Tuesday, May 03, 2016

From Ian:

Springsteen guitarist slams ‘obnoxious idiots’ who back BDS
Amid rumors that Bruce Springsteen will perform in Tel Aviv this summer, he and his E Street band have come under fire from supporters of boycotting Israel.
On Monday, band guitarist Steven Van Zandt — who is also known for playing a mobster on HBO’s “The Sopranos” — responded in typically direct style. In a series of tweets, he called Israel boycotters “politically ignorant obnoxious idiots” and suggested to one: “go f— yourself.”
Van Zandt has taken tweet heat before for the unconfirmed show. And he’s not alone among his bandmates.
Bassist Garry Tallent has been heckled by the Twittersphere. And self-described anti-Zionist Stanley Cohen, who has more than 20,000 Twitter followers, went after the Boss himself back in February.
David Horovitz: On Israel, Springsteen’s guitarist outriffs Ken Livingstone
Bruce’s beloved long-time guitarist, it turns out, has been defending Israel in the Twittersphere. Little Steven. Miami Steve. Silvio from “The Sopranos.” Giovanni “Johnny” Henriksen from “Lilyhammer,” if you prefer your TV dramas Scandinavian.
More pertinently: Steven Van Zandt, the founder of Artists United Against Apartheid, the force behind anti-apartheid protest song Sun City.
What began as a Twitter row over Springsteen’s recent cancellation of a show in North Carolina lurched into an argument over Israel, in the course of which Van Zandt attacked “discrimination of any kind,” stressed his patriotism, and then, when challenged on the issue of the ostensible “rogue” state of Israel, slapped back with “You and the other Israel boycotters are politically ignorant obnoxious idiots. Israel is one of our two friends in the Middle East.” He told Israel critics to “get educated.” And then, when it was put to him that “Israel totally meets apartheid definition under under itl law” (sic), came back, bless him, with, “Trust me I am at least as aware of most of the injustices around the world as you are. One solution does not fit all,” and “The problems there have existed for a thousand years and you want the solution in 140 characters?” and, best of all, “I understand how it might appear that way but your analysis is incorrect. It’s a lot more complicated than SA.”
“Complicated.” Little Steven, I could kiss you. Yes, it is complicated. Complicated. Complicated. Complicated. If it were simple, we would have solved it. If we could have done so on our own, we would have solved it. Most of us don’t want to rule the Palestinians. We don’t want to send our kids to the army, to risk their lives in conflict with the death cult Islamists. But our country is nine miles wide at its narrowest point. This region, with Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic State and that terrifying regime in Iran, is hostile and ruthless. We are strong in our imperfect, gutsy little democracy, we’re defiant, we’re hanging in there. But meeting the challenges we face is complicated.
Please remember that, those of you tempted to fall into the Livingstone trap, those of you tempted to nod and add that caveat, as you properly condemn anti-Semitism, “Of course Israel’s totally wrong in its treatment of the Palestinians…”
BOYCOTT ISRAEL - Steven Van Zandt - Lilyhammer (h/t IsraellyCool)

Ryan Bellerose: Justice
The people of Israel were in the majority, forcibly displaced, by several empires. Each time they would slowly pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back to work being Jews, doing Jewish things. Eventually they would rebuild and return only to have the next in a long line of asshats do it again. Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Persians, The Reich, the Arab caliphates, the Persians again, and the Ottomans – all of them oppressed, killed and displaced Jews, and all of them have a single thing in common – they are no longer extant as empires or even really as peoples. Each time these empires did hideous things, and each and every time the Jews shrugged, picked themselves up and worked to get home. Most of the time they did it with no help, and while they had short periods of self-determination, they spent more time rebelling against imperialism and colonialism than in actually having self-rule. Yet they never gave up. They have a saying “Next year in Jerusalem” that speaks to their yearning to return to the place they were forced from. Jews, to put it bluntly, have been fighting colonization for most of their existence.
The achievement of a state for the Jews on their ancestral lands is the pinnacle of their peoples story, a story filled with sadness and destruction but also of unfathomable strength and determination. It’s easy to be strong when you are on top, it’s much harder to be strong when you are not ascendant. It’s actually a very simple story, a people displaced, forced to be wanderers, not allowed to own land anywhere, never being allowed to “belong,” being mistreated for 2,000 years, going home and building a thriving nation on land that was not only theirs by right of indigenous status but theirs by right of purchase, and then by force of arms after their former occupiers tried to take it all back. How then is this anything BUT a story about Justice achieved?
But what about the Arabs, you ask? The Arabs were ascendant for a thousand years. They left the Hejaz in an orgy of violence almost unparalleled in human history, they conquered the entire known world, force converted millions, killing millions more. They were subsumed and replaced by the Turks of the same religion. Most recently the Arabs lived as serfs under the effendi land owner class, and treated the Arabs poorly but worlds better than the Jews were treated. Those same Arabs would every now and then have a little Jew-killing party (pogroms), always reminding the Jews that they were dhimmis on their own ancestral lands. The Arabs were offered a state of their own with self-determination no less than 3 times, but each time they assumed their sheer numbers would win eventually, so they refused and chose war. They lie about their own history because they are ashamed of it. They were in charge, they were oppressors, who lost it all and were in turn oppressed by their Muslim brothers. Ashamed, they teach false history and steal the very stories of the Jewish people, and some of the so-called justice warriors try to help them. But at the end of the day , they are going to lose simply because they are on the wrong side of history. They are the former colonizers who stole indigenous peoples land, they are not themselves indigenous.
Something the social justice warriors struggle with is the mental gymnastics required to make the story of the creation of Israel into something it is not.
Alan Dershowitz: The Holocaust: Many Villains, Few Heroes
The Nuremberg trials, by focusing narrowly on Nazi leaders and their direct henchmen, implicitly exculpated those who played important, but less direct, roles by their actions and inaction. By their nature, courts are limited in what they can do to bring to justice large numbers of individuals who belong on a wide continuum of legal and moral guilt. But historians, philosophers, jurists and ordinary citizens are not so limited. We may point fingers of blame at all who deserve to be blamed, whether or not they were placed on trial at Nuremberg, or at subsequent legal proceedings.
There will never be perfect justice for those who helped carry out the Holocaust. Most of the guilty escaped prosecution, lived happy lives and died in their beds, surrounded by loving family members. West Germany prospered as a result of the Marshall Plan, and many German industrialists, who had benefited from slave labor, continued to benefit as a result of the perceived needs of the Cold War. The scales of justice remain out of balance. Perhaps this helps to explain why more than 6 million people have been murdered in preventable genocides -- in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and other places -- since the world pledged "never again."
There is, of course, the risk that by blaming all, we blame none. It is important to calibrate the responsibility of those who played very different roles in the Holocaust. This is a daunting task, but it must be undertaken if future genocides are to be deterred.
Irwin Cotler: Nuremberg lessons: Stand up to hate, and remember hate's victims
Yom Hashoah arrives this year on the eve of two historic anniversaries: the 80th anniversary of the coming into effect of the Nuremberg Race Laws, which served as prologue and precursor to the Holocaust, and the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, which served as the foundation for the development of contemporary international human rights and humanitarian law.
This historic juncture will be the theme of an international legal symposium on May 3 at Jagiellonian University in Krakow. It will be followed the next day by the March of the Living, when some 10,000 young people and survivors will march in remembrance and solidarity from the gates of Auschwitz to Birkenau.
We must ask ourselves two questions: What have we learned? What must we do?
The responsibility of remembrance
The first lesson is the importance of "zachor," of remembrance of the victims defamed, demonized and dehumanized as prologue and justification for genocide, so that the mass murder of 6 million Jews, and of millions of non-Jews, is not a matter of abstract statistics.
The responsibility to prevent state-sanctioned incitement to hate and genocide
The Holocaust succeeded not only because of the industry of death -- of which the crematoria are a cruel reminder -- but because of the Nazis’ state-sanctioned ideology of hate. Genocide starts with teaching contempt for, and demonizing, the other. As the Canadian Supreme Court affirmed, “The Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers – it began with words.”
Shmuley Boteach: Sykes-Picot is dead, long live Israel!
UN peacekeepers in the Golan, a few of whom I met and chatted with, look like they are holidaying while in Israeli territory. Their unfortunate comrades over in Syria were kidnapped by jihadis.
And yet when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a cabinet meeting in the Golan last week and stated the obvious – that it would remain Israel’s forever, whether or not the Syrian civil war is ever resolved – he met with galling, if entirely predictable, censure from the United Nations and world powers. They still consider the Golan to be Syrian, apparently, and expect Israel to return it.
This is dishonest if not outright insane, the bankruptcy of international diplomacy that has lost any capacity for ingenuity or adaptation and resorts to empty mantras – in this case, the arbitrary border set down by Sykes-Picot, giving Syria the Golan.
Even if Israel were willing to cede the Golan now, to whom exactly does the US State Department, the UN, or British Foreign Office expect the territory to go? There is no unitary Syria any more, nor any serious prospect of the country coming together under the dictator Bashar Assad who, having overseen the slaughter of a quarter-million of his fellow citizens and displacement of millions more, will never be more than de facto mayor of Damascus. He controls perhaps a quarter of the country, while motley rebels run the rest of it. So is Israel expected to give the Golan to Islamic State or the Nusra Front? Would that satisfy the world? The Sea of Galilee once more under Syrian guns, but this time around with gory jihadi fingers on the triggers? Nor are the Assad forces deployed on the Syrian side of the Golan border, or their reinforcements from Hezbollah and Iran, any less likely to threaten Israel. Over the past three years there have been 20 cross-border terrorist attacks there against Israeli targets, all of them by militiamen allied to the Assad-Hezbollah-Iran axis. The message is clear: Even as he battles to stay in power, Assad still has time to spill Jewish blood.
Next, give the Kurds – the world’s biggest stateless nation, a worthy people with democratic standards, female emancipation and incredible forbearance over centuries of suffering – a country in north Iraq and perhaps Syria. What follows may not be in your hands, but at least you will know that you did what you could to help those in the region who truly deserve recognition.
Disgrace: Abbas Promotes Jew Killer for Nobel Peace Prize
The five victims of Barghouti’s terrorism are:
- Yoela Hen, a 45-year-old Israeli woman who was murdered at a Jerusalem gas station in January 2002;
- Eli Dahan, Yosef Habim and police officer Sgt.-Maj. Salim Barakat, who were killed during a shooting and stabbing attack at a restaurant in Tel Aviv in March 2002;
- Tsibouktsakis Germanus, a Greek monk who was gunned down in his car on June 12, 2001.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are naturally appalled and disgusted that the Nazi-like Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority would nominate a multiple murderer of Jews as its preferred candidate for the receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize.
“But, this is a regime which glorifies and honors suicide bombers in its officials speeches, mosque sermons and school curricula; which names streets, schools, and sports teams in honor of dead terrorists; which pays stipends to the families of suicide bombers and pensions to jailed, blood-soaked Palestinian terrorists; and which teaches its children to murder Jews as a national and a religious duty.
“That being the case, it is almost understandable that this terrorist Nazi-like regime would nominate for the Nobel Peace Prize a leading terrorist whose acts of murder are institutionally encouraged and applauded by the PA regime.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Preparing Their People for Statehood?
Dahlan and Tirawi, who were once viewed by many Palestinians as potential successors to Abbas and promising new leaders representing the "young guard," apparently had different motives behind their alleged schemes.
While Dahlan may have sought revenge against Abbas and his loyalists, Tirawi apparently wanted to create instability in the Gaza Strip by blaming Hamas for the assassination of top Fatah officials.
Dahlan sought revenge against Abbas for expelling him from Fatah and making him into a "refugee" in the United Arab Emirates. Tirawi, for his part, wished to undermine Hamas's rule in the Gaza Strip by killing some of his own colleagues in Fatah.
Tirawi and al-Masri, who has since been released from dentition by Hamas, have vehemently denied that they were plotting to eliminate senior Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip.
Whether true or not, Fatah's credibility is crumbling, not only among the Palestinian public, but also among its own supporters. Hamas is thriving on the mayhem among the top brass of Fatah and disgust with Abbas and the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank. Rather than striving to improve the lives of Palestinians, Fatah leaders spend their time playing at being gangsters, settling scores. Meanwhile, Abbas continues his charade of lies with the international community that he and his Fatah faction are ready for a sovereign state.
Water-filled barriers installed to shield Sydney synagogues against terror attacks
WATER-FILLED barriers are being installed to guard against terror attacks at four synagogues in the eastern suburbs during the Jewish High Holy Days.
The security arm of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies said in a letter, “the threat of terrorism and racial vilification against Jewish Communities around the world is well established”.
“A car containing explosives which attempts to ram (or to park outside) the installation will be stopped at the barriers,” the letter said.
Woollahra Council renewed its approval for the barriers and a series of no-stopping zones outside the synagogues on Monday.
In considering the measures, council staff referred to the letter submitted by the board when it last sought approval in 2010.
The letter cited a car-bomb attack on a New York synagogue by a radicalised Muslim group in 2009 to support the application.
Israeli killed in Hungary was beaten to death with bricks
Ofir Gross, 40, who was found dead hours after having been declared missing in Hungary, had been beaten to death by bricks while sleeping according to Hungarian authorities, Channel 2 reported Tuesday.
According to the report, two suspects arrested Sunday in connection to the murder came across Gross who was sleeping in an empty yard and stole his valuables including his cell phone and personal computer after killing him. They then allegedly dragged his body from the murder site and buried it under debris at a nearby abandoned building.
The suspects are male, aged 21 and 19.
Gross had last contacted his family on Thursday. Israeli authorities delivered the announcement to his family, who traveled to Hungary to identify the body.
Jordan ends ban on Lebanese band with gay frontman
Jordan is lifting a ban on popular Lebanese indie band Mashrou’ Leila, which tackles issues of sexuality and politics and whose frontman is openly gay. The ban came amid claims the group’s songs promote religious and sexual freedom that violate local customs and religious beliefs.
Khalid Abu Zeid, a regional politician who initially announced the ban against Mashrou’ Leila, or Leila’s Project, said in a new statement that “we don’t mind if this concert takes place.” He didn’t elaborate.
The band said in response that the reversal was too late for the Jordan show to take place as scheduled on Friday.
The initial ban sparked criticism of Jordan, which presents itself as an island of relative tolerance in a turbulent region where religious fundamentalism is on the rise.
Sons of Hezbollah commanders sent to Europe to evade Syria fighting
Senior commanders in Hezbollah are smuggling their sons to Europe to prevent the Lebanese terror organization from recruiting them to fight in Syria against the rebel factions, the Egyptian news site Arabi 21 reported Monday.
According to the report, the phenomenon of young Shi'ite men fleeing to Europe from Lebanon emerged last year, after Hezbollah militiamen saw their organization suffering heavy blows in Syria. Knowing that Hezbollah would coerce their sons to participate in the war efforts, especially in the regions of Aleppo, Daraa, Homs and Damascus, they helped them to flee en masse to Europe.
Opposing Hezbollah's intervention in Syria and fearing for their sons' lives in light of the great losses the organization has been suffering on Aleppo's battlefield, many Hezbollah militiamen send their sons to seek refuge in Europe and South America, according to the report.
The fact that Hezbollah's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah unequivocally refuses to withdraw from Syria, regarding it as an "existential issue" for the organization increases their will to prevent their sons from taking part in the Syrian atrocities. (h/t Yenta Press)
VIDEO: ISIS child jihadists sing in French - 'Your blood will flow'
The Islamic State group has threatened to carry out additional terror attacks on Europe in a chilling new video published on Tuesday featuring child operatives.
The video features a large group of underage ISIS recruits singing in French while handling what appear to be suicide belts and other weapons during military training.
The lyrics of the hymn vow that the terrorist group will exact revenge for the orphans of the Islamic State who have lost family members in coalition airstrikes on Syria and Iraq.
"We are ready to fight back, our swords are sharpened to slice necks," chant the children, all of whom are dressed in military fatigues.
The video hints at planned bombings and murders coming from militants already living within European borders.
When Jews Join the War on Israel
Not everyone taking part in the war on Israel shoots rockets, tries to stab random Jews on Israeli streets, or even openly promotes anti-Semitic propaganda. Some do it in the name of Judaism and Jewish values and what they claim are high moral purposes. By that I don’t refer to the Neturei Karta, a tiny sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews who have always lurked on the margin of Jewish life, showing up at demonstrations as token supporters of Palestinian terror groups and doing so in the name of a perverted vision of Orthodoxy rejected even by those on the most extreme end of the religious spectrum.
Rather, I write of a relatively new group of liberal millenials that have taken to organizing sit-ins at the headquarters of American Jewish organizations in cities throughout the country before Passover. Calling themselves “If Not Now,” they say their purpose is ending “the occupation” and their demands are simple: that all American Jewish groups disavow the government of Israel. Though it is small and has little influence, it is nevertheless significant because its activities are indicative of the way demographic changes are causing American Jews to abandon Israel just at the moment when the siege of the Jewish state is once again heating up. Rather than ignore it or foolishly seek dialogue with it, American Jews should regard If Not Now as the thin edge of the wedge of a new Jewish front in the war against Israel.
To those who follow the American Jewish debate on Israel the basic demand for the end of the occupation sounds fairly familiar. But If Not Now is not to be confused with J Street or Americans for Peace Now, groups that also believe that Israel should withdraw from the West Bank and think the Netanyahu government is not doing enough to make peace with the Palestinians or that it should be pressured into further territorial withdrawals by the Untied States. The growth of If Not Now represents an insidious shift in Jewish opinion that makes even those groups — whose views are at odds with the overwhelming consensus of Israeli opinion and serve to enable and encourage anti-Israel activism — look tame. Peace Now and J Street may advocate views that are rejected by most Israelis as well as by the mainstream organized Jewish world and constitute a damaging irritant, but they are still explicitly Zionist and, at least in principle, are supposedly opposed to the BDS — boycott, divest, sanction — movement that seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel. That is not the case with If Not Now. It proclaims neutrality about Zionism. It is equally non-committal about BDS.
Did Mizzou Act Differently when Racism Was Targeted at Jews on the University of Missouri Campus than It Did When Blacks Were Attacked
The letter notes that racist slurs directed at black students received “vigorous condemnation,” including “a recorded message expressing [the chancellor’s] outrage over what had happened.” It adds: “We are dismayed that neither [the chancellor] nor any other MU administrator has yet to publicly address this act of blatant anti-Semitism, which clearly targets Jewish students and causes them to feel threatened and unsafe.”
Loftin wrote back, saying he had met with Jewish student leaders, and, at the request of the university police department, “I refrained from making a public statement so that my remarks would not compromise the investigation. … In these situations, I am forced with a choice between issuing a broad condemnation of a nonspecific bias incident or compromising an investigation.”
The 36 organizations didn’t buy that response.
“We cannot understand how an on-going investigation into the identify of the perpetrator(s) would prevent you from speaking out publicly and forcefully against this despicable act,” a second letter from the same 36 organizations says. It adds that with earlier reports of racism on campus, Loftin spoke publicly “without hesitation, without waiting for any other party to react.”
“We hope that you would express the same immediate concern for the safety and well-being of Jewish students that you most commendably did for African-American students,” the letter says.
The university’s hushed response also got the attention of at least one Jewish parent, who wrote to the chancellor: “I am curious when I will get a statement from you about the recent horrific anti-Semitic graffiti found again on campus? It seems to me that it is not as important to you as ‘race’ issues seem to be.”
Ohio to purchase $50 million in Israel bonds
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced April 28 that his office is purchasing $50 million worth of Israel bonds – the largest single government purchase of Israel bonds in Ohio history.
It will surpass Mandel’s own Ohio record purchase of $47.8 million in Israel bonds, made in June 2014. In March 2013, Mandel made an Israel bonds purchase of $42 million.
Since taking office in 2011, Mandel, of Beachwood, has made four series of purchases of Israel bonds. When the $50 million purchase is completed, it will total more than $167 million.
This investment, when completed,increases the total amount of Israel bonds in the Ohio treasury portfolio to more than $103 million. Some bonds that the Ohio treasurer’s office previously purchased have matured, which allows it to reinvest in Israel bonds, Chris Berry, press secretary at the Ohio treasurer’s office, said in an email.
“It’s a good investment for the people of the state of Ohio,” Mandel said in a telephone interview from Columbus. “When we make decisions in the treasurer’s office, the decisions are made with the safety and security of tax dollars in front of mind.
Meet Steven Wilson, the anti-Roger Waters
The founder of British prog rock greats Porcupine Tree and friend to Aviv Geffen and Ninet muses on his solo career, his 'second home' Tel Aviv and the death of rock.
You’re not bashful of calling Tel Aviv your second home or touting Israel’s virtues in a climate of artists boycotting the country and badmouthing it. Do you foresee a time when Israel will be considered a ‘normal’ country by people around the world or will that only happen when there’s a political solution for the Palestinians?
It’s more than politics, though, isn’t it? Whenever I talk to people about my love of Israel and the fact that I was living there for a while, they always raise their eyebrows and go “why Israel?” Most people have this idea that not only is there a war going on there, but that it’s full of religious people. And in reality, it’s one of the least religious countries on the planet.
Israel is a very open-minded place but it’s also the Holy Land, and people always make that association.
Israel is seen as a hotbed of religion and living in Tel Aviv, it was definitely not the impression that I got.
You can also chalk it up to the CNN syndrome
– if your knowledge of someplace only comes from media reports, then it’s going to be a very skewed image. After the first time I came, I realized that my impression of Israel was completely inaccurate.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Bob The Builder Named In Settlement Construction Probe (satire)
Anti-settlement activists are accusing a prominent international entertainer of actively working on homes for Israeli Jews in areas Palestinians claim for a future state, a spokesman for the activists said today.
Peace Now representative Ray Kingball announced this morning that an investigation by the organization points to Bob the Builder as taking an active part in the expansion of Jewish communities beyond the Green Line, which marked the cease-fire between Israeli and Jordanian forces in 1949. The allegations indicate further trouble for Mr. the Builder, whose rebooted television series last year received mixed reviews and angered fans of the original stop-motion animation oeuvre.
“We have incontrovertible evidence that Bob the Builder, Wendy, and their team of anthropomorphised construction and digging equipment have been participating in the development of new housing for Israelis in occupied Palestinian territory,” declared Kingball. “In the name of all people working for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, we demand that Mr. the Builder stop these activities at once, as they are not constructive.”
“Failing that,” continued Kingball, “we will urge contractors and consumers of Mr. the Builder’s services to boycott them.”
The Palestinian Martyr of World Press Freedom Day
Israel ordered the four-month administrative detention of Omar Nazzal. Until recently, he headed Palestine Today, an Islamic Jihad-affiliated TV station (more on that), and also had ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The Shin Bet said Nazzal was detained because of “his involvement in terror group activities.”
You wouldn’t know the extent of Nazzal’s terror ties from AFP coverage though. The names Islamic Jihad and PFLP appear nowhere.
Why the omission?
The pesky details, I’m guessing, would have spoiled AFP’s sexier angle that the administrative detention was ordered on the eve of World Press Freedom Day.
If the name Palestine Today rings a bell, that’s because the IDF shut down its TV and radio station in March for inciting terror attacks against Israelis.
BBC’s Yolande Knell reports from Gush Etzion – part one
On April 23rd the BBC World News television channel aired a half-hour long filmed report by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell on its ‘Our World’ programme. Titled ‘Death at the Junction’, the report was broadcast four times on that particular day, with a further eleven repeats scheduled. Its synopsis reads as follows:
“In the West Bank a roundabout encapsulates what’s going on, and going wrong, in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.”
Both reports raise a number of issues – including the following claims from FOOC presenter Kate Adie in her introduction to the audio item:
“In the past six months young Palestinians have carried out a series of stabbings, shootings and car rammings. Some 30 Israelis have been killed and the state response is usually lethal with about 200 Palestinians killed; most of whom – Israel says – were carrying out attacks.” [emphasis added]
With ‘usually’ meaning what typically or normally happens, it is worth taking a closer look at that claim from Adie. The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center produced an overview the seven months of violence between mid-September 2015 and mid-April 2016 which does not support Adie’s use of the term ‘usually’ or her employment of the qualifier “Israel says”.
BBC’s Yolande Knell reports from Gush Etzion – part two
Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas do not share Knell’s uncertainty with regard to the circumstances which brought about the death of the ‘martyr’ as she was termed in the PA president’s condolence letter to her family.
Towards the end of the filmed report Knell tells viewers that “for Palestinians […] Gush Etzion is a symbol of Israel’s occupation” and audiences then see the following on-screen translation of the words of Nadi Abu Shakhadam:
“They enjoy killing our children – only God knows why.”
Like the other lies highlighted above, that too goes unchallenged by Yolande Knell.
Both the half-hour long film and the radio report presented an opportunity for Knell to provide BBC audiences with more wide-ranging background and context than news reports on the terror attacks which have plagued Israel for over half a year allow. Instead, the corporation’s funding public was fed politicised messaging by means of the use of terminology such as “Palestinian land” and “illegal” settlements, undiluted PLO propaganda and downright lies which went entirely unchallenged by a journalist supposedly committed to accurate and impartial reporting.
House walls in Poland found to be made of Jewish headstones
During a tour carried out last week, members of the volunteer organization Mi’ma’amakim, which aims to commemorate the Holocaust, were horrified to find that many houses in Poland were built using Jewish headstones. The finding was documented by soccer coach and Mi’ma’amakim President Avram Grant.
According to the organization’s Chairman Johnny Daniels, the headstones were discovered in the town of Pełczyce. “Before the war, there were 1,300 Jewish cemeteries in Poland, while today only 40 remain. This means that over 1,000 cemeteries have simply been destroyed, with Poles taking the headstones and using them for anything imaginable, including houses and bathrooms.” While this isn’t new, Daniels nevertheless described the site of the repurposed headstones as “unusually painful.”
For Daniels, the case emphasizes the importance of preserving the memory of the Holocaust. “Everything we think about in relation to
the (European) generation of the Holocaust as well as previous generations is still alive. This isn’t just a place to visit and see the extermination camps, there are still things that need to be done. We are the last generation that will be in contact with Holocaust survivors. Our children won’t have that, so we need to pass on this message.”
Daniels feels that highlighting the use of Jewish headstones as building materials allows Mi’ma’amakim to start a broader dialogue on the subject. “Everything we can think of has been made from headstones, and by raising this issue we are able to shed light on even more substantial elements that make up the memory of the Holocaust.”
Boston teacher feted for averting Holocaust denial in classroom
When teacher Mary Beth Donovan prepared her students to read Anne Frank’s diary 10 years ago, she screened a selection of the famous newsreel clips shot during the liberation of Nazi camps in 1945. Astoundingly, after watching the films, some of Donovan’s students began referring to the genocide and Anne Frank as “fake” events that had not occurred.
Noting that most of her class listened to the conversation as “silent bystanders,” Donovan knew she faced a challenge. The eighth grade teacher at the Tenney Grammar School in working class Methuen, north of Boston, recognized that students needed a connection between their own lives and Holocaust victims who appeared remote and irrelevant.
Donovan’s subsequent response to the Holocaust denial she found in her classroom, and her long-term work in bringing sustainable Holocaust education to the school, earned her the first “Leadership in Holocaust Education Award” from Boston’s Jewish community during its annual Yom HaShoah commemoration on May 1. Organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council, the gathering took place at Faneuil Hall on Boston’s Freedom Trail, close to the New England Holocaust Memorial’s six glass towers.
To fight the denial in her classroom, Donovan investigated local survivors who could speak with students about the genocide. She found several articles about Boston-area survivor Israel “Izzy” Arbeiter, the former head of New England’s dwindling survivor association. The 91-year old activist has addressed hundreds of groups through the years, from Boston to Berlin, and seemed a strong a choice to convince Donovan’s students of the Shoah’s veracity.
How one man saved 140 Jewish children in the Far East from the Holocaust
Nearly 75 years ago, the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, a massive invasion of the Soviet Union, in which 4.5 million Axis soldiers surprised the Soviets with blitzkrieg attacks across the 2,900-kilometer border.
Although Germany had signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR in 1939, Hitler broke the agreement and on June 22, 1941, Germany carried out what was to be one of the largest and deadliest military operations in history in its attempt to conquer the Soviet Union.
Caught in the middle of the attacks were 300 children at a Soviet Pioneer Camp in the summer vacation spot of Druskininkai, Lithuania.
Zeev Balgali, 15, and Yitzhak (Isser) Niv, nine, were among the 140 Jewish children taking part in the Soviet scout camp along with 160 other participants who were not Jewish, including Polish and Lithuanian youth. The Jewish children were from Bialystok, a Soviet-controlled city in northeastern Poland, and the surrounding region, which was eventually seized by the invading German troops.
Mummy portraits stolen by Nazis returned to Jewish family
Two ancient mummy portraits confiscated from a German Jew by the Nazis, acquired by the author of “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and bought by as Swiss university in the 1970s were returned to the estate of the family last week.
The artifacts, Roman-era paintings of a young man and a young woman, were purchased as part a collection by the University of Zurich in 1979 from the widow of German writer Erich Maria Remarque for approximately $137,000.
Between the first and third centuries, when Egypt was part of the Roman Empire, realistic portraits of the deceased were incorporated into the traditional mummification of the dead.
“Since practically no panel paintings from the Greek world have been preserved,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York explained in its exhibition of mummy portraits in 2000, “the mummy portraits — conserved by Egypt’s arid climate — are the only examples of an art form that ancient literary sources place among the highest achievements of Greek culture.”
Israeli machine learning startup Sensiya acquired by Will.i.am’s i.am+
It would seem that without much fanfare, Israeli startup Sensiya has been bought up by the musician Will.i.iam’s consumer tech label i.am+ for an unknown sum. With no press release, the company made their announcement with a simple post today on their website.
The first notice of the purchase showed up in a write up on Wired during a review of i.am+’s latest development called AneedA. It is described in the article as a “device agnostic AI virtual assistant with a conversational interface to the internet, apps, streaming music, and other services.”
Sensiya’s CEO Noam Fine tells Geektime that his company had begun working with i.am+ around a year and a half ago before making to move to merge in an acquisition.
According to Wired, AneedA’s OS, which sits on top of an Android OS, works with Sensiya’s machine learning, speech recognition capabilities from Nuance and Wolfram Alpha’s knowledge engine. The software is expected to be added to a variety of wearables, including the company’s new product Dial, a hybrid phone / bracelet.
Israelis salvage the personal stories of Papua New Guinea
On the remote South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea, the distinct languages spoken by more than 800 native tribes are fast disappearing — and taking their family stories with them into oblivion.
Golan Levi, user experience expert at Israel-based genealogical website MyHeritage, led a voluntary 20-day mission in March to record and preserve those stories for future generations.
“The core values of MyHeritage are helping people build, preserve and document family history, and enabling them to make discoveries about their family history through our cutting-edge technology and big-data capabilities with access to over six billion historical records from all around the world,” Levi tells ISRAEL21c.
Founded in 2003, MyHeritage has nearly 80 million registered members worldwide, 28 million family trees with 1.6 billion individual profiles, and hundreds of millions of family photos uploaded by people in 40 languages.
India wishes Israel happy Independence Day — 9 days early
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee wished Israel a happy Independence Day on Monday, but unfortunately got the date wrong.
In an official statement released by the president’s office, Mukherjee mistakenly identified Israel’s “National Day” as May 3 — even though the Jewish state declared independence on May 14, 1948, and is celebrating 68 years of independence according to the Hebrew calendar on May 12.
Mukherjee said he sent a message to President Reuven Rivlin extending “felicitations to you and the friendly people of the State of Israel on the occasion of your National Day.”
“Our common commitment to the safeguarding of our democratic institutions and our shared values of liberty, freedom and equality have helped in forging a deep friendship between our two nations,” Mukherjee said in the statement. “At the political level, our relations have been enhanced by frequent exchanges of visits which have served to deepen our mutual understanding and strengthen our resolve to work together to tackle the development challenges of the 21st century.”

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