Eurovision Contestants Walk the Orange Carpet in Tel Aviv
Contestants from 41 countries walked an orange carpet in Tel Aviv’s “Culture Square” on Sunday for the opening ceremony of Eurovision 2019, brushing aside security concerns and calls for a pro-Palestinian boycott.
The 64th Eurovision Song Contest holds semi-finals in Tel Aviv on Tuesday and Thursday ahead of the grand final on Saturday.
Instead of the traditional red carpet, an orange carpet, matching the logo of a company sponsoring the international song fest, was rolled out at the Tel Aviv square that houses Israel’s Habima national theater and the Israel Philharmonic.
“Everyone is excited in my team. I’m really happy to be here,” said Cypriot singer Tamta, the first artist to stroll the walkway flanked by visiting photographers and reporters.
The four members of Poland’s Tulia gave a quick sample of their folk singing style called “śpiewokrzyk” or “scream singing” to the crowd’s enjoyment.
Finish DJ Darude said artists behind the scenes of the festival were “slapping high-fives and having a good time.”
Concerns had been raised that the contest could be disrupted by a surge in cross-border violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza. But a ceasefire that went into effect a week ago has been holding.
Pop superstar Madonna will land in Israel on Wednesday morning, accompanied by an entourage of 135 people, ahead of her planned performance during the Eurovision finals on Saturday night.
But on Monday, Eurovision executive producer Jon Ola Sand said her performance was not yet confirmed, since the European Broadcasting Union does not have a signed contract with her team.
Disagreements apparently remained regarding the EBU’s broadcasting rights for the performance, as the union is demanding all member networks be granted full rights to the materials.
“If we don’t have a signed contract, she can’t perform on that stage,” Sand said at a Monday night press conference at the Tel Aviv Expo. “We’re negotiating that now.”
Earlier Monday, the public relations team for Sylvan Adams, the Canadian-Israeli philanthropist, who is reportedly funding a large portion of Madonna’s $1.3 million fee and bringing her to Israel on his private jet, stated that preparations for Madonna’s performance were already taking place.
Daniel Benaim, the CEO of the Comtec Group, an Israeli events producer that is handling the singer’s production in Israel, stated in a press release that her performance was a complicated one with demands and standards similar to those of other international performers.
The pro-Israel NGO StandWithUs has purchased and will erect a massive vertical billboard over the Ayalon Highway in protest to a campaign by the left-wing NGO Breaking the Silence, daring Eurovision visitors to “dream of peace, security and coexistence.”
Breaking the Silence put up a billboard on Sunday in Tel Aviv contrasting an image of Tel Aviv with the security barrier, and offering visitors the opportunity to take a tour of “occupied Hebron” and see “the reality of everyday life in the occupied territories.”
The StandWithUs billboard will offer counter-tours to Gush Etzion, the Gaza periphery and Haifa.
“As soon as we found out about this campaign, we acted,” said StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein, who is currently visiting Israel. “Within an hour, we had plans to promote our own tours on a giant billboard. We have never, and we will never, leave the playing field to those who tell lies about Israel.”
On the Gush Etzion tour, visitors will meet with local Israelis and Palestinians, and participate in conversations about their efforts to “create a brighter future together,” according to the StandWithUs tour website. On the Gaza periphery, participants will get a glimpse at life on the border under constant threat of rockets. The Haifa tour will focus on coexistence through the eyes of the city’s diverse population.
Petra Marquardt-Bigman: Anti-Israel bias at Human Rights Watch (Part 1: Omar Shakir)
Omar Shakir’s long record of anti-Israel activism
As I and others have documented in considerable detail, Shakir has campaigned for all of his adult life against the existence of world’s only Jewish state, and numerous tweets from recent years show that he has not changed his long-held views or distanced himself from his activism before he was hired as HRW Israel/Palestine director in fall 2016.
Yet it is noteworthy that Shakir’s activism can be traced back to his freshman year at Stanford in 2003/4, because it arguably took particular fanaticism to promote the “Palestinian cause” at that time: the murderous Al-Aqsa Intifada was still going on; the exploitation of Palestinian children and teenagers for terrorist attacks was already well known; and reliable polls showed that a shocking 71% of Palestinians admired Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as someone who could be trusted “to do the right thing regarding world affairs.”
At that time, early organizers for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaigns against Israel like Shakir could take inspiration from a programmatic essay by BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti that was published in January 2004 at the Electronic Intifada. Barghouti denounced the two-state solution as an immoral ploy to save Zionism and hailed “what may be considered the final chapter of the Zionist project.” As Barghouti cynically declared in a veiled reference to the ongoing terror of the Al-Aqsa intifada: “We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.”
As far as Omar Shakir is concerned, Barghouti should be admired as “the Palestinian intellectual Israel fears most.”
By the time Shakir was awarded a fellowship for 2013-14 by HRW, he could boast of a decade of anti-Israel activism.
Already in 2010, Shakir had made it into a report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on campus antisemitism because he participated at an event where Jews were compared to Nazis, while terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad were hailed as ‘Freedom Fighters’. In his own contribution to the event, Shakir emphasized that he regarded it as “an honor” to be a speaker and he reiterated his support for the so-called “one-state-solution” that would transform the world’s only Jewish state into yet another Arab-Muslim majority state. (h/t IsaacStorm)
Jonathan S. Tobin: Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism wins the pop-culture primary
Maybe you thought the turning point took place in February when the Democratic majority caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives failed to name and rebuke Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan for trafficking in anti-Semitism. The ability of Omar to hold onto her seat on the House Foreign Relations Committee and for her to remain the darling of the left wing of her party, despite promoting the idea that Jewish supporters of Israel were disloyal to America and that Jews were buying Congress with “Benjamins,” was a shocking development in American politics.
But the real victory for them didn’t take place on Capitol Hill. It happened on television.
If smears of Jews and of Israel have become mainstream fare, it’s not because of anything Congress did or didn’t do. It’s because the late-night television comedy circuit has embraced Ilhan Omar as a heroine who must be defended at all costs. In doing so, the likes of Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah have essentially put the popular-culture seal of approval on a figure who, in a saner time in our political history, would be viewed with disdain rather than admiration by the people who keep America laughing after prime time. That trendy comedians who have an outsized influence in shaping the views of younger viewers are holding her up as both a heroine and a victim may be doing far more damage than anything politicians have done.
Political humor on American television is nothing new. But a bipartisan approach to politics on late-night TV is now as outdated as silent movies. The roster of these programs is uniform in their liberal outlook, and the comedy at the expense of the hosts’ conservative targets is generally as harsh as it is self-consciously earnest and self-righteous.
Most of this has to do with the extreme antipathy for U.S. President Donald Trump in the entertainment world with the likes of Jimmy Kimmel, Meyers and Colbert on the broadcast networks, and Noah on the just as influential “The Daily Show” on the Comedy Network, who all serve as the main cheerleaders for the liberal “resistance.”
Trump on Monday joined a chorus of Republicans and Jewish and Israeli leaders who have lambasted Tlaib over the remarks.
Democrat Rep. Tlaib is being slammed for her horrible and highly insensitive statement on the Holocaust. She obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2019
Israel’s envoy to the United Nations Danny Danon earlier called Tlaib’s comments “grossly anti-Semitic and ignorant” and urged her to “take some time to learn the history before trying to rewrite it.”
Much of the Arab leadership in Mandatory Palestine did not welcome Jewish refugees with open arms. Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, opposed all immigration of Jews, and during World War II campaigned against the arrival of Jewish refugees. He also reportedly worked with the Nazis to prevent the establishment of a Jewish homeland. In addition, the Arab residents revolted against the British, which led to restrictions on Jewish immigration to British Mandatory Palestine, depriving Jews of any “safe haven.”
CNN Fact Checks Dem Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s Comments On Israel
John King: Tlaib “ignored the fact that Palestinian leaders at the time allied themselves with Hitler and that total war is how the Arab world reacted to the declaration of Israeli independence.” pic.twitter.com/mvSa7gTn4P
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) 13 май 2019 г.
A new study on online disinformation and harassment has found that a “coordinated vilification” campaign against Jewish Americans is likely during the 2020 US election.
The study by the Institute for the Future, titled, “The Human Consequences of Computational Propaganda,” examined online propaganda, disinformation, and harassment directed against various groups during the 2018 midterm elections and attempted to extrapolate these trends for the 2020 campaign.
The authors concluded that there may well be “coordinated vilification campaigns aimed at Jewish Americans, women’s reproductive rights groups, and immigration activists.”
The study found that the targeting of these groups online included “co-opting images, videos, hashtags, and information previously used or generated by social and issue-focused groups — and then repurposing this content in order to camouflage disinformation and harassment campaigns.”
In addition, “Disinformation campaigns utilize age-old stereotypes and conspiracies — often attempting to foment both intra-group polarization and external arguments with other groups.”
The efforts by various social media companies to combat this have, thus far, been ineffective, says the study.
In the case Jewish Americans, the study found the “co-option of terms and ideas. Anti-Semitic trolls online have co-opted Hebrew words, including shoah and goyim, and turned them into derogatory terms.”
Antisemites like @rashidatlaib have a long track record of distorting Jewish history just as the Nazis did – but only Rashida lies, gets called out, and then blames her critics for her lies! I’m glad we all saw right through her, but she’s still in Congress! pic.twitter.com/68HosSyrxo
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) May 13, 2019
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) May 13, 2019
One of the more idiotic pieces of palestinian propaganda among a plethora of idiotic pieces of palestinian propaganda https://t.co/6qgGQbtB6J
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) May 13, 2019
Several members of the Shadow Cabinet spent their Saturday attending a central London ‘Palestinian solidarity’ rally, run by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign which was recently exposed as being ridden with anti-Semitism. Labour frontbenchers Laura Pidcock, Richard Burgon, and Diane Abbott spoke at the rally where protesters spread conspiracies from ‘Israel controlling the media’ to ‘Israel is responsible for anti-Semitic abuse’. Although it is possible that Richard Burgon didn’t notice, after all he tweeted support for the Palestine rally with the Jordanian flag…
The march was led down Regent Street by a man who claimed Jews in Israel “owns the banks and the media” and that “Israel did 9/11.” Don’t expect any condemnations from Labour MPs any time soon – Jeremy Corbyn is still patron of the PSC…
Seumas Milne is no stranger to defending the UK’s enemies, whether it’s Vladimir Putin’s novichok exploits or Bashir al-Assad and North Korea. Now a fresh video has been unearthed by tireless investigator Iggy Ostanin of Corbyn’s spin doctor defending the “right to resist” of a notorious Iraqi insurgent group responsible for beheading civilians. Pick a conflict, any conflict, you can almost guarantee Corbyn and Seumas will side with the wrong ‘uns…
In the 2007 video Milne describes how he “interviewed three leaders of three of the main Iraqi resistance groups earlier this summer” – by his own account this included al-Rahman al-Zubeidy, spokesman for the Ansar al-Sunna group. In 2004, Ansar al-Sunna murdered twelve Nepalese workers they took hostage, including broadcasting a beheading online, justifying it with:
“We have carried out the sentence of God against 12 Nepalese who came from their country to fight the Muslims and to serve the Jews and the Christians … believing in Buddha as their God.”
Ansar al-Sunna also claimed responsibility for numerous suicide bombings across Iraq with hundreds of local civilian casualties, they were already a proscribed terrorist organisation by the UK two years before Milne met them. The Home Office called them:
“a fundamentalist Sunni Islamist extremist group…[which] aims to expel all foreign influences from Iraq and create a fundamentalist Islamic state.”
Now they’ve merged with ISIS…
The Lawfare Project announced Monday that it has filed a second case against Kuwait Airways in Germany alleging antisemitic discrimination on its flights.
The case is being brought in the Landshut District Court on behalf of a Frankfurt-based Israeli businessman, Shmuel M., who booked a flight from Munich to Sri Lanka in November, but was then blocked by Kuwait Airways from using the ticket.
In 2016, the Lawfare Project led an effort to file a first lawsuit against Kuwait Airways in a German court for the airline’s discriminatory policy of banning Israelis as passengers.
In September 2018, a German appeals court slammed Kuwait Airways for its ban on Israeli passengers, but said practical issues left it unable to force the airline to treat Israelis equally.
The Lawfare Project has filed an appeal to an even higher court, but in the meantime it has noted that the German public, media and government offices have overwhelmingly supported its position.
In the new case, Shmuel M. booked business-class tickets from Munich to Colombo, which was the quickest flight to Sri Lanka available from that airport.
When he asked about obtaining kosher food on the flight, the airline asked whether he held an Israeli passport.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation that limits the scope of a law already on the books that bans the state from doing business with Israel boycotters.
The new legislation exempts individuals and businesses valued at less than $100,000 or employing fewer than ten full-time employees from the ban on doing business with companies who abide by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel.
The new legislation comes two weeks after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the enforcement of the state law after hearing testimony from a Palestinian speech pathologist who lost her contract with a Texas school district for refusing to sign a contract that said she does not boycott Israel.
Following the signing of the new legislation on Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who had appealed the preliminary injunction to the Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals, filed a motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit brought by several Texas contractors who claimed it violated their right to free speech, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“The law still discriminates against companies that engage in political consumer boycotts of Israel, which is a right protected by the First Amendment,” Tommy Buser-Clancy of the ACLU told the newspaper. “An unconstitutional law cannot be salvaged merely by making it apply to fewer people.”
London-based Amnesty International, together with other human rights activists, has filed a petition to the District Court in Tel Aviv to compel Israel’s Defense Ministry to revoke the export license it granted to NSO Group, a Herzliya-based spyware developer, that Amnesty said has been used “in chilling attacks on human rights defenders around the world.”
The petition sets out how the ministry “has put human rights at risk by allowing NSO to continue exporting its products,” Amnesty said in a statement Monday.
The Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the court petition.
In August 2018 an Amnesty staff member was targeted by a particularly invasive piece of NSO Group software, which was also linked to attacks on activists and journalists in Saudi Arabia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates, Amnesty said in the statement.
Pegasus, the firm’s phone tracking software, has put NSO in the global spotlight, with dissidents, journalists and other opposition figures claiming the company’s technology has been used by repressive governments to spy on them.
In partnership with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs & The Israel Innovation Fund
CAMERA presents “The Mainstreaming of Antisemitism: The Media, BDS and Celebrated Bigotry”
Please join us on June 11th in Jerusalem for a panel discussion with Dan Diker, Fellow and Senior Project Director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; Ricki Hollander, Senior Media Analyst for CAMERA, and Aviva Rosenschein, International Campus Director for CAMERA. David Hazony, Executive Director of The Israel Innovation Fund, will moderate the panel.
While Western lawmakers seek to adopt clear definitions of antisemitism, the age-old bigotry is gaining ground in universities, government circles, and within the liberal progressive milieu that has traditionally been so hospitable to Jews. Hiding behind the veil of human rights, BDS advocates have made antisemitic rhetoric so commonplace that it emerges even in mainstream venues. Who are the new antisemites? What role do the media and academia play in normalizing them and their dangerous vitriol? What can we do about it?
The conclusion is that any journalist who uses “settlement”/Mustawtana to describe a community within the Green Line is suggesting not only that the Jewish presence in the West Bank is a form of illegitimate colonialism, but that the entire Israeli/Zionist/Jewish political establishment within the historic League of Nations Mandate boundaries of 1947 is as well. When used by Arabic-language media outlets, such terminology serves is parroting radical ideologies which seeks to deny Israel its right to exist.
Moreover, the connection between the misuse of the “settlement”/Mustawtana terminology and other vocabulary which disguises and undermines the existence of Israel becomes clearer. Thus, it’s no surprise that the video embedded in the Sky News Arabia piece from July 18th (No.9 on the Sky list) had “Palestine” in the caption and the Palestinian flag appearing next to the map of the former Mandate. When the entire country is labeled “occupied” “Palestine”, these media outlets – which purportedly uphold Western journalistic standards of accuracy – are similarly legitimizing extremist rhetoric negating Israel’s very existence.
Here are some examples:
- BBC Arabic’s Noureddine Zorgui tweets on March 1st, 2019 from his official BBC account about a show he hosted in West Jerusalem, Israel: “[I am] in Palestine this time”
- Sky News Arabia, December 15th, 2018: “Jat [an Arab town in northern Israel], in the occupied internal part [Ad-Dakhil Al-Muhtall, i.e. Israel within the 1949 lines. The word ‘Israel’ is never mentioned – CAMERA Arabic]”
- BBC Arabic, November 12th, 2018: “More than 200 Palestinians were killed in Gaza by the Israeli military since the end of March, most of them during the weekly protests on the border in demand of the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes/houses that Israel occupies today [bold by CAMERA Arabic]”
- France24, October 18th, 2018: the report labels Beit Jimal, a Catholic monastery located within the Green Line manned by clerics from Italy, France and Belgium, as a “Palestinian” target of vandalism that turns to “Israeli authorities” for justice. It is impossible to determine from which side of the Green Line is the monastery located, solely by reading the report.
- Sky News, July 18th, 2018: The video embedded to the news piece has the map of the 1947 British Mandate along with the Arab Palestinian flag and the writing “Palestine”.
Indeed, the Green Line never seemed blurrier in the eyes of Arabic-language Western media outlets.
Menendez made no effort whatsoever to challenge Baconi’s inversion of the facts and whitewashing of terrorism. Listeners were not told that the Gaza Strip was designated ‘hostile territory’ by Israel over two years after Israel’s disengagement from the territory and following over 2,000 rocket attacks by Gaza Strip based terrorists in which 14 Israelis were killed.
The item was closed by Menendez at that point but listeners to the evening edition of ‘Newshour’ on the same day heard a slightly different version of the same interview with Baconi which was presented by Menendez (from 00:11 here) as “the context for this sudden escalation of fighting”.
In other words, BBC World Service radio’s idea of “context” that would aid audiences to understand the story was falsehoods concerning the counter-terrorism blockade from a known Hamas apologist representing an inadequately introduced political NGO.
The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during April 2019 shows that throughout the month a total of 126 incidents took place: 88 in Judea & Samaria, 12 in Jerusalem and 26 in the Gaza Strip sector.
In Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem the agency recorded 70 attacks with petrol bombs, twenty-one attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), three stabbing attacks, two shooting attacks and four arson attacks.
Incidents recorded in the Gaza Strip sector included 4 attacks with petrol bombs, three attacks using IEDs, six attacks using improvised grenades and three separate incidents of rocket launches.
There were no fatalities or injuries as a result of terror attacks throughout the month.
The BBC News website did not report on any of the incidents which took place during April.
Since the beginning of the year the BBC News website has reported 4.9% of the Palestinian terror attacks that have taken place and 66% of the total fatalities.
A Miami man was arrested for making threatening phone calls to a local bagel shop.
The man called the Bagel Time Café several times on May 6, and in his last call threatened to “get rid of” Jews, Miami’s Local10 reported.
The man first told the owners over the telephone that he would “expose you all” after asking if they were Jewish. In another call he said that Jews were taking over the world, saying, “We’re going to make sure you can’t overpopulate like you are now and we’re going to get rid of you.” He added: “I’m here. That’s my mission,” according to the report.
Jorge Mateo Rucinque, 26, was arrested the following day, Miami’s Local10 reported.
He reportedly told officers of the Miami Beach Police Department’s Intelligence Unit that he sought out Jewish businesses by searching the internet for key words such as “Jews” and “kosher.” Rucinque works as an Uber driver.
A major Jewish group has sent a letter of protest to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) President, Aleksander Čeferin, after soccer fans in the Netherlands committed an antisemitic assault.
On May 5, a Jewish man was attacked by men wearing shirts with the logo of the Feyenoord Rotterdam soccer team, after he asked them to stop singing a song with the lyrics, “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS, together they burned Jews because Jews burn the best.”
Feyenoord has a longstanding rivalry with Ajax Amsterdam, which had many Jewish fans before the Holocaust. Feyenoord chants are often antisemitic due to Ajax’s identification with Jews.
In the letter to the UEFA president, Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, deplored “the constant recidivism of the antisemitic behavior of Feyenoord Rotterdam football Club of the Netherlands.”
Maajid Nawaz says that #holocaust deniers should not go to prison for their revisionism..What’s your opinion? pic.twitter.com/EGRjkpNtl7
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) May 13, 2019
Israel’s booth at the Buenos Aires Book Fair was awarded the prize for Best Site in the category “Countries,” which includes all the foreign countries at what is considered the most well-attended book fair in the Spanish-speaking world.
A jury of design, architecture and fairs-management professionals announced the award on Saturday.
The booth, minimalist and almost completely devoid of furniture, features an open space in which the words “Israel” and “Y Borges” for iconic Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges are emblazoned. The booth celebrates the friendship between the Argentinean author and Israel, and books written by Borges translated into Hebrew are available to read at the stand.
The illumination artifacts that hang from the ceiling include phrases to commemorate 50 years of Borges’ first trip to Israel, 71 years of Israel’s independence, and the 120th anniversary of the birth of the awarded Argentinean poet. The main book being exhibited is the new edition of a book about the love of the Argentinean writer and Israel titled “Borges, Judaism and Israel.”
Hosted in the La Rural exhibition center in Palermo, the 45nd Annual Buenos Aires Book Fair will present more than 1,500 events during 20 days and feature 2,500 lectures, book presentations and artistic events until its close on Monday.
Israel’s Transportation Ministry recently approved a major expansion plan for the country’s Ben-Gurion International Airport, according to which approximately 860,000 square feet of floor space will be added, along with four additional conveyor belts for luggage and 90 new check-in counters.
The airport will be able to handle increased air traffic after the $840 million renovations, and its border control, parking and duty-free areas will also be expanded.
In anticipation of record numbers of travelers this summer – over 25 million, up from 23 million last year – the airport is already planning to set up 25 temporary service counters.
The last time Ben-Gurion Airport underwent major renovations was in 2004, with the opening of Terminal 3, the airport’s primary passenger terminal. The project took four years to complete, at a cost of $1 billion.
From Byzantine to Bauhaus, stone to steel, Israel is a country filled with dozens of architectural styles that lend a diverse and visually fascinating quality to the built landscape of the Holy Land.
Here are 10 books that provide insight into some of the most famous examples of Israeli architecture through the modern age.
If Architecture is a Language, Then a Building is a Story by Eliezer Armon
In this beautiful monograph, Israel’s “desert architect” Eliezer Armon documents 30 years of work that have drawn inspiration from Israel and its landscape, worldwide cultures, martial arts, the Hebrew alphabet and Bible, and Jewish tradition and mysticism.
Among Armon’s projects are the Abraham’s Well Visitors’ Center, Beersheva; Holon Wolfson Railway Station, Tel Aviv; Beersheva Central Railway Station; Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Gilat; “Burning Bush” Synagogue, Mitzpeh Ramon; Kindergarten and Center for the Elderly, Meitar; El-Zahara School, Lod; and the Israeli Air Force Museum, Hatzerim.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.