November 19, 2018

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08/27 Links Pt2: Collier: Antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the principle of the divided cloth; In praise of Richard Millett!; Saluting McCain; Jeremy Corbyn honouring Richard Falk

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/08/0827-links-pt2-collier-antisemitism.html

From Ian:


David Collier: Antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the principle of the divided cloth
Before I talk of a divided cloth, let me address the antisemitic events. Last September I was turned away at the door of a fringe event at the Labour conference because I was a ‘known Zionist’. Last summer as I sat to eat a meal with my wife and eleven-year-old son during a day out at the PalestineExpo I was approached by security and asked to leave. I was treated like a criminal. My ‘unwelcome’ presence had been ‘reported’ by Labour Party members.

I have been de-registered from an event at Parliament because I am a ‘Zionist’ and at Warwick University I was recently turned away from an event with feeble excuses about a ‘PREVENT’ strategy. These however remain oddities in a long line of events I have witnessed over that past few years. If I am recognised once successfully inside, I am treated as a pariah. I have my photo taken, I am ‘accidentally’ nudged, I have abuse hurled at me.

It is not the only reason I identify with the recent story about Jeremy Corbyn’s antisemitic attack on Richard Millett.
The Zoo animals

I have witnessed far too many events where I have seen both Richard Millett and Jonathan Hoffman treated disgracefully. As someone who researches antisemitism online, I have also seen that abuse frequently carried over into social media. These two posts about Richard were shared by two well-known antisemites:

Only those who have been to these events can truly understand how it feels to be inside one. You become an object of hate and ridicule. All Jews do. Antisemites are all around, each speaker trying to outdo the other and the more vivid the hatred of Jews, the louder the applause. Whether on campus or in parliament, the system is set up to protect the hate. If you protest, you will be evicted. There are feelings of helplessness and at times despondency and depression.
Vilified and vindicated

Sadly only a few Jewish people have been doing this circuit, Richard longer than most. Each of us have our own methods and in several cases our differences have allowed us to benefit from each other. Richard’s questions probe, Jonathan’s outbursts provoke or distract and my silence leaves me more unnoticed than most. Nothing though creates a better feeling than seeing the others in the room. I know this because those times I have felt the worst, were all the times I was the only Jew there.

In praise of Richard Millett!

In 2012, blogger Richard Millett was attending a SOAS Palestine Society event in London and was called “a typical Israeli” by a pro-Palestinian attendee who objected to his filming of the event.

Millett is not Israeli. He’s a British Jew whose family has been in the UK for nearly 150 years. He also routinely defends Jews and Israel with first person reports published at his blog – posts which include audio and video recorded while monitoring events featuring activists (and sometimes even MPs) hostile to Israel’s existence and, at times, openly hostile to Jews.

Moreover, If you’re wondering whether the charge hurled at Richard was racist, simply replace “Israeli” with any other identity and repeat the charge. “You’re a typical Arab.” “You’re at typical Black,” etc.

Or, how about “You’re a typical Zionist”?

Well, Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of the British Labour Party, said something akin to this in a reference to Millett at a 2013 event, per a story in the Daily Mail last week.

Here’s a clip of Corbyn’s speech at the conference, which, tellingly, was promoted by the propaganda wing of Hamas.

IsraellyCool: Maajid Nawaz Rips Jew Hater a New Corbyn

See what I did there?

British activist and politician Maajid Nawaz rips a caller defending a-hole Jeremy Corbyn, claiming he is not antisemitic, after the caller shows the very kind of antisemitism of which people are accusing Corbyn.

How’s that for English irony?

JPost Editorial: Saluting McCain

US Sen. John McCain, who died of cancer in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday at the age of 81, was a man of integrity, an American patriot and a good friend of Israel. McCain, a Republican who served in the Senate for three decades comprising six terms, left Washington in December after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in July. On Friday his family announced his decision to discontinue medical treatment.

McCain was a fighter and a hero. He served as fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, and spent more than five years as a POW after his plane was shot down, enduring torture that left him with lifelong disabilities.
A member of Congress representing Arizona since 1983, he ran for president twice. In 2000, he was beaten in the Republican primary by George W. Bush. He won the nomination in 2008 – choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate – but lost the presidential race to Barack Obama. He was a constant critic of both Obama and US President Donald Trump, yet was admired across the political spectrum.

McCain was a strong advocate of Israel’s right to exist and protect itself, as well as US aid to Israel. In an address to AIPAC in 2002, he said that “no American leader should be expected to sell a false peace to our ally; consider Israel’s right to self-defense less legitimate than ours; or insist that Israel negotiate a political settlement while terrorism remains the Palestinians’ preferred bargaining tool.”

He strongly condemned the outgoing Obama administration in 2016 for not vetoing the UN Security Council Resolution against Israeli settlements, calling it “another shameful chapter in the UN’s bizarre anti-Israel history.” He was also a vocal opponent of Iran’s nuclear program, and led the opposition in Congress to Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

McCain visited Israel numerous times, beginning in the 1970s, often with fellow senators and friends Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham. In 2013, at a news conference at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, McCain and Graham urged the Obama administration to take “decisive” action against the Assad regime, warning that “Syria is literally blowing apart.” Their pleas were ignored, and the Syrian civil war raged on.

In Canberra, one friend of Israel pushed out, another enters

Nevertheless, the policies of Turnbull and his foreign minister, Julie Bishop, were unabashedly pro-Israel, with Australia at times voting with the US and a handful of South Pacific Islands for Israel in the UN, as it did in June in voting against a resolution on Gaza.

Bishop resigned on Sunday, after she failed in her efforts to replace Turnbull on Friday. She will be replaced by Marise Payne, who served Turnbull as his defense minister, and is also considered to be pro-Israel.

Christopher Pyne, who was the minister for defense industry under Turnbull, will now become defense minister. He took part in a conference in Jerusalem in July and initiated an Australian-Israel Defense Industry Cooperation Joint Working Group, which he said will “give the structure needed to further deepen our already strong engagement.”

While Turnbull was viewed by some in that Sydney synagogue as an honorary member of the mishpacha, Morrison’s deputy, Josh Frydenberg, who was named Friday as the country’s treasurer – is a full-fledged member.

Frydenberg, who was the environment and energy minister under Turnbull, is a product of the Melbourne Jewish community, including its day schools, and was described as being “absolutely, 1,000% committed and involved in the Jewish community.”
His mother, a Holocaust survivor, was born in Hungary in 1943 and moved to Australia in 1950 as a stateless child.

He visited here twice in 2017, and during an April visit to Yad Vashem, told the Post, “The Jewish people’s survival is the most stunning testament to the community’s resilience and inner strength.”

Israel, he added, “which was born from the ashes of the Holocaust, is a daily reminder of how important it is for the Jewish community around the world to see Israel prosper and survive.”

Is Christianity about loving God or hating Jews?

What is Christianity about? Is it about experiencing and sharing the love of God with humanity? Or do Christians feed on the negative energy fueled by narratives that portray Jews as the repugnant, evil other?

Christians of every stripe need to ask themselves this in light of the scandal initiated by Suffragan Bishop Gayle Harris from the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. During the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in Austin, Texas, in July, Harris accused Israeli soldiers of shooting a 15-year-old boy in the back 10 times because he asked them a question that was not to their liking.

She made it sound like she was a first-hand witness to the murder she described. She did this to give credence to her story, which she offered to support a one-sided and polemical overture that condemned Israel for allegedly mistreating Palestinian children. (Predictably, the resolution made no reference to Palestinian crimes against children.)

This is exactly what she said during her time at the microphone in the General Convention’s House of Bishops: “I have been there when a teenager, I think he was 15, was walking down the street and asked a military vehicle, the Israeli government, a question and because that question was not one of the liking of those soldiers, he began to run as they threatened him and they shot him in the back four times. He fell on the ground and they shot him another six.”

She also said that she was “there a couple of years ago” on the Temple Mount when Israeli soldiers came up to the site to handcuff a three-year-old boy who accidentally allowed a rubber ball he was playing with to roll over the Western Wall. Yes, Palestinians have been known to throw rocks onto the heads of Jews as they pray at the Western Wall, but there is simply no way a rubber ball can innocently “roll over” the obstacles between the Temple Mount and the plaza below.

It turns out that Harris was not “there” like she said she was. A few weeks after Harris offered her testimony to her fellows in the House of Bishops, she apologized for passing on unsubstantiated atrocity stories and for falsely implying that she that witnessed the events she described. Reading between the lines, it was pretty clear that Harris understood that she was misled, and allowed herself to be misled, by whoever told her the stories she passed on.

Shmuley Boteach: Jeremy Corbyn Is a Danger and a Disgrace

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Corbyn for honoring the perpetrators of the massacre, Corbyn’s response was to attack Israel for killing Gaza protesters. This, too, was an example of Corbyn’s antisemitic leanings, as he has repeatedly condemned Israeli reactions to terror attacks without ever acknowledging the provocations by his honored friends from Hamas.

After Corbyn penned an apology in The Guardian “for the hurt that has been caused to many Jewish people,” Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said that the party had “to take a long, hard look at ourselves, stand up for what is right and present the party as fit to lead the nation — or disappear into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment.” Watson was then accused by another member of the party of receiving a large sum of money from Jewish donors. “At least Judas only got 30 pieces of silver,” said George McManus.

Corbyn’s attitude is so transparent that Dame Margaret Hodge, a fellow Labour MP, went up to him and called him “an antisemite and a racist.” I agree. Corbyn is a disgrace.

Corbyn is an unabashed supporter of the Palestinians. He is entitled to that view, but he consistently takes the antisemitic position of applying a double-standard to Israel’s behavior, ignoring Palestinian provocations and obduracy. His record, as noted above, shows that he personally is more at home with murderers than British Jewish citizens, and that he tolerates a toxic environment within the Labour Party in which antisemitism is allowed to fester and then explode into public view.

Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to lead the great nation of Britain and should be removed as leader of the Labour Party and replaced by someone who respects the Jewish community and all minorities, understands Israel’s security dilemma, and is prepared to root out antisemitism from every corner of the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn honouring Richard Falk

What to do with Richard Falk, a man with an awful record of 9/11 conspiracism, whitewashing terrorists, boosting Hamas, and rank antisemitism?

If you’re a Hamasnik of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), honour him, that’s what. Jeremy Corbyn will join you.

Here they are in October 2013. Corbyn is on the right, seated next to the Palestinian envoy Manuel Hassassian. Falk is in the middle. To Falk’s right one sees Majdi Aqil, a PRC trustee and a Hamas veteran who also works for Interpal, a British charity that serves Hamas.

Mr Falk is “tremendous”, you see:
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) hosted an event in honor of Professor Richard Falk, the current UN rapporteur on Palestine. Professor Falk was met by a packed audience and a host of speakers who all paid tribute to him for the tremendous service and commitment over the years for the just cause of the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Ambassador, Manuel Hassassian, Former Labor Minister, Claire Short, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mr. Majdi Aqeel, PRC board of Trustees, Vice chairman of PRC Board of Trustees and Ziad al alool, Chairman of the Palestinian Forum of Britain, applauded the Professor in their brief statements.

Let’s take a look at the record of Mr Falk up to October 2013, when the PRC event was held. There is no “honour”. There is plenty, though, which was sure to draw Mr Corbyn in.

9/11 Conspiracies
Mr Falk is fond of 9/11 conspiracies. In 2011, he was censured for this by none other than the UN Secretary General:

Steven Sizer pushes antisemitic conspiracy theory, Jeremy Corbyn defends him as a victim of the Lobby – David Hirsh

Sometimes Church of England vicar Steven Sizer makes criticisms of Israel but sometimes he indulges in antisemitic conspiracy theory about Jews. Too often his compassion for ‘the oppressed’ is overwhelmed by his passionate anger with ‘the oppressors’. He tends to reach for ready-made ways of expressing that anger and for ready-made ways of making sense of what his emotions see as relentless and murderous Jewish power.

Jeremy Corbyn often takes sides with antisemites against Jews. The picture on the right shows Jeremy Corbyn making his comments about Zionists having difficulties with ‘English’ irony, with Sizer in the audience. In 2012, Corbyn wrote a letter to Sizer’s Church saying:

“Reverend Stephen Sizer seems to have come under attack by certain individuals intent on discrediting the excellent work that Stephen does in highlighting the injustices of the Palestinian Israeli situation, in particular by his very thorough analysis of “Christian Zionism”. Might I suggest that such criticism is part of a wider pattern of demonising those who dare to stand up and speak out against Zionism, a philosophy that precludes the existence of the state of Palestine?”

“Your own expertise, wisdom and experience will, I am sure, allow you to appreciate just how much distance exists between anti Semitism, anti Zionism, and anti Israeli government actions for that matter. Overzealous critics find it convenient to conflate them all. Active and well informed individuals such as Reverend Stephen Sizer, withstand a considerable amount of inappropriate criticism. Indeed many MPs and Peers are also attacked.”

“… I do admire the excellent work that he does and personally, I would give no credence at all to any claims that he is anti-Semitic.”

The claim that “Zionism” is “a philosophy that precludes the existence of the state of Palestine” is both untrue and clear evidence of Jeremy Corbyn’s real view on the Israel/Palestine conflict. He now presents himself as a supporter of a two state solution but in 2012, he is clear that he believes the existence of Israel itself to be incompatible with Palestinian freedom. In truth, of course, many Zionists have spent decades fighting for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Sign the Petition

The Campaign Against Antisemitism have put out a petition.

It’s been less than 24 hours and it has almost 15,000 signatures.

Add yours

Penalties for “Vexatious” Antisemitism Complaints

Labour’s proposed new antisemitism code will penalise members who make “vexatious” claims on the grounds that many complaints about antisemitism have been made “as part of a factional agenda”.

The nature of the penalties are not spelt out in the proposed code, which was leaked to Skwawkbox, a conspiracy theorist website that has a direct line to the leader of the opposition’s office and appears to be genuine.

The fact that the code, drawn up after Labour was criticised for failing to adopt the internationally-accepted IHRA definition of antisemitism, states that some complaints are politically motivated will infuriate those who are unhappy about how the crisis has been handled.

Key figures from across the political spectrum have repeatedly pointed out that dismissing accusations of antisemitism as political rather than acknowledging it exists within the party and taking action against those who perpetrate it undermines the leadership’s claim that it is acting to stamp it out.

As recently as Sunday afternoon, Momentum – which was created to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – tweeted: “We must listen to Jewish people when they express concerns, & work with them to resolve this’ and added: “Let’s engage with respect and empathy, and call out abuse when we see it”.

Introducing penalties for calling out antisemitism if it is subsequently decided complaints have no merit is likely to discourage party members from making complaints in the first place.

BBC R4 news reporting of Corbyn ‘irony’ story to domestic audiences

On August 23rd a video emerged of the UK Labour Party leader speaking at a 2013 event hosted by the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre in which he claimed that British Zionists:

“…clearly have two problems. One is that they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, don’t understand English irony either.””

The Jewish Chronicle reported on the same day that a Labour spokesman had claimed that:

“Jeremy is totally opposed to all forms of antisemitism and is determined to drive it out from society. At this event, he was referring to a group of pro-Israel activists misunderstanding and then criticising the Palestinian Ambassador [sic] for a speech at a separate event about the occupation of the West Bank.”

As shown by the part of Corbyn’s speech which preceded those remarks but was edited out of the video, the claim that he was referring to a specific “group of pro-Israel activists” who ‘misunderstood’ a speech given several days earlier is highly questionable.

Nevertheless, listeners to BBC Radio 4 on August 24th heard uncritical amplification of team Corbyn’s ‘explanations’ while the links between the event organisers and Hamas was erased from audience view and no effort whatsoever was made to explain to the BBC’s domestic audiences why Corbyn’s comments were objectionable.

Why Rashida Tlaib Matters

Sometimes the most important trends are those demonstrated by a lack of reaction, rather than a storm of protest.

Rashida Tlaib, the Democratic nominee and all-but-certain winner of a Michigan seat in the US House of Representatives this fall, had been endorsed by J Street — a group that is highly critical of the Israeli government, but touts itself as being “pro-Israel and pro-peace.” But when the Palestinian American candidate told three different media outlets that she favored a “one-state solution” to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians (and therefore the elimination of the one Jewish state on the planet), J Street was forced to backtrack and withdraw its endorsement.

It was an embarrassing moment for the lobby. Though Tlaib also likened Zionism to Jim Crow segregation (“separate but equal does not work”), J Street was not only at pains not to antagonize her, but seemed to be saying that her views on other issues were just as important as her desire to see Israel erased from the map. In a release, it celebrated her impending election as a “historic milestone” and went on to say “we strongly support and are encouraged by her commitment to social justice, and we are inspired by her determination to bring the voice of underrepresented communities to Capitol Hill.”

Nor were very many others on the left up in arms about Tlaib. Though Democrats have been working hard to associate all Republicans with a handful of far-right extremists who won GOP nominations in districts where they had no chance to win, there was no rush to disassociate the party from Tlaib or Ilhan Omar, another Muslim woman who is on her way to winning another House seat in Minnesota, despite having made brazenly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments.

Unplugging with Lee Ranaldo

Lee Ranaldo is hailed as one of contemporary music’s most influential guitarists and lyricists. With good reason. He and his former band, Sonic Youth have built a reputation for some of the most experimental sounds in music, using a bevy of techniques, including unusual alternate guitar tuning and gutting their electric guitars and amplifiers to create the most difficult-to-replicate sounds in music (I challenge the reader to find a Sonic Youth cover band that can accurately cover any of their songs).

The New York City-based quartet that built a strong reputation for leading rock and roll into uncharted territory for three decades broke up in 2011, following the divorce of two of its founding members, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon.

Prior to the band’s demise, all four of the members had always developed their own individual style for the good of the band and for the good of music through side projects and releasing solo albums.

This is the first time that Ranaldo is approaching his solo career without having his full-time job to fall back on, something that he says is “exciting and new.”

With ex-bandmate Moore being a vocal supporter of the BDS movement and as someone who is known to be left of center on the political spectrum, Ranaldo has received criticism from his peers about his upcoming trip to Israel. He understands where they are coming from but he emphasized that as someone who has visited and enjoyed the country (Sonic Youth performed in Tel Aviv in 1996) and appreciates the complexity of the situation, he will honor his commitment and has no intention to change his mind about bringing his guitar textures back to Israel.

Tufts University Stands by New ‘Colonizing Palestine’ Course

Despite pushback from students and several Jewish organizations, Tufts University is standing by a controversial new course that it plans to offer this Fall, titled “Colonizing Palestine.”

“As we have stated previously, Tufts is committed to the free exchange of ideas and provides students with access to a broad spectrum of courses that enable them to become familiar with a variety of perspectives on important and complex issues,” Tufts spokesperson Patrick Collins told JNS, which first reported the story on August 15.

“We support all faculty members’ right to academic freedom, while understanding that support does not imply endorsement of any particular point of view that a faculty member might espouse,” he continued. “We recognize that there are a variety of viewpoints and beliefs within the Tufts’ community, and we embrace opportunities to foster improved understanding and engagement across divergent perspectives.”

According to the class description, the course proposes to “explore the history and culture of modern Palestine and the centrality of colonialism in the making of this contested and symbolically potent territory.”

The Tufts Friends of Israel group says that the class violates a statement by the Office of the President that reads, “While members of our community vigorously debate international politics, Tufts University does not adopt institutional positions with respect to specific geo-political issues.”

CUPW “builds solidarity” with Palestinian union that glorifies Hamas terrorist

Instead of busying themselves trying to stay relevant in the sunset industry that is snail-mail, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is reaching out to pledge allegiance to a group that allegedly has links to terrorism.

A report in the Canadian Jewish News notes that in late May, CUPW revealed that it had launched a “joint project” with the Palestinian Postal Service Workers’ Union “designed to strengthen the Palestinian postal union and build greater solidarity between our two unions.”

But, to what end? And does this spirit of union solidarity extend to the Israeli postal workers union, too?

No, that “solidarity forever” claptrap only goes so far. CUPW signed-on to the boycott/divest/sanction movement against Israel years ago, so clearly not all postal unions are treated equally.

But CUPW is going all-in when it comes to its support of Palestinian causes even turning a blind eye to items on that union’s Facebook page which openly support and glorify Hamas terrorists.

Swedish Jewish leaders call for ban on neo-Nazi party

Leaders and prominent members of the Jewish community in Sweden have renewed calls to ban the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, following the latest of several demonstrations by the party in recent months.

Approximately 300 far-right activists participated in a demonstration held by the NRM on Saturday morning, designed to attract attention to the party in the lead-up to Sweden’s general election scheduled for September 9.

Saturday’s rally follows a demonstration it staged in July during an annual political conference, and a rally held in September last year in Gothenberg.

Despite advocating policies restricting citizenship to “Nordic” people, “repatriating” immigrants who are not of Nordic ancestry, and working “to regain power from the global Zionist elite,” the NRM has not been banned.

Jewish Community in Stockholm President Aron Verstandig said neo-Nazi activity in Sweden has been on the rise “for some time,” and described NRM as “an openly violent” party which should be outlawed.

Suspect identified in anti-Semitic graffiti attack on Jewish center in Russia

Russian authorities identified a suspect in the anti-Semitic graffiti attack on a Jewish center in the Russian village of Lyubavichi, the cradle of the Chabad Hasidic movement.

The suspect was a man from Murmansk, a city located hundreds of miles north of Lyubavichi, according to Yuri Ivashkin, the mayor of the village in western Russia.

“We knew immediately this was not the work of a local,” Ivashkin told JTA. “Police are still working on identifying an accomplice.”

The inscriptions, reading “Jews out of Russia, our land” and featuring the Baltic variant of the swastika, were spray-painted on the wall of the Hatzer Raboteinu Nesieinu Belubavitch earlier this month.

Ivashkin’s statement followed the dedication of a perimeter fence around one of the Jewish cemeteries in and around Lyubavichi.

New breathalyzer can flag early onset Parkinson’s, Israeli researchers say

A team of researchers at Israel’s Technion Institute of Technology has developed a device they say can detect the early onset of Parkinson’s disease by analyzing the breath of users.

Since antiquity physicians have been evaluating their patients by the odor of their bodily fluids: the stools and urine of noblemen’s children were often sniffed daily by their physicians. Of these, exhaled breath is the most accessible and useful source for monitoring health and disorders, the researchers said in a paper, one of several they published on the subject.

Armed with this knowledge, the researchers, led by Prof. Hossam Haick of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute of the Technion, set out on a quest to find out if a breathalyzer could help identify patients who are at the very early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative condition that affects dopamine-producing neurons in an area of the brain. Dopamine, a chemical, is responsible for coordinating movement. Symptoms of the disease develop gradually over the years, causing patients to experience hand tremors, limb rigidity and gait and balance problems. And although there is no cure, the affliction is treated by dealing with the symptoms by using dopaminergic medications, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Israeli marine biologist wins UN business contest award

Israeli marine biologist Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, head of Tel Aviv-based ECOncrete, was selected as an awardee in the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge, the first global business competition for women entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The WE Empower Challenge honors five female entrepreneurs, one from each of the five UN regions, who are advancing the SDGs through their business practices. The opportunity recognizes their innovative work, provides capacity-building training sessions and high-level advocacy opportunities.

Perkol-Finkel cofounded ECOncrete in 2012 to address the ecological damage done by concrete ports, breakwaters and piers.

ECOncrete’s environmentally sensitive concrete products enhance marine life while increasing the structural stability, longevity and aesthetics of urban waterfronts and coastal structures. The technology features a modified concrete “recipe,” a variegated texture attractive to marine life, and a 3D design to accommodate elements such as tiny holes for little fish to hide in. (h/t Zvi)

Navy takes part in world’s largest maritime exercise

For the very first time, an IDF Navy delegation took part in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise. During the drill, which took place near Hawaii last month, Israeli officers joined the commanding team. The exercise included 25 participants from 26 countries, 47 warships, 200 fighter planes, and five submarines.

Since the early 1970’s, the exercise is held every couple of years, and simulates a naval maneuver with the participation of an international task force.

Each time, more fleets take part in the maneuver as long as they follow RIMPAC’s entry requirement and observe the previous exercise. After observing the previous one, this is the very first time the Israeli Navy takes part in the maritime drill as an active participant.

The exercise was led by the US Navy. Its main participants were Australia, Canada and Chile. Amongst this year’s participants are countries like such as Malaysia and Indonesia with whom Israel has no political ties.

Besides Israel, this was the first time for the naval commandos of Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Because of the enormous distance, close to 10,000 miles away, Israel didn’t send its own ships, but rather joined the commanding team at the heart of the drill—the central command room at the second biggest naval base in the US, the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH), in Hawaii. The exercise lasted about a month and ended two weeks ago. These days, the Israeli Navy is drawing its necessary conclusions. (h/t Zvi)

SodaStream to give out bonuses to mark $3.2 billion sale to PepsiCo

SodaStream employees will be getting a bonus by the end of year to mark the planned acquisition of the maker of home seltzer machines by US-based drinks, food and snacks giant PepsiCo for $3.2 billion in cash.

In a letter on Monday, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum told the company’s 3,000 employees, some 2,500 of whom work in Israel, that they’ll be getting a special bonus of NIS 18,000 ($4,950), provided they have been employed for at least a year at the Israeli firm.

Workers who have been employed for less than a year will get prorated bonuses. The amounts will be paid out in December, with the closing of the deal, Birnbaum said.

Last week, PepsiCo said it has entered a deal to acquire SodaStream in a bid to contend with falling demand for sugar-laden soft drinks and greater environmental consciousness.

“What a special and emotional week we have had,” Birnbaum wrote in a letter to employees, the text of which was sent to The Times of Israel. “We received so much love and praise from all over the world, but it was especially exciting to experience the pride” of SodaStream’s employees and the national pride that arose from the deal, he wrote.

Princeton Lyman, diplomat who helped plan Ethiopian Jewish airlift, dies at 82

Princeton Lyman, the Jewish American diplomat who played a critical role in organizing Operation Moses, the stunning 1984 airlift of Ethiopian Jews, has died at 82.

Lyman died Friday at his home in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland, the Washington Post reported. He died of lung cancer.

The Post obituary celebrated the role of Lyman in helping to midwife the transition in South Africa from apartheid to democracy in the early 1990s when he was the US ambassador to the country. Lyman had the trust of F. W. DeKlerk, the last apartheid president of the country, and Nelson Mandela, who led the African National Congress.

But he also played a critical behind-the-scenes role a decade earlier, when he was deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa, in organizing the airlift from Sudan to Israel of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who had fled their famine-ravished country only to face indifference and starvation in Sudan.

In a 1999 oral history for the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, Lyman said he was one of only two US diplomats who was fully apprised of the operation, involving secret Israeli flights from Sudan to Israel. He helped coordinate logistics between Israel and Sudan, which did not have diplomatic relations, and strove to keep at bay Ethiopian Jewry advocacy groups in the United States who were scrambling for information, as well as the media.



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