Fighting Israel’s Battle Online An Interview with Influential Blogger: ‘Elder of Ziyon’
On March 1, “Elder of Ziyon” – the anonymous author behind www.ElderofZiyon.blogspot.com – posted a map from a McGraw Hill college textbook purporting to show “Palestinian loss of land 1946 to 2000.” Considering that Jews were often called “Palestinians” before 1948, and that Palestinian Arabs – as a “nation” – never owned any territory until Israel carved out autonomous regions for them in 1993, the map was highly misleading.
Elder of Ziyon demanded that McGraw Hill “be held accountable for pushing such propaganda in college classrooms” and called on his readers to e-mail the publisher. Remarkably, within a week, McGraw Hill had removed the book from circulation and promised to destroy all remaining copies.
It is victories like these, and many smaller ones, that motivate Elder of Ziyon – the name is “meant to be ironic,” he says – to continue blogging daily, as he has for over 12 years.
The Jewish Press: Why do you blog under an alias?
Elder of Ziyon: I’m not worried about death threats or anything like that. The main reason is professional. I work in a high-tech industry and it doesn’t help my career potential to use my real name. For any future jobs, people would see my name and think I’m not doing any work – that I blog all day.
David Mamet does not answer questions directly.
A linear Q&A would be too boring for the actor, director and playwright, who enjoys and revels in the art of storytelling.
Ask him a question about casting, and he launches into a joke about St. Peter at the pearly gates. Ask him the best way to direct a movie and he explains that the art of film is essentially a long con game with the audience, where deception is key.
But ask him about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and he’s surprisingly frank. “It’s an obscenity. The BDS movement is an absolute obscenity,” the Pulitzer prize winning writer and director lamented in a discussion at the Jerusalem Ma’aleh school of television, film and arts last week.
“It’s just another example of anti-Semitism, and in America it’s been accepted. The Jewish contribution is great and vast, but nobody likes us. Young kids would ask ‘why?’ and I’d say, ‘you don’t have to answer that.
That’s not your problem,’” he said bluntly.
Mamet lays the majority of the blame for the movement’s popularity on liberal Reform Jews in the US who he says have lost sight of the religion and focus too much on mitzvot or good deeds.
“The BDS movement is an outgrowth of a pseudo- religious consciousness. A liberal, Western Jewish consciousness divorced from religion,” he explained.
Amb. Danny Danon: Taking the Fight Against Anti-Semitism to the United Nations
For all of its good intentions, the United Nations is an institution full of contradictions.
The organization’s founding charter in 1945 stated it would hope to “achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”
Yet all too often, the UN has been manipulated by dictators and despots who place little importance on these values.
At a special gathering Wednesday, “The High Level Forum on Global anti-Semitism,” Israel, the United States, Canada and the nations of the European Union will come to together and work toward a true fulfillment of the UN’s vision. Some of the world’s leading academics, diplomats and experts from the private sector will conduct an honest assessment of the current damage inflicted on humanity by anti-Semitism and plan concrete steps the international community can take to minimize, and eventually eliminate, this particular form of hate.
The United Nations wasn’t founded in a vacuum. It was established after the horrors of World War II and the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust. Despite the raison d’etre for its existence, until 2005 the United Nations didn’t officially mark a Holocaust remembrance day, nor did it seek to educate its member-states about it.
The institution hasn’t been immune to anti-Semitism. All too often Israel has been singled out, boycotted and treated differently for no reason other than it is the world’s only Jewish state. Israel has been accused of being modern-day Nazis by some at the UN, and at its depth of hypocrisy, the world’s nations passed a resolution in the General Assembly in 1975 equating the national movement of the Jewish people, Zionism, with racism.
Eight years ago I presented an essay in these pages titled “The Myth of Zionist Imperialism.” In the essay, I argued that from its earliest manifestation, the modern Zionist movement was rabidly opposed to the rule of empire and, therefore, it was absurd to paint a portrait of a Jewish state as being “imperialist.”
While the essay was well received – as was a later essay on how England reneged on the promises of the Balfour Declaration – the time has come to revisit this contentious issue.
On campuses throughout the world, including here in the US, Israel is accused by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its supporters that the Jews – white Europeans – who settled in Israel before the founding of the state stole the land of the indigenous Palestinians and that Israel was born in the “original sin” of genocide. This argument is absurd and not based on fact. It is a prime example of a reality of intellectual life on Western campuses: the prostitution of scholarship to political ideology.
I do not write these words as Jew or a Zionist but as a student of history. This distortion of history is pervasive in the West and in the Arab and Islamic world and must be challenged. Not to do so is tantamount to cowardice and feeds into the Orwellian world of modern scholarship.
Following a string of scandals that erupted after The Tower reported that an Oberlin College professor had posted anti-Semitic material on Facebook, Marvin Krislov announced Tuesday that he is stepping down as president of the private liberal arts school at the end of the 2017 academic year.
The Tower reported in February that Joy Karega, an assistant professor of Rhetoric and Composition, called the Islamic State “a CIA and Mossad operation,” endorsed claims that “Israeli and Zionist Jews” were behind the 9/11 attacks, and accused Jewish banker Jacob Rothschild of controlling “your news, the media, your oil, and your government.” Despite national coverage and outrage, Krislov’s first response to the postings was hesitant, writing a day after the news broke that “Oberlin College respects the rights of its faculty, students, staff and alumni to express their personal views.” A second statement released by Krislov the following week distanced the school from Karega’s comments, but did not explicitly condemn them.
The university’s failure to denounce Karega’s views was criticized by Kenneth Marcus, the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. “This is really outrageous conduct by the professor, and the university should address it promptly, effectively, and consistent with all of the university’s own internal policies,” he told The Tower at the time. “The question is not whether the professor is free to say outrageous things or to post hateful materials but whether the university will meet its obligation to address the resulting harm to the students.”
Faculty at Oberlin College are voicing concerns over the drawn-out investigation of an assistant professor who blamed Jews and Israel for 9/11, the student newspaper The Oberlin Review reported.
According to the report, several teachers at Oberlin signed and sent a petition to the school’s administration calling for greater transparency in the governance and investigatory process of Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega, who was put on paid leave in August months after many of her antisemitic and anti-Zionist Facebook postings were made public.
The official governance and disciplinary process against Karega, the report said, was initiated in March at the request of the Board of Trustees and is being handled by the Professional Conduct Review Committee (PCRC), a permanent, elected faculty committee which deals exclusively with faculty-governance issues. The PCRC has 52 days maximum, as directed by the governing process, to conclude its investigation and submit its recommendations.
Oberlin’s politics department chair, Chris Howell, told The Oberlin Review the PCRC’s official inquiry into Karega began at the end of May or beginning of June, adding, “None of us outside of those people on the specific committees have any idea why it’s taken so long and what exactly is going on.”
Articles about the controversy appeared initially at The Atlantic, and also among others, The Daily Orange, Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Syracuse.com, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Heat Street, Truth Revolt and Reason. The student Editors of The Daily Orange criticized the disinvite in an Editorial.
The pro-BDS faculty must be feeling the heat, because a Petition is being circulated denying that BDS exerted any pressure to disinvite Dotan.
The Petition, which as of this writing purports to be signed by 31 Syracuse University faculty and graduate students, is being promoted by the Syracuse-based Palestine Solidarity Collective (PSC).
PSC is an anti-Israel group that appears to be active on Syracuse University’s campus. PSC used this poster, featuring a cartoon by the notorious Carlos Latuff, prize winner in the Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Contest, to promote the BDS movement:
San Francisco State University did not have the proper protocol in place to handle a protest against the mayor of Jerusalem during his speech on campus, an investigation found.
In a letter accompanying the university’s report into the spring incident released Friday, the school’s president said there was significant work to be done to improve the campus climate and safety for students, the student newspaper, the Golden Gate Express, reported Sunday.
“Ensuring the campus is a safe environment for all students is my top priority for the coming year,” Leslie Wong wrote. “We failed our students — both the event attendees and the protesters — through multiple inactions.”
Also accompanying the report was a five-step protocol for campus police and university officials to use to handle such protests in the future, the Express reported.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators affiliated with the campus group the General Union of Palestinian Students’ disrupted the April speech by Nir Barkat in a lecture hall. The demonstrators, who wore traditional Arab headdresses and waved Palestinian flags, chanted into megaphones “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “intifada,” or uprising, according to reports. They also demanded that Barkat be removed from the university.
Police in San Francisco have arrested at least one person after threats to Jewish students at a high school in the Bay Area were posted on social media, JTA reported Tuesday.
Extra security surrounded the Fremont High campus in Sunnyvale, California, when students returned to school after the long holiday weekend, the local NBC affiliate reported.
The threat was also made against students at Homestead High School in Cupertino, San Francisco television station KRON reported. Both schools are in Silicon Valley.
Administrators were contacted by several students and their families about the anonymous threat posted on Instagram. They did not disclose the specific threat, NBC reported.
School officials reportedly did not believe the threat was credible but contacted police.
The Fremont principal called the threat a “religious rant” targeting Jewish students, KRON reported.
Saying they were being denied their “fundamental human right” to assault Jewish individuals at will, BDS supporters at UCLA have called for a “safe space” for anti-Semites on campus.
“Being able to beat up a defenseless Jew is our right, and we demand that UCLA provide us with a safe space to do so,” the president of UCLA’s Students for Justice in Palestine told The Mideast Beast. “Anti-Semites like myself are a persecuted minority, and we demand the university make us feel safe by allowing us to knock around an Israelite anytime we may be feeling triggered.”
As a measure of good will, SJP has demanded the university publicly execute former student president Milan Chatterjee, who resigned last month after constant harassment by BDS supporters.
“A college campus should be a place of tolerance and acceptance,” SJP’s president added. “African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, and anti-Semites must all be welcomed and accommodated to combat the scourge of prejudice here on campus.”
Israeli passengers on an Air Serbia flight from Belgrade to Tel Aviv were stunned when an airport staffer announced more than once that travelers “on the flight to Palestine” should head to gate C3, it emerged Tuesday.
When challenged, a member of the ground staff compounded the blunder by trying to explain that the flight was “to Tel Aviv, not to Israel,” the Israeli Ynet news website reported.
“I couldn’t believe my ears,” one unidentified Israeli passenger told Ynet about the flight last month. “The first time, I thought I hadn’t heard right and I asked a few other passengers if the announcement had really said Palestine. They said I wasn’t mistaken.
“I went to the company’s counter and another guy from Rosh Pina joined me and we asked that they announce again that the flight is to Israel and not to Palestine.” But the woman on duty then told the two Israelis that the flight was to Tel Aviv, “not Israel.”
Goucher College, like many American colleges and universities, is an echo chamber. Ideas get repeated and recycled at such a high frequency that it is often hard to stand. If you diverge from the common belief thread, your opinions are discarded. So what does this have to do with Israel Advocacy? In short, everything. At such a small school, and even in larger ones, you have nowhere to hide. You are either silent, or as vocal as they come. Those in the middle are almost always pushed to one polar end or the other. This is how the campus climate operates in regards to Israel.
Unfortunately, the pendulum of opinion has swung abruptly in favor of hate that masquerades as Pro-Palestinian advocacy. What can be done to curb this dangerous change? The only answer we know is to actively build coalitions and bridges among campus groups. It is unfortunate that some minority narratives have been hijacked by groups using the pro-Palestinian position to target Israelis and Jews. Even so, we must engage with them. Those of us who support Israel are isolated, and we face great obstacles reaching those who could support our cause, but we need to overcome the barriers.
Future Goucher students must also recruit more inspiring and electrifying pro-Israel voices to come speak on campus. If the, dare I say, evil shill for all things anti-Semitic Norman Finkelstein can come speak at Goucher, then we in the pro-Israel camp should present voices like the brilliant black Zionist Chloé Valdary, or the brave and exuberant Muslim human rights activist Bassem Eid to the Goucher student body. We can curtail the incoming tsunami that is BDS by no longer being afraid of politics.
Life is political. There is no way around it, and the more that Hillel and the dormant pro-Israel Goucher student body accepts and legitimizes anti-Israel hatred, the harder Jewish students who choose to attend Goucher College will have it in the near future, and some will even feel that they have to side with those who hate them. Jewish students and Zionists, take heed. You have to fight for your voice, your faith, and your right to be recognized. It’s an uphill battle, but the cost of losing is one that we cannot afford.
I posted a comment to this op-ed in The Guardian, entitled
Don’t worry! Clinton and Trump are going to fix Israel/Palestine by Moustafa Bayoumi, a student of Edward Said.
Bayoumi is “an award-winning writer, and associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York” according to his bio at the paper.
I received this reply in less than an hour and a half:-
We wanted to let you know that a comment of yours has been removed from theguardian.com because it was flagged by the moderation team as:
What is on topic is what is included in the article, so what is off-topic is decided on an article-by-article basis depending on the subject and will be enforced more scrupulously on sensitive subjects. Posts which could derail the conversation by leading it away from the topic of the article including ‘whataboutery’ will be removed.
A full description of our community standards can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/community-standards.
Warning: Those who seriously, persistently or wilfully ignore the community standards, participation guidelines or terms and conditions will have their posting privileges for all the Guardian community areas withdrawn.
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Guardian Moderation Team
This was my comment I had left and which was removed:
This assertion raises some problems: “the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands will turn 50 years old.”
a) can we understand that the writer rejects the normative Arab position that actually all of Israel is occupying “Palestinian land”, as when in 1964, three years before the Six Days War, the Palestine Liberation Organisation was founded? Or as in the Hamas Charter that all of “Palestine: is waqf territory?
b) If they are Palestinian lands, does that mean that Jews cannot reside on these lands if they have bought them, either pre-1948 or post -1967?
c) were those lands “Palestinian” even before the country was first termed “Palestine” by the Romans? and before, were they not Judean lands?
d) did Arabs occupy those lands in 638 CE?
e) when Jordan occupied them during 1949-1967, who was oppressing the Arabs then? Why was there no BDS movement or the like?
f) just as an aside, what is the difference, in the sense of nationality identity, between an Arab in Israel, in Judea & Samaria, aka the ‘West Bank’ and the Arab in Jordan (besides the fact that the Hashemite family only arrive in Jordan in November 1920 from Saudi Arabia)?
Okay, I am flummoxed and nonplussed.
Part six of an eight-part series explaining The 8 Categories of Media Bias.
Violation #6 Using True Facts To Draw False Conclusions
Media reports frequently use true facts to draw erroneous conclusions.
Even if all the facts are accurate, it’s still possible for journalists to draw illogical conclusions. To err is human, right?
Watch Haviv Rettig Gur of the Times of Israel, and Michelle Chabin of USA Today and other papers discuss with HonestReporting how reporters can use true facts to arrive at false conclusions.
True Facts, False Conclusions: HonestReporting’s 8 Categories of Media Bias, Video#6 of 8
In that same testimony, Yigal Carmon also gave US representatives an idea of the sums involved in the payments to convicted terrorists and ‘families of martyrs’.cash
“Palestinian President Mahmoud ‘Abbas has stressed more than once that “the prisoners are top priority.” As a result of this commitment, the PA invests significant sums in underwriting the expenses of the prisoners and their families – $137.8 million according to the PA’s 2016 budget (about 7% of which is for officials’ salaries and operating expenses).” […]
“The 2016 budget describes the PLO’s Institute for Care for the Families of Martyrs as the body “responsible for ensuring a dignified life to the families of all those martyred and wounded as a result of being participants or bystanders in the revolution.”
It is allocated just under $173 million ($172,534,733) for families of martyrs and the wounded within the homeland and outside it. The Institute’s operating expenses comes to about $1.5 million.”
This issue is obviously not only of interest to the government and the public in Germany, but also to tax payers in the many additional countries which donate aid to the Palestinian Authority – including of course Britain. Additionally, familiarity with this issue is key to understanding both the eternal PA budget deficit and the background to Palestinian terrorism of the type which the BBC has spent much of the last year reporting. Nevertheless, it is a topic which has long been ignored and remains firmly off the agenda of the self-described “standard-setter for international journalism”. BBC audiences around the world – and not least the corporation’s funding British public – must surely be asking why.
The missing men turned out to be members of Hamas but in its report on the story, the BBC did not clarify that they belonged to the terror group’s Izzadin al Qassam Brigades.Sinai kidnapping main
As was noted here at the time:
“Whilst not stating so outright, like the above tweets this report clearly steers readers towards the impression that the four Hamas men travelling on the Cairo airport bound bus were abducted by members of the ISIS affiliate ‘Sinai Province’ which operates in Sinai.
“The road from the Rafah border crossing runs through northern Sinai. The most active militant group in the area is an affiliate of the so-called Islamic State.””
However, Hamas soon put out statements claiming that the men had been seized by Egyptian security forces rather than by the Sinai-based ISIS affiliate – which has not since made any mention of them in its statements.
Now that story has taken another turn.
“The Qatar-based Al Jazeera aired on Monday a photo that purports to show two Palestinians allegedly kidnapped by Egypt in the Sinai a year ago, in what could further deteriorate the relations between Hamas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime.
The photo was taken from afar reportedly at a security facility in Cairo.”
Al Jazeera apparently received the photograph via Hamas but whatever the real story behind it, BBC audiences are still unaware of the developments which have taken place since that one article was published in August 2015. Audience understanding of the related broader topic of the increasingly strained relations between Hamas and Egypt (which has long been both under-reported and inaccurately reported) would obviously be enhanced by some up to date coverage.
An author who has blamed Israel and the Jews for 9/11 will speak in Brooklyn at a workspace for progressive groups.
Christopher Bollyn will speak Wednesday about “9-11 and Our Political Crisis” at The Brooklyn Commons.
The description for the event, which was reported on by the progressive Jewish site Jew School, calls 9/11 a “false flag terrorist act” and says “Bollyn’s message is a rare voice exposing the neocons and their Zionist partners-in-crime who had the means, motive, and opportunity to pull off this game-changing event.”
Bollyn was one of the first people to promote conspiracy theories linking the 2001 terrorist attacks with Jews and Israel, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
On his website, he accuses Jews of controlling the government and the media, and quotes “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious anti-Semitic screed that purports to describe a Jewish plan for world domination.
Nine organizations affiliated with the venue condemned the event.
Tamir Oren: Sweden Rally Against Antisemitism
Japanese executives say they are increasingly drawn to investments in Israel as the price of oil falls and, with it, the influence Arab oil suppliers have on Japan’s decision-making.
Over the past two years, Japan and Israel have strengthened business ties, signing a series of economic agreements on the back of a visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Israel in 2015 and Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Tokyo in 2014.
“Abe had a good impression; he liked Netanyahu’s mentality,” Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, chairman of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, told Reuters when he led a delegation from Keizai Doyukai, the Japanese business lobby, to Israel in May.
For years, trade between the two was minimal – Japan was reluctant to upset its oil suppliers, many of whom belong to the Arab League, which has long backed a boycott of Israel.
“Geopolitics is changing in the Middle East and as oil prices come down, strategically it’s not as important,” said Kobayashi. “Japan is changing its mind.”
The fates of India and Israel have been intertwined since they gained independence less than nine months apart. Now, thanks to both the culmination of long-term trends and the camaraderie of the countries’ current leaders, their alliance is going from strength to strength.
When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi steps out onto the red carpet-covered tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport early next year, his arrival in Israel will mark 25 years of full diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Although the precise date of Modi’s visit has yet to be finalized, the first-ever official visit to Israel by a sitting Indian prime minister will testify to the dramatic changes that the Indo-Israeli relationship has undergone since diplomatic normalization occurred in 1992. In understanding these changes, it is essential to recognize that the improvement in Indo-Israeli relations has been consistent under several Indian governments, but has accelerated under governments run by the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which governed from 1998-2004 and returned to power under Modi in 2014.
Under the BJP, there has been a noticeable change in how India publicly describes its relationship with Israel. This increase in public visibility has been primarily demonstrated by high-profile diplomatic delegations to Israel, including the first-ever visit by an Indian foreign minister—Jaswant Singh in 2000. During his visit, Singh remarked that growing Indo-Israeli ties reflected a “tectonic shift of consciousness.”
Just a week after the Colombian government signed a historic peace agreement with the FARC terrorist organization, a Colombian delegation arrived in Israel to receive training on one of the major post-conflict challenges facing Bogota: how to clear land mines.
After Afghanistan, Colombia has had more people killed by land mines recently than any country in the world, with the mines that are spread across the countryside estimated to have killed over 11,000 people in the last 25 years.
The eight-member delegation is receiving instruction from the Defense Ministry’s National Mine Action Authority.
The IDF is not involved in the program.
Israel’s participation in assisting mine-clearing efforts in Colombia is part of a major campaign launched by the Colombian government, the US and Norway. Those three countries convened a donating conference in May – while the peace negotiations between the government and FARC were still taking place – during which Israel took part and determined where its experience could be of help.
The Colombian delegation currently visiting, Israeli officials said, is the first step.
Going to the movies has long been a favorite way to beat the heat of stifling summer or stay warm and dry during winter. While regular cinema experiences are always fun, Israel is a country of creative technologies and a flair for the extreme.
Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), interactive edutainment and 7D films add that extra dollop of excitement to screen time.
ISRAEL21c has picked five state-of-the-art movie experiences to enjoy in Israel.
Aqueduct Medical, a Nazareth-based medical device startup, said Monday it received FDA approval for a product that enables cervical dilation in a short, three- to five-minute process without a need for general anesthesia.
This means the procedure, used for diagnosis, abortions or removal of uterine polyps, may not have to be performed in an operating room, as currently required.
Marketing of the Aqueduct 100 product, registered as intellectual property of the company, is expected to start in the first quarter of 2017 in Europe and in the third quarter of 2017 in the United States, the company said in a statement.
The startup, which is part of the NGT3 technology incubator in Nazareth, is currently holding clinical trials for marketing in Europe after getting CE marking (European Conformity certification) in February this year. The device is expected to be available in Israel, after approval from the Health Ministry, during 2017.
The target audiences for this device are gynecologists in medical centers, outpatient clinics, and private clinics, who will be able to purchase the device through distributors.
Elbit Systems Dragon makes it possible for armored vehicles to accurately hit distant targets without exposing soldiers.
In recent days, the IDF land forces technology brigade has begun installing the Dragon advanced firing system on Achzarit armored personnel carriers (APCs) used by some infantry forces, and on Puma armored engineering vehicles used by engineering forces.
Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) land-based section developed the system according to needs defined by IDF land forces personnel, based on the lessons learned in recent conflicts, including Operation Protective Edge.
One of the Dragon’s key features is its ability to quickly spot targets in both the day and the night, and under any weather conditions, using cameras installed on the APCs. Once the targets have been spotted, under various battle conditions, the system can deliver a short, accurate, and deadly burst of fire at an effective range of 1,500 meters, while the APC crew remains sheltered inside it, and the soldiers are not exposed on the battlefield.
In addition to the cameras providing high-resolution pictures day and night, the system also includes a small radar set enabling it to identify suspects in various theaters of activity, in open areas, and in urban areas. When the suspicious images are spotted, the Dragon makes it possible to lock in on them, and to direct accurate fire against them, while being operated through a computer located inside the APC.
A delegation of 13 Israeli companies presented their latest technology to America’s top professional sports leagues, including the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB.
Hundreds of meetings were set up on the east and west coasts between the delegation and the sports leagues, including sport-focused media and investors by the Israel Export Institute and Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry in New York and San Francisco.
“They presented not only technologies unique to the world of sports but also those enabling new connections between sports brands and their fans,” said Li Aviram Shoshani, Israel Export Institute’s manager of digital media.
Nili Shalev, trade representative for the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry in New York, said their goal is to “gain exposure for Israeli innovation in a wide spectrum of technological sectors.” Sports is just one of many sectors that Israeli trade missions have been building connections between Israel and other nations.
Shavit gives credit to two phenomena that occurred simultaneously: a rise in vegan activism, and a change in Israeli cuisine.
Much of Israeli vegan culture was sparked by one man: Gary Yourofsky, a bald, muscular, Jewish-American activist in his mid-forties. He wears glasses, has a tattoo on his right arm, and, according to his website, has been arrested 13 times and kicked out of five countries for “random acts of kindness and compassion.” A video of his lecture at Georgia Tech went viral in Israel after Hebrew subtitles were added to it. In the video, he talked about how discriminating against animals just because they’re animals is like discriminating against people based on race, religion, or gender. He also illustrated the inhumane conditions animals face in slaughterhouses. “Inside, these innocent, living beings are hanged upside down fully conscious,” he said. “They go in alive, against their will, and come out chopped up into hundreds of pieces.” He calls the way animals are treated a “holocaust” and refers to slaughterhouses as “concentration camps” because of the mass killing of innocents that occur within them. He also tried to make his audience empathize with animals. “How would you feel if the day that you were born, somebody else had already planned the day of your execution? That’s what it’s like to be a cow, a pig, a chicken, or a turkey on this planet,” he said.
The Hebrew version of the video has over a million views. Taken as a rough estimate of how many Israelis have seen the video (some of the views may be from other countries or may be the same person viewing the video multiple times, but many people in Israel may have watched the video together), this would mean Yourofsky has reached one-eighth of Israel’s population. “You always need a match to light a fire, and I think that match was that talk,” Shavit said. She added that Yourofsky’s lecture led to a shift in motivations for going vegan. Prior to the video, Israeli vegans made the switch for health reasons. The current vegan revolution, however, is about animal welfare.
“L’chaim!” Front man Jesse Hughes cried in salute to the crowd, as the members of Eagles of Death Metal passed around a bottle of Tubi 60, Israel’s one and only murky lemony liqueur. “It’s like drinking gasoline, but gasoline that tastes incredibly good. I’m so happy to see you mother f**kers you have no idea!”
Thus began a night at the Barby Club on Monday in Tel Aviv, a night of pulsating, suspender-wearing, vein-popping classic-rock-meets-rockabilly whose musical precision and energy was matched only by euphoric moments of international Israel love.
“I f**king love you mother f***kers.” Hughes lavished on the crowd between tunes. “You have no idea how happy we are to be back here.”
“I wanna tell ya’ll something because I think it’s important. I feel really happy. I feel really safe. I feel like I’m home and I want you to know how much we appreciate that.” He became almost inaudible over the roar of the crowd at this, each member of the Israeli audience galvanized by the support. Israeli fans are frequently over-looked by international musical acts due to the aggressive pressure on them by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
“This has been a weird f**king year, ya’ll. We needed you tonight and ya’ll did not let us down.”
Eagles of Death Metal,”I Only Want You “‘,Live in Tel-Aviv,5.9.16
Shlomo Rechnitz, a Los Angeles businessman, has been identified as the person who bought the Olympic name patch of Israeli bronze medalist judoka Yarden Gerbi.
Rechnitz paid $52,100 for the autographed patch on eBay, the proceeds of which were pledged to charity. Gerbi is to donate the money from his winning bid to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; it will be used to purchase medical equipment.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Rechnitz identified him as the buyer. Rechnitz, who operates a chain of California nursing homes, has pledged to re-auction the name patch and donate those proceeds to the Tel Aviv hospital as well.
“Everyone must learn from Yarden how to use their skills to help people in need,” Rechnitz said in a statement.
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.