Saturday, December 31, 2016

From Ian:

Alan M. Dershowitz: Britain and Australia more supportive of Israel than Obama and Kerry
When the British Prime minster and the Australians foreign minister both criticize the Obama administration for being unfair to Israel, you can be sure that something is very wrong with what President Obama and Secretary Kerry have been doing. This is what Theresa May said:
"We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally. [W]e are also clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict. In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long."
This is what Julie Bishop, the foreign minister of Australia, said in explaining why Australia would not have voted for the U.N. Security Council resolution:
"In voting at the UN, the [Australian] Coalition government has consistently not supported one-­‐sided resolutions targeting Israel."
And these are only the public criticisms. In private several other countries have expressed dismay at the problems caused by the last minute moves of the lame duck Obama administration.
Initially, the New York Times failed to report these important international developments, presumably because they disagree with them. Only after other media featured the British and Australian criticism did they decide to cover it. They did immediately report that the Jewish community – both in the United States and Israel – is divided between right-­‐wing Jews who oppose the Obama administration's moves and liberal Jews who support them. This is simply fake news: Israel is not divided over the Security Council's resolution and the Kerry speech. All Israeli leaders and the vast majority of its citizens opposed these developments.
Douglas Murray: Britain's Little Lies
This is a serious category error for a Prime Minister to make. It puts critics of a religion on the same plane as people wanted for terrorism. It blurs the line between speech and action, and mixes people who call for violence with those who do not.
Only now, a fortnight later, has the true duplicity of Theresa May's speech been exposed. For now the world has learned what diplomacy the British government was engaged in even as May was making her speech. At the same time as the Prime Minister was talking about "true friendship" in front of friends of Israel, her government was conspiring with the outgoing Obama administration to kick that friend in the back. The British government was exposed as being one of the key players intent on pushing through the anti-Israel UNSC Resolution 2334. British diplomats were revealed to have been behind the wording and rallying of allies for the resolution.
The British government, whilst saying that it remains committed to a peace deal that comes as a result of direct negotiations between the two sides, has its own preconditions for peace: a freeze on the building of what it calls "settlements." They maintain this line despite the fact that settlements have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Before the June 1967 Six Day War, there were no such things as "settlements." Palestinians were trying to destroy and displace Israel anyhow. The core problem is not, and never was, "settlements," but the right of Israel (or any non-Muslim nation) to exist inside any borders in that part of the world.
If you take a stand that is based on a lie, then that stand cannot succeed. If you try to oppose anti-Semitism but pretend it is the same thing as "Islamophobia," then the structure on which you have made your stand will totter and all your aspirations will fail. If you try to make a stand based on the idea that settlement construction rather than the intransigence of the Palestinians to the existence of a Jewish state is what is holding up a peace deal, then facts will keep on intruding.
PodCast: Law Talk With Epstein, Yoo & Senik: Ep. 92: Auld Law Syne
It’s the end of the year and Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo are in a globetrotting mood. First, what effect will the Obama Administration’s acquiescence to the UN’s anti-Israel motion have on the future of the Middle East? Then, is the White House doing enough to sanction Russia — and is President-Elect Trump taking the threat seriously enough? Then, closer to home, will President Obama’s last-minute executive actions be able to survive the Trump Administration?

Ben Shapiro: Obama's betrayal of Israel & recent anti-Israel resolution from U.N. (12-23-2016)

Breaking Down the 'Israeli Occupation' Myth
From the perspective of someone who does not understand international law or the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this resolution tells the story that Israelis have trampled over Palestinian lands illegally and decided to build houses on them in a fit of colonial aggression. Unfortunately for them, that is nonsensical and false. The entire argument rests upon the false premise that Israel is "occupying" Palestinian land and that Israel has no legitimate claims to the lands in question. For those who wish to understand Israel's legal rights to the land, Daniel Horowitz wrote a magnificent piece yesterday in Conservative Review outlining them under United Nations Charter Article 80, the League of Nations 1922 Mandate on Palestine, and the San Remo Conference.
That still begs the question of whether Israel is "occupying" Palestinian land in the first place. The answer is no, and that is clearly codified in how international treaties define occupation. It is important to recognize that in international law, a treaty represents the persuasive authority of an international legal question. Contrary to the "soft laws" of customary international law and jus cogens, treaties serve the same purpose and legal power as a contract between two parties. Anyone who signs an international treaty is obligated to follow the specific words dictated between all of the nation-states that helped draft and agree upon the terms.
The legal definition of "occupation" comes out of the 1907 Hague Convention, some of the first treaties governing international laws of war and war crimes. The definition of an occupation can be found in Articles 42 and 43 and can also be summarized in the following sentence: Possession of the territory of the legitimate power by the occupying power.
Here is the text of Article 42:
Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.
Here is the text of Article 43:
The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.
Both of these articles supplement each other in creating the legal definition of an "occupation." Avinoam Sharon, a former military lawyer for the Israel Defense Forces, encapsulated the meaning of these two articles best in a an article published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
First, the area is under the actual control of the hostile army. Second, the area was previously the sovereign territory of another state. Third, the occupier holds the area with the purpose of returning it to the prior sovereign.
Congressional Republicans push to condemn anti-settlement UN vote
Republicans in both chambers of Congress are moving quickly to condemn the United Nations for passing a Security Council resolution last week that said Israeli settlements had “no legal validity” and constitute “a flagrant violation under international law.”
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran (R) and Florida Rep. Dennis Ross (R) both indicated that they are planning to introduce separate measures of disapproval over UNSC Resolution 2334 once Capitol Hill lawmakers reconvene next week.
More than 100 Members of Congress have issued statements opposing the resolution, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The resolution, which passed by a vote of 14-0 following a US abstention, calls for a complete end to all construction in areas Israel gained after the 1967 Six Day War, territory that includes the Old City, with the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
Furthermore, the text calls on all states “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” Israel fears such language will lead to an uptick in boycott and sanctions efforts, and Israeli officials have warned it will provide “a tailwind for terror.”
Ex-Diplomat Martin Indyk’s Alleged ‘Repuslive Remarks’ About Israel and Jews Raise Concerns
Several Jewish organizations and leaders are expressing alarm over revelations of a series of harsh, disparaging remarks about Israelis and Jews made by a former US diplomat and mideast expert.
Martin Indyk — who served as President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, followed by a stint as the Obama administration’s envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations — is being urged to clarify comments he made in a tape-recorded private conversation from 1989, in which he reportedly said Israelis are “paranoid,” “arrogant” and “think the rules of society do not apply [to them]” because “they are the goy’s rules.”
Indyk, who is Jewish himself, also reportedly applied this assessment to the character of Jews generally, saying that Jewish people “would do whatever they can to avoid paying taxes,” and believe it is justified to “find a way to ignore the law or get around it.” He added, “In my own family, my grandfather used to stay up nights to figure out how to avoid paying taxes.”
Professor Eunice G. Pollack, an historian of antisemitism and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of American Jewish History, told that Indyk’s reported statements “echo three of the most infamous centuries-old tropes of antisemites.”
Even The Washington Post Thinks Kerry’s Israel Speech Was Nuts
The widespread condemnation of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Wednesday speech targeting Israel has now spread as far left as The Washington Post.
The Post issued an op-ed on Friday in which it stated, “The Obama administration is ending eight years of failed Middle East diplomacy exactly where it began in 2009 — with an exaggerated and misguided focus on Israeli settlement construction.”
The Post accused Kerry of railing at the continuing growth of West Bank Jewish housing “with a prolixity that Fidel Castro would have admired.”
The Post acknowledged the similarity of Kerry’s rhetoric to Barack Obama’s at the beginning of his first term, admitting that Obama’s actions catalyzed “Palestinian leaders to resist all concessions while seeking to delegitimize Israel internationally; the peace talks went nowhere even when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu imposed a temporary construction freeze.”
The Post continued, “Mr. Kerry’s speech was, above all, a vivid demonstration of the administration’s inability to learn from its mistakes or adjust the ideological tenets that Mr. Obama brought to office.”
Prof. Miriam Elman in WaPo: Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, for peace sake
Last week I was invited by an editor of The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog to contribute an article focusing on the issues surrounding president-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The article, “Trump’s plan to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process”, was published yesterday:
In it I argue that come this spring, President Trump shouldn’t sign the waiver provision of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act and should instead move to implement the law because it would “bode well for Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects.”
As I highlighted in several prior LI posts (see here and here), both presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made campaign promises to move the embassy, only to renege once they were in office.
But in the op-ed I note that Congress never intended for the waiver to be a “crutch for procrastination”. Further, the reasons that critics of the relocation give for delaying the move yet again—that it’ll unleash a wave of extremism; spark another Palestinian uprising; or drive a wedge between the United States and Arab states or Europe—simply don’t hold up.
I explain why these doomsday predictions are especially less true now that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed resolution 2334 last week. In fact, UNSCR 2334 makes it even more likely that Trump will honor his campaign promise. Here’s an excerpt:
relocating the embassy allows the Trump administration to reinforce that, unlike the Obama administration, it doesn’t consider settlements the key obstacle to peace. Trump will be particularly keen to make this distinction after the U.S. abstention on Friday’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 – which effectively declares illegal all Israeli presence beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including east Jerusalem.”
Australia: US and NZ are wrong on Israel
Mr Carr’s (fmr Labour Foreign Minister) comments follow a visit to Israel last week by Bill Shorten, who met and praised Mr Netanyahu but was criticised for spending only a few hours in the Palestinian territories.
Tensions within the NSW Right, formally known as Centre Unity, are expected to increase over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as policy committees begin to meet in February to discuss motions for the conference. Any toughening of the Right’s stand against Israel would represent a rebuke against the Opposition Leader, who enjoys the support of the faction.
Labor’s position recognises a commitment to a two-state ­solution, and notes “settlement building by Israel in the occupied territories that may undermine a two-state solution is a roadblock to peace”.
NSW Labor general secretary Kaila Murnain said the party’s position had been “unanimously ­supported” at the last conference. But that position followed months of negotiations in the NSW Right and Left and the wider party, at times including federal and state players including Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek, frontbenchers Tony Burke, Jason Clare and Mark Dreyfus, state health spokesman Walt Secord, and Mr Carr. Those talks would make it more difficult for the party to change its policy again.
Some in the Right have raised concerns about Mr Shorten’s meetings with Israeli politicians, including Mr Netanyahu. State MP Shaoquett Moselmane, linking to a tweet from Mr Shorten’s account praising Mr Netanyahu as “a good friend of Australia”, said the Israeli leader should be tried for human rights violations.
In an email circulating among party members, a former candidate suggests the Queensland Labor Friends of Palestine and its partner body in NSW should work “to entrench the recognition of Palestine as federal Labor policy before the next federal election”. But Acting Opposition Leader Chris Bowen said Labor continued to support a two-state solution.
After Kerry Speech, Palestinian Leader Reaffirms a Jewish State Will Never Be Recognized
Yesterday Secretary of State John Kerry defended the U.S. decision to abstain from a recent U.N. resolution vote condemning Israel and designating the Western Wall in Jerusalem as non-Jewish, occupied territory. During a speech at the State Department, Kerry spent the majority of his time berating Israel for so-called settlements in the West Bank while advocating for a two-state solution. He acknowledged that in order for a two-state solution to become reality, the Palestinian government would have to recognize the basic fact that Israel, a Jewish state, has the right to exist.
Responding to Kerry's remarks, top Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) member Mustafa Barghouti again reaffirmed Palestinians will never issue this recognition. From the Jerusalem Post:
PLO Executive Committee member Mustafa Barghouti welcomed the overall message of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Wednesday, but he said the Palestinian leadership cannot accept the top US diplomat’s suggested parameters.
"Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would deny the right of the Palestinian people who are citizens of Israel and that is totally unacceptable. Israel cannot be a Jewish and a democratic state at the same time,” Barghouti continued.

In short, the issue isn't settlements as the U.N. and the Obama administration have claimed. The anti-semitic issue Palestinians have lies with the existence of the Jewish people. Israel and the Jewish people have a right to exist. Until this is recognized by the Palestinians, there cannot be peace.
Obama and Israel, from 2008 to 2016: A Story of Betrayal and Reversal
Will something like this be the last element in the president’s parting shots against Israel?
Making things even worse is the very strong evidence that the Obama administration worked directly with Palestinian leadership to craft and advance the recent UN Security Council resolution, despite the administration’s denials. Evidence includes: 1) discussion months in advance by political pundits that this was one of the options being discussed by the administration (how did they know this?); 2) Prime Minister Netanyahu stating unequivocally that America was behind the resolution, which he would hardly do without “rather ironclad information”; and 3) an Egyptian paper releasing transcripts of a purported meeting between Kerry and Palestinian officials from early December, planning out the strategy.
This is just part of what makes President Obama’s final actions so shameful and why Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was right to say that has Obama “demonized Israel little by little.”
So much for the man who said in 2008 that he spoke “as a true friend of Israel,” explaining, “And I know that when I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends. Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow and forever.”
As the old saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies.
Thomas Friedman, Anachronism
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman lent his support to the controversial actions taken by the departing administration of President Barack Obama concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Dec. 29, 2016, "Bibi Makes Trump His Chump"). Friedman praises the last minute maneuvers by the President and Secretary of State John F. Kerry and castigates Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for lacking the political courage to defy his rightwing base. The facts and historical account offered by Friedman are worth examining.
1) Friedman chides Netanyahu for his unwillingness to “confront the Jewish settlers, who relentlessly push Israel deeper and deeper into the West Bank.”
So what are the facts about the territory and population of Jewish settlements in the West Bank?
The Jewish population of Judea and Samaria has increased from 275,000 at the end of 2008 to 377,000 at the end of 2015 according to figures published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. Over an eight-year period that reflects the natural growth rate of the population. The total territory that has been built upon by Jewish settlers amounts to between two and three percent of the total West Bank land area (depending upon the source) and has changed little during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s eight year tenure.
While it is true that the built-up territory does not comprise the total land area that Israel controls or would control in any agreement, nevertheless, there is no evidence that Jewish settlers are “relentlessly” expanding the territory under their control, as Friedman contends.
After Contact from CAMERA, The Washington Post Corrects on 'Green Line'
After contact from CAMERA, The Washington Post has changed inaccurate language in the online version of its Dec. 5, 2016 article “Jared Kushner's family foundation donated to West Bank settlements.”
That Post report claimed, among other things, that “The Kushner foundation gifts were mostly made to schools, including religious yeshivas, located outside the Green Line that is internationally recognized as the border of Israel proper.”
Yet, as CAMERA highlighted in correspondence to Post editors and staff on December 7, the Green Line is an armistice demarcation line; not an “internationally recognized border of Israel proper.”
CAMERA pointed out that the West Bank and Gaza frontiers were demarcated by the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice line and the 1950 Israeli-Egyptian armistice line.U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (adopted several months after the 1967 war), called for negotiations to reach Arab-Israeli peace—to include “recognized and secure boundaries,” since they did not then exist. U.N. Security Council Resolution 338 (1973) repeated this call. However, no agreement on a border has been reached—although several U.S. and Israeli proposals have been offered, but were met with rejection by Palestinian leaders.
Hanukkah Miracle as Ketchup Heiress with nothing to say speaks for 75 Minutes (satire)
People around here have seen a lot, but something is different this week. On Wednesday, something happened that was so profound that it very well may have been a modern Hanukkah miracle. Ketchup heiress/Navy Veteran/Dude who lost to Dubya/Diplomat John Kerry spoke for 75 minutes without actually having anything to say. With only enough relevant ideas to fill a 5 minute chat, Kerry somehow summoned enough J-Street talking points, Senate anecdotes, and Thomas Friedman clichés to make his talk last 75 minutes. Nes Gadol Haya Sham! So the Daily Freier hit the streets to find out the word. On the streets.
As the Daily Freier exited Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, we ran into a familiar face: Alert Local Ronit S., who was on her way to the Ministry of Education to get a scuba diving certification from Cancun translated into Hebrew so she could be a dive instructor or something. We asked Ronit if she heard the speech.
“Yeah. They played it on the bus the whole way here. Seventy. Five. Minutes. It was so bad that the driver actually had to pull over to get some fresh air near Latrun. I made a bet with the guy next to me on how long it would last. He said 90 minutes, I said 70. So I won. 50 Shekels. The guy was mad and insisted that if Kerry was allowed to also speak in French that the speech would have hit 2 hours.”
The Daily Freier said goodbye to Ronit and proceeded onto the Light Rail toward the Illegally Occupied Western Wall. On the Light Rail, we saw Historian Yoni K. who went on to explain the significance of Kerry’s speech. “What Secretary Kerry did was like transporting me back in time.” explained Yoni as he looked into the distance. “It was like I was in Barack Obama’s Columbia University Dorm Room bull session circa 1983. Imagine a reality where Israel never offered the Palestinians a State in 2000, 2001, and 2008. A reality where Ehud Barak never completely withdrew from South Lebanon in a UN certified move in 2000, and Hezbollah never promptly moved in and kidnapped an Israeli patrol. In this Alternative Universe, Ariel Sharon never removed every Jew from Gaza and handed it over to the Palestinian Authority in 2005; and Hamas never evicted the PA from Gaza in 2007…. You know, for a minute while I was listening to his speech….. I thought that I was high.”
3 Palestinians arrested on suspicion of shooting at IDF post
Israeli security forces arrested three Palestinians Saturday suspected of firing at an army position in the northern West Bank on Friday evening.
The three, residents of the town of Yabed, west of Jenin, were taken for questioning. A car, which authorities suspect was used for the shooting, was impounded.
Two other Palestinians were arrested Saturday: one, caught with a knife near Deir Sharaf in the northern West Bank, said he had intended to carry out an attack. Another was detained near Hebron after weapon parts were found on his person.
On Friday security forces shot and wounded a Palestinian woman at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank as she tried to carry out a stabbing attack, police said. There were no other injuries.
“She approached the security forces with a knife in her hand. She did not respond to the calls of the soldiers to stop,” police said, adding that the threat was “neutralized.”
Saudi Government Investigates Baby Clothes Sold With Israeli Flag
The Saudi Commerce and Investment Ministry launched an investigation after a report that baby clothes with a print of the Israeli flag were sold at a popular mall in the capital of Riyadh.
A patron was shocked to find that the Israeli flag appeared on clothing items alongside dozens of other flags, and lodged a complaint with the ministry, which raided the store that put the “suspect” garment on display. Saudi press reported the Commerce and Investment Ministry punished the store owner “in accordance with the law” and opened an investigation into the incident.
Plaintiff Said Alqahtani said, “There’s fear that these clothes will proliferate on the market unless due vigilance is shown by business owners, who only think of profits, and the authorities tasked with monitoring products, who must ramp up the supervision and enforcement and punish all the stores selling these garments.”
He said he expects the ministry to sanction the store, adding that he is prepared to accompany ministry officials on their patrols to take the garments bearing the Israeli flag off the shelves.
The story gained traction on social media. One Twitter user who was not impressed with the war against the Israeli flag inquired “what about the cross that appears on some of the flags?” referring to the Islamic interdiction on wearing garments bearing a cross.
Israelis warned not to travel to India because of ‘concrete’ terror threat
Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a travel warning for India on Friday, urging Israelis not to travel to the country and cautioning those already there that Islamist groups may try to carry out terror attacks in the immediate future.
The warning is defined a “concrete basic threat,” according to Channel 2 television.
The bureau singled out Western and tourist hot-spots as being at increased risk, with the alert at its highest in southwest India, in particular in Goa and adjacent states.
The bureau recommended that travelers avoid beach parties and nightclubs with a high concentration of tourists, as well as busy markets, festivals and shopping centers.
Families with relatives traveling in the country were asked to alert their loved ones to the advisory.
“Israeli tourists in India are asked to remain alert and listen to local media and the instructions of security officials,” the warning said.
In Europe, which has seen multiple deadly terror attacks over the past two years, many cities are preparing for the possibility that Islamist radicals will also try to disrupt and spoil New Year festivities.
Hamas video shows Netanyahu dressed as a clown
Hamas' military wing and their Izz ad-Din al-Qassam brigade publicized on Saturday two video clips in honor of kidnapped and murdered Sgt. Oron Shaul's birthday.
Shaul was kidnapped and murdered during 2014's Operation Protective Edge. Hamas has not yet returned his body.
The first video, which was published four days after Shaul's birthday and the day before New Year's Eve, shows people wearing IDF uniforms sitting around a table. On the table is a cake which says "Oron is in captivity for three years."
Later, a Hebrew-language subtitle appears, which says "One more New Year away from home." Underneath it, an Arabic subtitle reads, "A new year, and the soldier Oron Shaul is far from his family."
The second video clip shows a soldier tied to a chair, with a picture of Oron Shaul glued onto the actor's face. Opposite him, the cake waits, and the soldier struggles to free himself and reach it, but to no avail. At the end of the video, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu walks in the door, dressed as a clown. Netanyahu then walks towards the cake and puts out the candles.
"The decision is in the government's hands," reads the final subtitle in Hebrew and Arabic.
Report: Iran received $1.4 bil. before nuclear deal's implementation
The Iranian government since 2013 has received an estimated $10 billion in cash and gold due to the easing of sanctions following a preliminary nuclear deal agreement with the US and world powers, The Washington Post citing US officials reported Friday.
Included in that total is a previously unreported payment of $1.4 billion made to Tehran in the period between the deal's finalization and when it took effect.
The Islamic Republic together with world powers, known as the P5+1, signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in July of 2015, which aims to halt Iran's ability to produce nuclear material for the next ten years. The agreement was officially instituted in January of 2016.
A provision in the deal permits Iran to collect over $100 billion thanks to sanctions relief imposed by the US and mostly European countries.
The Washington Post notes that the $10 billion dollars Iran has since collected was not accessible to Iran through traditional banks due to lingering restrictions. The US, according to The Post, must sign waivers among countries where Iran sells its oil, where proceeds then get transferred to a second country in the Middle East. From there, the profits are converted into hard cash or gold.
Kuwaiti Preacher and Scholar: In Order to Restore the Caliphate, We Need Someone Like Theodor Herzl
Kuwaiti preacher and scholar Tareq Al-Sweidan talked about the "crisis of backwardness" afflicting the Arab nation, comparing its rate of scientific investment to that of Israel and saying that the Arab nation lacked long-term goals and plans.
"It is a disgrace that we as a nation, or as a state, do not have a vision like McDonald's," he said, which has a 20-year vision and a 100-year goal.
Al-Sweidan was speaking at the Temara chapter of the Moroccan Monotheism and Reform Movement, which also posted the address on the Internet on November 25.
He said the conflict with the "Zionst enemy" was an "existential conflict."
"To be or not to be - it is either us or them," he said, adding that "we will destroy them.

In rare move, Spanish town votes to reverse BDS resolution it passed this year
In a rare move, a Spanish municipality voted to nullify a resolution it had passed earlier this year endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Santa Eulalia, a town on the island of Ibiza 300 miles southeast of Madrid, last week nullified in a vote the pro-BDS resolution it passed in the summer following legal action initiated against the municipality over the earlier vote, ACOM, the Spanish pro-Israel organization, told JTA on Friday.
More than a dozen such BDS resolutions have been reversed over the past two years in Spain, where over 50 municipalities have endorsed BDS – more than anywhere else in Europe. But in most of the cases, the reversals came after courts ruled BDS discriminatory or local governments issued decrees against such boycotts, according to ACOM President Angel Mas.
“It is rare for a municipality council to cancel in a vote a resolution that it had passed only months before,” he said.
The center-right Popular Party, which opposes boycott initiatives against Israel, called the second vote amid pressure from senior politicians and because of concerns that ACOM’s legal action against the resolution at Santa Eulalia would end in a nullification, Mas said. Such a reversal by vote has occurred only “once or twice” before in Spain, he said.
During town hall debates about the resolution, Popular Party representatives argued it would be unfair to focus on the democratic nation of Israel at a time when hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died in a brutal civil war among rebels, Islamists and forces loyal to the country’s dictator, Bashar Assad, Mas said.
Your College Application Is Missing The Essay On How You Will Badly Disguise Your Antisemitism As Anti-Zionism by Audrey McAuliffe, High School Guidance Counselor (satire)
Alex, I see you’ve filled out all of the proper forms for your college applications, and arranged for your SAT and SAT-II scores to be sent to the institutions of your choice. But there’s still one thing missing: the required essay on how you intend to portray your thinly-veiled antisemitism as mere anti-Zionism.
Most colleges and universities make that essay mandatory, Alex. I know you might be uncomfortable committing to a specific course of action that you can lay out in such an essay, but college admissions offices take these things very seriously. Admission grows more and more competitive every year at the schools you’ve chosen, and you’re going to need every point in your favor if you’re to sway the admissions committee in your favor. You can’t be seen as someone who takes the easy way out, or who has hesitation about using anti-Jewish slurs at a protest against some imagined Israeli offense.
You don’t even have to follow through on the plan you present. The committee just wants to see you know how to organize your thoughts and express them in a coherent fashion. It’s less about how you intend to choose which Jews to harass and threaten, and more about using your writing prowess to demonstrate you’ve given this topic the requisite consideration. No one at these colleges is going to monitor your adherence to such a plan and place you on probation for failing to stick to it. Not at the places you’ve applied, anyway; Oberlin and the University of California system aren’t your concern right now.
Arizona Family's Menorah On Front Lawn Turned Into Swastika
A Chandler, Arizona family celebrating Hanukkah by erecting a 7-foot-tall menorah made of PVC pipe painted gold on their front lawn got a shock on Friday morning; someone had broken apart the menorah and restructured it as a giant swastika.
When Naomi and Seth Ellis, who had spent $100 for PVC pipe, nine solar-powered lights and gold paint, awakened Friday morning to see the swastika. Naomi Ellis said she had to explain to her three young sons, ages 9, 7, and 5, why someone had committed the act of hate: “We talk a lot about the importance of equality and tolerance, loving everybody no matter what. I had to tell them that not everybody feels that way. Some people are ignorant, and this is what they do.”
She said her 9-year-old son was in tears; adding, “They know about the Holocaust. They know about Nazis,” but she also said they had never seen a swastika before. She continued, “This is the real reality that we live in: People hate us for no reason or want us to feel scared for who we are. That’s not something I wanted to have to tell them.”
As The Washington Post reported, “Seth Ellis, who works in construction, got up Friday morning at 4 a.m. as usual, and saw that while the family was sleeping, the menorah’s joints had been unscrewed and locked back in place in the spidery directions of a swastika. The vandal or vandals had taken some of the pieces entirely. The Ellises called the police.”
Anti-Semitic rants of Muslim activists who won PM's praise: Members of taxpayer-funded anti-extremism group post conspiracy theories blaming Israel for US massacre
Members of an ‘anti-extremism group’ which won praise from the Prime Minister have been found to have made homophobic and anti-Semitic comments.
Odara is a Muslim women’s group claiming to promote integration. It has received more than £150,000 of taxpayers’ money from counter-terrorism programme – Prevent.
Last year, then home secretary Theresa May said she was ‘proud’ to support the group ‘working to stand up against the extremists who seek to divide us’.
But leader and co-founder of the organisation, Aysha Iqbal, and outreach worker, Tasmiyah Bint Naeem had posted a series of messages on their Facebook accounts which suggested they had extreme views themselves.
Miss Iqbal posted conspiracy theories claiming a series of mass shootings, including the US Sandy Hook massacre, were committed by Israel. Alongside a video entitled, ‘Israel did Sandy Hook, Newtown CT School Massacres says Michael Harris’, she wrote: ‘Truth be told.’
Miss Bint Naeem made homophobic comments on the social media site, saying she would not ‘be in the company of those that are gay’.
Greek company scraps Auschwitz ‘escape room’ game following complaints
An entertainment company in Greece canceled a game in which players use clues to escape from a room themed around the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
The Rubicon agency, which is located in the northern Athens suburb of Galatsi, in recent weeks advertised the Auschwitz “escape room” on social media. Jews and non-Jews complained it was disrespectful to Holocaust victims, the left-leaning news site Protagon reported Tuesday.
“In frozen Poland, the walls of the crematorium of the infamous Nazi concentration camp for prisoners, primarily of Jewish origin, still reek of burnt human flesh, they say,” a promotional text for the game read. “Take on the role of a prisoner still looking for signs of life from loved ones, dare to stay in the shadow of the historic crematorium, discover the big secret and escape before you, too, turn into ashes.”
Reached by Protagon, a spokesman of the firm responsible for the game said it had been scrapped and that the decision to create it did not take into account “that this could cause offense.”
Escape room games feature a space, often with a dramatic theme, in which a group of players is locked in until they find a way out based on a series of clues, riddles or puzzles.
Israel, China Inaugurate Joint Robotics Institute
The Sino-Israeli Robotics Institute (SIRI) was inaugurated in mid-December when a delegation of nine Israeli companies — led by Ariel University Prof. Zvi Shiller, chair of the Israeli Robotics Association, and Technion Prof. Moshe Shoham, founder of Mazor Robotics and a world leader in medical robotics — participated in the second Sino-Israeli Robotics Innovation Conference in Guangzhou, China.
Intended as “home base” for Israeli robotics companies entering the Chinese market, SIRI is located at the Guangzhou International Robotics Center (ROBOHUB), a government-supported, 4,800-square-meter robotics incubator and demonstration center including a large exhibition and demo area, innovation lab, training center, and corporate offices.
“This is an exciting time for the Israeli robotics industry,” Shiller said. “We are committed to establishing a true partnership with SIRI and ROBOHUB, and we look forward to broadening this strategic cooperation, which will serve as a fast track for transforming ideas into products and for moving products into the Chinese market.”
The conference attracted some 100 robotics companies from Guangdong Province, more than 40 of which held B2B meetings with the Israeli companies.
‘Virtual breathalyzer’ lets you check if you’re over the limit
A researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has invented a “virtual breathalyzer” that can be used through smart devices such as phones and watches.
A statement from the university said the readings of the virtual breathalyzer — which works by measuring changes in a person’s gait when they have consumed alcohol — detected intoxication levels with 100 percent accuracy when crosschecked with a police monitor.
“Alcohol distinctly affects movement, gait and balance in ways that can be detected by the built-in motion sensors on devices people carry around with them all the time,” said Ben Nassi, a post-graduate student from the university’s Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering and the device’s developer. “Our system simply takes a baseline reading while walking from the car to the bar and another one on the way back to compare and identify movements that indicate drunkenness.”
Applications based on Nassi’s model for measuring intoxication could be used to alert others, or even a connected car, and prevent users from driving under the influence, the university said.

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