April 13, 2021

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03/10 Links Pt2: The Centenary of the Balfour Declaration; Academic Forum or Anti-Semitic Farce?


From Ian:

David Collier: Bare faced lies, distortion and propaganda at the SOAS centenary talk
Last night 9/3/2017, I had an invite to two very different events. The first, an event at UCL hosted by the UCL Israel Society, with Mohammed Zoabi. The second, part of the SOAS centenary lecture series, with a talk by ‘renowned human rights lawyer’ Raja Shehadeh.
As it was, I chose to see both, an upside to the new trend of live streaming. This a tale of two people. One looking beyond the hate, the other losing himself to it. I am left asking why SOAS chose to place such a moment of recognition on pure anti-Israel slander? Academia is now blind to truth, deaf to reason and actively assisting in spreading propaganda instead of academic research or messages of hope.
Zoabi at UCL
Mohammed Zoabi is a confident young man. Very easy with the audience, and spent most of his time interacting and taking questions. Even with the reflection and confusion that being an Arab inside Israel must bring, he handles these different identities well.
Nor is Zoabi an ‘Israeli apologist’ of any sort. He is clearly moderate, open to criticism and ideologically firmly grounded. It is wrong to suggest Zoabi is a Palestinian Blumenthal or Pappe. Zoabi is no self-hater, he is someone who reaches out to both sides.
What Zoabi clearly carries is recognition that Israel is his state, that much of what is being pushed around by the anti-Israel activists is based on lies and distortion. He recognises both the freedom he experiences and the difficulties that conflict introduces to civil society. Like me, he identifies BDS as problematic and based on false narrative.
Those present clearly enjoyed the event.
Shehadeh at SOAS
Then there was Raja Shehadeh. To understand Raja, you only need to listen to the first 3 minutes of his talk. He begins by outlining how his father was involved in an attempt to make peace with Israel in 1967. A peace proposal set on the lines of the 1947 partition. A deal supported by ‘50’ Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
He speaks of its rejection as if Israel flatly refusing to return to the November 1947 position because 50 Palestinians asked nicely was extreme or irrational. As if the Arabs had proposed something valid and Israel, the aggressor had refused. Remember, this is not about a return to the 1949 armistice position, but the lines of the November 1947 partition plan, the Arabs had all flatly rejected (that led to the conflict in the first place).
And then to press home how Israel doesn’t want peace, Raja said this:
“As time passed, most of the PLO supporters of the plan were assassinated by Israel, amongst whom were my father (Aziz Shehadeh), Issam Sartawi, Said Hammami, Naem Hader (sp?), Azadin Chalak (sp)? Now 50 years later it is what the PLO and most of the countries of the world are calling for. How much suffering would we all have been spared, had gone through then.”
Except none of that is true. His father, was killed with a knife by unknown assailants in 1985. Issam Sartawi was assassinated in 1983, in an attack claimed by the ‘Abu Nidal’ Organization. Said Hammami was assassinated in 1978, also by ‘Abu Nidal’. The last two names may have met similar fate, but I was unable to identify them.
So all murdered, but not by Israel. They were killed by other Arabs for not being extreme enough. The truth is, that like everywhere around Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and, Libya, political opponents have a short shelf life. Being moderate and placing yourself against radical terror organisations, tends to impact on your ability to stay alive. How on earth can Raja stand on a platform at a London university event and calmly blame Israel for Arab clan wars, Arab extremism, the lack of democracy and their inability to live with those that think differently?

A disgrace to human rights

Human rights organizations have called for the United Nation’s secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, to add the IDF to the blacklist of states and armed organizations responsible for serial injury to children during armed conflict, alongside brutal terrorist and guerrilla organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaida. This attests to the international community’s profound misunderstanding of the difficulty sovereign states face in low-intensity war (fighting terrorist/guerrilla organizations) while minimizing the collateral damage.
For years the State of Israel has endured a deep lack of understanding regarding its war against terrorist organizations. A prominent case in point is the UN’s Goldstone Report that was published after Operation Cast Lead in 2009. This report served as a “moral earthquake” as far as Israel was concerned, as it stated that Israel had a policy of deliberately harming civilian noncombatants.
In an op-ed published two years later (April 2011) in The Washington Post, Goldstone retracted this statement and admitted that “if I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”
Upon retraction, Goldstone argued that the international laws of war should be implemented by nonstate organizations, such as Hamas, to the same extent in which they should be implemented by the armies of sovereign states. According to Goldstone, lack of implementation of the international laws of war during warfare should lead to investigation of the violating party.
This assertion is compelling testimony to the lack of understanding that the terrorist organizations, such as Hamas which the IDF is fighting, have an entirely different value system from that which is acceptable to Israel as a democratic country. These organizations tend not to take human life into consideration – not the lives of their own activists, or the lives of the population in whose name they are fighting, or the lives of the enemy.

BESA: The Centenary of the Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration, which will reach its centenary in November 2017, continues to be relevant for us today. Israeli Jews should seek to return to the premises underlying the Declaration – premises that were taken for granted at the time by the international community, but that have since been obscured.
November 2 of this year will mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, an event of which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made note during a speech at the PLO convention three months ago. “The British had no right to grant the Jews what they did, and the Jews had no right to accept,” he said. “This was a crime perpetrated against our people.” Even before Abbas, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki demanded an apology from Britain on behalf of the Palestinian people.
We should pay attention to this protest, which demonstrates the continued relevance of the Balfour Declaration today.
The Declaration is identified by the Palestinian narrative as the source of their tragedy. As early as the 1920s, they grasped the full significance of the international support given to the statement at the League of Nations, and sought to foil its implementation. Yet the Palestinians’ own struggle to realize their right to self-determination pertains to a large extent to the logic that shaped our region at the end of the First World War.

JCPA: Winston Churchill’s Defense of the Balfour Declaration in 1921

On March 28, 1921, British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill visited Jerusalem where he attended a tree-planting ceremony on the site of the future Hebrew University on Mount Scopus. At the Government Office of the British High Commissioner, Churchill also met with Emir Abdullah of Jordan, Jerusalem’s Arab political and religious leaders, and the Jewish chief rabbis.
Winston Churchill Was a KEY Player to the Formaton of Modern Israel
He also met and heard from a former mayor of Jerusalem, Musa Kazim el Husseini who denounced the Balfour Declaration, petitioned Churchill to stop the immigration of Jews into Palestine, and claimed that life for the Arabs was better under the Ottomans. Churchill responded, defending the Balfour Declaration and the reestablishment of the Jewish homeland.
Winston Churchill receiving Mousa Kasim Pasha el Husseini at reception at Government House, Jerusalem.
Husseini was related to the infamous Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini and father of the notorious Arab militia fighter, Abdul Khadar el-Husseini. The Husseinis’ hatred of Jews was only matched by their hatred for King Abdullah, and Husseini clan members were involved in Abdullah’s assassination on the Temple Mount in 1951.

Yes, Churchill Really Was a Friend of Jews and Zionism

Revisionism is a long-standing cottage industry when it comes to Winston Churchill. Now Michael J. Cohen, Professor of History Emeritus at Bar-Ilan University, has contributed the contention that Winston Churchill’s support for Jews and Zionism is a myth.
Cohen has a book devoted to this subject: Churchill and the Jews. His arguments clash with much of what is presented in the late Sir Martin Gilbert’s Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship, and Michael Makovsky’s Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft — all three of which I reviewed in detail for the Jewish Political Studies Review.
Having contributed to the discussion on this subject (twice on the History News Network, here and here), it has been surprising to see Cohen pressing his view in the face of the evidence that emerged in Gilbert’s and Makovsky’s books.
In 2009, Cohen described Gilbert as the mythmaker of Churchill’s pro-Jewish and pro-Zionist reputation in a lengthy article in Modern Judaism (May 2006, vol. 26, no. 2). Now, he has reiterated his charges in an opinion piece in Haaretz, (“The Truth About Churchill and the Jews,” January 27).
Cohen wrote in the epilogue of his book that there is a “glaring anomaly” between Churchill’s wartime expressions of sympathy for the Jews, and the “absence, almost, of any practical measures on their behalf.” This strikes me as a false, defective verdict. I would argue that Churchill’s reputation as friend of the Jews and Zionism withstands scrutiny.

Conference Videos: 100 Years Since the Balfour Declaration

Conference Videos – February 28, 2017
Refuting Balfour Detractors at the House of Commons
More Resources
Opening Remarks

Amb. Dore Gold – President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affair

Israel as a Strategic Asset to Britain
Col. Richard Kemp – Former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan

Interview with Colin Shindler

Karl Pfeifer interviewed Colin Shindler, Emeritus Professor at SOAS University of London and author of Israel and the European Left
In November, we will mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour opposition, said that this declaration was a mistake. How will he react this time?
It was in 2013 that he offered his opinion on the Balfour Declaration. It arises from his lack of understanding of both the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and of Jewish history itself. He reduces everything to a very simplistic approach. He sees everything in terms of British colonialism and western imperialism. However, the conflict is far more complex than that. I hope that he will have understood this complexity by November.
If he thinks this way, then he should have been a supporter of Lehi – the Stern gang, because it was anti-colonialist.
The logic of 1940 would have suggested one approach but the logic of 2017 suggests something else. Corbyn’s world outlook was formulated in the 1960s. He lived for some time in Jamaica– his views were conditioned by the colonized and not the colonizers. This would have made him more sympathetic to the embryonic Palestinian national movement in the 1960s – even before the conquest of the West Bank in 1967.

Police believe single caller menacing JCCs, as more buildings threatened

New York City’s head of police intelligence said Thursday that investigators believe one man using a voice changer and phone spoofing device is behind a large number of the scores of threats made against US Jewish institutions this year.
John Miller appeared on the show “CBS This Morning,” describing the attacks as coordinated. The spoofing device makes it appear the call is not coming from the number the man is using, and makes it appear it’s coming from within the institution, he said.
“We have an offender with some technical prowess here,” Miller said.
The Anti-Defamation League says 148 threats targeting Jewish institutions have been received across the country since January.
On Thursday, a Jewish children’s museum in Brooklyn was evacuated for a few hours after police investigated an emailed bomb threat. Hours later a JCC in Los Gatos, California, near San Jose, was evacuated over a bomb threat.
One arrest has been made in the threats, a St. Louis man accused of making eight of the calls in an effort to harass his ex-girlfriend. Juan Thompson has asked a federal judge in Missouri to release him on bond as he faces the federal charges out of New York. Thompson’s lawyer declined comment.

Police: Threats to Jewish groups in US and UK may be linked

American and British law enforcement agencies say there is evidence bomb threats against Jewish institutions in the U.S. are linked to similar incidents in Britain.
Waves of threats against U.S. Jewish groups in recent weeks — including community centers, schools, and offices of national organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League civil rights group — have been followed within hours by similar but smaller waves against Jewish organizations, mainly schools, in Britain.
According to people in both countries who have listened to recordings of the threats, most of the them have been made over the telephone by men and women with American accents whose voices are distorted by electronic scramblers.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Children’s Museum in New York City was evacuated for a few hours on Thursday after it received a bomb threat by email, police said.

Anti-Semites are becoming bolder in Britain, and that should worry us all

Today in Britain, it is practically impossible for a Jewish layperson to achieve a prosecution for an anti-Semitic hate crime. I see you raising an eyebrow, so I will explain.
Recently my charity was approached by a non-Jewish lady who had been mistaken for a Jew and consequently borne the brunt of unsolicited threats and abuse whilst minding her own business in a busy public place. As a non-Jew, she expected that her abuser would be swiftly investigated and prosecuted. Unfortunately victims of anti-Semitism experience a very different reality, as she soon found out.
But the Chairman of Campaign Against Anti-Semitism would have no such difficulty, you might think. It is certainly what I thought. Let me tell you my story. On 4th July 2015, neo-Nazis planned to march through Golders Green, the heart of Jewish London, during the Jewish Sabbath. That was unacceptable to the Met, so they proposed confining the neo-Nazi “anti Jewification” march to the memorial at the centre of Golders Green to those who died fighting the Nazis.
Only when we threatened a large counterprotest which threatened to cause traffic problems did the Met decide to move the neo-Nazis to a kettling pen in Westminster. I decided to go along and see what they had to say. Most did their best to stay within the law on incitement, which meant that their speeches were angry, rants against an unspecified “you know who”, but when Jeremy Bedford-Turner took the mic, he felt no constraints.

Isi Leibler: A call for aliyah

Political correctness still seems to impel us to continue chanting the mantra that we are ‎prohibited from relating to anti-Semitism as a cause for settling in Israel and insisting that the ‎only motivation for aliyah today is to enable a committed Jew to lead a truly Jewish life in his ‎homeland.‎
Without disputing this, it is now high time for Diaspora Jews in many parts of the world to ‎shake off their denial and confront the reality. They must acknowledge that all indicators ‎predict that their situation is only going to worsen and that in some countries a call for aliyah in ‎the face of rising anti-Semitism is warranted.‎
The feverish increase in anti-Semitism is a global phenomenon. However, while Jew-hatred in ‎the United States, Canada and Australia is a far cry from what is happening in Europe and ‎South Africa, even there a witches’ brew of Muslim, leftist and neo-Nazi Jew hatred is making ‎its impact. ‎
In the United States, amid bomb threats and cemetery desecrations, the principal menace is ‎from the combined far-left and Muslim anti-Semites, primarily on the university campuses ‎where Jewish students are increasingly intimidated. ‎
The left-liberal Jews who failed to react to Barack Obama’s vicious anti-Israel diplomatic ‎onslaughts and played down the venom on campuses, are now promoting a partisan political ‎agenda by blaming President Donald Trump for the recent threats and desecrations. They ‎even support anti-Trump movements headed by anti-Semites and former Islamic terrorists. In ‎promoting this scurrilous campaign, they are creating resentment among hitherto pro-Israel ‎Christian elements.‎

CAMERA Counters Error and Bias in Threats to Evangelical Support for Israel

Evangelical Christians are the latest targets of an aggressive and misleading anti-Israel agenda specifically designed to turn these traditional supporters of Israel away from that support in favor of a false narrative promoted by Palestinian leadership. The campaign is spearheaded by members of the Palestinian community, including some leading Christians. It is then advanced by Western Christian leaders who not only support the Palestinian cause, but help promote its anti-Zionist narrative to an extensive audience in the US and around the world. The campaign relies on various false and distorted claims against Israel, often alleging mistreatment of Palestinians.
CAMERA’s Partnership of Christians and Jews counters the bias and error that forms the foundation of the current assault on Evangelical support for Israel by providing educational resources through articles, speakers and conferences.
CAMERA’s next conference will be held in Buffalo, NY on March 19-20, in cooperation with the pro-Israel Christian organization, Eagles’ Wings. The event, titled “Should Christians Stand With Israel?” will be hosted by The Tabernacle in Orchard Park, NY. Registration is available here.
In anticipation of the conference, CAMERA interviewed Rev. Robert Stearns, founder and executive director of Eagles’ Wings, and our host for this event. Below is a brief introduction and the interview.

Am I an Antisemite?

This was the topic of Ilan Pappe’s talk on Tuesday evening at UCL (another ‘Apartheid Week’ event – on the strength of this talk, there is really no question). It was a real gathering of the Israel-traducing clans, including the Trotskyist John Rose, author of ‘The Myths of Zionism’.
Ilan Pappe published his book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” in 2006. It has been widely criticised as dishonest. See here how Pappe is accused of rewriting history (It compares his book with newspaper archives). Pappe’s hysterical thesis – that Israel ‘ethnically cleansed’ half the Arab population in 1948 – has been comprehensively disproved, for example by Efraim Karsh in 2008:
“By the time of Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14 1948, the numbers of Arab refugees had more than trebled. Even then, none of the 170,000-180,000 Arabs fleeing urban centers, and only a handful of the 130,000-160,000 villagers who left their homes, had been forced out by the Jews.”
Incredibly Pappe on Tuesday said ‘Israel in 1948 was as bad as Daesh today’. Let’s remember that in 1948, the Mayor of Haifa, Shabtai Levy, pleaded with the Arabs to stay. How on earth does this compare with the atrocities perpetrated by Daesh?
Benny Morris said of Ilan Pappe: “At best, Ilan Pappe must be one of the world’s sloppiest historians; at worst, one of the most dishonest. In truth, he probably merits a place somewhere between the two.”

Academic Forum or Anti-Semitic Farce?

The aborted “eliminate Israel” confab that was to be at the University of Southampton 2 years ago has been reincarnated in Cork. This was announced at a curious press conference Tuesday at which no press appeared to be present.
Now, normally those of the far left pro-Palestinian persuasion take great offence at any attempts to connect their anti Zionism to antisemitism but not this lot, it seems. Not only have far right white supremacists given their endorsement – see Aryan Street and theuglytruth.com, (delightfully subtitled “intelligent ‘anti-semitism’ for the thinking Gentile”) but one of the Irish organisers was caught promoting the event to Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis on twitter. Piaras Mac Einri was then forced to make an announcement that antisemites and Holocaust deniers were not welcome at the event.
This is going to be quite hard to enforce, I imagine, when one of the chief organisers and keynote speakers has this to say about Jews and the Holocaust. Yes, you heard that right:
there is something so Jewish in that which has provoked the Holocaust and the dealing with which has been so successfully postponed by the Holocaust.
And indeed the official twitter account for the conference seems quite unfazed by these revelations and appears to consider these views legitimate topics for academic discussion.

State Department: Israel’s anti-BDS law is ‘sovereign decision’

A new law that would ban entry to Israel of foreigners who publicly support boycotts of the Jewish state is Israel’s “sovereign decision,” a State Department spokesperson said.
In a briefing to reporters on Wednesday, Mark Toner said that while the United States opposes boycotts of Israel, it is up to Israel to make decisions regarding its borders.
“While we oppose boycotts and sanctions of the state of Israel, we also support firmly freedom of expression,” Toner said. “That said, it’s – this is a sovereign decision for Israel to make regarding its borders.”
The law, adopted Monday by the Knesset, bans entry to foreigners who publicly call for boycotting the Jewish state.
According to the new law, the ban applies to any foreigner “who knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel that, given the content of the call and the circumstances in which it was issued, has a reasonable possibility of leading to the imposition of a boycott – if the issuer was aware of this possibility.” It includes those who urge limiting boycotts to areas under Israeli control but not yet annexed, such as the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement Is Not the Way to Achieve Peace in Israel

This is relevant because regardless of one’s opinion, Jews in Israel do not feel like an occupying power. They feel like an indigenous people in their homeland who are willing to defend it as shown by their willingness to become freedom fighters.
Unlike British citizens, there is no other country for Jews, and while Jews have been widely accepted in the Western world, one only needs to look at the recent violence against Jews in Europe and rising antisemitism in America (especially on college campuses) to realize Jewish nervousness regarding the diaspora.
The BDS movement treats Israel as a colonialist state and pursues policies that had been effective in the past. Unfortunately for BDS supporters, these policies have not only been ineffective in harming Israel, but might also be stunting the Palestinian economy. What this policy has done is not push Israel to become more liberal and open to positive relations with Palestinians. Rather, it has emboldened the far-right wing of Israel as Jews feel more besieged and unsafe.
Real progress can only come by viewing the conflict through a paradigm of two conflicting ideologies and identities, not as an oppressor versus oppressed. That is not to say that Palestinians are not unjustly oppressed. Something must be done to change the situation and end the occupation, but the BDS movement will only make peace harder, push people farther apart and make ending the occupation more difficult — the exact opposite of the movement’s goal.

South African lawmaker: IDF a ‘murderous machine’

Israel will summon South Africa’s ambassador to Israel for a rebuke following anti-Israel remarks made by two senior officials in the South African government.
Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa Arthur Lenk was also instructed to communicate his country’s outrage at the comments in a message to officials in Pretoria.
In one incident, South Africa’s Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, accused Israel of conducting a system of water apartheid against Palestinian Arabs.
“Israel uses water to control the Palestinians. This matter was investigated and confirmed,” she claimed.
Mokonyane also referred to the incident in which IDF soldier Elor Azariya shot a neutralized terrorist and claimed that Azariya “murdered an innocent protester who was lying helpless on the ground.”
She also claimed that Azariya’s shooting illustrated that the IDF was a “murderous machine.”
In another incident, the Deputy Secretary-General of South Africa’s ruling ANC party, Jessie Duarte, called on the government to strip South African Jews of their citizenship if they had drafted into the IDF.

Head of French Umbrella Group Complains to U of Pau Over Professor’s ‘Latest Racist Frenzy’ Against Jews

The head of France’s Jewish umbrella organization complained to the University of Pau about one of its faculty members, who blogged that the Jews have been responsible for “many bloody events, such as the 1917 Russian Revolution,” the Times of Israel‘s French-language edition reported on Sunday.
In a letter to the school, Francis Khalifat — president of Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, or CRIF) — claimed that physics professor François Roby’s conspiracy theory, expressed in a February 21 post, was merely the latest of his “racist frenzies” against the Jews.
In response, Pau administrators informed Khalifat that will “take this information into account” while investigating a separate complaint filed against Roby at the end of last year — over his posing for a photo while making the “quenelle” gesture, an inverted Nazi salute popularized by French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who in 2015 was jailed for two months by Belgian authorities for performing antisemitic jokes in his act.

The Springfield Country Club Should Cancel CAIR-Philadelphia’s Fundraising Banquet

The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) plans to host its annual banquet at the Springfield Country Club on Saturday, March 11, 2017, featuring Linda Sarsour. The Middle East Forum calls on the Springfield County Club to cancel this event and commit to not hosting CAIR events in the future. Here’s why:
The FBI has banned outreach with CAIR since 2008. CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim ally of the United States, designated CAIR a terrorist organization. The Anti-Defamation League accuses CAIR of promoting anti-Jewish sentiment. Six CAIR leaders have been arrested, convicted, or deported for terrorism-related crimes: Randall (“Ismail”) Royer, Ghassan Elashi, Bassem Khafagi, Rabih Haddad, Nabil Sadoun, and Muthanna Al-Hanooti.
Linda Sarsour has a history of promoting fake hate crimes, antisemitism, and other extremist groups. She has claimed that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 2009 “underwear bomber,” was a CIA provocateur. Further, Sarsour is a frequent participant and fundraiser for Al-Awda, a Palestinian group that endorses terrorism, calls for the destruction of Israel, and relays the slogan of Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
We differentiate between Islam and Islamism. American Muslims are an important part of our country; but Islamists pursue an extreme political ideology that, with little mandate from ordinary Muslims, seeks to impose a medieval law code on the United States. Islamists such as those running CAIR encourage hatred against women, Jews, Christians, the LGBTQ community, and Muslims belonging to minority sects. Islamists radicalize Muslims in the United States and fund jihadi violence abroad.

BBC News ignores another UNRWA – Hamas story

At the end of last month we noted that the BBC had chosen not to report the story of an employee of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) who was suspended following allegations of his election to the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip.
According to UNRWA figures, the UK was its third most generous donor in 2015, contributing nearly a hundred million US dollars to its budget. Hence, members of the British public may well be interested in seeing some serious investigative reporting from their national broadcaster on the issue of alleged links between the UN agency they help fund and the terror organisation that is proscribed by the British government.
Despite being one of the few international media organisations to have an office in the Gaza Strip and therefore being well-placed to cover this story, the BBC continues to date to refrain from doing so.

Journalist Highlights Switzerland’s War on Israel

Switzerland has been funding several anti-Israel organizations, including some who belong to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, according to a March 6, 2017 Jerusalem Post report by correspondent Benjamin Weinthal (“Switzerland Funds NGO’s That Call For Israel’s Destruction”).
Weinthal, citing a February article in the Swiss daily Basler Zeitung, noted that Bern was funding several non-governmental organization’s (NGOs) that call “for the annihilation of Israel and for the death of Jews,” in the words of Zeitung’s senior editor Dominik Feusi. Following that report, on March 9, 2017, the Swiss parliament called to “amend the laws, ordinances and regulations so that Switzerland can no longer subsidize, even indirectly, development cooperation projects carried out by NGOs involved in racist, antisemitic or hate incitement actions, or in BDS campaigns.”
Several NGOs were highlighted in the report as recipients of the Swiss government’s largesse. The Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and Al-Haq, among them. The Badil Resource Center supports the BDS movement, which singles out the Jewish state for opprobrium and calls for its destruction. PCHR “routinely calls for the arrest of Israeli politicians and compares Israel with the former apartheid regime in South Africa.”
According to NGO Monitor, an organization that monitors non-governmental groups that are active in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Al-Haq’s General Director Shawan Jabarin has “alleged ties” to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—a U.S.-designated terrorist group. NGO Monitor has also noted that the FBI subpoenaed Maureen Clair Murphy, a former Al-Haq employee, in December 2010 for her work with the Palestine Solidarity Group, which supports another U.S.-designated terror group, Hamas.

Finance minister: 2016 was one of Israeli economy’s best years

Israel’s economy grew by 4% annually in 2016, exceeding the growth rate of other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member states, which averaged 1.7%, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.
Israel’s gross national product stood at 2.5% in 2015 and 3.2% in 2014.
The business sector also performed well in 2016, marking 4.2% annual growth, compared to 2.3% in 2015, the report said.
The data further indicated that gross domestic product per capita has also grown: Private consumption of fixed-price goods and services increased by 6.3% in 2016, having grown by 4.3% in both 2015 and 2014. Overall, 2016 saw a 2% rise in fixed prices, which are unaffected by inflation rates, compared to a 0.5% growth the previous year.
Economic growth was also indicated by import and export figures: The import of goods and services in 2016 climbed 9.5%, following a 0.5% drop in 2015; and exports grew by 3%, after a 4.3% slump the previous year.
Imports in the diamond industry noted a 21.8% spike in 2016, the report noted.

How Israel is Passing the Competition in Self-Driving Car Technology

Automotive industry executives who are looking at the future of automobiles “should look beyond the traditional industry hubs in Detroit, Frankfurt, and Tokyo to a place that might appear to be an unlikely location: Israel,” a think tank expert wrote in Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.
Avi Jorisch, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, wrote that Israel’s importance to the future of the automotive industry has increased, given the push by companies such as Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Google, Lyft, and Uber to develop autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles.
Jorisch explained the environment in which Israel plays such a outsize role:
Future cars will use less sheet metal and iron and rely more on software. Engineers must overcome huge challenges to seamlessly integrate cutting-edge computer chips, communication devices, and data analytics, all while protecting vehicles and drivers from potential cyberattacks. Israel’s strong military and academic culture, along with its edge in information technology and cybersecurity, gives it a competitive advantage.

‘Entourage’ Star Adrian Grenier in Jerusalem: ‘Contemplating Ancient City in Modern Times; Holy Land, History, Humanity’

Actor Adrian Grenier, famous for his lead role as Vincent Chase on the hit HBO series “Entourage,” published a photo of himself on Thursday looking out over the Western Wall and Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The picture, posted on Instagram by the non-Jewish star, is captioned, “Contemplating the infrastructure…of an ancient city in modern times, of a holy land, of history, of humanity.”
Grenier’s upcoming film, the political thriller “Public Affairs,” is in post-production.

DJ Fatboy Slim plans Purim party for first Israel visit

When the Purim rave gets going at Tel Aviv’s Hangar 11 on Sunday night, March 12, it will be DJ Fatboy Slim’s first time celebrating the Jewish costume party holiday.
“I’ve heard everybody’s in fancy dress, and I’m told it’s obligatory to be drunk, and I’ve never played a show where that was a condition,” said the British DJ, whose real name is Norman Cook. “I’m coming with an open mind and a large selection of tunes, so I can go in any direction the night dictates.”
And a Hawaiian shirt, which is Cook’s usual uniform for his nearly nightly shows.
Cook, 53, is an English DJ, musician and producer better known as Fatboy Slim, a moniker he adapted in the 1990s as he developed his electronic solo act and the big beat genre, known for its synthesizer-generated loops and patterns. He started out in the 1980s as a bassist of indie rock band The Housemartins, and then, as a solo electronic act, won 10 MTV Video Music Awards and two Brit Awards.
But Cook has never played in Israel, despite its popular and prevalent clubbing scene. It was not for any lack of desire, he told The Times of Israel over the phone.
“I’m sorry that I’m late,” said Cook. “It’s just fun to go to a new country and meet new people and know there’s a dance scene and club thing going on.”

Ivanka Tweets Golda Meir Message About ‘Making the Most of Yourself’ in Honor of International Women’s Day

Ivanka Trump tweeted a meme on Thursday with a quote by the late Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth prime minister, as part of a belated International Women’s Day greeting.
“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement,” was the quote, which US President Donald Trump’s Jewish daughter posted, along with her own message: “Women’s day is every day! Happy Thursday! #internationalwomensday.”

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