Tuesday, June 30, 2015

From Ian:

Obama signs anti-BDS bill into law
After a grueling legislative battle, US President Barack Obama signed into law a controversial trade measure that also contains landmark legislation combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Europe.
The broader legislation faced an uphill battle after Obama’s usual allies — Democrats in the House of Representative — bucked his authority and voted against key provisions out of concern that liberalization of trade could impact American jobs.
But on Monday, Obama signed into law the so-called “fast track” authorization that will allow US trade negotiators to work out a long-awaited deal with Asian states known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Trade Promotion Authority legislation also contained the anti-BDS provisions, which make rejection of the phenomenon a top priority for US negotiators as they work on a more distant free trade agreement with the European Union.
These guidelines, sponsors hope, will discourage European governments from participating in BDS activities by leveraging the incentive of free trade with the US.
IDF Appoints Special Team to Plan Strike on Iran
A source close to Ya'alon was quoted by Walla! saying, "nothing has changed regarding the military option. Our working assumption is that Iran is lying all the time, beyond the fact that it is funding and directing terror in the Middle East. It (Iran) is our most bitter enemy today, even though we don't share a physical border with it, and we must not put off any kind of preparedness against it."
"In the end we don't believe Iran. We don't believe the (nuclear) project will be stopped. Therefore the (military) option will remain. ...We need to be ready also for the day in which Israel will need to make decisions alone. (What) if it becomes clear they are pushing the envelope in breach of the agreement? Or if Iran goes down deep underground (with its nuclear facilities)? And if new sites are found? Will we wait for the US to take care of them?"
"You have to prepare yourself for all of the threats. Not only for Gaza and Lebanon," added the source. "The military option costs money but the more time goes by, you're better prepared to carry out the mission."
Indicating Israel's growing preparedness ahead of a potential military clash with Iran, the IAF held a special drill with the Greek air force two months ago, in which roughly 100 members of the IAF took part including dozens of crews from all the F-16i squadrons.
‘Seeds of Conflict’ could sow confusion
One day in 1913, a group of Arabs stole some grapes from the vineyards of Jewish pioneers in Rehovot. An altercation followed, leaving one Arab camel driver and one Jewish guard dead. The incident marked an irrevocable break between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, and planted the seeds of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Far-fetched as it may sound, this is the theory advanced by a one-hour PBS documentary, ‘Seeds of Conflict,’ shown in the US on 30 June. Grievances between different communities, once happy to mingle in coffee houses, were allowed to fester, the programme argues, and the conflict soon took on the proportions we know today.

In truth, it could be argued that the breakdown of the traditional dhimmi relationship was one of the root causes of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Perhaps the decisive incident took place, not in 1913, but in 1908, when the Hashomer Hatza’ir pioneers of Sejera dismissed their Circassian guards — who protected their settlement against Bedouin raids — ­ and replaced them with Jewish guards. For the Jews, this was an ideological statement of self-sufficiency. But for the neighbouring Arab fellaheen, they had crossed a red line. They had reneged on their part of the bargain: the dhimmi, who was not allowed to bear arms, should always look to the Muslim for protection.
The arrival of the young Zionist pioneers, with their socialist vision of a brave new world, threatened to overturn the existing pecking order. Yet many Arabs benefited from the influx of European Jews. As the Jews toiled to drain the swamps and make the desert bloom, waves of Arab immigrants flooded in from neighbouring countries, eager to take advantage of the jobs and prosperity created.
The program’s creators say that 1913: Seeds of Conflict dispels a number of myths and is ‘an admittedly arbitrary glimpse that captures the Palestine of a hundred years ago’. But to substitute a tale of ‘European colonialists’ invading Palestine in order to trouble a multiculturalism of mythical equality would be to indulge in dangerous revisionism.



Isi Leibler: Combating the new anti-Semitism
How does one effectively fight anti-Semitism and its newest mutation, anti-Israelism? The first ‎step must be to understand how these phenomena are manifested and who is behind them. ‎
Over the past decade, as anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism increased exponentially, many books ‎covering the subject have been published. Until now, aside from magisterial works of the late ‎Robert Wistrich and the excellent analysis by Daniel Goldhagen, "The Devil That Never Dies: The ‎Rise and Threat of Global Anti-Semitism," there has not been a contemporary review of the ‎global battlefield covering the world's oldest hatred. There are other valuable studies but they ‎are of limited scope. ‎
Now a new study of considerable significance has become available. Manfred Gerstenfeld's ‎"The War of a Million Cuts: The Struggle Against the Delegitimization of Israel and the Jews ‎and the Growth of the New Anti-Semitism" is a compelling book that outlines the components ‎of the new anti-Semitism. The seemingly obscure title is explained in the text as referring to an ‎unlimited number of often small hate attacks from a huge number of sources. This differs from ‎the traditional anti-Semitism of concentrated attacks by major players, such as initially the ‎Catholic Church and much later Nazism and its many allies. What is radically new in this book is ‎that it presents a detailed strategy on how to fight the enemy.‎
Obama says he would ‘walk away’ from bad Iran deal
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday reiterated that he would not hesitate to “walk away” from a nuclear deal with Iran if the conditions are not satisfactory.
Obama told reporters at a White House press conference that Tehran would have to agree to a “strong, rigorous verification mechanism” on curbing its disputed nuclear program.
Iran and six major powers on Tuesday gave themselves until July 7 to clinch a historic nuclear deal as a midnight deadline approached in marathon talks, with no breakthrough in sight.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who joined the talks in Vienna earlier Tuesday, said he believes that, after almost two years of trying, a deal ending the 13-year standoff is “within reach.”
How Obama is Selling Out the Middle East to Iran
A running theme of pro-Israel Democrats is that President Obama’s approach to achieving a nuclear deal with Iran is consistent with his “unshakable” support for the Jewish state. In that view, nothing that the administration has done undermines President Obama’s promise that “the United States will always have Israel’s back when it comes to Israel’s security.” However, when Israel’s security interests are considered in the context of the P5+1 deal with Iran, the president’s promise rings hollow. Even as Obama claimed the U.S. had Israel’s back, the administration was moving to sell out the region to Iran — and to prevent Jerusalem from doing anything that might disrupt the deal.
Because it repeatedly failed in negotiations, the administration was compelled to shift its policy from rolling back Iran’s nuclear program to managing its nuclear threshold status. Moreover, it became necessary for the U.S. to court Iran on the one hand, while alienating Israel on the other, to prevent Israel from building an effective case against the emerging terms of the deal.
By manufacturing a series of mini-crises, President Obama has created a justification for downgrading the U.S. relationship with Israel. The fissures between the two countries — which have resulted from a combination of national-security leaks and diplomatic strong-arming — have empowered the White House to arrest the flow of security cooperation with Israel and isolate it internationally.
The sensitive information released has not always pertained specifically to Iran, but the leaks generally disrupt Israel’s ability to act against what its government considers a bad deal. The same principle applies to the diplomatic pressure being exerted on Israel. Through thinly veiled threats indicating it could terminate or soften its defense of Israel at the United Nations, the Obama administration has sought to silence any criticism of the looming rapprochement with Iran.
John Bolton’s Grim Outlook on Iran and the Middle East (INTERVIEW)
The setting was informal on a recent Sunday afternoon in New York City: a small-but-dry room providing a haven during a Central Park downpour that followed the Celebrate Israel Parade. But the large crowd and the weather outside were far from the mind of John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Instead, the vocal supporter of Israel and former official in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations honed in on a different kind of storm.
“My focus is on the threat of a nuclear Iran and how close it is to creating deliverable nuclear weapons,” Bolton said in an interview with JNS.org. “That, and how serious the threat of a nuclear Iran is to Israel and the United States.”
Bolton, who more than a decade ago testified before Congress that Iran was lying about enriched uranium contamination, laid out what he considers essential components of an acceptable nuclear agreement between world powers and the Islamic Republic, saying that “any facility that we believe is associated with the nuclear program must be subject to inspection.”
“The current negotiations with Iran are inherently flawed,” said Bolton. “Congress is not strong enough. Even the recent legislation [giving Congress 30 days to review a nuclear deal] allows Congress to do what it already had the power to do.”
Is the Iran Inspection Process Really Unfettered?
The news that a solution has been found to offer United Nations inspectors access to Iranian nuclear sites makes it appear as if the Obama administration will gets the deal it has been working toward. The Times of Israel is reporting that “a senior U.S. official” is saying that the two sides in the nuclear talks have reached an agreement that, in theory, ought to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency the ability to inspect Iran’s facilities to ensure they aren’t cheating on an agreement that is supposed to prevent from working toward a bomb over the next ten years. If true, that would mean a major obstacle to completion of the negotiations is completed allowing the White House to be able to trumpet the pact as a triumph for American diplomacy and enhance its chances of surviving a Congressional vote on ratification. But the language used by the senior official to describe this achievement ought to give pause to those seeking to declare the deal a success before it is even signed. If, as the source said, a “process” will be required to allow the IAEA to show up at a nuclear or military site, then it’s not clear that what will follow could possibly be the sort of surprise inspection that would actually catch any cheating. Moreover, since it we’re also told it won’t mean that inspectors will have access to all Iranian military sites, the diplomatic victory we may be hearing about in the coming days may not be anything like the unfettered inspections without warning that would be needed for the deal to work.
The administration has already begun selling this “compromise” by saying that it’s completely reasonable for Iran to deny access to all of its military sites because the U.S. wouldn’t allow such inspections either. That may be true but, again, as with every other retreat by American negotiators, what the administration has done here is to put the Islamist regime and its nuclear ambitions on the same moral plane as the United States. The U.S. is treating Iran with kid gloves because it sees the rogue regime as a potential partner in a new détente rather than as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism with dreams of regional hegemony.
Nuke talks: Iran keeps holding out for a more complete surrender from the West
You may have heard that the Iran nuclear talks will continue past the 30 June deadline. It just won’t be possible to negotiate a “deal” on this charged topic by tomorrow. That’s not really because no matter how much the Obama-Kerry negotiating team gives in, the Iranians keep reiterating terms for our surrender. The Iranians have been quite consistent all along. It’s because Team Obama is dragging its heels on the surrender, making our concessions piecemeal.
The latest concession by the Obama-Kerry team involves the earlier demand, by the U.S. and EU-3, that Iran allow international inspection of the military sites potentially connected with a nuclear weapons program. Like the other demands once outlined by Team Obama as indispensable (e.g., the “freeze” on new enrichment-related activities, the long-sought disclosures on earlier weaponization work, or “possible military dimensions”), this one was categorically rejected last week by Ayatollah Khamenei in a major policy speech.
The Iranian majlis – the parliament – backed Khamenei’s intransigent stance on military site inspections with a bill prohibiting such foreign inspections. (Chanting “Death to America!” during the voting added a theatrical touch.)
There’s nothing new about this posture, however. Iran stated it clearly back in April, when a premature tocsin was being rung for a “deal” that didn’t materialize. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois captured the utter incompatibility of the U.S. and Iranian positions in a handy graphic, which remains as valid today as it was then.
WSJ: U.S. Expedited Release of Arms Smugglers to Build Confidence for Nuclear Talks with Iran
In an analysis of the secret diplomacy between the United States and Iran that led to the nuclear talks, The Wall Street Journal today reported that in order to build confidence with Iran, the United States expedited the release of four Iranians, among them convicted arms smugglers, who were held in U.S. and U.K. custody. During the talks, which were facilitated by the government of Oman, Iran held three American hikers, eventually releasing them when Oman paid $500,000 bail for each of them.
Iran also campaigned for the release of Shahrzad Mir Gholikan, who was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to more than five years for illegally exporting night-vision equipment to Iran from Europe. Iranian state TV showed one of the American hikers in custody, Sarah Shourd, posing with Ms. Gholikan’s twin daughters and calling for their mother’s release.
Ms. Gholikan returned to Iran via Oman in August 2012, nearly a year after Ms. Shourd’s release. U.S. officials denied it was a prisoner swap because Ms. Gholikan had served her sentence.
France preparing to resume business with Iran
France is gearing up for the resumption of its substantial economic dealings with Iran, under the assumption that a nuclear agreement with Tehran is likely in the near future, Reuters reported Monday night.
Around 100 French companies are reportedly planning to participate in a delegation to Tehran in September to review business opportunities in the Islamic republic.
And a French diplomat told Reuters that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius planned to visit the Iranian capital soon after an agreement is signed in a bid to normalize relations.
French diplomats have met with businessmen and have told them there is “no time to waste” in preparing for renewed economic ties.
France Renames Itself Palestine & Applies For UN Relief After England Announces Calais Apartheid Wall
Britain is to build more than two miles of high-security fencing at the Channel Tunnel port in northern France, in an attempt to stop thousands of illegal migrants breaking into lorries bound for the UK.
James Brokenshire, the Immigration Minister, told the Telegraph he was taking action after a surge in the number of “clandestines” storming the border in the Calais area last week.
He announced plans to protect the lorry terminal in Coquelles, near Calais, with nine-foot high police barrier that has previously been used to secure the London Olympics and last year’s Nato summit in Wales.
US church votes to divest from companies operating in West Bank
The top legislative body of the United Church of Christ voted Tuesday to divest from companies with business in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a sign of the growing momentum of a protest movement against Israeli policy.
The church also voted to boycott products made in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The US-based liberal Protestant group’s General Synod endorsed the action on a vote of 508-124 with 38 abstentions.
Later Tuesday, the denomination was to vote on whether to label Israeli policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “apartheid.”
The resolution urged the divestment from “the following companies that have been found to profit from the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the state of Israel: Caterpillar Inc., Motorola Solutions, Hewlett-Packard Development Company LP or its successors, G4S, and Veolia Environnement[sic] plus its 352 subsidiaries.”
Desmond Tutu: Once a hero, now forlorn anti-Israel loser
Desmond Tutu was once a hero in the eyes of freedom fighters around the world. But talk about a tragic flaw: he's now best known for having fallen in with the bigotry amongst bigotries -- irrational hatred of the Jewish State of Israel. It keeps getting worse. Someone should pray for his soul
It is always a moment of amusement to read the latest fulmination of the venerable archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu. On June 17, 2015, he beguiled us again with his message to his dear sisters and brothers in the United Church of Christ, which is holding its general synod in Cleveland June 26-30, 2015.
He assured the congregation of his support for its divestment resolution targeting the “Israeli occupation.” He fully endorsed the proposal to use the powerful nonviolent tools of economic leverage against the State of Israel.
Tutu is following in the footsteps of individuals and groups, all well-known and respected for their intimate knowledge and understanding of Middle East affairs, and very familiar with all the alleged misdeeds and violations of international law by the State of Israel and the diabolical enemies of peace in the Hebrew University and the Hadassah medical facilities.
The experts are too numerous to mention, but among the most knowledgeable are the executive board of the American Studies Society, most of whom specialize in gender studies; the Irish Students Union, which apparently does not have a map of Israel; the U.K. National Union of Students; Alice Walker, who views Israel as black, not the color purple; and the rock singer Roger Water, whose mission in life is apparently to call on fellow entertainers not to rock in Israel since, unlike Mick Jagger, he gets no satisfaction from this.
Activist Works to Cut Funding for Rachel Corrie Play
Could the next cultural storm be on the horizon?
After the Al Midan Theater's play "A Parallel Time" was exposed as being inspired by the life of terrorist Walid Daka, nationalist activist Shai Glick told Arutz Sheva of a second controversial play readying for performance at another state-sponsored theater.
The play, "My Name is Rachel Corrie," on the life of an American who was killed during a confrontation with the IDF in Gaza, will be performed at the Jaffa Theater.
Addressing Corrie's backstory and her attempts to prevent IDF demolitions in Rafah, Glick refused to call her a human rights activist, instead an "anarchist" whose activities bordered on terrorism.
The play, based on Corrie's diary entries, has been criticized as oversimplifying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and describing Corrie as someone who wanted to exercise good in the face of great evil, i.e. the IDF.
The Emperor Has No Clothes: The NIF and Brian Lurie Are Anti-Israel
The New Israel Fund is conspicuously behind many efforts to harm Israel worldwide – and while they incessantly maintain innocence, that is far from the situation..
The New Israel Fund uses words as subterfuge – and it fools some people.
In a recent letter to the editor to the New York Post (published in response to my op-ed), NIF’s Vice President wrote, “…our alleged support for the global Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement and bringing Israeli soldiers to trial in foreign courts should preclude NIF from marching in New York’s annual Celebrate Israel Parade. However, our opposition to both positions is clear and unequivocal.”
The boycott issue has been debated before and NIF’s position is clearly stated on their website. The NIF claims that it does not support boycotts of Israel; yet in an article written in 2014, ironically titled, “Op-Ed: Boycotting settlements is not anti-Israel,” they made clear that certain boycott efforts were perfectly fine with them. The boycott word is part of a game.
Smoothie drinks not so innocently funding anti-Israel hatred
I have no doubt that the Innocent Foundation will say (just as Comic Relief did) that the War on Want projects they have funded are unconnected with Israel. But how can they possibly know that War on Want did not use that money to subsidise its political campaign to deligitimize the Jewish State?. Its campaign against Israel has been almost the ONLY activity War on Want has undertaken in the last 5 years (as proven by the material I have previously provided). Every one of their employees spends almost 100% of their time on the campaign against Israel and it is therefore impossible that money from organisations like Innocent does not contribute to this.
It is also interesting to note that War on Want seems to get all of its funding not from members of the public who really want to fund it, but rather from other organisations (like the British Government, the EU, Comic Relief and Innocent) whose 'leaders' believe it is a cause that should be supported. Yet these 'leaders' are simply using money from consumers and tax payers who would never dream of donating to a bunch of freaks and bigots like War on Want. It's all very well to say that Innocent is being noble in donating 10% of its profits to such 'charities'; but that 10% all comes directly from consumers who buy their products and who have no say in how that profit is spent. If they were asked they may very well prefer that the price was lowered by 10%. Seems like Innocent is not much different from Lush.
BBC Peddles Anti-Israel Lies, Helps Whitewash Hamas
Unfortunately, rather than clarifying to audiences that the Gaza Strip has not been under occupation for a decade and instead of pursuing the subject of what Gilbert really means when he talks of a “right to resist” (in a recent interview with the Guardian, Gilbert stated that “[t]he right to resist implies also the right to resist with arms, if you’re occupied”), Coomarasamy gets into a futile academic discussion with Gilbert about medicine and politics before providing him with the opportunity to whitewash Hamas abuses.
JC: “What about…I mean have you tried to understand the point of view of Hamas and what they were doing in the hospital? Because if you look at the Amnesty International report from last month they very clearly say ‘Hamas forces used the abandoned areas of Shifa, including the outpatients clinic area, to detain, interrogate torture and otherwise ill-treat suspects even as other parts of the hospital continued to function as a medical centre’. And first of all, do you recognize that portrait?”
MG: “I don’t support Hamas. I don’t support Fatah. I don’t support any Palestinian faction. I support the Palestinian people.”
JC: “But do you recognize the Amnesty International characterization of what was happening in the hospital when you were there?”
MG: “Bear in mind that Amnesty was not allowed to enter Gaza. I am not saying that this is not taking place. I’m saying that where I worked it was a proper hospital. And yes, the Palestinian Authorities had their press conferences outside. I am allowed to work freely. I walk around wherever I want. I’m never controlled. I never have my pictures controlled. So from what I have seen in Shifa hospital and in the other Palestinian hospitals in Gaza, this is not the picture I recognize.”

Coomarasamy ends the interview there and, as has so often been the case in the past, BBC audiences have once again been fed Gilbert’s unhindered falsehoods and propaganda – as well as promotion of his book.
Honest Reporting: Media Failures: The Flotilla, a Skewed Headline and the New York Times
VOI's Josh Hasten is joined by HonestReporting's Yarden Frankl.
They discuss this week’s media coverage of Israel: The “flotilla” story sinks; a headline again neglects to mention that a Palestinian was killed after opening fire on IDF soldiers; the New York Times editorializes that the United National Human Rights Council is not obsessed with Israel.
BBC WS radio’s ‘balanced’ account of the Six Day War excludes Israelis
Of course with the previous programme having been devoted to the stories told by two Palestinian interviewees, a truly balanced presentation of the Six Day War would have included accounts from Israelis equally affected by the war at the time. Such accounts could have included an explanation of the sense of impending disaster which gripped Israelis in the weeks preceding the outbreak of war and the feeling of fighting for their very existence. It could also, for example, have recounted the experiences of those who had been expelled from their homes in the Old City of Jerusalem or Gush Etzion nineteen years previously by Jordan and told stories of the first visits by Israelis to the holy sites from which they were barred throughout the years of Jordanian occupation.
But curiously, the BBC chose to tick its impartiality box by comparing apples to oranges. Whilst the story of the Libyan Jewish community is obviously important and interesting – and its airing a very rare event in BBC broadcasting – this is not “the other side” of the narrative heard the previous week by BBC audiences.
The same item by Louise Hidalgo broadcast on ‘The History Hour’ also appeared in the June 19th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Witness’ – available here – where it was described as “…the second of two programmes about the effect of the Six Day War between Israel and the armed forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan”.
Pine Bush schools settle anti-Semitic lawsuit for $4.5 million
The 2012 lawsuit by five former and current students was due to go to trial next month.
In the settlement, filed in court papers on Monday, according to The New York Times, district officials also agreed to make significant curriculum and training reforms.
The suit alleged that officials in the district, located about 90 miles north of Manhattan, long had failed to respond adequately to complaints by the students and their families of pervasive anti-Semitic bullying and harassment.
The students said they were forced to endure anti-Semitic epithets and jokes about the Holocaust, including Nazi salutes, and to retrieve coins from dumpsters. They also said they were subject to physical violence.
School officials responded with “deliberate indifference,” according to the lawsuit.
Anti-Semitic Arson Attack Destroys Hatzolah Ambulance in Ukraine
Jews in Ukraine are without one of their life-saving Hatzolah ambulances after an arsonist targeted the vehicle Sunday.
Preliminary findings by police after the overnight destruction pointed to an anti-Semitic attack that badly damaged the vehicle and its equipment.
The ambulance is well known in the city – as is the Jewish community it serves, according to police who spoke with media.
It’s not the first time anti-Semites have targeted Hatzolah Ukraine. One year ago, the head of Hatzolah emergency services in the country, Rabbi Hillel Cohen, was beaten and stabbed in the capital city of Kiev by two young men who spoke Russian. The two called him a “zid” — the derogatory Russian slur for “Jew” — and other gutteral words that were unclear. A young couple was also assaulted that same night on their way to the synagogue, a Friday night.
The burned ambulance has been key in accommodating the tens of thousands who visit Uman on their annual pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov for Rosh Hashana.
European anti-Semitism dipped after attacks on Jews, poll finds
However, the poll by the US-based Anti-Defamation League also found negative feelings about Jews remained at a constant level in most other countries surveyed.
The survey came after two deadly shooting incidents in a little over a year that targeted, among others, Jews in France and Belgium.
It sampled 10,000 people in 19 countries and was conducted between March 10 and April 3 this year.
France showed the biggest decrease, with anti-Semitic attitudes dropping to 17% compared with a figure of 37% from a survey in 2014.
Germany saw a dip from 27% the year before to 16% in 2015 and Belgium from 27% to 21%.
Vandals deface Jewish history exhibit in Munich
Police in Munich are investigating a graffiti attack on an outdoor exhibit about local Jewish history.
The exhibit is located in front of the Jewish museum and community center on Jakobsplatz, called the new Jewish center, in central Munich.
The graffiti, which was discovered Monday, includes Hitler mustaches burned onto photographs of rabbis and politicians. The department for politically motivated crimes is investigating, according to local reports.
The exhibit was erected last week following a public celebration of 200 years since the founding of Munich’s Jewish community and 70 years since its reestablishment after the Holocaust.
Bavaria’s minister of culture, Ludwig Spaenle, said in a statement that “the attack on these images must be seen as an attack on the people themselves.”
Facing Western diplomatic and economic pressure, Israel looks east
Facing mounting Western diplomatic and economic pressure, Israel has been assiduously cultivating ties with what it hopes will be the less judgmental Asian giants, China and India. In Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s view, the potential in Israel’s “pivot to Asia” is unlimited.
On the economic level, it has been impressive. With annual trade of over $11 billion, China is already Israel’s second largest single country trading partner after the US. With purchases of around $1 billion a year, India is the world’s largest consumer of Israeli military equipment.
Despite the huge disparity in size and economic needs, Israel and the Asian giants have been able to find scores of mutually beneficial economic fits. Israeli hi-tech is of particular interest. China is looking to Israeli R&D to help produce innovative products; India seeks to manufacture sophisticated weaponry and civilian goods based on Israeli know-how.
But if Israel’s strategic planners think the Asian giants can step in for Europe and the US on the diplomatic level, they are making a huge mistake. Asia can help pick up economic slack created by European antipathies. But neither China nor India is likely to champion or defend Israel on the world stage. To maintain its international standing, Israel needs the support of what it itself acknowledges as the “moral majority” the US and Europe provide.
Better booster seat gives British immigrant a leg up
Booster seats are supposed to make kids in cars safer, but they often do the opposite, according to Israeli entrepreneur Jon Sumroy. Bulky, oversized seats are not good fits for smaller children, plus it’s unlikely that parents will schlep around a big booster seat when taking their kids on the bus or in taxis.
To solve that, Sumroy developed mifold, a booster seat that is 10 times smaller than the typical booster seat and just as safe. The 48-year-old immigrant to Israel from the United Kingdom does not fit the profile of a typical young Israeli entrepreneur, and booster seats are not a tech product. But the start-up culture here has been a crucial part of his success, Sumroy said.
Unlike baby seats, which are usually very secure and have their own harness and shoulder straps, booster seats are meant for older kids and allow them to be securely fastened into regular seat and shoulder belts. But getting the child centered and belted safely can be difficult. Many parents – as many as 25% in Western countries -don’t know how to use the seats properly, and many of them just give up, strapping their kids into the back seat and hoping for the best.
Israeli App Catches New Zealand Burglar
Israel's hi-tech industry has long been praised in the world, but one New Zealander recently had a harrowing first-hand experience in which she learned how Israeli ingenuity can save one's belongings - and even save one's life.
Melissa Rodrigues of Wellington, New Zealand, was skeptical after her three-year-old son said he had heard an intruder trying to break into the family home. The second time it happened he found proof to show her, in the form of footprints left in the mud by the thief.
Rodrigues and her husband then turned to Salient Eye, a free Israeli cell phone application that turns old smartphones into a camera and motion detector alarm system.
The app caught the thief trying to break in and notified Melissa with an email alert, at which point she called the police. In a manhunt consisting of five police cars the police tracking dog lost the burglar's scent, but pictures captured by Salient Eye gave enough details to identify the man, who turned out to be a neighbor living a few houses away.
After being caught by police thanks to the Israeli app, the man confessed to stealing tools from the Rodrigues family, as well as stealing from other neighbors as well.
Photos: ZAKA Takes Part in Drill with American Military
For the second time, members of the ZAKA emergency medical service participated in a multi-nation drill with the United States Military. The drill, which takes place once every two years, was held in the state of Indiana this year.
This year’s drill simulated a scenario of an 8.3-magnitude earthquake hitting the city of Bloomington in Indiana, similar to the earthquake that occurred in Nepal last month, which killed and injured thousands of civilians, and also left thousands homeless.
The purpose of the drill was to place an emphasis on international cooperation between the National Guard and the rescue units of Israel’s Home Front Command and ZAKA, which is recognized as an international organization by the United Nations.
The commanders of the National Guard who took part in the drill were particularly impressed with the capabilities of the ZAKA delegation and its professional conduct as reflected by the organization’s experience in disaster relief around the world. It was also agreed that ZAKA and the American military will continue their cooperation.
Prestigious German start-up program to invest in Israelis
The German government will invest €500,000 annually in Israeli entrepreneurs, starting in the fall of 2015, it was announced Monday.
This will be the first time Germany’s EXIST program, which aims to encourage entrepreneurship in German universities and research institutes, will invest in another country’s start-ups. The program is designed for young people who are finishing their university studies.
Brigitte Zypries, Germany’s parliamentary state secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, made the announcement at a special event marking the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic and business relations with Israel.
The event in Tel Aviv brought together dozens of German firms and investors with Israeli counterparts, with diplomats and executives praising the annual €6.5 billion trade between the two countries.
First nonstop Boston-TLV route launched by El Al
Just a few miles south of where the Puritans built their New Jerusalem, the first nonstop commercial flight from New England to Israel took off Sunday night from Boston’s Logan International Airport.
More than 200 business and community leaders gathered at Logan for a pre-flight ceremony, during which Israel’s flag was hoisted to the ceiling of the international departures hall. Calling the new route’s opening “a true act of Zionism,” representatives of the Israeli government and El Al Israel Airlines noted that 600,000 Americans fly to the Jewish state each year.
Having edged out contenders like Chicago, Miami and San Francisco, Boston became El Al’s fourth North American gateway city with Sunday night’s maiden voyage to Tel Aviv. The route is the first of any airline since the signing of the 2010 US-Israel Open Skies agreement, designed to encourage more flights between the two countries.
Starting Monday night, three weekly nonstop flights will depart from Israel’s Ben-Gurion International airport and land in Boston before the morning rush hour. Return trips to Israel will also take place at night, allowing passengers to arrive in Israel mid-afternoon. Until this week, Bostonians flying to the Jewish state were forced to go through other cities, including the congested, time-consuming JFK airport in New York City, adding several hours of travel each way.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 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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