Thursday, March 22, 2018

From Ian:

The Latest Israel Boycott Lie
When you complain that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement discriminates on the basis of national identity, you are nowadays met with a contemptuous sniff. Proponents of an academic boycott insist that individual Israeli academics are not targets; rather, institutional arrangements with Israeli universities—study abroad programs, for example—are. Similarly, the cultural boycott does not target individual Israeli artists, but artists and artistic groups that enjoy some sort of government sponsorship. Look, dummy, they say, our guidelines are crystal clear! This “is a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions, not Israeli individuals.”

In the case of the academic boycott, this distinction between individuals and institutions is paper-thin. Until fairly recently, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel had this to say about its commitment to principle: “In principle, since the call is specifically for institutional, not individual boycott, [activities involving Israeli academics] do not violate the boycott. However, all academic exchanges with Israeli academics do have the effect of normalizing Israel and its politics of occupation and apartheid.” Therefore, “academics could consider whether equally valuable contributions might not be made by non-Israeli colleagues; whether an invitation to a Palestinian intellectual might be preferable; whether the exchange is intellectually or pedagogically essential.” In other words, we’re against boycotting individual Israeli academics, but please see what you can do about boycotting Israeli academics.

Comically, the guidelines explain that individual academics are being boycotted because the movement is decentralized, not because BDS advocates should try to avoid exchanges with Israeli academics despite the fact that they literally just said that was the preferred outcome. “It may also be that as a consequence of the boycott Israeli academics are now having a harder time publishing outside the country, participating in formal exchanges, sitting on boards and international committees, and the like,” the guidelines continued.

These guidelines have quietly disappeared, but their disappearance probably has more to do with their foolish revelation of BDS hypocrisy than a change of heart.

Alan Dershowitz on Israel at 70: ‘A Light Unto the World’
Ahead of Israel’s 70th birthday in May, longtime Harvard University Law professor, attorney and author Alan Dershowitz announced that he is donating an ambucycle to Israel’s volunteer medic organization — United Hatzalah — in honor of his 80th birthday.

JNS interviewed Mr. Dershowitz about this gift, to hear his thoughts on Israel at 70, and to ask what the next seven decades in Israel might look like.

Q: What prompted you and your friends to donate an ambucycle to United Hatzalah for Israel’s 70th anniversary?

A: There is a group of guys I’ve known since kindergarten. We’ve known each other for 75 years, more or less. And we try to spend several weekends a year together, and try to get together on New Year’s Eve. We all went to yeshivah in Borough Park in Brooklyn together.

We went different ways, but we are still very close. We are turning 80 this year, and we thought it would be nice commemoration of our birthdays to do something that saves lives, and I can’t imagine a charity more worthy than Hatzalah. It has led the way in quick availability on the scenes of acts of terrorism. And so we all agreed to make contributions and to dedicate this ambucycle on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day).

Q: What do you think of when you reflect on Israel at 70?

A: No country in the history of the world ever contributed more to the welfare of humankind in such a short period of time than Israel. Hatzalah is a perfect representative of that.

In Hatzalah, you have Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, atheists, religious secular, etc. all working together to save lives. It represents the best of Israel. People call Israel the startup nation, and I call it the life-saving nation.

Israel has saved lives through its medical technological breakthroughs, through its agricultural breakthroughs and through its pharmaceutical breakthroughs. Israel saves lives in teaching the world how to prevent terrorism, in teaching the world how to absorb immigrants. … Israel has really been a light unto the world for 70 years, and I think it’s important to commemorate and look forward.

Children throughout Norway to collect millions for PA terror
School children throughout Norway will be sent out via “Operation Day's Work” to collect millions for BDS NGO KFUK-KFUM Global ("Y Global") to help mobilize protests against Israel.

Norwegian newspaper the Aftenposten reported that revenues from this year's Operation Day's Work, which will take place on November 1, "will go to support Palestinian youth".

Operation Day's Work is the students' annual solidarity campaign where youth throughout the country work one day and earn income for different projects.

Representatives from schools across the country voted for the project under the Elevtinget, the Student Organization's National Assembly or "Pupil's Parliament". It is the second largest country meeting in Norway, after the National Organization in Norway trade union association. At the meeting students from all over Norway meet to discuss "how Norwegian schools can be the best possible".

The NGO's application to the Student Organization's National Assembly to be chosen for Operation Day's Work states the project's purpose to be "empowering youth for sustainable peace in Palestine." It includes a detailed budget for disbursal of monies to projects like "Palestine, East Jerusalem, Gaza YWCA" costing 16,080,000 kroner, and various "evaluation", "administration", and "follow-up" items totaling a budget of 19,000,000 kroner.

"The entire program is based on a series of educational and awareness raising trainings and campaigns for the targeted youth." The application states the program's overall theme is "gender and human rights", with extra emphasis on "transformation from passive subjects to active citizens and ending the occupation through promoting a just peace in Israel and Palestine."
How Facebook and Social Media Promote Terrorism
The social media networks have the ability and the means dramatically to limit the manipulation of their services by terrorist groups, but they do not exercise this control. Instead, they rely on users to report any unsavory activity. The social media networks continue to permit terrorist groups to use their services openly and brazenly to promote their groups and their hate-filled doctrines. The propaganda arms of many terrorist organizations continue to use the social media networks, primarily Facebook, to spread their messages to ever expanding audiences. Organizations and individuals who are designated as terrorists on U.S. and international watch-lists are able flagrantly to open social media accounts even though virtually all the social media companies are headquartered in the United States.

The conclusion is that the social media companies are adopting an adversarial case-by-case approach to enforcing a ban on terror incitement on their platforms.

Beyond the rhetoric and the pleas for action, the social media applications have not -- and it appears will not -- self-enforce common-sense restrictions prohibiting terrorist groups from disseminating their radical messages and criminal exploits online, and they continue to shirk their own responsibility for these posts.

The failure by the social media networks to enforce the prevention of terror-related content on their sites is, in fact, a direct violation of the Antiterrorism Act and the Material Supply Statutes; the general public is also in its right to have the protections of the Community Decency Act of 1996 cover content on social media.

It goes without saying that the laws along with their subsequent enforcement must adopt to this fairly new mass communications and mass media reality to force these platforms to assume complete responsibility or else be regulated by the government as if they were a utility, so that this unmitigated threat to the safety of millions of people around the world can be stopped.
IsraellyCool: Why The 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism Was a Huge Disappointment
The last two days, I attended the 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, in Jerusalem.

Let’s start with the positives. The networking was good. And the food. I also got to meet Mayim Bialik and Tzipi Hotovely, both who proved to be charming in real life. And kick-ass.

But as a forum for combating antisemitism, it was a bust.

Here was the main problem: The issue of antisemitism in the Muslim world was largely ignored or minimized, even though it is the most pernicious form of antisemitism in the world today.

You can see the agenda here. Out of all the sessions, only one was dedicated to the topic: Antisemitism in Arabic Language Mass Media – New Tools and Strategies for the Advance of Inter-Semitic Understanding. Another session on monitoring antisemitism dealt with it to some extent. And apparently in the very last session of the conference (which I ditched, due to fatigue and frustration), the former Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, dealt at length with the issue, but more focused on Islamist factions in France and Europe. Other than that, antisemitism in the Muslim world was hardly mentioned and, in some cases, almost dismissed when brought up by participants in the Q&A.

As far as I am aware, the constant incitement against the Jews by the PA and Hamas was not mentioned, let alone discussed.

On the other hand, the antisemitism of the far Right was mentioned time and again. (In fact, the Israeli government was criticized more than once for its relationship with far Right parties in Europe).
Ryan Bellerose: The “Good Old Days” of Terrorism
It sounds silly, even offensive, doesn’t it. To think that there were “good old days of terrorism” – but bear with me for a second.

In its early days, terrorism somewhat made sense. You could “negotiate” with people who had an ethos, a set of goals which while nebulous and often obtuse, were still goals. Early terrorists were often inspired by socialism, the rhetoric was “liberation theory” and even though most of us knew that these people were nothing more than murderous psychopaths, they at least gave the appearance of being guided by a cause. The saying “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” came from this belief that early terrorists were fighting FOR something rather than just randomly attacking civilians. They made demands that at least somewhat made sense. “Free our imprisoned brothers and sisters” – their insults were always about capitalism and freedom and deep down those things resonate even with people who are averse to terrorism. I mean who doesn’t love freedom and the idea of sharing wealth instead of hoarding it?

Terrorists were seen as the extension of those coffeehouse hippies who ranted about socialism and the evils of capitalism and who just decided to be more proactive in their methods. But, to anyone paying attention, those hipster-looking, beret-wearing Che shirt idiots were not “freedom fighters, but the opposite – they wanted to take away our freedoms; our freedom of movement and our freedom to feel safe. and for most of us who are non-Jews, we didn’t feel like they were targeting US; I mean, sometimes a few would die, but it wasn’t targeted. We were just sometimes collateral damage.
Judge Approves Expansion of Anti-BDS Lawsuit Against American Studies Association
A Washington D.C. District Court judge has allowed the expansion of a lawsuit filed against leaders of the American Studies Association (ASA), according to a statement released Tuesday by the Louis D. Brandeis Center, which has assisted in the lawsuit. The defendants used the association to promote an academic boycott of Israel.

The lawsuit, which was initially brought in April 2016 by ASA members Michael L. Barton, Simon Bronner, Charles D. Kupfer, and Michael Rockland, alleged that ASA officials who promoted an academic boycott of Israel violated the association’s charter.

E-mails uncovered during the litigation process showed that the pro-BDS members of the association conducted a covert campaign to gain control of the ASA and use it to promote their anti-Israel activism.

Among the allegations added to the lawsuit, the statement says, are the “the defendants deliberately limited nominations for the ASA National Council to pro-boycott candidates, strategically hid their pro-boycott agendas when they stood for office, withheld pertinent information about the boycott resolution from voting members, and froze membership rolls prior to the vote to prevent those opposed from voting.”

In addition, four defendants were added to the complaint, including, John Stephens, the Executive Director of the ASA, Jasbir Puar, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, and Steven Salaita, who led the stealthy campaign to promote the anti-Israel boycott within the ASA. Puar, Kauanui, and Salatia are also all leaders of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), a leading proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in academia.

Arab prof. under fire as president's apology turns to ‘declaration of war’
A Palestinian professor at San Francisco State University found herself embroiled in controversy on Wednesday after dozens of organizations condemned her for posting anti-Zionist messages to the school’s official site.

Last month, SFSU President Leslie Wong made a public apology to the university’s Jewish students for refusing to state in a year-old interview that Zionists would be accepted on campus.

“My comments about Zionists and whether or not they are welcomed at San Francisco State University caused a lot of anguish and deeply hurt feelings,” Wong said in a statement published on February 23.

Soon after the apology was issued, however, Professor Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi took to the official site of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) program at the university’s College of Ethnic Studies and posted a message that equated the statement “to a declaration of war.”

“I consider the statement... from President Wong, welcoming Zionists to campus, equating Jewishness with Zionism, and giving Hillel ownership of campus Jewishness to be a declaration of war against Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians and all those who are committed to an indivisible sense of justice on and off campus,” Abdulhadi’s Facebook post reads.

Wong issued the apology after SFSU’s Hillel branch issued a complaint stating that they were “disappointed and frustrated about the lack of concrete action steps” to stem a tide of anti-Israel sentiment on campus.
Ken Livingstone Continues to Stick His Foot in His Antisemitic Mouth
So let’s get this straight. Livingstone is adamant he never used the words “Hitler was a Zionist”, but admits saying “Hitler was supporting Zionism.” Ken, you are an idiot.

And an antisemite. Livingstone bases this on the Haavara Agreement, which some Jews saw as a way of saving some of their brethren, even though it meant doing a deal with the devil. For the record, some Nazis saw it as a way to solve the “Jewish problem”, by concentrating the Jewish population in a single foreign entity. And Hitler’s own support for it is not even clear. What is clear is that to say Hitler supported Zionism – the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel – is an outright lie. And anyone repeatedly making the claim can safely be assumed to be a vile Jew hater.

Of course, he will deny it. This is just a way to silence his opposition to Israel, after all.

“What they are upset about is that I have spent all my career criticising the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. And here we are, seventy years on, almost to the day since the creation of the state of Israel and you’ve still got millions of Palestinian refugees living in squalor in Gaza and other refugee camps.”

If Ken was truly intellectually honest, he would realize that Israel is not the reason for the existence of these refugee camps. The Arab world and their enablers are. After all, had they absorbed the palestinian Arabs like Israel absorbed Jews from around the world, the refugee problem would cease to exist – as would this “tool” they have to try and destroy Israel demographically in the future.
Jeremy Corbyn told the launch of Labour’s local election campaign this morning that he will not delete his Facebook account: “Social media is a great way of communicating because our message doesn’t have to be moderated”. That’s one way of putting it.

Guido can reveal Corbyn is still a member of a second anti-Semitic Facebook group called “History of Palestine”. Here’s just a few examples of the vast amount of extremely anti-Semitic content regularly posted in the group. As of this morning he remains a member. Not much “moderation” going on, as Jezza would say…
Chris Williamson’s latest act of support for Jackie Walker met with “utterly chilling” silence from Labour MPs and media
Chris Williamson, a Labour MP and a member of the Shadow Cabinet until January, has appeared as the warm-up act for disgraced Labour activist Jackie Walker, who has twice been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of antisemitism.

Mr Williamson gave a lengthy speech before the performance of Ms Walker’s show, The Lynching, during which he said it was a “real pleasure and a privilege” to be sharing a platform with Ms Walker. He said that he would be “absolutely delighted” were she reinstated within the Party, and that both Ms Walker and Ken Livingstone had been unfairly accused of antisemitism, claiming: “We’ve got these ridiculous suspensions and expulsions from the Party…in the most grotesque and unfair way.”

The Lynching is Ms Walker’s attempt to put across her side of the story, explaining her views and justifying the comments that have led to her becoming such a controversial figure, such as her appalling lie that Jews were the “chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”. The show’s tagline is “To oppose Israel is not to be antisemitic”, despite the fact that Israel is not mentioned in any of the comments that led to her being suspended by Labour twice.

The Labour MP for Peterborough, Fiona Onasanya, had also been billed as a support act, but she pulled out, tweeting: “I am vehemently opposed to antisemitism and was invited to speak out against racism, but will not be attending.”
Mossad Confirms: Jeremy Corbyn Probably Not That Big a Deal (satire)
Sources within Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, have confirmed to The Mideast Beast that it has better things to worry about than Britain’s Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and that on balance he isn’t the biggest existential threat to the State of Israel.

“Iran continues to race towards possession of nuclear weapons, ISIS is still around, and the Syrian army continues taking out its frustrations on its own people. So with all that in mind we don’t consider the ramblings of some old socialist to be number one on our list of concerns,” said one Mossad official.

“Yes I know he said that Hamas and Hezbollah were his ‘friends’, but we think he rates them more in the ‘hey we really should do something, some time’ level of friendship, than the ‘hey you need a kidney’ type friendship.

“His demands for an arms embargo of Israel will certainly cause a stir once we work out exactly what arms we really need to import from the UK. Let me get back to you on that, it will be probably be the next Tuesday after never.”

“But we probably will be denying him a visa, because anyone that won’t sing their national anthem during a commemoration for men and women that saved his country from being overrun by the Nazi’s seems like a bit of a dick.”
The BBC’s partisan coverage of the Ahed Tamimi case continues
In the past three months the BBC has produced at least thirteen reports on this story but only in one of those – aired on the BBC’s domestic channel Radio 4 – have audiences been provided with any information concerning the background to the charge of incitement against Ahed Tamimi. In all the other reports (and in all those provided to international audiences) the fact that Ahed Tamimi called for violent acts against Israelis has been concealed.

Some of the thirteen reports have included interviews with three different Israeli politicians and one former IDF chief prosecutor.

In addition to numerous interviews with Ahed Tamimi’s father – together with links to the family’s social media platforms – and quotes from her lawyer, BBC reporting on this story has promoted quotes from and campaigns run by inadequately presented partisan political NGOs and activists including B’tselem, Jonathan Pollack, Amnesty International, Avaaz and Human Rights Watch.

Significantly, although video footage filmed by Tamimi’s mother has been generously promoted in many of the reports, the part of that footage showing Ahed Tamimi urging others to carry out acts of violence has not been presented to BBC audiences at all.

In summary, the BBC’s treatment of this story has overwhelmingly diverted audience attention away from the background to the main charge of incitement against Ahed Tamimi and propagated the deliberately misleading notion that she was arrested, tried and imprisoned for a “slap”.

The BBC’s repeated promotion of partisan NGOs that have been campaigning on this case once again highlights the fact that the corporation which is committed to providing its audiences with “accurate and impartial news […] of the highest editorial standards” has in this case chosen to abandon impartiality and accuracy – and instead lend its voice and outreach to one-sided promotion of a blatantly political campaign.
NY Times Mum on Palestinian Leader's "Son of a Dog" Slur
On Monday, the Palestinian president called an American ambassador a "son of a dog." On Tuesday, a handful of U.S. news outlets mentioned Mahmoud Abbas's verbal attack on Ambassador David Friedman, the top U.S. diplomat in Israel. The New York Times was not among them.

It is a striking omission from a paper that, at other times, seems fixated on events in that part of the Middle East. Indeed, the same newspaper that ignored Abbas's slur, which the U.S. State Department slammed as "outrageous and unhelpful," had in 2016 covered a much milder critique by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the previous American ambassador. After Netanyahu described a statement by ambassador Dan Shaprio as "unacceptable and incorrect," the New York Times not only covered Netanyahu's response in a news story, but also focused an editorial on what it described as his "unfair" remarks.

How is it newsworthy when a prime minister says an ambassador's words are "unacceptable and incorrect," but not when a president describes an ambassador as a "son of a dog"? The skewed news judgment is likely to deepen concerns that the New York Times tends to ignore or downplay news that reflects poorly on the Palestinian government while shining a bright light on perceived missteps by the Jewish state.
More context free portrayal of Jenin on BBC Radio 4
In the first story listeners hear a completely context-free account of the second Lebanon war in 2006. The artist is described as having played “a ragged duet with the bombs falling on his home town” and “playing trumpet on the balcony while the Israeli air force was bombing Beirut”.

“You would see a hundred kids dead or a hundred persons. Then the second day it’s a hundred and seven. Then the third day it’s sixty-seven and you’re almost happy to say oh, it’s less than yesterday.”

How that war began and what was happening on the other side of the border have no place in this story – and neither does the all-important context of the Hizballah HQ in a specific neighbourhood of Beirut.

The second story’s location is Jenin and Ahmed Tobasi sets the scene by telling listeners that “when Israel was created” his grandparents left their village and “came here to Jenin refugee camp”. No context – such as the invasion of Israel by surrounding Arab states – is provided at all.

Wallen’s own account of her visit to Jenin is similarly devoid of context.

“On the surface Jenin city and its permanent refugee camp seem quite comfortable. As a privileged visitor you can begin to feel that life here is normal. But then you remember the journey: the separation barrier, checkpoints and soldiers. The watch towers dotting the ancient landscape.”

While Wallen tells listeners that the Freedom Theatre’s director was “assassinated”, she does not clarify that the murderer was a Palestinian. After Tobasi has admitted his membership of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Wallen gives an account of the second Intifada that promotes the notion of equivalence between Palestinian terror attacks and Israeli counter-terrorism measures.
Paris Taxi Driver Threatened To Kill Passenger Because He Was an Israeli Jew
An Israeli tourist visiting his brother in Paris has claimed that a taxi driver in the French capital threatened to slit his throat after realising that he was a Jew from Israel during the journey.

Israeli Ronen Edri told his story on a programme from Television production company Keshet earlier this week saying that it had been one of the most terrifying moments of his life, Israeli newspaper Maariv reports.

“I grabbed a taxi going to visit my brother in Paris, asking the driver to take me down to the address,” Edri said and after he asked the driver to turn down the radio in the vehicle the driver said, “Who are you? What do you think you are? You do not live here, you have no rights here, you are not even the owner of this vehicle.”

He said the driver cursed at him in French and said, “I’ll show you what Muslims do to people like you.”

Edri told the taxi driver to stop or he would not pay him the cab fare. Soon afterwards, the taxi driver rang up a friend on his mobile phone.
Polish government distances itself from PM’s father
Poland’s government distanced itself Thursday from comments made by the prime minister’s father, who claimed Jews willingly entered ghettos during the German occupation of Poland to get away from their non-Jewish neighbors.

The comment by Kornel Morawiecki, a senior lawmaker and father of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, is the latest episode in weeks of bitterness that have erupted over a controversial new Holocaust speech law.

Kornel Morawiecki claimed in a recent interview that Jews were not forced into ghettos by Germans but went willingly because “they were told there would be an enclave where they could get away from nasty Poles.”

The comment is historically inaccurate. It is also seems to minimize the tragedy of the Jews while at the same time suggesting they partly brought the tragedy upon themselves out of anti-Polish hatred.

The deputy foreign minister, Bartosz Cichocki, said the comment does not reflect the position of the Polish government.

Cichocki has led recent talks in Israel aimed at damage control after an angry dispute triggered by the Polish law, which makes it a crime punishable by up to three years of prison to publicly and falsely blame Poland for Nazi Holocaust atrocities.
Nearly 200 years of anti-Semitic conspiracies continue to cloud Rothschilds
The Rothschild family is historically Jewish and famously wealthy. They do not control the weather. Or the US government.

That much is now apparent to Trayon White, a member of the Washington, DC, City Council who claimed, on two separate occasions recently, that the Rothschilds were behind various plots to control the US government, the World Bank and/or the weather. A video he posted to Facebook blaming the Rothschild family for this week’s snowstorm went viral and drew broad condemnation.

“Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” he said in the video. “And DC keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”

On Tuesday, White issued a lengthy apology, explaining that his comments were based off misinformation and that he did not know his statements were anti-Semitic. He apologized for offending the Jewish community, and has since met with local Jewish leaders as part of his pledge to become educated on the issue.

“I have hurt and disappointed many, including myself, my Council colleagues, constituents and countless members of the Jewish community here and abroad,” he wrote. “In all honesty, if I were of Jewish descent, I would also feel disrespected and offended by such comments. Honestly, I do not [at] all believe the Jewish community controls the weather.”

White is hardly the first to repeat a conspiracy theory about the Rothschilds, who for centuries have been one of Europe’s wealthiest families. Today, two Rothschilds appear on Forbes’ list of billionaires, and the family has investment firms in Switzerland, France and elsewhere. Their wealth dates back to the 18th century, when Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who was born in the local Jewish ghetto, became the banker of Wilhelm IX, a local nobleman.
Colombian Jewish anchor told to quit after refusing to cross herself on-air
A Colombian Jewish journalist was ordered to resign from her anchor post on a daily TV newscast after she refused to cross herself while she was on the air.

Channel 1’s Cathy Bekerman was asked to resign after refusing the order by Yamid Amat, newscast director of the CM& broadcast network, the Agencia Judia de Noticias website reported on Wednesday.

“He told me to cross myself, I did not do it and he asked me to resign at that moment, to which I did not agree,” Bekerman told Colombian media.

The case came to light after radio journalist Azury Chamah, who is Jewish, tweeted about it. According to Graciela Torres, another well-known Colombian journalist, Bekerman showed up in the newsroom two days after the March 14 incident escorted by her father and a lawyer.

“It’s a dark situation for Yamid Amat and his newscast because they could be sued for religious intolerance in a country where there is freedom of worship,” Torres said.

“It is not enough that Cathy’s work situation is ‘solved.’ We expect a public apology from Mr. Amat in light of his discriminatory and violative behavior of freedom of religion guaranteed in the Colombian Constitution,” read a statement released by the Confederation of Jewish Communities of Colombia, the country’s Jewish umbrella organization.
Nazi-looted portrait returned to heirs, will be auctioned
For nearly 80 years, the trail was stone cold for a missing 16th-century Renaissance portrait, looted by the Nazis from an estate in the Netherlands.

But late last year, Christie’s auction house was contacted about its potential whereabouts, and the prized painting was returned to the Los Angeles heir of its owners. It will go on sale next month in New York.

The painting, a portrait by the German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, had belonged to Fritz Gutmann, who owned a large collection on his estate in the Netherlands. Gutmann and his wife were killed in the Theresienstadt and Auschwitz death camps, and their collection looted by the Nazi high command.

After the war, Gutmann’s son and then grandson searched for the painting, one of the gems of the collection, for decades. The grandson, Simon Goodman (the family changed the spelling of the name), says the painting was listed on an inventory of works recommended for the personal use of Adolf Hitler. “That was the last mention I could trace,” Goodman told The Associated Press. “The trail had gone completely cold.”

But late last year, people in possession of the work, whose identity Christie’s is not making public, approached the auction house to see if it was indeed from the Gutmann collection. “They weren’t sure what they had,” Goodman says.
Making water from the air to keep kids healthy in India
Max Simonovsky’s two-and-a-half-year-old son was well trained in routine handwashing. But one day when the water in his Rehovot neighborhood was shut off for repairs, the boy reasoned that if water wasn’t available, he therefore had no need to wash his hands after playing outside.

The Israeli dad was fascinated by his toddler’s way of thinking and discussed it with friends. They realized that the same line of logic may apply to millions of children in areas of the world that lack running water or electricity.

Further investigation revealed that two leading causes of death in young children in the developing world are diarrhea and respiratory infections. UNICEF and the World Health Organization say both could be significantly reduced by hygiene practices such as handwashing.

Simonovsky had discovered the basis for a social-impact startup, Soapy, which he founded in 2017.

“Better hygiene habits require water, soap and training, and also positive feedback and community support,” says Simonvsky. “We realized we could provide all of that.”

Soapy’s off-grid, solar-powered, self-sustaining hygiene station uses water pulled from the atmosphere. A smart system starts the washing cycle automatically when someone approaches, producing an accurate dose of soap and water. The unit operates around the clock.
Greece’s Energean gets nod to develop 2 Israeli offshore natural gas fields
Greek firm Energean Oil & Gas PLC said Thursday its board has given the green light to a final investment decision that will enable the oil and gas explorer to proceed with the $1.6 billion development of the Karish and Tanin natural gas fields off Israel’s shores.

The company said that $405 million of the $460 million it raised in a recent initial public offering of shares in London will be used to fund its 70 percent stake in the project. The remaining 30% of the project will be funded by Kerogen Capital, Energean’s partner in the project, the Greek firm said in a statement.

The project is also being financed through a credit facility of $1.28 billion underwritten by Morgan Stanley, Natixis, Bank Hapoalim and Société Générale.

Energean said it has already secured long-term gas agreements with some of the largest private power producers and industrial companies in Israel, who have contracted purchases of a total of 61 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas over a period of 16 years.

Energean will develop the project by setting up a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility that will have a gas treatment capacity of 8 BCM per year.

A 90-kilometer gas pipeline will link the FPSO to the Israeli coast and necessary onshore facilities to allow connection to the domestic sales gas grid operated by the national gas transmission company, the statement said.
George Clooney to narrate film on life of Shimon Peres
George Clooney will be the narrator for an upcoming film about the life of former president Shimon Peres.

The film, Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres, is produced by Moriah Films, a division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and is slated to premiere in New York in June.

The center told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Clooney recorded his narration several weeks ago and met with Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Center’s director.

The film is directed and produced by Richard Trank, who managed to record 50 hours of interviews with Peres in the months before his death in September 2016. Former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also make appearances, in addition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Barbra Streisand.

Obama, Clinton and Blair all attended Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem in 2016. Streisand flew to Israel in 2013 to celebrate Peres’s 90th birthday and perform “Avinu Malkeinu” for him.

The film’s first screening is scheduled for June 13 at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

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