From Jerusalem, Marc Lamont Hill’s ‘river to the sea’ comments hit too close to home
Unfortunately, if you were to base your understanding of why CNN fired Hill on the international media coverage of the row, and tweets by Hill’s defenders, you’d come away with the false impression that he was let go merely for criticising Israel and calling for a “free Palestine.”
In fact, he was fired because his speech included a call for a future Palestinian state “from the river to the sea,” and a thinly veiled justification for Palestinian terror.
Regarding the “river to the sea” comments, Hill denied that it was a call for Israel’s destruction.
However, there is simply no question that, among Western pro-Palestinian activists and — especially — terror groups like Hamas, calling for a future Palestine “from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea” is code for the rejection of the continued existence of a Jewish state within any borders. In fact, Hill himself, in a recent tweet, acknowledged that he holds this view.
Hill’s support for the Palestinian right to engage in terrorism seems clear in several passages from his speech, including his evocation of the American slave revolts, which he described as equally important to attaining freedom as non-violent methods, adding that “true solidarity” with the Palestinians “must allow them the same range of opportunity.” He also spoke of the alleged “right of an occupied people to defend themselves,” and rejected what he termed the “narrow politics that shames Palestinians” for engaging in this kind of “resistance.”
Moreover, it’s important to note that Hill’s apparent support for violence isn’t a one-off. He has previously advocated on behalf of convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, appeared to justify the kidnapping and murder in 2014 of three Israeli teens by Palestinian terrorists, and, in 2017, labeled the call for Palestinians to reject hatred and terrorism “offensive and counterproductive.”
Temple University is determining whether it can reprimand Marc Lamont Hill, a faculty member whose contract as a CNN commentator ended after he made comments denounced as antisemitic.
Hill, a tenured professor of media studies and production, came under fire from Jewish groups after speaking at the United Nations last Wednesday, where he endorsed the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel in pursuit of “a free Palestine from the river to the sea” — a call typically used by Arab nationalist and Islamist groups to advocate for the establishment of a Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, in place of Israel. The BDS campaign itself is often criticized for rejecting the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and denying Jewish indigenity to the Levant.
In his speech, Hill also did not rule out violence as a means of Palestinian “resistance,” suggesting that as “black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Gandi and nonviolence … we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility.”
His comments were quickly condemned by local and national Jewish groups including the Anti-Defamation League, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Zionist Organization of America, National Council of Young Israel and Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, with the latter rebuking Hill’s remarks as “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.”
Islam decolonized itself with an anti-Semitic ethnic cleansing whose very existence has been denied by the West. These Jews had been confiscated of everything: wealth totalling hundreds of billions of dollars. they were prevented from practicing religion, they were kicked out of their homes, they were massacred in the streets, they were robbed also of their own history.
And they became invisible.
But their sufferings didn’t come to an end with their flight. In France it continues today. Most French Jews, in fact, are the sons and the grandsons of those who fled the Arab world: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt. And these Jews are targeted again by the Islamists.
“I’m scared for the future of my baby here”, say the French Jews in a chilling series that appeared on CNN. Nathaniel Azoulay, a boy from Paris attacked with a saw, tells his story: “He saw the kippah”. Azoulay and his brother started running as fast as possible. “He started to launch anti-Semitic insults, ‘f*** Jew, you will die on this street’. He hit my brother with the saw. He shouted to the others: ‘Let’s beat the Jews, come, let’s hit them’. I cut my fingers with the saw”.
Yonatan Arfi, vice president of Jewish communities, speaks of “hundreds of attacks” like this from 2000 to today.
Islamicized France, outside the Macrononian bubble, can become a war zone for the Jews, exactly as it was in Cairo, Marrakesh, Baghdad, Damascus, Aleppo and Beirut at the time of the Jewish Nakba, the real one.
In fact, the discrimination goes considerably beyond this. Under Iran’s sharia law code, different penalties are laid out for Muslims and non-Muslims for a variety of violations, almost always disfavoring the non-Muslims. The government also insists that each of the Tehran Jewish community’s five schools must be run by a Muslim principal — a requirement that the head of the Jewish community bluntly, and courageously, condemned on the record as “insulting” in my 2015 interview with him. If a Jew murders a Muslim, the proscribed penalty is death. If a Muslim murders a Jew, the payment of blood money is an option.
To be sure Jews, along with Christians and Zoroastrians, are recognized as “people of the book” in the Islamic Republic, with a legitimate place as tolerated minorities in Muslim society. The physical security of Jews as a community in Iran is even buttressed by a religious fatwa forbidding harm to the community that was issued by the Islamic Republic’s founding leader, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, soon after he took power. But taken in total, the legal and social discrimination under which Iran’s Jews (and Christians and Zoroastrians) live leave them as basically well protected second-class citizens.
For Jews, the impact of these conditions is reflected in a basic statistic found nowhere in the PBS report. Before the 1979 revolution, 80,000 to 100,000 Jews lived in Iran. Today, only 9,000 Jews live there, according to census figures, where Iranians are obliged to list their religion. Those numbers make a big statement about what most Iranian Jews think about living under the conditions “News Hour” describes more or less accurately, if incompletely.
Much of the emigration took place in the years immediately after the revolution, when the ability of Jews to make reasonable lives for themselves was far less clear. Just months after the installation of Khomeini’s first post-revolution government, Iran’s execution of one of the community’s major leaders and leading businessmen, Habib Elghanian, for “contacts with Israel and Zionism” shocked many Jews into flight. The charge was one that could be applied easily to many Iranian Jews. To this day Iranian Jews, many of whom have family in Israel, must be discreet about those ties. But today, the government often looks the other way when Iranian Jews quietly visit Israel via third countries. (h/t Zvi)
On November 22, 2018, B’Tselem published “Seven months of protests by Gaza fence: Over 5,800 Palestinians wounded by live Israeli gunfire,” claiming that “58% (237) [of 406 rioters who took a B’Tselem survey] … were not in the immediate vicinity of the fence (i.e., more than 10 meters away) when injured.” This report utilizes a flawed methodology that, according to B’Tselem itself, “is not a representative sample” of casualties in the Gaza border riots. Indeed, the examples provided take place during the most violent period from March-May and include testimonials from Palestinians admitting to committing acts of violence and rioting. Yet, B’Tselem minimizes the context of violence and terror, denying Israel’s sovereign right to defend its border, belittling the human rights of Israeli civilians living in close proximity to the border, and ignoring Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups’ incitement to violence against Israel.
Notably, B’Tselem’s attack against Israel’s Supreme Court and its April 2018 verdict ruling that the IDF has a right to use force in order to defend the border and civilians – “the Supreme Court  justices have given this reality their seal of approval” – is part of a broader campaign by B’Tselem delegitimizing the Israeli Supreme Court.
B’Tselem’s publication distorts the record in the following ways:
According to B’Tselem, the organization surveyed just 406 out of an alleged 5,800 individuals with gunshot wounds, representing just 7% of the casualties. B’Tselem does not detail how these individuals were selected, does not provide the reader with the exact questions asked to these individuals, nor does it state whether any of these individuals were affiliated with Palestinian terror groups.
B’Tselem further relies exclusively on questionnaires given to the wounded Palestinians. There is no indication that B’Tselem did or could independently verify the self-reported claims of interested parties.
France granted a human rights prize to Al-Haq, a leader in the anti-Israel lawfare and boycott efforts with ties to the terrorist group the Popular Front to Liberate Palestine (PFLP), and Israeli NGO B’Tselem, which advocates for Palestinians’ human rights.
The two organizations are sharing one of five Human Rights Awards of the French Republic. France’s Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet will present the awards at a ceremony in Paris on December 10.
Al-Haq says it documents “violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” and brings that documentation before international bodies to hold Israel accountable.
The organization’s General Director Shawan Jabarin is known to have ties to the PFLP. Israel convicted Jabarin in 1985 of recruiting members for the terrorist organization, and has been denied exit visas by both Israel and Jordan. As recently as 2009, the Supreme Court found that evidence of Jabarin’s continued “involvement in the activity of terrorist entities is concrete and reliable.”
Al-Haq is a leading Palestinian organization in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, and it has submitted documents to the International Criminal Court against Israel. It has also filed cases meant to disrupt trade with Israel in the Netherlands, Canada and the UK.
B’Tselem calls itself “the Israeli information center for human rights in the occupied territories,” and its goal is “to end Israel’s occupation” by documenting what it says are Israeli violations of Palestinians’ human rights.
No joke: French government announces human rights prize next week for groups dedicated to criticizing Israel’s response to violent rioters, as French government weighs state of emergency to respond to violent rioters. Deux poids, deux mesures? https://t.co/IXp5H0dF3v pic.twitter.com/n2mcjhXoXH
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) December 5, 2018
Yesterday, palestinian propagandist extraordinaire Hanan Ashrawi saw it fit to insult US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman…for posting a fact.
Denying the Jewish history smells a lot like antisemitism to me. Then again, it is what we have come to expect from Ashrawi.
Micah Lakin Avni is attempting the almost impossible. He is heading up a multi-million dollar organization designed to oversee the strategic defense of Israel against its boycotters and delegitimizers. And he’s doing so in a direct partnership with the Israeli government, while trying to stay out of partisan politics.
Avni, 49, has the same stake that every Israeli has in the success of his venture — formerly called “Kela Shlomo” and now renamed “Concert–Together for Israel.” The way he puts it, if a global consensus ever develops that Israel has no right to exist, the country will indeed cease to exist — and that is the goal of the defamers and the demonizers.
And he has a particular personal stake as the son of Richard Lakin, a former Connecticut school principal, civil rights activist and coexistence campaigner, who immigrated to Israel with his family in 1984 and was murdered by Palestinian terrorists on a bus in Jerusalem’s East Talpiot neighborhood, aged 75, four years ago.
A lawyer and a former venture capitalist who now heads a pioneering private lending firm that makes loans to small and medium-sized Israeli businesses, Avni has become a dedicated anti-terrorism activist since the killing of his father — pressing Facebook to prevent the abuse of its platform for the incitement of terrorism, challenging international hypocrisy and inaction in the face of Palestinian terrorism, and, most significantly, now pouring his considerable energies into “Concert” as its volunteer chairman.
Fight academic boycotts of Israel.
That’s the message from 101 Jewish and pro-Israel organizations that signed on to a letter sent Tuesday to 250 US college presidents and chancellors whose institutions have previously said they reject such boycotts of the Jewish state. They want the leaders to reaffirm their opposition in light of recent instances in which faculty members objected to study abroad programs in Israel.
Last week, the faculty at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, voted to suspend the school’s study abroad program at Haifa University. This fall, two instructors at the University of Michigan refused to write recommendation letters for students who wished to study in Israel.
“[I]n light of recent reprehensible attempts by faculty at University of Michigan, Pitzer College and elsewhere to implement an academic boycott that thwarts their own students’ academic freedom and their own colleagues’ scholarly activities, it is imperative that university leaders speak out once again, this time even more forcefully,” says the letter organized by the AMCHA initiative, an anti-Semitism campus monitor.
Among the signers are B’nai B’rith International, NCSY, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Zionist Organization of America.
A new group of radical activists has emerged in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. They are called Within Our Lifetime, and they are unapologetically anti-Zionist, anti-American, pro-violence, and anti-peace.
Within Our Lifetime (WOL) announced their formation in a March Twitter post. An offshoot of a New York branch of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the group said they felt limited by their designation as a campus group and opened up membership to the general public, taking their fight to the streets of New York City.
Within Our Lifetime is small in terms of manpower, usually attracting not more than 25 participants to their rallies and weekly community meetings. But they have over 5,000 followers on Facebook and strong allies including American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), and the ADL-designated hate group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). They have also inherited SJP’s ties to jihadist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas.
On November 24, Within Our Lifetime signed a statement calling for the release of the “HLF5” — referring to five organizers of the Holy Land Foundation who were convicted on multiple terrorism-related charges, including material support for terrorism. HLF was a Hamas front — an Islamic charity established by US-based Muslim Brotherhood members, according to evidence submitted by the Federal government during a 2008 trial.
Nerdeen-Mohsen Kiswani, the co-founder and chair of Within Our Lifetime, has a disturbing history of Jew-hatred and support for jihad.
An Australian university has moved to sack a controversial senior lecturer after he showed students material featuring the Nazi swastika imposed over the flag of Israel.
Dr Tim Anderson of the University of Sydney attracted criticism from federal education ministers for his numerous trips to Syria and North Korea, where he expressed solidarity with their dictatorial regimes and condemned Western imperialism and the United States.
He regularly posted on social media about the crimes of the “apartheid” Israeli state, and complained the mainstream media was complicit in distorting the narrative about Israel and Palestine.
A spokeswoman for the university confirmed Dr Anderson had been served a termination notice as he had engaged in “serious misconduct”.
Dr Anderson had published on social media and in lecture slides “material which included the Nazi Swastika over the Israeli flag,” the spokeswoman said, and this was found to be “disrespectful and offensive, and contrary to the university’s behavioural expectations and requirements for all staff”.
A lifetime radical, Dr Anderson was convicted but later acquitted of the 1978 Hilton Hotel bombing in Sydney.
He also founded the Centre for Counter-Hegemonic Studies, a network of like-minded academics who disparage Western imperialism and claim to be the victim of censorship at their respective universities.
IsraellyCool: Australian Broadcaster SBS Threatens to Sue BDS Movement
SBS vs the BS of BDS
SBS has refused to bow to demands from protesters to boycott Eurovision in Israel next year and has threatened to sue them for appropriating the broadcaster’s branding.
A pro-Palestinian activist group, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Australia, has joined protesters and artists worldwide in calling for a boycott of the event.
It used a red leaflet featuring the SBS name and logo to promote its cause. It said: “Boycott Eurovision 2019; Don’t Celebrate Israel’s Apartheid Crimes”.
SBS sent a legal letter saying they must “immediately remove SBS’s trademark from any of your websites, social media pages and any other marketing and promotional material”.
“As is common practice for organisations managing and protecting their brand, SBS is in contact with this organisation about their unauthorised use of the SBS logo,” a spokeswoman told Guardian Australia.
The legal dispute remains unresolved.
In case this sounds familiar, it is. Just last month I posted how fellow Israel haters the National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) co-opted the UCLA Bruin Bear logo to advertise their hate conference.
From logos to narratives, they steal. It is what they do.
The South African Zionist Federation has hit back at the exclusion of Israeli academics who were due to attend a conference in Cape Town next week.
In a statement, the organisation said the retracted invites to the academics was silencing them and discriminatory against the eight scholars who were supposed to be presenting at the conference that was to be held from December 5-9.
The organisation said the withdrawal of the invite was ironic especially as the theme of the conference was: “Recognition, Reparation, Reconciliation: The Light and Shadow of Historical Trauma”.
“Anti-Israel lobby groups pressurised the conference organisers to disinvite the Israeli and Palestinian academics.
The Israeli academics were removed from the conference programme purely and simply because they were Israeli, and the Palestinian academic was removed because he has shown a more moderate position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the organisation said in its statement.
Pitzer College faculty passed a motion demanding the “suspension of the College’s exchange with Haifa University, until (a) the Israeli state ends its restrictions on entry to Israel based on ancestry and/or political speech and (b) the Israeli state adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities,” according to Campus Reform.
Nations, of course, are well within their rights to deny entry to anyone and I would think you’d want to be just a bit less liberal if one part of your population was firing everything from rocks to rockets at the other part. And you also might not be so eager to hand out visas to schools that teach the ideology that underlies such violence. Hey, maybe Trump should think about that when handing out visas to study at leftist, anti-American institutions.
Anyway, my main beef with Pitzer College not letting students study in Israel is that it’s a great example of the Streisand Effect in action: if you ban something, people only want to experience it more. Regardless of whether you want students to support or oppose Israel, the best way to do that is to let them experience the actual nation firsthand. PREVENTING them from doing so is going to make them think you’re HIDING something from them.
A large menorah was toppled in a public park near Harvard University just before the start of the first night of Hanukkah.
A white male dressed in black was seen riding his black bike up to the menorah in Cambridge Common and pushing it over on Sunday afternoon, according to two witnesses, the city’s police department reported. He then rode away.
“We’re looking into the possibility of it being a hate crime,” police spokesman Jeremy Warnick told the Boston Globe.
In a video recorded by a passer-by immediately after the menorah was toppled, a group of people walking through the Cambridge Common was seen lifting the menorah back into place. The video has been viewed more than 9,400 times.
The menorah is sponsored by Chabad at Harvard with permission of the city of Cambridge, according to Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, the college Chabad’s director. His organization has sponsored the public menorah for some 19 years, he told JTA.
The BBC has come under fire after one of its comedy shows hosted a writer who has shared antisemitic conspiracy theories, billing him as a “left-wing journalist”.
Steve Topple, who writes for left-wing website the Canary, appeared on the most recent episode of the BBC’s the Mash Report, a satirical current affairs show, in a segment on the divide between the left and the right.
In 2015, Mr Topple tweeted that “maybe most Jews peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing Zionist cancer they must be held responsible.”
He has also previously claimed that Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is a “puppet” of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the Rothschild family.
In 2014, Mr Topple tweeted: “Hurrah! Another Jewish #RoyalBaby to simper over, whilst Zionism’s control intensifies! Windors? Rothschild-Goldsmiths.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Women’s March Adopts NOI Definition Of Antisemitism (satire)
The Women’s March aims to draw clear lines regarding acceptable rhetoric in the organization’s ranks.
Growing dissatisfaction among supporters and members of a prominent feminist organization with some of its leaders’ ties to an anti-Jewish preacher has led the movement to adopt a definition of antisemitism formulated by the Nation of Islam, in an effort to forestall further criticism and heal the rifts within.
The Women’s March leadership voted yesterday to use the NOI definition of antisemitism in response to mounting criticism from within and outside the organization over Linda Sarsour’s and Tamika Mallory’s links to Minister Louis Farrakhan, a firebrand American Muslim with a history of derogatory statements about Jews. In adopting the NOI definition of antisemitism, the Women’s March aims to draw clear lines regarding acceptable rhetoric in the organization’s ranks, and to restore the faith of Jewish members and allies alienated by the Farrakhan ties.
Ms. Sarsour announced the movement’s decision on Twitter. “I am pleased to inform my beloved sisters that we have adopted the NOI definition of antisemitism,” she posted Tuesday. In subsequent tweets, Ms. Sarsour linked to a Women’s March press release and analogous tweet from the organization, and praised what she called the group’s “commitment to a future of dialogue and understanding.”
The Nation of Islam definition of antisemitism clarifies what behavior or rhetoric can be classified as beyond the pale of acceptable discourse. It differs in some details from the more widely-known IHRA definition, explain experts, and might provide a superior standard, given the greater detail it provides in citing specific examples of acceptable vs. unacceptable discourse.
A December 5th article at The Independent focused on the decision by US Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib – the first Palestinian American elected to Congress – to turn down an AIPAC sponsored trip to Israel and instead host her own congressional delegation to the West Bank.
The report uncritically cites Tlaib – a strong proponent of BDS who has accused Israel of “inciting” Palestinian violence, and once expressed support for convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh – making the following remarks.
One thing is for certain for Ms Tlaib: She wants her delegations “to humanise Palestinians, provide an alternative perspective to the one AIPAC pushes, and highlight the inherent inequality of Israel’s system of military occupation in Palestinian territories,” something she compares to the treatment of black Americans in the Jim Crow era.
Tlaib’s comparison doesn’t hold up to even minimum critical scrutiny.
Jim Crow refers to a series of state laws in the American South from the late 1800s till the mid 1960s that enforced racial segregation in schools, public transport, parks, restaurants and other public accommodations. These laws effected black US citizens and were based entirely on race. Life under Jim Crow truly relegated blacks in these states to second class citizenship – and created an environment that left many vulnerable to racist inspired violence, including scores of public lynchings.
Western leftist “human rights” warriors are more concerned about the well-being of Hamas terrorists in Gaza than about hundreds of thousands of slaughtered civilians in Syria, Iraq or Yemen. Liberals, who demand the establishment of a 22nd Arab state, increasingly demonize Israel as “racist” for defining itself as a Jewish nation-state.
Many Western liberals insist that the free world has learned the lesson from the Holocaust. The latest CNN survey on antisemitism suggests differently. Approximately one third of more than 7000 surveyed people in seven European countries believe that Israel uses the Holocaust to justify its actions. Just one in five disagreed. The countries included in the survey are France, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Hungary and Poland. On average, one third of Europeans also believe that Israel’s supporters use accusations of antisemitism to shut down criticism of Israel. Approximately 20 % of the Europeans blame Jew-hatred on the behavior of the Jewish people. More than a quarter of the surveyed Europeans believe that Jews have too much influence in global finance and business.
These numbers reveal that anti-Semitic stereotypes are not disappearing anytime soon in Europe. Despite annual high-profile public Holocaust remembrance events throughout Europe, one third of the surveyed Europeans admit that they know little or next to nothing about the Holocaust.
Like many other nations worldwide, European states benefit greatly from technological and security-related cooperation with Israel. While Israel is increasingly recognized for its disproportionate contributions to humanity, the idea that the Jewish people deserves its own state in its ancestral homeland is no less challenged today than 70 years ago.
Deutsche Welle: Rabbi Goldschmidt, the presentation of your new book “To the Community and to the World” here in Berlin comes at a time when many are warning about the return of anti-Semitism in Europe. In your book, you write much about the future. Should Jewish communities in Europe be fearful of that future?
Pinchas Goldschmidt: Although I speak about the future with confidence – I do so as a Jew, as a religious Jew and as a rabbi who is always optimistic about the future – one must certainly be concerned about recent changes in Europe. And one must recognize that many of the images that we have seen of late show that the climate has got worse for Jews in Europe.
Pinchas Goldschmidt (DW/O. Rolofs)
Increasingly, many Jewish families are leaving their homes, or are at least considering it – for instance in France, Sweden or the United Kingdom. Do you see a trend?
The number of Jews living in several European countries has decreased dramatically of late. We are looking at a reduction of roughly 15 percent of Europe’s overall Jewish population as a result of their leaving. But there are also trends in the other direction.
The Jewish community in Germany is the only one that is growing. That is encouraging even though the generally worsening climate tells a different story. But the answer to your question lies with individual governments. What are national governments in Europe willing to do to guarantee the safety of their Jewish communities?
In other words, you think European politicians are doing too little and have not taken the steps necessary to curb rising anti-Semitism?
Israeli technology hired by Argentina to provide security during the G20 global leaders’ summit successfully prevented several unauthorized drone incidents.
Despite previous fears, the participation of leaders from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States wasn’t affected.
Several suspicious drones flying into the presence of global leaders were successfully blocked by the Israeli technology.
The Defense Ministry of Argentina signed a contract worth more than $5 million with its Israeli counterpart last year to provide cyber defense and cybersecurity services to the meeting. Israel is not a member of the G20 group.
On Thursday, summit authorities detected a non-authorized drone in an area of the hotels in which the foreign delegations stayed. The drone was neutralized.
On Friday evening a drone flew close to the group of leaders that were entering the iconic Colon Theatre for a gala event. The drone was neutralized and fell to the street, according a report by the Clarin newspaper.
Just a few days after their elaborate wedding in Los Angeles, newlyweds Quentin Tarantino and Daniella Pick arrived in Israel for a visit – and a bit of Hanukkah cheer.
The couple, who wed last week, have been spending time in Tel Aviv with family and friends, and on Tuesday evening they celebrated the holiday with Daniella’s father, Israeli musical legend Tzvika Pick.
Pick, who became very ill earlier this year and has been recovering for many months, was not well enough to travel to Los Angeles for his daughter’s nuptials. Tuesday night’s Hanukkah celebration with his daughter and new son-in-law was the first public photo seen of Pick since his health scare. The family – and another family friend – lit the third candle and enjoyed some doughnuts, cheesecake and wine.
Over the past few days, Tarantino and his new bride have been photographed around Tel Aviv and Herzliya by eager Israeli paparazzi. Although on Tuesday, Tarantino was less than pleased to see them, and flipped off a local photographer from his car.
Jerusalem is poised to become the world’s leading city in tourism growth, according to a new report by leading market research firm Euromonitor.
According to the report, the number of tourists around the world will hit 1.4 billion in 2018, an increase of 5% over last year. Jerusalem is set to lead in growth, with an expected 37.5% following a “more modest” increase of 32% in 2017. According to the report, Jerusalem owes its increasing popularity to “relative stability and a strong marketing push.”
The Indian cities of Chennai and Agra took second and third place on the list, with 30.4% and 24.3% increase in growth, respectively.
According to the report, tourism to other destinations in the Middle East and Africa, in particular the Tunisian cities of Jerba and Sousse and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, which dropped out of the top 100 cities for tourism growth, would decline. Euromonitor said this was largely due to the terrorist attacks that have hit those cities. One notable exception to this trend is Cairo, where after a decline, tourism appears to be getting back on track.
On a country-by-country analysis, Japan and India are leaders in terms of tourism growth. In Japan, the cities of Osaka and Chiba have seen an average annual respective increase of 43% and 35% between 2012 and 2017, while in India, New Delhi and Mumbai both saw an average of over 20% in annual growth in the sector in that same period.
PepsiCo announced on Wednesday the completion of its $3.2 billion acquisition of the Israel-based carbonated drink-maker SodaStream.
The American food and beverage giant will acquire all outstanding shares for $144 per share, as agreed by the companies in August, with the acquisition representing part of its “performance with purpose” strategy, linking the success of PepsiCo to global sustainability.
“I couldn’t be prouder or more excited to welcome SodaStream to the PepsiCo family,” said PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta.
“With its customizable options, SodaStream empowers consumers to personalize their preferred beverage in an environmentally friendly way and provides PepsiCo with a significant presence in the at-home marketplace.
Together with SodaStream, I’m confident we can accelerate progress on our shared goal of curbing plastic waste and building a more sustainable future.”
Announcing the proposed acquisition in August, Laguarta said SodaStream would continue to be based in Israel for at least 15 years, if not indefinitely. PepsiCo added it was planning to open a further manufacturing facility in Israel following the closure of the deal.
A handwritten letter in which Nobel physicist Albert Einstein took issue with the concept of religion and his own Jewish faith was sold for $2,892,500 at auction in New York on Tuesday.
Christie’s auctioneer John Hays jokingly apologized to God after banging his hammer. The so-called “God Letter,” written in German by Einstein in 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, is regarded as a key manuscript in the debate over science and religion and is Einstein’s clearest statement of his views on the universal search for the meaning life.
The scientist and philosopher wrote the missive a year before his death in 1955 and was sold by a private collector.
“The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can [for me] change anything about this,” Einstein wrote.
Einstein did not exclude Judaism, saying he admired and loved his people, but that he did not believe they were chosen above others.
Mohamed Alabbar is Chairman of Emaar Properties, one of the world’s largest real estate development companies. He indelibly shaped Dubai’s famous skyline, spearing it with the world’s tallest building, the iconic Burj Khalifa. Alabbar and his business are intimately entwined with the UAE government. He also has a close friendship with an Orthodox Jew from New York.
Eli Epstein is chief innovation officer at New York-based Aminco Resources, a supplier of products to the aluminum and steel industries. The two have done business and socialized for decades, and together they founded The Children of Abraham, a Jewish-Muslim dialogue initiative for teens. It was Epstein who donated the Torah in Alabbar’s honor and with his blessing.
The patronage of the business titan affords the community a modicum of security. At the same time, Jewish residents exercise prudence in the Islamic city-state, which has long considered Israel an enemy, and where just a few years ago Saudi-trained imams preached anti-Israel diatribes until the government expelled them.
Dubai and tolerance
The one liturgical text recited in English at the Sabbath service is the Prayer for the Welfare of the Government.
Kriel reads it solo, beseeching God to “bless and protect, guard and help, exalt, magnify and uplift the President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed and his Deputy the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and all the Rulers of the other Emirates and their Crown Princes.”
The prayer, which concludes by blessing the military forces of the UAE, is recited in varying localized renditions in many Jewish Diaspora communities. But its deferential tone is starkly manifest in Dubai’s centralized power structure. The rulers of the UAE have total control over the Jewish community’s welfare. Fortunately, they have been categorically, if quietly, supportive.
“It’s to the credit of the rulers that they have allowed and in some ways encouraged the Jewish presence there,” says Eli Epstein, speaking from New York.
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