Friday, July 21, 2017

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Europe remains blind because it doesn’t want to see
The Islamists’ key insight is that progressive views have hollowed out Western societies, particularly in Europe, so that they no longer know what values they need to defend against the Islamic jihad.
What secularists fail to grasp is that the values they most prize, such as the power of reason or belief in human rights, were created by Judaism and expressed in the West through Christianity.
Human rights rest on the belief that all are created equal in the image of God. The power of reason rests on the revolutionary concept in the book of Genesis that there is an intelligible universe.
Secular ideologies, however, are positively anti-Judaism.
Moral relativism denies the moral codes of Mosaic law. Deep green environmentalism repudiates the belief embodied in the creation that mankind is superior to the natural world. Scientific materialism dethrones God and puts man in his place.
Judaism is an obstacle both to the unconstrained individualism of Western libertines and also to the Islamist attack on reason, equality and freedom. Small wonder Western progressives make common cause with Islamists against the Jewish people.
Macron is a universalist who doesn’t believe in defending Western national identity. Nor does he believe in France. He said last February: “French culture does not exist; there is a culture in France and it is diverse...
French art? I never met it!” Anyone who believes Macron will defend the Jewish people, the free world or France itself is in for a rude awakening. As are the rest of Europe and the West, while they continue to misjudge the central importance of Israel and the Jewish people to their battle to survive. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Macron’s Terrorism Idiocy
According to Macron, climate change causes droughts and migration, which exacerbates crises as populations fight over shrinking resources. If Macron really believes that, France and Europe are in for some tough times.
First, droughts are a frequent, cyclical occurrence in the Middle East, the Sahel, and the Horn of Africa. The difference between drought and famine is the former is a natural occurrence and the latter is man-made, usually caused by poor governance. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the Horn of Africa, where the same drought might kill a few dozens of Ethiopians but wipe out tens of thousands of Somalis.
Second, the common factor in the wars raging in the Middle East today is neither climate change nor extreme weather, but brutal dictatorship, radical ideologies, and the militias supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Yemen could be a breadbasket. Its terraced fields rising up thousands of feet in the mountains grow almost every fruit imaginable. Yemen also catches the tail end of the monsoon. If Yemenis planted exportable crops like coffee rather than the mild drug qat, which does not bring in hard currency, they might be fairly prosperous.
It is not climate change that denied the Syrian public basic freedoms and liberty for decades, nor was it climate change that dropped barrel bombs on civilian neighborhoods, tortured and killed 13-year-old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, or used chemical weapons. For that matter, when it comes to radicalization, the problem is Syria was less climate and more decades of Saudi-and Qatari-funded indoctrination and Turkish assistance to foreign fighters.
Regardless of all this, another obvious factor nullifies Macron’s thesis: When drought occurs in regions outside the Middle East, the result is seldom suicide bombing.
A Non-Hyperbolic, Non-Apologetic Analysis of the Proposed Israel Boycott Law
Some of you may have read a recent Intercept post claiming that Congress is considering banning support for the boycott of Israel (by "some of you", I mean half my twitter feed). Unsurprisingly, this piqued my interest. On the one hand, the Intercept is not exactly an outfit known for letting accuracy get in the way of hyperbole. On the other hand, plenty of bad/regressive/poorly drafted laws are introduced in Congress, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in particular tends not to bring out people's sense of care and proportion.
So in my ongoing effort to help reintroduce the endangered species of calm, non-hyperbolic discussion of Israel on the internet, here's my best attempt at a calm, non-hyperbolic analysis of what this bill actually would do. But first, a bit of background.
American law already prohibits the boycotting of a country friendly to the United States where it is done at the behest of a boycott call by a foreign country. This law came about for a very particular reason: the threat of secondary boycotts by Arab countries. Companies which might have no interest in boycotting Israel might do so if, say, Qatar (whose business they value much more) said "you can't do business with us if you do business with Israel." The U.S. law counters by saying "you can't follow the Qatar boycott if you want to stay within American law". Even for companies where Qatar > Israel, the U.S. is > > > Qatar, so the law effectively neutralizes foreign calls for a secondary boycott.
The most anodyne way of describing this new law is to say that it merely extends the preexisting ban on boycotting an ally of the United States at the behest of a foreign country (e.g., Qatar) to include doing so at the behest of an International Governmental Organization (e.g., the EU and UN). If the current law isn't unconstitutional (and it's been upheld against challenge, see Briggs & Stratton Corp. v. Baldrige, 728 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1984)), why would this one be problematic?

Three Israelis killed, one wounded, in stabbing attack in West Bank
Three Israelis were killed and another was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in the Israeli settlement of Halamish in the West Bank on Friday night when a terrorist broke into a home and stabbed its residents.
Paramedics said two men, one in his 60s and another in his 40s, and a woman in her 40s, have died of their wounds sustained in the attack in a home in a settlement. The three were initially listed in critical condition.
A fourth woman, in her 60s, was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in serious condition.
According to a preliminary investigation, the terrorist, a Palestinian youth from a nearby village, arrived in the settlement on foot armed with a knife, climbed a fence and chose the last house on a street near it.
The perpetrator broke a window and entered the home, surprising a family of about 10 inside as they were finishing their Shabbat dinner before launching his stabbing spree, Channel 10 reported.
Abbas announces immediate halt to ‘all contacts’ with Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced late Friday he was freezing all contacts with Israel.
“We announce a freeze on all contacts with Israelis on all levels,” Abbas said, according to Israel’s Channel 10, “until it cancel the steps taken against our people in Al-Aqsa and in Jerusalem.”
He specifically castigated the deployment of metal detectors at the Temple Mount compound — placed there by Israel after a July 14 terror attack in which three Arab-Israelis shot dead two Israeli police officers there with guns they had smuggled into the holy site — as being intended by Israel “to impose sovereignty at Al-Aqsa and divide it,” according to a Ynet translation of his remarks.
NYTs: Israeli Aid Gives an Unexpected ‘Glimmer of Hope’ for Syrians
Since Israel and Syria are technically in a state of war and have no diplomatic relations, Israel has not taken in masses of Syrian refugees as other countries have done. Even a government proposal to bring in 100 orphaned Syrian children was dropped.
Still, many Israelis have expressed distress over standing by as the humanitarian disaster has unfolded in Syria, which is what motivated the military to undertake the operation, officials said.
Syrians wounded in the fighting first arrived at the Israeli border fence early in 2013, desperate for help.
“We faced a dilemma,” said Dr. Noam Fink, the chief medical officer of the Israeli military’s northern command. “The decision was made by our commanders and our government to allow them to enter the country and to give them full medical treatment.”
Since then, with medical facilities in war-ravaged towns and villages barely functioning, Israel has treated about 4,000 war-wounded or sick Syrians.
Israel says it is now getting aid to an area inhabited by about 200,000 Syrians, including around 400 displaced families living in tent encampments along the international boundary, and is helping equip new clinics in the area.
“So far the strategy is working,” said Amos Harel, the military affairs analyst for the newspaper Haaretz, noting the relative quiet along the Israeli-Syrian cease-fire line. “It is an intelligent policy. It is not only altruistic.”
Georgette Bennett, who founded the Multifaith Alliance in 2013, said her network had the ability to reach deeper on the Syrian side, covering an area of 1.5 million Syrians. The cooperation between Israelis and Syrians is “a great glimmer of hope coming out of this tragedy,” said Ms. Bennett, a Hungarian-born former refugee and the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
The alliance’s director of humanitarian relief and regional relations, Shadi Martini, is a Syrian who said he managed a hospital in Aleppo, a city that has been an epicenter of the war, before fleeing the country in 2012. When he first heard about the Israelis’ aid, he said: “It was a very big shock to me. Syrians were brought up to fear Israelis as the devil who wants to kill us and take our land.”
Operation Good Neighbor

Lobby to reform UNRWA launches in Knesset
A new Knesset lobby calling for the reform of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) will be launched this week.
The Knesset Lobby for UNRWA Policy Reform, which is chaired by MK Sharren Haskel (Likud), will hold its first session tomorrow (Wednesday) in the Likud Conference Room in the Knesset.
The session will deal with UNRWA's policy of eternally perpetuating the refugee status of the Palestinian Arabs. Palestinian Arabs are the only population in the world whose refugee status is inherited, and are the only refugees who do not fall under the purview of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The session will also deal with the prevalence of incitement against Israel and Jews in the textbooks used in UNRWA schools.
David Bedein, the director of the Center for Near East Policy research and the initiator or tomorrow's event, explained why the lobby will focus on reforming UNRWA instead of abolishing the organization.

NGO Monitor: Amnesty International from Gaza to Mosul: Handcuffing Western Democracies Engaged in Urban Warfare
On July 11, 2017, Amnesty International published “At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, Iraq,” alleging “repeated violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes” by both ISIS and “Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces” in the first half of 2017 (pg. 5). Even if “IS tactics and violations created particular challenges,” “Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces failed to adequately adapt their tactics to these challenges – as required by international humanitarian law” (pg. 6).
According to Amnesty, pro-government forces must “Assume the presence of civilians in every structure when engaging IS fighters” (pg. 46). Amnesty demands an adjustment in tactics, including restrictions on “the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects – including artillery, mortars and IRAMs” (pg. 7). Based on the discussion of specific incidents (more on this below), Amnesty seems to rule out all airstrikes.
In other words, if pro-government forces in Iraq had adhered to Amnesty’s version of the laws of armed conflict (LOAC), they could not have effectively fought in west Mosul. Instead, Amnesty’s rules would force a slow, brutal, bloody ground campaign, which would clearly increase civilian casualties and coalition troop losses.
For years, especially in publications on the 2009 and 2014 Gaza conflicts, Amnesty has been advancing a similar argument regarding Israeli operations in urban zones, albeit with much more condemnatory language than it uses here. Because Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon deliberately co-locate their forces in heavily populated areas, in particular in mosques, hospitals, and family residences, Israel must fight with one hand tied behind its back. All Israeli strikes are automatically labeled “disproportionate” and “indiscriminate.” Precautions implemented far and above legal obligations by Israel to warn civilians, such as leaflets, SMS messages, and “knock on the roof,” are twisted by Amnesty into an indication of Israel’s criminality (and Hamas’ protection of civilians).
JPost Editorial: Fighting antisemitism
The US State Department’s post of special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism was established in 2004, during the presidency of George W. Bush.
Now, 13 years later, US President Donald Trump is seeking to do away with the position.
We urge him to reconsider. Antisemitism is an issue that should be taken seriously by the Trump administration. Allowing the position to stay vacant sends the misleading message that this administration does not take antisemitism seriously enough.
But a warm body is not enough. Filling the position is important. But no less important is choosing the right person. The ideal candidate should clarify, not obscure, the main forces behind contemporary antisemitism. There have been good and bad envoys in the past.
Gregg Rickman, the first envoy, was particularly adept at identifying and publicizing the fact that delegitimization of the Jewish state is in yet another strain of antisemitism.
Singling out Israel for special condemnation or denying Israel the right to exist, let alone defend itself, was often motivated by irrational hatred for Jews, Rickman noted. Therefore, no rational argument, appeal to reason or presentation of facts could convince the Israel-basher to disown his or her positions.
Thousands remember prosecutor on Buenos Aires bomb anniversary
The death of Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor in the AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires, will forever be linked to the attack, the center’s president told thousands at a gathering marking the bombing’s 23rd anniversary.
“We know the truth about the AMIA massacre due to the investigation by a prosecutor who honored his work, even surrendering his own life like Alberto Nisman” in order to fulfill his duty, Agustin Zbar said Tuesday at a commemoration. “Hopefully soon enough we will have light shed on the details of his tragic end. His death is indissolubly linked to his task in the AMIA case. It is a direct consequence of the impunity of the AMIA foreign criminals whom he bravely faced.”
Zbar, a lawyer, said the judiciary file on the case points to Hezbollah and Iran as the culprits, but no one has been brought to justice for an attack that killed 85 and injured hundreds. “Our fellow Muslim compatriots must also repudiate and denounce the violent actions of Iran and Hezbollah in Argentina, as well as those of terrorists in the United States, Europe, Israel or wherever they may be.”
US Government Mourns AMIA Bombing Victims, Investigator Alberto Nisman, on 23rd Anniversary of Iran-Perpetrated Atrocity
The US State Department marked Tuesday’s 23rd anniversary of the July 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires with a statement highlighting Iran’s role in the atrocity and urging transparency in the investigation into the death of Alberto Nisman, the Argentine special prosecutor who exposed Tehran’s culpability for the attack.
“The United States shares the sorrow of the families of those who perished in the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building in 1994,” Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for the State Department, said. “For the past 23 years, we have joined the Argentine government and victims of this terrorist attack in seeking justice. We continue to believe that the Iranian government has a responsibility to cooperate fully with Argentine authorities in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
Nauert then paid tribute to Nisman, who was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment in January 2015, shortly before his planned public exposure of the collusion between Tehran and the former government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in exonerating the Iranian and Hezbollah operatives responsible for the bombing.
“On this occasion, we also reflect upon the significant contributions of prosecutor Alberto Nisman in investigating the AMIA bombing, and note the importance of clarifying the circumstances of his tragic death,” Nauert said.
Iran Continues to Protect AMIA Bombing Suspects
There should be no statute of limitations on terrorism cases. That’s why the murder of 85 Argentines who were at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) when it was bombed 23 years ago today should serve as a sobering reminder that even with the passage of time, those responsible must be held to account.
But once again, Iran is seeking to absolve itself of responsibility for its role in the deadliest attack on Argentine soil.
Five Interpol red notices, which call for international cooperation to arrest and extradite the suspects for aggravated homicide in connection with the bombing of the AMIA, are in force against Iranian suspects in the bombing. At the time of the bombing, Mohsen Rezai was commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohsen Rabbani was Iran’s Cultural Attaché in Buenos Aires, Ahmad Vahidi was Iran’s Defense Minister, Amhad Asghari was third secretary in Iran’s Embassy in Argentina and Ali Fallahian, was Iran’s Minister of Intelligence.
Last week, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Iran is “ready to work with Interpol to resolve a dispute” over the 1994 bombing of the AMIA, a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. That is analogous to the arsonist volunteering to work with the police to find the source of the fire.
Today’s AMIA leadership understands Iran’s move for what it is: yet another Iranian maneuver aimed at lifting the red notices from those who have been wanted by Interpol since 2007.
What Does Israel Have against George Soros? Quite a Lot, Actually
On Monday, the New York Times published an opinion piece by a far-left Israeli journalist named Mairav Zonszein arguing that the billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros “should be”—but is not—“a darling of the Israeli establishment.” The obstacle: he does not offer “unconditional support for [Israel’s current] government.” Elliot Kaufman begs to differ:
Israel is not concerned about Soros’s lack of “unconditional support for the government.” Rather, it detests the fact that he provides millions of dollars to organizations that seek to boycott, isolate, and delegitimize Israel. . . . Soros has given over $1 million to I’lam, a Palestinian media center that accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and argues that “the practical meaning of the Nakba,” an Arabic term for the creation of Israel, “undermines the moral and ethical foundation of Zionism and, hence, of the state of Israel.” . . . An NGO Monitor report from 2013 also revealed that Soros funds the Institute for Middle East Understanding and Mada al-Carmel, both of which call for international boycotts against Israel.
He funds multiple organizations that specialize in suing Israel domestically and internationally, including Al-Haq, which is led by a senior activist of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, considered a terrorist organization by the United States. . . .
There is no mystery as to why Soros is despised in Israel: he is engaged in a campaign to subvert it from within and attack it from abroad. Soros’s foundation treats Israel like an adversary and a rogue state, to be targeted, pressured, and sanctioned. Soros has even publicly compared Israel to Nazi Germany, amateurishly contending that the victim has become the victimizer.
Ahead of Palestinian Terrorist Rasmea Odeh’s Imminent Deportation From US, Supporters Plan ‘Farewell’ Event in Chicago Starring Angela Davis
A convicted Palestinian terrorist set to be deported after spending over two decades in the US will be seen off by supporters next month in Chicago at a celebration featuring a prominent American feminist activist.
Rasmea Odeh — sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli military court for her membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and for planting explosives in two 1969 Jerusalem bombings, one of which killed two Hebrew University students, and released in a 1980 prisoner exchange — will be honored as a “farewell” event starring BDS activist Angela Davis.
The program, which will also feature a performance by a hip hop duo called Rebel Diaz, was organized by the Rasmea Defense Committee, which long supported Odeh’s attempts to fight prosecution in court for omitting her criminal record on her US naturalization papers.
Odeh took a plea deal earlier this year and will be deported to Jordan, after the August 12 program to be held at the building of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
Odeh has been a popular figure on the US campus speaking circuit, recently giving a talk at Northwestern University as a guest of the school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. The Northwestern Jewish community organized a coinciding silent vigil in memory of Odeh’s victims, which was attended by some 150 students, faculty and administrators, including the university president.
World Vision Australia Implicated with Supporting Another Terrorist Group
The Israeli Authorities have now confirmed allegations made against World Vision Australia (WVA) in 2012 regarding their funding of the Palestinian NGO: the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (“UAWC”). These include that:
  • The UAWC is linked to the proscribed terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (“PFLP”);
  • The Committee of Agricultural Works (“CAW”), an Israeli NGO, is also linked to the PFLP and exists solely to allow the fraudulent use of its official Israeli Government registration documents;
  • The use of the CAW’s documents in relation to the UAWC was “intended to deceive the Australian Parliament and Australian Government Relief Organization (AusAid) in order to mobilize funds for the UAWC, which as stated above, is a body operating on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
This revelation follows, and is additional to, the exposure of World Vision’s head of Gaza operations as a Hamas agent who diverted the millions of charitable funds to the terrorist group. This time World Vision is even more heavily implicated as it was put on notice of the terror links and fraud 5 years ago and chose to do nothing despite being presented with extensive evidence.
Islamic 'charity' places pro-Iran professors in US universities
An Islamic "charity" was recently convicted of acting as a front group for the Iranian regime, as well as financing and installing pro-Iranian professors and curricula in 44 North American universities, Conservative Review reported.
Out of the 44 universities, 41 are in the United States.
In late June, a New York jury ruled that the Alavi Foundation is linked directly to the Iranian regime and the US federal government seized the organization's Manhattan headquarters.
It was "the largest terrorism-related criminal forfeiture in US history," prosecutors said.
How did Alavi integrate itself into American society?
The group claims its goal is to "offer courses on Persian language, Iranian studies, and the Islamic culture with a focus on Shiite studies."
The Alavi Foundation also donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
Over the past few years, Alavi raised their university financing efforts by approximately 50%. Between 2013-2016, the number of North American universities working with Alavi jumped from 30 to 44.
The New Israel Fund Is No Friend of the Jewish State
It’s not often that Israeli government officials accuse American Jewish non-profit organizations of aiding terrorists – but then again, the New Israel Fund (NIF) is not usual. After all, there are not many Jewish non-profits that openly support a boycott of Israel, and continually harm the Jewish state.
This week, Miri Regev — Israel’s culture minister — noted that the NIF helped advertise a farewell party for former Knesset member Basel Ghattas who “was convicted in March … after he was caught sneaking cellular devices … to jailed terrorists and carrying messages to and from Hamas-affiliated terrorists held in Israeli prisons.” Ghattas was sentenced to two years in prison for his crimes.
As Regev noted, the NIF often funds incitement against Israel, adding, “it’s very sad to see an organization which touts ideas like tolerance and the rule of law … but then turns around and pays with its own money for advertising an event in honor of a man convicted of helping terrorists.”
The examples of NIF supporting terrorism are replete. For instance, Michael Sfard — an attorney for a number of organizations that are funded by the New Israel Fund — testified as an expert witness on behalf of the PLO during a recent trial in Manhattan brought by victims of Palestinian terrorism.
Canadian Islamist Groups Lose Charity Status Over Potential Militant Financing
Canadian authorities have stripped two former affiliates of the Islamic Society of North America’s Canada chapter (ISNA-Canada) of their charitable status after discovering financial ties between the Islamic organizations and a Pakistani militant group.
The two groups — ISNA Islamic Services of Canada and the Canadian Islamic Trust Foundation — lost their charity status for “non-compliance” following a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit, according to records acquired by Canada’s Global News.
The CRA discovered several issues during the audit, including evidence that ISNA Islamic Services facilitated donations that may have ended up in the hands of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), a Kashmir-based militant group. According to the CRA report, the Toronto-based Jami Mosque raised and transferred funds to the ISNA Development Foundation “for remit” to the Relief Organization of Kashmiri Muslims (ROKM), a “charitable arm” associated with HM.
“Given the identified commonalities in directorship between ROKM and Jamaat-e-Islami and the Hizbul Mujahideen executive committee, concerns exist that the funds collected and disbursed as part of this relief fund may have been used to support the political efforts of Jamaat-e-Islami and/or its armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen,” the CRA said.
HM is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union and India. In June, the US State Department put HM’s leader, Syed Salahuddin, on its terrorist designation list, citing his threats to train suicide bombers in Kashmir and HM’s responsibility for several deadly terrorist attacks.
Indy corrects. New text refutes claim Israel stops Gaza docs from traveling to training seminars
Though we addressed the extremely misleading claim that the the blockade prevents medical equipment from reaching hospitals, we particularly focused on the specific claim by PHR-Israel that Israel “prevents Gazan doctors from travelling abroad for training”. We contacted a spokesperson from COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) to get an answer about this claim, and they flatly denied it. In fact, they provided us detailed statistics on the hundreds of such crossings over the past couple of years.
We contacted Indy editors, providing them with the information from COGAT, and we learned this morning that our complaint was upheld. The article has been updated and now includes the following text immediately following the claim by PHR-Israel.
A spokesperson for Cogat (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) denied that Israel stops Gazan doctors from receiving training. “In 2016 alone, 221 crossings of doctors were coordinated for professional training abroad, whilst an additional 43 were coordinated in 2017,” the organisation said in a statement. “The list of doctors is determined by the Palestinian Authority,” added the Cogat spokesperson.

We commend Indy editors for the correction.
BBC News’ side-lining of French president’s anti-Zionism statement is no surprise
Macron’s statement is of course in step with the IHRA working definition of antisemitism that was adopted in recent months by the British government and the EU parliament as well as in accord with the US State department’s definition. His words were reported by numerous media outlets including the Independent, the Times, the Washington Post and the New York Times.
However, the BBC News website’s report on the ceremony made no mention whatsoever of the French president’s recognition of anti-Zionism as a manifestation of antisemitism.
Should we be surprised at the omission of that statement from the BBC’s coverage of the event? Not really.
Last April – despite the fact that it still does not work according to an accepted definition of antisemitism – the BBC considered itself sufficiently qualified to produce a backgrounder titled “What’s the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?“.
As was noted here at the time, that article promoted the Livingstone Formulation, failed to inform readers what anti-Zionism actually means and focused on promoting the inaccurate and misleading notion that anti-Zionism is the same thing as expressing criticism of the policies and actions of the Israeli government while advancing the ‘Zionism is racism’ canard. Subsequent BBC reporting again amplified similar themes.
Why Spanish People Get It Wrong
For years, El País advanced an anti-Israeli narrative, at times even toying with overt anti-Semitism, to the point where, in 2009, fourteen US congressmen sent a letter to then-Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to express their concern about El País' systematic publication of “articles and cartoons conveying crude anti-Semitic canards and stereotypes.”
That same year, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (a notoriously harsh critic of the Israeli government) published Yoav Sivan's article “Bias in black and white” which noted that “Even in minor stories unrelated to the conflict, El Pais displays a unique combination of sloppiness and unapologetic hatred for Israel.”
The year 2009 marked a turning point. The newspaper changed its approach to the region with more balanced reporting. Tel Aviv ceased to be incorrectly identified as the capital of Israel and articles from the Middle East began to include viewpoints from both sides of the conflict.
Over the past year, however, El País has drifted back to its previous pattern, disregarding the voice of one of the parties in the conflict.
NY council candidate likens Jews who don’t fight landlords to German Nazi enablers
Thomas Lopez-Pierre wants you to know he cares about Jews. That’s why the New York City Council candidate removed the phrase “greedy Jewish landlords” from his campaign materials.
But if you’re Jewish, he said, you do need to stand up to those landlords. Otherwise, you’re just like Germans who allowed the Holocaust to happen.
“Good Germans looked the other way as German Jews were carted off by the Nazis,” he said. “In the same way, New York Jews look the other way as Jewish landlords engage in racial economic cleansing in New York City.”
Was he really equating gentrification in Harlem to the Holocaust? Of course not, he said. Comparing those things is far too tricky.
“I’m not comparing the damage that was done to each particular group, because we would be here for a lifetime trying to weigh which one is worse,” he said.
In Rotterdam, posters of Jewish man and Muslim woman kissing spark a scandal
In a country where sex toys are displayed in shop windows and television commercials often feature nudity, a picture of a clothed, heterosexual couple kissing may not seem like the stuff of scandal.
But precisely such an image — part of a poster campaign celebrating diversity in the Netherlands — has triggered acrimonious debate, charges of racism, acts of vandalism and even threats by those who found it offensive.
The reason: The women pictured in a series of posters were wearing Muslim headscarves – including one woman who was shown kissing a man wearing a kippah.
To some of the detractors, the poster campaign was a provocation designed to upset the sensibilities of Dutch Muslims and other non-white minorities. But to campaign supporters — including some prominent members of the Dutch Jewish community — it was an important statement about the need to counter radicalism and coercion in the Netherlands’ growing Muslim minority.
Israel helps Montenegro extinguish wildfires
Israel sent two firefighting aircraft and two IAF cargo planes to Montenegro today, as part of the international effort helping the Balkan country extinguish raging wildfires, said a spokesman for Israel’s Fire and Rescue Authority.
NATO allies and partners answered a call from Montenegro to help it deal with forest fires in the Lustica peninsula. Israel, Ukraine, Switzerland and Bulgaria sent firefighting planes and helicopters as assistance.
Fires have raged along the Adriatic coast since Sunday. Hundreds of firefighters in France, Croatia, Italy, Portugal and Montenegro have been battling strong winds in trying to contain the wildfires.
In Montenegro, the wildfires burned close to fishing villages and tourist resorts at Lustica peninsula and forced at least 100 people to evacuate the area, according to a NATO statement.
In November 2016, Israel sent out a call for international help in battling its own wildfires. Teams from Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Croatia, Italy and Russia answered the call.
BiondVax surges after results of flu vaccine study
Shares of BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. surged on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange after the firm said a Phase 2 study clinical trial of an universal flu vaccine candidate it is developing had shown “statistically significant positive results.”
The company’s shares were trading 19 percent higher at 3:08 p.m. in Tel Aviv.
The study of the M-001 vaccine candidate had two primary targets, BiondVax said: to check its safety and the cellular immune responses specific to influenza. “Both endpoints were achieved,” the statement said.
The primary safety results showed that M-001 has a good safety profile and is well tolerated, the company said in a statement. These same findings were reported by the company in November, as preliminary results of the study.
The study also showed that compared with the placebo group, “statistically significant elevated T-cell dependent immune responses” were found in the two dosages of M-001 administered. In addition, a study looking into the antibody response to avian flu H5N1, after the vaccination of M-001 or a placebo, found a statistically significant elevation of antibodies in participants who had received M-001, in one of the four H5N1 strains tested, BiondVax said in a statement.
Israeli device will aid US dairy farm nutrition analysis
Cargill Animal Nutrition has joined forces with Israel’s Consumer Physics to introduce Reveal real-time nutrition analysis to US dairy producers.
The new Reveal real-time forage analysis service, which launched this month, utilizes SCiO – the smallest handheld near-infrared (NIR) spectrometer on the market, made by Consumer Physics.
“Today’s dairy producers are constantly pushing the envelope to run a more productive and efficient operation. They need cutting-edge offerings like Reveal that allow them to make smarter nutrition decisions, when they need to be made,” says Mike Messman, strategic technology lead for Cargill’s US dairy business.
“We believe that Reveal analysis will allow producers to manage forage dry-matter fluctuations as they happen, and adjust their feeding programs to maximize production and income over feed costs.”
Over 10% of recruits in IDF's summer draft born outside Israel
The July draft for IDF field units is set to begin this Sunday, with hundreds of new recruits expected to join on each day of the two-week draft.
The annual large summer draft for all IDF units began on July 9 and will end on Aug. 17.
IDF figures for this year's summer draft show that 58% of new recruits are men and 42% are women. About 8% are over the age of 20. The oldest new recruit is 28.
More than 10% of the new recruits in the current draft were born outside Israel. A total of 379 recruits are enlisting as lone soldiers, which means they have no immediate family in Israel and are entitled to special benefits. A further 325 recruits are new immigrants who arrived in Israel after age 16.
Among new immigrant recruits in the current draft, the largest numbers hail from France (93), Ukraine (62), Russia (52), the U.S. (41), and Ethiopia (38).
How an Oregon-born immigrant to Israel found a job giving tours of Hamas tunnels
Capt. Libby Weiss spent most of the summer of 2014 in a Hamas tunnel, and she wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.
Israel’s military captured the tunnel, which extended from Gaza into Israel near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, during Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza. As a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, Weiss was tasked with showing the tunnel to journalists, and she was the first to bring foreign reporters into the claustrophobic space.
Her inaugural tour went to Jodi Rudoren of The New York Times and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.
“It was really chilling to be inside there,” Weiss said. “There were empty potato chip bags and water bottles strewn about on the ground. It made you realize just how close the enemy was.”
For the past six years, Weiss has been on call 24/7 for journalists from all over the world. Reporters turn to her when they want to film Israeli soldiers in action or need a quick comment from the IDF on breaking news.
On August 17, Weiss finally will be turning off her army-issued phone. At 29, she is stepping down from her post and retiring from the military.
Border Police name new all-women unit for heroic officer
A new all-female Border Police unit will be named in honor of Cpl. Hadar Cohen, 19, the policewoman killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in February 2016, the Border Police announced Thursday.
The new unit will be named the Oz Ve'Hadar Unit, from the sentence praising virtuous women in the Book of Proverbs (31:25): "Strength [oz] and dignity [hadar] are her clothing."
It will be the Border Police's second all-female unit.
The attack that killed Cohen took place after a group of Border Police officers noticed three suspicious individuals near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City. As the officers began checking the ID cards of one of the group, the other two drew guns and knives and attacked the officers.
Cohen, who was fresh out of basic training, responded immediately and killed one of the terrorists, but another shot her in the head before he was killed by the other police officers. Another policewoman, 19, sustained moderate stab wounds.
"Hadar fought with great courage and heroism. This is a very moving gesture," Cohen's father said in response to the announcement of the formation of the new unit.

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