Monday, March 18, 2019

From Ian:

Pitzer College Disgraces Itself for BDS
Last week, the council of Pitzer College—a liberal-arts school in Claremont, California—voted to end its study-abroad program with Haifa University. The college’s president has declared he will not abide by the resolution of the council, a body made up of representatives of the faculty, staff, and students. But the results, writes Jonathan Marks, are nonetheless disturbing:

Pitzer maintains programs in China and Rwanda, both uncommonly repressive regimes with no regard for academic freedom. And look! They’re embarking on a program with the University of Zimbabwe, “conditions permitting.” . . .

So, to square its rejection of Israel with its rejection of absolutely no other country, the council’s motion focuses wholly on the specifics of Israel’s visa policy. Among other things, that policy bars from the country certain supporters of boycotting it. There is, of course, no reason to make that the line a nation must not cross. . . .

[T]he reason for the Pitzer boycott is the same as it has ever been [for boycotts of Israel]: to strike a blow against the intolerable presence and strength of Jews in the Middle East. Yes, the motion suggests that there may be ways to permit students to travel to Israel without dirtying themselves through contact with Israel’s universities. And yes, the motion allows for the possibility that other countries may one day also be deemed too filthy to touch. The American Studies Association said much the same thing when it voted for a boycott [of Israel] in 2013. Somehow, it hasn’t gotten around to boycotting anyone else yet. . . .

This is the first time that the stakeholders of a college—not a student government association, but the faculty, staff, and students of a college—has voted to ignore the protests of those in their community who consider [the boycott-Israel movement] anti-Semitic and to ignore their own responsibility to protect scholarship and teaching from partisanship. And all to spit on a country most of them don’t know a blessed thing about.
Germany Deports Convicted Palestinian Terrorist Rasmea Odeh, Cancels BDS Event After Outcry
After a strongly worded statement from United States Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, the German government has disallowed a planned anti-Semitic "Boycott, Divestment, Sanction" event in Berlin, and expelled its headline speaker, convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the German government and the Berlin Department for the Interior responded quickly to international outcy following the announcement that Odeh was set to speak at a "Palestinian Women in the Liberation Struggle" in the country's capital city, even after initially pledging to allow the event to go forward.

Odeh, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was the mastermind and lead bomber in an attack on a Jewish grocery store in Israel in 1969 which left two Hebrew University students dead and scores injured. She was convicted and jailed for a decade before being released in a prisoner exchange. Eventually, she ended up in the United States. She was finally deported back to her home country of Jordan in 2017, after U.S. authorities discovered she had lied about her terrorism convictions on her immigration application.

The elderly Odeh remains a hero to anti-Israel activists across the globe, and has fans in both Congresswoman Rashida Tliab (D-MI) and Women's March leader Linda Sarsour, according to William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection. No surprise, both women have been known to express anti-Semitic views.

Petition requests UNESCO to remove antisemitic Belgian "Carnival at Aalst" from Heritage list
After the Carnival in Aalst, Belgium, featured caricatured Jewish figures with money and rats, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC) requested that UNESCO remove Aalst from its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Carnival at Aalst has been recognized on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010.

A petition urging the removal of the Carnival from the list has received over 14,000 signatures.

“UNESCO should not continue to endorse this repeated violation of its values by retaining the Carnival on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”, Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI commented.

“The date of the Bureau’s meeting, 21 March, is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This will be a good opportunity for the members of the Bureau to show that they really mean it,” Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC’s Director for International Relations, said.

The Ambassador of Poland to UNESCO has endorsed the request.

UKLFI is an association that fights anti-Israel and antisemitic activity. The SWC is a global human rights organization that researches the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context. The SWC is accredited by UNESCO and an Associate Partner NGO.

The Dutch Chief Rabbi, Binyamin Jacobs, said that the portrayal at the Aalst Carnival was “shocking” and contained “typical, antisemitic caricatures from 1939.”



Pro-Israel Bloggers Team up to Fight Anti-Semitic BDS Movement, LI Reports from the Field
Last week, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs hosted a three-day conference, called DigiTell19, aimed at combating the anti-Semitic boycott campaign, or BDS Movement, hosting around 90 pro-Israel social media activists and bloggers from around the world. I had the privilege of representing my grassroots group, Indians For Israel, at the event in Israel.

Supported by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the DigiTell has emerged as a network of pro-Israel activists since early 2018. The DigiTell19 is the third gathering of its kind. I attended the previous conferences in Jerusalem and Frankfurt, Germany. “We come together. It’s like a support network,” Jackie Goodall, the founder of the Ireland Israel Alliance, said describing the DigiTell conference.

The Jerusalem Post reported the details of the social media event:
“We are bringing together those who have fought this year against anti-Israel and antisemitic hate-writers and those promoting the boycott campaign against Israel,” said Ido Daniel, senior director for digital strategy for the Strategic Affairs Ministry, the ministry running the #DigiTell seminar. “We are opening our doors to the influencers and social media activists for Israel who are fighting our fight every day.” (…)

Each of the participants is independent and receives no ministry funding. Rather, it is more like a support group.

“They receive a lot of hate for what they do [for Israel],” said Daniel, noting that the #DigiTell concept was founded one year ago this March for that reason. “We would like to empower them in the way that we can.”

The ministry’s Daniel said the two-day seminar, which will run from March 12 and 13, is meant to engage people (…) and provide them with new tools and best practices for telling their stories on social media. Around 100 participants are coming from 17 countries, with a heavy focus on participants from Europe, he said.


Matti Friedman: At Camp
An excerpt from Matti Friedman’s new book, ‘Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel’

Having nearly been outed by an Arab observer who suspected he wasn’t really an Arab, then recognized by a Jew who knew he was a Jew, then nabbed by Jews who thought he was an Arab, the agent finally made it back to his friends. They were camped at a kibbutz on the formerly malarial flatlands of the coastal plain, a cluster of tents and sheds around a water tower. The Section moved around, but the camps looked more or less the same.

This was where they slept on mattresses they sometimes stuffed with corn husks, and where they kept the disguises purchased in the Jaffa flea markets: keffiyeh headdresses for villagers, work shirts or cheap franji suits, the kind worn by both Arabs and Jews, if they didn’t want to draw attention on either side of the line. The chances of a British raid against the Jewish underground were lower now that the pullout was close, but the weapons cache was concealed just in case.

Sam’an the teacher was there, with his English manners and his little Arabic library, and around him the lost boys he’d collected from slums, communal farms, and regular Palmach units, where they stood out among the Jews from eastern Europe because of the wrong skin shade and accent. Most of them didn’t have parents in the country, and some didn’t have parents at all. Their family was the Arab Section.
Ireland's Anti-Israel Drift: How Did It Come to This?
Ireland, as a European Union member state, is subject to the EU's commercial rules. EU trade rules may prohibit Ireland's unilateral action as an EU treaty requires common commercial policy for all EU member states. The proposed law "could force US companies with Irish subsidiaries to choose between violating the Irish law or violating US Export Administration Regulations." — Orde Kittrie, Professor of Law, Arizona State University.

Worst, there is no evidence that Ireland's "pro-Palestinian" activities are in any way helping Palestinians, who continue to be arrested, tortured and deprived of any viable future by their own corrupt leaders. Most European activities seem actually focused on trying to destroy Israel.

What is most notable, of course, is that there is no commensurate hostility toward any other country. Ireland's rancid vote also needs to be contrasted to its virtual silence regarding countries that are daily committing hair-raising crimes against humanity, such as Iran, China, Turkey, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Mauritania, Cuba, Venezuela or Sudan, for instance. Why only Israel? What is now on display is simply a hypocritical condemnation by Ireland of the only democracy in in the Middle East with equal rights for all its citizens.

What is essential is that this double standard -- one set of rules for Israel and a whole other set of rules for countries actually committing atrocities -- must stop.
Joe Lieberman says some Democrats are anti-Jewish, but party is not
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat turned Independent who ran for vice president in 2000, said during a radio interview that the Democratic Party is not anti-Jewish, but individual members have problems with Jews.

“The Democratic Party is not an anti-Jewish party, but there are some people in the party now, including in Congress as we’ve seen from Congresswoman Omar…who are saying explicitly anti-Semitic things,” Lieberman, who is Jewish, told radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York on Sunday, The Hill first reported.

Lieberman was referring to remarks made in recent weeks by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar suggesting she and her colleagues were being asked to show “allegiance” to a foreign country and that the pro-Israel lobby buys its support in Congress.

Following Omar’s latest comments, President Donald Trump tweeted ten days ago that the Democratic party is “anti-Jewish.”

Trump, quoting former campaign aide Elizabeth Pipko, also tweeted last Tuesday that “‘Jewish people are leaving the Democratic Party. We saw a lot of anti Israel policies start under the Obama Administration, and it got worsts [sic] and worse. There is anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party. They don’t care about Israel or the Jewish people.’ Elizabeth Pipko, Jexodus.” Pipko is the spokeswoman for Jexodus, a Republican effort to get millennial Jews to bolt the Democratic Party.
Michael Harel: ‘I Hope My Party’s Leadership Takes a Stand Against Omar’
Palestinian leadership has consistently demonstrated a commitment to the destruction of Israel rather than to peace, as demonstrated in 1948, and later in 2000 and 2008, when they rejected generous offers to establish a state in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. When these historical realities are willfully ignored, there is a clear double standard applied to Israel that leads to dehumanization, not peace.

The sting Omar’s words inflicted was especially sharp because it targeted a sensitive area — the ancient and destructive conspiracy theory that Jews control the world’s money. It was simply a statement rooted in hate, which at a minimum was a breach in the line of what is acceptable. Testing the boundaries of antisemitism is a dangerous and increasingly common phenomenon perpetrated by politicians on both sides of the aisle and must be condemned by all.

Although Omar apologized, her sincerity is doubtful considering she once again made headlines last week by questioning the loyalty of Americans who support Israel, when she said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” She also utilized a similarly heinous Jewish caricature in November 2012, when she tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

Hinting at tropes of “dual loyalty” and the “scheming Jew” with great vitriol, Omar has exhibited a deeply ingrained bias. Therefore, it is difficult to interpret Omar’s apology as anything more than a public-relations move.

When criticism manifests as hatred, it blinds us from the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Omar’s tweet is, ironically, exactly why we need AIPAC.

It is disturbing that someone with such clear animosity towards a persecuted minority has such an influential position as a member of the Foreign Affairs committee. As a Democrat, I hope my party’s leadership takes a stand and removes Omar from that committee.
Ilhan Omar: Israel is the historical homeland of the Palestinians
US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has asserted that Israel is the homeland of the Palestinian people.

In an op-ed published late Sunday on The Washington Post website, Omar wrote that “the founding of Israel 70 years ago was built on the Jewish people’s connection to their historical homeland, as well as the urgency of establishing a nation in the wake of the horror of the Holocaust and the centuries of antisemitic oppression leading up to it. Many of the founders of Israel were themselves refugees who survived indescribable horrors.

“We must acknowledge that this is also the historical homeland of Palestinians,” she continued.

The Minnesota representative said that “without a state, the Palestinian people live in a state of permanent refugeehood and displacement. This, too, is a refugee crisis, and they, too, deserve freedom and dignity.”

Omar, a Muslim, is herself a survivor of war and a refugee. She wrote about how she fled Somalia at age 8 and then lived for four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, “where I experienced and witnessed unspeakable suffering from those who, like me, had lost everything because of war.”
Buzzfeed Gives Anti-Israel Activists Who Harassed Chelsea Clinton A Guest Column
Dweik and Asaf, who eventually posted a video of the interaction that went viral, did not. They later went on social media to drag Clinton further, saying her mere presence at the memorial service was insulting. "[I] was on the verge of tears all day today and actually cried on my into and during prayer but the charade of a vigil where more non-[M]uslims than [M]uslims spoke and [C]helsea [C]linton was invited made me so viscerally angry and [I] will not apologize for that," Dweik wrote.

Saturday, in a bizarre move, Buzzfeed extended a platform to the pair, allowing them access to their readership. Apparently unsatisfied with their previous barrage of insults, Dweik and Asaf used the forum to attack Clinton yet again, smearing her for simply standing against anti-Semitic language.

In the piece (click at your own risk), Dweik and Asaf accuse Clinton, without any apparent evidence, of using her platform as the daughter of a former president to “fan those flames” of a “bigoted, anti-Muslim mob," apparently referring to the wide swath of commentators who criticized Omar for repeatedly trotting out the anti-Semitic "dual loyalty" smear, accusing Jewish legislators of having divided allegiance to both the United States and Israel.

Dweik and Asaf, of course, defended Omar's comments, claiming that Omar was merely "speaking the truth about the massive influence of the Israel lobby."

Just weeks before this tragedy, we bore witness to a bigoted, anti-Muslim mob coming after Rep. Ilhan Omar for speaking the truth about the massive influence of the Israel lobby in this country. As people in unwavering solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and human rights, we were profoundly disappointed when Chelsea Clinton used her platform to fan those flames. We believe that Ilhan Omar did nothing wrong except challenge the status quo, but the way many people chose to criticize Omar made her vulnerable to anti-Muslim hatred and death threats.

The comments aren't surprising. Dweik, at least, is no faux "anti-Zionist"; she has spoken before about "demolishing Israel."


Worse still, Dweik and Asaf went on to accuse Clinton of “stok(ing) hatred against” Muslims and fomenting the “anti-Muslim bigotry” that “created this killer" — the man who killed at least 50 people at two separate mosques in New Zealand. The pair accused Clinton, even, of hurting their fight against "white supremacy" "when she stood by the petty weaponizers (sic) of anti-semitism."
Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw Defends Chelsea Clinton After Student Claims Her Words ‘Stoked’ Mosque Shooting
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has gotten herself in hot water on multiple occasions.

It was revealed that in 2012, she tweeted that Israel had "hypnotized the world," and asked that "Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel."

After an initial attempt to defend the alleged intent of the tweet, Omar has since apologized for the language that she used in 2012, writing: "It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy is disavowing the anti-semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive."

Following her apology, the congresswoman defended her right to criticize governments, quoted Martin Luther King Jr., and wrote of the "many narratives" regarding who she is, which are allegedly "designed to demonize and vilify [her]."

Rep. Omar has ignited controversy on multiple occasions since her election. The storm surrounding her repeated anti-Semitic remarks (which you can read about here) became such a point of contention that the House of Representatives actually passed a resolution denouncing "hate."
Labour Councillor Jo Bird who joked that due process should be dubbed “Jew process” reportedly has suspension lifted
Jo Bird, Labour and Co-operative Councillor for the Bromborough Ward on Wirral Council, has had her suspension lifted by the Labour Party according to a report in the Liverpool Echo. The JC has also reported that she has been given a formal warning.

She was reportedly suspended, pending an investigation after the JC revealed that she joked about renaming due process in the Labour Party as “Jew process”. The Liverpool Echo “now understands Cllr Bird’s suspension from the Labour Party has been lifted, although the reasons and exact details remain unclear.” The JC added that: “Her case went to a disciplinary which gave her the formal warning, which would be considered were she investigated for any repeat behaviour. The JC also understands she apologised for her remarks.”

Cllr Bird is a member of the sham Jewish Voice for Labour group and was was elected to Wirral Council in August 2018.

The comments were reportedly made last year at a “Justice4Marc” meeting in support of expelled Labour activist and friend of Jeremy Corbyn, Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled from the Party after a confrontation with a Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth.

According to the recording, Cllr Bird joked that the term “due process” should be dubbed “Jew process”, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd of Labour activists.

Cllr Bird discussed allegations of racism and said that: “Seriously, one of the things that does worry me is the privileging of racism against Jews, over and above — as more worthy of resources than other forms of racism.”
Daphne Anson: Kia Ora Gaza & The Z Word
Following the terrible Christchurch atrocity, the Kia Ora Gaza website drew attention to a vigil in Auckland, addressed by, among others, New Zealand Greens MP Marama Davidson, who as the foregoing link shows is a "Freedom Flotilla' alumna.

Here's a screenshot of the original version. Note that penultimate paragraph, the one that includes "zionism"among the forms of "bigotry and racism" that Kia Ora Gaza deplores.

And here's a revised version, with "zionism" removed and the adjective "white" now qualifying "supremacism".

The omission of the Z word is an intriguing one, and the reason why it was dropped would be interesting to know. Did some persons planning to address, or attend, the vigil protest the slur on Zionism and insist on the removal of the word as their condition for going to the event?

Or did Mr Fowler have, independently, his own (as it were) "Road to Damascus" moment, and realise that the national aspirations of the Jewish People are justified, and that hate speech against the State of Israel is not warranted after all?
Sudan Sermon by Sheikh Abd Al-Jalil Al-Karouri: The Jews Are Behind NZ Massacre
Sudanese cleric Abd Al-Jalil Al-Karouri said in a Friday sermon that aired on Sudan TV on March 15, 2019 that the perpetrator of the mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand was working for the Jews, who he said are the strongest in enmity towards Muslims. He said that the attack was meant to incite Christians and Muslims against one another and that the Jews are the ones who stand to gain from such an attack. He added that the Jews are the enemies of both Christians and Muslims, since they killed John the Baptist, tried to poison the Prophet Muhammad, and claimed that they killed Jesus.


BDS is failing – the never ending story (March 2019)
Political BDS Fails

Israeli doctors who saved thousands of Palestinian children honoured by UN
Earlier this week, the doctors with Save a Child’s Heart, an organisation based in Holon just south of Tel Aviv, were honoured at the United Nations, where Israeli positions have often clashed with those held by Arab member nations.

Dr. Sion Houri and two fellow physicians, Lior Sasson and Akiva Tamir, accepted the UN Population Award Tuesday for saving young lives – especially in war-torn and developing lands.

The non-profit, funded mostly by private donors with some contributions from governments, has performed surgery on nearly 5,000 children since it was started over 20 years ago, including more than 2,000 from the West Bank and Gaza and 300 from Iraq and Syria.

The rest came from Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and throughout the Middle East.

At the moment, 44 children are being treated free-of-charge at the Edith Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon.


Dutch BDS activist needs an Israeli made scooter to attend BDS protests ….
Robert-Willem van Norren [is] a middle-aged Dutch supporter of the boycott against Israel movement, and he regularly braves all kinds of weather, as well as his own disability, to promote his cause. He sits for hours on end in his mobility scooter on Amsterdam’s Dam Square, waving Palestinian flags and anti-Israel posters three times a week.

There’s just one problem with that picture, though: His scooter was made in Israel.
Honest Reporting: Can You Sue the Media for Bias?
Why apologies matter

An apology, according to Merriam Webster, is simply “an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret.” For legal purposes, an apology is “a public plea for forgiveness to undo some damage” and may be accompanied by the publishing of correct information and perhaps a financial payment of one form or another.

Just as information, quotes, headlines, photos, videos, podcasts, etc. are “on the record,” so are the corrections. And in the internet age, anyone can get online and see, for example, what NPR had to say about a map error or how the International Business Times handled a grossly inaccurate Temple Mount report (the story was removed from the web site).

Granted, corrections aren’t usually seen by only a fraction of the people who saw the original erroneous reporting. But a lack of transparency is a form of media bias by not being open and accountable.

Sometimes, legal action is both an appropriate and practical option. In the past, relevant parties, including HonestReporting, have gotten involved in such battles. However, the Western world generally accepts that freedom of speech is such a high priority that legal action for biased news is rendered impractical or impossible.

That’s why HonestReporting has developed advocacy skills for readers and relationships with journalists. Sometimes the best remedy for biased speech is more and better speech in return.
HonestReporting Prompts UPI to Correct Tel Aviv Error
Credit to United Press International (UPI) for a rapid response to HonestReporting’s request for a correction. Within twenty minutes, UPI made changes to this paragraph following our tweet:

New York Times Rewrites History Claiming Most Jaffa Arabs Expelled in 1948
Fast forward 71 years later. Contradicting both the High Commissioner and Jaffa Arabs who lived through the events, editors of The New York Times in Manhattan this weekend rewrote history, stating in a travel article which appeared in yesterday’s print of “The Paper of Record”:
In 1948, when the State of Israel was founded, most of Jaffa’s Arab residents were forcibly removed from their homes. (“An Unexpected Pocket of Luxury in Tel Aviv,” March 17).

The original digital version by Debra Kamin did not include this false claim. Rather, in response to criticism that the article initially ignored the city’s Arab history, editors revised the digital version, adding in this misinformation.

In addition, the following editor’s note, which was appended to the bottom of the article itself, also appeared not once, but twice, in print (in a slightly altered version), on March 17 as a correction (page 4), and on March 16 as an Editors’ Note (page 22):
The original version of this article, in focusing exclusively on the high-end hotels and other additions, failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history — in particular, the history and continuing presence of its Arab population and the expulsion of many residents in 1948. Because of this lapse, the article also did not acknowledge the continuing controversy about new development and its effect on Jaffa. After readers pointed out the problem, editors added some of that background information to this version.

Leaving aside for a moment the factual problem with the Editors’ Note, the fact that it appeared at all in print (let alone twice) is noteworthy. We recall that The New York Times flatly refused to publish in print an Editors’ Note after the paper whitewashed convicted terrorist Rasmeah Odeh as a “controversial Palestinian activist.” Odeh was found guilty for her role in a Jerusalem bombing which killed two Hebrew University students and was later deported from the United States for having lied about her criminal past. What were the editorial considerations which prompted Times editors to run the Editors’ Note on Odeh only online while the misinformation had appeared also in print, and, in contrast, to share the (false) Jaffa Editors’ Note in print – twice – although the alleged misinformation had never appeared in print?
As for the content of the “correction,” most of Jaffa’s Arab residents fled in 1948 – and were not forcibly removed.
Guardian gets Israeli ‘move right’ completely wrong
In a March 14th article, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes attempts to explain, in advance of upcoming national elections, the decline of the Israeli peace camp. However, beyond quoting several completely non-representative Israelis, such Yehuda Shaul, founder of the NGO Breaking the Silence, and the self-described non-Zionist Haaretz reporter Amira Haas, Holmes’ piece (The fall of the Israeli peace movement, and why leftists continues to fight”) offers no actual analysis of the ‘death of the left’ and what describes as the country’s “wild lurch to the right”.

Fortunately, this very topic was the focus of a very insightful piece by Yossi Klein Halevi in The Atlantic:
…the second intifada—which began in 2000, shortly after Barak accepted the principle of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and which resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries among Israelis and Palestinians—remains the great Israeli trauma of this generation.

The main political casualty of the second intifada was the Israeli left, which became effectively unelectable. After all, the left had assured Israelis that a two-state offer would bring peace, but the numbing wave of terrorism immediately following Barak’s acceptance of a Palestinian state shattered the left’s credibility.


As Klein-Halevy goes on to argue, it’s simply impossible to understand the Israeli electorate in 2019 without acknowledging the concerns of the broad Israeli centre, who understand that the status quo is untenable in the long term, and leaders must do all they can to achieve a peaceful solution, but fear that “a precipitous territorial withdrawal could turn the West Bank into another Gaza, risking a Hamas takeover and rocket attacks on Israeli cities”. Israelis haven’t moved ‘right’ insofar as the word denotes to some an embrace of militarism and a disinterest in pursuing peace and co-existence with the Palestinians. They’ve simply changed their minds – based on experience – about the efficacy of the current peace process and the assumption that territorial concessions will necessarily end, or even reduce, Palestinian violence.
BBC’s Stephen Sackur does ‘the Israeli psyche’
In one part of the conversation Sackur brings up the topic of African migrants in Israel in relation to one of Gundar-Goshen’s books. After his guest has clarified that the dilemmas raised in that novel do not apply solely to Israelis, Sackur goes on to contradict her with some obviously pre-prepared material.

13:45 Sackur: “I think that is a really powerful point you make but nonetheless there are some interesting statistics around this which do suggest there’s a difference between Israel and some European countries. For example many people won’t know but there is a significant number of Eritreans and other Africans – but mostly Eritreans – who illegally migrated into Israel in search of a better life. They’re mostly kept in detention centres. Some live illegally in the country. There are believed to be 40 – 50 thousand of them. Israel has recognised the refugee status…actually I think literally of a handful of Eritreans. In…in Europe the EU says that Eritreans who actually make it onto European territory, 90% of them – because of the way Eritrea is – are given refugee status. So there is a difference and it does seem that Israel is absolutely adamant that it doesn’t want to help the outsider in that way.”

Let’s examine Sackur’s claims one by one. Firstly, according to the government office responsible, there were 37,288 migrants in Israel at the beginning of 2018 rather than “40 – 50 thousand” as claimed by Sackur. Those migrants are not “mostly kept in detention centres” – the Holot detention centre was closed a year ago – they “mostly” live in southern Tel Aviv and in additional towns.

While failing to clarify how many of the people he admits “illegally migrated into Israel in search of a better life” have actually made applications for refugee status, Sackur compares an unspecified number – “a handful” – with a percentage. He quotes an EU statistic but without clarifying that in 2017 for example, “90%” in fact related to some 26,900 Eritreans granted protection status (rather than exclusively “refugee status” as claimed by Sackur) in 28 EU countries with a collective population of well over 500 million. So while in 2017 for example Croatia accepted 100% of the applications made by Eritreans, that actually amounted to ten people. Lithuania also accepted 100% of applications – 25 people – as did Latvia – 20 people in all.

Of course those familiar with Stephen Sackur’s track record when interviewing Israelis would not be in the least surprised by this latest promotion of his long evident chosen narrative concerning their country.
OFCOM to review BBC news and current affairs
The “first Public Purpose” is “[t]o provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them”. Nevertheless, OFCOM states that:
“This review will not assess the BBC’s formal compliance with the ‘due impartiality’ and ‘due accuracy’ requirements of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.”

OFCOM described the methodology of its review as follows:
“As well as speaking to audiences, we will engage with industry and other interest parties throughout the period of our review.”

And:
“We will commission a range of new and in-depth audience research, using a variety of methodologies, to draw a comprehensive picture of what UK audiences and users want from the BBC. […]

This work will include qualitative research with different audience groups across the UK’s nations and regions. We will speak to those who engage regularly with the BBC, and those who do not.”


Although the announcement did not request contributions from the BBC’s (and OFCOM’s) funding public, it did include “contact information” and seeing as that suggests that OFCOM wants to be contacted, BBC Watch wrote to the email address provided to enquire whether or not it was inviting submissions from the public and if so, within what time frame.
Man shouts ‘Heil Hitler’ at Estonian chief rabbi
Estonia’s chief rabbi and two of his children were accosted on the street on their way to synagogue by a man who shouted anti-Semitic insults at them.

Police arrested the man, who is 27 years old and was not named in Estonian media, on Sunday at a shopping mall in the capital Tallinn, the Estonian Public Broadcasting Service reported on Monday.

Rabbi Shmuel Kot said the man shouted “Sieg Heil” and “Heil Hitler” at him on Saturday while Kot was walking to synagogue with two of his children, ages 7 and 12.

Kot filed a complaint with police, who used security camera and other footage to identity a suspect and arrest him ahead of an indictment, Kot said.
Nevada mulls using Israeli tech to scan cellphones after car accidents
Most US states ban texting behind the wheel, but a legislative proposal could make Nevada one of the first states to allow police to use a contentious technology to find out if a person was using a cellphone during a car crash.

The measure is igniting privacy concerns and has led lawmakers to question the practicality of the technology, even while acknowledging the threat of distracted driving.

The future of the Nevada proposal is not clear. A similar measure introduced in 2017 failed in the New York Legislature, but lawmakers are considering it again.

Law enforcement officials argue that distracted driving is under-reported and that weak punishments do little to stop drivers from texting, scrolling or otherwise using their phones. Adding to the problem, they say, is the fact that police are inconsistent when it comes to holding those drivers accountable for traffic crashes, unlike driving while under the influence of alcohol.

If the Nevada measure passes, it would allow police to use a device known as the “textalyzer,” which connects to a cellphone and looks for user activity, such as opening a Facebook messenger call screen. It is made by Israel-based company Cellebrite, which says the technology does not access or store personal content.
Golden day for Israel’s Special Olympics delegation in Abu Dhabi
The fourth day of the 2019 Special Olympics World Games competitions in Abu Dhabi opened on Monday with the awarding of a gold medal to Israeli swimmer Guy Wartikowsky, who who captured first place in the 1,500-meter Open Water Swimming event.

Wartikowsky was very excited on the podium when he received his medal from an Abu Dhabi resident. The 34-year-old Ra’anana native comes from a family of swimmers. He began swimming at the age of eight and turned his hobby into a professional and competitive one.

Practicing three times a week, Wartikowsky specializes in long-distance swimming. He represented Israel at the Special Olympics in Athens (2011) and Shanghai (2007) and won gold medals in the past.

“This is the first time that I have won an Open Water medal and this is a great opportunity for me,” said Wartikowsky after his victory.

Then came the news of another gold medal for the Israeli delegation, thanks to a pair of bowlers – Aran Bar-Peled and Shoshana Nadav – who came in first place in the doubles bowling (Unified) competition.

Also on Monday, blue-and-white judoka Levav Barkan picked up a silver medal in the under-80kg category.
Two Israeli judokas win gold medals at Grand Slam in Russia
Two Israeli judokas took home gold medals at the Grand Slam Ekaterinburg event in Russia over the weekend.

On Friday, Gili Cohen defeated Spain’s Ana Perez Box for the top prize in the women’s under-52 kilogram category. The 27-year-old Israeli athlete won a silver medal at the Tel Aviv Grand Prix in January.

Commenting on Cohen’s victory, her coach Shani Hershko called her “a living example of determination, commitment and courage. This is a great honor for the women’s team, for the Israel Judo Association and the State of Israel.”

On Saturday, Sagi Muki won the gold in the men’s under-81 kilogram weight class. The 26-year-old defeated Japan’s Takanori Nagase, a former world champion and Olympic medalist, in the final seconds of the match.

In October Muki won the gold medal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, where Israel’s national anthem was played in a Gulf state for the first time.



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