Thursday, June 18, 2015

From Ian:

For Pro-Israel Advocates, It’s Time to Start Playing Offense
Victories aren’t usually depressing, but recent headlines about Israel include those such as: “Israel Left Off U.N. List of Parties That Kill, Injure Kids,” “Palestinians Abandon Bid to Ban Israel From FIFA,” and a couple of headlines about failed motions for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses. Surely all of these “victories” are better than the corresponding defeats. But still, we can and should do better.
The problem with these victories is that they reflect a much deeper problem in the strategy of pro-Israel advocates. We tend to play defense far more than offense. Some psychologists might enjoy explaining just why Jews, in general, might prefer this approach, but it’s something we must overcome. What’s wrong with this strategy was beautifully laid out in Ze’ev Maghen’s famous piece, “How to Fight Anti-Semitism.”
“A man calls you a pig,” he writes. “Do you walk around with a sign explaining that, in fact, you are not a pig? Do you hand out leaflets expostulating… upon the manifold differences between you and a pig?”
Of course not. For to do this is already to cede the crucial first move to your enemy. It’s to allow that your pig-hood is even a legitimate question in the first place.
Playing defense grants the possible legitimacy of the attacks on us.
It’s time for us to go on offense.
 The Biggest Mistakes Pro Israel Advocates Make #9: How To Avoid Seeming Holier Than Thou
We need to end religious-based arguments once and for all. Not only are they detrimental, but they are misleading, as the true nature of Zionism is purely secular.
That being said, I think that if you weave in the religious argument with the indigenous argument (i.e. that the Jewish religion arose from the Jewish culture, which had its genesis in the land of Israel) it can bolster it. That being said, arguing entirely from a religious standpoint is, in my opinion, completely futile.
Even if we may believe religious Zionist arguments, we should avoid them at all costs as they convince nobody but those who are already convinced, and they do more harm than no argument at all among secular people.
So what arguments can we use instead?
1) Israel is the indigenous homeland of the Jewish People. Cite archaeology rather than the bible. If archaeology proves the bible, you can use that evidence as the basis for any biblical claims you might make.
2) The Arabs as colonizers (turn their “settler colonialism” argument on its side)
4) Continuous Jewish presence in the land of Israel (also the fact that there has only been a Jewish state on that land, everything else was a colony of some larger colonialist entity).
PMW: Antisemitic Sheikh praises PMW for exposure of his hate speech
"Allah puts them [PMW] at our service," says Antisemitic teacher of Islam Sheikh Khaled Al-Mughrabi about Palestinian Media Watch, after PMW subtitled his hate speech and uploaded the videos to YouTube and PMW's website.
"The fact that this group [PMW] chose to come uninvited to our lesson, and follows our lessons and publicizes them all over the world and puts them on its websites in all the countries of the world - since they chose this - first, praise Allah for this, Allah puts them [PMW] at our service... They themselves chose to expose their true self, which Allah exposed." [Al-Msjed Al-Aqsa YouTube channel, June 16, 2015]
Earlier this month, the Sheikh defended his blood libel about Jews using the blood of non-Jewish children for making Passover matzah bread, presenting it as "advice" to Jews and an attempt to "save them from Hell."
Now, too, he explains that his previous teachings are "the truth" about the Jews "as Allah has exposed it." He even explains that he breaks this truth to Jews "gently", whereas to his Muslim audience he speaks "about them as they really are":

MEMRI: Emirati Writer: Instead Of Believing In Conspiracy Theories, Arabs Must Find Common Ground With Their Foes, Such As Israel And U.S., In Order To Secure Their Interests
In a June 6, 2015 article for the English-language UAE daily Gulf News, writer Dr. Khalifa Rashid Al-Sha'ali decried the Arab fondness for conspiracy theories, which he said is shared by the elites, the masses, and the media. For example, he wrote, the Arabs once thought that the "Zionist entity" and the U.S. were their supreme enemies, only to discover one day that it is actually possible to cooperate with them. Such conspiratorial thinking, he said, was responsible for many of the Arabs' defeats and problems – including the loss of Palestine in 1948 – because conspiracy theories provide a convenient excuse for Arab governments to explain away their failures. In addition, conspiratorial thinking also renders the Arabs unable to compromise with their enemies in order to secure their supreme interests, as other nations are able to do – such as the U.S. and Iran, for example, in their current relations. Al-Sha'ali concluded that the Arabs must find common ground with those they believe are their foes, in order to "spare [their] societies the scourge of wars, destruction, and invasions."
"I wonder when we Arabs will get rid of our 'conspiracy complex'! Since the First World War, we have believed that both the East and West are conspiring against us. The period following the Second World War set in our brains that all things evil that befell us were the result of the conspiracies hatched by others. As a result, Palestine was lost and its people were scattered. Some immigrated and others remained in occupied Palestine; some were forced to become citizens of the Zionist entity. Many wars and battles followed to chase Palestinians into neighboring countries or any other location where they might get political breathing space.
"We were convinced that the reason for all this was a conspiracy against us, and that our governments were completely innocent of all the woes that befell Arab communities. We were also sure that our governments were helpless — just like us — and unable to counter this conspiracy. After Palestine, other homelands were lost; Arabs were subjected to displacement, expulsion, killings, looting, loss of national identities and passports, and rights violations by others.
When The Mossad Stole 1060 Shoes From Morocco
And the 530 children who were wearing them at the time.
And here are the shoes of two Mossad agents who ran the operation.
This is the real “Mossad”. Across all of it’s history, and despite the impressions you may have from Spielberg movies and other reality based fiction, The Mossad has devoted more than half of all its resources to rescuing Jews.
We can laugh at the #MossadStoleMyShoe jokes about Asghar Bukhari and his delusions of extrodinary grandeur in thinking he matters enough for The Mossad to move his shoes but the truth is they have important work to do. (While we ridicule him, be aware this clown is a serious hater of Israel and the Jews and not to be taken lightly.)
On Tuesday night in Jerusalem I attended a book launch. The book is the definitive history of an amazingly daring mission to take Jewish children out of Morocco. Just the children with the parents staying behind with only a hope that they might, one day, be allowed to leave.
The book is named after the operation and the operation is named after the code name of the main agent: David Littman. Both David and his new, young wife and his baby daughter, took on immense personal risk to rescue the children. At the time he did not even fully realise who he was working for. Operation Mural is an amazing story. The book is the collected testimonies of many involved, it contains newly declassified, original documents and the stories of the children that were brought, via Switzerland, to Israel.
The book was started by David Littman but he passed away before it was completed. His daughter and widow carried on the work and it has just been published.
David Singer: "The BDS Hoax is set to Swallow Many More Well-intended People into its Jew-hating Vortex"
The EU position on the illegality of those Jewish settlements has now been totally discredited following the recent decision by Norway’s largest pension fund – KPL – to sell its shareholdings in Heidelberg Cement AG and Cemex SAB de SV – whose two Israeli subsidiaries are currently operating quarries established after 1967 in Area C of the West Bank.
Under the 1995 Oslo Accords Israel has sole civil and security control in Area C – comprising 60 per cent of the West Bank where no more than 4 per cent of the West Bank’s Arab population currently lives.
KPL first sought advice on the legal situation pertaining in the West Bank from the Oslo-based International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) – an independent institute focusing on good governance, peace and conflict, and international law.
The advice completely refutes the EU’s long held position. Senior ILPI Partner Gro Nyusten – former Norwegian Foreign Affairs staffer, former Associate Professor of International Humanitarian Law/the Law on Armed Conflict at the University of Oslo, from 2008 Associate Professor at the Defence Staff University College in Oslo and former chair of the Council on Ethics of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global – advised KPL that:
(i) international law does not provide “unambiguous answers”
(ii) it was “highly probable” that the operation under Israeli licence of the subject quarries was inconsistent with the requirements of the law of belligerent occupation
(iii) a case on quarrying activities in Area C went all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court -but was rejected because the court concluded that it raised issues that could only be resolved through political channels and not through the court
(iv) Occupation law did not prohibit Israel from making use of real property – but Israel’s role was restricted to that of a caretaker that must restore such property to the “occupied power” once the conflict has ended. Significantly Ms Nyusten failed to identify that the “occupied power” was Jordan – whose annexation of the West Bank in 1950 was declared illegal by every country except Great Britain and Pakistan.
(v) The issue of whether Israel was entitled to open new quarries which did not exist before 1967 – was “controversial”.
(vi) The 1995 Oslo Accords (Oslo II) “presume” the ultimate transfer of Area C from Israeli to Palestinian control through so-called final status negotiations. Ms Nyusten however did not point to any provision in the Oslo Accords that supports this “presumption”.
The ‘Court Jew’ Controversy Re-Erupts
Last week an issue that has simmered for some time in private conversations burst out into the open—in a very unpleasant way. At the Jerusalem Post conference in New York on June 7, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew offered a stirring defense of the White House’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran—and was nearly booed off the stage mid-speech. It wasn’t civil or nice of the audience to do this, as many pundits have already noted.
Then again, many would say it’s not very nice of the Obama Administration to keep trying to sell the currently configured Iran deal to the pro-Israel community as if it’s good for Israeli security, which is what Lew was attempting to do at the conference. Some tried to slough it off as a predictable occurrence in an aberrantly unfriendly venue. “Well, of course U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was heckled at a Jerusalem Post conference,” Tweeted the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. “Have you read The Jerusalem Post lately?”
Others, however, saw in it the latest iteration of a centuries-long historical drama, centered around Jews in power. Lew—unlike the secretary of state, secretary of defense, national security adviser, or even vice president—has little say inside the White House’s national security cabinet. As treasury secretary he technically manages sanctions on Iran, but this is a job that calls for him to implement this policy—not come up with or even influence it. So, it was hard not to see that, when thinking of how best to go about convincing Jews of Obama’s Israel-related policies, the administration decided to turn to someone that this audience might believe: another Jew. And not just any Jew. A Jew who walks with the stamp of official approval. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
UN chief singles out Israel in debate on kids in armed conflict
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon singled out Israel on Thursday in a Security Council debate on children killed or injured in armed conflicts, drawing fire from Israel’s top diplomat.
While Ban mentioned war zones such as Iraq, Syria and South Sudan, Israel was the only country he called on to take action to protect children in war zones.
“Last year was one of the worst in recent memory for children in countries affected by conflict,” the UN leader said, adding he is “deeply alarmed at the suffering of so many children as a result of Israeli military operations in Gaza last year.”
“I urge Israel to take concrete and immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices, to protect and prevent the killing and maiming of children, and to respect the special protections afforded to schools and hospitals,” he added.
Israeli envoy slams ‘misconduct’ in UN report on children in war
Israel’s envoy to the United Nations has accused the author of a UN report on children and armed conflict of “improper conduct” in preparing the document, claiming that she consistently ignored relevant information provided by Israel and focused disproportionately on the Jewish state compared to other war zones.
Ambassador Ron Prosor sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon listing his grievances with the annual report penned by Algerian legal expert Leila Zerrougui, who is the UN’s special representative for children and armed conflict, Reuters reported on Thursday.
In his missive, Prosor raised “deep concerns regarding the improper conduct — at every working level — of the office of… Zerrougui in the process of drafting and producing the report.”
Prosor also accused Zerrougui of “biased conduct against Israel” and maintained that Israel did not violate international law during the summer 2014 conflict in the Gaza Strip, when the IDF battled against Hamas and other Palestinian militias for 50 days.
Open letter on giving the Palestinian Return Centre recognised NGO status
I am writing to you today to ask if you would be happy to make written representations on my behalf to Baroness Anelay, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for the UN.
The issue which I’m concerned about that I would greatly appreciate if you could raise on my behalf with Baroness Anelay is the forthcoming UN vote on giving recognised NGO status to the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC). The vote itself is taking place between 20-22 July at ECOSOC (The UN Economic and Social Council) and the UK has a vote at this specific UN Council.
The PRC is banned by Israel because there is strong and credible evidence to back the Israeli Government’s claims that it’s Hamas’s organisational branch in Europe with leading members of the PRC being senior Hamas Leaders who promote Hamas’s agenda in Europe. I find this particularly concerning considering that it is Hamas’s stated aim to destroy Israel and within its charter it treats the antisemitic forgery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as fact. Furthermore, on many occasions both recently and further in the past, senior Hamas officials have made vile antisemitic statements.
At a time when antisemitism is on the rise in the UK and across Europe as a report I produced for the centre right think tank Parliament Street highlighted (which I link to here) it would be a sorry state of affairs if the UN gave any credence to the PRC due to its role within Hamas of spreading its hateful antisemitic creed across the length and breadth of Europe.
After canceling, German city reinstates Breaking the Silence exhibit
The exhibition by the Israeli NGO “Breaking the Silence” will be shown, “in an appropriate context” in the spring of 2016, according to a statement released by the municipality. A group of local non-governmental groups dealing with the Middle East has been tasked with developing “a concept that will do justice with the complex situation in the region,” the statement [German] added.
The exhibit, which features testimonies of Israeli soldiers accusing the army of mistreating Palestinians, was originally planned to feature in a commemoration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel later this month.
But after discussions with Israeli diplomats and representatives of the Cologne Jewish community, who argued that the presentation of voices extremely critical of the IDF was one-sided and could lead to anti-Semitic sentiments, Mayor Jürgen Roters last week decided to cancel the exhibition. Roters was told that an exhibit of Israeli reservists accusing the army of serious crimes would be misplaced in the framework of a celebration of the jubilee of diplomatic ties.
“The municipality took these points from various partners seriously,” it stated, arguing that there was not enough time to place the exhibition in a more nuanced context before the June celebrations, and therefore decided to postpone it by a few months.
Counter-boycott push beats back divestment in Sweden
A Swedish supermarket chain has reversed a decision to boycott Israeli products following a counter-campaign by activists in the Scandinavian country.
Three stores in the Swedish city of Varberg affiliated with the national Coop chain have canceled their embargo on products from Israel. The Varberg Consumer Association had voted in March to impose the boycott, according to Swedish daily Expressen. The decision was made when only 22 of the organization’s 16,000 members were present, Swedish Radio reported.
The stores imposed a boycott of settlement goods four years ago, but were urged by a pro-Palestinian petition to extend that embargo to all Israeli imports.
The vote went unnoticed until it was written about in a local newspaper, the Israeli news site Ynet reported, prompting a strong response from local pro-Israel activists and the Israeli ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachman.
“We didn’t argue on the basis of Israel’s political positions, rather on the basis of fair trade and against discrimination of any country,” Bachman told Ynet.
Palestinian economic annihilation
A boycott against Israel would cause an endemic economic crisis for the Palestinian Authority and hemorrhaging of jobs for the 69,000 Palestinians employed by Israeli firms. A recent RAND Corp. study found that an independent Palestinian state stands to gain $50 billion over the next 10 years under a two-state solution. Consequently, there are enormous potential economic and resulting social benefits of treating Israel as a partner for peace.
This logic — the desire to build economic cooperation rather than economic annihilation that BDS engenders — has led to legislation in Pennsylvania's General Assembly from both sides of the aisle: Democrat state Rep. Steve Santarsiero has introduced House Bill 1018 to bar state funding to universities that boycott or divest from Israel and Republican state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf has introduced a resolution that condemns boycotts of Israel and incidents of anti-Semitism — as they are increasingly connected.
For these reasons, Americans of all backgrounds have come together to reject the BDS movement and its despicable true aims. President Obama, our elected leadership on both sides of the aisle, leading academic and cultural figures, as well as student governments, leaders of industry and religious communities recognize that peace in the Middle East requires cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.
If Americans wish to play a role in bringing the parties toward true peace, we need to work toward economic cooperation, mutual understanding and collaborative programming to create an atmosphere of reconciliation. The BDS movement, unfortunately, directly opposes this cooperation.
US Lawmakers Introduce Resolution Condemning Boycott of Israeli Universities
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a new measure in the U.S. House of Representatives condemning resolutions or policies promoting boycotts of Israeli academic institutions and scholars by American universities or scholarly associations.
The resolution was introduced by U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla) and was co-sponsored by Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Kevin Boyle (D-Pa.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), and Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.).
“The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses has unfairly singled out Israel, our closest friend and ally in the extremely volatile Middle East,” Curbelo said in a statement.
Rep. Curbelo added that “academic boycotts eliminate the possibility of open exchanges of ideas” and that “American institutions must be able to engage in academic exchange with Israeli institution.”
Publix Supermarket Chain Investigating BDS Vandalism of Israeli Products at Miami Store
A Miami supermarket chain said it was investigating reports that Jewish products at a Miami store were vandalized on its shelves.
“Please note that our store manager has been notified [of the damaged products] and they are investigating into this situation,” the Publix supermarket chain tweeted on Tuesday.
The supermarket’s announcement came after a photo of a Kedem product apparently from a North Miami Beach store was posted to Twitter, with a mock-up “Occupation Facts” sticker pasted on the front. Kedem is a Kosher foods product, but it is not Israeli.
The label featured a call to “boycott this product,” and among the “ingredients” listed were “collective punishments, massacres of innocent civilians, mass arrests.”
Proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement say their call for the boycott of Israeli food products, among other things, aims to put economic pressure on Israel over its policy toward the Palestinians.
Actor Michael Douglas in Israel: BDS is ‘Anti-Peace Movement’
Actor Michael Douglas called the boycott Israel campaign an “anti-peace movement” during a conversation with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky on Tuesday.
“The boycott is an anti-peace movement. The only solution that would guarantee stability for [Israelis and Palestinians] is the two-state solution,” Douglas told an audience of hundreds of young Jewish activists at the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
“I respect the fact that I am not Israeli, but I am very concerned about the attempts of boycotting Israel and I am not comfortable with the response at the moment,” he said.
He said, “I hope Knesset parties will overcome internal differences and work together” on measures to counter the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, more commonly known today as BDS.
Douglas was in Israel with his actor wife Catherine Zeta-Jones to accept the Genesis Prize, a $1 million award for an outstanding Jewish role model who excels in his field. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg received the award last year.
Michael Douglas held discussion before hundreds of young Jewish leaders

Insanity In The UK
Parliamentary answer Wednesday, 17 June 2015.
Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what financial assistance his Department has given to the Palestinian Authority and its agencies each year for that last three years for which information is available.
Total UK Government spend in Palestinian Territories over 3 years
2012/13 – £87,685,103.93
2013/14 – £93,858,767.21
2014/15 – £83,404,099.83
= £264,947,970.97
Mr Desmond Swayne answered.
Oh, that’s $416,437,272.33 or ₪1,597,303,459.24 or €369,726,079.45
BDS is Only a Small Part of the Demonization of Israel
University campuses are venues where hatred of Israel is promoted by largely identifiable groups of inciters. The hatred can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Biased teaching about the Middle East, often accompanied by prejudiced required reading material, is but one of them.
Various sources indicate that many of the inciters have either a Muslim or left-wing background. Much less is known about who finances them. Yet it is known that large sums are spent by Arab countries on grants supporting a variety of Middle East Departments and studies.
In the United States, the anti-Israeli movement on campus started around 2002 with attempts to promote divestment of Israeli securities -- and/or of shares of American companies who supply certain equipment to Israel -- by university foundations. These efforts, supported by both teachers and students, were unsuccessful on all targeted campuses.
Over the past few years, the main focus of the inciters against Israel on campus has been on attempts to boycott Israeli universities. A few boycotts were even announced by various academic associations. Most members of these academic bodies did not take the trouble to vote, which gave the inciters the opportunity to obtain a majority among those who did. One example is the American Studies Association. Its former president, Curtis Marez, did not dispute that many other countries, including other Middle-Eastern ones, have a human rights record that is comparable or worse than that of Israel. In explaining the ASA’s decision to boycott Israeli universities, Marez was reported to have said, “One has to start somewhere.” Such comments indicate the discriminatory character of the Association’s decision.
How Jewish refugees can respond to BDS
The man behind the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, has given an interview to 972 Magazine explaining the aims of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel.
"Israel's deepest injustice", he says, " is the denial of the right of return to Palestinian refugees."
Couched in the language of human rights, Barghouti is advocating in no uncertain terms the destruction of Israel by overwhelming it demographically with millions of returning Palestinian Arab refugees.
BDS is old wine in new bottles: Arabs joined Nazis in boycotting Jewish businesses in the 1930s; the Arab League declared a trade boycott of Israel. The reason why BDS has appeared to gain traction is the support of 'human-rights' NGOs, some churches and on campus.
The fundamental injustice of the BDS position is apparent if you consider that 51 percent of Israeli Jews are in Israel because the Jewish state gave them refuge from Arab and Muslim antisemitism.
BBC Trending airbrushes MPACUK
BBC Trending purports to be “the BBC bureau on the internet” and states that its mission is “reporting on what’s being shared and asking why it matters”. BBC blogger Mike Wendling opened his post with an unsourced description of Asghar Bukhari as a British Muslim ‘leader’.
“Thousands have now mocked a British Muslim leader’s comments by using the satirical slogan “Mossad Stole My Shoe” – but the man behind the hashtag says it was intended to expose anti-Semitic attitudes in Muslim communities.”
Wendling’s description of Bukhari’s home-baked organization is no less bizarre – and heavily airbrushed.
“It all began with a Facebook post by Asghar Bukhari, a founding member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committe UK (MPAC) – a UK pressure group which works to counter Islamophobia and Zionism, among other aims. He said his home was burgled, only a single shoe was stolen, and claimed it was a deliberate tactic of intimidation by Zionists.”
Given Bukhari’s long-held penchant for launching personal attacks on Muslims who do not conform to his own check list of ‘appropriate’ Muslim qualities, one might very well question the accuracy of the description of MPAC UK as an organization “which works to counter Islamophobia”. And in fact, Wendling’s account of the story includes a description of Bukari’s subsequent racist jibe at one of his regular targets – Maajid Nawaz.
Guardian letter warns UK Muslims that joining ISIS serves Israeli interests
Here’s a letter (Jihadis are waging war on Arab countries, June 17th) published in the Guardian in response to a report about Talha Asmal, who at age 17 became Britain’s youngest suicide bomber when he blew himself up north of Baghdad with a car bomb while fighting for ISIS, killing 11.
Though with most anti-Zionist conspiracy theories it’s typically at least clear what crazy accusation is being leveled, the agitprop in the letter by Messrs. Mahdi and Ramadani is so vague as to be nearly unintelligible. How does it even conceivably serve Israeli interests when Muslim Britons become jihadists and kill Arabs and Muslims in Syria and Iraq?
Of course, the other question is why Guardian editors saw fit to publish such a bizarre accusation in the first place.
Greek official slammed for saying ‘victims become bullies’ in Holocaust speech
A Greek official is accused of abusing the memory of the Holocaust by mentioning Gaza during a speech about the genocide, and saying that “victims become bullies.”
The criticism by The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a watchdog group, was over a speech that Panagiotis Sgouridis, a deputy minister of rural development, gave on June 7 in the northern city of Kavala during the unveiling ceremony for a monument in memory of the area’s murdered Jews.
Noting that atrocities continue today despite the lessons of the Holocaust, Sgouridis listed “the continuation of the extermination of the Assyrians by the jihadists, the invasion and occupation in northern Cyprus, the Kurdish issue, the blockade of Gaza, the genocidal dismemberment of Yugoslavia,” and the Ukraine crisis as examples.
He concluded his speech by saying that monuments like the one unveiled at Kavala are important “because unfortunately many times the roles switch and the victims become bullies.”
Shimon Samuels, the Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations, said that Sgouridis’ speech was “not only an inversion of the Holocaust by listing it alongside the blockade on Gaza, but also served to banalize it.”
German Jewish head to Protestants: Condemn Martin Luther’s anti-Semitism
Germany’s top Jewish leader urged Protestants to confront and condemn anti-Jewish teachings of Martin Luther, who began the Protestant Reformation.
Speaking at a conference in Berlin last week, Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said he hopes for a clear sign from the Protestant Church condemning Luther’s anti-Jewish writings, ahead of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
Luther’s statements on Jews were “not at all acceptable,” the Jüdische Allgemeine weekly quoted Schuster as saying at the June 10 conference titled “Reformer, heretic, enemy of the Jews – Jewish perspectives on Martin Luther,” which was organized by the Central Council and the Evangelical Academy.
In his voluminous 1543 text “On the Jews and their Lies,” Luther called Jews a “base” people and urged faithful Protestants to burn down synagogues and drive Jews from their homes. Luther was responsible for regulations barring Jews from working or living in his region.
Jewish Rights Group Opposes European Funding for Convention Center on Site of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery
The Simon Wiesenthal Center said it was opposed to a Lithuanian plan to seek European funding for the construction of a convention center built on top of a former Jewish cemetery in Vilnius.
“Obviously we oppose the plan,” said Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Jewish rights group’s Israel office.
“We are certain that an equally appropriate site can be found instead of disturbing the remains of deceased Jews,” he added.
Zuroff’s comments came shortly after Lithuanian Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius said his ministry was waiting for the European Commission to confirm funding for the 19.7 million euro project, which includes acquiring a now derelict building that was constructed on the Jewish cemetery about 40 years ago.
The Lithuanian Competition Council believed that declaring the site of national importance would qualify the project for European aid. Lithuania is prepared to pay the 5 million euros for the abandoned building itself, but was seeking the addition 13 million euros from the European Commission.
Among opponents to the plan are Lithuanian Chief Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, Director of the Lithuanian branch of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem Pastor Michael Maas, and major Litvak rabbis in Israel, including Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Rabbi Israel Isaac Kalmanovitz and Rabbi Tzvi Rotberg.
Report: Fearing Antisemitic Attacks, Dozens of New York Rabbis Ask De Blasio for NYPD Protection of Yeshivas
Twenty four rabbis sent a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio calling for heightened security at Jewish schools, the New York Daily News reported on Tuesday.
The letter calls for the city to support a bill that would allow religious schools to request NYPD safety agents to fit their needs.
Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov of Queens expressed concerns that antisemitism could transform into violence and be directed against Jewish students.
Last week, the NYPD noted a rise in antisemitic crimes this year so far as compared to the same period in 2014, though most of those crimes were not violence directed against individuals.
“We live in a crazy world where even our children are not safe. If you want to attack with the greatest damage, a religious school would be a target,” said Nisanov, according to the Daily News.
In huge show of support, heads of 100 major German companies to visit Israel
While many in Europe are calling for a boycott of Israel, a delegation of 100 German industry leaders is preparing for a trip to Israel to meet with top businesspeople in an extraordinary show of support for the Jewish state, marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Some of the companies to be represented in the group that arrives in 10 days' time are SAP SE, BMW, Bosch, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, Merck & Co., Inc., Mercedes-Benz and Lufthansa.
The German visitors will spend two days in Tel Aviv for events organized with the participation of the economy ministers from Germany and Israel. On the first day, they will attend an investors' conference, where they will meet industry leaders, CEOs and owners of large Israeli companies. The second day will focus on innovation, and guests will speak with cutting-edge Israeli researchers.
Israel's commercial attaché in Berlin, Hemdat Sagi, told Israel Hayom that "in recent years, Germany is becoming more and more open to innovation and more interested in what's going on in Israel. This is true both on a governmental level and a business level."
According to Sagi, "Large companies like Deutsche Telekom, Merck and SAP SE, are already conducting R&D activities in Israel. The job of the commercial office in Berlin is to bring new partners to cooperate with Israeli companies and to enjoy the interesting synergies being formed with the Israeli market."
The Terminator voices Waze navigation
Arnold Schwarzenegger will save the day and navigate you to your next destination thanks to a new collaboration between Hollywood and Waze. To celebrate the release of the Terminator Genisys film, Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Waze teamed up to give drivers around the world the ultimate voice navigation.
When Schwarzenegger booms out ‘turn left’ or ‘turn right,’ drivers will be remiss not to follow the ‘Guardian’ Terminator’s commands.
“From the first time I used Waze, I have wanted to lend my voice to it. The Terminator is the perfect machine to guide Wazers to their destinations,” said Schwarzenegger. “Every single day on social media fans ask me to record my movie lines, so now I get to bring this classic role and my charming Austrian accent into their cars.”
The Waze app and special Terminator voice commands are free of charge.
Bloomberg gives $100m to Cornell-Technion tech campus
Announcing a $100 million donation, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined his successor Tuesday to break ground for Cornell University’s new high-tech campus in New York City, a joint venture with the Israeli Technion University.
Bloomberg and Mayor Bill de Blasio toured the Cornell Tech site before announcing the gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies that will help fund the construction of the new campus on Roosevelt Island.
The first academic building will be known as the Bloomberg Center in honor of Bloomberg’s daughters, Emma and Georgina.
Bloomberg, an engineering major in college, said building a high-tech college campus in the heart of New York City was a long-term vision he had while in office that will bring “thousands of jobs.”
“New York became the greatest city in the world because we dare to dream bigger than anyone else and this project, I think, is part of that tradition,” he told the crowd.
In Israel, Michael Douglas set to receive ‘Jewish Nobel Prize’
When actor Michael Douglas learned that he had been chosen to receive the “Jewish Nobel Prize,” he pointed out a small problem: Under strict religious law, the Oscar-winning actor isn’t Jewish.
Douglas, who only recently has embraced his Jewish roots, is vowing to use the $1 million Genesis Prize to build bridges between Israel and increasingly assimilated Jewish communities around the world.
“Abraham’s tent had its flaps open and so hopefully since approximately half of the Jewish population in the world is outside of Israel, we can find ways to better understand each other and to grow together,” Douglas told The Associated Press in an interview.
Douglas, accompanied by his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, and their two children, is in Israel this week to accept the Genesis Prize. Jay Leno will host the high-powered event, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to present the award.
Michael Douglas reminisces on 50-year career, from first screen role as Israeli army driver
His Jewish heritage has gotten Douglas a lot of attention in the last couple of years, as Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones celebrated their son Dylan’s bar mitzvah at home in Los Angeles and in Jerusalem last year. He’s also spoken publicly about his own feelings about his Jewishness, having both a non-Jewish mother and non-Jewish wife. And he has repeatedly thanked his son for bringing him back to Israel.
But Douglas was at the Cinematheque to talk about his career, his thoughts about the film industry and his place in it.
Introduced by Noa Regev, the Cinematheque director, the “incomparable Michael Douglas” came in, sat down, sighed and spread his legs wide.
“This is a fringe benefit of getting the prize,” he said. “That I get to be here in front of you.”
Douglas and the moderator, Benjamin Friedenberg, moved through his nearly 50-year career, taking time to view montages from various films beginning with 1965’s “Cast a Giant Shadow,” which starred his father Kirk Douglas and scored Michael Douglas his first visit to Israel.
10 Hours of Walking in Israel as a Woman in Hijab

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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