The success story of US state legislatures steadily hammering away at BDS
However, Clemmons recalls that a real breakthrough came “later on that trip when we had the opportunity to meet Prof. [Eugene] Kontorovich during a dinner at a winery.
“Here was one of the bright minds in the world… on addressing BDS under the US Constitution,” he explained.
By June 2015, South Carolina was leading the way with legislation targeting BDS, along with Illinois. Following South Carolina’s lead, Alabama, Arizona and other states discussed the same or similar proposals.
In total, as of now, 12 laws or executive orders (New York’s governor issued an order instead of passing a state law) have gone into effect. Though they deal with BDS along similar lines, there are some differences.
Describing the South Carolina version, Clemmons stated that “the law is broader.
It does not mention Israel. It prohibits those who engage against trade based on national origin, against our allies and against the state of South Carolina.” Those who interfere with trade in such ways are barred from getting government contracts.
Clemmons, who himself was already chairman of the South Carolina House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, returned home with 13 supportive legislators.
This was a strong group of allies, but he said that the rest of the legislature did not need to be lobbied as most of them “see Israel as South Carolina’s best friend.”
Divest This: Like Romans – BDS and War
As promised, I’ve pulled together the material written for Algemeiner over the last few months into an essay on how the language of war can help us to best understand and defeat the BDS “movement.” Consider comprehension of the chosen title (“Like Romans”) as an prize/Easter Egg for those who make it through the whole thing.
You can download a PDF version of the work here, or visit the Divest This publications page for links to all the longer works that have been published on this site. I’ve also uploaded the book to Scribd which allows you to more easily share it with your friends and allies.
I’ve also put together a Kindle version of the book that is currently going through testing. If any adventurous Kindle users want to try it on their device and give me feedback, you can request a copy via the Contact Page.
While this work is targeted towards fellow hard core activists trying to think through the best options for winning the BDS propaganda wars, I’m hoping anyone confused about or interested in contributing to the struggle will learn something from it.
Now back to the front!
“The PLO was dreamt up by the KGB, which had a penchant for ‘liberation’ organizations.” — Ion Mihai Pacepa, former chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Romania.
“First, the KGB destroyed the official records of Arafat’s birth in Cairo, and replaced them with fictitious documents saying that he had been born in Jerusalem and was therefore a Palestinian by birth.” — Ion Mihai Pacepa.
“[T]he Islamic world was a waiting petri dish in which we could nurture a virulent strain of America-hatred, grown from the bacterium of Marxist-Leninist thought. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep… We had only to keep repeating our themes — that the United States and Israel were ‘fascist, imperial-Zionist countries’ bankrolled by rich Jews.” — Yuri Andropov, former KGB chairman.
As early as 1965, the USSR had formally proposed in the UN a resolution that would condemn Zionism as colonialism and racism. Although the Soviets did not succeed in their first attempt, the UN turned out to be an overwhelmingly grateful recipient of Soviet bigotry and propaganda; in November 1975, Resolution 3379 condemning Zionism as “a form of racism and racial discrimination” was finally passed.
Israel largely has Morocco to thank for its victory over its Arab enemies in the 1967 Six Day War, according to revelations by a former Israeli military intelligence chief.
In 1965, King Hassan ll passed recordings to Israel of a key meeting between Arab leaders held to discuss whether they were prepared for war against Israel.
That meeting not only revealed that Arab ranks were split — heated arguments broke out, for example, between Egypt’s president Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Jordan’s king Hussein — but that the Arab nations were ill prepared for war, Maj. Gen. Shlomo Gazit told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper over the weekend.
On the basis of these recordings, as well as other intelligence information gathered in the years leading up to the war, Israel launched a preemptive strike on the morning of June 5, 1967, bombing Egyptian airfields and destroying nearly every Egyptian fighter plane.
During the war, which ended on June 10, Israel captured the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.
A British parliamentary committee of inquiry upheld claims that the Labour party’s leadership is failing to confront seriously anti-Semitism in its ranks.
Raised persistently by leaders of British Jewry following the election last year of the far-left politician Jeremy Corbyn to lead Labour, the accusation was reaffirmed Sunday in the publication of a scathing report entitled “Antisemitism in the UK” compiled by the Home Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons, the lower house of the British Parliament.
Corbyn’s “lack of consistent leadership on this issue, and his reluctance to separate antisemitism from other forms of racism, has created what some have referred to as a ‘safe space’ for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people,” read the withering report, which was agreed upon unanimously by the 11 lawmakers who wrote it. Five of them were from Labour.
The document is the first major independent probe into anti-Semitism in Labour under Corbyn – a problem that the Board of Deputies of British Jews and other community organs have accused Corbyn of downplaying and even whitewashing in internal party probes.
Noting Corbyn’s ties to individuals accused of anti-Semitism and his 2009 expression of support for Hamas and Hezbollah – a gesture he in July said he regretted – the report further states that, “despite his proud record on fighting racism, the Committee is not persuaded that Mr Corbyn fully appreciates the distinct nature of contemporary antisemitism, and the fact that it is perfectly possible for an ‘anti-racist campaigner’ to express antisemitic views.”
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,” wrote Charles Dickens in Tale of Two Cities. He was not describing the contrast between the Home Affairs Committee Antisemitism in the UK report, released today, and Shami Chakrabarti’s earlier inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party, but his words capture the gulf between the two.
The Chakrabarti inquiry was foolish – shockingly flimsy, intellectually barren, utterly unable to grasp what it was dealing with, incurious, and inexplicably rushed.
The Home Affairs Committee is wise because it grasps three things that eluded Chakrabarti: the need to define contemporary antisemitism; to understand that antisemitism has shape-shifted since Cable Street and the Holocaust into a “new antisemitism”, often dressed up as “anti-Zionism”; and to face up to the depth of Labour’s crisis rather than run interference for the leadership which presided over that crisis.
Proving the old adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, Chakrabarti – who had absolutely no background in the study of antisemitism – declared that she saw “no need to pursue an age-old and ultimately fruitless debate about the precise parameters” of antisemitism. The Committee wisely seeks a definition which secures “an appropriate balance between condemning antisemitism vehemently, in all its forms, and maintaining freedom of speech – particularly in relation to legitimate criticism of the Government of Israel.” With this in mind, the Committee recommends the adoption by government and political parties of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA is an intergovernmental body for Holocaust education, remembrance and research and the working definition was adopted by its 31 member countries, including the UK, in 2016.
Such dynamic definition matters because of the protean character of antisemitism. The Committee, in a classic example of British understatement, declare themselves “not persuaded that [Jeremy Corbyn] fully appreciates the distinct nature of post-Second World War antisemitism”. While Corbyn and Chakrabarti are stuck in the past, repeating the simplicities of an earlier age when antisemitism came wearing a uniform and “speaking German”, the Committee has grasped that post-Holocaust antisemitism rarely looks like a re-enactment of the Battle of Cable Street.
Hypocrisy has a new face. Baroness Chakrabarti’s decision to go into front-line politics transformed her from the “saintly” head of Liberty, the civil liberties pressure group, into just another politician dodging accusations of double standards. For instance, her not-very-socialist acceptance of a peerage. Or the not-at-all-socialist presence of her son in an independent school.
Now she is singled out for severe criticism in an all-party Commons committee’s report into anti-Semitism. Taking a peerage undermined the integrity of her own inquiry into racism in the Labour Party. She was ennobled after her recommendations absolved Jeremy Corbyn of any responsibility. The report acknowledges Mr Corbyn’s history of campaigning against racism but condemns his inability to recognise the unique nature of post-war anti-Semitism. In recent years, anti-Semitism has operated under the cover of anti-Zionism, to the point that denial of the right of Israel to exist can be a way of articulating hatred for Jewish people. The report concludes that failure to see this and to take action has helped create a “safe space” for anti-Semites in Labour.
This is appalling. Labour has a fine history of tackling racism; much of its early leadership was Jewish and the party had a comradely relationship with Israel. The infiltration of bigots in the past few years is part of a wider picture. Elements of the party have gone soft on terrorism and allied themselves with extremists. Others have turned a blind eye. Baroness Chakrabarti is a prime example of the failure of moral leadership: a campaigner for human rights who stands accused of failing to stand up for the rights of all.
The same week that UNESCO voted to deny the historical fact of the Jewish people’s link to the site of its two ancient Temples, two more Jews were murdered by terrorists in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority announced a new push for statehood at the UN and a BDS group sought to lobby the US Congress. Is this cascade of challenges, as former senior US official Stuart Eizenstat termed events, more of the same reality Israel has been facing all along, or are we approaching some critical point?
None of the recent events cited above is new. In fact, they were predicted five years ago by then-defense minister Ehud Barak, who warned Israel would face a “diplomatic tsunami” if the standstill in Middle East peace talks continued.
He predicted a massive campaign to delegitimize Israel would ensue, years before the viral spread of BDS antisemitism on US college campuses or the delusional attempt to negate thousands of years of Jewish history in Jerusalem.
It may be a sign of the approaching tsunami that we are not being allowed even to reduce some of the anticipated challenges, for example by following the High Court’s decision on Amona. Despite its ruling that the illegal outpost of Amona, built on privately owned Palestinian land, must finally be demolished by December 25, and notwithstanding the government’s attempt to find a solution by relocating Amona’s 40 families to the veteran settlement of Shiloh, the US State Department harshly condemned the plan.
The Foreign Ministry rejected the criticism, pointing out that “the 98 housing units approved in Shiloh do not constitute a ‘new settlement.’ This housing will be built on state land in the existing settlement of Shiloh and will not change its municipal boundary or geographic footprint.”
Nevertheless, the US is not budging.
So what is the government doing? It is now asking the High Court for a six-month extension to execute the ruling.
Here is a rather famous photo of Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Dayan in 1967, after we reclaimed the old city of Jerusalem.
Notice anything interesting?
Look at the sign behind him: Al-Buraq (Wailing Wall) Rd.
You see, even the Jordanians, who during their 19-year-occupation of the Old City and East Jerusalem from 1948-1967, neglected the Jewish Quarter, destroyed Jewish property and kept the area Judenrein – had this as the sign by the Western Wall. An acknowledgement by the Muslim Jordanians that this was the wall of the Jews!
And how significant they used the words “Wailing Wall” – the name given to the wall because of the centuries of wailing and endless tears shed by Jews yearning to rebuild Jerusalem.
UNESCO, take note.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) on Sunday called on all Israeli Jews to converge on the Western Wall on Wednesday to send a message to the United Nations’ cultural arm, UNESCO, that the Jewish people will never be separated from its holy sites.
The minister urged Jews to attend, en masse, the annual priestly blessing during the Sukkot holiday in defiance of a controversial resolution passed by UNESCO’s member states last week that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
“This year, we’ll come, in our masses, to Jerusalem, to the Western Wall, to the Priestly Blessing. This Wednesday, the second day of [the intermediate festival days] Hol Hamoed, we’ll all be there. We’ll send a clear message — nobody will separate us from our holy places,” wrote Deri in a Facebook post.
In his post, the minister invoked the Biblical command to go up to the city during Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles), which this year starts Sunday night, and notes the newer tradition of reciting the Priestly Blessing en masse at the Western Wall [twice a year, on the festivals of Passover and Sukkot], made possible since Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War.
The UNESCO resolution, proposed by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, and adopted last week at the committee stage, used only Muslim names for the holy sites of Jerusalem’s Old City and was harshly critical of Israel for what it termed “provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity” of the area. The resolution drew angry condemnation from Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum.
However, the fact that BBC audiences have not been informed of prior attempts to pass a similar document at UNESCO or of previous decisions taken at that body concerning other historic sites means that readers of this report lack the background information necessary to understand the story fully and the relevance of the word ‘another’ in one of the quotes used.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Facebook post that Unesco had become a “theatre of the absurd” in taking “another delusional decision”.”
Without being provided with the relevant context of Palestinian terrorism and rioting on Temple Mount, readers are told that:
“The stated aim of the text was “the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem”.
It repeatedly denounced Israeli actions, including the use of force, imposition of restrictions on Muslim worshippers and archaeological work. Israel regards such criticism as politically motivated.”
BBC audiences have also been serially deprived of the background information which would enable their understanding of the role of this document in the long-standing Palestinian campaign to erase Jewish heritage and history as part of the tactical delegitimisation of Israel. The article closes with an anodyne quote from a PA spokesman:
A large plurality of Israeli’s (43%) believe Hillary Clinton is preferable to Donald Trump (26.5%) in the upcoming US presidential election, according to the latest Peace Index poll taken by the Israel Democracy institute.
The results are a bit puzzling given the fact that in the same poll, a majority of Israeli’s said that a President Clinton (63%) would exert greater pressure on Israel than a President Trump (8%.)
Israelis by and large are satisfied with life in Israel, the poll found. Fifty-four percent of respondents said the country’s overall status was either “moderately” or “very” good, while only 37% see the country’s status as “average.”
Not surprisingly, Israeli’s who identified as “right”, given the center right government, were more likely to be satisfied with the direction of the country than those who identified as “center” or “left.” “Religious” Jews were more likely to be satisfied than “traditional” or “secular” Jews. Sixty-three percent of Arab respondents said the country’s situation was either “very” or “moderately” good.
A clear majority (64%) of Israeli Jews believe that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to attend the late President Shimon Peres’s funereal was not a sign of a Palestinian desire to return to negotiations with Israel, while a majority of Israeli Arabs (57%) believe it was.
An overwhelming majority of Israeli’s believe that the decision by the heads of the Joint Arab List to decline participation in Peres’ funeral was politically “unwise” (81%) and “unjustified” (77.5%.)
Clinton told the firm’s CEO Lloyd Bankfein at a South Carolina conference on June 4, 2013, that if Tehran raced toward the bomb, the US must “up the pain,” but without “boots on the ground.” She spoke five months before the interim agreement was reached that set the framework for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
During the forum, Blankfein asked Clinton how to prevent the Iranian regime from becoming a nuclear power without launching an invasion, after expressing incredulity that such an incursion would achieve the desired outcome.
“It’s hard to imagine going into something as open-ended and uncontainable as the occupation of Iran,” he said. “How else can you stop them from doing something they [are] committed to doing?”
To which Clinton responded: “Well, you up the pain that they have to endure by not in any way occupying or invading them but by bombing their facilities. I mean, that is the option. It is not, as we like to say these days, boots on the ground.”
Later, she added: “We have to bomb the facilities. They act as though there would be no consequences either predicted or unpredicted. Of course there would be, and you already are dealing with a regime that is the principal funder and supplier of terrorism in the world today.”
At that same June event, Clinton indicated the Israelis did not have the military capabilities to strike the Iranian nuclear facilities and successfully set back its activities.
Who these Muslim nations are and how Clinton intends to defeat Islamic State in Syria without Russian co-operation remains unexplained. It is a pipedream the American media should be grilling her on every day until they get an answer.
Trump however indicated in the same presidential debate that he would welcome co-operation rather than confrontation with Russia:
“I don’t know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example.”
Trump and Putin acting in concert or going hand in hand to the Security Council jointly sponsoring a commonly agreed plan of action to eradicate Islamic State represent two possible ways forward.
Meanwhile new allegations of decades-old sexual transgressions by Trump surface in the American media accompanied by sanctimonious expressions of indignation to justify his unfitness to be America’s next president.
Makes for salacious reading – but keeps voters in the dark on whether Trump or Clinton is the best candidate to:
* See Islamic State defeated
* End the ongoing sexual violence in Syria and Iraq
* Extricate America from Obama’s disastrous forays in the Middle East that continue to cause American military casualties and bankrupt America both morally and financially.
Trump may not be perfect but America’s media should hang its head in shame.
Ben-Dror Yemini: B’Tselem’s disgraceful appearance at the UN
The UN has become a backward body plagued with non-democratic nations that initiate and supports anti-Israeli resolutions. B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad’s appearance at the UN Security Council did nothing to promote the fight against the settlement enterprise, or peace for that matter. If anything, it played into the enemy’s propaganda.
My position regarding the settlement enterprise is more similar to that of B’Tselem than to that of the Israeli government. In fact, it is a position shared by most of Israel’s powerful friends in the world—both Jews and non-Jews. With that in mind, B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad’s appearance before the UN Security Council was more than disgraceful.
Why? Because the UN—with all of its different agencies—has become a backward body with a guaranteed majority of non-democratic nations.
Only last week UNESCO, one of the UN’s more important agencies, adopted a resolution that will go down in history as disgraceful. The entire world is not against us. None of the Western countries supported the resolution on Jerusalem. But the countries that initiated the discussion the B’Tselem representative participated in all belong to a bloc that regularly votes against Israel.
One of them is Venezuela, still controlled by the successors of the anti-Semite Hugo Chávez, whose citizens are suffering from starvation. Or Malaysia, which for many years was ruled by Mahathir Mohamad, who declared himself a proud anti-Semite. So B’Tselem’s claims that they are trying to save Israel from itself are becoming absurd. The backward majority at the UN suits them fine, but Israel in their opinion is not democratic. It appears there’s no limit to the absurd.
Officials in Jerusalem are furious over the discussion that took place in the U.N. Security Council on Friday, both because of the claim that the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria is illegal and comprise an obstacle to peace, and because of the left-wing Israeli groups Peace Now and B’Tselem, whose representatives parroted that claim to the council members and called upon the U.N. and the international community to take action against Israel.
“B’Tselem and my friends Peace Now have joined the chorus of slander against Israel, and are recycling the deceptive claim that ‘the occupation and the settlements’ are the reason for the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post over the weekend.
“The truth is that the Palestinians attacked Israel for 50 years, before a single settlement existed. They attack from Judea and Samaria and demand not only those territories, but also the right to return to Jaffa, to Acre, and to Haifa. These facts prove that the root of the conflict is not ‘the occupation and the settlements,’ but rather the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize a Jewish state on their borders,” the prime minister wrote.
The prime minister’s post went on to say that “what these organizations don’t achieve in a democratic election, they try to achieve by international coercion. It’s an inappropriate act. The Israeli democracy gives voice to deluded, transitory groups like B’Tselem, but most of the public knows the truth.”
At the start of the Knesset winter session, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will act to amend the national service law so that it will no longer be possible for young Israelis to do their national service working for the B’Tselem organization, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office, released Saturday night. Netanyahu discussed the amendment Saturday evening with coalition chairman MK David Bitan (Likud).
Prime Minister Netanyahu has previously contacted the Attorney General on the matter, and the latter said the law needs to be amended to exclude the anti-Zionist NGO.
On Friday, Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, appeared before a non-binding session of the UN Security Council, together with the director of Americans for Peace Now, to attack Israeli policy on Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
The meeting came a week after the US and the EU had expressed their outrage at the fact that Israel was planning 98 new housing units in Samaria, for the residents of Amona which was slated for demolition by the Israeli Supreme Court. Apparently, the fact that Israel refuses to let a few hundred Jews go homeless poses a threat to the national aspirations of Palestinians everywhere.
An activist for the Labor party has reportedly filed a police complaint for alleged treason against the human rights group B’Tselem, amid anger over a speech by the organization’s director criticizing Israeli settlement policy at a United Nations forum last week.
The complaint, lodged by Yuval Mor Musli, an attorney by trade, alleges that B’Tselem has worked to damage the sovereignty of the state, give land away to a foreign entity, and has taken steps that could cause a war, according to Israel Radio. The three accusations are listed as clauses in Israel’s criminal code under “Treason.”
B’Tselem’s decision to address the UN Security Council meeting on Friday, titled “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution,” has drawn fierce denunciations from Israeli politicians, including the prime minister and at least one left-wing Knesset member from the Zionist Union.
Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuli on Saturday told Channel 2 News the “rush to biased UN institutions is unhelpful, as it does not advance a solution here in the Middle East [and] it mostly advances the libel and demonization of Israel.”
On October 13, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly appointed by acclamation António Guterres of Portugal as the next UN Secretary-General. Guterres was the top choice of the Security Council, which forwarded Guterres’s nomination to the General Assembly on October 6, 2016. Guteres will replace the current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on January 1, 2017, and will serve for a 5-year term. Guterres was the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.
Given the UN’s preoccupation with the demonization and destruction of the Jewish state, Guterres’ views on Israel would likely have factored into the enthusiasm of UN members for his appointment.
For instance, in a 2014 address to the Arab League meeting in Cairo, Guteress analogized the Arab refugee flow of 1948 – created by a failed effort to destroy the nascent Jewish state – with Palestinians fleeing ISIS and Assad’s killing machine in Syria. He condemned Israel’s counter-terrorism operations and claimed Palestinians were better off in Syria than Gaza. In his words:
“The refugee situations under UNHCR’s mandate pale in comparison to the desperate situation of the Palestinians, the largest protracted refugee situation in the world… It was devastating to me to see Palestinian refugees in Syria being forced to flee for the second time. But even worse, in addition to the terrible loss of life and the tens of thousands of people displaced, it was shocking that Gaza’s inhabitants could not even flee to seek safety from the recent conflict. No one wants to be a refugee. But for the people of Gaza, not even that was an option.”
OUTGOING UNGA PRESIDENT’S RESPONSE TO UN’S ISRAEL-BASHING: “SOME OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS ARE JEWISH”
FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, on Friday put off a decision on Israeli clubs based in communities in Judea and Samaria, AFP reports.
The Palestine Football Association (PFA) has been pushing FIFA to expel the six clubs in Judea and Samaria or relocate them within Israel’s recognized borders.
The issue had been on the agenda at a meeting of the FIFA Council, with the organization’s president Gianni Infantino describing sporting tensions in the region as one of his “top priorities”.
But FIFA’s envoy to the region, South African powerbroker Tokyo Sexwale, said he was unable to deliver a final report to the council because his committee “was not able to meet”.
He said the full report should be ready next month, according to AFP.
Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) welcomed the postponement, writing on his Facebook page that “we were successful in blocking another Palestinian attempt to ban Israeli football teams from FIFA.”
In a posting from Thursday, Erdan called on FIFA and “all supporters of the ban to leave politics out of soccer!”
A disagreement emerged Sunday between Jerusalem District Police and the State Attorney’s Office over the release of the daughter of the terrorist who carried out last week’s shooting attack in Jerusalem that killed two people.
While police believed that it was prudent to file a pre-indictment motion against the daughter of the terrorist, Musabach abu Sabich, and to remand her to further custody, the State Attorney’s Office decided that she no longer posed a danger and therefore there was no justification to further detain her.
Police were instructed to appear at the court to release her on restrictive conditions.
Police had argued that the suspect’s remarks following the terrorist attack, in which she expressed support for her father’s actions and praised him as a hero in interviews to various media outlets, established her as a danger to the public who is suspected of serious incitement charges.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday hosted the family of a Palestinian terrorist who murdered an Israeli man in 2003, telling them their son was a “martyr” and a “hero,” the official Wafa news agency reported.
Abbas embraced family members of Yasser Hamdouni, who died of a heart attack last month while serving a life sentence for murder. The meeting took place at the Palestinian Authority’s Muqata’a headquarters in Ramallah.
“Your son was a hero. The blood of the martyrs and the victims has not been spilled in vain. They will be part of our path to an independent state, whose capital will be in East Jerusalem,” Abbas told the family, according to Wafa.
The family said Hamdouni had given his life for the “liberation and independence of Palestine.”
The U.S. Chess Federation took a stand in support of U.S. women’s champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, saying Thursday that it would support her boycott of next year’s world women’s championship in Iran due to the Islamic Republic’s mandatory dress code for women.
Paikidze-Barnes, 22, said she would rather boycott the contest than be forced to wear a hijab, “even if it means missing one of the most important competitions of my career.”
“We absolutely support Nazi Paikidze,” said U.S. Chess Federation president Gary Walters. “Women should not be oppressed for cultural, religious or ethnic reasons…She has taken a principled position of which we can be proud.”
Other chess luminaries have also come out in support of Paikidze-Barnes, including former world champion Garry Kasparov and grandmasters Nigel Short, Carla Heredia, and Jen Shahade. The English and Danish chess federations have also issued statements opposing the decision to hold the tournament in Iran.
The Hairy Bikers are British TV presenters whose current show Chicken & Egg has them biking across Europe, America, and the Middle East in search of the best chicken and egg recipes.
They recently filmed an episode in Israel, where they learned about the social history of chicken and visited the first place in the world it was eaten, among other things.
This is surprisingly entertaining and – for the BBC – fair!
Hairy Bikers Chicken and Egg S01E05 Israel (this is the full episode, it’s in a tiny box to avoid YT piracy filters)
Thanks to its unique position at the crossroads of three continents, Israel boasts a soaring birdlife that delights ornithological beginners and experienced birders alike.
“Israel is a meeting of zoo-topical zones, so in this small country you can see a high diversity of species which are represented in Europe, Asia and Africa,” Jonathan Meyrav, tourism director of Israeli Ornithological Center, tells ISRAEL21c.
“Our specialties are some of our desert birds like MacQueen’s bustard, five species of sandgrouse, and the Syrian serin, which is a bird that breeds only in the mountains of Syria, Lebanon and Israel. We also have two very rare night species — the desert tawny owl and the Nubian nightjar. These two have a very small distribution and Israel is the best place in the world to see them.”
The two migration festivals – Hula Valley Birds Festival, which begins on November 20th this year, and Eilat Birds Festival in spring — when some 500 million birds fly over Israel, are the most popular times for birders to visit. During these peak times, birders can catch sight of 150 to 200 species of birds.
Israel’s economy is performing better than previously expected, the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported Thursday, updating its annualized growth projection for 2016.
In the third CBS projection update since January, the anticipated economic growth rate was changed to 4.3 percent, an increase of 0.3 percent over previously released annualized growth expectations of Israel’s gross domestic product.
According to the CBS, GDP rose by 3.2 percent in the first half of 2016, reflecting a 9.9 percent increase in private consumption, an 8.6 percent rise in public consumption, and a 13.7 percent rise in exports of goods and services.
The government’s civilian spending increased by 3.7 percent, while defense spending was up by 2.4 percent, the data showed.
The improvement in the standard of living in Israel was reflected in private consumption. Annualized spending on food, beverages, cigarettes and alcohol increased by 5.3 percent per capita in the first half of 2016; investment in financial instruments rose by 8.4 percent; household spending on furniture, appliances and private vehicles surged by 21.4 percent; and household spending on jewelry was up 9.9 percent.
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