01/23 Links Pt2: Europe Offers Israel the Peace of the Dead; BHL & Prosor at UN antisemitism conf.
Sarah Honig: Zionism and etrogism
The name switches of what until recently marketed itself as the Israel Labor Party offer fascinating insight into how Zionism has steadily lost its allure on the Israeli Left.
What began life as Poalei Zion – the Workers of Zion – in time it morphed into MAPAI, Hebrew acronym for the Party of the Workers of Eretz Yisrael. The next stage was adopting the generic name of Labor – doubtless borrowed from the British context. So far the trend is clear and straightforward.
But now comes the spin – under its latest leading light, Isaac (not Yitzhak) “Buji” Herzog, Labor (aligned with Tzipi Livni’s disintegrating list) has chosen to call its ticket the Zionist Camp. At first hearing this certainly appears to be the sort of affirmation that would gladden Zionist hearts. Here at last is the cause of Zionism ostensibly espoused proudly and unapologetically.
A true balm for the soul – or is it?
New York City Councilman David Greenfield fiercely denounced a group of antisemitic pro-Palestinian demonstrators who disrupted a Council meeting today, at the exact time that a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was being discussed.
Moments after the demonstrators were escorted from the chamber by security guards, Greenfield, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, began a speech that rapidly evolved into an impassioned discourse on the overlap between hatred of Israel and hatred of Jews.
“While we were discussing a resolution regarding the murder of 1.1 million human beings – I will point out that 90 percent of them were Jewish, but the other 10 percent, they were political dissidents, they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, they were gays, those were the people who were being killed together at Auschwitz-Birkenau,” Greenfield declared, “while we were discussing that, they had the chutzpah, the nerve, the temerity, to unfurl a Palestinian flag and yell at us.”
Voice rising, Greenfield contrasted Israel’s open society with the repressive regimes across the Middle East, before asserting, “What you saw here today was naked, blind antisemitism.”
Greenfield said that the demonstrators had unfurled the Palestinian flag out of anger that “Hitler had not finished the job. He only wiped out half of my family.”
He concluded: “Shame on them for disrespecting the most diverse democratically elected body in the United States of America, and that’s why we go to Israel.”
Other councillors joined Greenfield in condemning the antisemitic disruption, which included the fringe group “Jewish Voice for Peace” among the participants. “City Council protesters today were so hate-filled and venomous that they strengthened our support for Israel, ONLY democracy in Middle east,” tweeted Councilman Mark D. Levine. Councilman Cory Johnson called the demonstration “incredibly disrespectful and offensive. Simply awful.”
Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich told the meeting that “to be pro Israel you don’t have to be Jewish. Israel is a vibrant democracy and I’m proud to go back to Israel again. I will not be intimidated by the hecklers. I will not sit here and allow people to attack the Jews.”
Councilman Greenfield Denounces Anti-Semitic Outburst in NYC Council Chamber
Eighteen months after an intrepid gentile journalist strolled the streets of Malmo, Sweden wearing a yarmulke, in order to get a sense of how residents of the city view Jews, a new video suggests that the situation has only worsened, Israel’s NRG News reported Thursday.
In October, 2013, Patrick Reily, a journalist for The Local English-language newspaper, spent a day in the city of Malmö wearing the traditional kippah headcovering in order to see how passersby might react.
After an uncomfortable few hours walking the streets, and becoming the object of stares and insults, Reilly concluded: “As an Irish person abroad I’ve never felt remotely threatened, but wearing the kippah for a few hours was enough to instill feelings of fear. Even when I didn’t feel afraid I was made to feel different and unwelcome.”
This time it was Peter Lindgren’s turn to don a kippah and Star of David chain around his neck and head into town. The result: “He received direct threats as he walked through the city,” according to expressen.se.
Lindgren, walking with a hidden camera and microphone alongside, recorded every step. The report showed the reporter enduring verbal abuse by a man who called him a “Jewish s***” and told him to “leave.” Another person hit him and shouted “Satan Jew,” at him.
As parliaments in more and more European nations vote to recognize “Palestine,” European politicians insist they are doing so to promote the objective of an independent Palestinian state living in peace beside a secure Israel. But both the declared aims of Palestinian leaders and the pattern of European policy vis-a-vis Israel and the Palestinians give the lie to European averments of benign intent.
Neither party of the divided Palestinian leadership has, to say the least, demonstrated an interest in peace with Israel. Hamas, now controlling Gaza and enjoying extensive popularity in the West Bank, openly trumpets its objective not only to destroy Israel but to annihilate all the world’s Jews. The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly insists it will never recognize Israel’s legitimacy as the national homeland of the Jewish people and will never give up its demand for implementation of the so-called “right of return” of millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees to Israel – thereby demographically destroying the Jewish state. In the same vein, it conveys it will never sign an end of conflict agreement with Israel no matter what territorial concessions the latter offers.
Palestinian Authority media, mosques and schools, like those of Hamas, incessantly indoctrinate their audiences in the message that the Jews are colonial usurpers and their presence, and their state, must be expunged, that Palestinians who attack and kill Israeli civilians are heroes, and that it is the responsibility of all to emulate those heroes in the struggle for Israel’s annihilation. Abbas, like Arafat before him, has made clear his goal in seeking recognition of “Palestine” by European nations and by others is to force the establishment of a Palestinian state without any bilateral agreement with Israel that would require Palestinian foreswearing of additional claims against the Jewish state.
Even articles about Muslim Anti-Semitism rarely want to talk about Muslim Anti-Semitism. In the aftermath of the Kosher supermarket massacre in France, articles about the Muslim persecution of Jews in Europe nervously hover around the subject before swerving away to discuss the European far-right.
An article about Muslim anti-Semitism in France inevitably becomes an article about the National Front, which is not actually shooting Jews in supermarkets. Broader European pieces obsessively focus on the Jobbik party in Hungary which for all its vileness has not actually killed any Jews.
(The endless articles about Jobbik characterize it as a far-right European Christian party, but in fact it’s a pan-Turkic organization whose chairman had told a Turkish audience, “Islam is the last hope for humanity.” Its actual identity is based on a broad front of ethnic solidarity by identifying Hungarians as a Turkic people. Its anti-Semitism is anti-Zionist. Jobbik hates Jews because it identifies with Muslims.)
The usual treatment of Muslim anti-Semitism is cursory. History books acknowledge its existence while asserting that European anti-Semitism was worse. Modern media coverage takes the same approach by finding a useful distraction in the European far-right.
Muslim anti-Semitism needs to be addressed on its own if for no other reason than that it’s the dominant form of violence against Jews in Europe. And it has been that way for some time now.
A Dutch former cabinet minister reportedly said that world peace would be achievable if Israel’s population was forced to move to the United States.
The statement was attributed to Herman Heinsbroek, who served as the Netherlands’ minister of economic affairs in 2002, in an article that appeared Thursday in the online edition of the prestigious financial monthly Quote, based on an interview with Heinsbroek.
“It was a historical error to give the Jews their own country in the middle of Islam,” he is quoted as saying. “You’ve had nothing but war ever since and you’ve had anti-Semitism resurging, too. My idea: Give the Jews their own state somewhere in the United States and 25 years to move their state over there.”
Heinsbroek is also quoted as saying that, if implemented, his solution “will finally create, perhaps, peace in the world.”
Heinsbroek, 64, served as a diplomat in the Dutch Foreign Ministry and was posted in Istanbul, according to the Volksrant daily.
Before making his way over to the United Nations headquarters in New York to attend the first-ever General Assembly session on anti-Semitism on Thursday, Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego of Toulouse, France, made a quick stop at Grand Central Terminal. There, he said, he saw something that in its casualness was rather remarkable — Jewish men wearing kippot without a second thought for their safety.
The sight underscored the need to fight rising anti-Semitism around the world, said Monsonego, whose 8-year-old daughter Miriam was killed in a 2012 terrorist attack outside the Ohr Torah School in Toulouse.
Monsonego attended the UN conference as a special guest of the World Jewish Congress.
“Before the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the HyperCacher market, the speeches [by French leaders] against anti-Semitism were sincere but largely symbolic. Now I have no doubt that there will be a conscious effort to do something,” Monsonego told The Times of Israel.
With Israel leading the way, 37 nations called on the UN to respond to the sharp spike in violent anti-Semitism around the world. The UN missions of the US, Canada and those of all 28 members of the European Union partnered with Israel to bring about the informal meeting.
The Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch lauded the United Nations General Assembly for holding a rare special meeting today on the rise of anti-Semitism, yet urged the world body to examine its own actions that, said Executive Director Hillel Neuer, “aid and abet a global culture of demonizing the Jewish state, pouring fuel on the fires of hatred.”
At the last special UN session on anti-Semitism, held in 2004, Kofi Annan criticized the UNGA’s negative role in “equating Zionism with racism,” acknowledging that “the United Nations’ record on anti-Semitism has at times fallen short of our ideals.”
Yet according to new data released today exclusively by UN Watch, the UN General Assembly this year has continued to demonize Israel, subjecting it to 20 condemnatory resolutions, compared to only three on the rest of the world combined, being one each on Iran, Syria and North Korea.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said last week, in a special address to the National Assembly in Paris, that a new anti-Semitism has arisen in the world which, based in part on the “loathing of the State of Israel,” advocates hatred of Jews.
“If the UN is truly serious about combating anti-Semitism, then it must internalize the French Prime Minister’s warning about how the demonization of the Jewish state leads to hatred and violence against Jews,” said Neuer.
The U.N. General Assembly’s current 2014-2015 session has adopted a total of 20 resolutions singling out Israel for criticism — and only 3 resolutions on the rest of the world combined. See the texts and votes below.
The three that do not concern Israel are: one on Syria, a regime that has murdered more than 200,000 of its own people, one on Iran, and one on North Korea.
Not a single UNGA resolution this year (69th session) is expected to be adopted on gross and systematic abuses committed by China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Yemen, Zimbabwe, nor on dozens of other perpetrators of human rights violations.
Bernard-Henri Lévy: Against the New Anti-Semitism: Remembering the Holocaust Protects Us All
Your presence here this morning, your will to make this event possible and perhaps memorable, your good faith and obvious will to act, all of these attest to the fact that on all continents, in all cultures and civilizations, people are beginning to realize that the struggle against anti-Semitism is an ardent obligation for everyone–and that is good news indeed.
When a Jew is struck, another writer once said, humanity falls to the ground.
When you go after the Jews, insisted an early opponent of the Nazis, it is like a first line crumbling under an invisible volley that eventually will hit the rest of us as it draws closer.
A world without Jews indeed would not be a world. A world in which the Jews once again became the scapegoats for all people’s fears and frustrations would be a world in which free people could not breathe easy and the enslaved would be even more enslaved.
It is up to you now to take the floor and to act.
It is up to you, who are the faces of the world, to be the architects of a house in which the mother of all hates–anti-Semitic hate–will see its place reduced.
May you in a year’s time, and the year after that, and every succeeding year, reconvene to observe that our mobilization of today was not in vain and that the anti-Semitic beast can be kept at bay.
U.S. President Barack Obama also released a statement in honor of the conference, saying, “Anti-Semitic attacks like the recent terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris pose a threat that extends beyond the Jewish community.
“They also threaten the values we hold dear — pluralism, diversity, and the freedoms of religion and expression.”
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor recalled that after the Holocaust, “the world pledged ‘never again,’ but here we are again.”
“Violent anti-Semitism is casting a shadow over Europe,” he said. “Last summer, anti-Israel demonstrations in Paris turned into violent riots, graffiti reading ‘Jews your end is near’ was scrawled on the walls of Rome, Jews were banned from stores in Belgium, an angry mob beat an elderly Jewish man in Hamburg, and firebombs were thrown at Jewish homes in Amsterdam and Berlin.”
Amb. Prosor`s speech at the GA on the rise in antisemitism
Joint Statement Against Antisemitism
A newly published study titled “White Papers of Hate” reveals the concerning rise of racism, xenophobia, and radical nationalist movements in 19 European countries, including in France, where four Jews were killed recently in the terror attack at a kosher supermarket in Paris.
The 1,000-page study documents incidents of anti-Semitism and hate-crimes against other religious minorities, as well as immigrants. It focuses on incidents that took place between 2012 and 2013. The data shows that compared to 2012, the level of radical nationalism in France has increased significantly. France is currently ranked ninth in Europe for its level of xenophobia, according to the study.
“The Charlie Hebdo tragedy reminds the world that we cannot wait to acknowledge radicalism and xenophobia, wherever it rears its head,” said Dr. Valery Engel, first vice president of the World Without Nazism organization. “The White Papers of Hate was created to track manifestations of hate so leaders can understand and properly respond to this escalating problem. We cannot wait for the next Charlie Hebdo, the next synagogue bombing or the next hate-fueled attack.”
Richard Landes: Reflections from Paris
All around one hears shock, astonishment. “Mais, where does this madness come from?” How could this happen in France?!? Draped across the grand monument, Place de la République: POURQUOI? Why this senseless violence ?
But some of us, however moved by the events in Paris, find it difficult to take unalloyed pleasure in this wave of communal solidarity. For fifteen years now, there has been a consistent stream of powerful evidence for all the trends that now, in this latest jihadi assault, so rudely shocked all of France. Those of us who have been tracking these trends for the last fifteen years are astonished that so many really didn’t see this coming.
In part, the ignorance came, alas, from the brilliant choice by the jihadis to target Jews first. For many reasons, none of them particularly admirable, many among the French journalistic and political elites preferred not to talk about or acknowledge this assault on the Jews. At the time of the riots and the torture-murder of Ilan Halimi in Paris (2005-6), it was “a state of denial.” Terrorists, big and small, who fancied themselves Mujahedeen, could pick on Jews with near complete impunity even when caught, and further sharpen the creedal and physical weaponry.
In such a silence, it fell to a small group to chronicle events from the outset of the Jihadi aggression on Jews, that is, to note the early stages of the ongoing cultural and social disasters that befell France in the new century: within three years, an important literature both documented and analyzed this sudden and disturbing new development in the West.
Journalists and Jews: The victims of the atrocity in Paris are a shattering reminder of an old historical conjunction. The link between Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher exists not only in the murderous minds of their common enemies, but also in the overlapping histories of Europe and the Jewish people.
When, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as a result of various intellectual and social convulsions, the liberal dispensation was introduced into Western Europe, the Jews of the modernizing countries kindled to it immediately. If there was anguish in the various Jewish communities about the instabilities and even the treasons that were demanded by emancipation, it was owed to the extraordinary Jewish enthusiasm for the transformation, and to the unsettling speed with which the new order seemed to be supplanting the old one. The Jews flocked to the almost eschatological prospect of civil liberties—so ardently that some of their spiritual leaders in the eastern countries prayed for Napoleon’s defeat, because the victory of his secularizing forces would leave “the hearts of Israel separated and distanced from their father in heaven”; and the civil liberties of the Jews were dazzling proof, or so it seemed, that Europe was changing, that enlightenment was real.
The mockers at Charlie Hebdo had no place in their hearts for the believers who shopped at Hyper Cacher, and the pious consumers at Hyper Cacher were not readers of the witheringly anticlerical Charlie Hebdo, but they were unlikely partners in the same project: a society of freedoms and rights. In striking at them both, the killers struck at the same thing. The cartoons and the challahs both were talismans of democracy, which is Islamism’s nightmare.
One may of course ask where on earth young British adults would have got the idea that British Jewish schoolchildren – or British Jews in general – have anything to do with Israeli government policy, real or imagined.
And that is exactly why the BBC’s attempt to fob off criticism of Tim Willcox’s statement just after the Paris terror attacks (“…the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands…”) by claiming that an apology on Twitter is sufficient is so pernicious.
Precisely because of the fact there are people in the UK who make threats to British ten year-olds whilst invoking a fabricated connection between them and a conflict thousands of miles away, the BBC still needs to issue a prominent on-air statement clarifying that Willcox’s statement was not merely “poorly phrased”, but that the linkage he promoted based on the premise that Jews anywhere in the world hold collective responsibility for the perceived actions of the State of Israel is both false and antisemitic.
Likewise, the BBC needs to urgently address the fact that Willcox has not been alone in adopting and promoting a canard used – as we see above – by antisemitic bullies.
The French are Israel’s fastest growing immigrant community since almost 1 million Russian-speakers arrived in the 1990s. A majority of France’s Jews are descendants of North Africans who fled that region in the 1940s and ’50s as the French empire collapsed. As a community, they never felt fully at home in France, according to Esther Schely-Newman, a Hebrew University professor who has studied their migration to Israel.
It is these migrants — middle class and conservative in their religious outlook — who make up the bulk of those now considering a move, Schely-Newman said.
People chased out of North Africa often “saw France as a station on the way to Israel,” she said. “You can call them Zionist. They see Israel as a viable choice.”
Though it’s difficult to assess the economic impact of even thousands of arrivals in a $273 billion economy, many French immigrants have risen to positions of prominence. Michael Golan’s Golan Telecom Ltd. has shaken up the country’s mobile phone market. Julien Assous is chief executive officer of a top financial services company, Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. And angel investor Jeremie Berrebi has funded 28 Israeli startups.
“The French represent a brain gain for Israel,” said Mickael Bensadoun, who in 2006 founded Gvahim, an organization that seeks to help educated immigrants find work in Israel. “It is not always easy to find quality employment for them, but many are coming with strong education, ready to contribute.”
Last week, I appeared on Don Lemon’s CNN show for a debate. The question we discussed was provocative – are ordinary Muslims obligated to publicly repudiate the terrorism wrought in the name of Islam.
I had recently published an article calling for a million Muslim march, where Muslims across the world would come out en masse to show their disdain for the terrorists who claim to represent Islam. I said it was up to them to take back a great world faith from these monstrous hijackers.
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, a Palestinian-American journalist whose company I enjoyed, appeared alongside me.
He disagreed. In his eyes, it was unfair to burden regular Muslims with demands to publicly denounce murder in Islam’s name.
He then went on to try and back up his argument. He compared Islamic terrorism to the murders perpetrated by Anders Breivik in Norway and extremist Buddhist monks in Myanmar. No one, he said, asks Norwegians and Buddhists to take responsibility for the terrorism committed in the name of their faiths.
At first glance, that might seem like a compelling argument.
Following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s participation in the January 12, 2015 march against terrorism in Paris alongside other world leaders, the Arab press published some articles harshly critical of him. They claimed he was exploiting the terrorist attacks to portray himself as a victim, and to deceive the Europeans by distracting them from Israel’s crimes. One writer even called him “the Hitler of the current century.” Likewise, Netanyahu’s call urging French Jews to immigrate to Israel was criticized as an attempt to “cement the lie” that Israel is a Jewish state.
The Respect MP for Bradford West was speaking at a freedom of speech demonstration outside Bradford City Hall on Saturday.
Referencing the bloody France attacks which saw 17 people killed, Galloway said: “No person, no human being should be subjected to violence, still less death for anything that they have said, written or drawn.
“So we condemn utterly the murder of 17 people in the events in Paris. But we will not allow this Charlie Hebdo magazine to be described as a king of loveable, anarchic, fun book of cartoons.
“These are not cartoons, these are not depictions of the Prophet, these are pornographic, obscene insults to the Prophet and by extension, 1.7billion human beings on this earth and there are limits.
“There are limits. There limits to free speech and free expression especially in France.”
Galloway described the newspaper’s purpose as “to further marginalize, further alienate and further endanger exactly those parts of the community who are already alienated, already endangered. It is a racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag.”
The jihadist gunman who earlier this month murdered four Jews at a Paris kosher shop and held others hostage for hours before being killed by police was buried Friday near the French capital.
Police sources said the burial took place after Amedy Coulibaly’s country of origin Mali refused to accept his body.
Earlier this week, the Qatar-based international Union of Muslim Scholars– headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual guide of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood– called upon the United Nations to make “contempt of religions” illegal.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Union said that there should be “protection for ‘prophets’” and urged the UN to issue a “law criminalizing contempt of religions and the prophets and all the holy sites.”
The Muslim scholars also urged the West to “protect Muslim communities following the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.”
This is very strange. Jews, Christians, Hindus, and atheists have not been attacking Muslims.
On the contrary, Muslims have been rioting, shooting, stabbing, beheading, and blowing up other Muslims and infidels, especially Jews and Christians, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Nevertheless, these Muslim scholars seem to believe that Muslims are being violently persecuted.
A Belgian museum dedicated to the creator of classic comic book hero Tintin said Thursday that security concerns prompted it to cancel an exhibition honoring the murdered Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine cartoonists.
The museum in Louvain-la-Neuve near Brussels said it took the decision after consulting Wednesday with police who foiled an Islamist plot in Belgium last week, which followed the jihadist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
“The police presented us with the nature of the potential risks we need to be attentive to,” said Nick Rodwell, director of the museum dedicated to the memory and works of the famous cartoonist Herge.
“We decided not to open our exhibition on Thursday morning insofar as it could raise the concerns of both museum staff and the residents of Louvain-la-Neuve,” he said in a statement.
The exhibition was supposed to feature portraits of the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as well as its latest controversial caricature of the founder of Islam, Mohammed, published after the Paris attack.
A man has been jailed for a shouting he wanted “London destroyed” as he threatened to blow up London Bridge station on the anniversary of 9/11.
Shiraj Niranjan Jayasuriya, 45, sparked rush hour chaos for thousands of commuters when he pulled an emergency lever on a train as it travelled towards the station, claiming there were “bombs everywhere”, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.
More than 500 trains were subsequently cancelled or delayed after his threats on the evening of September 11 last year – the thirteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York.
Rail staff tried to reset the alarms on Jayasuriya’s train in order to move it but anti-terror police were called when he claimed he had a bomb.
Nearly half of Londoners back bringing back the death penalty for terrorist murders, a shock poll reveals today.
The YouGov survey for the Standard showed 49 per cent of adults in the capital support capital punishment for murder during terrorist attacks, such as the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby.
Men are more hardline, with 55 per cent believing terrorist killers should be executed, compared to 42 per cent of women.
Older people are more likely to favour the death penalty for such offences, according to the poll carried out after the Paris atrocity in which three terrorists killed 17 people.
Fifty-four per cent of Londoners aged 40 and over supported the re-introduction of the death penalty which was abolished in 1965, while the figure for the 25 to 39-year-old age group was 44 per cent, and 38 per cent among 18 to 24-year-olds.
The findings, which also showed a large proportion of Londoners, 42 per cent, opposed to the death penalty even for deadly bombings, sparked calls for a debate at Westminster on toughening Britain’s anti-terror laws.
Belgian authorities are looking for a possible accomplice to Mehdi Nemmouche, who has been charged with killing four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels last year, the prosecutor’s office said Friday.
The prosecutor’s office said “we are looking for this person,” who has not been identified, when asked to confirm a report in La Derniere Heure daily.
Responding to a request from the prosecutor and examining magistrate, Belgian police last week issued an appeal for witnesses so as to identify a man who appeared on a surveillance camera.
The wanted notice for the man was published in the context of a murder investigation.
France’s top court ruled on Friday it was possible to strip the nationality of a Franco-Moroccan man naturalized as French who was convicted on terrorism charges, paving the way for more dual nationality jihadists to lose their passports.
While Britain last year unveiled powers to strip suspected Islamist militants of their passports temporarily, France has so far stopped short of using the measure systematically even though hundreds of jihadists are joining Islamist groups in Iraq and Syria.
The move comes after President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government unveiled a raft of new security measures weeks after two attacks in Paris by Islamist militants which killed 17 people and the three attackers.
“We should not, in any case, deprive ourselves of lawful means to ensure our values are respected,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls told journalists near Paris.
See as how we originally broke the story of Norman Finkelstein throwing some criticisms towards BDS (and in the process exposing some serious flaws in the movement) I felt obligated to share with you his latest reiteration of his points in an interview on The Real News. It’s rather long, but the whole thing is worth reading. Finkelstein repeats his point that the BDS movement will never reach mainstream acceptance as long as it refuses to take a stand about whether or not Israel should exist:
FINKELSTEIN: You can’t, because you can do one of two things. You can say–which is a perfectly reasonable position–you could say to hell with the law, I don’t care what international law says, International law is made by privileged states, it’s made by imperialists, it’s made by–so on and so forth. You know the rhetoric, so I don’t have to go through it with you. You can take that position and say, we don’t care about international law, we don’t care if international law recognizes Israel. We don’t. That’s fine. Or we don’t take a position. Or the second option is you say you are anchored in international law, but then you have to take the good and bad in the law. You take it as a package. You can’t say, for example, I have the right to walk at the green, but I have no opinion on the red. A law is about–law consists of two things: rights and obligations, rights and responsibilities. You can’t just claim rights for yourself but then claim to be agnostic or, quote, I don’t have an opinion on your obligations to others. That’s not the law. That’s cherry-picking the law. That’s what Israel always did. Israel kept saying to the Palestinians, you have to recognize us, you have to recognize us. But they refuse to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination and statehood. If it was wrong for Israel to do that because it demanded the right for itself but not its obligation to the Palestinians, it’s wrong for the other side to do it.
We previously reported how, on Monday, January 19, 2015, Anti-Israel activists blocked the San Mateo – Hayward Bridge.
While the protest ostensibly was about the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it was hijacked as so many such protests are by the anti-Israel contingent, just like in Ferguson and to a lesser extent in New York City during the Eric Garner protests.
Subsequent to that initial report, we have learned that it was much worse than originally thought. The tactics used were designed to cause maximum traffic disruption and mayhem, including protester cars being abandoned on the roadway, resulting in several car crashes and emergency vehicles being blocked.
The activists used a dangerous tactic of blocking both directions initially, making the scene inaccessible initially to emergency vehicles:
Dozens of comic artists signed a letter calling for a boycott against any Israeli entity that does not “promote freedom and justice for Palestinians.”
The open letter, cosigned by more than 80 individuals involved in producing comics, was sent out Wednesday to the organizers of an international festival for comic artists scheduled to open next week in France, and which is cosponsored by the Israeli company SodaStream.
In the letter, the authors wrote that they call for the Angoulême International Comics Festival to sever all ties with SodaStream, which has a factory in Ma’ale Adumim — an Israeli settlement regarded internationally as illegal because it is situated in the West Bank.
SodaStream announced last year that it would relocate, but the authors of the letter wrote that even if it moved to its intended location in Israel’s south, “it and other Israeli companies and institutions are part of a system built on the mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities and sustained through racism and discrimination.”
Among the authors are Anaële Hermans from Belgium, Magdy El Shafee from Egypt, Alex Baladi of Switzerland and Leila Abdul Razaq from the United States.
Robert Tait, The Telegraph’s correspondent for Israel and the Palestinian territories, concluded his report (What is behind Israel’s spate of ‘lone wolf’ terror attacks?, Jan. 21st) on Wednesday’s Palestinian terror attack in Tel Aviv – in the context of other such attacks in recent months – thusly:
Such attacks, apparently spontaneous and carried out without any obvious group collaboration, are a headache for Israel’s security services, since they are almost impossible to prevent or predict in advance through good intelligence.
The resulting frustration was apparent on Wednesday as the country’s political establishment, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu downwards, pointed the finger, without presenting concrete evidence, at virtually the entire Palestinian political spectrum, including the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – accusing it of complicity through “incitement”.
Tait’s incredulousness in the face of Israeli “claims” over the role played by Palestinian incitement is quite remarkable. As Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) demonstrates, evidence abounds attesting to “ongoing violence promotion” carried out by the Palestinian Authority and Fatah. PMW recently reported that violence promotion in recent months has specifically mentioned “stabbings” and the use “knives and cleavers”.
At some point in the not too distant past, the producers of the flagship BBC interview programme Hardtalk obviously decided that the tenth anniversary of the death of a notorious terrorist responsible for the killing of thousands of people and the maiming of many thousands more warranted commemoration.
Hence, on January 19th they broadcast what was described as a “special edition” of the programme in order to “mark the anniversary” of the death of Yasser Arafat – according to Hardtalk host Zeinab Badawi who was sent specially to Malta to interview Suha Arafat.
Despite the fact that Hardtalk bills itself as conducting “[i]n-depth interviews with hard-hitting questions and sensitive topics being covered”, Zeinab Badawi allows Suha Arafat to avoid providing any real answers to questions on the topic of Arafat’s notorious embezzlement of donor funding and to dismiss the topic as “character assassination against my husband”.
Badawi does however provide Suha Arafat with an ample platform from which to once again advance her unproven theories regarding the cause of her husband’s death.
Note how Conn’s gratuitous line about the deaths of “so many children” in Gaza is contextualized as a “true horror” in contrast, he seems to suggest, to British Jews’ exaggerated sense of their own victimhood – as if there’s some moral parallel between Palestinian casualties resulting from Israel’s war with Hamas and Britons who are targeted for racist hate due to their religious orientation.
Conn finishes thusly:
This alarm, which seems to some extent to be feeding on itself, can risk seeming a little ungrateful. Not only for a historically remarkable level of acceptance and opportunity but also to our grandparents, who worked, prayed and fought through the 1930s so that we could experience it.
It’s of course one thing to try and tone down exaggerated rhetoric about antisemitism, and quite another to imperiously deride the fears of a tiny Jewish minority and suggest that they are “ungrateful” to their country, as if their freedoms are not inalienable rights afforded to them as full citizens, but privileges bestowed upon them for which they need always to express gratitude.
Writing in The Independent, [Mathew] Norman first notes the putative dearth of any fatal antisemitic attacks in the country.
“And so it is with the greatest reluctance – it feels like sacrilege, in fact – that I tempt fate by pointing out that no Jewish person has been killed in Britain in an anti-semitic attack since … well, my possibly flawed internet researches find no fatality on record at all.”
Norman’s internet research was indeed flawed. In 2008, a Manchester Jew was fatally stabbed by a man who later told police that he “needed to kill a Jewish person”. CST characterized the attack as antisemitic.
Artist Alexsandro Palombo has launched a series of drawings depicting The Simpsons as Jews in death camp Auschwitz to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp.
The project is entitled “Never Again.” Palombo says it is “an invitation to reflection, an artwork to raise awareness, an indictment against intolerance, a punch to inhumanity.”
He continued, “The Holocaust is something unique and unrepeatable for its atrocities. Auschwitz-Birkenau is the symbol of this inhumane delirium, the industry of death.”
“It is only through memory that we are able to fight racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and all forms of intolerance that threaten the society, the freedom and the respect for all diversity,” he added.
A 16-year-old high school student from the United Kingdom created a school project detailing the sordid history of Nazi Germany with Lego pieces, becoming an instant Internet sensation.
John Denno from Liverpool used the toy building blocks to illustrate Hitler’s rise to power, the Nuremberg laws, Kristallnacht, the Holocaust, D-Day and Germany’s capitulation, employing creative camera tricks and figurines from Star Wars and Harry Potter Lego sets.
The project, which has garnered attention from around the world, was a learning experience for the 16-year-old.
“The biggest thing I realized… is just how long the persecution went on,” Denno told Pixable.com. “From 1933, Jews slowly lost all their rights until they were being murdered in the thousands.”
“My project opens a small window on how the Nazi party did what they did, and, hopefully, it sparks interest for people to find out more themselves,” Denno added.
Denno’s work was praised by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
Israel is also the home of what has become one of the biggest hits in auto production — The MobilEye Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). Now standard on many new car models, MobilEye alerts drivers when they come too close to vehicles and pedestrians, or when they veer out of their lane, sending out a beep that gets the driver’s attention, and hopefully gets them to slow down. New versions of the system can also detect cyclists, debris on the road, curbs, barriers and constructions zones, highlight traffic lights and even read signs. A planned advanced version of the system will be enabled by forward-facing cameras and a number of low-cost radars. All that, the company says, will make fully driverless cars feasible within the next two or three years, long before Google will be ready to sell its version of hands-free vehicles.To make MobilEye even more effective, the company last year hooked up with another Israeli start-up, Accel, which makes mobile phones for cars. The Accel Voyager phone has big, easy to access keys, special noise filtration and cancellation to allow clearer conversations, voice activation for calls and commands, enhanced volume to ensure that drivers can easily hear conversations, and a built-in copy of Waze. All features are accessible via big buttons and swipe screens, so drivers can easily play music or change Internet radio stations without taking their eyes off the road. Drivers can also get a special data plan for the device (it allows for two SIM cards, so if can be used as a ‘regular’ phone as well).
Although it hasn’t gone public yet, Israel-based public transport app maker Moovit’s valuation is, according analysts, well into IPO territory.
The company last week announced a new Series C funding round of $50 million – which, according to analysts, means that the company is worth as much as $450 million.
Among those investors were investment houses Keolis, Bernard Arnault Group and Vaizra; Nokia Growth Partners, the mobile tech company’s venture capital arm; and, perhaps curiously for a VC sponsored by a car company, BMW i Ventures is also part of the investment in an Israeli company that strives to be the Waze of public transportation.
Like that driving app, Moovit, which provides step-by-step directions to commuters who get around by bus, train, light rail, and other public transportation methods, is going global, said Moovit CEO Nir Erez.
Red Bend, an Israeli company responsible for nearly three-quarters of the wireless software updates for cell phones around the world, is being acquired by entertainment technology giant Harman, both companies said Thursday.
The deal is valued at $170 million, including approximately $99 million in stock and $71 million in cash.
In a statement, Harman said that it was buying Red Bend in order to use its OTA — over-the-air — updating technology “to meet the rising demands of the connected car. By bringing Red Bend under the Harman umbrella and driving broad industry usage, Harman’s combined technology portfolio will seamlessly enable safe, secure OTA updates for a variety of on-board Harman and non-Harman automotive systems — whether embedded or downloaded — speeding the pace of innovation to automakers and the industry.”
How scared are chief executives about cyber attacks after the incursion into Sony’s network? Scared enough that dozens of top brass, including Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat, showed up for a Davos breakfast with an Israeli cybersecurity expert who talked about defending against attackers armed with what he called the digital equivalent of an F-16 fighter jet.
The advice came from Nadav Zafrir, former commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ technology and intelligence unit, 8200, and founder of the IDF’s Cyber Command. He has since left the IDF and co-founded Team8 Cyber Security Venture Creation, which is raising money to invest in startups. Zafrir looks like the movie version of a counterterrorist and has clearly practiced his shtick:
“The breakers in cyber are one step ahead of the makers. …We’re out of equilibrium.”
Companies have a lot to learn from Islamic State, Zafrir insisted, particularly about the power of loosely coupled networks of networks in which power is at the edges. “You have to redefine control. You have to let go, and it’s scary.”
“It’s too important to leave it to the cyber experts. You [the CEO] have to become cyber literate.”
If people with guns stormed Davos, he said, the Swiss Army would come to the rescue. But if cyber terrorists attacked some company’s installation in Davos, the Swiss government would not be there to help.
The bottom line: “In the end of the day you’re on your own, and you have to accept that. … I tell my kids, ‘Don’t get mad at reality.'”