Anthropology and Anti-Semitism
One of the core principles of modern anthropology is cultural relativism, the idea that researchers must not make value judgements about the societies they study. Anthropologists think of themselves as setting aside their biases and preferences in order to see a society and culture “from the native’s point of view.” Whether studying the raiding activity of Bedouin tribal nomads, witchcraft by African villagers, or head-hunting by grieving Philippine tribesmen, anthropologists embrace the sentiment that “nothing human is alien to me.”
Except when it comes to Jews. Once again, Jews and the Jewish state have been uniquely selected for official opprobrium by the American Anthropological Association (AAA). A motion to boycott Israeli academic institutions, an initiative reminiscent of anti-Jewish boycotts of the 1930s, was presented this spring to the membership, which voted online. The resolution, which claims that “the Israeli state has denied Palestinians – including scholars and students – their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, discrimination, and military occupation,” was defeated, according to the official tally released on June 6, by a vote of 2,423 against and 2,384 in favor.
By the narrowest of margins, AAA will not formally join the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This was surely a great disappointment to its Middle East Section, which has long been obsessed with defaming Israel. While the U.S.S.R. was invading Afghanistan and slaughtering its people in 1979, the Middle East Section discussed only Palestine, and condemned only Israel.
Most Israelis would be overjoyed to accept a peace settlement that ended the conflict for all time even if it meant painful territorial compromises that would result in the eviction of many Jews from their homes in the heart of their ancient homeland. But as the Palestinians have indicated repeatedly, even their supposedly moderate leader Mahmoud Abbas is not willing to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn. Despite occasional lip service paid to the two-state solution idea for the Western press, neither Palestinian leaders nor Palestinian public opinion is ready to accept Israel. They see all of Israel — not just the West Bank and Jerusalem — as occupied territory. They applaud terror attacks on all Jews. Those dining in Tel Aviv cafes, like the victims in today’s atrocity, are seen by them as extremists as deserving of death as those Jews living in the most remote West Bank hilltop settlement.
The problem with even-handed policies, such as President Obama’s obsession with creating more “daylight” between Israel and the United States, is that they only encourage the Palestinians to continue rejecting peace rather than putting pressure on them to accept the compromises including statehood they’ve repeatedly rejected. That stand seems irrational, but it makes sense when you realize that Palestinians have come to view their struggle against Israel’s existence as intrinsic to their national identity.
Events like today’s attack in Tel Aviv ought to remind all Americans that so long as Palestinians are killing Jews, talk of even-handed policies will not help anyone, least of all Israel. Those who will praise today’s murderers as “heroes” — as both Palestinian moderates and extremists alike will do — don’t deserve support from either Democrats or Republicans. By fetishizing Palestinian statehood and trying to redefine support for that concept as essential to being pro-Israel, J Street and the left are actually harming the cause of peace and strengthening the forces inciting terrorism. If Democrats choose that path, they may claim, like J Street, to be pro-Israel, but that will be a deception. Until the Palestinians show themselves willing to end their century-long war on Zionism, even-handed means putting daylight between their party and the effort to defend the Jewish state.
ABC reporter Lana Zak asked the White House Thursday if it likened Israel’s suspension of entry permits to Palestinians in the wake of another terrorist attack to Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.
Two Palestinian gunmen opened fire Wednesday at a popular Tel Aviv shopping complex located near Israel’s defense ministry, killing four. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the terrorists’ “savage crime,” and Israel announced it had suspended 83,000 entry permits for Palestinians on Thursday.
Zak wondered at Thursday’s press briefing whether this was akin to Trump’s controversial proposal that the U.S. temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. in the name of security. Both Palestinian terrorists were in Israel on entry permits.
“What does the White House make of Israel’s decision to suspend entry permits to Palestinians?” she asked. “Does the White House find that an appropriate response? Is it too similar in some ways to the presumptive Republican nominee’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States because of terrorism?”
IsraellyCool: Almost Close—A Jerusalem Chai Documentary
I don’t know any Jewish extremists. But I do know Jewish people who live in the Muslim and Christian Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem or on the Mount of Olives in “East” Jerusalem. They do so not to provoke Arabs but out of the conviction that Jews should settle in and build in every part of Jerusalem, our holiest city.
I believe this distinction is important: that Jews who insist upon living among the Arab people in Jerusalem do not do so to incite or provoke, but out of the conviction that Jews have a right to build homes and live in peace in any part of Jerusalem, and indeed, in any part of the Holy Land.
That is why I want to share this video clip of Daniel Lourie speaking about the mission of Ateret Kohanim, an organization that works to legally purchase properties in largely Muslim parts of Jerusalem. Daniel is calm, reasonable, logical, as he explains why he does what he does. He tells an Arab woman that he wants to live peacefully, side by side with Arabs, as she complains that building homes in her neighborhood makes Arabs angry.
Daniel makes the point that the Jewish Quarter of the Old City was called that because, under the Ottoman Empire, there were 19,500 Jews living in this part of Jerusalem out of a total population of 28,000, a clear Jewish majority. Further, Daniel tells us, the so-called “Muslim” Quarter was home to 21 synagogues and 6 yeshivot (Jewish seminaries). Last but not least, Lourie says quite reasonably, in my opinion, that it isn’t right that there is no synagogue on the Mount of Olives, a location with a special Jewish significance from long before Christ and Mohammed were born, and where there is a large Jewish cemetery.
JPost Editorial: Promises, promises
The US has 294 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions around the world – 27 of them in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, more than any other country. All but one of them share one thing: They are located in the host country’s capital. But not in Israel.
As Jeff Jacoby writes in The Boston Globe, “This isn’t just an absurdity; it’s an insult to an ally. It’s also a continuing act of appeasement to rejectionists who oppose Jewish sovereignty over any part of the Jewish homeland. Such discriminatory treatment is obnoxious; that is why presidential hopefuls keep pledging to fix it, and why the House and Senate more than a decade ago, by overwhelming majorities, passed a law – the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 – requiring that the embassy be moved.”
Every six months, each president since Bill Clinton has invoked “national security” to justify using the waiver provision of the Embassy Act. The State Department’s spin is that relocating it would amount to prejudging the status of the city, which should be settled by negotiation.
But no one is suggesting that the embassy be built in other than the western part of town – where Israel’s government ministries, legislature, and Supreme Court are situated, for example. For any country not to recognize Israel’s seat of government as its capital is insulting and absurd.
The what-will-the-Arabs-think argument is specious.
Those who are our friends might gain some respect for the US for its doing the right thing, while our enemies do not care about embassies in Jerusalem as much as eliminating the Jewish state.
President Obama is no doubt concerned with solidifying his legacy in his remaining months in office. It would be an historic decision for him to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem. It would be an act that binds our two democracies even closer together and sends the world the message that the survival of the Jewish state is not negotiable.
The US remains Israel’s chief ally and cannot be replaced by Russia, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday before flying home after a two-day visit to Moscow.
“It is not desirable or practical to replace the United States [with Russia]. The US is the cornerstone of our foreign relations,” Netanyahu told reporters.
He had visited Moscow for the third time this year, and had held his fourth face-to-face meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
Although the trip was a celebration of 25 years of diplomatic ties, it fueled speculation that Israel is seeking to grow closer to Moscow and to distance itself from Washington, particularly in light of Netanyahu’s contentious relationship with President Barack Obama, with whom he has met only once in the past year.
But Netanyahu said that the idea that his frequent trips to Russia were part of a plan to replace Washington with Moscow is “nonsense.”
American and Palestinian officials on Wednesday denounced comments made by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who earlier this week urged Israel to annex Area C of the West Bank and who was incorrectly quoted calling for the removal thousands of Palestinians who live in that area.
A spokesperson for Uriel has since clarified that while the Jewish Home party minister did call for the annexation of Area C — some 60 percent of the West Bank — he did not call for the removal of Palestinians from there, and that his comment to this effect was mistranslated. (The Times of Israel has corrected its original article to reflect this.)
During the daily press briefing on Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner was asked about Ariel’s remarks, made in an interview with The Times of Israel during his trip this week to Moscow.
“I’m going to resist the temptation to respond to every comment from Israeli officials, but for a member of the Israeli cabinet to say what Minister Ariel said is concerning,” Toner said. “We continue to look to steps, rhetoric, comments, actions that we believe will set the conditions for a peace process to take hold and to avoid inflammatory and provocative rhetoric.”
A string of statements by current and former senior Egyptian state and military officials and independent publicists have appeared recently in the Egyptian press, calling for a reassessment, under certain conditions, of the traditional reservations regarding the “temperature” of the country’s relations with Israel.
Egypt’s openness to eventual “warm” peace with Israel emerges in a new geopolitical context. Normalization is no longer presented only as bait aimed at Israel but rather reflects Egypt’s genuine interests and those of other Arab countries in creating a “new regional order” that will include broader and more open cooperative efforts with Israel for the sake of security stability and economic welfare in the region.
“Warm” peace with Israel during the current period is actually meant to fill the vacuum left by the reduction of U.S. involvement in the region. It aims at establishing a new regional axis in which Egypt, the Gulf states, and Israel will join forces.
May Azzam, who published a series of articles in al-Masry al-Youm under the title “Are the Arabs Ready for Warm Peace?,” noted that the Palestinian problem no longer heads the Arab public agenda; an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights is not currently a relevant prospect, in light of the war in Syria; and the “resistance” organizations of Hizbullah and Hamas are considered by some Arab states to be outcast terrorist groups.
According to Azzam, “most of the Arab governments already do not regard Israel as their most bitter enemy and rank other countries ahead of it on the hostility and hatred scale.” She pointed to the Egyptian necessity for promoting “a turnover in the principles on which we were educated and that became part of our fundamental concepts.”
Another columnist in al-Masry al-Youm, writing under the pseudonym “Newton,” stated that after decades of living side-by-side with Israel, the time has come for Egypt to update its “operative program” to enable it to reap the fruits of peace between the two countries. In his view, the new security understandings between Egypt and Israel regarding the deployment of forces in the Sinai Peninsula have proven “the existence of mutual trust and the coordination that serves the interests of both countries.”
Prominent Jews expressed outrage this week over new French Foreign Ministry “software” that lists the residency of French citizens who made aliyah as “Israel/Palestinian Territories” in their passports.
“Grotesque” is how Nidra Poller – an American Jewish intellectual who has been living in France for more than four decades — described the move. “French citizens living in Israel have to move over and make room on their passports for those Palestinian territories that the French pretend to cherish,” she told The Algemeiner.
Author, most recently, of The Black Flag of Jihad Stalks La Republique, Poller placed the labeling of passports in a broader context of French policy in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“France voted in favor of giving the Palestinians the Temple Mount, the Kotel (Western Wall), the tombs of the Patriarchs. At the World Health Organization summit, French representatives joined in the call to investigate Israel for so-called ‘abuses of mental, physical and environmental health.’”
U.S. officials warned last year that the Assad regime is likely to use chemical weapons as a last resort to protect key installations.
The Assad regime killed hundreds of civilians in a chemical attack on a Damascus suburb in August 2013. Despite a deal drawn up in the wake of this attack to rid Syria of its chemical weapon stockpile, the Assad regime has continued to use chlorine gas, and traces of chemical weapons were found in May 2015 at facilities that Assad had not declared. Last year, Iran attempted to block diplomatic efforts to condemn Syria for its violation of the chemical weapons agreement it had signed.
Assad prevented inspectors from accessing all of his chemical weapon stores in July 2015, allowing Syria to avoid completely complying with the deal it had agreed to in 2013. American intelligence at the time indicated that Assad still retained “caches of even deadlier nerve agents.”
Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at Israel’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, warned that the failure of Syrian chemical arms agreement to rid Syria of those illegal weapons boded poorly for the success of the nuclear deal with Iran. After Assad was reported to have kept inspectors away from his chemical weapons stockpile, Karmon asked, “If this is the record of the international community in dismantling and monitoring the chemical and nuclear facilities in Syria, how exactly it will do better in monitoring the vast Iranian nuclear infrastructure?”
The World Health Organization has identified another grave risk to the health of Syrians in their war-torn country: tobacco.
In a statement last week, the UN health agency warned that “notwithstanding the current crisis in the country,” Syrian officials should collaborate with the UN health agency to control the use of tobacco and water pipes among its people, especially young adults, women and teenagers.
WHO’s Syria representative, Dr. Elizabeth Hoff, warned that using tobacco and water pipes endangers the health and lives of smokers and people around them. Hoff said using water pipes to smoke shisha, a common pastime in the Middle East, is 20 times more dangerous than cigarette smoking. She urged Syrian officials to implement a “plain packaging” approach for cigarettes to reduce their “attractiveness and glamour.”
A new study by the indefatigable Media Research Center (MRC) has revealed that mainstream media devoted some six times as much air time to covering the recent death of Harambe the gorilla than they did to the gruesome Islamic State decapitation of 21 Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach last year.
On Saturday, May 28, security officials shot a gorilla named Harambe to protect a three-year-old boy who had fallen into the animal’s pen at the Cincinnati Zoo.
In the five days that followed the animal’s death, the three major networks devoted a total of 1 hour, 28 minutes and 17 seconds to the story during their morning and evening news shows. An unfortunate incident, to be sure, but as one commentator noted, “a tempest in a teapot.”
By contrast, in February 2015, a group of black-clad Islamic State militants slit the throats of 21 Coptic Christians on a beach near Tripoli, which garnered only a fraction of the gorilla coverage. The terrorists videoed the execution, as the Christians, dressed in orange jumpsuits, fell one by one to the ground dead.
A senior U.S. senator said on Tuesday he would like to pass legislation to extend expiring sanctions on Iran and enable Congress to quickly enact new ones if necessary over the country’s ballistic missile tests.
The Iran Sanctions Act, which imposed nuclear, missile and terrorism sanctions on Iran, expires at the end of 2016, and both Democrats and Republicans in Congress support extending it.
But Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, acknowledged that lawmakers have not yet unified behind a proposal that would attract enough votes to pass and become law.
“Members have different views,” he said at a roundtable discussion with reporters.
The Obama administration has warned Congress that it would oppose new sanctions that interfere with the international nuclear pact, laying the groundwork for a potential fight over any legislation.
A book released two months ago is said to be the first to disclose the full extent of the backdoor nuclear deal with Iran that the Obama administration began in secret, and as it turns out, it’s got Hillary Clinton written all over it.
The book is Alter Egos, written by New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler, and explores the relationship between Clinton and Barack Obama — two top U.S. leaders that exist both as arch-rivals and partners in American destiny. The section on the secretive Iran deal piqued the interest of Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius in light of the recent revelation that the State Department deliberately deceived the American public to hide this “back channel” deal.
One of the mysteries of Campaign 2016 is why the Iran nuclear deal has vanished as an issue. But a new book reveals some startling details about how the diplomacy with Tehran began in secret, long before reformers took power there, and the crucial role played by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
This Omani “back channel,” as Ignatius calls it, was opened in 2009 “through a colorful fixer named Salem ben Nasser al-Ismaily.” According to Landler’s account in his book, Clinton’s role was extensive and her entry through the back door was very early.
Iran has suspended one of its national soccer stars for wearing SpongeBob SquarePants-themed pants, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Sosha Makani, a member of Iran’s 2014 World Cup team who plays for Persepolis in Tehran, has been banned from the sport for six months by the committee in charge of monitoring the morality of Iran’s football federation for wearing bright yellow pants that at least one news agency compared to the cartoon character.
Makani was arrested and briefly jailed earlier this year for posting pictures of himself along with women who had their hair uncovered, which was considered “indecent” by authorities. He defended himself by claiming that his account was hacked and that he had not posted the pictures.
A video of Makani dancing with one of the women in the photos subsequently emerged. (h/t Rab iBurns)
The global premiere of “Hating Israel: In Search of The Truth Behind BDS” was screened on Wednesday evening at the Jerusalem Cinematheque in the presence of a select group of parliamentarians, clergy, business leaders, and VIPs. The full-length documentary takes viewers on a personal journey through Israel in search of the truth behind the global movement to defame and destroy Israel. The film is the latest initiative of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN) as part of their ongoing global educational and mobilization campaign against the BDS movement. The film will be distributed in the fall through PJTN’s media partners on several television networks, reaching a combined audience of more than 950 million viewers in 200 countries. It will also have a limited theatrical release in the US and Europe and will be screened in college and university campuses, civic groups, churches and synagogues around the globe. The Trailer you can see below has already won a Telly Award.
The documentary offers a news-driven, satirical approach to focus on the global impact of the BDS Movement — a movement to boycott, divest, and sanction against the State of Israel. Through the lens of Emmy Award winning director Stan Moore, host Brad Stine leads viewers through a twisted landscape of false perceptions to fully explain the anti-Semitic roots of BDS. Through commentary, interviews, and visuals from headline news the world, the documentary exposes the frightening rise seen globally of a new anti-Semitism being promoted through the BDS Movement.
Viewers join American Comedian Brad Stine on a journey in search of truth that takes him across Israel and the United States of America, meeting Ethiopian Jews in Jerusalem and Muslim-Israelis in Haifa, visiting Israeli colleges and high-tech companies to hear about the latest breakthroughs in Israeli innovation, traveling into the West Bank to hear personal stories from local Palestinians, learning firsthand how, if successful, the BDS movement would actively destroy the livelihoods of thousands of Palestinian families.
In America, Stine met with an array of experts including former CIA director James R. Woosley, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, Jewish comedian Jackie Mason, and exiled Palestinian Christians and Jewish students under attack on university campuses. He learned about the increasingly violent protests and intimidation tactics used against pro-Israel students.
BDS resolutions showcase a bizarre anti-Israel fetishism within certain academic disciplines. Why not pass resolutions boycotting academic institutions in legitimately oppressive states? The ineluctable but unnerving answer is that the professed concern for human rights contained in these boycotts is cover for a leftist political campaign to delegitimize Israel.
But there is something far more disturbing about the way academia embraces BDS. Disciplines in which anti-Israel sentiment is most common come from the cultural-studies line. There, orthodoxy demands denial of legitimacy to states whose history is colonial. Looking for the silver lining, the pro-BDS faction of the AAA cites a “ground-breaking report by a AAA Task Force recognizing the settler-colonial practices of the Israeli government.” The post-colonial instinct is to see indigeneity as the true marker of legitimate sovereignty.
This is radical. While the classical tradition contends that states are legitimated by representative government and preserved through a structure of law, this new orthodoxy pretends that such institutions are inherently polluted, and therefore illegitimate, because the settlers who erected political structures drove out indigenous people. Such displacement is historical fact in many countries, both Western and non-Western, but it hardly constitutes sufficient reason to throw away the benefits of modern democratic institutions. Academics who support BDS resolutions show their true convictions: They trade John Locke for Edward Said.
BDS in academia should be resisted, so the AAA’s vote ought to be applauded. It is too soon to say whether, when taken in conjunction with the lawsuit, it constitutes an effective countervailing force against BDS. But it is not too soon to hope that it does.
The definitive take on the legality of anti-BDS laws was written by legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich in Tablet Magazine last year. Responding to the concerns of former ADL head Abe Foxman, who said that such measures would be struck down in the courts as violations of free speech and allow their supporters to pose as victims. Yet as Kontorovich explains, anti-BDS laws are on firm legal ground. Nothing in them stops Israel haters from advocating their positions. Anti-discrimination measures are not only legal but also commonplace. The government has no right to tell a business owner what to believe or try to stop them from speaking out on those beliefs. But by the same token, there is no obligation on the part of the state to subsidize activity that is abhorrent. It is understood that those who do business with governments can’t practice discrimination.
Contrary to the arguments of National Review’s Noah Daponte-Smith, there is no analogy between anti-BDS laws and those who advocate boycotts against the Chick-fil-a chain because of its donations to anti-same sex marriage groups or the beliefs of its owners. If consumers don’t want to support businesses on that basis they are free to do so just as others may decide they prefer to eat or shop at such places because they agree with those views. Consumer boycotts are legal. However, the threats of some city governments to prevent the chain from doing business in their towns because they don’t like those views were illegal. Yet those governments are also not obligated to invest in or in any way subsidize those stores and that is the focus of anti-BDS laws.
As Kontorovich points out, those who oppose anti-BDS laws aren’t proposing to end regulations that prohibit government entities from doing business or investing in firms and groups that actively and openly engage in discriminatory behavior on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. To the contrary, most of the left-wing supporters of BDS warmly support those measures. But what must be understood is that practicing BDS is no different from any other form of bias. Waging war on the one Jewish state in the planet is not an effort to get the government of Israel to change its policies or just an opinion on where its borders should be drawn. BDS is part of a world view that seeks to treat Israel differently from the rest of the world since no other country or people is the object of an international movement bent on its destruction. BDS is part of a campaign to eliminate Israel and, in that sense, merely compliments the efforts of those who seek that end by violence and terror.
Following the defeat of the resolution, AAA President Alisse Waterston said in a statement, “The consensus within the AAA remains and that is that there are serious human rights problems that exist in Israel/Palestine as a result of Israeli state policy, practices and the occupation and that AAA must take a course of action.”
Rosen slammed Waterston’s comments, saying, “The leadership of the AAA continues to promote the BDS agenda by claiming that there is a consensus about Israel. No such consensus exists. The AAA is radically divided on all these issues. The leadership has absolutely no mandate from the membership of these issue. It is purely self-directed.”
The results of the AAA vote — which took place via electronic ballot between April 15 and May 31 — were announced on Tuesday. Some 51 percent of 9,359 eligible-voting members took part in the vote. Had the resolution passed, AAA would have joined other academic institution — such as the American Studies Association, the National Women’s Studies Association, the African Literature Association and the Association for Asian American Studies — in boycotting Israel.
For years Jewish students had felt that there was sustained hostility aimed at them from their anti-Zionist and pro-BDS classmates.”
When these heartfelt arguments “were treated with varying levels of disdain,” students “came to vote with us because they saw the toll that the aggressive and at times personal attacks took on their friends.”
The McGill model teaches important lessons.
First, make the fight personal, because it is. BDS scapegoats Israel, Israeli students, Jewish students, pro-Israel students and harms the campus environment.
Students mobilized to support their friends.
Second, make the fight about fairness, about treating Jewish and pro-Israel students with the dignity all students deserve. And third, don’t just say no. Turn the negative into a positive. Celebrate the open, tolerant pro-Israel, pro-democracy campus the McGill students and professors cherish, the provocative, civil academic values the principal champions, the fair, equitable, civil learning community the Judicial Board endorses, and what Paransky proudly calls “the strong Jewish and Zionist values” he learned from camp and his family.
Finally, be proactive. Other campuses shouldn’t wait for BDS ugliness to strike; celebrate fairness and openness by articulating what you believe now, affirming that your campus has zero tolerance for BDS intolerance.
Officials at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) are preparing for possible backlash over the re-screening of a film that was the cause of a violent protest last month by anti-Israel student groups, a spokesperson for UCI told The Algemeiner on Wednesday, ahead of the event.
According to Cathy Lawhon, UCI is “planning for the possibility” of controversy and protest against the event and have even set aside a specific area across the street from the venue where protesters can gather. “Plans to keep the auditorium area secure are in place,” she said, adding, “Only people who have RSVP’d can get in.”
The sold-out event — titled “UCI Celebrates Free Speech” — is expected to draw hundreds of Israel-supporters to the to the campus.
Lawhon told The Algemeiner that UCI Dean of Students Rameen Talesh “has reached out to oppositional groups to find out their plans, but have not heard back because it is finals week.”
IsraellyCool: JCC Manhattan Showcases Anti-Israel Film
OK, nothing really there. But here’s the synopsis.
Dawn is a psychological drama behind closed doors, in which four comrades in arms pressure the young Elisha to overcome his moral qualms and fully commit to the armed struggle.
The story is set in Palestine in 1947, during the British mandate period. The Zionists are fighting for the establishment of a Jewish state. A member of the armed Jewish underground has been sentenced to death by the British authorities. In return, the resistance has kidnapped a British officer, trying to redeem their friend. The insurgents spend the night together, waiting for the outcome of the negotiation. If the British hang their friend at dawn, one of them will shoot the British officer held as a hostage.
Based on the novel by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, Dawn sheds a new light on a key moment in history that allows us to re-examine the current political disputes.
Since the beginning of the British occupation of Palestine, towards the end of the First World War, the British authorities were struggling to maintain peace between the local Arab population and the Jewish newcomers from Europe. When the British denied entry to the survivors of the concentration camps coming by boat to Palestine, they became the Enemy Number One of the Zionist project. Clandestine groups like the Irgun and Lehi subsequently increase their attacks against the British on Palestinian soil. (see also Timeline)
The theme of the resistance’s struggle has not lost its relevance since the novel’s publication in 1960. However, the reading of the book today evokes the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which it is now the Palestinians who are fighting for the liberation of Arab Palestine. The situation’s reverse is quite striking and shows that liberation can lead to other forms of oppression, once again leading to fight. Of course, this kind of theoretical reflection is quite distant from the people involved in the everyday struggle. It is therefore necessary to keep a certain distance in order to be able to judge the problem on the whole.
The parts I bolded clearly show the thinking of the filmmakers and their attempt to draw parallels between the Jews’ struggle in pre-state Palestine and the palestinian terrorists of today.
This is no surprises when you consider the director and producer is the Swiss Romed Wyder.
The second Austrian bank in two months has closed an account held by an anti-Israel boycott group, Benjamin Weinthal reported for The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.
An account at the Austrian banking giant BAWAG belonging to the Austrian-Arab Cultural Center (OKAZ) has been closed, Cerberus Capital Management, a New York-based investment firm that is the majority owner of BAWAG, confirmed to Weinthal. OKAZ held an event earlier this year featuring terrorist Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who was involved in two plane hijackings in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
This is the second such occurrence to have happened in Austria in recent months. Erste Group Bank closed the account of the organization BDS Austria in May.
Weinthal, who is also a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, explained in an op-ed Wednesday in the New York Daily News that Bawag’s action may be related to the executive order signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday barring state agencies from doing business with organizations that boycott Israel.
“The ramifications [of the executive order] will ripple far beyond these borders,” Weinthal wrote. Since Cereberus has a business relationship with New York State’s pension fund, Weinthal deemed the closing of the OKAZ account “a probable result” of Cuomo’s executive order.
Listeners yet again heard exaggeration of the significance of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“Just because events between the Israelis and the Palestinians have been largely overshadowed by the war, chaos, tumult elsewhere in the Middle East doesn’t mean that the conflict still isn’t very poisonous. And President Hollande as well said that because of the way that – as he put it – terrorism is spreading around the world, that other countries have a legitimate interest in trying to bring some peace and stability to one of the most troubled places on earth.”
Once more promoting PLO talking points as he did in his ‘Newshour’ report two days earlier, Bowen again steered audiences towards the view that the main obstacle to a peace agreement is Israeli construction, citing “lots of people” whose identities – and relevant expertise – he declined to share with listeners.
“The idea of making peace by setting up an independent Palestine to exist alongside Israel – the two state solution – lots of people these days say that because of the growth of settlements – Israeli settlements on occupied land which is in defiance of international law; it’s illegal – it’s just physically going to be very difficult for the Palestinians to set up an independent state.”
The Middle East editor made no effort to comply with BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality by informing audiences that the legal view he promotes is just one interpretation of ‘international law’ and that other views also exist.
Verizon is reportedly offering $3 billion for Yahoo’s internet business. If the deal goes through, Verizon is expected to benefit from additional advertising revenues. But it would also inherit an ongoing problem: Yahoo News and its penchant for hateful propaganda.
CAMERA recently prompted Yahoo to remove from its “news” rotation two virulent hate sites. Yahoo News had promoted the sites seemingly because, along with their Holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracy theories, homophobia, and anti-Semitism, they frequently published anti-Israel agitprop. (See here and here for more details about Yahoo News’s promotion of hate sites Veterans News Now, Mint Press, and American Herald Tribune.)
Unfortunately, despite its step in the right direction, Yahoo News, headed by former New York Times editor Megan Liberman, continues to pursue and promote radical anti-Israelism at the expense of decency and accuracy. Yesterday, for example, the internet giant directed readers to a multimedia feature by Al Jazeera entitled “Vanishing Palestine: The making of Israel’s occupation.”
Back in October 2006, Fisk was given the front page of the UK’s Independent to spread the libel that Israel had used uranium-based weapons in southern Lebanon. The charge was swiftly debunked yet Fisk never retracted this libel, which continues to reappear online courtesy of anti-Israel activists.
This is the same Robert Fisk who happily promoted the falsehood of the Jenin “Massacre” in 2002. And let’s not forget that The Independent was forced to pay damages to the Saudi interior minister in August 2011 after a story by Fisk was found to be false.
Fisk ends his op-ed by saying: “Thus we journos have to investigate each bestiality which comes our way, usually in the Middle East, with semantic scalpels.”
Stephan Templ, a critic of Austria’s handling of Jewish property, was released from prison last week after serving eight months for a controversial conviction for fraud on his mother’s application for Holocaust restitution. It is a conviction he is determined to quash.
Templ, 56, left Austria for his home in Prague in the Czech Republic shortly after his release Friday, in self exile over his conviction, which he said was false and designed as payback for his critical writings about Austria. In an interview Tuesday, he vowed to fight to have his conviction annulled based on new evidence.
The Austrian Supreme Court sentenced Templ in 2014 to one year in jail for defrauding the state by omitting the name of his aunt from an application for restitution he filled out for his mother. But the new evidence shows he named the aunt several times in restitution-related documents received by the authorities.
The Anti-Defamation League and 75 Holocaust scholars implored Austrian authorities to avoid jailing Templ, noting the decision to do so seems connected to his 2001 book, “Our Vienna,” in which he criticized failures in offering restitution for property stolen from Jews by Austrians and Germans during World War II.
“It was a fabricated trial with trumped-up charges, full of lies,” he said.
Next week, at the international defense and security industry trade show Eurosatory, Elbit will unveil IronVision, the first Helmet Mounted Display (HMS) designed for the crews of armored vehicles. IronVision is a 360-degree panoramic situational awareness system, part of Elbit’s See-Through Armor (STA) architecture, that enables tank and infantry crewmen to “see-through” their vehicle’s armor in real-time, creating a clear and complete visualization of the battlefield, even when the hatches are down.
IronVision’s 360-degree, high-resolution imagery is projected in full color and zero latency to the wearer’s visor, offering a bright and vivid display of the surroundings in both day and night and all types of weather.
The new HMS is based on the proven sensors and system architecture that is already integrated with thousands of fixed and rotary-wing aircraft systems that are already in use by most modern air forces worldwide. IronVision incorporates advanced See-Through Armor (STA) technology that lets the wearers obtain full, real-time, Situational Awareness (SA) and locate, identify and track enemy targets.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has system for fighting hostile drone activities.
The Drone Guard, as the project is known, focuses on detecting, identifying and disrupting drones, Ynet reports. It even has civilian uses, allowing people to prevent drones from entering their private property.
“The use of small drones has increased dramatically over the years, making them a potential threat to critical infrastructures, other aircraft and homeland security due to their small size, low speed and low flight altitude,” reads a statement from IAI. “These drones may be used for a number of reasons, including hostile purposes such as intelligence gathering, smuggling, or as weaponized platforms.”
While Israel has a larger drone program than its hostile neighbors, it has already dealt with military drones from Hamas and Hezbollah during wartime. Most are intended to gather intelligence on the IDF’s actions and make a show of force, rather than to carry out attacks.
IAI has already sold Drone Guards to a number of customers, though it has not identified the purchasers.
Israeli-founded companies based in Massachusetts brought in $9.3 billion to the state last year, continuing to outpace the state’s economy in overall revenue and job growth, according to a new report released Wednesday by the New England-Israel Business Council.
When factoring in the impact of spending on goods and services, such as office space, marketing and other business needs, the figure nearly doubled to $18.1 billion, the report found.
Some 200 companies employ nearly 9,000 people in Massachusetts, up from some 6,600 three years ago, when the New England-Israel Business Council released a similar study. Both studies were conducted by Stax Inc., a strategic management consulting firm, with support from the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.
In that time, the revenue from the Israeli-founded companies grew twice as fast as the Massachusetts economy overall and now represents nearly 4 percent of the state’s entire economy.
“That’s a big deal,” said the report’s author, David Goodtree.
South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord had all the answers for the crowd in their first show in Israel Wednesday night.
The trio from Cape Town, led by frontman Ninja and singer Yo-Landi Visser and backed by DJ Hi-Tek, performed at Rishon’s Live Park as part of the “Suck on This” tour in support of a recent mixtape and upcoming album.
Their bizarre, idiosyncratic and vulgar music is difficult to categorize, but that did not seem to bother the crowd. The audience knew the band’s hits and welcomed its new material. It didn’t hurt that Ninja and Visser emphatically and obscenely rejected the calls for them to boycott Israel.
The crowd of mostly young Israelis packed into the venue, which has room for 20,000. Some audience members sported Visser-like white face paint and clothing inspired by the “zef” countercultural movement, which the band identifies with. Visser described the South African movement to The Guardian in 2010 as “people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you’re poor but you’re fancy.”
“Die Antwoord” means “The Answer” in Afrikaans. The band performs in English and Afrikaans, and has used the Bantu language Xhosa.
The Israeli government has long been challenged with how to integrate the country’s Bedouin population. Some IDF veterans are forging a new path.
Only the sounds of gunshots and the orders of military commanders break the silence of the Negev desert near Israel’s border with Egypt. Under a blue summer sky and a seemingly endless expanse of sand, recently drafted soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces carry out training drills, practicing shooting, running, and navigating. The olive-green uniforms of the Givati brigade match the scrubby bushes underfoot, the only vegetation that survives under the desert sun.
Basic training at facilities like this is a rite of passage for most Israeli teenagers. Young men serve three years in the IDF and women two. Exemptions are given to those who study in ultra-Orthodox yeshivas, the country’s Arab citizens, and young women who opt for civilian national service. But aside from these groups, most healthy Israeli citizens, whether they like it or not, serve in the IDF in some capacity.
But one of the units running drills today, the 585th or Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, has a different story. It is an infantry unit made up mainly of Bedouins, a semi-nomadic Muslim minority that makes up about 2 percent of Israel’s population. Bedouins are not required to serve in the army, but many have chosen to do so for decades.
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