Wednesday, February 28, 2018

From Ian:

Free Speech Hypocrites
Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel frequently complain about a “Palestinian exception” to free speech. Never mind that whole, albeit small, segments of the academy are openly committed to the view that Israel is America’s accomplice in crimes of imperialism. People who criticize Israel, they say are not allowed to speak—often they make this point at university-sponsored events, or during “Israeli Apartheid Week,” a yearly ritual on many American campuses.

The claim, to be sure, refutes itself. But it is nonetheless heartening that an article in InsideHigherEd, a mainstream higher education website with no dog in the hunt, recognized that it is pro-Israel speakers who are uncommonly subject to disruption by—you guessed it—“pro-Palestinian” activists. Just last Thursday, at the University of Virginia, a panel of Israeli military reservists was interrupted by a group “shouting anti-Israel slogans through a megaphone, preventing the speakers from being heard.” Rabbi Jake Rubin, executive director of UVA’s Brody Jewish Center, which sponsored the panel, invited the protesters to stay and ask questions, but the “protesting students refused to do so and continued to shout at the speakers, making it impossible for the event to proceed as planned,” until the police arrived.

As Scott Jaschik, the author of the report and co-editor of InsideHigherEd, observed, this is hardly an isolated incident. He detailed seven instances of disruption, and he could have named many more. For example, he described a 2016 incident at UC-Irvine in which “protesters disrupted a screening of a film Beneath the Helmet, about the lives of five Israeli soldiers. The protest involved shouting that made it impossible for people to hear the film.” But he did not describe another incident at UC-Irvine in 2017, also featuring Israeli reservists, which earned the school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine two years of probation.

Anti-normalization—in this case the attempt to render Zionism unspeakable—is the raison d’etre of the BDS movement, and shutting down speakers is one of its primary techniques. Before activists looked to shut down genuine white nationalists, like Richard Spencer, BDS was shouting down people like Bassam Eid, a Palestinian whose primary thought crime is denying that Israel is demonic. I guess there is a Palestinian exception to free speech after all.
Farrakhan Rails Against Jews, Israel and the U.S. Government in Wide-Ranging Saviours' Day Speech
On February 25th, Nation of Islam’s longtime leader Louis Farrakhan spoke at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago. As in previous Saviours’ Day speeches, Farrakhan used the opportunity to rail against the Jews, Israel and the U.S. government.

Before Farrakhan’s keynote address, fellow Nation of Islam principals Ava Muhammad, Nuri Muhammad and Ishmael Muhammad shared remarks. In a short speech, Ava Muhammad warned the crowd that the end of days is imminent, and they should heed the words of Farrakhan:

“If we think we can act crazy. If we think we can be plagues in our own community. If we think we can make mockery of the servant. If we think we can run away from Minister Farrakhan because you’re afraid of white people. Or if you think you can be used as a mouthpiece of the slander of the Jewish controlled media think again. Because while Allah’s whipping their behind he will ask you, did you hear my reminder calling you?”

Nuri Muhammad made a financial appeal, and announced that a $5000 donation from longtime Farrakhan ally and music producer Russell Simmons. Ishmael Muhammad, meanwhile, alleged that the Nation of Islam and Farrakhan are “miracles,” since many have tried to stop them:

“If God was not with him and the Nation of Islam we could not have survived the constant and ever increasing assault of the United States government and those who say they are Jews, but are of the Synagogue of Satan.”

MEMRI: BDS Coordinator Mahmoud Nawajaa In Interview On Palestinian Authority TV: A Nobel Prize For The BDS Movement Would Offset Its Reputation For Being Awarded To War Criminals
Palestinian activist Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the BDS Movement, said that although it was unlikely that the Nobel Prize, which is "notorious for having been awarded to war criminals," would be granted to the BDS movement, such a win would "balance out the scales, which have been skewed," and would perhaps "somewhat rehabilitate this reputation." Nawajaa, who was interviewed by the official Palestinian Authority TV channel on February 6, cited "a U.S. government report" according to which the BDS movement "to a large extent controls the universities," and added: "Its authors expect the next U.S. president to be one of the BDS activists."

"If The BDS Movement Wins The [Nobel Peace] Prize, It Will Balance Out The Scales"

Mahmoud Nawajaa: "If the BDS movement wins the [Nobel Peace] Prize, it will balance out the scales, which have been skewed, and have damaged the reputation of the Nobel Prize, when it was given to the war criminals you mentioned. So perhaps this will restore the reputation of the prize, although it is hard to imagine that the prize will be awarded to the BDS movement.

"This would cause great fear in the occupation government, making it very difficult for it to confront the movement. They exert every effort and spend millions of dollars to confront the BDS movement. The Nobel Prize is notorious for having been awarded to war criminals. Perhaps if the BDS movement wins it, this would somewhat rehabilitate this reputation, and would restore the Nobel Prize to its true role as a prize awarded to resistance fighters and to fighters for peace, and not to war criminals, who destroy peace, and carry out the ethnic cleansing of our Palestinian people, through colonialism and the entire Apartheid regime of racial segregation against our people."
Seth Frantzman: How Israel, the Diaspora and Poland can overcome Holocaust debate
The constant threats to take away “money” from Poland, or end the March of the Living, are not helpful. It is not Poland’s fault the death camps were built there, so “punishing” Poland is a sick response. Poland should not be treated as a museum of death.

Too often some in the Diaspora view the Holocaust as central to our identity. The Holocaust is a tragedy, but Jews existed thousands of years before it and will exist for thousands of years after. The Polish-Jewish relationship should not hinge on the death camps. The death camps should be the focus of a German-Jewish discussion, not a Polish one, since Poland was not responsible for German planning that situated the death camps there.

Poland has one of the lowest levels of antisemitic attacks in all of Europe (101 in 2016 compared to 1,300 in Germany). However, there are increasing numbers of voices online and in media attacking Jews, partly in response to the latest crisis. Some of them blame Jews for Soviet communism. This is a mistake. If Poles do not want to be blamed as a group simply because some were complicit in crimes against Jews, then the attempt to attack Jews as a group for Communist crimes is illogical and disgusting.

Israel and Poland can work together on issues related to the Holocaust. What would be good is a meeting at the highest levels to issue a joint statement condemning the crimes of the Nazis and memorializing Jewish and Polish victims. There should be an acknowledgment in Poland about the antisemitism that existed in the 1930s and the tragic cases of Poles who turned on their neighbors. At the same time Israel should ensure that children learn about the Home Army and the resistance to the Nazi hordes.

For many decades ignorance and even hateful views against Poles were allowed to grow unchecked and this burst forth in February 2018. At the same time there are antisemitic tropes that exist in Poland. The communities should confront these stereotypes. Israel and the Diaspora should relate to Poland as a living country with a complex past, and not as a museum of the Holocaust to be bashed as perpetrators. Taking time to listen to Poles who agree and disagree with the current law would be a good first step as well.
Europe's Telling Silence on Polish Anti-Semitism
Given Western Europe's open aversion to the rise of right-wing parties in Eastern Europe, the EU's silence in the face of Poland's behavior politically makes no sense.

Ever since Poland's far-right Law and Justice Party (PiS) took control of both the presidency and the parliament in November 2015, and quickly changed the rules for public media, the secret service, education, and the military, the European Parliament has been claiming that Warsaw is putting the "rule of law and democracy" at risk.

When it comes to the issue of Polish anti-Semitism, Europe is suddenly at a loss for words. This suggests that it is not merely ineptitude at work.
Poland Postpones Debate on Commemorating Poles Who Saved Jews
The Polish parliament delayed a debate on Tuesday on whether to designate a day to remember Poles who saved Jews during World War Two, with the opposition saying it was bad timing as the country faces international pressure over a new Holocaust law.

The law, which imposes jail sentences of up to three years for suggesting Poland was complicit in Nazi German crimes, has drawn harsh criticism from Israel and the United States.

The ruling right-wing ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) says the law is necessary to protect national honor.

Marek Kuchcinski, speaker of the lower house of parliament, said he would discuss with President Andrzej Duda, who initiated the Remembrance Day proposal in October, the possibility of delaying the debate following the opposition’s calls.

“The timing is unfortunate, it would be better to wait until the situation with Israel calms down,” said Rafal Grupinski, a lawmaker from the centrist main opposition Civic Platform (PO).

Israel and the United States say the Holocaust law could criminalize truthful scholarship on the role some Poles played in German crimes. Opponents accuse PiS of politicizing World War Two to build a nationalist sense of grievance among Poles.
Twitter suspends anti-Semitism watchdog Canary Mission after campaign by anti-Israel activists (UPDATE)
Please see Update at bottom of post – The Canary Mission Twitter account has been restored


Canary Mission is an anonymous group that monitors and reports on anti-Semitism and anti-Israel extremism by publishing the actual statements and social media postings of activists. Canary Mission has been under attack, and there have been multiple attempts to deplatform it, because is exposes the anti-Semitic, pro-terror rantings of the anti-Israel movement, particularly on campuses.

After what appears to be a coordinated campaign to report Canary Mission’s Twitter account to Twitter for abuse, the Twitter account of Canary Mission has been suspended.

At the time of the takedown, the Twitter account had over 20,000 followers.

Some of the tweets remain in the Wayback Machine, but the account is otherwise disabled as of this writing.

Canary Mission is Under Attack Because it is Effective

I addressed the controversy about Canary Mission in an August 2016 post, Anti-Israel blacklisters complain they are unfairly being blacklisted

The people behind Canary Mission are not known. Anti-Israel fanatic Max Blumenthal published research claiming the people behind Canary Mission are in Israel. Ironically, Blumenthal and his cohorts regularly engage in naming and shaming tactics of pro-Israel advocates, including in the same publication where Blumenthal published his Canary Mission research.

Canary Mission has been controversial from the start, with claims it was creating a blacklist. I’ve yet to see a claim that Canary Mission published false information; rather, the objection is that students may have their careers damaged if prospective employers found out about the outrageous conduct and rhetoric they have engaged in.

UPDATE 8:35 PM Eastern 2-27-2018
The Canary Mission Twitter account appears to have been restored. The most current tweet listed as of the restoration was February 25, the date it was suspended.
Twitter sanctions two pro-Israel accounts
Twitter sanctioned two controversial accounts this week causing an outcry in the pro-Israel social media community – suspending one and forcing another to delete its profile image before reversing its course.

On Monday, the people behind the GnasherJew handle, an account which says exists to showcase “the UK Labour Party’s antisemitism issues,” found themselves locked out. The only way they could get back in, Twitter said, was to delete their profile image which had been deemed to contain “hateful imagery.” That image was of a yellow Star of David emblazoned with “Jude.”

Separately, the Twitter account of the controversial organization Canary Mission was also suspended this week.
Organizers for the GnasherJew account, who choose to remain anonymous, said they “were shocked and quite frankly reduced to tears” to see the message from Twitter.

“We use the yellow star of David as our avatar, as a symbol of our resistance to the oppression and harassment of Jews within the Labour Party,” they said in a statement. “We have been constantly targeted by Labour Party supporters and members... We have been physically threatened, yet Twitter does nothing about these accounts, and our tiny symbol of resistance is taken as ‘hateful.’”
After Unite chief Len McCluskey calls on his followers to mass report it, Twitter suspends account which highlights antisemitism in Labour for using Nazi-era yellow star, calling it “hateful imagery”, then restores it
A Twitter account which highlights antisemitism in the Labour Party was suspended by Twitter, reportedly for using an image of a Holocaust-era yellow star.

The suspension of the @GnasherJew account followed an appeal by Unite the Union chief Len McCluskey to report the account to Twitter. Despite this account never previously having been censored by Twitter, it was taken down within 24 hours of Mr McCluskey’s request, referring to it as an account that is “spreading hatred”.

While it cannot be confirmed that the suspension was directly caused by Mr McCluskey’s appeal, we find it odd that as a so-called ‘anti-racist’ and a leading figure within a party with a serious problem with antisemitism, he would choose to pour oil on the fire by attempting to censor those pointing out the racism in its own ranks, or why he would characterise their posts as hateful. Mr McCluskey has previously disputed that Labour has an antisemitism problem at all, claiming allegations of antisemitism were just “mood music” to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and declaring that antisemitism is being exaggerated by the “right-wing media”.

Perhaps Mr McCluskey just could not stand to see the evidence posted day in day out by the @GnasherJew activists on Twitter who prove him wrong.

The account was suspended because Twitter claimed that it breached its rules over hateful imagery. In Nazi Germany, Jews were dehumanised by being forced to wear a yellow star in order to render them easily identifiable by the rest of the population. The activists behind @GnasherJew were told by Twitter that the account was suspended “Specifically for: 1. Violating our rules against posting hateful imagery. You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header.” Twitter added that “To unlock your account, you must do the following: Delete the Profile Field that violates our rules.”
IsraellyCool: Antisemites Again Target Israellycool
Twitter has suspended the account of Canary Mission, an anonymous group that “documents individuals and organizations that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses.”

And the haters are celebrating it as a victory, with at least one now asking Twitter to suspend my account.

Leaving aside the facts that Canary Mission is not a terrorist group, and I do not work with them, I also do not target people who are merely critical of Israel. What I do is expose actual antisemites who claim to be only critical of Israel/anti-Zionists, by posting their own social media posts and tweets as proof. I do this to show how often anti-Zionism is motivated by actual Jew hatred.

It is actually these people who should have their accounts suspended, on the grounds of posting hating speech.
NGO Monitor: UNICEF and its NGO Working Group: Failing Children
UNICEF spearheads a campaign to have Israel included on a UN blacklist of “grave” violators of children’s rights.The list appears as an annex to the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC). This political agenda is a primary facet of UNICEF’s activities relating to Israel, completely inconsistent with its mandate of “child protection” and from its guidelines for neutrality and impartiality.
UNICEF-oPt’s partners (“working group”) for this campaign are radical advocacy non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These anti-Israel NGOs play an integral role in carrying out UNICEF’s campaign and receive substantial funding from UNICEF to do so.

The UN blacklist consists almost entirely of terror groups and militias from failed states. In essence, by pushing for the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) inclusion on the list, UNICEF and its NGO partners are claiming that Israel’s army is equivalent to ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda.

Several of the Palestinian groups – including Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), which plays a leading role in this campaign – have reported links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – listed as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. UNICEF-oPt states, “UNICEF has a clear policy that is does not fund support (sic) organizations which are listed as terrorist organizations by the United Nations” – a list that excludes Hamas, the PFLP, and Islamic Jihad.
Several UNICEF-oPt NGO partners recommended inclusion of the IDF on the UN blacklist, but absurdly claimed they lacked sufficient evidence to recommend inclusion of the PFLP or Hamas.
A key component of the UN’s Children and Armed Conflict campaign is to end the exploitation and use of children as combatants and child soldiers. Although Palestinian armed groups routinely use children in this way, there is little evidence that UNICEF-oPt funding is devoted towards exposing or ending this practice. In fact, a UNICEF Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) bulletin admits that “In Gaza, the Working Group was not in a position to document cases of child recruitment and use of children in armed conflict owing to a number of factors, including security and protection risks related to collecting comprehensive and detailed information” (emphasis added). This admission of an inability to carry out the core mission of its UN mandate in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza calls into question the necessity and utility of continued funding for the agency in the region.
NGO Monitor: [Opinion] How Int’l Aid is Shrinking Civil Space: Case of the Palestinian NGO Network
The international donor community, led by the EU, has expressed grave concerns regarding this troublesome trend. As described in a study commissioned by the European Parliament, “The shrinking space problem is on its way to being mainstreamed at the heart of EU foreign policy.” Marking International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2017, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini reiterated the EU’s commitment to protecting human rights defenders through its “multi-faceted response to the shrinking space for civil society.”

PNGO enjoys generous funding from the EU and other international donors, and is entrusted with the task of strengthening, coordinating, and networking amongst “civil society.” Together with the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), a European NGO network, PNGO also enjoys permanent representation in the UN’s Humanitarian Country Team, which coordinates all humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. This comes with a seat on the advisory board of the UN’s humanitarian pooled fund, which is designated for unforeseen emergency. This seat grants PNGO decision-making power in selecting the fund’s beneficiaries. In 2017, $3.1 million of the fund’s allocations was provided to member organizations of either AIDA or PNGO – meaning that these two networks ensured that their own member NGOs received roughly 40% of the total funding ($7.9 million as of October 2017).

International aid has the potential to both create positive change and to inflict damage. It is our responsibility to ensure that we do the former, and stay far away from the latter.
NGO Monitor: European Funding for Palestinian “Cultural Resistance”
I. Introduction

The European Union (EU) and European governments provide funding to a number of Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for culture, art, and related activities. In 2017, the EU budgeted €400,000 for Palestinian cultural NGOs for “support to Euro-Palestinian cultural activities.”

Detailed research and analysis of this funding reveal that many of the supported organizations utilize cultural activities to indoctrinate children and youth, promoting rejectionist and violent agendas. Often framed as a form of “cultural resistance,” these activities are not presented as a non-violent alternative, but rather as a “tool in the liberation battle.” As described by one group, “cultural resistance” is defined as “not a substitute for any other form of resistance; It is a complement. Various forms of resistance can be described as a large mosaic where each stone represents a different form.” In other words, cultural resistance results in the use of art as a vehicle for indoctrination, incitement, hatred, and sympathy to terrorism. As such, organizations involved in promoting cultural resistance directly contradict European values.

This report provides examples of this phenomenon and places it within the context of the EU’s concerns regarding funding to Palestinian NGOs claiming cultural agendas.
Campus Unmasked: Police Called On Pro-Palestinian Students
Pro-Palestinian students at the University of Virginia crashed a panel featuring reserve officers from the Israeli Defense Force, reported The Cavalier Daily. UVA police received a report that an assault occurred and said they are still investigating.

The Brody Jewish Center’s Rabbi Jake Rubin, who hosted the event on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said “While free speech and the ability to protest are important aspects of college life, we are disappointed that protesters refused to engage in conversation and instead continued to shout intimidating and hostile slurs directed at students, staff, and panelists.”

Wow, they refused to talk? What a shock. It’s almost like leftists are more interested in commanding than communicating and power instead of persuasion.

Meanwhile, Dean of Students Allen Groves said the pro-Palestinian students, who made use of a megaphone, violated the school’s standards of conduct, as well as its protest and amplified sound policies. Groves said the UVA community rejects the heckler’s veto and told the school that “the University is a place for intellectual inquiry” and that “we can only learn from each other if space exists to exchange ideas freely and without disruption from those with whom we may disagree,” according to an email sent to the UVA community and obtained by Campus Unmasked.

Okay, pause. My alma mater UVA will always have a special place in my heart, but exchanging ideas freely? This is the same college that in December denied a conservative group from registering a campus chapter, only reversing the decision after immense public pressure. And this is the same school that last month told students to call 911 if they saw “offensive flyers.” Looming over all of this, of course, are the Charlottesville Confederate monuments, of which the city has desperately tried to rid itself for the past couple of years, even covering them with makeshift burkas.

It’s a school decked with accolades like US News & World Report’s #3 public university for 2017 and Playboy’s #1 party school for 2012, but UVA’s commitment to free speech can definitely use some improvement. Oh, and they could probably stand to drop Aramark, the food company that even prisoners have protested.
Police Called On Pro-Palestinian Students

Article by Israeli Prompted ‘Big Argument’ Inside New York Times, Editor Says
A New York Times op-ed piece by a spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron was published over the objections of some Times staffers who thought it qualified as “hate speech” for “denying personhood to the Palestinians.”

That’s according to a leaked transcript of a meeting the editor of the Times editorial page, James Bennet, had with Times employees.

In the transcript, published by the Huffington Post, Bennet was asked about matters “that shouldn’t even be debated.” The question came from a Times employee whose name wasn’t disclosed in the transcript, and who cited “climate change” as an example.

Bennet somehow pivoted from climate change to Israelis living in Hebron.

He said:
we had a big argument over a piece by a settler. And you know, pick your issue. For some people it’s climate change, for some people it’s trans rights, for others it’s a two-state solution and the fate of the Palestinians. In this case, it was the settler saying, look, the two-state solution is dead and [it’s] time to face reality, and here’s some alternative paths for what the future would look like. And we had a real debate about whether this piece was crossing a line, because was it denying personhood to the Palestinians? Was it an act of, kind of, hate speech in a sense?

I felt strongly that we should publish the piece and we did, as did others. Because this particular viewpoint is hugely consequential. It actually is creating reality on the ground. To pretend that somehow we would be — either to think that we were legitimating that point of view by having it in our pages or to tell ourselves that we were somehow changing the reality by not allowing it into our pages seems to me to be deluded a little bit. And our readers need to hear it, like, unmediated, I think. They need to confront these arguments. And we published that piece, and we faced that.

The article, by Yishai Fleisher, the international spokesman of the Jewish Community of Hebron, appeared in the February 15, 2017 Times under the headline “A Settler’s View of Israel’s Future.”
U.S. college campus hit with alt-right linked flyers ahead of AIPAC conference
Students at American University on Thursday found entrances to a campus building covered in posters that read "No More Wars for Israel," put up as part of a campaign spearheaded by alt-right activist Richard Spencer.

According to The Eagle, the university's student newspaper, the posters were put up on the entrance to the School of International Service. They depict a soldier smoking a cigarette, underneath which the text "No More Wars for Israel" is written, as well as #AIPACGoHome and the name of the organization Operation Homeland.

The flyers were posted just days before the annual AIPAC conference, which is set to draw some 18,000 Israel advocates to Washington DC this weekend.

Responding to the incident, Fanta Aw, American University's Vice President for Student Life, said "We condemn these cowardly acts by outside groups that target college campuses like ours."

Operation Homeland was launched in December by Spencer, and aims to take the online activism of the alt-right movement to the real world.

In his announcement introducing Operation Homeland, Spencer reiterated his commitment to creating a "white America," saying: "Homeland is not a broad-based membership organization or social club. Rather it is a core of part- and full-time activists who provide leadership to the movement as a whole.
Novel process removes mercury from factory emissions
Toxic mercury spewing out of coal-fired power plants, waste-incineration facilities, cement factories, metal processing plants and many other industries pollutes the air, water and land.

To comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations, facility managers are always seeking improved technologies for reducing and even eliminating mercury emissions.

And that’s why Israeli startup MercuRemoval of Netanya is generating so much steam.
MercuRemoval’s pilot installation at Israel Electric Company’s Rutenberg Ashkelon coal-based power plant. Photo: courtesy

MercuRemoval’s novel process for removing toxic mercury from flue-gas streams originated in the chemistry lab of Hebrew University professors Yoel Sasson and Zach Barnea. The company was established within Hutchison-Kinrot Cleantech seed incubator owned by Hutchison Water and was supported by Israel’s Innovation Authority R&D funds. It went commercial only three years later.
Israel aims to eliminate use of coal, gasoline and diesel by 2030
The Energy Ministry forecast Tuesday that within 12 years Israel would be fully reliant on natural gas and alternative fuels for the production of electricity and for transportation.

“We intend to reach a situation in which Israel’s industry will be based on natural gas, and most importantly, transportation in Israel will be based on natural gas or electricity,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said at an energy conference in Tel Aviv. “From 2030 onwards, the State of Israel will create alternatives and will no longer allow the import of cars that run on gasoline and diesel fuel.”

Steinitz said he would be submitting a master plan with this vision to the government.

In 2014, electricity was produced through a fifty-fifty split between coal and natural gas. The aim for 2030 is to alter that to 83% natural gas and 17% renewable energy, with “zero pollutants,” Steinitz said.
Textile company creates jobs for unemployed Bedouin women
Some of the best projects are born out of a desire for change – at least that was the case with Iota, an Israel-based textile company empowering unemployed women through the art of crochet.

Each one of the company’s rugs, pillows and home accessories is hand-crocheted by Bedouin women from their own homes, providing them with meaningful work and an independent source of income.

Bedouins are an Arab Israeli subgroup, mainly in the south, with their own distinct culture and social norms. Historically, Bedouins lived a nomadic lifestyle, and many still herd livestock. The women traditionally tend to the house and children, resulting in high unemployment and poverty. A 2015 survey showed the employment rate among Bedouin women was just 22 percent, compared to 32% for all Arab women.

Founded by Shula Mozes, an active social entrepreneur for more than 16 years, Iota aims to support the many women, all over the world, who are unable to work outside of the home due to cultural, religious and geographical reasons.
Reflections from the field – NFL stars visit Israel
Seven current and former National Football League stars recently visited Israel in a six-day whistle-stop tour, which included Jewish and Christian sites and meetings with Syrian wounded treated in Israel’s hospitals and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is not often that one gets the opportunity to speak to top-level athletes at all, let alone predominantly ask them about their impressions of Israel – and not their prowess or latest performance on the sports field.

America’s Voices in Israel in conjunction with the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry led by Ze’ev Elkin organized the trip, which brought seven current and former NFL players to Israel for the first time. It was part of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to strengthen Jerusalem’s international image, which has also included invitations to journalists from across the globe and other influential figures, such as heads of parliament and well-known chefs.

Each delegation, including that of the football players, is provided an opportunity to get to know Jerusalem from close up, walking its streets, taking in its atmosphere and finally leaving with a greater understanding of its centrality to the Jewish people.

In addition, the ministry organizes several international conferences, investigating topics such as Jerusalem’s legal standing, archeology, the city’s place in history and its economic present and future.

American Football in Israel commissioner Betzalel Friedman was delighted to be able to welcome the players to Israel.

“It is a thrill to be able to have players playing football at the highest level come and see our country,” he said. “[This trip not only] provides them an opportunity to see that there is a passionate and knowledgeable football community outside the United States, but also to get to know real Israelis.
Promoting Israel through its African-American hoopsters
David Goldstein never imagined a visit to his grandparents at their assisted living complex in Jerusalem would end up resulting in a book, one focused around basketball no less.

During one of his annual summer visits in 2007, the fact Goldstein hails from Toronto sparked an excited response from a group of elderly women who began raving about Anthony Parker.

Parker starred for Maccabi Tel Aviv for five seasons between 2000 and 2006 before going on to join the NBA’s Toronto Raptors for three years.

“I was really struck by how much they loved him as a person beyond just as a basketball player,” said Goldstein, a journalist and sports executive, and author of the recently released book Alley-Oop to Aliyah: African American Hoopsters in the Holy Land.

“I was intrigued by the bond and started looking into it. I had no idea that players loved the country the way they do and were embraced by the country and that players stayed and converted and made their lives there,” he added.

“I just kept digging and what I ultimately found was a book.”

One player who Goldstein feels represents the whole phenomenon is Fred Campbell, a former basketball player at Fort Hays State University in Kansas who played in several different countries before arriving in Israel in 1992.
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Tony Blair and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Trade Hilarious Anecdotes
One week ago, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was presented the Lifetime Achievement award by Tony Blair at the Night Of Heroes. In his speech, Tony Blair told an anecdote about Rabbi Sacks, which was hilarious to anyone familiar with the Jewish community.

Not to be outdone, Rabbi Sacks told an equally hilarious one.

The full speeches can be found here.

WATCH: Ambassador Friedman wishes Twitter a happy Purim - in song
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his wife Tammy took to Twitter on Wednesday to wish their followers a happy Purim. Friedman showcased his piano talent while his wife sang along in Hebrew.

At the end of the song, they wished viewers a happy Purim in both Hebrew and English.

Friedman is an avid Twitter user, and often features his wife in his tweets. She and Friedman's daughter Aliza, who made aliyah in 2017, baked hundreds of challahs after Hurricane Harvey to raise funds for construction efforts. Last August, the couple traveled to Sderot to bring homemade cupcakes to children experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.

He has also often taken to the social media site to express condolences to the families of terror attacks. After the murder of a man from the settlement of Har Bracha, Friedman wrote that 20 years prior, he had donated an ambulance to the community. He has similarly sent comforting sentiments to the families of the Israelis killed in attacks in Halamish, Havat Gilad, Har Adar, and several other cities and settlements.

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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