Wednesday, December 27, 2017

From Ian:

Genocide Fail. Israeli Arabs have the highest Life Expectancy in the Arab World
According to a recently released report from the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, Israeli Arabs have the highest life expectancy in the Arab world.

According to the report "The Health of the Arab Population in Israel", the life expectancy of an Arab in Israel is higher than even those living in the wealthy gulf states.

What was that you were saying about "genocide" again?
WATCH: Anti-Semites On New Jersey Town Council Go Silent When Jews Called An 'Infection'
On July 17, 2017, Mahwah officials ordered the South Monsey Eruv Fund to stop construction of an eruv through Mahwah, despite the group getting permission from Orange & Rockland Utilities, which owned the poles where the PVC pipe was attached. Mahwah argued that the eruv violated township regulations. The Monsey group was given until August 4 to remove the eruv.

A legal firm was hired to fight for the eruv’s existence; on August 14 the eruv was reported vandalized. In late October, Christopher S. Porrino, the state's attorney general, issued a press release in which he condemned the town’s "hatred," "bigotry," "small-minded" and "bias," likening Mahwah’s citizens and leaders to "1950s-era white flight suburbanites who sought to keep African-Americans from moving into their neighborhoods."

Mayor William Laforet responded with a statement in which he cited Council President Robert Hermansen for Mahwah's "loss of reputation,” adding, "It has been a lonely and painful struggle for me and my family these past several months, having to deal with a reckless and oblivious council president, Rob Hermansen. He personally led his council mates to this action by the state's highest law enforcement official, and is most accountable."

On December 1, the Township Council unanimously approved the allocation of $175,000 to fight the two lawsuits alleging that the town discriminated against Orthodox Jews.

On December 14, the public session of the Mahwah, New Jersey town council meeting was witness to a woman telling them, “I want to make it known here, that the town of Ramapo, I’m sure, is suing the Hasidic people, because they have completely sucked the blood out of that town, from ruining their schools, from claiming that their husbandless women … complete corruption, and possibly criminality. And I want to know why it’s taken so long to remove, to remove the infection from our town. Thank you.”

The council sat silently, without offering any rejoinder to the hatred.

Yet back on August 10, Michael Cohen of the Simon Wiesenthal Center spoke to the council, stating, “You are, in fact, doing nothing more than saying Jews are not welcome.”

No friend of Israel
Around two weeks ago, and mere days after U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin was opened at the Jewish Museum. Spanning over 1,000 square feet, the "Welcome to Jerusalem" exhibit is huge and includes hundreds of displays and exhibits.

One would have expected this type of exhibit at such an important Jewish museum to emphasize Jerusalem's unique character as the holiest city in Judaism and also possibly focus a bit on the historical narrative of Zionism and the State of Israel. Such an exhibit could also have presented, in a balanced manner of course, the different religions that coexist in the city in spite of the ongoing conflict. But regrettably, the exhibit does nothing of the sort, but rather serves to strengthen the theory of Muslim-Arab-Palestinian ownership of the city, mainly through a biased presentation of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

A historical documentary about the conflict, one of the exhibit's highlights, portrays Jews as domineering invaders. It notes the massacres and terrorist acts committed by Jewish paramilitary organizations while completely ignoring those same acts when they were carried out by Arab organizations at the behest of Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini; completely ignores the Arab revolt of the 1930s and Husseini's collaboration with the Nazis; presents a fairly long segment from an interview with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from the early years of his leadership, in which the then-PLO chief explains that the Palestinians have no choice but to take up arms; and repeats the theory according to which the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is what led to the disintegration of the peace process, as well as the proven lie that then-Opposition Leader Ariel Sharon's 2000 visit to the Temple Mount sparked the Second Intifada. In short, according to the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Jews are bad while the Arabs are victims.

Daniel Gordis: Israelis Don't Care How the UN Votes. Here's Why.
Between 2003 and 2012, the UN issued 314 resolutions concerning Israel, nearly 40 percent of all resolutions passed in that time. At the end of 2013, Israeli deputy foreign minister Ze’ev Elkin pointed out that of the 103 resolutions about individual countries from the UN Human Rights Council, 43 had condemned Israel. During the council's 2013 March session alone, six resolutions were adopted criticizing Israel, while only four addressed all the remaining countries of the world. Israel was the subject of more emergency sessions in the council than any other country, yet the body failed to pass a single resolution condemning 200,000 deaths in Darfur or human rights violations by China, Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan or Zimbabwe.

It is in light of this history that Israeli indifference to the Jerusalem vote must be understood. David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, called the UN the “theater of the absurd,” and Israelis agree. They may not recall that Abba Eban, Israel’s eloquent ambassador to the UN and the U.S. in the 1950s, once said of the UN, “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.” But they share the sentiment.

Israelis are also secure enough about their future to regard UN hostility as irrelevant to their well-being. Infinitely more important than any UN vote is the developing Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli alliance, which – despite those countries predictably joining rhetorical forces with Israel’s enemies – strengthens Israel’s position in the Middle East and which, some people surmise, the U.S. might use to pressure or even attack Iran.

But it's not just because former enemies have become allies that Israelis are feeling optimistic and confident. When Israel joined the UN in 1950, it became the 60th member. Today, there are 193 member states; Israel is thus older than two-thirds of the world’s countries and is infinitely more successful and stable than virtually all the countries created since its founding. Israelis have no expectation that the UN will change. They simply respond by continuing to build what, by any measure, is a state wildly more successful than anyone could have imagined when the UN barely passed a vote to create it in November of 1947.
Isi Leibler: Dealing with Europe's populist parties
Populist and nationalist parties are emerging as powerful forces in European politics.

Many observers recall the 1930s and feel an ominous sense of déjà vu. They regard these parties as incubators for anti-Semitism, as well as anti-Muslim sentiment.

Until recently, these parties included many neo-Nazis and Holocaust revisionists.

But the situation has changed dramatically. The main support now comes from those who fear significant increases in crime, social chaos, and terrorism because of the flood of Muslim migrants into Europe.

Some voters for these parties are pro-Jewish and support Israel as a bastion of the free world. Over the past decade, the parties have begun purging their ranks of anti-Semites.

This does not preclude fascists from voting for them. Similarly, while the U.S. Republican and Democratic parties may attract support from the far Right and far Left respectively, these fringes do not define the parties' policies.

The recent election of a right-wing government in Austria highlights the situation.
Saudi ban on Israeli chess players underscores limits of Gulf relations
Israeli athletes have a long history of being discriminated against by Arab countries. They are denied entry to them or forbidden from flying the Israeli flag and playing the national anthem during competitions; opponents forfeit matches against them or refuse to shake their hands.

It is a practice often described as an attempt to avoid “normalization” with Israel, and meant to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

The most recent victims of this tactic are seven Israeli chess players who were denied visas to Saudi Arabia for an international competition that kicked off on Tuesday.

But while Sunni Muslim countries publicly snub Israeli athletes, behind closed doors their officials are prepared to cooperate with the Jewish state, swapping intelligence and coordinating on the best ways to counter their mutual enemy: Iran.

There is also likely some direct or indirect sharing of missile defense methods, a field in which Israel is a world leader owing to repeated attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah over the years. It is also technology on which Saudi Arabia is increasingly relying, as Iran-backed Yemeni rebels have begun launching rockets at Riyadh.

Israel, for its part, seems to be pushing for these warming ties to be brought into the light. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials make frequent references to them, pointing to them as proof that Israel can improve its relationships with Arab countries without the need for progress in peace talks with Palestinians.
ADL tells chess tourney organizers not to let Riyadh host anymore
The Anti-Defamation League urged the World Chess Federation (FIDE) on Tuesday to punish Saudi Arabia and ban it from hosting future tournaments after Israeli players were barred from participating.

In a letter sent to FIDE’s Deputy Chair Georgios Makropoulos, the ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called upon him to “penalize Saudi Arabia for its policies this year, and to make [clear] that if Saudi Arabia continues with this policy, it will not be eligible to host future championships.”

Earlier this week, seven Israeli chess players were denied the visas necessary to participate in the international contest taking place from December 26-30 in Riyadh.

The King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships is the first international chess competition held in Saudi Arabia, perceived as a display of the conservative kingdom’s growing openness to the West.
Saudi Discrimination Against Israeli Chess Players

Refusing to Obey Harsh Saudi Dress Code, Ukrainian Grandmaster Pulls Out of Riyadh Chess Championship That Banned Israelis
A two-time world chess champion has been forced to surrender her title after refusing to compete in a major world tournament that began in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Ukrainian chess grandmaster Anna Muzychuk pulled out of the The King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship in Riyadh when told she would be compelled to wear an abaya, the full-length robes women are required to adorn in public in Saudi Arabia.

It was not the only political scandal to hit the tournament this week; on Monday, the Israeli Chess Federation said it would seek financial compensation after seven Israeli competitors were denied visas by Saudi authorities.

“In a few days I am going to lose two World Champion titles — one by one,” the 27-year-old Muzychuk wrote on Facebook on Saturday. “Just because I decided not to go to Saudi Arabia. Not to play by someone’s rules, not to wear abaya, not to be accompanied getting outside, and altogether not to feel myself a secondary creature.”

She continued: “Exactly one year ago I won these two titles and was about the happiest person in the chess world but this time I feel really bad. I am ready to stand for my principles and skip the event, where in five days I was expected to earn more than I do in a dozen of events combined.”
Cary Nelson: The Middle East Studies Association Is Fundamentally Anti-Zionist
The room at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC, was overflowing for a special session billed as “Thinking Palestine Intersectionally.”

The audience filled the seats, and spilled out into the hallway. For many, it was clearly the highlight of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA)’s November 2017 annual meeting of faculty and graduate students. Perhaps 500 people were present to hear Noura Erakat, Judith Butler, Samera Esmeir and Angela Davis be hailed as symbolic conquerors of the Jewish state.

“The peace process is over,” Erakat began, and then affirmed “the entwinement of our liberation,” offering her own take on intersectionality. The real reason that the US blocked the “Zionism is racism” framework at the UN, she declared, was “to prevent itself from having to pay reparations for slavery,” a claim that would have surprised the very people who fought against the 1975 UN resolution.

The days of progressive advocacy “except for Palestine, are over,” she concluded. It is time “to bar supporters of Israel from feminist movements,” she added. Even this last agenda item, a call to cast out the female devils in our midst, was met with loud applause.

Butler followed, declaring that Israel merely “postures as a democracy.” “The charge of antisemitism seems now directed primarily at criticism of the Jewish state,” she added, perhaps surprising those troubled by the desecration of Jewish cemeteries or the painting of swastikas on the walls of campus buildings.
The StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department

If Lorde Is Serious About Her Politics, She Shouldn’t Boycott Israel But Her Native New Zealand
Is Lorde a foe of colonial occupation? She should know, then, that in 1831, fewer than 1,000 Europeans were living in New Zealand, foreigners vastly outnumbered by the local Maori tribes. Fifty years later, that number skyrocketed to half a million, courtesy of British policy that encouraged settlers to sail to distant shores and remain there. Unlike the Jews returning to their homeland around the same time, these colonialists had neither a historical nor a legal claim to the land.

Does Lorde abhor violent land theft? Unlike the Jews, who returned to Palestine and set up the Jewish National Fund and other organizations in order to fairly purchase their historic homeland from its occupants, the British colonialists had a spot of fun in 1863, ordering all Maori to lay down their arms and passing the New Zealand Settlements Act, which enabled them to thieve 4 million acres of Maori land without even the pretense of due process.

Might extreme segregation and hate offend Lorde’s sensibilities? Rather than look to Israel, where an Israeli Arab recently retired after a long and meaningful term as a Supreme Court justice and where a Muslim woman currently serves as a Qadi, or Muslim judge, Lorde might want to look at the ways New Zealand treats its Maori population today. According to a recent UN report, a whopping 300,000 Maori children, one-third of the country’s child population, now live under the poverty line, a number that is rapidly increasing. Other disparities are common, too: Statistics provided by New Zealand’s own Ministry of Health show that Maori are almost three times as likely as non-Maori to experience unfair treatment on the basis of their ethnicity.

None of that should come as any surprise to Lorde, of course: As an informed young citizen, she surely understands that when an occupying force illegally and cruelly deprives an indigenous population of its right for self-determination in its historical homeland, nothing but moral catastrophe may ensue. Thankfully, the aboriginal Jews have successfully and miraculously managed to return to their native land, and there established a democracy that, like all democracies, is flawed but flowering. The Maori in New Zealand weren’t so lucky. If Lorde truly wants to stand with the oppressed, she can never go home again.
Human Rights Activist Condemns Singer for Canceling Israel Concert by Pointing out Other Tour Stops
After receiving messages and letters urging her to join the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, singer Lorde released a statement saying she decided to cancel her concert in Israel.

“I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” she said. “I'm not too proud to admit I didn't make the right call on this one. I'm truly sorry to reverse my commitment to come play for you. I hope one day we can all dance.”

According to the Huffington Post, Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev criticized her decision and urged her to embody the title of her first album and be a “pure heroine.”

Actress Roseanne Barr also spoke out against the cancellation and called for people to “boycott this bigot” on Twitter.

On Monday, human rights activist and United Nations Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer explained that given the other places she's performing, canceling the show isn't about human rights.
BDS, unfortunately, is still alive and kicking
But the truth is that like Radiohead’s determination to defy Roger Waters lifted our spirits ahead of the band’s historic show at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, Lorde’s retraction is very depressing. It’s not every day and not every decade that the Israeli audience gets an opportunity to see a musician as she sails to the top, at the end of a phenomenal year in nearly every aspect.

One doesn’t have to agree with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to understand Lorde’s position. Whether we like it or not, an international artist’s performance in Israel is a political act. Those who do it are either part of a well-oiled system which is interested in the bottom line—the money—or people who have formed an opinion and are capable of dealing with the consequences.

Lorde, it seems, is neither here nor there. It also has to do with age and experience. So it was nice reading the post published by the show’s producer, Eran Arielli, who acknowledged Lorde's difficulty in dealing with the pressure and thanked her for her actual willingness to perform here. That’s the response of a person who recognizes the complexity of the situation and doesn’t rush to get offended on behalf of the nation.

The past summer’s concerts, and primarily the high profile of Radiohead’s arrival, gave us the feeling that BDS had been defeated. Lorde’s cancellation indicates that it was an illusion. Our justice minister can tell us that she isn’t asked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Japan, but in the touring industry it appears to be a relevant issue. We can get annoyed, protest and slam the door angrily like a 10 year old who wasn’t given the toy he demanded. That won’t change reality.

“Let’s go to perfect places,” Lorde sings. Israel, unfortunately, isn’t one of them.
A major BDS win in a sea of losses
There’s no way to escape the truth of Sunday’s news: The BDS movement chalked up a serious win when Lorde canceled her scheduled Tel Aviv concert.

After a week of being bombarded on social media with calls to boycott the Jewish state, the 21-year-old singer announced on Sunday evening that she wouldn’t be performing a show in Tel Aviv after all. And the activists who dedicate themselves to pushing for a cultural boycott rejoiced like they haven’t for a long time. It was nothing short of a huge win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which goes after almost any artist that announces a show in Israel and pushes them to cancel.

What made the accomplishment for BDS so monumental, was how publicly, vocally and internationally the story played out. Already last week, news organizations in the US, UK and New Zealand were speculating that Lorde may pull out of the show after a tweet to a fan that she was “considering all options.”

So when the news broke on Sunday evening, the buzz was instantaneous. And when the singer made it clear that her cancellation was politically motivated, the swarm of coverage descended. From Rolling Stone magazine to Newsweek, The Guardian, Billboard and Entertainment Weekly, foreign media outlets were thrilled as usual to find a story involving a celebrity and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Lorde’s openness about her thought process made it easy for BDS activists to celebrate the decision. In many other cases, it can be hard to judge the impact of the movement which calls on artists to steer clear of Israel. The outright failures are clear: BDS activists, backed by Roger Waters, tried relentlessly and unsuccessfully to have Radiohead cancel its July show. Same goes for Nick Cave, who defiantly took the stage in Tel Aviv in November.

Other artists have quietly canceled shows, giving either no explanation at all or a vague one, leaving it open for boycott activists to claim as a win.
Israeli promoter: ‘Naive’ to think Lorde could withstand boycott pressure
The Israeli concert promoter behind pop star Lorde’s now canceled Tel Aviv show said it was “naive” to think the New Zealand singer could have withstood the pressure from Israel boycott activists and apologized to fans.

“The truth is that I was naive to think that an artist of her age would contain the pressure involved in coming to Israel, and I take full responsibility,” Eran Arielli, who co-founded the Naranjah production company, wrote on Facebook early on Tuesday.

Arielli thanked Lorde for looking Israel’s way and sought to “apologize” for the backlash.

“She does not deserve all the shit that has gone on in the last week since the announcement, and the last thing she needs in her comeback campaign is a bunch of globalists and anti-Semites on her head. I have no complaints about her, and even more, my assessment of her has not been affected one millimeter,” he wrote.

Lorde’s cancellation isn’t the first that Naranjah has experienced, wrote Arielli, nor will it be the last.
Despite Lorde cancelling, stars lining up 2018 Israel shows
They're no Lorde, but a slew of acts have announced upcoming performances in Israel over the past couple of days alone. They include the former drummer from Nirvana, a mysterious, internationally-acclaimed DJ and a Latin pop superstar. And according to reports, Lenny Kravitz may be on his way as well.

Natalia Oreiro, a Latin Grammy-nominated singer from Uruguay, will be heading to Tel Aviv in March. Oreiro posted excitedly on Twitter about the news on Tuesday, offering a link to tickets for the show on March 20 at Menora Mivtachim arena. Oreiro, who is also a popular actress in telenovelas, has performed in Israel several times over the past 20 years. Tickets range from NIS 190 to NIS 750 and are available at

DJ Marshmello is another famous international act who'll be heading our way soon, though good luck trying to get a glimpse of him. The famed, acclaimed DJ is best known for always appearing at this shows wearing a large, marshmallow-like mask. Marshmello, who has collaborated with Selena Gomez and Khalid, will be coming to Israel for a Purim party like no other. He'll be appearing at the Tel Aviv Convention Center on March 1, the evening between Purim and Shushan Purim. Marshmello's biggest single, "Alone," has more than 140 million views on YouTube. Tickets for his Tel Aviv show range from NIS 215-305.

Chad Channing, one of Nirvana's former drummers, will also be performing in March in Tel Aviv. The drummer will be in Israel for a March 14 show with the cover band The Nirvana Experience, which performs many of the group's biggest hits. Channing is the only member of The Nirvana Experience who was in the original band; he was its drummer from 1988 to 1990, and played on its debut album Bleach. The group will be doing a whirlwind tour, with six stops in Europe in one week alone. Tickets for the show at the Tel Aviv Reading 3 Club are not yet on sale.
Twitter war over Israel's hummus 'cultural genocide'
In a Twitter battle that raised eyebrows on both sides of the Atlantic, James Zogby accused Israel of “cultural genocide” after American celebrity cook Rachael Ray posted a photo of “Israeli nite,” with hummus, stuffed grape leaves and other edibles.

Zogby, the founder of Arab American Institute, and managing director of Zogby Research Services, took issue with Ray’s December 21 post: “Holiday feast highlights – Israeli night, meze, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, beet dip, eggplant and sun dried tomato dip, walnut and red pepper dip, and tabouli,” she tweeted.

Wrote Zogby, “This is cultural genocide. It’s not Israeli food. It’s Arab (Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Jordanian). First the Israelis take the land and ethnically cleanse it of Arabs. Now they take their food and culture and claim it’s theirs too! Shame.”

Bret Stephens, op-ed columnist at The New York Times and a former Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief, joined the battle on Tuesday. “Please tell me this is a joke tweet,” he wrote. “Or is it ‘cultural genocide’ when Arabs use Israeli technology? Do you use Instant Messaging? Waze? If so, please stop.” Waze was invented in Israel.

Zogby responded that the case would only be similar if he used Waze and then claimed it was Lebanese. Zogby’s father was a Lebanese immigrant to the US.
Ali Abunimah Attacks Rachael Ray For Showcasing Israeli Foods
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray has done what I presume that infamous elk also managed to do – get Ali “Abumination” Abunimah’s panties in a twist – thanks to this tweet showcasing some Israeli food.

Abunimah is once again being dishonest. There is nothing especially palestinian about these foods, which did originate in the Levant. For instance, the earliest known recipes of Hummus seem to have originated in Egypt, while tabouli is originally from the mountains of Lebanon and Syria. So unless he is admitting the palestinian Arabs originally come from those areas…

In any event, Israel has developed variations of the theme. So eat it up.

It is a shame Abunimah did not read on – because Rachael did not stop at the one tweet.
Google and CAA agree to collaborate on cleaning up YouTube, as CAA starts recruiting volunteers for YouTube cleanup squad
Google and Campaign Against Antisemitism have agreed to collaborate on cleaning up antisemitic hatred on YouTube, with Google granting us access to special content flagging features.

Videos that we report to Google will go through a fast-track reviewing process, following which Google may take the video off YouTube or place a number of limitations on it, such as removing it from video suggestions and making it harder to find. Once a video has been identified as promoting antisemitism, Google will use its algorithms to recognise the video if it is uploaded to YouTube again using a different user account.

Whilst we have not always agreed with Google about what should be on YouTube, this is a very promising collaboration which we hope will enable us to work with Google to reduce the amount of antisemitic material appearing on YouTube.

We are now building a volunteer team to help us to flag videos which should be reported using the special reporting features provided to us by Google. If you would like to join the team, please go to
BBC’s Knell deletes history in Jerusalem walkabout on Radio 4
The BBC Radio 4 programme ‘From Our Own Correspondent‘ claims to provide listeners with “insight, wit and analysis from BBC correspondents, journalists and writers from around the world” but which of those was intended to apply to the item by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell that appeared in the programme’s December 23rd edition is unclear.

After all, no journalist can truly be said to have offered ‘insight’ and ‘analysis’ on the subject of Jerusalem if he or she refrains from providing audiences with the relevant context of the city’s historical background – not least that pertaining to the circumstances under which the city was divided for the only time in its history by a nineteen-year long Jordanian occupation.

Nevertheless (but, given the BBC’s record on that issue, not surprisingly) Yolande Knell did just that.

Programme presenter Kate Adie set the scene (from 06:52 here), ironically ignoring the issue of the BBC’s weighty contribution to the phenomenon she described in her opening sentence.

Adie: “Jerusalem has rarely been out of the news this month since Donald Trump announced that the US now recognises the ancient holy city as Israel’s capital and will move its embassy there from Tel Aviv. This week a large majority at the UN General Assembly backed a resolution effectively calling on Washington to reverse its decision – despite threats from Mr Trump to cut off aid to those voting in favour. The international view has long been that any change in the status of Jerusalem can only come about as part of a negotiated peace agreement. But what do ordinary Israelis and Palestinians think of all this? Yolande Knell has been to the Old City where she found plenty of food for thought.”

Notably, Adie failed to inform listeners that the resolution passed at the UN GA is non-binding and of course refrained from mentioning the absurdities that lie behind “the international view”.
Was BBC News reporting of the Pope’s Christmas address accurate and impartial?
BBC audiences would clearly get the impression from that report that the focus of the Pope’s address was on Israel and the Palestinians and that he merely “touched on” other issues.

However, examination of the actual 932 word address delivered by the Pope shows that while he used 118 words to speak about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he devoted 439 words to speaking about other topics including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Africa, Venezuela, North Korea, Ukraine, Myanmar, Bangladesh, children of unemployed parents, migrants and child labour.

So while 80.5% of the BBC’s coverage of the speech related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in fact that topic featured in just 21.2% of the parts of the address relating to specific countries and issues and in 12.7% of the speech as a whole.

Obviously the BBC News website cannot claim to have reported that Papal address in a manner that accurately and impartially reflects its content and its focus.
Polish official sacked for desecration of Jewish cemetery
The local conservator in the eastern Polish city of Siemiatycze was dismissed after the desecration of the local Jewish cemetery.

Construction work carried out at the beginning of the month on the grounds adjacent to the Jewish cemetery in Siemiatycze uncovered human remains likely from the cemetery. The chief rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich called it “the worst desacralization of the Jewish cemetery” that he has seen since assuming his post 17 years ago.

Andrzej Nowakowski was dismissed from his position last week at the request of the General Conservator in Warsaw, Magdalena Gawin, who serves as undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The remains were unearthed earlier this month during work to modernize the power grid for the city of Siemiatycze. The ground where the remains were uncovered is adjacent to the fence of the Jewish cemetery.

The case is being investigated by the District Prosecutor’s Office in Siemiatycze. The bones were handed over to the rabbinical commission for Jewish cemeteries.
Christmas play at Polish consulate included anti-Semitic message
A Christmas play presented at the Polish consulate in Lviv, Ukraine, included an anti-Semitic message.

Oleg Vyshniakov, honorary consul of Israel in Lviv, criticized the Christmas show presented last week at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland by students of the Polish school in the city.

During the show, the students presented a nativity scene featuring unusual characters in which one of the children was wearing a black hat with side curls and had a sign stuck to his back reading “Jew for president.”

Other characters included in the scene were King Herod, the Grim Reaper and the Devil.

“It crosses all lines of common sense when in an official state institution people promote anti-Semitism, and children take part in this terrible event,” Vyshniakov wrote in a post on Facebook which included a photo of the scene. “What do these people teach the younger generation? Racism? Discrimination? Let’s see what happens next. ”
Tel Aviv toys with world record via 118-foot Lego tower
Municipality workers and volunteers in Tel Aviv have built a 36-meter (118-foot) tower of Lego bricks designed to set a new world record.

It was constructed from more than half a million of the brightly colored plastic bricks donated by the city’s residents.

The project was launched just over a year ago by teachers of eight-year-old Omer Sayag who died of cancer in 2014, and who used to build Lego towers during his illness.

The tower was raised in sections opposite the Tel Aviv municipality building in Rabin Square.

According to Guinness World Records, the previous record was set in 2015 when the Italian subsidiary of Lego built a 35.05-meter (115-foot) tower for the Milan World Expo.

A municipality spokesman told AFP that proof including pictures shot from a drone will now be submitted to Guinness to verify the city’s claim at a new record.
Gal Gadot Google’s 6th most searched person of 2017
Is Gal Gadot the most famous Israeli ever?

Judging by 2017’s top Google searches, the answer might be yes. Gadot was the sixth-most searched person worldwide, and the third-most searched actor.

The 32-year-old, who was born and raised in Israel and served in the Israel Defense Forces, starred in two movies this year: her breakout film “Wonder Woman” and the ensemble superhero flick “Justice League.” The movies were the #2 and #5 most-searched films, respectively.

Google didn’t say how many searches each term got, but searches for Gadot peaked worldwide the week of June 5, when “Wonder Woman” premiered in the US. There were also spikes the week after she hosted Saturday Night Live in October, and the week in November when “Justice League” had its US premiere.

Where is Gadot most popular? Not Israel, her home country, nor the United States, where she lives now. She was most popular in the Philippines, where she was the second-most searched person overall. Other southeast Asian countries also have Gadot-mania: Both Singapore and Malaysia searched for Gadot far more than the average country. So did Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. In the United States, she came in at number 10.

Worldwide, Gadot ranked below disgraced “Today” host Matt Lauer (#1); actress-turned-British princess bride Meghan Markle (#2) and, surprisingly, Nadia Toffa (#3), an Italian TV presenter who erroneously reported a dangerous nuclear experiment was being planned.

Still, Gadot came in above First Lady Melania Trump (#7) as well as Michael Flynn (#9), the former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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