Wednesday, November 25, 2015

From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich: Anthropologists take money from repressive regime, while Yahoo clarifies relationship
I wrote a few days ago about an irony of the American Anthropological Association seeking to boycott Israeli academic institutions while taking donations from Intel and Yahoo!, companies with high-profile operations in Israel and extensive academic ties there. Some of those donors have responded – and further financial ironies have emerged
A Yahoo spokesman contacted me today to clarify that the company made a single, one-time donation to the AAA, at time when they did not know about any boycott plans. “Yahoo has at present no intention of further sponsoring” any AAA projects, he said.
The AAA does have some foreign institutional members (though currently no Israeli ones). Among them is the state-run Zayed University, in the United Arab Emirates, where “political dissent is not tolerated and there are severe restrictions on freedom of expression.” As for academic freedom:
The government restrict[s] academic freedom, including speech both inside and outside the classroom by educators, and censored academic materials for schools. The government required official permission for conferences that discussed political issues.
One of the famous quips from the American Studies Association’s boycott was the explanation by its president of why Israel was singled out for boycott: “you have to start somewhere.” For the AAA starting by excluding institutions from a country with no member institution would not seem like a reasonable or non-capricious place to start.
Intel has also sent a statement about its relationship with the AAA:
Intel made two small donations to the American Anthropological Association (AAA) during the past six years, but is not and has never been a member of AAA or a significant donor, and has no ongoing relationship with the AAA.
The description of Intel’s donation as “significant,” which I had quoted, was the AAA’s. According to the AAA, Intel was a sponsor of the Annual Meeting in 2013. They were also listed by the AAA in their highest donor category (“Benefactors”). By the tone of Intel’s statement, I do not think that will be the case in coming years.
Eugene Kontorovich: How to fight labeling
The European Commission's labeling is not about promoting "the two state solution" and it's not about "consumer protection." It is about a single-minded demonization of Israel.
The EU claims that "Made in Israel" labels mislead consumers about products' "country of origin." Yet the EU is not merely seeking a different geographical designation. Surprisingly, according to the EU rules, if "Made in Israel" is the problem, then "Made in the West Bank" or even "Made in Occupied Palestinian Territories" is not an acceptable answer.
Indeed, the EU notice specifically says that such alternative geographic indications cannot be used, though they entirely address the objection about geographic/territorial mislabeling. Instead, the EU notice also requires such products also be labeled "Israeli settlement" products. This is an extraordinary and unique step. "True origin" requirements for labeling are always and only about the country or territory goods comes from.
"Israeli settlement" labeling, however, is not about the geographic area. "Israeli settlement" is not a place on the map. The EU has replaced geographic indications -- labels about where something was made -- to something labels about who or how goods were made.
How EU Officials Resemble Stabbers
EU bureaucrats won’t like the comparison, but in one significant respect, the officials who approved discriminatory labeling requirements for Israeli products earlier this month bear a marked resemblance to the Palestinians who have been knifing Jews throughout Israel for weeks now. Clearly, there’s no similarity between labeling requirements and murder; the two aren’t remotely comparable. But the underlying attitude is remarkably similar: Neither the EU bureaucrats nor the Palestinian stabbers seem to care how many Palestinians they hurt as long as they can hurt a few Jews in the process.
Both the stabbings and the labeling promise to wreak havoc on the Palestinian economy – or to be more specific, on the ability of thousands of Palestinians to support themselves and their children. With regard to the violence, this ought to be self-evident. In an article earlier this month, for instance, reporter Brett Kline described the despondent mood in tourism-dependent Bethlehem now that clashes between slingshot-wielding Palestinians and Israeli soldiers have driven the tourists away. But the angriest comment, Kline reported, came from Hamadah, a construction foreman working in the Betar Ilit settlement:
He has just been informed that following the attempted stabbing of a soldier at the entrance to the settlement by a 22-year-old mother of two from Husan village across the road, work has been suspended indefinitely. And residents of Husan, home to thriving construction material depots and auto repair shops, cannot leave the village.
“What was she thinking,” he fumes, referring to the stabber. “Who the hell is she? … The woman is being fed in hospital. But how will I feed my family?

Indeed, the situation has gotten so bad that Palestinian businessmen in Hebron have begun trying to stop the violence on their own. And it could easily get worse. Last week, following a deadly attack in Tel Aviv perpetrated by a Palestinian who had just received a permit to work in Israel, the Israeli government suspended 1,200 other recently issued entry permits pending a security review. Should more permit-holders perpetrate attacks, Israel could eventually be driven to bar Palestinian laborers almost entirely, as it did during the second intifada. The impact on the Palestinian economy would be devastating: According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 92,000 Palestinians work in Israel (not including the settlements). That’s 13 percent of all employed Palestinians in the West Bank.

UN adopts 6 resolutions on Israel, 0 on rest of world
The UN General Assembly today adopted six non-binding resolutions, drafted by the Palestinians and Syria, singling out and criticizing Israel, and no resolutions on China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, ISIS, or any other human rights situation.
“Surreal barely captures the scene whereby the world is under assault by terrorists killing in the name of Islam and martyrhood — as Palestinians are doing while stabbing Israeli Jews — and the UN’s response is to reflexively condemn Israel in six separate resolutions, all of which are one-sided,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
One resolution condemned Israel for holding on to the Golan Heights, demanding Israel hand the land and its people to Syria.
“It’s astonishing,” said Neuer. “At a time when the Syrian regime is massacring its own people, how can the U.N. call for more people to be subject to Assad’s rule? The timing of today’s text is morally galling and logically absurd.”
“What is also outrageous is that these resolutions claim to care about Palestinians, yet the U.N. proves itself completely oblivious to the actual suffering on the ground, happening right now: hundreds of Palestinians slaughtered, maimed and expelled by Assad’s forces.”
“Today’s farce at the General Assembly underscores a simple fact: the U.N.’s automatic majority has no interest in truly helping Palestinians, nor in protecting anyone’s human rights; the goal of these ritual, one-sided condemnations remains the scapegoating of Israel,” said Neuer.
Israel bashes UNGA for adopting a series of anti-Israel resolutions

Michael Lumish: Shirlee and Dr. Mike on Mighty J-AIR!
Our friends, Shirlee Finn of Jews Down Under and Dr. Michael Harris of Stand With Us, are on Michael Burd and Alan Freedman's radio show today, Nothing Left out of Melbourne, Australia.
Shirlee, of course, is an old friend of this blog and is partly responsible for my own interviews with Michael Burd.
Dr. Mike has been active in the Bay Area pro-Israel community for many years and we have, along with Jon Segall, conducted two panel discussions concerning Israel and the conflict. The second one, held in a Berkeley synagogue, was primarily concerned with whether or not to re-elect Barack Obama.
David Cameron: David Cameron: We will defeat terrorism, and the poisonous ideology that fuels it
This Monday morning I am visiting Paris to show our continued support to the French people and to discuss with President Hollande how we can work together to rid the world of this evil terrorist threat.
As the murders on the streets of Paris reminded us so starkly, Islamic State (Isil) is not some remote problem thousands of miles away; it is a direct threat to our security. So I want the British people to know they have a government that understands the importance of our national security and that we will take whatever actions are necessary to keep our country safe.
This is not a time to equivocate about allowing our police to shoot a terrorist to save the lives of innocent people. It is not a time to stand back and wish for another world where Jihadi John or Reyaad Khan could somehow be arrested, rather than stopped in their tracks. Neither is it a moment to question our support for our dedicated security and intelligence services, who risk their lives day in and day out – often necessarily without any recognition – in order to keep us safe.
Defeating Islamic State
Unlike the Taliban, IS has no safe haven, a country where it can regroup, reequip and train, nor an ISI-like agency to provide intelligence and resources. Unlike most other such groups, which hide among the civilian population (farmers during the day, fighters at night), IS – which is seeking to build a caliphate – is holding land; hence its forces must reveal themselves, which makes them an easier target. IS is the only group in the Middle East Shi’ites and Sunnis, and all the nations in the region, are keen to destroy. If the US, France and the UK were to put a force on the ground working with the Kurds, IS would not be much of an opponent.
Once IS is defeated, though, the US cannot engage in rebuilding Syria. It should yield some of the territory to the Kurds (and pressure Turkey to not seek to prevent them from gaining autonomy in parts of Iraq and Syria). The US best also pressure the Baghdad government to let the Sunnis defend themselves with their own militias, so they will not support a new IS. The other parties in Syria must be left to work out their differences.
Critics may argue that the IS ideology will survive such a military defeat. However, without a caliphate IS will lose much of its shine. Granted, defeating IS will take more than the 50 non-combatants Obama recently dispatch to region – or his five, $100m. per head Syrian trainees.
Why Russian-Jewish Refugees are Different From Syrian Refugees
In a recent op-ed entitled “I’m a Russian-born American Jew. My people’s rejection of Syrian refugees breaks my heart,” Ilya Lozovsky slanderously paints all Russian Jews as fascist hypocrites for failing to join his crusade to resettle Syrian refugees in America.
As a Russian-born American Jew, I beg to differ with his shallow smear campaign.
Let’s first be clear that as recent refugees ourselves, most Russian Jews in America know and remember well what it is like to be a refugee — not knowing where food or shelter may come from next, stuck in Austria or Italy on the way to the States or Israel. We get it like few others.
Humanitarian tragedies know no borders or nationalities, and deserve our help through the provision of food, temporary shelter, clothing, and medication.
But resettling refugees in the US is another matter altogether. The relevant policy questions to consider will have serious implications for our country. There is no place in this necessary and civilized argument for smears of racism and worse. Unfortunately, Mr. Lozovsky has stooped to this lowest of levels.
James Delingpole: The Syrian 'Drought' That Created ISIS Is An Urban Myth
Numerous significant thinkers from Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Thomas Friedman to the Prince of Wales to ex-choral-jailbait-nymphet Charlotte Church have been promoting the theory that the current troubles in Syria are the result of a drought caused by ‘climate change’.
It’s an easy mistake to have made. Often when people are short of food and water their natural instinct is to strap on a suicide vest, pick up a Kalashnikov and drive to Paris in order to kill a few hundred people as an important gesture designed to raise public awareness of the urgent need to reduce anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions before someone gets hurt.
But in this case, Friedman, the Prince of Wales, Charlotte Church – and also Graham Linehan, the Irish scriptwriter of the brilliant comedy series Father Ted – are wrong in their assumption.
We know this because of a stubborn fact called meteorological evidence.
The science says Prince Charles is a fool to blame global warming for the Islamic State
The drought ends, and Israel proves that rich and free societies can easily survive what poor tyrannies next door cannot:
“Israel is no longer drying up and the severe drought ended two years ago,” Water Commissioner Alexander Kushnir told “Globes TV” today [October 2, 2013]. “We’re emerging from the drought, and the water sector has stabilized at a supply rate for the next 10-15 years.”
More evidence that global warming is not causing food shortages but, if anything, record harvests. The US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service/ has just reported that the world’s wheat production has just set “a new record” and world corn production “is up”. Rice production is only very slightly below the record harvests of 2013/2014. Corn production this year in Turkey, Syria’s northern neighbour, sets a record.
Similar picture from the International Grains Council of increasing food production in this era of “global warming”:
Report: Israel provided key intelligence to Germany on imminent terror attack
Germany received key intelligence regarding an imminent terror attack against a packed soccer stadium from Israeli intel services less than two weeks ago, German magazine Stern reported Wednesday.
Israeli intelligence provided the crucial information that lead German authorities to cancel a scheduled friendly soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands at Hanover Stadium on November 17.
The game was called off just four days after the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been set to attend along with other government ministers in a show of solidarity with the French.
According to Stern, Israeli intelligence had informed of an imminent threat modeled after the Paris attacks, with concrete times and targets being mentioned. One of the targets was the Hanover stadium.
Earlier in the evening, Hanover Police President Volker Kluwe said there were "specific indications" of a planned attack with explosives at the game.
Report: France looking for mentor of Toulouse attacker
French anti-terrorist police accompanied by helicopters on Tuesday descended on a small southwestern French village searching for a Salafist preacher suspected of mentoring young jihadists, a source close to the case told Reuters.
According to the news agency, the operation targeted imam Olivier Corel, nicknamed the "White Emir", in Arigat in the Pyrenees mountains of southwestern France.
Corel, 69, is the suspected mentor for Mohammed Merah, the terrorist who killed seven people in Toulouse in 2012, including in the Otzar HaTorah Jewish school.
He also allegedly mentored Fabien Clain, whose voice was identified on an audio tape in which the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for killing 130 in Paris on November 13.
Corel, a French national of Syrian origin who lives in Arigat, was arrested but later released at the time of the Merah attacks, the source told Reuters.
When Paris victims poured into hospitals, doctors thought it was a drill
The harrowing details come from the most detailed recounting yet of the response inside Paris’s massive medical system as it was hit by France’s worst terror attacks.
“We didn’t know how and when this nightmare would end,” said an emergency doctor in the account published in The Lancet medical journal.
The Paris hospital system first learned of the coming horror on November 13 around 9:30 pm, when it was alerted to the explosions outside the Stade de France, where three suicide attackers blew themselves up.
Then came word of the shootings at the Bataclan concert hall as well as at bars and restaurants in a hip neighborhood of east Paris, where nearly all the 130 victims were killed.
“Despite their brutality and appalling human toll, the attacks were not a surprise,” the doctor said.
Report: More Than One in Ten Syrian Refugees have 'Positive' View of Islamic State
More than 10 percent of Syrian refugees say they have a “positive” view of the Islamic State (ISIS), according to a recent publication by the American Enterprise Institute.
AEI – citing a 2014 study – noted that “a disturbing subset of 13% of Syrian refugees say their view of ISIS is ‘positive’ or ‘positive to some extent.'”
The 2014 study found that most Syrian refugees – 83 percent – view the Islamic State terrorist group at the very least “negative to some extent.”
“Overall, 85% of Arabs across the Middle East have a negative view of ISIS, while 11% see them positively,” reported AEI’s Marc A. Theissen. “The negative numbers for the region would be higher were they not skewed by the views of Palestinians, nearly a quarter of whom have a positive view of ISIS.”
According to the data, Palestinians were the people with the highest positive view of ISIS, while Lebanon had the least – only one percent.
EU must limit migrant numbers: French PM
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday urged the European Union to limit the number of migrants it allows into the bloc, following heightened security concerns after the Paris attacks.
"Europe must say that it can no longer accommodate so many migrants, it is not possible," he said in extracts from a lunch with foreign media published by Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung.
"Controlling the European Union's external borders is essential to the future of the EU. If we don't do that, people will say: 'Enough, Europe!'" he added, in comments confirmed by his entourage.
Europe has been struggling for months to cope with its largest migrant crisis since World War II, but concerns about security have increased since Islamic State jihadists killed 130 people in Paris this month in the worst such attacks on French soil.
Israeli Band Forced to Cancel Paris Show Over Security Fears in France
Tel Aviv indie group Lola Marsh was forced to cancel its upcoming Paris show on Tuesday over security concerns in France, Israel’s Walla news reported.
The move follows the November 13th deadly terror attacks on a Paris concert venue and other popular destinations in the city that left 132 dead. Reports indicated that the Bataclan theater may have been targeted due to its past Jewish ownership.
The band posted a message on its Facebook page saying the group would be playing at a local Paris radio station at 10:00 p.m. local time instead.
U.S. Official Says Use of Chemical Weapons is Routine in Syria
The use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war is becoming routine, a U.S. official said in The Hague on Monday, calling on members of the global chemical weapons body to collectively condemn their use.
“Today, we must raise our voice collectively and emphatically to condemn such use,” Rafael Foley told a meeting of the Executive Council at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Pentagon Confirms: Warning Pamphlets Dropped on Islamic State ‘to Minimize the Risks to Civilians’
A U.S. Central Command official confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon on Monday that warning pamphlets were dropped on Islamic State targets 45 minutes before bombing sorties in order “to minimize the risks to civilians.”
The confirmation comes on the heels of disclosures that U.S. military pilots were blocked from dropping 75 percent of their ordinance on likely targets due to concerns about harming civilians.
The warning leaflets were dropped in advance of strikes on an Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) convoy of trucks near the city of Al-Bukamal in Syria, according to the military official.
“We can confirm that leaflets were used prior to air strike operations in the area near Al-Bukamal, as part of Operation Tidal Wave II,” the source said. “The leaflets are used to minimize the risks to civilians.”
The leaflets read: “Get out of your trucks now and run away from them.”
Another message stated: “Warning: airstrikes are coming. Oil trucks will be destroyed. Get away from your oil trucks immediately. Do not risk your life,” according to the Pentagon.
Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed the warning messages in a recent briefing to reporters discussing the strikes.
Iranian Hackers Attack State Dept. via Social Media Accounts
Four months after a historic accord with Tehran to limit its atomic ambitions, American officials and private security groups say they see a surge in sophisticated computer espionage by Iran, culminating in a series of cyberattacks against State Department officials over the past month.
The surge has led American officials to a stark conclusion: For Iran, cyberespionage — with the power it gives the Iranians to jab at the United States and its neighbors without provoking a military response — is becoming a tool to seek the kind of influence that some hard-liners in Iran may have hoped its nuclear program would eventually provide.
While American officials doubt cyber skills, or even the most advanced cyber weapons, will ever have that kind of power, Iran’s cyber focus these days is notable.
Over the past month, Iranian hackers identified individual State Department officials who focus on Iran and the Middle East, and broke into their email and social media accounts, according to diplomatic and law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation. The State Department became aware of the compromises only after Facebook told the victims that state-sponsored hackers had compromised their accounts.
Khamenei: Iran to back Palestinians 'in any way' possible
Iran's supreme leader said on Wednesday that Iran would support the Palestinian uprising against Israel "in any way we can", and rejected US accusations that a recent wave of Palestinian knife and car-ramming attacks amounted to "terrorism".
Khamenei was speaking a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry, during a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, described the spate of attacks as "terrorism" that should be condemned.
Israel and the United States have long accused Iran of supplying arms to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, considered by Washington as a terrorist organization. Tehran says it gives only moral, financial and humanitarian support.
"Despite all the efforts of the Arrogance (the United States) ... and even with cooperation from Arab countries, the Palestinian intifada (uprising) has started in the West Bank," state television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying.
"We will defend the movement of the Palestinian people with all of our existence, and in any way and as long as we can," Khamenei reportedly told a gathering of the Basij, Iran's volunteer militia.
Hezbollah: Rubio Bill Blocking Its International Funds a 'Crime'
The Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah has denounced a new bill approved by the Senate, which seeks to block the Shiite revolutionary outfit from funding.
The Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 is a bipartisan bill originally co-sponsored by Republican candidate for President Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent and had 27 cosponsors, which included nine Democrats. A related piece of legislation passed the House in May.
Sen. Rubio introduced the bill in June, which seeks to “prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions, and for other purposes.”
The Republican Senator from Florida said in remarks last week that the legislation would help “guarantee that our government is focused on eliminating this terrorist group.”
“We cannot afford to jeopardize our national security by letting Iran’s leading terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, continue to pose a direct threat to us,” he said. “It is time for us to reveal the expansiveness of its dangerous network.”
Palestinians ‘disappointed’ after Kerry fails to produce breakthrough
Palestinian officials expressed deep disappointment with the results of US Secretary John Kerry’s visit to the region Wednesday, saying little was done to push forward efforts to resume peace negotiations toward a two-state solution during his meetings in Israel.
According to the officials, the Palestinians were expecting Kerry to bring news of a series of Israeli gestures toward the Palestinians that would ultimately pave the way for the resumption of diplomatic talks between the sides.
Kerry arrived back in the US Wednesday after holding meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a day earlier, though officials said there were no breakthroughs in his bid to calm raging tensions.
Palestinian officials said that according to understandings between Abbas and Kerry, the US administration was expected to raise the possibility of renewing peace negotiations on the basis of a two-state solution along the pre-1967 lines with Netanyahu.
Kerry: Israeli-Palestinian conflict may ‘spin out of control’
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Wednesday that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is at a “pivotal point” and could worsen beyond repair unless both sides make rapid compromises.
“As you know, we’re very concerned about the violence and the potential for the situation to spin out of control,” Kerry told reporters as he arrived home in Boston after visiting leaders from both sides in Jerusalem.
“Over these past months we have been encouraging the parties to take affirmative steps to reduce tensions and demonstrate a genuine commitment to a two-state solution.”
“I think we may be reaching a pivotal point now where both sides have important decisions to make for the future and we obviously hope that they make choices that will advance the prospects for lasting peace.”
PM to Kerry: Calm must return before we make West Bank gestures
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday that Israel would only implement trust-building measures with the Palestinians when the violence against Israelis abates entirely, a senior Israeli official said.
During their meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said Israel would only agree to take steps to improve the security and economic situation for Palestinians in the West Bank when calm is fully restored, according to the official.
There is no settlement freeze, nor will there be one, Netanyahu continued, according to the senior official. If the international community wants Israel to okay building plans for Palestinians, it should recognize Israel’s construction in the settlement blocs, the prime minister declared.
Netanyahu told Kerry that the core problem driving the terror attacks is “religious incitement” by the Palestinian Authority spread via social media, especially surrounding the Temple Mount, according to the official. “The PA participates in the incitement,” Netanyahu is said to have told Kerry.
Professor Opposes UK Invitation to Egypt’s al-Sisi, But Welcomed Muslim Brotherhood at Georgetown
John Esposito, founding director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University, recently signed an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron opposing his invitation to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Britain for talks. The letter stipulates that:
While not necessarily supporting deposed President [Mohamed] Morsi or the policies of his Freedom and Justice party, we note that he was democratically elected, and that his removal from office was effected by means of a military coup led by Sisi.
However, in 2012, Esposito happily appeared alongside members of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, for an ACMCU-hosted panel discussion at Georgetown. At the time, he and other Middle East studies academics were instrumental in whitewashing the Muslim Brotherhood, downplaying its Islamist agenda, and encouraging — with great success — US government cooperation.
This renders Esposito’s objections to al-Sisi’s visit suspect, much like his sudden antipathy towards “repressive and authoritarian” regimes, given that ACMCU has been bankrolled to the tune of $20 million by a member of the Saudi Royal Family — a dynasty that ranks among the most oppressive rulers on earth.
Mass. senators under fire for upcoming Israel trip
The president of the Massachusetts state Senate and nine colleagues have come under fire from a pro-Palestinian coalition for their upcoming mission to Israel.
On Monday, about 25 demonstrators from the the Boston Alliance for Water Justice protested the trip on the steps of the statehouse. Later they delivered a petition signed by 1,200 Massachusetts residents to the office of Stanley Rosenberg, the president of the state Senate, and the other senators going on the 10-day trip, as well as the office of Gov. Charlie Baker.
The alliance called the trip scheduled for early next month a tacit endorsement of Israel’s policies on settlement building in the West Bank and human rights violations against Palestinians. In addition, the group asserted that the trip is politically motivated and has no economic benefit to the state. The alliance includes Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, Jewish Women for Justice in Israel/Palestine, Massachusetts Peace Action and other organizations.
Student who disrupted UT-Austin Israel Studies event starred in Palestinian free speech video
Mohammed Nabulsi is the UT-Austin law student who led the disruption of an Israel Studies event hosted by Prof. Ami Pedahzur. Both Pedahzur and the invited speaker from Stanford University are Israeli. Nabulsi was part of a group of almost a dozen members of UT-Austin Palestine Solidarity Committee who participated in the disruption.
Nabulsi is on video yelling over people, shouting that he has no intention of listening to them and that they have no right to speak as former Israeli soldiers, and demanding the right to perform an “intervention” at the event. Despite repeated requests to leave or to participate, Nabulsi and the others then chanted “Free Free Palestine” and “Long Live the Intifada” to drown out others.
In September 2015, CCR and Palestine Legal issued a report claiming Palestinian voices were being suppressed on campuses, The Palestine Exception to Free Speech.
At the same time and in coordination with CCR and Palestine Legal, Jewish Voice for Peace launched a similar initiative.
The highlight of the campaign to portray Palestinian voices as being silenced was a slick video featuring interviews with faculty and students, including the controversial professor Steven Salaita.
Artists Threatened by Anti-Israel Boycotters Say They Fear for Their Lives
Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement are routinely threatening artists who are set to perform in Israel, with a number of entertainers saying that the harassment has led them to fear for their lives, Ynet reported on Monday.
Patrick Losinski, the producer of the Titans of Metal Festival, which is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv next month, revealed that BDS activists have already threatened a number of the festival’s musicians, and that four participants said the disturbing messages left them “truly fearing for their lives.” Losinski pointed out that BDS has no presence in Israel and more than 100 acts have performed in the Jewish state over the past five years.
Many major artists, including Alicia Keys, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and Bon Jovi, have traveled to Israel in recent years, despite the efforts of boycott activists. Typically, when an entertainer announces plans to perform in the Jewish state, BDS supporters will try to pressure them to cancel the trip by making a public appeal. If a prominent artist is involved, they may receive an open letter from former Pink Floyd frontman and anti-Israel activist Roger Waters. The performers are then sent private emails with more threatening overtones.
Amazon Pulls ‘High Castle’ Ads With Nazi Imagery From New York Subway Following Outcry
Online retail giant Amazon has decided to withdraw a rather extensive ad campaign featured throughout the New York subway system that showed US flags overlaid with German Nazi and Japanese Imperial symbols, Buzzfeed reported on Tuesday. It was a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, not Amazon, who told the reporters.
Passengers were shocked on Tuesday to discover the ads plastered on the New York City subway chairs, including one New York city assemblyman who called on holiday shoppers to say “no” to Amazon this season; assemblyman Dov Hikind is a Brooklyn native and son of Holocaust survivors.
“Amazon knows exactly what they are doing,” Hikind said, according to the New York Observer. “The pain they are causing by plastering the subway with Nazi regalia is disgusting.” Many critics noted that Holocaust survivors were actually forced to ride on the subway on Tuesday, along with the suggestive Nazi imagery. Some noted the irreverence of the ads appearing on a train.
One of the ads showed a US flag with the white stars replaced with the Nazi eagle emblem, or the Parteiadler, with a cross instead of a swastika. Another showed a vague mashup of the US and Japanese Rising Sun flags, the latter of which, unlike the Nazi flag in Germany, can still be flown legally in Japan today.
The new Amazon series, “The Man in the High Castle,” based on Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel of the same name, is set in an alternative world that shows what life after WWII would be like in America if the Nazis had won the war.
Needless to say, users on social media were up in arms. Free speech advocate Pamela Gellar, notable for helping to organized a Muhammad cartoon-drawing contest, slammed Amazon and the MTA, which banned her political group’s ads when it axed all political ads earlier this year.
Belgian court sentences Dieudonne to two months in jail
A Belgian court sentenced controversial French comedian Dieudonne Wednesday to two months in jail for incitement to hatred over racist and anti-Semitic comments he made during a show in Belgium, a lawyer said.
Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has faced similar court cases in France, was also fined 9,000 euros ($9,500) by the court in the eastern city of Liege, said Eric Lemmens, a lawyer for Belgium's Jewish organisations.
He was not in court for the verdict.
The judgement "says that all the accusations against Dieudonne were established - both incitement to hatred and hate speech but also Holocaust denial" relating to a show in Liege in 2012, Lemmens told AFP.
"For me this is more than satisfying, this is a major victory," he said.
Earlier this month the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Dieudonne in a separate case, deciding that freedom of speech did not protect "racist and anti-Semitic performances."
Dieudonne was protesting a fine he received from a French court in 2009 for inviting a Holocaust-denier on stage. He was fined 10,000 euros ($11,000) for what that court referred to as "racist insults."
N. Carolina Jewish day school threat prompts closing
A North Carolina Jewish day school closed for two days and the FBI is investigating in response to a threatening letter.
B’nai Shalom Day School in Greensboro received a letter on Monday containing racial epithets and threats of violence, Fox 8 News reported.
In a news release sent Tuesday, Marilyn Forman, executive director of the Greensboro Jewish Federation, confirmed the threat but declined to provide specifics, saying “it is not appropriate for us to discuss specific security measures we are taking at any individual institution.”
Forman’s statement said that her organization is “working closely with the Greensboro Police Department, FBI and the Department of Homeland Security” and that all local Jewish institutions “remain vigilant in taking special precautions to ensure the safety of our staff members, our students and all community members.”
8-year-old stumbles on First Temple-era archaeological find
An Israeli boy’s dream to be like Indiana Jones when he grows up came true ahead of schedule during a recent visit to the Tel Beit Shemesh archaeological site with his family.
Itai Halperin, 8, of Pardesiya, was walking around the biblical site with his family last week when he picked up a small ceramic object which, upon closer examination, turned out to be a 3,000-year-old head of a figurine, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday.
The family immediately reported the find to the IAA.
Itai said he recently saw an Indiana Jones film and wanted to grow up to be an archaeologist. The IAA commended Itai and rewarded him by inviting his class to take part in an IAA excavation.
Alon De Groot, an Iron Age specialist with the IAA, identified the find as the head of a fertility goddess statuette.
Israel, Australia boost research ties with new agreement
Israel and Australia this week signed a number of agreements to boost research and business ties during the first joint investment summit between the two countries taking place in Australia.
In the framework of the summit, hosted by the the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) with support from the Israel Trade Commission in Sydney, Israel signed an MNC agreement with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). The agreement creates "a framework which provides a supportive work environment for Israeli startups looking to collaborate with multinational companies."
Israel and the state of Victoria relaunched VISTECH, an R&D cooperation program that will fund joint projects. Israel has similar strategic agreements with a slew of key trade partners around the world, on both national and state levels.
“This visit is clearly a testament to the high regard Australia has for the Israeli innovation economy,” said Chief Scientist Avi Hasson, who is in Australia for his first official visit as part of the summit.
“A number of Australian government and trade delegations have visited Israel in recent months, focusing on lessons from the ‘Startup Nation’ in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. They were also deeply interested in learning about our unique brand of public-private partnership and how it promotes our knowledge economy. This visit aims at strengthening an already robust relationship between our two countries,” he added.
OECD: Israelis among highest educated in the developed world
Israelis are among the highest educated in the developed world, but the country still lags behind with regards to gender equality in education, according to an OECD report released Tuesday.
Education at a Glance 2015 indicated that 49 percent of Israelis have attained higher education degrees, well above the OECD average of 34% and the second highest rate of all member countries. In addition, 85% of the population ages 25-64 has completed upper secondary education, above the average of 76%.
Despite these figures, however, the report found that the gender gap in higher education is pronounced in Israel with 53% of women between the ages of 25-64 achieving higher education degrees and just 44% of men, compared with the OECD average of 35% and 32%, respectively.
'The Jew who gave us GPS' - World marks 100 years since Einstein's theory of relativity
One does not need to be a science nerd to appreciate the enormity of the contributions made by Albert Einstein. The simple daily usage of GPS would suffice.
Today the scientific community marks the 100-year anniversary of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. It was a century ago that the German-born Jewish physicist presented his groundbreaking formula to the Royal Academy of Science in Berlin, and all of humanity has been reaping the benefits ever since.
“Albert Einstein is probably the greatest scientist that has ever lived,” Professor Hanoch Gutfreund, a physicist and former president of Hebrew University, told The Jerusalem Post. “He is responsible for great revolutions in physics.”
It was Einstein who, according to Gutfreund, “completely changed our understanding of the physical world” in 1905, his so-called “miraculous year.”
“That was when he published articles...which became the pillars of modern physics,” he said.
8 Facts You Never Knew About Albert Einstein
It took a lot of chutzpah for Einstein, the son of a German engineer, to arrive at his conclusions, which outright defied the then-accepted status quo of physics, which had then been based on Isaac Newton’s 200-year-old (apple) theories. To Newton and Galileo, time and space were absolute entities, but not to Einstein (hence, space and time’s malleability compared to Santa’s paunch). And playing the part, it’s no surprise that the Jewish wiz was as eccentric as his claims.
To celebrate 100 years since his gravity-shifting lecture, here’s a list of some facts about the genius that you might not know.
1) Einstein didn’t wear socks…ever, making him prone to athlete’s foot and these other unfortunate perils.
2) He couldn’t drive or swim, but loved to sail, smoke pipes, and was a big fan of yo-yos and violins.
3) A rockstar of his era, he had his fair share of extramarital lovers within two marriages.
Einstein once kept kosher, and 7 other Jewish facts for relativity’s 100th birthday
Wednesday marks the centennial of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, a discovery that forever revolutionized the study of gravity, space and time. While Einstein’s genius was well established by 1915, the year the theory was published (he devised the famed E=mc2 equation ten years earlier), the physicist’s relationship to Judaism and Zionism was still evolving.
7. He wrote a speech for Israel’s seventh Independence Day on his deathbed
In 1955, Einstein was scheduled to deliver a speech marking Israel’s seventh Independence Day on the American networks ABC, NBC and CBS. On April 17, nine days before the speech, he experienced internal bleeding that landed him in the hospital. He reportedly took a draft of the speech with him to the hospital, but he died the next day after refusing emergency surgery. The Israel State Archive published drafts of the speech in 2013.
“[T]he establishment of Israel is an event which actively engages the conscience of this generation,” Einstein wrote in the draft. “It is, therefore, a bitter paradox to find that a State which was destined to be a shelter for a martyred people is itself threatened by grave dangers to its own security. The universal conscience cannot be indifferent to such peril.”

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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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