Wednesday, February 17, 2016

From Ian:

Israel’s Legitimacy is not dependent on a Palestinian State, or The NY Times
We hear from critics of Israel that Israel needs a two-state solution to be legitimate.
Without a Palestinian state, the argument goes, Israel will rule over millions of resentful Palestinians to whom it will have to deny their basic rights in order to maintain its Jewish nature. Or if Israel enfranchises the Palestinians, they could overwhelm the Jews with their votes and then Israel would cease to be a Jewish state. So the reasoning goes, without a separate Palestinian state, Israel will either cease being Jewish or democratic.
But there was already a separation achieved in 1993, with the signing of the Oslo Accords.
By the end of 1995 Israel had withdrawn from the major population areas in the West Bank, leaving over 90% of Palestinians under the political control of the Palestinian Authority. In 2005, Israel “disengaged” from Gaza ending the occupation of that territory.
On the political front, Yasser Arafat rejected a two state solution from then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. In 2008 Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas rejected a peace deal from then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Two years ago, Abbas rejected a framework agreement that current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reluctantly agreed to.
So the problem isn’t the occupation but what the Palestinians have done or haven’t done with the opportunity.
By focusing strictly on Israel, the peace processors have absolved the Palestinians of any responsibility for their own plight. Worse, by making Israel responsible, they give the Palestinians the ability to determine Israel’s legitimacy.
Jewish star of Scandinavian BBC crime drama The Bridge reveals he quit the show because he was fed up with filming in 'anti-Semitic' Malmo
Danish actor Kim Bodnia has revealed that one of the reasons why he quit hit show The Bridge was because as a Jew he did not feel safe working in Sweden.
Bodnia played detective Martin Rohde in two seasons of the Scandi-crime show, but after first signing up for a third, he later dropped out.
The 50-year-old had previously cited issues with the script, but has now said his departure was also caused by of the rise of anti-Semitism in Sweden.
The Bridge is filmed on both sides of the Oresund - in Denmark and Sweden - and its first two seasons starred Bodnia as Rodhe, and Sofia Helin as the socially awkward Swedish detective Saga Noren.
Despite initially signing up to return as Rohde in season three, Bodnia later announced he was quitting the show in 2014.
Bodnia made the controversial comments during an interview for Israeli TV where he spoke about why he left The Bridge.
After initially explaining that the changes made to the script and lack of influence on it as an actor was the main reason, he is then asked about anti-Semitism in Scandinvia.
‘It [anti-Semitism] is growing, especially in Malmo where we shot the Bridge in Sweden,' he told Channel 10. (h/t Zvi)
The Ambassador From Hell?
Yet there were—and are—clearly other options. In A Problem From Hell, Power suggests that the United States “should set up safe areas to house refugees and civilians, and protect them with well-armed and robustly mandated peacekeepers, airpower, or both.” Lots of people did argue for a no-fly zone or buffer zone to protect Syrians fleeing from Assad’s killing machine. But the White House said no. Mighty Syrian air defenses were too much for the U.S. air force, said former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey.
There was a time when virtually all of Obama’s national security staff advocated arming the rebels to take down Assad. The president was against it. He derided the opposition. As he told Thomas Friedman in August 2014, “This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.” But the reality is that those doctors, farmers, and pharmacists are still out in the field, and might already have stopped the genocide against them on their own, if the president of the United States had been moved to help them help themselves.
Last week John Kerry blamed members of the anti-Assad opposition for walking away from the negotiating table at Geneva, even as Aleppo was being bombed by Russian planes. He told them to expect another three months of bombing, which, he said, would “decimate” them. When the opposition petitioned Kerry to do more, he replied: “Don’t blame me, go and blame your opposition.” Then he continued: “What do you want me to do? Go to war with Russia?” This represents something new in the history of American acquiescence to genocide, and something not even Power documented in her handbook—a U.S. official demanding pity from the victims of a genocide whose suffering he thinks can be alleviated by surrendering to the people who are killing them.
The entire White House, from the president on down, is complicit in the crimes that Power tweets about. As the person who quite literally wrote the book on how the American superpower must stop genocides when it has the power to do so, why hasn’t she resigned? Maybe genocide isn’t actually that important after all, when measured against things like a trade deal with Asia. Perhaps, like the predecessors she describes in her book, she “assumed that U.S. policy was immutable, that their concerns were already understood by their superiors, and that speaking (or walking) out would only reduce their capacity to improve the policy.” Power’s book was taken at the time of its publication as a powerful warning against the moral price that our country pays for such delusional rationalizations. It will be hard to read it the same way again.
Clifford D. May: Bystanders to genocide
One must wonder: Is Ambassador Power asking herself that question now that she's a key figure in an administration that for five years has been choosing to look away from the carnage in Syria and hardly mentioning -- much less taking steps to "mitigate and prevent" -- what history is likely to record as the genocide of Middle Easter Christians?
On the same day last week that the Syrian Center for Policy Research released its report on the death toll, American, Russian and other diplomats meeting in Munich agreed to a "cessation of hostilities" that is to begin within a week. Critics say it will allow Assad and his allies to consolidate their recent gains and prepare for further advances.
We should hope the critics are wrong. But by now we also should have learned that the Russians and Iranians do not see diplomacy as does Obama. They are not trying to "get to yes," find "win-win" compromises or achieve "conflict resolution." Sparing innocent lives is certainly not a priority. To them, diplomacy is war by other means, and wars are for winning.
As they see it, Americans in recent years have been defeated in one diplomatic battle after another -- by North Koreans, by Cubans, by Iran's revolutionary jihadis. They expect to build on this trend. A convincing argument that they're wrong would be challenging to mount.

Reverend William Hechler: Father Of Christian Zionism
He was a close partner of Theodor Herzl in the early Zionist movement. His activism helped lay the groundwork for establishing a Jewish state in their historic homeland. He used his connections to European royalty to help Herzl secure meetings with key world leaders. Herzl thanked him at the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897. Few people were as passionate and intense in working for Zionism and the Jewish people. Yet even fewer know his name. We are speaking of the Reverend William Hechler, a devout Christian who befriended Herzl and became the “foreign minister” of the Zionist movement.
85 years after his death – the date of which will be celebrated this coming January – Hechler is not commemorated across the country that he helped to found. No street bears his name, no structure, no institution. One of the key leaders of the early Zionist movement and fathers of Christian Zionism, and the man that serves as an inspiration for the International Christian Embassy, is almost forgotten. Now is the time for the State of Israel to recognize its debt to this man who worked so hard for its establishment.
William Hechler was not the first Christian who recognized the religious importance of the Jewish return to their homeland, but he was the first that worked actively alongside the newly-formed Zionist movement. Born in 1845 to a devout Anglican family, he took up the cause of Zionism years before Herzl even began his work. As an Evangelical Christian, Hechler saw the return of Jews to their homeland as a biblical imperative.
Why Abdullah chose Jews as his bodyguards
The three fierce -looking bodyguards standing behind King Abdullah of Jordan are - believe it or not - Jews. But you thought that as dhimmis, Jews in the Muslim world were not allowed to carry weapons. You would be right - but these young men are from the Habbani tribe in Yemen - and they were among very few Jews not only allowed to carry the Jambiya, but prized for their qualities as warriors. Why did king Abdullah choose Jews to guard him? Because they could be trusted, as their whole tribe would be held hostage to their good behaviour. (With thanks: Torbjorn)
From Wikipedia:
Habbani Jews were described as taller, more muscular, and darker than their Muslim neighbors. The men did not sport peyot like other Yemeni Jews, and, rather than covering their heads, wore an oiled thong through their characteristically long hair. They plucked their mustaches, distinct from other Jews, but similar to neighboring Muslims. They wore a blue prayer shawl over one shoulder, or walked bare chested, smearing their torsos with sesame oil and indigo. A course calico loincloth, died indigo, covered their bottom, and they typically walked barefoot or with sandals. The women wore their hair in tiny braids, and wore loose-fitting embroidered dresses.
Unlike the Jews of northern Yemen, the Habbani Jews wore a Jambiya or curved knife, Matznaph (turban) and Avne`t (sash). It was very uncommon for Jews in Yemen, outside of Habban, to wear the Jambiya.

Eagles of Death Metal perform in Paris for attack survivors
In a concert that may well be enshrined in rock history, the US band Eagles of Death Metal appeared on stage in Paris Tuesday in front of the survivors of the Bataclan massacre in which 90 of their fans died.
The group played to a crowd whipped to a frenzy by the joy of reunion and relief at survival, the counterpoint to memories of a night of slaughter.
Deafening cheers and applause rang out as the group began their set, viewed as a key moment in reviving morale in Paris after the November 13 terror attacks and helping survivors to turn the page on their ordeal.
Rich in symbolism, the Eagles appeared to the playback of an old song by French singer Jacques Dutronc called “Paris s’eveille” — “Paris Wakes Up,” a portrait of a city about to begin the new day.
The band tore into a favourite song, “I Only Want You,” but stopped halfway into the song.
“Let’s take a moment to remember, then we will get back to the fun,” said drummer Josh Homme.
UK’s Labour probes claims of anti-Semitism at its Oxford club
Britain’s opposition Labour Party has opened an inquiry into allegations of anti-Semitism and intimidation at its Oxford University Labour Club, after the club’s co-chairman quit and alleged a history of anti-Jewish attitudes.
Labour’s national students group announced the inquiry, and a Labour spokesman said the party backed it, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
“Following recent allegations of anti-Semitic behaviour and intimidation at Oxford University Labour Club (OULC), Labour Students have launched an immediate investigation and the Labour party welcomes and supports this action,” the spokesman said. “If complaints are made about any individual member of the Labour party, the party will take robust action to deal with any anti-Semitic behaviour.”
OULC co-chairman Alex Chalmers resigned Monday night in protest over the society’s endorsement of an upcoming Israel Apartheid Week.
In a sharply worded statement, he claimed that “a large proportion of both OULC and the student Left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Oxford Students Majoring In Antisemitism Might Be Unable To Finish (satire)
Students pursuing an academic degree in Jew-hatred at one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities may now face the prospect of having their program eliminated, an administrative official said today.
Facing reports that antisemitism has seen an alarming increase at Oxford, university provost Edward Norwich gave notice to faculty and administrators Wednesday morning in which he recommended that students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in the fomentation and exploitation of anti-Jewish sentiments begin exploring alternative paths to a degree, as the administration is seriously considering ending its Antisemitism program. The move would affect up to 380 current students, but would not apply to Master’s and PhD degrees.
“The extreme to which antisemitic rhetoric has gone forces us to curtail our programming to forestall disaster,” read the notice. “There exists a substantial likelihood that as of the Fall 2016 semester, the Antisemitism undergraduate degree will no longer be offered by this institution. All students who will not complete their baccalaureate in Antisemitism studies by the end of the current academic year must consult with their academic advisers to discuss what modifications to make to their courses of study to determine what other academic degrees are feasible for them.”
A scramble ensued in the Sociology and Political Science departments in the wake of the announcement. A crowd of more than a hundred attempted to storm the provost’s office, but were thwarted by campus security. Department faculty reported that agitated Antisemitism majors had been overflowing with uncertainty and questions.
How pro-Israel students snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at UI-Chicago
Anti-Israel divestment resolution watered down to include condemnation of the United States, other countries, and even Chicago.
On Monday night, February 15, 2016, the student government council at the University of Illinois – Chicago unanimously (14-0) passed a divestment resolution proposed by Students for Justice in Palestine and a coalition of other student groups. That passage is being promoted by anti-Israel activists, including Jewish Voice for Peace, as a major victory for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campus movement.
But passage of the resolution isn’t the real story. The real story is that the resolution that passed did not single out Israel, and applied to any and all alleged human rights abuses anywhere in the world, specifically also mentioning the United States, China, Britain and other countries. As such, the watered-down resolution amounted to a universal statement of principles, not a condemnation of Israel.
The UIC Coalition for Peace, which included pro-Israel students, can claim this as a victory for fair treatment of Israel.
Britain formally unveils proposal to discourage anti-Israel boycotts
The British government on Wednesday formally announced moves designed to discourage anti-Israel boycott activity. Under the proposed law, “discrimination against Israeli suppliers” would be a breach.
“Guidance published today makes clear that procurement boycotts by public authorities are inappropriate, outside where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the Government,” a statement issued by UK Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock said. “Town hall boycotts undermine good community relations, poisoning and polarising debate, weakening integration and fuelling anti-Semitism. Locally imposed boycotts can roll back integration as well as hinder Britain’s export trade and harm international relationship.”
The guidance applies to “Central Government, Executive Agencies, Non Departmental Public Bodies, the wider public sector, Local Authorities and NHS (National Health Service) bodies,” the statement said. “Any public body found to be in breach of the regulations could be subject to severe penalties.”
It noted that the new guidance “complements existing Government guidance about trading or investing overseas (including with Israel), where we advise UK businesses to consider any potential legal and economic risks of doing so.” At the same time, the statement affirmed Britian’s commitment to EU labeling of settlement goods, noting, “the Government’s existing policy support for clear and transparent labelling of settlement products to ensure that individual consumers are able to make informed choices before they buy.”
Why BDS activist Malia Bouattia couldn’t answer Jon Snow’s question on Israel boycott
If Bouattia appeared a bit tongue-tied when asked whether she’s willing to consider boycotting the Muslim state of Saudi Arabia, it may be because she’s previously expressed views on the broader subject which would have been impossible to justify to Channel 4 viewers, and which undercuts the moral justification of BDS.
Specifically, in 2014, Bouattia remarkably argued against a NUS motion to boycott the barbaric jihadists of ISIS, arguing on her Facebook page that such a measure would fuel Islamophobia and serve to demonize Muslims. (Following the row over her remarks about ISIS, she was challenged on this inconsistency by Vice News and gave a similarly muddled and evasive reply.)
So, to recap, Bouattia fears that a boycott of the Muslim terror group ISIS would fuel Islamophobia, yet is apparently breezily unconcerned with the fears of British Jews that boycotts narrowly targeting the progressive democratic Jewish state would incite antisemitism.
Malia Bouattia responds to Jon Snow's question about boycotting countries other than Israel

Palestinians dismayed by UK plan to stop local councils boycotting Israeli settlements
Palestinian leaders have attacked the British government's new policy to prevent local councils from boycotting Israeli settlements, accusing the UK of "defending Israel’s occupation" of the Palestinian territories.
The policy prevents local councils, NHS trusts and other public bodies from initiating their own boycotts, for example refusing to buy products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The government argues that such boycotts can "fuel anti-semitism" and amount to local bodies formulating their own "damaging and counter-productive" foreign policies.
The announcement was welcomed by Israel but met with outrage by the Palestinians, who see boycotts as a tool for putting international pressure on Israel to end its 48-year occupation.
“This policy puts the UK in the position of defending Israel’s occupation, expansion, racism and colonialism,” said Husam Zomlot, ambassador-at-large for the Palestinian leadership.
Guardian cartoon against UK boycott ban intellectually misappropriates George Orwell
The tree represents the Conservative Party, whilst the words “ORWE’LL DO YOU” have an obvious double meaning – the warning “we’ll do you” (in effect, “We’ll get you!”) is written in a manner visually reminding readers of George Orwell, likely suggesting that the anti-boycott law runs afoul of Orwell’s warnings about the erosion of free speech.
However, the law in question does not impede on British citizens rights to express their opinion about Israel, or any other matter. Under the new guidance, all public institutions will reportedly be prevented from boycotting Israeli products – a law not dissimilar to US anti-boycott laws which have never been determined to run afoul of the the country’s robust First Amendment’s protection of free speech.
More importantly, the cartoon’s selective reading of Orwell ignores his more relevant writings about the broader issue of Bell’s default pro-Palestinian position. As Jamie Palmer recently reminded us, in Orwell’s 1945 essay Notes on Nationalism he explored the erosion of the capacity on reasoned political discourse on the intelligentsia when they attach themselves to a narrow and myopic ideology.
Though Orwell largely was referring to support for the Soviet Union amongst many within the ‘intelligentsia’, Palmer cites, as examples of putatively rational intellectuals falling for violent and regressive political movements, Jean-Paul Sartre’s support for Maoism; Michel Foucault’s soft spot for Ayatollah Khomeini; and the solidarity offered to the fascists of Hezbollah by Judith Butler.
Israel boycotts are used as a cover for anti-Semitism - Britain must take a stand for democracy
Let us be clear about the true nature of the BDS movement. They want Israel to be erased from the map. The BDS leadership advocates the full right return of the Palestinians - from the river to the sea – a "Judenfrei" Middle East region. That makes BDS more than just an anti-Israel movement; it makes it an attack on the very principles we hold dear in this country.
To oppose BDS is a moral imperative and the new British legislation, expected to be announced by Matt Hancock, Britain's cabinet office minister, on a visit to Israel later this week, should be welcomed. It is a necessity against a movement that, for too long, has applied double standards that have dangerously blurred the line between legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and anti-Semitism.
It also sets Britain apart from a controversial directive issued by the European Union (EU) in November 2015 that makes it mandatory for Israeli producers to explicitly label goods produced in disputed territories. Again, it is difficult to see how the new EU directive is not discriminatory against the Jewish state, given that the EU does not enforce the same legislation in other long-standing international territorial disputes, such as Tibet, Western-Sahara and Kashmir.
Perhaps Britain, with its principled and courageous stance against the boycotts against Israel, can offer a model to the rest of Europe.
Campus anti-Semitism looks to instill hatred for the long term
At the University of Washington, BDS demanded the university divest from Caterpillar Corp., which supplies bulldozers to the Israel Defence Forces. The U of Washington doesn’t actually hold Caterpillar stock, but BDS is investing in the future. The student leaders of today are the political leaders of tomorrow. Winning them over now ensures a sympathetic ear down the road. Relentlessly driving home the anti-Israel message will, they hope, inculcate a permanent bias.
This is classic anti-Semitism in action. Boycott proponents see Israel as not simply wrong, but sinful, as well. And in their view, sins can only be redeemed by the destruction of the state in which they breed.
It’s irrational and the opposite of democratic, yet campus administrations, so quick to empathize with other minority grievances, hesitate to acknowledge this true evil in their midst. As former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers said in an address on academic freedom, “the general failure of American academic leaders to aggressively take on the challenge posed by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction movement represents a consequential abdication of moral responsibility.”
These resolutions are not an example of “freedom of speech.” They are designed to normalize the pernicious idea that Israel’s right to exist, alone among nations, is contingent on world opinion of its moral worth, and to prevent, amongst other things, the free exchange of ideas and research with Israeli universities. It is past time that McGill and other university boards of governors put a stop to this hateful, and institutionally corrosive, psychological pogrom.
How the United States Mislabels Israel
In a move uncharacteristic of U.S. policy as it has been carried out for decades, the Obama administration recently endorsed Europe’s version of a soft Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaign targeting Israeli merchandise.
In late January, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency changed its policy on imports from the West Bank, imposing, in effect, a sanction on such goods.
The penalty states that products must no longer be labeled “Made in Israel,” because the United States views the West Bank as territory illegitimately controlled by Israel.
Europe adopted such a labeling policy in November. Since then, the United States has chartered a zigzag course through the product demarcation debate. When asked in November if labeling constitutes a boycott, Mark C. Toner, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman, said: “It’s a—it could be—it could be perceived as a step on the way.”
Just last month, however, Toner’s boss, spokesman John Kirby, announced: “We do not view labeling the origin of products as being from the settlements a boycott of Israel. We also do not believe that labeling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott.”
The United States, like the European Union, goes to great lengths to insist that demarcating Israeli products from the settlements is not a boycott.
Israeli group accuses US of labeling settlement products
Last month, Washington issued a reminder that products imported from the West Bank or Gaza Strip should not be labeled “Made in Israel,” in accordance with a 1995 law. The reminder prompted debate after media reports suggested Washington was hardening its stance against Israeli settlement activity, a claim that US officials denied.
But, according to a Channel 2 report that cited the Israeli group The Legal Forum for Israel, the original legislation was designed solely to apply to Palestinian products manufactured in areas under Palestinian control.
The “very, very strange and unusual” reminder to enforce the policy “means that for 20 years, the US Customs made a mistake or misinterpreted the directive,” the TV report said. “That’s very uncharacteristic for the Americans.”
The TV report proceeded to quote the group calling out the US for what it termed its “bluff.” The Legal Forum For Israel maintained that the original law referred only to Palestinian products, while the new instructions would apply the “Made in the West Bank” label to products made in Jewish settlements as well.
The organization cited a 1995 document from US Customs, which appears to state that the policy does not extend to Jewish settlements, Jerusalem, and military sites in the West Bank. The Times of Israel could not immediately verify the veracity of the Forum’s explanation for the law. The report also did not make clear whether the labeling had been reintroduced since the directive was reissued in January.
The NGO accused the State Department of being dishonest with the American public, and with Israel. Washington has effectively started labeling West Bank products “without the pressures” that the European Union had to deal with and “under the radar,” it charged.
Exclusive: Main German bank closes top BDS-linked account
The Munich-based DAB Bank is slated to discontinue the account of one of the top BDS campaign websites in Germany, the Jerusalem Post has learned.
The BDS-Kampagne [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Campaign] group’s website lists DAB Bank Munich as the financial institution for electronic money transfers.
The Post uncovered the DAB bank account for the BDS campaign website targeting Israel.
Dr. Jürgen Eikenbusch, the spokesman for DAB Bank Munich, wrote the Post by email on Tuesday: “Because of bank secrecy [financial laws] we cannot provide you with concrete information about the account. We took the information very seriously and are examining the topic and are taking, if necessary. the corresponding measures.”
DAB Munich is the German branch of its French mother company bank, BNP Paribas. French law outlaws BDS activity targeting the Jewish state.
Covertly, Israel prepares to fight boycott activists online
Israel is using its world-leading expertise in cyber security to take on the growing threat of the global pro-Palestinian movement to boycott Israel.
The government recently allotted nearly $26 million in this year’s budget to combat what it sees as worldwide efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state’s right to exist. Some of the funds are earmarked for Israeli tech companies, many of them headed by former military intelligence officers, for digital initiatives aimed at gathering intelligence on activist groups and countering their efforts.
“I want to create a community of fighters,” said Sima Vaknin-Gil, the director-general of the Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, to Israeli tech developers at a forum last month dedicated to the topic.
Initiatives are largely being kept covert. Participants at the invite-only forum, held on the sidelines of a cyber technology conference, repeatedly stood up to remind people that journalists were in the room.
BDS movement claims victory in canceling S. Africa water confab
The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement in South Africa took credit this week for the cancellation of an upcoming water conference because of the participation of Israel’s envoy to South Africa, Arthur Lenk.
According to a press release put out by BDS South Africa, the conference was to be hosted by the South African weekly Mail & Guardian.
South Africa is facing a severe drought.
The Foreign Ministry said it was trying to clarify whether the conference was indeed canceled because of Lenk’s planned participation as a panelist.
The BDS Movement’s statement said it welcomed “a) the pledge by some of the sponsors and organizers that if ever a similar event is organized in the future that it will not include the Israeli ambassador to South Africa; and b) the assertion by South Africa’s Ministry of Water Affairs and Sanitation that it had nothing to do with the conference in the first instance.”

Jerusalem’s Zion Square to Be Renamed in Honor of Teen Slain During Gay Pride March
Jerusalem’s Zion Square is slated to be renamed as “Tolerance Square” in honor of 16-year-old Shira Banki who was stabbed to death last summer by a religious extremist during the city’s Gay Pride Parade in 2015.
“Zion Square in the historic heart of downtown Jerusalem – which for many years attracted protests, demonstrations and clashes – will soon become a square to represent tolerance and mutual respect in the spirit of the late Shira Banki, murdered during the Gay Pride Parade,” the Jerusalem municipality said in a statement, theJerusalem Post reported.
Banki was murdered by Yishai Schlissel, a Haredi extremist who had been released from jail after a 10-year sentence he served for stabbing people during the 2005 Gay Pride Parade. Schlissel also wounded 5 others during the 2015 attack.
“We decided together with the Bankis’ to make the square a place that promotes connection, tolerance and mutual respect, as represented by their late daughter,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said.
Jerusalem was inhabited as far back as 7,000 years ago, archaeologists find
Archaeologists have unearthed the oldest known remains of an ancient settlement on the site of modern-day Jerusalem, dating back some 7,000 years, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
The finds were uncovered by the IAA during excavations carried out prior to the laying of a new road in the Shuafat neighborhood in northeastern Jerusalem.
The excavation exposed two houses with well-preserved remains and floors containing various installations as well as pottery vessels, flint tools, and a basalt bowl, the IAA said.
Experts have dated the finds to 5,000 BCE, the beginning of the Chalcolithic era, also known as the Copper Age. During the period, which stretches back to 3,000 BCE, man started using copper tools for the first time, a revolutionary advancement from the stone tools previously used.
According to Dr. Omri Barzilai, head of the IAA’s Prehistory Branch, the findings are the oldest proof of human settlement in the Jerusalem area.
12,000-year-old Israeli village shows start of farming
An ancient prehistoric village dating back 12,000 years has been found by Hebrew University archaeologists during excavations in the Jordan Valley.
The site has been dubbed NEG II, and is located in Nahal (wadi) Ein-Gev at the middle of a perennial stream flowing west to the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Excavations there have found human burial remains, flint tools, art manifestations, faunal assemblage, ground stone and bone tools. The excavated area revealed an extensive habitation with deep cultural deposits (2.5 to 3 meters deep), and the site is estimated as covering roughly 1,200 square meters.
According to the archaeologists the ancient village shows stark differences from others dating back to the same period in Israel, as it exhibits cultural characteristics from both the Old Stone Age (Paleolithic period) and New Stone Age (Neolithic period).
"Although attributes of the lithic (stone) tool kit found at NEG II places the site chronologically in the Paleolithic period, other characteristics – such as its artistic tradition, size, thickness of archaeological deposits and investment in architecture – are more typical of early agricultural communities in the Neolithic period,” said Dr. Leore Grosman of Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology, who led the excavations.
Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes third grandchild
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday announced the birth of his third grandchild, after his daughter Noa had a baby girl.
“Sara and I are happy that my love Noa had a girl, a sister to Shmuel and David and niece to Yair and Avner,” he wrote in Facebook post in Hebrew that garnered tens of thousands of likes and over a thousand comments.
“Mother and the daughter are doing well, and we are delighted at our growing family,” he added.
Noa Roth, 36, is the only child of Netanyahu and his first wife, Dr. Miriam Weizmann. Noa was born in 1978, shortly before her parents split.
Netanyahu to mark Entebbe anniversary with Africa visit
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning a landmark visit to Uganda and Kenya this summer to mark 40 years since the July 4, 1976, Entebbe raid during which his brother, Yonatan, was killed in the legendary hostage rescue operation, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The trip is expected to be among the issues on the agenda when Kenyan President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta arrives for a visit next week.
This would be the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to Sub-Saharan Africa since Yitzhak Shamir visited four west African states in 1987.
While Netanyahu had plans to visit Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia in 2011, that trip was scuttled because of security concerns.
The failure of Israeli prime ministers to visit Africa is a sore point with African ambassadors stationed here, who regularly urge Israel not only to talk about the importance of ties with Africa, but actually to show the importance of these ties through deeds, including prime ministerial visits.
A visit by Netanyahu would have added importance now, as Iran – and its Hezbollah proxy – continue to try to make inroads into the continent.
Breakthrough cancer cure has deep Israeli roots
A breakthrough cancer study in which patients suffering from a form of leukemia saw their diseases go into remission after they were treated with genetically modified T-cells has deep roots in Israel.
One of the first in the world to work on the innovative adaptive immunotherapy technique to treat cancer, which was hailed Tuesday worldwide as a potentially “extraordinary” development, was Weizmann University Professor Zelig Eshhar. Speaking Wednesday on Israel Radio, Eshhar said he was very heartened to hear about the results of the study at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I’m not surprised to hear about the results,” he said. “In our lab, we cured many rats and mice of cancer. I have been saying for years that we could do this in people, as well.”
In an article in the journal Science Translational Medicine, a team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine reported that 27 out of 29 patients with an advanced blood cancer saw their cancers go into remission or disappear altogether when they received genetically modified T-cells that were equipped with synthetic molecules called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs. Those T-cells were able to target and destroy the tumor cells – specifically the ones that were responsible for the acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) the patients were suffering from.
According to officials at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where the research was carried out, patients in the trial – some of whom were told in 2013 they had barely a few months to live – not only survived, but now, after the therapy, “have no sign of the disease.”

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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 19 years and 40,000 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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