Monday, May 30, 2016

From Ian:

David Collier: Applauding the nakba myth
I wasn’t going to write about the ‘nakba’ incident at Wanstead High School. Let down by a society that doesn’t believe in truth, the schoolgirl Leanne Muhammed, aged only 15, has already been weaponised. With the publicity her speech received, I felt sorry for her.
The child will become further affected by the hurricane surrounding the speech. It is unlikely she will draw the correct conclusions. Those that have influenced her before today, will ensure that the reasons behind her ‘inability to speak freely’ are understood the way they want them to be. A reinforcement of another antisemitic myth, that secret Jewish control stops people from telling the truth. Nobody will tell Leanne that her speech turned history upside down.
The parents, the community, social media, the school, the teachers, these are the ones that remain responsible for the fact that a child of the UK has been brought up to propagate a myth that divides communities, a myth that spreads hate, a myth that seeks conflict. In our society that nakba myth is fostered and nurtured, as if truth and history are no longer relevant elements that need to be considered.
Others have already written on the content of the speech itself. Edgar Davidson wrote on the subject and ‘Brian of London’ also covered the issue. The general consensus seems to be that there is no future for Jews in the UK.
I agree with both of them.
Edgar Davidson: This explains Leanne Mohamad's perverse views about 'Palestine' and the 'Zionists'
This explains Leanne Mohamad's perverse views about 'Palestine' and the 'Zionists'
Based on her retweets, 'Peace loving' Leanne Mohamad gets all her information about 'Palestine' from Hamas supporter Abbas Sarsour, who glories in the murder of 'Zionists'. Above are some screenshots from his twitter feed
The story of schoolgirl Leanne Mohamad's award-winning anti-Israel speech, full of ignorant lies and blood libels, keeps getting more interesting. I don't normally 'do' twitter but I posted about the story there today and got back a torrent of abuse.
IsraellyCool: Brian Explains Who’s Indigenous
I put this together just before shabbat. It’s a spoken version of Ryan Bellerose’s original Israellycool post “Israel Palestine – Who’s Indigenous”. Let me know what you think.

When my great-uncle liberated a Nazi concentration camp
Published here for the first time, a collection of pictures taken by Jules Helfner, a Brooklyn-born son of Russian immigrants, offer a rare first-person perspective of the march into Germany — the horror, the outrage, some rare moments of pleasure
Seventy years earlier, in April of ’45, the German army was in tatters and retreating before the Allies. American troops approached the city of Weimar in central Germany on April 11 and liberated the first Nazi concentration camp: Buchenwald. Among the skeletal prisoners famously photographed in the grim barracks was future Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.
But that same day, 40 miles to the north, a US Army detachment entered another, lesser-known camp outside the town of Nordhausen. The Mittelbau-Dora facility used slave labor to build V-2 rockets and worked thousands to death. Among the men of the 104th Infantry Division was a medic from Brooklyn, New York. A 21-year-old American-born son of Jewish immigrants from Russia, Jules Helfner was fluent in German, kept a pistol in his boot, and was armed with a camera.
Together with his handwritten notes, Jules’s unique photographs, published here for the first time, bring to life a Jewish foot soldier’s personal experience in the 104th. They document four months of Helfner’s service after landing in France in late 1944, chronicling the march into Germany, liberation of a Nazi labor camp, and his eventual encounter with fellow Jewish soldiers in the Red Army at the climax of World War II.
'French Jews’ situation worst since 1945'
French Jews are experiencing the most difficult situation they have encountered since the end of World War II, the newly-elected president of France’s umbrella of Jewish communities said.
Francis Kalifat, 64, said Sunday that his first priority as president of CRIF is to fight against the anti-Semitism that he said was responsible for the situation he described.
“The fight against anti-Semitism is our main cause because French Jews are in the most difficult situation they have experience since World War II,” Kalifat said during an interview with Radio J shortly after his unanimous election to succeed Roger Cukierman as president.
Kalifat, who was born in Algeria and is the first Sephardic Jew to hold the position since CRIF’s establishment in 1944, was the only candidate running this election.
His presidency, which will become effective next month, comes at a time of record emigration by Jews from France, partly because of anti-Semitic violence that included hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents annually in recent years, and dozens of physical assaults. Since 2012, attacks on Jewish targets by French Islamists in France and Belgium claimed the lives of 12 people. Last year, roughly 8,000 French Jews left for Israel — the highest number on record for any year, which made France for the second year straight Israel’s largest provider of newcomers.
Anti-Semitism is not the Israeli government’s fault
One of the highlights of the annual report released on Tuesday by State Comptroller Judge Yosef Shapira is the government’s failure to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and other attempts at delegitimizing the Jewish state.
According to Shapira, no significant victories have been won in this battle, because the two ministries charged with waging it – the Foreign Ministry and Strategic Affairs Ministry– have been too busy bickering with each other over purviews and powers to join forces in what should be a common war with a shared goal.
One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry at such a critique.
Though it’s healthy to have an independent body monitoring government activities, certain phenomena are so inherent, self-evident and redundant that they’re not worth wasting paper to expose. Two of these can’t be stressed enough.
The first is that democratic governments by their nature are bureaucracies whose biggest claim to fame is inefficiency. This is true in general and of countries like Israel in particular. Though headed by a highly savvy, free-market maven, it continues to operate like a socialist apparatus. And though its citizens have ample evidence at their disposal that private endeavors always get things done better and more cheaply, they still can’t get it through their simultaneously innovative and thick skulls that the government is a necessary pill to swallow, not some doctor who should be capable of curing all ills. This is an irrefutable truth.
Another is that no amount of quality “hasbara” – an untranslatable Hebrew word for public diplomacy, the field of Israel’s making a case for itself in the international arena – can prevent or eliminate anti-Semitism.
Douglas Murray: UK Labour Party Inquiry: Deny, Divert, Cover Up
In the run-up to his election as Labour party leader, Corbyn was often asked about his tendency to hang around with Holocaust deniers, anti-Semitic hate-preachers and others of a similar ilk. Apart from not quite owning up to his connections to such people, the other technique he employed at this time was to put on a look of extreme affront and say that he had spent his entire life "fighting racism." Whenever the specific question of anti-Semitism was raised, he would say how opposed he was to all forms of racism "including Islamophobia." It has apparently proven impossible for Corbyn to realize the specific nature of anti-Semitism; whenever it has come up, he has used the opportunity to talk not about racial hatred against Jews but what he believes to be an epidemic of hatred towards Muslims.
Leaving aside the obvious fact that Muslims are not a race, there is in any case no evidence whatsoever to support the allegation of Corbyn and others that there is an epidemic of "Islamophobia" in the UK, and specifically no evidence of such an issue in the Conservative party. But this attempt to turn around the narrative was pushed by certain Labour apparatchiks to complain that any and all questioning of the newly elected London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, for his past affiliations with Islamist extremists was not a legitimate line of questioning of the judgement of anyone running for elected office, but instead an "Islamophobic" attack purely motivated by "racism." Even now, Corbyn supporters are trying to distract attention from their own party's very evident problem and turn racism allegations around on the Conservative party. None of which suggests any serious desire to get on top of their problem.
We can already predict what the conclusions of the Chakrabarti Inquiry will be, from the manner in which she has started it. Will she able to explain that the main originator of anti-Semitism in the Labour party today comes from its growing Muslim base? If she does identify that, will she then need to have an inquiry into herself for such flagrant "Islamophobia"? More likely she will find the party entirely blameless. Just a few dozen bad apples, and so on. And even then, we now have a nice demonstration of what will happen if any unpleasant findings do accidentally slip through.
The Labour party has another inquiry: into allegations, reported earlier this month, of anti-Semitism at its Oxford University club. Amazingly enough, while that inquiry (led by Baroness Royall) found "difficulties," it claimed to find no "institutional anti-Semitism." These careful headline facts having been released, the rest of the report was then swiftly supressed on the orders of the Labour party. Only a bland executive summary and some recommendations were made public, evidently leaving even the author of the inquiry "frustrated." So there is the state of the British Labour party in 2016. A party evidently riddled with anti-Semitism from top to bottom, and led by people who want to divert attention from the fact or cover it over entirely. The Labour party has a serious problem, and it is in institutional denial. Things can only get worse.
NY Post blasts liberal Democrats for anti-Israel trend
The editorial then questioned whether the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, would stand up against the anti-Israel trend in her party.
"Maybe not," the editorial said. "She wants to avoid any public convention fights. Indeed, her own committee pick, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois), says he sees room in the platform for more avowedly pro-Palestinian language on 'their hope for justice.'
"But even if Hillary does choose to stand up for her own professed commitment to Israel, will the convention delegates follow?"
The editorial went on to lament that the shift among liberal Democrats is occurring just as the Pew poll found increasing support for Israel among all other ideological groups, including moderate and conservative Democrats and all Republicans.
"It's beyond depressing to see liberal Democrats breaking ranks with the rest of America -- and pressing to destroy a seven-decade bipartisan pro-Israel consensus," the editorial concluded.
When the Labour Party Was Zionist
I’m currently reading Bruce Hoffman’s latest book Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle For Israel 1917-47. It’s a great book, one passage seemed to provide an almost incredible juxtaposition to the events of the modern day Corbyn Labour Party;
In December 1917, just weeks after the Balfour Declaration was issued, the [Labour] party had enthusiastically endorsed the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine. Ten successive party conferences, including the most recent one held in December 1944, had reaffirmed that pledge. That conference in fact had endorsed a geographically and politically expansive pro-Zionist platform that included monetary incentives to persuade Palestine’s Arab population to relocate elsewhere. Such proposals went beyond what even Ben-Gurion and the Jewish Agency were advocating. The Labour Party had also staunchly opposed the 1939 white paper, which it had previously denounced as both a regrettable “breach of faith” and a “breach of British honour.” Indeed, as the end of the war in Europe neared, its National Executive Committee had called for the gates of Palestine to be opened to the Jewish survivors of Hitler’s death camps. “There is surely neither hope nor meaning in a ‘Jewish National Home,’” a report of the executive’s 1944 meeting had proclaimed, “unless we are prepared to let Jews, if they wish, enter this land in such numbers as to become a majority. There was a strong case for this before the War. There is an irresistible case now, after the unspeakable atrocities of the…Nazi plan to kill all Jews in Europe.”
Suspended UK lawmaker tells synagogue: ‘I was ignorant about Judaism’
Suspended MP Naz Shah has admitted she was “ignorant” about Judaism when she endorsed the relocation of Israel to America and vowed to take personal “responsibility” for talking to fellow Muslims about anti-Semitism.
The MP for Bradford West remains suspended from the party for sharing a post on Facebook that called for the transportation of Israel to America, and adding the words “problem solved”.
But, appearing at Sinai Synagogue in Leeds on Sunday night, she insisted her views had changed since the 2014 post as a result of engaging with the local Jewish community – something she insisted set her apart from her predecessor George Galloway.
“He used Palestine as a political tool and he never engaged with people. When I engaged with the Synagogue and had conversations that is when I changed. Until we have those conversations we won’t achieve change,” she told the audience during her first public appearance at a Jewish event since the controversy erupted.
“It is my job in the Muslim Community to highlight the issues of anti-Semitism. Going to Auschwitz is a fantastic idea but it won’t fix the problem. We need to educate the community. It’s up to me to own the narrative. To have conversations with the Muslim community [about anti-semitism] and that’s my responsibility.”
UK's Co-operative Group - Boycotting Israeli Produce
The UK's Co-operative Group is closely linked to -- and a major funder of -- the Co-operative Party, which has an electoral pact with the Labour Party, the UK's official opposition.
This assumes that those advocating the boycott know exactly where the new borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state will be, despite that they are yet to be determined through negotiation. The enterprises boycotted by the Co-op Group employ many local Arab workers, whose livelihoods are endangered by the boycott.
The Co-op Group continues to refer to Israel's "illegal settlements" as if these were the only disputed territories in the world. There is no boycott, of course, of major exporting countries with appalling human rights records, such as China (invasion of Tibet), Russia (invasion of the Ukraine) and other countries whose occupation of other areas is not recognized internationally, such as Nagorno-Karabakh or Northern Cyprus.
As usual, of all the countries in the world, Israel is being singled out. For the boycotters of the Co-op Group, Israel is the usual soft target.
Barry Shaw: Real Clear Thoughts to Misguided Governments on BDS “free speech.”
BDS activists claim that they are a non-violent protest movement supporting the Palestinian cause.
Non-violent? Here is what Omar Barghouti, the founder of BDS, has said;
“Palestinians have the right of resistance, including armed resistance.”
We Israelis, from our long history of Palestinian “armed resistance” tend to call it “terrorism.” It includes everything from stabbings, shootings, suicide bombings, rocket attacks on our civilians, the killing of our Olympic athletes and, in the past, plane and ship hijackings.
So much for “non- violence.”
Would, I wonder, the Dutch government tolerate the free speech of an organization that called for non-violent protest against some of their policies and then condoned lethal force as part of their campaign? For how long would the Dutch government protect anti-Dutch BDS rights to free speech if they recruited people to their call for the elimination of The Netherlands as part of their protected free speech rights?
As for protected BDS free speech, the Dutch appear to tolerate Barghouti saying, “Most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No rational Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state.”
Such anti-Semitic remarks have to be protected under Dutch and Swedish law, it seems.
Depravity: Anti-Israel ‘pinkwashing’ group seeks boycott of ‘Tel Aviv Pride’ events
Scheduled from May 25th through June 3rd, Tel Aviv Pride is a week-long series of events that celebrate gay life.
For over nearly two decades, it’s become one of the city’s most popular annual festivals. Tens of thousands of gay Israelis and LGBTQ tourists from around the world enjoy the extravaganza, which seems to get bigger and better each year with new events added and more people taking part.
But for anti-Israel gay activists, Tel Aviv Pride is a means for discrediting the one state in the Middle East which actually treats its gay community with dignity and respect.
Below I highlight the latest campaign to put Tel Aviv Pride Week into service for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions).
In the Case of Gay Gaza Commander Executed for ‘Moral Crimes,’ New York Times Editorialists Are MIA
A brief news article in the New York Times last week reported that Hamas has called for resuming the death penalty in Gaza. According to the report, capital punishment there has “mostly stopped” since 2014, though “an exception was the case of Mahmoud Ishtiwi, a Hamas commander, who was fatally shot in April for ‘moral crimes’ after he was accused of theft and of having sex with another man.”
Good for the Times for reporting on the issue, and for its earlier enterprising page one coverage of the Ishtiwi case. But, one wonders: Where is the follow-up from the Times’ editorial page and columnists?
The appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s defense minister generated a lead Times editorial denouncing him, in part, because, he “has proposed instituting the death penalty for convicted terrorists.” The Times also ran two op-ed columns hostile to Mr. Lieberman.
So, in the case of an Israeli official who merely proposes executing terrorists, the Times mounted a full-fledged editorial campaign. In the case of the Palestinian Arab regime in Gaza actually carrying out a death sentence on a suspected homosexual, the Times editorial page fell totally silent. And not merely silent.
Poll: A third of Americans back
A new landmark poll has revealed that a full third of Americans believe the BDS movement's boycott of the Jewish state is justified, in a sign of shifting support from the US which has traditionally been a staunch ally of Israel.
A full 33% of Americans called a boycott of Israel justifiable, according to the poll conducted by Ipsos among 1,100 respondents in the US, which was reported by Channel 2.
The poll shows that the intense BDS college campaigns are gaining traction in the wider public consciousness of the US, as well as in the UK.
A similar poll in the UK found that a full 40% back a boycott of Israel, showing hostility to the Jewish state is even higher in Great Britain.
However, in a telling result, 62% of respondents in the US and 50% in the UK said the BDS boycott movement is a form of anti-Semitism.
The findings come ahead of a special conference at the UN on Tuesday entitled "Building Bridges, Not Boycotts," which will be held by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
Italy spurns BDS with largest ever academic delegation to Israel
Defying BDS calls for a boycott of Israel, Italy has committed itself to bring the largest ever delegation of Italian academics to Israel.
A series of conferences and events will take place across the country for four days this week. Italian and Israeli researchers will be invited to participate in an exchange of information and ideas in their various fields of interest, from electronic innovations to revolutions in medical technology.
Renewed efforts to counteract BDS activity spurn earlier attempts to cut links with Israeli institutions. Earlier this year, 300 Italian professors and researchers signed a petition to halt academic cooperation with Israel. According to Al Jazeera, 50 Italian universities committed themselves to the boycott, citing a refusal to be complicit in Israel’s “intolerable human rights violations” against the Palestinians as their reason for ceasing academic relations.
The Italian ambassador to Israel told Haaretz that this cooperation is a fitting response to previous attempts to halt academic exchange. According to Italian ambassador Francesco Talo, universities should maintain dialogue and allow for the free exchange of information and ideas.
Edinburgh University BDS vote overturned
The board of trustees of Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA) has refused to enforce the BDS policy passed by the student council earlier this year.
The motion to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) policy was passed on 31 March by 249-153 votes with 22 abstentions, giving a majority of 74.
The Israel Engagement Society (IES) described the motion as "irresponsible" and “intolerant" and welcomed the move, saying that “EUSA’s dropping of the policy follows a precedent set by other universities, recognising the illegality of BDS and the significant risk of increasing intolerance against minority groups on campus that it poses.”
Theo Robertson-Bonds, IES vice-chair, said he was “delighted” by the verdict.
“Singling out and boycotting the world’s only Jewish state is a reckless, divisive policy that does nothing to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said.
“I am delighted that EUSA’s Trustee Board has taken this issue seriously and ensured our campus remains safe and inclusive for all students by refusing to enact it. IES will continue to work with the university and EUSA to promote peace and discussion around a two-state solution on campus.”
Despite anti-Semitism gaffe, Stanford students oppose BDS
A significant majority of Stanford University students oppose the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement - despite an anti-Semitism and BDS crises that rocked the university student board earlier this year.
69% of students oppose the anti-Israel movement - including 65% of freshmen, 72% of sophomores, and 73% of juniors, the Stanford Review poll of 288 students revealed.
The poll contradicts a high-profile anti-Semitism crisis related to BDS at Stanford - and raises questions about the power of pro-Palestinian groups on campus.
In April, Stanford student senate member Gabriel Knight infamously argued it is “not anti-Semitism” to claim Jews control “the media, economy, government and other social institutions," as well as questioning the reliability of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
After an Arutz Sheva investigation and a media outcry, as well as backlash from the ADL itself, Knight stepped down from his post.
Canadian student assaulted at anti-Israel protest
The anti-Israel protest, which was organized by Actions4Palestine, was made up of a group of less than 30 people who chanted “free free Palestine” while waving Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Communist flags, and signs denouncing Peres, Kissinger, and Israeli “war crimes.”
Jordan Justein told CIJNews that he counter-protested, “because both my grandparents are Holocaust survivors, and as a young person I feel it’s my responsibility to stand up against anti-Semitism and for Israel.”
Upon arriving at the protest with an Israeli flag, a police officer warned him that simply being at the demonstration with the flag could “incite a riot."
However, when Jordan Justein walked to the other side of the street, the Actions4Palestine protesters called him a “Zionist pig," a “Zionist piece of sh*t," a “kike” and a “provocateur”.
Then, a man with a PLO flag kicked him twice in the leg and told him to leave. When Jordan Justein told the police officer about the incident, he was simply told to go and file a report.
New York Times Photo Bias Militarizes Israeli Kids
What exactly is the message of the photo? Well that depends on whether you are familiar with Israeli culture, which most New York Times readers are not.
The most obvious reaction to this photo would be distaste that children are interacting with any kind of weaponry while promoting the portrayal of Israel as a highly militarized society. And what is a “traditional weapons display?” That the photo states its location “near a West Bank settlement” is also meant to add a sinister element to the image.
The reality is that on Independence Day, many IDF bases all over the country are open to the public. Israeli children have the opportunity to see the IDF up close much in the same way as American children are thrilled to see military paraphernalia on board the USS Intrepid docked in Manhattan, New York City.
While the photo may show Israeli girls handling a machine gun, you can guarantee that the weapon is not loaded and these girls are not receiving actual military training. Contrast this with Hamas and Islamic Jihad “summer camps” where Palestinian children actually undergo military training with the intent to murder Israelis. There is no moral equivalence between this and Israelis visiting military bases on Independence Day.
So why did the New York Times choose this particular photo to accompany the story? Unfortunately we probably know the answer.

Radio New Zealand’s Biased Sources
A pair of Radio New Zealand Morning Show segments included incorrect information about Israel and a proposal, now withdrawn, to expand the use of the death penalty against terrorists.
During the first segment, they interviewed journalist Kate Shuttleworth (whose anti-Israel bias we have exposed before) who claimed that Prime Minister Netanyahu:
Supported an Israeli soldier who was filmed shooting a Palestinian attacker in the head while he was already disarmed and lying on the ground.
Netanyahu actually said that the soldier’s actions:
…do not represent the values of the Israeli Defense Forces. The IDF expects its soldiers to act calmly and according to the rules of engagement.
In the second segment, RNZ interviewed Mouin Rabbani with the Institute for Palestine Studies. His main point was that under current law, an Israeli military court must vote unanimously to impose the death penalty and under the proposal, that requirement would be changed to a simple majority. This change, according to Mabbani, would lead to a wide expansion in the use of the death penalty as prosecutors would be expected to “demand” and “implement” capital punishment because of the change.
CDC Map Fail?
The first map clearly shows that there have been reported cases of the disease in Israel. Yet, Israel is not named on the map. While it could be argued that this is not necessarily a map that Israel would want to appear on, it is nonetheless strange.
So we investigated further. The maps are credited to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the public health institute of the US. We located the maps on the CDC website where they are described as:
Cutaneous leishmaniasis prevalence within Syria and neighboring countries of the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, 2013.
It transpires that the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Region does not include Israel, which is, instead part of the WHO’s European regional office. That could go some way to explaining why Israel is not on the map.
But the trail goes further.
A click on this link takes you to a large map of Syrian refugees produced by the US State Department’s Humanitarian Information Unit. While the map includes Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Yafo, West Bank, Gaza and even “Golan Heights (Israeli occupied),” the map pointedly does not include the word “Israel” on the appropriate country.
Irish Times legitimizes Israel-Nazi analogy
Of course, the suggestion that any legislation in the Knesset resembles early Nazi laws, or that discrimination against Arab-Israelis or Palestinians is akin to the discrimination against Jews “in the first phase of Nazi Germany” is completely ahistorical. Here’s a list of significant antisemitic legislation and acts during the first two years of Nazi rule:
- March 31: Decree of the Berlin city commissioner for health suspends Jewish doctors from the city’s charity services.
- April 1: Nazi leadership stages an economic boycott of German Jews (Thousands of Stars of David were painted on doors and windows by Nazi Stormtroopers with accompanying antisemitic slogans such as, “The Jews Are Our Misfortune.”)
- April 7: Law for the Reestablishment of the Professional Civil Service removes Jews from government service.
- April 7: Law on the Admission to the Legal Profession forbids the admission of Jews to the bar.
- April 25: Law against Overcrowding in Schools and Universities limits the number of Jewish students in public schools.
- July 14: De-Naturalization Law revokes the citizenship of naturalized Jews and “undesirables.”
- October 4: Law on Editors bans Jews from editorial posts.
- May 21: Army law expels Jewish officers from the army.
- September 15: Nazi leaders announce the Nuremberg Laws, stripping Jews of German citizenship.
Avnery doesn’t provide any examples of the Nazi-like “rain of racist bills” in the Knesset, perhaps because there are none which could even remotely stand up to such a comparison. Merely the fact that some Israelis have made racist statements and proposed racist ideas – as some people do in every democratic society – is not similar to the codification of a system of racial discrimination enforced by despotic regimes.
The New York Times Wistfully Mourns an Anti-Israel Activist
A virulently anti-Israel (Jewish) activist named Hedy Epstein gets a long and respectful obituary in the Sunday New York Times.
The Times doesn’t describe what Jewish Voice for Peace is, but, just for the record, notwithstanding its name, it is a boycott, divestment and sanctions group dedicated to policies that would eradicate Israel as a Jewish state.
The headline on the Times article describes Epstein as a “rights activist.” Whatever “rights” the Times thinks she was active on behalf of, they apparently did not include the right of Israeli Jews to live in peace and security in a Jewish state.
Finally, given the narrative of Epstein emerging as an anti-Israel activist “after” the Sabra and Shatila massacre, a young Times reader unfamiliar with the event might imagine that it had been committed by Israel. In fact, the massacre was perpetrated by a Lebanese Christian militia, and the victims included not only Palestinian Arabs but also Lebanese, Pakistanis, Iranians, Syrians and Algerians. The logic of someone emerging as an anti-Israel activist following it is only just marginally more than someone deciding to take up against Israel after the Boston, My Lai or Tiananmen Square massacres.
Israeli’s Ohio restaurant closes doors in aftermath of machete attack
Hany Baransi, the Christian Israeli Arab whose Columbus, Ohio, restaurant was attacked in February by a machete-wielding assailant, has announced he will soon file for bankruptcy and close his restaurant.
Only months ago, Baransi triumphantly reopened the Nazareth Restaurant & Deli, wielding his signature baseball in front of Israeli flags, only weeks after the attack by Mohamed Bary, a West African Muslim with a history of making radical Islamist statements.
The news was shared by Baransi on his Facebook page and came as a surprise to many who had followed his story.
Four people were injured in the attack, one seriously. All have since recovered.
Baransi blamed his financial woes on not receiving any compensation from local, state or federal governments following the attack. He said he personally footed the bill for the expensive cleanup.
Holocaust monuments vandalized in Poland, Italy
Newly-erected Holocaust monuments in Poland and Italy were vandalized by individuals who wrote on them far-right and far-left slogans, respectively.
The Polish monument, which was unveiled in 2014 in the country’s northeast, was hit for the second time in a little over a year by unidentified culprits who broke off part of its surface and spray-painted expletives and a neo-Nazi symbol on what remained. In Italy, the assailants wrote “Burn the banks” on a Holocaust monument that was erected in February.
The Italian monument vandalized was the Shoah Memorial of Bologna, 190 miles northwest of Rome, that was inaugurated at a central square in February. “Extinguish your mortgage, burn your banks,” the culprits wrote on one of the monument’s walls. They added an Anarchist symbol to the graffiti. Police was handling the case as a possible hate crime, the Corriere di Bologna daily reported Thursday.
In Poland, the monument’s stone tablet, which resembles a headstone, was shattered where it used to feature a Start of David etching according to Radio Bialystok, which reported that the attack occurred in recent days in Raigrod and was discovered Friday.
The assailants spray painted in red offensive slogans and Odin’s Cross – a White supremacist version of the Celtic Cross, which consists of a square cross interlocking with or surrounded by a circle.
Leviathan partners sign $3b gas deal
Leviathan will supply 13 BCM over 18 years to the IPM power plant in Be'er Tuvia.
The partners in the Leviathan natural gas reservoir today announced the signing of a gas supply agreement with the IPM company in Be'er Tuvia. The partnership will supply 13 BCM of gas to the power station slated for construction in the Be'er Tuvia industrial zone. The value of the 18-year agreement is estimated at $3 billion. The contract is the second for the partners, following a contract with Edeltech, owned by the Edelsberg family, last January.
The IPM power station is controlled by Triple M and Israel Power Management 3000. It is designed for construction on a 62-dunam (15.5-acre) site, and will produce 430 megawatts of electricity using combined cycle power technology (natural gas as the main fuel and diesel oil as a backup).
The government approved the revised natural gas plan only a few days ago, with the omission of the commitment to refrain from changing anything in the gas sector for the next 10 years. The gas companies assert that the approval of the plan enabled them to sign the agreement with IPM. Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) added that the agreement shows its continued commitment to developing Leviathan and the natural gas industry in Israel.
Actor Alan Cumming gets Tel Aviv Gay Pride envoy nod
If you were a viewer of “The Good Wife,” then you have more than a passing familiarity with Scottish actor Alan Cumming, who plays Jewish chief of staff and conniving fixer Eli Gold on the award-winning show.
What you may not have known is that Cumming, a bisexual who married his long-time partner, Grant Shaffer, in New York in 2012, is an ambassador for this week’s Tel Aviv Gay Pride parade, and is currently romping around the country’s sites and posting selfies on Twitter as he traipses around Jerusalem’s Old City.
Cumming is taking part in TLV Fest, Tel Aviv’s LGBT Film Festival, held for the 11th year at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque from May 29 to June 7 and presenting dozens of films about the LGBT experience that have been screened at other film festivals worldwide.
He will receive an award at the festival, and will take part in a broader conversation held on June 2, at 8 p.m.
Cumming, a Scot by birth who is a naturalized American citizen, was a recurring character in season two of Lisa Kudrow’s web series “Web Therapy,” playing a possible love interest for Kudrow’s character.
Christian-Jewish Group Brings 26 African-American Christian Leaders to Israel
The visiting delegation is from the National Baptist Convention of America, a predominately black church. Yael Eckstein, senior vice president of The Fellowship, said the trip is part of an effort to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and to “build strategic friends and allies for the Jewish people both financially and politically.”
“Just seeing the country and experiencing [it] is something which can build a greater connection with Israel,” she said.
Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert Jr.—president of the National Baptist Convention of America—said he hoped to use the trip to help find “common ground” between Palestinians and Israelis.
“How do we hear what the Palestinians say, how do we hear what the Jews say, how can we partner with them both and help find the common ground to help them live in more peaceable society?” Tolbert said, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Restoration work starts at Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre shrine
A major restoration project has begun at the shrine inside Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus is said to have been buried before his resurrection.
An AFP photographer visiting the church on Sunday saw scaffolding going up around the grotto tomb site and workers welding steel supports.
Church officials had said in March that work was to be carried out by a team of Greek specialists.
They said the project was expected to be completed in early 2017 and that the site would remain open to visitors in the meantime.
The shrine, several meters tall and wide and standing under the church’s dome, has for decades been held together by a metal frame.
Teacher sent to Nepal after quake named outstanding reservist
One of the 45 IDF reservists to be cited Monday for outstanding service is Tom Shay, 32, a civic teacher from Tel Aviv.
Shay performs her reserve duty with the National Search and Rescue Unit in the IDF Homefront Command, and will receive a certificate of merit from IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot for her actions last year when she was dispatched to Nepal following the devastating earthquake that struck the Himalayan country.
When she arrived in Nepal, Shay realized that 180 Israelis in the country were unreachable. She set up an emergency situation room and within 24 hours had contacted all of them. Meanwhile, other Israeli workers set out to search for Or Asraf, a backpacker from Lehavim, whose body was eventually located.
Shay is calm about her distinction.
"I'm still not clear why I'm being cited for excellence," she said. "We're all deserving of the citation. It was a team effort."
IDF Blog: Serving Together in the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion

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