Monday, June 15, 2015

From Ian:

You can’t win a PR war by fighting on the enemy’s side
I can’t think of another conflict in history where one side devoted so much time and energy to selling the world the other side’s narrative rather than its own. And then, after two decades of actively supporting the two most important Palestinians claims against it, Israel actually wonders why the world views it as the villain.
Claim number one is that the West Bank and Gaza are “occupied Palestinian territory.” This is a crucial issue, because if Israel is just a thief occupying stolen Palestinian land, then it has no right to retain any of this land or set any conditions on its return, and deserves opprobrium for even daring to pose such demands. In contrast, if Israel has a valid claim to these lands, then it’s being laudably generous in offering the Palestinians a state there and has every right to impose conditions on this generosity, like retaining certain areas or demanding specific security arrangements.
Official Israeli spokesmen don’t back this Palestinian claim in so many words. But they do talk constantly about the Palestinians’ “right” to establish a state in these lands, while talking only sporadically about Israel’s own legal and historical rights there. And needless to say, Palestinians don’t return the favor: They talk constantly about their own rights and never about Israel’s rights.
Moreover, Israel’s talk of Palestinian “rights” actually undermines the credibility of its own claims. After all, if Israel truly has the best legal claim to the land, why would Palestinians have any right to a state there? So by declaring that Palestinians do have such a right, Israeli spokesmen imply that even Israel doesn’t quite believe its own claim.
Thus for most of world, deciding who really owns the land becomes a no-brainer: The Palestinian claim looks much stronger. After all, both sides agree unequivocally that the Palestinians have rights there, so that must be true. In contrast, Israel asserts its own claims only half-heartedly, while Palestinians deny them outright; hence Israel’s claims seem dubious.
Or in other words, Palestinians are fighting the PR war full-time on their own behalf, while Israel is fighting only part-time for itself, and part-time for the enemy. And needless to say, that’s no way to win a war.
A Murder in Paris: 24 Days in the Life of Ilan Halimi
I remember hearing about Ilan’s story. I read about this beautiful young man in Paris, targeted by a gang for kidnapping, torture and murder because he was Jewish. I was horrified to hear what happened to Ilan. As I became more familiar with the barbarity he was subjected to, an unsettling feeling came over me as I read about the details and wondered, was this a forewarning of things to come? I had no idea that 9 years later I would be writing about what happened to Ilan Halimi after viewing the chilling & heartbreaking film, 24 Days, directed by the French Algerian born Alexandre Arcady.
Keeping us on the edge of our seats, the film brilliantly chronicles how a French Jewish Moroccan family in Paris lived for three weeks while their beloved son and brother was being held, gagged, beaten and abused for ransom by an Islamist gang.
Eugene Kontorovich: Sudan’s Bashir is the Palestinians’ and Pretoria’s favorite genocidal tyrant
The free pass given to Bashir is another in a series of major blows to the credibility of the ICC – and in this case, the Security Council. If member states like South Africa do not take the Court seriously in cases that do not even involve its own nationals, it is hard to expect non-members to do so.
While refusing treaty obligations to arrest the world’s leading genocidaire – known of course for his campaign against black Africans in Darfur – might seem unconscionable, Bashir has his defenders.
Among them is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who vocally opposes the ICC process against Bashir. “We must also take a decisive stance of solidarity alongside fraternal Sudan and President Omar al-Bashir,” Abbas has said. He has has also expressed his “solidarity” with the Sudanese despot, and categorically rejected enforcement of the ICC warrant.
The Palestinian Authority is not alone in this – the entire Arab League backs Bashir against the ICC. But what makes the PA’s position on Bashir even more outrageous is that they have actually purported to join the ICC, and seek to invoke its jurisdiction against Israeli officials. The only other Arab League members to join the ICC are Comoros, Djibouti, and Jordan, which has distanced itself from the Bashir policy, unlike the PA.
Thus even as the Palestinians got the ICC to bend its rules about statehood to join, they were advocating the defiance of the Court’s writ in the single most important and grave kind of case, genocide cases initiated by the Security Council. In short, the Palestinians seek to exempt genocidaires from the Court’s jurisdiction while pushing for it to prosecute Israelis for allowing Jews to live in Jerusalem. The PA is involved in the trivialization and corruption of the Court from both ends.
The international community tolerates this hypocrisy, and the Bashir debacle is among the consequences.

Hillel Neuer tells UN: “Why did you reward Iran & Saudi Arabia with top posts?”
Thank you, Mr. President. The High Commissioner spoke of the need to end impunity. Yet what we are witnessing here at the United Nations is this: Countries that commit gross and systematic violations of human rights are not only given immunity, but they are actually rewarded with high positions.
When member states are silent, the High Commissioner must lead. We urge him to consider, and we ask:
Why is it that Saudi Arabia, which subjugates women, which just expelled a student from university because she lowered her veil on a female-only schoolbus, is rewarded by the UN with a seat on this Human Rights Council?
Why is it that Saudi Arabia, which just upheld the conviction of blogger Raif Badawi, and his punishment of a thousand lashes and ten years in prison for the crime of “insulting Islam,” was allowed to play host in Jeddah, the city where Mr. Badawi was flogged and remains in prison, to a UN-backed conference on “combating religious intolerance”?
Why is it that a country now advertising for more executioners to behead more prisoners than ever before, had the thought that it could be head of this Council?
Al Pacino Reopens the Debate Over Pro-Nazi Celebrities
Perhaps Al Pacino's principled stand will influence Norwegians to start facing up to Hamsun's past, something many of them have been reluctant to do. In 2009, the government of Norway commemorated Hamsun's 150th birthday with an entire year of public events, exhibits, commemorative coins, a new 27-volume collection of his writings and the opening of a $20-million, six-story Hamsun Center in his home town of Hamaroy, complete with a huge bronze statue of the honoree. Queen Sonja personally kicked off the festivities--evidently forgetting for the moment that the Royal Family was forced to flee Norway when the Nazis, whom Hamsun so admired, invaded and occupied their country.
Perhaps, too, Norwegians will finally honor their only other winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature--Sigrid Undset, who also happened to have been an activist for the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust. Undset, who won the Nobel Prize in 1928, fled to the United States in 1940 to escape the Nazis. She became a co-chair of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe (better known as the Bergson Group), which sponsored rallies and newspaper ads urging the Roosevelt administration to rescue Jews from the Nazis. Hamsun deserves Norway's scorn; Undset deserves Norway's official praise and recognition.
In the 1940s, Knut Hamsun sided with evil, while Sigrid Undset sided with good.
In 2015, Al Pacino has taken a moral stand; when will the Norwegian authorities do likewise?
June 1967: third pogrom in Libya
Continuing our series about the repercussions of the Six-Day War leading to the liquidation of the Jewish communities in Arab countries, we re-visit Libya: the 1967 riots were the third pogrom in 20 years to target Jews.
David Meghnagi, today a professor of clinical psychology in Rome, recalls the bitter memories preceding his flight from Libya in an interview with Informazione Corretta
Among my most disconsolate memories, there is a night spent burning all photos and letters from relatives in Israel. The Libyan government, after putting the Jewish community under its direct control, appointed a governmental officer to collect information about those who left the country. I cried all night for those photos: they were the only visual memory I had of my family.
I was not sure I would have met them. We were hostages. If someone had to leave, even for medical reasons, someone had to stay hostage to guarantee the other would return.
Violent attacks broke out again in 1967, after increasing hostility against Israel and the Jews: what happened?
On Friday 2 June 1967, the ulemas incited to holy war from the mosques, while meanwhile the government joined the Syrian and Egyptian initiative of celebrating a week in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. The King declared the state of “defensive war” and offered support for the liberation of Palestine. Radios reverberated everywhere that the Zionist entity had no chance to survive.
Jewish notables sent to the King a declaration of solidarity, recalling their neutrality and loyalty. We were disquieted and, as every year in occasion of the Palestine Day, the wealthiest men of the community had to give a “donation” for Palestine. Hideously maltreated, they had to pretend to be happy, hoping that would prevent further harm. We fasted; we lighted candles in honour of Rav Meir and Bar Yochai
French PM: Muslims must reject anti-Semitism posing as anti-Zionism
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stressed on Monday there was no link between extremism and Islam, as he opened a conference aimed at improving ties with France’s large Muslim community.
“We must say all of this is not Islam,” said Valls. “The hate speech, anti-Semitism that hides behind anti-Zionism and hate for Israel… the self-proclaimed imams in our neighborhoods and our prisons who are promoting violence and terrorism.”
Five months after the jihadist attacks in Paris that killed 17 people and shocked the world, the government will hold a series of meetings with top officials from the roughly five million-strong Muslim community, the largest in Europe.
The forum — expected to be attended by 120-150 Muslim community leaders as well as top government officials and ministers — will debate security at religious sites, the image of Islam in the media and the building of new mosques.
Radicalization, however, will not be among the topics discussed during the half-day long gathering at France’s interior ministry, which said putting it on the table would be “a bad message to the French and to the Muslim community.”
The Adelson-Saban coalition should be emulated by all supporters of Israel
This past weekend, much was made about the Campus Maccabees conference, hosted by business magnate and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson and held in Las Vegas to promote pro-Israel advocacy on campus and combat anti-Israel vitriol. While certain press outlets were sure to highlight the many organizations not invited to the conference – in turn producing mounds of coverage regarding the organizations that did not attend for fear of being associated with this initiative – they lost the bigger story: a partnership and friendship forged between two of our community’s most successful businessmen and leaders.
Their willingness to put their political differences aside and come together to support Israel, a topic that should unite us all, is inspirational.
I of course speak of the friendship between Adelson and Haim Saban. Saban, a leader in the Hollywood entertainment industry, is a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party and its candidates, and he has proven his loyalty to the party with the use of his “war chest,” pouring millions of dollars into political campaigns, such as President Barack Obama’s in 2012 and now Hillary Clinton’s quest to win the presidency.
Adelson, on the other hand, a man whom I have the privilege of knowing personally, is the Republican Party’s biggest donor. Yet Adelson and Saban have put their political differences aside to forge an alliance to combat the greatest threat facing our youth and our whole people: the rampant rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses being perpetuated by promoters of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement. These two pioneers of business and philanthropy have realized what matters most is that our love for Israel and its future trump all else in our list of priorities. They know that when it comes to challenging Israel’s detractors and anti-Semites, aligning ourselves with a certain political party doesn’t matter. We as a people must band together to fight our enemies. We must unite in the face of these grave circumstances to defeat the BDS movement.
And this message needs to be embraced on a smaller scale, as well as in the larger political sphere. Being a recent college graduate who was quite involved in Israel advocacy both on and off campus, I am intimately aware of the friction that exists between various student organizations.
The Two-State Solution is What Causes BDS
Then we have the Israeli “left”, the political and military elites. Their narrative of a Two-State Solution further insures BDS total “kusher-kusher” (translation: meat-meat, alluding to the fraudulent signs once placed in non-kosher Jewish-owned butcher shop windows to mislead customers into thinking that the signs said "buser kusher" - kosher meat - as the Hebrew letter for b 'ב' and the letter k 'כ' look almost the same.) legitimacy.
For how can you be anti-Semitic if Livni also says Israel is an ‘Apartheid State”? The Israeli leftist politicians and generals have convinced the world that only Israel stands in the way of a two-State Solution and “World Peace.” These Jewish messianics say we don’t even need the Palestinian Arabs to agree to a peace deal, Israel can simply leave unilaterally. Ehud Barak and Amos Yadlin, two world-respected Israel generals, tell the BDSers that Israel can unilaterally make a Two-State happen. And that it’s as easy as snapping your fingers.
What American college kid can defend himself against a BDSer who is quoting Yadlin and Ehud Barak, a former Israeli Prime Minister, a former Chief of Staff, and a former Defense Minister, who say Israel can unilaterally withdraw from Judea and Samaria and unilaterally create a PA State without anything from the other side? No Israel advocate can cogently explain why a BDS boycott shouldn’t be imposed on Israel for being the sole obstruction to “Peace.”
Finally, does anybody in the world even know exactly where the “Green Line/1967 armistice line” is? No, nobody has the slightest clue what Netanyahu is talking about when he says he doesn’t want the 'West Bank' to turn into Gaza Rocket State either. Why? If the world has no idea about the distances the rockets fired from Gaza reach, and no idea where the 'West Bank' is, then nobody, but nobody, has the slightest idea of what Netanyahu is talking about when he says the West Bank will become another Gaza Rocket State.
The Two-State Solution and the BDS movement are genetically equal. Both are predicated on the general public's lack of knowledge and basic curiosity.
Jew Flu Virus is on the Rampage
Lenin famously referred to those who work against their people’s own best interests in support of their enemies "useful idiots” – and shamefully, the American Jewish community has a large number of them.
Organizations like J Street & New Israel Fund are tools that help beat Israel over the head, whether in the media or in corridors of power.
Uzi Silber, an Israeli psychologist, wrote a few years ago about “Jew Flu”, which he described as “the virus of Jewish Anti-Semitism, and its Jewish Anti- and Post-Zionist mutations, afflicting a small but inordinately loud minority of Hebrews.”
Silber’s brilliant piece is worth revisiting. Here are some quotes about "Jew Flu":
“Its modern symptoms are a rejection of Israel's identity as a Jewish state and a dismissal of its right to defend itself militarily, while embracing the goals of its nihilistic Arab enemies. Those infected with the virus wildly inflate Israeli sins real or imagined, while excusing or rationalizing Palestinian anti-Semitism and outrages against Jews.”
Boycotters Call Trips to Israel ‘Apartheid-Day Propaganda Tricks’
The statement singled out the South Africa Israel Forum, one of the organizers of trips to Israel, which it said were barred in 2012 from taking local mayors and officials to Israel.
“They now seem to be targeting students after having failed at a government level,” the groups said, obviously upset that private citizens are exposed to anyone having a different opinion.
Instead of countering with an argument, the Israeli boycotters are resorting to thought control.
A senior body of the ANC decided last December to “join the call for a cultural, academic and education boycott of Israel including travel bans for members and leaders of the ANC.”
The South African groups on Friday maintained that even a private citizen flying to Israel on a “holiday propaganda trip” is in “violation of the policies and positions of Palestinian civil society [who] call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.”
It sounded like the old Soviet Bolsheviks or the Gestapo with a stern warning:
Participation in these holiday propaganda trips to Israel, like participation in holiday propaganda trips to Apartheid South Africa, will be viewed as the crossing of a picket line, and will be met with disciplinary action….
BDS Movement is ‘Extremely Painful’ for South African Jewish Community, Says Leader (INTERVIEW)
The anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in South Africa has become “extremely painful” for the country’s Jewish community, the national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies said on Tuesday.
The movement, known by its abbreviation BDS, is “trying to abuse South African history and the South African story for [its] own narrow purposes,” Wendy Kahn told the Algemeiner.
“We don’t see any benefit whatsoever in the BDS strategy,” she added. “All it’s doing is further polarizing the parties in the Middle East, and it’s causing hostility between fellow South Africans.”
Kahn, who Haaretz once called “urbane and non-confrontational,” said the organized Jewish community would “challenge [BDS] at every turn.”
She said recent incidents, such as a protest outside the South Africa-Israel Expo in March in which activists carried signs saying “Israel is the devil,” threw rocks and broke equipment, have proved that the movement calling for a boycott of Israeli products, culture and academia is “becoming intimidatory and threatening to South African Jews.”
Rasmieh Odeh Says Israeli Courts Are like Nazi Germany
Attorneys for Rasmieh Odeh appealed her naturalization fraud conviction with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday, saying pre-trial rulings allowed in questionable evidence and improperly prevented testimony about claims she was tortured by Israeli authorities in 1969.
Odeh, an associate director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, was convicted last November and sentenced to 18 months in prison in March, though she is free pending the appeal. She also will be stripped of her citizenship and faces removal from the United States.
Her 2004 application to become an American citizen – and her claim she was never arrested, convicted, or imprisoned – was the key element in the case. Odeh was convicted, and confessed to, a 1969 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine bombing of an Israeli grocery store that killed Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.
Rasmea Odeh’s victims – then and now
On a windswept hillside terrace in the massive Har HaMenuchot Cemetery on the western edge of Jerusalem, 1969 terror victims Edward Joffe and Leon (“Arie”) Kanner are buried together, next to Edward’s parents Roslyn and Hyman Joffe.
The cemetery itself reflects the history of the conflict.
Har HaMenuchot was opened in 1951, after Jordanian troops seized “East” Jerusalem after Israel declared Independence in 1948. Jordan’s conquest included not only the Jewish Quarter of the Old City but also the Mount of Olives Cemetery, the traditional Jewish burial ground. The Jewish Quarter was ethnically cleansed of Jews and its Jewish landmarks, while Mount of Olives Cemetery was ransacked, its tombstones used for building projects and many of its graves paved over for roads. Har HaMenuchot was built in response.
My wife and I visited the Joffe and Kanner graves at Har HaMenuchot on June 1, 2015. [Featured Image]
The cemetery is so huge, so seemingly discombobulated, so logistically impenetrable even when armed with plot and section numbers, that it took us almost an hour to find the graves. We were accompanied by a local Rabbi who helped us say prayers. We placed small stones on the graves, in the Jewish tradition. And we were overcome with emotion.
The inscriptions on the graves are simple, and nearly identical.
The Financial Times again channels its inner Electronic Intifada
A recent article at FT (Israel, a new kind of war, June 12) by their Jerusalem correspondent John Reed begins with the following mischaracterization of the BDS movement:
Though a decade old, BDS’s message — that Israel should be isolated economically for its occupation of Palestinian lands — has appeared to come into its own in recent weeks. A series of votes by overseas groups condemning Israel and a high-profile flap between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and Orange, the French telecoms group, have contributed to the sense that BDS is becoming a force to be reckoned with.
First, regarding Reed’s characterization of the aims of the movement, it needs to be stressed that most BDS advocates are not merely concerned with the Israeli “occupation of Palestinian lands.” In fact, BDS leaders have been quite open in their opposition to the continued existence of a Jewish state within any borders.
Second, Reed’s claim that BDS “is becoming a force to be reckoned with” is inadvertently undermined by the very example he uses – the “flap” between Netanyahu and Stephane Richard, the CEO of French telecom company Orange. Though the row began when Richard’s comments in Egypt earlier in the month were (falsely) interpreted as supportive of BDS, it ended with Richard traveling to Israel at the behest of Netanyahu, apologizing and clarifying that he “loves Israel, will continue to invest in the state and is “radically” opposed to BDS.
So, the example cited by Reed, to set the tone for his piece claiming a string of BDS victories, was actually not a BDS victory at all.
BBC WS ‘The History Hour’ breaches impartiality guidelines with Palestinian activist
Of course Hidalgo refrains from asking Khoury whether or not nineteen years of Jordanian occupation also “chokes your spirit” and – in breach of BBC guidelines on impartiality – she also refrains from adequately ‘summarising the standpoint’ of her interviewee.
Hidalgo: “Samia Khoury still lives in Beit Hanina in eastern Jerusalem and is a trustee of the Palestinian university Birzeit which was founded by her aunt in the 20s.”
In fact, Nabiha Nasir founded the Birzeit School for Girls in 1924. Only in 1976 – whilst under Israeli rule – did the establishment officially become a university.
In addition to being a trustee of Birzeit University, Samia Khoury (like several of her fellow trustees and staff at that institution) is also a member of the Advisory Board of PACBI – Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. She is also an activist with Sabeel – a Palestinian Christian campaigning organization which promotes the eradication of the Jewish state by means of the ‘one state solution’ and dabbles in supersessionism and ‘liberation theology’. Like PACBI, Sabeel is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
In other words, Samia Khoury is not just some random Palestinian grandmother who does voluntary work for a university. She is a veteran activist with a specific political narrative to promote and – according to BBC editorial guidelines – that fact should have been conveyed to listeners to this programme in order to enable them to put her account of ‘history’ into its appropriate context.
Why did Diane Rehm fall for an anti-Semitic hoax?
For the answer, I think we need to look at what passes for “mainstream” discourse in circles that are highly critical of Israel and its American supporters.
Consider that in 2005, when he was perhaps the most influential progressive commenter on the Middle East, University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole wrote this of Bush Administration official Doug Feith: “Having a Likudnik as the number three man in the Pentagon is a nightmare for American national security, since Feith could never be trusted to put US interests over those of Ariel Sharon.” Feith, according to Cole, “played fast and loose with the truth … on behalf of on behalf of a non-American political party, the Likud coalition of Israel.”
Or go back to 2007, when Yale University professor David Bromwich took an innocuous statement by Elliott Abrams to the effect that Jews, as a minority religion bound by a unique covenant, stand somewhat apart from the rest of society unless they live in Israel, and claimed that Abrams had written that Israel is a “country with which he confessed himself uniquely at one,” an interpretation that it’s hard to believe a professor of English could come up with honestly.
Or consider from 2012 the willingness of several prominent liberal bloggers to call American supporters of Israel “Israel-firsters,” and, in some cases, to continue to defend doing so even after it was revealed that the term had migrated from “white nationalist” sites to the “progressive” anti-Zionist left.
NPR Owns Up to Diane Rehm's 'Bungled Interview with Bernie Sanders'
Rehm said the idea of dual citizenship, “did not seem to me to be such an outrageous question because people have it.” But, she added, “The terrible mistake was not realizing that these lists had been put up by anti-Semitic groups.” None of her producers, she said, were aware of the lists or their source.
But pulling unsubstantiated information from the Internet is just part of the problem. (An important part, to be sure: Mark Memmott, NPR’s standards editor, has weighed in on that aspect with a reminder that “The old newsroom adage ‘if your mother says she loves you, check it out,’ applies to information on the Internet as well.”) Jeff Brodin, a listener in Phoenix, Ariz., objected to a part of her apology that troubled me, as well: “She says she is glad to help quell the rumor. What? She is the one who published the rumor on the air as fact!”
I agree. Far from putting anything to rest, Rehm has now taken a falsehood from the fringes of the Internet and moved it into the mainstream conversation. In a harsh commentary, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo wrote yesterday that to ask an incendiary question just so it can be knocked down is essentially “dignifying, laundering hate speech.”
Greece Outraged Over Desecration of Athens Holocaust Memorial for Children
Greece’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday denounced the recent desecration of a commemorative plaque in Athens dedicated to Greek Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust.
The memorial, located next to a children’s playground at Pafou Square, was defaced earlier this month with a swastika and Nazi SS signs.
“We express our outrage at this offensive and bigoted act of desecrating a monument that is dedicated to the memory of innocent victims of the horror of Nazism and fascism; to the memory of Greek children of Jewish descent,” said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras. “This barbaric act is an affront to Greek society, and we condemn it unequivocally.”
“The Greek government and the whole of Greek society express their solidarity with our Jewish fellow citizens and stand together with them in the common struggle for more tolerance, for eradication of intolerance and racism, and for the marginalization of the isolated elements who cultivate hatred and divisiveness within Greek society.”
Greek official compares IDF to Nazis, sparks firestorm
A Greek government official has angered the Jewish community by comparing Israel Defense Forces actions in the Gaza Strip to Nazi crimes. The official made his remarks during the dedication ceremony of a memorial to the Jewish Holocaust victims from the port city of Kavala in northeast Greece.
The official, from the Independent Greeks party, a member of the government coalition, said that atrocities had not ended with the end of World War II and "had continued and are continuing today."
As an example, he mentioned the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the plight of the Kurds and the "siege" on Gaza.
Madrid official quits over Holocaust joke
The Madrid alderman for culture under fire for posting a joke about the Holocaust on Twitter four years ago has resigned.
Guillermo Zapata resigned Monday after opposition parties and the umbrella group for Jewish communities in Spain demanded he step down, the Spanish daily El Pais reported. Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena, who took office on Saturday, accepted the resignation.
Zapata, who previously worked as a script writer and novelist, assumed his post last week after his left-wing party won in municipal elections in May.
In 2011 he tweeted, “How do you fit five million Jews into a 600? In the ashtray.”
The figure 600 is a reference to the SEAT 600, an iconic Spain-made 1970s urban automobile that weighed less than 600 kilograms, or 1,200 pounds. Bodies of murdered Jews and other victims of Nazism were regularly burned to ash in crematoria that the Nazis set up in extermination camps across Europe.
Dutch stall on survey showing anti-Semitism in Muslim youth
The Dutch government postponed indefinitely the release of a survey suggesting that anti-Semitism is more prevalent among Muslim youths than Christian ones.
The Verwey Jonker Institute submitted the synopsis for its government-commissioned report on anti-Semitism among youths last month for publication to the Dutch Social Affairs Ministry, which has kept it under wraps past the May deadline and ordered a review of the data, the De Telegraaf daily reported Monday.
De Telegraaf nonetheless reviewed a copy of the synopsis, which said that 12 percent of Muslim respondents expressed a “not positive” view of Dutch Jews compared to 2 percent among Christian respondents.
Asked by De Telegraaf why the report has not been released, a ministry spokesman said the ministry needs “clarification, for example, on how to explain some results.” The ministry declined to elaborate, De Telegraaf reported.
The Telegraaf report did not say how many youths were questioned in the survey by the Verwey Jonker Institute, which is among the country’s leading authorities on conducting scientific research on social issues.
The final frontier: Israel signs agreement with UN space group
Israel has signed a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to develop protocols and systems to use satellite technology for life-saving activities on Earth and beyond.
Among the projects will be the use of satellites to take photos of areas where natural and other disasters take place, and the distribution of photos to rescue agencies for use in locating and identifying survivors. In the future, Israel may contribute to deep space missions.
The agreement, which came during the fifty-eighth session the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in Vienna last week, was, said Minister of Science, Technology and Space Danny Danon, “a small step into the UN agency, and a big step for Israel.”
“This agreement,” he added, “proves that Israel is a leader in space technology, and that it has a great deal to contribute to humanity in this area, especially in satellite development and research.”
In January, top UN space official Simonetta Di Pippo visited Israel, where she got a first-hand look at Israeli satellite technology, coming away “very impressed,” Danon’s office said.
High-tech Israeli helmet aims to prevent flight crashes
An Israeli-developed smart flight helmet will detect emergency situations in which pilots are about to lose consciousness, and take control of the plane in order to prevent disasters.
The state known as G-LOC, which occurs from excessive and sustained g-forces draining blood away from the brain, can cause pilots to momentarily faint as the flight takes off, and recoup as they regain a horizontal state.
Those short lapses have long been the cause of flight crashes around the world, as planes plummeted to the ground before pilots had a chance to regain control.
That is, until LifeBeam, a small Tel Aviv-based start-up, in cooperation with the defense ministry, finally came up with a solution, Channel 2 reported Sunday.
Sensors in the new Cannary system medically monitor the pilot and provide real-time detection and alert in case of any distress signals during the flight. An additional sensor, attached to the pilot’s forehead, measure his oxygen level, blood flow and heart rate.
Qualcomm co-founder to give Technion record $50 million donation
A co-founder of the Qualcomm Corp. will give $50 million to The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology — a record gift from an American donor.
The gift from Andrew Viterbi, the creator of a mathematical formula used in many of today’s mobile devices, to the Haifa-based university was announced on Saturday during the Technion Board of Governors meeting in Israel. Viterbi, a distinguished visiting professor of electrical engineering at the university, is a Technion board member.
“Technion electrical engineering graduates are in large part responsible for creating and sustaining Israel’s high-tech industry, which has been essential for Israel’s economic success,” he said.
His Viterbi Algorithm allows rapid and accurate decoding of numerous overlapping signals, helping to eliminate signal interference.
 Muslim hero in Paris kosher market attack honored in NY
The Muslim employee who saved Jewish shoppers during a terrorist attack on a Paris kosher supermarket was honored in New York on Friday. Lassana Bathily was presented with an official city proclamation by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for his actions in the Hyper Cacher siege on Jan. 9.
Bathily, an immigrant from Mali, was in the basement when a gunman entered the store. He hid 15 Jewish shoppers, including a 2-year-old child, in the supermarket freezer.
De Blasio called Bathily a “real hero” who “stood up to protect human life even when his own life is in danger,” the New York Daily News reported. The meeting took place at the Islamic Center of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn.
Bathily was flown in to be recognized at the annual scholarship dinner of the New York Police Department’s Muslim Officers Society, according to the newspaper.
Earlier in the week, the American Jewish Committee presented Bathily with its Moral Courage Award at its 2015 Global Forum in Washington, D.C.
Michael Douglas in Israel for award
Actor Michael Douglas is in Israel to receive the Genesis Prize, a $1 million award given annually to someone considered to be a role model in the global Jewish community and who can inspire the next generation of Jews.
Founded by the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel, the Genesis Philanthropy Group — which is made up of five Russian Jewish businessmen — and the Jewish Agency, this year’s Genesis Prize will be awarded to Douglas on Thursday, June 18, by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A spokesperson for the Genesis Prize said Douglas is being honored for his professional achievements and fhis passion for his Jewish heritage and the Jewish state.
India's Modi to visit Israel: Putting speculation to rest
At Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s completion of one year in power, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to visit Israel in the coming year. Ever since Modi assumed office as prime minister, there has been speculation that he will be the first Indian head of state to visit Israel.
Modi’s close ties with Israel date back to his tenure as chief minister of Gujarat wherein he expanded trade relations between the two countries to include partnerships in solar power, pharmaceuticals, water management, water recycling plants, agro-research and advanced agriculture technologies. Israel emerged as a key partner in facilitating Gujarat’s tremendous economic growth under Modi’s leadership.
Even though India’s defense, security and economic relations with Israel have been on the upswing since the 1990s, Modi has been credited with elevating the strategic dimension of India-Israel partnership by bringing relations “out of the closet.”
His outreach to Israel facilitated greater diplomatic engagement between senior-level officials of both countries. Modi set the ball rolling by scheduling a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2014. Sushma Swaraj met with her Israeli counterpart, minister Avigdor Liberman, in New York. In an effort to cultivate ties beyond government officials, Modi also met with the American Jewish Committee before his address to the India diaspora in the US.
Israeli Rock Music’s Spiritual New Sound
Musicians are defining this new Israeli spiritualism. In 2007, rocker Meir Banai’s stunning album “Hear My Cry” offered soft, almost reluctant rock versions of Yom Kippur prayers of Jews from Muslim countries, using traditional melodies as the starting point for his own compositions—and won the equivalent of Israel’s Grammy award for the best composer. In 2009, the hard rocker Berry Sakharof released a groundbreaking album called “Red Lips,” a meditation on mortality whose complex Hebrew lyrics were written by the 11th-century Spanish Jewish poet Solomon ibn Gvirol. The themes of vulnerability and judgment resonated in a country under siege, and both albums became runaway hits.
Since then, this trend—fusing devotional music with rock—has become perhaps the most creative force in Israeli music. In recent months, collaborations among leading musicians have produced albums featuring the songs of Eastern European Jewish mysticism, the prayer poems of Libyan Jews, religious hymns sung by European Jews during the Holocaust and several versions of Yemenite prayer.
Israeli musicians are also composing their own prayers. For the most part, the new songs provide a landscape of inner struggle and longing, not a soundtrack of religious triumphalism. Israeli musicians are creating a contemporary spiritual language that is about doubt as well as faith, of searching no less than finding.
“Answer me,” Ehud Banai—Meir’s cousin—sings into the silence of his phone, a metaphor for God’s silence: “Maybe it’s the wrong number, maybe a malfunction / Maybe we should hang up and try again.” Mr. Banai, 62, is this generation’s most beloved Israeli balladeer. In recent years, he has begun wearing a yarmulke. He appeals to listeners not to label him or place him “in a drawer” as he searches for peace between the religious and secular parts of himself.
OneRepublic in Israel: Apartheid? A video Roger Waters should watch
This is what OneRepublic lead singer Ryan Tedder had to say about Israel.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East where every man and woman, no matter what their color, race, religion, beliefs or sexual orientation, is free to live his life, have full freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.
Arab citizens of Israel enjoy more freedom and more rights than the Arabs of any of the 22 Arab states.
Performing in Israel does not mean being against the Palestinian people.


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