Thursday, June 25, 2015

From Ian:

Bernard-Henri Levy: A yellow star for the Jewish state?
Is this just a detail that can be safely ignored on the grounds that BDS targets “only” the territories, the Jewish settlements being built there, and the goods that the settlers produce? This is another sucker trap.
Here, too, it is enough to read the movement’s founding declaration of July 9, 2005, which specifies that one of its “three objectives” is to “protect” the “rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.” In fact and in law, that would amount to establishing on those lands a new Arab country that could be counted on, in short order, to undergo an ethnic cleansing that would make it judenfrei.
And, finally, how can I refrain from reminding those whose memory is as full of holes as their thinking that the idea of boycotting Israel is not as new as it appears? In fact, it is older than the Jewish state, having emerged on December 2, 1945, from a decision by the Arab League, which then wasted no time in relying on that decision to reject the United Nations’ dual resolution to establish two states. Among the promoters of this brilliant idea were Nazi war criminals who had settled in Syria and Egypt, where they gave their new masters lessons in marking Jewish shops and businesses.
A comparison is not an argument. And the meaning of a slogan does not reside entirely in its genealogy. But words do have a history. As do debates. And it is better to know that history, if we wish to avoid repeating its ugliest scenes.
The truth is that the BDS movement is nothing more than a sinister caricature of the anti-totalitarian and anti-apartheid struggles. It is a campaign whose instigators have no aim other than to discriminate against, delegitimize, and vilify an Israel that in their mind never stopped wearing its yellow star.
To activists of good faith who may have been taken in by duplicitous representations of the movement, I would say only that there are too many noble causes in need of assistance to allow oneself to be enlisted in a dubious one. Those worthy causes include fighting the jihadist decapitators, saving the women and girls enslaved by Boko Haram, defending the Middle East’s imperiled Christians and Arab democrats, and, of course, striving for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Labour’s Hamas connection
Among the Labour mainstream, complacency about Corbyn has been replaced by a rising sense of anger. “He claims he is a socialist, yet the first principle of socialism is supposed to be equality,” says James Bloodworth, editor of the influential Labour website Left Foot Forward. “Is he deluded enough to think that anti-Semitic terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah care a jot for the human rights of women, of gay people and of Jews?”
Bloodworth continues: “He needs to clarify his past statements as a matter of urgency. If he still stands by the things he has said, anyone genuinely interested in human rights cannot support him.”
But he is not alone in his affection for hardline Islamists. A seam of similar feeling runs through the British political establishment, particularly on the left.
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) is a British campaign group that — according to the Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Terrorism and Intelligence Center — is affiliated to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2009, it welcomed the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh as its guest speaker at its annual conference; and it has long enjoyed the patronage of MPs.
At a PRC event held at Parliament in 2013, Corbyn took the stage alongside Baroness Jenny Tonge, who was forced to resign from her position in the Liberal party after saying that if she were Palestinian, she “might just consider” becoming a suicide bomber; and Lord Nazir Ahmed, who after causing a deadly road accident by texting behind the wheel, blamed his prison sentence on a Jewish conspiracy.
A surprising number of other British politicians, including Andy Slaughter, Sir Gerald Kaufman and Crispin Blunt, have visited Hamas leaders in Gaza, and some — George Galloway included — have made sizable donations to the terror group. Now that Corbyn’s star is rising, this loose collective of pro-Islamist MPs may have a new representative at the top table. (h/t Yenta Press)
 Landmark anti-BDS law passes final Senate legislative hurdle
After weeks of legislative drama, a trade bill containing provisions opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel cleared its final legislative hurdle Wednesday afternoon. The anti-BDS language, passed as part of the controversial Trade Promotion Authority legislation, is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, who had pushed Congress to pass the trade bill as soon as possible.
Two amendments opposing BDS in Europe – one sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin and Republican Sen. Rob Portman and the other by Republican Representative Peter Roskam and Democratic Representative Juan Vargas – were included in a trade authorization package that was considered must-pass legislation for the administration.
The president needed Congress’s vote to authorize him to negotiate trade deals with so-called “fast-track authority,” but ten days ago House Democrats turned on the president and defeated a key portion of the trade deal package.
After quick legislative maneuvering last week, House Republicans passed the authorization part of the bill – the part that the president needed most urgently and that Republicans tend to support – and then passed the revised House version back to the Senate for approval. On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate gave the controversial legislation its final approval, sending trade authorization to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
Roskam: If you want free trade with the U.S., you can't boycott Israel




Europe’s Jews decry ‘beast’ of anti-Semitism overtaking continent
European Jewry is all in the same boat, and that boat is slowly but surely sinking. That, at least, was the impression from a roundtable conversation Tuesday at the Jerusalem Press Club with leaders from 25 of the continent’s Jewish communities.
During the hour and a half lunch in a picturesque hall overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City, even those leaders who claimed their countries are without anti-Semitism today were pessimistic about the future of Europe. The obliviousness to a looming Nazi regime pervasive in 1930s Jewish communities was referenced, as were the increased Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) efforts that have taken over Scandinavia and elsewhere.
The 30-odd leaders were assembled under the banner “A Time for Action” for the fifth Israeli Jewish Congress (Hakhel) Gathering and Solidarity Mission to Israel of senior European Jewish leaders. The IJC was founded as a conduit for Diaspora-Israel dialogue in 2011 by Russian businessman Vladimir Sloutsker, a former senator in the Russian Federation Senate.
Among the intensive three days of events, the leaders were taken to the Knesset on Tuesday morning. There they met with Speaker Yuli Edelstein and other senior ministers and MKs, and addressed a special emergency hearing on anti-Semitism by the Diaspora Affairs Committee.
David Singer: European Union Risks “Jew-hater” Label
No matter what spin the EU uses to justify any such discriminatory labelling – the EU will be seen to be actively supporting the 2005 Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel – whose manifesto states:
“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel … We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel …”
“These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

The BDS campaign regards the ending of all trade and economic relations with Jews living in Judea and Samaria as just the “first step” in its campaign of racial vilification, denigration and delegitimisation designed to ultimately dismantle the Jewish State.
Shock Poll: 51% of U.S. Muslims Want Sharia; 25% Okay with Violence Against Americans
The Center for Security Policy released a poll Tuesday that should give all Americans pause. The results show that a startling number of American Muslims, our fellow citizens, agree that violence is a legitimate response to those who insult Islam. A full majority of 51% “agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.”
According to the just-released survey of Muslims, a majority (51%) agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.” When that question was put to the broader U.S. population, the overwhelming majority held that shariah should not displace the U.S. Constitution (86% to 2%). …
Even more troubling, is the fact that nearly a quarter of the Muslims polled believed that, “It is legitimate to use violence to punish those who give offense to Islam by, for example, portraying the prophet Mohammed.”

A full 25% of those polled agreed that “violence against Americans here in the United States can be justified as part of the global jihad.”
Former Obama advisers warn against emerging Iran deal
In a public statement issued to the press Wednesday, the group said the deal being negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement'” and laid out a series of key requirements it said Iran should agree to ahead of the June 30 target date for the deal.
“The [current] agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability,” the group charged. “It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear enrichment infrastructure…It does not address Iran’s support for terrorist organizations (like Hezbollah and Hamas), its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen (its ‘regional hegemony’), its ballistic missile arsenal, or its oppression of its own people.”
The signatories include Dennis Ross, a former special assistant to the president who oversaw Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the White House’s Iran policy during Obama’s first term; David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA; Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Robert Einhorn, a former special adviser to the Secretary of State for nonproliferation and arms control (2009-2013) who also helped devise sanctions against Iran; Gary Samore, a former coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction under President Obama who now heads United Against a Nuclear Iran; and General James Cartwright, who in 2007-2011 was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Clinton-Era Defense Secretary Warns Iran Deal Could Spur Nuclear Proliferation in Middle East
The emerging deal with Iran will likely have the opposite effect of what President Barack Obama intended, spurring nuclear proliferation in the Middle East rather than curtailing it, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen told Bloomberg reporters on Wednesday.
“The administration’s intent was to have a counter-proliferation program. And the irony is, it may be just the opposite,” he told a meeting of Bloomberg reporters Wednesday morning. …
“Once you say they are allowed to enrich, the game is pretty much up in terms of how do you sustain an inspection regime in a country that has carried on secret programs for 17 years and is still determined to maintain as much of that secrecy as possible,” said Cohen, who was a Republican lawmaker from Maine before serving under President Clinton from 1997 to 2001. …
Israel Willing to Sign Nuclear Test Ban - If Iran Recognizes It
Israel is ready to ratify a treaty imposing an international ban on nuclear weapons testing, if Iran agrees to recognize the Jewish state, an Israeli official has said.
Speaking at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, Merav Zafary-Odiz, Israel's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), said that Israel was willing in theory to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
However, she emphasized that doing so was impossible when one of the states it would be required to work with - namely, Iran - denied the State of Israel's fundamental right to exist and was sworn to its destruction.
"The CTBT is a treaty that Israel intends to ratify. It will do when the time is ripe, when certain considerations are met," she said, according to Reuters.
The key obstacle is that "Iran does not recognize Israel and is not willing to accept the fact that Israel belongs to its natural geographical group."
"How can any country be expected to join an arms control arrangement with a country that doesn't even recognize its right to exist?" she asked.
Force? Obama Already Told Us There is No Plan B on Iran
In Politico Magazine today, Michael Crowley writes about what he refers to as America’s “Plan B” for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program. Plan A is, of course, the diplomatic engagement that has led the U.S. to the brink of signing an agreement with Iran that is supposed to forestall the nuclear threat. That effort is part of a broader strategy change adopted by the Obama administration for the Middle East that seems predicated on the creation of a new entente with the Islamist regime. But, as Crowley writes, if the talks fall through and the U.S. walks away in the face of the latest bout of Iranian intransigence the U.S. Air Force has an answer to the world’s fears about Tehran’s nuclear capability: the Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP), a 15-ton bomb with 6,000 pounds of high explosives that can reportedly penetrate through 200 feet of earth and 60 feet of concrete and then blow up whatever is underneath those layers. That means the fortified mountainside bunker at Fordow may not be impregnable. That should leave the U.S. with a formidable Iran military option that, at least in theory, ought to persuade the Islamist regime to accede to U.S. demands for a tough and verifiable nuclear agreement. But the problem with Crowley’s interesting piece is that we already know this administration has no “Plan B” with respect to Iran. The president has already signaled that there will be no use of force and no walking away from even a bad nuclear deal.
The chances of the U.S. ever resorting to force against Iran were always slim, but last month the president sent a very clear signal to Tehran they needn’t fear a change of heart on that score. Speaking to Israel’s Channel Two, the president not only didn’t repeat past promises about all options being on the table but specifically dismissed the utility of the use of force against Iran:
“A military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it will not eliminate it.”
Experts: West Must “Sharpen The Consequences” of Failure in Order to Strengthen Nuke Deal
Singh and de Galbert observed that Iran has benefited from the ongoing negotiations by eliminating the possibility of a military strike on its nuclear facilities, as well as by changing the West’s goal from ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program was only for peaceful purposes to “legitimiz[ing] Iran’s technical ability to break out of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
To reverse Iran’s gains, the P5+1 nations should “reserve the right to ramp up sanctions and to stake out more stringent positions on matters such as Iran’s uranium enrichment,” if Iran does not agree to the P5+1 nations’ terms by the June 30 deadline. The authors argued that the P5+1 nations should insist that if no deal is reached, Iran would get no further sanctions relief past June 30. And if Iran backs out of negotiations, it should be subjected to “tougher penalties.”
Singh and de Galbert’s proposal could restore some of the West’s eroding leverage in the nuclear negotiations with Iran.
'Iran launched cyberattack on Israel during Protective Edge'
Iran carried out a cyberattack against Israel during Operation Protective Edge last summer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday at the fifth annual Cybertech Conference held at Tel Aviv University.
According to Netanyahu, "The greatest threat comes from governments. Governments that want to protect the privacy of their citizens, their infrastructure, their economies, need to act together and cooperate as much as possible against this new threat."
The prime minister said, "Specifically, Iran attacked us, Saudi Arabia, the United States and many others, and we are determined to allow ourselves to defend ourselves against these attacks and others."
Honest Reporting: BDS Has Only One Weapon
The BDS movement is not about economic pressure on Israel, and it’s not about advancing the cause of human rights. It’s about turning world opinion against Israel, and that’s the only effective weapon in its arsenal.
As a leader of the South African branch of the BDS movement recently told the Jerusalem Post, the goal of BDS is to “isolate the apartheid state of Israel until it listens to international law.”
Isolating Israel means turning it into pariah state that none will be willing to defend. As former UK Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks wrote recently, “The ultimate aim, of course, is to leave Israel so isolated in the international arena that its enemies can seek its destruction, God forbid, without fear of significant reprisals other than from Israel itself.”
If the BDS movement were concerned about the rights of Palestinians inside or outside of Israel, as it claims, it would focus awareness campaigns on issues and practices it seeks to change.
Instead, BDS campaigns aim to ban Israel from international sporting competitions, cultural events, and academic forums. BDS activists bully musicians and artists who plan to visit Israel. The message is blunt: Israel does not belong. And the only Israeli policy change that would effectively end the campaign would be to end its identity as a Jewish state.
Boycott of Tel Aviv feis shows the face of real bigotry
We live in a culture where virtually all prejudice has been prohibited.
Sexism is wrong. Racism is evil. Homophobia will see you in court. Islamophobia is not just wrong, but also brings its own potential death sentence.
All cultures, we are told, are equal. But some are less equal than others.
Thus, it's perfectly acceptable to sneer at America, and it is positively de rigeur to libel Israel as a genocidal, Nazi, apartheid state that is, as Vincent Browne disgracefully claimed, a 'cancer' in the Middle East.
The ongoing BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement has been loud and shrill in their calls for a complete boycott of individual Israelis, regardless of their own political affiliation.
The latest example of this racist profiling comes with the news that Israel's first Irish dancing festival is now the latest target of the BDS bullies.
An Irish dancing school, the Carey Academy, was hoping to hold the feis in Tel Aviv in August, but it was instantly trolled by the usual worthies who were quick to accuse them of "being on the wrong side of history. Don't shame our name."
According to the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign: "The Israeli state has made it clear that it sees cultural events like this as a propaganda tool to whitewash, or in this case 'greenwash', its apartheid policies, its brutal military occupation, and its regular attacks on the people of Palestine."
This is classic deflection and conflation.
An Exodus of Members Doesn’t Stop the UCC from Attacking Israel
During the last four days of June, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ will meet in Cleveland, Ohio to decide if their denomination will enlist in the economic and propaganda war against Israel. The question will be presented to the delegates at the general synod in resolutions that call on the church to boycott Israeli products produced in the West Bank and that sell stock in companies that do business with Israel. Another item on the agenda declares Israel to be an “apartheid” state. These resolutions – rooted in a world view in which Westerners are always guilty and Arabs and Muslims can do no wrong – were put on the agenda by a small, relentless cadre of anti-Israel activists in the UCC who are more intent on singling out Israel for condemnation than they are in addressing real human rights problems in the Middle East and serving the actual needs of the UCC.
The denomination is clearly in trouble. Numerically speaking, its membership is free-falling. The decline is documented in a statistical profile published by the denomination in 2014 and a set of FAQs released earlier this year. In 1954, the two denominations that had merged in 1957 to create the UCC boasted 8,326 churches and 2,084,849 members. At the end of 2014, the denomination had shrunk to 5,062 churches and 943,521 members. That’s a 55 percent decrease in membership.
Does Christ at the Checkpoint Have a New Agenda?
The second recent video, posted on YouTube on March 26, 2015, promotes a Christ at the Checkpoint Young Adult conference this coming July through the use of explicit imagery in which Israel is demonized by being equated with ISIS.
Images of ISIS captives about to be beheaded are juxtapositioned with images of the security barrier Israel was forced to build to protect its citizens from suicide bombers.
Images of the Jordanian pilot about to be burned alive in a cage are juxtapositioned with scenes of people going through a checkpoint.
And images of the ISIS flag are juxtapositioned with those of the Israeli flag.
The obvious implication is that the security measures Israel has been forced to take in response to Palestinian suicide bombers is equivalent to what ISIS is doing to people as it seeks to forcibly establish a caliphate ruled by an extreme form of Islamic law.
The video also equates Israel and ISIS with the H1N1 virus, or swine flu. In so doing, the contagious spread of swine flu is equated with the terrifying ease with which ISIS is conquering territory, and with the existence of Israel, or at the very least, Israel’s need for a security barrier with checkpoints.
The analogy between Israel and swine flu is reminiscent of the raging of Hitler against the Jews as a “dangerous bacillus,” and it is consistent with the dehumanizing designation of Jews as pigs that is common throughout the Muslim world. However, this video was not produced by Nazis or Muslims, but by those who claim to be Christians!
The production of these two videos, in Arabic, with such inflammatory content, causes one to wonder if Christ at the Checkpoint has a new agenda.
Foreign investment in Israel cut by half in 2014
"We believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing," Dr. Roni Manos of the College of Management and one of the authors of the report's summary told Ynet. According to her, these are only conjectures that can explain the sharp decline, but there is another reason. "In the past there were large transactions such as Waze and ISCAR Metalworking which boosted investment, but over the past year there were not enough such deals."
But the decline is not just in Israel. According to the UN report, world FDI investments during the past year amounted to only $1.23 trillion, a 16% drop compared to 2013 ($1.47 trillion dollars). However, when one considers the forecast given in 2014, the decline is march sharper. The UN's World Investment Report (WIR) estimated last year that the FDI would total $1.6 trillion, in other words, with respect to the 2014 forecasts, FDI fell by 23%.
The main reason for this, according to the report's authors, is weak global economic growth and uncertainty regarding economic and business policy in many countries, which deterred many investors. Among others, the uncertainty due to the rate of quantitative easing in the US and Europe, the Greek debt crisis and its impact on stability in the Eurozone, and the pace of economic growth in China.
Europe Must Never Again Betray Its Jews
Anti-Semitism is a very ancient and a thoroughly modern phenomenon: it was as common among ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans as it is among their present-day successor states. It constantly mutates: Christian anti-Judaism became right-wing anti-Semitism and now left-wing anti-Zionism. Those who wish to resist and if possible destroy its roots must also adapt to the moving target.
Take, for example, the case of Karel De Gucht. He is a leading Belgian liberal politician, who served as foreign minister and then as a European Union commissioner from 2009 to 2014, responsible for aid and trade. Two of the Belgian prime ministers under whom he served, Guy Verhofstadt and Herman Van Rompuy, also became high EU officials and it is fair to assume that De Gucht’s outlook is typical of the European political elite.
Yet in 2010, this supposedly liberal representative of this supposedly liberal union of supposedly liberal nations told Belgian radio: “Don’t underestimate the opinion . . . of the average Jew outside Israel. There is indeed a belief — it’s difficult to describe it otherwise — among most Jews that they are right. And a belief is something that’s difficult to counter with rational arguments. And it’s not so much whether these are religious Jews or not. Lay Jews also share the same belief that they are right. So it is not easy to have, even with moderate Jews, a rational discussion about what is actually happening in the Middle East.” Washington was controlled by Jews, De Gucht declared, even in the Obama era: “Do not underestimate the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill. That is the best organised lobby, you shouldn’t underestimate the grip it has on American politics — no matter whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”
It is revealing that De Gucht not only got away with this public outburst, but that it is not even mentioned in his Wikipedia entry under the heading “Controversies”. Such views are indeed seen as uncontroversial by many Europeans who consider themselves liberal.
Israel Project to Drexel University: Drop Honors for Chomsky
The U.S.-based Israel education group The Israel Project (TIP) on Friday sent an email asking supporters to sign a petition urging Philadelphia’s Drexel University, “Don’t honor hate. Withdraw your award to hateful extremist Noam Chomsky.”
Earlier this month, Chomsky was presented with an honorary degree at Drexel’s ceremony for master’s degree graduates. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology emeritus professor in linguistics has been an outspoken advocate for far-left political policies for half a century. The 86-year-old Chomsky is also one of the most outspoken anti-Israel activists. He has gone as far as embracing the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah and calling the policies of the Gaza-ruling terrorist organization Hamas “preferable to the policies of America and Israel.” The Hamas charter calls for the annihilation of Israel and Jewish people.
“Mistakes aren’t forever,” a TIP spokesperson told the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. “Drexel University has the opportunity to repair some of the damage that has been done by honoring Noam Chomsky. The first step is withdrawing the award.”
Protest anti-Semitic speaker Max Blumenthal
WHERE: First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley
WHEN: Wednesday July 1 7:00-8:00 PM
Next week, on Wednesday July 1, the First Congregational Church in Berkeley will be hosting a talk by Max Blumenthal. Blumenthal will be promoting his latest book, "The 51 Day War" about Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer. If it's anything like his last book, "Goliath", it will be filled with outright lies, cherrypicked facts, and support for Hamas. "Goliath" was described as the "I Hate Israel Handbook" by Eric Alterman in the left wing magazine The Nation; Alterman famously stated "It is no exaggeration to say that this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed)".
Blumenthal's relentless promotion of anti-Semitic stereotypes and his recurrent comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany has led his writing to be endorsed by David Duke and by neo-Nazi sites such as Stormfront and Rense. Blumenthal has openly welcomed reviews of his book based on that comparison. Justifiably, Blumenthal has been condemned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Louis D Brandeis Center for Human Rights.
None of this will be news to KPFA-FM, which is presenting this talk (the church is not sponsoring the talk, but is renting the space so does share some responsibility for giving Blumenthal a stage). Yet they will eagerly give Blumenthal, who spoke at a pro-Hamas rally in San Francisco during Operation Protective Edge last summer, another arena in which he will present his twisted viewpoint that meets Sharansky's "3D" criteria of anti-Semitism: delegitimization of Israel, demonization of Israel, and double standards applied to Israel.
Twitter refuses to remove threatening photo of Jpost reporter
Twitter rejected a complaint against a photograph doctored to depict a Jerusalem Post reporter in a Nazi uniform on Thursday.
The photograph also featured the text “I am a Zionist; I work for a Zionist newspaper.”
“Based on the laws in the country where you are located, this content is not in violation of the Twitter Rules,” the response to the reporter’s complaint read.
However, in Israel, police have opened criminal investigations for incitement into photos of public figures in Nazi uniforms.
“This is outrageous. I expect our journalistic colleagues all over the world to condemn this incitement and hate speech against a reporter just for working for an Israeli newspaper,” Jerusalem Post Editor-In-Chief Steve Linde said. “I urge the powers that be at Twitter to change their mind and remove it immediately,” he added.
Yet again: Gaza missile attack ignored by BBC News but Israeli response reported in Arabic
Several hours later Israel responded with a strike on the rocket launcher used in the attack.
Following the now established pattern, there was no reporting of the missile attack on the BBC News English language website but the Israeli response to it was reported on the BBC Arabic website.
In the months since the end of last summer’s conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip the ceasefire has been broken on multiple occasions by missile fire – with none of those incidents having received dedicated coverage by the BBC in English at the time.
Jewish Rights Group Demands UEFA Investigate Spanish ‘Deportivo’ Paper Over Antisemitism
Jewish rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to investigate a major Spanish sports publication over a piece one of its columnists wrote that was apparently antisemitic.
In a letter to the UEFA President Michel Platini, Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels protested Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo columnist Xavier Bosch over his claims that a Jewish lobby with “unlimited money and inordinate influence” was trying to pressure FC Barcelona to drop its shirt-sponsorship deal with Qatar.
Samuels also criticized Bosch for claiming that “Mossad agents” had infiltrated FC Barcelona, in an apparent reference to allegations that former club president Joan Laporta had hired detectives to spy on players.
“One wonders which is more dangerous? The columnist’s expressions deemed ‘antisemitic’ under the European Union’s definition or the antisemitism of indifference of the editor?,” wrote Samuels, referring to comments by Deportivo Barcelona editor’s response that “there is no antisemitism in [the Bosch] article.”
France approves $60m reparations for Nazi rail deportations
French MPs on Wednesday approved a landmark deal with the United States in which France agreed to pay $60 million in overall compensation to foreign nationals deported to Nazi death camps on French trains in World War II.
Several thousand people could now be eligible for compensation, including nationals of Israel and Canada as well as Americans who were deported from France to the death camps some 70 years ago.
During the German occupation of France, the Nazi regime deported almost 76,000 Jews to concentration camps in French freight cars between 1942 and 1944.
Only around 3,000 survived.
The French government has already paid out another $60 million to French nationals who were victims of the Holocaust under a scheme set up in 1946. And the new deal will not be open to French nationals and their survivors.
But foreigners who had not qualified for any compensation could now be eligible for payments.
Ex-Belgian lawmaker convicted for downplaying Holocaust
A former lawmaker from Belgium was given a suspended six-month prison sentence for downplaying the importance of the Holocaust.
Laurent Louis, who served as lawmaker in Belgium’s federal parliament for four years until 2014, received the punishment from the 60th chamber of the Correctional Tribunal of Brussels for making statements that consciously downplayed the atrocities committed by the German occupation forces that ruled Belgium during World War II, the judge wrote in his sentence, which was handed down Tuesday, the RTBF broadcaster reported.
“During his trial, Mr. Louis seemed to think he was in parliament rather than in a court of law,” the judge added. “He expressed little regret toward the people he offended and offers little evidence in the way of correcting his ways.”
In 2014, Louis said in parliament that “the Holocaust was set up and financed by the pioneers of Zionism.” He also posed outside parliament while standing on an Israeli flag and holding a portrait of Bashar Assad, Syria’s president.
Milan’s Holocaust Memorial now a shelter for African refugees
It’s not every day that Muslims break their Ramadan fast with a kosher meal delivered by a Chabad-Lubavitch soup kitchen. 
But for Adil Rabhi, who has partaken of the certified kosher pasta and snacks for the past week, it’s becoming the norm: Since Monday, Rabhi, a 32-year-old Moroccan immigrant who has lived in Italy for the past 13 years, has spent his free time volunteering at the Memoriale della Shoah di Milano (Milan’s Holocaust Memorial).
Seventy years ago, Platform 21, the vast cavernous space underneath the city’s Central Train Station where the Holocaust Memorial now stands, was used to load Jews in secret onto trains destined for the death camps. This week it was turned into a shelter to accommodate the influx of men, women and children who have fled war, hunger and persecution in Africa.
In the past few weeks, thousands from Syria and Eritrea have traveled through chaotic Libya to sail across the Mediterranean Sea and reach Italian shores. Over 55,000 Africans have illegally entered Italy since the beginning of 2015, and with no friends or families, many sleep restlessly in train station corners, hoping to continue their journey to northern European countries.
With the help of the European Union, the Italian government is attempting to find a long-term solution for these refugees. Alongside the political initiatives, many nongovernmental organizations, such as the Fondazione Memoriale della Shoah di Milano (Foundation for Milan’s Holocaust Memorial), and individual citizens are also trying to alleviate their suffering.
Spanish town marks Jewish underground railroad
A town in northern Spain will commemorate the route taken by Jewish refugees during World War II, a Spanish newspaper reported Tuesday.
The town Lleida in the region of Catalonia will begin the process of demarcating points along one of the clandestine, mountainous routes Jews took escaping Nazi-dominated Europe into neutral Spain, according to a report in the Spanish daily Europa Press. Many trekked through the Pyrenees mountains along the French-Spanish border.
It is the fifth such route to be marked in the last year, after four of them were recognized and memorialized in 2014 by Lleida council president Joan Reñé and Israel’s ambassador to Madrid, Alon Bar. Those routes run the length of 151.6 kilometers in the Spanish provinces of Vall d’Arán, Pallars Sobirà, Alt Urgell, la Cerdanya and l’Alta Ribagorça.
Josep Calvet, a historian and author of the book “Escaping the Holocaust,” told Europa Press that Israelis in the tourism and travel industry were enthusiastic about the project.
“The project is highly valued on an academic and institutional level because it is bringing attention to points in history that are barely studied.”
Israeli facility to turn plastic waste into fuel
The Environmental Services Company Ltd., a government body established in 1990 to handle hazardous waste in Israel, will soon begin operating a unique facility designed to recycle plastic and turn it into fuel.
According to the company's assessments, the facility will be able to derive 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds) of an oil-like substance from every ton of plastic waste they treat. This facility will be the first of its kind in the country.
Every day, Israelis dispose of some 1,500 metric tons of plastic waste. Most of it, 75.7%, is buried in landfills. Most of the plastic waste comes from homes (plastic bags, packaging, bottles, toys, furniture), agriculture (irrigation hoses, packaging, plastic sheeting) and industry. In addition, the Environmental Services Company receives about 3,000 metric tons of plastic waste from packaging per year.
Israeli cyber start-up Checkmarx nets $84m investment
Israeli cyber-security start-up Checkmarx announced Thursday that it had received an $84 million investment from New York-based venture capital and private equity firm Insight Venture Partners. The new round of capital will be primarily used to further accelerate growth through product innovation and global expansion.
Details of the deal were not disclosed. Reports in the Israeli media earlier in the week depicted the investment as a “buyout” of Checkmarx, with Insight, a venture capital firm worth $10 billion, acquiring as much as three quarters of the company. The company did not comment on its equity arrangements with the new investor.
Checkmarx is a good investment regardless of who is running the company. Revenue is up 100% so far in 2015 over last year, and the company currently serves over 700 customers worldwide including Salesforce.com, the US Army, Samsung, Deutche Telekom, Deloitte, PwC, Atlassian, LivePerson, and Playtech — all of which use the company’s technology to check their in-house software.
Mariah Carey to visit Israel
American singer Mariah Carey will be making a quick visit to Israel this weekend with Australian businessman James Packer, whom she is dating.
The couple reportedly plans to visit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea.
If the visit is successful, a concert may be planned in the future, Carey’s associates said.
Mariah Carey, who has a close Israeli friend, Liron Dagan, has shown her connection to Israel before. She has tweeted holiday wishes to her Jewish fans, sang “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem, in Adam Sandler’s 2006 film You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, and spoke in Hebrew to an Israeli-born contestant on American Idol in 2013, describing her performance as “sababa,” or cool. (The contestant, who happened to be Shira Gavrielov, daughter of Israeli singer Mickey Gavrielov, did not win.)
Packer, who reportedly bought a house in Israel recently and has business interests here, is said to be a friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller in South Korea
About an hour’s drive north of Seoul, in the Gwangju Mountains, nearly fifty South Korean children pore over a book. The text is an unlikely choice: the Talmud, the fifteen-hundred-year-old book of Jewish laws. The students are not Jewish, nor are their teachers, and they have no interest in converting. Most have never met a Jew before. But, according to the founder of their school, the students enrolled with the goal of receiving a “Jewish education” in addition to a Korean one.
When I toured the boarding school last year, the students, who ranged in age from four to nineteen, were seated cross-legged on the floor of a small tentlike auditorium. Standing in front of a whiteboard, their teacher, Park Hyunjun, was explaining that Jews pray wearing two small black boxes, known as tefillin, to help them remember God’s word. He used the Hebrew words shel rosh (“on the head”) and shel yad (“on the arm”) to describe where the boxes are worn. Inside these boxes, he said, was parchment that contained verses from one of the holiest Jewish prayers, the Shema, which Jews recite daily. As the room filled with murmurings of the Shema in Korean, the dean of the school leaned over to me and said that the students recited the prayer daily, too, “with the goal of memorizing it.”
Park Hyunjun founded the school in 2013, and now runs it with his son, the dean. The two were trained at the Shema Education Institute, which was started by a Korean reverend and brings Christians from South Korea to Los Angeles, so that they can witness firsthand how Jews study, pray, and live. The reverend’s thesis is that the Jews have thrived for so many years because of certain educational and cultural practices, and that such benefits can be unlocked for Christians if those practices are taught to their children. During the drive from Seoul, the dean told me that he was worried about what I would think of his school’s Jewish classes. “I don’t always know exactly what Jewish education is,” he said.
In the classroom, the students paired up for “Talmudic debate.” Their dialectic centered on a paraphrased verse from Deuteronomy: “Money improperly earned may not be donated to church.” The room erupted into impassioned pleas and gesticulations, then two students were chosen to debate in front of the class. Sanguk Bae, seventeen, sat with one palm on the ground and the other hand waving a Bible in the air, arguing that the law was the law, and the Bible was not open to interpretation. Min Kwon, sixteen, countered that God loves everyone and forgives easily. The class concluded with a recitation of a psalm.


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