Friday, June 19, 2015

From Ian:

 Caroline Glick: Israel’s great opportunity
On the other hand, even in their weakness the Druse present Israel with a great opportunity.
By helping them we can signal to others – for instance the Kurds – that we can be trusted.
Israel can help the Druse without spending too much time coordinating its steps with the US, because the Druse have no great regional significance. Given our own Druse community, our moral duty and national interest in ensuring their survival is self-evident.
Unlike the Druse, the Kurds are viewed as pivotal regional actors for the US and for other regional powers. Today, the greatest obstacle preventing Israel and the Kurds from working in alliance against common foes is the Obama administration. Under the administration, the strategic assumption of US Middle East policy is that the US should strengthen and curry favor with Iran.
Iran fears an independent Kurdistan in Iraq and Syria because of the likely impact such a state will have on Iran’s large Kurdish minority.
Consequently, the US is refusing to directly arm the Kurds in their war against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Yet in spite of America’s denial of support, the Kurds are pushing forward in their campaign against Islamic State. This week they cut off Islamic State’s supply chains from Turkey to the terrorist group’s capital in Raqqa by taking control over Tel Abayid close to the Turkish border.
If a year and a half from now a new administration in Washington changes the US’s regional policy, and if, during this period, Israel manages to form and maintain an alliance with the Druse, the Kurds will recognize that Israel is willing to do the hard work of building and maintaining alliances again.
Hajj Amin Husseini's Anti-Semitic Legacy
The implications of the mufti's claim that the Jews were successful in killing Muhammad despite God's warning imply that Jews possess the power to defy God's will. Such a blasphemous thought would be worse than Christian accusation of deicide. Jesus overcame death, and by his suffering, death and resurrection brought salvation to his community of believers; however, Muhammad not only remained dead but also failed to appoint his successor due to the rapid progression of his illness and his sudden, untimely demise. Consequently, the umma was split by different claimants to authority, and the dispute eventually led to the fiercest internecine strife in the history of early Islam, known as the fitna.
While the mufti's Palestinian successors would not tire of reiterating this story (as late as November 2013, Palestinian Authority minister of religious affairs Mahmoud Habbash claimed that Yasser Arafat was poisoned by the Jews just as they had poisoned the Prophet Muhammad to death), most contemporary Islamic scholars have a different understanding of this hazardous theology; inasmuch, the accusation that the Jews killed the Prophet has largely faded as a theological theme with mainstream Islamic commentary viewing the Jews, along the Qur'anic derision, as "adh-dhilla wa-l-maskan," translated by Yehoshafat Harkabi as "humiliation and wretchedness." Bernard Lewis further explained:
The outstanding characteristic, therefore, of the Jews as seen and as treated in the classical Islamic world is their unimportance. ... For Muslims, he might be hostile, cunning, and vindictive, but he was weak and ineffectual—an object of ridicule, not fear. This image of weakness and insignificance could only be confirmed by the subsequent history of Jewish life in Muslim lands.
Departing from this conventional view, the mufti did not interpret contemporary events as a new historical phenomenon to which Muslims should respond in a new, ad hoc manner. Instead, he traced Jewish accomplishments of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, and the alleged Jewish power and ambitions, to supposed Jewish activities at the time of Muhammad. In doing so, he created a precedent, later followed by prominent Islamic actors in the Middle East and elsewhere, particularly after Israel's stunning military victories over its Arab adversaries. Thus Hamas accuses the Jews of "wiping out the Islamic caliphate" by starting World War I and of starting the French and the communist revolutions, establishing "clandestine organizations" and financial power so as to colonize, exploit, and corrupt countries. Likewise, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Muhammad accused Jews of ruling the world by proxy. Attributing such gargantuan accomplishments to the Jews, many of them at the expense of Muslims, presents a theological innovation with an immediate political consequence. Linking early Islamic with medieval Christian depictions of Jews results in their portrayal as "a demonic entity," thus making their "extermination legitimate."
Richard Behar: When Hitler Keeps Me Awake
I received a request from an award-winning journalist to connect on LinkedIn. He is Islamabad-based, and he describes himself as South Asian Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Post, and a contributor for Al Jazeera, Gulf News and Deutsche Welle. He is also, according to a bio, working for a group called the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong, and he serves as the president of a group called Consortium for Press Freedom (CPF). He defines himself as an expert on Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Naturally, I was curious about his accomplishments as a reporter— they include a prestigious journalism honor in 2012 from Syracuse University called the “Mirror Award”—so I spent a few minutes last night exploring him on the Internet. Wish I hadn’t, because what I found kept me dead-awake for hours ruminating about relatives of mine (including foster grandparents) who were murdered in Nazi death camps.
See, the reporter who wants to LinkIn with me, Malik Ayub Khan Sumbal, tweeted something last summer (August 2nd) that feels to me like a kick in the face—only worse; far, far, far worse: “Let me #‎Salute to #‎Hitler # Gaza #‎jews #‎Israel #‎jewish.” Below it: A poster of Hitler that read “LET ME SALUTE TO HITLER THE GREAT. He said ‘I would have killed all the jews of the world, but I kept some to show the world why I killed them.’”

JPost Editorial: Blood covenant
The Druse are in danger and Israel has an obligation to help them. On June 10, Jabhat al-Nusra or the Nusra Front, a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaida, killed at least 20 Druse in Qalb Loze, a village in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.
Six days later, two Syrian soldiers serving at the Syrian Druse town of Hader, about three kilometers from the Israeli Druse village of Majdal al-Shams, killed their Druse commander before defecting to the Nusra Front.
The next day, Islamists and other rebel forces seized a strategic hilltop north of Hader and have essentially surrounded the village, home to some 25,000 Syrian Druse.
UN peacekeeping forces have once again proved their uselessness when they are needed most. The no-man’s zone they once manned has been all but abandoned, leaving the Druse to fare for themselves.
There is also concern regarding the fate of Druse living in Jabal al-Duruz, or Druse Mountain, the region to the south of Damascus and north of the border with Jordan that is about 80 to 100 km from the Israel-Syria border.
Members of Israel’s Druse community, which makes up about 1.5 percent of the total Israeli population, are rightly worried. This week, thousands of Israeli Druse demonstrated in Isfiya and Majdal Shams.
Mordechai Kedar: The Druze and the Middle East's Minority Pact
The Druze are not the last of these problems, because in Syria, Iraq and every other place the Jihadists have conquered, each minority lives in fear of being the next on line. This is a perfectly justified fear, and encompasses the Druze, Yazidi, Christians, Alawites, Zoroastrians, Bahais, Sabians, Mandeans - all of them non-Muslim, but also the Shiites, the Hezbollah and their people, all of them living in fear of the Sunni Jihadists.
Israel must work to establish the "Middle East Minorities Pact" which will place all these minorities under one umbrella, even if they once fought each other, as the Shiite Hezbollah and Jews do. The logic behind this is the fact that they are all facing the same enemy and must work together to defeat it. If they don't, they will weaken themselves by constant infighting and bring about their own end.
This may seem delusional, but as times goes by, it becomes clear that this largest and expanding enemy will force all the minorities to join forces against it.
Israel must find a secret channel for talking to Hezbollah, the most problematic of the minorities because of its blood soaked past and its hatred for the Lebanese Shiites.
We are left with only one question; what will Iran's stand be vis a vis a coalition of minorities which has Israel on the same bench as Hezbollah? In my opinion, Iran will not prevent the coalition from forming because it is going to be the only way to ensure the continued existence of the Shiites in Lebanon, a group whose continued existence is more important to the Iranians than the destruction of Israel.
 JCPA: Pan-Arabism versus Pan-Islam – Where Do the Druze Fit?
Israel is also a country of minorities, and as a true democratic state, it grants the minorities the right to preserve their identity and be proud of it.
Thus, the Druze, the Christians, and the Circassians are part of the diverse Israeli mosaic, along with those Sunnis who want to be part of it. Some Israeli Christians’ process of identification with the state goes hand-in-hand with a process of withdrawal from Arabism and a new self-definition granted in Israel, “Aramaic.”
It is here that the real reason behind the campaign to delegitimize Israel is found: very much like the Kurds, the Druze, or the other communities, Israel is regarded by pan-Arabists, of which the PLO is part, as a state that can gain legitimacy only if it identifies itself as an Arab or Muslim state, and since it cannot meet that condition, it has no legitimacy.
The Israeli mosaic resembles the multicultural and multi-ethnic mosaic of old Syria. To promote the integration of its non-Jewish groups and prevent the unraveling of its internal fabric, Israel must define its role as a Jewish state that extends its hand to the diverse groups in Syria and in the Middle East as a whole, groups of which Israel is itself an integral part. Its self-definition as a Jewish state is part of the self-definition of the Kurds, the Christians, the Druze, and others within the region as a whole.
Report: Israeli Druze Organizing Medical Efforts to Help Syrian Refugees in Golan
Druze doctors and medical practitioners from Israel’s northern Golan and Galilee regions are gearing up to establish a field hospital intended for Druze communities under fire in the fighting in neighboring Syria, Israeli NRG news reported on Wednesday.
Amid demonstrations on Wednesday in support of providing assistance to Druze in Syria, residents from villages throughout North Israel called on coreligionists with medical backgrounds to prepare to provide aid to their Syrian coreligionists, who number in the hundreds of thousands.
Youni Mariah, an emergency medical assistant, told NRG many Druze were already heeding the call.
“The idea is to receive our brothers in Syria and to provide them with professional medical treatment because they lack medical equipment and personnel,” he said. “For now we have a few dozen volunteers, and we’re organizing in an official way and calling on anyone with such a background to volunteer and join us.”
New UN General Assembly President: Old Wine in a New Bottle
The United Nations General Assembly elected Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark as president of its upcoming 70th session, which commences this September. Mr. Lykketoft has served in various government positions, including as Denmark’s foreign minister and finance minister, and most recently as the speaker of the parliament. Based on his past record, he will likely be a cheerleader for the wealth redistributionist ideology prevalent at the United Nations, as well as adding to the UN’s chorus against Israel. There may be a new General Assembly president, but he fits the established UN mold to a T.
“What is now in front of Member States is the final stretch towards adopting a universal, people-centred, transformative development agenda that addresses the struggle of our lifetime,” the General Assembly president-elect told the delegates whom had elected him. How would he envision accomplishing such a transformation? We “need to redistribute wealth and income,” he explained to reporters following his General Assembly remarks.
Mr. Lykketoft is a member of Denmark’s left wing Social Democrats party, which he once led. He admires Karl Marx, declaring two years ago that “certain parts of Marx’s analysis is very relevant in the present.”
Mr. Lykketoft likes to promote Denmark’s own egalitarian model, which he helped spearhead. In a publication entitled “the Danish Model,” he wrote that “disposable incomes are distributed more evenly in Denmark than in most other countries in the world.” He boasted how better Denmark was than the United States in reducing income inequality, and appeared to be proud of the fact that “Taxes and social expenses constitute twice as big a share of the gross national product in Denmark as in the USA.” He neglected to mention that Denmark’s suicide rate is higher than the U.S. suicide rate as well.
Mr. Lykketoft also has demonstrated an animus against Israel. For example, as Denmark’s foreign minister back in 2001, he declared that the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi by Palestinian terrorists was no worse than Israel’s targeted killing of terrorists. In a glaring display of moral relativism, he claimed that “all these types of murder, including what is called Israel’s extrajudicial killing of Palestinian leaders,” are equally harmful.
J Street's Unreported Pro-BDS Partner -- 'Jewish Voice for Peace'
Washington Jewish Week coverage (“Five objectionable words,” June 3, 2015) of J Street legislative efforts to remove anti-boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) language from trade legislation failed to identify a key ally of the purportedly “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group. That J Street ally was Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), described by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as “the most influential anti-Zionist group in the United States.”
ADL also notes Jewish Voice for Peace's support of the BDS movement and its role in providing the anti-Israel effort a “veneer of legitimacy” and camouflage against identification as antisemitic (“Profile: Jewish Voice for Peace,” Nov. 18, 2014, ADL).
Reporter Melissa Apter noted J Street “rallied its supporters last week, urging its members to call their member of Congress to decry language amended to a free trade bill.” Washington Jewish Week reported that J Street objected to language attached to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill seeking to prevent European trading partners from engaging in boycotts of the Jewish state. J Street claims on its Web site that it will not “participate in targeted boycott or divestment initiatives,” but argued the congressional language was “pro-settlement” and thus apparently exempt.
J Street asserts that Jewish communities living on around 5 percent of land held by Israel since its successful defense against Arab wars of aggression in 1967 and 1973 are somehow responsible for lack of Arab-Israeli peace. This overlooks the numerous violent attacks against the Jewish state—before those wars and since—as well as numerous Palestinian statements, including that of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who declared in a 2009 television broadcast that he would “not accept” Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. It ignores too Palestinian refusals of “two-state” offers in 2000, 2001, 2008 and 2014.
But J Street was not the only organization to call for the elimination of the bipartisan trade language—it termed the provision “objectionable”—designed to prevent anti-Israel discrimination.
Jewish Voice for Peace also called for the elimination of the anti-BDS wording. JVP places the onus for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israel and engages in one-sided attacks and demands.
New York State Assembly Passes Anti-BDS Resolution
The New York State Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution rejecting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, becoming the latest state government to do so.
The resolution, which was introduced by Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (D-Brooklyn) and was co-sponsored by 74 other members, rejects BDS activities that “undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution and the right of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination.”
“This Legislative Body is concerned that the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its agenda are damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East,” the resolution says.
The resolution also recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and says the U.S. and Israel share “a common bond rooted in the values of freedom, democracy, and equal rights.”
Coca-Cola Exec Deployed to Quell BDS PR Disaster Seemingly Anti-Israel
Earlier this week we learned that the CEO of the Cola-Cola franchise in the Palestinian Authority, Zahi Khouri, has publicly called for a boycott of Israel, in violation of Coca-Cola’s policy and recent Congressional amendments to trade laws.
While the expected the response from Coke would be to encourage Khouri to put a lid on it, the company’s response was somewhat different.
In response to complaints lodged by outraged consumers that Coca-Cola’s Arab-American-Palestinian partner supports the economic and legal warfare method of BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement, Coca-Cola deployed an executive to defuse the situation.
But a little research revealed that the Coke executive who responded, Michael Goltzman, is himself harshly and outspokenly critical of Israel. And not only that, but his response belies actions taken by Coca-Cola on Khouri’s divisiveness.
US Journalist’s Expose on Ireland BDS Riles Irish Pro-Israel Group
The video features Horowitz, who also contributes material to The Howard Stern Show, making fake sales pitches as if he represents Iran, North Korea or Sudan. He discusses those countries’ human rights abuses, such as forced labor and genocide, to politely interested shop owners. Ultimately, Horowitz asks each store whether it does business with Israel, and all three shop owners emphatically ensure Horowitz they do not.
Horowitz said he chose Ireland to produce the piece on BDS because of “hundreds of businesses” that boycott Israel. He noted the Irish harbor town of Kinvara in Galway county, where business owners voted as a collective in 2014 to boycott Israeli products, apparently over the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last summer.
Horowitz said he was subject to a lot of “soft-antisemitism” while on assignment in Ireland, with many ordinary people on the street responding to his questions by saying they believed “Jews control the media in America, or control the money supply.”
“BDS is certainly a problem here,” said Irish4Israel. “It is also a problem in the U.S.A. and U.K. and indeed across Europe. The issue is the delegitimization and portrayal of Israel as a country that is worthy of boycotts. If we wish to tackle BDS we must invest time, energy and money into getting Israel’s message across and grassroots groups such as Irish4Israel are in the perfect place to do that.”
Why the Left Declares ‘We Are All Hezbollah Now’
Britain’s National Union of Students (NUS) offers a compelling case study of the British (and perhaps wider, European) Left. There can be no better snapshot of the moral black hole into which many progressives have fallen than two decisions by the National Executive Council of NUS. First, in October, a vote not to support a motion condemning the unspeakable atrocities committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; then just last week, a vote to support a boycott of Israeli goods.
My own political activism in the U.K. began with NUS and student politics. I attended my first NUS Conference as a callow 19-year old. In those days, the executive council was run by more moderate figures who opposed the far-left groups. The most problematic of the latter for Jewish students was the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), a revolutionary Trotskyist party that was (and is) fanatically anti-Zionist. Raised as I was in a liberal home, I had believed until then that to be on the left meant to be opposed to discrimination and racism; that as a Jew, my allies against anti-Semitism would invariably be found on the left.
I was disabused of that notion by the SWP who, whilst ostensibly backing NUS’s “no platform” policy for racists and fascists, supported and indeed fought for the right of Islamist speakers on campus because they railed against Israel and the United States. On one occasion, the SWP defended a public appearance by a member of Hizb’ut Tahrir, a particular noxious organization who, along with the usual racism and incitement to violence, was also a published Holocaust denier. This is the Far-Left that now runs NUS.
The BDS movement is failing. Part 1
The BDS campaign (boycotts, sanctions and divestment) against Israel represents a malevolent, reactionary political force which is antisemitic in effect if not intent, in that it singles out Israel (and only Israel), the world’s only Jewish state and the state in the region with the best human rights record. Additionally, despite claims in the media to the contrary, prominent BDS leaders support violence and openly oppose the continued existence of the Jewish state within any boundaries.
Fortunately, however, the campaign is by and large failing miserably, despite the oxygen campaigners are given by pro-Palestinian media outlets. This blog’s new periodic review of BDS failures should provide the reader with rebuttals to routine claims by anti-Israel activists that the movement is gaining traction and achieving its desired result of isolating and economically crippling the state of Israel.
Political BDS failures
- The Tennessee General Assembly became the first state legislature in the U.S. to formally condemn the BDS movement.
- South Carolina became first US state to take action against anti-Israel boycotts.
- The Illinois State House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that prohibits state pension funds from including in their portfolios companies that participate in BDS.
- US Congress is considering legislation that “would require U.S. negotiators to discourage trading partners from boycotting Israel or Jewish settlements in the West Bank”.
Spanish Sports Writer Claims ‘Jewish Lobby’ Pressuring Barcelona to Ditch Qatar Sponsorship
Spanish sports commentator Xavier Bosch wrote a column this week claiming a “Jewish lobby” and the Mossad were influencing the FC Barcelona soccer club.
In his latest op-ed for Mundo Deportivo, Bosch accused lobbyists with “unlimited money and inordinate influence” of trying to “control the world and its international institutions.” He warned against allowing a “Jewish lobby” to put pressure on Barcelona to end its $200 million shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation.
Additionally, he said “Mossad agents” had infiltrated the club for years, perhaps referring to reports that former Barcelona president Joan Laporta hired detectives to spy on players. Laporta is again running for president of FC Barcelona in elections scheduled for July 18.
Spanish pro-Israel group Hatzad Hasheni said it was “despicable” that Mundo Deportivo — the oldest sports publication still in circulation in Spain — would “provide Xavier Bosch with a platform to recite … the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” It called Bosch’s lobbyist and Mossad accusations “plain wrong.”
The group said it was “appalled and hurt” that Deportivo opted to publish the piece.
Bosch responded to claims his article was antisemitic, calling the allegations “a malicious misinterpretation of my piece.”
After Conversion, Israel Now Focusing Diaspora Outreach Solely on Jenna Jameson (satire)
After adult film actress Jenna Jameson told reporters she would be converting to Judaism, the Israeli government has announced it will redeploy all its resources to convince the porn star to move to the Holy Land.
“Previously, our diaspora outreach program aimed at appealing to a broad swath of Jews in Europe, the United States and the former Soviet Union,” explained Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett. “Now, however, we have decided to instead narrow our efforts and try to recruit one Jew at a time, starting –just by coincidence – with Ms. Jameson.”
While Israelis were thrilled by the prospect of seeing Jameson on Tel Aviv’s beaches, organizers of the anti-Israel BDS movement were despondent upon hearing the news of her conversion. Many said they would no longer be able to continue boycotting Jewish and Israeli products if it meant they had to stop watching her videos.
“I don’t know what to do,” admitted Omar Barghouti, the founder of the BDS movement and a life member of the Jenna Jameson fan club. “While I’ve always dreamt of the collapse of the Jewish state, I’m not going to throw away my ‘Up and Cummers 11’ VHS just for the Palestinians.”
After Israeli video mocks journalists, reporters prove its premise
At first I thought the latest video by Israel’s foreign ministry — the one that lampoons media coverage of last year’s Gaza war — was unfunny, amateurish, and useless. Needless to say, it wasn’t my cup of satire.
After seeing the overheated reaction by many journalists, though, I must admit to a slight change of heart. It may still be true that the animated clip, which cast foreign reporters as myopic and oblivious to the realities of the region, was ill-conceived. But it turns out that the video, whether by design or not, was actually useful in that it exposed some of the strange beliefs, blind-spots, and self-justifications relied on by prominent journalists, whose angry reactions in fact underscored the truth behind the video’s central premise: that media coverage of Israel deserves criticism.
Note, for example, the response by Robert Mackey, a news columnist at The New York Times. While dismissing the video’s message that coverage of Israel is flawed, Mackey oddly describes Israel’s now-defunct Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs as the “ministry of Hasbara — responsible for what Israel calls public diplomacy and its critics call propaganda.”
Watchdog Slams AFP for ‘Completely Unreasonable’ Report on Death of Palestinian Firebomber
AFP ran the contested story on June 14 under the headline “Israel Army Kills West Bank Palestinian.” The article began saying that Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian man “in the occupied West Bank” by hitting him with their jeep. Only in the third paragraph is it explained, in a single sentence, that the Palestinian died after he threw a Molotov cocktail at the vehicle. The driver attempted to steer away from the ambush but the vehicle overturned onto the attacker.
Failing to mention a vital piece of information early on in the report is AFP’s attempt to highlight “notions of Israeli wrongdoing” and also minimize the role Palestinians play in their own suffering, Dexter Van Zile, a media analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), told The Algemeiner.
“What happens is that people omit what happened before the Israelis act,” he explained, “and in this instance it was clearly an instance of – do they honestly think the driver of the truck put his own life at risk by intentionally flipping an armored car over onto a Palestinian? Because that’s what the narrative seems to indicate and that’s just completely unreasonable.”
BBC’s Evan Davis misleads on BDS, proportionality in warfare
He then went on to introduce the topic of ‘disproportionality’ but, rather than using the opportunity to relieve audiences of some of the misinformation on that topic propagated by BBC journalists during last year’s conflict and others, Davis added to it. It is embarrassingly obvious that Davis (apparently along with his editors, who surely must have vetted the questions before they were asked) either has absolutely no idea what that term really means in the framework of the Laws of Armed Combat or elected to mislead viewers on the topic.
Davis: “The UN, others, plenty, think there is disproportionate force used by the Israeli army for the threat against Israeli civilians.” […]
Davis: “What is the ratio of the families losing children?”
Livni: “We are not targeting civilians.”
Davis: “I know you’re not targeting but what is the ratio of civilian to… untargeted killed by the Israelis relative to those killed in Israel by Hamas?”

What Davis is doing here is promoting the false notion that ‘proportionate’ means equality in death or suffering. That, of course is not the definition of the term in the context of war and the fact that he makes no effort to inform his audiences what the term really means is ample indication that the simplistic take-away message audiences are intended to receive is that Israel must be in the wrong because fewer Israelis die.
NBC Anchor Brian Williams to Immigrate to Israel (satire)
Although NBC Network has stated that defamed anchorman Brian Williams will be allowed to return to work after having been caught lying, the anchor himself, self-titled “Mr. Chin”, has told relatives not to look for him on screen because he is immigrating to Israel. The move is considered surprising by many, given Williams’ Catholic upbringing and frequent participation in Christian missionary missions throughout Africa and Latin America. Asked about the reasons for his move to Israel, Williams responded: “I am going where people will gladly believe me and will not cast a doubt over everything I say”. On a recent speaking tour of Israel, Williams regaled audiences with stories about his participation in the pre-1948 Jewish underground, his seminal speech at the first Zionist Congress in 1897 and his legendary tour of the Middle East with Mark Twain in 1867.
Israeli television’s Channel 2 Director has issued the following reaction to Williams’ planned immigration: “We look forward to offering Williams employment as an anchor on our evening news. It is our understanding from initial talks with him that he speaks fluent Hebrew, Arabic and Sanskrit and was one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. It will be an honor to employ him”.
Police charge Croatian soccer federation over on-field swastika
Police filed charges on Thursday against the Croatian Football Federation and two officials over a swastika that was apparently scrawled on the pitch during Croatia’s 1-1 draw with Italy in a Euro 2016 qualifier.
The charges were filed with a court in Split, on the central Adriatic coast, for negligence and lapses in the organization of the June 12 match, the state-run HINA news agency reported.
If the Split tribunal confirms the charges and if found guilty, the federation could be fined up to 250,000 kunas ($37,000) and the officials up to 50,000 kunas.
HINA identified the officials as federation executive president Damir Vrbanovic and Zoran Cvrk, who is in charge of security.
3,000th Bnei Menashe touches down in Israel
A new group of immigrants from India arrived in the Jewish state on Thursday, the latest in a series of flights to Israel for the self-proclaimed descendants of one of the biblical Lost Tribes of Israel.
Seventy-eight Bnei Menashe arrivals landed at Ben Gurion Airport, according to Shavei Israel director Rabbi Michael Freund, whose organization has worked with the community and was instrumental in organizing the aliyah. The flight was the first in a series of three; the expected arrival of the other two planes next week will bring the total of newcomers to approximately 250.
Thursday night’s group brought the number of Bnei Menashe immigrants to Israel to more than 3,000.
The last major arrival of Bnei Menashe took place in November.
Shavei Israel has turned to a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the group’s immigration.
With Israeli help, agriculture to be Goa’s next Make in India story
Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) president Narayan Bandekar said that the state would do well to tap crop, post-harvest technologies and water management from a nation known for world class agri-technology
After defence, Goa's next Make in India footprint could be in the agriculture sector even as industry captains and politicians in the state look to learn lessons from Israel's agriculture success story.
Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) president Narayan Bandekar said that the state would do well to tap crop, post-harvest technologies and water management from a nation known for world class agri-technology.
"Of course, agriculture is an area which we are looking to start a Make in India project with Israel's help," Bandekar told IANS after a meeting here with Israeli consul general in Mumbai David Akov.
He also said that GCCI was discussing a few agriculture-oriented projects with the state government and that a final decision would be taken soon.
Israel-Norway volcano project gets large grant from EU
The European Union is pitching in to support a joint project by Israel’s Elbit and Norway’s Nicarnica Aviation that will enable commercial airline pilots to cope with volcanic ash – a common phenomenon that has resulted in numerous near-accidents, delays, and a near-total shutdown of European airspace for almost a week in 2010.
The two firms last year signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the AVOID (Airborne Volcanic Object Imaging Detector) system to help pilots avoid flying into ash-contaminated areas, and ensuring that they can continue to fly safely if they do come across ash. Last week, the EU’s Eurostars research program approved funding for the project.
To create AVOID, Nicarnica integrated its ash detection system into Elbit’s ClearVision sensor-based vision system. The sensors capture and display on a screen terrain and airport lights in darkness and reduced visibility, integrated into a global terrain database using Nicarnica’s technology detect ash and integrated the information into the Elbit database, thus showing pilots where the ash clouds are – and are not, enabling them to reroute flights to avoid getting caught up in a cloud.
Artist gets his teeth into TA bombing site
The derelict Dolphinarium building, located not too far north of the Jaffa port, has long served as an inviting canvas for local graffiti artists. But perhaps none was as ambitious as Dede, who has turned the structure into a giant set of wind-up teeth.
“Without any doubt the biggest art challenge I have ever had,” he wrote on his Facebook page recently. “This piece was hard to achieve. Stormy nights, high rollers from the ground… But it had to be done, I have had this vision for almost a year now.”
The Dolphinarium was built in the 1980s and for several years served — as its name suggests — as a dolphin aquarium. But low revenue caused it to close in 1985, and it was later transformed into a discotheque.
It achieved infamy in June 2001 when a Palestinian suicide bomber attacked the nightclub, killing 21 teenagers and injuring 132 people. The club closed in 2002.
Mobli launches new visual search engine
Moshe Hogeg, founder of the social network Mobli and the popular app Yo, introduced his newest product at a recent launch event in Tel Aviv.
The search engine, called EyeIn, will focus on visual information and utilize social networks in ways existing search engines do not. It will find and deliver users the most relevant visual content from global events and current trends in real time, Hogeg said.
Hogeg had the idea after getting cheap tickets to a concert a few years ago.
“I sat at the back, could barely see the stage. What I saw was hundreds of hands holding phones taking photos,” he said. “People take those photos every time, so potentially we have eyes everywhere. What we wanted to do is connect those eyes.”
In first, Israeli app helps kids beat cyber-bullies
The internet abounds with dangers for unwary users and is especially perilous for children whose inexperience renders them vulnerable to hackers, bullies, and pedophiles or worse. In response, an Israeli nonprofit called Red Button has produced the world’s first app that lets anyone, especially kids, easily report negative web behavior.
The Red Button app installs itself as a service on Android devices, and there is also an add-on version for popular web browsers like Firefox and Chrome. If an individual comes across something or someone they are uncomfortable with – such as a person who is cursing, threatening, intimidating, or inappropriately discussing personal issues – all they have to do is press a button to begin a process that can lead to taking the offending site down or arresting the offending individual.
The data gathered by the app – web and IP address, site ownership, identifying information of the offending individual – is forwarded to a group of volunteers at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), who collate the information and file complaints with the appropriate sites and/or authorities. Those can include website owners, ISPs, internet associations, and even police. The objective is to force sites to remove or ban users engaged in negative behavior, and, where possible, to track them down and make them own up to their behavior.
Currently the app works only in Israel, but Red Button is working to develop partnerships with volunteer groups in other countries to administer reports for users there, as well.
2015’s Biggest Israeli Tech Exit Yet: Chinese XIO Group Buys Out Lumenis for $510 Million
Chinese investment fund XIO Group has agreed to acquire Israeli medical technology developer Lumenis for $14 per share in cash, or an aggregate $510 million, making that the highest tech exit for an Israeli company this year so far.
XIO Group paid a 16 percent premium on NASDAQ-listed Lumenis’ closing stock price on Wednesday, and 20% above its IPO price in early 2014, according to Israeli economic newspaper Globes.
“This acquisition is a strong recognition and vote of confidence in Lumenis’ achievements and its employees, and I am excited about the future prospects of Lumenis,” said Lumenis CEO Tzipi Ozer-Armon.
“We have created a very bright and promising future for Lumenis by building a robust pipeline of innovative products, a strong sales team in each region, and by enhancing our global brand recognition. I am confident that we will continue to thrive and reach new heights together with XIO Group,” she said.
Lumenis’ noteworthy developments are in laser technology, intense pulsed light and radio frequency.
Chris Brown to perform in Israel, Demi Lovato in talks for Tel Aviv shows
Hip hop artist Chris Brown will arrive in Israel for a concert at the Rishon LeZion Amphitheater on July 27, while American pop star Demi Lovato is in talks to perform two concerts in Tel Aviv's Menora Mivtachim Arena.
Lovato's management has been in talks with Israeli producers over the past few weeks, but they have yet to sign a deal to bring the X Factor judge to the Holy Land. The Menora Mivtachim Arena has already been booked for two concerts, in any case.
Israeli producers said Lovato is expected to arrive in Israel in 2015, probably around November, or next year at the very latest.
Michael Douglas accepts doubled Genesis Prize
There was singing, there was dancing, there was a personal message from Barbra Streisand.
There were also comedian Jay Leno, model Bar Refaeli and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on hand to present Michael Douglas with the Genesis Prize 2015 at a lavish ceremony on Thursday night.
The prize, awarded by the Genesis Foundation, was increased to $2 million from $1 million, Leno announced at the end of the ceremony, thanks to the addition of another philanthropist to the group of Russian-Jewish donors who founded the group as a partnership with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jewish Agency.
Douglas seemed genuinely moved by the now-$2 million award, which he said he plans to give to the Jewish Funders’ Network and to Hillel International, the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
“I am a Jew,” he said at the start of his acceptance speech. “Those are four words of pride. My Jewishness is as deep as my genes,” he said, referring to his 97-year-old father, Kirk.
He thanked his father, and his son, Dylan, for reminding him of his Jewish roots, and spoke of his father’s second bar mitzvah at age 80, and his son’s, last summer, in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu: The Jewish People No Longer Bow their Heads
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening presented actor Michael Douglas with the Genesis Prize, in a special ceremony at the Jerusalem Theater.
The Genesis Prize is awarded annually by the Genesis Prize Foundation, in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, to individuals who have accomplished major life achievements, and are advocates for the Jewish community and Israel. Douglas, said the Foundation, fits both criteria.
Speaking at the ceremony, Netanyahu said, "Israel is a beacon of technology and innovation. It is a beacon of liberty and freedom and life in a region entirely submerged in darkness and tyranny.”
“Democracies are tested under fire. And we have been tested since day one. However, we maintain our values,” he continued. “We built a vibrant democracy, a democracy where Jews and non-Jews are equal under the law, in the one and only Jewish state. Jews can come here and live as free people and they can come here from all over the world. All Jews can feel at home here. And as Prime Minister of Israel, I am committed to preserving the unity of the Jewish people and will continue to oppose any attempt to divide the Jewish people and to delegitimize one community or another. Everyone will be welcome here - Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox. All of them.”
“The great irony is of course that Israel, that free, vibrant and incredibly dynamic democracy, is the most maligned on earth,” the Prime Minister said. “Most of the resolutions adopted by the UN Human Rights Council deal with Israel, more than North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Syria. Such a flux of unjust criticism, every day and every hour, eventually takes the form of a self-evident truth. That is the nature of defamation. And under this attack, it is very easy to bow down. But I want to tell you that the days in which the Jewish people bowed down their heads are gone. Since the establishment of the Jewish state, we resist. It’s not that the attacks on Jews stopped with the creation of the State of Israel, but that we have the ability to resist. This is something new, it's something our people did not have for centuries.”

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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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