestine. Grobba, in conjunction with the Mufti, cultivated many Iraqis to act as surrogate Nazis.
UN Watch: UN status for antisemitic Hamas front group to be decided today
A UN committee dominated by Iran and its allies will decide today whether to grant official observer status to an antisemitic front group of the Hamas terrorist organization, warned UN Watch. The Geneva-based independent monitoring group called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to speak out against a “an alarming development that would negate the very principles of the United Nations.”
According to a UN timetable, the world body’s 19-member Committee on NGOs — which is is stacked with non-democracies including Iran, Sudan, China, Cuba, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, and Venezuela — is scheduled to decide on the application of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) to receive official UN accreditation as a non-governmental observer organization.
Iran, the main backer of Hamas, along with Sudan, also a Hamas ally, have spoken out in support of the group, most recently during a February meeting of the UN committee.
NGO status would allow representatives of the Hamas-linked PRC to acquire official UN badges, full access to UN facilities and participation in debates in New York, Geneva, and Vienna, and, perhaps most significantly, global legitimacy.
New UN report ‘compares Gaza children to Boko Haram victims’
A UN-sanctioned report that will be published soon and focuses on the situation of minors in conflict situations compares the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram to the condition of children in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas last summer, according to Channel 2.
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the station reports, is furious at the comparison and threatened the UN to pull the report or the US may withdraw funding for the UN. The international body, headquartered in New York, receives a quarter of all its funding from the US.
According to Channel 2, the Foreign Ministry is also trying to prevent the publication of the report.
The Judean People's Front: Ben-Gurion's Haifa Letter and Haaretz's anti-Israel Agenda
Unfortunately for Haaretz, this is not the contradiction they would like it to be.
The letter in question was written a month and a half after tens of thousands of Arabs abandoned Haifa, while Meir received her instructions while Arabs were still in the process of leaving. Meir clearly states she was instructed to go to Haifa "immediately" and describes interacting with Arabs "on the beach" meaning at the port. She was there while the Arabs were still in the city and was tasked with getting them to reconsider and stay. However, when Ben-Gurion sent this letter, all the Arabs had already abandoned the city and allowing them back it would entail allowing a hostile population to cross the border. There is a very big difference between asking someone to stay while they are in the process of leaving and letting someone back in after they have already left, especially in war-time.
What's more, Ben-Gurion clearly states he was opposed to their return specifically "until the war is over," at which point the issue could be revisited. Ben-Gurion did revisit this issue at the Lausanne Conference in 1949, after the war was over. Israel offered to allow back 100,000 Palestinians if the Arabs would make peace with Israel. We all know how that went.
Haaretz then tries to make it seem as though Ben-Gurion's policy towards the Arabs was inconsistent by pointing out that in some areas, like Nazareth, he explicitly ordered forces not to expel the residents, while in other places, like Lod, he is said to have supported expulsion. However, given that Ben-Gurion was motivated by the security necessities of the emerging Jewish State, this makes perfect sense. Lod stood on the strategic Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road, had a history of violent resistance and support from Transjordan. It also had the critically important international airport. While Nazareth offered minimal resistance despite repeated attempts by the Arab Liberation Army and given its holy status to Christianity, Ben-Gurion feared an out-sized reaction from Europe following its conquest. He therefore sought to limit any criticism by specifically ordering the forces carrying out Operation Ya'ar not to expel any residents and to take particular care not to harm any churches or monasteries.
CAIR Leader Says Hezbollah Are ‘Terrorists’ in Syria, But Not Israel
The head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) Los Angeles office, Hussam Ayloush, continues to exhibit double standards when it comes to Israel’s terrorist enemies. Ayloush openly calls Hezbollah’s fighters ”terrorists” when referring to the group’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, but avoids invoking the “terrorist” label when Hezbollah intentionally kills Israeli civilians.
“#Nasrallah, hiding like a rat, sends his #Hizbullah terrorists to die while killing Syrians, just to help the Assad tyrant,” Ayloush tweeted Sunday.
He was responding to a commentary by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, which claims that Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah is fighting an “immoral” and “losing” battle against Syria’s rebels.
“[Has] Nasrallah lost his senses or is it just cheap talk when he compares resisting the Israeli occupation to fighting against the rebels in Syria?” Badr Jamous asks in the commentary.
Ayloush clearly agrees that Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria is immoral and considers the group “terrorists” only because of his anti-Assad view. But his criticism was absent when Hezbollah fired rockets at Israeli civilian communities in 2006 or after any of the Lebanese-based terrorist group’s attacks against Israel.
US Claims ‘No More Extensions’ on Nuclear Talks with Iran
The United States says ‘enough is enough’ and is now vowing to end P5+1 talks with Iran on time – by the current June 30 deadline – whether or not negotiators reach a deal.
“We’re not contemplating any extension beyond June 30,” State Department spokesperson Jeff Rathke said at a briefing on Wednesday. Rathke added that the U.S. believes world powers and Tehran can achieve their goal and reach an agreement by the self-imposed deadline.
Journalists have heard this kind of talk before, of course, and have learned to simply wait and see if the claim proves true.
Talks have resumed this week in Vienna at the deputy level. But Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on May 30 in Geneva with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to further discuss the current sticking points.
European leaders told reporters earlier in the week that it appeared possible no deal would be reached by the June deadline.
Top Iranian Negotiator: We Reached Solution with P5+1 on Site Inspection, But Khamenei Rejected It
In an Iranian TV interview, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is Iran's top nuclear negotiator, revealed that the Iranian negotiating team had reached possible solutions with the P5+1 on the issue of inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities, but that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had decisively rejected them. Inspection of the facilities is one of the key issues remaining in the nuclear talks. The interview aired on Iran's Channel 2 TV on May 25.

North Koreans in Iran to aid missile program, dissidents say
For the third time this year, a North Korean delegation of nuclear weapons experts visited a military research facility near Tehran last month, an exiled Iranian opposition group said.
The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) told Reuters that half a dozen experts in nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles from the North Korean Defense Ministry visited Iran during the last week of April.
The NCRI said it was the delegation’s third visit in 2015, and the group was due to return in June.
“The delegates included nuclear experts, nuclear warhead experts and experts in various elements of ballistic missiles including guidance systems,” the report quoted the NCRI as saying.
The report came as Iranian and American negotiators prepared to meet in Switzerland over the weekend to push forward a pact over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iran: Why trial of Washington Post reporter should raise red flags about proposed nuclear deal
Tuesday a revolutionary court in Tehran began trying Washington Post Iran correspondent Jason Rezaian on charges of espionage. Rezaian, who has already been held for more than ten months, is but one of four American hostages which the Islamic Republic holds.
Former FBI agent Robert Levinson just passed his 3,000th day in Iranian prison.
Monday, on Memorial Day, retired U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati spent his 1,367th day in an Iranian prison. He was picked up by security in Tehran while visiting his grandmother. His visit was not careless; he had secured permission from the Iranian Interest Section in Washington, D.C., before making his trip.
The fourth hostage is Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor from Idaho whom Iranian authorities arrested in 2012 while he, too, was visiting family.
Actions speak louder than words. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have predicated outreach to Iran on the idea that rapprochement will strength the hand of the moderates against Iran’s implacable ideologues. In a sense, the White House believes they have found a Deng Xiaoping moment in which support for pragmatists can marginalize hardliners permanently and enhance security and cooperation between former adversaries.
Their logic is wrong on three counts. First, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is no moderate. He was always the Iranian regime’s trusted “Mr. Fix-it.” As nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005, he bragged about deceiving the West. Defending his feigned moderation to the West, he outlined a doctrine of surprise: Lull America into complacency with talk, and then deliver a knock-out blow.
Iran Holds Anti-Islamic State Cartoon Contest
Iran is hosting a contest for cartoons that ridicule the Islamic State as militias supported by Tehran expand their fight against the terrorist group in Iraq.
Iran’s House of Cartoon, which is financed by the local government in Tehran, has organized the display of the submissions this week from more than 40 countries. While several of the cartoons deride the leaders of the Islamic State (IS), others link IS to the United States and Israel despite both countries’ denunciations of the group’s attacks.
The cartoon contest comes as Iranian-backed militias have launched a new offensive against IS in Iraq’s western Anbar province. While a U.S.-led coalition has initiated airstrikes against the terrorist group in Iraq, officials have raised concerns about an expanded role for the Shiite militias following the fall of the city Ramadi.
A greater presence for the Iran-backed militias could worsen sectarian tensions in Anbar, which is predominantly inhabited by Sunni Muslims.
Critics of Tehran say events such as the cartoon contest portray Iran as a bulwark against IS while whitewashing its support for other terrorist groups.
Rivlin: 'I am a soldier' in the fight against BDS movement
President Reuven Rivlin has offered to put himself at the disposal of Israel’s institutes of higher learning in the national struggle against BDS which includes academic boycotts.
“I am a soldier in your army,” he told the committee of heads of universities and colleges who met with him on Thursday at the President’s Official Residence.
Prof. Peretz Lavie, Committee Chairman and President of the Haifa Technion said that members of the committee were greatly concerned that academic boycotts will snowball and cause strategic damage not only to academic research but to Israel’s economy. “We’re at the eleventh hour,” he warned.
Whereas anti-Israel activities on campus were peripheral in the past he said, now they are prevalent on leading US campuses, not so much on the part of heads of universities as of student organizations. “We must take strategic action,” he insisted.
Dutch ministry denies blame for ‘anti-Israel’ book
The Dutch education ministry distanced itself from a textbook that contained statements deemed anti-Israeli.
The ministry’s statement on the book followed complaints by Jewish students and parents over the description in the book of Israel’s establishment as the result of widespread murder of Palestinian villagers. It also questioned Israeli former Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s credentials as a peacemaker, noting he was “known as a terrorist and extremist.”
The ministry “does not approve textbooks, they are selected by individual schools,” a ministry spokesperson told JTA Wednesday. He declined to comment on the assertions in the book.
Israel’s embassy in the Netherlands last week said the assertions in the “Geschiedeniswerkplaats,” or “History Workplace” textbook by the Noordhoff Uitgevers were “outrageous.”
J Street: The Jewish Enemy Within
The J Street slogan “pro-Israel, pro-Peace” is a chimera of destructive doublespeak meant to fool American Jews into thinking that forced land concessions to the Palestinian Authority is the utopian answer to the century-old conflict. If only I could find it so easy to believe that the conflict is only over land. The idealism behind the Oslo Accords did not yield results because the P.A. is really the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), a terror-supporting autocracy that refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Unilateral land withdrawals placed Iran’s terror proxies on the border with Israel: Hezbollah, after Ehud Barak’s unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza after Ariel Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal. If this is not a mistake to avoid again, I’m not sure what is. False high-minded morality gets people killed. Land concessions to terrorists do not lead to peace, they lead to war. A Palestinian state in the West Bank puts ISIS and/or Iran right on top of all of Israel’s population centers. This is suicide. J Street’s dangerous push to force an agreement is dangerous and cynical since “J Streeters” don’t have to live with the consequences of their bad ideas. They don’t serve in the IDF and they don’t live under Iron Dome. Left-wing Israelis are thankfully outnumbered by Jews who know better: ex-Russian Jews who lived under the anti-Semitic doublespeak of the communists, Sephardic Jews who lived as second-class citizens in Muslim nations, and a growing religious Zionist movement whose loyalty to the Torah and the land G-d promised reminded them at election time that Jewish survival is more important than an international social justice movement whose driving force is thinly veiled anti-Semitism. Torah, after all, came before the Balfour Declaration or the United Nations. This reality is painful for American Jews whose idealism this challenges. It would be nice to settle with the Palestinians if they would simply stop teaching their children to kill Jews in their school books, on TV and in their mosques. As Brent Stephens of the Wall Street Journal has said, if Israel’s neighbor were Canada, it would be easy to make a deal.
Edgar Davidson: Comparing Islamists and radical leftists
Following on from previous posts which looked at the difference between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and what leftists really believe, it is also worth now looking at the difference between Islamists and radical leftists. As the following table shows (updated from last year) there is clearly nothing in common between these two groups.
BBC’s Connolly ‘contextualises’ Hamas torture and execution (spoiler – it’s Israel’s fault)
Connolly also produced a filmed report on the same topic which, in addition to being broadcast on BBC television news programmes, appeared on the BBC News website under the title “Amnesty International: ‘Hamas killed and tortured Palestinians’“. Connolly opened that report with those same words:AI report filmed
“Hamas exercises undisputed authority within Gaza, and Amnesty’s powerful report depicts an organisation responding to the relentless pressure of Israeli military operations with a brutal campaign against its own enemies within.” [emphasis added]
In other words, Kevin Connolly would have BBC audiences believe that the terrorist organisation’s abduction, torture and execution of fellow Palestinians (during a conflict it initiated itself and refused for fifty days to bring to an end despite numerous opportunities to do so) only happened because of “relentless pressure” on the part of Israel.
Another Gaza Strip missile attack goes unreported by the BBC – in English
We can however ascertain that the BBC was aware of the fact that a missile attack had taken place because on the morning of May 27th a report on the Israeli response to it appeared on the BBC Arabic website under the interestingly phrased headline “Israeli warplanes launched a series of attacks on military positions of the Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip”.
In typical ‘last-first’ BBC style, that report focuses on the effect rather than the cause, with mention of the attack itself relegated to paragraphs 11 to 13 of the 15 paragraph report. No less remarkable is the BBC’s adoption and amplification of the public relations language of the terrorist organisations which portray themselves as “resistance factions”.
This is not the first time since the end of the conflict last August in which we have seen Israeli responses to Palestinian violations of the ceasefire agreement reported in Arabic but not in English.
Of course the BBC cannot claim to be fulfilling its public purpose of building “a global understanding of international issues” when it serially ignores the attacks which are the precursor to the next round of conflict between Israel and terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip.
Al Pacino Backs Out of Play Written By Hitler Supporter
Acclaimed American film and theater actor Al Pacino has backed out of a stage production after learning of the writer's well-known support for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
According to the Telegraph, Pacino was slated to star in the Danish Avery-T theater's stage adaptation of Norwergian author Knut Hamsun's psychological thriller "Hunger."
Hamsun, considered a pioneer of psychological literature, later became an advocate of the Nazis, showing immense support for their occupation of Norway during World War II.
The writer was also in contact with a number of high-ranking Nazi officials, including the Reich's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, and even managed to receive an audience with Hitler in 1943.
After Hitler's death, the aged author wrote a eulogy for him, saying: "He was a warrior, a warrior for mankind, and a prophet of the gospel of justice for all nations."
Indian ice cream cones named for Hitler
Indian ice cream lovers are putting their favorite treat in a cone named after Adolf Hitler.
The boxes of Hitler ice cream cones bear the unsmiling image of the Nazi leader dressed in a military uniform. The cones are available throughout India, the Daily Mail reported.
The newspaper said the name of the cones is not shocking to Indians because of the lack of Holocaust education in the country.
In 2012, municipal authorities in the Indian state of Gujarat removed the sign for a men’s clothing store named Hitler. The sign — on which the letter “i” was dotted with a swastika — was removed after hundreds of complaints from both within and outside of the Jewish community.
Israeli firm brings biodegradable plastic, and jobs, to Savannah
An Israeli plastics company is bringing its new green technology to the US, where it will build a new factory – providing dozens of jobs and investment to coastal Georgia.
Bram Plastics Industries announced that it was bringing its manufacturing technology, which includes 100% biodegradable plastic shopping bags, to Savannah.
The Sderot-based firm will invest $3 million in the facility, where it will produce food packaging products, tableware, plastic housewares, plastic storage tools and more for its American customers, which include large chain stores like Walmart. The factory will generate at least 60 new jobs, the Savannah Economic Development Authority said.
Israel-China trade to flourish under new customs deal
For the first time, Israel imported more from China that it did from the United States. Statistics released on Wednesday by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics showed that Israel imported $8.1 billion in goods and services from China in 2014, compared to $7.4 billion in from the US during the year.
And Israel is likely to import – and export – more to China in the coming years, the result of the signing of an agreement between the two countries setting up an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program. A project of the World Customs Organization, the AEO allows governments to appoint specific “trusted” companies and agents that are vetted for their ability to adhere to all international labeling and shipping measures. The benefit for participants: a fast-track customs policy between the participating countries, which allows exporters to get their products to market in the partner country without customs checks or delays.
With the agreement, said Alain Dobkin, Managing Partner at Catalyst CEL, an Israeli-Chinese fund (managed by Israeli Catalyst and China Everbright Ltd), “we are already seeing the fruits from the cooperation between the Israeli government and the private sector to strengthen the business relations with China, and this is definitely only the beginning of a long-term trend.”
Israel-Texas researchers win top desalination award
Texas is no stranger to droughts, a fact that long ago prompted local leaders to seek technologies that ensure a steady supply of water. With Israel a world leader in water technology, it was only natural that the longhorn state would team up with the Jewish state.
One of the fruits of that collaboration — a joint desalination project involving researchers from the Technion in Haifa and the University of North Texas — has won the $125,000 Desal Prize competition sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the Securing Water for Food Grand Challenge, with support from Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Israeli and American winners of the award announced that they will use the prize money to help build a water treatment plant in Jordan.
Researchers at the Technion’s Stephen and Nancy Grand Water Research Institute joined the competition at the request of researchers from the electrical engineering department at the University of North Texas. The American researchers, who focused on developing a solution to the alternative energy aspect of the competition, asked Prof. Carlos Dosoretz and Prof. Ori Lahav, researchers from the Technion Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to design a solution for the desalination component of the project, and to submit a joint proposal. Other researchers from universities in Jordan, Nepal and Brazil worked on other components of the project.
World needs tech — even GMO — to produce food, say advocates
There’s a dichotomy running through Western society today when it comes to eating food, and producing it. On the one hand, according to Rurik Halaby, CEO of New York-based AgriCapital — one of the largest merger-and-acquisition firms working in the agritech space — the world is producing more food, and better quality food, than ever before.
The reason for this is the great strides made in food growing and production technology. However, despite the unprecedented tech-driven plenty in the world today, many voices are speaking out against that technology.
“It’s actually even more of a paradox, because the people who are opposed to using technology in food production have full stomachs themselves,” Halaby said, noting that almost all the groups opposed to matters such as genetic modification of plants, in order to improve their growth, are in Western countries.
There aren’t many in places like Bangladesh, where, noted Halaby, farmers are anxious to participate in the first GMO production project in the country’s history — raising genetically modified eggplants that can thrive in dry conditions.
Expert: ‘Revolutionary’ Israeli tech featured in Apple’s new HQ
Like with everything else it does, Apple is expected to rock the architectural world when its new California headquarters opens for business next year – raising the fortunes of the Israeli glass technology firm that is playing a central, if indirect, role in the construction of one of the world’s most innovative buildings ever.
The building in Cupertino, California, officially called Apple Campus 2 – and unofficially called “the Spaceship” because of its circular, Star Trek Enterprise-like vibe – will feature huge panes of curved glass, as high as 60 feet (18 meters), some of it printed.
And according to Max Perilstein, one of the world’s foremost experts on glass production, there is only one company in the world that has the technology to produce printed glass panes of that type. “In a sense, Dip-Tech is to the world of glass what Apple is to the world of computers and devices,” Perilstein told The Times of Israel.
OneRepublic explores Holy Land ahead of Tel Aviv concert
Mixing business with pleasure! American pop-rock band OneRepublic pushed up their trip to the Holy Land to squeeze in some touring before they grace the stage at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park on Thursday night.
The "Counting Stars" songsters, now on the European leg of their "Native" World Tour, cruised through the country, snapping pictures along the way and posting them to social media.
On Wednesday, during a visit to an Ashkelon base, the Colorado-based group surprised soldiers who man the Iron Dome missile defense system, telling the men and women in uniform they "feel safest in Israel."


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